Tag Archives: Mortemer

Fitter. Happier. Whatever.

16. Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig

A common problem amongst depressed persons and persons with depressive tendencies is isolation. Some people are truly isolated and some are just mentally isolating themselves, both have valid situations, but this conceptually is one of the reasons that Reasons to Stay Alive was not particularly useful for me. When I was finished reading this I wanted to read a memoir of depression that didn’t end with the person happily married. Why is that the end? It doesn’t seem like it should really be the end, based on my recent experience listening to several married persons talking about how much they hate being around other people. I didn’t want to be insulting, but I did feel the urge to remind them that a quick way to get rid of all those people they know is to get divorced and move alone to a place they’ve never been. It’s entirely possible to get to a location where no one knows you and then you won’t have to worry about anyone asking how you are or being interested in your existence.

I have yet to find any books related to depression that don’t emphasize connection with other people as a “way out” and yet I’ve noticed that consistently finding connection in person is one of the things that is dwindling as technology addiction continues to manipulate peoples’ ability to communicate and muddles the line between the figurative desire for isolation (“Ugh, I hate being invited to do things.”/”Why isn’t anyone liking my latest instagram!?”) and what it really means. I’m glad that Matt Haig was able to maintain a meaningful connection throughout the episodes that he relates in Reasons to Stay Alive and that he found his reasons. And I know that in some cases, it doesn’t matter that someone has connections or support, they’re still not going to cope; but I still want to see the other side of that explored in print. I think that this era of technological disassociation and nutball governance requires new kinds of reasoning for hope. For the most part, mine’s finding the absurdity in small things. Mostly words and cavies.

 

Mortemer and Murderface in their dotage, napping. They are unable to like any of my posts to this very day.

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“How do you do, fellow kids?”

19. The Other Side of Dark – Joan Lowery Nixon

Oh, Stacy, you’re such a narc. This novel centers around young Stacy waking up from a coma to find out it’s been four years and her mother’s dead – but she’s not going to dwell on that, there’s make up to learn about and uncomfortable drinking parties to attend. She’s trying to remember her mother’s killer/her attacker’s face and everyone is a suspect, even her “love” interest… a twenty-three year old narcotics officer posing as a high school student. Seriously, how often did that happen? And, boundaries, people, boundaries. Getting statutory with a seventeen year old who thinks like a thirteen year old is, to say the least, unprofessional.

Mixtape:
1. Johnny Hit and Run Paulene – X
2. Teenage Disease – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
3. Bedazzled Fingernails – Mastodon
4. Sinful Nature – Bear In Heaven
5. Days Are Forgotten – Kasabian
6. Eighties – Killing Joke
7. Stop, I’m Already Dead – Deadboy & the Elephantmen
8. Patrolling Days – The Hives
9. Friend or Foe – Adam & the Ants
10. I Still Believe – Tim Cappello
11. Military Man – Evil Cowards
12. Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
13. Eez-Eh – Kasabian
14. Square Life – Catalogue
15. Ambulances – Ladytron
16. Suspicious Minds – Elvis

Mortemer wants to be on the other side of the laundry basket. Escaping will not dry you off faster than the towel, Morty!

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Electric blue, page 92.

31. They Thirst – Robert McCammon

Some of the territory this book covers is familiar- if only listening, and, say, heeding warnings were revered qualities. They’re not in this book and they don’t seem to be in real life either. If only.

Anyway, this is McCammon’s take on the ensemble vampire story, and he chose a large amount of space to work with, which works to his disadvantage. It’s lengthy and wordy and a little flat in a way that reminds me of They Live (They live, they thirst. They’re doing so much!) and it’s not going to show you anything new if you’ve already read any vampire books, or, say, The Stand and Salem’s Lot. It’s one of McCammon’s early novels, and having read the later-written Swan Song first, I can see attempts at what he will achieve with an ensemble cast and a slightly out of the way supervillain. I am inclined to give some points for effort, although certain characters that become important are completely out of left field when they suddenly appear (Ratty…) and others with potential are too flat to invest in because there are so many people to follow (Andy and Solange, in particular). The main aspect that interested me was the Hammer Horror throwback of the castle.

Mortemer and Belvedere in their own ensemble drama. Father and son, scampering over a quilt on a double bed, scampering in search of a good hiding spot... to take a nap.

Mortemer and Belvedere in their own ensemble drama. Father and son, scampering over a quilt on a double bed, scampering in search of a good hiding spot… to take a nap.

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“I thought you’d be bigger.”

48. The Grounding of Group Six – Julian F. Thompson

For me, this book has a bit of a reputation. I knew I had to read it, but I was also dreading it a little bit, because when you decide that you’re going to write this one kind of story and then you hear about a YA book from the 1980s that has a similar plot and you’re totally immersed in pop culture and read a ton of 1980s YA but you hadn’t come across this yet…it causes a rumble of anxiety. So imagine my surprise when I started reading it and got a smidge bored. Surprise.

To me, Thompson copped out, in a few areas. The book could best be described as “murky,” like when I put too much paint in one spot trying to fix something I didn’t realize wasn’t going to work when I started. Losing the light areas means I lose the depth of color I want and The Grounding of Group Six could have used more depth. The characters overlapped a little too much for me and the significance of the situation as a whole was glossed over emotionally throughout the book in favor of somewhat effective revengencing. The antagonists were definitely interesting, but reading about the main group just made me feel like I was reading The Breakfast Club, camping edition. And that would have been okay if any larger, emotionally significant choices had been made. Too many near misses.

The photographic choice I made to let Belvedere's little white pants be the focus in this photo instead of Mortemer's adorable face is my analogy of the process of making choices while writing this book.

The photographic choice I made to let Belvedere’s little white pants be the focus in this photo instead of Mortemer’s adorable face is my analogy of the process of making choices while writing this book.

Mixtape:

1. Underachievers March and Fight Song – Archers of Loaf
2. Fairweather Friends – Queens of the Stone Age
3. Secret Plans – Eagles of Death Metal
4. The Deadenin’ – Legendary Shack Shakers
5. When God Comes Back – All Them Witches
6. Overkill (Live) – Motorhead
7. My Own Bare Hands – Ween
8. Mudslide – The Darkness
9. Got the Power – Eagles of Death Metal
10. I’m Not a Young Man Anymore – The Wolfmen
11. Climb Safely – Restavrant
12. Lazy as Fuck – Evil Cowards
13. Don’t Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy) – Ween
14. Always Looking – Dum Dum Girls
15. Kissy Kissy – The Kills
16. Staring at the Sun – TV on the Radio
17. Fault Line – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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Every corner abandoned too soon.

29. The Red Tree – Caitlin R. Kiernan

Atmosphere…atmosphere…atmosphere… “Don’t walk away, in silence.” No, that’s not it. It’s atmosphere…atmosphere…atmosphere… I can’t show you what’s happening because I have to spend a lot of the text telling you that what happened is too disturbing for me to show you. Tree. Cave. Wait! I’ve got it. Cigarette…cigarette…cigarette… Coffee…coffee…coffee… Space madness? Nature madness? End. No. Fin.

Gentle reader/viewer, Mortemer is napping in this picture. I’m both telling and showing here. Ha.

Gentle reader/viewer, Mortemer is napping in this picture. I’m both telling and showing here. Ha.

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Gary also reviewed the coffee at a Jiffy Lube… also four stars.

45. Drawn to the Grave – Mary Ann Mitchell

I have a tradition of starting a new horror mass market paperback while waiting for my oil to be changed. There’s something about knowing that I’m going to be sitting there for a while, maybe longer than I expect because I waited till the last possible moment the weekend before a lengthy trip like I always do, that helps me cope with the things I find annoying about mass market paperbacks, like how I always end up creasing their spines, how easy it is to lose my place when I get surprised by someone asking to show me my air filter’s dirtiness level, and the paper texture – some of them are printed on just rough enough paper that I hate it! Anyway, Drawn to the Grave was one of the Jiffy Lube paperbacks. While reading it, I kept getting distracted by the re-run of the Casey Kasem Top 40 on the radio and the smell of car fluids that kept winding its way into the waiting room, hyacinths it was not. The story is both engaging and very strange so I kept having to give sarcastic looks at the vinyl cushioned chairs around me as well. None of the chairs had read it, they couldn’t relate. The book felt weirdly like a Lifetime movie mixed with something they would have shown on Cinemax at ten PM in the 1990s. It’s a clever premise; it just struck me in a very off-putting way and I cannot entirely blame the fumes or the interruptions. It might have something to do with how I refuse to ever go on backpacking trips alone or rely on the kindness of strangers if at all possible. I also promise to never choose my lawyer based off of Yelp reviews, Kyle.

Drawing Mortemer has the opposite effect of all the drawing in Drawn to the Grave, well, sort of, I remember him better but I still get older.

Drawing Mortemer has the opposite effect of all the drawing in Drawn to the Grave, well, sort of, I remember him better but I still get older.

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The wrong kid died.

37. Twins – Caroline B. Cooney

The saga of Mary Lee, Madrigal, and Jon Pear. Yes, Jon Pear, like a mumbled pronunciation of “John Pierre.” I narrowed my eyes quite a bit while reading this one, mostly at Jon Pear and that total bitch, Madrigal. I’m surprised she didn’t consume Mary Lee in the womb, thus negating the rest of the story. That must be why Jon Pear considers her “mixed” to his “pure” evil and why she messed up her carefully constructed attempt to off her twin – the one her parents tried to save. Oh please. If you’re going to carefully construct a murder scenario for your twin involving a ski weekend, always have a contingency plan, or you’ll never live up to Jon Pear’s standards.

Danger Crumples has never found any other guinea pig that looks like him so now guinea pigs will be impersonating him in a ski suit. Horace, on the other hand, is like opposite Mortemer.

Danger Crumples has never found any other guinea pig that looks like him so no guinea pigs will be impersonating him in a ski suit. Horace, on the other hand, is like opposite Mortemer.

Horace

Horace

Mortemer

Mortemer

Danger Crumples

Danger Crumples

 

Mixtape –
1.    “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” – The Arcade Fire
2.    “Black Soul Choir” – 16 Horsepower
3.    “Dominos” – The Big Pink
4.    “Charles William” – All Them Witches
5.    “Dead Girl” – Agents of Oblivion
6.    “Underdogs of Nipomo” – Archers of Loaf
7.    “Sheena’s in a Goth Gang” – The Cramps
8.    “Am I Demon” – Danzig
9.    “Nietzsche” – The Dandy Warhols
10.    “About You” – Catalogue
11.    “Sympathetic Noose” – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
12.    “You Were Born to Be My Gallows” – Dax Riggs
13.    “I Want to Eat a Complete Stranger” – Dick Valentine

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Homicidal Wonder Pets Ho!

13. The Dead Game – A. Bates

Humiliation and high school go together well in many areas across this great land. In this particular novel, the humiliation is not specifically reserved for outcasts and the perpetrators, beyond involving one insanity cookie whose artwork inspires the line: “Your fingers are like sausages poking at the clay.” (Awesome!), aren’t outcasts either. For once, the middle and high achievers are poking at each other, which I would have appreciated noticing when I was in high school. And middle school. And elementary school. Why weren’t they just working with those on their own playing field? Those who maybe wanted to compete? When I watch the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, which I do because some of those people have been on TV longer than I was in college and I recognize that achievement, they’re always whinging about people getting not getting rid of the stronger players because if they want to win, they should really win against people that are like them – good competitors-, not just leave weak teams till the end so that winning is easy. Picking on the weak is really just for most politicians and corporations anyway – but I guess some of them do get exposed through their own version of the dead game…but that can be the price of hubris and dick pics.

Her name may not be spelled the same as the usually trustworthy Wonder Pet guinea pig, but Morty's not taking any chances; especially when Ming (aka "Ming-Ming") is there too.

Her name may not be spelled the same as the usually trustworthy Wonder Pet guinea pig, but Morty’s not taking any chances; especially when Ming (aka “Ming-Ming”) is there too.

 

Mixtape –
1.    “Nuclear War (on the Dance Floor)” – Electric Six
2.    “Digging the Grave” – Faith No More
3.    “School” – Nirvana
4.    “Rococo” – The Arcade Fire
5.    “Dive” – Nirvana
6.    “Down at McDonelllzzz” – Electric Six
7.    “White Fright” – Bass Drum of Death
8.    “Harnessed in Slums” – Archers of Loaf
9.    “Sing” – Blur
10.    “Prescilla” – Bat for Lashes
11.    “He’s So Fine” – Bass Drum of Death
12.    “Military Man” – Evil Cowards
13.    “Breed” – Nirvana
14.    “Laboramus” – The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
15.    “Be Aggressive” – Faith No More
16.    “Big Black Backwards” – Agents of Oblivion
17.    “Oh Me” – Nirvana

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Would you rather the Slaughtered Lamb?

15. Someone at the Door – Richie Tankersley Cusick

One of my all-time favorite stories that includes hitchhiking and being stranded in the wilderness with a killer on the loose is An American Werewolf in London. The rest of the movie focuses on what happens as a result of the hitchhiking and escaped killer, of course, so this comparison is utterly valid because without that ride in the truck with the sheep nothing would have ever happened. My comparisons are always air-tight.

“Especially for Girls Presents: Someone at the Door” has a similar set up – it has its own escaped lunatic, its own hitchhiker in the wilderness, and people in peril as a result of the escaped lunatic. It also has its own terrible boyfriend – Kurt (How in tarnation could you name a terrible boyfriend Kurt in 1994? Why? Oh wait, book Kurt is a rage-monster football player, like the one in Heathers, and not a suicidal rock icon, whatever.), an isolated house that’s both old and has one of those creepy past incidents, a very messy garage, and a dog named Bruce. Some typical Cusick-isms are on display here: there’s some histrionics (Hannah, geez, you’re a senior), shadows doing scary things, some yelling at the situation, and parents are out of town – in this case, they’re stranded by the gigantic and neverending snowstorm of doom! Speaking of the snowstorm of doom, at the time of my writing, it’s way below freezing with a negative temperature windchill – stupid winter.

Moving on in a way that winter rarely does, I enjoyed this story way more than I thought I was going to. For one thing, I refuse to open my door most of the time. My current dwelling came with a phantom doorbell ringer and since I refuse to participate in my own true crime novel (anymore), I won’t answer unless I am expecting someone or something. The phantom ringer seems to come at a variety of times, like 1:30 AM and 9:30 AM and 12:38 PM and seems to know exactly when I’m feeding Merricat her Critical Care, when I retire to read, and when I least need to be woken up. It’s creepy. I’ve started to assume that the person who lived here previously was a drug dealer and I feel like I may have mentioned this before – anyway, in the dead of winter when I don’t want to be creeped out, it seems like a bad idea to read a book about that exact thing happening…but I really liked it. It read extremely quickly, the characters acted in very consistent ways, and I totally dug the ending, it was very unusual for a YA book.

Fun fact: My copy of this was previously owned by – a different Rachel. Rachel T. I am Rachel S. Coincidence? Unlikely.

Mortemer and Belvedere lived in Iowa for one winter. It was a mild one, so there was no need for vigilance against escaped lunatics, but Mortemer was always a very vigilant pig.

Mortemer and Belvedere lived in Iowa for one winter. It was a mild one, so there was no need for vigilance against escaped lunatics, but Mortemer was always a very vigilant pig.

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‘Please, use the word….”hamburger time” when speaking to us.’

Ah, Metalocalypse. So useful. So helpful. I’m not reviewing Metalocalypse, which is in some respects basically a lifestyle/aspirational show to me; I’m also not reviewing any books in this entry. It’s the year-end for this blog, and it’s been a rather shit year for me and the pigs, and that seems to happen a lot…anyway, I couldn’t post about either of these events when they happened because they hurt too much and frankly, they still hurt too much, I hate losing pigs. I hate hamburger time. This year hamburger time struck in April and October and could strike again at any time for my little Merricat.

P is for Pammy, who died of a massive amount of interior tumors. She was five years old and knew every single one of the pigs in my “I’m going to start keeping guinea pigs again” herd of late 2008, which is one small reason why I miss her so much. She had a little star-shaped feetsie (Mischa!) in every incident, every epidemic, every happy moment that herd went through. And she was also super cuddly and quite a bit classier than all the other pigs (sorry, other pigs, it’s true and you know it). She was my first teddy bear pig, she lived in three states, she went through an amazing amount for a guinea pig and I thought she was actually a Terminator. She was not. Or maybe she was. First generation guinea pig Terminator. She probably was.

Pammy with baby Twiglet.

Pammy with baby Twiglet.

Snuggling with Thaddeus, the Romeo to her Juliet, including balcony scenes.

Snuggling with Thaddeus, the Romeo to her Juliet, including balcony scenes.

Pillow-napping, with her squirrely buttskirt on full display.

Pillow-napping, with her squirrely buttskirt on full display.

Like I said previously, she wasn’t eaten and she never will be. She did have free reign to investigate the mixing bowls though.

Like I said previously, she wasn’t eaten and she never will be. She did have free reign to investigate the mixing bowls though.

After Thaddeus passed at Christmas, she was stuck with Ozy and Danger Crumples to follow her lead. Thankfully, they all got along together quite nicely.

After Thaddeus passed at Christmas, she was stuck with Ozy and Danger Crumples to follow her lead. Thankfully, they all got along together quite nicely.

O is for Ozymandias, and once again I say fuck bladder stones.

I found Ozy after Mortemer passed away. He had been returned to a place where I bought hay and guinea pig food, and when I stuck my finger in his cage, he sniffed me and immediately popcorned. I took that as the sign that he was meant to join my herd. He wanted Belvedere to love him, and was sort of okay with being friends with Danger Crumples most of the time (they did seem to enjoy solving mysteries together from my chair), he loved Pammy and was a good companion to her in her final months; most of all he was a sweetheart of a teddy bear pig. He took over a lot of Belvedere’s duties after he passed, like sitting behind me on the chair and checking on me every so often by suddenly appearing right next to my right eye and chewing on the bars to let me know he was still alive when I got home. He passed a stone shortly after I got him, which was really odd and a very surprising thing in my experience – Pickles’ stones were huge, Bel’s stones were huge, I don’t know how Ozy “lucked out” with smaller stones for two years – and I altered his diet completely to try to save him from more stones. It didn’t work forever, but it worked for almost three years. I miss him and his mournful vocal tone dearly, he was the last of my teddy bears.

Ozymandias with the blanket that only he was ever allowed to use.

Ozymandias with the blanket that only he was ever allowed to use.

Here he is cuddled under Mark Sandman.

Here he is cuddled under Mark Sandman.

Solving a mystery in a new room with Danger Crumples.

Solving a mystery in a new room with Danger Crumples.

Charming the ladies, as always, with Miss Peregrine, his last little girlfriend.

Charming the ladies, as always, with Miss Peregrine, his last little girlfriend.

Danger and Ozy, still trying to get somewhere other than the couch.

Danger and Ozy, still trying to get somewhere other than the couch.

Finally, M is for Merricat, who isn’t dead yet. Merricat is about one year old, I adopted her with Peregrine after Pammy passed, and she has been diagnosed with liver cancer. She and I have a very strong bond, so, of course she has craptastic-genes. We evolutionary mistakes have to stick together. I decided against chemotherapy because she is so tiny and I want her to enjoy what’s left of her life and the prognosis for a runt is not ever going to be great. So far, she has been demanding, territorial, runs around purring, and gazes out from under her log bridge like a tiny demon in the morning. She’s glorious. It’s possible that by the time this posts she’ll be gone and I’ll have lost three pigs this year and it will still feel like I’ve lost three million pigs. No more hamburger time!

My tiny demon.

My tiny demon.

Her antics occasionally tired Pere out.

Her antics occasionally tired Pere out.

Danger Crumples and Merricat are tired of being photographed.

Danger Crumples and Merricat are tired of being photographed.

Merricat, Peregrine, Ozymandias, and Danger Crumples. They were an excellent mini-herd.

Merricat, Peregrine, Ozymandias, and Danger Crumples. They were an excellent mini-herd.

And now, a song for my little ones, courtesy of Dethklok (the Toki ones are always the best):

 

 

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