March 4th, 2008


Welcome to the Entitlement Zone

One of the factors that led to my leaving the video store, aside from the main goal of writing full time again, was the fact that my neighborhood is turning into an insufferable entitlement zone. For every wonderful customer, there were three impossible ones who felt they were entitled to whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Action without consequence was the order of the day, and they would yell, threaten or bully like schoolchildren until they got their way. Somewhere along the line they learned that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and though I often refused to grease them on principle, I'd had enough after three years. It made my decision to leave that much easier.

Which brings me to Sam, the guy who runs the neighborhood laundromat I use. Sam's a nice guy and he'll go the extra mile for you. He stayed open an extra half hour on Christmas Eve just to accommodate me. He also has an unofficial delivery service. It's not a regular thing, but he'll deliver your laundry to your home under special circumstances or, presumably, if you ask nicely. Though, being ambulatory and in good health, I don't make use of his delivery service myself.

Tonight, when picking up my laundry, I found Sam in one of those instantly recognizable polite-retail arguments with an older female customer. After she left, he rolled his eyes and told me what happened. Apparently, she wanted him to deliver her laundry, but he refuses to deliver to her anymore. The first and only time he did, she asked him to take out her garbage while he was there. Sam, quite reasonably, declined, informing her that wasn't his job. As I said, he's a nice guy and he'll go the extra mile, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Then, just to illustrate what an insufferable bitch she is, she called him rude for not taking out her garbage. Unfortunately, he did not ban her from delivery service right then and there, to her face, so she didn't know she was banned until she asked for delivery again. That's why she was arguing with him when I came in, shortly before she took her laundry bags and stalked off in a huff.

Sam, quite reasonably again, hopes she won't come back. But she will. One thing I've learned is that they always come back. They think we retail workers won't remember. But we do. Oh yes, we do.

Dead Reckonings #2

I just finished the second issue (volume?) of Dead Reckonings, S.T. Joshi and mssrcrankypants's review journal. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this may be the most important critical publication in the horror field -- or at least it would be if more people were reading it. Joshi and Haringa do an outstanding job, and I hope their audience continues to build. I also think the field in general benefits from a publication like this. It not only shows readers what's available in both the large and small presses, I believe it helps keep authors honest too. Dead Reckonings happily calls bullshit when it sees it.

That said, I of course still have quibbles with it -- I have quibbles with everything -- mostly having to do with the occasional poorly written review, as if the reviewer couldn't be bothered to give his/her own Word document a second look, or the occasional reviewer with an agenda or worldview he/she just can't help sharing. But mostly I have to wonder why a publication that calls itself "A Review of Horror Literature" on the very first page includes a movie review by Darrell Schweitzer!

Please, Dead Reckonings, you're too awesome to turn into Fangoria! Stay away from the movie reviews! What makes you special is your unwavering attention to books and books alone!

Next up in my enormous TBR pile: Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan.