Friday, March 28, 2008

Dangerous Mood.

That's what I'm in today. I was fine and it's Friday and all, so that's good. Then I got an email from my stepmother with the contact information for where she and my father will be staying in PARIS. THIS WEEKEND. I should also mention that my mother, aunt and cousins are going to Paris in May. Guess who's not going to Paris? If you guessed me, you are just so smart. One of those bitches better bring me some macarons or there is going to be a temper tantrum of MONUMENTAL proportions. There will be snot and tears and gum stuck in my hair.

On the bright side, I just today received word that my bathroom walls are finished. Beautiful creamy white plaster, all smooth and crack-free! Yay for that! We wised up and hired someone to make it beautiful so I could paint without having chunks of wall fall on my head.

It's not Paris, but it's something.

I guess.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My fool-proof method for picking out a book.

Even though I have a stack of books at home to read, I still can't fight the lure of the Recreational Reading section in the university's library. I'm not sure who does the buying for that section but in general they do a good job at casting a wide net. There's almost always something worth reading and for me it's like being faced with rows of bulk candy. I can't just get gummi cola bottles, you know? I want gummi cola bottles, and gummi fruits, and chocolate-covered bears and jordan almonds and non-nonpareils and caramels. I WANT IT ALL. (Fuck, now I want candy.) Or, like today, I want something I can't quite define. I'm not sure if I'm in the mood for fluff or a mystery or a historical drama or something thinky. I just finished a sort of thinky book that was fairly disappointing, so I don't want to do that again.

I pick books the way you never should pick books - by title, by cover, and (pay attention! This is important) by author photo. Seriously. I can't read a book if the author looks like a completely douchebag. Have you ever taken a look at John Grisham's photo? Doesn't he look like an ass? I didn't read him for years because of that photo. Another one is Patricia Cornwell. She looks like she'd beat you with a wire hanger if she ever got the chance. I'm just saying.

Now, I get that by using two uber-popular authors my photo judging is not really the best method, but it helps weed out the potential time-wasters. Here are some other easy ways to weed out books:

- Pink cover. Or a cover with a photo of a red bra in a jar, which I saw today. I don't even know the title because, dude, does it matter? I am a grown-ass woman and cannot be walking around with a book that has a photo on the cover of a red bra in a jar.

- Fictional mystery/thriller/romance involving a non-fictional historical person. I just can't wrap my head around a thriller starring Charlotte Bronte, Marie Antoinette, or Jane Austen. I'm sure some of them are just fine but it weirds me out when authors can't make up their own characters and also needs to give these poor dead folks a murder to solve. That said, I have no real issue with straight-up historical fiction as long as it's not boring.

- Embarrassing title. Two I saw today: I'm Not Julia Roberts and Bright Lights, Big Ass. Fun reads, I'm sure, but I can't carry this stuff around, I just can't. Please see statement above about being grown.

- Any book who's description starts with, "Red-headed witch Rachel Morgan has a demon after her, but that's just one of her many troubles in this action-packed sixth installment of Harrison's Hollows series." We have several problems here. 1) straight-up fantasy/sci-fi, 2) series book, 3) not the first in the series. I'm okay with a series (thought not a straight-up sci-fi series) but I can't just jump in on number six. I need to start at the beginning. I should also point out that I like science fiction as long as I don't realize it's science fiction.

- A collection of short stories. I don't do short stories as a general rule. Not because I don't think short fiction is good, but because I am always left wanting more. I need a NOVEL. I need to get invested in something that will last longer than a few minutes of my time.

Okay, so with all this criteria, I ended up with two books but really only wanted one to read, because I'm currently reading two other (non-fiction) books. I need some fiction to balance things out. I chose The Crazy School and In The Woods. The only way I can truly decide which was going to be this week's winner was to sit down and read the first chapter of each.

The Crazy School
has short, snappy chapters and I liked the main character okay. The general story sounds intriguing, though the story has bitter overtones which I wasn't sure I was in the mood for. Also, it was pretty obvious that the main character was the author, which seemed a bit weird, somehow. I read two chapters right quick anyway and would have been happy to keep going. It was interesting.

In The Woods was a bit more challenging with the language, but I really liked that. I read the prologue and most of the first chapter and decided pretty quickly that the main character looks just like Clive Owen. NOT BAD. And I like him, the main character I mean. He's got a story to tell. It's a thriller, but also clearly has deeper themes. The prologue description of summer was the kind of writing I want to read over and over, prose-y poetry stuff.

I chose the second one. I'll let you know how it is when I've finished. So tell me, what are you reading right now?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thanks, Jesus!

Woo, I was going to post today but then I got an early release from work which, to a heathen like me, was completely unexpected. Anyway, nothing I write could be funnier than this email I received from my husband earlier today:

Hey A,

I was strolling through the Wal Mart at lunch (confirmed most icky store ever) when I spotted woman carrying a small monkey in a baby pouch. It looked to be a serious monkey, because the lady wanted no part of monkey interaction. Why you carry such a serious monkey?

That's why I married him, folks.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My Misery is Your Milkshake

Thanks Palinode, for the awesome title. Unfortunately I don't have much misery to stuff in your gaping pie-hole as there wasn't much to be had this weekend. It was pretty good overall! The party on Saturday was fine except that I seem to have completely lost the art of conversation. I'd be doing pretty well for a while and then the people i was chatting with would edge away leaving me completely alone and feeling sort of foolish. That kind of thing makes me miss smoking because at least I'd have something to do besides glance around wildly trying to make eye contact and not look crazy. Shit, even my husband was edging away from me! I mean, sure, maybe he wanted to talk to someone else for a change, but couldn't he see I was floundering?

I had one really really really awkward conversation with a nice woman introduced to me by the host, who then left to see someone off. Neither of us had a common thread to go on other than,

"How do you know the host?"

"Through mutual friends. They were in a band together. How about you?"

"Oh, through work."


. . .

. . .

Then we both just stood there, eyes darting around wildly as the awkward pause enveloped us both and the pause grew too long to be saved because it was really obvious that neither of us could think of a thing to say and then finally she snapped and skittered off to find a drink, probably so she could drink away the AWKWARD CLOUD OF AWKWARDNESS. Jesus. It was awful. I think the trick is to get loaded before you go to the party so that all that over-thinking best-behavior stuff is LONG GONE before you hit the roomful of people you don't know.

After that conversation it got better and I relaxed and we had a really good time. We also got peer-pressured into doing a mountain bike time trial the next day, something neither of us were planning on. Me, especially, considering I've ridden my bike maybe twice in the past month. A little sprint race, you say? Why CERTAINLY. I will probably be posting a half-assed recap on my other blog any second now. Wait for it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Goonies never say die!

I KNOW, I KNOW I'M SORRY. It's just that nothing has happened. At least, nothing I can talk about. Lots going on, none of it bloggable. As for my actual day-to-day life, I've been boring as all shit. I work, I go to the gym, I drool in front of the television, I go to sleep. Repeat repeat repeat. I promise though, I'm working on trying to embarrass myself or something just to have something to write. It's been slim pickings, I'm telling you. Even the grocery store, my usual place for All Things Weird and Uncomfortable From the Past has been a disappointment. I went last Friday and didn't see ANYONE. Not even the people I see every damn week! It blew my mind. Did everyone move away? Shit.

Oh, I am going to a party tomorrow night which is always good for some self-humiliation. I'll do my best.