This post is only partially about the Philip K Dick book I have just finished reading and perhaps more about what I do with my days off. Or how I waste them perhaps?

Mary and the Giant is one of Dick’s non-science fiction novels in the same kind of vein as In Milton Lumky Territory or Confessions of a Crap Artist (not be confused with this post). The Mary of the title should really be Mary Anne, but then that wouldn’t scan, and I guess the giant is a classical music store owner Joseph Schilling.

Mary Anne is a complex girl of some twenty years who Schilling tries to help out by giving her a job. He falls in love with her as well. Mary Anne is a belligerent, misunderstood, forthright and at times scared girl from a dysfunctional family trying to make her way in 1950s America. Schilling is chasing the American dream with varied success.

The story is quite straight-forward and interesting more because of the way it paints mid-town America at this time in history than for its plot. Race relations are a hot topic and it seems that the black characters, mostly musicians, are more sure of their place in life and their ambitions than any of the white Americans. There are some strong scenes and Mary Anne is perhaps the most fleshed out and believable female character Dick has ever created. She is awkward as hell and her speech, moods and reactions so similar to someone I once knew that I don’t doubt for a moment that she was based on someone Dick knew.

As well as finishing the book, I also finished watching American Horror Story: Asylum on Netflix which was rather more enjoyable than the first season, and a six part Monty Python documentary which may spur me on to finish watching the box-set I have of their stuff, some time.

I am up to ‘N’ in my CD marathon so I had Ned’s Atomic Dustbin in the car when I went to the tip to deposit a variety of crap from out of the garden and the garage – it’s quite amazing how much rubbish a household of two 40-somethings can accumulate given time.

As you can see I also spent some more time dicking around on Manga Studio 5 – getting to grips with the tools and the applications unique ‘language’ for want of a better word.

I also went to the supermarket and posted American Hustle back to whatever Lovefilm is now known as. The film started off a little slowly but eventually I got into it and really liked it. I thought the casting was a little odd for some of the roles, but that the acting was great. I would have liked to have seen more hustles going down (I was a big fan of the BBC comedy-drama Hustle) and less disco dancing. I think Bradley Cooper was outstanding in it and felt a little overwhelmed by the amount of ‘side-boob’ on show but that’s another story.

The weather today was really great. I had to roll my window down on the way back from the supermarket with “Kill Your Television” belting out. Yeah, I had to. Also started reading Catching Fire and almost finished The Portrait of Dorian Gray which I think will be the subject of other posts.

I was supposed be doing some writing. It’s twenty past seven now, I got up at twenty past seven this morning – that’s twelve hours of finding other distractions. Sometimes I am so frustrated by my own behaviour…