Monday, August 29, 2011

I secretly wrote this a few days ago and then proceeded to forget to post it.

So the east coast earthquake — can you say "unprepared"? Everything started shaking and I looked at the cat for reassurance that I wasn't having a really ridiculous hallucination. Once my brain caught up I ran and stood under the door frame because that's what "they" always say to do, but later my architect father said that was an awful idea and that you're supposed to go away from doors and windows — basically outside. I think he might have some of his natural disaster protocols mixed up, but I admit that standing under a door frame in the basement during an event that causes buildings to collapse doesn't seem like the most intelligent thing either. 

The animals were kind of freaked out once it was all over, which is kind of weird in retrospect since people are always talking about how animals can sense that sort of thing before humans. But really, they looked just as surprised as I was. Not to self: my pets are ineffective as natural disaster detectors. 

The rush of social media attention after this was kind of hilarious. The earthquake took over facebook. What did we do before social media? Probably not read the word "earthquake" so many times in the span of two minutes that it starts to look wrong. 

Anyway, the earthquake excitement was short-lived in my house, so my mom and I went to the movies. After the movie we went to Borders because I am a glutton for punishment.

I finally caved and bought a copy of a book I'd heard about on NPR and picked up every time I went to Borders, only to put it down later because it's still in hardcover. I also bought a copy of Daisy Miller (because who doesn't love Henry James?) and a notebook. I was actually looking for stationery, but I got distracted. I did seriously consider a copy of Knit Your Own Royal Wedding. Because seriously, who doesn't want yarn figurines of the royal family? I may not have the faux-sapphire royal wedding engagement ring (even though I can't deny, I wanted it. It's so damn pretty that I don't care if it's a fake, but getting called out on the royal wedding memorabilia might tag me as "crazy" and we wouldn't want that... right?), but I sure as hell can knit a Queen of England facsimile. Being unemployed at the moment, I couldn't quite justify spending the $12-ish even though it would provide endless hours of entertainment. If you, my loyal readers, want to pitch in and buy me this book I can promise pictures of my royal family attempts. Perhaps even puppet shows. Just sayin'...

But back to Borders.... Being there these days always leaves me feeling kind of awful. It's so damn depressing. They're even selling the furniture/fixtures. Also, it's just chaos. Like a duck on water — calm on the surface, but paddling like hell underneath (I may have just stolen that simile from So You Think You Can Dance. I don't even know. In any case I'm keeping it because it fits exactly what I'm trying to express. Oh! Or eye of the storm where it's all calm in the middle, but it's this massive, chaotic, destructive thing. That one requires a bit too much explanation though. Also, this parenthetical is getting ridiculously long. I'm breaking into the meta-blog. Yeah, I went there).

OK, this post went in many different (and clearly unplanned) directions. That's all for now.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The internet needs copy editors

There are so many people/companies in the world that cannot properly use the English language. And apparently all of them are online. Despite all this, I'm still without a job. Someone please explain this to me.

Earlier today I was reading "10 Direct Selling Tips to Improve Your Sales" or something like that. Tip number 1 was "make a good first impression." OK, that makes sense. Let's continue to the explanation. In the first sentence, instead of writing "almost," they wrote "all most." What was that about first impressions? Yeah, irony's a bitch, isn't it?

But seriously people, just re-read something before you hit "publish." It will keep you from looking like a dumb ass and keep me from wanting to hit you with something. It's a win-win.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

NPR is an enabler

I only recently realized how much NPR has to say about books. I love listening to their stories about new books on the radio, but I've discovered their blog and some of their amazing writers simply by "liking" them on facebook. Seriously though, I'd love to be a book blogger for them. NPR... hit me up.

I came across this gem today and now I have so many more books to put on my TBR list. At the moment, I can't remember if I've ever shared my Shakespeare obsession with you guys, but suffice it to say, it exists and anything that plays on the Bard's masterful works (provided they do so respectfully) is an automatic win in my book. The other books on the list look great too. I even want to read The Last Werewolf, despite my general dislike of paranormal genre-fiction. It just sounds so smart and interesting.

This list is in NPR's Summer Books 2011 subgroup. Generally, I don't have real "summer reads." I mostly just read whatever sounds interesting that I didn't have time to read while I was at school. Do you distinguish between summer and other reads?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I've been reading a bunch of different books simultaneously, but I finally finished two of them. I read 2666 by Roberto Bolaño and Looking for Alaska by John Green. I'm feeling a bit lazy though, so I'm just reposting the reviews I put on Goodreads.

Bolaño's 2666 has received monumental praise. Much of it is justified, but some of it, I think, is exaggerated due to the fact that he died soon after completing the book.

I found parts of the book incredibly interesting, but other parts felt disjointed and I found them difficult to get through. I guess my main complaint is that this did not feel like one cohesive work. The introduction states that Bolaño wanted it to be published as 5 separate books, but after his death, his family and publisher decided to publish it as one final work. As some other reviews mention, it doesn't feel like  2666 was complete at the time of Bolaño's death, and if that is truly the case, then perhaps bringing cohesion and tying all five parts together was one of the final steps that Bolaño did not reach.

I put off reading Looking for Alaska for a really long time. Generally I have issues with the built-up character of a gorgeous, yet quirky and intelligent troubled girl with whom everyone is enamored, so I approached this a bit warily. For the most part, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that it was an interesting portrayal of a different kind of teenage life. There were times when the characterization of Alaska made me want to bang my head against a wall, but it didn't completely glamorize a troubled mind.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Health Interlude

Recently I’ve really been trying to get myself to a healthy place. After being sick for so long and being on an abundance of medication that in many ways just made me feel worse, I’m trying to take back control and become truly healthy. I’ve been seeing a dietician who has me cutting out gluten and soy, upping my protein intake (which is difficult since I’m a vegetarian who only eats seafood because all my doctors told me that my body needs it right now), and taking supplements to decrease inflammation and help my body de-stress. I’m also trying to exercise. I’ve gotten to the point that I really wish I could get myself into running. Given my current joint issues and the fact that I had shin splints before prednisone turned me into a blimp, that doesn’t really seem feasible right now. Maybe I’ll try every once in a while.

I thought all these dietary restrictions would make things really difficult, but so far it has been OK. It just seems to take a little longer to prepare meals and snacks these days, but I can manage. The other night I made the massaged kale salad again. It was delicious. I tend to forget how much I like mangoes. I keep finding recipes that look amazing, so as I continue to try to become a responsible adult and take control of my body and eating habits, I’m also going to try to cook more. At least that’s the plan.

Here’s a picture of one of the mangoes I expertly sliced (with the help of the internet) into something that looks like a delicious hedgehog or something:

There have been a few books that I've read/been sent for review that deal with health and dieting, but they all strike me as incredibly unhealthy or impractical. Or both. One book I was sent to review is Turbocharged. To be honest, I've tried to finish reading this book on multiple occasions, but I just find it incredibly off-putting. It basically says to eat foods that have a high water content so that it tricks your body into thinking that you're full. I'm sure it isn't the intention of the authors of the book, but it comes off as "If you follow our rules, soon you won't have to eat at all!" and that is just not healthy. For anyone. I'm in a unique situation where I gained a bunch of weight in an incredibly unnatural way, and now have to fight to lose it, but even for a "regular" person, the Turbocharged tips and some of the techniques that this type of book suggests just don't make sense.

In other book-related news, I’m reading at least four books right now, so hopefully I’ll finish something and then post a review.

What kind of yummy, healthy things do you like to eat? Any idea on how I can get myself into running and skip the wanting to die part?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My cat is a junkie

There has been an amusing new development in my house: whenever I go anywhere near the fridge, the cat starts meowing and trying to climb up my leg. She knows that her tuna-flavored meds are in there and she wants them.

Let me take you back a few months… My cat was very skinny and the vet diagnosed her with a thyroid disorder and gave us some pills.

Now, if you’ve ever tried to give a cat a pill, then you know that wrestling something with four legs and a purely theoretical spine into a position where you can chuck a pill down its throat and then clamp its mouth shut for long enough that they’re forced to swallow it is a harrowing experience. One that no sane (or probably insane as well) person would want to relive two times a day.

Enter liquid medication. Why they didn’t just lead with that, I’ll never know. Anyway, now we certainly don’t have to wrangle her. She keeps trying to trick us into giving the meds to her more than twice a day. She will meow at you every time you open the fridge, hoping you don’t remember that you just gave them to her. It’s hilarious and I was going to post a video, but that requires me getting my shit together, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. But yeah, she will try to con you. Watch yourself. Conclusion: she’s a greedy little junkie.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic is the new black

So last summer on Goodreads, I kept seeing people talking about some book I’d never heard of: The Help. It was getting a lot of hype, which often makes me back away slowly since I feel like hype only leads to me being disappointed once I’ve actually read the damn book. Well, I caved. I was at the library and saw a copy of the book on the shelf and figured “hell. Why not?” 

Then I read (and reviewed) it. If you didn’t click on the link to read the original review let me sum it up for you: so. much. love. It was a great book. Well, it is a good book. I’m pretty sure that it hasn’t decreased in quality since the last time I read it. 

Anyway, I’m sure you can imagine my annoyance when I saw the signs advertising the movie. Actually, my first thought was “Already? Didn’t it only come out last summer? I figured I had a bit more time before I had to deal with this.” I was wrong. Apparently the film industry has run out of original ideas. 

Well, despite my general (and mostly principle-based) dislike of movie adaptations of books, I am cautiously optimistic. It looks like they may just have done the book justice. Damn, I hope so. Or I’ll be feeling a bit stabby. 

And by that I mean that I’ll have an urge to write a strongly worded letter that I’ll never end up sending. Same diff. 

The movie comes out on the 11th, so you’ll be hearing from me once I can save up enough of the money I find between the couch cushions.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

OK this is it for tonight, I promise

but as I'm addicted to THIS BLOG, and considering the movie and discussion I just attended, I think it's relevant and important.

I've been reading all of the Blogess's past posts and I just got to this one. If you don't have time to read the post, then I'll just leave you with the image she posted:

Hush now

I feel like that needs to be part of a campaign. I'd wear that shirt or put that bumper sticker on my car. It's an important message and sometimes I feel like it's something other people need to be reminded about me and about others.

That's all for tonight. Now I'm going to watch my light and fluffy dance shows.



and THIS

are hilarious. I love this blog. I just keep reading it and laughing manically to myself. It's a problem. Only it's really not because I'm incredibly entertained.

And my new catchphrase (if I decide to have a catchphrase) is FULL OF WHIMSY.

No, I'm not done complaining

I saw the movie A Single Man this evening. More on that in a moment.

Before the movie, we went to the Borders nearby. Walking in there, it was like I walked into the middle of a disaster scene. Now that's probably melodramatic and incredibly insensitive, but I'm having trouble forming coherent thoughts.

Seeing the 20% off signs everywhere brought up a lovely thrill, then the horror hit me. The signs were everywhere and though you wouldn't see it if you were only looking at the people, the store was in complete chaos. Entire shelves empty, books moved to completely different sections of the store... It was like going to the grocery store when they're predicting a blizzard and suddenly you have to fight for bread and milk. Only it was so much more sad than that.

I love the old mom and pop, independent book stores, but Borders really was an institution. I still have incredibly mixed feelings about their closing. (Though while cruising the half-empty shelves, I realized that the closest book store will soon be much farther away. Given the lack of air conditioning in my car, my feelings leaned slightly more toward distraught about the end of the Borders era)

On the bright side, I got a copy of Shakespeare's sonnets, Mansfield Park, and...

wait for it...


I'm probably way more excited about this than I should be. I haven't read JE in a while and I've been meaning to, but now I can read it with pictures!

There were so many other books that I wanted, but I'm still jobless and thus in the poor-house. Also, they're still hovering at 20% for fiction, so I might try again when they get closer to shutting the doors and just need to get everything off the shelves.

So. The movie.

It was unbelievably sad, but also incredibly poignant and it truly was great. It's based on a book of the same name, so I unwittingly broke my own rule once again, but I would like to read it now. Since it was showing at AFI and they love doing things like that, they had a Q&A with two mental health professionals afterward, and, of course there's always one whackadoodle who, given a microphone and opportunity, will talk just to hear their own voice. Thankfully, the moderator handled it very well and we were spared what could have been a very long, uncomfortable tirade. Ah, the first amendment. I love it, but sometimes.... well. Yeah.

I've been telling myself that I want to write a post about The Help and the upcoming movie, but this has been a long-ish post, so maybe tomorrow.