New Year, New Home

2019 is here! The New Year is also my blog’s birthday. Never Hollowed By The Stare is now 8 years old. I am also now officially on WordPress. Yay!

I started this blog on Tumblr at 2011 then turned it into a book and manga blog at 2016. 

When Tumblr decided to implement their controversial policy and there was mass migration. I don’t like how they handled the NSFW situation and I don’t know if Tumblr would still be around in the long run. I decided to play it safe and move to WordPress. 

I’m still getting used to WP and I’m pissed they don’t have audio plug-ins like Spotify. I have to make do with Youtube. Bummer. 

The links from 2018 and older goes back to my Tumblr account. I’m sorry about that. I’ll be working on fixing them but with years worth of posts, it might take some time so please bear with me. If anybody knows how mass edit links, please help.

I tried to make the blog as close to my Tumblr as possible but I am also planning to do special weekly or monthly posts and try my hand at tags if I can. Let see where this goes for 2019.

Here’s to a better, brighter year!

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River Queens: Saucy Boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America – Alexander Watson

Two men and a spotted dog restore a vintage Chris-Craft motor yacht and launch across the American Heartland from Texas to Ohio. The restoration, the people they met along the way, and life in an America which few know exists are the story of River Queens: Saucy boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America.

I live in an island and there’s a river at the back of my house but I have zero knowledge of boating. So I was slightly worried that River Queens might be heavy on boating jargon. Author Alexander Watson reached out via email and sent me a printed copy. When I finally got it in the mail, I browsed the first few pages just to get a feel of the book and before I even realized, I have already read through half of it! This is one of the most engaging and easiest books to read.

Alexander and his partner, Dale Harris, both of whom were landlubbers, bought the Betty Jane on what seemed like a foolish whim to save a beautiful antique designer boat. Such impulses I could totally understand because I have been known to buy a Walter Van Beirendonck jacket from a thrift store despite not having the right body type nor the weather for it. The driving force being, I must have/save this beauty!

We quickly learn that owning a boat is one of the most impractical things you can do. As the saying goes “A boat is a hole in the water you throw money into“. There were never-ending repairs and even during their trip, one thing or another kept breaking down. This kind of high pressure scenarios can make or break relationships. Alexander and Dale worked well as a team with a little bit of drama now and then. Many of these scenes were presented with self-deprecating humor that I find appealing and relatable.

Their adventures took them across several states and along the way, they absorbed the river culture and all the unusual people they met. There were keen observations and vivid descriptions of the river people that were insightful and illuminating particularly to an outsider like me. Some were laid out in in a way that referenced local Midwestern habits, icons and mannerisms and a few of these confused me somewhat, like the significance of the white gloves and its connection to the First Ladies, because I am not completely familiar with this part of the US. However I could gloss over these and it did not hinder my enjoyment of the book. Also, a little googling helped. Same with the boating terms. They were used often once the two men started on the renovations. I didn’t pay them too much mind and I could go on reading just fine. Later, I discovered there was a glossary helpfully provided at the back.

Sadly, homophobia still existed in some of the places they visited but there were much more genuine interest on Betty Jane and Doris Faye, and many acts of kindness and spontaneous connections remembered fondly throughout the journey. The river has its own dedicated community and its own rules and I appreciate the mutual respect and affection the river rats have for each other. Everybody loved Betty Jane and Doris Faye!

I love Doris Faye!

River Queens is a boating adventure that can be enjoyed by seasoned sailors and landlubbers alike. It is a well-written portrait of the American Heartland told with openness, sensitivity and good humor. Highly recommended!

P.S.

Thank you to the author, Alexander Watson, for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

Soundtrack: Down By The River
Artist: Milky Chance
Album: Sadnecessary

Code – Takanashi Morimichi

After finding out his twin brother Kuu was sleeping with a woman, Yuu wanders around feeling dejected then collapse in the snow. He was picked up by Bruno Maddock, a man who tattooed his name on Yuu’s arm…

Features Iwase Yuutarou from Makkurayami de Kimi to.

I love Kuu from Makkurayami de Kimi to but Yuu’s story is boring. Lovely art tho

(source: http://www.mangago.me)

Waves – Ingrid Chabbert & Carole Maurel

A young woman and her wife’s attempts to have a child unfold in this poetic tale that ebbs and flows like the sea.

After years of difficulty trying to have children, a young couple finally announces their pregnancy, only to have the most joyous day of their lives replaced with one of unexpected heartbreak. Their relationship is put to the test as they forge ahead, working together to rebuild themselves amidst the churning tumult of devastating loss, and ultimately facing the soul-crushing reality that they may never conceive a child of their own.

Based on author Ingrid Chabbert’s own experience, coupled with soft, sometimes dreamlike illustrations by Carole Maurel, Waves is a deeply moving story that poignantly captures a woman’s exploration of her pain in order to rediscover hope.

As somebody who has no interest in having children, I couldn’t even begin to imagine the grief and pain couples go through when they’re trying to have a child only to lose them to a miscarriage. I would even be an insensitive ass and dismiss the whole thing with “why don’t they just adopt?”

Author Ingrid Chabbert shares her story via Waves, a graphic novel about two women trying really hard to have a baby. They were so close to their dream only to have it snatched away. Truly heartbreaking! Theirs is a very moving story about coping with a loss so immense that simply to continue moving is like learning to breathe again.

“It’s like learning everything over”
“No choice.”
“It’s kind of like learning to walk again”
“Yeah, just as frustrating”

Their journey towards healing and recovery is reflected on their dreams of being submerged in the sea and struggling to swim against turbulent waters. It was very overwhelming. I would have drowned already. Yet these women kept fighting and their love for each other and the baby remained strong.

They found support from other couples with similar experiences. The comfort and relief they received from these shared stories was palpable. I’m happy they found reasons to smile again. They also found solace in writing and traveling. The idea that healing and inner peace don’t have to involve prayer to a god also resonated strongly with me

Waves is an eye-opening experience for me. It reminded me and my callous streak, not to minimize other people’s pain. It showed my pessimistic self that even in their deepest despair people can still find the strength to move on. And in the midst of grief

You are allowed to laugh.

P.S.

I received a copy of Waves from  BOOM! Studios  via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

Soundtrack: Ocean Breathes Salty
Artist: Modest Mouse
Album: Good News for People Who Love Bad News