So I’ve thought about this column a lot since last Thursday when I posted the first of its kind. I’m not promising that it will be a weekly feature because of time but even before getting on spring holiday, I have noticed I have a bit of free time. I keep busy with plenty of personal projects(1), university work, trying to find ways to make money from writing, and I recently bought a harmonica because I used to play music when I was a kid(2) and I wanted to reconnect with that part of my brain. However I feel like it’s not enough. Sometimes I worry about getting addicted to work(3) but then I have days where I lay in bed for 20 hours straight and my fears are alleviated (sorta).
Anyway one reason I started a blog was because I feel like I have excellent tastes and I wanted to share the things I spend time consuming. Also I feel like writing about the things I consume helps me “justify” consuming these things(4). Either way let me share with you a few of the more interesting things I’ve watched lately.
ROSS’S GAME DUNGEON
I spend a lot of time watching Ross’s Game Dungeon. It’s one of those shows that’s funny and strange and one of my go-to to watch as I fall asleep. This one is one of his shorter videos, for ease of approachability. I haven’t played video games consistently in ages, over a decade, but Ross has a personality and voice that I find so entertaining that it kinda doesn’t matter what the video is about because I’ll probably watch it.
Freeman’s Mind is a series made from the Half-life game following the main character, Gordan Freeman, who is grappling with the cosmic absurdity of his existence and it’s pretty fucking funny. Season 2 episode 1 just dropped earlier this week and it’s good. Go. Seriously this is one time when I’m saying “It’s totally okay to leave my site if it’s to go watch Freeman’s Mind.”
I have to be honest: Civil Protection took a while to grow on me but it’s a show that 100% gets better as it goes on. Some of my favourite jokes come from this show.
I don’t know if you’re reading this Ross, but if so you’re one of the creators I really look up to. You do pretty different things than I do but you’re success is an inspiration to me and you’ve provided me with countless hours of entertainment. Keep up the great work, man.
- I have made exciting developments with “Band of Misprints” (book one in “The Big River Chronicles”) in an intense moment of clarity which always makes me feel like a crazy person, those moments of clarity, which come with out warning and are like remembering a movie I’ve never seen or has never existed yet.
- Piano, guitar, violin, cello, etc.
- Everyone has their one thing (or multiple things) that helps them get out of their skull for a little while and (arguably) most people have a decent idea about “how much is enough” however I am a person who is fatally attracted to extremes. Booze used to be my thing that got me out of my skull for a while but now that I have made the decision that booze is no longer an option, I feel my mind moving around looking for something and trying to keep that “something” from becoming my next fatal attraction.
- Fuck sake, I know I shouldn’t need to justify myself but I think I have a guilt complex about being leisurely. Maybe it’s a compensation thing or maybe it’s a coping mechanism. It’s exhausting being crazy as a coconut with a rock inside (“Why is there a rock inside?” “I don’t know, that’s why it’s crazy!”).
I like the punk rock look. Guy, girl, whatever. A well placed piercing, a few tattoos, and a healthy dislike for the establishment will get my attention and is the theme for the songs I have for you today.
I read the drummer, Matt “Pomade” Gee, from my favourite psychobilly band, The Creepshow, is in a punk band called “Rehab for Quitters“. I already like the drummer in the The Creepshow and the name of the band was funny enough I needed to look it up and Punk Rock Girl was the first song I listened to which inspired today’s post.
Streetlight Manifesto is one of the first ska bands I listened to. My first ska band was a live The Toasters show we got free tickets for from the local St Louis station 88.1 KDHX(1) who pretty frequently gives away free tickets to local shows. This is a cover, the original is by The Dead Milkmen on the album Beelzebubba but I like this version better because the horns. This is my favourite stanza
We went to the Phillie Pizza Company
And ordered some hot tea
The waitress said “Well no
We only have it iced”
So we jumped up on the table
And shouted “anarchy”
And someone played a Beach Boys song
On the jukebox
It was “California Dreamin'”
So we started screamin’
“On such a winter’s day”
Me and Dr. Frank have both decided that we love
Them more than toast
I don’t know if I like anybody more than toast. Wheat toast with butter and strawberry jam(2) has yet to let me down.
- They have this excellent ska and punk show “Ska’s the limit” with JJ Loy on Saturday nights and Thursday they have a rockabilly show called “The Greaser’s Lunch Box” with Al Swacker and you can stream KDHX live from anywhere via their website and whether you’re a St Louis native or not I highly encourage you to do so because they have almost 80 different shows, each about two hours, spanning all genres of music, it’s commercial free, but the absolute best part are the personalities behind the microphones. They’re all colourful and wonderful and funny and interesting and sometimes you really get attached to some of these guys. There used to be this guy, Bob, who had a show Bob’s Scratchy Records. Bob loved hid scratchy vynals and his stories. “Bob’s Scratchy records is a hallucinatory, rabble-rousing radio program that weirds up the airwaves every Friday from 2pm– 4pm on St. Louis’ KDHX (88.1 FM) Bob Reuter takes you on an emotional roller coaster featuring the rawest blues, soul, gospel, hillbilly, rock & roll, and whatever else falls on the turntable.” I had a lot of good times listening to his radio show before he died August 2013. I remember final episode. It was rough. There’s not much left as far as archived episodes but this is my first time hearing Bob’s voice, here at his bandcamp page. The world is a smaller place with out Bob.
- Strawberry jam is my favourite.
I’m trying to read more shorter length books, 200-300 pages, because the last several months, almost a year now, I keep getting invested in these epic 1000+ page books which are generally rewarding do take me so very long not only to read but to digest (I’m looking at you Infinite Jest). In a means towards that end, I restarted and finished a book I started for a class in October, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
Spoiler Free Summary and Review:
The Things They Carried (TTTC) is a war novel but it’s not about war. TTTC is a piece of non-fiction where the author blatantly tells you “In many cases a true war story cannot be believed. If you believe it, be skeptical…In other cases you can’t even tell a true war story. Sometimes it’s just beyond telling.” (70) The Things They Carried is less about a war or about the validity of the stories inside the covers but at it’s heart it’s a story about the things these men carried with them before, during, and after the war. The literal things they each carried, from the stockings of a sweetheart to a fully illustrated New testament bible or simply a big bag of dope, to the memories and guilt and ultimately stories they tell themselves and anyone who will listen.
Generally set in the 1970’s the novel loosely follows Tim O’Brien and his company of fellow soldiers in a non-linear story line. The stories that take place before and after the war are the minority leaving a strange and confusing amalgamation of funny and brutal stories about their experiences over there. The non-linear story structure really works with the content of the story in that O’Brien “[Wants] you to feel what I felt. [O’Brien wants] you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.” (179) and in this way I believe his choice of a non-linear narrative structure has helped convey this feeling that when you’re reading TTTC you are entering a shadowy and crowded room full of ghosts chattering, all vying for your attention but only a few voices come out clearly. Ghosts and memories have no use for time as we understand it. TTTC is a short novel at 236 pages however if you liked it, like I did, there are at least three more books about his experiences in Vietnam (Northern Lights, If I Die in a Combat Zone, and Going After Cacciato).
UPDATE Soz this is late, the wordpress delay publish function is questionable in functionality. Thank you. **
This Is something I drew when I was listening to Cherry Hill by The Creepshow (the art in the music video is not mine). I like when houses and buildings play a role in a story telling. I have a reoccurring set of surreal dreams(1) that involve me exploring a familiar place (parent’s, grand parents, old school, friend’s place, previous apartments etc) but the floor plan keeps morphing but subtly, like off screen left.
I read that many of The Creepshow’s lyrics are based on horror movies so I decided to google cherry hill and learned of the Cherry Hill Murder:
Basically Cherry Hill manour in Albany NY that started out as a farmstead built by Philip Kiliaen van Rensselaer who then later had a carpenter, Isaac Packard, build over the original farmstead and transform it into Cherry Hill manour. “The house combined a Georgian body with a gambrel roof, commonly found on the Dutch Colonial houses van Rensselaer’s ancestors (and indeed many of Albany’s earlier settlers) had built.” (source)
Cherry Hill grew so big as to have a tannery and brewery on the estate plus 17 people(2) living there. One of the couples living in the manour was a John Whipple and Elsie Lansing.
At a local tavern Lansing was approached by a man called “Doctor”, despite being a farm worker he could read and write, whom she would grow very fond of and have move into Cherry Hill. It was later discovered that “Doctor” was actually a drifter, named Jesse Strang but living under an assumed name, who faked his death to get away from his wife and kid.
After passing coy notes via house servants they began an affair which inspired Lansing and “Doctor” to run away to Canada together. One problem: they were broke sorta. Doc had no money but Lansing’s husband controlled her money and they decided to hatch a plan to poison Lansing’s husband via his daily medication.
When this didn’t work they conspired to shoot Lansing’s husband and let the inheritance sort it self out? Honestly not really sure what their end game was at this point because the poisoning could look like an accident but even if this assassination wasn’t almost entirely botched they would probably find it a challenge to sort out affairs.
Doc was found, tried, and confessed to the murder. “Doctor” was executed via hanging and it was messy. The fall didn’t break Doc’s neck and so he hung for an hour before suffocating. This was the final public hanging in Albany.
Since then there has been reports of ghosts sightings which describe a male figure walking around the manour and it’s not clear whether it’s Lansing’s husband or Doc’s ghost.
- I have a few of these the second most popular of which are hair dreams which mostly involves me staring in a mirror marveling at how my hair has miraculously grown several inches or my beard has filled out. Once I had a dream where I “woke up” looking like Logan from X-2. It was a good dream.
2. I don’t know if this includes servants or if it’s plus servants.