Books read in August 2012

Yes!  A mere six books finished this month!  And with three weeks off from work!  Good job me!

Are You My Mother
Alison Bechdel
This was beautifully drawn and pretty hard to slog through.  Alison Bechdel has done a lot of therapy and thinking about herself.  Her story is sort of interesting, sort of annoying.  Parts are rather funny, but the whole thing is very cerebral, in a distancing way.

The World of Downton Abbey
Jessica Fellowes
This was a “companion book” to the TV series which I totally grabbed from the “Lucky Day” shelf at the library and enjoyed.  Aside from insights about the actors, the book also examined different facets of society and related them to the characters we saw in the series.  It was the kind of “history-lite” learning I enjoy.

Why We Broke Up
Daniel Handler
Matt and I read aloud.
Reading this out loud is a perfect way to capture Handler’s fabulous prose.  I liked it the second time just as much as the first.

Scott Westerfield
It may have been the wait between the last book and this one or it may be that it took me too long to read it, but I found this book to be less compelling than the first two.  The elements were there, but they had grown stale.

Jane Eyre
Charlotte Bronte
Read for Kenton Book Group.
By the time I got to the end of this book, I loved it.  This book has everything!  And I mean everything!  At one point I challenged Matt to tell me any fiction plot point that didn’t involve guns or sci/fi and that it would be in Jane Eyre.  And it was!  We played that game for 45 minutes and every plot point he mentioned was in the book which was doubly interesting because he was mostly recounting plots from comic books.  I realized that the book had everything in it when Jane Eyre goes on what would now be termed as a “shopping spree” near the end of the book.

That said, I had trouble getting in to the book. The dense prose and archaic vocabulary was off-putting before I realized that I love dense prose in modern books, why not love it in this one.  Still, I think if I hadn’t been on vacation, I might not have finished this.   And wouldn’t I have missed out?

The Marriage Plot
Jeffrey Eugenides
While I adored Middlesex I found this to be incredibly “eh.”  None of the characters caught my attention which is often the kiss of death for me and a book.  There were some amusing observations here and there, so that was nice, but overall, I was not a fan.

Started and did not finish.
Prince Caspian
C.S. Lewis.
Yep.  I’m throwing in the towel on this series. I just don’t care enough.

Maybe if I had not already seen the movie I would be more interested in this book?  But the movie so nicely sums things up, I just let this book go after a bit.

New clothes.

Thanks to a coupon I had a great time at Macy’s.  I bought:
Two pairs of PANTS THAT FIT!!!!
One green t-shirt, with polka dots and a cute ruffle on the neck.
One absolutely flattering black dress with cute buckle at waist.
One absolutely gorgeous crochet dress which was originally $139.00 and I paid $19.00
One very flattering black t-shirt dress.
One skinny black belt to go with the crochet dress.

Three sentence movie reviews: Moonrise Kingdom

Viewing two of this movie was just as delightful as the first, perhaps more so as I didn’t have to pay attention to plot and could just immerse myself in what was happening on the screen.  I think my favorite line was the simultaneous “that was the girl!” spoken by Bruce Willis & Edward Norton.  And it’s interesting to look at both Bruce Willis and Edward Norton, who have both played action heroes and compare them in these roles.

Cost:  $6.25 (plus $5.00 in ATM fees because I didn’t think to bring cash)
Where:  Cinemagic, which is a lovely theater I’ve only been to one other time.

Three sentence movie reviews: Red Dawn

I hadn’t seen this since I was fifteen or so and though the opening scenes were awesome, it slowly but surely rolled down into mediocre territory from there.  I think one of the problems was that all the boys looked alike which made it hard for me to feel sad when something happened to one of them because I couldn’t tell which one it was.  Also, the many gratuitous shots of the various characters shooting their guns made me realize we used to see that all the time in movies and now we never see that, probably due to advances in computer animation; before showing us what happened after the bullets were fired was an expensive endeavor and we had to use our imaginations, now it’s just computer generated and we can see what the gunfire does.

Cost:  free from library
Watched: at home.

Essay: Everybody Talks is awesome.

Why is “Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees the most perfect
set-them-up-and-knock-them-down pop/rock song? 
Here are 11 reasons:
catchy chorus
.  It wormed its way
into my brain after hearing the song only once and before I knew it I was
googling lines of lyrics to find out what song it was.*
inability to understand exactly what the singer is saying in places
.  Back in the day, when I needed to sing the
exact lyrics I had to rewind and transcribe lyrics and listen to the
unintelligible parts again and again, never really sure if I had it right.  Now, however, I can find the lyrics online
and discover he is singing “everybody talks back” instead of “everybody talks,
babe.”  Before, mush mouth lyrics
inspired debate, now they just fuel insider knowledge.
to drugs
.  Every good rock and roll
song should have some reference to drugs, however mild.  This one seems to lean toward prescription
drug abuse.  Bonus points for implying
the person being sung to could be the drug. 
Who doesn’t want to be someone’s drug?
.  Just like reference to
drugs, mild profanity is always welcome in a classic pop/rock song, the better
to imagine the scandal if one’s parent heard it.  That the mild profanity could be interpreted
as “not a swear” makes it that much better.
sex, but of a very innocuous strain

We now have drugs, profanity and sex! Awesome! We know there was a kiss,
but there’s also discussion of a love shack. 
And really, is everybody talking just because they kissed?  I think not. 
However, tweens might have a different interpretation.
structure: verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus
.  It is a setup that has been working well for
more than half a century, and it still works now.
(2:59) so you can hear it often

When it takes less than three minutes, commercial radio can play it
every hour.  Or I can hear it three times
in 10 minutes.
Self pity.  With lyrics like “I’m the sorry sucker and
this happens all the time,” don’t you want to just snap up the singer and tell
him he deserves so much better?
need a bit of interpretation musically.
 There’s that “oh my my” section in the second
verse that requires a bit of ballsy singing, making this a tough karaoke
song to pull off successfully, despite its simple construction.
Not too
many words
.  Though a lot of
repetition can be bad (see “Lean on Me”) it can also be quite good because it
means that the lyrics can be learned quickly.
nonsensical video that is quite fun

They are watching the zombie movie and in the zombie movie? Huh?  Also, there’s a bit of backup singer-type
choreography in the cars, which is delightful.
You want to hear it again, don’t you?
ps.  Female drummer!  Awesome!

*Not only did the internet tell me, I then listened to the
song three times in a row on YouTube.  This
is why I love the internet, though I acknowledge that it is causing a shift in
the economics of being a musician.

Three sentence movie reviews: GI Joe, Rise of Cobra

This was a big, dumb action movie, but it held my attention.  There were some pretty cool things, and I didn’t see the plot twist coming at all.  It could have done with more character development, but something has to get sacrificed to the special effects machine and I guess that’s as good as anything.

Cost: Free from library

Watched: at home.

poster from:

City of Roses “e”

The City of Roses Motel, down the street from my house, is no longer there.  The sign remains, however.  When we first moved here, the sign said “City of Roses OTE.”  I realized today that we were down to just the “e”.  Then I wondered what happened to the letters.  Were people prying them off as souvenirs or were the letters falling to the ground?

Investigation brought me to this broken M.  But there were no other letters about.  So maybe letters are falling AND people are stealing them.

This was an awesome vacation!

I know not why blogger chose to rotate my photo that was in the correct orientation before I uploaded it.  Blogger is not my friend right now.  But onto the point!

This vacation was awesome!  Every time I have a long school vacation I make myself a planning calendar.  It has the days of the vacation and sometimes the goals.  Then I write in what’s happening and have the whole vacation at a glance.  This vacation I accomplished all my goals:  paint bathroom, paint bedroom, garden, finish reading a friend’s book, clean out physical inbox, catch up blogs.  Not only did all that get done, but I did social things with my friends, did work trades with my friends, watched a whole lot of (mostly Channing Tatum) movies and even read.  It was fabulous!

Non-Matt Muddy Buddy

The job of Athletic Supporter requires standing around with a camera ready to capture whatever action is happening with the athlete you are there to support. Because I have so few opportunities to capture the athlete and so many opportunities to capture everyone else, I inevitably come home with a lot of pictures of the athlete and then even more pictures without the athlete that I just like.  Here’s a tour of the Muddy Buddy, without Matt.

So the “buddy” aspect of the race means there are a lot of “twins” outfits.  This is fun.

The race itself had people walking around taking photos.
The “buddy” aspect of the race means two people are often doing the same thing at the same time.
Two of the photo people.
One of the better male outfits.  Way to embrace the chest hair!
This man doesn’t know it, but he’s an Athletic Supporter, too!
The blue line registers the athletes start when their chips cross over.
This guy reminded me a bit of Julie McCoy from Love Boat.
There were two other guys with Julie McCoy hyping up the crowd at the start, though it looks like there’s about to be a fight.
I think this lady is not an Athletic Supporter, because she was standing on the side where normal spectators weren’t.  I think she might have been with the male announcer.
She kind of looked a bit bored.
This photographer’s efforts to get the kids to cheer resulted in the kid in the red running back to his mother.   Which resulted in me laughing.
Fans!  Much more so than the woman checking her phone.
Waiting to start.
This blue mat is not quite right.
South Salem High School’s ROTC were the volunteers.  There were two guys who had to stop people from walking across the course when athletes were coming through.  It was a tough job and I was interested in the contrast between their ROTC role, their job stopping clueless people, and the demeanor they projected.  I faced this guy, so got more photos of him than the other one.  I tried my best to capture all of the above, but I don’t think I did.
These guys had the fun job of pulling people over the wall, which was sprayed in fabric softener to make it even more slippery.
A younger competitor waiting for his partner.
Both of these women wore shirts that said, “I will step on you to win.”  They were a bit scary, though less so, post shower.
Done showering.  Just wait!  These guys will appear again.
We were at Kruger’s Farm.  There were chickens.
First place already!
I loved this interaction between Kate, the owner of our gym, and her race partner.
Heh.  This team placed in the coed category.
Hey!  It’s the guys from before!  Being weighted as part of the “Beast” category (Over a combined 450 pounds). I liked the interplay between all these people.  This is my favorite picture I took.
They turned out to be the winners!