Thug Notes: The Hobbit

Thanks to my awesome mom, I experienced this today.





House of Leaves

Every now and then, when I am in need of a creative spark and can’t find words of my own, I look to House of Leaves. While this book sits atop “the list” as my favorite, it still escapes me sometimes how beautiful the language of this novel is. Not only is the plot more original than Plato’s chair he was so in love with, but every word, phrase, side note, all the bricks and mortar that hold the house together, are equally perfect. I wish I had my own copy on hand with me, so that I could share some of the less well known gems I have highlighted, circled, and starred, but these will do just fine. In a way, my copy has become something like an old house. Slightly dilapidated on the outside, but full of beauty and memories and moments of love and fear and breakthrough on the inside.

(Which makes me think, if Danielewski wrote his book like that of a labyrinth, with all the footnotes and scratch outs and indexes, is it possible that the house they are all getting lost in is the book they are entrapped in themselves as characters? Each page another layer deeper down the staircase? Could that be possible? Man this book can make your head spin…)


Anyways, here are some of the ones that always seem to make me forget where I am


“I took my morning walk, I took my evening walk, I ate something, I thought about something, I wrote, I napped and dreamt something too, and with all that something, I still have nothing because so much of sum’thing has always been and always will be you.”


“Why did god create a dual universe?
So he might say
‘Be not like me. I am alone.’
And it might be heard.” 


“Through all windows I see only infinity.”


John Mayer has been one of my favorite blues artists since he came out with Try and Continuum.  It was during this time that he quit producing mainstream music for the radio and did a tour with the Trio, often stopping in small coffee shops to play the blues live, casual, and for free. One particular song off of this album, Gravity, was an instant favorite. I’ve always found all of his lyrics moving, saying so much with so few words, and this one in particular struck me today. The song is about a man being brought to his knees by gravity, i.e. his being human.

“Oh twice as much

ain’t twice as good,

and can’t sustain

like one half could.

It’s wanting more

that’s gonna bring me to my knees.”

I always knew this song was about a relationship and a struggle, but today it struck me that it’s the struggle of a man to be faithful. It’s poetry like this, so simply stated with such weight, that is my absolute favorite. He can have twice as much if he pleases (the man is a musical god, after all) but it wouldn’t sustain him in the way that being half of a whole would. He later says “Gravity has taken better men than me, how can that be.” While it’s very sad, (it is the blues) I could listen to it over and over again. It’s so honest. He ends his song singing over and over again, “Keep me where the light is, come on keep me where the light is.”

The not so great “Gatsby”


I know, Leo, I’m sad, too. Sad that a movie with so much potential tanked so hard. The overload of slow motion glitter (literally) and violently bright everything wasn’t enough to mask the fact that the directors and actors were not capable of making this movie translate onto screen.

The things that worked:

Tom Buchanan, that is all.


Things that didn’t work:

The dialogue, plain and simple. I know it was straight out of the book , but that doesn’t mean it was delivered well.

The fast pace in which the actors, camera, and speech all moved. It’s obvious Baz Luhrmann was trying to give the film the appeal of a 1920’s flick, moving in fluttery fast motion. This left actors slurring over one another and spitting lines like venom. They were so ridiculous and pointed that it felt much more like watching a play. Why shouldn’t it seem like a play? Because it is not one, simply put.

Myrtle. I could have acted Myrtle better than Myrtle did. And I’m not an actor.

Nick. I always pictured Nick very, very different than Tobey Maguire depicted him. While Nick was swept away in the ocean of West Egg, he wasn’t oblivious. The entire book he was passive, yes, but still deduced so much in his mind about what he was witnessing. Tobey Maguire, for the most part, walked around the flashy set like a starry eyed five year old. Like this…



and this…



and this.


Just kidding.


And lastly, the soundtrack. If I was listening to it on it’s own, sure. That’s probably why it was the number one purchased album for a while there.And that is impressive. But, that’s not the point of the soundtrack. The job of the soundtrack is to accompany the film in a way that amplifies the emotion of the movie. It didn’t work. Despite their best efforts, the new age music just didn’t blend with the flapper feel, no matter how glitzy it was. The only track that came remotely close to working was “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey, who’s sound is whimsical and vintage. Other than that, you can’t mix Fitzgerald and Fergie. You just can’t.


Again, Tom Buchanan was really great.