18 January 2011


Just came back to this blog. Hoping this will keep it active. What a great record for me!

04 June 2008

A Few Lines in Some Manner About a Book! #4

A Brief History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson, 2003
Over due from the library, though always enjoyable, half-read; a book that taught me everything I should have learned, and then I forgot most of it. From the pop of the Universe to our knowledge of it framed by the thinkers and scientists themselves who discovered what we now know: so much (560 pages), and so little (560 pages). I learned that objects are solid because of magnetism. Woah! Bill Bryson has a charming way of making science interesting and I kept picking it up until the library demanded it back. Will someone tell me how it ends?

The Life of Pi, Yann Martel, 2001
I like this especially for the description of the zoo in the beginning. Check it out. Other than that, nice writing, and a good tale. An orange tail.

And Then, Natsume, Soseki, 1909
A young man, doesn't play by his father's rules, how does he survive. So much of this, so many young men struggling out from their fathers, finding the world doesn't offer support in the form of cash quite like pop did when he was satisfied.

The Inquisition, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, 1999
Picked this book up because of the pictures, grotesque etchings depicting torture and burnings. Starts as a heavy book, historical and revealing, ends as a critique seething conjecture and hypothesis. Beginning with the Cathars, moving to the Franciscans and eventually the Freemasons, to name a few groups, the Inquisition scoured the Catholic landscape in search of heretics to burn or sickeningly torture in the name of the Church, though probably in some ways more akin to licensed serial killers. The Church evolves and so does the Inquisition, naming itself now, according to these authors, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; different name, though no less stubborn and problematic (though no torture anymore). Indeed, a terrible history, but the lack of academic integrity and authorial stubbornness make the ending a slog through too much must and have to and should holier-than-though finger pointing pejorative from two decidedly secular rabble rousers. I get it: Christ's teachings have vanished, the Church is a self-validating edifice, dogma and doctrine are irrelevant for sprituality, faith is personal. A case of intellectuals pissed off about irrationality. Just let it go. Fewer people go to mass, and the church can't twist arms anymore. Let it disappear.

Ham on Rye, Charles Bukowski, 1982
Such a dirty rambunctious life; told in straight honest prose. Recently I saw Barfly, and there he is again, Chinaski, the brawler, the drinker, the philosopher, full of an ordinary passion for life, but with few fears.

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemmingway, 1926
Another Hemmingway; this time a group of expats travel to Spain for the Fiesta and the bull fights. I was never interested in bull fighting until I read this book and that's just a part of it. He captures young people at large in life and culture and love with characteristic subtlety and directness.

Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, 2006
At first, I liked this book, as it was personal and difficult and the main girl, the author herself, seemed truly in a bind with real challenges and a dilemma few would envy. But as the book progressed, I felt increasingly uneasy, like the itchy feet that had given her the get-outta-here bug had invaded my shoes, but not for so grand a scheme as to circumnavigate the globe, but like the intolerable trapped sensation of sitting through someone's travel slide show of countless crooked photos featuring a khaki clad traveller standing, smiling, in front of various world sights. Like, I'm glad you had a great time, but just keep it to yourself from now on, ok? Unless you fell into a tiger pit, or got your passport lifted by a gypsy elephant, I wasn't there and I'm frankly not that interested.

The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco, 1980
A beautiful tale, a modern classic, a book I felt like disappearing into the moment I picked it up. Compares to the greats I've read in breadth, beauty and sheer fascination. For the enjoyment of reading, the wonder of thinking and reason, and ancient questions posed within a simple context by extremely complex and often historically accurate characters. Did Christ live without possessions, did he have to use, or have to keep; what does this matter to the world and religion, and how can ancient texts be coaxed toward one side or the other? The answers are all in the library, the tomb of knowing, which the novel's story unfurls within and around.

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, Umberto Eco, 2004
After reading The Name of the Rose, I was so into Umberto Eco that I picked up whatever I could find of his in the library. Unfortunately this was the book I found. Perhaps I needed something with a smidge more energy or hmm anything, because this book nearly turned me off reading altogether which is why I ended up reading Colapinto next, simply for something guaranteed not to put me to sleep. Philosophically, psychologically, literarily, semiotically, and on and on, this book is stirring in every way want something to care about, even slightly, or hate, or feel anything except for a sensation that this is punishment. It appeals in the hands as you flip through, with it's many fanciful images, but as I read, and became more and more detached from the subject, it became apparent quickly that either you are a buff, or you are Umberto, because you are reading a personal history of the author circa 1950 Italy, and if that's not remote enough for me, for most people, it's in a book that reads like grampa telling stories by the window on the best day of summer.

About the Author, John Colapinto, 2001
Pretty good tale about authenticity and artistic license and blackmail and stuff. A real page turner, though I read it a while back, and can hardly recall the details. Something about the author. Yeah; a guy appropriates his dead roommates novel; the novel being about his life, not the dead guys'. Takes over dead guys life, kinda, but a mistake comes back to haunt him and now he has to deal with that, and some other stuff.

The Mother Tongue, english and how it got that way, Bill Bryson, 1990
The English language has gone through so much that it's almost laughable how it's ended up; but we (English speakers) are rather lucky as well, to have such a tongue, with such complexity and possibility for adaption and poetry and precision. When we are born the world is undivided, a vast unnamed blur of shape and color and movement--and then we define our awareness, our senses themselves, and then our minds. The finer cuts we can make as we slice up this reality into intelligibility the better. Let subtlety reign and imagination flourish, spelling be damned!
In English: the schwa [ə] is the most common sound, velleity is a new word for me, there are over 50 sounds and millions of words.

Scar Tissue, Anthony Kiedis, 2004
I started this book by flipping to a random page, but before I made it to the next I was so enthralled that I flopped the bulk of it over and went straight to page one looking for the whole story, which is all here. This is a great, seemingly honest, rock star account of an unordinary life lived extraordinarily and with tons of drugs. tons. and sex. and egomania. Highly recommended, just for the holy shit factor which is palpable.

No Longer Human, Dazai, Osamu, 1958
How autobiographical this little book is, I'm not sure, but it seems to follow Dazai's own patterns faithfully through bungled suicides and alcoholism, artistic craft and desire and real lonliness. It's a beautiful read full of poignant soliloquies on society, crime and frequently shaken by existential tremors of an essential human, non-human. Read it. I can only wonder about the original prose in Japanese...

One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1967
"...because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth." This beautiful and magical book about the Buendia family and their town and home was like watching the people across the street with the big dramatic family and wondering why I wasn't born into them and their tumult and endless amsument and passions. And my family is somewhat like that. But the Buendias have a particular fate, a circular destiny, and like all things must too pass. I loved this book even though I was a little bored at times, because I was often, just slightly, twinged with that jealousy and it felt real, but it's a gift to see inside the doors.

The Sea and Poison, Endo Shusaku, 1958
Post war literature: Japan; the war; tradition; modernity; changing culture; etc.. I really enjoy post-war Japanese literature, not because of these themes, but because of the careful subtlety of their delivery, if they can be called themes at all. Stories about people in a culture in a time doing things. Though this book very attached to the period, being about the mistreatment of some POW's, it's fully about the psychology of it's people, who happen to be there, then.

The Key, Junichiro Tanizaki,1956
Great sexual psycho-drama played out in the diaries of the protagonists; a husband and wife. One can never be sure what one knows and what one doesn't, or what's truth or deceit, or if it even matters, so long as everyone gets what they want. Very sexy and somewhat off-putting story that shies from the slippery details but never fails to arouse: not just like peeking into someone's diary, it is a diary. Two of them.

Thousand Cranes, Yasunari Kawabata, 1958
Winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, a beautiful book of poetic snippets among a tale of kiss and tell or not tell. Well rendered characters vie for pasts and relics. Framed by the tea ceremony though purposefully negligent of its themes, the objects of its ancient protocols become the living ghosts of its participants. Why this won the nobel prize, I'm not sure, but perhaps it is for sheer orientalism, the sheer japanese-ness of it, as seen by an occidental award. For that though, it must be magical for foreign audiences, perhaps frustrating and impenetrable like the history of a tea cup.

31 May 2008

new website

Check here for all the latest comics and art from yours truly and updates about an upcoming graphic novel!


see you there.

17 April 2008

13 April 2008

sketch 11

"The question before me is the silent response that should be reassuring if listened to closely, but so often unnerves me."

11 April 2008

sketch 10

This guy is the charismatic front man of a cult that no one will understand but receive exactly what they expect.

05 April 2008

sketch 09

I saw photographs the other night of dead bodies, pieces of bodies, stabbed bodies, passed away bodies--these are not dead bodies, these are clairvoyant.

31 March 2008

sketch 08

The unicorn of the sea is the relic of the unicorn of the land.

29 March 2008

sketch 07

It's funny when people fall in love with objects, become tied to them like a new limb; funny beccause it's such misplaced devotion, but it's also not because when someone who can hardly see loses their glasses they become really worried for a very real reason; we are part of the mother world, in it and of it, so maybe it's ok to weep for a lost earring or a misplaced wallet, practically and spiritually.

27 March 2008

sketch 06

This is the path that is shocked by the light as it flares on newly seen eyes, that turns away to protect itself, that slowly lifts the chin to finally see, finding that the shaft of light can be ascended.