Fahrenheit 36 (And Only Getting ‘Worse’)

Something tells me I’m not like ordinary girls. Normal girls hyperventilate over the newest fashion and everything shoes…Yes, I am stereotyping my own sex, but I could care less. The truth isn’t considered stereotypical…Where most females splurge on things of that nature, I find myself standing in an entirely different classification. I splurge on items of paper and bindings, consisting of thoughts and experiences by designers of the written word.

Books.

In June, I wrote that I had a number of books, my thoughts on what the world would be like without them and what I myself would do without them. Recently, I realized that I might have a slight obsession. Slight could possibly be an understatement. I stated that I had 31 books. That statement is now a flat-out lie. I now own 36.

36 books.

I’m seriously considering buying a book shelf like my mom has been saying I should for a while. Every time she walks into my bedroom, actually. What can I say? Books have been my safe haven since I was fourteen. Books were my escape from cruel assholes at school, whatever pressure breaking the glass that just happened to be my skin, anything and everything. Books were always there for me. Books and music. But we won’t go into music because I’ve made that obsession clear many times over again and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon.

Better cut to the chase before I become slightly distracted and go off topic.

The five books that I added to my grand collection are as follows:

Bret Easton Ellis’ The Rules of Attraction, his very first novel Less Than Zero and its sequel Imperial Bedrooms…I fell in love with Mr. Ellis’ unique style of writing when I first read American Psycho. It was one of the first stepping-stones in my incredible journey through the land of all things written. I remember reading it like it was yesterday. My fourteen year old mind couldn’t quite comprehend certain aspects of the novel, and wasn’t really shocked by the amount of violence. Now that I’m older, it’s more than safe to say that I understand every aspect and while some of the violence does make me cringe, I’m not shocked by any of it…What the hell does that say about me as a person?… I’ve been in love with his style and I don’t see that changing.

Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels: The Strange And Terrible Saga Of The Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, an interesting and brutal account of a year spent riding with the infamous Hell’s Angels M.C…I fell head-over-heels for Thompson’s trademark Gonzo journalism two years ago when I received Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas for Christmas. My adoration for his signature style only grew stronger when I read The Rum Diary this spring…Yes, as I said in the paragraph above about Mr. Ellis, the same can be said for Mr. Thompson and his style of writing. I don’t see myself falling out of love with his Gonzo journalism any time soon.

The last (not the absolute last) and only book I’ve finished so far, is one I found by accident. I know I say that I find some things by accident all the time, and it is a genuine accident every time. It’s not like I knew I would discover that Slipknot/Stone Sour lead singer Corey Taylor had written a book…Yes, you read right…I was surprised, extremely interested and seriously excited when I found that Mr. Taylor’s work, Seven Deadly Sins: Settling The Argument Between Born Bad And Damaged Good, was on Barnes & Noble’s website. I was searching the frontman because curiosity struck and I wondered what year he was born, (causing me to discover the existence of said book). I’d watched Slipknot’s video for their song “Snuff” for the first time, and was curious, yo. Yes, my inner Jesse Pinkman just came out. I apologize for the slight distraction.

I’d like to say that the same statements I made about Mr. Ellis and Mr. Thompson can also be said for Mr. Taylor, but they cannot. I had never read anything written by Mr. Taylor, with the exception of Slipknot and Stone Sour lyrics of course, but that’s different…Yes, lyrics are indeed words written but there is a difference between words written in a song and a 252 page book. Sure, the person writing both is the same but there is so much more to a person than the songs they play or the lyrics they write…

I could go on about how I came to listen to both Slipknot and Stone Sour and all that jazz, but that would make the post even longer than it is and I’d like to write an entire piece as oppose to lumping it in with a post that talks of said bands’ lead singer. It would just make sense and be a more beautiful thing.

…Now that I’ve established that I shall sooner or later write a post about Slipknot and Stone Sour (which I was actually thinking about writing anyway), I will continue with the topic at hand…I really think I have a problem sometimes, going off of topic and such…I was unsure what to expect when I began to read Seven Deadly Sins because this was Mr. Taylor’s first book and I think it’s safe to say no one knows what to expect when an author writes their first book…And what a great first book it was.

I know some people would be so bold to say that the only reason I purchased the book is because I’m a Slipknot and Stone Sour fan, which I am, but that isn’t the case. I’m always curious about other peoples’ thoughts/opinions on different topics and this is just an example of that. I won’t go into too much detail, but as the name suggests, it is about the Seven Deadly Sins, and Mr. Taylor’s view on how they are indeed not sins at all, but just a part of every human being. While I will say no more (concerning the content of the book), I will say this: I have a massive amount of respect for Mr. Taylor as a person. Seven Deadly Sins is the first book in a very long time, if not the first, to make me come close to crying my eyes out, while still making me laugh my ass off. It is by far the most refreshing piece I’ve read in a long time, and I’m seriously in love with Mr. Taylor’s brutal honesty and sharp wit, as well as his fearlessly uncensored accounts…Why can’t all writers be like that?

….

I do apologize.

….

I found myself distracted, watching Nine Inch Nails videos and Marilyn Manson interviews on YouTube, when I should be completing this post…In all honesty, Mr. Ellis, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Taylor are outstanding writers, each with their own style and venom. I’m unsure as to what else needs to be said. I can go on gushing all day about how I respect both Mr. Ellis and Mr. Thompson as writers, and Mr. Taylor as a musician and writer, but I don’t want to be repetitive. Not today. I do know, however, it’s definitely safe to say that I am not like ordinary girls, and that I indeed have an obsession with books, devouring and savoring every word, sentence and paragraph…And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Individuality is a dying breed…Don’t you think it’s time to revive it?

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Pumpkin Cookie Nostalgia/My So-Called Obsession

I think it’s finally set in. I’m realizing that I no longer have the luxury of picking up my cell phone to call or text, asking to get coffee or if it’s cool to come over and bake. Now that I no longer have that luxury, I feel like I took it for granted.

It’s finally set in. My sister is in Seattle, Washington, and I miss her.

As I’ve said before, her moving to Washington has been a long time coming, and it never really bothered me until recently. It doesn’t bother me, more like sunk in. Hit me. I’ve semi-lost the person I had so much fun with. Sure, we still communicate via text and Facebook, but it doesn’t compare to the flesh and blood aspect of our interactions.

I miss making homemade cookies and pumpkin rolls while listening to ’90’s Industrial. I miss accompanying her to Starbucks to get pumpkin spice lattes when late September rolled around. I miss her and her fiancé coming over in the Summer for barbecues. I miss asking her for advice, seeing her reaction and contemplating what to do about said issue. I seriously miss just hanging out with her.

The reason for all this nostalgia is quiet simple and even silly some might be so bold to say. The early ’90’s show My So-Called Life.

Some odd years ago when I first heard (and later saw live) the band 30 Seconds To Mars, my sister informed me that lead singer/guitarist Jared Leto wasn’t just a musician, but also an actor. She told me she first saw him in Life, and at the time I had no idea what she was talking about. The show aired in 1994, meaning she was thirteen and I was three. The reason why I had no idea what she was talking about.

I now know exactly what she was talking about.

I stumbled upon My So-Called Life somewhat by accident. I was watching the movie Juno a week or two ago, and Ellen Page’s character made a reference to the show. At the time, I didn’t know it was a reference until I looked the movie up on IMDb (Internet Movie Database). For some reason, I have this obsession with looking up the various trivia/goofs to the movies I watch. It makes them more interesting. With my curiosity piqued, I opened a new tab and proceeded to go to Netflix’s website…And my curiosity was satisfied because indeed it was on Netflix. 

That, however, was a couple of weeks ago. I found out that My So-Called Life was on Netflix a couple of weeks ago and I just finished the nineteenth and final episode this morning. I started watching it yesterday morning and finished it this morning. I blame the fact that I couldn’t sleep, and the AMC show Breaking Bad. The reason why I didn’t pursue the nineteen episodes of Life right away was because I was catching up on the gritty and violent misadventures of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman that can only be Breaking Bad. Now, I can go on all day long about what a great show Bad is, but that isn’t the topic of my obsession today.

My So-Called Life is a great show. It’s a show that anyone who’s been through the torrential pressure and strange triumphs of high school can relate to. There’s this realistic vibe you get when watching it, like you’re actually in the hallways and classrooms of Liberty High. It sounds a little weird saying that because it aired eighteen years ago, but there a lot of shows/movies that I find myself liking that came out even earlier than ’94. It’s crazy that Claire Danes (main character Angela Chase) and Jared Leto (Angela’s love interest, Jordan Catalano) got recognized because of the show. It’s amazing to watch films like The Rainmaker and Romeo + Juliet (among many others), as well as Showtime series Homeland and think of how far Danes has come as an actress. The same thing can be said for Leto. With an extremely successful band and films like Fight Club, American Psycho and Lord Of War (among many others as well) under his belt, it’s also amazing to see how far he has come as an actor (not to mention a musician, but that is for another day entirely). 

During the short time it took me to complete the series, I felt an instant connection to Angela and all that was going on around her. Sure, I cannot relate to everything she experienced her sophomore year, but I definitely know how it feels to navigate through high school. One minute your accomplishments can make you feel on top of the world, and the next the pressures and expectations bestowed upon you (and every student for that matter), can shallow you whole. It’s honestly challenging some times. One day your best friend can indeed be your best friend, the next they’re your worst enemy. One day you think you know everything there is to know about your crush, the next they’re sending you those dreaded mixed messages and it’s like you’re invisible all over again…

Usually this is the part where I tend to spill too much about whatever I’m talking about, whether it be a movie, book, or in this case, a TV show. This time I will do no such thing. I could go on all day about what happens in the show, but that wouldn’t be fair to anyone who hasn’t seen it and honestly, who wants someone else raining on their parade? I’d say I’ve done pretty good so far. In not spilling the beans, that is. Anyone could tell you how a TV show or movie is, but to really connect with said TV show or movie, you have to see it for yourself.

…As I said before, My So-Called Life is a great show and the unlikely reason for the pumpkin-cookie-nostalgia I’m feeling…Yes, you read right. Pumpkin. Cookie. Nostalgia…I honestly didn’t think that when I watched the first episode (and all nineteen for that matter), that I would not only be able to connect and relate, but also that the fact that my sister lives some 2,000 miles away finally sunk in. It’s good to know that even though we’re apart, we can still connect in the most strangest of ways.

Sometimes the miles between don’t mean a thing.

Right Or Religion?

Two weeks ago, give or take a couple of days, I was watching an episode of the National Geographic show Taboo at midnight or so. The topic of that particular episode was that of teenage sex, and how such obstacle is faced in other countries, including our own. While the first three out of four individual stories were indeed in other countries, and didn’t really pique my interest that much, the fourth story was quite different, and indeed piqued my interest.

The fourth and final story was in Mississippi, and spoke of something called a purity ball. A purity ball (associated with Evangelical Christian churches), is a formal dance attended by a father and his daughter(s), in which daughter(s) promise and pledge to stay pure until marriage, and in turn the fathers also promise and pledge to protect their daughter’s purity. I know that everyone is entitled to their own religion, and while I’m no one to judge, something about the whole fourth story rubbed me the wrong way.

According to the type of religion the individuals believed in, the man is the breadwinner and the woman stays at home, cooking, cleaning, etc. That’s all fine and well, but what about the when the gentleman’s daughters got married? The same fate would befall them. Their husbands would be supporting the household, while they would be home, doing what needed to be done at home.

The first thing that came to mind: What ever happened to their rights?

It might be hard to believe now, but it wasn’t always easy for women. They fought for the equal rights they have now, even defying and accomplishing feats once only men were successful. The same thing can be said for our modern world. More and more women are going into professions usually occupied by men, such as welding, truck driving, etc. I myself even had aspirations of going to school for the trade of welding, until my parents brought to attention my horrible luck with high heat situations…Even though I’m an adult, it truly helps to have input from my folks…I remember when I still had my job in a department store stockroom, using the box-crushing compactor, people would be genuinely surprised to learn that a petite, 96 lb. girl worked in the stockroom and not on the store floor. What can I say? I’m not particularly a people person.

Back to what’s at hand…I honestly felt bad for those young ladies. Not because they had different beliefs than I, but because they would never know what it’s like in the real world. Never knowing what’s it’s like to obtain a job, working for what you want and need. Never really being able to make her own decisions, as far as their freedom of choice is concerned. Never knowing what their life would be if they had a different religion or none at all. Young women should be able to think and choose for themselves, without the help of anyone else.

I understand that as a father, there’s an obligation to protect your child and look out for their well-being, but a father can only protect their child for so long. At one point or another, they have to let go and let their child experience the world for themselves. You’ll never truly learn anything until you actually experience it firsthand, and being sheltered from everything, it’s unlikely that you’ll learn anything at all. It’s one thing to be a loving father, but it’s quite another to dictate the choices that your child has every right to have and use how they see fit.

When all is said and done, everyone has different faiths and the beliefs that go with said faith. There’s no way of getting around that…I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I don’t look down on anyone for what kind of religion they’re apart of or beliefs they have. That’s just not the type of person I am…Some might look at the idea of a purity ball as being an excellent idea, given the influence peers and technology could have on a young individual, while others might see the ball as something odd and unfair, taking away the choice every person is rightfully entitled to.

Would you rather sacrifice your right in order to follow your religion, or sacrifice your religion in order to follow your right?

Away From The Norm (A July Anomaly Pt. 2)

7:55 a.m.

It’s that time again. Both of my windows are grey and rain-stained. Thunder pounded the sky, while lightning streaked across it not long after. The power went out for a second or two, buzzing back to live just as quickly as it had gone.

Rain. A far-cry from the norm.

There isn’t any of the dreaded heat or humidity that weighs down your mood, no matter how chipper you are. The air is cooler, feeling more like the Autumn season I love. Even better with a Lipton raspberry iced tea and Placebo thrown in…This Saturday morning couldn’t be more perfect.

The simplest of things can make the biggest of difference.

Walk Between The Raindrops (A July Anomaly)

10:28 a.m.

There isn’t any sun shining through the two glass-block windows of my cellar dwelling. Such blinding sunshine is replaced with the familiar, long-lost grey hue associated with those chilly Autumn mornings…The ominous grey tone, rain-stained windows, thunder, a total downpour…Everything.

While it doesn’t particularly feel like Summer because of the rain, although it is probably still pretty warm (even though I can only speculate because I haven’t been outside yet this morning), it sure is a welcome relief from the hot, humid, headache-inducing weather we’ve had for some odd weeks. Rain trumps heat and humidity every time…Something tells me it’s going to be a pretty good day.

Walk between the raindrops so you don’t get wet.

Fahrenheit 31

I have 31 books stacked up high on my desk in my bedroom. The collection varies, including the sparkling vampire saga that is Twilight (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn), yes I got sucked into the teen sensation when I was seventeen, the intricately woven world of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest) and a man’s quest to Hell and back that changed the world’s perception of the afterlife forever, Dante’s Inferno trilogy (Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso)…Oh what the hell, I might as well mention all the other books I own while I’m at it.

I own the following:  A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess,  American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck,  Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk,  Dracula by Bram Stoker, Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr, The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu, The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson, IT by Stephen King, Flowers + Filth and Prose & Poems by Wil Francis, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas and The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson, Most Loved Poems Of The American People, and Edgar Allen Poe: Complete Tales & Poems, not to mention the trilogies and saga I noted in the paragraph above.

The fact that I have a bunch of books isn’t really what’s important though. What is important is where would our society be without them?

You’re probably asking how  this question arose, and as always, I have an answer. I recently purchased three Ray Bradbury novels, The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes. I’d read  Wicked when I was thirteen for a school project, and fell in love with it…Whenever I thought about the book in the past, I thought about my grandpa and it’s safe to say I still do. Despite the fact he himself never read the novel (as far as I know), it reminds me of him. My grandpa and the Fall season, along with everything the wonderful season brings. I began reading the novel in Autumn, when I would see him everyday after school, via the too-obvious connection, but I won’t go into too much right now because that’s not the subject at hand…Strangely, I had never read Fahrenheit 451 but it thought I would broaden my horizons. Plus it got awesome reviews, and come on, it’s Ray Bradbury. The story sounded oddly familiar, like one I had my freshmen year, but it was quite different as I read on.

If you aren’t familiar with 451, it tells of a futuristic world where it’s a fireman’s job to start fires instead of extinguish them, burning books, the written word banned by the government. The main character, a fireman who becomes conflicted with everything he thought he knew and all the things he discovers along the way. I won’t give anymore away, but the book had me thinking: Where would we as people be without books?

Being an avid reader since I was fourteen, I honestly don’t know where I would be without books. Books are a great way to pass the time, and depending on what you’re reading, can be a whole lot more entertaining than what’s on TV. They open the door to another world, introducing you to characters that while are fiction, are somehow strangely individuals we can all relate to. Without books, this world wouldn’t be as interesting. Without books, we wouldn’t expand our punctuation and grammar, something that is, believe it or not, pretty important. Without books, we wouldn’t be able to learn about the triumphs and tragedies this world has faced, and see how much we’ve evolved since. Without books, people just might become mindless drones that watch TV 24/7, unable to grasp the possibilities of the written word. Without books…I know for sure I wouldn’t enjoy a world like that.

Next time you pick up a book at your library or from your collection, ask yourself: Where would we be without books? The answer might just amaze.

The written word is your escape from the every day, a safe haven when your own world isn’t.

The Bubbles & The Bear

I watched the bubbles as they floated in the air, being carried by the occasional wind, while others hit the concrete before they could be devoured by the big monster in the yard. I felt like a kid again, blowing bubbles on a nice Summer day. Until the big monster in the backyard ate them…The monster I’m referring to is my dog, Tucker.

When I say that Tucker is a monster I don’t mean he’s a Great Dane or anything like that. He’s not a massive dog, he’s only massive compared to our other dog, a Beagle/Jack Russell mix. We think that Tuck is an English Foxhound, or at least that’s what he looks like. Every year since I got him for my 17th birthday, I’ve watched the AKC Eukanuba Dog Show to see which type of hound he might be, and my vote rests on the English Foxhound theory. I remember when I first got him he was a bag of bones, and that’s exactly what he sounded like when he laid down. A bag of bones. The same cannot be said now. Now he’s roughly 80 pounds and crashes into anything and everything. A couple of months ago, he rammed into the gate opening up to our backyard and just yesterday he ran right into an outdoor fireplace that is now used to hold potted plants. It’s like he doesn’t even feel whatever it is he runs into. He just keeps on moving…

A while ago I had this theory that if Tucker was a person he would be English actor Tom Hardy. It didn’t really make much sense until we found out what type of dog he might be. The theory only became more plausible when I found out Hardy’s character in the movie This Means War is indeed named Tuck. Yeah, it does seem silly but whatever…What can I say? I’m a Tom Hardy fan.

…Tucker (or “The Big Bear” as we often call him) is now obsessed with the bubble machine that we unearthed from the depths of the garage. At first, he wasn’t too sure where the bubbles came from or what they were. He just stared at them as they hit the ground, trying to figure out where they went. One of the bubbles managed to hit his back. After one popped on him, it was all over. Tuck managed to find that the bubbles were indeed coming from the bubble machine and not some kind of random manifestation. He then proceeded to stand in front of the machine and bite at the bubbles. Yes, you read right. Bite at the bubbles. It was the funniest thing.

“The Bear” was like a child, fascinated with something new and amusing. Like all good things have to come to an end, the merriment of the bubble machine was cut short, but that didn’t seem to bother Tuck one bit. Once the machine was shut off, he continued chewing the stick he found in the large pile by our fire pit. The simplest things make him happy. Sometimes I wish I was a dog.

You know your dog is like you when they fall going up the stairs.