Thursday, February 25, 2016

HamAlong Post VIII The Finale: Best of Wives and Best of Women

Here we are, the last HamAlong post. I am equal parts

The second gif is not only for whole dying-in-a-duel-that-totally-didn't-need-to-happen thing, but I'm also a bit sad to be done with this book. I mean, my shoulder is pretty happy I'm not lugging the book around, and it will be nice to read something else for a change, but still.
Thank you Alice for hosting this thing and congrats to all those that made it through. And congrats to those that will make it through eventually. Or just read the cliff notes version via the various HamAlong posts. These chapters, 39-Epilogue, covers tracks "It's Quiet Uptown" (SOB) through "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" (spoiler, it's Eliza).
Every day proves to me more and more that this American world was not made for me.
Hamilton is not in a good place. He's depressed about Philip. He's depressed that everything he worked to do for America is being taken apart by Jefferson. He's depressed that people keep saying he's a monarchist. The man has a lot of problems and feels unwelcome in his country. Of course he deals with this by blaming foreigners and dude, what the hell? Stop saying foreigners are going to "corrupt the national spirit". DON'T FORGET FROM WHENCE YOU CAME, MAN. It's right in the intro song. Luckily people didn't seem to be following him but that does mean "Hamilton seemed to rage alone in the wilderness" and that can't have helped his depression.
General Hamilton did not oppose Mr. Burr because he was a democrat...but because HE HAD NO PRINCIPLE, either in morals or in politics. The sum and substance of his language was that no party could trust him.
Things weren't going super well for Burr either. I don't know that it's possible for Jefferson to dislike someone more than Hamilton, but Burr seemed to be getting up there, which is unfortunate seeing how he was the vice president and all. Burr was doing whatever he could (in between having sex with just ALL THE LADIES) to revive his career. However, Hamilton was doing what he could to keep Burr from winning political office in New York, claiming Burr doesn't stand for anything and can't be trusted. Which was not a unique opinion, but Hamilton being Hamilton made it loudly and often.

And thus we lay the foundation for the famous duel. The famous, stupid duel. Apparently dueling was what the social elite did. If someone was below you, you beat them with a cane. If you were equals you COULD sue them for libel, but that was gauche. Much better to SHOOT THEM IN THE FACE. #classy
In a shockingly brief span, the two men had moved to the brink of a duel and were ready to lay down their lives over an adjective.
The duel eventually came down to Burr asking Hamilton to apologize for making cruel remarks about him. To which Hamilton replied that he would have to be more specific about exactly which cruel things he'd like an apology for. Hamilton and Burr quibbled over the word despicable and how other people may have inferred something about Burr and really, is it Hamilton's fault if other people infer something?

One of the last speeches Hamilton made was about how terrible dueling was, but Hamilton was a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of guy and thus he wouldn't just give some bland apology to Burr but instead they went ahead with their plan to duel. Hamilton was, however, determined to throw away his shot. He told many people this though word never seemed to make it over to Burr, which is too bad cos things could have gone very differently otherwise.

Since these were busy men, the duel was scheduled for a few weeks in the future, rather than happening right away. Burr was having a fair amount of money trouble at this time and in a move of pretty spectacular chutzpah, Burr actually showed up on Hamilton's doorstep to ask for money.
And Hamilton helped him out, soliciting money from various sources and raising $10K.

You'd think this would have put SOME stop to the duel, but no, not at all. The men got their affairs in order, headed to New Jersey, and Burr shot Hamilton. The jerk.
Eliza had not allowed the children into their father's presence the previous day, but she now realized that the time had come for Hamilton to bid them farewell...[She] lined up all the seven children at the foot of the bed so that Hamilton could see them in one final tableau, a sight that rendered him speechless...He opened his eyes, gave them one look, and closed them again until they were taken away.
Not only Hamilton's family but the city mourned the death of Hamilton. Not everyone was sad he was gone. Jefferson, Madison, and Adams all seemed fine that he was now permanently out of their hair. And then there was Burr who seemed SUPER FINE with killing Hamilton. And it actually was ruled a murder, since Hamilton had thrown away his short and Burr shot him anyway.
Would have been a much better outcome
Burr was wanted in both New York and New Jersey, so he spent his time down south and later in Europe, avoiding charges. He kept his sense of humor. He continued to collect mistresses and told his daughter Theodosia "If any male friend of yours should be dying of ennui, recommend him to engage in a duel and a courtship at the same time."
I like musical Burr way more than real Burr. He seemed to regret what he did. And show various other human emotions
I heal all wounds but those which love hath made
It seemed that Eliza's world was falling apart, having lost her son, husband, sister and mother in rapid succession. But Eliza was a tough lady and she did everything she could to tell Hamilton's story. Oh and co-found an orphanage. And dine at the White House with friends like Dolly Madison. She also stayed defiantly pissed at James Monroe for the rest of her life. Oh sure, he tried to "sorry not sorry" to her about his whole bit with the Reynolds affair, but Eliza was having none of it, former president or no. She kept the memory of Hamilton alive.

And there we have the end of Hamilton and the end of Hamilton. I'm going to take a bit of a break from reading about the founding fathers, but I think I might need to read more about these fellas. And of course listen to the soundtrack 1000 more times.

Monday, February 22, 2016

My library: A ramble

When we moved  to our new place, one of the biggest unpacking jobs was dealing with all the books. Because OMG SO MANY BOOKS
As I thought about it I was wondering exactly how many books. Particularly as I was unpacking and realized that between us Tom and I managed to acquire 4 different copies of the Odyssey.
That is too many copies. I wondered exactly what books do we have and since I heart spreadsheets I thought I'd catalogue all of the books we have.

The tally comes to:
522 paperbacks
116 ebooks
72 hardback
13 audiobooks
11 comics
6 graphic novels

Which sounds like the breakout I expected, if far more in each category than I would have guessed. Paperback is my preference, though ebooks are easy to tote around so that category has been growing. The comics are almost entirely Calvin & Hobbes collections, while more than half of the audiobooks are made up of the HP series, though I only have those as audiofiles instead of having an actual physical item, which makes moving nice.
because every other part of moving sucks
This list does not include some books we moved up to the attic, mostly old text books that we probably just should have gotten rid of except at the time we just wanted to get them out of the way and those boxes are heavy so they're probably going to stay right where they are.

Now that I have this in front of me, I was wondering who makes up the bulk of the work. Top authors (and authors is used sort of loosely, which will make sense given the list):

30 Shakespeare
19 The Mets
15 Christopher Moore
15 J.K. Rowling
13 Bill Bryson
13 Bill James
13 Stephen King
12 Jasper Fforde
11 Bill Watterson

Shakespeare wins and this just counts the plays by him and not all the books I have about him. There are a couple "Complete Works" here, along with a number of duplicates. I believe we have 3 individual copies of Hamlet and Richard III, and that doesn't count the fact that I have 4 different versions of Midsummer.

The Mets come in next but the team isn't actually penning all of these books, so much as Tom has a bunch of yearbooks for the team.
I have 15 each of Rowling and Moore books, and I'm pretty sure those 2 authors cover the widest range of categories. I have both authors stuff in paperback, hardback, and audiobooks, and one of my Moore books is an ebook.

There are a lot of Bills on this list. Who knew that was such a poplar name? Bill James does sports almanacs, one of each comes out each year (so much sports), hence his large number.
The biggest thing I've learned from putting this list together is I really need to cut down my books. I love books, obviously. And a lot of the books I have I do like to revisit and reread, either in part or the whole thing. But there are a lot of books here that I'm never going to touch again. Or there are a lot of books that we have duplicates of. And I don't even mean different prints or translations; we have a bunch of books where Tom and I brought the exact same version to the table. Or just Tom, cos somehow he managed to collect a few duplicates all on his own.

The question is now what to do with the books. I'll probably do some giveaways with the books I think people might actually like. But what to do with the others? I know there are options out there: donating to a library, or a school, or a prison or selling to a used bookstore. Have any of you gone any of these routes and if so what was your experience?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

HamAlong Post VII: Hamilton found it hard to refrain from vendettas

I know there's been a lot of Hamilton around here lately and, well, I'd apologize for that, but that's just ridiculous. Anyway, here's another #HamAlong post!
This week we cover off on chapters 32-38, which covers tracks "The Adams Administration" (we get more Adams anger, as well as Hamilton's open letter), hopping back to a bit more of "Non-Stop", jumping over to "The Election of 1800" and then backing up to "Blow Us All Away". Lin-Manuel took a lot of liberties with the timeline in the second half of the play.

Thank you Alice for organizing this and your Adams' love. Now, let's dive right in.

We're still in the midst of Adams' Administration and things are possibly getting even more tense between the surly president and the volatile Hamilton. Chernow says "During this melancholy time, the founding fathers appeared as all-too-fallible mortals" except, dude, where have you BEEN these last 400 pages? It is clear that the founding fathers were actually small children throwing temper tantrums and the fact that we managed to get anything done is a miracle. These men may have been geniuses, but don't worry, it was QUITE clear how fallible these guys were.
What someone should have done to the FFs
Given that Adams and Hamilton are on the same team, you'd think things would get better but they really need a common enemy and the Republicans realize this and are happy to sit back and watch the party implode. Except they are going to go out in a spectacular fashion. And by that I mean the Federalists are going to enact some truly terrible acts, including the Alien and Sedition Acts.

In between terrible, paranoid acts and building an army (only to disband it) Hamilton and Adams fought and fought and fought.
Hamilton was congenitally incapable of compromise. Rather than make peace with John Adams, he was ready, if necessary, to blow up the Federalist party and let Jefferson become president.
Hamilton decided "The Reynolds Pamphlet" was only the beginning of him writing terrible things in public that are going to destroy him. Reynolds certainly couldn't have helped him personally and now it's time to destroy himself, career-wise. Or as Chernow says.
[Hamilton] would be devoured by dislike of someone, brood about it, then yield to the catharsis of discharging his venom in print.
So Hamilton let's loose an open letter to Adams about how terrible he is. There actually was a song originally written about this for the play but they decided to cut it. Which is ridiculous because I love it and may have spent my long weekend memorizing the lyrics because I have a problem. Would you like to watch? Of course.

Through this section and the last, Chernow keeps talking about how he can't believe Hamilton made all these horrible choices and, listen, at some point you're going to have to realize that as awesome as Hamilton was in some aspects, he was an idiot in others. Like, a lot of others. Like the whole vendetta thing. And refusing to compromise. And writing down like every damn thought and publishing it for everyone to see. ("For a man of Hamilton's incomparable intellect, the pamphlet was a crazily botched job, an extended tantrum in print.") I wonder if things would have been better or worse if Laurens had lived and was right there with Hamilton.

This brings us to the Election of 1800 which was quite different from from the song. Also I was watching Drunk History, which just so HAPPENED to also include a section about this election, though focused on Adams and Jefferson and I get why Chernow didn't go into this (since Hamilton isn't mentioned at all) but like, this sounds hilarious and I was hoping there was something about it. Especially all the weird lies they were telling about each other in the press. Oh, would you like to watch that video too? Yes, good idea.

Jefferson gets elected and Hamilton does tell the delegates they should make sure Burr does not get made president but no one was asking for Hamilton's opinion. Which makes sense cos think about, when has anyone ever needed to solicit Hamilton's opinion from him. You're getting it, whether you like it or not. There's no mention of Burr being especially peeved about this move (and no duel yet) but Jefferson sure doesn't like the guy and does everything he can to keep the guy out of the Room Where It Happens
Do not piss off Tommy J.

At this point Hamilton is completely out of power, cos of said rap/pamphlet above, so he decides to move uptown and build himself a little house and garden. He asks friends for advice on gardening and of course can't help but make a comment about Jefferson
In this new situation, for which I am as little fitted as Jefferson [is] to guide the help of the U[nited] States, I come to you as an adept in rural science for instruction.
Can't stop, can ya, buddy?

Of course the feeling was mutual. As president, Jefferson tasked his new secretary of treasury to see where he could dismantle Hamilton's financial system. The guy tried, and also hated Hamilton so really wanted to take this thing apart, but couldn't. When asked what sort of fraud he was able to uncover, Gallatin answered
I have found the most perfect system ever formed. Any change that should be made it in would injure it. Hamilton made no blunders, committed no frauds. He did nothing wrong. 
When Madison later did allow the bank's charter to expire he almost broke America and ended up setting up a Second Bank of the United States, which prompted critics to say that he "out-Hamiltons Alexander Hamilton".

The section ends with Philip Hamilton and lest you thought the comment about how hot he was ("God, you're a fox!") was an exaggeration, take a gander at this:
Yeah, that's what I thought.

But he was just as rash as he father and equally bad at dueling. The Hamilton's didn't just lose their oldest son (who they replaced with the newest child, as Eliza was pregnant when Philip was killed. They named the new kid Philip as well and that seems like you're just setting your kid up for a complex) but also their daughter Angelica. She was still around and lived to her 70s, but she was very close to Philip and when he was killed something in her broke. She had a complete mental breakdown and had to be cared for for the rest of her life, often imagining Philip was still alive.
So on THAT depressing note, we end here. The end is near, both for this book and for Hamilton,  so that's sad (kinda) on both fronts. Till next week.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Remember when I mentioned going to see Hamilton and that's why my HamAlong post was late? WELL, I wasn't going to say much more about it but then Alice asked me when I would be doing a post on the show and I just watched the Grammy's performance (aka, the only reason to watch the Grammys) and well, WHY NOT
Here's this pic again
Tom got me the tickets for Christmas and I'm not sure exactly how he got them but I've been telling people he sold a kidney for them, which he has yet to confirm or deny.

Part of me kind of wishes that I didn't already know all of the music because of course I kept noticing when the live performance was slightly different from the recording. Of course that would mean NOT listening to a ton of Hamilton and obviously that's not an option.

Since there's no way I'm going to come up with a coherent post, let's instead just do some bullets about the experience.

  • We were pretty far in the back BUT great view. However, these seats were not made for someone with legs as long as mine. And I am 5'4" so, yeah. Small children were meant for those seats.
  • I was SLIGHTLY bummed before seeing the show because Daveed Diggs was in Trinidad. Which I had known for a few days cos I'm a creep that follows a good chunk of the cast on various social media platforms and he'd been Instagramming his trip, which looked swell and all but maaaaan.
  • THAT SAID, the guy who played Lafayette/Jefferson (Andrew Chappelle) was pretty awesome and Tom couldn't understand why I wanted to see this other guy when the guy in the show was so good.
  • At least we have Leslie Odom Jr. in as Burr (who was sort of my first choice in "original cast member I really want to see") and did you know that he's amazing?

    • DD was number two, Lin-Manuel Miranda 3 and then I started just yelling every other cast member name while Tom just looked confused. He puts up with so much, but he gave me the gift so this kind of comes with the territory.
  • Aaron Burr is a lot funnier in the play than I had imagined. Some of it is the lines were said differently, other parts just come from seeing him act it out. And I am 100% behind this.

  • King George is also funnier than I thought. I mean, I knew he'd be funny ("Awesome, Wow!") but he was most definitely the funniest one on the stage and Tom's favorite character. He was sad after we won the war because that would mean no more (or very little) George.
  • Okieriete Onaodowan (I am looking at it and I'm still pretty sure I spelled it wrong and I'M SO RRY) as Hercules Mulligan, yes thank you. I appreciate all of his sound effects and the fact that he always has a flask in hand.
  • Pretty much whenever Hamilton, Laurens, Mulligan and Lafayette were together.

  • I thought, because I've listened to the soundtrack so often, that maybe I wouldn't cry through the end of the play. And then I started to tear up during Satisfied and I realized I have no chance.
  • Seriously though, Renee Elise Goldsberry, she is amazing.

  • Wait For It
  • After (just barely) holding it together in Satisfied I thought I'd be safe until Act II. Except there's a short song when Hamilton learns Laurens died and NOPE, no dry eyes there. DAMMIT.
  • Intermission comes and Tom and I decide to stretch but basically stay in our seats. I then spend most of intermission texting Alice about bad fanfic. Then suddenly the lights were just OUT and Burr was back on stage. Seriously, no warning. People were still making their way back.
  • Even having seen videos of Jefferson's performance, I was not prepared for how amazing it is. Every step is wonderful and hilarious.
  • Everything about the Cabinet Battles

  • Burr is so dramatic in The Room Where It Happens. It's so good and I feel so bad for him.
  • Yes, they do just have Anthony Ramos play a small child despite being a full grown man. And it's adorable to watch Phillipa Soo beatbox.
  • Philip Hamilton, you are quite a fox.
  • Constant crying from Blow Us All Away through It's Quiet Uptown. But you can hear everyone else in the theater crying too, so SAFE PLACE
  • Get a little break from the tears until Best of Wives and Best of Women and then you're just screwed until the end.
  • The bows were very quick. Everyone together, real quick
And now off to a late dinner reservation and I will entertain Tom with tons of Hamilton trivia learned from the book. Because again, he signed up for this.

And yes, I am looking to see it again. Because it's super amazing. Obv. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The desires of the human heart know no reason or rules

Since I'm so behind on writing reviews, I had gotten pretty good at least writing myself some notes after I finished a book. That way, when I actually got around to writing the review itself I wasn't starting from scratch on a book I hadn't touched in a couple months. Apparently I skipped right over Yoko Ogawa's Revenge with the whole note writing thing, which I finished back in November. Luckily I liked this book so it made an impression on me.

Revenge, described as eleven dark tales, are eleven interconnected short stories. The interconnections aren't all that obvious at first and it was about halfway through that I started noticing little details turning up in multiple stories. I thought about starting over again with this in mind, but I didn't because half way through already. And the stories can stand on their own, so not noticing the connection earlier didn't really change the stories.

The stories are dark, though that doesn't necessarily mean they're scary. Sometimes they're just sad or there's a general sense of unease, though you can't quite place your finger on what is wrong. And most of the stories don't really deal with revenge, so Eleven Dark Tales is probably a better title. But Revenge is zippier so fine.

The book opens with a woman waiting in a bakery to buy a strawberry shortcake. A simple, even boring, premise. The story stays quiet but slowly a sense of sadness and eeriness starts to permeate as you learn the story of this woman sitting in the empty bakery. And thus the tone is set for the rest of the stories. They all have the same sense of quiet that builds to something not quite right, certainly not what you would have expected, but that works with the story, even if it involves breaking into a former post office to grab a kiwi from one of the many boxes piled up to the ceiling. Or the woman who grows carrots in the shape of hands. Or the man who runs the museum of torture.

I really enjoyed this collection. I love the tone it has; it's creepy and weird but quiet. It's not scary so if you're worried about horror stories, I'd say this is a good one to check out. Plus Ogawa's writing is great (and I guess part of that credit goes to translator Stephen Snyder) so really, can't go wrong.

GIF rating:
Title quote from page 90, location 1054

Ogawa, Yoko. Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales. Picador, 2013.

Friday, February 12, 2016

HamAlong Post VI: Hamilton would fight the whole party one by one

A day late but worth the wait (maybe, or not cos I'm pretty sure I'm still sleep deprived so who knows how this will actually turn out) here we are with post IV of our Hamalong covering chapters 27-31. On the tracks side, we're doubling back to cover "Washington On Your Side" through "The Adams Administration" and hopping over to "The Reynolds Pamphlet" (or maybe Burn*).
Thank you Alice for hosting this readalong, and all of your Adams' love. We need a counterpart to Chernow's HamFic.
After Alexander Hamilton left the Treasury Department, he lost the strong, restraining hand of George Washington and the invaluable sense of tact and proportion that went with it.
This section seems to be when Hamilton fights everyone. Everyone. 
Washington is all of Hamilton's impulse control.

Normally Hamilton focused his fighting spirit on Jefferson, but now he's hitting everyone over a trade treaty with England. First Hamilton tried to duel a guy Nicholson who claimed Hamilton tried to get out of an earlier duel. Then he declared "he would fight the whole party one by one" when debates started to get heated. Then he was going to do duel Maturin Livingston. Even Chernow can't believe this.
This was truly amazing behavior: Hamilton was prepared to descend into outright fisticuffs in the streets with his opponents, as if he were a common ruffian.
It cracks me up that young Hamilton did not seem to want to physically fight people nearly as often as getting-to-middle-aged Hamilton did. He didn't end up dueling Nicholson having getting him to sign an apology, and then he got Livingston to deny casting any "aspersions on his manhood or accuse him of cowardice." So Hamilton is basically Marty McFly.
Sit down, Marty
When he's not busy fighting people in the street, he's fighting John Adams, who is a member of the same party so you'd think there would at least be some common ground. Everything Hamilton did seemed to piss off Adams. He tried to make sure Jefferson wouldn't get elected and Adams saw this as taking votes away from him. Adams kept most of Washington's cabinet, who Hamilton was chummy with and they would solicit advice from him. Hamilton also provided a lot of advice to Adams, on the assumption that everyone always wants to hear what he has to say.
They do not, especially if they are curmudgeons like Adams who does NOT appreciate being told what to do.

Most of my knowledge of Adams comes from Chernow and I understand this is tainted and I should probably read something about Adams cos man, he comes off as a real ass here, at least where it comes to Hamilton. He called him, among other things, conceited, with morals like Franklin, engaging in incest (a lot of people seemed to think he was sleeping with Angelica which, I mean, I'm not saying they WERE but I understand the rumors), said he fobbed work off on others, that he was constantly on drugs, and really focused on the fact that Hamilton was not born in the states and was a bastard (Creole bastard, specifically). All of that would be one thing but then he also said shit like "I never wrote a line of slander against my bitterest enemy...nor encouraged it in any other."
Own your dickish behavior, sir.

While he's fighting with everyone, his affair with Maria Reynolds comes to light again. There were rumors that the money paid was hush money for an affair but in general people believed it was for speculation.
Hamilton could not have been stupid enough to pay hush money for sex, Callender alleged, so the money paid to James Reynolds had to involve illicit speculation. In fairness to Callender, it is baffling that Hamilton submitted to blackmail for so long.
Do not underestimate how stupid Hamilton could be. At least his Reynolds Pamphlet made slightly more sense since there was word that someone was going to start publishing a bunch of stuff about Hamilton engaging in speculation and other stuff Hamilton could not abide.
Once Callender's chargers were published, Hamilton faced an agonizing predicament: should he ignore the accusations as beneath his dignity or openly rebut them?
Several of Hamilton's friends recommended he stay silent. Because that is obviously the right answer. Except I think Hamilton is physically incapable of remaining silent. So what does he do?
Deaf to such advice, Hamilton decided to respond at length.
Because of course.

After that there's a bunch about Adams botching things, the US almost going to war with France cos of a failed ambassador field trip, Washington agreeing to come back to command troops if (and only if) Hamilton could be his second, which Adams was NOT having, while Hamilton spent a lot of time concerned with the outfits the soldiers would wear. Politics is weird, you guys.

And there we have it. I'm afraid for the next chapters cos just all the sad stuff is coming up and NO I DON'T WANT IT. Seriously, everyone just stop dueling. It's so stupid.

Till next week!

*I'm not sure if "Burn" should be included here or not, considering the whole point of "Burn" is Eliza taking her out of the narrative, which makes it difficult for her to be in this narrative. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

HamAlong post is a bit late

OK so I DON'T have my HamAlong post ready for today. I managed the reading but ran out of time to post. But I have a very good reason


If you're wondering YES IT WAS AMAZING AND THE BEST THING EVER and I sort of want to get in line and try to get tickets again. And by sort of I mean I was looking up more tickets as I walked out of the show.

That wasn't the only reason the post didn't happen. Cos originally I was thinking whatever, I'll write something the next day. And then instead the next day I met up with some people to do Harry Potter (books) trivia. Which I thought the Potteralong would have helped with but there were 0 questions about wizarding plumbing or how bad at math Rowling is and instead it was all "This charm was muttered once by a tertiary character in the background WHAT WAS THAT CHARM, SPELLING COUNTS!" type thing.

HamAlong Post VI: Hamilton fights EVERYONE (yes, even more than before) will be coming. Just a bit late.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Your twenties are the worst part of your life that you don't actually know at the time is terrible

I mentioned I read Us as part of a book club. It was my first time joining and after we finished talking about the book (and eating and drinking, as any good book club works) we each put a title in a hat to pick the next book. I suggested I Don't Care About Your Band and it was picked* and now here we are.

I Don't Care About Your Band comes up on Amazon as frequently bought with Caitlin Moran stuff so I figured, hey, good company. Though really, I would put this closer to Chelsea Handler which is good if that's what you like. I read her book My Horizontal Life and it was not really my thing. This is slightly more my thing, but not to the same level has Moran or Lawson.

It's mostly Klausner's experience having sex (and sometimes dating) a variety of people through her teens and twenties who were mostly losers and/or jerks and the things she learned from it. Sometimes it was funny, sometimes it was offensive, and even though I just finished the book the other day** I forgot a good deal of what happens. And at this point it is actually months later and I remember pretty much none of the book or the anecdotes, just a vague feeling I had while reading it.

There are funny moments. I highlighted some quotes I liked then and still like now. And since I've already said I can't remember much of this book (Book club is going to be interesting...), let's instead focus on some of those quotes I highlighted.
My advice to women who habitually gravitate toward musicians is that they learn how to play an instrument and start making music themselves. Not only will they see that it's not that hard, but sometime I think women just want to be the very thing they think they want to sleep with.
The trick is to realize that the boys who talk so much about being rejected that it seems like they're proud of it aren't necessarily sweeter or more sensitive than the Bababooey-spouting frat bullies who line up at clubs like SkyBar to run game on girls they want to date rape. There are plenty of nerds who fear women and aren't sensitive, despite their marketing; they just dislike women in new, exciting ways.
There's a whole generation of us who rode on the wings of feminism's entitlement like it was a Pegasus with cornrows, knowing how smart we were and how we could be anything.
So the book's fine. Entertaining enough, especially if Chelsea Handler is your thing. Wasn't particularly memorable and I don't remember laughing out loud as I did with a Moran or Lawson.

Gif rating:
*By me, when I chose out of said hat but I didn't do it on purpose at all and actually didn't want to pick my book because that's a lot of pressure and WHAT IF THE BOOK IS BAD AND I SCREW UP BOOK CLUB?
**Other day from the point I'm writing this, though by the time this posts it'll prob be a month or so later cos I am GREAT at keeping up with things

Title quote from page 248, location 3166

Klausner, Julie. I Don't Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I've Dated. Penguin Group, 2010. Kindle

Thursday, February 4, 2016

HamAlong Post V: Hamilton, the bare-knuckled polemicist

It's Thursday, so time time for more A.Ham. For those still caught up, HIGH FIVE! For those falling a bit behind because this is a lot to get to, HIGH FIVE. For those who gave up because omg so much government fighting and not enough Schuyler sisters, HIGH FIVE. High fives for everyone!
Extra high five to Alice for hosting this readalong.

Chapters 20-26 hop back to give us more info around "Say No To This" and Miss Maria Reynolds and then jumping ahead forward to bring us to "Washington On Your Side," then skipping over a couple tracks to hit "We Know." Getting complicated now.

This section seemed to be mostly Hamilton fighting Jefferson, Madison and pretty much every other person he met, getting caught sleeping with Maria Reynolds, and then more fighting with Jefferson and Madison cos of course. The two-party system was also starting to solidify, despite Washington trying to get everyone to just get along. Poor Washington needs a spa day or something cos these kids are driving him crazy.
Hamilton continues to defend the Constitution as the best possible government for an imperfect world.
Mr. Adams observed, "Purge that constitution of its corruption...and it would be the most perfect constitution ever devised by the wit of man." Hamilton paused and said, "Purge it of its corruption...and it would become an impracticable government. As it stands at present, with all its supposed defects, it is the most perfect government which ever existed. 
This is also around the point he realized that his old buddy Madison had gone over to the dark side Democratic Republicans and was SO HURT.
This was his Federalist buddy. How could it betray him like this? Hamilton needed his Laurens, but alas it was not to be. So Hamilton had to fight the good fight alone, or so Chernow makes it seem, though I'm sure there were others right there with him.

I know I've said this in previous posts, but the point that keeps being driven home is how politics does not seem to have changed. It's all infighting and propaganda from politically backed newspapers.

You'd think, what with all the in-fighting and writing rebuttals to the Jefferson-backed newspaper and general running a new country, he wouldn't have time to answer everyone who says something mean about him. You would be wrong. Hamilton never learned the valuable lesson "Don't feed the trolls" and responded to every accusation against his character.
A captive of his emotions, he revealed an irrepressible need to respond to attacks. Whenever he tried to suppress these emotions, they burst out and overwhelmed him.
Chernow's treatment of Maria Reynolds is not my favorite thing. He goes back and forth talking about how she was a crafty conwoman (who also couldn't help at least kind of falling in love with him, cos who wouldn't love Hamilton??) and a flighty, overly-emotional femme fatale. Most of the time he updates the spelling when quoting primary sources, but keeps Maria's original spelling. He says in the intro it's to "emphasize a distinctive voice" but it comes off like "make this chick look like an idiot even though spelling was RIDICULOUS in the past." We know Hamilton is his golden boy, but that doesn't mean anyone who was mean to him is evil. Calm down, mama bear.

Because the lives of Burr and Hamilton are intertwined in crazy ways, Maria Reynolds hired Burr as her lawyer when she decided to divorce her husband James. Now tell me a woman at this time divorcing her like abusive husband isn't bad ass.

America may have been having its problems, but France had its own drama going on, what with the whole revolution and Reign of Terror.
For Hamilton, the utopian revolutionaries in France had emphasized liberty to the exclusion of order, morality, religion, and property rights...He saw the chaos in France as a frightening portent of what could happen in America if the safeguards of order were stripped away by the love of liberty.
Hamilton's concerns in getting a stable government set up in America were validating by the horrors happening across the way. And luckily Lafayette and his wife and kids made it through the terror (though were thrown in prison under deplorable conditions), though his wife's family was not so lucky.

Jefferson and Hamilton again butted heads (what else is new) over how to handle the fighting in France and whether or not to provide aid. Jefferson said they had to help out since France is fighting for freedom which is what America is all about and Hamilton said they should stay away since things are getting pretty terror-y over there. Washington decided it was best for the new nation to remain neutral.
Jefferson was angry that Washington seemed to always agree with Hamilton. Chernow reiterates a few examples of Washington disagreeing with Hamilton to prove Washington didn't go along with ALL of Hamilton's plans, but it sort of comes off sounding ridiculous. I'm not saying Washington didn't differ from Hamilton at times on big issues, but Chernow makes it sound like "One time, Hamilton told Washington to wear a blue shirt and Washington went with a green one instead, SEE HE HARDLY LISTENED TO HAMILTON, SHUT UP JEFFERSON."

Chernow does this a few times. At one point a French expat who fled to Philly ("the French Noah's Ark") is quoted saying of Hamilton "He spoke French, but quite incorrectly" and then goes on to praise Hamilton for other characteristics. But Chernow holds onto that "Hamilton wasn't perfect" comment and immediately responds with "Nobody else ever faulted Hamilton's French."
One last thing, and then we're done for the week

Angelica wrote to Eliza and said
By my Amiable, you know that I mean your husband, for I love him very much, and if you were as generous as the old Romans, you would lend him to me for a little while.
I'm glad Eliza and Angelica had a good relationship and she could say stuff like this and the sisters didn't hate each other. Because that is pretty bold, Angelica. Though it also makes me laugh, and I love the song "Satisfied" so whatever, go you.

There are still a lot of pages left, so I foresee a lot more fighting and policy and financial history and while that's not my favorite stuff, I do have to congratulate Chernow on keeping things readable. Kudos there, sir.

Title quote from page 403