Archive: October 2018

tweets for 2018-10-30

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

Book Review: Emotions Explained with Buff Dudes: Owlturd Comix by Andrew Tsyaston (2018)

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

If you loved Sarah’s Scribbles

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Netgalley.)

I hate to compare this to Sarah’s Scribbles, mostly because I compare everything to Sarah’s Scribbles. (What can I say? It’s my benchmark for socially awkward, relatable AF irreverent humor!) But Andrew Tsyaston feels like Sarah Andersen’s equally weird and self-conscious west coast guy cousin. Same unfortunate wavelength (thanks God’s broken salt shaker!), different genders. But in color!

So as you can probably gather, Tsyaston tackles a number of mental health issues through his cartoons (most prominently social anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem) as well as topics especially though not exclusively relevant to millennials (technology, student debt, the death of facts). The titular BUFF DUDES are a) totes nude but b) actually the antagonists of Tsyaston’s stories; see, e.g. Life. The result is both hilarious and crushing, and will leave you feeling marginally better about this effed up plane of existence we call the human experience. Shen might be a white dude (I mean, I think?), but you’ll see bits of yourself reflected back in the funhouse mirror that is his soul.

In summary, Owlturd Comix is great, and I look forward to devouring many more of them. And now I shall leave you with just a few of my favorites.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2018-10-29

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

tweets for 2018-10-28

Monday, October 29th, 2018

tweets for 2018-10-27

Sunday, October 28th, 2018
  • RT @_SJPeace_: "Numerous terrorist attacks in America this week…
    Not from people in a caravan
    Not from people from Mexico
    Not from peopl… ->
  • RT @bryanbehar: Eleven completely innocent people were massacred today because Robert Bowers was convinced "a caravan was coming to invade… ->
  • RT @only_heather: @AmericanAir you have two flight attendants who don't know when to stop with passengers. Main cabin agrees, this was blow… ->
  • RT @transscribe: Fuck you transphobes ->
  • RT @JuddLegum: 1. Perhaps the anti-Semitic gunman who murdered 11 people in a synagogue should cause us to rethink our casual acceptance of… ->
  • (More below the fold…)

tweets for 2018-10-26

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

Book Review: Monsters of the Week: The Complete Critical Companion to The X-Files by Zack Handlen & Todd VanDerWerff (2018)

Friday, October 26th, 2018

Your very own aftershow in a Kindle!

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley/Edelweiss.)

I went back, as I often do, to read some contemporaneous reviews of “Pilot” (S1E1) from TV critics, and what struck me was how many of them insisted that UFOs were “played out” as the subject matter for TV series. Even the positive ones – and there were many – were worried about The X-Files becoming just another UFO series.

– Todd, “Things That Go Bump”

I feel kind of silly reviewing a book I haven’t read cover-to-cover but, since I plan on devouring Monsters of the Week: The Complete Critical Companion to The X-Files as part of an upcoming X-Files rewatch, it will likely be months before I actually finish it. So here goes nothing.

Monsters of the Week is a collection of the AV Club’s X-Files recaps – originally published well after the original airing of the show – revised and updated for modern viewers, and with all the spoilery bits removed so that newbies can enjoy it too.

What you won’t find here: point-by-point episode recaps. (If you’re anything like me, you already purchased those books, in print form, as they were released in the late ’90s and early aughts, well before e-readers were a thing.)

Instead, you’ll find critical analyses and reviews of each episode, as well as interviews with the actors and writers. Again, I’ve only read a selection of the essays, but overall they seem insightful and engaging, and certainly amped up my excitement to rewatch the show. I guess my only complaint so far is that I wish each essay was a little longer, but at 480 pages that might be a little unreasonable. (Or not, because X-Philes gonna phile.)

Based on some other reviews – either praising or criticizing the authors’ social justice bent – I have high hopes for this compendium.

(This review is also available on Library Thing and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2018-10-25

Friday, October 26th, 2018

tweets for 2018-10-24

Thursday, October 25th, 2018
  • RT @_jayne79: LISTED TO BE EUTHANIZED 25TH OCT. 2018 🆘 MANHATTAN ANIMAL CARE CENTER. Handsome Bellamy 44895 a neutered male gray about 5 yr… ->
  • Yemen is facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis and the U.S. is complicit. Tell Congress to pass #HConRes138 ->

tweets for 2018-10-23

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Book Review: Quiver by Julia Watts (2018)

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

You say helpmeet, I say handmaid.

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss. Trigger warning for misogyny, homophobia, and domestic violence.)

Mr. Hazlett’s getting worked up, too. A vein in his forehead bulges disturbingly. “In a Christian home, the man is like God, and his wife is the holy church.”

Dad laughs out loud. Maybe a little too loud. “So you get to be a deity, and she just gets to be a building?”

I don’t know what shocks me more—my grandmother cursing or hearing her say I have the right to choose what to do with my life.

— 4.5 stars —

Liberty Hazlett is the oldest of six children. Well, seven counting the baby on the way. Nine with the two angel babies that died in utero. Each child is named after a Christian virtue: Justice, Patience, Faith, Valor, Charity. They live in rural Tennessee, where father James has his own small business (Hazlett and Sons Pest Control), and mother Becky homeschools them. The kids (the girls in particular) have little contact with the outside world, and their everyday lives are strictly regulated. (For real: they’re allowed ten minutes for a shower, as “it’s not good to stay in the bathroom too long because it leads to temptation”).

Libby and her family are part of the Quiverfull movement: a Christian patriarchy that doesn’t practice any form of birth control, including so-called “natural family planning.” (Think: the Duggars.) Rather, they “trust the Lord” to give them as many children as he desires/thinks they can handle – each of which is to become an arrow in the Lord’s quiver, a Christian soldier in His army, hence the sect’s (read: cult’s) name.

At sixteen years old, Libby is barreling towards marriageable age. This means wedding a virtuous Christian man of her father’s choosing; accepting her husband as the head of the household; and obeying him in all matters, from sex to finances to child rearing…even what opinions she should adopt on any given topic under the Heavens. It also means churning out children like a baby factory, until her body wears out. Only, pray as she might, Libby doesn’t want this life for herself. She knows it’s sinful, but she has two eyes and a fully functioning brain, and she can see the toll it’s taking on her mother.

Zo Forrester and her family – younger brother Owen and parents Jen and Todd – just moved into “the old Dobbins place” next door. Life in Knoxville was wearing them all down, so they traded it in for a simpler existence in the country. Todd traded in his nursing job for one at the department of health, and Jen homeschools the kids and does some weaving on the side.

The Hazletts might define Zo as an uppity young heathen woman, but Zo’s gender identity is more complicated than all that: she’s gender fluid.

Being a lesbian was really important to Hadley, and she wanted me to say I was one, too. But if I said I was a lesbian, I’d be saying I was a 100 percent girl who only liked other 100 percent girls, and I couldn’t say that. Sometimes I feel like a boy in lipstick. Sometimes I feel like a girl with a bulge in her jeans. Sometimes I don’t even feel like I have a gender—that the body that contains my personality is no more significant than the jar that holds the peanut butter. I’m fine with all of this, but Hadley wasn’t.

In contrast to the “tragic queer” narratives that dominate fiction (yes, LGBTQ folks face higher levels of violence across the board, and it’s important to explore this – but we need uplifting, happy stories, too!), the Forresters are incredibly accepting of both their kids. They’re also super-progressive and open-minded, basically the exact opposite of Lord James, so much so that I wish they could retroactively and imaginarily adopt me.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2018-10-22

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

tweets for 2018-10-21

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

tweets for 2018-10-20

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

tweets for 2018-10-19

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Book Review: Lil’ Donnie Volume 1: Executive Privilege by Mike Norton (2018)

Friday, October 19th, 2018

449 Days in The Bad Place

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss.)

I will say about Lil’ Donnie Volume 1: Executive Privilege what I say of all humorous/satirical books about 45: it’d be funny if it wasn’t so damned depressing. A collection of the first 125 strips of Mike Norton’s webcomic of the same name, Volume 1 spans the time of Drumpf’s inauguration through April 13, 2018.

Norton’s art is spot-on; somehow he manages to make a revolving door of white men all immediately recognizable and distinct (something not always easily accomplished in comics). My favorites are Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, depicted here as a cursed apple-doll puppet. John Bolton’s ‘stache merging with Drumpf’s comb-over in nuclear ecstasy is a solid runner-up.

Norton’s wit is similarly biting, although I must admit that some of the earliest strips had me scratching my head and consulting ye ole google. With catastrophes breaking on the daily, it’s hard to remember what fresh hell transpired last month, let alone last year.

I look forward to reading the inevitable Toad-inspired strip.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2018-10-18

Friday, October 19th, 2018

tweets for 2018-10-17

Thursday, October 18th, 2018
  • RT @shanedkavanaugh: Alternate headline: Woman who appears to have once baked swastika-shaped cookies to celebrate Hitler's birthday but de… ->
  • The @EBRD’s draft energy strategy looks like it's from 2008 – but it's now 2018. With climate impacts mounting, the… ->
  • Gubernatorial Candidate in Charge of Elections Tossed Out 53,000 Voters #care2 ->

tweets for 2018-10-16

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Book Review: Zenobia by Morten Dürr & Lars Horneman (2018)

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

A powerful piece of activism.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss.)

One day, young Amina’s parents leave her home alone, ostensibly while they travel to the market. This is kind of a Big Deal because they haven’t had much to eat lately. But when they fail to return, Amina must summon the courage of Zenobia – a warrior woman and queen of the Palmyrene Empire, who once ruled over Syria and is now widely considered a national hero – to help her traverse her war-torn homeland and make it to safety.

Zenobia provides a window into the Syrian war and resulting refugee crisis through the eyes of a child. The result is deeply personal and moving. The narration is sparse and the illustrations, simple, sometimes rendered in just two tones of a single color. This allows Amina’s experiences take center stage.

The ending is rather jarring and deeply unsatisfying. I’ve been trying hard to shake the hollow feeling settling deep in my bones since finishing the book several hours ago. But perhaps that’s the point: there is no happy ending, at least not yet. And though I consider Zenobia a powerful piece of activism, it’s hard to imagine that it will soften hearts and change minds in this deeply divided and hateful political landscape.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)