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? 

Thursday, September 4


Apparently, resistance is futile, because I have finally given in: I'm watching Scandal now. Lo, for more than three years I have resisted the siren call of Shonda Rhimes, but I can do it no longer. This show is powerfully addictive. I don't especially like any of the characters (except maybe Huck, and it seems wrong to feel the most empathy toward the assassin, but there you have it), and I've been known to roll my eyes more than a time or two over the ridiculous storylines and melodramatics, but I cannot deny that the storytelling is compelling. And binge-watching this shit on Netflix is super dangerous. I'm not sure if this is a step up or a step down from my usual binge-watching of teen television, but it must be a sign of something. Shonda Rhimes eventual takeover of the world? An impending mental breakdown? The apocalypse? I'll let you know when I do, but until then, go ahead, watch Scandal -- if you're not already. You'll likely regret it, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, September 3

Long ago and oh, so far away

Band aid I got my college class newsletter the other day, and it pointed out that around this time 20 years ago, we were spending our first days on campus at Wellesley. I was suitably horrified, of course, but I was also kind of intrigued. Had I written down what my first days at college were like? Did I have any horrifying photos of that time?

Well, I did write things down, but not as much as you'd think. And, when I went looking for that old journal, when my curiosity got the better of me, I discovered that it was exactly 20 years ago today that I had my first day of classes. What I wrote down then doesn't really bear repeating (I noted my class schedule, some of the people I had met, the usual), but what struck me was that it was a bit more melancholy than I remember being. I know we all tend to see the past through rose-colored glasses, blah blah blah, but I really remember having a good time at Wellesley. Sure, there were bad times (all-nighters writing papers, friendships lost, the usual), but I mostly remember being happier than I had been before.

First yearsApparently, however, that's not the sort of thing a pretentious 19-year-old writes in her "journal." She's got to be angsty and shit, and talk about everyone being phony -- at least I had the good grace to point out that I was phony, too. Bygones. The point is this: I am old. College was a long time ago. Many things have changed, but my love for the Dew remains constant, as well as my predilection to point at things in photos. And as much as I usually think I'd love to go back to that time in my life, I really would rather not. Although I do wish I still had that sweet Star Trek t-shirt. That was the bomb.

Monday, September 1

Some pictures say it all

Bridal Dew I promised more pictures, and here's one of my favorites. Let's face it, people: You can put the woman in a fancy dress, slather on the makeup and false eyelashes, and throw jewelry and a manicure in the mix, but she's still the same Jen. I always do the Dew, even on my wedding day.

My friend Lisa Scanlon Mogolov got this great shot, but our fantastic photographers Max and Cyndi from Hitched Studios got even more. Check them out on their blog, if you're so inclined. I'll try to make this my last wedding post, but somehow, it seems unlikely.