Last January, Syd decided that while she has read many, many books, there were large gaps in her reading history. She hasn’t actually read that many classics, beyond those associated with the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres. So she read Dracula, The Maltese Falcon, Pride & Prejudice and so on. It was an attempt to step outside of her comfort zone and see what else is out in the greater world of books.
Well, it’s harder for me to step outside my own comfort zone, because I’ve at least made a valiant attempt at a wider spectrum of books. However, I’ve got a few lined up. The first thing is going to be Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. It has also been suggested that if I don’t read Silverlock pretty damn soon, my father will kick me in the ass.
So that’s going to be the first two. I will make a serious attempt at at least one book a month, and if I read two then the second doesn’t count. This means I can’t read four books in January and then skip until May. I will have to come up with 10 more books though. As I understand Syd’s Rules: The books have to be classic enough that someone teaches them somewhere. They have to be books I’ve either never read or never actually finished when I was assigned them in school. I’m adding in the rule that it can’t be a sequel to a book I’ve read before. So it wouldn’t be any good me reading book seven of a series where I’ve already read books one through six.
Since I’ve never actually read any Kerouac, his road book should make a good first entry. I’ll let you know a few days after New Year’s…
A Serious Discussion of My Own Depression And Why “The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol” Is the Worst Thing I’ve Ever Seen
This isn’t going to be one of the fun reviews, with lots of screen caps and funny captions that people can put on pintrest. I’m going to take this thing to task, but not in a fun way. I didn’t even want to do it, but I came across something I wrote in a piece of fiction a few years back.
“If you have a talent, you’re responsible for how, or if you use it. Letting it go to waste is as bad as misusing it.” And I have a talent for explaining why things are bad. As far as I can tell, I’ve never been able to convince someone that a movie is good, but I can convince them something is shit! Not an enviable position, perhaps, but I’ve got a talent and I’m going to try to use it for good this time.
I’ve decided we’ve got to talk about this, we have to have a conversation about this thing because it’s evil and wrong and if I don’t warn people, I might feel responsible later. Let me be frank about this, so that we don’t misunderstand things. This is not a fun little cartoon, it is harmful, it is DANGEROUS! You should not watch this damn thing, no one should watch this thing. This is less a review and more of a warning, because watching this could drive someone to suicide. I’m going to discuss this in personal terms, since that last sentence seem hyperbolic, so I’ll explain….
What I always find interesting about Christmas music, is that people are willing to listen to genres that at any other time of the year they wouldn’t touch with a barge poll. People who hate crooners will slap on a Bing Crosby record. People who aren’t normally country fans will put A Garth Brooks Christmas on the CD player. People still have CD players, right? I don’t, but I assume people do. I’ve always found it interesting that people will forgive a genre or artist they don’t normally like, because of a Christmas song.
Let’s be clear on this, I’m the sort of person who people look at and say “Of course, you WOULD listen to Manhattan Transfer.” But I don’t actually listen to them. Except, of course, I have their Christmas album. There is nothing so remarkable in that. I have about 200 Christmas albums, all told. Don’t judge me. I went through what can only be described as a period of my life. I made so very many, many Christmas Mix Tapes, and I needed A LOT of material for those tapes. You don’t know what hell is until you find yourself trying to sort 2300 songs looking for THAT ONE that fits perfectly, only to find Neil Diamond staring back at you.
It’s just odd, that during the month of December, everyone walks around with an expanded idea of what music should be and men open their shut up hearts freely to accept music genres that died out before they were even born.
OTHER THINGS I FIND ODD!
Now these are obviously self-selecting things, and none of them are set in stone or being handed down as rules. They’re just trends I’ve noticed. I probably have an exception to each of these in my collection.
If you’re listening to a country singer, the secular songs will be the bouncy “Fun Country” style song and the religious one will be the slow, reserved song. And there is usually only one or two religious songs on a country album.
Only Jazz or R&B singers sing the song “This Christmas” like it’s been set aside for them. Same with Christmas Time Is Here, no one else will cover it. Also, 7 times out of 10, Jazz songs that are religious are instrumentals. They’ll sing the secular songs, but not the religious ones. There are a lot of religious songs though, more than most other genres.
New Age musicians (By which I mean adult contemporary instrumental) LOVE them some obscure Christmas songs. Mannheim Steamroller, for example introduced me to several songs I had never heard and only rarely hear now. While contemporary Celtic musicians go for songs so obscure, I’m not always convinced they’re really Christmas songs. But since most of them are in some form of Gaelic, I can hardly call them on it. Also, since the songs are almost painfully beautiful, I don’t feel inclined.
Rock and pop tends either to go for the very traditional or a complete opposition to the idea of traditional. You either get Smashing Pumpkins on their very best behavior, or Blink 182 talking about going after carolers with a baseball bat. Quite frequently this is because a Christmas Album is an easy way to fill out a contractual obligation. Sometimes you’ll get someone who fully makes the music their own. See Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets for an example of this. Some people are trying, some people aren’t. Look for the group albums, where people are contributing one song and you’ll have a better time for the most part.
ANYWAY, just some thoughts I’ve been having.
EDIT I forgot to mention. If someone wants to do an intense, rocking number, it’s probably going to be Carol of The Bells. That one has a repetitive beat like tune that can easily be adapted to that purpose.
If you’re not one of my far-flung family members (of either my blood, or chosen family) yo may ignore this post. It involves me mentioning some things I want in a way that’s easier to convey than a normal e-mail might be.
I need a new Camera. Mine has been in the shop for three months and I have no idea when or if I’ll ever get it back. I’ve been wanting to upgrade anyway. If someone is looking for a major big ticket item, I would like a red Pentax K-30. There is actually a pretty good deal on one here. Really, any good SLR camera would make me happy right now.
I could use a new long coat, and a nice hat to go with it. I’ve got a couple of coats I’ve been looking at… Shackelford (Size 48) or a Coburn Great Coat There is also a lighter lab coat (XL/2X) (color is not so important, it comes in white, brown, black and red)
Now as far as hats go, my head is 24 inches… I have great love for this John Bull Top Hat and this Derby. Both of them come in black and you’d want to get an XL. There is also this red top hat, but that’s just silly if you don’t also get a red coat (48 chest 50 belly)
My membership to the Henry Ford lapsed a little while ago, we have the Companion level and would like to have it again.
There’s always a knife or two, like the Ringed Razel and the folding Razel. One or two sword canes look neat. Aaaaand of course there is this bad boy that I’ve wanted for years. Or it’s cheaper brother.