Posts Tagged ‘personal shit’

Every year I put out a list of all the books I’m going to try to read, but I tend to forget about it fairly quickly. The list is usually thematic and always ambitious. I’ve never actually read the entire list for the year. There may be some rule that I keep to, but diverging from and not getting through the whole thing is inevitable. This doesn’t bother me, but I was curious as to what is realistic; so last year I started tracking the books I read as I went along to see how it matched up with my list from the start of the year.

Here it is. I’ll post my To Reads for 2018 later.

Books for 2017

  1. Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood
    1. Atwood fucking rocks. Not nearly as good as Handmaids Tale, but not nearly as bad as I have heard from some of it’s detractors. It’s the first of a trilogy, but I felt it was conclusive.
  2. Haunted – Chuck Palahniuk
    1. Way over hyped. I was wavering on CP as an author so asked my mates to suggest something to help make up my mind and I think they made a grave mistake. Basically, glorified torture porn wrapped up in poetic philosophy and if you try to start with me on the “yeah, that’s the point…” line, stuff it. It’s still a pile of wankish “look how upsetting I can be”, even if he can write real good.
  3. Human Being and of Citizen: Essays on Virtue, Freedom, and the Common Good – George Anastopalo
    1. Lent to me by Mister, who directed me to begin with a section on the role of “obscenity” in the social order (to grossly oversimplify: how should we address things which are obscene with regard to the rights of an individual’s expression versus the state’s obligation to the wellbeing of the citizenry.) and many more fun filled queries.
  4. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfus
    1. One of those, enough people (most all my friend group and everyone one in my house) started hounding me about this I finally read it. It has restored my faith in the fantasy genre. Fuckin hell, it was good. For serial, go read.
  5. Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfus
    1. When I started Name of the Wind, I didn’t know the 250,000-word piece was the first of a series. I read it and subsequently it’s 400,000-word sequel inside a week, then went back to the bookstore for the third and final instalment, where I was told. “dude, I’m really sorry, but I’ve got some bad news for you.” To all my friends who got me started FUCK YOU! Why the fuck would you leave this pertinent piece of information out of your praise for the thing!? So I could join you in your anguished waiting??? So yeah, you should totally read it ASAP and let’s all sit outside Rothfuss’s house until 2021 which is when he says it will be out.
  6. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
    1. Another book I read due to popular consensus. Again, proving that there is new worthwhile scifi being written.
  7. A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula K LeGuine
    1. One of the seminal works of modern fantasy, I finally made myself read it. I can see how it influenced many younger writers, but… and I know this is going to be very unpopular, I wasn’t terribly enthused by it. Rothfuss took the same plot and did a better job with it. I know, I’m a monster.
  8. Love in the time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    1. Me and Delphi have a book at a time we read to each other (it takes a while). This was last year’s. not my favourite GGM (perhaps I’ve grown old and cynical, cause I felt the absolute devotion of certain parties to be dumb), but he’s still a brilliant fucking writer.
  9. Game of Thrones – George RR martin (audio book)
    1. Along with book 2 of the series, I listened to most of them on audio with Delphi. She went through all 5, but I heard less and less of them as she listed on her way to and from work more and more, which I was totally fine with. The show is better. Sorry, but it’s true.
  10. Clash of Kings – George RR martin
  11. Norse Gods – Neil Gaiman
    1. My Gaiman for the year. It’s good. Worth it if you like Norse Myths or Gaimen.
  12. Sex Criminals Volume 2 – Matt Fraction
    1. This is a fucking hilarious and fun series. Not sure if it will keep up, but will see
  13. Love, Dishonor, Mary, Die; Cherish, Perish, A Novel by – David Rakoff
    1. Also one Delphi and I read to each other. A novel written in verse (specifically, mimicking Dr Seuss) tying the lives of a number of individuals together across generations. Very Funny, amazingly executed.
  14. The Gunslinger – Stephen King (audio book)
    1. Rereading after much discussions of the DT series and how it connects to King’s work as a whole. I never got past book three in HS. I got bored, but I’m giving it a second chance in light of a number of conversations I had following the cluster fuck that was the recent film adaptation.
  15. Homestuck Act 1-2 – Andrew Hussie
    1. Let me tell you about Homestuck, begins the meme. “The Ulysses of the internet” (see PBS’s Idea Channel episode on the matter to get excited about it). I started it as part of a project I was working on and one day I’ll finish it. If you think it’s weird for me to include a web comic here, it’s over ten thousand pages and 875,500 words long (about the combined length of Song of Ice and Fire, Infinite Jest, and Ulysses). And that doesn’t include many of the tangential ‘spinoff’ stories that come with it or the 4.5 hours of video.
  16. Shop Class as Soul Craft – Mathew Crawford
    1. Another gift from Mister. Seriously good meditation on the value of labour and learning. Every time I start to explain it people say “oh, like Zen and the Art of Mo…” not at all.
  17. The Incest Diary – Anonymous
    1. Honest and fucked up. Worth absolutely not reading if you have any sense of decency, which I don’t.
  18. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfus (reread, Audio book)
    1. Reread these as audio books with Delphi on a road trip
  19. Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfus (reread, Audio book)
    1. See above
  20. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline (reread, Audio book, Nar. Wil Wheton)
    1. See above
  21. Molly’s Game – Molly Bloom (audio book)
    1. It passes the time. If yr enough into that sort of thing. Looking forward to seeing the Sorkin movie.
  22. Special Topics in Calamity Physics – Marisha Pessl
    1. A gift from a new friend. It’s a good book.
  23. The Master and the Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
    1. Long overdue read from the bookshelf of shame
  24. Libraries – Jorge Louis Borges
    1. See above. Finally reading some ground-breaking magical realism after having my own work described as such for years.
  25. Chew 1-3 – Don Layman
    1. Been told about it for years. Finally read a bunch off the shelf at Barnes and Nobel. Good stuff. Can’t wait to read more
  26. Lazerus 4-7 – Greg Rukka
    1. The brilliant fucking bastard behind Queen and Country (one of my all time favourites) does it again.
  27. Saga 4-6 – Brian K Vaughan
    1. It’s BKV and it’s super popular, what else is there to say?

That makes 27 entries. There’s peoples a plenty who get really hung up on how many books they read in a year, it’s difficult to quantify reading as some books are longer, some are very short, some are easy, some are super dense, etc. I would like to have gotten more, but that’s because I would like to/should spend more of my time reading. In all, I find it to have been a perfectly adequate amount of written word to consume for an average person.

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Violence again.

 

I meant to post when I got back. Then Orlando. So I waited, because I have nothing more to add. Then it was Baghdad. I started writing again. Catching up on the queue of old work. I wrote this last week. Then Alton Sterling, then Philando Castile, then Dallas, seems like the world can’t catch a goddamn break.

 

So we got a lot of catching up to do.

 

Orlando

 

I was out of town for a week on a work/vacation trip. I do this once or twice a year. One of the perks of what I do is sometimes I work festivals which blend very nicely into time off from the world. I don’t have internet out there.

I wanted to write something, but nothing felt right and I wanted to leave some time to grieve before I said anything about it here. So I’m just going to repost what I said on facebook:

 

I’ve just arrived home. I spent all last week working my ass off for an organization whose goal is to promote radical inclusiveness, particularly within sexual minority communities. Of all the shows and events I work it pays, by far, the least, but it is the work I am most proud of, because it is the best way I know how to serve my community given my particular skill set and experience. I am sunburnt and exhausted and sleep deprived and sick and I am incredibly joyous to be so very lucky. This is the one week a year I also get to shut off my phone for the week and not pay attention to the bullshit on social media and the news, so I didn’t know about the shooting in Orlando until a coworker announced it at strike Sunday evening. It was a strange and somber tear down as the staff grieved and processed through work, laboring so hard you couldn’t tell who was sweating or crying. I hugged and kissed them, some I’d just met Tuesday when we started, others I’ve known for years, said a quiet goodbye and drove home in the company of my partner Clara torn between our elation and being absolutely gutted by the cruelty and sadness of a single misguided individual.
To all my loved ones telling us to stay home and stay safe, I will absolutely be at Pride this year, because that is what is important and right. Because we are so much stronger and scarier acting in collaboration, just like we did last week, than any sick person with easy access to weapons. and because this world ain’t always easy.

It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.

 

I have weird feelings about collective public grieving. The difference with this is that it wasn’t one person and it wasn’t old age or disease. It was… I don’t have to tell you what it was.

 

Pride

 

So I went to Pride. As always, the act of actually going was a clusterfuck of last minute logistics. But I ended up with friends in a single room huddled around the AC. and kissed and rank and danced and smoked and told ourselves it’d all be OK.

As usual, there was the too queer for school group with complaints that Pride has become another mainstream corporate sellout and yeah, they have a point and I have my own thoughts on those, but that is another rant and shall be bitched about another time.

 

Anyhoo, onto other matters

 

Shootings

Here’s what I had to say elsewhere:

For all of those posting their outrage for the slaying of police, but not the dozens of innocent men killed by them, you are part of the problem.
The reason we say Black Lives Matter and not All lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter is because cops’ lives already matter. That doesn’t mean police aren’t killed and that it’s not tragic when it happens, but when it does there is always an outpouring of support there is a manhunt for the killer and we as a society work tirelessly to bring the perpetrators to justice. Their families are supported by our government and the news networks don’t spend so much of their coverage questioning the cop’s integrity, or whether they should have been there at the time, or what did they do wrong to warrant it, or maybe they were a bad cop. No, we give them the benefit of the doubt, because nothing justifies murder, regardless of what we may think of that person otherwise. THAT IS THE VERY MEANING OF HAVING A LIFE THAT MATTERS.
Fine, if you need another white man explaining this though a Biblical metaphor, here’s someone saying it better than me.

 

The Book

 

I’m actually embarrassed to be discussing it at this point, but there is a train at the end of that tunnel. There have been delays and I don’t mean to excuse myself, but I want to explain.

Firstly, there have been a few personnel hiccups. Putting out a book requires other people and I am so grateful for all of you who’ve helped me out so far. A number of people offered to help me with edits and I waited for each one for a month or so before moving on until after almost a year, I’ve finally got someone who may have followed through. I’m meeting with them later this week and I hope that will be the end of that.

I also have found someone to do the cover art. More on that to come.

Before that there was the lost draft.

And then there was the part where I lost three jobs in one year. The first due to logistical problems (I moved to a place that mate the commute and shifts no longer workable). Not too long afterwards I found two new jobs which I worked simultaneously until both of them disappeared when the companies ceased to function.

I soon ran out of money and began to burn through my savings (ie the kickstarter funds) in order to eat and pay rent. Since then I’ve been working to make that money back so I can fulfill my commitment to my backers.

I hope you all will be understanding and forgive me for the stalling. This has been a particularly rough time for me and the project has never been far from my mind.

 

Phew, this was a tough one.

 

 

9am

Earliest I’ve been up at in a while in my attempt to be a more approachable member of society.

We’re throwing a party tonight, my first as an official resident at the Academy, and there’s hope throughout the place that it’ll be a night or weirdness to remember.

Tea

I should start writing earlier in the day. I had better stuff in my head while still hard with the sunrise. I guess there’s a choice of getting off or getting to work.

Sent off the first application to [XXXX] yesterday, another goes off today. We’ll see what happens.

Got to make cider and get the house in order. I always think I’m gonna come up with something different and special, but it’s always the same:

Fancy unfiltered cider from TJs or Whole foods or whatever.

Clove, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon (all things whole)

Oranges

Liquor (used to be brandy, last year it was bourbon, this year it’s blackstrap rum [3 bottles] and a dash of a few other things.

This year I’m going CRAZY! By adding some pineapple juice.

[3 days later]

Holy spoot, I just took my first shit since the part started on Friday. It was about 7 feet long and felt glorious. I’m measurably lighter I’m sure.

Though I had to excuse myself from a meeting with a friend which made for an awkward return to the table. The person at the table next gave a useless, gratuitous little motion as I got up to leave as if they were actually moving out of the way. On the way they give me one of those glances to indicate you were gone too long for you to be doing anything else. Now you have to sit here while we politely ignore each other.

clearing out a bunch of old stuff.

 

I’m at Old Buck’s Eyebrow. How’s that for a name? I’ll have to inquire about its origin. Oh, and I totally forgot to find out about the frog butler.

Christmas Cove, some island near South Bristol, Maine. All I can hear is in my head is

—what about Maine? Have you ever been to Maine? Stephen King Lives in Maine. It’s wonderful, plenty of those creepy little islands

Best part of the trip is reading. Everyone up here is reading and leaving each other the fuck alone.

I lost track of days. Today is the first day of fog. Delphi says we lucked out with the weather, but I like it this way. Feels familiar. I can sit out in the mist without the sun beating down too hard. On the porch with a beer and tea and chocolates and addy.

I am too indulgent with myself. I take one of the big chocolates, the one I know is toffee and eat it in two bites. It makes my teeth hurt, churns my stomach. Too sweet for me. I grin and lick off the bits stuck on my lips.

For the girls I will cut them into thirds so they can share, put them on a little plate for tea cakes. There are so many plates and cups in this house. I want to eat off of all of them before I go.

Every time I sit, all that’s in front of me is descent. I dread the fuckin thing now. Each day the damn book get heavier, but I have to finish it before too much new business.

Reading Garner make me think to my own Grendel. She’s been waiting for me since college, but I push aside those sentences. Goddamnit I HAVE to finish at lease CAGE this weekend. Sarah is waiting.

Everyone is waiting on me.

Fog pulls back a little and I can see Crow Island again, but nothing else. Ospreys in a line and a boat out at the lobster buoys.

At least I’m getting up earlier.

Plenty of daylight left

Cage cage cage cage cage… through the dying firelight. Keep moving. Write more tomorrow.

At a used bookstore in… forgot the name. where I bought Evangeline, also picked up a copy of Blind Assassin, a collection of DH Lawrence stories, a collection of Italian Folk Tales by Calvino (this would make a perfect gift for the padre, but fuck it, I’m selfish), a collection called Officer Friendly by someone I knew briefly at Iowa.

Those shelves need filling and I’m pretty sure a box of books was lost pulled out four crates from the garage in Dallas and couldn’t find what I was looking for. Oh well.

Maybe the new bookcases are just making me feel small.

Fuck this noise.

I’m going for a walk.

 

 

so there

Posted: 29 September, 2015 in Daily Droppings
Tags: , , , ,

last week’s posts were weird. I can’t seem to get down the things I thought I should write. Still trying to fix the bad wiring in my head, as Vonnegut would say. And the new job leaves plenty of time for excuse making and moving allows me to equivocate my chronic procrasturbating.

For now, let me revel in my illusion of self-control.

Because I stopped picking a scab long enough for it to heal.

It only took a few months.

I need to stop talking to myself. I need to stop talking to myself.

I need to stop talking to myself. For serious, it is probably the single activity I spend the most time doing and it is not as productive as you might think.

It’s one of those days. Where the soup comes out of the microwave a bit too cool, the porcelain of the bowl is a bit too hot to carry. So I stand over it at the counter, hunched, slurping it up while my flatmate’s dog does the same thing a few feet away.

I am harried lately. I am moving. Have I mentioned that I’m moving? I am moving for now the tenth time in four years. The frequency is declining so that is something I suppose. And I will take it.

Closer to Delphi, should help with work too.So as I said a year ago, I’m pretty sure this one will last at the minimum, two years.

Hey there friends. Doing a bit of a check in today. I got back from travelling this week. Spent this one catching up on writing and other work, but mostly reading. Finished Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Holy shit, this book was good, can’t wait to read more by her. Who would’ve known she could predict a Huckabee/Santorum ticket. Pulp by Bukowski was fun. I reread Evangeline (though I guess that’s technically a long poem) which I haven’t read since I was in seventh grated, long before words like Acadia or Nova Scotia or New Orleans meant anything to me, and the name Longfellow was just a lame punchline.

As several people have pointed out, the site address has changed. The only address that now works is bloggingsofadirtyoldman.com. I was told that some readers kept getting a message saying it had expired on both sites. I still don’t know why you all were seeing that, but I finally got that resolved. So it should be working fine now. Also, links on Facebook/twitter/etc… should be working as well.

Finally, after that thing I told you about back here. There has been a pretty big outpouring of support… and I have blown off most of it.

So, sorry if I haven’t acknowledged some of your individual messages. I’m generally pretty uncomfortable talking about those sorts of things and I really don’t know how to respond to support appropriately. I will attempt to get back to everyone soon, but for now. Thank you. Your messages have helped me pull my shit together. And that is all I will say on the matter.

I also started a Tumbler link here. I’m trying to keep up with you kids and your new fangledness. I’m not sure how exactly to work it just yet, but I’ll try to pick up some steam there soon. It seems like a good inbetweeny medium. I’ll probably post a some stuff there next week and I’ll feel better about posting shorter content there. I think I may start posting some old stuff there just to see what happens. I know many of the people reading lately are somewhat new, so this will give some of you the chance to read some of the better older pieces without having to dig through the archives here.

We will be back to your regular programming presently.