Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wedding Update: I Got Married (with photographic evidence), part 1

Remember (over) a month ago when I got married? And remember how I promised a wedding post? But I was waiting to get the photos because I know that's the part everyone is more excited to see? GUESS WHAT? We got the photos and I even managed to scan them in* so LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!

To keep you in suspense/pad this so I can get 2 posts out of the topic, this one will focus on the whole getting ready and first pictures bit.

The morning of the wedding was fairly relaxed. We didn't do the whole "Don't see each other" deal and just stayed at our house. Along with the best man, his wife, and the maid of honor. Full house.
Maid of honor (Michelle, I'm giving names cos there are going to be a lot of people and describing each of them is going to take way too long) and I had to be at the hotel to get ready around noon so Tom was going to drop us off before he and and his wedding party people headed to the driving range.

We had the wedding and ceremony all in one place which was awesome because that meant I didn't have to work out any transportation. The venue is next door to (and affiliated with) a hotel and we got a room for Tom and I included. Unfortunately, we couldn't get into that room until 3. Fortunately my mom was staying in the hotel Thursday night so we could get ready in her room. Tom and his crew got to get ready in ours and I'm glad I didn't see the room until that night cos maaaaaan his room was nicer than ours. He totally had the prettier getting-ready room.

I hired someone to do hair and makeup because while I'm decent at doing my own makeup, my entire repetoire of hairstyles consists of "down" or "in a ponytail" or "in a bun that's going to fall down in 30 minutes". Professional help was needed. We also decided to have them come to us even though it was slightly more expensive because lazy. And also this way we don't have to worry about getting anywhere late cos HEY we're already there.

It was all very relaxed. Various family members filtered through the room. I only had 3 bridesmaids and only 2 of them were there getting ready (the third wouldn't get there till later) so we hung around watching Four Weddings and just generally hanging out. People kept commenting on how calm things were but I wasn't nervous to marry Tom. We'd already been together roughly 11,000 years (or like 9+) and bought a house together, so the whole "spending my life with this person" thing isn't really a big leap. That's not to say I wasn't nervous, but it had more to do with "falling on my ass" which is a pretty common worry of mine and I'm not normally in a gown and heels.

One of my bridesmaids (Lauren) did have an incident that could have resulted in a lot of stress if it a) hadn't happened the day before and b) if she wasn't such a kick-ass problem solver. So, the day before the wedding she was trying on the bridesmaids dress and...the zipper got stuck. And then after her boyfriend tried and tried (and tried) to get the zipper to move, it broke. She called around to a bunch of David's Bridals trying to see if any of them had the dress in her size and color but no dice. Her boyfriend told her she should let me know what happened but NO, she didn't want to stress me out. So she bought a whole bunch of zippers, figured out which one would work best, and then sewed it into the dress. So instead of being a severe source of stress I ended up laughing hysterically while she told me this story.

When it was my turn to get my hair done I said I didn't want anything with curls (I had done a trial elsewhere and while the hair looked really nice I decided curls aren't my thing) and I wanted to sort of a messy bun, but done pretty. She started with that and said "Yeah, this isn't going to work. Your hair. You have...too much of it" which I wasn't surprised about. Hell, when I did the trial she asked me if I'd be willing to cut any hair to make the style work better. And I chopped off 6 inches before the wedding. I just have a lot of hair which is awesome 98% of the time and also the reason I know so few hairstyles. Anything beyond those requires multiple bottles of hairspray and roughly a metric ton of bobby pins. Which was what was used to do the "much less messy but still unfussy" bun we went with.

After that it was makeup time. I described how I did my eyes before (neutral colors but enough so it shows up and looks pretty in pictures) and as for the lips I told her "I have no more lip stick or gloss or anything, so let's go with something that's going to look fine when it all wipes off in an hour and I don't reapply anything." And she was totally for it and everything was pretty. YAY.

Now my makeup is done, my hair is done, the veil is in and...I'm in shorts and a button down shirt waiting for the photographer. The third bridesmaid (Holly) made it and they were all dressed but I was told to wait so he could get the getting-ready pictures. Which meant I spent a bunch of time pretending to be a super hero with my cape hanging out of my hair instead of off my shoulders. Because I'm an adult.

Then the photographer showed up and it was time! (Meaning you get to see pictures!)

Here I am all fancy on the head and where else. My mom and I were trying to pull all of the paper out of the dress (there was a LOT) and also get it hung up over the bed for pictures. In addition, I was trying to not step on the veil. I failed. Several times. As did everyone else.

Eventually it was time to get the dress on, which I swear, it always seems so easy in theory. When I went for my second fitting I went by myself, cos the only time they had availability was right after work during the week and how many other people can I have come with me? None, that's how many. But the seamstress was like "Umm, so you're going to have someone come with you for the final one, right?" and I realized I should probably see who's available. Luckily Lauren (to the rescue again) works slightly earlier hours than 9-5 AND works in Manhattan so she was able to meet me at Kleinfeld's for the final fitting and learn how to tie the dress.

I can't remember exactly, but it's possible at this point we were talking about if the photographer would end up seeing my underwear during the getting ready pictures and me saying that jokes on them, I'm wearing bike shorts. A friend who got married a couple years ago said to get bike shorts that are made to wick away sweat and that they are a LIFE SAVER so I said "Hell yeah!" and told Tom to forget any sexy underwear that night. He just laughed and shrugged his shoulders and said whatever is comfortable.

Then everyone was dressed and we did a bunch of pictures in the room and with me trying to look relaxed on the bed but ha HA this dress, while very pretty, does not allow for a lot of "relaxed lounging. It does, however, have a kick ass flower on the ass which was a big reason I liked this dress.
That lacing looks so simple, doesn't it?

When it came to the dress, I originally didn't want anything satin. But hey, look what I went with! It was just so pretty and fit me perfectly. I have to hand it to Kleinfeld's. Everyone there knows what they're doing when it comes to dresses. Oh, you want to see a picture from when I first picked out the dress, cos I couldn't share that before lest someone (Tom, it's Tom) see the dress before the wedding?
I look super tall in this picture but that's only because I'm in heels and on a pedestal. And the dress is still sort of pooling on the ground. It's a Pnina Tornai and they SAID they thought maybe they priced it wrong cos usually her stuff is way more and I feel like this is a selling technique but I ALSO really liked the dress and it was in budget, regardless of the reason so whatever.

Back to the wedding day.

We take some staged photos of me with each of the girls and with my mom, some of just me** and then it was FIRST LOOK time.

See, Tom and I didn't want to wait until the ceremony to see each other. Mostly because we wanted to make it to as much of the reception festivities as possible and we can't do that if we have to take all of the family photos then. So we decided we'll do all this stuff before the ceremony.

Tom's waiting in the hotel lobby and I'm supposed to walk down the stairs and tap him on the shoulder. I totally almost wipe out walking down the stairs because OF COURSE I DO. But I held it together. All of the family was there as well, which we said is what would happen but I forgot that there'd be a zillion people there. A bunch of people (not the photographer) were telling me to slow down so they could get pictures but I was just thinking "But but Tom is RIGHT THERE so yeah, I'm just gonna hurry on down." And I did. And it was awesome.

I feel bad for anyone at the hotel who WASN'T part of our wedding cos yeah, the lobby was pretty much out of commission at this point. Sorry, other guests. But we didn't take too long and then it was off to the venue for 4000 family photos.

The place was right next door so we just had to walk there. I was, however, still getting used to moving around in a dress that weighs way more than my normal t-shirt and jeans.
This was my "I think someone is stepping on me.  Yup, yup, definitely getting stepped on." face.

I won't bore you with all of those photos (again, see Facebook note below) but here are some fun ones
Me and the bridesmaids
Best man & maid of honor
The whole party
Just the 2 of us
EVERYONE WAS SO PRETTY. Tom had 5 people on his side, cos he's more popular than me. (When I told Tom this he smiled and said "Yeah, I am.") Four groomsmen and one groomswoman. In case you're wondering who the other lady is in the pic.

I think I've gone on long enough for now. Next time will be even longer, since that will cover both the ceremony and the reception. It will also involve a lot more pictures. And then there will be a couple honeymoon posts. Oh man, I bet I can milk this through the end of the year...

Till next time!

*We're getting a CD with all of the photos once our order is complete. Right now we just have the proofs and we have to pick out images for the albums, prints, etc. Hence all the scanning. You know, like an animal.
**I won't bore you with all of those here but I'll probably be putting a whole bunch up on Facebook cos that's pretty much what that is for, right? Plus I LOVE when people put up wedding photos because I never remember to take pictures at people's wedding, so I always just grab the professional ones.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Oedipus: A Summary

Every once in awhile I will entertain myself by retelling a story, usually something Shakespeare or the like, in essentially the same language/style I use to write this blog. Because I'm a giant nerd, in case you were unaware. Now I want to write a post but I also don't want to think to much (aka write a review, which believe it or not I do put thought into) and while I have wedding photos now, I haven't scanned them just yet so I can't write that post. Or I suppose I COULD but yeah, I'm not going to.* Instead, you get to enjoy my retelling of Oedipus because that's what I was telling myself while I walked from my office to the subway.**

Once upon a time, there was a King and Queen of Thebes. They had a baby and were like "Look what we made. We're terrific and I'm sure nothing terrible could come of this. Hey oracle, why don't you come over and tell us how awesome our baby is and great everything is going to be." And the oracle said "Yeah, yeah, great ki...No, wait. This one is definitely going to murder you. And then marry your wife. Well, that's a bummer. Good luck with that."
Odds are he was killed cos I assume kings and queens of ancient times were all about shooting the messenger. 300 was pretty much a documentary, right?

King Laius and Queen Jocasta are all "Well. Shit. We should do something to thwart this." You'd think, as the kid is growing up, Jocasta makes extra sure she doesn't marry him, which would seem fairly easy if she were to keep him around, but Laius was (understandably) more worried about the whole murder thing, so it was decided the kid's gotta go. But being not thoroughly terrible people, they couldn't bring themselves to do the kid in, so they give the kid to a servant to do their dirty work. The servant is also not thoroughly terrible and can't murder the kid. But he's sort of terrible as he binds/pins/nails the baby's feet together for...reasons, I guess? I mean, it's an infant. What was it going to do? Run off?
A real threat
Maybe not the brightest servant. Anyway, he leaves him on a mountain figuring that oughta do it, which isn't really that unreasonable of an assumption.

BUT some shepherds were wandering that mountainside (servant probably could have picked somewhere more secluded) and found the kid and brought him to King Polybus and Queen Merope who really wanted kids but couldn't have them. Then they named the kid Oedipus, aka "swollen foot" after the fact that his foot was all fucked up because of the whole binds/pins/nails thing which
Who names their kid after its physical deformity? It's probably for the best that they couldn't have kids or else Oedipus might have ended up with siblings "Dumbo ears" and "Weirdly tiny hands" which I'm sure would have sounded fancy in ancient Greek, but still not an excuse.

Oedipus grew up fairly normal so good on him until one day a random drunk guy calls him a "bastard" which super pisses him off, but not at the drunk guy. Not just at the drunk guy, anyway. He goes to check with his parents who are very "Whaaa? No. You are totally our kid by birth. We had the whole labor on video, but this asshole taped over it or else we would absolutely show you that. Now why don't you go out and play, ol' club foot?" Then he decides to go talk to an oracle and just happens to get the same one Laius and Jocasta talked to who tells Oedipus "You're totally going to kill your dad and marry your mom" which, again, I could see who the whole "kill your dad" thing might happen even if you don't want/mean for it to, but the "marrying your mom" thing seems easier to avoid. However, Oedipus doesn't trust himself and decides to leave Corinth and head over to Thebes cos that place seems pretty neat.

On the way there Oedipus comes to a fork in the road where it just so happens that King Laius is in the area as well. The two of them fight over who has the right-of-way because road rage is far more ancient than I would have otherwise assumed and Oedipus kills Laius. Given the whole prophecy that he CLEARLY believes, seeing that he left Corinth to prevent it from coming true, you'd think he'd be more careful when it comes to killing people that are roughly "dad" age, but Oedipus isn't that bright.

Oedipus makes his way to Thebes, which is guarded by the Sphinx who asks people a riddle and if they get it right they can enter Thebes and if they get it wrong they get killed. Could someone please explain what's so awesome about Thebes that it's worth probably getting eaten by a mythical creature just to get in? Oedipus is all for the challenge and answers the Sphinx's riddle correctly and he gets to enter Thebes! Yay, I guess!

Creon (Jocasta's brother) says whoever answers the Sphinx's riddle correctly and frees the city of her terror (I guess no one in the city tried to answer her riddle cos it seemed like she was only attacking new people coming into the city, but given Laius was wandering outside the city, I guess she doesn't really care if you leave. No riddle there.) gets to marry Jocasta who was recently widowed. Super recently, as a matter of fact. There isn't really anything about how long Oedipus's journey from Corinth to Thebes is, or how far he was into said journey when he murdered Laius, but it seems like not THAT much time has gone by. Aren't they still in mourning over their lost king? Do they even know he's dead or is he just missing?
Sounds like they all wanted Laius out of the way.

Anyway, so now Jocasta and Oedipus are married because women are door prizes, obv.
Also, again, they BOTH know the whole prophecy is that they will marry their mom/son so you'd THINK they'd keep their paramours out of those age ranges. Or maybe they'd be sitting around the fire drinking wine and get to talking about their past and "OMG you went to visit an oracle too? What'd he tell you? Because he told me I would kill my dad and marry my mom! Crazy, right? Anyway, what'd your oracle say?"

They don't do that cos OF COURSE NOT and instead get married and do the nasty at least 4 times cos Oedipus ends up with 4 kids/siblings. Ew.

Many years go by and suddenly a plague of infertility hits Thebes because sure, why not punish everyone cos of a few dumbasses. Also not sure why the plague took so long to hit but odds are the gods were busy/drunk earlier. I assume this wasn't Zeus doing the plaguing either, since he is into some weird kinky stuff and I assume this wouldn't bother him too much. Actually, that's a good question. Which of the gods was annoyed by this incest cos in general, that does not super seem like a thing they had an issue with. Oedipus tries to figure out how to stop the plague and Creon visits another oracle and really, stop that. This oracle says the plague will stop when Laius's killer is brought to justice but doesn't bring up the fact that apparently YEARS have gone by and no explanation why the plague suddenly started up. Lotta holes in their story, I'm saying.

Oedipus is going around sounding like a jackass yelling about how he's going to catch the killer and...awkward. Creon calls another oracle in cos these guys are just all over the place to tell them who killed Laius. This oracle doesn't want to tell anyone that it was the guy currently yelling in his face that he needs to know how the killer is, but at some point you can't help but tell the guy "you did it. And you've been screwing your mom. So maybe get out of my face." He also mentions something about how Oedipus should be ashamed cos he doesn't know who his real parents are, which should really fall behind the whole "killed your dad/screwing your mom" thing, at least in my mind. Ancient Greece had messed up priorities.

Eventually Jocasta figures out what's going on. Oedipus doesn't because he's sort of a dumbass. Jocasta goes to hang herself because ew ew eww. Oedipus FINALLY figures out what's going on (after like the 6th person spells it out to him), finds Jocasta hanging there, and stabs his eyes out. And then we get my favorite joke from History of the World


*This Sunday? Possibly! Likely, even!
** I am often lost in my own world while walking, and I'll randomly find I've been laughing/muttering to myself. I'd be more self-conscious about this, but I am never the weirdest person on the block (thank you, NYC) so it really doesn't matter.
*** I know there are some versions where Laius does this and then immediately leaves him on a hill. Others where they give him to a servant who does the binding. Whatever. Either way, what's the point of binding a baby if you're just going to leave him on a mountain. It's a BABY.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Nick Davenant had far too much past

It's been almost 2 months since I read Bee Ridgway's The River of No Return and I really shouldn't let that much time go between reading and reviewing. Whoops. Not that I didn't have a good excuse, cos I did. It's more I shouldn't let that much time go because then I forgot things about the book which may not make for the most helpful review.

I've had this book on my radar for awhile now, ever since AliceMegs, Raych, and Rayna all had excellent things to say about it. So naturally it took me like 6 months to pick it up because I'm a brat like that.

Nicholas Falcott is a Marquess in London circa 1815 when those were a thing, until he's almost killed on a battlefield and flung forward in time. Which is convenient when the other options is "be killed" so that worked out nicely. He's met by a group called The Guild (that's not ominous or anything) who picks up these people who jump forward in time, because this is a thing that happens. They tell him they'll help him out, give him money and all he has to do is uphold Guild rules:
There Is No Return.
There Is No Return.
Tell No One.
Uphold the Rules.
He adapts to the future and things are going well until the Guild shows up and SURPRISE those first two rules about how you can never go back or more like guidelines and you can totally go back and no only that but Nick, you have to go back.

There's another group called the Ofan that want to do...something with time-travel that the Guild is not a fan of and there's a problem in the future with time doubling back on itself and other ominous time-travel, world-destroying stuff and Nick needs to seduce Ofan people and figure out what they're up to so the future can be saved. This does involve some awkward moments as he explains to his family where he's been for the past few years. (Amnesia in Spain. Obviously.)

It works out nicely that back in the past is a woman named Julia Percy. Her grandfather had a way with time travel but he's gone and now there's just her evil cousin who is busy being evil. In between trying to figure out what the Ofan is up to, what the true intentions of the Guild are, and saving the future, Julia and Nick have plenty of sexytimes.

There's nothing BAD about this book. The characters are well-drawn, it's an interesting time travel story, it's well-written. But overall I was sort on the book. There's nothing to dislike about it and I certainly don't regret reading it. I may even pick up the sequel considering this book ends on a cliff-hanger and if I want to know what happens with pretty much anything, I'm going to need to read the next book. But I was expecting to looooooooove this book and unfortunately I did not. I liked it. It entertained me at the time. And I mostly forgot about it once I put the book down.

BUT, if this sounds like your type of thing, you should check out those other review.s You should probably check out those reviews anyway because they are very good and funny and yeah.

GIF rating:

Title quote from page 10, location 192

Ridgway, Bee. The River of No Return. Plume, 2013. Kindle

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Six Degrees of Separation: Gone Girl

Kayleigh introduced me to a new bookish meme, 6 degrees of separation. The rules are below, but since I had a little trouble reading them, here are the basics:

Emma and/or Annabella will pick a book and then you have connect that book to...OK, so I just realized there isn't actually a goal you're aiming to get to in the 6 degrees. So just find 5 other books and how they link together

This month (since Kayleigh told me and I found a past 6 degrees that confirm this is a monthly deal which is why this isn't actually late THANK YOU VERY MUCH) the book is Gone Girl. So. Let's do this thing.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a thriller, about terrible people, that it seems like everyone and their mother has read.* So naturally I didn't read this for awhile because I'm a pain in the ass. Hey, you know what's another HUGE book that took me forever to pick up and try, even though I really enjoyed it once I did?

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. And guess what! There are a bunch of terrible people in there too, so double connection. Epic story of epicness and people either being terrible, or just merely doing terrible things to one another, but for lots of REASONS. I've only read the first 2 books of the series. I intend to continue but the books are SO LONG that I need to psych myself up into being in that world for a long time. What's another super long book with a billion characters to try to keep track of?

Under the Dome by Stephen King. It's a King story and sure, it involves supernatural stuff, but that's not where the horror comes from. The dome is the catalyst for people to rise to the occasion or fall to pieces or be raging douchebags. Hey look, more terrible people. The book makes you consider that even if there are malevolent forces fucking with us, aren't people the truly terrible ones? What's another book that leads you to consider are people horrible to the core?

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Kevin perpetrated a shooting at his school. Like the Columbine guys. Actually Kevin is pretty upset with those two, since they staged their attack not long after his and really stole his thunder. We learn the story of what happened through his mother Eva's letters. But of course, Eva may not necessarily be the most reliable narrator. You know what book also features an unreliable narrator (and real asshole?)

American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis.  The unreliable narrator, Patrick Bateman. He's in murders and executions. Or is it mergers and acquisitions? That's what everyone seems to hear. Is everyone just wrapped up in their own world not paying any attention to Patrick? Or is Patrick the one in his own world? I don't have a link for this book. Because I haven't reviewed the book here. Because I read it before I started my blog. And SCREW YOU if you think I'm re-reading it so I can review it. NO. No. No. No. Want to know another book that grossed me out, not quite to American Psycho levels, but close?

Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates. Are you looking for a book from a psycho's point of view full of graphic violence including a transorbital lobotomy? No, because OMG WHO WOULD BE LOOKING FOR THAT? Too bad, you found it anyway. Quentin is trying to make himself a sex slave, Jeffrey Dahmer-style and he is also the first person narrator. So you get to spend lots of time in his head as he does terrible things and justifies all the murders. And he's terrible.

So there we go! From Gone Girl to Zombie and all terrible people. So I guess I found a general theme among the connections.

*As I thought this I realized that wait, I don't think my mother has read this. But I think she'd really enjoy it. So I called her to tell her this. Back to the post!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Yeah, I'm kind of a lone wolf type

Now that I got my Kindle all charged, I was going to start this post saying it had been too long since I'd read a Wendig. Then I remembered I had read The Blue Blazes in May. And I finished this book in June. BUT it has been awhile since I read the first book in the Miriam Black series Blackbirds so there you go. Either way, TIME FOR MORE MIRIAM/WENDIG.

Heads up, that there might be some spoilers from Blackbirds here. But hey, look, Miriam is back so you already knew she was going to make it out of the first book. And further spoiler, there's a third Miriam book so yeah, she'll make it out of this one. So what I'm saying is any spoilers below are going to be fairly obvious ones, and ones you'd get if you read a basic summary of the book.*

Miriam is back again in Mockingbird still being herself. She still sees how a person is going to die when she touches them. She's still foul-mouthed, cynical, tough, hurt. Just the best. She's settled down with Louis, as best she can anyway. So, not that well at all. She's living in LBI, NJ (She never thought pine trees belonged at the beach but here they are. Of course, she never thought medical waste belonged at the beach either, but that's New Jersey for you) at a trailer park and working at a grocery store. Exciting stuff. She still hates her gift but at the same time she needs it. She NEEDS to be able to see how people are going to die. It's like an addiction.

Louis is trying to help her and actually gets her a job using her psychic abilities. Someone wants to know how they're going to bite it, Miriam can help. A teacher at a school for troubled girls thinks she might have cancer. Sure, she could go to a doctor and find out if she's sick, but that won't answer the question of if this possible disease will kill her and when. Miriam could help there. But of course, if that was all that happened the book would be very short. And boring.

Miriam is again put in the position where she sees how a death (or several) is supposed to happen and decides she's going to try to change fate. It's happened before. It could happen again.
She's a fate-changer, and fate has a funny way of pushing back hard. Real fucking hard.
As with the last book, there is a lot of violence here. And like last time, it doesn't feel gratuitous. It serves the story. Everything about this book is MORE than Blackbirds. More action, more suspense, more violence, more Miriam. And I enjoyed it more. It's a book you fly through because you HAVE to see what's going to happen. I will definitely be picking up the third Miriam Black book The Cormorant. Not sure when but it will happen.

Because it (sadly) happens so infrequently, kudos to Wendig for creating a strong female character. And not a strong female character that's actually just a dude character but with boobs. Not a female character that is just super tough and violent but not actually a fully formed character. An actual, strong female character. YAY Wendig.

Gif rating:

*ALSO there was an interesting PBS Idea Channel about spoilers and I haven't bugged you guys about watching this channel in awhile. So here you go.

Title quote from location 3406

Wendig, Chuck. Mockingbird. Angry Robot, 2013. Kindle.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I was going to write a review. That didn't happen

I fully intended to review Chuck Wendig's Mockingbird, which Goodreads tells me I finished almost 2 months ago. I opened up blogger, cracked my knuckles, grabbed my Kindle was dead. Dead dead. I've never seen the message "You literally have no batter left. What is the matter with you? Go charge this and don't even think about trying to turn it on for at least 30 minutes. Ass."
Thanks, Kindle
So here we are.

I am way behind on reviews. Probably cos of that whole wedding thing. But in an effort to make sure I don't get too far behind in reviews, even while I can't actually get that review written just yet, I figured I'd let you know what's at least on my radar for reviewing purposes.

Also here's a super quick review of each book based on what I remember without going back to look at anything:

Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig which I finished June 18 and remember it as being even better than Blackbirds. Suspenseful and kickass.

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway which I finished June 28. I thought it was an interesting concept with some awkward random sex scenes. I remember it ended on a cliffhanger but can't totally remember what that cliffhanger was so, that's probably not a great sign.

The Martian by Andy Weir, finished July 6. OMG I LOVED THIS BOOK. I didn't know that would happen. I expected to like it, as I expect with pretty much all books I read. But I did not expect to love it so much. I already bought an extra copy (in hardback no less!) that I foisted on a friend.

One Summer by Bill Bryson which I finished July 30 and wow, there was a big gap in there where no reading got done. Well I guess I was reading How To Build A Girl. Anyway, this was very fun and typical Bryson. Who knew 3 months in America in 1927 were so busy? I've already been to the Roosevelt Field mall a couple times, although as yet I have been unable to locate the Lindbergh plaque.

Superfreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner which I finished for the second time on August 5. But HEY I reviewed this already and don't really have anything new to say. Fun book, they make really interesting points, and if you haven't already, I recommend their podcast.

I probably won't have a final review for How To Build A Girl but if you want to read all of the readalong posts, go for it. It was excellent and you should probably read it. Now. Right now. Go.

I will also have at least 1 (maybe more? I guess it depends on the photos I get) wedding post, at least 1 honeymoon post for you. LOOK AT EVERYTHING YOU HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO!

Monday, August 11, 2014

I have to die - again. And again, the thought makes me very cheerful

This is it. The last How To Build A Girl post. I'm so sad to be leaving Johanna and our group but I'm also SO HAPPY I didn't have to force myself to stop reading this time. I could just race to the end. And it was lovely.
Thank you again Emily for hosting this readalong and Harper for giving her the opportunity and us the books. AND if you haven't already (which is silly, of course you have) pre-ordered the book, you can do that through this link right here. And support an indie bookstore, which of course you want to do.

One more detail. I have managed to catch a summer cold cos awesome. So if this post will likely make less sense than normal considering cold meds and general cold-fuzziness. Enjoy.

Now, to part 3

I was very happy the last section's message about sex wasn't all
I didn't actually think it would be, but after a lot of the comments that were going around last week I thought maaaaaaaybe I'd be wrong and Moran would bust out something about pregnancy or STD or whatnot. Which I mean, yes, are actual consequences of sex and things that do need to be taken seriously but I was SO SO happy it didn't come up and all of Johanna's sexy time didn't become some big warning that if you have sex you will get pregnant/get chlamydia and you will die.

I was also very happy to see that by the end when Johanna decides to drop some aspects of Dolly but keep other than the drinking and the sex made it on the keep list. Again because while these activities do have consequences and some of them serious that does not mean that need to be given up and hooray to Moran again.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Section 2 ended with Johanna realizing the problems with being so mean. But of course, change doesn't happen right away and she eventually finds that she's insulted about half of the indie rock scene. That certainly makes going to shows awkward and ends with her getting a drink thrown at her. Which leads to her doing speed in the bathroom with the other guys from the magazine. See what meanness gets you?

Then, because things have to continue to get worse before they get better, Johanna has some less-than-fun sex with Tony Rich. First is the light S&M that causes her more pain than fun because Tony Rich hasn't read up on the S&M rules and tips, like not smacking the same place twice. Then she starts questioning what Tony is to her. She thinks he might be falling in love with her but isn't really sure how to find out. I mean, you can't just ASK
Why people are white or in love. Both off-limits
Tony invites her to his parents' for the weekend, along with a bunch of friends so way to go with the mixed signals. Signals get clear later when it turns out Tony Rich is in love with an ex-girlfriend he also invited for the weekend. He's been having random sex with this girl and figured it wasn't a problem with Johanna considering all of her sexual adventuring. Which, honestly, isn't all that unreasonable. But of course this doesn't hurt Johanna less and in order to try to win her way back to top position, Johanna suggests a threesome.

Things do not go well. First, while getting ready for the threesome she overhears Tony's friends referring to her as his "bit of rough". THEN, after forcing herself to be OK with this, she goes down to find out they've started the threesome without her. But Johanna finally gets angry. She's not going to make herself OK with this.
And she realizes while she was worried if Tony was in love with her, she wasn't all that concerned with how she felt about him. What she decides is she wants to be with John Kite.

I'm so so happy Kite ended up being wonderful. I know we were all worried where that would go so hooray for Kite being wonderful and a real friend. Of course things are still not done being terrible for Johanna. While the two of them are very drunk at a zoo, she tells Kite that they have to have sex. She's worried she's ruined everything and Kite won't want to ever see her again after making that suggestion. She reads her latest review tearing apart a band and feels horrible about it. She doesn't know what to do and just knows her experiment as Dolly isn't making her happy and she starts cutting. Or really goes through one night of cutting herself and that is not to say it's not a serious thing but at least it isn't on-going.

At least she has Krissi to talk her out of this and almost necessitate the amputation of her arm but you know, details. This also prompts Johanna to remake herself again.

She stops hanging out with the old D&ME folks. She makes up with John Kite (who doesn't remember her proposition and tells her right now she's too young for him but maybe in the future), she gets her own place in London, good things.
Oh, and she finds out why the family's benefits got cut. It was her fault for leaving school early. She left school early to try to make enough money to help save the family and instead is the reason things got cut. I'm not quite sure why they didn't tell her (and tell her "HEY go back to school so we can get those back" but perhaps that wasn't an option) but there you go.

Things are looking good for Johanna. Not perfect. It's not like things are rainbows and stardust for her and her family, but they're definitely moving in the right direction. And so we leave Johanna as she starts her new, less-cynical life in London.

This book was wonderful. It was so fun and full of so much that teen girls aren't told enough. I don't think this book is going to make it on any school reading lists anytime soon, what with all of the sex and the wanking, but it should definitely be on recommended reading lists. Well, well done Moran.

Title quote from page 301

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

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

West Coast Journey the Second: L.A.

Hey, remember roughly 8 million years ago* when I wrote that post about our trip to Seattle and I said there would be a second post about our trip to L.A.? Look what I'm finally getting around to writing over a month after the trip!

As I mentioned in that previous post, the whole raison d'etre for our West Coast jaunt was because our friend was getting married in L.A. But since we love the place we figured if we're going to be all the way over there anyway, may as well visit Seattle again, which I realize is a bit like saying "Oh well if I'm going to be in NYC anyway, I may as well head down to Miami because these things are on the same side of the country, even if they are in no way actually near each other." But we did it.

The L.A. trip had a lot less sight seeing and lot more wedding-ing so this should be shorter.

After our stupid early flight from Seattle to L.A. we picked up our rental car and immediately got stuck in L.A. traffic, because sometimes stereotypes are true. It was like 11 in the morning at this point, in the middle of the work week, so I don't know what all of these people were doing on the road but they certainly weren't at work. Eventually we made our way to our friends' place. I say "our" friend and it's true, he is my friend as well but he is first and foremost Tom's friend. And since we live on opposite sides of the country, they don't get to see each other that often. Actually, it had been about 4 years by this point. So when we got there it was a bit like...

...OK, I wanted to use a gif of two people running in slow motion towards each other, which would be an accurate visualization, but I got some pushback and also couldn't find an acceptable gif, so let's go with this instead, which is equally as accurate.
It's guy love, that's all it is
And it was adorable. Also I got to meet our friend's (whom I will refer to as "Mike" for that is his name) future wife (Dani, her name), who is awesome so that was nice. We (meaning the whitest people aka Dani and I) sunscreened up and then we immediately went to a Dodgers game. This game is the reason we had to catch the ass-crack-of-dawn flight out of Seattle.

We had some great seats but OMG IT WAS FRY AN EGG ON THE SEAT HOT.
Dodgers played...someone. I don't know who because I spent the whole inning and a half we spent in our seats wondering when exactly I was going to give in and burst into flames. And inning and a half was all we did and instead spent the rest of the game wandering the stadium trying to find some shade. I know Tom and Mike could have braved the heat, but was grateful they didn't make us.

After the game (or roughly the 7th inning which Mike informed us is all Dodgers fans stay for anyway) we took a drive around downtown LA and then headed back to their house to relax. Dani and I ran some wedding errands cos, you know, they were getting married soon and Tom and Mike needed some boding time (meaning they played Madden and probably yelled at each other). After heading to a local brewery for dinner Tom and I went to Long Beach to check into our hotel and sleep. Sleep is good.

The next day we had no wedding-related tasks to attend to, so we headed over to Schooner or Later for brunch. Thank you, Megs, for that recommendation. Unfortunately even though I was in her city for the weekend, Megs was in San Francisco for the long weekend and thus we could not meet up. Star-crossed lovers, we are! S&L was delicious and I love them for A) seating us on the patio and then B) making it totally fine to have them put up an umbrella because OMG AGAIN WITH THE SUN.  Afterwards we made our way to this little town area and did some shopping (window and real) and made our way to a beach which was LOVELY. Unfortunately, because of the paleness, a beach trip for us (me) is never as simple as "Just put on your suit, grab a towel, go to beach." Buckets of sunscreen and umbrellas are involved. But we walked along it for awhile jealous of those that had this as their front yard. Especially jealous of the guy who wasn't right on the beach but said "Fuck that noise" and built himself a water tower house.

After all this beach-looking-at we were hungry so headed to this little Mexican place Dani recommended called Patricia's that was delicious and probably would have been way better had I noticed the salsa bar BEFORE finishing my food. Le sigh. But whatever, my pork was fantastic, even salsa-less.

That night we went to ANOTHER baseball game because of course we did. At least this time it was a night game. I like night games. And games when I'm in the shade. I especially like games where there's a waiter guy who brings me things. So I'm saying I enjoyed this game better, but still can't tell you who played. The Angels, I assume, as it is their stadium.**

The next morning was rehearsal time! Well, rehearsal time for Tom and others in the wedding. I mostly hung around and talked to Dani's family until it was time for me to eat. Which I did with gusto (mmm fish tacos). AND I had a giant margarita which I wasn't expecting when I ordered it, but don't worry, I didn't let it go to waste. Who cares if it wasn't noon yet?

That afternoon we hung around near the hotel in case we were needed for any wedding-related errands, so we mostly hung around The Pike and saw all the people camped out in preparation for the fireworks that night. We then picked up one of the other groomsmen and headed for In & Out Burger. I am sorry, L.A. inhabitants, because while I enjoyed the burger, it was no Shake Shack.

That night we headed back to the Pike to watch fireworks except they only lasted about 10 minutes so I have no pictures of this. I felt bad for the people who were there all day, except apparently this display wasn't unusual so I guess they knew what they were getting into.

Saturday July 5th was WEDDING DAY. It was a lazy day for me, doing things like writing that Gone Girl review despite having neither the book nor internet access. Tom had a few more responsibilities, what with being in the wedding and all, so he went and did stuff and I hung around being a bum until it was time to get dressed.

The wedding was BEAUTIFUL. It was outside at this little beach at this resort and Mike sang a song during the ceremony and it was so sweet. It was a very pretty ceremony followed but a fun reception and they were nice enough to seat me directly next to the bar, which was quite considerate. The DJ did a great job, they did the garter toss to the San Diego Super Chargers song because yeah they did.

We made our way back to the hotel AND managed to get some sleep which was good because the next day it was back to New York. And time to go through all of the last minute stuff before our wedding!

I promise, at some point I will get back to writing book reviews.

*Internet time is a lot like dog years, isn't it?
**From the time we started dating I wanted to make sure Tom knew I wasn't a sports fan. Not in a "I don't like things you like" way, but I didn't want to be someone who pretends to like something for the sake of a guy. Besides, I knew if I tried to go with this lie I'd never be able to sustain it. So I'm sure he's disappointed but not surprised I couldn't tell you who played in these games.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Your face - it's clearly telling me to slap it

It's Monday and now that I'm back on schedule it's time for another How To Build A Girl post. I'm happy to have read so far because THIS IS SO GOOD, but I'm also sad because we're almost at the end of this readalong. Oh the sads.

Thank you Emily and Harper Collins for making this readalong possible and for those of you not currently taking part in the readalong, do you want to pre-order your own copy of the book? I mean, of course you do because you have been following along with these posts and see how good this is.
Now, to chapters 16-20! (For those of you who know the story, I'm going to use Johanna and Dolly's name interchangeably. Also heads up, there will be spoilers. Which you should probably know by this point.)

This section can best be summed up using Moran's own words from Moranthology: SEX WILL BE HAD!

But before then, we see Dolly's star is rising at the magazine when she realizes eviscerating bands is better than being a fan of them. She makes sure to only review bands that she hates because, as she learned after her John Kite piece, she has to be a reviewer and not a fan. She's spending half her time drunk on power and the other half of the time literally drunk.
All part of her trouble persona.

But Johanna/Dolly's drinking is not causing a problem for her, which is nice to see the book not go to an extreme and go "Look she's drinking AND HER LIFE IS RUINED FOREVER BEWAAAAAAARE."

Before sex will be had, Dolly's first goal is to get kissed. Lucky for her Ali introducer her to The Kisser who can help her out, provided you don't care so much about who you're kissing. As she says:
The Kisser has done his job. I'm grateful for his services. If I needed sheep moving from one field to another, I would have called a shepherd. If I'd lost my wedding ring down the U-bend, I would have called a plumber. And as I needed my first kiss before I got another day older, I used the Kisser. I feel better now.
Drunk on her first kiss and also on alcohol, Johanna returns home and talks with her dad, who is also drunk. He tells her about his childhood for a bit before coming up with the plan that Johanna will review his work in her magazine and then they will be millionaires. Johanna agrees to this, although the only thing she writes now are reviews taking bands down, so this is probably a bad strategy. But since she manages to avoid reviewing her dad's work, at least through the rest of this section, we don't have to worry about that just yet.

Time goes by, Johanna is still taking down artists, but she is spending what seems like an equal amount of time making out with Tony Rich and having sex with a bunch of people, in a section that totally does not shame her for this. Given this is Moran writing I would have been surprised otherwise, but it's still nice to see things be so sex positive. There is a moment when Johanna deals with the idea of being considered a slag and how unfair this is
The only way I can gain any qualifications at this thing - sex - that is seen as societally important and desirable, is by being a massive slag - which is not seen as societally important and desirable. This often makes be furious.
But she thinks of Courtney Love's "Teenage Whore" as her personal anthem and all is right.

The remainder of the section is some funny awkward sex moments, including a mishap involving hot wax and some serious problems dealing with a guy who is a bit too well-endowed. While recovering from this trauma (requiring codeine, cranberry juice, and a lot of time in the bath) she talks with the member of a band who tells her that bands are afraid of her. When she assures him that he doesn't have to worry about a Dolly-review because she actually likes them, Rob asks her why she only reviews bands she hates. Johanna considers this and cynicism and why she decides to do this.
When other people being to bring their guns to the party, it's not a party anymore. It's a battle. Without realizing it, I have become a self-defeating mercenary in a pointless war. I'm shooting my own future. 
She figures she has plenty of time and can be nice later, but the ominously ends the section saying that she actually hasn't got plenty of time and DUN DUN DUUUUN.

IT WAS VERY HARD TO STOP AT THIS POINT. Until next time when we can finish the book and see what's going to happen (although I have assumptions cos really, it's clear Johanna = Caitlin).

Title quote from page 211

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

Friday, August 1, 2014

July Reading Wrap-Up

July is done. I had been waiting for July for a long time now and now it's passed and it was amazing. Well amazing for things I did (you know, LIKE GOT MARRIED) but not so much on the reading side. Who woulda thunk a wedding would take up so much time? Well actually 2 weddings (mine and a friend's earlier in the month) PLUS the honeymoon. Which we went on with a bunch of people.

There WILL be wedding posts. And honeymoon posts. And that second travel post about my time in LA (for that other wedding). I promise. These are things that will happen. I don't know when. Or what order. (We won't be getting wedding photos for at least a month and I figure you'd probably like a few photos from that thing [cos you keep yelling at me for photos] so the post may need to wait for those.)

But see all that travel and event stuff? I didn't get much reading done in July. At all. Like less than I thought. Like "Hmm there must be a mistake here" type thing. Although I don't think there is. The only other book I'm currently reading is How To Build A Girl (which is SO GOOD and if you aren't reading it now you should make sure to pre-order it) but that readalong has not finished (alas cos OMG I just want to read the whole thing and yay because then we get to stretch it out) so it won't count here. But now let's see what did count.

Number of books read
The Martian by Andy Weir
One Summer by Bill Bryson

Number of pages read

Percentage of fiction read

Percentage of female authors
0% - I'd say "whomp" here but it was only 2 books. I can't get too mad when the sample size is so low.

Percentage of white authors

Percentage of US authors

Percentage of ebooks

Percentage of rereads
0% although I did start re-reading SuperFreakonomics but then got distracted by other books. Which is prob also why I completed so few books this month.

Percentage of review books

Books written by decade
2010s - 100%

Books by genre
Sci fi - 50%
American history - 50%

At least the percentages were easy to calculate this month.

I also realized, in addition to all of those travel posts I need to write, I am way, way behind on reviews. Not only do I have these 2 books from July, but I still have 2 June books I've yet to review. August is going to be a busy month...