My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

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Archive for June 29th, 2008

Water for Elephants

June 29th, 2008 | Category: Opinions

I recently finished one of my audio books, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. It’s not quite my usual fare, but I did enjoy it. The story is narrated by Jake Jankowski during two points in his life, age ninety-one, or ninety-three (he’s lost track), and as a young man of twenty-one. At ninety-one, or ninety-three, Jake’s relegated to finish things out in a nursing home and he’s not particularly happy about it. Jake’s not content to eat pureed goop and stare passively at the world outside his window. In his younger days, Jake led a rather interesting life. Just before college graduation at the age of twenty-one his parents are killed in a tragic car accident. This is bad enough, until Jake discovers that his parents took on a massive amount of debt to pay his college tuition at the Cornell University school of veterinary medicine. Jake has no family, no money and no home. The car accident and the bank claimed everything respectively. Devastated, and absolutely flat broke, he drops out just before exams and, not quite thinking clearly, hops a train bound for God knows where. The train belongs to a rather dubious depression era traveling circus, full of shady characters and cheap booze. A traveling circus that just so happens to need a vet.

Water for Elephants isn’t a complicated tale. It’s a story of loss and romance, of misfits down on their luck with no place to go. Gruen does a spectacular job at painting vivid images with her prose. One can see the dingy train cars, the raucous midway, Jake’s lonely nursing home bed. Though dark quite often, the book isn’t totally bereft of hope. Jake might not be entirely lost, not quite knowing how many years are behind him. It’s definitely worth a read.


Various things

June 29th, 2008 | Category: Life,Opinions,Random Thought

I’m fairly behind on things I mean to write, thoughts back up fairly quickly.

Apparently, I blacked out or something because Aimee Mann released a new album at the beginning of June and I totally missed it! Sara and I were hanging out and listening to music during which she asked, “hey, have you heard Aimee’s new stuff?” To which I typed, “omg! is it out???” Her new album, @#%&*! Smilers, is out and it’s fucking awesome. It’s full of pianos and keyboards, incredibly sad songs that often sound very happy. I kind of can’t stop listening to it, for a few reasons. First, it’s just amazing. It also makes me feel a little closer to my Sara. I haven’t written about it, I don’t really feel like writing about it. Sara’s in Boston for work, I’m here in Tampa until I can go North. It’s weird being so far apart, it’s definitely not something I like. I miss her more than Fentanyl, more than my own voice. I’m not exaggerating for affect, I mean it entirely. At some point, every single day, I miss the spectacular emptiness found in Fentanyl and I miss talking. Not all day, mind you. Just a moment or two. I just miss Sara more. We broke up once, which was bad, but it wasn’t because we didn’t love each other, and she still lived five minutes away. We weren’t “together,” but she wasn’t so far away that geography kept us apart. This is very different. Anyway, she visited last week, it was great. We laid in bed, listening to Aimee, just like I’m listening right now.

Wanted was an astonishingly bad movie. I mourn for my $9, I mourn for my 2 hours, I mourn that the movie exists at all. Honestly, I like crazy over-the-top violence. I loved Shoot’Em Up! I just could not buy Wanted. The dialogue was flat, the characters boring, and the film’s world was NOT conceived well enough to make me believe that bullets can curve. I don’t give a fuck how you flick your wrist, a bullet will not travel in a 360 degree angle outside The Matrix.

WALL•E was a beautiful movie. I thought Pixar might have peaked after Finding Nemo, but I was wrong. WALL•E is gorgeous and melancholy, but hopeful at heart. That pretty much sums me up, melancholy and hopeful.