Carrie

Carrie, by Stephen King

I watched both film adaptations of this book first. Each of the movies has its own merits, and each does different things better. On the whole, I would have to say the original, 1976 version is the better one, because it sticks to the source material better. Also because Sissy Spacek.

But this is more about the book and less about the movie. So let’s get on with it…

Having seen the movies before, I had a preconception of what the book would be like. The book mostly blew me away. It’s so much better.

Well, there were the little asides throughout that threw my reading a bit out of whack. The asides in the text, splitting paragraphs and thoughts in two did take a little getting used to. They were basically jump cuts, which I don’t feel work too well in text.

One of my biggest beefs with the book, which is completely unfair when factoring in how I saw the movies first, is there description of the deaths Carrie wrought upon her classmates is scant at best. I wanted to read descriptions of how Carrie tortured the ringleaders of her mistreatment. Nope.

Now, the aforementioned beef is based on the idea books are more descriptive than the movies. And the movies didn’t really show too much individual torture, so I was hoping the book would. Nope.

On the flip side, I loved King’s descriptions of Carrie’s destructive walk back home.

On another flip side, Margaret’s death was so anti-climactic. The 1976 movie does it so much better — Carrie uses here telekinesis to stab her mom. That’s so much more emphatic than having Carrie stop her mother’s heart. Then again, it’s actually kind of more terrifying to have one’s heart stopped by an outside force with no physical contact. It’s the avada kedavra without wands.

This is making me want to read more Stephen King. I’ve already read The Shining, which was also much more different from the movie.

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

This wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

Then again, I don’t know what I was expecting when I started reading it.

When I started reading this, I thought it would go in a completely different direction than it actually did. See, the opening ‘montage’ or storyline is about a teacher who is trying to deal with rowdy and rebellious students, one of whom is the eventual protagonist Duddy Kravitz.

It was this opening storyline, with the teacher’s wife dying after an apparent prank phone call, that led me to think the teacher would be the actual protagonist and Duddy would be more of an object undergoing an education in life.

This is not how things played out.

Instead, the story progresses to follow Duddy through his late teens (and early 20s?) as he seemingly matures and grows up and tries to achieve his life goal of being a landowner and becoming a “someone.”

We watch Duddy: suffer from antisemitism (real and perceived), get unknowingly (and knowlingly in the later stages) involved in the drug trade, become a mini movie mogul, use a woman for her being of legal age, and several other things that are slipping my mind at the moment.

I’m not sure whether I consider Duddy to be amoral, or a complete twat.

On the one hand, he is steadfast and obsessive towards achieving his dream of owning land, which is admirable. But it’s how he does it.

He’s clearly uncaring when it comes to the feelings and wellbeing of those around him. He gets into a relationship with Yvette, and because she’s of age and he’s not (I wish I knew how old Duddy was and what age is considered of age) the land he buys is in her name. This makes how he treats her so surprising, because if she wasn’t as stand-up a woman as she is, she could have screwed Duddy over and made the land hers.

Then there’s what Duddy does to Virgil. Uses him to get the pinball machines (although I have my suspicions he wasn’t entirely sure Virgil would come through), virtually abandons him post-crash, and then robs him to get the land. It’s at this point I wish Yvette had chosen to take the land and make it her own, because Duddy became total scum in my eyes by robbing Virgil.

And apparently this book is also a movie. I am intrigued to watch it now.

Writing more…

I was talking with someone recently about journaling.

I don’t journal, although this blog has at times substituted for a journal. It isn’t a true journal, because some of the things I would like to journal about would deal with people who could conceivably read this.

And that, it probably should go without saying, would not be a good thing.

However, I really need to use this thing more.

Write about things.

More book reviews, although that is dependent on how fast I read through books.

Maybe movie reviews.

Fitness goals and aspirations.

Talk more about hockey, seeing as I’m watching a lot more of it recently.

Maybe more photos, since my photo-taking has seriously been lacking (which, it must be said, is my fault for taking a job not at a community newspaper).

I should also get into journaling. It might be a very good idea to write about things that are circling in my head instead of spending hours upon hours talking to myself about them. That might actually allow me to keep these things straight, instead of having to circle back on them in a dialogue-like monologue.

We’ll see how things go.

Fight Club

I should have written this ‘review’ shortly after I read the book. But I didn’t. So things might be a bit wonky.

Then again, it is me who’s writing, so everything is wonky. C’est la vie.

So let’s begin…

I first watched the movie Fight Club before reading the book, which is something I try not to do. Watching the movie first tends to give a different perspective on the book, because you end up comparing the book to the movie.

That said, I have the same sentiment about read the book first as well. You’ll always end up comparing the different media.

Anyway…

I thought the book and the movie actually matched up fairly well. Obviously there were parts of the book that didn’t make it into the movie; that always happens. There’s only so much time in the movie to get so many details from the book, that things need to be cut.

You know what, I’m not sure I can do a true ‘review’ of Fight Club the book. Instead, I feel more strongly about the conversation I had with my friend Marissa about the book v. the movie.

We got into a chat, brief though it was, about the differences between the movie and the book, and how they influence how each is viewed and interpreted.

Such is the case any time you read a book that is also a movie, or watch a movie based on a book, you run into the question of which to consume first.

If you read the book first, you are ever watching the movie to see how well it follows the book. You’re paying attention to omissions and changes in the plot. Which characters are missing, or which have been combined with another. And from my personal experience, more often than not the movies pretty much slice out very crucial and important parts of the book.

Then again, as the following image shows, “true fans” will never be satisfied.

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Now, if you watch the movie first, it can often make reading the book more difficult.

First of all, you will have in your head actual people filling the roles of the characters, instead of simply conjuring up an image all on your own. This is both a blessing and a curse – you have a face you can relate to, as well as accents and other mannerisms; but you’re also then picturing who the movie folks have chosen to give you.

Harkening back to the Harry Potter image above, it’s like reading how Tom Felton auditioned for the roles of Harry and Ron. I could *never* picture Draco as anyone else, but that’s only because of how things played out.

Another way watching the movie first is not the best is you read the book and follow along with how the film went, and then the book goes madly off in another direction and you’re all, like, “What? Huh?” OK, that’s an over-exaggeration.

The thing is, of course, there is no way to not have your view or enjoyment of a book or movie altered unless you steadfastly refuse to consume it in more than one media. Meaning, if you choose to read the book only, or only watch the movie.

But I would content you get full enjoyment from consuming the same piece of art in multiple media. You can see how the original creator chose to craft it, and then how the secondary or tertiary creators interpreted and re-imagined it.

I guess all of this is to say both the book Fight Club and the movie Fight Club are good pieces of art. But following my usual trend of feelings, the book was better.

Names

What’s in a name?

That’s basically the crux of the discussion around maiden and married names, and what last names the kids get.

I had a discussion with a friend recently about this, and it got me thinking a bit more about names and what they mean and what names get passed on. I also had this idea piqued from reading Pride and Prejudice.

For the sake of argument here, I’m sticking with heterosexual couples, because that is the quote-upquote “norm” and the situation I am most familiar with.

For years, centuries, millennia (maybe?) the convention was the woman took her husband’s name. As an example, because I don’t want to use my own family, you have Martha Smith marries Juan Sanchez. Not only would Martha become Martha Sanchez, she would become Mrs. Juan Sanchez. Historically speaking.

I think the idea of Martha giving up her identity completely to become Mrs. Juan Sanchez is entirely stupid. Unless of course she is all for it, then who am I to judge?

You know, I’m not entirely sure in what direction I was going with the above, so I’m going to change tacks and hopefully this will make sense.

I like to think of myself as an equalist, or feminist – in that both men and women are equal and should be treated as such and given the same opportunities, etc. etc. etc.

With that in mind, I have mulled over and been prodded into mulling over the situation that may one day ensnare me of determining my name, my wife’s name and the names of our children – specifically our last, or family, names.

Convention has it she would take my name, and our kids would also have my name. That is what my family did, and that is what most families do. It’s the way it is because it’s the way it was.

But does it have to be that way?

Nowadays, it is more common for the woman to keep her own name, even after she’s married. Pretty much no one bats an eye at that. [Full disclosure, none of my female friends who have got married have kept their maiden names; at least none of which I am aware.]

What I am less familiar with is what happens to the kids whose parents kept their pre-marriage names. Whose name do they take? Mom’s? Dad’s? Hyphenate the both of them?

I have been bandying about several ideas on this topic for years, actually.

I am fairly attached to my name (it is, after all, the name I’ve had all my life), but as I’ve grown and seen what the genes I have are doing to my body, I am seeing how I truly am half of my mom and her family’s genes, and half of my dad and his family’s genes.

So, I have seriously debated taking my wife’s name when (if?) I get married. I think it makes a lot of sense. It upends the status quo, and if there’s one thing I love doing it’s messing with people’s expectations.

We could also both hyphenate our names.

We could also merge our names into one word.

Of course, all those are well and good when you’re childless. When kids come into the picture, that opens a whole other can of worms.

Easiest solution? The status quo where we all take my name.

Second simplest solution is actually where we hyphenate our names. Both of us would get to pass on our names into future generations. A potential hiccup here, and it’s one I never thought of until recently, is hyphenating names does kind of lead us down a slippery slope. So my kid marries someone with a hyphenated name. What do they do? Quadruple hyphenation? Take first name in each and hyphenate? Only use one of the names (hyphenated or split)? Invent their own name? So many options.

Third easiest would be if we made up a name – just give the kids that one.

The toughest one out there is if I took her name. Yes, give the kids that name. But I would also want to pass my name along. Which, admittedly, does go a bit counter to my willingness to take the missus’ name to begin with.

Among many options out there would be to give the kids different names. Maybe the boys get my name, and the girls get their mom’s. Or we alternate mom/dad as the kids are born, regardless of sex.

Or in a true case of fuck the patriarchy, the girls get my name and the boys get their mom’s. The only issue there is both our name lines would die when our kids get married and they choose to follow “convention.”

So. Many. Options. And. Things. To. Think. About.

Maybe I’ll just get snipped and the missus will get her tubes tied, and we’ll have countless hours of raunchy, kinky, dirty, childfree, unprotected sex!

I have no idea.

Pride and Prejudice

I read this book. I finally finished it last night.

I read it because it’s a so-called classic, and it fits into my hope/goal/dream/obsession(?) to read as many “classics” as I can. Whether I will succeed at that or not, we shall have to see.

Anyway. I read it, and now I wish to give you my thoughts on it.

And away we go…

This book actually fits perfectly with the admonition I have received from acquaintances about maybe it’s not a great idea to read the “classics.”

Because I wasn’t too impressed.

I can’t really say that I disliked the book on the whole. But there certainly were some parts of it that just simply rankled me.

Now, a large part of that is because it’s a product of its time.

Some examples of things that bug me about literature of that age and origin:

  • liberal use of ‘Miss/Mrs/Mr {last name}’ to the point where sometimes I have trouble keeping track of to whom the narrator is referring
  • a corollary to the above is women immediately taking the ‘Mrs {last name}’ form upon marriage and rather sparse use of their first names henceforth
  • spelling differences
  • the fact some place names are blanked out (—shire); why is this necessary?

But I think the one thing that really raised my hackles was Elizabeth’s shift in opinion towards Mr. Darcy. I had conceptions that she would be this hero of the tale, spurning the advances of men whom she disliked and forging her own path.

Nope.

She comes around and falls in love with this man.

I’m not going to call it weakness. A woman is perfectly capable of making up her own mind and do what she wants. It is totally her prerogative.

I just feel it cheapens Elizabeth as the protagonist. And for that sin, I can’t really say I liked this book. I was continuing reading, thinking to myself, “Please, Lizzy, don’t fall for him. Stick to your convictions. You don’t need a man. I don’t care that it’s the 1700s.

No ragrets

Today I took a (somewhat) big step in trying to move outside my comfort zone.

Although, let’s be honest – it’s a step I should have taken years ago, when I was much younger that 30.

But it is what it is, and I did what I needed to do.

So for years I have always had this issue with *living* and instead I would analyze things half to death, plan things down to the nth possible contingency, and just hesitate for the perfect time and situation.

In all honesty, those are not the worst traits to have and actions to do. There is definite value in planning and making sure you cover all your bases. But at some point you eventually have to pull the trigger, through caution to the wind and f—ing do it!

So that’s going to the theme of the next few weeks and months – if I want to do something, I’m going to do it. Price and time willing, of course. I can’t just fly off to [insert country] on a whim for [insert reason] whenever I want. I need to have some limits. I *do* have *some* adult responsibilities, after all. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Or at least that’s what I say. I’ve said this several times before.