Showing posts with label Breaking Bad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Breaking Bad. Show all posts

Monday, July 21, 2014

Meth Monday: Book Signing this Saturday (26 July)!

Hello, Readers Mine! This one is going to be short and sweet, but it counts!

The big news this week is that I and my co-author, K. Dale Koontz, will be signing copies of our book, Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad at Books-A-Million in Gastonia, North Carolina, from 2 -5 pm this Saturday, July 26! We'll even be giving away samples of the Blue! (First one's free anyway, after that, you have to buy the book!) So tell your friends, tell your family, tell your co-workers - hell, tell your enemies, we'll take their money too - and help us make this signing a smash success!

BAM Gastonia is at 3710 E. Franklin Blvd, and for more information feel free to call them at 704-824-0221.

We'll see you Saturday, and, until then, contemplate the idea of Bryan Cranston bringing his Tony Award-winning role as LBJ to the small screen. I shit you not!

Bryan Cranston as LBJ in All the Way coming to the small screen soon via Steven Spielberg and HBO!

Keep Cookin'!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Meth Monday: Breaking Bad Fest

Hello, Readers Mine! Well, it's Monday again and it appears I have managed to put together a two-week posting streak so, you know, good for me!

Just as a reminder, Dale and I will be signing copies of Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad at Books-A-Million in Gastonia, NC on Saturday 26 July, beginning at 2 pm. So if you're in the area, come and see us, and make a day of it: have lunch or dinner at Portifinos or Sakura, come see us and grab a copy of Wanna Cook? to prepare for AMC's Breaking Bad Binge starting next month, and then catch a flick at the coincidentally named AMC theaters right next door. It's a great way to spend a Saturday!

Now that my pitch is over, in other BrBa News, a group of die-hard fans in Albuquerque, NM decided to hold a Breaking Bad Convention and see if anyone would come. They started on Kickstarter and raised enough money to get things rolling and now Breaking Bad Fest is a real thing hppening on 8 November 2014 from 4-8 pm at the Albuquerque Convention Center. For more information and tickets, check out their site and keep up with the latest from the con organizers by following them on Twitter or Facebook .

Finally, Wanna Cook? keeps getting gratifyingly great reviews like this one from SF Book Review, or the one from Culture Smash!. We may be doing a bit more with the folks from Culture Smash int he coming weeks, so stay tuned here and over on Dale's blog Unfettered Brilliance for more details as they come.

That's pretty much it for this week, so I'll leave you with a picture that is in the book in black and white, but is most definitely cooler in color, and which was given to us (squeee!!) by Michael Slovis, Breaking Bad's cinematographer:

Michael Slovis checks the light levels on the set of "Peekaboo" (2.06). Photo courtesy of Michael Slovis.
Keep cookin'!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Meth Monday: Book Signings!

Hello, Readers Mine! It seems like I start off every one of these blog posts off with an apology for not writing regularly, and a promise to do better in the future - promises which I never seem to keep. Since doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results is one of the primary definitions of insanity, I think I'll just skip all of that this time. I may up my involvement here in the near future, but I can't guarantee it. However, I am annoyingly present in all sorts of social media and micro-blogging sties, so if you click on one of those nifty symbols to the right of the page here, and follow me on the network of your choice, then you'll get more than enough of my worldview.

So then, catching up:

Dale and I spent a week in Sacramento, CA at the always exhaustingly incredible and inspiring biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, about which you can read more here. After the conference, we were lucky enough to be able to hold a signing at Beers Books, a truly awesome independent bookseller in downtown Sacramento. We saw plenty of old friends and made a few new ones, and sold some books to boot. Interestingly enough, the TSA didn't even blink when we carried a pound of "the Blue" in our carryons.

Dale (right) and I at our signing table at Beers Books in Sacramento, CA. Photo courtesy of Michael Starr.
Look! Our book is on the shelf
at Books-A-Million!!!
Photo courtesy of Laney McDonald.
Shortly before we headed out to the West Coast, on a family shopping trip I discovered copies of our book on the shelves of Books-A-Million in Gastonia, NC. Besides always being a kick to see your book on the shelves of a bookstore, the manager, who happened to be shelving books nearby, was really excited to meet me, and even more so about having a books signing at his store. So HEADS UP GASTONIA!! We'll be in town and signing books at Books-A-Million on Saturday 26 July, starting at 5pm! This is excellent timing, as AMC will be kicking off their binge-broadcast of all five seasons of Breaking Bad on 10 August, so this is the perfect time to prepare for your re-watch or first time viewing of this incredible series with your very own copy of Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad, and how cool would it be to really do it up right with a signed copy? So, if you can, come out and see us on the 26th!

Otherwise, you can find Wanna Cook? at all the usual places like Amazon, Powell's, and Barnes & Noble, as well as at Got Books? in Shelby, NC. So really, you have no excuse not to get a copy!

Until next time - Keep Cookin'!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Meth Monday: A Quick Cook

Hello, Readers Mine! We're just in from a deliciously long weekend out of town that included naps, room service breakfast, lunches and parties with friends, and remembering why we got married in the first place. We haven't been back home long, and the holiday isn't officially over, so this week's "Meth Monday" is gonna be a short one.

In Wanna Cook? news, we learned late last week that Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad is being translated into Portuguese for publication in Brazil! I'll link to the publisher's site and hopefully a pic of the Brazilian cover as soon as I can. So that means that Wanna Cook? has been published in 3 continents in 3 different languages - and that, friends and neighbors, is pretty frellin' cool!

As for the rest of this Memorial Day post, enjoy this lovely little parody where Taylor Swift meets Walt and Jesse (thanks to @_ath3na for sending this our way!):

Until next week - Keep Cookin'!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Meth Monday: International Edition, Partie Deux

Hello, Reader's Mine! Sorry for the gap last week, but the weekend leading up to last Monday was full of me loping across a stage under a giant Quonset hut while wearing funky sleeves in order to receive an empty degree-holder as a symbolic representation of my MA. Here's proof:

There are the authors of Wanna Cook? as you probably never expected to see us. Suffice it to say that while it was a fun weekend, it was also an exhausting one, and Monday was all about recovery and starting to get my bearings now that I am living in only one place for the first time in four and a half years. So "Meth Monday" just kinda slipped through the cracks. Sorry about that.

In any event, while I might be laying down on the job Breaking Bad was not, winning Best International Series at the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Awards, beating out House of Cards and The Returned for the honor. This is a pretty big deal as BrBa has a rocky history when it comes to being available in the UK. At one point, UK viewers were almost a year behind as various broadcast and streaming rights were worked out between AMC, Sony, and Netflix. Still, the show was just as popular there as it was here.

Which brings me to the other international news about Wanna Cook?our official, UK publication date came and went last week on 13 May, and we celebrated with our UK publisher, Myrmidon Books, and you can also find our cousins across the pond at @WannaCookUK, where they're busily selling copies to all our Anglo-Saxon-Celto-Nordic friends! In fact, Wanna Cook? was featured as the book of the day at O'Mahony's Booksellers in Limerick, Ireland (they do just sort of write themselves, don't they?)

Of course, you don't have to live in the Splendid Isles to get your own copy. You can toddle over to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Powell's, or your favorite independent bookseller and get your copy today! Who knows? Dale and I might be coming to a town near you in the next several months, so you could get your copy signed! Stay tuned here, and over on Unfettered Brilliance for updates on that! That's it for this week, Readers Mine - see you next week, and

Keep Cookin'!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Meth Monday: International Edition

Hello, Readers Mine! Well it's been a hell of a week at Solomon Mao's (or at least in the pocket of space-time where the author of Solomon Mao's lives). I wrapped up graduate school completely last Wednesday, making me a Master of the Arts (History) at long last, and spent the weekend just past celebrating my wedding anniversary, saying some good-byes, and moving everything from the apartment back home. That's right, after four years of marriage and one co-authored book, Dale and I will actually be living together on a full-time basis at last! Who knows? This might result in more books!

But you don't come here for updates on my personal life, so onward to our shared obsessions: Breaking Bad and Wanna Cook!

So Vince Gilligan had an interesting encounter down under at the Sydney Writers' festival this weekend, where he got to meet some of the people who helped make Australia the number one nation for illegal downloading of Breaking Bad episodes in the world. Gilligan apparently proved that Southern-by-way-of-LA charm is just as effective on Southerners-by-way-of-the-Tropic-of-Capricorn as it is on any other group of folks, and responded with his trademark mix of modesty and gratitude. (It's also worth noting that Gilligan made a nice pile from Breaking Bad - and deservedly so - so he can literally afford to be gracious!) Check out the full story in The Guardian

In Wanna Cook? news, I got a peek at the German cover of our book! Working with ECW, the German publisher Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf was translating Wanna Cook? as we were writing it, and the result will be available to the public on 1 June 2014 (according to So, pretty cool in-and-of itself, right?

It gets better: It seems that fair use copyright law in Germany is a bit broader than in the US, Canada, and the UK, so our book got a new title, and a new cover. Check this out -

Wanna Cook? in German, by Guffey und Koontz!!!!

That. Is. AWESOME!!!!!!! We get a couple of author's copies, and I can't wait to see em! What do you guys think?

For those of you who read German, you can pre-order your copy today (but watch out for shipping and VAT!) For those of you who, like me, can basically only manage ja, nein, bitte, and volksgemeinschaft however, you can get your copy in English right now! And for those of you who not only speak and read English, but live in the Splendid Islands themselves, you can get a copy from! So go, buy our book, enjoy it, and let us know what you think by writing review or two!

So that's it for this week, Readers Mine. Until next time - Keep Cookin'!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Meth Monday: Wanna Cook? is Launched!

Hello, Readers Mine! Sorry to be posting later than usual today, but things kinda got away from me.

So this past Saturday we held the official book launch for Wanna Cook? at Fireside Books in my hometown of Shelby, North Carolina, and it. Was. A. Blast! We saw so many fans, friends, and family who came out to buy a copy of Wanna Cook? nosh on some of the incredible food from Ni Fen Bistro, Blue Sky cupcakes and coffee from Lily Bean's Micro-Roasted Coffee, sip some quality vino from Dragonfly Wine Market, and to talk Breaking Bad. We signed book after book while chatting about everything from Werner Heisenberg to hydrofluoric acid versus lye to chiral molecules to Jesse as moral center. Seriously, we sold a LOT of books, and we deeply appreciate the support we received from our community, so thanks to everyone who came out.

Special thanks go to all the uptown business who got on board to help make the launch such a success: besides the fine folks mentioned above there were Pleasant City Wood Fired Grill, Newt's Pub Burgers, and Joe's Place Shelby who all ran specials centered on Breaking Bad and Wanna Cook. And a big thanks goes out to Holly's Flowers for our lovely lily-of-the-valley bouquet. Thanks so very, very much to you all, and please, if you're in Shelby, drop by some or all of these businesses uptown - I promise you'll have a great time! I'm including a snapshot from the launch below, but you can see more photos from the launch in our public Wanna Cook? album on Facebook.

Dale and I with Dawn Delk at the launch on Saturday,
and yes that's a bit of the Blue and some lily-of-the-valley decorating the table!

So the book is officially launched out into the world. Fireside still has a few signed copies left in stock, and you can find us on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell's Books, and wherever kick-ass books are sold! Stay tuned here and on our Facebook and Twitter feeds for information on upcoming signings in the Southeast and across the US and for your daily dose of Breaking Bad news and events. Also, if you like Wanna Cook? why not give it a review on the site you purchased it from, or on Goodreads. We'd appreciate it.

Until next time, keep cookin'!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Meth Monday: 5 Days Until the Launch of Wanna Cook!

Well, okay, so Wanna Cook? is already technically launched, in that you can go to your local independent or chain bookseller or your favorite online retailer and order a copy of your very own right now if you want to (and you know you want to), but our big book-launch party isn't until Saturday. So come one and come all to Fireside Books in uptown Shelby, NC at 5 pm this Saturday, buy Wanna Cook?  and get it signed by your loving authors while you enjoy some wine from Dragonfly Wine Market, and some nibblies from Ni Fen Bistro. The head on out into Shelby and enjoy Breaking Bad themed specials like the Heisenburger with Jesse's (blue nacho) Chips at Newt's Pub Burgers, or the Lydia Special of Blue Magic cupcakes and hot tea (add Stevia at your own risk!) at Lily Bean's Micro-Roasted Coffee, or bring your signed copy of Wanna Cook? with you to Pleasant City Wood Fired Grille to get 10% off of your order or to Joe's Place for a free house dessert with your dinner, or keep enjoying the fabulous food at Ni Fen by getting a free order of pot-stickers with your dinner when you show off your signed copy!

Not to mention every other thing that's going on in uptown Shelby that day, like the Broad River European Classic Car Show, Arts on the Square, the Foothills Merry Go Round Festival, and the Foothills Farmers; Market to name just a few! So come out for a big day in Shelby, and top off your play day with an autographed copy of Wanna Cook! We start signing books at 5 pm, and we can't wait to see you!

Wanna Cook? on the shelves at Books-A-Million in Akron, Ohio! Thanks to @UnpluggedCrazy for the pic!

As you can see, Wanna Cook? is showing up all over the place. Seen it on the shelves of your bookstore? Tweet the pic to @KDaleKoontz and/or @EnsleyFGuffey with the hashtag #WannaCook, and we promise to reTweet and repost! Be sure to include the store's location too!

So that's it for this week's (admittedly somewhat rushed) edition of Meth Monday, be sure to check out "Walter White Wednesday" over at Unfettered Brilliance this week, and, until next time,

Keep cookin' Readers Mine!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Meth Monday: Wanna Cook? is Available! (Yeah, Bitch!)

That's right, Readers Mine, Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad is officially available!!!!! We're not quite sure what happened. At first, all of the online booksellers had the release date as 1 May, and then Amazon started shipping orders, but everyone else was listing Wanna Cook? as not being available until 13 May, then it showed up on the shelves of Powell's City of Books (see pic below), and as of just a few moments ago when I checked right before I started to type this post, it's now available everywhere - at least online. So, you know, go get you a copy or three!

Seriously, though, if you've already bought a copy THANK YOU! You rock, and we will offer up burnt offerings before your alter. If you liked it, you could earn an even higher level of awesomeness if you'd take a few moments and review Wanna Cook? on Goodreads, or the online site for the retailer from whom you purchased your copy.

If you HAVEN'T bought your copy yet, and you live near Shelby, North Carolina, why not wait and get your copy on Saturday, 26 April at Fireside Books in downtown Shelby? (Call 704-487-8477 or drop by Fireside to reserve your copy today!!!) Because we're having a book launch, bitch!  We're starting at 5 pm and we're gonna party like we're at Jesse's house in Season 4! Well, okay, so we're actually not going to party quite that hard, but there will be some food, some wine and other refreshments, and Dale and I will be there signing books and all sorts of local businesses will be running special deals to mark the occasion. So here's the big scoop: show up at the following uptown Shelby retailers  with a signed copy of Wanna Cook? on 26 April ONLY, and you'll get:

Ni Fen Bistro: one free order of pot-stickers with your meal. (Ni Fen will also be supplying the hors d'oeuvres at the book launch!)
Pleasant City Wood Fired Grille: 10% off your dinner order.
Joe's Place: one free house dessert with your meal.
Fuzzy Peach: To Be Deteremined
Lily Bean's Micro-Roasted Coffee: TBD
Newt's Pub Burgers: TBD
Dragonfly Wine Market: TBD (Dragonfly will also be supplying the wine at the book launch!)

Please note that even the places listed above as "TBD" are definitely on board for the evening, they just haven't decided what kinds of deals to give you. We're also hoping to add some more folks to this list, so stay tuned here, and to our Facebook and Twitter pages, and Dale's "Walter White Wednesday" posts for updates. (If you own a business in uptown Shelby, and would like to be part of our launch, just contact me.) In addition, Shelby's annual Arts on the Square festival will be going on all day on the 26th so you'll have a chance to see the work of some of the incredible area artists and craftspeople before the launch. So come on out, say hello, buy a book from a local, independent bookseller, and have some fabulous food afterwards. We promise you it'll be an A-1 Night!

Check it out: Wanna Cook  on the shelf at Powell's Books!!! Thanks to @witnessaria for the pic and the heads up!
Okay, if you don't live around Shelby, you can still get your hands on a copy. Go on over to to find an independent bookseller near you who's carrying Wanna Cook, or, if you'd rather, you can order your copy online from - well, pretty much everywhere:

Amazon USA
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK
Amazon Germany (in translation)
Powell's Books
Barnes & Noble
Wal-Mart (yeah, that's right: Wal-Mart, bitch!)

So, really, there's no excuse for not grabbing a copy somewhere. Like Saul's advertising, we're everywhere!

See you on April 26th at Fireside! Until then, keep cookin'!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Meth Monday: Get Yer Copies of Wanna Cook? NOW!

Hello, Readers Mine! I'm a bit pressed for time this morning, so this will likely be on the short and sweet side of things.

First off, our official book launch for Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad will take place on Saturday, 26 April starting at 5 pm at Fireside Books and Gifts in downtown Shelby, North Carolina!! Dale and I will be signing books, and there will be some snacks, some wine, and we're working on getting some great deals in place at downtown restaurants and businesses - show up with a signed copy of Wanna Cook? and get 10% off your order! More details will be forthcoming as we nail things down. Just keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter feeds (those links are for Dale's - you can get to mine via the "buttons" on the upper right of this page), as well as right here at Solomon Mao's and over on Unfettered Brilliance. Give Linda and the fine folks at Fireside a call, or drop by to order your copy for the launch and they'll be there waiting for you on the 26th!

Look! Here's a picture of me actually holding a copy of Wanna Cook?:

It's real! It's in my hand! This actually happened!
One last piece of news before I have to run. If you can't make it to the launch, but still want to get your copy of Wanna Cook? early, head on over to our listing on Amazon. For whatever reason (and see, even authors are - somewhat frighteningly - left out of the loop as to what goes on with their books sometimes) Amazon is selling copies right now! For all I know this may be an error, so head on over and take advantage!

That's it for this week, Readers Mine! Until next time, keep cookin'!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Meth Monday: 4 Weeks Out

Hello again, Readers Mine! That's right, we're just four weeks and two days away from the official publication date of Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad, and the big news this week is that our author copies of Wanna Cook? are winding their way to us from the Frozen North even as I write this! I have to admit, I'm looking forward to opening a package in  the next week or two to find a box full of books with my name listed on the covers as one of the authors. This is my first time at this particular rodeo, and I have to admit I'm getting excited at the thought of actually holding a copy of the book I helped to write in my greedy little hands. Pictures will undoubtedly feature here shortly thereafter. That also means that it will be contest time shortly thereafter as we give away a few signed copies. We're still figuring out just how to organize that, so keep an eye out for more information. Also, be sure to check out my co-author's "Walter White Wednesday" post this week for details on our official book launch, which will be taking place at Fireside Books in downtown Shelby, NC!

Last week, I briefly caught you up on what Bryan Cranston has been up to since his Walter White days, and his portrayal of LBJ in All the Way continues to bring him kudos, not least from Stephen Colbert:

You gotta admit, the guy gives good interview. On the fan-art front, check out these incredible patent blueprint-style prints from Oliver Gal Artist Company:
Nifty, huh? Even months after the series came to its end, fans continue to produce some incredible art, mash-ups, and even books about Breaking Bad. (see what I did there?).

So that's about it fro this week, and remember, you can get your copy of Wanna Cook? on or at least very near May 1 by pre-ordering it today! Seriously, it's available in the US from every large bookseller either online or from stores, and the same should hold true in the UK and Germany (yes, there's a German translation being published simultaneously, because that's how we roll, and because the French didn't pony up any cash for the privilege - and we don;t cook for free, bitch.) If you're in the US and would rather spend your hard earned dollars at your local, independent bookseller, then head on over to our page at, enter your zip code, and find an independent bookstore near you who'll be happy to order you a copy!

Until next week, keep cookin'!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Meth Monday: Back in the Lab Again

So, it's been a while. To say that the past almost three months have been busy would be something of an enormous understatement, to the point where something had to go, and, unfortunately, that something was this blog. Until now. With several plates less to spin (more on the nature of those past plates in another post), I can turn by attention back here as we count down the five weeks and four days until 01 May 2014 and the official release of Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad! ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) have gone out, we've got a pile of promotional materials, and we and ECW's publicists are working on a variety of launches, signings, and giveaways in the coming weeks and months.

Neither Dale nor I have actually seen a physical copy of the book yet (and we're jonesing pretty hard about that!) but we've got the PDF proofs, and it looks amazing. The graphic design, layout, photographs, and style are just phenomenal, and well, you know, the writing is pretty damn good too! This is really happening, Readers Mine, and it's gonna be great! In fact, we've already been blurbed by the one and only Dr. David Lavery, Father of Whedon Studies, one of the creators of the academic discipline of television studies, and an all round good guy to boot. Over at The Laverytory, David was kind enough to write:

"To call Ensley Guffey and Dale Koontz’s Bad-to-the-bone guide Wanna Cook? a page turner is certainly true but somehow media inappropriate. For obsessed fans (and is there any other kind?) of this all-time-great, every carefully crafted word will bring back to cerebral life the characters, dialogue, hats, “bitches,” mise-en-scene, locations, violence of the rise and fall of Walter White. As such, I propose that this book, another terrific contribution by ECW Press to television studies, should be deemed “binge reading.” As pure as a batch of Heisenberg’s Blue Sky, Guffey and Koontz’s critical chemistry has given us the most addictive companion to this TV masterwork we will ever get."

Which is incredibly kind, as well as entirely true (like I'm gonna argue with David?!?) If you'd like a sneak peak at the rough front and back covers, check this out. There will be a few things added, like David's blurb, but that's what'll be hitting stands come May 1!

In the meantime, and as a way of wrapping up this post, let's check in on what Bryan Cranston is doing now that he's no longer in the meth business. First off, for those of you lucky enough to be in or make it to New York, in the name of God you have to go see All the Way at the Neil Simon Theater between Broadway and 8th. Cranston is playing President Lyndon Johnson and getting rave reviews! Check out my favorite pic of him in the role:

Bryan Cranston as LBJ in Robert Schenkkan's All the Way.
For those of you like me, who can't make it to NYC (*sigh*), we can still get our dose of Cranston in the potentially amazing reboot of Godzilla coming out in May:

I know, right!!!?!!??

So that should hold you for a week, Reader's Mine. See you next Monday for another installment, and don't forget to keep checking out Walter White Wednesday over on the blog of my indefatigable co-author, K. Dale Koontz.

Until next time, keep cookin'.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Meth Monday

Hello, Readers Mine! Yeah, yeah, I'm a lousy blogger. I've accepted this fact, urge you to rely on Dale for your regular blogging needs over on Unfettered Brilliance. Me, I'll do my best to post here regularly, but - hey - you can count on me keeping up with all sorts of posts on the social media you see to the right, so there's that. So let me catch up a bit here. The big news is that the complete manuscript for Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad  is finished, line- and copy-edited, and we are currently working through the last part of the publication process, the reading of the proof. Let me tell you, the book looks fabulous! The good folks at ECW Press have done an outstanding job in designing and laying out all of our words, and I can't wait to hold a copy in my greedy little hands, and for you to be able to get one into yours!

Twinkie Me, Bitch! by Brendan Tobin, one of my absolute favorite pieces of fan-art inspired by Breaking Bad, combining as it does Walt, Jesse, and the Hostess comic book ads from the 1970s and '80s.

So here's the deal for the new year: Wanna Cook? will be released on 1 May 2014 (which, by happy coincidence, is also the co-authors' wedding anniversary!). Meanwhile, you can pre-order your copies from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, or Powell's Books (the latter of which's brick-and-mortar location in Portland, OR happens to be Bryan Cranston's favorite place to go and lose a day with a book), and in an unexpected development, you can even pre-order it from Wal-Mart!! And of course, your local independent bookseller will be able to get it for you as well. We'll start doing some promotional stuff as we get closer to May, including, hopefully, some ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) give-aways on Goodreads as well as through our blogs and social media accounts, about which I will most definitely keep you informed. Believe it or not, we actually have two publicists, one for traditional media, and another for new media! (Yes, that's right, we actually have "People" now. Weird, right?) And we're gonna have a full-on book-launch. The details haven't been completely nailed down yet, but I can tell you that it will take place in our hometown of Shelby, NC, and involve as many local businesses as we can rope in. I can also promise that a good time will be had by all. Again, we'll get the word out in plenty of time and as soon as we get things lined up.

So now we are at the very end of this project, and it hasn't quite sunk in yet that we've written a book. For me this is the realization of a dream that I've had since I was eight years-old, and that's the kind of thing that just takes a while to feel real, I guess. Let's also not forget that I wrote this with my wife, and discovered that among all the other insanely wonderful things about being in a relationship with this woman is that we write together remarkably well, and have complementary "voices." I'm not sure how many people ever truly find a full-fledged partner to build a life with, but I suspect, sadly, that not everyone does. To find that I am one of the truly lucky ones is... breathtaking. And humbling as all hell.

So that's it for this go-round. If I keep writing, I'll get all mushy - and who wants that. So, Readers Mine, thank to you for all of your support, patience, and excitement. Until next time, be well.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Meth Monday: Catching Up

Hello, Readers Mine! Yes, yes, I know, I kind of fell off of the grid these last few weeks, but between finishing the final drafting of Wanna Cook? and then turning my attention to some stuff that had been on my back burner (like, you know,, days have just been kind of flying by. So let me give you several updates.

First, my author pages at Amazon and Goodreads are up and running and pretty darned cool, if I do say so myself. Next, Wanna Cook? itself is entering the final stages. After almost two years, we have turned in the last drafts, gone completely through line-edits and are awaiting the last batch of copy edits in the next week or two, after which - hopefully before the middle of November - we will be done!!! At that point the last parts go to be translated into German, the rest is assembled, and on May 1, 2014 Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad hits the shelves. You can even go ahead and pre-order it at Amazon, Powell's Books, Books-A-Million, and now Barnes & Noble, and right now, some of those places have some really nice prices!

Starting May 1 next year, of course, Wanna Cook? will also be available in fine bookstores everywhere, and I can tell you that it will be available as an e-book, though I do not yet know in what format(s) or from what companies. As it gets closer to the release date, Dale and I will be doing some promotional stuff, probably some giveaways here and over on Unfettered Brilliance and pretty much anything else we can think of to get the word out, so keep up with me on the social-type media, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ in the coming months for info on all that good stuff, as well as all the Breaking Bad stuff that comes across my screen. Just search under #WannaCook at all four places and you'll find us!

Speaking of which, did you see Walt's funeral?

This turned out to be a very successful charity event, raising $17,000.00 for Albuquerque's Healthcare for the Homeless charity, which also helps people recover from addiction. This is a nice cap to the fan activism that has grown out of the show, particularly in its last, two-year season, although it was also a bit weird, as it took place at a real cemetery, which caused Walt's tombstone to be moved, lest the tourists block access to the families of the people who are actually buried there.

In other news, there was a really fascinating interview and article with Breaking Bad creator/showrunner Vince Gilligan in the Hollywood Reporter  which id definitely worth a read, as Gilligan confronts life after what has been called the greatest show in television history.

Otherwise, things have been quiet, save for the soft clatter of fingers on keyboards as Dale and I finish off the book and I turn my attention to those pesky papers and a thesis that have to get taken care of. Keeping that in mind, I can;t promise that there won't be another hiatus to my posts here, but I will honestly try to post on this blog at least once a week, even if not on Mondays, and I hope to keep Meth Monday as an ongoing feature, even if it becomes bi-weekly. Dale, on the other hand, is much better about this blogging stuff than I am, so be sure to keep reading her Walter White Wednesday posts every week.

That's it for today, Readers Mine. I'll see you soon, and in the meantime, remember: if it ain't blue, it ain't the true!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Meth Monday 5.16: "Felina"

Hello, Readers Mine! Before diving into the series finale of Breaking Bad, can we talk a minute about Canadians? Yeah, that's right: Canadians. Look, I know that parts of Canada endure months of the midnight sun and that in such places it can become difficult to realize just what time it actually is, but that's way, way north of places like the Province of Ontario, so there's really no reason for Canadians who live in the south of the country to get up and start typing as early as they obviously do. Seriously, I was just settling in to my first cup of coffee and idly doing a sweep of the interwebs, only to find an e-mail from the Felonious Mr. Watts (note to self: my new jazz name will be Felonious Watts)  threatening to go to TWOP for his Breaking Bad critique if I didn't post something soon. Then I toddle on over to Nik at Night, and find that That Stafford Woman has already posted some long, trenchant analysis about "Felina." Oh - and now there's a e-mail from her in my inbox. Jesus Jumped-Up Christ On a Pogo-Stick! See, this is what comes of befriending foreigners with their Protestant Work Ethic-type ways instead of good, evangelical, wholesome, fat, lazy, pre-diabetic-and-proud 'Muricans who have the basic human decency to wait until a guy has has his first cuppa joe before asking him what the hell he thinks about something. I mean, is it nice to find out that extraordinarily talented people whose books I regularly pre-order and squee over read this piece and actually seem to care what I think about one of the major pop culture touchstones of our time? And ego-stoking to be able to name-drop them in this post? Yes, of course it is, but still - Canadians: settle down!

Now that that's out of the way, let's get to "Felina." Spoilers after the break!!!

So Breaking Bad is no more. Six years of passionate debate, conjecture, and sometimes demented fandom have lead to "Felina," and I have to say, I'm kinda disappointed. (Go ahead and rant and rave and threaten to show up at my house with a trunk-mounted M60. I'll wait until you're done. Better? Good.)

I'm with it when Walt takes revenge on Elliott and Gretchen. It's right in line with his petty pride. And for everyone celebrating his revenge out there, remember that it was Walt who threw a hissy-fit way back when and who asked to be bought out of the fledgling company. Gretchen and Elliott didn't con Walt out of anything. It was his stupid pride, even then. Check out the conversation between he and Gretchen in 2.06 "Peekaboo" if you don't believe me. So yeah, his scam on them is right in line with the Walt we've come to know and loathe.

Now, a big chunk of my problem with "Felina" is my own desire to see Walt punished, I know that, and that it's my own weird fan-boy thing. Fine. But I really, really don't like the fact that Walt wins in the end. He ties up every single loose end in one final multiple murder, and chooses the time of his own death, leaving the world with a fond smile. "Felina" is anticlimactic to say the least, and it just doesn't satisfy. At least he finally admitted that he did all of this for himself, to feed his ego and pride, and he goes on feeding them until the very end. Still, this episode was like topping of the finest, gourmet, multi-course meal in history with a dessert of Pop Rocks. Breaking Bad really should have ended with "Ozymandias," but it couldn't, because of the previous appearances of Walt52. It wasn't a rushed ending, and that may have been the problem. I think maybe Gilligan & Co. had a little too much time to think about this one. In trying for perfection, they achieved a mundane episode of Breaking Bad, which still makes it the best thing on TV in the past week.

So much for my personal irks with the show. Take 'em or leave 'em, but there were some real problems with the episode as well. First and foremost: the Nazis didn't check the trunk of Walt's car? Seriously?!? Kenny checks the interior, they search Walt thoroughly, even taking his wallet and keys but they conveniently forget to check the enormous trunk of that land-yacht he was driving? Also, every Nazi in the compound was in that one room, and only Todd managed to get low enough to avoid getting shot, so that he could be killed by a righteously vengeful Jesse? Sure it was proper, but it was also a bit too contrived. Finally, the appearances of Marie, Badger, and Skinny Pete were forced, coming off like cameos rather than being intrinsic elements of the story.

I did like the cold open showing the young Jesse crafting the exquisite wooden box he mentioned in 4.07 "Problem Dog." This was the one truly perfect moment of the episode: the transition between an act of loving creation at a time in Jesse's life when so many possibilities were open to him, to an act of forced creation by a scarred and enslaved man who's every possibility has been ripped away, was just brilliant - and heartbreaking. That scene aside, though, I think this was my least favorite episode of the series, and I kinda hate that.

So that's it for this week's Meth Monday, and for the last ever look at a new episode of Breaking Bad. Despite my problems with the finale, I am going to miss this show, and its absence will create something of a hole in my life. Television, particularly good television, requires making a commitment of five, six, ten, or more years as you go on a journey into an unfolding story. Television like Breaking Bad is every bit as satisfying as the most brilliant of novels, but novels take time, man, and when you finish a great one, there's a period of casting about as you pick up this and that and then discard them because they pale in comparison to what you just read. I suspect it will be the same with Breaking Bad for me. I keep a list of TV series recommended (not to say pushed on) to me, but I don't know - this will take some time. Breaking Bad really was the best show that's ever aired, Readers Mine, and how do you follow that?

Yet this will not be the end of Meth Monday. We're now officially on the last push on the final parts of Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Guide to Breaking Bad,  so look for updates on that, as well as info on book signings, tours, etc. in the future. (I might even be persuaded to go to Ontario Provence. Maybe.) In the meantime, give me a follow on the various social networks linked to at the top right of this page for all the Breaking Bad stuff that crosses my screen, and be sure to head over to Dale's blog later in the week for Walter White Wednesday. It'll be worth it: her opinion of "Felina" diverges from mine. Until next time, Readers Mine, be well.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Meth Monday: 5.15 "Granite State"

Hello, Readers Mine, and welcome to another Meth Monday as we approach the end of Breaking Bad. There's lots to talk about today, but before I get to last night's episode, lets not forget BrBa's big night at the Emmy's! Anna Gunn took home the best supporting actress award, and not only did she deserve it on her merits as one of the great contemporary actors out there, but it was also nice to see her get some positive recognition in light of all of the despicable, hateful, and misogynistic abuse from so-called "fans" whose greatest joy seems to be in hating Skyler. Unfortunately, they didn't stop there, and Anna Gunn the actual person has been the target of some truly frightening abuse, to the point where she finally had to address it directly with a brief editorial in the New York Times. We all know that the Internet has some really dark corners, and that a wide vein of misogyny can be found in even the most brightly lit spaces,  but the public vitriol aimed at Ms. Gunn has been deeply disturbing. Nor is she the first woman on TV to have suffered from this muck, as A.J. Wiley has pointed out. So I think it's a fantastic win for her, and a tremendous "fuck you" to the needle-dicked fanboys who hate/deeply fear women.

Breaking Bad also took home the big one last night, winning the Emmy for best dramatic series, which I for one think is pretty much impossible to argue with. It really is the best show on TV - no, that's damning it with faint praise - it is perhaps the best show that has ever been on TV, and I won't lie to you, there'll be a bit of a hole in my life when it wraps up next Sunday. Speaking of, let's talk about "Granite State." Be warned: SPOILERS!!!!

The cast of Breaking Bad at the 2013 Emmy awards. From left to right: R.J. Mitte, Anna Gunn (holding her Emmy for best supporting actress), Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul (with the Emmy for best drama), Bob Odenkirk, and Jonathan Banks.
So "Granite State" was a much needed breather after last week's "Ozymandias." It also filled in the backstory of Walt's sojourn in New Hampshire, as well as making completely clear just how evil Todd, Jack, Kenny, and their crew actually are. Of course, they're Nazis so that wasn't that big of a shock. I have to admit that I was concerned that Gilligan & Co. were painting the Nazis black enough that Walt would appear to be at least off-white by contrast, but I should have known to trust the show. Because Walt doesn't go back to save Skyler or the kids, or rescue Jesse, or for any noble purpose whatsoever.

What goes back because he's the same selfish, self-centered, egotistical bastard he's always been and he just can't stand the thoughts of a.) Gretchen and Elliot downplaying his role in founding Gray Matter (though we have only Walt's own inflated opinion on how much he actually contributed), and b.) someone is still making Blue Magic and thereby stealing his reputation as a Drug Kingpin. Walt can't abide the thought that he might be remembered as a little man, or not at all. He's petty, spiteful, and driven by overweening pride, and he's damned if anyone will take credit for what he sees as his work. Asshole.

So who's the M60 for? Gretchen and Elliot? The Gray Matter headquarters? Todd and the Nazis? And what about the ricin? I have a theory that the poison just might be for him. He's been told that if he leaves his cabin in New Hampshire, he will be caught, and ricin takes 48 to 72 hours to kick in, so he could take it, do his "business" and check out on his own terms, even if he's captured. Assuming he's on a calculated death ride when he gets back to ABQ. If not for himself, then who? Again, maybe Gretchen and/or Elliott, but those are the only two I can think of who he might want to kill - but not immediately.

I've also been seeing a lot of chatter on the web about Walt going out on top, or in a blaze of glory. I could be wrong here, but I think you folks are going to be disappointed. We might, just might, get a No Country for Old Men-type ending where evil survives to continue roaming the earth, but I'm not sure that evil will be Walt. In fact, my money is on Walt being killed, and not in his own time, and not in any way he - or we - expect. As usual, however, who knows? We'll all find out next Sunday.

Until then, be well, and don't forget to swing by my co-author K. Dale Koontz's blog later this week for Walter White Wednesday. And while you;re tooling around the interwebs, check out my nifty new author pages at Amazon and Goodreads, and pre-order Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad at Amazon or Powell's Books.

See you next week!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tweaker Tuesday: 5.14 "Ozymandias"

Hello, Readers Mine! Sorry for the day's delay in posting here, but Monday kind of got away from me, and, honestly, I needed an extra day to try and wrap my head around Sunday night's episode. After the jump, I'll be talking about "Ozymandias," and take heed, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!!!

Skyler (Anna Gunn) and Walter Jr. (R.J. Mitte) in Breaking Bad 5.14: "Ozymandias."
So. That happened.

Ever since I calmed down Sunday night, I have been trying to remember if I have ever seen an hour of fictional television as gut-wrenching, emotionally exhausting, insanely powerful, and perfect as "Ozymandias," and I can honestly say that I don't think I have - ever. And my TV watching history goes way, way back. I can't really say that the previous five episodes have been slow, and Breaking Bad is rightly known for breakneck pacing towards the end of a season, but there has never been anything quite like "Ozymandias."

The opening shot of the cold open is an extreme close up of a flask of water just coming to a boil, a pretty direct metaphor for what's coming. Yet Gilligan & Co. don't immediately take us back to the howling gunfight that ended "To'hajiilee." Instead, we are transported back to the Pilot episode, only about a year and a half ago in show-time (remember, Walt turned 50 in the pilot, and at the time of the shootout last episode he was still just 51)! And see how much Walt has changed, see how much he has lost. I can't even remember the last time Walt and Skyler exchanged "I love yous." In that simple phone conversation, we see love, trust, and even Joy at the prospect of a future with Holly in it. Walt has a loving wife, a son who adores him, and you know what, times are tight, but the White family is getting by. It's a really, really good life, but Walt has already started down the road to its destruction. After all, he had to get his lie straight before he called.

Fade out on the RV and the boy who was Jesse, and fade in on the fading sounds of automatic weapons.

"My name is ASAC Schrader, and you can go fuck yourself."

For the past five episodes, Walt has been vainly struggling to find the right combination of words, the right way to say them, that will make everyone see things his way, that will explain everything - everything - to every one's satisfaction, and they'll all say, "well, when you look at it that way, yeah, it makes sense. Thanks, Walt." But there is no such magical conjugation.

"You're the smartest guy I ever met, and you're too stupid to see... he made up his mind ten minutes ago."

Hank is dead. And in an act of supremely petty revenge, Walt condemns Jesse to slavery, though, to be fair, he thinks he's just having him killed - after telling him about watching Jane die. Throughout the series, many fans have continued to root for Walt in one way or another, and to justify his actions. But as Walt himself reminds us, he became irredeemable in season 2's "Phoenix," when he sat by and let a beautiful, troubled young girl choke to death on her own vomit, while knowing exactly how to save her, just so things would go the way he wanted them too. Jesse is right, he has become the Devil, and never in the history of television has any character so well earned his eternal damnation.

Yet, there was a before, and we see that in a terrifying final showdown between Walt and Skyler. Because Junior, despite his cerebral palsy, despite being almost certainly weaker and less capable in a fight than his father, leaps onto Walt's back, pulls him off Skyler, and interposes his own body between his knife-welding, enraged father and his mother in the most heart-breakingly noble and radiantly good act in the entire series. Flynn (he's better than the name Walt) is the quintessential good son, a fact that Walt has unhesitatingly and repeatedly used again and again to his own advantage, but in "Ozymandias," he reveals that he is the bravest of them all, and what is more, a good man. In that moment, I loved Flynn more than I have ever loved a TV character, and if you want a bright spot in this mess, that's it. And RJ Mitte pulls it off beautifully, bringing some incredible acting chops to the table. This young man has just had his entire world blown to pieces, his surrogate father has been killed, his biological father has become a deadly danger to his mother and to himself, and the guy steps the fuck up. I'll say one thing for Walter White: he raised a good son. Too bad he's not even a tenth of one percent the man that Flynn is.

But wait, what about how Walt saved Skyler by knowingly confessing and taking all the blame for his actions by spewing hate while knowing the cops were likely recording? And he gave Holly back! Yeah, Walter White's a real prince. Too little too late, and there was as much truth in Walt's ravings as there was self-immolation. Sure he'll confess, so long as he thinks he can get away with it all. There is a part of me that wants the last scene of the series to be Walt dropping his empty M60, having killed everyone, last man standing, only to turn around and have Marie blow his head off. That, or be slowly disemboweled by ravens while remaining conscious the whole time. In any event, Walt has to die. He doesn't get to live.

So Jesse's now slave labor (something Nazis have historically been known for, after all), one of the disappeared (who's gonna come looking for him? Well, maybe Andrea - yikes!!), Walt's in the wind, and I predict that the last two episodes are mostly the tale of Walt52. I even have a sneaking suspicion that the ricin he retrieved in "Blood Money" is for him. After all, it'll take 48 hours to kick in, and I really believe that Walt52 is on a death ride.

I know, I know, this is a much more emotional, fan-boy perspective than I usually offer here, but I just can't get the distance I need from "Ozymandias" to be as detached as I'd like. Remember, Readers Mine, Wanna Cook will provide a critical perspective on the show, but it's also been written by two very hardcore fans, and we are not immune to the spell cast by the finest TV show in history. Two episodes left, and between you and me, I may need a sedative before it's all over!

That's it for this week. I'll see you next Monday, and don't forget to head over to Dale's blog for Walter White Wednesday tomorrow (she's better at keeping a schedule than I am!). And do yourself a favor and go ahead and pre-order your copy of Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Guide to Breaking Bad at Amazon or Powell's Books. You're not gonna want to miss it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Official Cover for Wanna Cook?

UPDATE: Wanna Cook?  is now available for pre-order from Amazon! Beat the rush and order yours today!

Here it is at long last, Readers Mine! The official cover for Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad:

It's getting real now! We'll be in bookstores in the spring of 2014!!!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Meth Monday 5:13 - "To'hajiilee"

Thirteen down and three to go now, Readers Mine. Below the pic, I'll be talking about last night's new episode, "To'hajiilee"(which, by the way, is the name of a Navajo Nation reservation spread across several New Mexico counties west of Albuquerque), so be warned: SPOILERS AHEAD!!! Before that, however, there are a couple bits of cool Breaking Bad news you might have missed. First Breaking Bad will be listed in the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records as the highest rated TV show of all time. To break that down a bit,'s ratings are calculated as "weighted" averages of all reviews to arrive at a total score between 0 and 100. Breaking Bad's calculated score of 99 puts it at the top of all the shows Metacritic has scores for. However, that list only goes back so far and a search on for M*A*S*H under "TV Shows," for example, will return no results whatsoever (though Metacritic gives the film M*A*S*H a score of 69). For more information on how determines its scores, check out the Guardian interview with Marc Doyle, Metacritic's Games Editor. Finally, and in lieu of the normal still-shot, is this beautiful mash-up by Citizen Schwartz:

So Gilligan & Co. gave us a real frelling cliff-hanger this week, but man were there some beau-ti-fool bits in "To'hajiilee!" I was almost snarling at Walt as he brought Andrea and Brock back into the line of fire with his little visit. Did you notice that Brock, who we've seen as a friendly, outgoing kid, really just doesn't like Walt? Now, we still don't know exactly how Walt got the lily-of-the-valley poison to Brock, so it may be that Brock is operating under threat, but I don't think so. It doesn't seem like Brock is afraid of Walt, its just that the kid instinctively knows that Walt isn't a good person. Out of the mouths of babes, as it were, and remember that children have often been the smartest people in Breaking Bad, going all the way back to "Peekaboo" (2.06) and the little redhead who knew what he had to do to survive, and that Jesse was a good guy.

To flip my emotions over, I was literally laughing and saying "Yeah, bitch!" at my TV when Jesse had Walt on the phone, goading him into revealing where the cash was hidden, and Walt was completely suckered. Walt is smart, but he's not nearly as smart and savvy as he thinks he is, because he has such a high opinion of himself that he can't imagine that anyone might be able to outsmart him, so Hank and Jesse's plan works, and Walt swallows it all, hook, line, and sinker. Plus, you know that confession he screamed at Jesse on the phone was recorded, right? And, we got to see the real, naked face of Walter White: "Don't you touch my money!!!!!" Yeah. That's him right there.

Of course, we know Walt gets away with it again in one sense. After all, the cold openings to "Live Free or Die" (5.01) and "Blood Money" (5.09) have shown us Walt walking around free, if not happy, some time in the near future. I have to admit that I saw the ending coming, too. First, Todd and Uncle Jack weren't going to let things go that easily, especially since Walt didn't bother to tell them that the DEA was there. Mostly though, it was Hank's phone call to Marie. The "it may be a while before I get home," and the deep heartfelt "I love you" goodbyes. The scene recalls "One Minute" (3.07) when Hank is on the phone with Marie, having made his peace with the end of his career for beating the hell out of Jesse, and tells her that he thinks they'll be all right and that he loves her. Right before the Salamanca twins show up to try and gun him down.

Only this time, I don't think Hank gets to survive.

For what it's worth, my prediction is that Jesse manages to get away during the confusion of the firefight, and Walt, Todd, Jack, Kenny, etc. bug out when they realize that they've killed two federal agents, while Walt is freaking out about Hank's death. But yeah, I think Hank and Gomez get killed next week. We saw how the Nazi boys were fully stocked with weapons and ammo as they got ready to go get Walt, and there is just no way that Hank and Gomez have the ammunition to hold out until help gets there. I'm around 90% confident in this call, but be aware that a big chunk of that remaining 10% is my love for Hank and really, REALLY not wanting to see him, the true good guy of the show, get killed. 

In real life, however, being the good guy doesn't often save you, and Breaking Bad is one of the more realistic shows when it comes to violence that's ever been filmed. Seriously, Readers Mine, during Hank and Marie's good-bye phone call I said "Goodbye, Hank" out loud to my TV set. 

I guess we'll see next week. In the meantime, give me a follow on Twitter or Facebook for all the Breaking Bad news and fun stuff that crosses my computer screen, and now you can follow me and my "Wanna Cook? Breaking Bad" board over on Pinterest too! Be sure to check out my co-author's "Walter White Wednesday" post later this week too, and check her out on Twitter and Facebook too. See you next week!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Meth Monday: 5.12 - "Rabid Dog"

Hello once again, Reader's Mine! Well, after last night's episode, we're halfway through the final eight with only four more episodes to go. It's going to be really weird to live in a world without any more new episodes of Breaking Bad, but then again, I always knew Walt and Jesse would break my heart. As usual, I'll be discussing last night's episode, "Rabid Dog," after the pic, so if you haven't watched it yet, take heed: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

Skyler White (Anna Gunn) in 5.12 "Rabid Dog"

So I think I called it last week when I said I thought Walt wouldn't be the person to walk in on Jesse before he could set fire to the White house. Hank was my first choice, but I have to admit, I really wasn't too confident, because this show so rarely goes where I expect it to. Still, score 1 for me (which makes a total of 2 for those who're interested).

For me, the two biggest character moments last night belong to Skyler and Hank. Both moments are profoundly disturbing, and more than a little terrifying in terms of the final episodes. First, Skyler has undergone a profound change of perspective from the desperate woman of 5.04 "Fifty-One" when she informed Walt in no uncertain terms that "I will not have my children living in a house where dealing drugs, and hurting people, and killing people is shrugged off as ‘shit happens’," to the woman who last night urged Walt to kill Jesse with a weary "What's one more?" The effect of Walt's falsified confession, which Skyler helped him produce, has been enormous. For Skyler, that DVD marked the inescapable betrayal of everything she ever thought was true about herself. She knows that her relationship with Marie, the only blood-family she has in her life (besides her kids), is utterly destroyed, and unlike Marie's steely determination to see Walt ended, Skyler has no one she can blame, no one she can hate for what she;s done but herself. Be aware that right now Skyler may be the most dangerous person on the show, because, in a way, she has nothing left to lose.

Speaking of Marie, I admit to pumping my fist in the air and hooting aloud when the following went down:

Marie: "Will this hurt Walt?"

Hank: "Yes."

Marie: "Good." [Turns and begins to walk away] "I'm staying." [Jesse's phone rings] "Phone's ringing."  

God I love that woman! And she's almost as dangerous as Skyler at this point.

Which brings me to Hank's equally chilling change. Throughout the series, all the way back to the pilot episode when he made damn sure the school bus was out of the way before ordering his men to take down the meth house, Hank's concern has always been with the safety of others, particularly the innocent. Notice how, when he puts Jesse in his car at Walt's house, he very gently takes the time to make sure he's buckled in. Yet after Jesse's confession (and it appears that Jesse told ALL), when Gomez raises the possibility of there being a real danger to Jesse's life in Hank's plan to send him to talk to Walt while wearing a wire, Hank reacts with disdainful and sarcastic unconcern: "You mean that junkie murder that's dribbling all over my guest bathroom floor?" Gomez's eyes say it all - this isn't the Hank he knows. Hank's bone-deep fury and drive to bring Walt down has pushed him beyond his usual morality, and that's not only scary, but deeply sad.

As for Jesse himself, his sudden confidence at the end of the episode is strange, and I have absolutely no idea what his plan may be, or how he intends to "hit [Walt] where it hurts." Jesse's angry, but he's not quite truly dangerous yet. If, however, Walt's episode-ending call to Todd is truly to put a hit on Jesse, Things may be about to get truly ugly. After all, I doubt Walt has told Todd or uncle Jack that Hank is DEA, and if they track Jesse to Hank's house, then Hank and Marie may well become "collateral" damage.

And that, Reader's Mine, is when Skyler will snap. We'll see.

So I hope everyone here in the US had a happy, lazy Labor Day, and I'll see all of you next week. In the meantime, fell free to follow me here, there, and everywhere - the links are above and to the right. Until next week --

Be well!