Truthful speaking would be a simple way to tell the truth, if the truth were simple and could be told.

30 March 2008

And it's okay if this world had a billion saviors, 'cause there's so many things to be saved.

--Craig Minowa

17 March 2008

Top 10 Lists

Everybody does them, and for some reason, people choose to do 10. Why not 8? Why not 5? Or 3? What's so special about 10? I guess it's just a nice round number.

Well, in an act of pure pretentious, pompousness, and anything else, here are my 10 favorite records and movies from the year 2007 . . . postdated by 3 months. Alas. Also, I'm bored at home and it's too cold outside to take the dog for a walk. Bummer.

Ratatouille (this is actually my favorite of the year. For long moments I thought of No Country for Old Men and There WIll Be Blood, as they are the ones who recieved the most attention; but I feel -- like The Indredibles before it -- that there was no other movie so well put together, so satisfying, so heartwarming, funny, sad, hopeful, looking, and magical, yes magical! movie than Ratatouille. It's my number one.)
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
The Simpsons Movie (which stands as the movie I most watched in 2007.)
3:10 to Yuma
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Darjeeling Limited

The Meaning of 8 -- Cloud Cult
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga -- Spoon
Friend and Foe -- Menomena
Sky Blue Sky -- Wilco
Person Pitch -- Panda Bear
In Rainbows -- Radiohead
The Ortolan -- The Deadly Syndrome
100 Days 100 Nights -- Sharon Jones and the Dap-King
Boxer -- The National
Sound of Silver -- LCD Soundsystem

And as for books, since that's what I'm mostly all about, here are the ten best reads I had, because I don't remember all the books that are strictly 2007 (not including any re-reads).

Little, Big by John Crowley (best book ever.)
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (started in December of '06 and finished January '07.)
The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J. K. Rowling
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik
The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges

All right, I'm done . . . for now!

13 March 2008

100 Best Last Lines from Novels

The American Book Review recently published this list, which someone brought to my attention. If you can't infer from the title of this post, it's a ranking of 100 great last lines of books; something you don't always see. It's a pretty good list: strong, with a good mixture of good books. Not perfect (I mean, On the Road has been included -- screw you Kerouac -- and My Antonia and two Hemingway pieces), but really really good.

Some of my favorites, in order of their appearence:

4. …I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. –James Joyce, Ulysses

12. I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita. –Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)

15. Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth. –Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967; trans. Gregory Rabassa)

20. ‘I shall feel proud and satisfied to have been the first author to enjoy the full fruit of his writings, as I desired, because my only desire has been to make men hate those false, absurd histories in books of chivalry, which thanks to the exploits of my real Don Quixote are even now tottering, and without any doubt will soon tumble to the ground. Farewell.’ –Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605, 1615; trans. John Rutherford)

25. It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan. –Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)

31. Now everybody— –Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)

50. "Poor Grendel’s had an accident," I whisper. "So may you all." –John Gardner, Grendel (1971)

66. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing. –A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner (1928)

78. He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die. –Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (1985)

94. From the sky a swift Angel descends, an Angel with a golden helmet and green spurs, a flaming sword in his hand, an Angel escaped from the Indo-Hispanic altars of opulent hunger, from need overcome by sleep, from the coupling of opposites: body and soul, wakefulness and death, living and sleeping, remembering and desiring, imagining: the happy boy who reaches the sad land carries all this on his lips, he bears the memory of death, white and extinguished, like the flame that went out in his mother’s belly: for a swift, marvelous instant, the boy being born knows that this light of memory, wisdom, and death was an Angel and that this other Angel who flies from the navel of heaven with the sword in his hand is the fraternal enemy of the first: he is the Baroque Angel, with a sword in his hand and quetzal wings, and a serpent doublet, and a golden helmet, the Angel strikes, strikes the lips of the boy being born on the beach: the burning and painful sword strikes his lips and the boy forgets, he forgets everything forgets everything,
–Carlos Fuentes, Christopher Unborn (1987;
trans. Alfred MacAdam and Carlos Fuentes)

With the exception of the Fuentes entry (which was too cool not to post) I've read all those, as well as a good majority of those books on the list. Bragging rights all around.

I think it's interesting to think of last lines. So often there has been a lot of focus on the first line, on how that's what grabs the reader and keeps them reading your work; but the last line is just as important, because that's what stays with them.

Though of course, if the entire book sucks the last line isn't going to save anything -- I'm looking at you The Swimming-Pool Library.

12 March 2008

So Cool:

You may have heard of the Take Away Show -- this French blog that features indie bands walking the streets of (usually) Paris, playing their songs. Architecture in Helsinki leads a conga line to "Like It or Not"; Final Fantasy -- aka Owen Pallett -- tries to make a running escape; Yeasayer perform a few numbers, between giggles, in the subway; Vampire Weekend takes a nice stroll into a cafe . . . it's really a great site and since I've really discovered it (I swear I've seen some of these videos on YouTube before), I'm addicted.

Just like since really finally giving Menomena the listen they deserve, I've become addicted to them, too. My stereo has been overtaken by the new Cloud Cult (which is amazing), Friend and Foe (which is also amazing), and Return to Cookie Mountain (which I guess you can infer is also amazing) and I think that's a really great treat for my stereo, you know? Well, Menomena did the video and they played in the alleyway but these kids started dancing and it's really worth checking out.

#62.3 - Menomena - Wet and Rusting
by lablogotheque

Wander over to the site; you won't find a better way to spend some time.

09 March 2008

Is There Anything Jeff Tweedy Can't Do?

I mean, he can take the chaotic arrangement of "Spiders (Kidsmoke)", an outstanding song, and maybe it into this haunting acoustic piece:

And he knows how to work the crowd:

I've been listening to these guys since high school...I gotta get him into KCSU.

Quite Proud of Myself

On Friday I finished the first draft of my latest short story, called "Ojitos." I've been running through already, creating the typescript, and I think that it's all right. There's certainly some moments I'm proud of and others I'm just like, "What was I thinking when I wrote that?"

Every once in awhile someone will ask me what it's about and I tell them basically one of the characters and they go: "Oh, like that monster in Pan's Labyrinth?" And I go: "No, it's more like Minority Report." Which I hold as Steven Spielberg's strongest movie of his dark period, the one that started after Schindler's List and has continued on today (look at AI, War of the World, Saving Private Ryan, Munich, and The Lost World: Jurassic Park if you don't believe me). I love Minority Report, I don't think I've ever said that enough . . . I don't think you can say it enough. It's just so well-executed, such a great balance of ideas, character, story, and adventure.

Anyway, this is the scene in question:

This story is the first one I've ever written in first person. I mean ever. Well, I did first person plural once, but that doesn't count. I just hate the first narrator, I think it feels cheap, almost an easy way to handle things (at least I did). But writing this story was an uphill struggle and each page was written two or three times and God knows how many the typescript's going to get. At least I can say I did it and can no return to my detached third person narrator, where I can go on any tangent that I want, talk about anything that I feel like, and not always have to ask myself if the character would say that with each and every sentence. Screw that. And my third narrator is just a disembodied thing so take that.

Screw you first person. I hope you get cholera.

Oh, I also finished writing an essay, read the first half of this book called Tabloid Dreams, and workshopped a 34-page story. Been quite a productive weekend so far but I think the afternoon's shot because I want to go watch that movie now.

06 March 2008

And More Importantly:

Happy birthday, Gabriel García Márquez!
If you haven't already, go out and buy and read these books:

Those are his three best and if you click on the covers, it should take you to some links.

So happy 81st birthday, Gabriel García Márquez; to a life of spectacular literature! Can't wait for more.
He's one of the writers who seriously changed my life.

This May've Made Star Wars Even Better:

You know: if it were done by Saul Bass:

And the special edition:

05 March 2008

02 March 2008

Jeff Tweedy is Increasingly Becoming More of One of My Heroes

These are from a year or so back, but who cares? Wait till about 1:10 into the video:

His explanation:

Then he talks about talking:

Then he messes up:

You could make a narrative out of these things.


Yesterday I was at Barnes and Noble, which has become a staple of my Saturdays, but I don't care (I actually bought something this time around: The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano. Can't wait to read it). I came across this book called Dorm Porn -- there were actually two volumes of them and I looked at the second one because the kid was hotter; that shaggy hair and everything -- which was one of the most hysterical things I've read in awhile. It's basically the equivalent of those videos where a guy orders a pizza, then the delivery boy, who always is really attractive, shows up and the orderer can't find any cash to pay him with and the delivery boy says: "Well, you did order extra sausage," before they end up going at it on the steps or nearest couch, except in print. I also read a couple anthologies of Edward Gorey's work.

Has Hot Topic claimed Gorey yet? I know they have a hold on Tim Burton and even Invader Zim has fallen into them; but has Gorey been incorporated?

Whatever it is, Gothic-Victorian picture books are all that any kid ever needs!

The Gashlycrumb Tinies.