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This post could also be called: How A Book Saved My Life.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t just the cat. It was also ArtPunk, and through him, Chris Hardwick.

During my lowest times of depression, ArtPunk kept telling me to listen to an audiobook by Chris Hardwick, and I kept blowing him off with things like “I’ve never heard of him, so how can he help me?” (which was the STUPIDEST thought ever) and “I can’t listen to audiobooks and get anything out of them” (which was wrong).

Then I started my new job. And I needed something to listen to while working besides pandora. Music was beginning to bore me. That’s when I thought about the audiobook he mentioned and thought “Meh, what the heck? It’s worth a listen.” And the next few days were amazing.

As I listened to this book, called The Nerdist Way, it really sank into my head and hit me deep inside. It was probably one of  the best decisions I’ve ever made about a book. It literally changed my outlook on life. I was laughing along with it and really analyzing myself and my thoughts. It really made me think about the way I’ve handled things in my life. And the day I finished it was absolutely amazing.

I left work that day feeling like I could take on the world. And maybe win. I was so incredibly happy and felt like things were finally going my way. For the first time in a long time, I felt like everything was going to be ok and I was going to make it. I realized that things would eventually get better. I learned to enjoy the good things while they last, but without stressing about when they’re going to end. I learned to enjoy my burrito. I resolved to not take the easy way out. All because of this book.

The Nerdist Way is a phenomenal book that saved my life and all nerds and geeks should read it. Chris Hardwick and his humor really hit home for me and I think it will for many others who grew up awkward and socially inept, and even those who didn’t. He talks about making a character tome to keep track of your achievements and goals. It serves as a motivator and is kind of like D&D. ArtPunk and I are starting ours together.

Also, you should listen to his podcast, The Nerdist, free on iTunes. It’s full of humor and it’s “amaze-balls”. I listen to it at work and I’m on episode 50 already. He even does live versions of the podcast for audiences around the country, one of which I am attending THIS VERY NIGHT in DC. With ArtPunk. Cuz he’s awesome. I’m hoping to get our books signed by Hardwick tonight. Funny story about that too: I bought him the hardback copy of The Nerdist Way for Christmas and he bought me one too. Best present exchange ever. Then I gave him a graph paper moleskine notebook for his birthday for his character tome. I have a matching one that’s lined. The biggest geeks.

So yes the cat saved my life while I was deep in depression, but it was also ArtPunk and Chris Hardwick. I realize that I may have glossed over ArtPunk’s involvement in my recent life in my last post, but I was in a very bad place right then. Hating the holidays and all. But he really was there for me and tried to help me through all of it. I just wasn’t too receptive of his help. Which I regret. He’s been through a lot of crap with me ever since we met in freshman year of college, and I am unabashedly grateful for it. I just don’t know how to show him that all the time. Which makes me seem like a jerk occasionally. But he understands, because we’re both not the best socially and he knows I don’t say everything I should. And sometimes I say a lot of things I shouldn’t.

But anyway, I’m really excited to see Chris Hardwick in person tonight. I doubt I’ll get a hug like I did from Schaffer when I saw him in DC, but it’ll still be awesome. And I will enjoy that burrito. So much.

Chris Hardwick. ArtPunk. I heart you.

Just realized that it’s been over a week since I said I’d post a review of American Gods and of the movie Cowboys and Aliens. Well I’ve finally stopped failing and have decided that it’s about time I post this.

American Gods

This is, shockingly, my first real exposure to Neil Gaiman’s work. And what a good choice it was. I originally picked the book up on a whim shopping spree at my local used bookstore, Second Edition, where the clerk recommended it as my “4th book is free” or something like that. I am now forever grateful to that man. He has officially rekindled my love for sci-fi reading. Thank you, random guy! I think his name was Josh or something… I don’t know, but anyway, bakc to the actual book.

The book starts out a tad oddly and at the end of the first chapter you’re taken into a scene where a man is swallowed by a vagina. It scared me a bit, and I definitely said “What the FUCK?!” but it didn’t put me off from reading the book. In fact, it made me want to figure out how the hell that scene makes ANY sense based on the things I had read so far, which was not too much, as it was the first chapter. So Mr. Gaiman, I have this to say to you: “What the FUCK? And also, good job sir. That was amazing and ridiculous and kept me reading.”

There are random bits toward the end of almost every chapter where the time perspective switches to show a bit of history and backstory of events leading up to modern times. These little bits progress through time as the book goes along, eventually catching up to the present. It was an interesting technique and at first it confused me, but hey I’m easily confused. Har. Some of them weren’t nearly as interesting and some were rushed, like the story of a pair of twins that depicts their entire lives. But still, an interesting technique.

I don’t want to give too much away, but this is a really great read for Sci-Fi and Fantasy fans. It is engaging, it is clearly written for adults, and it almost mocks religion, but doesn’t cross the line. Overall, it was about 500 pages of “what happens now?” and then a few “I KNEW IT” occurrences. But also a few great “abuh?” and “WTF?!” spots. Action, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, love, betrayal, sex, murder, war, drama, and comedy and probably more that I just can’t think of right now. Mr. Gaiman, I would tell you to pick a genre, but you seem to handle 17 at once just fine. Wow. Applause.

Five stars.

Cowboys and Aliens

This movie was a fun little summer blockbuster from which I expected nothing. I had zero expectations walking into this film. All I knew was that it had New James Bond (Daniel Craig), Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), and Thirteen (Olivia Wilde). I went in there wanting to enjoy it and just have some fun.

Upon my exit, I was very much satisfied. The trailers I had seen didn’t give away any of the resolution, which was a pleasant surprise. Sometimes I knew just what would happen next. Sometimes I was blown away and completely surprised.

The characters were simple, but deep enough to make a bit of a connection to them before too long. The plot was very 1-2-3 and straightforward. The glimpses of Jake’s past were interestingly portrayed and well-placed, though his history with the wife wasn’t full of all the information I’d wanted, but it was all that was necessary.

A simple tale of bad to good mixed with an old west environment makes for a shoot-em-up time and an entertaining result. Simple and satisfying.

Four stars. Maybe four and a half.

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