Monday, May 31, 2010

Ah, Memorial Day...

My mom and I realized last night that we'd missed Rolling Thunder during our DC excursion yesterday. Not an entirely tragic occurrence, but the spectacle does generally amuse me.

In other news, I have been temporarily exiled from the lovely little hovel I have cultivated in my house by none other than a burn out light bulb. "But Bluestocking," you say, "it's the middle of the day. Natural light!" To which I will reply that it is not the middle of the day. It is the morning as I write this, and the fact that I am awake and even remotely functional before noon is a feat within itself, but that is not the point. The point, dear readers, is that this beloved hovel of mine has black-out shades on the windows. Quite a genius invention, really. Unfortunate in my case, however, since the cord to said shades is broken and thus I languish in darkness save for the glow of the tv and my computer screen. And so, I have relocated to the living room and have commandeered the couch. My stuff may soon spill out onto the floor, making things slightly more difficult, but we shall cross that bridge when we come to it.

Alas, I miss my hovel.

And now on to getting shit done. I have deemed today my 'Get Shit Done Day' and hope to accomplish at least something.
...I may just end up reading more of Outlander or finishing The Man in the Iron Mask. Speaking of which, I am currently quite displeased with Alexandre Dumas. I will not elaborate so as not to give anything away to those who haven't read it (it really is phenomenal, I highly recommend it, even in my current state of displeasure).

Right. Back to getting shit done. Or, more precisely, beginning to get shit done. I shall sally forth and all that jazz.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My day on the town

Today my mom and I went on a mini-reconnaissance mission to make sure I knew how to get to my Chinese class that starts next week. It was a fairly productive day in that I also turned in my passport-sized photo for my J-card. Now I (hopefully) know where I’m going and won’t embarrass myself by asking for directions from every single person I pass on the street.

Since we were in DC, we headed over to The Shakespeare Theatre, which had opened up their rehearsal for the show Mrs. Warren’s Profession to the public. Apparently they did the same thing last year and ended up with a turnout of about 50 people, but it seems that it was much better publicized this time around and after standing in a very long line we filed into the theatre to watch. My mom and I were expecting more of a dress rehearsal/run-through, but that wasn’t really the case. It was really just a regular rehearsal, so we got to watch the director give notes and change things. It was really cool witnessing that dynamic. As I mentioned in a previous post, I used to be really involved in theatre, so this was a nice little flash-back. The director is a hilarious British man and so even though we didn’t see a huge part of the show, I really enjoyed the experience of watching the rehearsal.

In between the reconnaissance mission and the rehearsal, we stopped at Books-A-Million because, well, it’s me after all. I ended up buying Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. One of the groups I’m a member of on is reading it as one of the June books. I was going to try to get to the library and borrow it, but it was there and I was weak. I’m also still afraid of going back to the public library, but that, dear reader, is another post.

In fact, I have many a planned post for this blog. I promise. I’ll get to them eventually. Please keep reading. Please? Yeakaythanks.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Review

I recently finished A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. It’s that book that everyone raved about as this raw, chilling account of addiction and recovery and yadda yadda yadda… until the shit hit the fan and people found out that Frey had embellished or just plain fabricated a great deal of his ‘memoir’. People were pissed. Especially Oprah. Oprah raved about this book, she took her book club in a completely different direction with Frey’s addiction account because she found the story so moving/inspiring/etc., etc., ad nauseum. And then it turns out so much of it was a lie.

Maybe my take on the book is different since I read it after all the hype, but I don’t see the big deal. Yea, the story is raw; Frey doesn’t spare us the grimy, gory (and sometimes really unnecessary) details of addiction and detox, but it’s also labored. As you read the narrative, you can feel what Frey wants you to feel – how much he wants you to feel it. He’s just trying too hard.

Early critics praise his jarring, pseudo-poetic, stream-of-consciousness style as reflective of the subject matter and experience – the inner workings of an addict’s mind/soul/what-have-you.  Again, I say, he’s trying too hard. Random repetition of words and phrases with a lackadaisical use of punctuation does not a literary genius make.

A Million Little Pieces was also praised as an inspiration for addicts everywhere. Now I am not an alcoholic or addict. I have never dealt with any chemical dependency issues. My biggest dependencies are on chapstick and seltzer. That being said, I don’t believe addicts everywhere should follow Frey’s example. Throughout his entire stay at the treatment facility, he resists all the programs and treatment plans laid out by those trying to help him. I understand his resistance to a certain extent – the facility repeatedly stated that the Twelve Steps are the only way to lasting sobriety. I don’t believe that this is true. Strength to hold on can come from a variety of places. That being said, Frey presents his own way as more effective and dismisses all other philosophies on addiction and recovery. Perhaps Frey’s book can inspire some of those who need help to seek it, but it doesn’t strike me as the inspiring story of recovery that it has been made out to be. Frey is still sober, he has managed to “hold on,” as his friend Leonard said, but to suggest that resistance to proven programs can be equally effective is just plain irresponsible.

I’m not saying that there aren’t merits to A Million Little Pieces. It is an enthralling story. True or not, Frey’s story captivates the reader. As in Frey’s experience, I found myself liking and caring about the characters, regardless of who they were or what they did outside of the treatment facility.

So that’s my say on A Million Little Pieces. I didn’t find it all it was cracked up to be, but it was a decent read.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Foooood... and books

I made lasagna tonight. Other than being a little crunchy on the top, I’d call it a success. I simultaneously love and hate cooking. I really like to bake and I’ve reached a relative level of comfort with that, but for some reason cooking still causes me some bizarre unfounded anxiety. I enjoy the results though. And hopefully if I continue, I’ll become more comfortable with it and then bye-bye cooking anxiety!

… I can dream.

It also helps that there are lots of recipes I want to try. I find them everywhere, from the packaging of various products, to blogs, to books(!). Some of the books I’ve read in the past have really great looking recipes interspersed within the stories. A lot of those recipes come from colorful family backgrounds and work to bring a sort of authenticating feel to various memoirs (or what I have now become accustomed to calling Life Writing).

I also have a bunch of cookbooks I should really peruse. Every once in a while I get a vegetarian cookbook and go through it and mark things I want to make. Usually things end about there. I’d like to try to take things a little bit further this summer and maybe succeed in making some of the dishes.

Teaching myself to cook is part of my bettering-myself plan for the summer. I kind of have one every summer. Or every season. Or all the time. This summer I’m supposed to be relaxing. No one seems to realize how stressful not stressing out is for me. So anyway, in between relaxing and stressing about relaxing I will be reading, taking my Chinese course, and working (assuming I get a job. I need a job. Badly. I am B-R-O-K-E), but I will also try to cook/bake more, be more active (gotta get into rugby shape!), devote more time to arts and crafts, and sleep. And update the blog, of course. AND (and yes, I know I already said it, but it’s important) read. I will be reading a lot this summer. I always do, but I need to start figuring out what I want to write my thesis on, and the best way I can figure out how to do that is by reading, so that is what I intend to do.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A re-read reminiscence

I just finished re-reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I read it at some point in high school, but it was one of those books that took me an eternity to finish because I would pick it up during a break or long weekend, but then totally forget about it for months at a time during the school year when other books and activities monopolized my time.

I’d forgotten how different it is from the musical. Oh yes, dear reader, I forgot to mention. There are many layers of dorkdom beyond this not-so-pulled-together façade. Other than the obvious, and among others, I am a huge theatre geek. I love everything theatre related and am thoroughly obsessed. The flames of passion have dampened a bit since I started college – less time and more demands on my attention, but the love remains. Don’t try to talk to me on Tony night. And don’t be surprised if interspersed with all the other genres on my iTunes list you find showtunes. Actually, my music library is probably still about 40% showtunes. The remaining percentage covers the majority of the rest of the spectrum. Excluding country and rap (and not even those two entirely), almost every musical genre has found a place somewhere in my music library.

I have veered horribly off-course (though still focusing on something that belongs in a library). Where was I? Oh yes, Wicked. Good book. I recommend it. Every once in a while it gets a bit frustrating, but it’s nothing an even slightly determined reader can’t work through.

Wicked is a great story on its own, but it’s even more enticing because of the familiarity of the subject matter. Everyone knows the story of Dorothy, her companions, and the Wicked Witch of the West (and if they don’t, what rock do they live under? I may not be up on all that’s hip, but the Wizard of Oz is classic. A childhood staple. But I digress…), but Maguire shifts the focus onto the antagonist of the well-loved story. Once he asks the questions – why does the Wizard want the Witch dead? How did the Witch become what she is? Is she really evil? What is evil? – you can’t help but wonder. And then you’re drawn in and there’s no turning back. Maguire doesn’t promise answers, and whether or not he delivers any is up to the reader, but Wicked’s is a captivating and enjoyable journey either way.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Readers... Bluestocking Revolution. Bluestocking Revolution... readers

And now for an actual introduction to this new blog…

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a bluestocking as follows:
“Of women: Having or affecting literary tastes; literary, learned” or “One who frequented Mrs. Montague’s ‘Blue Stocking’ assemblies; thence transferred sneeringly to any woman showing a taste for learning, a literary lady.”

According to Wikipedia, “A bluestocking is an educated, intellectual woman. Such women are stereotyped as being frumpy and the reference to blue stockings refers to the time when woolen worsted stockings were informal dress, as compared with formal, fashionable black silk stockings.”

The stereotype that developed is what has sparked my ‘revolution’. Reading is sexy. I know it, you know it, and hopefully a lot more people will know it as well.

I spend the greater part of my life surrounded by strong, intelligent, amazing women and there is nothing frumpy or sneer-worthy about them. It’s time to take back bluestocking and make it ours.

I don’t promise that all my posts from now on will be particularly enlightening or intelligent or even interesting, but it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want thankyouverymuch.

These are not spirit fingers... THESE are spirit fingers!

On an entirely seperate and, let's face it, much less intellectual note, Bring it On is on tv. I can't tear myself away... I love these ridiculous teen movies/ romantic comedies.

Friday, May 21, 2010

“There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction” ~Winston Churchill

So it's probably pretty obvious that I've made some changes to my blog.

The name and the look are most obvious, but I might try to change the focus a bit as well. Since I've decided to continue this exercise beyond the class, I think it's just something I need to do.

I'm slowly but surely making the changes and I guess we'll se what happens from there...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I can't find my book list. This distresses me much more than it probably should.

Also, I feel weird. Kind of woozy. That thought is not necessarily connected to the above. But possibly something to ponder...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Because I can only facebook stalk for an hour or two...

So generally speaking I've gotten a lot better in terms of procrastination and, you know, not doing it. That being said, I can still be an amazing champ at wasting time.

Today I was trying to work on the stuff that may or may not have been due yesterday (but it is impossible to get anything done in a timely manner when dealing with certain members of the dean's office), but it was messing with my head and just plain exhausting. So what is a mawrter in my place to do? Peruse blogs of course!

There's a blog that I love to read - Apocalypstick - and the writer is really just phenomenal. She's hilarious and smart and real - basically everything I wish I was. At the end of her posts she often links to different songs. I have spent the better part of today going through all (and I mean all) of her previous posts and downloading the songs. I now have an "Apocalypstick" playlist on iTunes and it contains 143 songs. I've got some listening to do...

I also have some translating to do. That's probably more urgent, huh? ugh.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

So I came home early to finish my finals from home because of health reasons and now I think I might have to request extensions past the 14th. I really don't want to, but if I try to get everything done by then it might kill me... or my doctor might. I'm seeing her Wednesday, so we'll see what happens.

In similar news, my parents may want to infest my body with parasites.

...that sounds really dramatic. Actually they want to infest my body with hookworms, which studies have shown can help with putting UC (and other illnesses) into a remission. It might theoretically be a good option, except 1) I might not be able to without tramping barefoot through feces (um, yea, no thanks) and 2) on a fundamental level I just find it really off-putting.

Alas. I guess we'll see. I'm with my pets now and even though I feel pretty awful physically, something just feels better while I'm around them.

Sleep would probably be good too. I guess I'll do that now.

Sorry for the somewhat depressing post. I want to revamp the blog at some point and hopefully it'll be fun and upbeat and not a constant recap of my health issues...