Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This 'n That

I know, I know. I haven't posted in a REALLY long time. No excuses really, other than ennui.

So, while I wait to compose a thrilling new post, one that is sure to generate many comments, here is a quick update of my life.
I have just gotten over two weeks of a bronchial nightmare that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I took a grand total of 5.5 days off from work which is unheard of for me.
Somehow, during my visit to the doctor, I lost my debit card. I cancelled the card immediately yet for some reason it takes 7-10 business days to replace it. I am suddenly, painfully, aware just how often that I used the damn thing on a daily basis.
I am currently reading Treasure Island during my morning commute. What a fun novel. This is a good, fast read made better because the copy I have was a gift from a friend.
I am also reading The Three Musketeers as translated by Richard Pevear. I have seen 2 movie versions of this novel as well as the Disney short but I have never read the book. This book (first published in 1844) has everything - swashbuckling, intrigue, romance and deeds of derring-do. The translation has all of the wit, romance, and rollicking pace of the original French that make me smile, laugh and cheer for the good guys even as I'm reading it.
Through my Lit courses at Northeastern University I have learned that the translator is a very important aspect to consider when buying a classic novel. While the extra research can be time consuming I have been thrilled with my selections of books thus far. I am thoroughly enjoying reading the classics and perhaps for the first time I can clearly see why certain novels have been labeled as such.
I just finished reading Schulz and Peanuts - A Biography by David Michaelis. This was a Christmas gift from Katie that I had dropped broad hints about. The book followed Charles "Sparky" Schulz from his childhood through his death on February 12th, 2000, at age 77. Eerily, the last Peanuts strip ran the very next morning in the Sunday paper.

This novel portrays Schulz in all of his glory, warts and all. And I am fine with that. I did not expect that Schulz was a boy scout or a saint. To me there was no way that a man who instilled his strip with such humor and sadness couldn't help but be filled with his own neurosis. It is a fascinating look at the man who created the comic strip that most moved me to pick up a pencil and draw something - anything - in the first place.
Charles M. Schulz was the cartoonist that I wanted to be when I was 4 years old. I remember always having Charlie Brown paperbacks in the house and I would draw pictures from them ad nauseum. Peanuts was a brilliant creation. Even as a youngster I remember feeling the sadness that permeated the Peanuts strip. There was always a pathos there, just underneath the surface of the text or the drawings. Until Snoopy (and his elaborate fantasy life) came into his own and took over the strip it was always the tale of Charlie Brown who was just trying to get through the day without being reminded that no one really liked him. The depth of Charlie Brown's own sadness, Linus' sincerity, Lucy's crabbiness and Schroeder's dedication to his craft were all reminders that Charles Schulz was a man of deep convictions, profound sadness and gifted with rare insight into the human condition. I have loved very few comic strips in my lifetime and Peanuts is still in the top three. In fact, since no one asked, my top three are:
  • Peanuts
  • Calvin & Hobbes
  • Bloom County
Given the above ramblings obviously books or gift cards to book stores are ALWAYS a good gift for me.
Please make a note of this.


Blogger Summer Ryan Doyle said...

Glad to hear from you again, Andy. I hope you find some inspiration soon. Reading is always a fantastic source for me.

I recently lost my Credit/Debit card and boy is it a b*tch, isn't it?!

11:08 AM, February 12, 2008  
Blogger Andy said...

Hi Summer -

I couldn't believe that I was charged a FEE to replace my missing card. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Keep up the faithful blogging.I'm glad things are going so well with little pookerton.

What are you reading these days? Any acting work on the horizon?

3:11 PM, February 12, 2008  
Blogger Summer Ryan Doyle said...

I'm still "in process" getting to the acting work. Although I did have a dream that I was at an audition and competely unprepared. So I guess my subconscious wants me to get the ball rolling.

I just finished reading What the Dead Know--an okay literary thriller--for my mommy book club. I'm really hoping next up will be The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I'm so tired of "literary" fiction right now.

In the mean time I'm back to Dean Koontz with Brother Odd. He's predictable, but also reliably gives me what I want, so I'm pretty happy with it. :)

9:08 AM, February 13, 2008  
Blogger Cynthia said...

"Here, here" on the top three 'toons of our times! I too had paperback copies of "Peanuts" growing up and watched every TV special when it came on. The Christmas one was a book published the year we were born, one of my first Christmas gifts.

Since no one asked, I'm reading three books right now: The World Without Us by Alan Wiseman, Perfume by Patrick Suskind, and Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks.

Nice to have you back, buddy.

8:29 AM, February 14, 2008  
Blogger FoxInDetox said...

I was in a play in elementary school called "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown"...I got to play Peppermint Patty. Henry Mc., of course, was Charlie Brown. This play was how he got the knick name, Pumpkin Head Henry...Pumpkin for short.

Flash forward a few decades. I get a phone call while walking through Harvard Square. It was Larry F. I hadn't heard from him in years and he sounded upset. A passerby handed me a post card advertisement as he walked by and I took it out of reflex...I picked at it subconsciously while talking. Larry told me that Henry had passed away that day from his long term illness. I hung up, stunned. I looked down at the postcard in my hand. It was an advertisement for a play. "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown." I started crying.

True story. I told his mother and gave her the post card at his funeral.

8:32 AM, February 14, 2008  
Blogger Andy said...

Cindy! It's good to be back - thanks for having me!

I read "Perfume" by Patrick Suskind and I thought it was awesome. I have wanted to read "The World Without Us" by Alan Wiseman - let me know what you think of it.

9:11 AM, February 14, 2008  
Blogger Andy said...


What a sad, yet somehow wonderful story.

THAT'S how Henry got that nickname?? Wow!

9:13 AM, February 14, 2008  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Truth be told, I never actually had you.

I couldn't resist...

11:49 AM, February 14, 2008  
Blogger Andy said...

Apparantly you could... :-)

11:51 AM, February 14, 2008  

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