Author Archives: thecellarboy

About thecellarboy

17. I write, play music, and have a cat that likes to bang his head against doors until they open.

The Cellar Boy Returns In Time for Rosh Hashanah

The title of this post is especially ridiculous because I’m not Jewish and I don’t celebrate any of the holidays or observe any of Judaism. The reason I bring it up is because I spent this evening at my dad’s friends’ house, where Rosh Hashanah happened to be going on – the Jewish new year. I find it funny how I just stumble into these things by chance and am happily accepted. Like the Chinese new year a little while ago at my friend’s house. Chinese? No. Part of the family? No. Guest? Yes!  Anyway, I’d heard of Hanukkah and Passover, but never of this one; I wasn’t entirely sure what it was going in, so I tried to look like I knew how to conduct myself. Luckily for me, the family aren’t exactly orthodox. Basically, I observed all the general rules of propriety, such as don’t double dip in the honey bowl and only take an apple slice when you’re signaled to do so, not before it’s served and while everyone’s still talking. I think I did fairly well. The family consists of Dr. Jen and her wife, who is a writer originally from South Africa, and is possibly the nicest person in the universe. Correction, they both are. They had an ensemble of interesting characters over for dinner, who I kind of delighted in listening to. I couldn’t do them justice here, but it was a bit like a scene from an indie comedy, if you can picture it better now. My dad and I, I realized as I sat there, are incredibly similar. We even sit the same way, with our arms resting on the table, and when either of us was addressed we’d look at the other for help. At one point, the man across from us (in his forties, with a shaved head and a long nose, a vest and tie) said, addressing my dad, “So what kind of music do you make?” (At this point it had been established that both my dad and I were musicians.) At his question, my dad looked at me. I said, after a moment, “Well, you make it, not me.” It went on like that pretty much all night.

The kids (there were four of them, including my little sister) were missing for pretty much all of dinner and dessert, playing outside and upstairs while the adults (and me – I’m an adult. Weird, isn’t it?) sat at the table and talked. Initially it was apparently thought that I was a lot younger than I am. There were two kids my age there, an outgoing, round girl with glasses who let us know in an ironic way that she was allergic to pretty much everything, and her boyfriend, an obnoxious fellow with big arms and a silver watch whose comments were outrageous and rude, who everyone took like he was just talking about the weather. Oddly, perhaps only due to everyone else’s treatment of him, I was all right with what he said. Within the family circle it seemed accepted. He made fun of his mom’s dreadlocks (she sat across from me, a small French woman with glasses), and he made fun of who I assume was his sister, a girl a few years younger than me who sat to my side, wrapped up in a big grey sweater.

Dr. Jen’s wife, the writer (a tall, thin brown-skinned woman with long hair), told us a story about how she’d watched the interview of a serial killer and how fascinating she found it. It would’ve been weird if she wasn’t so clearly nice. I was mostly quiet, but I liked it that way. I was happy to listen to the conversation (and form opinions on the people. It was also kind of entertaining to try and infer their relationships to each other). There were no formal introductions, and so my brain organized them by either their features or their personalities. I’m not sure I could translate that into English; it’s just the feel you get from people. I found it interesting, anyway.

The food was good, dessert especially. It was an interesting mix of things – honey and apple for the beginning (and the breaking of the bread), followed by dahl and lentils for the main course, red and yellow beets in sweet vinegar sauce (that’s a very French Canadian thing too, by the way), with some vegetables, two salads, and then a peach upside-down cake with brownies and ice cream. There was no running theme through the whole meal, which I liked. I figured it was the Jewish, South African, and French influences of those involved at the gathering that had gone into what we were eating, rather than any particularly orthodox Jewish tradition. (My dad brought bagels from Kettleman’s for the occasion. Very Anglo-European-Canadian of us).  Besides the honey and apple and the bread, of course. Dr. Jen said some prayers or chants in Hebrew before we ate at the beginning, and my grandpa described what that was like best: it was like singing happy birthday while you bring out the cake. We don’t do it because we’re supposed to, we do it because we always have and we like to. That’s the sense I got from Dr. Jen as she spoke – it wasn’t overly serious, it was more of a comfort thing, though we all went quiet and listened. Her son Motsumi was impatient to get to the honey and apple but he also seemed intent to make sure the ritual was done, and he wanted to be a part of it. He touched the bread as his mom spoke, and he also inquired about if they would hide presents like in Passover. Once hearing that they wouldn’t, he promptly disappeared to play with the other kids. I thought for sure they would show up at some point for the food but I guess playing took precedent – weird. When I was that age it was food first, play later. Also I ate like a garbage disposal service, but you know. (I’m happy to announce it never made me unhealthy, or even that chubby. Notice how I say “that”. All that method of eating really made me feel was bloated, to tell the truth. And then I grew out of it. Sort of).

It was nice and I’m glad I got to go. I’m glad it wasn’t too formal, or too orthodox for that matter, because I’m not sure how ultra-orthodox Jews feel about atheist transgender people being at their holidays. There’s a world of difference between ultra-orthodoxy and a lax practicing of a religion. I like the lax people the best. The extreme ones make me feel a bit nervous to be quite honest.


 

So that’s Rosh Hashanah. Now should I talk about why I’ve been gone for so long, or why my last post was a negative evaluation of the pointlessness of getting pictures of Pluto? Well, as for the first thing, basically I’ve been gone for three reasons, only one of which is really viable. The first is that I’ve been lazy. The second is that I sort of lost my password. And the third is because I’ve been hellishly, unbelievably busy.

The biggest thing going on right now is that I’m back at school – not only back, but back full-time. This is for the first time in five years. The last time I was going regularly was grade eight – now I’m in the imaginary grade thirteen. I should’ve graduated last June, but you know… going part-time, and then not at all, and then part-time again leaves you a bit behind.

Now I get to wake up at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m and lug my exhausted, unresponsive body out of the house, down a hill, up a hill, into a bus – then keep myself from falling over for half an hour as I hold the bar next to my face, while crushed against other morning commuters – then I stumble out of the bus, and down twenty blocks to my school, by which time I’ll hopefully be awake. Then I fall into a chair and sort of learn for a few hours. Then I take the bus back, and by the time I’m home, I’m ready to curl into a tiny, comforting ball under something, preferably a mound of blankets, and hide. While sleeping. A nice hide-sleep. Unfortunately, I have to stay awake until a little later, or I’ll pop awake at three in the morning like that one time. That one time that didn’t go so well. It’s a tough thing, going from half-days at school (and a whole summer of sleeping in) to getting up when dawn has just broken, and being expected to stay awake for the next sixteen or seventeen hours, most of which are spent needing to focus, of all things. On schoolwork. Of all the fucking things.

It’s a lot. But it turns out I’m doing it – so far. I’ll check back with you in another two months. If I’m not a harried, shivering little ball clutching onto a Macbeth essay sheet covered in drool and scratch marks by then, consider this whole thing a roaring success.

There are more things to say, of course. I have months and months to fill in here – but I did get a lot of that down, just not here on this blog. I keep a journal so all the inane day-to-day things, or some of them anyway, are recorded. In a hundred years, when someone wants to know what the life of an average Canadian transgender autistic musician writer was like, they can check that journal, and they’ll know. However I doubt anyone’d be interested. Fuck usually I’m not even interested, and I’m the one living this shit.

Til next time. And it won’t be that long this time, I hope.

– Brynn

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On Seeing the First Pictures of Pluto

I came out of retirement for this.


pluto

 

It was then that humankind realised Pluto is a rather uninteresting potato-hued thing.

I’m not entirely sure what we thought it would look like. The images I recall from my childhood present it as this poor little purple or blue circle, always considerably less impressive than its other heliocentric companions, sometimes with stripes of different color like a morose Easter egg, picked last from the basket because Jupiter is huge and Saturn has a ring! I’m not going to pretend as if I ever gave a shit one way or another about this overlooked planet but I think some part of me understood its relative lonerism and appreciated it, in a very small way. Never enough for me to actually sit back and go “Ah yes, Pluto, my celestial equal”,  but I never had any negative opinion on it, either. It was tiny, extremely far away, a billion degrees below zero—all the things you don’t put on travel brochures. Mars had appeal because it was attainable—still is attainable—and you could imagine what it would be like to walk on it, or terraform it, or whatever. It was exciting to watch Mars Rover documentaries, and even the pictures they sent back could be fascinating if you were able to get your head around the fact that when you see them you’re really seeing an alien planet, millions of kilometers away. A whole other planet. The other planets never had Mars’s accessibility, shall we say—but Saturn, being the coolest, appealed from a “I wish Earth had a giant ring of space dust” angle, and the moon, though old news by my time, was a thing you could also appreciate because people had actually walked around on that one. Difficult to imagine, when you look up at it on nighttime drives and see it seem to follow you, glowing, silent and eerie—but you could watch those old films of black-and-white astronauts bouncing black-and-whitely in that barren, colorless world and feel a surge of amazement, or pride, or pure wonder even at the idea of it, and the concreteness of its actually having happened.

But, Pluto, as the most distant and possibly least hyped-up planet, had none of these things going for it. Forget accessible—no real pictures had ever come back of it. Forget cool, except in the literal sense, of course. One teeny rock, out there apparently by itself, so insignificant that eventually they decided it wasn’t even a real planet, it was a dwarf planet. The poor thing.

Of course I think we tend to romanticise these things. We oughtn’t treat Pluto as if we’ve hurt its feelings, because a lump of icy rock, unfortunately I must say, has no feelings. It’s natural enough to feel a pang of unfairness at the idea that, with what seems suspiciously like a stroke of pure arbitrariness, it was scratched out from the solar system model completely, to leave us with a rather unfulfilling eight planets, as opposed to the nine that I had gotten used to as a little kid—but let’s end the drama there, please. Besides that, people get so excited about the idea of traveling into space; and yes, that is exciting, but let’s not forget it’s taken New Horizons since 2006 to travel this far. That’s nine years—that’s a long time. You can go from a stupid ten year old to a fully functioning, car-driving adult in nine years. And it’s hardly encouraging to consider that getting to the edge of our own solar system takes an entire decade, when everything actually interesting out there is millions of light years away, and that even traveling at the speed of fucking light it’d take millions of years to get to those places. Is it exciting to have sent a probe that far? Yes, it is, but you should remember that it’s getting nowhere fast. The distances it’s covering are miniscule, really. Voyager passing out of the system is cool, but mostly arbitrary—we won’t suddenly discover aliens the moment we pass the “edge” (wherever the hell the edge is supposed to be. I guess it’s where the sunlight doesn’t reach?) My point is don’t get unduly excited. Yeah we’ve got some pictures of Pluto now. And guess what—it’s a potato ice-rock. Hurrah.

 

 


Fantasy Favourites Read-a-thon: DAY 3 (DATING PROFILE, YEAH!)

done

Oh, I’m a bad person. I neglected the last post. There was so much going on – play rehearsals and an elephant stampede and holy shiet I’m glad you weren’t there, it was crazy. So here’s my dating profile prompt fulfillment, and let me tell you I had an amazing time with this one. Thank you, Bookshelf Reflections; you did well. I apologize for any crude humor – it just seemed appropriate, somehow.
The following characters are from the novel “Un Lun Dun” by China Mieville.

unbrellissimo
NICKNAME: HOT_UNBRELLA_DADDY06
ABOUT ME: It may be broken, but it pops up just fine.
AGE: 40 something?
GENDER: M
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: SINGLE
CHILDREN: NONE
FITNESS/BODY TYPE: Tall, unpleasantly skinny, rather wiry and gangly and unattractive. But I can jump off rooftops and stuff.
EDUCATION: UnLondon School of Obvious Villains (Master’s degree in The Obvious Secondary Bad Guy Studies)
INCOME: Unbrellas
OCCUPATION: Obvious bad guy
LIKES: Evil people, doing bad things, long black cloaks, broken umbrellas, cliches
DISLIKES: People who fix umbrellas, otherwise small Indian/Pakistani girls
LOOKING FOR: Large anthropomorphic wads of smog

deeba
NICKNAME: xBADASSBROWNGIRLx
ABOUT ME: I’m like a million other heroines ‘cept I got Indian heritage or somefin and I talk in a really British accent. Cor.
AGE: 18 (actually 12, maybe this dating profile is a bit inappropriate then)
GENDER: F
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: SINGLE (Soon to be involved with a ghost, though. Everybody sees it coming.)
CHILDREN: NONE, are you effin nuts, I’m twelve. I mean I’m eighteen.
FITNESS/BODY TYPE: Cor, you perv
EDUCATION: Grade seven or somefin
INCOME: I’m twelve. I mean –
OCCUPATION: World-saver, heroine, chosen one
LIKES: Anthropomorphic objects
DISLIKES: Bad guys, large wads of smoke, you know that sort of fing.
LOOKING FOR: Ghosts I guess, I mean who am I kidding Mieville has it all figured out don’t he. Cor.

a book
NICKNAME: SEXYBOOK
ABOUT ME: I’m a dirty, dirty book. Look inside me and see for yourself. ;;;;;;;;)
AGE: 100s, maybe 200s, maybe even older. STILL HOT FOR U THOUGH
GENDER: OTHER
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: SINGLE (SPACED)
CHILDREN: ISN’T BIOLOGICALLY PROBABLE
FITNESS/BODY TYPE: VERY SQUARE, AND FAT
EDUCATION: Oh baby, I’m unrivaled. I know just about everything. Even the dirty stuff. ESPECIALLY the dirty stuff. 😉
INCOME: N/A
OCCUPATION: Sitting on shelves or being carried in people’s arms. Occasionally providing advice.
LIKES: Dominatrix types. More leather = better.
DISLIKES: Large fires, Nazis
LOOKING FOR: A sexy dominatrix who will trail her finger down my spine and make me shiver. ;)))))


Too much fun. Silly but fun. Sorry I haven’t been as up to date as I probably should be. I’ll do my best to work on the prompts as they come and as we go forward. Thanks for stopping by.

~ Brynn


Fantasy Favourites Read-a-thon: Day 1 Thingies

done

Hello and welcome back to the Cellar Boy Read-a-thon Television Show – imagine me standing in front of a board in a blazer with a bowtie, pointing to different pictures and paragraphs while talking in a contrived 1920s radio broadcaster voice. I’ve been asked to take some photographs, which I did, using my fancy pictographmaphone, and this is what I present to you. A warning: my bedroom was recently the site of a hurricane, and I’m only just cleaning things up. Or maybe I’m just messy. But maybe there really was a hurricane.

1. My bookshelf

image

As you can see, an assortment of fantasy/sci-fi/anime/steampunky literature. I have another smaller bookshelf, but this is the “serious” one, where all my favorite series are stored. You’ll notice I’ve got most of the Fullmetal Alchemist books (I think I’m missing the very last, and one in between); I have the super fancy special editions of Kenneth Oppel’s “Matt Cruse” series (which I won in a contest! Take that, eleven-year-olds!). Down below my blanket tent where I curl up on cold winter nights is my record player; currently spinning, “Policy” by Will Butler.

3. Where you will be reading this week (I don’t have a TBR pile, sorry! Just one book to be read, which sits sadly on its own on my dresser.)

image (2)

This is my bed which is obviously well-made and everything. Practically Buckingham Palace. I have a Doctor Who Van Gogh-exploding-TARDIS poster, next to my Bioshock Infinite one I got at a Comiccon. I’ve had that comforter for ten years or more – it’s Harry Potter, and I won’t let anyone get rid of it. You’ll perhaps notice the corners of the books I’m currently reading on my pillow there.

4. My blogging space

image (1)

Here you can really see where the hurricane came through; looks like it left a pop can and a tupperware thing behind, as well as a toilet paper roll. Huh. Only now do I realize that there’s a weird amount of pink surrounding me – what with the dustbin and the peach-colored walls. So, I spend an incredible amount of time sitting on that chair, and I’m sitting there right now, too. I blog, I write stories, I watch lame Youtube videos, and so on, and so on. It’s a living, I suppose.

5. My favorite fantasy book

image (3)

It was a close call between “Pawn of Prophecy”, “The Knife of Never Letting Go”, and this, but Kenneth Oppel’s terrifyingly great retelling of Frankenstein won out by a nose in the end. Whether “This Dark Endeavour” is fantasy, dark fiction, adventure, or gothic horror, I’m not sure – I think it could qualify as all of the above. The reason I gave the title of my favorite fantasy book to this one is that I’ve just never had so much fun reading a book before I read this one. I finished it in a whirlwind of several hours on Christmas Day a few years ago, never moving once until I’d gobbled up all of its pages. It left me shivering with the powerful nirvana that comes with reading something that matches up perfectly to your taste, and that you can enjoy with complete thoroughness. I feel like I’ve outgrown it a bit since then, but I’m sure I’ll come back to it again.

6. A book in my bookshelf that includes: aliens, magic, dragons, mythology or is steampunk

image (4)

The books you can see here, from left to right: “Such Wicked Intent” by Kenneth Oppel, which is dark fiction and pretty magicky (you could also make a steampunk argument); “The Last Man On Earth”, an anthology of sci-fi short fiction which includes some pretty great stuff; “Airborn”, “Skybreaker”, and “Starclimber”, all by Kenneth Oppel, which are steampunk to the core, complete with blimps and goggles and other weird flying machines; and lastly, you can sort of see Christopher Paolini’s “Eldest”, the sequel to “Eragon”, which I tried valiantly to finish but couldn’t – that one is, of course, full of dragons.

7. Sorry, I already have an order going, and I’m too Asperger’s to mess it up. 😛

8. My reading material for this week

image (5)

 

I plan to read Janet Mock’s autobiography this week.

That’s all for today – there are more prompts, but I want to get this one out before midnight if possible (it’s only eleven now, but I don’t want to push it.) Thanks for taking a look, again! Good luck to everybody else. I will go and take a look at other blog posts right away (I’ve been neglecting my duties.)

~ Brynn

 

 


Cellarboy Presents: Fantasy Favorites Read-a-thon Introduction

done

Hey blog readers and wanderers of the internet – been a long time since I’ve acknowledged the existence of my blog, hasn’t it? I really apologise for the long hiatus. However, here I am now coming back in style – I thought I’d participate in this read-a-thon thing because I was invited and what the hell. I read books, I like books. After this at some point I’ll probably throw the usual kind of post at you – you know, the kind where I soliloquize for a long time about my various problems and occasionally make fun of myself. I’m just itching to make fun of myself for being in a fantasy favourites read-a-thon, but I don’t want to offend the people who invited me, because they seem pretty cool.

Okay, so they gave me prompts. Sit still while I throw them in your general direction.

1. Introducing myself

Dressed in polar bear fur and wearing snowshoes I wander the icy wastes of Canada waiting for spring to appear, even as we creep ever closer to April and the weather remains frigid and horrible. I have miraculously made it through seventeen years in this cold and merciless land – with the help of novels I cling to the notion that there are warmer places than here. I’m a boy but not the manliest you’ll ever meet, though my thin, barely-existent sideburns help me prove it to the non-believers; I speak French with hesitant fluency and write a lot of stories.

2. Why did you choose to join the read-a-thon?

I figured it would be fun; a light-hearted sort of thing to get my head out of the gloom of winter and into the hopeful brightness of the spring.

3. What books do you intend to read? What’s your reading goal and how many pages do you actually think you can manage?

I read exactly one book for the read-a-thon – “Un Lun Dun” by China Mieville.

4. What is your current favourite fantasy read?

“The Belgariad” and “The Mallorean” by David Eddings are still probably my favorite high fantasy series. They’re ten books, split into five for each series and following the same set of characters; the dry humor and endlessly sarcastic characters, as well as the clear intelligence of the author, are what sets it apart from other series that I’ve read. No it’s not exactly literature, but I’ve rarely enjoyed anything quite so much. On top of that, “Pawn of Prophecy” was the first novel I ever read, when I was eight, and so it really stuck with me.

5. What is your LEAST favorite fantasy read of all time?

“Eragon” by Christopher Paolini was the only bad fantasy story I actually managed to finish. His age when he wrote it isn’t an excuse – it’s truly a pile of unoriginal, uninspired rubbish.

6. Which fantasy books are you dying to read?

I want to give Jean M. Auel’s “Earth Children” series a try. It looks nice and long, something I could potentially get into for a while. I haven’t read a real time-consuming series since “The Dark Tower”, and I’m missing the feeling of adventuring with characters for a really long time. I don’t know if she’s any good or not, but I like the idea of prehistory and all. Sounds like an interesting take on fantasy to me.

7. What fantasy book would you like to star in?

There are too many to name, but I think anything by Jonathan Stroud would be in the lead. Why wouldn’t I want to live in a world where everyone talks in hilarious, sarcastic one-liners?

8. Suggest three books for other read-a-thon participants.

“Airborn” by Kenneth Oppel, which is a steampunkish adventure with excellent dialogue and characters, as well as beautiful action; “The Gunslinger” by Stephen King, the first of the “Dark Tower” series, which is an interesting and surreal fantasy sci-fi western; and “Wildwood” by The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy, which is a great book to read to your kids and isn’t bad for adults, either.

9. If you could choose any fantasy book character to be chained to during the read-a-thon, whom would you pick and why?

Go ahead and chain Todd from “Chaos Walking” to me – I think we’d get along pretty well. He’s a cool guy.

10. I would tag someone, but I don’t know any other bloggers. Sorry about that.

Well, that’s that, my introductory post. More to come, I hope, and thanks for stopping by.

~ Brynn


Reasons to Despise Society, Pt. 1

It feels like last time I did a post we were still in the paleolithic age, smacking rocks with other rocks and chasing buffalo off high ledges. A whole lot of stuff has happened since last I took up the metaphorical pen to gift you with the machinations of my often idle mind, but rather than attempt to compact it all into a readable wad of text, I think I’m going to leave it all up to your imagination. You can imagine I was bundled away in the night by a mysterious band of rebels out to protest some awful new law and then became their leader, went on to conduct a completely underground (and successful) rebellion; or you can imagine I was stuck on the top of some distant mountain, barely surviving on bits of trail mix and granola while I waited for the authorities to come find me (while at the same time writing my masterpiece novel); or you can imagine that life has been kind of as it always has. Better, these days, but still not all that much different. I realize I’m hurtling, reluctantly, towards adulthood, and that at the end of this year my friends will be off to the bizarre guessed-at lands of life; and it is a bit daunting, to think that soon we’re all going to get tossed to the winds like so many discarded leaflets – but that’s life, it evolves and the people around you evolve, too. To remain static is impossible, and stupid if you try. You’ve got to kind of ride the waves, man.

I am imbued with some obscurity today, sorry. I think the happier I get, the sillier I get – and when I’m down or depressed I turn into a bad realistic fiction novel. I really do, I’ve read over my previous writings. I think I prefer my writing when it’s somewhere in the middle – not too obscure as to be difficult to enjoy, but not too raw that it starts to suggest the world sucks horribly and everything will be bad forever.

So with that out of the way, let’s look at reasons to despise society. I was inspired by one thing in particular, but I’ve realized since then that there are reasons all over the place, simply growing on the trees ready to pick off, and that I should maybe discuss them. Because as anyone who knows me knows, there are some aspects of society that I just can’t get past, that I feel it is my duty NOT to get past, so that you may understand them, too, and wield your new-found knowledge for the betterment of humanity. Or something; I’ll go with that for now.

What’s the thing, then? The thing is this:

asylum cover

Does it look fairly innocuous? A little creepy, but pretty much innocuous? Hold on to your hats. This is the cover for a book that I happened to see at the store, and when I saw it I felt a narrow look of uncertainty grow on my face, wondering if it was the new sequel to Ransom Riggs’ popular series about weird kids who live in Wales (it isn’t that good in my esteemed and glorious opinion.) But aha, the author is someone new – Madeleine Roux, to be exact – and, because my deductive skills rival that of the well-known fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, I was able to deduce that this Roux person is not in fact Ransom Riggs, and is in fact someone entirely different who just so happened to write a book that is eerily familiar to a certain other book which I didn’t find all that good. Am I overreacting? I’m not overreacting. Just look at the cover to Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children:

peculiar children cover

WHAT HO! Still not convinced? Take it upon my word then that both books use the quirk of including photographs en lieu of illustrations, for I guess a more realistic and avant garde feel. Yes, both novels feature photographs as a way to enhance their texts. There is no coincidence here. Why is there no coincidence here? Because, in the Goodreads summary of this “Asylum” book, it is written: “Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.”

THOUGHT YOU WERE CLEVER, DID YOU, SOCIETY? Well, you can’t get that past ME, deductive cynical intellectual that I am! Point goes to the Cellar Boy. Smirk.

This isn’t the first time this kind of thing has happened, naturally. I remember when Twilight was huge (remember those strange, dangerous times? I got through them by hiding in a closet with a pot on my head), a whole bunch of knock offs suddenly mysteriously appeared, with names like “Blue Moon” and I wish I had another example but I don’t. I didn’t really care about them because my opinion of Twilight and vampires in general was so low. But I have, in comparison only, a much higher esteem for Ransom Riggs’ kind-of-neat books, and it actually sincerely bothers me that other authors can publish books that are just obvious rip offs, and then make money off of them. The same thing happened with a book called “Gods of Manhattan”, which was clearly written straight off the fame of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians. And in film, too, we can observe this annoying practice recurring – (look up Asylum Films. That is beautiful irony right there, that it should have the same name as the Ransom Riggs ripoff novel.) Why do people feel they can do this? More than that, why do they feel they can do it and then get away with it scot-free? Sometimes leeching off of other people’s ideas and success isn’t the most terrible thing (for instance look at the humorous goodness of Pigfarts), and I suppose it’s stupidly subjective of me to forgive in some cases and not in others – but I think, just in principle, that it’s a pretty slimy thing to do. There are fan fiction websites out there for a reason. Put your rip offs on there so random internet-goers can have fun reading them. But for money? Really, for money? O, the green-eyed monster, she who pulls the strings of our desperate hearts.

Now, wait, there are more reasons. Of course there are. I would never just leave you with one. The second one is perhaps even less of a big deal, but what it is is far more prominently displayed in the public light. In fact, it’s so prominently displayed that everyone and their poodle is doing it. It is so prominent that I currently cannot turn my head in any direction without seeing it. At school, it is everywhere, like some bizarre tribal brand signifying that soon the civilized world is going to be overthrown. Even the pompous Canadian politicians in their fifties on the news channel I watch religiously are doing it. It is starting to make me sincerely unhappy, simply because no one seems able to resist it. It is, of course, this.

bad hair

No, not the guy. Well, the guy too. But more specifically his hair. Good mother of all that is holy, everyone has this haircut now. Put down summer and fall of 2014 in the record books as the “Time of the Shaved-Sides Haircut”.  It’s like we’ve crashed hair-first into some Utopian  George Orwell concoction where Big Pop Star is Watching You.

big macklemore is watching you.

I think I’m about to have a nervous breakdown. Such conformism has not been seen since the Time of the Skinny Jeans, and thank Brian that one’s mostly over. It’s not the haircut itself that I dislike, you understand; back before everyone had it I thought it was kind of neat, but since then it’s gotten unnervingly prevalent. I’ve seen fads before, and fads are weird, granted – the one with the hamster teddies on wheels was basically impossible to grasp – but this one is different. It could be because I’m older, more aware, and far more cynical and angry – or it could be that it’s just seemed to hit all at once this time, and with force. I don’t understand it at all. If I see a popular figure that I really like get an interesting new haircut, then maybe I’d consider doing the same thing – if it looks good on him or her, then why not? I can understand that, sure. But you’d think – I mean you would, wouldn’t you? – that after a certain point, you would no longer want to get that haircut, after five out of the fifteen people in your class have that hair, after the goddamn Conservative fifty-year-old guy on Power and Politics has that hair. I mean, I don’t really care, but I do care. I care but I don’t care. If you have this hair, then I think no less of you; it could very well be you weren’t aware of the extent of this fad, or that maybe you just didn’t care. BUT – if you are actively aware of the popularity of this hairstyle, and then you go out and get one yourself – I must ask you why. Why? Do not be a pop star sheep. There are too many of them already, they’re clogging up the classrooms and I don’t have anywhere to sit. I’m a pretentious idiot, aren’t I. I’m just a sheep covered in rainbow paint with a little hat on its head trying to not be the same. Well, I stand by my ethics; I will not wash my wool.

New slogan for 2014.

i will not wash my wool!

Perhaps I should separate myself from Photoshop, forthwith. How silly, why would I do that? I think that’s it for this particular wad of text and bizarre pictures. I have perhaps or perhaps not officially returned from my hiatus. We will see. Do stick around; until next we meet, I am your champion of the obscure blog, he who sits among the sheep, – The Cellar Boy

 

– FIN –


Adventures in French Nowheresville (ooh la la)

We drove out to French Nowheresville today for the yearly family corn roast thing. It was a nice day, warm but not unpleasantly so, and the clouds were fantastic, big and puffy and dramatic. We turned a corner on the lonely country highway and were faced with a gigantic one that looked exactly like a penis. Now usually I seem to miss sexual innuendos, but that one was just too obvious, I couldn’t help feeling affected. I kept my eyes on the road and hoped my mom wasn’t looking up. When we passed the little Papanack Zoo, I yelped, “Hey look! Llamas!”

Fucking modern culture got to me, I guess.

Anyway, we turned some more remote corners and got to my uncle’s place, a cottage out in the tamed, farm-covered lands slightly east of the city, and voila! The corn roast faces me down, armed with its various ranks of half-known uncles and aunts. All of them are French, and not just a little French, very French. And the language of Quebec is different, full of slang and weird pronunciations – that on top of the fact that French in general is tough to speak with competence when it’s your second language. So I end up sitting there, understanding most of what’s being said but also terrified to try to speak it myself. My usual strategy is just to say “Bon, merci” when the relatives ask how I’ve been and hope that satisfies them. Rarely does anyone try to engage me in conversation, outside of the small circle of people I like, and who like me back, I imagine – but when they do I get along with short answers and lots of smiling and nodding. I thought that was only a thing in bad TV shows but you know, it isn’t; you can smile and nod your way through lots of real-life things.

The corn roast was long and fraught with mosquitoes, but otherwise it was nice. Everyone was friendly. I’m not sure to what extent the family knows of my LUBR (Large Uncomfortable Boy Revelation) and I’m also not sure how the future will go, as I duke it out with backwoods Quebec. Honestly it unnerves me, to imagine how they’ll face the fact that I’m going to grow up and become a man, not a woman. I’m not exactly front and center in the family, I imagine my place is off to the side somewhere, a floating speck of no particular importance, nice and quiet and inoffensive – so I guess they could all just ignore it and let it be. Everyone has always seemed basically nice, and have never been rude to me; the opposite, they’ve always been friendly and I hope I’m a positive figure in their minds. But they’re also conservative and traditional, excepting a few of the younger aunts, uncles, and cousins, and excepting my grandma. And it’s hard for anyone to accept the thing I have, even people like my English grandparents, who have always been kind and intelligent and progressive. I’m worried about when the hormones I’m taking really kick in and nobody can imagine away the fact that I have a thing and it’s actually going to affect them, in whatever small way. For instance I literally can’t even begin to imagine a certain great-aunt I have ever doing the pronoun switch, not even when I have sideburns and a deep voice. And that is going to be extremely difficult, when it happens, because I’m so sure she won’t switch. I just don’t want to be alienated. I like these people, even if I only see them once in a blue moon; I really do like some of them, and I’m happy that I can go to the corn roasts and be accepted and everything. I never want that to end, I appreciate it and I appreciate them.

But that, as well as many other things, I’m learning, is out of my control. I can send everybody LGBT leaflets – every obscure aunt and uncle from here to the northern end of Ontario – but in the end how they react is up to them. I guess all I can do in the meantime is worry about myself and my immediate friends and family, and hope it works out without me.

You know I think I’ve talked about this before, but I want to go over it again – the thing about sexuality, how it’s not related to gender, but how everyone thinks it is. First everyone thought I was a lesbian because of how I dressed. Then, coming out as transgender, people slowly began to assume that I really did like girls after all, being a boy. Now I have to explain to them that I don’t, in fact, explicitly like girls, but in fact just sort of like who I like, with no real preference. I bring it up because of a thing that has happened recently: it’s that one of my friends (take note, he was the one who told me he had a crush on me in grade five) sent me a cat emoticon with a heart over its head in a Facebook message after we had a conversation about me being transgender. (He asked me slyly about it after I sent him a story I’d written.) Now, before you shake your head (I see you beginning to think about shaking it, or perhaps you already have), let me tell you that no, I don’t put much store in cat emoticons. I think they’re pretty cute, but that’s not relevant, is it. It’s just that of ALL the cat emoticons, why the one with the heart over its head? Sure, you could say it’s an expression of support, of caring (by the way I had a small heart attack of relief after he said he was utterly fine with my big revelation), but could you not also come to the conclusion that it is an expression of liking? Well? You know, I hope it is. I’ve had an on-off liking of him for years. And I’m tired of Zuko being my pretend boyfriend, a real one would be great. A real girlfriend would be great, too. I kind of maybe have briefly entertained fantasies about the ridiculously cool girl at the video game store downtown who looks like she jumped right out of Scott Pilgrim v.s the World. If she doesn’t seem like she’s maybe twenty or so, and if I was less Asperger’s, I would ask her out in a jiffy. Then we would play Zelda Twilight Princess and watch artsy movies together all day. That would be great.

And also, wouldn’t you know, school approaches. Oh yes, indeed, she does, upon her chariot of death, eyes aflame, wielding the scythe of misery in one cruel hand! Cower before this demon – all ye children hide yourselves, ‘fore she sweeps upon you and steals you away, to suck the lifeblood from your lovely veins and deposit your creaking bones ‘pon the bed of heartless society. That was a bit over the top. I think school is more like a wolf, and we are sheep, running blindly from its snapping heels and losing ourselves in the wilderness of vapid education. Although last year’s English class wasn’t so bad – I happened upon a pretty great teacher, not one of those badly-constructed androids that seem so common. Anyway yes indeed, I’m headed back to school in nine days, although my brain won’t process that reality quite yet, and I’ll be trying for my last English credit and my first arts credit. Should be anxiety-ridden and horrible as always, but at least I’ll see my friends.

Anything else? I’m pretty tired now, it’s almost midnight and the corn roast sucked most of the life out of me. I wrote all this on my last 10% or so. I apologize for not doing any posts for the last couple of months – sometimes life is very hard to fit into a 1000-some blog post that a handful of people may or may not read, and besides that I get lazy and overwhelmed. I’ll try to write more often again, but no promises – in fact when I make promises like that, more often than not they just make doing it harder. I do write stories, as ever, although most of them I end up abandoning for one reason or another – and I’ve also been doing some stuff on my music blog, darksideoftheroom, if you happen to be interested in that, and if you’ve been reading this far. Oh and also, I made an album on my Bandcamp, you can buy it if you want, or you can ask me if I can send you the link to it for free so you don’t have to pay, which I’ll do. Is that it? That’s it. Do come again, and thanks as always for taking the time to read this large mess of words.

moiatcornroast

(Psst: I don’t always wear sunglasses, but when I do, they’re rainbowy sunglasses.)

– Brynn