Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Getting Up There

According to this age chart, I am in the Prime of my life. Right in the middle of it, in fact. Guess it's time to start acting like it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What I've Been Reading

Thrown by Kerry Howley


I never, ever thought I would care about Mixed Martial Arts fighting (cage fighting if you need a visual) let alone read an entire book about it. It's violent, and dangerous, and just so stupid. But then I found this book; a world-expanding and wonderfully weird read about philosophy and obsession, failure and hope, and yes--cage fighting.

While bored out of her mind at a writing conference Kerry Howley decides to follow a group of men who lead her to a makeshift fighting octagon at the very same conference hotel. It is here she witnesses her first MMA fight and undergoes a transcendent experience that she doesn't understand, but longs to replicate. That night she also meets one to the two fighters she will follow over the course of the next three years. Inserting herself into their lives as a "space taker," Howley chases that unexplained, otherworldly feeling while her fighters chase dreams of glory, fame, and brotherhood.

Part of me is pretty sure I'm so enthralled with Kerry and her fighters due to my current obsession with any story where the protagonist suddenly does something they never thought they would, or could, or should--all the while ignoring whatever choices that societal norms, and personal expectations, and expensive educations suggest they should make.

Regardless, this book is wild. I learned more about MMA and phenomenology than I ever thought I wanted to (not that I actually ever thought about those things or knew what they were until now). It's absurd, and smart, and sad. In a word--captivating.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Don't Blogs Turn Into Books?

I'm breaking my blogging silence. Mostly because I want to write, and this seems to be the only place I have any success-- or at least some sort of vague consistency when I really work at it. Not sure what it's going to be yet. Maybe more of the same. Maybe more serious stuff. We'll see. Books and cats will feature prominently- obvi. Oh, and I say, "Obvi" now.

To is Brandon Flowers' new video.

Ha! Tricked you! Now watch it. 

Bonus: Brandon Flowers can act, sort of. Or he just had a really good director
Double bonus: He's so pretty.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Sitting here listening to some New Order.  They're pretty good.  Maybe I do like 80's music.
Love Vigilantes is excellent.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Music Tuesday!

I'm calling it that for now because my new day off is Tuesday.  And I've decided that Tuesday will be the day I venture to the Library to collect the 15 or so cds I invariably have waiting for me.  And conveniently enough, the library happens to be oh so close to Sonic Boom Records.  Like new books, new music is released on Tuesdays.  Which means, should a favorite band put out a new album, New Music Tuesday would be a trip to the library, and to Sonic Boom.  Because, after all, I do still buy cd form, if you can believe it.  I still don't buy anything from the iTunes or any other interwebs place, but I will lay down some hard earned cash at my local record store.  Also, my new vinyl obsession sort of leaves me no choice but to patronize Sonic Boom.  And why not?  They are amazing!  They order anything, and leave you alone to browse, and let you test out records, and they never judge a person for how much Killers' shit she buys. They are awesome.  Plus, they are local and independent, and treat their employees a hell of a lot better than Amazon ever will.  BRICKS AND MORTAR!

So, back to New Music Tuesday.  Here's some of the stuff I picked up from the library today and am loving:

Tame Impala- Lonerism
Psychedelic, trance-y, cool.  Feels Like We Only Go Backwards is perfect.

Daft Punk- Random Access Memories
Yeah, I'm late to the party.  You can't be surprised.  I like this more than I thought I would.  Especially Instant Crush with Julian Casablancas.  That track, I LOVE.

Palma Violets- 180
My favorite of the bunch.  This one's gonna be on repeat for awhile.  It's really good.  Really, really good.  You've heard Best of Friends but everything on this album is fantastic.  14 is a favorite.  But then, the "slow," earnest songs usually are.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Have you guys heard of this cat... Bob Dylan? I think he's going places.

I'm on a musical odyssey.  Some of you have witnessed this.  Why it's happening now, I don't know.  I'm sure it has a bit to do with my unholy and ridiculous obsession with The Killers, and a lot to do with feeling unmoored and lost, but mainly it's because I've never really done this before...and it's fun.

It's exciting.


I've never ever listened to so much music in my entire life.  I spend as much time listening to music as I do reading (and you know how I love to read).  I shudder to think of  the hours spent staring at my ceiling and just listening.  I listen to music like it's my job.  Often, I find myself with a wrinkled nose and a cringe when listening to new stuff that isn't quite up my alley, but it's always captivating.  And it makes me feel alive.  Every new artist I find, or music blog I stumble upon seems to open up new doors.  Sure, I've been into music and bands before, but I've never had the freedom to meander and explore like this.  Thanks to resources like the library, and Spotify, and the interwebs in general; it's all right there.  At my fingertips.  At your fingertips.  It's there, waiting for me and for you.  All we have to do is listen.

What sparked this earnest and sappy post is this...

Now, as a non-troubled, trying-to-be-interesting-teenager, I got into Bob Dylan (full disclosure, because I was into Jakob Dylan(his son)'s band, The Wallflowers).  But then, past all that puffing and posing, I really did love Bob Dylan.  I collected his greatest hits and most important albums, I read his poetry, went to two shows.  And then I forgot all about him and all about music.  But now it seems, I'm back.

Recently. I've been working off this list:
I love NME.  I started to love them because they are British and they love The Killers (the way that American media doesn't), but now I love them because they are fantastic and funny, they love Arctic Monkeys, and they really seem to know what they're talking about.

SO...tonight, I'm listening to this Bob Dylan concert from 1964 that NME gave 10/10 stars.  And I am moved.  If you hate his voice and if that matters to you, you should ignore all of this.  But if his voice doesn't bother you; or if, even better, his voice stirs something within you...this recording is stunning.


I haven't really paid much attention to my Bob Dylan feelings in the last ten years; but, HOLY SHIT.  Tonight, listening to this...I regret every minute spent not thinking about Bob Dylan and his beauty and his relevance.  Listen to this recording.  He's funny and charming.  He's unleashing some of his most powerful work.  These are songs that are going to define him and define a generation of music, activism, and art.  He sings alone, sings with the audience.  He sings with Joan Baez; and together, they are phenomenal.  He's 23 years-old.  And he will blow your mind.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dear The Killers, You're stupid.

So, I watched your stupid music video.  It's so stupid.

Like I wanted to see an amazing and beautiful video recapping all your other amazing and beautiful videos.  With a super gorgeous, lady actress (apparently from the Glee show) pretending to be Brandon Flowers...that's so stupid and not hot at all.

And then you packed it full of references of shit that only Victims (superfans) would get.


And, me way more Ronnie, Mark, and DAVE...just like I asked you to?

I hate you.

Can't you do anything right?

I'm SO glad you're going on hiatus.  I honestly can't take any more of your crap.  Why don't you take this time to think about how you could possibly be a little more awesome.

Also, stop tweeting shit like this.  If you could not dedicate your stupidly amazing and beautiful video to your most ardent supporters...that would be great.


Monday, November 25, 2013

New Killers' Music Video!

Don't worry.

I'll watch it.

517 times.

And I'll let you know how it is.

Which, let's face's probably awesome.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: A review in Two parts

Part Two: The Review
Part One is here.

I read Donna Tartt's The Secret History a few years ago and loved it. It's a favorite.  So I was super excited to hear that she was finally publishing something new.  The Goldfinch.  As soon as we got the advance at the store a coworker snatched it up, but she stopped reading about 200 pages in. Her early thoughts had me thinking that maybe I wouldn't even bother with it.  But then all the reviews and press started coming out; and it was good press.  Glowing.  It was difficult to find a review that was less than worshiping.  So I gave it a shot.

Quick synopsis if you haven't read any of the reviews.  This is the story of Theo Decker.  He's just a kid when his mother is killed in a horrifying accident he miraculously survives.  The novel follows Theo as he grows up, weighed down by grief and anger and guilt and loneliness.  That sounds bleak, I know.  I cried multiple times reading this least three instances of pretty serious sobbing.  But there's also suspense, action, danger. And there's joy, and humor, and friendship; and all of that propels you through the hard stuff.  It's life.  And it's pretty stunning.  Oh, and there's also a painting.

I don't want to say too much, because suspense and mystery do play a pretty important role, so, I will just lay out a few of my favorite things.

This book is huge.  It clocks in at almost 800 pages.  Bit of a monster, really.  So I was grateful that Tartt doesn't keep us nailed down in one spot the entire time.  And the portion of the novel that takes place in Las Vegas's...I don't know what it is, but it had this weird and profound effect on me.  It's not as if I have any love for Las Vegas.  I don't even like Vegas beyond the fact that when I was there a few weeks ago, it was unbelievably sunny, and The Killers are from there (seriously The Killers?!? every fucking post...get out of my life!).  I think the power of the Vegas bit of Goldfinch is a combination of the introduction of my favorite character and a key shift in the narrative; but mostly, a heavy dose of southwest nostalgia.

Ultimately, it's more of that yearning for the desert that a talented writer and a well written story does to me.  And sometimes it's like Tartt is spying on my childhood when she describes the sprawling wasteland of desert, tract housing; or the languid, muffled, and murky laziness of  a heavy curtain drawn against the relentless heat of the desert sun.  How does she do that!??!  Her author bio makes no mention of any residence in the Southwest.  In fact, she seems decidedly east coast (and the portions set in New York make that abundantly clear).  So how on earth does she manage the gritty, dried out, electric charge of a desperate and scrabbling desert upbringing?  How?

Next, let's talk characters.  Before I even got to my favorite character, I was already sold on Theo, which is unusual, as I don't typically like children as narrators. But Theo is wonderful.  Really, all the characters are so perfectly rendered it's remarkable.  They're all real.  Real people that you know right now, that could be sitting in the room with you this very moment.

And it seems the characters can't possibly get any better but then...Boris.  Please understand, I know I tend toward the hyperbolic (*sheepish grin*), but I make not the slightest hesitation when I say that BorisBoris is absolutely my favorite character, of any book.  Ever.  Stephen King wrote an exceptional review of The Goldfinch for the New York Times, and I will steal his words to tell you about Boris:
...Tartt’s take on the Artful Dodger and this novel’s most brilliantly drawn character. Boris may be a little too na├»ve about America for such a wise child...but his jittery good humor, boundless energy and flash charm are impossible for Theo — and us — to resist.
Boris is...he's just...I...  Many, many times, this novel destroys my ability to form cohesive sentences. Explaining how much I love Boris is the primary reason for that speechlessness.  What I can say, is that he offers an unexpected, outrageous, charming, and sweetly earnest, wise-beyond-his-years, perspective for all the shit going on in this book and in Theo's life.  He's the friend you wish you'd had...well, most of the time.  Truly, he's perfect.

This review is getting overly long.  So, here's one last favorite thing.  In the end, this novel is about a young man dealing with the shocking death of his mother and the trauma, guilt, and unimaginable loneliness that entails.  But Donna Tartt's delicate mastery keeps this from being the tear-stained, depressive tome it could have been, and moves it into the realm of something redemptive, epic, courageous, and sparkling.

All through the book, there is the subtle, ever-present absence of Theo's mother.  But it's never, ever oppressive.  Sometimes you even forget why Theo's life has so decidedly crumbled around him.  I have no experience with this kind of tragedy, but I imagine that eventually it becomes a sort of constant, dull, pulsing, pain that can be ignored for awhile...until it simply can't.  And that's what Tartt is able to convey.  She isn't constantly reminding you that this kid is a sad, lost orphan.  But every once in awhile, the truth of Theo's loss leaps out of nowhere, surprising the reader and Theo himself.  Tartt delivers a sucker punch of grief and loneliness that takes your breath away and reminds you of what's truly at stake.

So I guess those are a few of my favorite things; Las Vegas, Boris, and soul-shuddering emotion.

In his review, Stephen King compares The Goldfinch to a no-hitter in baseball.
a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind. I read it with that mixture of terror and excitement I feel watching a pitcher carry a no-hitter into the late innings. You keep waiting for the wheels to fall off, but in the case of “The Goldfinch,” they never do.
I will say, I disagree here.  As much as I love this book, I am not entirely blind to some of its faults.  It is, after all, 800 pages.  And towards the end, it becomes clear that maybe it doesn't need to be quite so long.  King says that the wheels never fall off.  I think they do, but I also find I don't care.  Because as this wheel-less, Mack Truck of a novel careens toward its outlandish, wild, and treacherous end, there isn't any other author, or any other characters I would rather be hurled off of a cliff with.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Heart Divided

I just clicked on a YouTube video of Tom know, because he's perf.  And the advertisement before the clip was for The Killers "Direct Hits" album.

It's like Brandon Flowers knew.  He knew I was being unfaithful, and he conjured his beautiful spirit out of the internet ether to remind me where my heart truly lies.  (And before you ruin my fun and tell me all about the magic of ad placement or whatever, I just want you to know that this is the first Killers ad I have ever seen in all of my rather extensive YouTube-ing.)

Also, I'm pretty sure my ovaries are on fire and my uterus just exploded from all of that unexpected and frankly, inhuman hotness.  Might need to follow up with my physician...but yeah, pretty sure.