Finished up the Devil in Silver finally— it was one of those books i picked up, read the first 50 pages, put down one night and then it stayed down for months and months. But that includes some pretty good books, so it’s not really that book’s fault— that’s most of my apartment. My bookshelves are overflowing with those. I’ve basically surrounded myself with totems to my laziness and procastination, so that’s good, that’s good feng shui probably.
Anyways, this is a “horror” novel set at a mental institution— sane guy gets stuck in an institution, and realizes that besides coping with mentally ill inmates and the institutional degradations, there’s a monster on the loose, so he has to team up with a rag-tag bunch of the mentally ill to stop it. The premise makes it sound like an X-Men comic though (a pretty good one actually) but it’s much more about the institution, and how the institutional mental health system fails and mistreats the mentally ill, more than the monster— the monster’s just the candy for the reader so they think they’re reading Stephen King, instead of a book about Esmin Green (one of the real-life examples that come up).
Which was fine— I guess that was interesting to think about, though I think sometimes the writer bit off a little more than he could chew; author’s a younger writer so there’s digressions on race and sex and pop culture references and high culture references and Fox News and conservative politics and such that I think maybe he’d have had a stronger book without, or that felt very young-writer-y, or… I don’t know, I just thought were a little corny. I’m a little surprised a Fight Club shout-out made it past editors and readers and whatever, or seemed like any kind of good idea, but… But I do like stories where unlikely people are all teamed up. There’s a terrible movie, M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water— looks beautiful thanks to Chris Doyle, and Paul Giammati is the hero, I like that guy, but it’s a baaaaad movie— one of those movies where the filmmakers kill a Film Critic during the movie like “haha, I showed film critics- I’ve had my revenge!" (the critic in that one’s Bob Balaban, though). That’s never a scene in a good movie. A terrible, terrible movie, but in the middle, there’s one scene where you think, “Oh wow, Paul Giamatti’s going to assemble a rag-tag team out of the other misfits in his apartment in order to fight the ancient evil" and suddenly, I was completely into it. (And then the movie shot that scene all to shit, but— that just wasn’t a good movie). This book did a better job with its misfit team— (though i’m not sure how I felt about one plot move near the end with one of the supporting characters, one of the plot choices made me a little uncomfortable, but; I think the author fell in love with his attack on the system a little too much maybe). Anyways, finished the book so liked it enough to do that. Here’s my victory lap for finishing a book, like normal adults do all the time. I’m almost literate!! Yay!
A featurette about the miniature work in Star Wars. Special effects used to be so fun to hear about, before computers…
Reading more about online rape threats during my lunch break, because comic books, because that’s what I do for fun anymore, and something keeps popping up that I don’t really have my head around in these articles and think pieces and what have you (which are all lovely), but this idea of various actors being anonymous and/or unidentifiable. What is going on there? I’m not really an expert on anything, but how anonymous is that internet exactly?
I’ve subpoenaed twitter before— twitter tells you the e-mail address and ip address associated with the account. (You need an e-mail address to login to a twitter account, I think…?). Which is just a breadcrumb but … But I guess that’s my question: aren’t there lots of breadcrumbs people leave around anymore? It seems like it. That time, I was up against some technically sophisticated people so that wasn’t so straightforward (though not without value), without saying too much about a thing I can’t talk about. But most people…? Most people aren’t as sophisticated as the bad actors I was dealing with, so… so yeah, how anonymous is that internet?
I don’t know. If I were ever rape-threatened because of my opinion on an X-men comic (I only got called a “psychotic coont” once over my opinion on an X-Men comic because somebody thought I had a girl’s name, but they didn’t mention rape)(I think my name sounds macho), I guess I can see a series of steps I would then take. But … I guess that’s not a series of steps that “normal” people would really relish or want to spend time on or rub their hands about. Or maybe there’s some technical thing I’m missing (?)— the technical part of it is where I couldn’t guess. My answer to everything is “just sue somebody”— it’s why I could never be on Jeopardy. I guess all problems look like nails to a guy with a hammer, or whatever that saying is. (Did I just compare myself to a hammer? I did! See— muy macho!) I don’t know. I no-joke almost on a once a week basis experience genuine regret that I didn’t sue the high school I went to as a child, for reasons too grotesque to discuss in mixed company. I guess I’m not in a real healthy place.
The Man Behind the Comic Book That Finally Got Sex Right by Laura Hudson at WIRED.
A great article, and any time I hear a thing about Chabon working in Casanova-land I do a little twitch in my seat in excitement.
There’ve been no other comics about sex because something something superhero comics…? Ridiculous, but people have to sell their comics, I guess— I’m not really a marketing person so I don’t really know how that works. But at what point do we get to talk about comics without pretending (a) that anyone making a nice comic is Dorflar the Three-Eyed Wonder-Mutant and (b) defining all other comics as just the shitty ones?? Why is that the weird mythology of comics that people are so insistent upon? Is it because, like, people got raised on Batman… he can’t just be writing a nice comic— he has to be Batman? Sex Batman? (It’d be less weird if your Sex Batman had a little more hesitation about writing Maria Hill rape-comics but… pobody’s nerfect, I guess).
There have been lots of comics about sex (even if you don’t count manga)(I don’t know why you’re not allowed, but). Some of them have been better than Sex Criminals. More of them have been arguably much worse— I’d definitely rather read Sex Criminals than all the Broken Guy sex-comics. But “There’s never been this sort of comic book"—?? I don’t know. I’m just not a marketing guy. I still like comics because I think they have a history, though, so that "it needs saving" myth doesn’t find purchase with me like it probably does with most people. I am looking forward to Chabon, too, though!
(Also, entirely separately but since I’m taking a while getting my morning going: this whole saying I keep hearing in connection to the “there are too many rape threats in comics" conversation— which is a delightful subject— there’s this weird thing people keep saying over, "We ALL have to do better." Where did that come from? It’s a nice sentiment— I don’t want to crap on the sentiment. I think it’s great that rape threats got their own Smokey D. Bear motto, but it’s just more interesting to me how these little lines dig into people’s skulls and go viral like that. I’m probably the only one who finds that interesting because everyone else is probably, like, paying attention to the rape threats, whereas I’m obviously not a very good person. Sayings are interesting though!).
“Nico Calabria, born with one leg, is not a professional athlete. But his story and accomplishments sparked Coca-Cola’s sports drink brand to feature him as part of its 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign. […] Nico went on to climb Mount Kilamonjaro, became a YouTube sensation and landed a spot as the youngest member of the U.S. national amputee soccer team.”
Man, i have been anxious all day, and then I was driving on Lincoln Blvd., decided to go to a bookstore since those settle me down a little, peaceful-ish places, went with one off Lincoln. Except I forgot that… every other time I get on Lincoln, I invariably think about the time in my mid-to-late 20’s I was at a restaurant with friends, and when I left, I couldn’t find the keys to my car. And it was this whole ordeal, and I was having to call friends like “Can I crash at your place while I get a locksmith" and … I got to a pretty dark place emotionally as things wore on, like "Why do I live in this city— nothing has gone my way since I moved here— maybe I’ve made a series of terrible life choices— no one will ever love me" dark. Memorably dark.
And then at the end of it, I realized my keys were in my back pocket. I usually keep them in my front pocket but I’d put them in my back pocket instead…? I just didn’t remember putting them into my back pocket because I usually put them in my front pocket. But they were in my back pocket.
And then I never told anyone what happened, the people I’d called— I pretended that the restaurant found them eventually. And I’ve never come clean about that. But obviously, at the cost of … however many years later, anytime I get onto goddamn Lincoln blvd. (which is completely out of my way, not really my neighborhood at all, but still, a fairly good-sized thoroughfare), I still have that twinge of “They were in your back pocket.” So I figured I’d admit it on here, and see if that helps me out any. ”Tumblr: I just saw an animated gif of President Kennedy’s head getting blow off, and also, where I admit to minor embarrassments I should’ve forgotten many many years ago especially because they were replaced by all sorts of shiny, new embarrassments— embarrassments are sort of what I do.” It’s a little long as mottos go but… I don’t know. Maybe I need a motto. Maybe that’s what’s been missing. Just anxious all day long…
Throw-back Thursday: the keys, they were in my back pocket.
Work giving me a headache; reading people react to the M’Lady sketch from Inside Amy Schumer, and this 2012 Boing Boing expose on “why fedoras gross out geekdom" ("The problem is that the fedora has become a go-to accessory for a peculiar subculture of love-entitled male nerds whose social inexperience and awkwardness manifests in a world rocked by a gender revolution—a tectonic shift in the makeup of formerly cloistered, rule-bound clubs”). If you google fedoras, Google automatically suggests that you also want to look at neckbeards… No hesitation from The Goog on the neckbeard thing.
I don’t know— I’m a pretty awkward guy with a fairly-to-severely unhealthy predilection for peculiar sub-cultures, but … I guess I’ve never really been a hat guy. I tried to wear a baseball cap for a few months in college; didn’t take; felt wrong. (I don’t really see guys wear those anymore, but I don’t hang out at Q’s or wherever— maybe I’m in the wrong neighborhood…) It’s just weird that as a society, we’ve designated an Official Hat for Self-Deluded Masculinity or whatever you want to call it, though. That’s got an Official Hat…? How many categories of people have Official Hats? (Well, there’s certain kinds of caps that I kinda mentally associate with marijuana, but… so two for me, at least two). Still. That’s weird. How weird is that? And like, got to wonder, like, hey, maybe I am one of those guys and I just haven’t known it this whole time because I wasn’t wearing the right hat. Cut to me on a full moon, putting on a fedora in a mirror and saying Bloody Mary three times, and then Bloody Mary shows up and I try to awkwardly purchase her a libation…? Scary thought. (Is that what that movie Oculus is about? I just like that they made a named Oculus… really? Oculus? I guess). I’ve never really gotten to know me, I guess, which is probably for the best…
Episode after episode, Inside Amy Schumer — dang, I just really like that show, is all. I’m not saying they’re batting 1000— I like some sketches more than others. (I liked Hello M’Lady way more than that sketch of guys who like tomboys, say. Or the I’m So Bad sketch— I liked that one a lot). I like that it’s aiming for that Chappelle Show ideal of just— just the fun of seeing stuff on TV getting articulated in a way that’s really sharp and has a point of view and all that shit, a person having a point of view being the basis of the entertainment. I don’t think it’s as consistent as Chappelle, but I like that it’s got that as a goal. I like Key & Peele and Portlandia and everything, but I think those are trying to be Mr. Show and Kids in the Hall, respectively,more than Chappelle. I’m sure other people have tried it (Demetri Martin maybe? I’m not a big Martin fan) that I’m not thinking of— I just can’t think of one that’s connected with me as much. Plus, I like the interviews— I like that she talks to people who’ve had interesting jobs, instead of just other comedians or whatever. I don’t know. That is a television program that I enjoy.