A few nights ago, a friend and I were Skyping each other. Since it was a little past dinner-time for me, the laptop was on the kitchen counter when I was making myself some healthy cauliflower and carrot curry. I was also Team-viewering my way into his computer, because he had one of my old hard-drives and I wanted to peek into it.
Looking at old files on a forgotten disk is a sort of perverted self-archaeology that is both life-affirming and creepy. Things that used to be seem relevant once upon a time are now distant, embarrassing. The documents folder yielded old resumes, stray downloaded pictures and half-written Rolling Stone reviews. Most of the other folders had been stripped clean before I left, or had backups of backups in other drives that are here with me. There was the dump of comics that I had transferred temporarily from the piles of CDs and DVDs I had lying around, and my friend was a little overwhelmed by the content. I have never been too tidy with my downloaded files.
We talked about Kyle Baker and Army@Love, remembering old comics and new manga and everything else on our pop culture plates right now. Yes, almost all my conversations morph into variants of this, so don’t judge. At some point, my friend mentioned that he wanted to read an old-school horror book, something that would creep him out and be unputdownable at the same time. I thought about Joe Hill, but he had read all of Hill, most of it before I did. Both of us could not think of anything else at the moment.
I finished Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain last night. And this is what we were talking about. It starts with a plane landing in JFK airport with everyone but four people aboard the flight dead. The Center for Disease Control gets involved, and the plot proceeds like a tight medical thriller, only with fantastical elements. You can easily find out for yourself what it’s really about, because the first line of the Wikipedia summary gives it away. But I went in without knowing anything except that it was a horror book, and I loved the conceit of the plot. Halfway through the book, I was fairly sure it could not be a standalone story, and I was right! The first reaction was disappointment – I had not finished The Passage, a book based on a similar premise, because the second and third books are due to come out 2012 and 2014. Happily, both sequels to The Strain are out already, the third came out this November. I have now begun The Fall, the second book. Things are proceeding swimmingly. The survivors of the first book are doing well. The dead ones – oh dear. I better shut up right now.
But it’s heartening to find out that my distrust of trilogies seems to be going away slowly, thanks to good content.
I should also mention that you should probably go check out this British movie called Cashback. It’s about break-ups, love, nudity, art and freezing time.
In the middle of the day today, there was a knock on the door. Another USPS package had arrived in my name. ‘Drea the Awesome looked up when I bring it in and open it up, knowing already what it’s going to be. The X-Statix Omnibus, by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, along with a whole bunch of guest artists like Darwyn Cooke, Philip Bond and Paul Pope. It’s 1200 pages long, and when I pass it over to ‘Drea, she nearly keels over with the weight. “This is a comic?”, she asks. She flips through the pages and then looks up at me. “So you’re going to spend time reading this thing?” “I’ve read this before, but I will probably reread it in a bit, yeah”, I reply, grinning. She shakes her head, mumbling about starting a blog on her experiences with living with a nerd, with a special mention of the many packages that arrive every week. It was not a prudent time to mention that she had been playing Plants vs Zombies the last few nights with the TV on, with an obsession that puts my magpie complex to shame. But I did anyway.