Everyone knows someone like the nameless narrator in former SNL writer Patricia Marx’s Him Her Him Again The End of Him. Our nameless heroine starts an absolutely neurotic twenty-one-year-old college grad student, trying to decide on what the subject of her thesis is.  While at Cambridge, she stumbles upon a loquacious cad named Eugene.  Everyone has those ludicrously-bad college boyfriends, but no one can top Eugene.  He’s possibly one of the most obnoxious fops I’ve ever read: an absolute narcissist incapable of using monosyllabic words, whom is quick to remind everyone around him of his beloved almost-nominated-for-a-Nobel-prize grandfather.  Of course, eventually Eugene and the narrator break up, and then her neurosis reaches galactic proportions.

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“I make quick judgments, often completely wrong, and then stick by them rigidly”. – Alex Garland; The Beach

Most people who have ever done any back-packing or travelling can agree on one thing: tourists fucking suck. Hell, you can just stay in a tourist-laden area for long enough, and you’ll probably be able to agree. They’re loud and obnoxious, and most of them have some sense of entitlement, but unfortunately a lot of people rely on them for money and survival. Hence the impetus of Alex Garland’s first novel, The Beach. We meet a couple of young, attractive, European backpackers in Thailand that are willing to follow a map that has been given to them by a crazy, suicidal man named Daffy Duck, which allegedly leads  to a hidden island in the Gulf of Thailand. Yeap, they’ll listen to people who’re named after cartoon characters just to have that unique, pure, unadultered-by-tourists vacation. Of course, these people will tell you that certainly they’re not tourists, but it is hard for some people to see their own reality.

But, unlike everyone else that’s ever reviewed this book, including Nick Hornby, who sums it up as “a Lord of the Flies for Generation X” on the book jacket (That bastard, he’s so good at perfectly saying exactly what I want to say. Damn you Hornby, I’ll get the best of you one day!), I’m going to get through this review without one single reference to William Golding’s classic novel. Now for a brief run-through of the nitty-gritty. Continue Reading »

As one might easily discern, although I greatly appreciate the English language, and relish some of it’s intricacies; I am not one for grammar.  Throughout my years in college I have been criticized numerous times for using commas and semi-colons so errantly.  I have suffered through countless points lost on “otherwise exquisite” papers,  since I often fall into the pattern of writing like I speak.  If you’ve ever heard me speak: it’s really enchanting, but only if you appreciate a certain timing, and a tendency to wander aimlessly throughout ideas.  Sadly I frequently cannot stop thinking ahead of what I am saying.  And honestly, there are many great writers whom toy with conventional grammar (I’m not sure I’ve seen many quotation marks in Cormack McCarthy novels)  I am prefacing my story this way so that I may have some defense.  I certainly do not champion every rule of the English language, but I do understand the basic rules.

I have a math professor this semester that is not from this country.  Having split my college career between computer science and petroleum engineering, this is certainly not a first time occurance, and it is undoubtedly not the last.  This is a math class that I don’t really need for my major at all; just sort of counts toward that magic ’12 hour’ full-time student mark that keeps me in financial aide.  Nothing exciting, and more or less I’m using it as something of a refresher course on how things work.  I haven’t been in a math class in a minute or two.  Imagine my surprise when I got my grade back on my first test.  No big deal, I didn’t study alot, and was running a fever of about 102 during my battle with the incomparible swine flu.  As I was reviewing my latest failure as an academic, I did notice something afoot. Continue Reading »

Years ago I lived with this boy.  Although I hear that it’s now pretty commonplace for men and women to reside together out of wedlock, several people around me were less than amused by this decision.  I mean, I’d just run away from home, and moved in with a guy I’d known for like three weeks or something!  Had I lost my mind?!  (Actually, in retrospect this was probably an entirely reasonable line of thought)  But, I lived with this boy and we were in love and everything was all well and right with the world.

Until I woke up and realized that ‘holy shit, I’m living with this guy?’  He wasn’t a bad guy or anything, he certainly didn’t hit me, or tell me I was ugly or anything.  Actually, he took care of me pretty well, and supported absolutely everything I ever did.  It sort of seemed like he thought the sun shined out of my ass, which certainly isn’t much of a problem at all when ya think about it.  Nope, the problem was me.  Though years later when said guy reappeared, I realized that either I had terrible taste or the guy had really flipped out and gone nuts.  Not to toot my own horn, but the guy really did flip out, in that crazy “I can see the  future” sort of way.  Apparently if you start taking massive amounts of methamphetamines that’ll happen.

Back to my problem though: years ago I realized that I have this phenomenal ability to become boring with absolutely anyone in a very short amount of time.  It wasn’t that I didn’t love that guy, I definitely did (at least I think), but eventually the shiny-ness of the situation wore off.  Almost every single relationship I’ve ever had has ended in a pretty similar way – One day I get tired of them and leave.  It’s not that I mean to, and it’s not about how much I do or don’t like em, but it just goes that way every time.  Sadly, I’ve yet to figure out how to fix it.