Sunday, March 19, 2017

Trashy Memoirs and Other Petty Amusements

I’m currently reading the deliciously trashy memoir “How to Murder Your Life” by Cat Marnell, which is the literary equivalent of a bowl of potato chips. I’m not saying this because I am in any way a book snob, (I read Dan Brown, for Christ’s Sake,) but it’s not normally the kind of book that would interest me. I don’t like memoirs, and I’m not enamored of poor-little-rich-party-girl narratives. But damn, this one really hooked me--mainly because I’m shocked that Cat Marnell is still standing. She’s 5’2” and has ingested enough speed, heroine and booze in her short lifetime to kill someone the size of Andre the Giant ten times over. I also find it compelling because I’m appalled at the number of people in her life who have been involved in her enabling—her kind, well-meaning bosses at Conde Naste, but also a parade of sycophants, deadbeat boyfriends, users and hangers-on who saw a wealthy hot chick with a serious problem and decided it was okay to take advantage. Not to mention her cold, clueless parents who passively funded her lifestyle but didn’t seem to care much about her emotional well-being. It’s sad and disgusting, and Cat is an extremely frustrating narrator, but still I read on, like the gluttonous trash-glutton I am. As obnoxious as Cat is at times in the book, I do think she is genuinely talented, and I hope that she can keep it together and move forward with her life and her career. She’s as much victim as perpetrator, and she deserves some real help and support.

I went down an interesting Pandora rabbit-hole last week after setting up a new Pretty Reckless station as a break from my normal, tinkly, airy-fairy New Age fair. And I heard the most amazing thing: a cover of “The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed. It was so stunning I listened to it five times in a row. It actually gave me chills. It occurred to me that this is what that song was meant to sound like. Nothing against the reedy, ethereal sound of the original, but when you compare the two, you’ll realize that the first version is major weak sauce. “The Sound of Silence” is a serious, brutal, heavy song that needs some major gravitas in its execution, and Disturbed’s version nails it. I think that even Simon and Garfunkel would agree.

Well, I am just chock-full of petty amusements this week. The other thing I’ve been distracting myself with is the absolutely charming side-scroller “Trine 2,” which popped up in my Steam queue on sale for three dollars. Three dollars!! So of course I had to buy it. I like it because unlike many games, there are multiple ways to solve puzzles. You can flip between an object-levitating wizard, a nimble ninja, and a rotund warrior. Between the three, the game allows endless creativity in the way you move through the world and solve problems. The lack of rigidity really appeals to me. I love that it allows me to solve logic problems using creativity and wit, rather than, well, logic, which isn’t really my strong suit. Also, the graphics are stunning, and in one sequence, you get to feed peaches to a giant animated frog. What’s not to love?

Here’s the real version of “The Sound of Silence.” It starts off innocently enough but really picks up steam in midway through:

--Kristen McHenry

No comments: