Humor: “Hyperbole and a Half” by Allie Brosh

HyperboleYou guys, today’s a great day. We are exactly one month away from my birthday; I managed to prove someone wrong literally by quoting their own words back to them; and I spent my tax refunds and purchased a new laptop, whom I promptly named Dana.

I do still have Sydney, my Dell that I’ve had since 2008 — or was it 2007? I can’t remember. It’s been a while, I know that much. Sydney’s screen went dark in 2011, and has been hooked up to a monitor ever since. So instead of a laptop, she’s more like a very thin desktop. I also haven’t updated iTunes on Sydney since probably the same time, but that was out of pure cussedness than anything else. Sydney’s still running iTunes 10, and I’m pretty sure iTunes was sentient enough to be pissed off about it, because the “Do you want to download the latest version of iTunes?” message was getting darker and more pointed the more I ignored it.

(Downloading iTunes 12 onto Dana was really weird – like, where are my playlists? They’re on a tab? They’re not on the side anymore? What the hell?)

[Alaina finally copies her iTunes library from her portable hard drive into Dana the New Laptop and opens iTunes for the first time]




But I’m not shutting Sydney down or anything; she may still be running XP, but I’ve had a lot of great times with her. [Ed. AND ALSO NOW I HAVE TO TRANSCRIBE MY GYM PLAYLIST ALL FUCKING OVER AGAIN.] I mean, I rewatched all of the Strong Bad emails on her a couple of years ago; watching all of Breaking Bad crouched in my desk chair because, again, she had Netflix and this was pre-Blu-Ray-Player-With-Streaming-Capabilities; I think I read all of Cleolinda’s Secret Life of Dolls on Sydney, back when I was in my LiveJournal days.

And then one blog I’d occasionally stumble over to was Hyperbole and a Half. You may be wondering what the heck Hyperbole and a Half is; well, if you’ve seen this image–


— then you’ve also seen a portion of Hyperbole and a Half.

Allie Brosh began blogging in 2009, and her claim to fame were illustrations of events made in MS Paint (or similar). The pictures were on the crudely-drawn side, but only due to the limits of technology. But those drawings perfectly encapsulated the energy underneath Ms. Brosh’s stories.

You may have read some of her stories yourself; This is Why I’ll Never Be An Adult, for instance, resonates with me to this day (it’s also the story where the above image comes from). Or The God of Cake, which speaks to me on a level that is pure diabetes. My favorite story that was not included with the book is Seven Games You Can Play With a Brick. Tell me you wouldn’t want to gather a bunch of your enemies around for a rousing game of “Duck, Duck, Brick.” Look me in the eye and tell me that that doesn’t sound fun to you.

Oh, and The Alot! I almost forgot about that one!

So yes, in 2011, Ms. Brosh was commissioned to turn her blog into a book. She was going to take some of her most widely-read stories, create some new ones, and put them all onto paper. But between 2011 and 2013, Ms. Brosh went through a terrible depressive period; I do not know whether Ms. Brosh suffered from depression all her life and it was those years that were the worst, or if it was a sudden-onset-type thing. While I have had depressive moments in my life, I have never been diagnosed with depression or any other type of mental disease, and so a) I can empathize, but I cannot say I’ve had similar experiences as Ms. Brosh or anyone else who suffers from depression, and b) I don’t know the correct words to use, so if “mental disease” is incorrect, please let me know, I want to remain an ally for this community.

So anyway, Ms. Brosh’s depression took over her life for a couple of years. And the standout pieces on both her blog and in the book are Depression: Parts 1 and 2. She tells her story of how depression affects her, how far she had to suffer, but also, the turning point. For someone who hasn’t had a lot of first-hand experience with depression, this really helped me to understand what depression does; it doesn’t just make you feel bad, it makes you feel nothing. It controls your brain so that you do not feel anything. And in spite of all the heavy feelings and discussion on what depression is, she still brings her humor into it, and her amazing illustrations. They’re really an excellent read on their own.

Depression: Parts 1 and 2 were republished in the book, along with The God of Cake, This is Why I’ll Never Be an Adult, and The Party. The majority of the book is new stories, and oh my god, they remain as funny as everything else. I think the one that made me cry tears of laughter on my lunch break was the first story, “Warning Signs,” wherein she finds a letter she had written to her 25-year-old self when she was 10. At the end of the letter, her 10-year-old self and written, “write back.” This opens up a discussion as to how a ten-year-old may understand time travel, and also, the adult Ms. Brosh takes a moment to write letters to herself at various ages.

I finished the book in two days. If anyone (local) wants to borrow it, let me know. I loved this book. And between reading this, Strong Bad Emails coming back, and They Fight Crime! coming back online, it was a sweet hint of nostalgia for me as well.

Grade for Hyperbole and a Half: 6 stars


And that concludes 2015! A recap post should go up shortly, but I’m also compiling my Oscar!Watch recap and predictions over on Movies Alaina’s Never Seen, so … who knows. But at least I can write and watch TV at the same time, thanks to the new mobility Dana can provide?

Who am I kidding, y’all don’t care about my schedule. Shit will be up when it’s up. Probably right after I find out WHAT THE FUCK WHY DIDN’T ALL OF MY MUSIC TRANSFER OVER GODDAMMIT

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