Wednesday, July 30, 2014

You're making a friend right now! Look at your face, in the middle of friending!

Hello all! First up, HEY LOOK, I'm back! Wedding and honeymoon were amaaaaaaaazing and there will be posts about both of these things (or even multiple ones cos you know, milking it for topics).

Also, sorry that this post is going out late. I was super happy with myself to get the other post done and scheduled before the wedding. It was nice to have something non-wedding related to do for awhile. But of course I didn't get the reading/writing done for this week's post so yeah, this is happening now. This will also probably be a bit short because I read 1/2 of it before the wedding and the last couple chapters a few minutes ago so yeah. BUT before I get into this (and then get around to commenting) some intro information.
Thank you Emily for hosting this readalong and HarperCollins for making it possible. Do you want to pre-order this book? Have you been paying attention AT ALL to this readalong? Because if you have then OF COURSE you want to get this book. Which you can do right here! Unless you've already done it. Then it would probably be a good idea to buy a copy for a friend or something.

Oh also, there will be spoilers for this next section, so, you know. Heads up.

Johanna has been writing for the magazine for a little while now but she finally gets a big job. She gets to fly to Dublin to interview John Kite! (I don't know who John Kite is. Is he real? I will assume no.) Johanna continuos to be adorably enthusiastic (she would have made the WORST goth) and I love her bit about flying.
I am getting incredibly high on a single, astounding fact: that it's always sunny about the clouds. Always. That every day on earth - every day I have ever had - was secretly sunny, after all...I feel like I've just flown 600 miles per hour head-on into the most beautiful metaphor of my life: If you fly high enough, you get above the clouds, it's never-ending summer.

Johanna meets John Kite and is smitten. Not with his looks but he seems to be honestly, fully interested in her. What she has to say, the jokes she makes, what she cares about, the whole deal. It was a wonderful scene and one that I was constantly worried about because I couldn't help but worry that something terrible was going to happen and I kept remembering how young Johanna really is.

My worries were mostly unfounded (SO FAR). Kite doesn't take advantage of her or break her heart or anything BUT he does sort of disappear. He's off doing his tour thing and this is the early '90s so it's not like texting and email and constant connection was a thing so he may not be avoiding this girl who clearly has a massive crush on him. Of course her fangirl piece on the man does cool her work with the magazine. The piece does run but they don't have other jobs for her. Which couldn't come at a worse time because the news that Johanna had been dreading has finally come. The family's benefits are being cut while they are investigated for fraud.

The cuts the family has to make are heartbreaking. No one has to go without a life-saving operation or anything that drastic but things aren't good.
The truth is, when you are very poor, that 11 percent bites into the very bones of your existence. Eleven percent less means choosing between electricity, or food - electricity or food that is already rationed, and fretted over. Eleven percent is not very much - but, when you are very poor, it may form the bedrock of our survival. And now you are standing on so much less than you were before. You are unstable. You are liable to fall...We cannot do anything other than stay very still. We are on 11 percent less of was-never-enough in the first place.

Things are getting harder at home. Her parents are always fighting, Krissi's hopes of going to college are gone, and all of the guilt that I thought perhaps Johanna had been able to let go of is back now.

There are some funny moments. Krissi gets so fed up with Johanna's nightly wankings that he demands his own room and eventually gets the dining room and Johanna gets a desk (the former dining room table which won't be used for dining anymore. Not that it ever was before.) And Dolly gets resurrected.

She finally gets a call from Kenny and is chiding that she needs to sound like a reviewer and not a fan but she's given another chance. She shows up at the offices in Dolly regalia with the addition of cigarettes and MD 2020, which Wikipedia tells me is also called bum wine so well-done, Johanna.
She continues to live by the advice "fake it till you make it" and things seem to actually go pretty well. Who knew that would work so well? AND she gets to see Kite again. And he isn't terrible to her or anything that I was worried about. AND despite her drinking what seems like a whole bunch for the first time she doesn't get ridiculously drunk which...OK, that seemed a little odd. How'd she learn to hold her liquor so well?

This section ends with Johanna told that her legacy is trouble and she seems to decide to live up to that by writing a scathing review of a mediocre band. I'm worried about what's coming just based on Moran's column about her own foray into writing super mean reviews and her own feelings about them. So we'll see what happens to Johanna/Dolly. Till next time!

Title quote from page 135

Moran, Caitlin. How To Build A Girl. Harper, 2014.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Romeo & Benvolio, I love these two

Benvolio sort of like John Watson from Sherlock. Especially as played by Martin Freeman.

Romeo & Juliet is a really great play. I feel like it sort of gets overlooked because it seems like a cliched choice. EEEERRRVERYONE knows the story. Or at least they know the prologue-version (two households, star-crossed lovers, death-marked love, etc. etc.) even if I think way too many people consider it a great love story. I mostly consider it a great story of teenagers behaving stupidly and impulsively and ugh

But rather than focus on the love story at the moment I want to talk about Benvolio and Romeo. Particularly the first time we meet Romeo because Romeo is SOOO WHINY at this point, all madly in love in Rosalind, and overall giving pain-in-the-ass emo answers to Benvolio's question of "Hey, what's up?"I don't know that I've ever seen Benvolio played where he's exasperated with Romeo, but I don't know how this hasn't happened before because just looking at the back and forth I can't help but hear Benvolio's sigh before every response. Here's essentially how I picture the scene:

Benvolio: [Bright and friendly] Good morrow, cousin.
Romeo: [Angsty as only a teen can be] Is the day so young?
B: ::sigh:: But new struck nine.
R: Ay me, sad hours seem long. [Tries to keep up sad face but is actually pretty proud of that answer and makes a mental note to write a poem using that line later.] Was that my father that went hence so fast?
B: [Knows that if he lets Romeo just change the subject that he'll get all angry that no one cared enough to listen to his sadness so he better find out why he's so pissy] It was. What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours?
R: [Is glad to see SOMEONE cares about his pain. But to really know he'd better give him some riddle to find out if he really knows him.] Not having that which, having, makes them short.
B: ::louder sigh:: [Better get Romeo's riddle right or he'll wander off and mope again]. In love?
R: [Wonders how it is no one can understand his unique snowflake pain] Out.
B: ::loudest sigh:: Of love?
R: Out of her favor where I am in love. [Obviously]
B: [Of course he's in love again] Alas that love so gentle in his view should be so tyrannous and rough in proof.
R: [Is jealous that Benvolio came up with that and needs to upstage him.] Alas that love whose view is muffled still could without eyes see pathways to his will. Where shall we dine? O me! What fray was here? Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all. Here's much to do with hate, but more with love. Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate, O anything of nothing first create! O heavy lightness, serious vanity...
B: ::eyerolls SUPER HARD::
R: ...Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms! Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health, still-waking sleep that is not what it is! This love feel I that feel no love in this. [Really proud of that that little diddy.] Dost thou not laugh?
B: [Shit] No coz, I rather weep.
R: [Better not be laughing] Good heart, at what?
B: ::scrambles for answer:: At thy good heart's oppression.

Essentially I imagine the two of them like Watson and Sherlock. Except Romeo is definitely no genius.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold

I need to write a post about a book. Except I don’t have internet at the moment* and can’t remember the next book I’m supposed to review because I am terrible at staying on top of these things. Go me.

Alright, I haven’t figured out the internet but I did manage to figure out which was the last book I read. Because I pulled it up on my phone. It’s really sad how dependent on the interwebs I am. Anyway.

I finally read Gone Girl. I’m not really sure what I should say about it, considering most everyone has already read this one and knows the twist and blah blah blah. But not knowing what to say has never stopped me from talking before so why should it make a difference now?

By now I’m sure you’ve heard the basics of the story. Nick and Amy had a seemingly perfect marriage but when Amy goes missing things start to fall apart with that facade. Is Nick responsible for Amy’s disappearance? Is there something else going on?

Obviously as I mentioned above, and as you probably already know, there’s a twist. Had I not known there was a twist I’m sure things would have come as more of a surprise. As it was I was waiting for something to happen and when it did, I can’t say I predicted it exactly but at the same point I wasn’t really surprised by it. Which was fine. Knowing it didn’t really ruin anything for me. I’m not sure what my reaction would have been had I not known something was coming.

I also heard about how everyone haaaaaaaaaated all of the characters. And they are not wrong. Everyone is just the worst. That again didn't really bother me. I didn’t like the characters. I don’t want to spend any time with them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to read about them. I think knowing this already meant I wasn’t expecting to like them, therefore wasn’t disappointed when they turned out to be terrible, and could just focus on the story instead of being pissed at these dipshits.

For the most part I liked the book. It was definitely a page-turner, so I’d say it was doing its job. And there were moments where the writing was great or Flynn made some great points. (I love the "cool girl" rant.) I wanted to see what was going to happen, what was really going on, what the hell does that comment/clue/look mean, etc. Everything a good thriller should do. The ending though…I was not crazy about the ending. Which I suppose bodes well for the movie given Flynn’s changing it for the movie. Maybe if I had read it before all the hype I would have liked it better. Overall it was a good thriller that probably doesn’t deserve all of the praise or hatred that’s been heaped on it.

Gif rating

*"At the moment" meaning at the time of writing. Which was actually quite a few days ago at this point.

Title quote from somewhere, except I wrote this post while on vacation and the book was back at home, so I searched for quotes from the book and I like this one, but Goodreads doesn't list what page the quote is from (because everyone has different versions anyway) so yeah. I'm doing so well right now.

Flynn, Gillian. Gone Girl. Crown Publishing, 2012. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hearing women singing about themselves -- rather than men singing about women -- makes everything seem wonderfully clear, and possible

It's Monday again! That means it's time for another installment of Caitlin Moran's How To Build A Girl. Hooray!
Thank you Emily for hosting this readalong, and thank you Harper Collins for having Emily host this. Good times. Do you want to get in on this and preorder the book? Of course you do. Well you can get it here, so aren't you lucky.

One more thing before we get to the random thoughts/gifs, I am going to be WAY behind on commenting. I'm sorry in advance. It is wedding related and unavoidable but I shall be there to leave tons of comments like a week after everyone has already forgotten all about this post and is onto new thoughts.

When we last left Johanna it was under threat of death. Kinda. To quote Moran (and sorry this is a long one. I tried to cut it down but NO, I love it all)

I am thrilled by the idea of killing myself. It seems like such a gratifyingly noble thing to do. A monster has come to town--me--and there is only one hero who can kill it: me.
I'm not actually going to kill myself, of course. For starters, I suspect I might put up a struggle and fight dirty--perhaps biting--and secondly, I don't actually want to die. I don't want there to be a dead body on the bed, and it to be the end of everything. I don't want to not live.
I just...want to not be me anymore. Everything I am now is not working.

Who hasn't felt this way at some point, especially as a teenager? She continues to be hilarious and heartbreaking all at once, and I know I've said this a billion times but since it is still super accurate I will continue to repeat myself.

Johanna decides the thing to do is to create a new persona. Someone who didn't do an impassioned Scooby-Doo impression on live TV.

She lands on Dolly Wilde and begins to dress in all black. Lots of red lipstick, heavy eyeliner, the whole deal.
She attempts to ingratiate herself to the  goth kids in town, which includes her cousin Ali, but things don't go well. Johanna is too bubbly and sweet and enthusiastic to be goth, despite the wardrobe. But despite this set-back she does find her calling. Dolly's calling. She's going to be a music journalist.

I applaud her dedication because she is spending lots of time at the library studying music press and imagining what these albums she's been reading about sound like (and wanking to them because I HOPE you didn't expect the wanking to stop. Wanking).
I make myself giggle
She's found a radio station playing the indie-alternative music she's looking for. She is far more dedicated to this than I think I've been to anything, which is admittedly pretty sad for me. Which is probably why Johanna/Dolly manages an interview/gig with Disc & Music Echo. Hard work, man. It pays off.

I know we talked about how there are autobiographical moments in the first part of the book. Those continue on here to the actual interview Moran had with Melody Maker, what with the whole mimicking Annie-bit and, OK. That was a hilarious moment from Moran's own story and I did really like it and think it fits with something Johanna would do, but the fact that it was the EXACT same thing sort of took me out of the story a bit. I kept waiting for her to mention the lemon cake she brought.

BUT other than that (and really, I still like the story so it's cool) things go well for Johanna/Dolly. After that initial awkwardness that was honestly inevitable with her, she gets a job and assignments that actually pay! Things are looking good.

Of course there are still reminders about how hard things are at home. Kenny from the magazine calls her saying he hasn't heard from her in awhile and she can't tell him the reason she hasn't called is because no one can use the phone since they haven't paid the bill. When he offers her an assignment she'll need to travel for she panics as she tries to figure out how she'll ever pay to get to the show and the relief when Kenny mentions that she can expense the trip is palpable.

The show goes well and brought back ALL THE MEMORIES for me of seeing Catch-22 the first time at this seems stupid to call it a "club" but I suppose that's the most accurate description, when I was 14. Well done.

Johanna's career is going so swimmingly that, hey! why bother with school anymore? It's really just getting in the way of her being able to get her work done. Her parents are, understandably, not so much into the idea and there is a heartbreaking moment (because there are SO MANY OF THOSE) where Johanna thinks about the fact that her dad left school at 15 and she looks around the tattered house and thinks about how well that worked out for him. Her dad relents, maybe because he realizes if he argues with her about what a bad idea it is, it means he'll have to face the fact that it was a terrible idea when he did it as well.

This section ends with the news that Johanna will be meeting John Kite. I dunno who John Kite is, other than her cousin Ali did a drawing of him/Slash, but given that's where we're stopping, I assume this will be someone important. WE SHALL SEE!

Title quote from page 98

Moran, Caitlin. How To Build A Girl. Harper, 2014.

Friday, July 18, 2014


I really have nothing else to add to this post. It is mostly an excuse to use this gif.

OH, and I talked to The-Artist-Formally-Known-As-Boyfriend+ to try to figure out what I should call him after today. And while there were some good options (he was particularly into the various Dean Cain/Clark Kent options, thank you Kayleigh) but we decided to just go with his actual name. He figured I've already put his picture up here AND a few of you have met him so why not just use his name?

Everyone, meet Tom! Or if you want something jazzier a friend of calls him "Eduardo Magnifico".  But yeah, here I'll be using Tom since it's quicker to type.

I promise (eventually) to post pictures from the wedding. And get to the second West Coast travel post, L.A. edition. and post some book reviews...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wedding Update: Names

This isn't a real post. This is a "I don't have a real post and things are busy so I likely won't have a real post but I want to post something post". That said, I do actually have something I'm trying to figure out. What the hell do I call Boyfriend+ here after Friday?

I was talking to some friends and mentioned how I call Boyfriend+ "Boyfriend+" (or B+) here and how that's way better than fiance. But what do I call him next? I'm not a fan of "husband" or the various nicknames there. Hubby? No. What to do? So I need your help. What should I call him?

We brainstormed a few options, although I'm not crazy about any of them

Boyfriend: The Next Generation: BTNG for short. Except neither of us are Star Trek fans. Or have really watched the show. So.
Boyfriend 2.0
The Greatest Person Ever: B+'s suggestion
Slagathor: My suggestion after his suggestion

So yeah, we need some help. I need some help. He doesn't care that much, which means the odds are tipping towards "Slagathor".