WANTED: Fin and Louie (2017 Birthday Comic)


Happy Friday!

Remember last year’s birthday comic?


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.



The Things They Carried (book review **SPOILER FREE**)


Happy Monday!

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).


Continue reading


Alcatraz vs The Evil Librarians (Book Rev)

Happy Monday!

A few weeks ago I wrote a review of Serial Reader (full review here) and in my review I mentioned having an unofficial and non-intentional avoidance for kindle readers.

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 trendsetter. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Source: Serial Reader (app review) footnote 1

However since then my friend has given me his old kindle fire with the book recommendation “Alcatraz vs The Evil Librarians”


So today’s post has 3 parts:

  1. An update on Serial Reader (I have found more bugs since the initial review)
  2. A review of the book Alcatraz vs The Evil Librarians
  3. Initial impressions of the Kindle Fire

Update on Serial Reader:

I’ve gone through a few phones since I wrote about Serial Reader(1) and one thing I’ve noticed is that I have trouble signing into my account across devices despite the “forgot password?” feature.  The issue this brings up is that when you have to “re-create an account” (I literally had 3 accounts under the same email, same password) you lose your place in your book(s) and have to wait until the serial catches up to where you were in your book UNLESS you get a premium membership (pretty reasonable at about 3$) however the issue remains: IF I CANNOT SIGN IN, I CANNOT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT PREMIUM OR FREE-MIUM.  This being the case, I’ve lost my place in the two books I was reading(2) a couple of times each.

Also it had this relatively minour/inconsistent bug where it doesn’t keep my place.  It most often happened when I finished a chapter and then the next time I came back to read, it started me at the end of the last chapter instead of where I was into the next chapter.

So all things considered, I can recommend Serial Reader if you’re not going to change devices anytime soon but because of this issue I do have trouble recommending it for purchase.

Alcatraz vs The Evil Librarians Book Review:

Alcatraz Vs The Evil Librarians is about the titularly named character, Alcatraz Smedry, who is really good at breaking things.  Not like being clumsy or destructive, in fact Alcatraz makes a very specific distinction between “break” and “destroy”\

There was that word again. Destroy. I felt my hair bristle in annoyance. I don’t destroy things, I thought. I break them. They’re still there when I’m finished, they just don’t work right anymore.

Page 9

Shortly after accidentally burning down his foster parents’ kitchen we’re introduced to the eccentric Grandpa Smedry who reveals “Yer a wizard Alca…” No I’m sorry that was uncalled for, this book isn’t a Harry Potter knock off.  For one thing, this book is much better(3). These books are very self aware in the currently fashionable post-modern style which includes that Alcatraz will speak to the reader directly and frequently, often noting how this being a story about his life and him as a character.  We learn that the world we know is under the rule of a network of evil librarians (though why they’re evil is never fully explained…) and that there is another world somewhere around ours (I suspect it’s an “occupies the same space but not the same time” kind of situation but again, not entirely explained in this first installment) and it’s up to the extended and extensive Smedry family to recover Alcatraz’s father’s life work: The Sands of Rashid (which was stolen by the evil librarians).

I’ve mentioned before about my general reluctance to get involved in book series that span more than 1200 pages and/or 3 books however this series started and ended so very strongly that I’m interested in at least reading the next couple of books (there’s a total of 5 books and book 2 and 3 would have to be pretty amazingly bad for me not to try and power through the last couple of books).  I will be taking a break on the series for a couple of books (variety keeps me going) but stay tuned because I do plan to review more as the series goes.

Thoughts on the Kindle Fire:

It’s pretty brilliant.  I am a bit reluctant to admit it, it’s like admitting to liking Taylor Swift (just her early stuff, like most songs before the “Red” album), but I’m coming out and saying that I like it a lot so far.  It just has too many damn features that I love, like the blue light mode, the highlight and note system, even the fucking cover is brilliant. The only things I kinda don’t like is that it’s a little too “COME BUY EVERYTHING! We’ll make it obnoxiously easy…” however I guess that’s apart of its brilliance.  In Google/Amazon we trust (in a capitalist society, who needs governments anyway? I’m sure someday when Google or Amazon, if one doesn’t buy the other first, buys the US Government, Okay Google/Alexa will be happy to answer my question).



  1. I’m really rough on phones.  I blame my first phone, an old sprint sanyo , mostly because it was a fucking tank.  I got that phone just as I graduated high school and it went through a litany of punishment, including one time where I played beer pong

    This phone was a tank.

    with it, and it JUST. KEPT. GOING.  I appreciate that phones have gotten much more complex and fragile since then but it seems to come at the cost of being so damn fragile.

  2. The Sleeper Awakens by H.G. Wells and House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson
  3. I read the first 2 Harry Potter books and really just couldn’t get into them.  The movies were okay. I’ve seen them all once because of my kid sister otherwise I probably would have quit them too after movie 4 I think.  I remember there was a lull a bit around half way through the series.




Thoughts on the story:

“‘…we’re here to interfere! We’re trying to overthrow Librarian domination of the Hushlands, after all.’ ‘Why not just let people live their lives, and live yours?”

Page 112

This is an excellent question and one that gives me the feel that these Smedrys are acting as “world police” liberating people, who didn’t ask for it, and with out regard for the consequences of crumbling a regime that in, the cannon of this story, is fairly peacefully and the further consequences of the sequential awareness of said “evil regime”.  Alcatraz frequently mentions things like “I am no hero” and “I am not a good person” which makes me wonder if this is a foreshadowing of a moral crisis he will have later in the series.

“Do you have to have a point if you’re an evil sect of Librarians?” Bastille asked with annoyance.

Page 145

This begs the question: Does evil have a “point”? (read: purpose) or more generally does any morality have a “point”? This, being a quote from one of the “heroes”, goes unchallenged which does trouble me a bit because it implies that Bastille, a native of The Free Kingdoms and a child still, has never been challenged to think about WHY librarians are evil and if there is a purpose to the things they do.

“The Scrivener [the founder of the evil librarian cult]. He taught that the world is too strange a place — that it needs to be ordered, organized, and controlled.  One of Biblioden’s teachings is the Fire Metaphor. He pointed out that if you let fire burn free,it destroys everything around it. If you contain it, however, it can be very useful. Well, the Librarians think that other things — Oculatory powers, technology, Smedry Talents — need to be contained too.”

Page 145

This is an interesting philosophy but one that’s kinda one dimensional.  The deal with fire, both in reality and as a metaphoric symbol for society, is that in small amounts it can be sustained without burning everything in sight without oversight.  Once a fire/society gets beyond a certain size, it can/will grow out of control without oversight. Now to continue this metaphor, a small fire may be able to contain it self but it hasn’t enough energy to do much whereas a large uncontained fire has enough energy to do a great many things but without oversight it will consume everything in sight which would be an effective waste of said energy.  It comes down to the debate between Anarchism and Statism. Anarchism can work in societies up to a certian size but beyond that size it falls into a “Lord of the Flies” brutalism just as Statism works on large societies but when applied to too small of a society it becomes a sort of fiefdom. I’m not saying absolute of either works in any size society but a blind acceptance/rejectance of an opposing ideology is generally foolish.

“Librarians named mountains after themselves — just like they named prisons after [Smedrys].”

Page 158

Still not sure of the significance of this but it’s certainly interesting.

“So, my parents game me up so that they would make a spy out of me?” [Alcatraz] asked.

Page 293

This is some fucked up “the ends justify the means” shit here.  I am more strongly suspecting that The Free Kingdoms have some more problems than is let on in this first book.

What did you expect? That [Grandpa Smedry] would leave [Alcatraz] here all summer, in the exact place where your enemies know where to look? With people that aren’t even your family? In a place you don’t really like, and that is depressingly normal compared to the world you’ve grown to love? Doesn’t that seem a little stupid and contrived to you?

Page 306

Damn…that’s got to be shots fired at Harry Potter.

Okay folks, that’s all I have for you today.  I’m working on finishing the “Looking for a Friend” story arc in The Adventures of Fin & Louie.  If you’re interested in catching up on back issues, they can be found on my new page: The Adventures of Fin & Louie



Ramshackle Glory – Live the Dream (album review)

Happy Tuesday!

live the dream

Ramshackle Glory is the final band that Pat the Bunny was in/started before he retired in 2016.  Pat seems to write albums that are heavily autobiographical, this one being no exception. Pat the Bunny is one of those artists that I discovered in the last couple of years where from the first album I listened to by him, Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains, I thought “HOLY FUCKING CHEDDAR! This kid has a goddamn voice!”  I mean that both literally and lyrically, like if you listen to Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains (link here) his lyrics are deep but his voice is so “ugly beautiful”.  He is also one of the few artist who has made me jealous because when I started doing research into him, I found out the bastard is like MY FUCKING AGE (I turn 30 this year, for the record). Jealous not because of the life he’s lived, honestly I have pity for the unexplainable amounts of pain and drama he must have experienced, but for the depth of his ability as an artist.  Sometimes life is just but it’s usually never fair.

your heart

This is my favourite song, I might even get a tattoo of this image at some point.

Speaking of just and fair, Ramshackle Glory’s first album deals heavily with ideas of freedom particularly with regard to the things which hold us back such as grief, substance abuse, and political against. This isn’t to say Pat doesn’t have a sense of humour, which can be seen from his track titles “We Are All Compost in Training”, “Vampires are for Poseurs” and “First Song, Part 2” and lyrics like “No one needs to tell me how to get (get get) down // But won’t somebody show me how to get back up? // I thought about killing my landlord, but he was pretty nice// Instead, I paid my rent on time as often as I could” and “Who needs brakes when it’s all down hill from here?”\

Album Summary:

Live the Dream is Ramshackle’s first album is a folk-punk memoir concept album about presumably Pat the Bunny (the lead singer) and some of the friends he mentions throughout the album, specifically Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist.  The half of the album is a sort of descent into what seems to be a deeply low but ultimately growing period in his development as a person and an artist which said growth is gradually built up in the second half of the album. The second half of the album is both rhythmically and lyrically more uplifting and progressing through to the climax song (which is also my favourite song) Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist and the the outro song “First Song, part 2” which can be seen as a “redemption song” opening with “I took the needle out of my arm about a year ago today// ever since then i’ve been taking the needle out of my brain”.  Overall it’s a rough but excellent album well worth listening all the way through for the appreciation of both the self referential and narrative lyrics starting with the lyric from the first song “But nothing’s been quite the same since you shot yourself” which seems to be a reference to Chuck in Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist.

Track List:

live the dream 2

Live the Dream (full album)

  1. First Song (lyrics) (2.27)
  2. More About Alcoholism (lyrics) (2.43)
  3. We Are All Compost in Training (lyrics) (3.18)
  4. From Here Till Utopia (Song for the Desperate) (lyrics) (6.40)
  5. Never Coming Home (Song for the Guilty) (lyrics) (4.04)
  6. Vampires are Poseurs (Song for the Living) (lyrics) (2.50)
  7. Of Ballots and Barricades (lyrics) (1.44)
  8. Bitter Old Man (lyrics) (4.18)
  9. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist (lyrics) (3.40)
  10. First Song, Part 2 (lyrics) (3.20)

Song Notes:

First Song

  • But nothing’s been quite the same since you shot yourself

I don’t know if you believe in ghosts; I hope you’d haunt me if you were one

More About Alcoholism

-(I fully realise the irony of not having any notes about this song)

We Are All Compost in Training

From Here Till Utopia (Song for the Desperate)

Aren’t big enough for the vowels that

I try to fit inside of them (IOU)

  • When I was young, I drank too much, and I’d be lying if I said

I didn’t feel so goddamn young tonight

  • Like if freedom means doing what I want

Well, don’t I gotta want something?

And won’t you tell me that we want something more than just more beer?

I’d be out of excuses for the way

I waste away in the gutters that I chose desperate but not desperate enough

  • Because there’s gotta be something more

Than lying in the front yard, naked, screaming at the constellations

I want something more than an apology to say

When I look the world in the eye

I’ll tell you, man, my friend William came to me with a message of hope

It went: “Fuck you and everything that you think you know

If you don’t step outside the things that you believe

They’re gonna kill you.”

He said: “No one’s gonna stop you from dying young and miserable, and right

If you want something better, you gotta put that shit aside.” i love this

Never Coming Home (Song for the Guilty)

The lights are on, you’re standing up screaming at a ghost again

Darling, I’m home, hell I ain’t left this house of ours in days

But I’m not here. I never am, so I just can’t stay this song is so sad

Vampires are Poseurs (Song for the Living)

  • You could set a watch by the bottle returns and the ashtrays overflowing on the floor I love this  line, also i love the sound at this part of the song

-one of my favourite songs on the album (close to your heart)

  • I hope we choose the right war

Cause I’ve been fist fighting gravity since the day I learned how to breathe

I still wake up on the same cold floor I fell asleep on

So I won’t, but we shall overcome someday

I can’t do it alone, but I shall be free someday

I don’t know how to live, but I’m sick of learning how to die very nice

  • But the past was a mine field, and right now is a prison break

I hope we make it alive so nice

Of Ballots and Barricades

There have been thieves since there’s been property

And the way will come again when none of those things are around

I just hope it’s before people go extinct hahaha

Bitter Old Man

-catalonia 1936 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Catalonia

How could they?

Full of naive optimism;

A teenager’s heartbreaking conviction that

Things can be different, oh yeah

Things are gonna be real different when we’re finished ’round here

Fuck me man

Except when it isn’t, yeah

I woke up this morning and

I wasn’t in prison

But I can’t promise that I’m far from it

I’d still kill a man for cigarette

But with friends like you, who needs homicide? Shift in the song

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist

-my favourite song on the album

-a collection of friends and their stories he has had over the years

  • “Scott, I love you and you make me glad to be alive

I promise that I’m gonna pay you back

You always know how funny everything is

Even when I’m so serious that it’s gonna be the death of me”

I promise that I’m gonna pay you back

You always know how funny everything is

Even when I’m so serious that it’s gonna be the death of me” this is a perfect summary of my relationship with my best friend Evan (I love you bro)

First Song, Part 2

A year ago today” full circle, redemption song

I’m still an atheist

But I try to have faith in the things that will happen;

I get saved from myself when i do

So maybe “god” isn’t the right word, but I believe in you” this  gets me





Hungry (The Adventures of Fin & Louie)

Happy Friday!


Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher (book review)

Happy Tuesday!

Okay guys, I admit that things got a bit weird last week with my Valentine’s Day post (The Golden Ass: A Valentine’s with Something for Everyone) but to your, very likely, welcoming this week I don’t have anything nearly as topical nor as weird (but if you like weird, trust me there is plenty of weird left in the tank).  No this week I have something fairly pedestrian in comparison to last week’s book, something more fantastical but in the traditional way.

This book, Furies of Calderon(1), is another series from the wonderful and imaginative Jim Butcher (best known for The Dresden Files books, I wrote a review of the first book in the series and can be seen here: Storm Front by Jim Butcher and my friend wrote a review on the comic omnibus which covers the events of the first three books here: Spoiler Free Book Review Dresden Files Graphic Novel Omnibus One).  I got this book as a xmas present from my best friend Evan and was extremely excited when my other reader friend Marc told me the backstory to the conception of this series:

How did you come up with the original idea for CODEX ALERA? We’ve heard rumours that it involved a bet on whether you could combine the Roman empire and Pokémon… is that true?

The bet was actually centered around writing craft discussions being held on the then-new Del Rey Online Writers’ Workshop, I believe. The issue at hand was central story concepts. One side of the argument claimed that a good enough central premise would make a great book, even if you were a lousy writer. The other side contended that the central concept was far less important than the execution of the story, and that the most overused central concept in the world could have life breathed into by a skilled writer.

It raged back and forth in an ALL CAPITAL LETTERS FLAMEWAR between a bunch of unpublished writers, and finally some guy dared me to put my money where my mouth was, by letting him give me a cheesy central story concept, which I would then use in an original novel.

Me being an arrogant kid, I wrote him back saying, “Why don’t you give me TWO terrible ideas for a story, and I’ll use them BOTH.”

The core ideas he gave me were Lost Roman Legion and Pokémon… Thus was Alera formed.”

(Source: “Jim Butcher chats about Pokemon, responsibility, and Changes” by Beth Johnson, guest reviewer for fantasyliterature.com)

See this series hit a golden triad of nerd-topia for me: Jim Butcher style fantasy, anime, and action/adventure.  Plus after being recommended by two different reader friends who’s tastes I trust to be closely calibrated to mine (but both of their tastes are heavier on the fantasy side, I’m more of a realism/so-fucking-weird-it-leaves-you-wondering-what-you’re-doing-with-your-life kinda freak(2)), I knew I was in for a treat.

Furies of Calderon is an early Jim Butcher work, or at least it feels like it.  Being published in 2004 he had a few Dresden Files under his belt and his experience shows in this book however that’s not to say there are no flaws with the inaugural piece in his 6 book series(3).  This book has some imperfections which doesn’t hold it back from being an excellent fantasy adventure by it self but does keep me from being driven towards the 2640 page commitment that entails the rest of the series.

So O.K. Corral style here is my thoughts on the book: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly style.

The Good:

Even this early in Butcher’s career he’s really good at misdirection or leading this reader to think that things are more grim than they are but still leaving clues to the observant to keep it fair. Let’s take an example from the second chapter after Alera and her mentor Fidelius are captured by the enemy and in a compromising position:

Aldrick drew his sword and said, “The old man [Fidelius] isn’t necessary.” He went outside the tent.

A moment later, there was a sound not unlike a knife sinking into a melon.”

(Furies of Calderon, 24)

At this point we as the readers have developed a 1.5 chapter (24 pages) bond with Almara and Fidelius and then we are lead to believe he was executed stage left however we later discover that he was faking his death and there was a literal melon being stabbed to simulate the sound of a man being cut through the gut.  It’s small details like this that make me appreciate an author more because they’re thinking about the reader’s experience reading the book a second time.

Butcher also does a good job at inciting curiosity such as only partly explaining how the “Fury magic system” works, who some characters are like (Fade? Aldrick? The fucking furies mapentire Marat “species”[are they even human?!]) and locations like most of the map beyond “Vallis Calderon” specifically what lies beyond “The Shield Wall” (okay, I admit to being a “Game of Thrones” fan(4) and I guess I’m conditioned to have curiosities about a mysterious northerly wall).

The Bad:

Okay so Jim is capable of bad writing, as I learned from this 650+ page novel.  Thankfully the bad isn’t concentrated in parts like books I could mention(5) however the mercy is spread among hundreds of too many pages in a couple of paragraphs segments:

[Pirellus] was lean with hard, fat muscle, and bore a slender, curved sword of metal blacker than mourning velvet in his hand.”

(Furies, 477)

Goddamn that’s a deadly sexy description of a serious swordsman.  This is our introduction to one of the most deadly swordsman in the cannon (as far as we know) and he was challenged by one of our main characters, Almara (as we have met from chapter one) however Butcher kind of ruins the sexy tight writing he showed us with spoon-feeding the reader exactly how deadly this Pirellus is

Pirellus was a master metalcrafter, one of the finest swordsmen alive. If he chose to engage in the duel, he could kill [Almara], and there would be little she could do to stop him. And yet it was necessary. Necessary to convince him of her sincerity, necessary for  him to know that she was willing to die to get him to act, that she would sooner die than fail in her duty to Alera, to Gaius. She stared at his eyse and focused on the task before her and refused to give in to her fear or to let it make the sword tremble at all.

(Furies, 480)

Notice this isn’t the beginning of a paragraph nor even close to the last page where we got a very distinct description of the swordsman and his prowess. It’s three pages later of sword-waving (in the metaphorical sense, Amara is a biological woman after all) and a very long paragraph of describing how deadly this Pirellus is, we are FINALLY granted some action (a page later mind) and that’s not even between her and her perceived adversary.

This nicely segues into my final and main complaint about the book which is a general complaint across most of the book but becomes most evident after page 490: the book is too long and accomplishes too little.  I’m inclined to believe Butcher was paid by the page/word for this novel because the “climax” of the book was about 150 pages and the falling action was around 20 pages). In almost 700 pages, Butcher accomplished what could have been finished (with some tight editing) in around 400 pages (give or take, I didn’t count strictly but even given space for world building, there’s still a significant amount of purple text even for a fantasy novel(6)).

The Ugly:

Thankfully there’s not much of this here.  Butcher does make some minor mistakes that did bother me (such as using too many similar names in the same story arc IE Aldrick grrm diesand Asturak, having some flat characters on both the “good” and “bad” side such as Bernard and Kord respectively, having places mentioned by name in the narrative but not appear on the map, etc) however the worst of the lot was at the end of the 150 page climax Butcher pulls a a GRRM and kills just about every character we’ve been following in this  book including my personal favourie, Fade (for the mystery mostly but also he has the best name in this  book) which is a pretty bold move.  Except that it wasn’t.  As the magic system works in this series there are healers who are capable of reviving people from the dead but it’s only available to extremely strong and experienced healers which even then it’s risky to both the healer and the patient.  So after this  long drawn out battle which has left everyone injured, dead, or otherwise indisposed, somehow there’s a healer available who can revive like 6 people (I don’t have the book in front of me but I can think of at least 3 people who are “killed”) which effectively tells me as a reader: THERE ARE NO CONSEQUENCES! DON’T WORRY NO ONE REALLY DIES!

Final Verdict:

This is a solid, if long, fantasy book.  I have read much worse and I have read much better.  The problem I have is that, like a blog post series, the interest nose-dives after the first installment and I won’t say I fully understand the loss of interest in every case but I can say I understand my personal loss of interest in this series beyond the beginning and that’s largely to do with the pacing of the novel and the ability for watercrafters (the healers of this magic system) to be able to reverse the condition of death even with seemingly-dire-canonical-implied-risks which ends up in being a Chekhov’s Gun full of blanks.  It’s almost like a GRRM book except remove the lasting implications of tragedy.


I in no way regret reading this novel regardless of my apathy to continue with the series in general.  If you like high fantasy and like Jim Butcher’s works you’ll very likely like this book however if you’re like me and kinda borderline on fantasy or generally a slow reader (my main reason for not reading more fantasy novels) you might be best off renting it from the library or generally passing on this novel.  It’s an interesting world with some interesting characters but Butcher wasn’t able to cut enough fat for me to remain interested for the remainder of this series.



  1. I keep mis-reading/mis-typing this title as “Furries of Calderon” which has an entirely different connotation. furry test
  2. A good example of the realism I like is the “dirty realism” of Bukowski (see my reveiws of Bukowski’s “Post Office” and “Notes of a Dirty Old Man”) and a good example of “o-fucking-weird-it-leaves-you-wondering-what-you’re-doing-with-your-life” is Infinite Jest by the late David Foster Wallace).
  3. I am sorry to disappoint however I will not be reviewing all 6 books in this series, which is to assume I will finish all six books.  I very likely will not for reasons that will be outlined.
  4. I specify “Game of Thrones”(GoT) versus “A Song of Ice and Fire”(ASoI&F) because as I’ve read and deeply enjoyed the first two ASoI&F books, I was warned of way way too much purple text (filler content) come book 4 and 5 whilst when I just finished ASoI&F book 2 was when GoT season 2 was ending and it seemed like a good point to segue between the book series and the HBO series.
  5. See The Pesthouse by Jim Crace book review
  6. I appreciate that due to the nature of the fantasy genre, more time and text needs to be invested in developing the world however that does not give license for the author to be redundant in descriptions nor to drop 200+ word interior monologue thought processes of the characters we are following. Let there be some blanks that my imagination can fill, please.

The Golden Ass: A Valentine’s Day Novel with Something for Everyone

Happy Tuesday!

Okay so Valentines day is tomorrow.  I have expressed how seriously I take this “holiday”(1) in the past.

However as a shameless self-promoter and a young writer/artist desperate for ever more attention as a form of validation (for a struggling artist, everyday is like being single and drunk on Valentine’s day: an emotional fucking roller coaster), I always try to jump on whatever will grab me more traffic without completely whoring out my “talents”.  Which this time of year means writing something about Valentine’s day.

This post started out as a simple etymological exploration of the English word “love”(2) and myth of Eros and Psyche, particularly inspired from the brilliant video from Overly Sarcastic Productions: Miscellaneous Myths: Eros and Psyche.

Then I remembered: this is OBOP what’s so offbeat about writing about “love” during valentines week? It’s onpoint but not offbeat.  So I. Dug. DEEPER. And what I found was…really interesting.

the golden ass

The book in question this week is one that, like the word “love”, has a few different faces and lacks the simplicity that a four letter word seems to promise.

NOTE: I haven’t read this book in it’s entirety yet.  I’m working on it but I couldn’t finish it in time however I promise this will not be the last time I visit t his unique piece of literature.  I have big plans for this rare volume.

There are more than a few interesting(3) things about this novel other than it’s rather lewd title.  The first being is that the original title was “Metamorphosis”, which as far as I can tell has very little to do with the Kafka novel of the same name, but then was renamed by St Augustine of Hippo to the more appropriate “The Golden Ass”(4) and the second is that this is the only novel from the Grecco-Roman to survive in it’s entirety.  Some one cared to make sure that this piece of literature survived the fall of the Roman empire.

As promised, The Golden Ass is about an Ass or more specifically about a man who is driven by curiosity and the desire to learn about magic and accidentally turns himself into a donkey and then goes on adventures.  These adventures include adultery, witches rasing a familyreplacing a man’s heart with a sponge, golden showers, murder, necromancy, , thievery, kidnapping, anonymous sex with an invisible being, animal cruelty, catamite priests, cuckolding, incest, and bestiality.  These are just the highlights, folks.  Truly something for everyone.

Now if you’re still with me, you might be wondering “Fin: what does this lewd and strangely appropriately titled piece of ancient literature have to do with Eros and Psyche?”

One of the inset stories in The Golden Ass is Eros and Psyche. I feel like the entirety of The Golden Ass, rather than one hand-picked and relatively tame piece, does a better job of reflecting the complexity, beauty, and occasionally taboo aspects of love.  Love, for me, in every capacity from romantic to platonic has many different forms and facets.  Sometimes love is beautiful, other times it’s gross, but most often love much more complex than just a couple of star-crossed lovers who get a lovely ending or the loyalty between individuals who have grown together and die together.

Happy Valentine’s day.


STAY TUNED: The next comic in The Adventures of Fin and Louie is coming soon (probably this week), it’ll be the second to last comic before the end of the “Looking for a Friend/Count Rubber’s Keep” story arc.


  1. Valentine’s day started out as a guilt trip from a Saint named Valentinus (there are two, no one knows who it was about originally) who, according to legend, was marrying Roman soldiers illegally, they took vows not to be married, and then healed the judges blind daughter.  The judge ruled to against the Saint and the Saint wrote a farewell note reading “Farewell, your Valentine”.  At best, being someone’s “Valentine” is like a passive aggressive death curse or something.

2. Which does have an interesting and complicated history which reflects it’s relatively sloppy application because of how ambiguously it can be used from sports (Tennis) to phrases like “for love or money” roughly meaning “for anything” which it self has revealing implications of motivations.  If you’re interested, read more here: “love” etymology online dictionary

  1. I recognise that one of my weaknesses as a writer is the over-use (I prefer “liberal”) of the word “interesting” however this is one of those posts where “interesting” might be the best word to use liberally to talk about this ancient novel.

  2. I understand that St Augustine of Hippo was not, publicly, a fan of Metamorphosis and likely nicknamed the book a less polite title as a way to smear the reputation of the book.  I think the title is an improvement because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have looked into this book in the first place.


“It’s A Trap!” (The Adventures of Fin & Louie)

Happy Friday!


Heya heres the newest panel in The Adventures of Fin & Louie.  Try to ignore the writing around the comic.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m back on the road so I’m back down to one notebook for literally everything.

I’m not sure if this interests anyone but sometimes I wonder how much real artists rely on visual references or how closely they follow those references (if they use them).  Anyway here’s my visual reference for this panel.

dark castle hallway

Now before you stomp all over my face and say “YOUR VERSION LOOKS NOTHING LIKE THE ORIGINAL YOU FUCKING FAKER” keep in mind that I’m not going for photo-copy replication.  I personally just need visual references for scale/perspective, some texture/pattern ideas, and everything else I just make it up as I go.

Stay tuned, there’s only a couple more panels left in the “Count Rubber’s Keep” arc.  I will, someday, re arrange the website so that all the comics are in one place and in chronological order.  It’ll probably be close to the end of this story arc.

Also I don’t know if you’ve seen but I’ve begun a video log of my life as a western bound nomad.  I’m flying out to San Diego Sunday and today my friend from Thailand offered me a place to stay, so I have a new goal to get out to Thailand by September for my 30th birthday.  Who knows, this might be the beginning of my “around the world in who-cares-number-of-days” adventure.  Besides, I do have a lot of friends to visit in Europe and Thailand is one step closer back to Europe.  I’m pretty deeply optimistic and excited about this whole situation.  Thank you to Elaina who inspired me to leave the country in the first place, thank you to Rico for bringing me back to St Louis, thank you to Morgan for inspiration and motivation, thank you Marc for kicking my ass over writing, but most of all thank you Evan for being my rock, god knows I probably would have given up or went back to being a drowning work from home deep sea diver if it wasn’t for you.

Anyway come watch some of my video logs, they’re getting better.  Here’s the newest one.

Anyway stay tuned! The next time I post maybe from San Diego.  Wish me luck!



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.



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.



  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.



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.