Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Put a Coffee Can and a Candle in Your Car!

Klosterman puts on his novelist hat for the first time and doesn't nearly knock it out of the park as much as he hit one into the deepest part of left field and hustles around the diamond and slides into home, dirty and safe. "Downtown Owl," is a novel about nothing and something simultaneously.

Being a rural boy myself, I have always dug Klosterman's style, voice and penchant for the Heavy Metal gods of the 80's. There is a light dusting of music here and there, but Klosterman does a great job of focusing on the characters' quiet desperation. It reminded me of the Bret Ellis novel, "The Rules of Attraction," only the characters aren't as hallow--they're real Americans--simple on the outside, yet complex on the inside. The brilliant thing that Klosterman does is that he exposes the characters complexities at the exact moment that they discover them.

I won't give away the ending as much as I'll comment on it. It's a stab at local media and how they often get the story wrong--you'll see what I mean.

Way to bring the ink, Young Master Klosterman!

(x-posted in Amazon Review)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Point of Origin

To quote Staind, "It's been awhile." (Can you believe that the band still records and tours to this day, a band that Fred Durst discovered over 10 years ago. Sometimes you have to scratch your head at the longevity of some bands--I'm looking at you Bon Jovi).

So, okay--I moved back to the valley in August to teach at the Community College I attended 10 years ago (Porterville College). More to the point, I moved to Exeter, the rival town to Woodlake, the town which I grew up in. Exeter is a much cleaner, utopian town than my beloved Woody. Exeter is also the town that my dad and my brother partially grew up in. In fact, a lot of Stutsmans inhabit its city limits.

The picture in the house above is the one my parents and my brother lived in before I was born. The story goes, my parents moved into the ranch house in Woodlake a solid month before my fetus hatched. The significance of the house above (100 Albert St. Exeter, CA 93221) is one of origin, or conception for that matter--for I was verifiablly conceived in the house sometime in the early autumn of our country's bicentennial.

Have you ever pondered what album you were possibly conceived to? For those of us who didn't grow up under the tear of liberal new-agers for parents, we are positively frightened to ever ask our parents this question. So for the sake of making this blog post more interesting and poignant, I'll make it up.

Mine would be Boston's eponymous album, the one with the Space Invaders space ships on the cover that looked like an early generation model of the large cylindrical object that tries to communicate with Earth's extinct humpback whales in Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home.

I think Boston wax was spinning on the long play for two reasons:

1) The album came out roughly 9 months before my self-titled debut and 2) my parents had this album in their collection.

ANYHOW, I am not surprised that I have never pondered the when and the where the deed was done and isn't that funny? The single most significant event in our personal history will always play second fiddle to the most repugnant thought that we could muster. I think that says something about out society at large but I have to go and find the nearest trashcan to throw up in.