Tag Archives: Finny

There are so many things to make us cry, or even crye, nowadays.

1. Who Made Stevie Crye? – Michael Bishop

Odd title + residence in a locked case of the library = I’m interested. In order to get to the area of the library where this book is held, you have to ask for an item (Pfft, normal patrons), or work there and have the ability to sign out a key, take the elevator up past several mezzanine floors, then unlock a door that’s just a little bit too short for your average bear with a security grating for a window. The secretive spaces of libraries are my favorites- you never know what all is in them and if you haven’t committed yourself to the work in some way, you’ll never get to see the weird stuff, or the bound volumes of Playgirl. Yes, academic libraries are hiding their porn from you, patrons; we just keep it for posterity, do not want to let it get it all sticky, and we library staff only use it for the articles. Literally. There’s this Chris Burden (you may know him as the performance artist that crucified himself on a VW Bug and let someone shoot him in a gallery, that’s how I know him) article in a 1970s issue of Playgirl that actually gets asked for a lot. It’s a pretty interesting interview and a bit of a letdown for all the staff in my department who were wondering if we were actually being asked to scan some guy’s (Chris Burden not the household name I figured someone who nailed themselves to a Bug would be) pictures from a skin mag – not so much.

What I gleaned from skimming through Who Made Stevie Crye? (no dust jacket, academic library) the beginning and intermittent illustrations was that there’s a monkey involved, someone loses all their flesh, and there’s what appeared to be a possessed typewriter in the story. It also said “A Novel of the American South” on the title page and any long time readers, first time callers know that I lived in the South and I miss many parts of it.  I figured it was horror, and it was published in 1984, I also love 1980s horror so it seemed like I might have found a diamond in the rough, as they say.

Well, that whole “set in the South” thing kept popping into my head as I read about how cold it was and the repeated turning on of the heater in Stevie’s writing room. It’s set in Georgia, but in winter, which is something that could have been easily changed and doesn’t truly contribute to the plot beyond being confusing. The humidity makes people crazy down there, which is helpful when you’re writing a horror story; a thick atmosphere is a tense atmosphere… It is just as easy to turn on a space heater in Wisconsin (where the publisher is, and the reason why this book was behind a locked door) and have the same level of haunted typewriter and monkey involvement and not make me wonder why you set the story in the South.

What Made Stevie Crye? also reminded me of one of my least favorite things about female main characters written by dudes, they are hysterical. A lot. Stevie super needs to get some writing done (I do believe in the 1980s there’s a shred of a chance one could support two children with a freelance writing career.) and her typewriter shits the bed and she doesn’t want to pay its actual manufacturer to fix it. It’s so fun reading about customer service calls. The true horror was making me read about how much it costs to fix an electric typewriter. So, of course, she ends up taking the typewriter to some nutball genius who has a pet monkey he named Sucrets (Seriously? Somebody’s shitty at pet names and that person is Michael Bishop.) and will NOT STOP VISITING after he “fixes” her typewriter. Stevie freaks out about her kids, at her kids, about the monkey, about the monkey’s finger-blood sucking habit (Ew.), about her dreams (The one with the man body with a monkey head is worth freaking out about, also the incest one, ew.), about her typewriter becoming sentient and teleplaying her dreams, about visitors, about the heater, about the stereotypical magical fortunetelling woman she finds to help her (The fortune teller has a manual typewriter. Typewriter fight! Note, typewriter fighting is way less interesting than it sounds…at least in this book.), about her book proposal, and basically betrays the majority of the sense of competency I believe a real woman would have so she can freak out. She just didn’t ring true to me and so I didn’t really care why she was so upset about having a monkey in her house, eating an egg sandwich. The horror! Plus the “reasoning” behind the whole enchanted typewriter thing sucked and even Stevie seemed to have a sedated reaction to it, most realistic thing she did.

I did a little research and found that this was supposed to be one of those “unexpectedly funny” books, but, it really didn’t work for me. I enjoy oddness for its own sake, I’m a fan of both Splatterpunk anthologies I’ve read and they’re a great example of truly bizarre things that can elicit a smirk. Maybe it would be funnier if the setting made sense and the main character seemed a tad realistic before things started making her go off the rails. Horror and comedy do have a lot in common. Or if they gave the monkey a mint julep instead of a fondness for Sucrets and finger-blood; actually, I believe that in the South, Capuchins drink a sweating glass of sweet tea before they invade your home and tear up your daughter’s stuffed animals and unzip their monkey skins to reveal their tiny little man bodies. Afterwards they fan themselves on your porch swing.

Finny just realized he left his space heater on...but he lives in Wisconsin...and it's still winter...so that's pretty normal beyond the improbability of me letting my guinea pigs manage their own space heaters. He also left his typewriter on...

Finny just realized he left his space heater on…but he lives in Wisconsin…and it’s still winter…so that’s pretty normal beyond the improbability of me letting my guinea pigs manage their own space heaters. He also left his typewriter on…

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Review, Writing

There’s a new, rather dramatic mouse corpse in my basement.

While attempting to finish the piggy laundry today, I noticed a dead mouse in the basement. But it’s not just dead, it’s dramatically dead… upside-down, arms splayed, head thrown back, probably did a soliloquy on the way out dead. And because it’s being so attention grabbing, I was reminded that I have a store that I could be promoting more dramatically because tomorrow (October 17th) things are going to be 20% off. You may use this code: twentyoff-guineapigsbooks

A store full of guinea pig stuff!

Some of my items go nicely with The Walking Dead…which premieres next week, watch while wearing a jaunty scarf from the end of the apparel section.

Many items are Halloween appropriate, especially the Pigoween stuff.

Finny would like you to know that without the support of viewers like you, he might not make it into more than the two paintings (iPiggie and The Finny Awakens) you can currently get on throw pillows.

Finny would like you to know that without the support of viewers like you, he might not make it into more than the two paintings ( iPiggie and The Finny Awakens ) you can currently get on throw pillows.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under art, Uncategorized

Full disclosure: I have described some of the metal drumming I like as sounding like hooves, or horsies, or a herd of wild ponies running free across the plains…but never in a story, that would be embarrassing.

24. The Five – Robert McCammon

Writing about music is hard. It just is. It’s hard to describe, sometimes when you describe it using feelings you end up sounding like a tool, or just a bit too sentimental, or you’re Cameron Crowe and despite all pedigree and reputation you really do sound like a bit of a sentimental tool when your music-feels come out of your character’s mouths. I have been to many shows that had a clear overall communal feeling of some level of joy; I’ve also been to my share of “off” shows and more than a couple where I knew members of the band and I cringed about the banter (Stop talking! You’re too drunk and many of us would like to respect you again at some point! You only played two songs and the ten minutes feels like fifty! – I cannot say what show I was thinking and cringing this at. It’s still too hard going through the secondhand embarrassment and I really liked several members of the band. Oh dear Jeebus.)

Sometimes in The Five, Robert McCammon gets a little Cameron Crowe-y and I know it’s probably just me being all “I know some stuff about music and I have opinions and discerning tastes” and my main problem with such Crowe-yness is that it’s too broad. Not every musician, or musician character archetype, it going to worship the same stuff. We can’t all like the same things. Being too genre-specific is a total pit too, though, so, whatever, Roky Erikson-reference and then shove in a Buckethead fan… Anyway, what I’m getting at is that in titular band, there’s a dude who seems like a metal dude but says some phrases that I wouldn’t expect to come out of a metal dude’s mouth – and he’s wearing Chuck Taylors instead of boots, so he’s almost like a metal-indie hybrid, there’s a hippie chick, Peaches if she was an obstinate drummer, the throwback keyboard guy, and the rough and tumble bass player with a past – Murderface, he is not, although they are both imaginary bass players. It’s like several archetypes of musicians formed a band – and they get along. For me that seems like a total fantasy, but that’s okay because McCammon clearly loves what he’s talking about, to the point where he did mention too much gear, and it’s a road trip thriller. I do love some driving stories. Journey stories are a total thing for me; and I’ve never been on tour, just heard a lot about it. The lead singer of The Five totally reminds me of a friend of mine, so he was pretty easy to picture, especially all the anger-based comments. So, if you can look past a few of the cheesier descriptions of songage, and enjoy Robert McCammon’s weirdo version of reality where the supernatural edge of things creeps up on you, The Five is ridiculously enjoyable.

Finny's full name is Finntroll. Ozma is named after the princess and later queen from the Oz books and also the Melvins album. In this picture I'd call them The Two.

Finny’s full name is Finntroll. Ozma is named after the princess and later queen from the Oz books and also the Melvins album. In this picture I’d call them The Two. They were on tour underneath my coffee table.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Review, Writing

I’ve finished 47 paintings, 8 silkscreens, put out 1 e-book, and carved out my own little corner of an online store so far this year. Last year I did a little less. A little.

Seventeen of the eighteen "blind paintings" I finished. All of these will be available for an adorably low price at Wizard World Chicago, but they will also be wrapped up so no one knows which painting they're getting. Drawing and painting eight animal and bird skulls in one weekend is not something I advise anyone to do, regardless of how much they used to like painting skulls.

Seventeen of the eighteen “blind paintings” I finished. All of these will be available for an adorably low price at Wizard World Chicago, but they will also be wrapped up so no one knows which painting they’re getting. Drawing and painting eight animal and bird skulls in one weekend is not something I advise anyone to do, regardless of how much they used to like painting skulls.

 

All the printing for Chicago! I do think my Army of Dangers tea towel is my favorite of the five images I've printed on tea towels this year.

All the printing for Chicago! I do think my Army of Dangers tea towel is my favorite of the five images I’ve printed on tea towels this year.

 

Postcard swag.

Postcard swag. After the reception my images received at Wizard World Madison, I wanted to make it more possible to take home my aesthetic and I’m pretty fond of postcards.

Some of the images on these are no longer available in any handmade format… all three Danger Crumples takes over for Christopher Pike paintings went to a good home. And the one of Danger with the white starburst behind him was solely a commission. But! Fear not, anyone who picked up my cute little Merricat with the Zebras record, turned it over looking for a price, and then had to ask me only to recoil in slight shock (I like that one too), I had both postcards made AND posters. The poster is bigger than the painting, but still looks sassy thanks to my friend Rebecca’s skills.  Enjoy McWikken, Army of Dangers, Danger Dixon (not pictured, previously posted), and both Danger Who paintings (“) are also now available in full color posters – I didn’t get very many made, and of course, they are only purchasable in person from my booth at Wizard World Chicago August 18-19-20-21.

AND, to keep going yet longer, I also made several of my images available to be purchased on a variety of things via Redbubble . A link to my profile page is at the bottom of my blog, also on my About page, and I’ll have a more thorough post coming about my store in a few days so I can showcase all the products I think are particularly amusing. Here is a teaser photo –

The real reason I chose to put stuff up for sale besides being asked quite few times if I sold online (I sell handmade things in person, non-handmade online), I can now get Merricat on a throw pillow. And Horace. And Pere. And I can get a guinea pig skull duvet cover. It's ridiculous.

The real reason I chose to put stuff up for sale on Redbubble besides being asked quite a few times if I sold online (I sell handmade things in person, non-handmade online), I can now get Merricat on a throw pillow. And Horace. And Pere. All the throw pillows! And I can get a guinea pig skull duvet cover, or Finny as the antichrist on a duvet cover, or the golden Danger Crumples (not pictured). It’s ridiculous. I could have the weirdest couch decor ever. So could you, gentle reader. So could you.

 

47 Paintings, 8 Silkscreens, 1 Link – Wizard World Chicago profile

For those who cannot come to Chicago and wish to work on the amount of guinea pigs visually available in their home – my Redbubble profile

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Night of the Squirrels, Uncategorized

I’ve been told I’m not good at recommending this movie…

The final John Carpenter film to receive the three pig painting treatment is Prince of Darkness. I tried to explain this movie to a friend of mine in the not so distant past and was told that I wasn’t really “selling” it by explaining that I like it, it seems pretty long, and that a lot of people seem to think it’s boring – but it has some really nice green tones and there’s what I describe as “Satan juice” in it. And old computers. And a very nicely lit classroom scene and this repeated shared dream sequence where the antichrist appears but it looks like the tracking needs to be adjusted. I see where he was coming from, but, I forgot to mention Alice Cooper was in it, so, that was probably the whole problem.

See? Satan juice. Corrosive Satan juice is compelling Pere and Ozma to wear 80s colors and reach out expressionlessly. I accidentally squirted half of my tube of titanium white on this when I was finishing the detailing...but I fixed it. Mostly.

See? Satan juice. Corrosive Satan juice is compelling Peregrine and Ozma to wear 80s smock-style shirts and reach out expressionlessly. I accidentally squirted half of my tube of titanium white on this when I was finishing the detailing…but I fixed it. Mostly.

 

There's also a scene where one student is translating some text and there's like a possessed computer moment where it says non-happiness inducing things, I've amended it a bit... the original messages did not involve hay. I assume because losing hay would be far too shocking for the world.

There’s also a scene where one student is translating some text and there’s like a possessed computer moment where it says non-happiness inducing things, I’ve amended it a bit- the original messages did not involve hay. I assume because losing hay would be far too shocking for the world. This image is going to be available as a postcard at Wizard World Chicago, as part of the movie set of postcards. So if you know any guinea pigs that can read and that you wish to play evil jokes on, I’ve got you covered.

 

Horace steps right into his role.

Horace steps right into his role. He’s also letting me know I messed up his little orange eyebrow.

 

The Finny Awakens

The Finny Awakens

 

These paintings also mark the painting debut of Finny, as the antichrist, the role he was born to play. He's not very happy about it. Too on the nose, perhaps.

These also mark the painting debut of Finny, as the antichrist, the role he was born to play. He’s not very happy about it. Too on the nose, perhaps.

I am one of several Smiths, yet again – Wizard World Chicago profile

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Shop smart. Shop…

…at the Guinea Pigs and Books booth at Wizard World Chicago, August 18-19-20-21.  Yeah, I know, that bit of terrible word play is not really going to pass muster; however, I have a good excuse in that I’ve been using most of my brain to work on paintings again. Paintings like these:

Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Very fluffy.

Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Very fluffy.

 

Danger Dixon-Rachel E. Smith

Guinea pigs sit down to use crossbows. They sure do.

 

Danger Crumples has taken over for Ash and Daryl this time around. Oh, and also Blaine.

 

iPiggie - Where I dared to question whether or not guinea pigs would use chopsticks, eat brains, and if Horace would dare to wear a sweater vest. They can do all those things, through the painful magic of painting.

iPiggie – Where I dared to question whether or not guinea pigs would use chopsticks, eat brains, and if Horace would dare to wear a sweater vest. They can do all those things, through the painful magic of painting.

These are but three of the six new paintings I’ve done since the Madison convention in April – six! And you bet there are Danger Dixon and Army of Dangers tea towels (and also prints on paper), Danger parodies only truly work if there are kitchen accoutrements. Plus, as established, I am a bit of a lunatic and I like tea towels with strange things on them. My kitchen will never be boring. Yours doesn’t have to be either.

Oh, and I should warn you, iPiggie is only available in mildly expensive painting and much cheaper postcard format. The world could not withstand the complications of an iPiggie tea towel. By the world I mean me, printing simplified versions of my two Danger designs was torturous enough.

Come facilitate further torture at Wizard World Chicago! Whee!

Here we go again with the linkage – Wizard World Chicago profile

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

YA Megamix Summer III: Season of the Witch

The school year is already over for some people, so, it’s basically summer…of course some of those people are now done with their undergraduate degrees or graduate degrees, so in their case summer means “life anxiety season,” unless they already have jobs. Good luck to those about to go over the precipice of the shocking lack of opportunity, it’s not fun.

Anyway, I’m continuing my tradition of the last couple of years and “reviewing” only older YA books and including one hour long mixtapes I’ve compiled to go with them. This year’s YA Megamix Summer shall be known as the “Season of the Witch” because I will not be reviewing a single book that has a witch in it – just like the Halloween franchise entry – and it’s the third Halloween-associated movie and this is the third summer I’ve done this, and I am in the process of finishing my “John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs” painting series so I can bring all of it to Chicago in August.

To kick off the Season of the Witch, I’m going to post a mixtape of songs that have been carrying themes and revision-staples for my Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy. Somehow, these never ended up being chapter titles.

Mixtape:
1. Stormy High – Black Mountain
2. Ah! Leah! – Electric Six
3. Ash of the Mind – Agents of Oblivion
4. My Apocalypse – Zebras
5. Homemade – Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
6. My Dreams – Gun Club
7. You Don’t Own Me – Masquer
8. Queeny Gloom Doom – Zebras
9. Restarter – Torche
10. Hold My Hand – UNKLE
11. Down in the Park – Foo Fighters
12. Filled With Fire – Zebras
13. Skogsdotter – Finntroll
14. Holiday in Cambodia – Dead Kennedys

Also, this is Finny. It may not be clear in this picture, but he is a madman. Not a witch.

Also, this is Finny. It may not be clear in this picture, but he is a madman. Not a witch.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Writing, YA Megamix Summer