Wednesday, September 19, 2018

My Parker Posey Library Meltdown

I cried last night.

I cried for what I've lost.

I cried for what I've gained.

I cried for the meltdown I experienced earlier that day, which left me feeling petty and childish.  

There are others with bigger problems than being half-blind.  I know this, but such knowledge doesn't restore my vision and erase my problems.  Yet, after crying myself out, I can find reasons to be grateful.

I am grateful for what sight remains in my eyes the color of dung.  

I am grateful for my Mad Scientist Glasses, which is the only reason I can type these words.  

I am grateful for my tablet, which can read me posts, tweets and e-books.  My world would be microscopic without this portable device. 

I'm grateful for the people who put up with my meltdowns.  Especially my sister Margaret.

My meltdown.

My gratitude.

Guess these two experiences comprise this emotional whiplash of a post. 

I rarely look at physical books anymore, unless I'm feeling particularly masochistic, but yesterday one caught my half-blind eyes.  

I couldn't quite make out the title but the author's name was so large that I was 90% certain I was seeing it correctly.  I slipped on my MSG and felt two distinct emotional responses.


Joy at seeing Parker Posey's autobiography.  She's been one of my favorite actresses since I first saw PARTY GIRL in 1996 and I never imagined the Broken Bow Public Library would actually get in her book. 

Sadness because the Broken Bow Public Library actually got in her book, but I couldn't read it.  As usual, when I'm feeling masochistic, I flip through pages, hoping somehow my eyes will magically be able to see through the haze and the grayness to the words just out of reach. 

I asked Kim, one of the groovy librarians, if she would please look up to see if Parker Posey's book was available as an e-book or audiobook from Nebraska Library Overdrive.  Yes, I could've sat down and searched on my tablet, but asking for help was quicker.  To absolutely no surprise on my part, it wasn't available, but I think I audibly sighed at the news.

I asked Joan, the groovy head librarian, if it was possible to suggest an e-book or audiobook to Nebraska Library Overdrive.  She said she could shoot an e-mail to the Library Commission, but there would be no guarantee.  I thanked her profusely and sat down in one of my favorite corners. 

I'm a cynical pessimist, or as I like to call myself, a realist.  I believed there was no way in indie cinema that a positive response would be e-mailed in return.  So, in my corner, all plugged into my tablet, which was plugged into the wall, I vented on Twitter. 

My venting was not about the library or Overdrive.  It was about my frustration and sadness at not being able to just walk across the room and read Parker Posey's book.  My situation was a special kind of torture and I was hating anyone who has their vision but wasn't using it to read books. 

I was so laser focused on my online bitching & whining that I didn't notice Joan approaching.  She said my name and I jumped out of my skin.  She apologized and gave me some news. 

Joan was about to e-mail the Library Commission but then she remembered something.  The Broken Bow Public Library had some credit with Nebraska Library Overdrive, so she purchased the e-book of "You're on an Airplane" by Parker Posey.  She explained that this e-book will only be available to readers who use Nebraska Library Overdrive through the Broken Bow Public Library.  


Yes, Joan essentially purchased the e-book so I could enjoy the words of one of my favorite actresses, though hopefully others borrow it.  Maybe it helps Joan is no stranger to the charm of Posey.  She enjoys Christopher Guest's films, which shows Joan has good cinematic taste and is awesome!

I hope it's clear why I cried last night.  This whole experience was extremely emotional and I'm not sure I handled it very well.  At least I didn't fling myself to the floor and throw a tantrum, even though I felt like it.  I internalized a lot and saved the rest for Twitter.  ;)

So, if you ever find yourself in Broken Bow, Nebraska, please consider swinging by, saying hi to the groovy librarians and experience the best damn library ever!  Don't be surprised if I'm hiding in a corner, absorbing everything going on around me.


Oh, as for Parker Posey's e-book...so far it's everything I was hoping for.  I just close my half-blind eyes and imagine Posey's distinct voice instead of my tablet's male, U.K. English, computer voice. 

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 
JLH

P.S. An old blogpost all about my admiration of Parker Posey...

Friday, August 31, 2018

The Book Whore's Tale


(a short story that blurs the line between fiction and reality) 

    My name is John, no matter what he calls me, I remind myself as I stand in the dimly lit hallway, preparing to knock.  His name is John, no matter what he calls himself. 

    My fist carefully raps against the dark brown door.  No answer, so I knock again.  Finally I hear his commanding voice. 

    "Enter." 

    I obey, opening the door to a long, severely orange room.  Deep orange shag carpeting cushions my every step.  The equally deep orange curtains slightly sway as I shut the door, which is orange on this side.  I gingerly walk forward, a moving blood stain gliding along the muted orange walls until I stop six feet away from him as he stands before his deep orange desk.. 

    He is dressed all in orange, literally from head to toe.  Neon orange platform shoes, a large belt and a wide-brimmed hat accentuate a disturbingly tight, orange juice-hued jumpsuit which flares at the cuffs.  Even though it is out of my view, I know his Book Pimp name is sewn in diamonds on the back of his neon orange half-cape draped over his shoulders.  A sleek, neon orange cane is held with both hands in front of him, it's tip digging into the garish carpeting.  He is Freshly Squeezed. 

    I start to speak but I barely pronounce a syllable before he clears his throat and taps his cane into the deep orange shag surrounding us.    He's reminding me that I've forgotten the rule of enering his orange domain.  A Book Whore must first pay respect to Freshly Squeezed before speaking.  

    We make eye contact, his brown so much like my own,  and he slightly nods his head.  This indicates his acceptance of my offer and I step closer to him.  I silently fall to my knees before him, my eyes focused on the orange shag below.  He adjusts his cane as my nervous eyes follow the long, sleek orange shaft up to its misshapen protrusion.  

    Both hands still gripping the cane, he coaxingly pushes the curved handle towards me.  My distorted reflection stares mockingly at me from the shiny, bulbous end.  Trying to hide my dread at the degrading, humiliating act, I open my mouth and slide my lips over my reflected self. 

    "Like you want it." 

    His voice is a commanding whisper.  I look up at him as I slide the cane's handle as far into my mouth as I can.  His satisfied expression indicates his approval of my offer of respect. I slide the metallic curvature out of my mouth, but remain on my knees.  He gestures with his cane to rise and I obey. 

    "Now what brings you here today, my Ho-J?"  His voice, to the unknowing ear, sounds casual, but I hear the unspoken accusatory conclusion to his query, ...instead of being out there plugging my book?  

    "You requested my presence, Freshly Squeezed," I remind him, fully aware he remembers. 

    "Ah, yes.  Yes I did."  He strokes his orange cane with apparent absent-mindedness.  "Do you know why I requested to see you today?" 

    "Your book," I respond, figuratively biting my tongue.  My book.  Your book.  His book.  It's all the same.  He knows it.  I know it. 

    "Correct, my Ho-J."  He smiles at me as if he's about to pat me on the head.  I want to rip that gaudy, orange wide-brimmed hat off his smug head and stomp it flat. 

    "Is there a problem, sir?" I inquire to keep my desire from manifesting into action. 

    His smile becomes gritty as he stretches and twists his neck, cracking it in an attempt to crack my resolve.  "Oh my, my Ho-J, we do have a problem, and that problem is you." 

    "Me?" I ask incredulously.  "What have I done, sir?" 

    His gritty smile becomes grittier as he answers in emotionless honesty, "Your book sales have been abysmal so far this year.  Even worse than last year's atrocious numbers." 

    "I've been trying real hard to generate interest, sir."  This sounds lame as soon as it leaves my lips.

    "Not hard enough, or so it would seem."  

    "What do you suggest I do?"  I hate myself for stroking his ego, but I'm in the orange domain of Freshly Squeezed.  Leaving unjuiced is key. 

    His brown eyes meticulously move from my face downwards and back up again.  "Remove your top."  

    "My shirt?" I whisper, instinctively placing a hand on my red garment.  Freshly Squeezed nods his head, the orange wide-brimmed hat defies gravity by not falling off.. 

    I want to shout that taking off my shirt is not in my job description, but I'm a Book Whore.  I must obey a Book Pimp's every whim, so I begin unbuttoning my short-sleeve, red shirt. 

    He watches with a lascivious grin as each button is unfastened.  I slip out of my shirt and hold it in front of me to hold onto a bit of dignity.  

    "Drop it." 

    I obey, releasing my red onto the orange shag at my black shoes.  I let my arms fall to my side while attempting to keep my breathing calm and steady. His eyes maneuver from my neck all the way down to the waistband of my black shorts and back up again. 

    With a swishing of his half-cape, he turns to his desk, his diamond-studded name reflecting so much orange that it's nearly invisible.  A buzzing sound fills the room as he faces me with a determined look and an electric razor in one hand.  I want to throw my arms in front of my chest for protection from the razor and his eyes.  Those brown circles roam over my bare chest as he steps closer.

    Then, as suddenly as it started, the buzzing stops.  He quickly deposits the razor back on the desk and retrieves a different object.  Facing my half-nakedness again, he steps uncomfortably close and presses the curved orange cane handle, warm and moist, against my chest. 

    "Ive decided to let your chest be, my hairy Ho-J," he states as if doing me the biggest favor ever.  He continues, slowly running the handle down to my shorts, "I imagine potential readers making a correlation between following your trail to unseen treasure and reading my book to discover literary pleasure." 

    I'm now fully aware of his new advertising campaign.  Inwardly. I cringe, but I dare not say anything negative.  "You are very wise, Freshly Squeezed." 

    He smiles almost warmly at my forced compliment.  "Do you have your orange on?"  His protruding cane handle lingers at my waistband.

    "Yes, sir." 

    He readjusts his cane and casually slips a finger down my shorts.  Pulling out and down a bit, he glances in approval.  "Very good, my Ho-J."  He hands me the object from his other hand and dismisses me, "Now get out there and plug my book." 

    "Yes, sir.  I won't disappoint you again."  Freshly Squeezed turns away and I bend down to pick up my red shirt.  

    "Leave it," he commands and I once again obey, leaving my red shirt and the orange room. 

    Within the illusionary safety of the dimly-lit hallway, I look at what he handed me.  It is a copy of his book...my book...our book.  I stare at it's dark cover and then glance back at the door. 

    One day, I promise myself, he and I will discard our pimp-whore role when readers find our book strictly on the merit of our ability to tell an entertaining tale.  Until that day, a Book Whore's gotta do what a Book Whore's gotta do.

    I hold my head up unashamed and stroll into the cool, night air, gently pressing my book against my naked chest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind short story, which was inspired by the realization I am both pimp & whore to my book.

Freak Out,
JLH 

P.S.  
For a good time...
Pick up a copy of DARK EXCURSIONS at an Amazon near you! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

"Are you lonely tonight?"


DARK EXCURSIONS will fill your void with literary pleasure. 

Download the e-books for instant gratification or order the book for simmering anticipation. 

Available from Amazon 
viewAuthor.at/JohnLHarmon

Saturday, August 18, 2018

It's hard out here for a pimp & an indie author...

The hardest part about being an indie author is finding readers. 

The 2nd hardest part about being an indie author is finding readers who leave a review.*

The 3rd hardest part about being an indie author is reading another author's book without becoming more critical of your own work. 

The 4th hardest part about being an indie author is writing a review of another authors book without projecting your own insecurities as a writer into it. 

*I recently discovered that I am not allowed to leave reviews on Amazon because I don't meet their minimum purchase requirement and because I use Amazon gift cards to make purchases instead of a credit/debit card.  So, leaving a review may be harder than usual for an indie author

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 
JLH 

P.S.  Sometimes I feel like a pimp when I send out my books all dressed up in a tweet or post, hoping to find someone willing to pay for the pleasure they provide.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

booking freakboy: THE ZOMBIE PLAGUES: COLLECTION ONE by Dell Sweet

                                  Amazon 

                  Amazon UK 
I recently listened to my tablet read me this e-book and the following post contains my thoughts on it.

The beginning of a unique zombie apocalypse..

THE ZOMBIE PLAGUES: COLLECTION ONE collects the first two books in author Dell Sweet's apocalyptic zombie series. 

Something bad has happened to the planet.  Massive destruction has leveled cities and altered the land.  The length of a day has changed and the sun is not setting in it's usual place.  Survivors slowly begin finding one another and soon one band of people start making plans to find a new home away from the decimated cities.  Little do they know, the dead are coming back and making plans of their own. 

Dell Sweet spins an intriguing tale of the zombie apocalypse through interesting characters and by infusing his story with a unique vision.  The zombies seem to be evolving into creatures with intelligence and a purpose.  While the literally earth-shattering cataclysm at the beginning appears to indicate there is something more going on than the usual zombie virus.  

For more information on this book...




Thank you for reading my half-blind review.

Freak Out, 
JLH 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Even the bots are losing interest...

My New Year's Revolution was in tatters.  The emotional battlefield was a decimated landscape of smoldering ruins. Among the motionless bodies was my motivation. 

I stared down at its ravaged, malnourished form and wondered what happened.  Was the culprit the endings I experienced during the beginning of this ‪Revolution?  Did my various creative anniversaries this year make me realize I keep doing the same thing while expecting different results?  Perhaps I started to feel as if I was screaming into a void. 

No matter the reason, the effect was undeniable.  I seriously questioned if my creative endeavors were worth my time and effort.  Not that this was a new experience, but the feeling was intense and depressing.  

Did I fight my way through a chunk of vision loss to keep doing the things I love, only to discover I don't love doing those things anymore?  The idea terrified me, so I poked my motivation with a stick.  The seemingly dead form moved ever so slightly.  

My motivation was still alive.  Well, barely alive, but that was enough.  A visit to the eye specialist inspired a very short, and hopefully amusing, video detailing the results.  Creating the concisely clever video gave me a kernel of hope and a nugget of desire.

Now I stand, surveying the revolutionary battlefield, trying to decide what can be salvaged.  My motivation is on life support, so I must tread cautiously through the destruction.  I need to keep my expectations realistic.  I need to keep my so-called good eye (the right one) open wide.  I need to keep from inadvertently unplugging the life support for my motivation.  

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 
JLH 

P.S.  An optic update...

Monday, June 25, 2018

freakboy on film: JOHN'S ABSOLUTE FAVORITE

I have a lot of favorite films.  There was a time when my Top Ten list would fluctuate on any given day, so picking one absolute favorite film was impossible.  This changed recently thanks to a bridal shower.  

No, it wasn't a progressive, 21st Century-style bridal shower, and even if it had been, I still wouldn't have attended because I would have died from boredom or at least lost the rest of my vision from excessive eye-rolling.  My sister attended our oldest niece's shower and then told me all about it.  Only one activity sounded intriguing to me.

The guests took a fun little quiz to see who knew the bride best.  One question was , "What is the bride's favorite movie?"   This got my brain churning because my niece had narrowed it down to one film, which my sister didn't know and I would have NEVER guessed in a million years, but I'm not here to blog about my niece's favorite film.

I initially wondered if I could ever pick just one of my favorite films to hold above all the others.  Then I wondered how my friends and family would respond to such a question about me.  Over the next week, my sister and I frequently discussed the topic.  I guessed her favorite film was The Terminator and she figured mine was Chuck & Buck.  I give her credit for at least choosing a film I actually enjoy, but she ended up being wrong.

During that week, I gave my favorite films some serious thought.  My gut immediately jumped to Desperate Living or Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, but somehow this didn't ring completely true.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE these films and practically recite the dialogue as I watch them, and they are in my Top Ten.  I sorted through other favorites, such as Picnic at Hanging Rock, CarrieWelcome to the Dollhouse and so many others, until one film illuminated my mind, with my sincerest apologies to John Waters.

ROSEMARY'S BABY


I'm sure some of you are calling shenanigans on me because of my nearly scary obsession over other films, but I assure you this 1968 film is, hands down, my #1. 

From the brilliant screenplay to the superb acting to the skillful directing to the crafty music score, I watch Rosemary's Baby with a profound sense of awe, respect and admiration.  On top of all that, I am always thoroughly entertained, no matter my mood.  


Roman Polanski took Ira Levin's wickedly clever novel of modern day witches in New York City and masterfully wrote and directed an extremely faithful adaptation.  Sure, he dropped Guy's mom and Rosemary's little sabbatical, but what works in a book might slow a movie down to a crawl.  Polanski keeps the film simmering at a nice pace while the suspense slowly builds from within until it explodes when Rosemary finally discovers the truth about the neighbors and her baby.


Krzysztof Komeda's score is genius.  His music deftly celebrates the happy moments when Rosemary's life seems to be going well, but Komeda's music also fills the atmosphere with an off-kilter, creepy vibe whenever things start going very wrong.  The truly original soundtrack is worth listening to on its own!  


Finally, the acting.  The entire cast has such a natural feel with each of their performances that they should all be celebrated.  The acting, much like the plot, is low-key and creeps up on you.  Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer as Minnie and Roman Castevet are perfect in their "We're just a harmless, eccentric, wealthy old couple" routine that it's startling to find out they are witches.  Even more startling is they still essentially give off that "harmless-eccentric" vibe even after the horrific truth is revealed.


Then there is John Cassavetes as Guy Woodhouse.  He makes the audience believe that Guy truly loves Rosemary in the beginning of the film.  This makes it so much more heartbreaking and repugnant when he sells-out his wife for fame and fortune.  


Last, but far from least, there is Mia Farrow as Rosemary Woodhouse.  She illuminates every scene and never makes one false move with her performance.  Mia Farrow epitomizes the character and perfectly captures the innocence, the wit, the vulnerability and the strength of Rosemary Woodhouse.  Two other actresses have played this character on-screen, but Mia Farrow will always be the definitive Rosemary. 

There you have it, my absolute favorite film, which was released 50 years ago this month!  It's weird to have this knowledge, but it feels good to have the question finally answered.  Rosemary's Baby was delivered into my life on January 1, 1998 through a chance VHS rental and it blew my cinematic mind.  Plus, the film cemented my respect and admiration for Ira Levin, whom I already loved thanks to The Stepford Wives.  

So, gather the tannis root, stir up some chocolate mousse, and allow my absolute favorite film to cast its spell on you...

"Tannis, anyone?" 
Freak Out, 
JLH

P.S.  A review of what is most likely my second favorite film...