Author Archives: Brian G Ross

What I’ve Done This Week #47…

I got to thinking about killing Hitler this morning – not in a real world sense, of course, but a conversation about the Christmas armistice of World War One got my creative juices flowing. I think there is some comedy to be mined in that scenario.

I am slowly plodding along with my challenge tales, but this week has been mostly about the mystery of Last Chance Lagoon. The only trouble is that it has now bloated to over 1100 words, which is a wee bit longer than I had anticipated it would be. Still, every story is fluid until you put a cap on it, so I won’t stress too much about it. And if it wants (or needs) to grow from there, all I can do is put the words down.

The other two are still moving forward, although not with the same fervour. Juggling several pieces at once is bound to have its ebbs and flows, so I’m not worried about it. This time next week it would not surprise me if the words were coming thick and fast for one of the others.

Eagles, Chapter V – Hotel California (1976)

Members: Don Felder, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, Joe Walsh

Hotel California is the seminal album in the discography of the Eagles, and even those who are not fans know this one.

With the addition of Joe Walsh and the departure of Bernie Leadon, the quartet that remained had left its country roots well and truly behind, and the Eagles emerged as a very different band.

Hotel California (Don Felder / Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Henley
There’s nothing new left to be said about this song – from its lyrical mystery to its fantastic two minute guitar outro. It’s not only their most famous track, but also one of the defining songs of the seventies. 10
New Kid in Town (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / JD Souther)
Lead – Frey
I always found this song to be overrated, which is not to say it’s bad, just that it’s the lowest point on an album filled with great material. 7
Life in the Fast Lane (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Joe Walsh)
Lead – Henley
A great rock song with a biting Henley vocal and some influential guitar work from Walsh. 9
Wasted Time (Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Henley
One of my favourite Eagles songs, and up there with the best ballads Henley ever tipped his vocals to. This is even more poignant if you’ve let go of a relationship. 10
Wasted Time (reprise) (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Jim Ed Norman)
instrumental
A nice little breather, before…
Victim of Love (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Don Felder / JD Souther)
Lead – Henley
A very good rock track that often gets unjustly overlooked on this album amongst all the classics. 9
Pretty Maids All in a Row (Joe Walsh / Joe Vitale)
Lead – Walsh
The first lead vocal for the newest Eagle, Joe Walsh. Nobody would suggest Walsh has a great voice, but with the right song it can work, and this is the right song. 8
Try and Love Again (Randy Meisner)
Lead – Meisner
This is Randy’s last lead vocal on his final album with the Eagles, and it’s also his best. A beautiful song. 9
The Last Resort (Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Henley
This epic Eagles track – the way that it dramatically builds musically, lyrically, and vocally – is one of my favourites. 10

Overall: 90%
I usually love to hold the contrarian opinion, but there’s a reason this album is so highly rated: and that’s because it’s a fantastic collection of songs… and it’s hard to argue otherwise.

Night Shift #11 – Strawberry Spring…

619i-4slsfl645695221..jpgWord count – 3,700

Strawberry Spring is told as a flashback tale about the murder spree at a college in the late sixties, as experienced through the eyes of one of the students.

This short story surprised me – not with the twist, because I saw that coming a mile away – but with the accomplished manner in which it has been written, given that this was originally published when King was only twenty-one.

It’s one of those stories where it doesn’t matter if you can see you ending before it happens, because predictability is not necessarily a bad thing. If it is written well – and this is – then you just have to stand up and applaud the work, and this is one of the best entries I have read so far in Night Shift.

Recommended ⇑

Potted Film Review: 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

220px-Two_fast_two_furious_ver5

Starring: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes

There is no other way around it, 2 Fast 2 Furious – even by the franchise’s own ridiculous standards – is a silly movie, but not even silly in a good way. It takes all of the borderline plausibility of The Fast and the Furious and turns it up to eleven. Even the title is terrible.

Although Vin Diesel could not be regarded as a great actor, his absence here is sorely missed. I know he comes back into the franchise, and if this is what the movies without him are like, his return cannot happen soon enough.

The cars may still be cool, but I would be very surprised if there is a worse entry in the series.

Not Recommended ⇓

Growth…

I went to see the doctor today for this wart-like thing I have on my head. It has been there for years – maybe even decades – and I’ve never really felt the need to do anything about it. Lately it has been annoying me, and I often feel I’m just a slip of the finger away from yanking it off unintentionally.

The doctor gave it a quick examination and then told me the best way to deal with it was to freeze it off at a temperature of minus 196 degrees. So… pretty cold, right? He said it would sting a little, but he was wrong: it hurt quite a bit. It was like a bunch of very sharp needles attacking me all at once. I’m not even sure it’s safe to pour liquid nitrogen on a person’s head without taking precautions!

Anyway, he said it should fall off within a couple of weeks, and I have another appointment just before Christmas so he can see how it’s progressing.

Night Shift #10 – Sometimes They Come Back…

619i-4slsfl645695221..jpgWord count – 9,700

There is an interesting idea buried in here about reincarnation, but it takes so very long to get to anything interesting in Sometimes They Come Back that it’s already an uphill battle to win my attention over, and it never manages to do it.

The second act is fine and the most involving part of the story, but it is flanked by a beginning that takes forever to get where it is going, and an end that doesn’t really pay off what has happened before.

This is the halfway point of Night Shift, and although the entries have been mostly positive so far, Sometimes They Come Back is a let down – not least of all because they managed to make a trilogy of movies out of it. It is one of the longest entries so far in this collection and certainly one of the weaker ones.

Not Recommended ⇓

What I’ve Done This Week #45 (and #46)…

The three challenge stories I am doing for the household – that I talked about several weeks ago – are well underway, and should probably all come in as flash fiction.

The Fiancée© decided upon a thriller with the word cave as inspiration. Her tale is called Tites Go Down (although I’m really not impressed with that title, and it will probably change). It currently sits at just over 600 words. I quite like it, but I’m not sure the kids are going to enjoy what happens in the story to them!

Daughter went with the word lake and wanted a mystery… so that’s what she is getting. Her tale is about 600 words and is called Last Chance Lagoon. I’m enjoying this one too and at this early stage it feels like it may end up being the best of the three.

Son went for a drama with the word equality. I initially struggled getting some traction with this one because it is such a broad genre and – dare I say it – a bland word to use. But that was what I was given, so I won’t shirk the challenge. Monochromatic is currently around 500 words.

I have decided to give myself a Christmas Day deadline for these three stories. I can print them out and save myself a few quid on gifts.