Posted in Books

Currently Reading – January 2019

The Mandibles: A Family 2029 – 2047

This book was killing me.

From the way it opened, and continued so much of the narrative by describing events; telling us how the world changed, informing us how life now differed, and a smattering of dialogue to show the characters having serious, in-depth economics and survivalist discussions, it rang alarm-bells for me. I’m confused more than anything, I was reading this as a backdrop to my creative writing course and yet it seemed this book broke many of the cardinal rules: telling instead of showing; skipping chunks of action in a summary paragraph (which we’ve been led to believe is lazy writing).

There was a couple of massive time jumps, which as a reader I always find awkward, and for a writer it seems like they are avoiding writing a section they may not enjoy writing… I don’t know, it’s how I perceived it.

I checked out the reviews on goodreads and elsewhere, and thankfully, it’s not just me. Others felt bored by the constant, dense discussions on economics and the collapse of the American dollar. I’m not taking an exam for an econ class, I don’t need this much backstory. Even halfway through the book, not much seems to have happened, except that cauliflower has become too expensive, even when it’s possible to get fresh produce because the American governments have snatched all farmland from the remaining farmers to export the goods to rake in a little money.

The family members all resent each other, but they make stupid decisions which bring them to a stupid end: all end up in Florence’s home but she answers the door and they get house-jacked (is that a word?). They spend a night or two in the shanty town that’s taken over Prospect Park, and acquire a gun, then they decide to head north to the Uncle’s farm to help out… No spoilers but there’s suddenly a massive time jump.

Hit the 73% mark and as well as the jump, another weird twist… If anyone’s read it, let me know if I missed what happened or if it was a metaphor. Alas, there was a bit more actual story that was finally interesting, then another time jump, then a fairly flat ending.

It is interesting, maybe if you know what you’re heading into (an essay with dialogue) and it creates a strange feeling, will the apocalypse really be so dull? Even if the economy crashes (again) and to such an extent that electricity, water, and food are rationed, I’d still like to think that the basic nature of human beings would be to find some hope or light in the situation and survive humanely, not exist blandly until a paper-cut kills us.

e x

Posted in Education, Languages, Musings, TV, University

I am Bing, hear me roar!

To describe myself in two fictional TV characters I am Chandler Bing and Josh Lyman. I’m the awkward sometimes comic (relief) with occasional strokes of genius but mostly strives to be a third fictional character: Rory Gilmore. However, my procrastination and housekeeping skills make me more like Lorelai Gilmore instead. (Not complaining, but I do sniff books).

I was never the brightest or most engaged at school. I was the day-dreamer, the creative type never more sparked than when doing something crafty with paper, writing never-ending stories, or learning classics (partially started from my love of TV Hercules). I dreamt of attending Hogwarts when I should have been studying for my standard grades, I got up early and won a competition to meet Linkin Park when I should have revised more for my computing exam that morning.

Eventually, after many years of studying various vocations, I made it into University but still comfort-binge-watched The West Wing and Gilmore Girls on repeat too many times. Like Chandler, not many people know exactly what I’ve done or could tell you what I do/have been doing (apparently I do too many things); and like Josh I’m good at my own things, my own interests and specialist fields but at school I really had to work twice as hard as everyone else just to reach my own level. It’s too easy to lament on this with ‘should have tried harder’, ‘should have been better’, ‘why did others get x?’ but it’s not healthy to compare oneself with other people. We’ve all had different upbringings and pasts, and some people are just naturally academic. Me, I like that I have a million interests. I do need to focus on adequate scheduling more though.

Now uni is over, we’ve all been set loose and free. Except, Brexit is happening, I’ve gone off the language I studied, I’m years older than my former classmates, many pounds heavier (and poorer), Jed Bartlett isn’t running for president and I’m not seeing waves of job opportunities now that I’m home.

So what now? Well, it’s 2017 might as well blog and perhaps find others in the same position.

Call me Lyman Bing now. The point is I’m not being self-deprecating I’m being realistic. I don’t want to do finance training and feel like a sell-out (to myself, not dissing those who do/like finance) or feel my soul seeping from my ribs in a mind-numbing job. I’m living at home because I can’t afford to live alone and because my mum is nice enough to take me back (♥), I can’t afford to have children nor get married (not that I would, that’s for a whole other post), and I’ll probably never buy a house… but it doesn’t matter, times are changing and I’m riding the waves as they come.

e x