Hyperbole and a Half Book

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Most exciting Christmas present of 2013: Hyperbole and a Half book.

I love Allie Brosh’s blog, and her new book was everything I hoped it would be and more.  From my Amazon.com Review:

I was initially very excited to have received this from myself for Christmas (thanks, self!) only now I feel as if Allie has failed me.

I cannot communicate the sheer excitement and wonder I felt to be finally holding this book in my hands.  Despite having a family that obviously expected to spend some time with me on Christmas Day, I found myself holed up in my bedroom (and at times, the bathroom), unable to put this @#$ @#$! book down.  I finished it in one sitting.

Afterwards, I felt empty inside.  Empty because I’d enjoyed this book so much, a book I’d promised myself I would enjoy one chapter at a time, savoring the delightful anecdotes and sage reflections which originally drew me into Allie’s blog and have kept me coming back for more — hungrily… like, velociraptor hungrily — ever since.  Instead, I yielded all self-control and ended up binging on this work.

If my brain were like a dog and I had the option of regurgitating the experience of this book and then re-ingesting my own brain-spew, I would do so over and over and over again.  However, my brain is not like a dog, and even if this were a possibility, I imagine it could only be accomplished a finite number of times before my brain completely turned to mush.

Which brings me back to my original point: that I feel Allie has in some way failed me.  No, I take that back; the truth is that she has failed us all.

It’s downright cruel to force someone to transition from the highly pleasurable state of Reading This Book to the dull and empty state of No Longer Reading This Book.  True, Hyperbole and a Half can and most certainly will be read over and over and over again, but the effect just isn’t quite the same.  It’s the difference between meeting someone new and exciting (before the novelty of it wears off and you discover they were lying about their marital status) and visiting old friends.  You’d better believe I’ll be revisiting this book, but I still want more.  From Allie Brosh.  A Part Two.  NOW.

If Allie truly cared about her fans, she would have found some means of communicating with her future self (like, her super-distant future self — from so far into the future that half her organs are made of synthetic materials and the other half have been cloned from canine stem cells), instructing her future self to send all future volumes of the Hyperbole and a Half book series back in time to Christmas 2013 so that they may be enjoyed sequentially and without delay, thus sparing us the dreadful inconvenience of waiting for Allie to write material before we can read it.

But Allie didn’t do this.  Thus, she has failed.  Which means that she must not truly love us — or that her future self does not have access to a time machine and/or synthetic canine organs with which to preserve her life indefinitely (or at least until time machines have been invented).  But that is a possibility I refuse to accept.

I’m rating this book five stars, because that’s the lowest rating I can give… right??

If you’ve yet to visit Hyperbole and a Half, there is likely something very wrong with you, or else you are probably new to the Internet (and to civilization in general).  Whatever your personal shortcoming, it can be rectified by immediately clicking here to visit Allie’s most recent anecdote about the awesome destructive power of dinosaurs… and of four-year-olds, for that matter.

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WTF DID I JUST WATCH?!

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I’ve just witnessed the most disgusting and depraved ‘funny” baby video I have ever seen on YouTube.  It’s so bad that I cannot even bring myself to post the link.  Only 37 seconds long, it makes the shitty baby video seem heartwarmingly adorable by comparison.

It begins with a spread-eagled, presumably EC’d baby being “pooped” by a woman (presumably mom) over an open diaper.  An older child of perhaps two is clearly distressed by this sight, and her mother laughs and jokes as the kid freaks the fuck out.  The cameraman (I’m assuming Dad) can be heard teasing the toddler in the background.

Both parents are clearly fascinated by the infant’s defecation, and only the two-year-old’s reaction suggests an iota of intelligence.  The parents cheer the shitting baby on while the little girl cries and holds some sort of surgical mask over the lower half of her face.  Dad then begins snarkily cheering on the little girl, encouraging her to stare at her baby sister’s private parts as the poop works its way out of the infant’s ass.

The video ends with a hairy, overweight old man appearing in the doorway in nothing but a pair of boxer shorts.  I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he’d paid for an hour with one (or both) of the children.

I’m not a fan of censorship, but I’m even LESS of a fan of children being victimized — especially by their own parents.  The baby may have been blissfully unaware of its surroundings, but the little girl was clearly being subjected to a sickening situation which her parental units seemed to find hilarious.  I reported the video to YouTube, though I’m sure it could be argued that it remains within their terms of service, as baby vag no longer seems to qualify as nudity these days — at least not on Facebook or Youtube.)

Why do people upload this shit?!  Do they find it cute?  Do they think it’s funny?  And don’t give me that, “We only put it up so Great Aunt Ethyl could enjoy these most-precious moments of our little snowflake’s existence.”  Aunt Ethyl doesn’t want to see that shit any more than the rest of us — unless the reason she can’t actually come and visit your snowflake Neveah (and witness these “precious moments” for herself) is that the State will not permit her within 50 yards of a child on account of her having previously viewed/filmed/directed/starred in “precious moments” of your first child (or someone else’s).

Besides, it doesn’t take uploading what is essentially child porn onto YouTube to keep in touch with friends and extended family.  That’s why we have Facebook — and STFU Parents.

NOTE: If you haven’t already bought Blair’s Book,  I highly recommended it as 101 on the world of parenting overshare via social media.  (There’s more to it than poop and baby vag; I promise.)

Tuf Voyaging

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Move this to the top of your reading list: A socially-awkward man of integrity and ingenuity travels throughout the galaxy in an immense “Ark” of long-forgotten genetic data/technology, dabbling in “ecological engineering” while resolving global catastrophes.  If that’s not enough to capture your interest, he’s also a vegetarian who prefers the company of cats to people.  Oh, and it’s written by GRRM. 😉

Raptor

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There’s a book I’ve been recommending to many of my friends: ‘Raptor,’ by Gary Jennings. I first discovered it (i.e., stole it from my father) when I was in junior high, and I read it again at some point in high school. I picked it up a third time just the other day, and it’s even better than I’d remembered.

It’s a historical fiction about a hermaphrodite in the final days of the Roman Empire. (If that doesn’t capture your interest, nothing will.) Although the story is told as a first-person “memoir,” the writing style very much reminds me of GRRM: the elaborate histories (in this case, very much grounded in fact), the graphic (and quite often disturbing) violence and gore, and the surprising depth to characters who might otherwise have come across as reprobate and shallow. (Think Jaime Lannister.)

A very, very good read. And a means of alleviating those feelings of hopelessness and despondency that inevitably arise when one has to wait YEARS for a new Ice & Fire book.

No dragons or zombies, though. :-\

That Strange Little State of Maine

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I got into Stephen King in the sixth grade and spent the summer that followed scouring the shelves of the public library for his novels; Pet Sematary, Carrie, the Tommyknockers, all of the Bachmann books — I read whatever I could get my hands on. And in spite of my over(hyper)active imagination, I remember how increasingly confident I’d become that these books were indeed works of fiction, if only because there was no way so much freaky shit could happen in the state of Maine and for Maine to still be on the map.

I’m rereading the Tommyknockers because I simply cannot remain focused on Anne Rice’s A Tale of the Body Thief. Self-editing was probably the single most idiotic decision that woman ever made. Yes, I am aware she is a born-again Christian.

A Word on Siouxsie and the Banshees

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The thing I love most about Siouxsie and the Banshees is how many of their songs remind me of my favorite books.  Scarecrow always conjures up images of young Dagny Taggart’s insatiable passion for her railroad, while Rhapsody illustrates the utter void she feels years later with the discovery that there is “not a mind left.”

Turn to Stone and The Last Beat of My Heart capture perfectly Dominique Francon’s quest for self-destruction and the subsequent reintroduction of Roark in to her life, though he’s never been farther away.

And while it isn’t exactly one of my favorite books, one of the central points of Queen of the Damned (the struggle between Lestat and Akasha) can be summed up in Face to Face.  Actually, considering both the Banshees’ and Danny Elfman’s aethetic persuasions (he co-wrote the song for the Batman Returns soundtrack), I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they were influenced by the book.  Though I seriously doubts Siouxsie Sioux is a staunch reader of Ayn Rand.  😉

Also worth mentioning is Siouxsie and Budgie’s former side project The Creatures.  A couple of their songs — Standing There and Another Planet — bring to mind Dagny Taggart’s inability to understand the minds and motives of the people around her.