Personal

Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself

Over the course of this blog’s lifespan I have managed to muddy the very essence of its soul with the toxicity of mine. It’s obvious it wasn’t my intention to make this into a seven-days-a-week, all-hours-of-the-day, woe-is-me bitchfest about my loneliness and depression. I’m a thirty-year-old father for fuck kristsake. I’m fifteen years too old to continue like some vapid high schooler when I have an almost-two-year-old son who needs me to keep it together, because heaven knows when his mother will come to the same epiphany as I have: Is this really how I want to embarrass my son? Shouldn’t I embarrass him by acting like a dad instead of some man-child? It doesn’t mean I can’t have fun. Just a different kind of fun.

And every year I say I’m going to abandon the seven-days-a-week, all-hours-of-the-day, woe-is-me bitchfest, but my upkeep isn’t seen through. Every time I turn a corner, I look back and see what’s left behind and what I wished followed me. As you should know, I purchased a book to aid me through this muck and mire to meet my short-term goals of daily positivity (a special thanks to Miss Potatoes for helping with that one). Normally, I don’t believe in self-help books but I always found that Buddhist philosophy actually works to bring my mind to peace. I’m re-incorporating mindful breathing to steer clear of stress and anxiety. And rather than publicly announcing my depression and personal issues, I’m returning them to the written form and tucking them into the bookshelf after I’m done.

Fireworks #1

So what does this mean for the blog? Well, hopefully it means that the blog will infuse my writing and reading under one roof. Reviews, book hunting updates, a how-to book hunt (finding deals, stalking the aisles of Barnes & Noble to quench the itch, understanding there are other sites than Amazon, etc.), the newly invented Posts by Shaun category, plus other topics of interest (comic book shopping, film watching, music listening) that incorporate my life (while not getting into the dreary aspects of it). And, of course, my creative process.

So here’s to the new year. Forget all that new me, bullshit. Be true to yourself and some good shit will happen…or something like that.

Posts By Shaun

A Few Things

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Hello. This is Shaun speaking. Typing? Whatever. That’s me up there in the slideshow with my reporter face on. It’s cute, isn’t it? What can I say? I take my good looks from the good parts of my daddy and mommy and I have to say that I’m one awesomely, über-cute baby toddler big boy bad ass. I’ve taken over Dad’s computer because I can and he’s not around because he’s sitting in the corner, his legs up with a book lying his lap reading some book about a little person—someone who’s a little bigger than me, I’m told—with hairy feet and who wears a ring and fights a dragon. He tells me that he’ll read it to me when I’m older and can sit still longer than for a few minutes, but I’m all like, “Dad, I can type seventy-two words per minute. I’ll read books when I learn to read. Until then, lemme just get on the computer and blog my thoughts.”

And what thoughts does an almost-two-year-old me have? Well, first of all, I noticed that my feet are funny and cute and—supposedly, according to my father who gives them a sniff whenever he’s in the process of changing my diaper (I think because it makes him laugh that I laugh, but I only give him those chuckles because I know it means so much to him to hear me laugh)—stink.

Secondly, I’ve noticed that my dad has a lot of books. And I mean A LOT of books. Now most people think they have a lot of books when they fill up one shelf space. And that it’s over doing it when you fill up an entire shelf. Dad has more than that. More than three.

Your average almost-two-year-old might say a gazillion (actually, your average almost-two-year-old would just babble some nonsense, but whatever, but I give all my peers the benefit of the doubt) shelves, but it’s less than that. Way less than that. But, to be honest, I think my dad wants to hit that some day. He just might.

Now the word hoarder gets thrown around a lot these days, but that’s not too far from the truth with Dad. He  likes to call himself a book hunter—which is like a treasure hunter, but one who buys his booty rather than stealing it from other people. For instance, he heard that Barnes & Noble was having their red-dot sale where everything with a red dot is half price. He also knows that since it’s the end of the year, the calendars are also on sale.

He made off with three books from the red-dot sale—Blonde Bombshell by Tom Holt, whoever that is; Martin Sloane by some guy named Michael Redhill; and Along the Watchtower by Constance Squires—for only $1.79 each. Not a single one of them is about a fox or a monkey that makes friends with a walrus named Tiny Tamoo. At least none of them have tiny people with hairy feet in them, which is an upgrade for my dad.

Along with these books, he walked away with copies of Your True Home by some guy with a funny name (Dad says to be respectable of others, but the guy’s name is Thich Nhat Hanh; it reads like something I say when I’m just making noises with my mouth to entertain my parents) and a copy of The Upanishads, which he tells me is a holy book from some ancient religion, translated by another guy with a weird sounding name—Eknath Easwaran. I asked Dad about his non-religion and the fact that he has a lot of books from various religions, but he just rubbed my head, picked me up, and blew on my tummy so it sounds like my butt, which always makes me laugh.

He bought himself a Zombie wall calendar filled with a lot of awesome zombie drawings, which would scare most almost-two-year-olds, but not me because I’m a zombie slayer at heart and I laugh in the rotting faces of the undead. He bought a One Direction calendar for my cousin, Jaylene—sure she gets eye-candy as a calendar, but you ask for a calendar of 1950s pin-ups and  you’re told you’re too young (pfft! double standards)—as well as, a Smurfalicious bookmark. Nothing for me? Gee, thanks Dad.

Oh well, I think that’s about all I have to say tonight. Maybe, if I’m good enough (or if Dad’s reading that other book about more little people with hairy feet and rings), I’ll get to post soon enough.

For Chapin City Blues, this is Shaun Damien Corona signing off. And Happy New Year!!!

P.S. I should probably note (Dad told me to) that the sale price is in store only, as it seems. If you want to pay $1.79 for the red-dot books you’ll need to have a membership and actually visit the store. It seems the website is marked at a regular (and semi-discounted) price. However, as any good book hunter in training knows, Amazon has them for a fairly reasonable price, which is why I linked to those pages in most cases. Sorry. Continue on to my dad’s rather boring posts about being a boring adult.

Personal

So This is Christmas

I don’t expect much from this holiday because it’s not about what you get, but what you do and give. A lot of people forget about that the true “spirit” of Christmas isn’t the fictional birthday of a savior—I won’t get into that, though. It’s not about the materialism that runs rampant during this time of year—the let’s-get-the-best-deal-move-out-of-the-way-old-lady-that-last-Playstation/Xbox-is-mine mentality.

Last Saturday, I recruited myself to help out the housing authority’s Christmas present delivery. All these low-income families living in public housing divisions lined up and were greeted by Blue Santa and loads of presents. We passed out the presents, making the days of several little boys and girls—pure gratitude painted on their faces. However, the older boys and girls—also known as teenagers—remained ungrateful. Several of the parents frowned at the gifts received. If it’s not the in thing, then it’s not worth receiving.

I get my nieces and nephews simple gifts. Shaun received books and a Mega Blocks set. I never go for the grand things, because it’s not about what the other kids’ parents can afford. It’s not about being spoiled. It’s about family. It’s about being kind to your neighbors. It’s about selflessness. The only war on Christmas is the one that tramples over its truest meaning—the secular meaning that both believers (as well as those of other religions) and nonbelievers should share, basic human compassion for one another. It seems that these days, the ones trying to “protect” Christmas are the ones trampling over what it really stands for. It’s not about saying Merry Christmas. It’s not about having to “hunt” for a Nativity scene—those are a dime a dozen.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite Christmas tunes and stories. Enjoy and I’ll see you all next year (after a book review that should be posted some time soon):

 

Books

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Outside of his Sandman comic books, I’ve never picked up anything by Neil Gaiman—I know: BAD BOOK HUNTER! BAD! However, the other day the Junior Library Guild sent us a shipment that contained a copy of Fortunately, The Milk, and admit laughter ensued.

fortunately the milk by neil gaimanAfter discovering that his kids don’t have any milk for their breakfast cereal—more importantly, any milk for his tea—one father takes a trip to the local corner store only to find himself on adventure of epic lengths.

A natural wordsmith, Neil Gaiman carved out a book that both parent and child will enjoy reading—preferably together as sneaking off with your kid’s books is frowned upon for some reason. Accompanied by the art work of Skottie Young, the story springs from the pages and takes you on a whirlwind of an adventure that’ll have you all in stitches.

You can buy Fortunately, The Milk at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It’ll make the best last minute Christmas gift!!!

Personal

Within All

Please

For C.N. — I’m not exactly sure what you’re going through, but I wanted to share a few words with you.

How do they keep at it like this? All that jabbering,
When just breathing the humid air feels like drowning.
There are so many good things in life I’ve overlooked.

There are times when silence feels like our only friend. Like a vacancy consumes our hearts and our minds cannot fathom a reasonable explanation for the darkness that seeps through the cracks of our cerebellum. And we claw at the wall in hopes to find sure-footing so that we may one day escape the prisons we built for ourselves. Where being alone seems to heal all things and ease all things. And within all things we may find nothing but disappointment in ourselves because we’re not good enough. We’re not perfect enough to love. That we deserve what we’re given and should accept it as a noble truth.

We don’t have to speak. Not a word shared between us in confession or in contrition. Because my words cannot bring you comfort anymore than you can. Because, in the end, every one must bear the burden of his own sins and every person must be the fabricator of their own salvation, that not even a god can do for us what self-help in the form of self-conquest and self-emancipation can accomplish.

We are the twin verses. The sacred truths. We are the light and darkness in each other. For anger breeds anger, hatred breeds hatred. Joy breeds joy and love breeds love. And I have lived through both. I have seen my hands cause pain and I felt my heart take delight in such pain. And I have seen my hands bring peace and I felt my heart take delight in such peace. Let us be like the bright gods, and feed off the happiness.

I once asked you not to apologize to me. Apologies are not a sign of weakness, they are a sign of strength. And strength shouldn’t be taken so lightly. Apologize for the things done within your control. Apologize for the words spoken in anger or the slap that escapes your hand.

I’ve done some terrible things in my life that I can never apologize for. That I cannot take back. I let the anger and hatred fester in my heart and I have seen the tears spilled for me. Tears that are worth more than the cost of my existence. And for years, I lived in anger. For years, I didn’t think of the feelings of others. And for years, I abused and misused those who were unfortunate enough to love me. And each time I did, an apology escaped my lips. An apology that wasn’t worth a pound of truth because I never learned from the mistakes I made.

And for this, I do not deserve the apologies of others. Because these are the demons I carry with me. These are sins that burden me each day. And until I can right these wrongs, I do not want to hear a word of apology spoken to me.

I created a set of rules and a code of morals and ethics for myself. Guidelines spawned from common sense and various religions and social contracts. I have carved my own buddhism, my own christianity.

With everything, within all, there is hope. There is light. There is peace. There is love and there is solace. And one day, I hope to share it with those I love most.

Just a quick note: I wrote this entire post while listening to this song—your recording—on a continuous loop. It just felt right.
Stream of Consciousness

A dream or nightmare

There wasn’t much to it. At least not in the end. The various pills and elixirs scattered and spilled on the floor mixed in the piss and vomit. Torrent of tears from mothers with Rosary-wrapped hands held in prayer to a god that wasn’t there while the altar boys knelt to pleasure Father Jesus. The voluptuous, vivacious Virgin vixen lay on the bed, her legs spread open for the offering of saints and sinners alike while the whore superior baptized the children with menstrual blood.

The boy overdose on heroine. Blood clotted the dropper. The injection came in with strong. They televised his death as Saint Francis Assisi held his naked body against his own.

A stained-glass heart. Multicolored facets of Hell. A bit too Catholic for the religious.

Manticore & Other Horrors by Cradle of Filth is available now at Amazon.
Manticore & Other Horrors by Cradle of Filth is available at Amazon.