Archive for the 'Books' Category

Frankenstein

February 20, 2012

I feel like I need to address something before I begin this. Yes, this is the illustrious 50th post.

No, there is no prize. You’ll be fine without one.

What I really want to talk to you about is the fact that most people use the name “Frankenstein” improperly. Not saying that you do or not everyone reading this does, but lots of people do.

Frankenstein is not a monster. He does not have an imposing brow and neck bolts and he does not walk around stiff legged with his arms straight out in an attempt to grab and strangle victims. He is not stitched together by a mad scientist and brought to life by the powers of God or nature or whatever dogma you happen to subscribe to.

Frankenstein is the man that build the monster that did all of those things.

Are we clear?

Frankenstein is a scientist. He created a monster.

Frankenstein’s monster is the monster Frankenstein created.

Okay? Good.

Now, I must admit something:

I’ve never read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It’s the truth. I read a bit of it, but it just didn’t grab me like….. well, like “Frankenstein” should.

But, I have seen the movie with Boris Karloff a couple times, so I consider myself an expert.

Also, I watched part of Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein when I was younger. So, we’re good on all bases.

Anyway, I have always thought Karloff’s portrayal of Frankenstein’s monster, while definitely different from the one describe by Shelley, overtook that description to become the image of the monster that everyone thinks of.

Shelley says the creature was 8 feet tall, had a grotesque yellowish skin pulled tightly so that it “barely disguised the workings of the vessels and muscles underneath”, black lips, white teeth, “flowing” black hair.

Luxurious hair, right?

Also, remember back to the way the monster walked. Stiff legged. Lumbering.

It was like a Nazi goosestepping and keeping diarrhea at bay while walking through the house with paint on his hand from repainting the back porch brown.

He didn’t want to get any brown on the curtains, and I’m not just talking about the paint.

However, Shelley talked of the monster having flexibility and speed that surpassed that of any human as if the creature was some sort of superhuman.

Perhaps that lends a bit of credence to subtitle she chose for the novel: “The Modern Prometheus.”

Prometheus was a titan, a sort of superhuman, that stole fire from Zeus, gave it to humans and had his organs plucked out by birds for eternity.

Big difference, but still.

Why the changes? Maybe it was easier to make for film.

Maybe lumbering was more suspenseful than springy.

Maybe make just sucked so they changed it.

I don’t really know, but I know that I do like Karloff’s portrayal.

He’s become the icon, so everyone knows Frankenstein as Karloff now.

Talk about artistic license.

 

ghjr

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This is not included in the 500 word limit.

Thanks to Emily Kersey for the challenge.

She doesn’t submit them that often, so I had to make this one special. Also, it just happened to be post number 50.

If only I had a GetGlue sticker to give….

 

Truly ghjr

James and the Giant Peach

February 13, 2012

I remember watching James and the Giant Peach a lot when I was a child.

I never read the book. Well, at least I don’t remember it if I did.

But, we watched the claymation movie all the time in elementary school music class. Our teacher, Phil Serge, would show it all the time , even though it really didn’t have anything to do with music.

I remember every time the Grasshopper called the Centipede thing an “ass”, the teacher would try to cover his own by saying that he actually said “asp.” We didn’t know what an asp was at the time, so it didn’t matter.

Well, it’s a snake. It’s the kind of snake that killed Cleopatra.

Centipedes are not snakes, Mr. Serge. Your move, asp-hole.

I really enjoyed the movie as a child. If I remember correctly, it was one of the darker cartoon movies out their. I mean… it wasn’t The Nightmare Before Christmas, but still, it had some magic and scaryness and other stuff that most parents probably weren’t too keen on having their children watch.

But, we watched it many times. In music class. In elementary school.
Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but the movie has nothing to do with music.

Either way, James found himself in possession of some weird little glow worms that bored into the roots of his peach tree and made a peach grow to immense proportions.

Hence the name.

He lived in the peach with the insects that grew to human sizes when the peach grew. They sailed around on the ocean for some reason. I remember some kind of mechanical shark that was trying to eat some of the peach, which was an idea everyone hated even though James and his insect friends were eating the peach, too.

I never really got that concept.

Regardless, they evaded the shark robot and threw strings around some seagulls to lift them into the air. Apparently, a few seagulls can lift a giant peach and its occupants, even though the whole thing probably weighed 10 tons or so.

Honestly, I don’t really remember much else about the film. I don’t remember how it ended or really any of the story line, minus the sharkbot and seagulls on leashes.

I do remember the spider, though. She was some kind of French spider for some reason. Like I said, I don’t remember much, but that spider always stuck with me.

I remember, in my naive youthfulness, realizing that the spider seemed like the biggest embodiment of femininity and sexuality in the movie. She was horny and always saying things very… “sexfully.”

At least, in my young mind, she was.

I was just a young buck, and I didn’t really understand matters of sexuality at the time.

And no, I don’t think it is weird that the spider resembled sex for me. I mean, she had eight hands.

That’s a whole lot of hand jobs.

You know she was banging the centipede.

ghjr

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This is not included in the 500 word limit.

Thanks to Sam Jones for this one, too.

I have probably ruined a cherished childhood memory for you, but that’s fine. That is what the internet was made for, right?

Truly ghjr

TriChuckta, Pt. 1: Chuck Palahniuk

November 11, 2011

I had thoughts about writing this in the style of Chuck Palahniuk.

I abandoned that idea quickly.

Regardless, Chuck of the clan Palahniuk is one of the bigger names in modern literature. Two of his books, Fight Club and Choke, have been turned into great movies. Sorry, Choke was alright. Fight Club was the phenomenon.

Now, most of you know of Chuck and his works, so there is no point writing about that. But… most of you don’t know of my experience with Chuck, meaning both his body of work and the man himself.

Yes, I met Chuck Palahniuk. More on that to come.

In high school, a buddy of mine had a strange looking book. It was purplish-white and had a pallid, screaming face. In sketchy white letters, the cover read “HAUNTED” with the authors name in smaller type.

I inquired, and he told me to read the first short story in the tome, which was the ominous “Guts.” Go ahead, follow the link. I dare you.

The sick imagery and sharp word choice hooked me immediately. I bought the book that weekend.

Fast forward a year. I had ever Chuck book that was published at the time. I still do. The only one I don’t own is “Damned,” and that’s just because I’m waiting on a paycheck.

So, I bought every one as soon as they were released, and read them as fast as I could.

Most of them are good. I’ll reserve my judgements for quiet conversation, not the bullhorn of the Internet.

Somewhere along the way, buying and reading all these books, I caught word that Chuck would be doing a book signing in DC, and we all know what that means:

road trip.

We pack up a little sedan with pillows and books, found a good place to sleep in Maryland, and set out.

The four of us had been friends and fans for quite some time. In fact, I had dated one of the girls, but that’s another 500 words…

We debated about what books we would have Chuck sign. I picked my two favorites, along with the newest release “Pygmy”, to have signed.

In line at the bookstore, we fretted over what we would say to the man when we met him. I knew nothing I could say to him would stick in his mind, so I didn’t worry too much.

Basically, once I saw him, I handed him my books and an assistant my Polaroid camera. Chuck gave me a giant trophy, threw his arm around me and snapped a picture. We talked a bit while he scribbled in my books.

He was cool as a cucumber.

Fast forward through the reading of “Jabberwocky” and strange games involving blow-up penguins (among other things) and we were on our way.

The trip home was long enough to allow the events to wash over us.

Of course, it was a bit stuffed in that sedan with all those blow-up penguins in the back seat.

ghjr

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This is not included in the 500 word limit.

Thanks to Sam Jones for the challenge that lead to “The TriChuckta”.

I felt like I should include that picture for proof.

Just ask some of my Morgantown friends. They have pics with him, too.

Also, only three of us get blow-up penguins.

The blow-up object that my ex-girlfriend got was definitely more… risque.

Truly ghjr