Saturday, September 21, 2013

(Interview) Barry Lyga interview: Up Close

The carnage report was lucky enough to catch up with Barry Lyga, author of I hunt Killers and below was the result.Enjoy!!!

What got you into writing?

You know, I don’t know! I’ve wanted to write since I was very, very young, but I have no idea where the impulse came from. I certainly didn’t know any writers as a child, nor were there any examples of people making a living from art in my family or neighborhood. The idea got lodged in my head at around age 7 and stayed there despite the universe’s best efforts to knock it out.

Do you have any influences over your work?

Oh, sure. Probably the biggest is Bruce Springsteen. Most people think of him as a musician or a rock star, but what he actually is, is a storyteller. In a tight little five minute song, he gives you characters, story arc, development, the whole deal.

What do you think makes the crime genre better than other genres?

I don’t! I don’t think any genre has an inherent advantage over any other one. I’ve written crime, horror, sci-fi, “realistic,” and I love them all.

Science fiction has often offered the best criticisms of modern society, why do you think that most crimes don’t really say much the society they take place in?

I’m not sure I agree with the premise of the question. I think many crimes DO say something about the society they take place in. There’s a reason, for example, that in the U.S. we have an epidemic of gun violence that doesn’t exist in other modern countries — we’ve created a culture wherein guns are not only readily available, but also in which they are seen as solutions to problems. That’s almost specifically unique to the U.S. due to its cultural background. Then you add in social pressures that make individuals think they need to shoot their way out of a problem and the next thing you know, you have bodies on the floor.

Most people can name the best book they ever read, can you name your worst?

Oh, sure, I can. But I won’t. I don’t like bashing other authors in public. I know some people enjoy it when two authors go at each other, but I just don’t like it.

Most writers find writing a real struggle, do you think this is because writers have to know where the bodies are buried in their stories?

That could be. I also think it’s inevitable when you have ego and restraint pulling and tugging at each other. On the one hand, writers have to think, “This story is worth telling.” On the other hand, they have to acknowledge, “Not everyone will love this, and I will inevitably screw up at least part of it because I’m human.” The clash of absolute faith and necessary doubt is never pretty.

Taking in to account that you have some success in an field where it’s notoriously hard to come by, what advice would you give to the young writers out there?

It’s tough to give advice based on my own success because this business really doesn’t have definable patterns or pathways to success. All you can do is write the best damn book you’re capable of, then hope for luck to break your way. In the meantime, write another one. That’s what I did.

I know it’s heavy question but being a writer who has written within the crime fiction genre, why do you think people commit crime?

Wow, yeah, heavy questions. I think there are a variety of reasons. There’s anomie theory, of course. But then there are also people who are just plain bad. Desperation, need for survival, sheer evil… There’s sadly no shortage of reasons for people to do harm to others.

While most writers (and readers) may say the number one rule of all fiction writing is not to be boring, do you think there are any rules to writing fiction?

Not being boring is a good start! I would say, “Be true to the story” is important, too. As soon as you start modifying your story to please some invisible audience that may or may not even read it, you’ve lost the battle.

Do you have a writing process?

I don’t think of it as a process, really — I just sit down and pound the keys. I treat it like actual work. I report for duty every day and pound away!

Final Question, what project or releases do you have lined up or in the works?

I’m working on the final book in the I HUNT KILLERS trilogy, which will be out in 2014. Also, a fun middle-grade fantasy novel, and a couple of other things I can’t talk about yet.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Episode 2 "One, One, Six" TV Review

After the last episode the opinions I had about where they were going to take the show were justified but enlarged. As usual the show starts out with a shocker. With the last episode leaving a school shooting as its closing credits a lot of suspicious activity was surely to come to light.

While enjoying one another’s company, Nero and Gemma are visited by Nero’s cousin. He explains that the little boy that was killed for shooting up the school was his girlfriend’s kid. This alone answers a lot of questions regarding who the kid was originally in the first episode of the season. Nero’s cousin explains that the gun that Matthew (the kid) used to shoot up the school was the same gun  that was given to him and run by Jax’s MC. This could mean the whole sky’s about to fall onto the MC club, or at least I thought at the beginning.

Upon learning of this information Nero sets out to protect his good name and the MC. Nero goes over to Jax’s house to speak with him regarding what should be done in the situation. Tara just got home from prison making it even more awkward for Gemma and stressful for Jax, especially since he probably will not find out for a little while that Tara had secretly been tested to see if she was pregnant. The couple share a romantic hug and feelings of missing one another’s company. I believe it to be a show on Tara’s part. This could be disastrous for Gemma to learn if Tara is truly pregnant, even a breaking point for her.

The ladies were sent into the other room so that Nero and Jax could discuss details about what happened and what was going to happen next. They make a plan to go get the cousin’s “old lady” and hide them so that they can be absolutely sure she wouldn’t rat. While attempting to basically kidnap this woman, she starts screaming putting everyone in the house in jeopardy with the police right outside the door. 

Of course she would scream, her son committed a terrifying crime against humanity and other children and died from it – that would destroy any mother. She wiggled away and started to run out of the house, but instead of the front door she chose the bathroom door. This crazy woman was not only going to keep their secret but she was going to discredit herself by shooting up, “Junkie” was the term used by Jax I believe. They took her while she was unresponsive to the cabin at Pine Grove.

Going back to before Clay saw Gemma, he had a meeting with the ex Marshal about the paperwork to work against the MC. Clay refused to sign it until Lee brought in both Gemma and Jax to speak with him. He suggested that his job was always about retribution and that he only enjoyed hurting people who hurt other people and that was his endgame. 

What Clay doesn’t know is that Lee signed his name to the papers anyways and tried to pass them to the prosecutor who basically laughs in his face, much like I would have done. Her reasoning for not jumping at the chance to take down a crooked club is that Lee could not be trusted. The prosecutor also explained that Lee being involved was a risk and if the case was to be done right, they needed their own papers signed by Clay. That put Lee’s plan to railroad Clay and the MC a few steps behind.

While everyone is at the cabin, Gemma shows up to talk with Jax about her visit with Clay. She knows he made a deal because of the way he was reacting to her presence. He was very apologetic and explained to her that he understood why she did what she did. A common way to smell a rat, is to know there should be resentment and anger where there is love and compassion. Gemma wasn’t fooled by Clays nice guy approach to get her to confess something in front of the one way mirror. 

The person on the other side of that mirror is none other than Lee Toric, after blood. Gemma was going through the process of explaining the situation to Jax when Nero’s cousin’s crazy wife decided to grab a shot gun and escape the grasps of Nero and the boys who she thought were going to kill her and her boyfriend. This woman has a good sense, when you get in deep enough some things are common knowledge.

Unfortunately for this grieving mother, she also must grieve her boyfriend who Nero sniped in the left temple. He was going to run with her and in my opinion Nero viewed that as betrayal. He did what he thought had to be done to minimize the situation. Like any scared woman would do she gets out of the trucks and runs. Jax of course can’t have that seeing as a bullet flew in his mother’s direction. He tackles her, very nicely I might add, snatches the gun, and points it at her. I believe he would have pulled that trigger if it wasn’t for Nero stopping him. The boys escorted her back into the bedroom where they tied her up and it was agreed to dose her with more drugs to keep her sedated and easier to control. 

The person who is chosen and agrees to administer the drugs to the woman has an alternative motive for wanting to inject her alone. After he shoes the last person out that wanted to help, he calmly injects her and then uses a pillow to suffocate her. This was kept a secret when Jax later asked Juice if she was “good.” Nero, who didn’t want her dead, appears to be very distraught and questions Jax if her death was intentional and his call. Jax claims it was the drugs, even though we all know he was lying through his teeth.

As any good wife would do, when Jax returned back home, she asked how everything was with Nero. Calm and collected he answered her without flinching. I’m not sure if that was because he didn’t want to involve her or worry her but whatever the reason for not telling the truth, is irrelevant.

There are a few hints towards other scenes to come such as the mysterious map that everyone knows is the start of a new charter with both Quinn and Hopper. Mentioning of the Nomad club might also be brought up in the future. Also during this episode you will notice Jax’s attempt to stop the gun inclusion in their business plans.  Even with a very decent deal on the table, his gun handler refused to let them go that easily and required them to take an extra shipment of guns that were going to “make it big.”

So far every episode this season has ended in Jax having intercourse with a woman. The first time it wasn’t his wife, the second was. With the teardrop falling out of her eyes during the “passionate moment” I’m starting to believe that Tara might still have plans of running away from the area, but this time not with Jax. Until the next episode, keep your imagination open and consider all of the possible outcomes from the events. There is plenty more to come.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

(TV) Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Episode 3 "Poenitentia" Sneak Peek

(TV) Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 15 "Granite State" Sneak Peek

(TV) Breaking Bad season 5 episode 14 "Ozymandias" TV review

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away”.
Much like the rest of season five of Breaking Bad as well as the series as a whole, episode 14 "Ozymandias" was another hour of television at its best. For someone who has a low suspension of disbelief and is rarely, if ever, affected by what transpires on the small screen, I was transfixed by the events of episode 14 leaving me somewhat morose yet firm in the knowledge that for all the hours of TV that I will watch for the rest of the year, I'll be lucky if anything was this good as we see Walt's world crumble around him as he loses the one thing he craved and coveted the most, control.

We saw in the last episode that Walt’s plotting had come back to bite him as Uncle Jack and his crew disobeyed Walt’s orders to stand down and decided show up armed to the teeth with guns trained on Hank and Gomez. After the shortest and most pointless negotiation in TV history, Uncle Jack and Co decided to throw a hail of bullets at Hank and Gomez and the rotten but brilliant bastards who created this masterpiece decided to leave the aftermath of what transpired to next week.

While I was not so pleased that last week ended at that precise point, in hindsight, it was a great move as it would have been hard to stomach what was going to take place notably before the opening credits. Episode 14 started with a flashback to Walt’s and Jesse’s first cook in the run down RV turned meth lab which lends an opportunity to see how far Walt and Jesse have since that first cook to the point where they find themselves.

We also see in this opening scene get to see the extent of Walt’s moral corruption as we see Walt prepping himself to lie to Skyler over the phone which was quite a shock for me as over the seasons, we all have gotten used to him lying effortlessly to the people he loves but in this short scene, we realize that Walt wasn’t always the world class liar he is now, it took practice.
After the opening credits, we hear a hail of bullet over a black screen, the gunfire stops then we flash-forward to the present day to find Uncle Jack and his crew had ceased gunfire. After a beat of silence, as if after the onslaught they were expecting return fire, Uncle Jack and his crew wait, guns still drawn at Hank’s bullet ridden SUV.

In the next shot, we’re with Hank slumped against the SUV holding his bleeding thigh, all out of bullets and with Gomez dead, all out of back up. Despite this, Hank bravely tries to crawl his way towards Gomez’s shot gun but is beaten to the punch by Uncle Jack who takes the shot gun before Hank can get his hands on it. Walt, still handcuffed in the SUV, pops his head up seeing the coast is clear after Uncle Jack and Co lit it up only to see Jack about plant a hollow point between Hank’s eyes which sends Walt into a panic, as he implores Jack not to shoot his brother in law.

After being let out the car, Walt tries to do what he does best, beg and negotiate his way out of a situation. Over the series, Walt has had to beg for his life and others particularly during his encounters with Gus Fring where begging and negotiation were the only two strategies available to him against ‘big bad’ characters like Tuco and Gus.

The constant theme in Breaking Bad has been Walt’s attempt to exert control over his life and others leading to him ruining the lives of others and eventually the destruction of his own. Views of Walt have hardened with every heinous and reprehensible act he has committed throughout the series from watching Jane die to poisoning a child he went some way to redeeming himself as he begs and negotiates for Hank’s life.  

With Uncle Jack holding a gun to Hank’s head, Walt see that his begging and pleading won’t work on Uncle Jack and decides to in essence pay Uncle Jack not to kill Hank as he offers his meth cash and offers a world of possibilities or as Walt phrased it “any future you want” as Walt lays out his case against killing Hank.

However, for all Walt’s begging, pleading and negotiating, Hank was as resolute in not begging for his life (as Walt had that market cornered)  as he realized that if Jack as prepared to shoot him when he was armed, he would shoot him on the ground, injured and unarmed no matter what Walt had to say.

Fatefully enough, Uncle Jack considers Walt offer to give up his meth cash to let Hank loose then asks him what he thought and Hank, defiant and cocksure as ever, tells Jack to “go fuck yourself”. Walt tries to plead with Hank to comply and play ball but Hank tells Walt “you’re the smartest men I’ve ever met but too stupid to see he made his mind up ten minutes ago” and with that, Jack shoots Hank in the head after Hank accepts his fate.

In truth, we all knew that there was no way in hell that episode 14 was going to end with Hank still breathing as the odds were against him and Gomez making out the desert alive but for Walt to reveal where his meth cash was buried was a poor decision as there was nothing Walt could have said to stop it from happening. After five long but brilliant seasons, Walt’s actions have come back smack him right between the eyes and the force of this fact literally flattens him as Jack and his crew dig up and load Walt’s meth cash on their trucks.

Feeling charitable, Jack decides to let Walt have one of his eight barrels of meth cash out of respect for the admiration his nephew Todd has for him and makes a clearly reluctant Walt shake his hand still reeling from him murdering his brother in law. Walt may be one of the most morally depraved characters in the history of TV fiction but in this scene, it showed that he actually did care about his family despite the horrible things he has done he purports to have done on their behalf.

With hate and anger still burning in his eyes (needless to say Bryan Cranston and Dean Norris were fantastic this episode) Walt reminds Jack of their deal to kill Jesse, Jack tell Walt if he finds Jesse, he’ll kill them and then out of nowhere, Walt informs Jack that he found him as wee Jesse burrowed under Walt’s car hoping that he wouldn’t be spotted Jack’s henchmen.
Soon enough, Jack’s men drag Jesse out from under Walt’s car struggling and screaming as looks like he’s going to suffer the same fate as Gomez and Hank as Jack has Jesse on his knees with his gun aimed at the back of Jesse’s head. I got to admit I had my heart in my mouth when in between a beat of silence the scene, we see two birds flying in unison in complete silence which has me expecting Jesse to be dead by the next frame as Jack takes the safety off his gun.

Jack asks Walt if he’s ready, Walt slowly nods yes but before Jack could do the deed, Todd interjects and sells what I thought was a cock and bull story about Jesse having information about they could get out of him that he might have told the DEA which saves Jesse from impending doom as he convinces Jack to take him captive. While Todd may have saved Jesse, it was strange as while he has been pleasant, he is clearly is a sociopath so him sparing Jesse a quick death in the desert definitely had an ulterior move as we find out later in the episode.

Todd spotted Jesse in Walt’s car before the gunfight got started but acted like Jesse had got away and is also in the knowledge that Jesse is just as good a meth cook as Walt thanks to Walt’s tutelage making what happens later in the episode not only common sense but smart thinking on Todd’s part.

Jack agrees with Todd reasoning and gets his men to snatch Jesse and take him with them but just as Jack men drag Jesse kicking and screaming, Walt asks them to wait and finally tells Jesse about watching Jane die. Walt watching Jane die was one of the many acts that has made Walt over seasons one of the most reprehensible characters in modern TV fiction and he has held on to this secret for so long with him only once coming close to telling Jesse.

While you could make a sophist argument that Walt wanted Jesse to know before Jesse met his impending doom, you would still be making a sophist argument as he told Jesse about his role in Jane’s death out of pure spite as he blames Jesse for Hank’s death. For most of season five, we have seen Walt in complete control of others and most of all over his emotions but in this episode and last week’s installment  Walt has shown he still has an emotional life as for some time now he has been the program’s chief antagonist making one cold and inhumane decision after another.

Every action Walt took in this episode was based on his emotions and it has been some time as Walt, at least in terms of his ability to feel, makes a return to humanity, even if his emotions are some of the nastier traits of the human psyche.

All in all, what has just been described up to this point was again some of the best television you will see this year and any year after it. Everyone in involved from director Rian Johnson to the actors, Bryan Cranston and Dean Norris in particular, were top notch this episode as they have been throughout this great TV show. After what has been described so far, you would have thought there would have been a let up in the tension and heartbreak for Walt and all involved in the drama but that’s not how Breaking Bad does business as the moving parts Walt was once able to control with cold and calculating ease have now spun out of orbit.

Marie, poor Marie, bolstered by Hank’s phone call at the end of episode 13, decided to pay a visit to A1 Car Wash and after an awkward hello with Walt Jr, tell Skyler in her office after a small beat that Walt is under arrest and offer here support on the proviso that Skyler tells Walt Jr. who and what his dad really is. Throughout all Marie’s demands, Skyler is silenced by her shame and culpability in everything that has transpired to this point and all she can do is agree until Marie insists on her  telling Walt Jr. about his father still trying to protect her son from the awful truth about his father

Throughout the run of Breaking Bad, every character, and I mean every character, has either grown to hate or fear Walt or do both at the same time except Walt Jr. and we get the sense that the only thing that would break Walt down would be for his son to know what he has done and disown him as throughout the series, Walt Jr. has been the only person who doesn’t look at Walt and see the devil in beige slacks.

In this episode, Walt Jr. finally learns the truth about his beloved dad and refuses to take it in after Marie and Skyler sit him down convinced that what he had just heard was “bullshit” and directs his anger at his mother calling her out on her complicity in Walt’s crimes and when he asks Skyler why she stuck with Walt, she give a telling answer: “I’ll be asking myself that for the rest of my life”.

In a short but telling scene, we see the reason why Todd was looking out for Jesse in the desert as he retrieves a scared and beaten Jesse from a makeshift holding cell, still chained, to the meth lab we saw last episode and we see that Todd had got the cook the new operation was looking for as he chained Jesse to the ceiling and stapled a picture of Andrea and Brock to the wall to keep Jesse from doing anything silly like refusing to cook or try to escape.

We all know that Todd isn’t going to win any humanitarian awards anytime soon but his move to save Jesse and use his meth cooking skills was indeed smart, yet in a weird way, merciful at same time. Walt has spent the whole episode to get some semblance of control and in the next scene between him, Skyler and Walt Jr finally shows how Walt’s actions would, as we all expected, lead to him losing his family.

The White family fallout that has been on the cards from the moment Walt decided to get into the meth cooking business with Jesse and his moral descent coupled with his pride has only made his fall from grace that bit more terrible yet brilliant to watch.  

After an uncomfortable car ride home, Skyler and Walt Jr, pull up to Walt packing his things and dumping them in the old banger trucker he bought from a native Indian in the desert. As Skyler and Walt look in shock as what they are seeing, Walt, dirtied by the events that took place in the desert and in full panic mode urging them to come inside as Walt Jr badgers his father for answers.

As they go inside, Walt Jr. continues his search for answers but gets nothing back but orders to calm down listen and tells both Skyler and Walt Jr. to get packing totally ignoring their need for an explanation as even in the midst of his self-created chaos, control is still his first priority.

While Walt Jr needs answers to make sense of what his mother and aunt had just told him, Skyler ask the pressing questions of why he is out of cuffs and where exactly is Hank. Walt is excellent at lying everybody except to Skyler as while she knows when he is lying, she has rarely called him on it or as much she should have. However, after Walt uncharacteristically dithers his way through another one of his countless lies only this time, Skyler’s in the mood for truth as Walt powers of persuasion wanes tenfold every moment he tries to sell Skyler his “you can have any future you want” pitch.

Tired out by his lies and knowing that thee no way Hank would let Walt loose, she comes to the only conclusion that can be made, Walt killed Hank and he’s now on the run. Walt protests his innocence and tells Skyler and Walt Jr. of his that he tried to save Hank from his demise (leaving out the fact he was responsible for his death even if he didn’t pull the trigger) while, incredibly, still trying to take control of the situation instructing both his Walt Jr and Skyler to come with him.

If there was anything that hasn’t rung true about Breaking Bad was that all of Walt’s heinous acts hadn’t brought any harm to members of Walt’s family except for Hank  as they have been largely shielded by the consequences of his actions leaving Jesse, Mike and a litany of other characters to bear the brunt of suffering caused by one man destructive quest for self-actualization. In this scene, his actions finally hit home and Walt is too blind to see the wreckage.

Walt Jr. continues to badger and follow his dad around for answers as he gets his luggage, Skyler, sick of the sight of Walt, goes to kitchen counter where a rack of knives and the home telephone are and after a small beat of thought, opts for the knife as she realizes it going to take more than the cops to rid herself of this monster. As Walt and Walt Jr return to the living room, Skyler steps in in front of Walt Jr. with a knife in her hand and orders Walt to get out. Walt, still not realizing his family is in tatters, still tries to talk to Skyler down but Skyler clearly is not trying to hear anything Walt has to say as she cuts him off when tries to reassure her everything will be fine.

While Walt’s fatal flaw has been his pride, another major flaw of Walt’s, maybe as a direct by-product of his pride, is his ability to underestimate others which has been at the heart of the most of the chaos that has made this show a pleasure to watch. He has consistently underestimated just about everybody else that has come within his orbit especially Jesse and Hank, which led to the that excellent but fateful but excellent scene in the desert that ended last week’s episode and took up a large chunk of this week’s installment.  

Once again, Walt continued his five season trait of underestimating others by underestimating Skyler’s resolve to get him out of her and Walt Jr lives for good as Walt stupidly tries to approach Skyler to calm her down leading to Skyler taking a wild swing at Walt slicing his outstretched hand. In a mixture of shock and anger, Walt survival instinct kicks in and he reaches for the knife as he tries to wrestle the knife out of Skyler’s hand.

They eventually end up on the ground, little Holly crying in the background, Walt Jr. screaming for them stop in what looks like a fight to the death. Walt manages to wrestle the knife from Skyler and get on top of her, knife in hand, as he looks ready to commit his most heinous act yet but Walt Jr heroically jumps to his mother’s rescue and pulls his dad off her shielding Skyler as Walt gets up, with the knife still in his hand, looking for all the world like the monster we all know him to be.

On his feet and his adrenaline still up but waning, it’s only then Walt realizes he has lost his family for good as he sees the fear in the eyes of his wife and son beaming back at him while shouting “what’s wrong with you? We’re a family”. The moment is crowned by Walt Jr, the only person who still had faith in Walt, called the cops on him which finally breaks the spell over the Walt as he drops the kitchen knife with his face sunken with sadness and disbelief.
Looking over the past five seasons, Walt has made very few of the decisions that  purely emotional as the vast majority of his decisions have been icy and inhuman calculations as a result of the business he chose to make his money. However in this episode, his decisions were based purely on his emotions from bargaining for Hank’s life to spitefully informing Jesse of his role (or lack of it) in Jane’s death.

So it wasn’t much of a shock when Walt snatched Holly out of her playpen and ran for his truck. Skyler, only realizing what Walt had done when he was out the door, ran after Walt, now in the beat down truck starting the engine with Holly in his lap and reversing straight into the family car behind to get away from a frantic Skyler banging against the window and chasing the truck down the street as Walt sped away down the street.

In the next scene we find Walt changing Holly with his hand still bruised giving the sense that Walt, untypical of him, hadn’t though this through. This fact hits home as little Holly calls out for her mother in what was the most heart-breaking moment of this episode as Walt holds her close. Back at the White residence, we see a dejected Skyler has called cops on her husband on the lookout for Holly with Walt Jr. and Marie (poor Marie!!) for company, still wondering how Walt got free. Then the phone rings till answering machine picks up, it’s Walt.
Skyler Waits until the cops get ready to trace the call then picks up for Walt to give her the most hate filled and threat heavy phone bashing you ever see on television for years to come as Walt spills his blackened guts. Skyler asks where Holly is, Walt asks if cops are listening in, Skyler says no then asks him again about her daughter’s whereabouts then Walt lets rip about his frustrations with Skyler from her tendency not to listen to him about his threats not to cross him and that he took Holly to “teach her a lesson”.

He then reveals his feelings about the lack of faith Skyler had in him, her badgering of him when she found out his meth cooking business and her general lack of gratitude for what he feels he’s done for the family. The last straw for him was for her to tell Walt Jr about his meth cooking despite telling her to “keep her mouth shut”.

He then threatens Skyler to “toe the line” or meet the same fate as Hank. Skyler ask Walt what happened to Hank and Walt informs her that she’ll never see Hank again implicating himself in Hank’s murder which Marie overhears and finally get the new that her husband is dead. Telling from Walt’s emotion throughout the phone call, he knew Skyler called the cops and were listening in and in implicating himself in Hank’s murder, took all the weight off Skyler and put it on himself which represents another instance in this episode were his decisions were based on his emotions rather than his intellect.

Walt makes one more decision based on his emotions when he leaves Holly in a fire truck realizing wherever he plans to do next, he can’t do it with his baby daughter in tow. In the final scene, Walt waits at the side of the road waiting for the same red van that was going to take Jesse to Alaska and gets in as we watch the van drive away.

If you got to the end of this review, congratulations. I know this review is quite an epic at 122 words of 4000 but this was an epic episode of Breaking Bad so it deserved a review that matched its scale. In sum, when the discussions about the greatest TV shows come up and you have Breaking Bad at the top of the heap,”Ozymandias” episode 14 will be enough to justify your claim.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

(TV) Sons Of Anarchy Season 6 Episode 1 "Straw" TV Review

After five seasons of violence, betrayal, sex, guns, and drugs, I expected Season 6 Episode 1 to portray the same.This episode began off with a blonde child who I still cannot place, with Jax speaking in the narrating position. I wanted to believe that it was Jax at a younger age, but that was proven false. The speech he was giving was very heartfelt. There was not a real connection shown, but I’m sure there will be one later on in the season. What got me about this kid is that after he kisses his sleeping mother, he walks out the door and right past a man that anyone would tag as “Bad News.” 

He does nothing, only keeps walking with a very intent look on his face. This kid is up to something and in this town, that doesn’t surprise me. The home life for Jax has increased in stress, questions, convictions, and loyalty. Although these were questioned several times before, I’m not sure if Jax is going to be able to pull himself out of the slum of knowing that his father was murdered instead of the accident that he was first told.

Clay sits in jail under protective custody thanks to a retired Marshal named Lee. Protective custody was supposed to save him from being killed. Everyone believes that he killed Pope and because of it, it could cost him his life. Everyone knows that Clay is hardheaded and will do anything to stay alive, much like the rest of the gang, but turning on the club? That’s ridiculous. I still think there’s something up his sleeve on this “deal” he’s taking. Being one of the creators of the club should have taught him something about keeping together what you built up even if it means guarding it with your life. He just wasn’t ready to die for the club, but many have and the death tolls will rise throughout the season, I can guarantee it!

The Marshal isn’t only after Clay. He also wants Tara to turn on the club. He is after taking the club down out of hatred for Otto who killed his sister. Otto has more than got his punishment from the guards at the prison. They prove he’s no longer in charge while raping him every morning, compliments of none other than Lee. Absurd as it sounds, some retired people might have more pull than you think. Not only is he intent on pulling down the club, he wants to pit the members against one another. This man is beyond crazy, especially with one of the final scenes showing him shooting up and dancing with himself naked in the mirror. That I could have done without, but thankfully it gives more room for the club to get into his business and hopefully stop him from ruining what they have.

Don’t let Tara’s innocent look with her new hair style fool you, she’s one bad woman! When you’re in prison you have to be tough and Tara is all about being tough and untouchable. When a fellow inmate decides to steal her blanket, Tara teachers her exactly what she need to learn… don’t mess with her! I’m glad to see her stand up for herself because it looks like she might be there a while after refusing to turn on Jax and the club.

Tara’s lawyer is also handling the clubs legal matters. This becomes a conflict of interest when Gemma lets her know that she needs to choose if Tara is going to be her last client.  This threat comes after the lawyer attempts to pass on a message from Tara to Jax, intercepted by Gemma of course. Later in the show she does contact Jax regarding Tara. Tara doesn’t want Jax to be at her hearing. Jax definitely felt confused and potentially betrayed from this.

He seems to sulk for majority of the remaining scenes. Tara is being selfish by making Jax sit it all out, or at least that’s what I thought at first. Then I thought, maybe it’s for his protection. With Lee hounding everyone from the club that’s locked up, Jax being the president is next in his sights.Gemma is known for her threatening ways as seen at the beginning of the episode when Lyla comes in beaten and sexually assaulted through her gig as an escort. The lady that brought in Lyla, who everyone hates, ends up with a smashed face compliments of the bar and Gemma. That’s one woman you don’t cross.

I have to admit, she did what the others wanted to do. Lyla’s condition causes the club to seek revenge, and rightfully so. After busting in the Torture Porn operation by the Persians, who are later identified as Iranians, they get confronted by the docks lead Baraosky who offers both Jax and Nero a deal. Although I expected more bloodshed and a few extra punches in there, all of the scumbags involved in the torture porn were either shot, ran, or met an untimely death in urine and vinegar which was witnessed by the man who told Tig he’d see his daughter in one of their videos. Some parents will do anything to protect the name of their child and their safety. I’m not disturbed by his reactions, they were justly in his daughters name.

I have to say that one of the most controversial scenes in this episode falls at the last five minutes. The blonde kid from earlier sits on a school bench as the large clock strikes 3pm. The bell rings, and you see him walk into the school with a gun. A few seconds later, gun shots. This scene disturbed me just a bit that it would be at a church school but I’m sure that too plays a part in the next episode. It is all connected, we can speculate what will happen next, but only the writers truly know which direction Sons of Anarchy will go.

Friday, September 13, 2013

(Interviews) Tess Gerritsen: Up Close

Hey readers, The Carnage Report was lucky enough to catch up with best selling author and creator of the Rizzoli and Isles book series(Which is now a TV series) Tess Gerritsen and below was the result, enjoy! Connect with Tess on twittter @tessgerritsen or visit for more information. Purchase your copy of Tess's latest release and new addition to the Rizzoli and Isles series, Last to die, at Amazon here

What got you into writing?

I wanted to be a writer since about the age of seven.  That seems to be a universal age for many writers, when they discover their passion for telling stories.  But since I come from Chinese-American parents who were anxious about financial security, I went into a far more reliable field, medicine.  I practiced medicine for about five years, but never gave up my love of storytelling.  Then, while on maternity leave from my medical job, I sat down and wrote my first book.  Within a few years, I'd sold a novel.  I never went back to medicine.

Do you have any influences over your writing?

Every book I read is an influence, in one way or another.  When I was young, I loved science fiction and mystery.  Now that I'm a writer, I've chosen to write what I love to read -- and that includes mystery and science.  As for specific writers, I'd say that Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) was a big influence, as well as the Nancy Drew mystery series.

Hunter S. Thompson once retyped The Great Gatsby just to get the feel of great writing, what books, if any, have you come across that have made you want to do the same?

It happens quite often that I'll read a book and feel pangs of both envy and admiration.  A great paragraph by Stephen King will make me want to study every sentence to see how he makes storytelling seem so effortless, when I know it isn't.  Larry McMurtry can do that to me too.  So can Elmore Leonard.  They're all quite different writers, yet they all have something to teach us about writing.

Why did you decide to write thrillers instead of another genre?

Actually, I have written several genres.  I started off in romance, then moved on to medical thrillers, then crime thrillers, and have also done science fiction and a historical.  I've focused on crime thrillers lately because that's the brand I now seem to have acquired.  The "Rizzoli & Isles" series is such a strong seller that I continue to focus on those two characters.  Even though I do think it'd be fun to explore other genres.

Do you have a writing process?

My writing process is:  1. Get excited by a premise.  2. Figure out who my main character is, and what makes him/her fascinating.  3. Figure out the major conflict.  4. Start writing to see where the story goes.  And that's about it.  I seldom know the whole plot, although I will know bits and pieces of where the story's going.  I often don't know who the villains is.  I often don't know who's going to survive and who's going to die.  The first draft is a journey of discovery for me, and I'll just hammer my way through it until the end.  Only after the first draft do I know what the story's about.

My process is unusual in a few ways.  First, I write first drafts with pen and paper.  Second, I never stop to edit during the first draft -- I just keep writing, even though I know it's terribly flawed, because I know I'll fix things in the next drafts.  So my first drafts are pretty awful.  I have my own ideal page quota of about 4 new pages a day -- if I can stick to it, then I know I'll be able to finish the story by deadline.

Of all the books you have written, which one have you found most difficult to write?

They're ALL difficult to write!  I've had writer's block with every single one.  I've questioned my ability with every single one.  And I invariably hate the book after the first draft.  Each one presents its own difficulties.  GRAVITY was difficult because of the research challenge (it was set aboard the International Space Station and I needed to know the ins and outs of the shuttle program.)  THE BONE GARDEN was difficult because it was set in 1830's Boston.  As far as actual writing, I'd have to say that THE SINNER was a tough one, as it didn't have a lot of slam-bam action, but was far more "interior", with internal conflicts dominating.

Most thrillers fail because of bad pacing, how do you avoid this pitfall?

I think there are two flaws that can make a book seem like it has bad pacing.  First, not enough conflict.  And by this, I mean believable conflict, not manufactured conflict.  I want characters to always be pushing against something, and if you don't present enough challenges for your characters -- including the minor characters -- then the writing can seem flat.  Second, you must have characters who are interesting just in their own right.  A character with a quirky point of view or an amusing voice can make the pages fly by, even in the absence of conflict.  

Given that you are somebody who has found success in a profession where it’s notoriously hard to come by, what advice would you give to the young writers out there?

Find the right character for your protagonist.  A beginner's mistake is to think that a good plot is all you need to make a story readable.  While a good plot is essential, what really makes a story stand out, what really makes me want to keep reading, is a character I want to follow.  When I start off to write a story, I'll take the time to find just the right character voice.  I want to hear that person in my head.  I want to know if she's sassy or whiny, if she's gung-ho or if she's beaten down.  I need to know exactly who they are.

Many writers attest to their hate for writing, are you among them?

Oh, yes!  There are days when I dread sitting at my desk, because I anticipate a long, hard struggle.  Writing is hard.  If it were easy, everybody would be a bestselling author.  Maybe what makes it especially hard for the accomplished writer is our sense of perfectionism.  I see all the flaws while I'm writing and it discourages me.  I feel like I'm trying to drill through stone to get at the story.  I wince at every bad sentence.  It's certainly not all joy and light ... and then you reach the end of the final, final draft, and you think: "oh, that turned out OK."  But you've already forgotten what a pain it was to get there.

Last question, do you have any projects lined up?

I'm working on #11 in the Rizzoli and Isles series.  And yes, I'm in the middle of the first-draft slog.  Grrrr.

(Business) 5 Things You Do When You Hire A Freelancer On Elance

There has never been a better time to be start a business online  and there has never been a better time to hire a freelancer owing to the financial crisis that still casts a large shadow over the global economy five years later. Businesses stand to benefit from the turmoil of the fast few years and hire top talent from sites are that provides a platform where clients and freelance meet and serve each other's interests as the client get quality work at a very competitive price and the freelancer get paid for his work as well add successful projects and feedback to his or hers portfolio.

However, in this win-win exchange, there are pitfalls mostly made out of ignorance on the behalf of both parties that can make this exchange a bitter and time sapping dispute. So in order to save both clients and freelancers the time and money of a bad experience below are 10 do's and don'ts that can make sure clients and freelancers  continue  to benefit from each other.

Do review freelancers profile

When you put up of job post and the proposal start flying in, the first thing you do is check their profiles. It cannot be stressed how important this is as a freelancers profile will pretty much tell you about the quality of the freelancer and whether you will have trouble down the line or the best hiring decision you've made yet. Their profile will also show their portfolio of work which can be useful if you are in need  of a graphic of website designer.

Do set milestones

The trick when hiring freelancers is to make sure there are no misunderstandings about what you want and when you want it and that's what makes the milestone feature on elance so useful for clients. with the milestone feature, you can set specific tasks and dates simultaneously avoiding the freelancer from losing track of the project by providing clear deadlines. It's very useful way to structure payment and keeping freelancers incentivised.

Do write clear job descriptions

While milestones are useful in telling a freelancer what and when you want a project done, a well written project description answers the most important for a freelancer, how. vague overtly long project descriptions are the bain of a freelancers existence and could turn the right freelancer away from your project so make sure make clear what you want from the freelance as well as how.

Do ask questions

This is the most important part of the whole hiring process as this is where you either select a freelancer or look for someone else. Make sure you ask what experience they have and when can they complete the project at hand. Use your discussion with freelancers in tandem with their job feedback and performance on tasks that are similar to yours.

Do set a reasonable price for your project

We all have our budgets but too low a price can price out a freelancer perfect for your project. A low price also attract less skilled freelancers who may offer cheaper prices but always the standard of work that you're looking for as cheap is not always cheerful. The prices on elance are already quite competitive so suspiciously low bids should set an alarm in your head.

Armed with these five points, you can't go wrong on elance when hiring freelance talent as these are the only five you really need to know. If you have a project that needs doing and want to test if these five rules work in practice, visit   


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

(TV) Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Episode 2 "One One Six" Sneak Peek

(Business) Infographics: Good or Bad?

There is much that can about infographics, that it is a useful tool that makes otherwise important but dull information interesting to people in an age that has been conditioned to response better to images than they do words and numbers or that, as Business Insiders's Walter Hickey described it, "what happens when you take the worst of Powerpoint and the worst of Excel and throw into Photoshop".

you'll read numerous business articles that will tell you how good infographics are for your business as it will visualize data that would otherwise put night nurse out of business and make it eye catching to readers bombarded with data from all angles and in truth, the writers of those articles are right. For someone who reads a lot of data and news reports, the age of big data is a god send but for the average reader who is more than likely to be pressed for time, data can be intimidating. Infographics are not perfect but they do serve a vital purpose of making data accessible in an age where it will play a bigger role than ever.

However, infographics is suffering from the same stigma that has plagued other visualization tools such as Powerpoint; overuse and poor execution. Powerpoint was so overused and poorly executed so long that a slew of instruction manuals and books such as Christopher Witts's Real Leaders Don't Do Powerpoint: How to speak so people listen: How to Sell Yourself and Your Ideas were written to either help businesses use it better or forget it all together. 

Infographics has not reached that point just yet as there is a clear need for data to be visualized due to its abundance but it's poor execution is a growing concern as a number of infographics are are irrelevant, poorly sourced, poorly designed or just don't make any sense as some data are served by words and numbers. whether infographics are good or bad is really up to what you plan to use them for as it may serve you well to ask yourself if the data you have is worth being visualized or whether they can be transferred into images so seamlessly.

In sum, whatever you think about infographics or data visualization in general, both of them here to stay whether you like them or not.



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