Dead Beat by Jim Butcher (Flash Impressions)

Happy Saturday!

deadbeat_large

Summary

THIS IS IT, FOLKS! THIS IS IT! IT’S THE MOTHER FUCKING ZOMBIE T-REX EPISODE! 

Sue_facing_Chicago

I’m disappointed that in every “Dresden rides Zombie Sue” picture, none of them feature Butters in his polka suit. 

I have been looking forward to this book pretty much since I started the Dresden Files.  I don’t think I was aware that the zombie t-rex meme was literally a scene from one of the books but when my friend Brad who Introduced me to the series told me so, I have been deeply excited for it.  I figured this would be a nice contrast to the last post about Fool Moon (book 2) which might be the weakest book in the series.

A Story: The Black Court blackmails Dresden (via Murphy) into finding The Word.

B Story: What the fuck do zombie herding Zombies want with Butters?

C Story: Is Shiela Harry’s new squeeze?

Thoughts

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

My primary thought here is summed up in the scene where Butters and Dresden are are in The Beetle and Dresden screams in pure elation to be alive and general horror of the given situation they just barely escaped.  This scene reminds me so strongly of the scene in Rick and Morty S03E06 “Rest and Ricklaxation” 

From here on out I will never be able to unmake the association between Rick/Dresden [the cynical type who understands the nature of everything] and Butters [who kinda knows about the nature of everything but has an unrelenting sense of innocence])

This leads into my next thought that up to this point in the series Dresden has been over his head every single book. However there has always been a MacGuffin or a piece of information that allows him to forge a piece of plot armour/weapon that enables him to survive. Though this is the first book where I was thinking to myself “for realz how is Dresden supposed to get out of this one? He literally threw a car on his nemesis and he didn’t die. And there’s like 3 more of them. Plus they can summon zombies AND ghosts AND corpse steal AND  mind control. Srly.” So for the first time in the series he is completely out muscled, out brained, and out magiced (is that even a word? Well it should be). I felt Dresden was so cornered I was getting sympathy claustrophobic until he agreed to let Lasciel help him, which is when things really change.

Speaking of change, apparently Marcone changed future history by saving Dresden’s life, as according to Guard Dresden was supposed to die by the ghoul in that back alley (which would have made for an anti-climatic climax to the series(1)) however now this makes for some interesting implications in the future. As in, will Marcone have to pay a price for altering someone/something’s “grand plan” and almost more importantly regardless of why Marcone says he saved Dresden and subsequently changed the future, a question is raised: why does Marcone keep saving Dresden’s life so regularly? Is it because he senses Dresden is a man who is running out of not completely evil options and will eventually view working for Marcone as the “least of his evil but necessary options” which would benefit Marcone greatly? Or is it because Marcone has someone in his network who is invested in keeping Dresden alive and by proxy Marcone is keeping Dresden alive, again to protect his (Marcone’s own interests)? Or does Marcone have another secret that wasn’t revealed to either us, the reader, or Dresden via the soul gaze? Or, speaking of soul gazes, did Marcone see something in Dresden when they soul gazed that fundamentally changed him/confirmed something he suspected about Dresden (since we have never seen the soul gaze from the perspective of someone looking in on Dresden but from the reactions throughout the series it’s something pretty goddamn profound).  As you can tell, the Marcone Mystery is really wearing at the back of my mind throughout this series.

At this point in the series Dresden has begun a noticeable descent into darkness: he has voluntarily used hellfire more than a couple of times, has accepted a decent amount of help from Lasciel, and has not only memorized The Word (a tome of dark, mostly necromantic, magic), used necromancy (even though it wasn’t on a human and therefore

the-bird-is-the-word

This is some deep shit.

wasn’t a violation of The Seven Laws of Magic and maybe the most notable/significant is Dresden’s promise to Mavera of the Black Court who incited this whole search for “The Word” that if she EVER threatens him or one of his friends again, he will not stop in the face of anything to become an Evil Overlord Demi-god and his first victim will be Mavera. This to me shows a crack in his morale armour making a specific exception to break everything he believes in to exact justice on an evil creature.

Speaking of dark magic, Cassius uses (or should I say wasted) his death curse on Dresden saying “Die alone”. However as Dresden’s father tells him in a dream, if i recall right, what we all kind of know after a certain point in life: we all die alone. Just like being born, or even life from your own perspective honestly, is a journey you have to walk in some sense alone.  Friends, lovers, family aside, we all have to live in our own personal cage alone the entire time. Sometimes we have company but they’re always intrinsically separated from us in our personal journey as we are them by the same bars that bind all of us individually. In that ironically sad way, we are all united in the fact that we face both life and death alone. So as pessimistically as it sounds, I am viewing it as an optimist that Cassius wasted his death curse on Dresden by “cursing” him with the infallible fact that the fact is: we all die alone and therefore Cassius changed nothing.    

Moving on to a brighter subject, the nature of white and black magic, is thrown in to an interesting new light when Kumori (Cowl’s, one of the Necromancers, apprentice) tries to justify Necromancy with her personal “perversion” of the black art using it to bring one of Marcone’s people who was at the brink of or beyond death back to life allowing him a “second chance”.  I don’t know if Dresden is convinced but I feel like his fundamental ideas about Necromancy has been challenged similarly as when he learned that his mentor and sort-of father figure, Ebenezar McCoy, holds the office of “Black Staff” for the White Council (ie he is the go to guy to “pervert” the use of white magic to kill people for the White Council, or maybe he uses Black Magic to kill, at this point in the series (I’ve read through “Proven Guilty” book 8 and some future books) we don’t know how he kills as the “Black Staff”. All we know is that it makes Kincaid so mad that he has an almost show-down duel with him on sight.

Whilst on the subject of Kincaid, holy shit: I mean the groundwork for it is laid (pun not intended) for Kincaid and Karen, in Blood Rites to hook up however it still surprised the hell out of me.  Mostly because when Dresden has used The Sight on Karen and Kincaid, he always sees Karen as an avenging angel figure and then at the end of Blood Rites he sees Kincaid as a 20 foot (6.098 meteres) fucking demon.  Talk about a match made…somewhere other than heaven. However maybe Karen is getting dark enough to be attracted to someone that dark, because if I remember correctly the first time we see Dresden use The Sight on Karen (by accident) she was a blazingly white and clean avenging angel but as the series progresses and he sees Karen again with The Sight, multiple times, he sees her as progressively more blood stained and worn by the horrors she’s seen and had to commit (because of Dresden).  This even more makes me wonder not only “What do other wizards see when they use The Sight on Dresden but what does everyone see that’s so profound when Dresden Soul Gazes them? Wheels within wheels…

The rest of my thoughts are kind of miscellaneous:

-I have to say I am really disappointed that Shiela turned out to be Lasciel in disguise. I’ve been rooting for Harry’s…Hairy…

bad joke

-Pro-foreshadowing: When Dresden is being attacked by the former Denarian Cassius “Snake boy” attacks Dresden and Dresden thinks “Gee right now would be a great time for a knight of the cross to show up and save the day” and then A WILD BUTTERS APPEARS! Which, since I’ve read Skin Game, I know Butters will become the next wielder of Fidelacchius or the Sword of Faith.  I heard in an interview that Butcher was planning, originally, to kill the poor little bastard in Ghost Story.

wild butters

Speaking of Butters, The Zombie T-Rex was made possible BECAUSE of his polka suit and because of Butter’s and his polka suit the “Best Dresden Contraption Award” goes to: Blood Rites and Dinosaur Sue (the Zombie T-Rex).

I really liked the Erl King and how he respects Dresden as a “fellow predator/hunter” and invites Dresden to join The Wild Hunt and I really like how Dresden turned him down creating, inadvertently, another figure who wants to kill Dresden but is so much of a background character that I can see us, the collective reader, forgetting about the Erl King until he pops up again.  

Conclusion

In conclusion Dead Beat was one hell of a fucking ride.  It was like a good punk rock show: hard hitting, fast as fucking hell, and deeply satisfying that you got out the other side (mostly) unharmed(2).  I had trouble understanding how Butcher was going to top himself after such a fucking amazing book but he pays the bill with Proven Guilty with a less “overly epic” novel but a book that my boyfriend described as a “more intimate book”.  

Stay tuned for next week when I cover the heartfelt, intimate, and at times troubling (not in quality but in the way Butcher makes you feel for the characters) eighth book of the Dresden Files: Proven Guilty or as I refer to it as “How Dresden overcomes temptation and gains an apprentice”

-fin

Footnotes:

  1. It would be annoying to see the series, with so much potential, end here with such banality. Maybe if it was me, sure a ghoul throwing a shuriken into my leg would end my story given my bitch status but this is mother FUCKING Harry Dresden.  Don’t try to a fly a pair of Hoover flags (“‘Hoover flag’ was an empty pocket turned inside out” source: Hooverville wiki) and try to sell me an early death for Dresden. He clearly has way more entertaining strife to come.
  2. For the record, I am frequently spinning one or many NOFX cds when I’m writing these/writing in general. If you haven’t listened to them yet, I’d recommend either their their concept album “The Decline” or the politically hard hitting and hilarious “The War on Errorism” 
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Video Log #2: TIL you shouldn’t try to buy a plane ticket with a prepaid card and other stuff

Happy Sunday!

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

-Fin

MC Chris is Dreaming (album)

Happy Wednesday!

I need to start with an apology.  I mentioned previously that I got MC Chris to agree to an interview and despite repeated emails and facebook messages, MC has refused to acknowledge me further one way or the other despite saying he would do “what ever I can to help a fan.” I’m not going to spend this piece chatting shit (I don’t want to get hit), however before this I was going to write something like “They say not to meet your heroes but that doesn’t apply to MC Chris because this guy is LEGIT!!” however I guess timeless advice is timeless for a reason.

Don’t get me wrong, I still respect the hell out of the guy as a musician and an artist.  His work has been a really important part of my musical enjoyment over the last 10 years and I’ve made some really great memories over this guy’s music.

me-and-mc

Speaking of great memories, probably the best show I’ve ever gone to.

Anyway, the show must go on.  Thankfully this year MC Chris has released a new album so I do have something to write about and the good news is that his new album MC Chris is Dreaming is easily his best album to date and as a fan I’m really happy to say this.   However with a disclaimer like that, you know I’m going to be pretty honest.  Let’s get to it!

If you’re not already a fan, there are a few things you should know about MC.

  1. He’s a nerdcore raper which is a sub-genre of rap which focuses on the things nerds, freaks, and geeks (1) can relate to such as a love for candy, star wars, trouble with mates/social acceptance.
  2. He really likes skits on his albums to “…break up the monotony of the music…” which are mostly accessible but there is some continuity between albums and inside jokes/jokes about obscure things that may require further research.  I’m a fan of them but they can be polarizing among his fan base.
  3. Dude has a high voice.  It’s not a gimmick, his voice is just naturally that way and personally I think it’s fucking awesome.  I wouldn’t say it’s his thing but it gives flavour to his music that if it wasn’t present, I feel like there would be something missing.
  4. Dude gets vulgar at times.  Examples include The Masturbation Song and Booties for Breakfast (Booties for Breakfast is a personal favoutite, I’m not sure what that says about me though but booty is pretty sweet)
  5. This guy has some really sweet and unique beats.  Take for example songs like Aulpragasm or DQ Blizzard or Reese(2).  I love listening to this guys music on multiple levels.  Many of his songs really are an aural-feast and particularly Aulpragasm is a song I tend to listen to on repeat for like hours.  I didn’t understand the “[x] for 10 hours” thing on youtube for the longest time until I found certain songs like this (not saying that I’ve done a 10 hour of the same song but…okay yea I’ve done it, I’m shameless…in fact I’m currently in a Aulpragasm loop as I write this it’s ridiculous to be honest).

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been a fan of this guy for over 10 years now ever since I first heard Fett’s Vette (“…you think you can cook, I got a grappling hook…”) and Hijack (“…go take a hike and don’t forget the trail mix, BITCH…”) and Evergreen (“on the first day of xmas my dealer gave to me a bag of shrooms and some lsd…”).

Anyway as I said earlier, MC Chris (in my personal opinion) had a really strong early career with albums like Life’s a Bitch and I’m Her Pimp, Dungeon Master of Ceremonies, and the prime album MC Chris is Dead.

However after that, for a long time, I really didn’t get in to his newer albums like MC Chris Goes to Hell, Marshmallow Playground, or Race Wars.  I mean, he had some solid songs from those albums like Drinkin’ Blunts  from MC Chris Goes to Hell (I LOVE the brass in this song), Best Day Ever from Marshmallow Playground (this song is so cute and this album lacks his usual caustic edge but it is really sentimental which I appreciate seeing the diversity and emotional vulnerability as an artist but most of it is just something I listen too only when I’m in such a specific mood that I still can’t place what it is), and On the Road from Race Wars (since I’m being very honest, I’m just really not a fan of this album overall).

Then MC Chris is Dreaming dropped and my. mind. was. BLOWN. I didn’t even know about the Foreverrr album until MC Chris is Dreaming came out (Foreverrr is a solid album, from skits to songs with Give Up the Ghost, I’m a Fucking Wizard, and Foreverrr) and honestly I’m kind of sad I didn’t know about Foreverrr album sooner so I could have spent more time with it.

Back to MC Chris is Dreaming.  This album has the strongest opening since MC Chris is Dead with the titular song MC Chris is Dreaming (unfortunately, I cannot find individual links to the songs from this album either on youtube or soundcloud however here is a link to his entire album

and trust me, the ENTIRE album is worth listening to and the skits are on point, some of his best ever) which opens with this slow build up for the first 38 seconds then it drops at 40 seconds and gets to work.  This album, like Marshmallow Playground feels like one of his most honest and vulnerable fitting the theme of Freddy Krueger being a central character in the skits.

freddy

For those of you too young to remember, Freddy was a dream demon who would find your insecurities in your dreams and kill you by invading your dreams and killing you in an ironic way that related to your insecurities which would manifest as a death in real life.  Rick and Morty had a good time with this character as Scary Terry.

He touches on some sensitive subjects as childhood obesity (Spanky), growing up with an alcoholic father (Pop Run), and substance abuse struggles (Ditched).  The last song, Ditched, really hits a chord with my personal struggle as I’ve mentioned before I am an alcoholic in recovery and despite having some sober time it’s still a real fucking struggle.  Lately it’s been extra tough being an American abroad, being almost 30 with no savings and a “colourful” resume/CV, and Cheeto Voldemort and the League of Unqualified Millionaires (Billionaires?)(3).

chetto

I am beyond giving a crap if people get offended about my opinions about the current administration.  We have a fucking REALITY TELEVISION STAR and repeatedly failed entrepreneur and FUCKING PEDOPHILIC RAPIST as a president so pardon me if I refuse to respect anything about the orange idiot.  However, now that the presidency is basically a joke and open to anyone I’m starting a new hashtag #FinandLouie4President2020  

Anyway back to MC Chris.  Dude’s a great rapper, he’s a funny guy, and his kid is probably too young to realize yet but he’s got a cool AF dad.  Yea, he’s kinda been a flake but he’s still a pretty fuckin’ good rapper.

 

signatie

Dude signed my notebook. I guess he’s pretty legit.

 

Footnotes:

  1. Here’s how I delineate the differences: Nerds – really smart, but are happy being reserved socially.  Geeks –  usually more passionate than traditionally intelligent and more sociable but usually focused around niche things like tabletop gaming, book clubs, LARPing (Live Action Role Playing).  Freaks – pretty much the crazy artsy types who kind of don’t really fit in with any one social group but are happy to be accepted or not a long as you don’t fucking judge us for our eccentric bodily modifications or outfit choices.  I personally identify as a Freaky-Geek.
  2. I can’t stop here, there are so many good ones like Older Crowd, Fett’s Vette, MC Chris is Dead…I could keep on but my word count is already getting high.
  3. Just to list a few: Betsy DeVos the new head of Department of Education has no experience with the public school system and WANTS TO SHUT DOWN THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, Steve Bannon as White House Chief Strategist is a outspoken racist, Rex Tillerson who is the ExxonMobil CEO secretary of State (guess what? as CEO has done plenty of business with the Russians, which is the extent of his foreign policy experience, has pretty obvious conflict of interests, and is very anti-global climate change advocacy), and my personal FAVOURITE Rick Perry picked for the Department of Energy DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THE JOB DESCRIPTION ENTAILED BEING IN CHARGE OF THE NUCLEAR STOCKPILE AND NUCLEAR INFRASTRUCTURE.  I cannot fully express how fucking mad and anxious I am about this living fucking nightmare of a situation.

MC Chris is Legit

mc chris

Who wouldn’t want to see a cartoon staring this guy?

MC Chris is great. He’s a nerdcore rapper which basically means he writes songs about star wars, becoming a zombie, and robo-tripping on prom night.  He has been trying to put out a cartoon for a really long time now, The MC Chris Cartoon, but it keeps getting shut down and that’s deeply frustrating.  Check out the pitch ^^^ it looks really really funny.

Here’s a list of some of my favourite songs by MC.

Fett’s Vette – The first rap song I memorized.

I Want Candy – who doesn’t?

Reese – I’ve tried memorizing this song but I can’t even keep up with printed lyrics.  Dude looses me towards the end of the history of chocolate/peanut butter riff.  He’s just so fast.

MC Chris is Dead – Don’t let him vomit on you.

Pizza Butt – “Is it delivery? No it’s Digiorno, microwave it and put it in a porno!”

DQ Blizzard – I don’t even know where to start..

WiiD – He’s a big fan of the green stuff.

Older Crowd – “PLEASE PARK IT MARGARET, I MUST DANCE”

Kill It – MC Chris you are my hero

I realize there is probably at least one person who reads my tag line “A literary blog…kinda” and think “Carbs! This toon(1) leans heavily on the ‘…kinda’ bit.” and sure I’ll give you that, but you want literature? Look at some of these lyrics. They’re poetry.

I’m a devious degenerate
Defender of the devil
Shut down all the trash compactors
On the detention level

Take this stanza from Fett’s Vette.  Look at the alterations of “devious degenerate” and “defender…devil”.  Notice the rhyme between “devil” and “level”.

World’s Fair, Chicago in the year of 1893,
a man named Milton, a disaster outta Lancaster, P.
Inspired by the Germans and their chocolate making machinery
he invented milk chocolate or stole it from the Swiss, that’s history.

So Milton built a factory, and a town and a park and a school for orphans,
made bars and kisses and chips real cheap so poor peeps could afford them.What a great depression – Nine-Twenty, not funny, no money in the pocket,
‘cept Pennsylvania where Milton kept on cranking out chocolate.

The Mr. Goodbar and then a World War and Milton did his part.
Made anti-aircraft guns and sent the soldiers chocolate bars.
Meanwhile they had a ship in, was secretly dipped in peanut butter
in his Pennsylvania basement. It was so exciting, cue the lightning/thunder.

Name’s Harry Burnett, you can bet my ass didn’t go to Harvard.
Be hold up in a cup, couldn’t have done it without George Washington Carver.
“I was living the high life – champagne, limousine, it was a trip,
then I died of a heart attack – all for naught, I was bought in fifty-six.”

Now please fast-forward to the seventies, scientists discover Penuche.
Peanut Butter’s too oily, Pieces takes their part in the food chain,
and their name is commonplace in the latest interview with a lady named Witherspoon.

Or take the history rift from Reese.  Notice the rhyme scheme in the first four lines, shortening brilliantly shortening “Pennsylvania” to “P.” to fit the rhyme.  Notice the slant rhyme in the next stanza between “pocket” and “chocolate” and more so notice the use of the “f” sound tying the entire stanza together from “factory”, “orphans”, “afford” and “funny”.

It goes on and on and it’s not only extremely entertaining but a sign of his linguistic talent.  MC Chris is not only a rapper but also a voice actor and a generally creative mind. My intent with this post is not only to raise awareness of this underrated sub-genre of hip-hop and this artist but also to hopefully bring to attention the cartoon pitch that MC Chris has been trying to make a reality for over 3 years now, a pitch I am invested in being a fan of his work.  I know I don’t have the money to back his cartoon but I hope that in raising more awareness about the pitch that maybe someone of influence will notice the potential.  Besides, aside from Rick and Morty there aren’t many genuinely creative, funny, and intelligent western adult cartoons.

If you watched the pitch and liked it, share it (don’t worry about sharing this specific post, the pitch would get lost in the word vomit).  If you liked any of his songs or all of them MC just began his Ten Year Tour with MC Larz and Mega Ran and is coming to St Louis on the 10th of November at the Fubar off Locust and the tickets are really cheap (like 15$ cheap). If you’re not a St Louisian, no worries: here’s a list of his tour stops.

mc chris tour

Anyway I know most of my audience are aspiring artists or writers so if nothing else, take a bit of advice from MC Chris: Never give up, Never surrender, Keep fighting the good fight until the end of the night. And don’t forget to check the ring, yo.

Footnotes:

  1. The proper gender neutral pronoun for cartoon or otherwise creatively created beings inc stick figures, animatronics, mascots etc.