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 little...it 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'M GETTING MARRIED TODAY


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".

Monday, July 14, 2014

I wish I was Bill Murray. I hope everything I've read about evolution is wrong, and I eventually evolve into him.

Here we are at the first real post of the How To Build A Girl readalong. Well, the last post was real. It wasn't a fake post. But this is the first one about the book so yeah. Real-er.

Thank you Emily for hosting this readalong. It's already super fun. For those of you who don't get to readalong GUESS WHAT! You could always pre-order the book right here. Isn't that neat? You should probably get on that.

Also as this is a readalong there will be spoilers. You've be warned.

I'm also going to warn you that last week was NUTS, what with getting back from the west coast, work being insane, and we're in the home stretch for that whole wedding thing. What I'm saying is, be prepared for a lot of rambling and things to not make a lot of sense. I'm sorry in advance.

Even if I didn't know Caitlin Moran wrote this book, I'm pretty sure after the first section I could have guessed it. That's not a bad thing. She has a definite style with her writing and well guess what, this book in is in her style. Go figure. 

Not only the style thing, but since I've read both How To Be A Woman and Moranthology, there are similarities between young Johanna Morrigan and young Caitlin Moran. Which I realize she has acknowledged...somewhere. I've definitely read somewhere this book is vaguely autobiographical except now I can't remember where. See my apology above.

Anyway, this starts with a fourteen year old Johanna masturbating while her six year old brother sleeps near by, because why not.
But no really, it's not that creepy or sketchy or Law and Order: SVU-y at all. It's just sort of, this is something teens do and sometime teens are gross. But look, her brother would WANT her to be happy. So.

This section is really introduction, setting things up for the rest of the book. I assume. Cos really everything that happens in this first part feels like it's summed up on the back cover.

There are some troubles at home. The family seems mostly happy and to love each other, but given her dad disappearing for days on end, sporadically returning with someone in the record biz so he can share his demo and get rich and famous, and her mom is suffering from postpartum depression after the birth of the twins David and Mavid (they haven't been named yet) and isn't all there at the moment, I mean, things could be worse but they could also be better. Given the dad's demo which seems to be a12-minute avante-garde song complete with robot noises,
I'm not going to expect that record exec to turn things around anytime soon.

But really things are set in motion when Johanna goes to visit an old woman in the neighborhood whom she hangs out with/eats all of her cookies and accidentally mentions that her father collects disability. Well she doesn't accidentally mention but the woman comments about how Joanna's dad is working on the car and doing other non-disabled-looking things and shit. What if Violet tells on her family and then they don't get the money and listen, that robot song isn't going anywhere so they need that money.

I know this is a serious situation and all, but how great his her prayer?
Dear Lord Jesus, I know I haven't believed in you lately and I hope you don't take that personally, but as you are probably already aware, given your monitoring system, which I imagine to be comprehensive, things are quite bad here, and I want to offer you a deal. If you make it so that they don't take our benefits away, I will...Jesus. If you get us out of this -- like, really totally clear this up -- I promise I will not wank for 6 months...A month. Definitely a month. I will not touch myself for a month. Not even idly whilst in the bath. Not even after looking at the picture of two hippies doing oral sex in the Whole Earth catalogue, where you can see him put his fingers inside. This will be my holy sacrifice to you, oh Lord...I'm going to say 'Amen' now. This is a deal now. We are square on this. You will sort this out. Violet will not rat on us. Amen

I mean, how can you NOT love Johanna? I pretty much picture her as a British Tina
Johanna is determined to save the family after failing to keep her deal with Jesus, but she did make it 9 whole days so, you know, kudos.

She stands watch hoping to intercept any letters about their benefits before the rest of the family can see, while at the same time trying to figure out how to get money. Which eventually leads her to a poetry contest which she wins! Hooray! The theme is friendship and she writes a poem about her dog and it's sweet and the prize is £250* and a chance to read the poem on live TV. Live TV always goes well!


She sort of gets flustered and starts talking in the Scooby-Doo voice about how much she loves her dog and things get awkward and people are now calling the family and making fun of them and yeah.

After this Johanna decides she has to die. That's how the section ends. I'd be more worried with an ending like that, except for the fact that while the first part has a lot of serious themes, it's fairly light and funny so I don't think she's actually going to kill herself. Also the back cover says she reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde, so I'm not worried.

Part 1 down, and was a success (as if there was any doubt...). Onto part 2!

*I had to Google how the hell to type the £ symbol for this post. See the work I put into this?? Do you see? (For those of you not in the UK [as I assume your keyboards have it] and also on a Mac who want to type it, it's option+3).

Title quote page 48

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

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Wedding Post: The Final

You guys, this is it. The last wedding post. Well at least the last Sunday post. Because this is the last Sunday before the wedding.

Whaaa? I know! Crazy.
Boyfriend+'s best man and his new wife (and reason for our west coast jaunt) are here this weekend for bachelor-party related goodies, so while the boys were bachlor-party-ing, BMW (best man's wife) went into NYC to pick up my dress!

I had my final fitting this past Tuesday. One of my bridesmaids came with me to learn how to tie and bustle it which really didn't look that hard but I guess the wedding day will show if the lesson was necessary. So now the only thing left was to go over the dress with a seamstress (to make sure it's actually my dress and no one spilled paint on it or anything I guess) and then take it home. Well, I didn't take it home. My mom and her boyfriend very nicely drove into the city so they could take the dress back to my mom's.

Today my bridesmaid (she who learned the dress tying) is coming by and we're going to set up an assembly line to finish the favors. And eat bagels because important stuff.

Then it's just a few more things. Bringing stuff to the venue for set up. Bringing stuff to the florist. Paying everyone (blaaaaaaah). Then just a few more days of CRAAAAAZY work (hooray quarter close) before I am off and it's time to relax a bit before the big day!!