Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Lake of a Summer Past

I love to read.  While I am a snob about what I read and what should be read, I at least still read.  While I used to never use the internet to read, I have found myself more and more reading and looking at other blogs.  Between the "digging of the internet crates" for music and reading non-stop (about a book a week, if I can), my time is filled up very much.

One of the constant blogs I read belongs to my cousin.  She is an excellent writer and hopefully I can find a way to be more concise in the direction of the writings I do like she is.  The other day I read her blog and it contained the following passage:

I feel like I've been floating in the middle of a vast lake. It's smooth as glass and the skies are clear at last, but I have no idea which direction I'm supposed to go, which section of shoreline I'm supposed to paddle toward.

When I read this, I never actually paid attention to what she was writing because it reminded me of a summer camp I worked at  during my college years.  During the summer, I had a blast but of course there were times when I was myself.  Myself in the sense that I felt out of place and unsure if I belonged.  I've always had self confidence issues with whether or not I was accepted into the social structure.  I have made myself very independent in life and that sometimes plays against my desires to belong.  I do the work and accept now that when I am there, I am accepted for being there.

As for the notion of a lake, during the summer at camp, I hung out with different people at different times.  I found a form of camaraderie with many different people. Then an event happened that made me question what I was doing.

The first was a skydiving trip.  I went with 11 other people into Canada on our day off and we went skydiving.  It was awesome.  We walked into the place and sat down for the instructional video.  All of the sudden, one of the jumpers walks in and asks who is having their jump video taped.  A couple of us did, myself included.  He announced that they had space for one jumper on the next plane, which was now.  Did anyone want to go?  Well, before I could say a word, someone volunteered me.  Then another joined in agreement.  How the hell did I get picked?  I didn't even offer myself.  Next thing you know, I agreed to the peer pressure and got up to go.  I hadn't even watched the video yet.  They gave me the paperwork saying that if I died during the jump, no one could sue.  Okay, all signed.  Then I walked into a side room and put on my jump suit.  The jumper gave me a 5 second class on what I was to do during the jump.  That was it.  Not even 5 minutes.  He asked me to show him what he had just demonstrated.  I did. (Fast learner, bad retainer).  He said "Lets go."  And off we went.  I went up an airplane with no one I knew.  It really made me upset, but I was more excited about jumping out a perfectly good airplane.  The guys on the plane laughed about my long hair and painted nails.  (The girls in our opposite cabin always played with my long red locks and would paint my nails.)  They were purple that day.  I got to the door and boom, out into the wide open blue.  Best experience of my life.  To this day.  When the plane landed, there were a bunch of my co-workers waiting for me to land.  They bombarded me with questions and were excited and all that jazz that comes with it.  I felt awesome.  But then at the end of the night when we all got back to camp, I questioned my involvement.  Everyone was asking questions about their experiences and the most common story had to do with the plane ride up.  Not the jump.  Not the fall.  Not the landing.  But the plane ride up.  They all got to jump with each other and chat and be nervous and scared and excited with each other.  You might think it's petty, but it mattered to me.  Mostly because no one I went up with I knew.  In the end, it robbed me of a bit of my trip.

During a time of the summer, I was sitting at the lake for my personal free time.  I had decided not to go anywhere for my day off and just relax for a bit.  I was reflecting on different things when I started to watch the lake.  So I wrote in my journal.  What I wrote about was my reflection on the lake.  Not my physical but personal one.  It went something like this:

"I notice that the water always comes to shore and washes away.  The trees and rocks and plants all stay where they are when the water comes.  When it leaves, the trees, rocks, and plants stay put.  The water then travels to the other side of the lake and 'meets' the trees, rocks, and plants on that side.  Those trees never see the other side of the lake.  They are content with being where they are.  They like being there.  The water though is always moving.  Do the trees ever notice that the water was there?  When it leaves, do the trees and rocks even realize that its left?  What impact does the water have on their lives?  How does the water feel happy?  It's always running from one side to the other and back again.  It goes around and around.  Appearing as if to say 'Hello.  What's up?'  But then, as soon as it's here, it goes away again.  As if looking for a place where the trees are happy to see it.  After staring at the lake, I realize that I am the water and everyone I know is the trees, plants, and rocks.  Do my friends realize the impact I've had when I'm here?  Do they look at me happy?  As if to say 'There's the water again.  It's great to see him.  Wish he would stay longer.'  Do they realize that I wish I was a tree, rock, or plant and just become rooted to a side?  I'm always traveling and it feels like it's just me, while the trees have the rocks and the plants with them always"

As I have gotten older and wiser, I have come to learn the person that I am.  I used to be jealous of people who had best friends for life.  I've never known someone for longer that 3 years straight.  With technology, I'm able to stay in touch with people more who live far away, but I'm horrible at it.  I've learned to embrace who I am.  Yes, I am the water.  I "drift" from one end to the other.  I enjoy the travel.  The freedom.  The experience.  The trees grow tall and can see for miles, but they'll never know what the other side is like.  I know that one day I will become a tree, but that day isn't now.  As for the skydiving trip, that took longer to learn who I was from that trip.  Who I was, and am, is the awesome person that most others wish they could be.  It goes like this: most people live their lives with a bit of trepidation.  They aren't sure if they can or can't.  They think they can, but only will once they see someone else do it first.  They nominate someone who they might think is lesser, but soon learn is greater.  Yes, I could have stood up for myself and said "No, I want to do the group thing," but instead I showed that I have no fear.  I will go up there and be brave, just to let you know that it's okay to do it yourself.  I know now to appreciate the times I share with others as opposed to being upset about the times I didn't.  Mostly because when I'm not there I'm seeing the other side of the world and the fun is in the return.

That's who I am.  I'm the water on the lake.

Oh, here's a picture of me and my skydiving instructor:

Aw hell yeah!!  Who wants to jump out of a good airplane?  I do!

New tunes

This is what happens when I'm home and have the next day off.  Most people are up looking at stupid material on the internet.  Me, I'm looking and finding new music.  I stumbled upon a lady by the name of Brandi Carlile.  She has a wonderful voice and the music is great.  I'm not much of a country fan, but there is something a little different about her tunes.  Below are three songs that I liked right upon hearing them.  Of the three, one is a bit sad.  It makes me think about loves loved and lost.  That and being 100.  The other two make me think of my family.  The first one reminds me of all the women in my family, from moms to sisters to cousins to in-laws.  There is something about having southern women in your life that just makes you a bit better than anyone else.  The other song makes me think about those women and how they are all great mothers.  I hope you enjoy these tunes.  When I find more, I will get your ears a tuning.

Brandi Carlile - "100 Live at Bear Creek."

Brandi Carlile - "Hearts Content"

Brandi Carlile - "Just Kids"

Mental Health My Ass....

Just to preface before you read below, this might not be parent/kid language friendly.  I will curse a lot.  I mean a lot.  Continue as you like.

When I got home from work tonight, I checked one of the regular music news websites and found out that Passion Pit is going to take a break from their tour.  When I found out I was a little sad, because they're coming to Charlotte this week and now they aren't.

Then I read why they wouldn't be here.  This is why:

"On behalf of the band and myself, I would like to greatly apologize for the show cancellations. In order for me to ensure that there will be no further disruptions, I am going to take the time to work on improving my mental health. For now, I'd like to thank all of our fans for their understanding. I hope to see all of you very soon in a much different light."

Hey asshole, what...the...fuck....are you talking about?  First and foremost I could care less about you stupid mental health issue.  You take out your anger, angst, sadness, love, and other emotional BS in songs don't you?  What the fuck do you need to take a mental health break for?  You don't work a fucking 9-5 job.  You don't work in the hospitality business, where you have to have a stupid fucking smile on your face all the time while people talk to you like your stupid and shit.  You don't have to teach and deal with bad ass fucking kids and their equally retarded parents.  You haven't put out a song in like 3 years.  That was the time you were on "vacation."  That was the fucking time you needed your mental health break.  Maybe you shouldn't have been banging hookers and doing coke and being an asshole hipster from the northeast.  Maybe you should have been writing more fucking songs and putting out another album in that time period.  Oh, you were busy?  Sorry, what the fuck were you doing during that time? Not jack shit, that's what.  Were you sleeping in a dark room because your girlfriend dumped you?  Yes?  Then write a fucking song about it.  Did you have a great relationship and you want to just shout out loud how much you love your bitchass girlfriend?  Yes?  Then write a fucking song about it.  Did you go to a Penn State camp as a kid and played football and never wanted to acknowledge why you stopped?  No?  Then you don't have a fucking mental health problem.

If I was your therapist, this would be our session:

You: "Doc, I just don't know what's going on?"
Me:  "Well, tell me what's going on.  What are you doing in work?"
You: "Well, my band, which put out a very successful debut album is about to go on tour."
Me:  "Okay."  (quizzical look starting to appear on face)
You: "And well, I'm a little drained emotionally and physically.  I don't know if I can do this.  My brain is like, you know, just in a million places right now."
Me: "Okay.  How long have you been on touring?"
You: "Well, we haven't started yet."
Me: "Wait, what?"
You: "Yeah, we haven't toured yet."
Me: "Okay, when was the last time you toured."
You: "October of 2010."
Me: "Wait, what?"
You: "Yeah, we did shows in 2010.  Life has been crazy for a while."
Me:  "Well, what have you been doing?  Did you release a new album?"
You: "No.  Our new album drops on July 24, 2012"
Me: "Wait, what?  So what have you been doing?"
You: "You, know, writing songs and shit.  Life has been crazy."
Me:  "Okay, so you have a new album coming out and you are doing a tour, right?  How long have you been touring?"
You:  "Oh, we haven't gone on tour yet."
Me:  "Wait, what?"
You: "Yeah, we start our tour in July."
Me:  "So let me get this straight.  You put out an album in 2009.  You went on tour for a year.  You did shows and festivals.  You then took a break to work on a new album.  Which you've been working on for the last....3 years?  You are now going on tour in three days and you claim that you are mental unhealthy?  Is that correct?"
You:  "Yes, doc.  Don't you see?"
Me: "No I don't.  Get the fuck out of my office.  Right now.  Seriously.  Get the fuck out."
Me:  "Wait before you go.  You cancelled the entire tour right.  You know that mental health is not something that is an easy fix.  It takes time and effort.  You have to put in a lot of work to make yourself better."
You:  "No, we didn't cancel the whole tour.  We will be playing in Chicago for Lollapalooza on Aug 2, in like two weeks.  Then we are off to Colorado 4 days later to do a show at Red Rocks with Justice."
Me:  "Get the fuck out of my office."

This conversation is why you're argument for mental health is INVALID.  It's fucking invalid.  Mental health is not something that you get better from in less than two weeks.  Plus, cancelling little shows to take time to be better and then performing at fucking Lollapalooza is a fucking joke.  You make me sick.  "Sorry work, I can't come in for like a week because one of my favorite bands cancelled their gig here.  It's caused me to have mental health issues.  I need a couple days off."  My job would laugh and fire me at the exact same time.  You people haven't done shit for THREE fucking years.  Get the fuck on tour and rock the house.  Find some small town strange and go to fucking town.

Your mental health issues.  Work on them.  Work on them when they need to be worked on.  If that means now, then take the fucking time to work on them  Plus, what type of pussyass tour cancelling reason is that.  You motherfucking emo kids.  It's like the shirt says: "If my lawn was emo, it'd cut itself."  Real rock stars go out on tour and bang hookers and do blow and shoot heroin and trash cities and leave a trail of dust in their rear view mirrors.  If any of the bands you grew up listening to and idolizing heard this retarded fucking shit, they would beat the fuck out of you and take your mom back to the fucking hotel.  Seriously, NO BAND IN THE HISTORY OF BEING AN AWESOME FUCKING BAND NEVER....NEVER...EVER TOOK A BREAK FOR MENTAL HEALTH.  Red Hot Chili Peppers stopped a tour because of HEROIN.  Not because their Prozac couldn't be fucking filled.  HEROIN!!!!  Your excuse makes you FUCKING weak!! You couldn't attend Cobra Kai dojo.  John Kreese laughs in the face of you pussyass excuse. "Oh my vagina hurts.  I can't do a tour for like 4 days."

In the immortal words of ...... me:  "Get the fuck over it."  I'm sorry that people shelling out $20 plus bucks to see you rock the house can't some how get your mental health in a better place.  It must suck to have to not decide whether I'm going to get groceries or maybe add more gas to my tank or go see your band play.  Rough life.  People in celebrity positions claiming the need of rest due to mental health is such a first world problem.  It would be like someone in a third world country complaining about .... wait, nothing.  You know why?  Cause they fucking struggle all the time.  Its a fucking world full of third world problems.  Suck it the fuck up and go the fuck on tour.  Do ALL the shows.  Either cancel them all or do them all.

Yes, your new singles are pretty good.  But do not ever stop a tour because of mental health and then keep the schedule for a big venue two weeks later.   Fucking Emo kids.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Musical Challenge...

Seeing as I love music, I've been thinking of a challenge that would make me understand myself more.  I know that there are different ways to understand someone.  One is to look at their library.  The other is to look at their music collection.  If you saw mine then you would say, what the hell?

I've decided to write a review of every album I own on i-tunes daily from AA Bondy to Zoo Kid and all the numbered artists along the way in alphabetically order.  This is going to take a long time so I hope you are ready for a journey. Some of the reviews will suck and some will be awesome.  Some will be more referential to a time in my life while others will just be about the music.  I will do the best to make sure that I include some sort of tunes in each review as well.

Included throughout this trip will be reviews of new music that I get along the way that I feel needs to be talked about right away as opposed to three years from now when I finally get to the letter H.  I will also try to review the first album release up to the most recent release in an artists' collection of multiple releases.  Just so you know, there is no uniformity in my catalog.  Fiona Apple is under A for Apple, Fiona, while Nina Simone is under N for Nina Simone.  If you need some comedy to help you get through the process, watch this.

Look forward to an array of variety and hopefully I can help your ears become in tune with total awesomeness.  See you Monday with AA Bondy's "When the Devil's Loose."

The Wandering of Serendipity

School of Seven Bells - Half Asleep by Vagrant Records

I'm not a truly religious person.  I think of it like car insurance.  If I never get in an accident can I have my money back.  If I go to church every week and there is no heaven, can I have my Sunday's back.  It's a very off way to look at it, but it's how I view things.  I often tell people that I go to church, but that's all I offer them.  My views on everything else are my own.  Plain and simple.  The one thing that I do find amazing is how serendipity falls into my life.

First and foremost, serendipity is my favorite word.  If something random happens and then another random similar event happens, I'll say "How serendipitous."  People look at me funny, but I'm used to that anyway.

What amazes me about serendipity is how random things fall into place at just the right moment when I feel it is either needed or not.  Some would say that that is the work of a higher being, but I scoff at that notion.  In a world full of third world problems, I don't think that God is finding a way to help me hear that song from that TV show that suddenly reminded me of some girl I knew in college.  I think God is worried about how the weather on this planet is continuously getting worse and worse.

At different moments, the randomness of things have found their way into my life.  I'm not going to lie.  I grew up in a very psychologically abusive household.  My step-father destroyed any notion of self-confidence I had before I was 15.  It effected me majorly in the reasons for why my life just floats slowly along.  I've learned to accept responsibility for what is mine, but I know where the roots lie and the evil that resides there.  I spent my time on a couch, but in retrospect wish I had used it better.  Got into root issues and such as opposed to what was "whoa is me" at that moment in my life.  But I did learn a lot about warning sings.  Wish I got into learning the things that would make living easier and life more lush.

This past weekend, though, serendipity found its way to my laptop and got my mind running.  I got home from a long shift at work in which I felt physically and mentally drained.  My personal down time these days is the walk home each night and the time I spend on my computer before I get ready for bed.  I normally check my facebook account and also read my cousins blog.  It's a nice treat to come home and read her Friday rants and it helps me relax just a bit with a laugh.  The link is right over there --->
It's the one with vodka in the title.  That's how we know we're related.  This Friday, one on my friends, or acquaintances is better, had posted a link of a story about a writer in Tampa who is walking to work each day.  He is following the Thoreau writings on "Walking."  Here is a link: The Thoreau Experiment .  He is walking everywhere he goes.  He tweets, photos, and encourages others to participate with him.

The same night I read my cousin's blog.  Amy was reflecting on the notion of waiting.  In it she wrote some things that made my crazy mind race.  It was one of those moments when you're like, "Holy shit.  These two things go together.  They might not see it, but there is a connection."  Whenever I feel that way, usually I feel embarrassed because I'm the only one who I feel gets it.  Of all the things she wrote, this is what struck me:
"A friend of mine, another member of the unemployed masses, wrote me about his plan to travel around Spain for a few months this spring, aimless wandering in between the last job and the next job, whatever that might be. I wonder if it's as much fun as it seems like it'd be or if it's one of those things that begins to wear on a person.

Is aimless wandering ever really aimless? Aren't you looking for something along the way? A story to tell. A person you can fall in love with for a day or two. A sign with an arrow on the road to somewhere. An arrow that points clearly toward the thing that will answer the screaming question that lives not in your head but in your twisted gut. What next? What next? What next?

The trick is to appreciate the journey, right? Insert inspirational quote here about wherever you go there you are, happiness is a journey not a destination, don't let the elevator break you down. Sing a snippet of What a Wonderful World. Take a photo of a cow in a field. Drink yourself into a stupor."

This whole notion creates multiple emotions for me.  Mostly, I feel sad.  Not because everyone doesn't have the freedom to do these things, but because they don't understand that they do.  When she wrote "Is aimless wandering ever really aimless?" it made me thing about the fridge magnet that my mom gave me years ago when I felt like I wasn't sure about anything.  Its a car driving down a curving road in a 1950s style painting that says "Not all who wander are lost."  Later I found out that it's a quote from Tolkien. (That made me a little sad truthfully).  I don't believe I wander nor do I believe that I am lost.  I know that I am an exploring looking for a place to be a settler.  But I do know that I journey and in journeying comes wandering.

Wandering is not aimless.  It is the journey that defines you.  You don't define the journey.  That is what wandering is about.  In this crazy modern age of tech and responsibility and bills and debt and whatever other shit that you have that defines you, we have to learn that NONE of this defines you.  It does not restrict you nor does it enable you.

Life is not about "What next?"  My whole life, I've done things that are not the social norm.  I'm not defiant by any means, but I like to let people know that I'm my own person through and through.  I have a mustache.  It's on it's way to looking like the bare-knuckle brawler from the Heineken commercial mustache.  Two of the women I work with give me grief about it, all the time.  They always ask the same question: Why?  I hate that question.  Why this?  Why that? "You're not gonna (fill in with whatever achievement in life) if you (whatever it is they disapprove of)."  I always look at them like they don't get it, because I know that no matter what I say, they won't.  The real question in the end for me is never why, but why not?

Why not travel the globe for a while?  Why not have a handlebar mustache?  Why not walk to work everyday, even if it is about 100 degrees?  Why not enjoy my life by the rules that I live by?  Why not read ALL THE FUCKING TIME? "Why are you reading that?"  Why not?  Is there something wrong with being smarter?  Is there something wrong with enjoying the life I LIVE the way I WANT to enjoy it?  No there isn't.

Wandering is not about the fun.  It's not about having a schedule.  It's not about knowing.  That's what wandering is.  It's about walking out the door.  Making a left or a right.  And going.

Yes, I have no kids.  Yes, I am single.  Yes, I owe ZERO dollars on my student loans. (I worked two jobs for two years to pay that shit off).  Yes, I have no credit card debt.  Yes, my truck is paid for. (Thanks Dad - I got it after it was paid for, not that he bought me a car).  Maybe these are the things that other people think of as the counter argument for why I think this way, but when was the moment when you stopped thinking this way.  I understand the mentality of life telling you that you have to be all these certain things.

We never wake up when we are 12 and say, "When I'm at college in Springfield, MO, I'm going to meet a girl who looks like this.  I'll walk into the library and we'll sit next to each other.  She'll ask me to borrow a pen and then realize were in the same class.  We'll study together and hit it off.  I'll graduate, she'll graduate and then we'll move in together and get a great job."  That shit doesn't get planned out.  It just happens.  That's what the wandering of life is about.  Life happens.  Why does it matter now that you have a plan for what restricts you for living when you didn't have one when you were 12?  None of us can fully plan out what's going on.  I do understand that life happens.  Shit happens that you can't plan for.  Some of it great and some of it horrible.  I understand, but it's okay to let go of the things that we hold onto that are really holding onto us.

That's what the wandering of life is all about.  It's okay.  You should never look at someone who does their own wandering and ask them "Why?"  You should thank them for reminding you that you used to be that way.  You should not ask them about what but where?  Not how, but when?  Then ask yourself not why, but "Self, why not you?"

I think about traveling overseas for no reason other than because.  I would love to see Florence in the spring.  Walk the Alps.  Travel for the sake of going.  My life is at a point where there is no direction.  I float right now like a leaf on a river moving at its own rhythm.  Some people might say that it's aimless, but who are they to say that?  How do they know what's really going on?  You don't know what can or can't happen.  I could meet the love of my life.  I might not.  I could have a great time.  I might hate it and realize how much I love home.  I don't know.  That's the journey.  That's what life is.  You didn't know what type of kids you would have, but they turned out to be angels that only you can recognize.  You didn't know what type of boss you would have, but you still took the journey into the office and tried. 

Life is about living.  It is about the journey.  It is about the story you tell at the END.  It's not how you start it all.  Its about how you end it all.  Wandering is about the moment that the randomness of life falls into place.  When I walk, I listen to music.  I listen to the conversations that go on in my head, because outside is the only place where I feel comfortable inside.  I replace the noise and then realize that the answers aren't answered, but the dumb questions have now been removed.  Wandering lets you alleviate the dumb questions.  Wandering lets you be yourself without you knowing you are being yourself.  What you see.  What you notice.  What you hear.  What you feel.  That can only be gained in this life when you let yourself wander.  Even if just for a day in your car in a direction you've never been to for a reason you don't know why just because you want to know how to explore your home, your state, your mind, yourself.

I would love to sit and talk some more, but I'm headed out the door.  Then I'm making a left........

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Mix

So here is a little summer mix of songs.  Mostly stuff I've recently gained with some other tracks that I can't stop listening to.  Below is the track listing.

  1. Wye Oak - Spiral (0:00)
  2. Twin Shadow - Five Seconds (5:50)
  3. Japandroids - The House That Heaven Built (10:10)
  4. Mister Lies & Different Sleep - Safety Net (feat. Jessica Blanchet) (14:52)
  5. Air France - Never Content (20:53)
  6. Hundred Waters - Gather (26:03)
  7. Dean Blunt & Ingrid Copeland - #2 (30:58)
  8. Fiona Apple - Anything We Want (33:09)
  9. Anais Mitchell- Young Man in America (37:41)
10. Daniel Rossen - Up on High (43:09)
11. Twin Shadow - Run My Heart (47:03)

I hope you enjoy this.  I do regret there not being two tracks that I thought I had put on there but ended up not.  Well maybe next time I'll remember to throw them on there.  Or, I'll just write about the songs anyway.

- I noticed an issue with the download and have since fixed the problem.  Sorry if you tried to download it and it put it under a different artist name and you couldn't locate it in your files.  That was the issue with me, so sorry for the inconvience and the issue is now fixed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spare time filled...

During the last few months, I've been reading "great" classic literature that "everyone" must read in their life time.  Work that stands the test of time and makes us better people for having read it.  When I'm not punching myself in the face with these works, I read a variety of other books.  So in the last 3 months this is what I've read.

1) "The Genius in the Design - Bernini, Borromini, and the Rivalry That Transformed Rome," by Jake Morrissey.

The book is wonderful.  It takes you on a journey through Rome and introduces you to all the marvels that are there now.  How these two men redefined everything there is about building buildings.  About how these two men made everything that you now love about Rome. Plus, you learn about how these guys made Rome the city that it is today.  Wonderful read.  I've also been reading other books that take place in Italy and it's nice to see how much they intertwined with each other.

2. "Galileo's Daughter - by Dava Sobel.

This is a wonderful book that is a bit boring.  You learn about the relationship that Galileo had with his daughter.  At the same time you see the hardship he goes through in dealing with the church and defending his stance on the sun being the center of the universe.  Wonderful book if you are wanting to know about Galileo without having to read all that math crap that goes with it.

3) "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" by Agatha Christie

I love Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot series of books.  I've read many of them and am now in the process of collecting and reading them all.  I have not solved any of them yet, but I've gotten close.  This is the first book in which Poirot is introduced to the readers.  Wonderfully written with plenty of intrigue.

4) "Defining the Wind" by Scott Huler

This is a wonderful book.  It's not just a history of how wind is defined.  It's about how we all need to learn to just pay attention.  It's a journey that goes back and forth.  First you are in the present tense with the author during his research and then, bam, you're in the 1600s discovering new things at the time in which they are discovered.  I also learned so much about how the wind works, how people use it, and how the scale is so important.  If you have the chance, you should read this.  Mostly because you should read it.  Plus it comes with the wonderful line: "Nature, rightly questioned, never lies."

5) "The Murder on the Links" - by Agatha Christie

My above reasons for reading her books are repeated here.  I got close on this one, but still missed it.  Secondly, I like the escape from historical books and classic literature that her novels provide.

A View.....Review

 For the month of May, the book to read was "A Room with a View" by E.M. Forester.  Before I started reading this book, I had a few conceptions about it.  I wasn't sold on how good it might be or what the hell it would be about, but I found it to be very nice.

First and foremost, no one dies in this book.  For the last 4 months, the books have been a bit of a couple downers.  In April, the heroine dies because her husband is an idiot.  In March, the heroine was a whiny little girl who couldn't get over it.  In February, the lead characters deserve to be shot and beaten and forced to hang out with Carl's mom from The Walking Dead.  In January, the heroine leaves her man for another and then kills herself.  That is a great collection of books to start your year with.

In A Room with a View, we find ourselves traveling to Italy with the lovely Lucy Honeychurch.  She is with her guardian, or professional third wheel if you like.  They are starting their adventures when they realize the room that they have just won't do.  So, a nice boy and his father decide to give them their rooms.  And their rooms have a view of the city and countryside.  As the adventures in Italy go around, Lucy tries her hardest to not be lured into falling for young George.  No matter how they try to avoid each other, they find that they continuously end up near each other.  Well, after the madness of his being to forward, Lucy moves back to England. (Boring!!!).  Next thing you know, the meddling pastor from Italy is in their neighborhood and starts meddling again.  Lucy is forced to start dating this ultra boring man named Cecil Vyse.  Every time he spoke in the book, all I could think of was that guy from Family Guy with the huge bottom jaw who mumbles.  Eventually, Lucy can't take anymore of this boring ass and leaves.  When she leaves, she decides to go back to Italy, which no one knows.  There, she and George get back together and live happily.

What I loved about this book was the fact that a) it ended happily and b) it ended correctly.  This is what a novel is supposed to make you feel like.  Happy at the end.  Happy that you finished it.  I liked the fact that I got to leave to a place I had never been.  I've read plenty of books that take place in England or New York.  Very rarely do you read one that transports you to Italy.  It was a nice change of scenery and I loved feeling like I was there on the hillsides with Lucy and George.

There was one part though that I didn't get.  Early in the book, when George and his father give their rooms to Lucy and her guardian, he leaves a note in the mirror for Lucy.  What did it say?  I have no idea.  I feel like I missed something because I don't know what it said.  At the end, I felt like Brad Pitt in "Seven" when he was yelling "What's in the box?" over and over.  I was yelling to myself, "What was in the note?"  If anyone knows, please let me know. Or let me know where it is in the book.  I did find "A Room with A View" very pleasant and would recommend it to anyone that needs a shortish book to read.

I'm huge in....

As I don't write a whole lot, but should, I decided to look at the stats for my page views.  Low and behold I'm huge.....in Latvia.  That's right a tiny country in the Baltic States.  No, the Baltic States is not a piece of property you can buy in Monopoly.

A few interesting facts about Latvia for you:

1)  The capital city of Latvia is Riga.  It has a population of 900,000.  It is also the largest city in the Baltic States.

2.) The Latvian anthem is titled ‘God Bless Latvia’.

3) Vilhelm Ostwald of Riga was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1909.

4.) The flag looks oddly similar to the Austrian flag.  The Latvian flag has a deeper red hue to it.


As I continue to blow up throughout the world, I will try to educate you about the wonderful nations that for some reason find me entertaining, enlightening, and educational.

Enjoy your day and good bye!  Or, as they say in Latvian -  Atā!

Monday, July 9, 2012

April's book....Tess of the blah, blah, blahsville

For the month of April, the book challenge was to read "Tess of the Durbervilles."  This book follows in the wonderful line of books that my cousin wants everyone to read so they can hate their lives.

Tess of the...., as I will call it, was written by Thomas Hardy.  It is another in the long line of novels of his that take place in an imaginary country called England.  There, the people live wonderful lives full of excitement, adventure, intrigue, and espionage.  Oh, who the hell are we kidding.  We all know that England is boring as shit, just like Thomas Hardy's book.  I did read one of his other books before, "Jude the Obscure."  I read it because I'm a mental sadomasochist.  I like to stab my brain as much as possible with words all the time.  Hardy's novels are like stabbing your self with a saber non-stop.

The book takes us through the life of the lovely lass named Tess.  She lives in a village where apparently she is the only girl under 40 who happens to have all her teeth, which makes her the most beautiful young lady in 6 surrounding counties. The novel opens with her taking place in the county dance off while her dad, who happens to be drunk, is coming into town with great news: They aren't poor anymore.  Well, they really are still poor, just a quick change of the letters in his name, and boom, he's important.  If it were only that easy.  So he sends he daughter off to live with some total strangers who have the same name as if to help her become a lady who might one day meet a lord.  Yeah right.  You look up some in the phone book with your same last name that lives three cities over and see if they'll take in your kids.  That shit cray.

So anyway.  Tess lives with this old lady who is out to lunch because she 900 years old.  She has a son and he is pursuant of Tess from day 1.  Now these people have the same last name.  I say once again, these people have the same last name.  You figure out what's going to happen in Victorian Arkansas.  Tess spends her time dodging the pursuits of her young admirer, but eventually she submits.  Or at least you are left to think so.  Never does Hardy admit that a) they had sex or b) that she willing gave herself to her man.  So the first section ends.

The second second act starts with her back home at her parents.  But she's different.  All the other girls start to come around to see her, but that's because their trifling, gossipy bitches.  After they've had their fill, the start talking shit behind her back. Then all of the sudden she has a baby.  What!! Where did that shit come from.  Oh, hell naw.  She got forced into sex and had a baby, which then died.  So, Hardy is all about this crazy Arkansas raping storyline.  Whatever.

I got past all that and so did Tess.  She traveled around trying to run from her past, and if you read novels, you know that you can never outrun some juicy ass gossip.  She meets a nice boy, but they don't really talk.  But slowly, and I mean slowly, they start hitting it off.  They get married and Tess decides to tell her secret, against her mother's wishes.  This dude first tells of how he laid with a lady for a day.  Then he decides to disown his new wife because she was "impure."  Hey, asshole, you got the hottest woman in England ever since they put a woman in England.  Get over it, you hypocrite.

Well, then the first boy reappears all saved by Jesus and such.  He then sees Tess, and turns his life upside down.  Aw, shits about to hit the farm house fan.  I'm gonna rush this because it's starting to be as long as the novel.  She ends up in jail for killing her baby daddy who she got back with because her douchbag husband went off to Brazil and returned too late and then she is put to death.  The second guy ends up marrying Tess's younger sister. WTF?!!

All in all, the book was a slow painful death that no one should have to endure.  There was one great, great quote that I use everyday of my life now.  I thought it was pure literary genius in a book full of literary spikes.  I can't remember how it went or what the exact words are.  I tried looking it up, but at some point in the book Alec, the asshole, says: "I have no profession."  I love that shit.  It's a horrible way to wrap up a review of a book, but if you want to know how the end really goes, then read the book.  No really, I'll wait for you to never finish it and then tell me all about it.  I'll wait.

The Bell Jar.....Review

Months and months ago, my lovely cousin Amy started a book reading challenge that I have fallen completely into.  The main reason is that most of the books A) are good, and B) they're not entirely crap.  Which leads me to the March book.

The Bell Jar - by Sylvia Plath

Before I started reading the book, all I knew about this book was that every woman who hates some part of men for whatever tiniest reason known only to themselves, had read this book.  While I know that as a man, I can A) never truly relate to the issues that the book raises and B) anything that I say will probably be regarded as me being a chauvinist pig.  My answer to all that for anyone who might feel that way is get the fuck over it.  That being said, this is my review of The Bell Jar.

The first and wonderful thing that I loved about the novel was the authors ability to transport me from 2012 to the 1960s.  I loved that I felt like I was right there by the characters sides throughout.  As the novel wore on, I realized how much I appreciated the attention to detail in regards to every little thing.  From the streets and offices of New York to the therapist offices and treatment centers.  But not just that, though.  Every little item that stroked a memory in Esther's mind seemed to stroke one in mine.  Now as for Esther, our heroine, she started to bother me about 10 pages in. (This is where I will become a pig, to some).

Maybe it's my upbringing or my youthful adulthood or my own acknowledgement of my personal issues, but all I could think about when thinking about Esther's "issues" was get the fuck over it.  Seriously, get the fuck over it.  I know that you don't recognize your issues until you can move past them, but Esther always had "something."  She was an excellent writer who didn't believe she belonged where she was.  I know she wasn't a whore like her friends.  She wasn't rich like her bitchy friends.  None of us are.  The difference was that those people knew who they were, and she didn't.  I get that.  But seriously, get the fuck over it and move on.

I was personally amazed(?)/appalled(?) by how men treated women in the 1960s when they couldn't handle their shit.  Seriously, who the fuck submits their wives to electrocution?  That shit bothered me a lot.  What type of a man can't deal with their own shit on their own time and help their wife out?  Maybe it's my upbringing.  I don't know.  This book bothered me a lot because all I heard was that little fuck from "Catcher in the Rye" the whole time, just in a female voice.  I guess when you have to deal with social expectations and family/personal ones that are contrary to each other, your life will be crazy.

In these modern times, I see a book of the same material being written would not have the effect it should have.  Maybe it's because more people whine about their lives and many of us are desensitized to it all.  The Bell Jar is a book that should resonate with any young woman, so long as you are upper middle class.  It does matter in the realm of literature history because it was the first major piece, in my opinion, that made every young girl who read it understand that it's okay to say you aren't happy and that you don't need therapy.  It's okay to be lost at times.  It's okay to acknowledge that you have problems. But what is most important, is that you need to get the fuck over it.

If I were to rename the Catcher in the Rye it would most definitely be "White People Problems."  If I were to rename The Bell Jar, it would be "White Women Problems."  Thank you Amy for making me have to read this shit.  My US Women's History professor would be proud.

That is if she were ever happy that a man did anything.