The Stephen King Marathon – The Running Man

This is another of the Bachman books, and one that I was crazy excited to reread.
runningman1I remember thinking of the Running Man when I read the Hunger Games for the first time, and upon this reread I wondered if Suzanne Collins was inspired by this book when she came up with the idea. It definitely feels like the Hunger Games could have been an homage to the Running Man.

I read this book in only four sessions, it’s so intense and fast paced. Right from the get go, stuff is happening, and in typical Bachman style, it’s pretty fucked up. Dystopian future, televised game shows that pretty much guarantee death, and an Orwell-esque government. There’s something wonderful about a character living in poverty totally sticking it to the man by playing the man’s game but playing it their own way.

I honestly can’t sing enough praises for this book. It is fucking fantastic. I kind of want to watch the movie now, although I really just don’t understand how they figured Arnold Schwarzenegger was a good fit for Richards. I was picturing somebody more… I don’t know, not Arnold-y.

For The Dark Tower Fans: Nothing really, except for King’s beautiful writing.

Fear Factor: This book isn’t all that scary, unless you start to think about what it would be like if our world ended up like the one in the book. If killing people on live television was a thing, and humanity just ate it all up. It’s really fucked up to think about. That’s what King does as Bachman, though, he really makes the reader examine the human condition, and how deep our depravity can go.


The Stephen King Marathon – Cujo

I apparently had forgotten a lot about this book. I read it originally when I was a teenager, and all I remembered was a woman and her kid trapped in a car with a mean dog outside. There is so much more.


This book is fucking awesome. It had been so long since I’d read it. I look at his newer stuff like Under The Dome, and am so in awe of his ability to make a small town’s inhabitants so interesting. I was amazed to read something from so long ago in which he does the same thing, showing that he was gifted in this skill from the get go. Most of the book takes place in the lives of two couples, each with a child and a massive set of baggage and troubles. It’s so immersive and interesting, even though there doesn’t seem to be a lot going on. And because Cujo gets rabies right at the beginning and it slowly sets in over the course of the story, I found the dread and anticipation just building up in me. It is an intense ride.

I especially love the way that King writes from the point of view of the dog himself. He’s very good at vocalizing how I would imagine the thought process of a dog would be. I really felt the madness setting in, and found myself feeling badly for what Cujo was going through. On the flip side of that, now that I have a child, I was absolutely panicked at the thought of being stuck in a car in the heat of summer trying to protect my kid from a rabid St. Bernard. It was an intense ride.

Aside from the amazing writing and the masterful tale spinning, it wouldn’t be a King novel without some hint at the supernatural. As much as this is a very real story, with actual relationship issues and a normal real world disease on the dog, he manages to inject a little bit of creepy mystical shit. The kid sees a monster in the closet and it turns out that it’s the dog, and the father has dreams that point towards where they are, it’s just that little bit of signature King that ties the book together in a neat little spooky bow.

Love. So classic and awesome.


For the Dark Tower Fans: There wasn’t anything that jumped out at me here, but I did happen to read an article that pointed out that Song of Susannah takes place in Bridgton, Maine, where this book also takes place. So there is that.

Fear Factor: While this book didn’t have me sleeping with one eye open, it was definitely suspenseful. I was invested in the characters at the beginning, but once I got to the part in the car, there was no putting the book down. Heart racing, goosebumps, just wholly in that car with Tad and Donna.


The Stephen King Marathon – Danse Macabre

Ok, so full disclosure. I didn’t finish this book. Aside from the fact that I was in the middle of newborn hell and was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open, it just wasn’t holding my attention well enough. It’s non-fiction, and I usually love reading about what Stephen King’s thoughts on writing are, but in my desperate cross-eyed nighttime feeding state I needed something super absorbing. I tried for awhile, but just couldn’t do it. So this post is a placeholder for when I come back to it.

I just needed some good storytelling, because I ate through Cujo and The Running Man within a week and a half. So yeah. I’ll come back to this later.


The Writing Prompt Project – Lunch With A Side Of Doom

Prompt from Writing Prompts That Don’t Suck.

Lunch With A Side Of Doom

There’s a guy to the right of me with half his head blown off. His left arm is twisted at an unusual angle beneath him and his legs are splayed out, jeans full of rips that look like teeth marks.

“This looks like a good spot.” Angela bends over with the blanket, and I can’t help but admire her perfect heart-shaped ass. Yoga pants were the best invention ever. Next to the C-Serum, of course.

“Really?” My voice is dubious as I kick aside a gnarled leg clad in tattered scraps of fishnet stockings.

“It’s a patch of clean grass, don’t be so picky.” She kneels on the blanket and sets the picnic basket in front of her, taking a peek inside. I flop down onto the blanket, and curl my arms behind my head.

“It’s paradise, baby.” I turn my head towards a grunting noise and notice two deaders playing tug of war with what looks like a squirrel. Enough of the human race must have gotten themselves the shot if the sick ones are going after animals now.

Angela pulls out a bottle of champagne and two glasses. My sweet little tart of a wife, with her strawberry pigtails. She adjusts the black rimmed glasses on her nose and pours us each a glass. It was nice to be able to spend so much time together. Before the apocalypse, she spent all her time at the University, working away with her egghead research colleagues, sometimes putting in twelve to fourteen hours a day. She’s never seemed so relaxed and happy as she is now, and I’m willing to bet it’s because she finally has some time off.

“So, my love, what shall we do today?” After handing me a glass, she produces a plastic container full of delectable looking meats and cheeses. Oh yeah, prosciutto, my favourite. I start mowing down.

“We could check out the community centre.” I suggest through a mouthful of cheese. “See if the hot tubs are clean and running.”

“Mmm, that’s a nice idea.” Angela leans on her hand, facing me, her perfect curves a silhouette in the morning sun. I hear new grunts and turn to see three more zombies staggering around a bike rack at the edge of the park. I wonder how long it takes for the things to die. Or if they actually die. They eat living flesh, but will they starve if they don’t? “Drink up, sweetie.” She clinks her glass against mine and I down it in one gulp to wash down the salty remnants of my snack.

More grunts. Jesus, did we pick dead guy park, or what? There are at least six or seven now, stumbling around the street and into the park. Tripping over bodies, slowly getting back up. Must be the squirrels.

I hear a buzz from the picnic basket. Must be Angela’s phone. “Wait a minute.” I say out loud, taken aback. “How is your phone working?” The phones haven’t been working for a week, since, you know, humanity as we knew it came to an end. She looks slightly guilty.

“Shit, sorry baby, I thought I had more time.” She stands up and brushes off that perfect ass before pulling a small black device from the basket. She glances at the screen with a wry smile. She reaches into the basket again, and before I can even react, she’s produced a syringe and slammed it into my thigh.

“Ow, what the fuck?!” I’m gawking at her dainty little hand in disbelief, even as I feel her lips on my forehead. She stands up and my legs won’t move. They’re like lead. Whatever she hit me with has completely immobilized my lower half. “What the hell is this?!”

“My ride is on it’s way, baby. The C-Serum was only for the best and brightest.” She’s stepping back as she talks, and the grunts are getting louder. “I volunteered you for testing it in our district to make sure it would work.”

“What are you saying?” My head swims with the information, and I’m afraid to turn my head.

“I’m saying my dumb jock bro of a husband isn’t allowed to come to Washington with the rest of us that actually have some use for the future.” Her shoulders are straight, her pouty lips curling, her eyes excited. This is why the bitch has been so happy. “The zombie virus was the quickest way to cleanse the planet of the laziest and dumbest of humanity. The rest of us get to rebuild a new world, baby. And you helped us pave the way. You should be proud of yourself. You did a great job.”

“Don’t leave me here.” I have the sinking feeling that the zombies have my scent. “What did you give me?”

“The paralytic is to keep you down. The cocktail in your champagne glass nullifies the effects of the C-Serum in your blood. You’ll be one of the last fresh meals these guys will ever get.” She gives me a sultry little wave before turning her back on me.

“You bitch!” I cry, and finally have the guts to turn my head to look behind me. There have to be at least fifty zombies, the closest about five feet away, closing in… “Fuck you!”

“In another life, dearest husband!” Angela calls back to me.

I hear the sound of a helicopter in the distance a split second before teeth sink into my ear and it’s torn from my head.


50 Shades of Disappointment

So, this happened.

Because we need the tale of emotional abuse and manipulation from the point of view of the abuser.

Because we need the tale of emotional abuse and manipulation from the point of view of the abuser.

In case you haven’t heard, this is the beginning of the 50 Shades trilogy retold from Christian’s perspective. You know, because EL James doesn’t have enough money, she needs to rehash one shitty story into a slightly shittier story.

The good news to come out of this is that Jenny Trout is totally recapping these, so we’re going to get three more novels worth of her beautiful snark!

I want to hate-read this book, but I don’t want EL James to have my money. Somebody help me.

P.S. Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadian followers! :)


Preparing for your Whole30

Hi everyone! In preparation for the A to Z Challenge that starts tomorrow, I want to talk about some of the stuff that will help prepare for a Whole30. When I started, I found it difficult to know how much to buy of what foods, because I wasn’t sure about portion sizes yet. And it took a few weeks before I found some really amazing recipes that are still my favourites after the fact.

For a full rundown of the Whole30, click here.

The basic rule of thumb is to only eat whole foods. Veggies, fruits, meat, nuts and seeds. If something has an ingredient list, make sure that there are no preservatives or chemicals, and no sugar. Once you start paying attention to ingredients in the things at the grocery store, you’ll be amazed how much of it isn’t even real food.

So, tip number one, before you start, make your own clarified butter. Ghee is essentially butter without the dairy fat, and it is super expensive to buy. Organic butter is way cheaper, and all you have to do to clarify it is simmer it on very low heat and skim off the white goo on top. Goo being a technical term, of course. Once the foam is gone, the golden butter left behind can be stored in an airtight container on the counter and used for everything that you would use butter for. And it’s delicious. It’s like super buttery butter. Mmmm.

Number two, which is an extension of number one. For those of you who have followed me for awhile, you likely remember my Bulletproof Coffee challenge I did. I’m so glad I did, because BP Coffee saved my life on the Whole30. One of my biggest hurdles at the beginning was that I was starving all morning. I’d have my proper portion of protein and veggie and fat for breakfast, but by ten o clock I was dying. I’m a snacker, you see. And I’m not one to stuff myself at six in the morning either.

Then a lightbulb went off above my head. Bing! Bulletproof Coffee! Using my clarified butter and some flavorful and fragrant coconut oil, I blended up my coffee every morning with my breakfast and it kept me energetic and not hungry until lunchtime. Also, it’s fucking delicious. Seriously. One of my A to Z Challenge posts will be on the myriad of different things I put in my coffees to make up for the fact that I couldn’t have dairy.

Number three. Try every milk. Unsweetened with no additives, and if you can shell out a bit of extra dough, organic is best. Chances are you’ll find something that delights your tastebuds, and maybe even forget about milk altogether. That’s what happened when I discovered the wonder that is coconut milk. Canned, pure, delicious coconut milk. I’m eating bananas and strawberries doused in it right now. I’ve been done my Whole30 for three weeks and I am still devouring the stuff. YUM.

I did find that the best coffee additive over my Whole30 was unsweetened almond milk. I had a hard time drinking black coffee, and I’d butter it first thing in the morning but my subsequent coffees were just lame being naked. I’m a double cream kinda girl (that’s what she said) and it was hard to get used to just coffee flavour without that creamy undertone. When I subbed in unsweetened almond milk, it was worlds better! And I haven’t switched back to cream since. Also the hint of almond flavour goes so well with coffee.

Tip four, hunt around for the best fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and spices you can find in your vicinity. I found myself shopping every week, sometimes with extra trips because you’d be amazed how fast you go through stuff when eating three massive meals a day. Also you want it to stay fresh until you eat it, so it’s better to shop more often. Which means that you’ll want somewhere close to go.

As a subset of tip four, if you’re a baconator like me, make sure you go on a bacon hunt before you start your Whole30. Bacon is totally in, but most grocery store bacon has the dreaded sugar in it. It’s stupid, really, how much crap is on the bacon ingredient list. If there’s a farm somewhere near you, find out if you can get fresh bacon, and then freeze it in portions for use during your thirty days. If it isn’t easily accessible, then go to the most expensive grocery store in your area, find the organic bacon, and read all the labels, picking the one with the least additives. I will admit I had to cheat a couple of times with my bacon, but I did manage to get one that was organic and used natural sugars as opposed to chemicals. That was the best I could do. The thought of going thirty days without bacon terrifies me. I couldn’t have done it.

Number five, the bulk food store is your friend. Around here we have the good ol Bulk Barn, which is a heavenly place for dry goods at cheap prices. It’s particularly handy during a Whole30, because nuts and seeds are an integral part of the process. Maybe it should be tip five: nuts and seeds are an integral part of the process. Anyway.

Sometimes, I didn’t want to cook meat for my salad, or to go next to my vegetables, or if I wanted fried fruit sometimes I didn’t want salty meat with it. Enter raw cashews. Protein and healthy fat ahoy! They bake and fry well, they’re good in a salad, and with a little patience, they make amazing nut butter. I have jars of raw nuts (that’s what she said) in the cupboard because they add a healthful kick to a lot of things. Almonds in particular are handy for thickening up homemade salad dressing.

Seeds snazz up anything you want to sprinkle them over. I’m a sucker for sunflower seeds, and I just threw them in everything. It gives a little extra salt and crunch. But any seeds can turn your boring meal into something new and exciting. Seriously, you’re about to live thirty days where all you think about is how to make appealing and exciting food. Seeds will help.

Last but not least, tip six. Share your experience! Count your days, talk to people about what you’re eating and how delicious it is. If you’re doing it for weight loss, weigh and measure in and out before and after. Talk to your friends and family about the difficulty giving up whatever non-compliant food you miss. If you’re gaining support and camraderie during this thing, it will be so much easier to complete because you’ll have people cheering you on. And if any of those people try to get you to cheat, punch them in the face.

Just kidding, make them a delicious Whole30 compliant dinner and they’ll change their tune.

Instead of thinking about what you can’t eat, think about it as what you will get to eat. Staying positive and keeping your confidence up is a lovely side effect to doing something like this. With your friends and family and coworkers on your side, and you starting to feel really good, it won’t be a chore to finish.

And I urge you to finish the 30 days! I did and it has changed my eating habits forever. I learned so much, and ended my psychological need to snack constantly. I learned that I don’t ever have to buy sauces or dressings because they’re easier and cheaper and healthier to make. And more delicious!

I also learned that sugar is a wicked inflammatory, because on day 31 my husband and I split a bag of Mini Eggs and I was bloated as shit for two days.

So, in closing, saddle up for a life changing ride. Your Whole30 awaits!

Helpful Links

Looking for recipes? The Whole30 book It Starts With Food is really great for base recipes that can be embellished and customized. Also homemade Olive Oil Mayo, which was a lifesaver. It also gives you an awesome science lesson on your body and what happens when you eat certain things. It is definitely worth the 10 bucks for the ebook.

The Clothes Make The Girl is an awesome reasource for all things healthy. She does a few Whole30’s every year, and has some great articles on what she buys per week. She also has some mouthwatering recipes and tips on how to create your own delicious Whole30 compliant meals.

Nom Nom Paleo is a huge collection of recipes run by the awesome Michelle Tam. She classifies them as Paleo, though, so be careful not to use any recipes that have honey or maple syrup for your Whole30.

And last but not least, stay tuned to this blog for the month of April, where I’ll share recipes for all of the awesome stuff I made for my Whole30! It forced me to get really creative with food, and so much of it I’ve carried over into my life now. Enjoy and see you at the A to Z Challenge!


Writing Prompt Project – A Decision, a Laugh, a Howl

It’s freezing. It’s not supposed to be freezing in August.
Some people think that all of Canada has winter all year round, just a wall of white snow at the border. No. We have summer. And the height of our summer is August. The month where it’s so hot that I want to peel my skin off. When I come outside and my hair is plastered to my neck with sweat within seconds. These things suck, but when it’s cold enough that I can see my breath in August, it worries me.
A dog howls in the distance. I think it’s from the west, but the sound ricochets off of the fence along the road and skews my perception. It’s dusk, that perfect time in the evening before the streetlights come on that’s just dark enough that nothing looks like it’s supposed to.
I realize that I don’t even know why I’m out here. I don’t remember coming out of my house. What did I come out here to do? It’s Tuesday night, which means I am of no fixed plans. Usually I just curl up on the couch with my cat and read until bedtime. What made me come out here?
I puzzle over this, and more importantly, why I can’t seem to force myself back inside into the warmth. I’m dressed for August in sporty shorts and a tank top, bare foot as usual. My flesh is all goosebumped and my teeth are threatening to chatter.
I hear a giggle right behind me, and I can’t help but let out a scream. I whip around, nearly stumbling over myself in the process. Nothing. Nobody. I swear I heard a giggle. I try to place the voice to an image in my head of a person, but it’s difficult. It didn’t sound like a child, nor like an adult. I couldn’t even tell what gender it was.
Another giggle.
I’m still not ready for it, and it sounds closer this time, and the hair on the back of my neck stands up as I stand frozen. I’m too afraid to move now, afraid to turn my head. What type of creature can turn summer to winter and send disembodied ghost giggles to tickle the back of my ear?
A sudden chorus of laughter breaks out and this time I do move, this time in the direction of my house. It’s loud and raucous, a thousand voices guffawing hysterically as I speed towards my front door. I feel like I’m running in slow motion, I’m so desperate to get away, my heart pounding in my ears, adrenaline pumping electricity through my veins.
I leap all three porch steps in a single bound and smash into my front door, unable to stop. I claw for the doorknob, and in my panic it takes me a few seconds to realize there is no doorknob.
There is no door.
The laughter is deafening now. I claw at the brick in front of me, but my scream isn’t heard over the gleeful shrieking.
I whip around, ready to face the onslaught.
Crickets chirp in the still night as the streetlights pop on. The street is clear and peaceful, and I fumble for the doorknob behind me. My mouth is so dry.
I find the knob, turn it, and tear into my house.

Prompted by A Year Of Writing Prompts by Brian A. Klems and Zachary Petit, available at Writer’s Digest!