About Fin

I an university student at UMSL and will be filling my life long dream to travel abroad via studying at Lancaster University, UK as an exchange student from October 2016 - June 2017. Also, just for the record, I really really dislike Gravitar and would love it if wordpress offered a non-gravitar option.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher (book review)

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone had as good of a holiday weekend as I had (I consider Friday the 13th to to be a holiday and a decidedly not-unlucky day).  After a weekend full of psychobilly and general excitement, I figured given that something equally creepy would be in good  style.  I have been reading The Bootlegger by John E. Hallwas and had ambitious plans to have it finished by Thursday last week and be ready to review today…however as it’s a good book (BONUS MINI BOOK PREVIEW) it’s about as dry as a wrung rag: it’s not dripping with excitement but it’ll do.  What was also adding to the lack of dampness were the other 3 books I was nibbling on the side, Storm Front being one(1) that, like the other books I’ve read in the Dresden Files series have been, ends up being too good to just nibble on(2) (I seriously feel like trying to nurse a Dresden Files novel is like, for me, trying to eat a soft oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, my favourite cookie for anyone taking notes, in no less than 200 bites: I’m not a strong enough man for that).

(NOTE:  My friend Brad Evans, same guy who originally recommended the Dresden Files to me in the first place, wrote a great post on the graphic novel omnibus that covers the first three books of the Dresden Files (including Storm Front, obv) which can be read here: “spoiler free book review dresden files graphic novel omnibus one”)

storm front

Fun Fact: Jim Butcher never mentioned Harry Dresden wearing a hat but there was a miss commutation between him and the cover artist.  I’m glad Butcher gave the hat the green light.

Storm Front begins the Dresden Files, a hard boiled detective noir style story series, which follows a fellow who’s yellow pages advert reads:

Harry Dresden – Wizard

Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable rates. No Love potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

The series falls squarely in the urban fantasy sub genre being set in an okay middle American city called Chicago(3), which this series as a whole plays as an interesting counter part to a similar series (also urban fantasy, also a detective/action series) I read called Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter which is set in St Louis which I may revisit at some point.

The novel opens as one would expect a detective noir story to open: “Hard Luck Harry” sitting in his office killing time whilst waiting for work to come in when something disrupts his waiting

“I heard the mailman approach my office door, half an hour earlier than usual.”
-Storm Front, 1

Which sets an interesting president for use of common tropes for the rest of the novel which, despite how that sounds, is a really “good-interesting” thing.

I do like to complain about over used tropes in books(4) mostly because the fact that a motif becomes a trope is because it works however for it to continue to work in an interesting manour one has to make interesting use of said trope(5) and that’s  something Butcher excels with in this first book.

Storm Front follows the format of a good detective novel: the A-story explores Harry Dresden’s “day life” as a consultant to the CPD Special Investigations unit investigating the mysterious and brutal death of a couple whilst the B-story explores Harry’s “night life” as a private eye on the case of a missing husband.  The character line up is classically balanced with a “good cop, bad cop” duo, a few femme fatales, and a healthy number of potential threats and suspects that intertwine both the A and B stories.

I cannot recommend this book enough, nor can I write much more without spoilers, so with that if you haven’t read this book or any Dresden Files book (they are all in a continuous story line but each book works pretty well standing alone) I encourage you to to treat your self to an excellent read.

Tune in Friday continuing The Adventures of Fin and Louie.

-fin

 

Footnotes:

  1. I’m also reading The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson and Letters from the Underworld by Dostoevsky both of which will get book reviews in the coming months.
  2. Before I started writing this blog I had read a few Dresden Files books starting with Skin Game, which is the current novel as of this writing, and from that first novel I was FUCKING HOOKED! I normally read an average of 100-200 pages in a good week and that book was 454 pages.  I finished that shit in 3 days.
  3. The fact that St Louis consistently lives in Chicago’s shadow despite St Louis’s important and historically significant contribution in the development of the United States and the westward expansion plus the fact that we, as a city, are older than the United States as a fucking country is a constant sore spot culturally for St Louis folk.  At least our baseball team doesn’t suck.

    cardinals

    I’m not even a sportsball fan but that shit’s funny.

  4. Mostly. I generally just accept that most TV and Movies have to be held to a lower bar than the average book (in my personal opinion) however I do deeply appreciate a well crafted movie and watching video essays channels on youtube such as such as Lessons from the Screenplay, Every Frame a Painting,  and Now You See It, that pick apart movies on technical levels of aspects I just don’t appreciate because I have no experience with film making.
  5. I’m not entirely convinced that we can write stories that don’t at all rely on some sort of trope or another since these bits of culturally or historically familiar archetypes seem to help ground the story in literary reality or in a cannon of understood story telling because even some of the most enigmatic stories I’ve read had some sort of possible archetypal understanding of the characters whether it be reading House of Leaves as a modern interpretation of Odin’s addiction to wisdom and Frigg’s journey of self-realisation through disassociation or Infinite Jest’s use of Socratic Dialogues via Marthe and Steeply as mouth-pieces.  I’m  sure they’re out there and I’d love to read one, if you think you know of one feel free to leave a comment or sent me a message.

 

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Friday the 13th (special comic)

Happy Friday!

As I mentioned earlier this week there are some really excellent bands putting on shows this weekend and in celebration of Friday the 13th I made a comic for the band playing tonight with an extra surprise…

IMG_20171011_091349

First comic I’m using coloured pencils versus markers and I’m pretty happy with the results.  

If you see me out tonight or tomorrow night, feel free to say “hi” (it’d help if you explained where you recognise me from, just sayin’).

Tune in Monday for the weekly Mystery (I think it might be a book review, but there’s the mystery: WHAT BOOK?!)

-fin

The Nekromantix (Band)

Happy Wednesday!

Welcome back for a special limited return of Rewind Wednesday(1).  As I promised, this  week’s edition of Rewind Wednesday is some what Hellbound, as in when I found out The Nekromantix are putting on a show at the Fubar this Friday the 13th I decided it was time I worked through their discography proper starting with their first album “Hellbound”.

Nekromantix_-_Hellbound_cover

That hair tho…

In The  Nekromantix’s, a psychobilly band from Copenhagen,  near 30 year existence, The Nekromantix(2) has had an appreciable growth spurt starting with their 4th album “Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend”.  This is not to say that the first three albums are rubbish, because they’re not, as I really love “S&M” on Curse of the Coffin,  “Bloody Holiday” and the titular song on the Brought back to Life (again) album. After that I feel like to date the strongest album is “Life is a Grave and I Dig it”.

220px-Nekromantix_-_Life_Is_a_Grave_&_I_Dig_It!_cover

Life is a Grave and I Dig it – track list

  1. “NekroHigh”
  2. “Horny in a Hearse”
  3. “Life Is a Grave & I Dig It!”
  4. “My Girl”
  5. “Rot In Hell!”
  6. “Voodoo Shop Hop”
  7. “Cave Canem”
  8. “Flowers Are Slow”
  9. “B.E.A.S.T.”
  10. “Anaheim After Dark”
  11. “Fantazma”
  12. “Panic at the Morgue”
  13. “Out Comes the Batz”
  14. “Anaheim After Dark (instrumental)”

There are no bad songs on this album, just songs that are less excellent than the par the majority of the album sets.  The only songs I don’t feel are excellent on this album are tracks 1, 5, 7,  8, 10, and 11 and that’s from one or two passes.  Honestly track one  opens real strong and  is a good song but gets waaaay out shined by the next track (which might be my second favourite song on the album, I really love the “staccato galloping” sound that sounds like spoons or drumsticks in “Panic at the Morgue”).  Overall this is the general pattern for this album, like they knew they had a solid 8 songs and another 6 good ones.   The way the track list is set up, it seems to be the case to me.  1 good, 2 – 4 solid, 5 good, 6 solid, 7 and 8 good, etc.

I’m really excited for their St Louis show this Friday night at the Fubar.  Tickets are $13 and the show starts at 7pm.  Ticket information here.

As if it wasn’t enough that The Nekromantix are playing here in St Louis on Friday the 13th (when I’m available to go and with a hot date) but…

THE MOTHERFUCKING CREEPSHOW ARE PLAYING THE SAME VENUE SATURDAY THE 14TH!!!

If you’re not a regular here, you may not appreciate why my energy levels are so high about The Creepshow but however the short version is they’re my favourite band and I. Cannot. Stop. Writing. About. Them.(3)

I’m also going to The Creepshow’s show the next night, same place and time but tickets are only $12.  Ticket information here.

Tune in Friday for the a special “Friday the 13th” comic (A WILD NEW CHARACTER MAY APPEAR…)

-fin

 

Footnotes:

  1. I’m practically counting this week a holiday week however I have also learned from this week that I cannot keep up with more than a column and a comic weekly plus my other projects plus my day job, with any regularity.  If anyone wants to take up the column though, feel free to contact me.
  2. I’m playing the “proper collective noun game” here because “The Nekromantix” is Kim Nekroman and his Coffinbass (a custom double bass shaped like a coffin with a big black cross for a head) as they’re the sole consistent members of the band over the years.
  3. Counting the current post, this will be the 6th time I’ve written about them:

    My first Rewind Wednesday – “The Creepshow (band)”

    A Sketch inspired by their song “The House on Cherry Hill”

    Another Rewind Wednesday playlist themed on female punk rock lead singers

    Playlist of Punk Rock songs featuring harmonica

    And the last time they were on tour and came through St Louis whilst I was in the UK

Stream of Consciousness Theatre presents: Friday the 13th

Happy Monday!

I’ve always been fond of the day Friday in general.  For example, I was born on a Sunny Friday just past 12noon. Growing up I had an interest in norse and greek mythology and since then I’ve discovered an interest for etymology(1) which has since lead me to appreciate Friday more as the day was named after the Norse Goddess Frigga

Friday (n.)
sixth day of the week, Old English frigedæg “Friday, Frigga’s day,” from Frige, genitive of *Frigu (see Frigg), Germanic goddess of married love. The day name is a West Germanic translation of Latin dies Veneris “day of (the planet) Venus,” which itself translated Greek Aphrodites hemera. Source: “Friday” Etymology Online

 

I’ve always, also, been fond of the number 13 in general.  For example, the number 13 is a “happy number” mathematically(2) but also it makes me happy because it’s the baker’s dozen (there’s gotta be a “test pastry” for the baker, right?).  Fin and Louie also like pastries. 

Copy of Wanted Western Themed Party Invitation Flyer Template   

Given the sum of the parts Friday, a day celebrating love and beauty, and 13 being a number with such happy connotations, Friday the 13th should be a good day.  And it is depending on what you’re taking into consideration.  

friday-the-13th-movies

Given how well this movie franchise has done, I’m starting to question how much Americans actually dislike Friday the 13th


Despite, or rather because, the fact that so many Americans have a stigma for Friday the 13th, it’s one of the best days for driving because the superstitious are less likely to be on the road leaving the rest of us sociopathic vehicle operators which sounds like an amusing day on the road.  However in reality, I couldn’t find statically significant data proving whether it’s a safer day for driving or robbing a bank or anything.  

The main reason this day has any “significance” is because of various rumours and pieces of propaganda throughout history involving legendary figures like Knights Templar and King Harold II and their demise, none of which has any significant historical basis other than in the Christian tradition of demonising non-Christian symbols, mythologies, and deities in a quest for spiritual world dominance (which does have a significant, and rather bloody at that, historical basis).  

These pieces of sensationalist legend about Friday the 13th being a satanically evil day can be called conspiracy theories or propaganda but since they lack any significant factual basis there’s a more modern term appropriate for it: Fake News.  Don’t let people others tell you how you should feel about a specific day because that’s submitting to a form of mind control.  I’m serious.

One of the key challenges for me on a regular basis, and I know that I’m  not the only one who struggles with this, is knowing when and to what extent to question myself and my beliefs.  Over the course of the last 5 years I’ve been forced to examine, dissect, and reassemble almost every aspect of my life (it all started when I turned 24 and I took my first solo trip cross country and realised a few weeks in “What’s my end game here?”).  Welcome to The Quarter-Life Crisis: The Millennial Generation’s individual and collective struggle to find meaning.  

quarter-life-e-card

2 real 4 me

I’ve always been a worker but I haven’t always sought meaningful work.  For the first 5 years of my working life I did whatever made me money and I used to pull in(3).  Then I went off to my second music festival and I came home dirty broke, beautiful, free, and in the mood to quit my job and become a hobo (find work that took me traveling) because despite my new found feelings of freedom I was still trapped just in a cage of a new making.  

The process took years to fully manifest and for me to become deeply aware of what it was that was driving my incessant need to escape.  My first reading of the book Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace was like a light that caught the bars of cage in just a way that sparked my sense of self-awareness.  I began the book 4 months before I decided to stop drinking (for a long while at minimum)(4) and finished it after 3 months sober(5).  One of the motifs in Infinite Jest (IJ) is this concept of “The Cage”.  

“The Cage” as I understand it can be summed up in a joke one of the side characters tells Don Gately, a main character

“Bob Death smiles coolly (South Shore bikers are required to be extremely cool in everything they do) and manipulates a wooden match with his lip and says No, not that fish-one. He has to assume a kind of bar-shout to clear the noise of his idling hawg. He leans in more toward Gately and shouts that the one he was talking about was: This wise old whiskery fish swims up to three young fish and goes, ‘Morning, boys, how’s the water?’ and swims away; and the three young fish watch him swim away and look at each other and go, ‘What the fuck is water?’ and swim away.  The young biker leans back and smiles at Gately and gives an affable shrug and blatts away, a halter top’s tits smashed against his back.” (445)

The way I understand The Cage is not only the physical presence of the water, in this situation I am a fish, but also becoming aware of it’s overwhelming presence and what to do about it.  

IMG_20171009_081240

A fish sticks joke AND a Ghost in the Shell joke? hahaha…I crack me up anyway


Once I became aware of the scope of The Cage, it became very clear to me that I would have to begin the long process of finding what “meaningful work” means to me and then once I’ve defined it, beginning the journey to find (or more likely create) that job.  This blog is a step in the right direction.

Thank you for helping to be apart of that journey.  

Tune in Wednesday for a Hellbound Special Edition of Rewind Wednesday (returning for a limited time, future posting unclear).

-fin       

 

Footnotes:

  1. I can pinpoint the precise moment when I became intrigued by the concept of etymology, of which I had a blithe indifference towards prior, and how a precisely chosen word can  add to the flavour of a text. October 2006, the first time I read House of Leaves and I got to page 114. I posted about it on Labour day a few weeks ago on Instagram.
  2. And this is why I love math and wikipedia: “A happy number is a number defined by the following process: Starting with any positive integer, replace the number by the sum of the squares of its digits in base-ten, and repeat the process until the number either equals 1 (where it will stay), or it loops endlessly in a cycle that does not include 1. Those numbers for which this process ends in 1 are happy numbers, while those that do not end in 1 are unhappy numbers (or sad numbers).[1]

    Or applied to our example:

    13 is happy
    1^2 + 3^2 = 10
    1^2 + 0^2 =  1

    Also, thankfully, the proof for 13 being happy is much shorter than the proof for 7 being happy (I was hoping it wouldn’t be…)

    IMG_20171009_064303

    I gave up after 9 steps. 9 is an unhappy number.

    For more information, see the WolfRam page on  Happy Numbers.

  3. I used to work in speciality retail on commissions and despite my love for the word “fuck”, I made a pretty fucking good salesman (consistently top in the company for the 2 years I worked there).
  4. In spirit of transparency, I was sober collectively for 12 of 14 months and just before returning home to the US I decided I had cleared my head enough to suss out some deeper concerns and now I do have a few beers some times.  I still don’t really do hard liquor except on special occasions.      
  5. Now that I’m thinking about it (this is all strange coincidence) I started Infinite Jest a second time because after reading it for the first time whilst trying to go sober, whilst working full time, whilst going to school full time (English Lit, reading a lot for class), whilst trying to get paperwork and self (mentally, emotionally, physically) ready to travel abroad for a year or so, whilst dealing with an expiring lease and trying to work out couch surfing plans for the month before I left the country whilst trying to think about organising a birthday/going away party at the end of the summer before I left (birthday: 23rd September; fly: 1st October) whilst starting a new blog, I had a lot on my mind.  So after the first time finishing it, most people I’ve spoken to who have finished it think “…what the fuck, man?”, I couldn’t even manage that.  I was pretty sure I had missed literal chunks of the narrative from drunk-over or sleep deprived reading.  I decided to start reading the book again the day I flew (or intended to) and finished it for the second time just after getting home (which was around the same time I same time I decided to crack a cold one with the boys, after getting home that is not finishing the book despite the ending).  

Welcome to Count Rubber’s Keep (comic)

Happy Friday!

I’m going to continue the Adventures of Fin and Louie a couple times a month or so. This is a continuation from the comic “… meanwhile”.

Some day I will get a real set of colouring makers but I’ll always have a soft spot for my WHS marker set.

Tune in Monday for the weekly mystery.

-fin

The Pesthouse by Jim Crace (book review)

Happy Monday!

As I mentioned last week I have for you today a very spirited book review of The Pesthouse by Jim Crace, another one of those books that “…the kind of book that when you finish it, you want to toss it against a wall” however in this context that’s not a particularly good thing and it disappoints me to say that.

The Pesthouse, a post-apocalyptic story set in the United States, opens up with some of the strongest writing in the entire book. Consider the opening paragraph:

“Everybody died at night. Most were sleeping at the time, the lucky ones who were too tired or drunk or deaf or wrapped too tightly in their spreads to hear the hillside, destabilized by the rain, collapse and slip beneath the waters of the lake. So these sleepers (six or seven hundred, at a guess; no one ever came to count or claim the dead) breathed their last in passive company, unwarned and unexpectedly, without any fear. Their final moments, dormant in America.” (1)

However this is from the preface from a character named Nash, who is never revisited and very loosely related to the story in a rather irrelevant way which is a shame as he might have been a more interesting or likable character than the lot Crace has cast for us. Once the narrative proper starts with chapter one page eight, the quality of writing

the pest house

Instead of ‘The Pesthouse’ this book should be renamed ‘The Passivehouse because almost the ENTIRE novel is written in the passive past tense voice.

goes down for me because nearly the rest of the book is written in this slow dead-paced passive voice

“Franklin Lopez had not been sleeping in Ferrytown, though [he had] wanted to. [He had] not been sleeping anywhere, in fact. [Could not] sleep. [He had] weathered such pain the day before that [he had] been forced to consider…” (8) italics for emphasis

Notice in 3.5 sentences Crace uses “had” 5 times (I count conjunctions ie the original quote reads “he’d” and I extrapolated it for emphasis as [he had]) and another passive past tense word “could” once. I’ve had creative writing teachers who would not accept your story if it was written entirely in the passive voice unless it was used for specific reasons (an example that comes to mind is the story format of the frame story where a character, usually a lead is remembering back and telling us [both the reader and the audience in the context of the story] their story complete with

pat rothfuss

Patrick Rothfuss can grow a sexy beard

foreshadowing because of hindsight insight, an excellent example of this story structure executed masterfully is The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss and The Pesthouse does not present a reason for this stylistic choice.

Without giving spoilers, I found the story to generally drag on until about the final act when the story converges with a strange religious sect when both the story and writing quality improved enough to help me push through to the rather anticlimactic ending.

Overall I really didn’t like this novel because it felt like a first draft of something that could have been much more interesting rather than a cash grab at the Post-apocalyptic America-land trend(1). If this was Crace’s first novel, I’d be much more lenient because this novel does have potential to be something more interesting however it’s his 10th novel in 20 years and not only but he’s an award winning author and a member of the Royal Society of Literature. I haven’t read Crace’s other novels but if after 20 years this is what he can produce, I am not impressed.

Footnotes:

  1. Whilst in the UK and talking with one of my friends on the subject of post-apocalyptic stories, she pointed out to me a distinct lack of non-american set post-apocalyptic stories particularly none she could think of taking place in the UK [I failed to remember, somehow, that Children of Men takes place in the UK] and whilst on the subject of the post-apocalyptic trend in media I do want to note that I would really like to see more stories set in places that are not america for a change or maybe more interesting types of apocalyptic events like H.P. Lovecraftian monsters enslave the human race or aliens visit the planet, unbenounced to humans, and grant all the octopi super high tech helmets that allow them to build structures and complex tools which leads them to creating an alien atlantis which then leads them to land excursions and demanding rights leading to interspecies civil war (they create helmets for dogs and pickles and things too), or maybe all the water on the planet turns to jell-o (or jelly for my UK readers) and it’s like a science thriller race against time to figure out a way to turn the jell-o into water again or something fucking original (zombies are cool and I will likely never get my proper fill of zombie media but seriously there are other interesting crisis to subject fictional humans to).

SPOILERS BELOW

Continue reading

Up to Interpretation

Happy Friday!

20170929_090105-1

I’ve had this comic idea for a while, since before I even moved to the city, when I first heard a co worker ask  for a “square”.  This has always been an odd phrase to me, mostly because growing up I thought of a “square” with reference to a carpenter’s  square.  Then talking to my friend the other day she mentioned that it never made  sense that they called a carpenter’s square a “square” rather it should be a triangle or an “L”(1).  Which reminded me of the original question: why is it called a square?

These are carpenter’s squares, though the first one should be called a triangle. It is basic geometry.

 

When I decided to look into the origin of  “square” with reference to “cigarette” I got more than I anticipated.

square google

I didn’t anticipate a 5 etymology word hunt this morning.

The original,  the square, I read from Urban Dictionary “The box that cigarettes come in ressembles a square. Hence the name, “square” for a cigarette.” (Source: Urban Dictionary – smoke a square) however I was cirious as to how many commonly recognised names are there for smokes?

square google

There are a many apparently (source: Smitten Kitten – Slang for Cigarettes)

This list does a decent job covering street etymologies but it reminded me of one slang that’s still rather common, at least in Northern England, “fag” with regard to a cigarette.  For my American readers, you can probably imagine my shock hearing “fag” being used so causally in conversation when I went over to the UK, particularly in front of my fellow American housemate who was a gay man.  I got curious as to how “fag” came to mean both “cigarette” or a gay man, depending on who you asked, and the answer is disturbing.

late 13c., “bundle of twigs bound up,” also fagaldfaggald, from Old French fagot “bundle of sticks” (13c.), of uncertain origin, probably from Italian fagotto “bundle of sticks,” diminutive of Vulgar Latin *facus, from Latin fascis “bundle of wood” (see fasces).

Especially used for burning heretics (emblematic of this from 1550s), so that phrase fire and faggot was used to indicate “punishment of a heretic.” Heretics who recanted were required to wear an embroidered figure of a faggot on the sleeve as an emblem and reminder of what they deserved.

(source: etymology online – faggot n1)

I’m sure you can see the general direction this is headed, or at least I thought I knew where this was going.  I was told whilst over there that faggot began to be used to describe someone who was publicly executed at the stake  however a bit of reading shines an interesting new light on the sad history of the slang word.

The explanation that male homosexuals were called faggots because they were burned at the stake as punishment is an etymological urban legend. Burning sometimes was a punishment meted out to homosexuals in Christian Europe (on the suggestion of the Biblical fate of Sodom and Gomorrah), but in England, where parliament had made homosexuality a capital offense in 1533, hanging was the method prescribed. Use of faggot in connection with public executions had long been obscure English historical trivia by the time the word began to be used for “male homosexual” in 20th century American slang, whereas the contemptuous slang word for “woman” (in common with the other possible sources or influences listed here) was in active use early 20c., by D.H. Lawrence and James Joyce, among others.

(Source:etymology online – faggot n2)

The actual origin of the term faggot/fag with reference to a gay man came into use in the early 20 century when it was used to contemptuously refer to women (a faggot being something awkward which has to be carried).

However to say that the usage of the word “faggot” hasn’t changed since I was a kid, getting bullied being called shit like “faggot” and “gay”, would be a sad disservice to the nature of linguistics.  In our “pop-pc culture” there’s an insistent need to get very triggered over anything slightly offensive which I get, we live in a culture that for a very  long time did not think about intention or cultivate value in being thoughtful with how we express ourselves not just for efficiency purposes but also to raise collective emotional intelligence.

What I get hung up on is how reluctant people are to accept that the process of reclamation is uncomfortable at first and that requires us to FUCKING TALK ABOUT IT instead of this popular notion to talk louder or to “agree to disagree” and avoid any real discussion for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.  For example, I take issue with people who are trying to make claims about curvy being a derogatory term for “fat”.

Curvy (adj)

  1. curved

(Source: Dictionary.com – curvy)

Literally from the dictionary, defines an object as having curves.  It doesn’t make a statement about size until it’s assigned that definition and then why is “big” considered bad? It’s like we live in a fucking Grimm Faerie tale where big = bad = wolf therefore anything big or wolf like (or uncanny(2)) and everyone is both the wolf and little red riding hood depending on who you ask and more importantly this pop-pc culture seems to be label obsessed, which I believe partly if not wholly reinforces this “border war” on what words are acceptable and who can use these certain words which misses the entire point of raising collective emotional intelligence: learning to listen for intention rather than learning to hear keywords.

Next time someone calls you a faggot or says you have a fat ass, try and stop your self before getting triggered and think: what was their intention? Now if their intention was to hurt your feelings, HELL YEA GO FUCKING APE SHIT ON THEM…or like not, but maybe if they’re a decent human being and you’re feeling brave have a conversation with them about that phrase and maybe after a little talking you two may teach each other something.  Cheesis knows there’s already enough free floating confusion and anger out there.

Take care of yourselves and talk to one another, folks.  We’re all in this together.

Tune in Monday for a very high spirited book  review of  Jim Crace’s “The Pesthouse”.

-fin

 

Footnotes:

  1. I’m glad they don’t call the carpenter’s square an “L” otherwise this joke would fall apart because I’m not cool enough to be rolling around with pre-rolled Ls, that’s like next level.
  2. I’m referring to the uncanny as a trope in Gothic Literature where the object of anxiety and fear is manifested in a monster which is frequently somewhere between human and beast (think Dracula being very animistic, think  all were-wolf stories, think Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, think.) as a representation that there are things that “appear human” but are not quite actually human.

Never Let Me Go (Book Review)

ANNOUNCEMENT My housemate and I were attacked whilst riding bikes around South City on Friday night.  After giving our statement to the police they told us there’s been 13 reported assaults (also my friend was robbed and my next door neighbor’s house was broken into all on Friday night).  I know not all of you are St Louis based but if you are please stay safe out there folks.

Happy Monday!

Just before leaving the UK a friend of mine, a fellow foreigner (I being American, her Thai), gave me a few books that she’d read and didn’t want to take home with her when her time came.  My friend she described this and another book, The Pesthouse by Jim Crace (which I will also be writing a review about), as “the kind of book that when you finish it, you want to toss it against a wall”.  I’m not entirely sure what she meant by that, whether she meant she liked or disliked them so much to cause a burst of such passion but these books did evoke a strong emotional response, one in each direction (one good, one poor).  Originally I was planning to do a double review both books seem to tell similar stories but I ultimately nixed the idea because I found I had too much to say about each book.

never let me goNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is what I call a “light dystopian” novel or a novel where the dystopian aspect isn’t entirely prominent in the story’s setting but still plays a vital role in the plot.(1)  The story follows a trio of friends (Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy) from childhood in a boarding school to adulthood in a narrative that can be equally classified equally as an coming of age or mystery or love story.  

 

The dystopia angle of this book wasn’t clear to me from the beginning as it took me until about chapter 7 (p70 – 81) to appreciate what was happening and why, however I believe that subtlety is intentional in Ishiguro’s enigmatic stream of consciousness type writing style presented in Never Let Me Go.  Ishiguro’s attention to detail from the chapter lengths nearly all being a measured 10 pages in length(2) to his ability to weave extremely non-linear story without losing narrative focus is extremely impressive.  

I’m going to be honest: I didn’t fall in love with this book right away but what gripped me from the beginning was Ishiguro’s drumhead tight prose and conversational style that feels so very casual, as if Kathy is just having a conversation with the reader about her memories, that a trick is played where it looks as if storytelling is an effortless endevour that anyone who’s ever told a story can embark on.  However now that I’ve finished the book, in the process it wrung a pint of tears from my eyes, I realise that my reluctance to love this book didn’t come from any lack of quality or resonance but that like the characters in this book, I was holding on to previous feelings about the last book I read (The Pesthouse) and not letting myself be entirely receptive to what Never Let Me Go could offer until it was nearly over.  I say this with intention of being the highest of compliments: I will be re-reading this book at least a couple more times.   

 

Footnotes:

  1. Contrast this with a “heavy dystopian” novel such as The Road by Cormic McCarthy and the distinction becomes clear (or so I hope).
  2. This technique adds to the subtle power of the style by reinforcing expectations for each chapter to be a specific length which when that pattern is broken in later chapters leaves an unconscious impression on the reader.         

***SPOILERS BELOW***
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WANTED: Fin and Louie (2017 Birthday Comic)

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Happy Friday!

Remember last year’s birthday comic?

fin-birthday-comic-final

2016 Birthday comic

Copy of Wanted Western Themed Party Invitation Flyer Template

Keep tuned in, I won’t make you wait another year to get resolution to this story line (maybe just like 300 some odd days, hopefully less).

I want give a big thank you to my very funny friend Chad Wallace, a local St Louis stand up comic, for introducing me to the website postermywall.com which is where I made today’s web in less than 5 minutes and I’m sure it looks like it too however this site is really great for making very fancy and professional looking posters, pictures, invites, and more.

Officially my birthday is tomorrow and I’m having a birthday party which may, according to “a Christian numerologist”, double as an “End of the world” party. (seriously if you need a good laugh, read this article “DOOMSDAY IS COMING” Is the end of the world on September 23” from scarcasticandshameless.com) so you all have my personal permission to GET REALLY FUCKING WEIRD THIS SATURDAY! (This is not legal, ethical, nor moral advise but I think it’s pretty sound advice)

Be safe folks and if the world does end: fuck it dude, it’s been a fun ride.

-fin

Stream of Consciousness Theatre Presents: Letting go

Happy Monday!

Letting go is something I think about frequently, mostly because I have such an issue with letting go (or so I’m told by just about everyone I know).  Shoes are an excellent example.  I’ve never been much of a driver, I briefly had a car(1) for about a year between the ages of 19 and 20, and after I got kicked off my school bus at the tender age

shoes

These shoes have seen hundreds of ran miles, 1000’s of walked miles, 10’s of bicycling miles, 3 countries, 4 states, and countless hours of work at two different jobs since July 2016. 

of eight for fighting too much(2) I became an avid walker and later bicyclist.  However when you walk and ride literally everywhere, coupled with an on-and-off running habit, you chew through some shoes.

 

I need new shoes.  It’s not a problem of money (I do okay between my day job and side work), it’s not a problem of transportation (my relaxed crusing speed is  about 20mph, I like to go fast), and as much as I may bitch about time that’s not it either (I work an average of 40 hours, have a very active social life, and the blog eats up another 15 hours) the problem is: letting go.  For me I develop this ambivalence of disgust and endearment the more beat up and torn and generally wreked my shoes get.

I mentioned getting new shoes to my boss and he said “What’s wrong with you?! Those shoes complete this ‘hobo-chic’ look you got going on.” (3) I still don’t know if he was being sarcastic.(4)  Comments like this don’t help motivate me to get new shoes because I feel like I hold on to things (not just material objects, honestly not even most stuff I hold on to are material(5)) and people and emotions and stories I tell about my self and the things I’ve done and the people I’ve met and known as a way to some how solidify my identity.

I’ve always lived by phrases like “You are what you do” (I work, I am a worker; I write, I am a writer; I create, I am a creator) and “You can tell a lot about a person based on the company they keep”(6), and my favourite “You can learn a lot about a person based on their shoes”.  Sure they’re cliche but I feel like they’re bits of wisdom that resonate with how I shape my identity.

I work for a living and my shoes reflect that.  I’m not bothered with material possessions and my shoes reflect that.  I rather be underestimated so I can surprise people and my shoes reflect that.

Logically I know I’ve well gotten my money’s worth from this pair(7) and I also know that winter is coming.

winter is coming

The idea of Jon Snow shoveling my sidewalk is as funny as it is hot.

Soon my shoes will be new and so they will say different things about me.  I’m pretty adaptable and don’t usually resist change but letting go of some things like old shoes, old friends, incompatible partners, toxic feelings, and all the other things we feel we deserve mostly because we’ve invested so much time and effort in them is hard even if we consciously recognise their less than productive effects.

The one thing I’ve struggled with the most in this regard, referring to letting go, is recognising that time invested does not equate to quality of investment whether that be relationships (friends, family, partners, etc) or literal investments of things (such as shoes).  I am learning to let go, slowly, because I believe it’s going to become a critical skill to my future as an entrepreneur and a generally healthy human being.

Speaking of letting go, tune in next Monday when I post my review of “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro.

-Fin

 

Footnotes:

  1. 1988 Corsica, she was a beast.  Lived for a solid 20 years before she got too decapitated due to, honestly, poor upkeep from both my father then me which is the story of how I bought a car for $1 once.
  2. I got bullied a lot (surprise surprise) and I don’t take shit (chat shit, get hit).
  3. I’ve had more than a few partners tell me “I don’t know why but you have this kinda dirty look about you that’s really fucking hot even though I feel like it shouldn’t be”.  I don’t know how I feel about all that but I have kinda embraced the whole hobo (not to be mixed up with a bum, hobo’s work for a living but they travel where the work takes them) thing over the years.
  4. I struggle with sarcasm for some reason which was another layer of culture adjustment when I was in the UK (Little known fact: Sarcasm, not English, is the primary spoken language in the UK).
  5. I’m a practicing minimalist.
  6. I’m actually in the process of re building my social life to surround myself with people who are ambitious and self motivated, as I am, and aspire to be bigger than them selves (being in and contributing to a community, starting a community, etc) because one think I remember reading from some hokey “self-help” books was that you will only be as successful (on average) as your most successful acquaintance.  If you surround yourself with lazy bastards, you may resist but you’ll never get full support.  Surround yourself with like minded ambitious and motivated peoples and you’ll find inspiration and support everywhere.  Then whilst you grow, then you’re able to give back support and bring in new young people in the fold.  Rising waters raises all ships.
  7. I have to buy nice hiking shoes (like $100 minimum) due to my active life style otherwise I will eat through 2-5 pairs a year depending on quality (nicer shoes, maybe 2 pair; cheapy shoes, closer to 5) and it over all comes out to the same price however if I spend a bit upfront, I make one shoe run a year, if I go cheapy I will be running to the damn store ever few months and I will always feel like my shoes are always fucking falling apart.