Milk and Cigarettes

Rambles about stuff I like.

Wowtopia

Today I’m going to spend my 15 minutes gushing about how great the show “Utopia” is. I spend yesterday binge-watching the 1st season – which wasn’t terribly difficult, as it’s only 6 episodes long. But man O’ man, what a show.

The first thing I want to point out is just how beautiful the cinematography is. The show is very striking, with lots of highly contrasting and bright colours. Lots of wide open spaces and moody atmospheric shots. Just to watch the show itself is visually stimulating. Here’s a bunch of pics – look at all these colours!

Utopia00001 Utopia00002 Utopia00003 Utopia00004 Utopia00005 Utopia00006 Utopia00007 Utopia00008 Utopia00009 Utopia00010 Utopia00011 Utopia00012 Utopia00013 Utopia00014 Utopia00015 Utopia00016 Utopia00017 Utopia00018 Utopia00019 Utopia00020 Utopia00021 Utopia00022 Utopia00023 Utopia00024

 

And I haven’t even begun with the plot yet!

Ok, so the plot is unbelievably convoluted, and it goes something like this. A bunch of nerds share a love of a graphic novel called, “Utopia.” They agree to meet to discuss “Utopia 2”, but find that the guy who had the manuscript for Utopia 2 was killed. They quickly become embroiled in scandal and danger and, before they know it, they’re on the run for their lives.

Very slowly, we’re filled in on the back story. But the back story is crazy convoluted – short version: there’s a bunch of different warring factions who want to get their hands on “Utopia 2”, because hidden within its pages is the molecular blueprint for a certain type of protein which can sterilize 95% of the population and is hereditary.

The above makes sense if you’ve seen Utopia.

Anyhoo, it’s a crazy thriller – with lots of, “Who’s side are they on?” type mysteries – plenty of goodies and baddies to root for, and nothing is as it seems. Needless to say, I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire show. It’s tense, taught and makes one paranoid just by watching.

Moreover, Season 1 ends with a number of cliffhangers and loose ends. I’m hoping Season 2 (which should hopefully be released sometime this year) will answer a bunch of these questions. Of course, it wouldn’t be a successful spy-thriller if it didn’t pose even more questions than it answered.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this is probably the greatest drama I’ve seen since Breaking Bad. Do you remember that tense, constricting feeling you had while watching Breaking Bad? I had that same feeling while watching Utopia – but since there were just so many riddles posed by the show, I felt compelled to keep watching in order to solve those riddles. Though, by the end, I’m left not trusting any of the answers the show has given us. There’s too many twists and turns and double crosses and triple crosses to believe that any of the information that various characters have given us were true.

Anyhoo… yeah. Great show.

Another thought I had while watching the show is that, since the whole journey began because of a comic book, I’m wondering if the highly contrasting visual style was done that way on purpose, as sort of a call back to a comic book’s style. Comics are bright and dramatic – similar to how the show was shot.

I will probably have to watch the show in its entirety again, just to see if there’s any more clues I can pick up. I’m surprised there’s no massive online following yet – I’m sure once the show comes to HBO, there will be.

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May 29, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Utopia and Big Fat Quiz of the Year: A Channel 4 Ramble

Wow! That show Utopia is amazing. I’ve only seen one episode so far, but man does it ever get its hooks in fast.

The opening scene, we’re in a comic book store, when two unassuming men walk in. “We’re closed!” yells the proprietor. One of the two men, takes a lead pipe from his bag and bashes in some guys skull. That’s the first minute of the show. It gets better (or worse, depending on your point of view) from there.

The basic sort of plot is as follows: There’s a graphic novel called “Utopia”, which was written by a guy in a mental institution. This comic has attracted a cult following, and these followers congregate on an online forum to discuss the book. When one of the forum members claims he has a copy of Utopia 2, he and a few other followers agree to meet in real life. However, the guy who’s got the copy of Utopia 2 gets sidetracked by the previously aforementioned two unassuming men. The main story then becomes how these other forum members get sucked into this Utopia 2 business, which appears to have deadly consequences.

Also going on at the same time is a B-story about a government worker, who got his mistress pregnant. But because his mistress is owned by the Russian mob, this government stooge is going to have to do the Russian mob a favour. And so this B-story is all about how this government worked is being pressured and is having to sneak around and do the mob’s bidding.

Anyhoo, it appears as if these two stories will intersect, as the deadly aspect of the Utopia novel seems to stem from a Russian company – where the writer of Utopia used to work before he went mad.

There’s a bunch of twists and turns, and it’s definitely a drama/thriller type of show. But man is it ever good. And that’s just based on the first episode! I’m looking forward to binge watching the rest of the series today.

It’s not a BBC show though, it’s Channel 4 – which I assume is a big competitor of the government run BBC. Is Channel 4 the one that did the Big Fat Quiz of the Year shows? After Googling, I find that, indeed it is.

Let me ramble a bit about Big Fat Quiz of the Year. If you’ve never seen the show, take a gander at the clip below.

That’s right, it’s 90 minutes long – but worth every second. It’s basically an end-of-the-year trivia show, but featuring 6 comedians. So it’s a non-stop laugh riot! Especially by the end of the show, when the taping has been going for 3 or 4 hours, and everyone’s tired and exasperated and ready to go home, but they’ve still got to put on their best faces and make jokes. That’s my favorite part, when the show starts going haywire and the show runners are too tired to reel it back in. 

Previous years have featured other comedians, notably Russell Brand. And although I’ve never been patient enough to watch one of his stand up shows, Brand is pretty awesome as a panel guest. I’d love to see Brand on QI or Mock the Week, just to see what he can do with it.

Of course, my favorite BFQOTY shows contain either David Mitchell and/or Ricard Ayoade. Both of these guys have nasally, inherently funny voices. Mitchell is unbelievably witty, and Ayoade is a master of the deadpan. There was one year where both these guys were on the same “team”, and I think that year is easily the best episode.

I don’t know what it is about British television – maybe it’s the short series length, or the lack of a Puritanical heritage. But British television always seems to be head and shoulders above American television. Luckily, I’m Canadian, so I get the best of both worlds.

May 28, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A ramble about the holographic moon.

I’ve found the latest and greatest conspiracy that will interest me for some time, and that is, the moon is a hologram.

Sounds ridiculous, I know. Probably is. But late last night, after smoking some cannabis, I stumbled onto a youtube account in which the guy takes a lot of videos of the moon. In a couple videos, there appears to be a camera distortion effect which takes place – but upon further review, it indeed looks like it could be a real effect and not a video glitch. Here’s the link to the account in question:

I’m hoping that embed code works. For some reason, youtube seems to be touchy about what will and will not embed.

Regardless, I’m intrigued by this idea that the moon is a hologram. (Even as an intellectual exercise.) For quite some time, scientists have been speculating as to the unique properties of the moon. For starters, the moon is enormous. Out of all the planets in the solar system, Earth is the only one to have a moon about an eighth it’s size. The moon is bigger than Pluto!

There are various theories about how the moon was created. The leading one being that a meteor blasted into Earth a few billion years ago, when Earth was just molten rock, and busted the Earth in two – with the piece broken off being the Moon. Except that this doesn’t account for the vast differences in geology between Earth and the moon. Moreover, this meteor collision was so fortuitous, that the Moon just happened to be captured by Earth’s gravity perfectly – and didn’t fall into the sun or crash back into Earth.

There’s also the weird coincidence of the spacing of the moon, which allows for perfect solar eclipses every now and then. If the moon were a different size, or had a slightly different orbit, these eclipses wouldn’t be as perfect as they are. Also, there’s the startling fact that when we observe meteors (or micrometeorites) crashing into the Moon, the Moon tends to, “… ring like a bell.” This suggests either the moon is hollow, or has a vastly different geological makeup than otherwise suspected. (However, after checking my sources, it appears that this “rings like a bell” phenomenon was recorded by instruments set up on the Apollo missions. Since the Apollo missions were all faked, this piece of information is therefore suspect.)

Anyhoo, this conspiracy is one which I’ll be delving into today. As with any conspiracy, I’ll have to wade through loads of faulty information and disinformation to get at the truth. I love these unbelievably wacky conspiracies – moon is a hologram, Earth is hollow, etc… And even though they are probably overwhelmingly false, it’s still a fun way to spend an afternoon.

 

May 27, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kitty News

I helped my brother move on the weekend. Lemme tell ya, nothing sucks worse than moving. A full day of carrying heavy and awkwardly shaped stuff from one place to another. It aggravated my rotator cuff injury as well as my bum knees.

But on the other hand, now I live with a kitty!

I was going to write about Mrs. Kitty and in order to do so, I thought I’d take some pictures of her. But as it happens, cats can be difficult to find when they don’t want to be found. After searching high and low, I finally find Mrs. Kitty.

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Mrs. Kitty, hide and seek champion.

Of course, her name isn’t Mrs. Kitty, it’s Lily. But I think that’s not an appropriate name for a cat. Something like, “Boots”, “Mittens”, “Lil’ Shoes” – basically any piece of clothing would work. But Lily? Puh-lease, that’s a ridiculous name. Thus, until I figure out something better, her name is Mrs. Kitty.

Ms. Kitty 002

Sigh… what is it, peon?

Mrs. Kitty is pretty lazy, from what I can tell. She mostly roams around the halls, looking for people to scritch her behind the ears and maybe give her a belly rub.

Here’s a shot of Mrs. Kitty in action!

Ms. Kitty 003

Kitty sit-up!

I think the word action may be hyperbole, in this case.

Anyhoo, there’s a kitty in my house now. So far, this kitty just seems lazy and not the kind of asshole cat that will knock stuff off of high perches just because they can. Those cats can go lick themselves in dirty places.

Ms. Kitty 004

Go get me some cream.

I’m hoping that Mrs. Kitty and Mr. Honey Bunches start pallin’ around together – getting into mischief and going on adventures. Mrs. Kitty could be voiced by Kristen Schaal, and Mr. Honey Bunches by John Dimaggio. I would watch the hell outta that!

Anyhoo – not much else going on besides Kitty news. There was no episode of Game of Thrones last night. All the shows are about to go on summer hiatus and I’m desperately searching for a new series to dig my teeth into over the summer.

I downloaded a British series called, “Utopia”, which is supposed to be amazing – well, amazing according to nerds on the internet, and these are the same people that watched 8 different versions of Star Trek. The good thing is that I’m going into the show cold, which means I have no idea what the show is about. That’s a great way to be introduced to a show, as I’m not going to be prejudiced by expectation. Then again, I might turn it off after 5 minutes. We’ll see!

I’ve also taken to watching the first season of King of the Hill. I was never really into it when it was on, but I keep seeing reference to it within discussions about cartoons, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I’m guessing the show really finds its legs during the 2nd or 3rd season, like most other shows. Right now, the characters seem quirky rather than fleshed out. It’s a very dry show, rather than in-your-face humour, and I don’t know if that’s exactly my style. But it did run for, like, 12 seasons – and Mike Judge (Office Space, Idiocracy) is the man behind it. I’ll give it a couple more seasons before I make my final decision.

And that’s the end of that ramble!

May 26, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Literally Hitler

There is nothing quite so aggravating as people misusing the word “literally.” I see this frequently online, where people don’t know the difference between figuratively and literally. The worst is when people accuse someone or something of being, “Literally Hitler.” There is one and only one context in which you can use the words, “Literally Hitler” – and that is if you’re talking about Adolph Hitler. That guy who cut in front of you in line at Dairy Queen? He is not “Literally Hitler.” 

The problem now, is that the misuse of the word has become so common, there’s now a movement (or vague murmurings) of letting “literally” mean figuratively. In fact, if you Google, “Literally” – the dictionary definition pops up, which contains two definitions: the first is the correct definition of the word. The second, is as follows:

used for emphasis or to express strong feeling while not being literally true.

This definition uses the word, “Literally” to describe the exact wrong meaning of the word!!! Look at that! It says, “Used for emphasis […] while not being literally true.” This description could easily be shortened to, “Speech which is not literally true.” And that’s the definition for “Literally”!!! I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

This is an unbelievably depressing thing to witness. People are so stupid as to continually misuse this word, that they will add a definition which means the exact opposite of the word. It’s like if people kept getting the colour orange confused with the colour purple, so they defined purple to mean, “Purple, unless the speaker is using the word incorrectly, in which case it means orange.” 

Look, I get that English is a living language, and meanings of words get changed all the time to keep up with the vernacular. But there’s something very wrong when an alternate definition for “Literally” is, effectively, “Not literally.” 

Cheeeese and crackers!

What would happen if this became a trend? For example, flammable and inflammable mean the same thing. But “in” is often used to negate a word – so what if people starting using ‘inflammable’ to mean ‘not flammable’. And then people just kept misusing that word so often, that the dictionary would have to come up with two definitions. 

Inflammable – Noun – Meaning 1: Something which is flammable. Meaning 2: Something which is not flammable.

Because that’s what’s fucking happening with literally! Literally! Misuse is redefining the word to mean the exact opposite, which renders the word useless! Then you’ll end up with people saying, “I mean this for realz” instead of using literally as it was intended.

Christ. What a horrible, newspeak future we’re all being drawn into. Where literally doesn’t mean a thing. And anyone who does anything mildly offensive is, “Literally Hitler” – meaning, not literally Hitler. 

Guh. I should just learn Chinese and prepare for the eventual Red Dragon takeover. I’m sure their language makes much more sense. Especially when they can enforce standards with the barrel of a gun.

May 25, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A ramble about Nostromo and the Supermob

Yeah, that Conrad novel is just called “Nostromo” and not, “The Nostromo”. “The Nostromo” is a ship, and “Nostromo” is a guy.

It looks like I’ll continue on with “Nostromo.” The first chapter was full of Conrad’s florid prose about the mythical South American island nation where the story takes place. That initially put me off the book. But in Chapter 2, things started to pick up.

The island where the story takes place has a calm, placid bay at one end, and sharp, jagged rocks leading out to sea on the other end. (I forget the name of the island, it’s similar to the name “Guadalajara”, in that there’s a bunch of the same vowel in a row interrupted by consonents, but the vowel in this case is the letter “o”. It’ll come to me.) Anyhoo, this island is home to a well run shipping company, the OSN – and Chapter 2 starts off with the citizens rioting for some reason, and the shipping company saving a bunch of people. There’s brief mention of this guy Nostromo during the riot, and how he would save people.

Chapter 3 continues in the same vein – except now we’re introduced to an island dweller, and his family, who are hiding in their house, trying to survive the riot. There’s plenty of mention of Nostromo, and how if *he* were there, they’d fight off these rioters and everything would be ok. 

I like the way the story is developing so far – this building up the myth of Nostromo before we meet him. A quick Google search tells me that Nostromo is Italian for boatswain, which is the long form of bosun – which I assume is like an ensign, except for boats. (Truth is, I’m not really sure what an ensign is either. I’m terrible with military names and ranks, etc…)

Also, Google tells me that the fictional island nation in the book is called Costaguana – which I think means “Coast of Bird Shit” – or wait, that’s guano. Yeah – Google goes on to tell me that Guana is part of the British virgin islands, so I’m assuming Costaguana is meant to imply that it’s a Caribbean nation. (Or an island that lies close to the equator – that is, it’s above the Southern tropic line.)

Anyhoo, I’ll continue on with Nostromo as my fiction novel.

The current non-fiction book I’m reading is called Supermob, by Gus Russo. It’s about this guy called Sidney Korshak, who started out as a lawyer for the Capone family crime syndicate, and then rose to be one of America’s great power brokers. This book is somewhat startling, in that it basically confirms what I’ve suspected all along about American politics: it’s crooked as all get out. This book is a non-stop tale about how the mob controlled the music business, Hollywood, American labour unions, politicians, vegas casinos, etc… Basically, any industry with deep pockets has been infiltrated by the mob. It’s shocking to realize just how entrenched the mafia is with everyday American life. The sad thing is, it’s only gotten worse, not better.

Oh well, enjoy the decline everybody!

May 24, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Nostromo vs. Midnight’s Children

I changed up the Jazz Cigarettes widget. Now it suggests articles based on the number of likes it gets, rather than the number of clicks it got in the past 48 hours. That widget was looking pretty lonely when I had it based on clicks. Now it’s a bunch of stuff about goals and a couple about Mr. Honey Bunches. Nothing about how much Castle sucks and Stana Katic also sucks and that jazz. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to write better rants that resonate with more people. Either that, or face the fact that most people like Castle, and think Stana Katic is a perfectly fine actress, and her character “Beckett” isn’t a moody bitch at all.

One thing we can all agree on is just how wonderful Nathan Fillion is.

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Oh he’s just such a dreamboat.

Firefly isn’t coming back. Wash died in Serenity. I have to accept these things.

Anyhoo, since I finished The Outsider yesterday, I have to choose a new fiction book to read. I was going to read, “The Nostromo” by Joseph Conrad – partly because it’s a classic, but also partly because the ship in Alien was called the Nostromo. (In fact, if you Google “The Nostromo”, JC’s book result is 4th – there’s 3 nerdy Alien things preceding it.) 

However, I read for 15 minutes yesterday and barely made it 3 pages. Joseph Conrad is a dense read. I’m sure many readers have read “Heart of Darkness”, I think probably his most famous book. The movie “Apocalypse Now” was loosely based on the book, and more than one grade 12 class had to read it. 

I tried stumbling through it one summer, and as I recall, it was also a pretty dense read. 

What do I mean by dense? I mean it’s the sort of book that seems weighed down by its use of language. One has to trudge through the book, stumbling on long, difficult and obscure words, before graping the meaning of a paragraph. It’s necessary to have a dictionary nearby when reading a dense book.

Sometimes a dense book can be absolutely wonderful. I would call, “Midnight’s Children” a pretty dense book, as Rushdie likes to be verbose. But that book, I think, had a very lyrical quality to it. Whereas what I’ve read of Conrad, it seems a lot more chunky and doesn’t flow as well. This might be me being a poor reader, and wanting to fly ahead to the meat of the book without paying too much attention to little details. Although I read Midnight’s Children pretty thoroughly, so maybe not.

In any case, I don’t much feel like continuing on with The Nostromo. I’d much rather read book 4 of the Game of Thrones series. I read the first three books a couple years ago when the show first came on. And I remember starting book 4 and getting part way through it, then putting it down and never picking it up again. Now that the show is pulling information from book 5, I think I’m a lot more motivated to plow through the last two remaining books.

Of course, each of the game of thrones books are a thousand pages long, so it’s not a quick read. Moreover, I’ve got the book on Kindle rather than a hard copy, so once I’m done, I won’t get to add to the satisfying stack of “Read this Year” books I’ve got going on. 

I suppose I might try reading more of The Nostromo until some action starts happening, then give it up later if I still can’t penetrate the language. After all, it was written about 100 years ago. There’s a reason it’s a classic. I’ve just got to push on until I find that reason.

May 23, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Thrilling Conclusion to The Outsider – what was Camus on about?

I have no real idea how the “Top Posts” widget on my sidebar works. Apparently it only takes into account clicks that have happened in the past 24-48 hours, rather than all-time clicks (as I would want it.) Now, although my “I Hate Stana Katic” post appears in the sidebar, it will only stay there for a couple days, or until someone clicks on it again. (Fair warning: I gamed the system and clicked on the post a bunch of times so it would show up.) Anyhoo, I’ll probably change it around a bit so that it’ll keep track of “all-time” clicks. But we’ll see.

Anyhoo, can I talk a bit about how great coffee is in the cool of a summer morning. Right now it’s 16 degrees out, which is fairly warm, but since it’s summer outside (for all intents and purposes) it’s nice and cool in my room, comparatively to the stanky hot it’ll be later today. It’s very brunky out – it smells like a mixture of wet and burnt leaves. A gorgeous, earthy smell – combine that with some black, syrupy coffee and brother, you got yourself a nice morning.

It’s a shame – because this is the type of coffee that would go excellently with a wake and bake session. It’s unfortunate I have to teach tonight, because I tell ya – if I could fire up the bong right now, puff a bowl, drink my coffee and then do a whole bunch of math, that would be a sweet day. But I teach tonight, so even though there’s like, 8 hours before I teach, I can’t be getting high until after class. It’s just too risky – not worth risking my career over a blissful, hazy morning. Alas.

I do love the mornings. It’s usually peaceful in the morning (when I don’t have painters watching me take a shit) and I feel all productive and energized. I would like to start getting up early in the morning – but I love staying up late, too! It’s fun to stay up late – look at stupid stuff on the internet, smoke the ever-present bong. I think I’ll have to start retiring at 9:00, so that I can be alone for a couple hours before I go to sleep. 

Whatevs. Early morning ramble, I suppose. What I really want to talk about is the ending to “The Outsider”, and how I probably missed the entire point of the book.

When we last left our hero, Mr. Meursault (I checked, that’s the correct spelling) – he was on trial for his life after shooting a guy in cold blood. The lawyer for the defense is arguing for, “Murder with extenuating circumstances”, and the prosecutor is shooting for straight-up murder. After all the closing arguments have been said – and when Meursault gets asked if he’s got anything else to say (to which he replies, casually, “No.”) The jury brings back a verdict of guilty, with no extenuating circumstances. The penalty is death.

After the trial, the remainder of the book deals with Mr. Meursault lying in prison, trying to avoid seeing the chaplain. Eventually, the chaplain comes and argues with Meursault about how he should accept God’s love and repent before he dies. Meursault is pretty annoyed by all this God talk. Finally, Meursault explodes at the chaplain, in what is probably the most important part of the book.

Then, I don’t know how it was, but something seemed to break inside me, and I started yelling at the top of my voice. I hurled insults at him, I told him not to waste his rotten prayers on me; it was better to burn that to disappear. I’d taken him by the neckband of his cassock, and, in a sort of ecstasy of joy and rage, I poured out on him all the thoughts that had been simmering in my brain. He seemed so cocksure, you see. And yet none of his certainties was worth one strand of a woman’s hair. Living as he did, like a corpse, he couldn’t even be sure of being alive. It might look as if my hands were empty. Actually, I was sure of myself, sure about everything, far surer than he; sure of my present life and of the death that was coming. That, no doubt, was all I had; but at least the certainty was something I could get my teeth into – just as it had got its teeth into me. I’d been right, I was still right, I was always right. I’d passed my life in a certain way, and I might have passed it in a different way, if I’d felt like it. I’d acted thus, and I hadn’t acted otherwise; I hadn’t done x, whereas I had done y or z. And what did that mean? That, all the time, I’d been waiting for this present moment, for that dawn, tomorrow’s or another day’s, which was to justify me. Nothing, nothing had the least importance, and I knew quite well why. He, too, knew why. From the dark horizon of my future a sort of slow, persistent breeze had been blowing towards me, all my life long, from the years that were to come. And on its way that breeze had levelled out all the ideas that people tried to foist on me in the equally unreal years I then was living through. What difference could they make to me, the death of others, or a mother’s love, or his God; or the way one decides to live, the fate one thinks one chooses, since one and the same fate was bound to ‘choose’ not only me but thousands of millions of privileged people who, like him, called themselves my brothers. Surely, surely he must see that? Every man alive was privileged; there was only one class of men, the privileged class. All alike would be condemned to die one day; his turn, too, would come like the others’. And what difference could it make if, after being charged with murder, he were executed because he didn’t weep at his mother’s funeral, since it all came to the same thing in the end? The same thing for Salamano’s [ed. Meursault’s neighbor] wife and for Salamano’s dog. That little robot woman was as ‘guilty’ as the girl from Paris who had married Masson, or as Marie, who wanted me to marry her. What did it matter if Raymond [ed. I called him Bartolino in yesterday’s post] was as much my pal as Celeste, who was a far worthier man? What did it matter if at this very moment Marie was kissing a new boy friend? As a condemned man himself, couldn’t he grasp what I meant by that dark wind blowing from my future? …

Yeah… That’s his basic reasoning for why Meursault comes to accept his upcoming execution. I think this ties into the “absurdist” philosophy that Camus came to be known for. Namely, that the world is a cruel and unforgiving place, and that there’s no reason why bad things happen to good people. The world is chaos and void, and instead of seeking meaning in logical inference, embrace the absurdity of life, and do what makes you happy.

That’s my initial sort of thinking, but I should probably read that quoted paragraph again and again. Something tells me I’m not getting enough meaning out of it as I should. Well, I’ll think about that for a bit and get back to you, as typing all that out took a lot longer than expected.

May 22, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A brief synopsis of The Outsider

I tried to snazz up my blog a bit. I added a sidebar containing my most popular posts. I did this in the hopes that my favorite post (namely, “I Hate Stana Katic”) would show up and we could all bask in its awesomeness. But no such luck. Apparently, the “Top Posts” sidebar is based on the most recent views, and sadly, no one has recently viewed that post. Frowny face. I guess it’s up to me to constantly read and re-read that post so that it’ll shoot up the charts and the message can get out about how much Stana Katic sucks and then a miracle will happen and we’ll get Firefly back on the air!

Anyhoo, I’m almost done with my book, “The Outsider.” It’s a bit of a strange one. The plot synopsis is as follows: a lackadaisical man, Mr. Meurseult (that’s almost assuredly spelled wrong) learns that his mother dies. He goes to the funeral, but doesn’t show too much emotion or concern about his mother’s death – he seems to accept it the same way one accepts that it’s raining out. After the funeral, he goes back to his flat in Algiers and gets back to his life. He clerks in an office – on the weekend he hangs out with his girlfriend. Mr. Merseult (that looks a bit better) has a couple wacky neighbors, and he gets involved in the affairs of one of them. 

Merseult’s neighbor (who’s name escapes me at the moment – it’s something fancy like Bartolino, except that isn’t it at all.) Anyhoo, Bartolino (which isn’t his name, but that’s what we’re going with at the moment) is a bit of a hothead, and roughed up his girlfriend one night. Merseult goes down to the police station to vouch for Bartolino – because the rumour around town is that Bartolino is a pimp. As a result of Merseult’s vouching, they become friends. (Well, Bartolino tells Merseult that now they’re friends, and Merseult passively agrees.) However, the girl that Bartolino roughed up has a brother, and this brother and a couple friends start to stalk Bartolino, promising to do him wrong.

One weekend, Merseult and his girlfriend (fiancee by this point) and Bartolino head down to the beach. They meet up with another couple and spend the day together. As Merseult and Bartolino are walking along the beach, they see the brother of the girl Bartolino roughed up stalking them. They almost get into a fight, but cooler heads prevail, and Merseult and Bartolino head back to the beach house for some lunch.

Then, inexplicably, Merseult decides to go for a walk on the beach in the hot sun. Out of impulse, he grabs a gun and brings it with him. As he’s walking along the beach, he sees that brother that’s been stalking Bartolino. Then, out of nowhere, seized by an impulse, Merseult shoots the brother dead in cold blood.

Soon after, Merseult gets taken into custody. Some time elapses, and now he’s on trial for his life. This is where I am now in the book – he’s on trial, and it looks like he’s getting railroaded, as the prosecutor is trying to establish the fact that Merseult has no sympathy or compassion, and that he’s quite capable of shooting a man dead. They use the fact that he appeared to be callously unaffected by the death of his mother as the linchpin of the case.

Of course, I don’t see a happy ending for Mr. Merseult. After all, he *DID* shoot the guy. The victim was lying prostrate and unarmed in the sand, and without warning, was shot dead by Merseult. A competent lawyer might argue for insanity or try to spring him on a technicality (or reduce the charge to manslaughter), but I mean, he’s pretty darn guilty, as far as I’m concerned. 

Then again, it could happen that I’m missing a huge chunk of subtext to the novel. That happens quite a lot with me. For example, when I read Life of Pi, I didn’t realize it was an allegory about faith until someone pointed it out to me. I thought it was just a shitty book – ’cause it had a made up story then a real story afterwards? Weird. I didn’t get it.

But whatevs. I’ll finish the book today and maybe there’ll be some surprise ending. But since it’s written by a French Philosopher, I seriously doubt it.

May 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In search of quiet: a ramble

Welp, this may be another interrupted ramble today – as there’s a bunch of workers who are infesting my house today. There’s the painter (the one that likes to watch me take a shit), who’s using “Never Dry” paint, apparently, ’cause he’s still here, painting the same fucking window. Then there’s a carpet guy coming to put in carpet. I’m told it will only take a couple hours – so naturally, I expect it to either take the rest of today, or all of today and tomorrow.

The thing about me is, I don’t like noise. I like waking up in the peace of the morning, and then gradually get accustomed to the day. In the morning, when it’s quietest, is when I like to do my math. It’s very relaxing and stimulating to drink a fresh cup of coffee and do a bit of math. Then I’ll have a protein shake and go to the gym.

But when there’s workers around, I’m on “supervise” patrol. Which means that I have to laze around here all day in case the workers need anything. (What they could need, I’m sure they could get it themselves.) It’s an infuriating way to start the day – since I don’t get any warning, and I’m told basically to cancel whatever plans I had so I can be here for the workers. Now I’m sitting here, urgently wanting to shower, but I can’t, until the carpet guy shows up, does his thing and leaves.

Back when I lived in my own apartment, it was *the law* that the landlord had to give me 24 hours notice before he invaded my space. Living with your family, there’s no such law. Here, it’s a fucking free for all – it’s like I’m a heroin junkie, always chasing the next high. But instead of a high, all I’m seeking is a morning where people aren’t banging tools against the house. I’m chasing quiet, but quiet is fast and loud is slow.

Oh well – soon I will be emperor of Earth (stay tuned!) and then I’ll find peace and quiet. Namely, by executing everyone who dares disturb the cruel and malevolent ruler of Earth. My reign will be glorious, long-lasting, and bloody. Future historians will refer to this period as “The Time of Nightmares.” It’s going to be great!

Anyhoo – Tuesday is upon us again, so that means I’ve got a class to teach tonight. What this really means, is that I can’t get high during the day and do a bunch of math. Nope. I’ve got to stay sober and focused so I can teach my kids about polynomials.

Oh, what’s more – is that my brother and his girlfriend are moving back in this weekend. While this will undoubtedly result in much, much more noise. It does mean that I’ve got my favorite sidekick honey bunches back. What’s that? Gratuitous pictures of Mr. Honey Bunches? You got it!

Honey Bunches 007 Honey Bunches 006 Honey Bunches 005 Honey Bunches 004 Honey Bunches 003 Honey Bunches 002 Honey Bunches 001

 

May 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment