Monthly Archives: December 2008

Happy New Year 2009

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December 31, 2008

2009 already? Who’d have believed it just a few short years ago?

Happy New Year to all readers of The Word. I hope 2009 brings you health, happiness and success in all that you do.

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Curious keywords 2008

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December 30, 2008

Michael over at aNadder posted about some very curious keywords that people had used in 2008 that had subsequently led them to his blog. He did do a series of posts about sexual ethics so you might expect some weird searches to lead to him. Still, he suggested that anyone else consider themselves tagged and try the same thing.

That’s the kind of wordplay that entertains me, so I went off to my stats to see what words had led people here. Here are some highlights from the list of keyword searches for 2008, all the bold parts being that actual words or phrases that led people here:

“satan was a lesbian” fred haley

“sleaze paperbacks”

But let’s be honest – I wrote about those things, so that’s to be expected.

allan baxter naked

What?! Given that they spelled my name wrong I can only hope they were after someone else. They would have been disappointed anyway. There’s no naked pics of me at this website.

little girl fullof scum

This one has me rather concerned. My novella “A ‘Verse Full of Scum” is available here for free, but I don’t think that’s what this person was actually looking for.

strong-language cunt

Fair enough.

yass marijuana

Yass is a town not far from me. But seriously, as if those people would have a website.

panama hats quiz

This one is just a bit surreal. Is there such a thing? A quiz for panama hats? About them?

grammdaemonium

This is just a cool word. I didn’t know what it meant and neither did anyone else it seemed. Then it turned out to be the name of a blog I’d randomly commented on ages ago.

+turd +busters +sewage

Someone with a plumbing problem at home? I also had this one:

tuurrrdd busters

I have no comment to make about that.

always in the shit only the depth varies

True, true…

is star wars a true story

Errr…

satan worshipping cult

Maybe. Maybe not. Who’s asking?

tiga scrotum

OK, now it’s getting weird.

what colour is a purple finch?

Well, I’m just guessing but… Actually, this isn’t as obvious as it seems. It’s in a post about such things and includes questions like “How long was the Hundred Years War?” The answers aren’t as obvious as you might think.

“effing” “harry potter”

I know how they feel.

“scrotum man” pic

A new kind of superhero?

“you’d eat beaver if you could get it”

I’m not entirely sure I would. Unless you mean…

alan baxter nude

alan baxter nude photos

Right, well now they’re spelling it right too. This guy must be a real hunk. Maybe it is me they’re after.

can’t be fagged

Nah, me neither.

lesbian names

They have special names?

oprah and the word nigger

Never shall be in the same sentence beyond web searches.

wet naked women

Can’t blame the person for searching for this one, but they would have been disappointed when they landed here.

Fortunately my blog doesn’t seem to attract anything like the dregs of humanity that Michael’s blog does. Pat yourself on the back, dear Reader, you’re among a higher class of society.

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Holy Vigilante, real life superheroes

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December 29, 2008

Truth is so often stranger than fiction. In America the number of people dressing up in spandex and rubber and going out into the streets as real life superheroes is fast growing.

In an article in the Times Online we learn that “There are, according to the recently launched World Superhero Registry, more than 200 men and a few women who are willing to dress up as comic book heroes and patrol the urban streets in search of, if not super-villains, then pickpockets and bullies.”

But this quote from the article pretty much summed up the whole concept for me:

Artemis of San Diego reported on his blog that he had heard a woman screaming outside his home but by the time he had dressed up in his costume the police were already there.

Especially when you couple the above quote with this one:

“I was out every night, 8pm until 2am, hanging about all the bad corners and nothing happened, nada, zip,” recalled Mr Invisible. “It was raining: even the drug dealers were at home. And often cops are just too good at their jobs.”

Life ain’t like the funny books, kids.

Hat tip to Dogmatic for pointing out the article.

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Goodreads.com

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December 29, 2008

Following on from yesterday’s post about 1ChapterFree.com, I thought I’d keep the blog busy this month with some stuff about other good reading and writing websites. 1ChapterFree is a good place to have a read of the first chapter of books you might think about buying or to post the first chapter of your own book if you’re after exposure. And who isn’t? The site has a long way to go, but it’s off to a good start and the premise is sound.

Goodreads.com is more like a library and is a lot more finely finished as a website. You can set up a profile there and have a bookshelf of all the books you’ve read or are reading. You can rate the books, write reviews for the books and so on. There’s a friend system so that you can hook up with other readers and see what’s on their shelves. There are also lots of groups you can join and have discussions.

Basically, it’s the usual social networking idea, just set in a library this time. But you don’t have to keep your voice down. Check it out – it’s a slick site, good fun and you might find some interesting new reading over there. Here’s my profile on the site – hit me up with a friend request.

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1ChapterFree.com

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December 28, 2008

“Don’t judge the book by its cover. Read a chapter instead.”

So goes the tagline for the website of 1ChapterFree.com. It’s a pretty cool idea. The basic premise is that you might search around your local bookstore, find a book you like the look of, read the blurb, look at the cover and maybe turn a few pages. But not many people are that comfortable standing in a bookshop having a good proper read to see if they like something.

It’s understandable to some degree, and should you buy a book, you don’t necessarily want one that’s been heavily thumbed by an army of curious readers. But readers really should be able to read more of a book before they buy it. Movie trailers are prime examples of how a crappy movie can be made to look good. But if you actually sat and watched the first ten minutes you might have a much better idea of what the film is actually like.

I’ve always subscribed to that idea myself and the first three chapters of both my novels are available in full right here for people to download as a PDF file and have a read to see if they like it (just click on the book covers on the right). If they do like what they read, it’s easy to go onto Amazon and buy the book.

This same premise is at work with 1FreeChapter.com, but obviously for only one chapter rather than three. I like the site and I like their ideas. You can search there by keywords, by title, by author or by genre. The genres are a little few and far between – there’s fantasy and sci fi, for example, but not horror – but the basic setup is excellent.

Here’s the page I set up for myself and my books over there – have a look, then hit the Home button and see what else you discover. Any other writers out there, if you have a book that you’re trying to promote it’s easy to sign up and post your first chapters, so give it a stab.

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Happiness, health, safety and peace

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December 23, 2008

Yeah, this is Christmas at my house:

saturnalia 1 Happiness, health, safety and peace

I wish that was Christmas everywhere. Then again, if that really applied all those people would be related, which is a bit disconcerting. That’s a depiction of Saturnalia, one of the concepts hijacked by the Christians.

Then there’s Yule, the original Pagan celebration of the sun god Mithras, where we get burning candles, mistletoe and holly berries from as part of our Christmas celebrations. Another thing assimilated by the Borg. I mean Christians. (Resistance is futile).

Although I’m torn between whether I’d prefer Saturnalia, Yule or Festivus, with its “Airing of Grievances” and aluminium Festivus Pole.

In truth, anything is better than the pseudo-Christian, commercial spend-fest that is the modern Western Christmas, that causes more stress and suicide than any other time of year.

So try to look beyond all the messed up imagery and symbolism and focus on the most important part – the gathering of friends and family and the sharing of food, love and good times. Try not to get too stressed about it all. Enjoy your Sol Invictus (the feast of the Unconquered Sun) and may I wish all Word readers happiness, health, safety and peace now and for the future.

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My words as art

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December 22, 2008

I know that anything I write is already art and pretty hard to improve on, but I found this interesting nonetheless. I picked up a couple of clever little webby toys over at the Blurred Lines blog, and this one is my favourite. It takes any body of text (including an RSS feed) and creates a word cloud. You can customise the word cloud for font, colour, layout and so on. The more instances of a word in the source text, the bigger that word appears in the cloud. This is a cloud from this here website:

word wordcloud 2 231208 small My words as art

Here’s another version of the same cloud. I find this one more aesthetically pleasing:

word wordcloud 231208 small My words as art

I must say that I’m very pleased, as a writer, that “books” is very prominent. Given the way I’m prone to rant about things, “idiot” could easily have outshone every other word there. Also in that second one are some entertaining phrases, caused by the random placement of the words. So far I’ve been amused by:

ADULT CHUCKY MAGAZINE

NOVEL WARS

FANTASY SIGNS LORD

I’m so easily amused. Although there does seem to be a slight glitch with it, as the words “idiot” and “idiots” don’t appear at all, which I find hard to believe. You can find this funky thing at wordle.net.

Another little toy posted with the word cloud was one that figures out your blog’s reading level. This app apparently works out what level of education is required to understand any given blog. In my case:

high school My words as art

I’m not entirely sure what to make of that.

Lastly there’s the typealyzer, which uses a Briggs-Myer style breakdown to figure out a personality from a writing style. According to this test I’m a ISTJ (which stands for Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) or a Duty Fulfiller:

The responsible and hardworking type. They are especially attuned to the details of life and are careful about getting the facts right. Conservative by nature they are often reluctant to take any risks whatsoever.

The Duty Fulfillers are happy to be let alone and to be able to work int heir own pace. They know what they have to do and how to do it.

Fortunately, it also says:

Note: writing style on a blog may have little or nothing to do with a person´s self-percieved personality.

I would change that to say “Note: writing style on a blog may have little or nothing to do with a person´s actual personality.” But there you go. It does suggest on the wikipedia page about ISTJs that fictional ISTJ characters include Bruce Wayne (Batman), so that’s no bad thing. Then again, it also says Darth Vader.

It even claims to know what parts of my brain were active while writing:

brain activity My words as art

Right. I wonder what I would come out as if I actually took the test in person. I did it once years ago in high school, but I can’t remember my type then.

I think I’ll stick with the word clouds.

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Church Signs get their own book

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December 21, 2008

Regular readers here will know that I’m a big fan of church signs.

One of those regular readers, my dear sister-in-law Bogna, pointed me to this link on the website of the UK’s Guardian newspaper. It seems that on a road trip from Florida to Alaska, husband and wife Steve and Pam Paulson were so struck by the church signs they saw along their way, that they spent the next three summers photographing them for a book. Brilliant. My kind of people. Some of these are actually quite clever, but there’s the usual majority of arrogance and superiority. Like this for instance:

hellback Church Signs get their own book

You can see plenty more here. The blurb for the book on Amazon says, “Church Signs Across America celebrates the wit, charm, and verse of church signs from every state in the U.S. At the same time reverent and witty, these signs offer fascinating glimpses into American life that are variously humorous, inspirational, kitschy, and kind—and occasionally all those things at once.”

Of course, it fails to mention… ah, why even bother. The book seems to be going great guns there on Amazon, which is no surprise when it gets advertising in the Guardian, not to mention little corners of the web like me helping it along. Now how can I get on that bandwagon?

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2008 Aurealis Awards nominees announced

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December 19, 2008

From S F Signal and S F Scope. The Australian Aurealis Awards nominees for 2008 have been announced.

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL:

* Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait by K.A. Bedford (published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing)
* Chaos Space (Book Two of The Sentients of Orion) by Marianne de Pierres (Orbit)
* Hal Spacejock: No Free Lunch by Simon Haynes (Fremantle Press)
* The Daughters of Moab by Kim Westwood (HarperVoyager)
* Earth Ascendant (Astropolis Book Two) by Sean Williams (Orbit)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL:

* The Two Pearls of Wisdom by Alison Goodman (HarperCollins)
* Amberlight by Sylvia Kelso (Juno Books)
* Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
* Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier (Macmillan Australia)
* The Riven Kingdom (Godspeaker Book Two) by Karen Miller (HarperVoyager)

BEST HORROR NOVEL:

* The Economy of Light by Jack Dann (PS Publishing)
* Ghostlines by Nick Gadd (Scribe Publications)
* The Seance by John Harwood (Jonathan Cape)

BEST ANTHOLOGY:

* The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fourth Annual Volume, edited by Bill Congreve & Michelle Marquardt (MirrorDanse Books)
* Dreaming Again edited by Jack Dann (HarperVoyager)
* The Starry Rift edited by Jonathan Strahan (Viking Children’s Books)

BEST COLLECTION:

* Creeping in Reptile Flesh by Robert Hood (Altair Australia Books)
* Magic Dirt: The Best of Sean Williams by Sean Williams, edited by Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications)

BEST ILLUSTRATED BOOK/GRAPHIC NOVEL:

* The Cloudchasers by Steve Hunt (illustrator/co-author) & David Richardson (co-author) (ABC Books)
* Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)
* The Floods Family Files by Colin Thompson (Random House Australia)
* The Art of Graeme Base by Julie Watts (author) & Graeme Base (illustrator) (Penguin/Viking)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL:

* The Stone Key (Obernewtyn Chronicles, Volume Five) by Isobelle Carmody (Penguin/Viking)
* Lamplighter (Monster Blood Tattoo Book Two) by David Cornish (Omnibus Books)
* The Two Pearls of Wisdom by Alison Goodman (HarperCollins)
* Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (Penguin/Viking)
* The Changeling (The Changeling series book one) by Sean Williams (Angus & Robertson)

BEST CHILDREN’S NOVEL:

* Moonshadow, Eye of the Beast by Simon Higgins (Random House Australia)
* Thomas Trew and the Island of Ghosts by Sophie Masson (Hodder Children’s)
* The Wizard of Rondo by Emily Rodda (Omnibus Books)
* Dragon Dawn by Carole Wilkinson (Black Dog Books)
* The Changeling and The Dust Devils (The Changeling series books one and two) by Sean Williams (Angus & Robertson)

BEST CHILDREN’S ILLUSTRATED WORK/PICTURE BOOK:

* Tashi and the Phoenix by Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg, & Kim Gamble (Allen & Unwin)
* The Wolf Kingdom series: Escape!, Under Siege, Race to the Ruins, and The Heavy Crown by Richard Harland, illustrated by Laura Peterson (Omnibus Books)
* The Sorcerer’s Tower series: Thorn Castle, Giant’s Lair, Black Crypt, and Wizardry Crag by Ian Irvine, illustrated by David Cornish (Omnibus Books)
* Curly and the Fent by Sally Morgan with Ezekiel, Ambelin, and Blaze Kwaymullina, illustrated by Adam Hill (Random House Australia)
* Twisted Tales by Richard Tulloch, illustrated by Terry Denton (Random House Australia)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY:

* “The Empire” by Simon Brown (Dreaming Again, HarperVoyager)
* “Black and Bitter, Thanks” by Nathan Burrage (The Workers’ Paradise, Ticonderoga Publications)
* “Delivery” by Trent Jamieson (Cosmos #21)
* “The Fifth Star in the Southern Cross” by Margo Lanagan (Dreaming Again, HarperVoyager)
* “Fleshy” by Tansy Rayner Roberts (2012, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY:

* “Night Heron’s Curse” by Thoraiya Dyer (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #37)
* “The Last Deflowerer” by Karen Maric (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #32)
* “Dresses, Three” by Angela Slatter (Shimmer, Volume 2, Number 4)
* “Sammarynda Deep” by Cat Sparks (Paper Cities, Senses 5 Press)
* “Nightship” by Kim Westwood (Dreaming Again, HarperVoyager)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY:

* “In From the Snow” by Lee Battersby (Dreaming Again, HarperVoyager)
* “Pale Dark Soldier” by Deborah Biancotti (Midnight Echo #1)
* “Day Boy” by Trent Jamieson (Murky Depths #4)
* “Painlessness” by Kirstyn McDermott (Greatest Uncommon Denominator #2)
* “Bitter Dreams” by Ian McHugh (L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Vol XXIV)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY:

* “The Tailor of Time” by Deborah Biancotti (Clockwork Phoenix, Norilana Books)
* “This is Not My Story” by Dirk Flinthart (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #37)
* “Cracks” by Trent Jamieson (Shiny #2)
* “Eye of the Beholder” by Kevin MacLean (Misspelled, DAW Books)

Good luck to all!

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The Get A Life Movie Meme

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4
December 19, 2008

I have a bad feeling about this one. It started on Facebook, but I picked it up from Greg Laden’s blog via John Wilkin’s blog.

It’s a list of 219 movies. If you’ve seen more than 85 of them you have no life, according to… well, who exactly? I would like to make a point of mentioning now, before I go through the list, that I DO have a life. I just really like movies. Feel free to pick up the meme if you want.

Xs in the brackets mark the ones I’ve seen:

(X) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(X) Grease
(X) Pirates of the Caribbean
(X) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest
(X) Boondock Saints
(X) Fight Club
( ) Starsky and Hutch
(X) Neverending Story
(X) Blazing Saddles
(X) Universal Soldier
( ) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
( ) Along Came Polly
(X) Joe Dirt
(X) King Kong (both the 1933 version and the Peter Jackson remake in my case)
( ) A Cinderella Story
( ) The Terminal
( ) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
( ) Passport to Paris
(X) Dumb & Dumber
( ) Dumber & Dumberer
( ) Final Destination
( ) Final Destination 2
( ) Final Destination 3
(X) Halloween
(X) The Ring
( ) The Ring 2
( ) Surviving -MAS
( ) Flubber Orignial version only
( ) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
( ) Practical Magic
( ) Chicago
( ) Ghost Ship
( ) From Hell
(X) Hellboy
(X) Secret Window
(X) I Am Sam
( ) The Whole Nine Yards
( ) The Whole Ten Yards
(X) The Day After Tomorrow
(X) Child’s Play
( ) Seed of Chucky
( ) Bride of Chucky
( ) Ten Things I Hate About You
( ) Just Married
(X) Gothika
(X) Nightmare on Elm Street
( ) Si teen Candles
( ) Remember the Titans
( ) Coach Carter
( ) The Grudge
( ) The Grudge 2
(X) The Mask
(X) Son Of The Mask
(X) Bad Boys
(X) Bad Boys 2
( ) Joy Ride
( ) Lucky Number Sleven
(X) Ocean’s Eleven
(X) Ocean’s Twelve
(X) Bourne Identity
(X) Bourne Supremacy
( ) Lone Star
( ) Bedazzled both versions
(X) Predator I
(X) Predator II
( ) The Fog
(X) Ice Age
(X) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
( ) Curious George
(X) Independence Day
(X) Cujo
( ) A Bron Tale
( ) Darkness Falls
(X) Christine
(X) ET
(X) Children of the Corn
( ) My Bosses Daughter
( ) Maid in Manhattan
(X) War of the Worlds
(X) Rush Hour
(X) Rush Hour 2
( ) Best Bet
( ) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
( ) She’s All That
( ) Calendar Girls
(X) Sideways
(X) Mars Attacks
(X) Event Horizon
( ) Ever After
(X) Wizard of Oz
(X) Forrest Gump
(X) Big Trouble in Little China
(X) The Terminator
(X) The Terminator 2
(X) The Terminator 3
(X) x-Men
(X) x2
(X) x-3
(X) Spider-Man
(X) Spider-Man 2
( ) Sky High
( ) Jeepers Creepers
( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
( ) Catch Me If You Can
(X) The Little Mermaid
( ) Freaky Friday
(X) Reign of Fire
( ) The Skulls
(X) Cruel Intentions
( ) Cruel Intentions 2
(X) The Hot Chick – This one was on TV last night and we were both so tired that we watched it. But I was reading too.
(X) Shrek
(X) Shrek 2
( ) Swimfan
(X) Miracle on 34th street
( ) Old School
( ) The Notebook
(X) K-Pax
( ) Kippendorf’s Tribe
( ) A Walk to Remember
( ) Ice Castles
( ) Boogeyman
(X) The 40-year-old-virgin
(X) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
(X) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
(X) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(X) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(X) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(X) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
( ) Baseketball
( ) Hostel
(X) Waiting for Guffman
(X) House of 1000 Corpses
( ) Devils Rejects
( ) Elf
(X) Highlander
(X) Mothman Prophecies
(X) American History X
( ) Three
( ) The Jacket
(X) Kung Fu Hustle
(X) Shaolin Soccer
(X) Night Watch
(X) Monsters Inc.
( ) Titanic
(X) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(X) Shaun Of the Dead
( ) Willard
( ) High Tension
( ) Club Dread
(X) Hulk
(X) Dawn Of the Dead
(X) Hook
(X) Chronicle Of Narnia The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

I just hit 85!

(X) 28 days later
(X) Orgazmo
(X) Phantasm
(X) Waterworld
(X) Kill Bill vol 1
(X) Kill Bill vol 2
( ) Mortal Kombat
(X) Wolf Creek
( ) Kingdom of Heaven
(X) the Hills Have Eyes
( ) I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
( ) The Last House on the Left
(X) Re-Animator
(X) Army of Darkness
(X) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(X) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(X) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(X) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(X) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(X) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
( ) Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
( ) Ewoks The Battle For Endor
(X) The Matrix
(X) The Matrix Reloaded
(X) The Matrix Revolutions
(X) Animatrix
(X) Evil Dead
(X) Evil Dead 2
(X) Team America: World Police
( ) Red Dragon
(X) Silence of the Lambs
( ) Hannibal
( ) Battle Royale
( ) Battle Royale 2
(X) Brazil
(X) Contact
(X) Cube
(X) Dr. Strangelove
( ) Enlightenment Guaranteed
( ) Four Rooms
(X) Memento
(X) Pi
(X) Requiem for a Dream
(X) Pulp Fiction
(X) Reservoir Dogs
(X) Run Lola Run
( ) Russian Ark
(X) Serenity
(X) Sin City
(X) Snatch
( ) Spider
(X) The Sixth Sense
(X) The Village
( ) Waking Life
(X) Zatoichi
( ) Ikiru
(X) The Seven Samurai
( ) Brick
(X) Akira

Final count: 127. More than half. Apparently I have no life.

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Welcome

The website of author Alan Baxter

Alan Baxter, Author

Author of horror, dark fantasy & sci-fi. Kung Fu instructor. Personal Trainer. Motorcyclist. Dog lover. Gamer. Heavy metal fan. Britstralian. Misanthrope. Learn more about me and my work by clicking About Alan just below the header.

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