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".

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!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

West Coast Journey Part 1: Seattle

I realize I've been MIA this last week, but that's only because I was MIA. At least from my normal routine. Boyfriend+ and I headed over to the west coast for a friend's wedding. And we figured if we're coming ALL THE WAY OVER HERE, we may as well make a mini-vacation out of it and head up to Seattle before making our way down to LA. Because really, any excuse to get to Seattle.

Lucky you (or unlucky, if you're not a fan of travel posts) you get 2 posts. Part 1: Seattle!

We land, get our bags, pick up the rental car and immediately head to Paseo for sandwiches. I've talked about this sandwich before because it is the best thing ever. It's roast pork shoulder in this marinade that I'm pretty sure someone had to sell their soul to the devil to get. It's got garlic aoli, the sweetest grilled onions, jalapenos, and lettuce on a french roll and, man I wish I had another one right now. So yeah, these sandwiches are a big deal.
After we had our lunch we headed into downtown (Paseo is out in Freemont, near that troll) to check into our hotel. Then it's time for walking.

Since this is our third time in Seattle, we skipped a lot of the big things like the Space Needle, Experience Music Project/Sci Fi museum, Underground Tour, etc. All stuff that if you've never been to Seattle and find yourself there I recommend. We wandered around Pike's Place for a while, which we've done multiple times each trip but since it's one of my favorite places anywhere, we can't go without a few trips to the market. And we made our way over to the International District for some noodle soup which worked out well for Boyfriend+. Not so much for me, which...whomp. We had plans to stay out later but we'd been up since 5 something and jetlag wasn't helping so I ended up passing out around 9:30.

Of course this meant the next morning I woke up super early but HEY early start to the day. We again wandered the Market and got some piroshkies from Piroshky Piroshky for breakfast, stopped in a cafe for coffee, and then made our way over to the ferries to head over to Bainbridge Island. I ended up spending most of our time on the island at a bookstore which is FINE by me. I picked up Bryson's latest book, which is now out in paperback, much to my excitement. We then headed back to the city to meet up with a friend for lunch.

One thing I didn't realize was this day was also the Seattle Pride Parade. This was something our friend, who was driving in, also didn't realize so it took him a bit longer than anticipated to make it through the traffic. Boyfriend+ and I stayed to watch a couple minutes of the parade. And by "stayed to watch" I mean "watched while waiting for the cop to tell us we could cross the street" so, yeah. We did see lots of people AFTER the parade. I saw so many butts that day...

Our friend did manage to make it in so we headed back to the Market (YAY) for lunch at a Japanese place where I got replacement noodle soup to make up for my dinner the night before. And it was delightful. We then made our way over to the Sculpture Park where there is a new giant head statue and HEY, I know that head. And not sarcastically. It used to be installed in NYC and I stumbled upon it there. Now it's here. Following me. Obviously.
Our friend had to head back and we decided to go and rest for awhile before meeting up with ANOTHER friend (damn, we're popular) for dinner. Walking Seattle is not for the faint of heart because the HILLS. I should know better by now but I'm still consistently surprised with how steep the hills are there. It also didn't help that Boyfriend+ and I decided to be responsible and go to the gym that morning where I did the treadmill because I did not think "Hey, I'm going to spend the entire day trekking around the city. Maybe I should do some weights instead." I'm awesome at planning ahead.

Our friend picked us up and we headed over to Alki Beach to Salty's, which has BEAUTIFUL views of the city and Mt Rainier if you have a clear day. We had a clear day. It was beautiful and we had SO MUCH FOOD. Shrimp and salmon and lobster and dungeness crab.
The next day we woke up to another gorgeous day. Listen, I'm not saying people who say Seattle is cloudy and raining ALL THE TIME are liars. I'm just saying that we have amazing luck because it's always beautiful when we're there. Granted, we go during the summer when things tend to be nice but whatever. We went up to the Columbia Tower Sky View, which is even higher than the Space Needle and gives you better views. TAKE THAT, SPACE NEEDLE, YOU WIMP. Plus Sky View stamps your hand so you can go back whenever that day. (No, the Space Needle is very nice and still a lot of fun.) The views were beautiful because again, clear day. After spending our time up there we headed over to Safeco Field to go to the team store. 
Our plan for LA was to go to a Dodgers game. A game during the afternoon. When the sun just wants to beat you up. So yeah, I needed a hat. And we figured why not get a Mariners one? We walked over to the stadiums (CenturyLink is right next to Safeco because Seattle makes it easy for people to go to soccer, football, and baseball games. Because it's great), hung out in the team store while I agonized over what hat to get. Eventually decisions were made and now it was time for lunch.

There's this restaurant called Il Corvo that makes homemade pasta that is just the best. Here's the thing. They're only opened for lunch and only Monday-Friday. It seems silly to me, but I guess they're making money since they moved to a new, larger location since the last time we went so good for them. And the place was packed, which always gives me some anxiety cos you have to seat yourself and what if there are no seats, huh???? But there were, and I had delicious tagliatelle bolognese while Boyfriend+ got, I think rigatoni with spicy chicken something. I really just remember having a bite despite being warned it was spicy. Then regretting that bite cos HEY, spicy.

Since we've done the main museums, or at least the ones that first caught our attention (Experience Music Project/Sci Fi, Art Museum, etc.) we decided to check out the Museum of History and Innovation, or MOHAI to those in the know. Or those that like abbreviations. Or those that think saying "moHAI" is HILARIOUS. Guess which group I fall into? The museum had a whole exhibit on chocolate so YES PLEASE. It also had lots about the history of Seattle, mostly from the 1900s onward, so it's a little weird to be a museum and see things that would work as props for Mad Men. Although I've seen so many Nirvana exhibits in Seattle, so seeing not-that-old-stuff in museums should probably be less jarring. OH, and there was an AMAZING musical thing about Seattle's giant fire and there was a talking bag of money and yeah. If you're in Seattle, might I recommend MOHAI.

After MOHAI we drove around a few of the neighborhoods (Capital Hill, Magnolia, Medrona) and visited the haunted Coke machine. I did not get one of the Mystery drinks because when the hell was the last time Brisk Iced Tea was even manufactured? Not saying I'd GET Brisk, because of the whole "mystery" bit but I mean, someone has and that was enough for me to be like "I'll not drink the soda of the damned." We got froyo instead.
The next day though. This is where Boyfriend+ gets all the points. The night before, when I asked him what our plans were for the next day he said "Look. I have a surprise for you. In the morning. We have to be up early. And you have to dress nice. Don't ask any questions." OF COURSE I asked a bunch of questions because what? But he wouldn't tell me anything. So the next morning we got another piroshky (they're so good!) and headed down to the water front where we were met by a photographer. Boyfriend+ arranged a photoshoot for us, since I had been saying we have no pictures of the two of us. So we essentially did engagement photos 2 years after the engagement and 2 weeks before the wedding. But it's before the wedding so STILL COUNTS. 
We got another beautiful day (although with record breaking heat which was less fun) and took pictures on the pier, on a little beach, and up at Kerry Park where he proposed. It was the best surprise. And I love the photos so if you're ever looking for a photographer, check our Jordan Quinn. She's in Seattle (obv) but actually travels around a lot for work. 

After that surprise we headed to Paseo, again, for sandwiches. (WE COULDN'T GO JUST ONCE! Who knows when we'll be back again) and then found a bar to watch the US/Germany game which...sad. But the place had good beer so that's a win at least. A small one. We then met up with our Salty's friend again for drinks and snacks before heading up to University of Washington and getting a little behind-the-scenes tour of their new stadium, which is BEAUTIFUL and I have no appreciation for football stadiums normally. But well done udub. 

That was, unfortunately, the end of our Seattle trip. We had to race back to the airport to return our rental car before time ran out and we got charged for another day, then headed over to a new hotel near the airport so we could more easily make our 6:45 (ugh) flight the next morning.

I realize this was long. Sorry, not sorry, about that. What can I say. Even when there isn't much to talk about I have a lot to say when it comes to Seattle. 

Next travel post: LA. That one will be much shorter.

Monday, July 7, 2014

How To Build A Girl readalong - Introductions

Hiiiii everybody
I am super excited to take part in this How To Build A Girl readalong. Thank you Emily for hosting this.

For those of you who don't know me already, hi! I'm Alley. Or Red. Whichever. I've been writing here at What Red Read for a long time now. 4 years? Maybe more. It feels like forever at this point. Anyway, like I'm sure most/everyone taking part in this readalong, I write about books. I know, you never would have guessed if I hadn't told you. I tend to read contemporary fiction (according to my reading stats) and love funny/quirky books the best. I tend to rave a LOT about Christopher Moore and similar stuff.

When Emily mentioned this readalong was going to be a Caitlin Moran one I was ALL OVER THAT.
I'm pretty sure it was Laura who convinced me to read Moran's book How To Be A Woman. Which yay for that because that book is soo good. Have you read it yet? If not, you should probably get on that. Sometime later I read Moranthology, a collection of her columns from the various publications she's written for. Is it even better than How To Be A Woman? Yes, kind of. It's very different, but it's one that I find myself re-reading a lot in little bits. It's easy to read a column here or there. And I could read her reviews of the Sherlock episodes over and over (and over) again. Yeah, after those, I NEED more Moran in my life.

For those of you not taking part in the readalong, you can pre-order the book from Odyssey Bookshop.

Until next week when we can begin discussing the book and sharing the gifs. Oh, the gifs.