Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Bukowski (book review)

Happy Wednesday!

I wrote about a Bukowski novel before, Post Office, which sometimes I kind of wish I kept my copy of but ultimately it wouldn’t make a difference since I’m once again on the road.  Much like Bukowski himself, I’m a ragman who has a penchant for writing and being frequently called insane.  When I saw another Bukowski novel at the local goodwill, I snatched that shit up.

I will be the first to admit, I can be kind of a dumb bastard sometimes.  When I began reading Notes of a Dirty Old Man, like most other books I read, I went in corpse cold: no preparation just going in and seeing what happens.  This has lead to some confusion over the years because I’ll begin reading a book and think “HOLY SHIT! What the fuck am I reading? Is this a work of fiction?” or “Uhh…is this supposed to be a comedy because this guy’s monologue about suicide is kinda funny” or similar oddities.  I  know this is easily fixed, I do frequent wikipedia, but I think that would ruin some of the experiences I have with books for me.  Either way this happened again with Notes of a Dirty Old Man.

When I began reading Notes I thought maybe it was an experimental novel given its broken and non-sequenced pieces, the lack of proper capitalization and a general lack of obvious structure.  I was trying to find connections between Bukowski recounting beating the crap out of his friend “Elf”, a baseball playing angel getting his wings butchered off, and philosophical waxings at the race track before one day recently (I started Notes months ago, but took a break to read a book my now-ex-girlfriend highly recommended then the hiatus continued when my best friend gave me a few books for xmas and then after finishing one of the books I got for xmas [“Briefing for a Descent into Hell” by Dorris Lessing, which is phenomenal for the record, review coming someday] I really felt a need to get back to Notes) I looked up the wiki article on Bukowski himself and discovered that the novel I’m reading is a collection of pieces Bukowski wrote as a column for an independent newspaper called OPEN CITY.  Sudden a couple of things made more sense however even after completing this novel and doing some research I still think there’s plenty that’s unknowable about this book.

I’m not including a spoilers tag in this book review because I don’t know if there’s anything to spoil about this book but here’s what I feel one should know going into the book, if you’re that kind of person:

  1. Bukowski is a bastard.  Accept it or don’t but you have been warned.
  2. Bukowski is a drunk, a drifter, and has no apparent moral compass.
  3. Bukowski is very sexually deviant in his writings.
  4. If you’re the sensitive type who requires “trigger warnings” FUCKING RUN AWAY.  I’m serious you will not be able to handle his works particularly this book.
  5. Don’t feel bad for laughing at necrophilia, suicide, or murder.

Given these things, you may start thinking to yourself “Chessis Christ, what kind of person are you if you can identify with Bukowski?” and you’d be accurate in thinking this.  I have no answers.

Here’s some quotes that I liked from this book:

“Eliot Mintz — he’s like a kid’s accordian: no matter how you squeeze him you get the same sound” (24)

“every man is afraid of being a queer. I get a little tired of it. maybe we shouldall become queeers and relax.” (33)

“(by the way…I realize I switch from present to past tense, and if you don’t like it…ram a nipple up  your scrotum. — printer: leave this in.)” (37)

“…I’ve  got an old saying (I make up old sayings as I walk around in rags) that knowledge without follow-through is worse than no knowledge at all. because if you’re guessing and it doesn’t work you can just say, shit, the gods are against me. but if you know and don’t do, you’ve got attics and dark halls in your mind to walk up and down in and wonder about. this ain’t healthy, leads to unpleasant evenings, too much to drink and the shredding machine.” (49)

“…the world makes madmen (and women) of us all, and eventhe saints are demented, nothing is saved. so shit. well. according to my figures I’ve only had 2500 pieces of ass but I’ve watched 12,500 horse races, and if I  have  any advice to anybody it’s this: take up watercolor painting.” (50)

“‘Love’ is something you need penicillin for.” (59)

“The next guy that calls money ‘bread’ should be paid off in whole wheat.” (59)

“there is only one place to write and that is ALONE at a typewriter.” (77)

“God got out of the tree, took the snake and Eden’s tight pussy away and now you’ve got Karl Marx throwing golden apples down from the same tree, mostly in blackface.” (83)

“this is the way a Loner ends up: dead alone. dying alone. a Loner should get ready early.” (90)

“there are times when insanity becomes so real that it isn’t insanity anymore.” (125)

“some cunt had decided to stay with me — that was love, that was bravery. shit, who could really stand me? anyone who could stand me had a lot of forgiveness of soul. I  just had to REWARD this sweet, little dear deer for having the guts and insight and courage to stay with me.
what better reward than to fuck her in the ass?” (181)

“When Love becomes a  command, Hatred can become a pleasure.” (206)

“I’d rather hear about a live American bum than a dead Greek God.” (207)

“love arrives and departs without notice.
is it possible to love a human being?
of course, especially if you don’t know them too well.” (221-2)

“…sometimes you just have to leave those crazy broads and get yourself back together. There’s a certain price on pussy that no man will pay; meanwhile, there’s always another fool who will pick up  the one you’ve dropped, so there’s really no sense of guilt or desertion.” (254)

The next comic in “The Adventures of Fin and Louie” coming soon.

-fin

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Video Log #4: “Is there a dog?” “Yea maybe”

Happy Tuesday!

So I’ve run across a spell of good luck since yesterday morning.  I found a place to stay  until I leave and this place happens to belong to an editor for a publishing house (ie she let me go on about my novel for ages and had some interesting input) AND she makes a mean Manhattan(1).

I met my host at my favourite dive bar, The Heavy Anchor(2), which had a clothing swap a few weeks ago and Jodi (one of the owners of The  Anchor) offered me to look through the left over clothes which ended up being a real blessing because I got to upgrade some of my rags and obtain some much needed accessories such as a scarf, blanket, and sleeping pants (women’s sleeping pants but they’re warm and comfortable none the less).

Overall morale boosted from 4.5/10 to 8/10.

Watch the full video log here:

I finished Notes of a Dirty Old Man yesterday and plan to write something about it this week.  Now that I have a quite place to work, I may even get some drawing done too.  Interview transcript with Osiris Green from Wreck the System will come next.

-fin

Footnotes:

  1. My favourite cocktail which consists of 2 parts whiskey, 1 part sweet vermouth, a dash of bitters, a maraschino cherry, and orange zest. I have no idea what recipe she used, but it was very fine.

  2. The Heavy Anchor is a south city bar in st louis. If you’re ever in the area, stop in and say “hi”  to Jodi or Josh for me.

Video Log #3 I really need to stop picking my face during these (surprise ending)

Happy Monday!

I’m anxious because tonight is the first night I believe I’m on my own as far as finding a place to stay. Shelters are full up because of the weather, it’s literally snowing, and I’m without a sleeping bag. Morale: 4.5/10 (10 = this is the best day of my life; 1 = I’m really close to giving up).

Video Log #3 here:

My primary plan is to sleep as much during the day and find a 24 hours fast food place to stay and write at night. Failing that I will walk around muttering to myself trying to keep warm until the Metrolink starts again or something.

Hope to post again tomorrow.

-fin

Video Log #2: TIL you shouldn’t try to buy a plane ticket with a prepaid card and other stuff

Happy Sunday!

Heya so it’s Sunday and the last day of Game Jam at the local University which also means the last day I have a place to sleep and stuff to eat, which is the bad news BUT the good news is that I have my plane ticket sorted out now, thanks the best brother from another mother I could have Evan.  And even more good news is I’m leaving 4th February rather than 6th February which works well since my bus pass expires 2nd February.

Anyway I posted my second Video Log today which you can find here:

 

On a side note, I watched this wisecrack video on a few of my favouirte things:  Bojack Horseman, Rick & Morty, and Nihilism last night.  Link to the video here:

It’s an interesting view, the view from the cliff edge looking into the dizzying abyss.  It helps me sleep knowing that no matter what we do, what sort of constructs we subscribe to, or any sort of meaning we try to assign to anything that nothing can change the fact that no one exists on purpose, humanity can’t stop the eventual heat death of the universe, and that each individual is essentially alone in consciousness.

When one stops trying to assign meaning to life events it really frees up a lot of processing power for other projects and thought exercises, such as writing and other artistic endeavours.  “Sure the universe provides, it provides a space for us to exist for and some strange things to look at until we die.  The ability to recogonise this doesn’t make you special, it just makes you a high functioning sentient being.”

I plan to post more content this week, seeing how much free time I have now.  I think I will be able to post the next panel in “The Adventures of Fin & Louie” and I hope to have time/ability to write something about “Notes of a Dirty Old Man” which is a collection of  the pieces Charles Bukowski wrote for the small news paper Open City.  Bukowski, talk about a fucking Nihilist, cheesis fucking cheddar.  However his writings do fit this week’s theme though.

Anyway will post again soon.  Check out my youtube channel, link here: Fin Louie Channel to keep updated, and I refuse to say some stupid shit about smashing or up thumbs unless it has something to do with sex.

-Fin

ANNOUNCEMENT: Starting a New Series on YouTube

Happy Saturday!

Heya folks, my life has always been somewhat interesting but things have gotten rather intense recently leaving me in a situation without a house (I struggle with the concept of “home” but I do know it’s not as simple as “the place where you have a roof over your head” however that’s what I’m currently with out, ie I’m “house-less” but as I am facing the very likely possibility that I’ll be sleeping rough in my own home town this next week, I feel like I am quickly approaching “home-less” as well).  This will very much affect my ability to post with any regularity, as if it wasn’t already spotty since I got back from the UK…

Anyway, I am starting a video log series on youtube which I have yet to come up with a good title for where I will be posting a 5-10 minute long video as often as I can talking about what I’m working on, where I am, what I’m reading, and whatever else I feel like talking about.

I’m including a link to my youtube channel here: Fin’s YouTube Channel

I hope to capture and share this deeply nihilistic humorous vein that runs through my life and in sharing this darkness with you, I hope it brightens your day.

Remember folks, enjoy what you have whilst you can, take nothing for granted.

Stay tuned, I will be posting a transcript of my interview with Osiris Green from Wreck the System soon. I will also be posting the full interview to my YouTube channel as well.

-Fin

Wreck the System Releases New Album “Wreckfest”

Happy Monday!

Heya folks earlier this year I had an amazing time at my first nerdcore show in

MEGARAN

One cool dude.

Manchester and scored an interview with some new and some familiar nerdcore rappers including Mega Ran who is in the super group “Wreck the System”.

 

 

 

After that Wreck the System reached out to me to do a press release for their music video “Link with a Link” which if you haven’t seen the video yet, have a listen.

Wreck the System released a new album this week called Wreckfest.  Wreckfest is a concept album about a few friends going to a comic con and Ian, the main character, is going for the first time.

Each song takes us through the experience of the three day convention through both their catchy lyrics and outro sketches at the end of many of the songs.

Here’s the official trailer to their new album.

 

 

Serial Reader (app review)

Happy Monday and happy New Year!

Being a broke university student (formerly) and a broke professional writer (currently) it probably goes without saying that I am a big fan of free books.  Last year whilst going to uni I was told about Project Guttenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/) which I primarily used to read books in the public domain.

Public Domain Books

A public domain book is a book with no copyright, a book that was created without a license, or a book where its copyrights expired[20] or have been forfeited.[21] Every book and tale written prior to 1923 (or 1947 in most countries) is in the public domain, among them, every book written by Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe and H. G. Wells. (source: wikipedia “public domain”)

However as much as I love and support the work Project Guttenberg does, I have always struggled to find a good Project Guttenberg reader app for my phone/tablet.  I have tried the Guttenberg Books app for android and (SURPRISE: DOUBLE APP REVIEW) it’s awful.  It frequently crashes, looses my place in books, has a very poor search function, and generally kind of drives me insane but as per the hardness of my head I toughed it out with the Guttenberg Books app for a year.

borderland

I love this cover art.

Then one day whilst reading this really brilliant book called The House on the Borderland and after loosing my place in the book several times in the first 50 pages (I read slow AND have a job AND a family, it’s hard for me to put down more than 5-10 pages in a sitting), I got really fucking frustrated.  This frustration drove me in, what I anticipated would be a arduous hunt for the right reader app that wasn’t kindle(1), to the digital pages of “Serial Reader: Classic Literature in 20 Minutes a Day”.

The idea behind Serial Reader is that each book available in the app is “subscribable” meaning that each book you subscribe to is broken into chunks that are under 20 minutes to read (I have yet to see any over 15minutes in my feed but I only subscribe to one book at the moment) which is usually about a chapter, and each book you’re subscribed to is sent to you in a daily “issue”.  It’s a well established tradition in literature to release novels in serialised episodes, this is how Wilkie Collin’s classic detective novel “The Moonstone” was originally published in Charles Dickens’ newspaper (yes, that Charles Dickens) All The Year Round and Dickens himself even earned his literary success with the serialisation of his novel The Pickwick Papers.

Serial Reader is itself simple and easy to use and has a minimum of bugs (there is this one where it remembers my previous stopping point but when I swipe the next page it

IMG_20180108_115504

I love these features.

jumps back to my actual stopping point, it’s my literal only complaint about the app) and has wonderful little features like being able to highlight and take notes on text in app but the features that are my FAVOURITE are when you highlight a word or phrase, a prompt pops up asking if you’d like to define or look up on wikipedia IN APP(2) which leaving a reader app is the number 1 reason I don’t look up the definition of more words or look up the wikipedia entry on unfamiliar phrases.

There are other minour features such as progress bars, badges of reading completion, and a variety of fonts (this is a surprisingly great feature, I’m not usually a font person but I really like “OpenDyslexic”), which are great but most of them didn’t leave as much of an impact as being able to define/wiki a highlighted section of text in the app.

Overall if you’re looking for a Kindle alternative, again I am no authority I have very little experience with the Kindle reader despite hearing near universal praise, Serial Reader is an extremely solid choice.

Feel free to share with me your experiences with Serial Reader and/or other reader apps (including Kindle, I guess but I get enough feedback on that from literally every other reader in my life) in the comments below.

Keep reading, folks. Even if it’s in 20 minute chunks.

-Fin

Footnotes:

  1. I really don’t know why I have had this unofficial kindle reader boycott, maybe it’s because I avoid apps that want me to enter payment information or something.  I think it’s a money-fueled-fear aversion. Or maybe I’m a trend setter.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  2. Okay so results may vary, as I discovered whist writing this.  The copy/define/wikipedia/etc feature works on my LG android phone but doesn’t seem to work on my MI phone.  Screenshot_2018-01-08-11-55-54-298_org.mschmitt.serialreader