WANTED: Fin and Louie (2017 Birthday Comic)

Featured

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

Advertisements

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

Featured

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.

things

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).

**SPOILERS BELOW**

Continue reading

Blood Rites by Jim Butcher (Flash Impression)

Happy Monday!

blood rites book cover

Summary

So in an effort to try and get the “flash” back into these “flash impressions” I’m going to try and stick with this format of listing the “A, B, C Story” for the summary.  The way I figure, you’ve probably read this book and really this helps section out the pieces of the story. If you haven’t read this book, then I’m not entirely sure why you’re here? I mean, if you were looking for something to figure out if you wanted to read this series, let me say: yes. Go now. Read. (but first stay around here and read a bit because traffic numbers).

A Story: A wild Black Court Vampire appears!

B Story: Protect the Porn Stars!

C Story: Who the Fuck is Thomas?! (I felt there was a theme going here, ie the “?” and “!”)

Thoughts

(***spoilers ahead, duh***)

This book, more so than most of the previous seems to be split into two parts. Part one: puppies and porn stars; part two: white and black (court) vampires.  This isn’t to say that the white and black court vampires aren’t present in the beginning of the book (they are there from the beginning) and that the puppy or porn stars go away half way through the book (they just play a smaller role).  However it’s somewhere around the time when Dresden, Thomas, and Lara square off against the three black court vampires when the porn star part of the book ends.

Speaking of the fight with the black court vampires, I think I’ve read the best fucking death scene in the series.  Like easily so far in the series and I will go on record to say it might be the best death scene in the series up to Skin Game.  I’m not going to spoil it (it was a pretty fowl way to go though) but I will say it made me laugh so fucking hard that not only was I crying (all whilst at work) but I literally had to both pause the audiobook and rewind because I was missing parts of it over the volume of my laughter.  Overall the entropy curse makes for some pretty great deaths even if the rest of the funny ones were off screen, regardless the award for “Best Deaths” goes to Blood Rites. (insert best deaths award meme)

Now back to the puppies.  The book opens with maybe the best opening line of the series so far, “The building was on fire, and it wasn’t my fault.”

I personally feel like this line is Dresden in a nutshell: “I like playing with fire and I know it totally looks like it’s my fault since I’m running away from the scene of the crime, however it’s not what it looks like. I promise.”  Now the reason the building is on fire is because Dresden is saving a box of puppies from a horde of demonic flying monkeys flinging their poo, which is on fire, after Dresden. You’d think “Huh, what big bad are we going to encounter that commands a fleet of flying monkeys who likes stealing puppies? Are we going to finally see Dresden fight a pop-culture-villain-who-is-just-different-enough-to-dodge-copyright-laws?” The answer: no(t yet).  I thought this was a rather bold move because not only do we never see these monkeys (or their master) again in the book but also the person who hired Dresden to save the puppies is never seen again either even though not all of the puppies were recovered. The missing puppy grows up to be mouse and holy. Fuck. He is the cutest puppy in literature. He has three scenes that just stick out in my mind like a scene from a movie. The first was when Karen agrees to dog sit Mouse and he’s playing with a little Snoopy doll, which is a nice call back to book two, and with Snoopy in his growling shaking jaws he stops and sees Dresden and tail starts wagging.  The Second was when Dresden placed Mouse in the back seat and was fighting a sock and was loosing. And the the third was towards the end just before Murphy’s family picnic when Mouse is in Harry’s coat pocket and hears Karen’s voice and starts wrestling around making funny shapes of the pocket until his little head pops out of the top. I kept finding myself unable not to smile in about every scene Mouse was in.

Speaking of heartfelt scenes involving the puppy, the scene where Dresden insists on soul gazing Thomas as proof that they’re half-brothers was heartbreaking.  Since the beginning of the book, chapter two maybe, Dresden has been contrasted with Murphy and her ambivalent feelings towards her family gathering, specifically seeing her mother, the contrast being that Dresden doesn’t have any known living family and therefore cannot relate going as far as to call Murphy’s complicated and irrational feelings “familial dementia”.  Fast forward several chapters back to the soul gaze and for the first time we get to see Harry talking to his Mother, even if it’s a construct from Thomas’s memory, which was a tear-jerker but then after the soul gaze Dresden’s reaction that he finally has what he kind of always wanted, someone to call family, he and Thomas have a happy-sappy reaction which causes puppy Mouse to come bounding over and jump up and down wagging his tail wanting to join in the joy even if he didn’t at all understand why.  Puppies + feels = all the warm fuzzies. 

I believe my last thought is mentioned right around the time of the soul gaze/half-bro reveal, which is something Thomas says that house Raith children are taught to memorise: “When every star in the heavens grows cold, and when silence lies once more on the face of the deep, three things will endure: faith, hope, and love.” This coupled with a quote from Butcher saying that the final trilogy of his books will be called “Stars and Stones, Empty Night, and Hells Bells” makes for an interesting juxtaposition being we may be given the theme for each of the final books: Faith, Hope, and Love.    

One last note, as of the events of the end of this book, the being known as “He Who Walks Behind” is now back in the mortal realm.  This is the same creature that Dresden’s adoptive and generally piece of shit parent, Justin, summoned to kill Dresden. Dresden was the last one to banish “He Who Walks Behind” however “He Who Walks Behind” has made a vow to come back for Dresden.  Just something to keep in the back of our, collective, minds.

Conclusion

Blood Rites is an extremely solid book and lays the groundwork for future plot points which both advance the overall story and build the world in equally amusing and complicated ways.  The ending of the book was a particular a stroke of mastery by having Thomas move in, Dresden decides to keep the puppy and muses about how his apartment might be small and growing smaller but at least now he has people to fill it with and capping the book off with the line “Why did you get large breed Puppy Chow?”

Stay tuned for next week when I finally cover the second book, Fool Moon or as I have taken to calling it: the bastard child of the series.

-fin

Flash Impressions: Death Masks (book 5 of the Dresden Files)

Happy Saturday!

death mask cover

Summary

It’s impressive how Butcher seems to create an increasingly big story whilst maintaining a very episodic format which is making these summary sections equally increasingly intimidating however here’s the simplest version:

A Story: The war with the Red Court vampires continues

B Story: Dresden is hired by a vatican priest to find the death shroud of jesus (meme of jesus face on toast “It’s kinda like this but not edible.”)
C Story: Murphy consults Dresden about a man who died from all the diseases. At the same time.

Thoughts

(***spoilers ahead, duh***)

So this entire time I’ve been using my go to reference site, wikipedia, whilst completely ignoring the fandom site Dresden Files Wikia.

dresden wikidresden wikia

The plot on wikia is much more comprehensive, good for me since I have short memory, and the “new plot points” feature is really brilliant for keeping track of important events and when they happened.   

This might be me not being as observant from the beginning however it seems like Butcher is getting really pro at pacing by using the A, B, C story formats and introducing each story line in as many chapters.  However I can’t decide whether having the A story run parallel but relatively separate to the intertwined B and C stories is a strength or not but it does work to make the story feel so much bigger whilst at the same time helping keep the episodic storytelling format.(1)

We finally meet the other two knights of the cross, I believe it is mentioned before this book that there is a knight for each nail from the cross (2 for the hands + 1 for the feet = 3 holy swords) which makes for an interesting piece of lore building and by the end sets up the possibility for Butters to become the next knight (as per skin game).  I personally think that Sonya’s sword, Esperacchius or the sword of hope,(2) and back story of being an atheist and former Denarian (a possessor of one of the 30 silver coins, each represents a fallen angel en service to Nicodemus)(3) may prove an interesting potential parallel for Dresden, now that by then of the book he posses one of the coins and is taking a noticeable darker turn in his character (it’s light in this book but I will point out the more details in later books where it has become so stark that it’s striking).

Speaking of parallels, there has been some interesting parallels drawn between Dresden and Marcone from the beginning.  Part of me sees them as balance characters in the way Batman and The Joker are, as in even the “good one” is still a vigilante psychopath enacting justice at his personal discretion with little-to-no oversight(4), where they

batman joker

I think I’m still somewhere in between Puberty and Adulthood.

contrast each other in their methods however hold the same core values. Batman and The Joker: One bad day can change everything for a person; Dresden and Marcone: Do no harm to children. However part of me sees the seeds of darkness growing in Dresden and as the series progresses there are an increasing number of times where Dresden saves Marcone and vice versa or (my personal favourite) Dresden and Marcone work together against a big bad because it suits both of their interests (even if their interests are not mutually shared) which both happens at the climax of this book leading to my favourite Dresden/Marcone scene (roughly paraphrased):

“Michael attacks Nicodemus. Dresden to Marcone: So what’s the plan? Wait for Michael to distract Nicodemus and shoot Nicodemus in the back? Marcone to Dresden: Yup.”

Whilst I’m on the subject of Marcone, it is interesting to FINALLY see why he was after the Death Mask (he lays it on a young child in a hospital across town whom we later learn was a kid caught in the crossfire of him and a rival gang leading to his “no children” policy) which begins to humanise Marcone.  I personally really like Marcone and want to see more of his character in the series because I believe there’s so much more to his character that’s still a mystery.

The rest of my thoughts are kinda miscellaneous:

-we first meet Nicodemus and he will appear every fifth book (apparently)

-I guess Susan is knocked up during the rather erotic bondage-ish scene in Dresden’s apartment after the brush with the Denarians at the Art Show because by Changes we learn that Dresden has a daughter with Susan.

-the battle at Wriggly field was confusing because I thought Ortega pulled his gun first and that Kincaid saw that he was cheating and shot him but it was actually Martin which may be a homage to the whole “Did Hon Solo shoot first?” debate seeing how often Dresden references Star Wars or it could be because I’m listening to them as audiobooks and mostly listening to them at work and misinterpreted the entire thing. Either way it was a really cool fucking scene.

-Dresden has a denarian coin buried under the concrete of his sub-basement which I thought was going to play a much more minor part in the story however in the future books Butcher has made it clear that that isn’t a “remember this for later” detail but plays a regular and active role in the next few books(5)

Conclusion

This series keeps getting better.  It’s kind of weird. I keep expecting Butcher to “cap out” at some point but every time I finish a book I’m like “fuck that was great, how does it get better?” and then it does.  I’m trying to wrap my brain around it without building up unrealistic expectations (I mean I really had serious concerns about this after the events of the next book: Blood Rites).  

That being said: tune in for my flash impression of Blood Rites or my alternative title: “Puppies, Porn Stars, and Vampires”

-fin

Footnotes:

  1. This is in contrast to many of the fantasy series I’ve read, which I make no claims to be an extremely well read fantasy lit fan (Sword of Truth, Wheel of Time, The Engineer’s Trilogy, is all I can name off the top of my head), where each book feels less like an episode in the series and more a direct continuation of the story as if the entire series could be a single book if that was a publishing possibility.  
  2. Michael wields Amoracchius or the sword of love and Shiro wields Fidelacchius or the sword of faith.  
  3. There are 30 coins to represent the 30 pieces of silver Judas was paid to betray Jesus which at the time was about 5 weeks worth of pay or adjusted for inflation about 30-cent-judas-sells4200 USD. (source: Mark Harrison, IT Consultant, once and future CTO answering, “How much were the 30 pieces of silver Judas received to betray Jesus worth in today’s money?” at www.quora.com) Like seriously, I’m not a Christian but Judas is a dumb bastard because he could have asked for way more fucking money.  It was like he accepted a particularly small sum just to be a jackass.  However I guess if there were like 1200 Denarian coins, that would put Dresden in a really hot spot. 
  4. I guess the Police or the Justice League are that universe’s form of “oversight” for Batman and other more questionable DC super heroes however how much power does the Justice League have over Batman when he has a secret dossier on each member which includes a detailed plan on how to kill them and similar problems with the police as in they don’t know his secret identity and even if they did Bruce Wayne is so fucking rich he probably already has a small army of lawyers on retainer to prevent any sort of “police crackdown” on the Batman anyway.  
  5. I’ve been having trouble with laptops lately (I’m on number 5 in 3 weeks), which makes me worry that maybe reading the Dresden Files is aggravating my natural technological Murphian Field (I am not intentionally rough on phones and laptops and computers however they have historically had less than a friendly relationship to me, as in I cannot keep a phone or laptop alive for longer than a year. However phones have been getting better, I recently had a phone for 2 whole years but laptops still tend to crap out on right around month 12-15). You know what they say though, “Fifth is a fucking charm.” Anyway my intention was to write one of these after I finish each book however I’m almost finished with book 8 “Proven Guilty” as of today (8 september 2018).      

Flash Impressions: Summer Knight (Dresden Files)

Happy Thursday!

summer knight cover art

Alright folks, I’m powering through these books like crazy thanks to audible (this isn’t sponsored, however if anyone for audible is reading this I don’t yet have any sponsors).  I finished Summer Knight a couple of days ago and what a fuckin trip it was.

Summary

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

 

Basically Dresden is approached by a beautiful woman as a client whom we later learn is Mab, the Winter Fae Court’s Queen, about the murder of  who we later learn is the former Summer Knight. In the meantime the White Council is converging in Chicago to discuss the implications of the war they believe Dresden has started between them and the Red Court Vampires when he barbecued several of their members including a noblewoman, Bianca, whilst under the social contract of being a “welcomed guest” (supernatural beings, particularly the ones who live for very long times, are very sensitive to the customs of “host” and “guest” responsibilities(1)).  Dresden didn’t want to take Mab’s case but the White Council inadvertently pressured him into it (accept or die) as it would forward their own interests in their own war. Dresden takes and solves the case which leads him getting deeply involved in a war between the Winter and Summer Fae Courts and ultimately ends up, mostly, getting over Susan in the interim (or at least beginning the road of healing).

Thoughts

So we finally meet Elaine which for me, like a being who sees time as a whole rather in a sequence due to my introductory experience with the Dresden Files, seemed like a long time coming because I kept hearing about Dresden’s first love but had no context to who she was.  This seemed rather appropriate because, from what I’m told, exs tend to magically pop up when you’re going through a post-break-up apathy and you end up looking much worse off then they left you or something. I don’t know much about this since for some reason or another I never run into my exs.  

However I do know plenty about how rough the apathy of a post-break-up can be, the last one sent me deep into a downward spiral where I hit rock bottom but unlike the NOFX song “It Ain’t Lonely at The Bottom” it did hit back hard enough to send me half across the world on a journey of self discovery and generally trying to avoid having to pay rent for a while so I could focus on my writing and rebuilding a life.  I didn’t exactly fight an existential war involving elemental beings and forces threatening my life however the way Butcher portrays Dresden’s decent and first step towards recovery, I was able to relate in rather unexpectedly emotional ways.

This existential war between elemental forces, The Winter and Summer Courts, threatened the entire existence of life on Earth which Dresden playing a key part in helping to restore the balance lead to a line between Dresden and another character who darkest timeline memesays something like “wow I heard you helped save the world recently” and Dresden says something like “It wasn’t all that, it was more like stopped a 30-50 year decline of life via a disappearing winter.” Which made me think that if we live in the darkest timeline , maybe the Summer and Winter Fae Courts do exist and the summer court won because if we are in the darkest timeline either Harry doesn’t exist or is evil and would help facilitate an in balance.  

Conclusion

This book was excellent but it stands out in my mind because of a unique feature added to the beginning and end of the audiobook version being this classic piano detective noir background music playing which set a mood for the book in a way that nothing else done in the audiobooks thus far have done.  I’d like to see more intro background music but from starting Death Masks it doesn’t seem to be a continuing theme.

 

Stay tuned! I’ve already begun the next book “Death Masks” which is crazy.  With Audible I am crushing some books because I can listen to books whilst at work but no one cares that I’m “reading” at work because I just have earbuds in which seriously makes my job much more tolerable.  

 

Footnotes:

  1. I believe this stems from the Greek concept of “Xenia”, meaning “guest-friendship”, which was so important that somtimes Zeus was known as “Zeus Xenios” or “protector of guests”.  This is a reoccuring theme in Western culture from “Breaking Bread” at the Last Super to Tea/Coffee Politics in the UK/US (respectively).

 

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (Flash Impression)

Happy Wednesday!

This is the beginning of this new series I’ve decided to do about the Dresden Files Series.  Normally book reviews are this blog’s bread and butter however whenever I considered doing a review of any of these books I kept thinking it’d end up going something like this:

“This book was fantastic.  Everything about it was fantastic. See this single sentence? FANTASTIC!” It would become book reviews via meme.

 

 

However I’m not particularly interested in sucking Butcher’s dick for the next few months (my jaw would get so tired) since I am reading/listening the Dresden Files binge style until I am done.

You maybe wondering why I’ve got this conviction to binge this book series since that hasn’t been my style since the beginning but I have a history with these books; as in my

skin game

Think Ocean’s 11 but as an urban fantasy novel. And Hades. Like the Greek God of the Underworld, Hades. Awesome.

friend Brad has been reading these books since the beginning and since we met he had tried to get me to read these books.  It wasn’t until Skin Game, book 15, that he convinced me to get started.

 

Normally I’m kind of a sequence freak when it comes to series, as in I have to begin from the beginning and progress in order, no exceptions.  I ended up making an exception for this series and it’s lead me to this point.

I tried to get the first books from him but he didn’t know where he had copies of the first two books so he just lent me the next book that was laying in his car (“Ghost Story” [book 13] maybe?) which was another book somewhere in the middle of the series and it went on like this for another few books until we had a falling out and I had other books to read.

Fast forward several years, a couple of moves, and many books later to now where I share an audible account with my boyfriend who has the entire Dresden Files collection sans the first two books, Storm Front and Fool Moon (of which I have non-audiobook versions).  I read Storm Front a while ago and am currently reading Fool Moon whilst I was listening to Grave Peril which is where I will be beginning this series (Grave Peril, that is). BTW SPOILERS AHEAD.

Grave_Peril

Book 3 of The Dresden Files

In Grave Peril there is an interesting form of clairvoyance experienced by one of Dresden’s clients, Lydia, called Cassandra’s Tears(1) which manifests as visions of the future but not knowledge of what precedes or follows the vision which reminds me of my general experience thus far with the Dresden Files series.  I frequently know events that will happen (such that Harry will eliminate the entire Red Court of Vampires which includes his girlfriend in this book, Susan), relationships between characters that haven’t been (as in Thomas, who makes his premier in this book, being Harry’s half-brother) and characters who are series staples who have yet to appear (such as Maus) but have no idea when they happen or how or why.  Right now in the series I exist in a several timelines: I’m currently experiencing the events of book 2 (Fool Moon), I just finished book 3 (Grave Peril), and I just began book 4 (Summer Knight), and as mentioned I’ve read several books in the “future”.

It’s generally accepted that Grave Peril is the “break out” book of the series, as in this is the book where the series takes the shape and sets the tone that will be maintained for the rest of the series.  As I’ve mentioned before this I read book one am reading book two and I can’t entirely place my finger on what’s exactly different about book 3 but I believe it has to do with relationships. Michael, who plays as one of the many counter-balance characters, isn’t present until Grave Peril; Murphy is skeptical but generally supportive, where as in Fool Moon she’s out right hostile towards Harry because she believes he’s a murder; and until the introduction of The Red Court of Vampires in Grave Peril, the first two books feel like they’re lacking a sense of a overarching continuing struggle and are the most “stand alone” feeling books in the series.

Speaking of Cassandra’s Tears and relationships, I think I’m having a unique experience following Harry’s love life with Susan.  For example, I knew going into Grave Peril that Susan becomes a half vampire of The Red Court and that Harry will eventually eliminate the entire Red Court which colours the scene early in the book where Harry tells Susan “I love you” for the first time with a shade of tragedy where as if I was reading the series for the first time in order it’d be a touching scene.  Then later at the end of the book when Harry finds Susan and proposes to her, knowing that she’s going to spend the next several books in Central America, it’s more of a horrorific scene as in “NOO DAMNIT HARRY DON’T DO IT! THIS ISN’T GOING TO END WELL!” and conversely from Susan’s point of view, she must know that she’s pregnant with Harry’s child when she leaves him for Central America due to the age of their child (who becomes a plot point in Changes (book 12) which I know but Harry nor the sequential reader knows.

I am aware of the concept of Harry and company “leveling up” as the series progresses which I believe happens for the first time in this book (I don’t remember Harry experiencing/acquiring anything that enables him to “level up”, but I could be wrong so feel free to correct me in the comments) when he absorbs the powers of the Nightmare which enables Dresden to enact one of the most fuckinsg badass climaxes of the series to memory, disturbing generations of vampire victims rising against in a fury of rage and sound and spirit to reap vengeance on the present members of the Red Court.

That’s all for my flash impression of Grave Peril.  Future flash impressions on the remaining Dresden Files books will be shorter because I won’t be explaining how I got to this point and why I’m doing this.

Tune in next week for my flash impression of Summer Knight.

-fin

Footnotes:

  1. “Cassandra was given the gift of prophecy, but was also cursed by the god Apollo so that her accurate prophecies would not be believed.” (source: wiki Cassandra – Gift of Prophecy)

 

I’M NOT DEAD!..an Update (Announcements)

im not dead

Happy Tuesday!

Alright folks, this is a post that has been a long time coming for many reasons (most of which I will cover here, the rest are covered in my patron page version of this..hahaha I’m sorry I can’t take my self that seriously, no one would pay me…or would you?(1).

Look I won’t shit my self(2): I haven’t been very good at posting lately.  I haven’t posted much since I left the UK.  A lot has changed. Regardless I’ll fill you in on what’s been going on in my personal/professional life since the last post.

My family life is going better than it ever has but there’s not much to say there other than: my kid turned 9, my girlfriend and boyfriend both had a birthday, and I’ve finally gotten back in touch with my best friend for the first time since his birthday (six months prior). MOVING ON.

What has been really eating up my time is both the event of my girlfriend giving me her old Galaxy Note 4, which has a VERY powerful drawing app (sketchbook) and working on freelance writing gigs.

cow lives matterdate nightheart attacktangent

up to interpetation 1Up to Interpretation 3up to interpetation 2

backupPreview-1welcome to count rubbers keep

If you like my comics please follow me at my instagram page “fin.louie”. I sent my comic portfolio to a local publication, The River Front Times (the RFT in St Louis) and I’m hoping they pick me up but if not I have a hashtag campaign to make sure they know what they’re rejecting.

Aside from my comics I’ve been working on short stories for publication, one of which I think I have a winner for publication. It’s titled…hahaha sorry can’t reveal any details until it’s bought. Soz but me being “in control of sensitive information” is probably the closest I’ll get to being a CIA agent or something.

beale

To my American readers: at least I never cost you 900.000$

Also I’m getting through my novel and I began the Dresden Files audiobooks.  I plan to make small 500 word “impressions” of each book as I work my way through.

dresden

So fucking accurate.

When my short stories get published (operative word: WHEN) I’ll re-post them here.  I am actively working to find a place to post my content under “www.offbeatonpoint.com” for less than 10$ a year (3) but if not I will continue to post online in plenty of places.

What to Expect:

I don’t know.  I plan to post “impressions” (like 500 words or less) of the Dresden Files because I’ve read several  of these books out of order (like 6), when I’m normally an order freak but this series is an exception, My friend Evan got me to read the, currently, newest book “Skin Game” as my first Dresden Files book and I was hooked.

I have been playing with the idea of  doing reviews of “play novels” because I found this nice website indiedb.com but that’s just a fragment of an idea.

Either way don’t expect much from me in the coming months except web comics. And also maybe a birthday post or something.  I turn 30 next month.

-fin

Footnotes:

  1. I’m an asshole. Sorry I don’t have any actual patreon content but if you wanna give me money because you’ve liked my work thus far and want to see more I’m okay with that. I just have a hard time with the concept of having content behind a “pay wall” ie content you have to pay for to view.  It makes me a bad business man but a good anarchist punk ie THE STRUGGLE IS FUCKING REAL!
  2. Unless I’ve drank too much.
  3. WordPress pretty much hates me, I’m guessing its because I am winning too hard.

2018-19 OBOP Annual State of the Blog Post

Happy Saturday!

3rd anaversy.jpg

My lil brain child is growing up so fast. :’) in 10 short years it’s gonna start listening to punk rock and telling me it hates me on the regular.

Wow. It’s year 3 already and I nearly fucking missed it if it wasn’t for facebook’s “on this day” app.  It’s been a long year, if you can’t tell. I haven’t had much time to assess this piece since I’m literally just remembering and subsequently writing this post the day of HOWEVER I HAVE GOT THIS! You watch…erm…read. You know what I meant.

you know what i meant

Okay so I need to open with an apology (to like the 3 of you who read last year’s Manifesto and State of the Blog Post): I have almost failed to fill any of my intentional goals.  Since I moved back to my mother city, St Louis, I’ve been forced to abandon a regular posting schedule which mostly includes giving the big axe to the columns “Working Title Tuesday”, “Rewind Wednesday”, “Thursday Night at the Cinema”, “Slam Saturday”, and “The Sunday Review”.  I will occasionally write for those columns (I do have some things coming down the pipes for Thursday Night at the Cinema specifically) but due to changing circumstances I cannot commit to that many columns unless I can derive an income from it.

A Little About my Life Since Getting Home:

Since the last time I wrote one of these, many things have changed in my life. Literally almost everything for the better.  After getting accepted into Lancaster University (in the UK) as a degree seeking student and beginning the residency application process, I was offered house and a very good job offer back in St Louis.  As per my visa, I needed to return to the USA to renew my visa, I anticipated on going back to St Louis at some point over the summer, however with the job and house offer and admittedly some uni burn out, I decided to roll the dice and come back to St Louis for keeps. It worked out in one way and failed in another.

The job offer I had worked out very well for a time (company went under 6 months after getting back home) however within a few weeks of coming home I met the love of my life who welcomed me into her family and home and I cannot be more grateful for that.

I know I vowed to get out of the food industry but when the company I worked for went under and I had a family to care for, I needed what I could get.

bite and claw.jpg

Look at how far my boys have come though!

I now work at a neighborhood pub/grill as a cook and it’s good, or at least the best kitchen job I’ve ever had anyway.  I like the people I work with, the menu is relatively standard, and the customers aren’t fussy. The pay could be better but it’s not complete shite.

Projects I’m Still Working On:

So I have abandoned pretty much everything I mentioned in last year’s post with the exceptions of the first book in my trilogy of novels “A Band of Misprints” which is making EXCELLENT progress due to my loving and supportive family.

abom to do list

I have big plans which require big post-it notes.

I plan to have draft one of part 1 done by September and likely sooner.

I recently just finished the first act of “The Adventures of Fin & Louie” and am beginning work on Act two.

I have also revived an old blog idea “Why? Answers to All the Questions You Never Asked” and have decided to add it to my current blog as a column.  I have a lot of stupid information free floating in my brain and as much I have a lot of stupid questions floating around (mostly starting with “why”) and they need and outlet.  My fiancée thought it was a good idea and seeing as she gives me many good ideas, I’m going to see it through for a whilst. I already have over 50 “why” questions written down since Monday which gives me faith it might be a good blog content outlet.

Statement of Intent:

I plan to finish draft one of A Band of Misprints and acts 2 and 3 of “The Adventures of Fin & Louie” and if FSM is willing, maybe I’ll finally get around to making coasters and business cards for OBOP (HINT: these would make an EXCELLENT birthday present around 23rd September).

Outside of book reviews, comics, and the occasional wild card post, I can’t promise much else at the moment.  Life is too busy and non conformist stateside for me to be able to make any commitments when I’m not getting paid.  However, speaking of getting paid, I have recently received some encouragement to submit my comics to the local community newspaper the Riverfront Times (or as the local cool kids call it, The RFT). I will keep you posted on how that goes.  I’ll post either the acceptance or rejection letter because either would be a badge of honour.

Stay tuned folks, life is good and getting better.  I have plenty more content coming, maybe some more Thursday Night at the Cinema pieces because YouTube’s algorithm has been really crushing it lately showing me new and interesting (to me) channels which is really exciting.

-fin

Thursday Night at the Cinema presents: Patrick (H) Willems

Happy Thursday!

I’ve been thinking lately about how I’m stuck in a YouTube rut: I listen to the same handful of albums on repeat (Ramshackle Glory’s “Live the Dream”, Streetlight Manifesto’s “The Hands That Theive” and “Everything Goes Numb”, interspersed with NOFX’s “Pump Up the Valuum, Wingnut Dishwasher’s Union’s “Burn the Earth! Leave it behind!”, The Mad Caddies’s “Quality Soft Core” and “Rock the Plank”, and for some balance UNKLE’S “War Stories”, “Where Did the Night Fall?”, and “Never Never Land” [but only the first 30 minutes or so, for some reason I have never finished the album which has always been an unconscious decision]) and I watch the same YouTube channels (Acursed Farms, Film Theory and Game Theory [but only Mat Pat’s, for some reason I really cannot get into Gaijin Goomba’s videos], Alternative History Hub, and Numberphile).  Part of the reason for this is being a working father, family man, and writer doesn’t leave much time for much else (no complaints though, family life and love has been my best adventure yet).

Accurate representation of my music tastes.

 

What my YouTube feed mostly looks like.

Because of this rut (I mentioned before about refocusing my blog but my intentions, like my life, things don’t always turn out the way I was expecting) and I had mostly all wrote off all the other columns (unless someone wants to write with me on this blog, still accepting applications, all you have to do is reach out with a couple of writing samples [CONTACT ME PAGE], no pressure though but there are benefits(1)) particularly “Thursday Night at the Cinema”  because it’s so new and requires time, which as I’ve mentioned becoming a family guy has made me prioritise my projects dramatically.

family guy free time meme

This is the “Family Guy Transformation” experience

However I recently discovered Patrick (H) Willems, specifically I discovered this guy on a  Friday (which is usually my “work Friday night shift because, despite my [mostly] self-proclaimed talent and education, I STILL work in kitchens”) which when I work night shifts I have a hard time staying awake/productive through the day because my brain is like “Bro, you need to sleep until you go to work then stay up for hours after your shift”.  So I did my usual Friday morning ritual “get my son on the school bus, make my fineacee coffee, then eat breakfast before going into my office to ‘work’(3)” and I kept falling asleep to Willems’s videos but thinking to myself “these are douchebag brain memefucking brilliant! I need to revisit these later”. Usually when this happens I usually forget or don’t revisit because rut but this particular Friday I had an unusually, but not entirely unexpected, shitty Friday night at work and after getting home and bitching to my fiencee and my boyfriend(4) for a whilst about my night I went back down to my office to roll some cigarettes and I remembered Patrick (H) Willems’s videos and decided to revisit them whilst trying to unwind and I was GREATLY rewarded.

patrick-willems

I feel like this is an accurate representation of PHW.

Patrick (H) Willems (I will refer to him as PHW from here out) is one of the rare YouTube creators whom I feel deeply reluctant to call a “creator” as that term is just so damn vague but I would more feel comfortably refer to as a true “director, cinematographer, writer, and visionary”.  His videos range from the “TL;DR I have too much time and will explain [X] series to you” videos to original shorts that parody greats like Wes Anderson to original content like “The High School Reunion”. The guy is a fucking renaissance man in his field. I won’t lie to you and say I’ve watched all his content (because I haven’t) but I doubt I will because he does include vlog kind of material and honestly I visit YouTube almost exclusively because it is literally an incredible place to find young (as in experience) independent documentarians and filmmakers covering such a diverse body of subjects from theoretical mathematics (Numberphile) to people who over analyse movies/games (Mat Pat of Game and Film Theory) and literally everything in between (I wish I had a better example for “something in between” but again, rut; maybe Grickle?).

grickle

Gickle is fucking great.

In the following I’m including  what I consider a highlights/cross-section cut of PHW’s body of work:

EXPLAINS:

VIDEO ESSAYS:

PARODY:

I highly encourage you all to comment and debate in the comment section, whether related or not, about this piece.  Any and all feedback is deeply appreciated.

I want to let the three of you who regularly read this blog that I am making, slow but regular, progress with my novel.  I have the remainder of part one (of five) outlined so I can now make progress on the regular rather than flailing about anxiously without a direction. Now that I have part one of the novel outlined, I plan to finish the chapter I’m working on then I will begin drawing panels for act II of “The Adventures of Fin & Louie: Reluctant Partners in Crime”.  I promise I am making progress towards finishing these projects. In fact, if you want more and haven’t caught up on Act I of “The Adventures of Fin & Louie: Looking for a Friend in All the Wrong Places” you can view them all here THE ADVENTURES OF FIN & LOUIE.

Stay tuned because there is more to come.

-fin

Footnotes:

  1. I can’t pay you but I will write you an excellent recommendation letter when you do seek paying employment and you will get free promotional material, when I have money and time to make it (I have ideas but money is the main struggle).
  2. Usually includes a cup of coffee whilst I intend to watch a couple of youtube videos in my feed then write but I usually fall back asleep. Yes I do have a bed in my office because sleeping areas are surprisingly important to this insomniac (INSERT LINK TO INSOMNIA BOOK PREVIEW).
  3. Both my home and sex life is exactly as interesting as it sounds.

Insomnia by Stephen King (first Impressions)

Happy Monday!

insomnia

For the record, I do try to provide a picture matching the cover art of the copy of a book I’m reading and failing that I will take a picture but I’m not very good at photography

I Stephen King’s “Insomina” on my girlfriend’s bookshelf and was instantly intrigued.  See what you need to you need to understand about me is I struggle with sleep. I don’t particularly know what type of insomniac I am(1) but I know that I go a bit fucking balls-nuts (a phrase I coined when sleep deprived) mad when I don’t have enough sleep. I’ve had hallucinations about men with 3 arms (I wondered where he got his shirts), I went to San Diego with no plan and no money (I slept in a gutter), and purple tastes like crushed velvet (which makes the inside of my teeth itch which is as unpleasant as it sounds).  These are the more amusing highlights (more typically I get really loopy, my brain feels ‘loose’, and I get really angry/paranoid).

 

insomia meme 1

Fun fact: Christian Bale whilst preparing for this role in American Psycho studied Tom Cruise and how he behaves in normal life.

However the good news is that I’ve started on some sleeping medicines that usually work(2) but Ralph Roberts, the protagonist of Stephen King’s novel “Insomia” isn’t so lucky (yet?). In this post I’m trying something a little different than the usual book review format.  In interest of being able to post more often with compromising my desire to read anything I want despite the page length, I’m trying this thing where I do “first impressions” and depending on both the length of the book and the amount of time it takes me to read the book I will be doing follow up pieces which include “midpoint impressions”, a proper book review, and maybe a “final thoughts” piece where I write something after the has sunk in.

The book opens in a similar fashion as the Disney movie “Up” does with a prologue that paints the picture of an elderly couple in the dusk of their marriage.  Ralph Roberts wife Carlyon has a terminal illness that keeps her in a constant state of physical and mental pain which is deeply heartbreaking. My first thought was that it was gonna take a few hundred pages for King to kill Carlyon but she ends up dying before Chapter One (and yes I cried a little bit).  What’s interesting is that Carlyon’s death is a seriously small side story in the picture being painted so far. Just prior to her death Ralph had some strange experiences. Before she died he could hear a “death clock” ticking, not as a metaphor for his grief but as he describes it as a literal constant “tick-tick-ticking” that stopped when she died.

Another strange thing that happened is he saw his usually mild manouored neighbor Ed Deepeau getting into a paranoid fueled violent altercation with another guy claiming that he had dead babies in fertilizer barrels in the bed of the guy’s truck.  After the the altercation Ralph is getting a ride home from a friend and draws a Chinese symbol (or so they say in the book and it kinda looks like it to my best guestimation(3)) which he has no idea where it came from or what it means.

Other than that, most of the plot has been establishing how small the town of Derry, Maine is and the daily dramas that happen in a tight knit community but there is this mounting sense that something just past the edge of the pages is coming.  One of the clues has to do with this voice that speaks to Ralph but as it’s been presented so far it “feels” like his interior monologue but I cannot say specifically why it isn’t but I am pretty confident that it is something “not-Ralph”. There has also been mention of this entity “The Crimson King” which is supposed to be returning.  The mention of this mostly comes from Ed Deepneau, the wife beating piece of shit, whilst Ed is in some strange paranoid rant. From the first time we meet Ed, from Ralph’s perspective, Ed has been “out of sorts”. Ralph notices that Ed has been acting increasingly paranoid, violent, and generally like “someone else” which leads me to believe that maybe he was a nice guy once or at least a slightly less belligerently violent and paranoid person.

Paranoia_meme

I’m pretty sure I’ve used this exact facial expression in times of great confusion whilst trying to understand flavours of crazy that are beyond my own.

I suspect these things have some ties into King’s Dark Tower series(4)(of which I haven’t read, YET), particularly “The Crimson King” reference, however I am REALLY trying to avoid spoilers but I may end up reading up on the Stephen King Multiverse because that shit deeply impresses and intrigues me.

stephen king multiverse chart

Marvel’s Cinematic “multiverse” can eat a dick.

So far, the book is good however it is what I would catagories as a… “sleeper” (HAHAHA I’m sorry but puns are funny and if you’re one of those fucks who repeats the stupid fucking phrase “puns are the lowest form of humour” then maybe you can stop reading my blog? I don’t know either way you make a little sad because not only is that phrase untrue, dick and fart jokes are the lowest form of humour [because they’re about

joker imaginary fans

Have I ever mentioned that as far as comic characters I most identify with the Joker?

baseline bodily functions] but puns utilise many linguistic tools from rhyming to double entrendas and abstract thinking, anyway I should stop yelling at my imaginary audience (INSERT PIC OF JOKER “SOME PEOPLE HAVE IMAGINARY FRIENDS BUT I HAVE IMAGINARY FANS!)) becuase it has been slow but I only being 126 pages in, of 663 pages, I’m sure things will get intense soon and around then I’m sure the book will be GIVING me Insomnia in that way really good books tend to.

 

bobby hill insomia meme

Stay tuned, folks: more to come on “Insomnia” and I promise there will be more comics coming (my next focus is to get a few comics drawn for Act II of “The Adventures of Fin & Louie: Reluctant Partners in Crime”)

-fin

Footnotes:

  1. I suspect I have Cromoid Insomnia but here are many different types as you can read more about here.
  2. Lunesta is one hell of a hallucigen if you are able to manage to stay awake.  The last time it didn’t work part of me was laying in bed but the rest of me was going on an epic adventure 20,000 leagues under the sea with Captain Nemo wrestling sharks with my bare hands and, for some reason, flying out in space in the same submarine searching for the pearl of eternity which was supposed to grant us time travel capabilities with the side effect that our hands would randomly turn into Portuguese speaking gerbils. We were convinced it was worth it.
  3. I eat a lot of Chinese food.
  4. I recently had my mind fucking blown when I learned about Stephen King’s Multiverse despite the fact that since I was 10 I’ve read maybe 20 of his books which might be more than I’ve read form any single author.

An Update on A Band of Misprints and The Adventures of Fin & Louie (announcements)

Happy Saturday!

By EXACTLY zero popular demand here is the anti-anticipated maybe-but-probably-not awaited official update on “A Band of Misprints” Book 1 in The Big River Chronicles AND “The Adventures of Fin & Louie”

So Marc, one of my lovelies, got me a cream-worthy-cool present: a pad of giant post-it notes.  I got to work almost immediately.

A Band of Misprints (update)

total map

The Full Map

So this thing may look like a giant jumble but I have it broken down into smaller sections.

Here is a rough sketch of the city of Big River which is the city in which The Big River Chronicles takes place:

big river map

Big River Map

Then in the first book, A Band of Misprints, most/all of the narrative takes place in The Neighborhood:

cul de sac map.jpg

The Neighborhood Map

I have 3-4 main characters, depending on how you/I count, and I’ve made a relationship map for each main character.

freak and danny.jpg

Freak and Danny character map

brain char map

Brain character map

slick char map.jpg

Slick character map

progress log 1

Looks promising right?

So based on this list of statics…I’m no where close to finished.  I would like to think that prose writing will go much faster now that every time I say “I’m going to work on some stuff” I write rather than “sit down at the computer fully intending ‘to write’, open google docs, realise I’m flailing around with no particular plan in mind but brute force pushing forward with chapter writing, cry a little on the inside at how overwhelmed I feel and generally how that makes me feel like a failure as a writer, play on facebook for a while, smoke a few cigarettes, watch some childrens’ show (Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, Phineas and Ferb, etc) for ‘inspiration’ (both a distraction and self consoling from my inside weeping because of insecurities)”, however dog only knows how long this first draft will take however I am confident I will have the first part, written in full prose and all, finished…lets say: by my birthday this year (23rd Sept).  Realistically, I think I will be done with the first part sooner than that but I’m being kind to “Future Blake”.

 

 

The Adventures of Fin and Louie (update)

So I finished the first story arc in the first trilogy of “The Adventures of Fin & Louie”: Looking for a Friend(1) and the story so far can be found here: “The Adventures of Fin & Louie”.

Now I’ve had the general direction of this trilogy in mind: “Looking for a Friend”, “Fin & Louie: Partners in Crime” and [Sir Title Hasn’t Been Announced Yet].

sir not here

The only spoiler I’m  releasing right now.

I am thinking about redrawing all the comics in “Looking for a Friend” story arc on one piece of giant post-it with intention of being able to fit the other two story arcs on a piece of giant post-it as well.  I may make them into posters or something someday.  File that in the same place as my “I’ll make stickers/coasters for sale” statement (it’ll happen…someday when I have spare money or demand [if I get requests, I WILL find the money like yesterday])

I have not forgotten about the other projects I’m working on (“hair.” and “The St Louis Experience”).  I have no idea when I will get closer to doing anything material with “hair.” however “The St Louis Experience” is something I might be able to start this spring.  I would like to but here is my priority list of projects (my life is a waltz that goes like “family, work, projects”):

  1. The Adventures of Fin & Louie/OBOP
  2. A Band of Misprints/The Big River Chronicles
  3. The St Louis Expierence
  4. hair.
  5. Everything Else

I will try to have another post up for Monday, a lot has been on my mind lately (personal, creative, projects, work, life in general) so I’m pretty sure I will be able to churn something out for Monday, if not know that it’s probably because I was getting into a fight with the Easter Bunny.

easter bunny riot

I fucking love Mall Rats.

So stay tuned, good things are coming.  Maybe more frequently.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

-fin

Footnotes:

  1. You’ve thunk a writer like me could have found a easier way to phrase that, wouldn’t ya?

So Long and Thanks for All the Wobbly Chicken (The Adventures of Fin & Louie)

Image

Happy Saturday!

So Long and Thanks for all the Wobbly Chicken.jpg

…and this is why we only eat fish on Good Friday, right?

Here is the THRILLING conclusion to the “Looking for a Friend” story arc in The Adventures of Fin & Louie.  To see the adventure so far, visit this page: The Adventures of Fin & Louie.

Stay tuned for more content coming soon!  (I will post again today and hopefully again  Monday but don’t hold your breath but don’t hold your breath).

-fin