Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

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Hipsters, hobos, and haunted hot tubs

You know, I see the terms thrown around a lot, but I really don't know exactly what a "hipster" is, or what "scene" means (outside the context of a play or movie, that is). You could probably dismiss it as my getting older, but I can pretty much guarantee you that I wouldn't have known what those labels meant when I was a teenager, either.

And now for something related to an interest of mine that's totally unhip and probably un-scene as well, Oz books!

The first of the three was The Careless Kangaroo of Oz, by the infamous March Laumer, who's known (in the small circle of fans of unofficial Oz books, anyway) as a writer of more adult Oz stories. This was the second book I read by him, the first being The Frogman of Oz. I thought Frogman was the better book, but both had good and bad aspects. In Kangaroo, the thing I liked the least was the idea that the Shaggy Man is essentially a pedophile, with a crush on Dorothy. He even compares himself to Lewis Carroll at one point. It's true that Dorothy leaving her farm in the company of a homeless wanderer (who later turns out to be a thief as well) is kind of creepy, especially when viewed through modern eyes. But I think that it's important that Shaggy turns out to be a kind-hearted guy. The idea that he's attracted to little girls (even though he never acts on it) seems to me to ruin his character. Aside from that, though, the book is pretty good. Like many Oz fan-authors, Laumer liked to tie up loose ends and inconsistencies in the Oz series, and he does a good amount of this in Kangaroo. Some of the explanations are much more convoluted than they need to be, but I guess there wouldn't be much of a story otherwise. There's an explanation of how the Wogglebug earned his degree at West Kentucky Christian College, and how his studies there spawned his obsession with athletics. Laumer's story of the Love Magnet's origins contradict Jack Snow's account, but I believe Laumer only aimed for consistency with the books by L. Frank Baum, Ruth Plumly Thompson, and John R. Neill. On the other hand, when Shaggy thinks that Ozma was disenchanted in a tent on the Deadly Desert, that's probably an actual mistake on Laumer's part.

The second book I read (recently, that is), The Cloud King of Oz, was co-written by Laumer and Richard E. Blaine. This is probably my least favorite of the three Laumer books I've read, but there was still quite a bit to like about it. It definitely had an unexpected ending; and some of the locations visited, including Doorknob Mountain and Springer City, were quite interesting. The oddest place in the book is a village built near where Dorothy's house had landed, which is based on the MGM movie, and run by MGM and Disney. I think my biggest problem with the book is that the established characters seem a bit off.

Finally, The Haunted Hot Tub of Oz is by Chris Dulabone, the guy who runs Tails of the Cowardly Lion and Friends. Established characters seeming off isn't a problem in this book, since there hardly ARE any. The only character from the Famous Forty to appear is the King of Bunnybury (whom Dulabone names Charles), and he only puts in a token appearance. The main character, Brewster Bunny, had appeared in several earlier TOTCLAF books, but I hadn't read most of them. Like most of Dulabone's books that I've read, this one suffers somewhat from an overabundance of joking references to things the characters probably wouldn't actually know about (Ozites might be familiar with Napoleon and Shakespeare; but in this book they also refer to microwave ovens, used-car salesmen, and even George Romero), as well as an apparent desire to come up with the silliest names possible (this one features characters named Tonasal Descrewvian and Zekialonie Baloneyface; an earlier Dulabone book included one Oakburp Gakky). That aside, though, it was a good mystery story, complete with red herrings and a surprising but logical ending. The only pictures are character portraits, and, while I like them, there aren't that many. Why there are three pictures of Glycol Polyethylene but none of Descrewvian or Baloneyface is beyond me. I realize that illustrations can be hard to get, but a book with so many weird new characters really should have had more pictures of them.


If you like Frank Black, you might want to check out the FrankBlack.NET podcast. There's a preview of "Dog Sleep," a song from Frank's upcoming album Fastman Raiderman (and no, I don't like that title much either). It's pretty cool, I guess. Very horn-heavy, which is unusual for Frank.


Ferengi
You scored 33 % Aggressivness, 40 % Technology, and 40 % Social Enlightenment!
Homeworld: Ferenginar

The Ferengi are a people obsessed with money. No act is too low if enough money is involved. Although their economy is extremely well-developed, Ferengi society, in general, would generally considered to be "unenlightened". Ferengi women are subjugated and the Ferengi have no interest in science or scientific development unless it increases profits, meaning their technological development is also below par. The Ferengi as a species are also not particularly aggressive and some particular Ferengi have even gained a reputation for being somewhat cowardly. Therefore, as a Ferengi, you do not place great value on knowledge for knowledge's sake and, although you might think otherwise, you do not go out of your way to put yourself in a situation where could be in danger. Crusading for social justice issues is also not your style but don't worry - at least you'll always have plenty of money!

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Cardassian

Borg

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Finally, here's a brief list of things I need to do in the coming week (if I have the time):

1. Get new tires for my car.
2. Get my oil changed.
3. Make a dentist's appointment.

Wasn't that interesting? :P
Tags: books, music, oz, podcasts, quiz results
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