What I Am: Thematic Indulgence

Theme for the month: Spooky

The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love
Colin Meloy is either brilliant or really, really creepy. Probably a little bit of both. But if you want a soundtrack to October or just the week or two before Halloween, you would do well to listen to the latest from The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love.

It’s got everything: an overbearing mother, a rake, a rape, dead babies, ghosts of dead babies, pining, lust, revenge, and a wicked guitar part. I cannot wait to see this thing staged as a rock opera, ala Tommy by The Who.

The Prestige, by Christopher Priest
I found the movie version of this book to be fantastic — an ending I didn’t see coming, plus Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale (and Michael Caine and David Bowie). Oh, my. And they ACT.

The book is even better, albeit different. The ending is much, much spookier. I am still getting chills thinking about it, two days after finishing it. Very satisfying.

The Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks
I should not read zombie books. I simply should not. (Or see zombie movies.)

My mind churns into overdrive. I wonder if I could survive a zombie attack; I wonder how I will (WILL, mind you) protect my daughters. I think about stocking up on water, canned goods, and toilet paper (Kate is going to have to get potty trained, and fast), and consider what kind of gun or guns I am going to buy.

I despair a little bit. My basement is barely defensible — and Brooks says to forget about the basement in any case; go upstairs and destroy the staircase. I do have a machete, although it’s not very sharp. My pantry is stocked with lots of soap, paper towels, and lunch snacks. (And about 24 cans of chicken-type soups for Dan. When the zombies come, we will no longer be vegetarians I guess. And we will have very clean hands.) It’s been some years since I used a gun.

In other words, I turn into a crazed, militant-minded nut job. What the government is to a guy in a militia, zombies are to me. To my credit, I don’t own a gun (yet). (As far as you know.)

Reading The Zombie Survival Guide, most of me recognizes that it is satire. Yet it is so well done, that part of me — the militant minded, “this could really happen” part of my brain or gut — thinks, “I gotta go get me one of those. And learn how to use it. Because WHAT IF.” The tone is serious; the tips are practical; and Brooks peppers his advice with just enough “real-life” examples and scenarios, that I think, “See, now, that’s good to know.”

I am seriously considering ordering this book. In hard cover. And learning how to shoot flaming arrows.

Because, WHAT IF?