The Face and Why It’s More Favorite than All of the Other Reindeer

I adore books in general. Particularly Dean Koontz books.

Cover of "The Face: A Novel"

The cover, in all its awesome glory.

One of them, in particular, will always stick out in my mind, though. That’s right. Unlike many bookworms, I have one absolute favorite book. It’s called The Face. One of Dean Koontz’s less-known titles, it seems. And it’s sad, because it’s better. It’s best.

Why?

Because, in a world where people are pressured to spend all their money on expensive cars, houses, plastic surgery, cosmetics, designer clothes and hairdressers, it’s something for us normal people out there. For those of us who’ve ever wanted to be rich and famous, it’s a slap-in-the-face look at the reality of it.

Once upon a distant, less enlightened time, my dream was to be a movie star. Rich and famous and beautiful. In fact, that wish was what drew me to The Face, due to the first sentence of the summary on the back: “He’s Hollywood’s biggest star.” Images instantly filled my young, impressionable mind of glamour and glory, beauty and glitz. Adventure. All the things the rich people have, of course.

Well, not so much. That sentence refers to Channing Manheim, the gorgeous bachelor action star who’s an American household name. He’s capable of stirring emotions like no other. He lives in a huge mansion named Palazzo Rospo in Beverly Hills. He has a huge garage full of expensive cars, a gigantic library, four floors worth of priceless antiques, a swimming pool, a rose garden, a room full of train sets, a cavernous wine cellar, and a fantastic staff. He spends his time away from home making multimillion dollar movies and hanging around some of the most beautiful people in the world. That’s the life, right?

Well, meet Manheim’s son. Ten-year-old Aelfric. A small, skinny kid with messy hair and severe asthma born to Manheim’s supermodel ex-wife, Freddie Nielander. Fric sees his parents so often that he refers to them in his own mind as Nominal Mom and Ghost Dad. It’s through Fric that we see the real Channing Manheim.

Of course the guy isn’t perfect, even if he’s a Hollywood god. Everyone has problems. He was probably bullied as a kid, right?

Well, the library is only there to wow visitors. To make people think they have something in common with him. The cars are never driven. The trains would sit and gather dust, if not for the attention of the staff and Fric’s own interest in them. When the man himself is in residence, there are often wild parties, and always a new girlfriend.

And Fric leads a charmed life, of course. He gets everything he ever wanted. Why, his father sent him out with an interior decorator and fifty thousand dollars to refurnish his suite of rooms. Movie companies send him all the newest children’s movies. He has a private tutor and gets to roam the huge house, doing whatever he wants. He even has his own home phone line.

And we can’t forget about Christmas. Fric gets everything he asks for. Even if he were to ask for a Porsche. But never any surprise in the matter. He has to write a Dear Santa format list every year and give it to the housekeeper. Daddy’s orders. If it’s any shorter than the list from last year he has to add things to it, and he gets exactly what he asked for. No surprises. Ever. Oh, sure, the gifts are wrapped all nice and pretty, but where’s the fun when you know what’s in each one of them?

To put it together, here we have the portrait of a man who, to paraphrase Mr. Koontz, believes nobody else has anything more to them than a half-page of back story, and who is benignly certain the universe and him regard each other with equal amounts of fascination.

But, though he’s the title character (it’s a title the media has bestowed upon him), Manheim isn’t the protagonist. In fact, he never even makes an appearance.

No, the protagonist is his chief of security, ex-cop Ethan Truman, who quit the police force after his wife died of cancer. The book is about Ethan trying to figure out who’s threatening his employer, and simultaneously figure out the mystery of an old friend’s death.

This book is a masterpiece, in short. Something beautiful to make me laugh and cry—sometimes at the same time. The villain is quirky and almost likable at times. All the characters feel incredibly real. It’s creepy, it’s funny, it’s heartbreaking and it’s wonderful. So do yourself a favor and go check it out, because I said so.

It’s Not Hard—Just Go Away

Has anybody else ever had that feeling—where you know you’re wrong, and you know you’re hurting someone, but you just don’t care? Where you will not surrender, no matter how childish it makes you look?

I’m supposed to be smarter than my sister. Better than her. I’m supposed to take the higher path, and not emulate her.

But I can’t.

People. They get too close. I have stupid moments, where I say emotionally damning things. The closer they get, the more their flaws pile up, the more easily annoyed I am, the more I hate them. Because they’re just pushing for closer. Closer. Walling me in, leaving me no exit. I can’t move. Can barely breathe.

This, of course, is about one of my best friends, Scott. He’s like my brother. And he’s “in love” with me. No matter how much I tell him I don’t want to hear it, he manages to come around to it. And it brings out my impulse to be as stupid as my sister. Resulting to acting superior by saying I’m more mature than he is. Feeling just as trapped in the argument when he says the same about me.

We’re best friends. We’ve told each other things in strictest confidence. I’ve never brought up the things that he told me. But when I tell him something, he’s sure to bring it up the next time I refuse to make out with him or parade around in spaghetti straps and shorts, or let him kiss my neck, or sleep in my bed.

Is it because you’re afraid of intimacy? Is it because you’re a prude? Is it because it makes you uncomfortable? Is it because of your sister?

Like it’s any of his business why I do the things I do! It wouldn’t even be so bad, if he didn’t say these things within earshot of other people. It feels so nice, to have a friend so innocently putting your inner turmoils on display for the rest of the world.

All the little things he does make me so mad. And he laughs at me when I try to seriously mention these things. Because the vast array of things I get pissed off about are hilarious. His wording.

When he said that, I was ready to kill him. Then he got mad at me for saying that I didn’t want to talk about it that night. No, I don’t want to get all weepy with him while we talk about our feelings.

He’s done things like this to set me off several times. He apologizes. I never do. I refuse to. Sure, I’ve got excuses. With my sister, it was the other way around, and I’m sick of apologizing, etc. Poor little me. Sure, I know I’m screwed up, but it’s none of his business, and I don’t want his input. He doesn’t need another opportunity to show how he thinks he knows everything.

But why do I do all this? If he’s like family, why push him away?

Simple. I don’t want him to be in love with me. If I’m horrible enough to him, maybe he’ll stop. Maybe he’ll go away. Maybe he’ll hardly ever talk to me, just like my two exes. Or maybe he’ll forget all about me! Whatever, just as long as it stops. I don’t care. I just want him out of my life.

I know that’s wrong. I know I’m just being spiteful and childish. But that’s not going to make me change my mind. I can’t just flip a switch and be more logical and mature. But that doesn’t stop me from wishing for it every single day.

Movies: The Sea of Monsters and The Wolverine

Usually I’m not really picky about movies. They all have their good and bad things, right? But these two had few good things.

Sea of Monsters

Well, it was better than the atrocity that was supposed to pass for a movie version of The Lightning Thief. They made Annabeth’s hair the proper color. And Hermes was totally awesome. The cabbie ladies (I forget what they’re called) are pretty cool, too.

But then you get to the bad parts.

Like Kronos.

Oh my gosh, Hollywood! NOT ALL VILLAINS NEED TO HAVE HORNS! WE’RE NOT TALKING SATAN, HERE!

The battles sucked. They were the most uninteresting fights I’ve ever seen.

And then they tried to be dramatic. Only tried, because they failed miserably. Oh, look! Someone died! Let’s shout their name and stand there! That’ll totally work!

Note that I didn’t see all of it. Got to the drive-in late.

 

The Wolverine

I’m not gonna lie. I like Wolverine. I thought Origins was pretty cool. This one, however, which takes place after The Last Stand, was dumb.

A better title would have been Wolverine Goes To Japan. Oh, and guess what? He was in Nagasaki when the bomb was dropped! Never alluded to before, but it happened! And he remembers it, too! Never mind that there’s no mention of Victor during that time. It’s like a comic book! Dispose of one canon in favor of another!

He spends all his time mooning over Jean, except when a hot young Japanese girl comes along.

 

In short, high hopes that were dashed, between the two. Disappointment in spades.

 

Sexism Experiment (I take no credit for it, because I didn’t write it)

A thought experiment on sexism.

Today, I’d like to try a thought experiment. Something to challenge the way society regularly thinks about sexism and feminism. I’m going to link you to a photo album, and I’d like you to look at it with an open mind, and just feel whatever you instinctively feel. Don’t fight your initial reaction; because the idea of this experiment is to examine exactly that: how we are conditioned by society to think about sexism. I urge you to look at and read all the photos in this album, and then come back here for the explanation. Please, do not read beyond the link until you’ve looked at the photos:
The albumDid you read them?

Welcome back. What did you think? How do you feel? The most common reaction I get towards most of these photos is that they are sexist. Almost as common are accusations of misogyny. Let’s look at that word – misogyny. Misogyny is the hatred of women; and if you believe third-wave western feminists, it’s everywhere.

Here’s the catch. Some of you may have already guessed this, but none of those photos are originals. None of them are what they appear to be. Every picture in this album is a copy of something that was found in a feminist community. It was displayed where it was cheered, receiving thousands of likes, +1’s, shares, etc.

“How can that be?” You ask. Why in the heck would feminist communities be so supportive of photos that were so hateful towards women? Because every one of them has had their captions gender-swapped (thanks to my friends at https://www.facebook.com/idontneedfeminismbecause for this). Every time the word “woman” appears in one of those captions, it was originally “man.” When the feminist version said “women,” the community replaced it with “men.” When there was a reference to male genitalia (or kicking someone in said male genitalia) the female equivalent was used. Etc. Etc. Etc.

So, if a picture that says, for example

image

Is an example of MISOGYNY, then what does it say about feminism that the original version – “All men are animals, some just make better pets” not only garners huge applause from fems, its gets added to countless “funny quote lists”

http://www.goodquotes.com/sillyquotes.htm

Put on bumper stickers:

http://www.zazzle.ca/all_men_are_animals_some_just_make_better_pets_bumper_sticker-128689632715362160

And sold as t-shirts?

http://www.superiorsilkscreen.com/t-shirts/175-all-men-are-animals-some-just-make-better-pets.html

Why is the exact same, word-for-word sentiment an expression of hatred and patriarchy when said about a woman, but a light-hearted, silly, “empowering” slogan when said about men?

THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the face of feminism. Feminism likes to tell us that our culture has made misogyny acceptable and that misandry doesn’t exist. The truth is that misandry is very real and very prominent. People just don’t notice it as much because we’re taught that saying negative things about someone because of their sex is only offensive when it’s about a woman.

<posted by WTFeminism on tumblr.com>

Guys and. . .

The big mystery: the feminine equivalent of “guy.” The common word for a male of any age. The male species as a whole. But what’s the female equivalent?

  1. Girls: Used to refer to young females. The opposite of boys.
  2. Women: Used to refer to fully grown females. Opposite of men.
  3. Ladies: A more old-fashioned term for the feminine species as a whole. Opposite of gentlemen.
  4. Gals: This one has a better case for it, as there is no immediate masculine opposite. In fact, some consider this to be the answer to the age-old question. However, I, personally, think it sounds stupid. Has a sort of hick feel to it.
  5. Chicks: My personal favorite. I, myself, refer to other females this way. The masculine opposite may be something equally laid back like dudes, but that’s okay.

So, when I refer to males as guys, I will consider the female equivalent to be chicks. This is my personal preference, and in no way means that my choice is right for everyone. You can sound like a hick if you want to, if that’s your style. But not me. I have my answer to the age-old question.

On the Sibling Front, Egocentrism and Hypocrisy

So, I saw my sister on Sunday. The abusive one who was arrested. Only one I got. She came to my apartment to move some stuff out. And she was talking and laughing with our parents and my friend who was visiting, just like nothing had ever happened. And I was right back in the same place, hating and feeling inadequate. Second best. Back to being the whiny, sensitive drama queen. Forget how much I’ve grown these last few months. When she’s around, it doesn’t matter. I’m just the stupid little emo kid she has to put up with again.

And other whinings. Story of my life.

My guy friend, Scott, is driving me crazy, too. My abrasive sense of humor has been offending him lately. He’s been glaring at me and telling me to quit being such a bitch. I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling him to stop being so whiny and develop a backbone.

Hypocritical? You bet! But just because I recognize it doesn’t mean I can bring myself around to think differently. Because, of course, I’m the most important thing in the world. Didn’t you know that? Heck, I’ve probably got enough egocentrism for five people.

Anyway, he asked me to cut down on the insults, just as I asked him to stop making sex jokes all the time. I didn’t, though. I just put on a serious act, didn’t joke or smile at all, and avoided him for the rest of the week. Even after he apologized. I made no apology, and I don’t plan to. I am who I am, and I’m not changing for him. I’m not the one who claims to be in love with him. I have little emotion vested in this relationship except annoyance, anymore. Every little thing he does pisses me off. And I don’t want him around me. At all.

How I treat Scott flies in the face of so many things I believe. But, of course, it doesn’t mean he’ll stop pissing me off or whining to me about all his little problems I don’t care about. I couldn’t stop being mean if I tried. There’s just something about his face that makes me want to punch it in.

I’m no saint, even if my religion has it in the name.

World? What World?

Losing oneself in a story is an amazing, and very addictive thing. If anything exists besides the book, movie, game, etc, it hasn’t totally sucked you in.

The problem is when you reach the last page. The last scene. When the book finally closes, and you realize how much time has past and that you aren’t a part of that world you were just reading about. Reality has to take over again. But your mind is still there, in that fantasy world, with those characters. Still lingering in their tragedies and triumphs. Left reeling and wanting to cry because you weren’t ready for it to end.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is me right now. This is me too often. Totally engrossed in a book or TV show to the exclusion of everything else. It’s torture. If it’s a book, I have to go back through several times and read over some of my favorite passages. And I don’t want to give it up, which gets me in heaps of trouble with the local library.

But “how do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when in your heart, you begin to understand—there is no going back?”

And that is why I must avoid the most addictive things, because I will be sucked into a dark pit of despair.