Wednesday, April 29

Don't read out loud

I think we all know I love a good book, but what I apparently don't like is listening to a good book. As part of the Read Harder challenge, I had to finish an audiobook. I picked Jennifer Government because I've been wanting to read it for awhile (my name is in the title, people), and it was available from my library.

I think I liked the book okay (pretty standard science-fiction type stuff with a healthy dose of satire, but many of the consumer references are now dated), but I know I didn't engage with the characters or the text as much as I would have had I been actually reading the book instead of just listening to it. I know lots of people like to listen to them in the car, but I find I just zone out and pay attention to neither the book nor my driving. Not a good scenario. I doubt I'll be listening again, but at least now I can say I've tried it. And I still don't like it.

Friday, March 13

Out of this world

Okay, so I totally lied. I didn't watch grown-up stuff. Well, I did expose J.R. to the joys of The Usual Suspects and Children of a Lesser God, but I'd already seen those movies. Left to my own devices (and the evil temptress that is Netflix), I've been watching Roswell. Yes, the late '90s drama about teen aliens. I admit, sometimes I roll my eyes so hard I give myself a headache, but for the most part, it's fun. Some of the fun, it's true, comes from watching actors as teenagers who I knew only from their later work. (Katherine Heigl, I'm looking at you. Colin Hanks! The Good Guys! Too soon. Sigh.)

My greatest joy, however, was discovering that the series was created from the brilliant mind of Jason Katims, who brought us the ridiculously good Friday Night Lights, then followed up with the quiet but brilliant Parenthood (I miss you already), and the so-far, so-hilarious About a Boy. Who knew this is where he got started? (Well, I imagine he knew. And people who watched Roswell when it was actually televised.) Sign me up for whatever this man does next.

Monday, March 9

Young at heart

When it comes to movie/TV watching, I freely admit to having the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old and an endless fascination with all things teen. I think I've watched more teen-based dramas as a woman in her 30s than I did when I was an actual teenager. Perhaps it's because I appreciate their simplicity (problems always revolve around wanting the impossible girl/guy, thwarting the mean girl, and/or parents who just don't understand, etc.).

That's why when I saw the previews for The DUFF, I knew I was going to see it. And I was probably going to like it. Which I totally did. I love Mae Whitman (her work on Parenthood was stellar), and Robbie Amell brings the right blend of wry humor and hotness. It was a cute movie, and there were several laugh-out-loud moments. Afterwards, however, I tried to place in within the pantheon of excellent teen movies, and I wasn't sure I could. I mean, will anything ever top the '80s classics from John Hughes? I highly doubt it. (Except for Pretty in Pink. I f-ing hate that movie. Blane is such a dick, and his name is Blane, and Andie still takes him back. I could go on for hours about how much I dislike that movie, but I won't. Just watch Some Kind of Wonderful instead. On repeat.) It's clearly not on the same level as Say Anything. But in the realm of teen movies that came out after I was actually a teenager, I liked it better than Mean Girls and just as much as Easy A.

For my next film, I will attempt to watch something with grown-ups in it. Maybe.

Tuesday, January 13

Just getting started

Book harvest

A few of my to-read books this year.

Monday, December 22

Read Hard 2: Read Harder

I think you all know I enjoy a good reading challenge. Read all of Jane Austen? Done. Finally finish War and Peace? Check. Read more nonfiction? Delightfully non-specific, but I'm pretty sure going from 0 to 8 nonfiction books read this year counts as winning. And, as you know, since Goodreads started counting, I've been challenging myself to read a certain number of books each year (and I'm already over this year's 60-book goal, and I'm planning on polishing off another one or two before New Year's).

All that said, this Book Riot Read Harder challenge seems pretty, well, challenging. And I think that means I'm in. I'm all twitchy just thinking about how I'm going to meet all of those smaller challenges that make up the larger challenge. Who's with me?

Tuesday, December 16

Old school

Despite being a somewhat geeky lover of the interwebs and all things techno-cool, in many ways, I don't like change. I don't want my entire life to be digitized. I don't want to spend the majority of my days tethered to my smartphone. I don't want to buy only e-books. I don't want my music to exist only in some theoretical "cloud." I like real books. I like holding them, and turning the pages as I read. I like buying actual CDs, so I can read the liner notes and (hopefully) lyrics. I still believe in my iPod over my phone, and I still have an actual CD/cassette player in my house.

And despite all appearances to the contrary, I still love this blog. Today, I went on a nostalgia-fueled tour of some of my old favorite blogs -- some are still active (Bookslut!), some naturally went the way of the dinosaur (Papel-blog), and some are still there, but more and more infrequent (me?).

Which is all just a way to say: I got a new CD for my birthday, and I dig liner notes (but not in that "I'm such a cool hipster I only listen to vinyl" way).

Thursday, November 6

Island getaway


We went to San Juan Island last weekend, and we had the best weather and the best time with some great friends. More pictures over at Flickr.

Sunday, September 14

Insert poncy accent here

My love for British mysteries continues, although it doesn't seem necessary for the authors to actually be British, as long as their books are set somewhere in Great Britain, be it modern day or post-WWI. Either way works for me. I've really been enjoying the Ruth Galloway series from Elly Griffiths, although I was initially hesitant because I'm not a big fan of "forensic" mysteries. These are centered around forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway, but there's actually fairly little forensics or archaeology involved (and for me, that's a good thing). I've also picked up the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series by Deborah Crombie, but there are a lot more of these already in the bag, so I'm still behind. Bygones. The point is this: After reading all these mysteries about the British, when you watch The Honorable Woman, which is set in London, and some lady is supposed to be playing an American, you pick up a few things. Like, no American is going to say that she and her boyfriend had a "row" when she means they had an argument. Also, during that fight, if he threw shit around, she wouldn't say he "pitched" things about. Pitched a fit, sure. Clearly, all this reading has helped me become more critical. Like I really needed any help in that department.

Monday, September 8

So long, old friend

We made it!This weekend, I had to say goodbye to a relationship that's lasted more than 14 years -- really, the longest relationship of my adult life -- and it was hard. We'd been together a long time. We shared a lot of good times together, and a few bad times, too. We were partners. Sadly, cars do not last forever, and my Saturn was more than 17 years old. It was time to let her go to that great junkyard in the sky (or Lynnwood, whichever).

She wasn't my first car -- that honor went to the Beretta my dad gave me for my college graduation. She wasn't the first car I bought -- that was a '92 red Saturn coupe. But she was the first car that really felt like mine. I bought her from the dealer -- all by myself! We rode together down Rt. 9 every day; we got lost in Boston together; we went to weddings and marches on Washington together; and finally, she drove me all the way across the country to my new life in Seattle. I'll always treasure our special moments together: digging her out of a blizzard's worth of snow; jamming an entire futon in her back seat; "accidentally" driving over a traffic cone with her; repairing her hood after a window fell on it; and, of course, all 3,000 and some miles of cross-country adventure.

Athena, you were a great car, and there will never be another one like you. (Literally, of course. They stopped making Saturns years ago.)

Saturday, September 6

More funny ha-ha than funny odd

Last night, J.R. and I went to the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival with some friends. I have to separate the evening (more like day-long saga) into two separate factions to do it justice, however. There was the actual festival itself (awesome and hilarious), and then there was getting to and from the festival (awful, horrible, no-good, truly terrible). Luckily, the comedians separated the getting to and getting from portions, which I think is mainly what kept all of us from becoming homicidal, though it was pretty touch-and-go there for awhile.

Getting to the venue -- the White River Amphitheatre -- was, as expected, a drawn-out affair. If you've ever been anywhere near Seattle, you know that traffic is one of the many things this area does well (wearing Gortex a lot and putting espresso stands on every corner are some of the others). Thus, we were well-prepared to sit in a lot of Friday afternoon traffic. And we did.

Then we bought overpriced food and drink (totally expected, although I was a surprised when they took the caps off our bottles of soda -- I know why they do this with beer, but does anyone know why they did it for the Coke?), and made our way to a patch of grassy knoll suitable for viewing several hours of hilarity. Whitney Cummings was very funny, although perhaps overly obsessed with weird sex acts; I'd never seen Chris Hardwick or Hannibal Buress before, and now I'd definitely like to see more; and Demetri Martin was hilarious as always. The big three for our show were: Sarah Silverman, Aziz Ansari, and Louis C.K. Sarah Silverman has always been rather hit-or-miss for me, and last night was no different. She said she was trying out new material, and it showed. Aziz fucking killed it. He made the whole night worth it, and then he was followed by Louis. It was awesome. What's interesting about a festival like this is how it showcases some truly different comedy styles -- I love Louis and Aziz pretty much every time I see them, but putting them back-to-back was a little weird. Aziz is very high energy and excited, and Louis is ... not. He still cracks me up, but it was an odd juxtaposition. On the whole, a really fantastic show; if it comes near you, go see it. Except if it is in a venue like this one.

This venue holds around 20,000 people. And it's in the middle of nowhere, so everyone drove a car to get there. And those people are all there at the same time. And they leave at the same time. All on the same road. Which is one lane in each direction. So, when you're leaving the venue after a great night of comedy and you go back to your car parked in a giant field with virtually no staff in sight, it gets a bit chaotic. But surely it won't take you more than an hour just to get out of the parking lot? Oh, wait, yes, it will. And once you get out of the parking lot, you sit for another hour on the one-lane road, just trying to get back to the highway (and it's not even really a highway, more like a normal fucking sized road). Bygones. I mean, who doesn't expect it to take 12 hours to go to a comedy festival and get back home?