S.G. Browne

Monster Insurance

I ran across a random clip from War of the Gargantuas the other day, the 1966 Ishiro Honda film where the bad green Gargantua and the good brown Gargantua battle through the streets of downtown Tokyo, crashing into buildings and bringing them crumbling to the ground, generally causing mass destruction, and it got me to thinking:

Do people who live in Japan have the option of purchasing monster insurance?

After all, we have earthquake insurance in California, hurricane insurance in Florida, and tornado insurance in Oklahoma.  So I figure in Japan, they ought to have monster insurance. After all, a monster does a lot of damage to a city. Maybe not so much in Kyoto or Osaka, but definitely Tokyo. I bet the rates would be astronomical in Tokyo.

I wonder if there would be separate policies, depending on the monster. Coverage against Godzilla would probably be the most expensive policy, while Mothra, Rodan, and the Gargantuas would be less expensive monsters to insure against, since they attack the city less frequently.

I think if I was a contractor, I’d want to live in Japan. They’d always be rebuilding, so I’d never have to worry about finding work.

And then there’s the question of monster warnings. Would they be like tornado warnings, with the siren sounding throughout the city while on the news they’d say something like “Mothra sighted over Guam heading west.”

Or maybe it would be like a weather report:

“The weather today will be cloudy, with a chance of Rodan by late afternoon. The extended forecast shows a break on Tuesday and Wednesday, possible Gargantuas Thursday, with a Godzilla trend taking us through the weekend.”

Or maybe I have too much time on my hands.

Filed under: Just Blogging,Random Monsters — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 8:03 pm

Tom Cruise – Running Man Crush

Last weekend at the Horror Realm Convention in Pittsburgh, PA, I found myself watching Minority Report just before I passed out one evening and realized how much fun I have watching Tom Cruise run in his movies.

First there’s The Firm, where he runs from Wilford Brimley and that creepy albino dude.  Next up is the original Mission Impossible (which I loved), when he leaps through the window of Aqvarium and runs away from Agent Kittridge (no relation to Kit Kittridge).  But in Minority Report, he outdoes them all, running for his life through the streets of a futuristic world imagined by Philip K. Dick.

It’s not just that he runs with fervor and intensity, it’s that he looks so serious doing it.  I believe he’s in trouble, with his arms and legs pumping like pistons and the look of absolute determination on his face. And most of the time he’s not doing this in running shoes and sweats, but in a suit tie and dress shoes.  And while I’m sure he probably runs in Jerry Maguire, Collateral, Vanilla Sky, War of the Worlds, and a number of his other films, I believe his work in the first three films I mentioned should qualify Tom Cruise for the Lifetime Achievement Award for Running in Film.

I know some will cast their votes for Will Smith and offer up for consideration his work in Bad Boys, Enemy of the State, Men in Black, I Robot, etc., and that would be a legitimate argument.  Maybe even Dustin Hoffman for his work in Marathon Man.  But for me, I stand by my assertion that Tom Cruise is the best runner in the history of film.

Best driver?  That’s easy.  Steve McQueen.

Filed under: Just Blogging — S.G. Browne @ 9:58 pm

Breathers in Pittsburgh Part II

So I’m back from Pittsburgh, where I spent the weekend at the Horror Realm Convention meeting lots of new writers, hanging out with a bunch of great people, and watching movie clips from a bunch of low budget 60’s and 70’s horror films with titles like Cannibal Girls, The Hanging Woman, and Scream Baby Scream.

Though my favorite movie clip was from the classic The Vampires Night Orgy, which prompted a discussion about how vampires have the best orgies, werewolves have the best pajama parties, and zombies have the best pot lucks. Though I can’t take credit for the discussion. That goes to Emily Fear and Maureen White of Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Pittsburgh, who graciously hosted me at their booth for the weekend signing books with Jonathan Maberry and eating gummy body parts.

In addition to the wonderful staff at Joseph-Beth, I met a bunch of zombie authors from Library of the Living Dead and Permuted Press, including, Rhiannon Frater, Eric S. Brown, Rob Fox, Kody Boye, Kim Paffenroth, and James Melzer, among others. You can read about all of the authors on the Author Page of the Horror Realm web site.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Pus, the force behind Library of the Living Dead, as well as Rebecca May, Sandy Stuhlfire, Rich Dalzotto, and the rest of the organizers of Horror Realm. Having never traveled to an event on the east coast south of Manhattan (and even then, not since 2002), I hadn’t met the majority of those who attended the convention but soon found myself enjoying their company and sharing in the camaraderie of the weekend.

However, in addition to the wonderful memories, I also brought a cold back with me from Pittsburgh and have been laid up the last couple of days trying to kick it out of my apartment, so if you’ll excuse me, I have to go exorcise my germs with some green tea and a shot of vitamin C.

Next time I’ll talk about why I think Tom Cruise should win the lifetime achievement award for running in movies.

Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 8:21 pm

Breathers in Pittsburgh

I’ll be at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pittsburgh South this weekend, September 18-20, for the Horror Realm Convention.

Although I’ll be hanging out and available most of the weekend, I do have a couple of scheduled signings and readings:

On Friday, from 6-7PM, I’ll be doing a sit and sign in the Dealer’s Room with Jonathan Mayberry, author of Patient Zero and Zombie CSU.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Jonathan, he’s a great guy.

On Saturday, I’ll be doing a reading followed by a Q&A from 11:30AM-12:30PM, followed by a solo sit and sign in the Dealer’s Room from 12:30-1:30PM.

So if you’re in the area, come on by. There’s lots of zombie goodness to be had.

Filed under: Breathers,Travel — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 6:01 am

Jackhammers and Playlists

They’re jackhammering again.

Across the street.  The never-ending Add-A-Garage project.  At least it’s been never-ending for the past year.  But honestly, they’ve installed the framework for the structure.  What the hell are they using a jackhammer for now?

Electric saws I can handle.  It’s white noise.  Freeway traffic.  Ocean waves rolling along the shore.

Hammers pounding?  Not a problem.  Distant tribal drums.  World music from a neighbor’s stereo.

But jackhammers are fingernails on a chalkboard connected to a Spartacus vibrator and pumped through Nigel Tufnel’s Marshall guitar amplifier.

Not exactly ideal conditions in which to write.  And since I don’t drink coffee and am easily distracted by baristas, cafes aren’t an option.  So I have to resort to drowning out the noise with my iPod.

But I can’t listen to just anything when I’m writing.  No B-52s or Squirrel Nut Zippers of Blink-182.  Nothing too distracting.  Nothing I haven’t heard a million times. And when Green Day’s “East Jesus Nowhere” from 21st Century Breakdown comes on, focusing is pointless.  I just want to hold my lighter in the air and sing along with the band.  (Yeah, I know.  Everyone holds their cell phones in the air now.  Call me old school, but holding a cell phone in the air at a concert instead of a lighter is like eating sushi at a baseball game instead of a polish sausage.)

All right, where the hell was I?  Oh yeah, playlists.  In order to drown out the vibrational dissonance of the jackhammering, I need comfort music.  It’s like comfort food, only for my ears.  Nothing heavy.  Nothing nostalgic.  No love ballads or screeching guitars or house music.  Just some of my favorite bands whose lyrics and music inspire me and that I’ve heard so many times that I can listen to the songs without getting distracted by the lyrics.

That comes to more than eight hours of Morphine, The Pixies, Sublime, The Beatles, The Doors, and, yes, some Green Day.  Just nothing from their new album.  Throw in some Booker T. & TheMG’s, some surf music, and some selections from the Fight Club and Pulp Fiction soundtracks, and I’m good to go.  Cocooned in a world of inspired familiarity.

Now if only I could do something about the fact that my cat keeps sitting in front of my monitor.

Filed under: Just Blogging,The Writing Life — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 10:07 pm