30 September 2008
The other I finished is called Fight Global Warming Now by Bill McKibben. It is actually about organizing. As such, it was ok but not really my point of interest. There is a lot of information about how to get an event set up, get media coverage, even having politicians speak. Anyone interested in learning about basic community organizing would probably get a lot out of it. A 4 from me though.
28 September 2008
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan-7, non-fic
Duma Key by Stephen King-7
The Dracula Dossier by James Reese-6, though i don't know if it counts as it isn't out yet!
Bonk by Mary Roach-6, nonfic
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith-6
25 September 2008
24 September 2008
One of Chloe.
Close up me!
R looking cute.
So, i've decided it's a 4. Not bad, but it left me with way too many questions. maybe i'm just missing something so feel free to tell me how wrong i am.
22 September 2008
I finished New Moon today and will be getting the final two from amazon tomorrow.
So yeah, i splurged on books, spending $45 in the last few days. I'm a grown up, dammit! I can do what i want!
I liked New Moon, not quite as much as Twilight. Bits, like Bella's depression, were far too familiar for comfort. I'm personally still deep in the whole "nothing seems real" phase to be able to read about it in others really. But I really liked Jacob. I am not sure how Meyer can try to set anyone up as a rival for Edward. Jacob is a sweet, young guy though and, setting aside the age thing, exactly my type. I hope things turn out well for him. One thing I don't understand is why Bella wants to be a vampire RIGHT NOW. She's seen how difficult things are for the Cullens, having to move from place to place and pretend to be in high school or college over and over again. Why not wait until 21? or 25? I certainly would've chosen to stay at 25 forever, but NOT 18. ugh. She also needs to learn that harping on something constantly is not the way to get what you want. Ah well, perhaps in Eclipse. Another 5.
So i am using this for the Chunkster Challenge, but not any of the others. I only have 2 left for RIP and 1 for YA! The end is in sight!
Currently: waiting for Heroes!
20 September 2008
Love is always dangerous but for Bella Swann extra so because she's in love with Edward, a vampire. He lives with his vampire family (though they seem to get on much much better than the groups in Anne Rice's chronicles) and can read minds. Just not Bella's. She moves to Oregon to be with her father, whom she barely knows, because her mother has recently remarried. She's a junior in high school and really self sufficient. As someone who did move high schools (and 1000 miles) between my sophmore and junior year, I can completely agree with the portrayal of that portion of the story. Yes, it's hard. Yes, gym sucks when you think you're done with it then have to take it again. But you also get an outsider perspective on all the bullshit that the locals don't have, so it is very easy to be a bit detached.
Some of the bad reviews i've read focus on the Bella character. The complaints seem to be that she's too teenagery, or not teenagery enough, or too perfect, or too oblivious to the danger she's in. I disagree with all of this. I think she's a decent character. She's not super attached to her parents, she barely seems to know them, but what teenager does? I think she's a loner who has solid self esteem. Yes, Edward and the other boys find her attractive but not every YA book has to be about the ugly duckling.
This is my second one for RIP. only 2 more to go! It also counts for my YA challenge, the first book i put on the list in fact! I give it a 5.
19 September 2008
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work.
Henry IV, Part 1, Act 1 Scene 2
I so disagree. Sure, you might be bored of doing the same play every day. But trust me, it would suit me fine. I am the person who, while comprehending that some people actually enjoy working, can't imagine doing anything more than tolerate a job. So yeah, reading, hiking, playing on the internet, talking to friends, traveling, watching movies, swimming, cooking, volunteering, practicing yoga and visiting family would pretty much keep me occupied for years!
18 September 2008
From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain, and nourish all the world.
Love's Labour's Lost, Act 4, Scene 3
On a different note, something quite cool.
17 September 2008
Cowards die many times before their deaths;So what are we looking at here? A speech by Caesar. He's saying he's not worried about death, nor should anyone be. I love the first line because it is such a universal feeling. Every time i have to get blood taken i freak out, shrinking my veins and making it more difficult for the nurse to find them. If i know in advance of the appointment that I'll have blood drawn i worry and worry over it. How bad is it really?
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
Julius Caesar, Act 2 Scene 2
So why do i worry about it? who knows. for the same reason my friend literally cannot speak in front of a crowd whereas i can do it, i just am not very good. for the same reason some people have anxiety attacks. I'm a coward when it comes to needles so i play it over and over in my head, making it worse.
so don't be like me!
16 September 2008
I love this speech; it has such a great maleness that i can't begin to describe. Brash confidence, strength, youth and power coming together in just a few minutes worth of words. You get everything: a sense of the speaker's personality, motivations, goals and aspirations. A few years ago the Belcourt Theater held a contest on 10-25 for the best performance of the speech. I should have gone, even just to watch. Though i know a big section of it, i'd in no way be able to perform. stage fright sucks!
I finished Kitchen Literacy: How We Lost the Knowledge of Where Food Comes From and Why We Need to Get it Back by Ann Vileisis today. It is another 4. Again, not awful, but more scholarly history of industrial food manufacturing. Mainly, markets began in cities so that people could buy products from local farms. As cities swallowed the local farmland and natural resources such as fish were overconsumed, more and more food had to come from farther away. So food distributers began using different processes, like canning, freezing, and adding chemicals to foods to preserve them for longer distances. The factory-style farms required things be faster, cheaper, more uniform and people had to be convinced to accept that as the only way. The rise of advertisements and marketing get a lot of coverage. It is weird to think that people used to actually believe what commercials told them. It was also very disheartening to hear how hard the USDA fought against setting the "organic" label to actually mean something. There were tons of endnotes that i didn't read, so they may have included more info on how to get more knowledge. Vileisis basically goes into the back to the land movement in the 60's onward and how that lead to organic food. She feels that if more people try to find out about food then manufacturers will supply more info because people expect it. I don't know about that. She does mention CSA's and farmer's markets too. It isn't a bad book, I'd just rather read Michael Pollan or Eric Shlosser.
15 September 2008
"It is fit I should commit offense to my inferiors" Cymbeline Act 2 Scene 1
Who doesn't feel superior sometimes? Especially we lucky few in Customer Service. Work has been awful these last few days (hey, i know, lets build call centers in south Texas! what could possibly happen there!) and i'm just not feeling "friendly and helpful" :)
I finished The Book of Vice-Very Naughty Things (and How to Do Them) by Peter Sagal today. He's the host of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me on NPR, a program i fully admit i don't "get". The book was ok, a 4 on my list. I kinda felt like it was a bad draft of something by Mary Roach. It was interesting but i think the publisher should have left of ..and How to Do Them from the title. It would be better served with ..and Why to Do Them, no double entendre intended. It is really about what makes people tick, attracts them to the various vices described, what makes activities a vice anyway. And no, i wasn't looking for a list of websites to visit, just a bit more humor, perhaps a first person account from someone who actually seems to have vices, not be weirdly prim about them. Again, it wasn't a bad book, just not what i was expecting.
14 September 2008
I am going with all Shakespeare. some weird ones i hope. The first I actually wrote down after i saw the play in Nashville.
"Thus I turn my back, there is a world elsewhere" Coriolanus, Act 3 Scene 3.
I've never been suicidal but if i ever decided to leave a really pissed off suicide note i would end with that line. it is the literary equivalent of Cartman's "screw you guys, I'm going home" line. I love it; the preceding scene has the people of Rome banish Coriolanus, a war hero. He has a long speech that really amounts to "you guys are going to really miss me and i hope you eat shit and die" but of course far more eloquently. The great speeches always end an Act in Shakespeare and that one ends Act 3.
I'll have a friendlier one tomorrow!
11 September 2008
The book was more violent and racist as well. Yeah, The Horse and His Boy had some rough passages too but i don't remember people yelling "get the Darkies" either. wow.
it sucked. The animals in this one were so dumb! Perhaps they needed a class in critical thinking. And was the fact that the Ape is a bad guy a dig on evolution?
overall, it is a 2.
10 September 2008
September is Local Food Month. Go visit a Farmer's Market!
I also figured I'd do a bit of an update on my challenges. ACK!
Russian Challenge-3/4 required
YA Challenge- 9/12, though 5 weren't on my original list
Science Book Challenge-2/3
Name Challenge- 2/6
10 out of 1001-i give up! i forgot about this one and have only read 1 that counted.
Chunkster Challenge-kinda forgot about this one too. I've noted 2/4 but i've probably read another 2 for it. may have to go back and check a few to see if i've finished.
I feel like i've forgotten something. Maybe not.
09 September 2008
It is a great premise: what if Bram Stoker knew Jack the Ripper and wrote Dracula as a response to his experiences fighting the killer? The story is told through Bram Stoker's diary entries, letters and newspaper clippings, the same format as Dracula. Set in 1888, we begin with Stoker depressed, vaguely self distructive and very dissatisfied with his life. He's basically the COO for The Lyceum, the playhouse of Henry Irving and Ellen Terry and indispensable to Irving. But Stoker feels he is wasting his life and his talents. He's at a crossroads, a crisis point.
He meets an American doctor, Francis Tumblety. A bizarre dandy who takes his two hounds with him everywhere, Tumblety also seems to have the ability to charm or hypnotize. He immediately has the run of the Lyceum though no one ever sees him leaving or entering. Though Stoker loathes him, Tumblety ingratiates himself to Irving so Stoker must deal with him. Tumblety also seems to follow Stoker, showing up outside the Lyceum in London. Including at Stoker's initiation into a secret society! That is when the story really picks up and the murders begin.
The story is so packed with details it is incredibly easy to get into. You can picture the dingy, gaslit streets of London, the overstuffed Victorian drawing rooms and the bloody murders. Even though we know that Stoker survives and that the Ripper is never caught, the action sweeps you up. There are footnotes, which i found pretty useful as they detailed some of the background information on various characters. The one thing i wish about this book is that it had more background about the killer. It would be hard to put in with the structure of the book but i think it would have helped.
Very recommended. I give it a 6. Fans of historical mysteries, Ripper books, or alternate history novels would be pleased with it. It comes out October 7 so any RIPpers (pun very intended) who are interested have a few weeks to read it before Halloween. Enjoy!
07 September 2008
oh, you ask how i know this? That is a good question; let me explain.
Yesterday R and I went hiking at Fall Creek Falls. It is a beautiful state park in Tennessee. We walked down to the Cascade Falls with Chloe, which was a nice walk. She had a great time splashing in the water on the slippery rocks. We'd packed a lunch (hummus, pita bread, broccoli, Doritoes, bananas) and decided to next take a 3 mile loop hike and picnic at some point. the first mile was fine so we stopped, ate and rested for a bit. Once we'd gone another quarter mile the ordeal began.
R was about 10 feet in front of me with the dog. He suddenly STOPPED and said "hey there's a beehive." So i start looking around in the trees but he's pointing down at the trail itself. There was a dug out spot on the side of the trail where i can see bugs moving inside even from the distance. He kept standing there and Chloe stuck her nose in it. Then he says "oh we better go." He walked hurriedly about another 20 feet while i stood there trying to figure out how to go around. I decided to run along the other side of the trail and figured i'd be fine.
I was wrong.
As soon as i got just barely past the nest i felt the first sting. Richard hears me shouting and starts saying "come on come on", so i keep running but also keep getting stung. The bugs followed me. I keep running, passing him, and then he yells something like "Stop! are they in your shirt?" I drop my backpack, pull off my shirt and start running and swatting the air with it, then get stung again under my shorts. I look down and see 5 or so more on my boots. i stomp my own feet, strip off my shorts, and since i'm standing still get stung AGAIN! So now i am running along the trail, wearing just my boots and my underwear, R behind me picking up my stuff as i've dropped it. We run another hundred yards or so when i stop again because i am out of breath and i've realized i am running practically naked through the woods and Richard mentions something about needing to pull out stingers and needing to know if i am allergic. One of my brothers is allergic to bees but as far as I know i am not.
He catches up with me, says he hasn't been stung, and he sets all the stuff on the ground: my shorts, his pack and mine. he starts to kind of look me over and i put my shirt back on. R looks at the dog and right as he realizes Chloe has several yellow jackets, NOT bees, on her coat he finally gets stung. He starts swatting with his hat, starts yelling about how we need to run because they are following us and will continue to do so then i get another sting.
It went on like this for another mile: we run for a bit, we stop for some reason (like i try to put my shorts back on) and one of us gets stung. by the time we stop being stung we both have the wrong packs on, i am wearing his hat and both my shoes are untied. Richard is both trying to reassure me that i'll be ok with all the stings because it wasn't bees and also asking me about how i'm feeling and warning me about letting him know if i start feeling weird. Luckily, i was dressed by the time we met some other hikers.
All told, R got stung twice, he knocked about 6 yellow jackets off Chloe, and I got stung at least 12 times. yes, 12 times. One on my back, 3 on my stomach, 1 on my right wrist, 2 on my right thigh, 1 on the back of my right knee, 1 on my left calf, and at least twice on my left ankle. it may be more there as the whole ankle is itchy today.
I give this hike a 1! We did hike down to the big falls after this drama but i was distracted from the beauty by the stings. We had planned to do another longer hike but we didn't; we were both jumping at any kind of "buggish noise" we heard and i stung all over. Other than the stingy feeling yesterday and the itchiness today though i am fine. No bad swelling, no shakes or nausea or breathing issues. I did find out that if you get more than 10 any sort of sting you're supposed to go to the doctor. So apparently I am not allergic to yellow jackets.
06 September 2008
The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile- I've had alligator, which isn't on the list, so i am counting this.
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
10. Baba ghanoush
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects-technically I've swallowed plenty of bugs. So i am counting this one.
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
60. Carob chips
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake- 3 out of 4, not bad
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare-rabbit is the same thing right?
88. Flowers- do dandelions count for this?
90. Criollo chocolate
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
So my count is 43. there are a couple that i think i might have tried but i'll have to check with R. the fruit wine and a few of the sushi things might be updated soon. Feel free to use.
Update: I won't try Fugu. Just realized that was the poisonous fish. no way. If anything on this list may kill me, i won't try it.
05 September 2008
I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them.
Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading.
Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?
I would say yes and no. With Twilight specifically, i did buy the book both to see what all the fuss was about and because my little sister (14) was ecstatic about it. as she hadn't really done much reading for pleasure before the last year or so i am curious about the book that got her going. I think, though, that if it hadn't looked at least vaguely interesting I wouldn't have picked it up.
I get a lot of non-fic recommendations from The Daily Show, as they frequently have science or progressive authors. Whether some of these are popular otherwise I am not sure. I see some of the same books on sites like Alternet or Tompaine.com, either as reviews or ads. Some i read because i want to be up on the latest issues. so i guess that is kind of a peer pressure.
I definitely read The Road because of the ridiculous raving over it. I thought it was ok at best, so following the crowd was a bit of a bust for me. I picked up Colleen Gleason's series due to book blogger excitement; the first was fine and i haven't read the remaining. I am working on the 1001 List, which i guess is kind of an ultimate pressure to read situation. but i am working lazily at it and wander all over anyway.
I'm blanking on anything else right now. Harry Potter i got in on pretty early; I started reading Anne Rice and Stephen King in the 80's, basically as soon as my understanding got to their level. I knew they were bestsellers but not about the hype. I've actually avoided some of the raved about books i feel are just trash, like the Sparks/Albom works i ranted about on a yahoogroup. I did read The DaVinci Code because it was everywhere but i hated it. Does the fact i felt superior for not liking it count against me?
Currently: Drinking Yazoo Hefe and watching the only college football game i can find: Navy vs Ball St.
03 September 2008
02 September 2008
Six Degrees, by Mark Lynas, details the environmental changes as the average global temperature rises. Specifically, he shows what changes we'd expect at one degree, two, three, etc up to six. While the one or two degree world doesn't look too different, evidence suggests that once the global temperature is up by three degrees, natural feedback processes force everything hotter, faster, so that six, or more, is almost inevitable past that point. it isn't a bad book, at all, but it is extremely depressing. Ok, if i needed to emigrate, or cope with some kind of environmental catastrophe, or drastically downsize my life, right now that is something i'm capable of. but what about in 2038 when i'm 62? or 2058 when i'm 82? that's when these massive changes will start to really kick in, depending on how the earth reacts to what we've already done and if we try to do anything to halt our CO2 production. I give it a 5 but is wish the end was a touch more informative on what an individual can do right now.
The other book I finished I'm going to use for the YA Challenge. I read A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle. In this one, Charles Wallace has to travel through time with a unicorn, Gaudior, to change history. He has to fix things so that the leader of a Central American country has different ancestors. Meg helps, kything with him as he travels. The evil Echthroi of course try to stop them. It wasn't bad, wasn't great, though i did enjoy seeing how the events in one chapter become ancient legends a few generations later. I'd say this is also a 5 but i don't have high hopes for the last in the series which feature the twins, Sandy and Dennys. i can't even remember which is the doctor and which isn't!
01 September 2008
My family has invaded! well, not exactly, but after hearing the warnings about "category 5" and "storm of the century" my mom, sister and brother came up to visit me. they arrived yesterday and unfortunately drove a 10 hour drive in about 12+ hours due to all the traffic. It is great they are here but we are still a bit worried about all the various people who stayed.
Yesterday I pigged out before the guests arrived! went to a barbecue in Franklin, TN and had: ribs, cheeseburger, mac and cheese, super hot bratwurst, potato salad, sweet pickles, homegrown tomatoes. mmmmmm. Fun with friends.
I went canoeing with R on Saturday, with our dog Chloe. so i burned up a bunch of calories before i ate on Sunday! The Harpeth river was packed; we'd stop and bunches of people would pass us then we would pass them later. Due to doggie stops, the 4 1/2 hour took about 7. It was fun though. I got to swim a bit even.
so today we've been glued to the tv, at least the adults have. My little brother and sister have been reading and playing video games. The cel phones have been ringing off and on, with various non-Louisiana residents checking on my mom, who's passing along the info from the people in Louisiana. No major damage, just power outages so far. Luckily, they seem to just be getting rain/wind, nothing serious and no tornadoes.