March 07, 2010

A sample of what I've been up to:

I haven't properly updated in a while, so here's a general run down of what I've been up to, along with some impromptu book reviews at the end.
Making kimono for my Sims:

Burning Paris Hilton and Nicky Whatsherface in effigy:

Taking pictures of the insanely beautiful, insanely EARLY spring we've been enjoying since January:

Man, UW Cherry Blossoms... Why you gotta be so pretty? It's indecent. You know that. You MUST know that.

Also, work, which has been sadly slow since Christmas. This means that I have been reading a whole lot. Books I have read since my last update way back in December, in no particular order (mainly the order at which I've remembered them):

...That's a lot of Robin McKinley. I have to say, I had definitely been aware of the theme, but I love her so I couldn't stop. Also, that Tom Holt book up there was pretty depressing. I'd read Paint Your Dragon and Open Sesame and they'd had kind of happily-ever-after endings. Twisted, in many ways, but generally happy nevertheless. This one was a huge downer. I also must get a copy of Witches Abroad. As I was reading Lords and Ladies I just kept thinking of Witches Abroad

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is quite good. The guy who wrote it is the guy who wrote Wicked which is freaking AMAZING. Confessions... is the story of Cinderella's step-sister and how she got to be that and how she's really not all that bad. The first time I'd read it, I felt like he was kind of trying a little too hard to make the traditionally "good" character into one that was inherently unpleasant. I think that I was projecting a little too much Wicked onto this book. On the second read-through, it didn't feel like that at all. The characters and their motivations made a lot of sense and, really, everything ended up pretty much okay at the end.

The two non-fiction books up there; The Big Burn and It's Our Day were both really good. Timothy Egan is a writer I was familiar with from The Worst Hard Time, a book about the Great Depression. He seems to enjoy writing about horrendous events in American history. I like that. He started both books off with almost character profiles, getting the reading acquainted with important people and major historical events immediately preceding the catastrophe that inevitably caused the event to BE a catastrophe rather that just a Very Bad Thing, Indeed. So the reader gets really rather attached to all of these people and their lives and then BAM! Awful thing! In The Big Burn it was this absolutely horrific forest fire that covered an area in the Northwest roughly the size of Connecticut.

A digression: Did you know that "Connecticut" has a "c" in the middle. Check it out: ConneCticut. I did not know this. Here I am, nearly twenty five years old, anal retentive as an aging school marm about my spelling and I didn't know that Connecticut has a random-ass "c" just hanging out in there. There is so much wrong with New England.

Anyhow, so the forest catches on fire in a big way and a lot of people really needlessly and pathetically die across three states, and those that don't die are left kind of miserable and broken as human beings. It's really quite moving. And horrible. And it's a fantastic book. If you, like me, have random fascinations with terrible events in history, check out Timothy Egan. He's your man.

It's Our Day was NOT written by Timothy Egan. It's a book about the American wedding industry and it made me feel really conflicted. See, blog, I have a confession to make: I like pretty dresses. I do! I like looking at them and thinking about them and when I was twelve, my friend Monica and I used to design wedding dresses together. They were hugely skirted and corseted and covered in beads. I'm good at beads. But when I think about how I want to get married, I just don't see myself in one of those dresses. I just don't want the princess wedding. I don't want the white dress and the veil. Some kind of skirted garment would be nice, yes, and I DO want a nice cake, but that's about it. It's more important to me to have the people I love with me celebrating the future I'm making with my new spouse. I always thought I was a little weird, really. I mean, EVERYONE wants the princess wedding, right? We're told, as little girls, that our wedding is THE day. Barbies are devoted to it, there are major portions of the film industry focused on it, there is a huge wad of advertising revenue funneled into it; how could I NOT want it?

Well, turns out I'm perfectly normal. The standard middle class American wedding as we know it has actually only even been AROUND since the 1940's. It became wound up in department stores and used as a symbol of patriotism: Girls who wanted to do right by their country married young, married a soldier, and got right down to the baby-making. Stores at the time capitalized on this marrying frenzy by taking advantage of a young woman's desire to make her wedding a special day, and they did this by REALLY pushing the wedding gown idea. From the gown, everything else kind of took off. It's astonishing, but the idea of the white wedding with the big dress and the big cake and the REALLY big bill is only about 70 years old. Huh.

So, ladies, if you want the big elaborate white wedding, then more luck to you. I hope your days is as dreamy and incredible as you've always wished it to be. But if you don't want that princess wedding, it's ok.

The last on this list is Dave Barry. Just... Read everything he's ever written. He's hilarious and I love him.

I've also been writing a book of general magical information for the world in my head. It sort of started when I was caregiving and the woman I was caring for has a very particular spiritual/magical philosophy that I find cumbersome, impractical, and unreasonable, to say the least. So I basically set about creating the opposite. I like it. It makes sense. The pieces fit together rather nicely. I think I'm a bit unfair to the wizards, but hey... Not everyone can be a winner, right? I have a little notebook that I've been writing it down in and I'm about halfway through the available pages. I'm hoping to hit the end of the notebook. That's my goal! After that, who knows?

I also think I've finally figured out this whole crochet thing. Took me damn well long enough... Once I actually make something, I'll take a picture of it and update this thing. I keep meaning to update it more, but "reloading the forums and reading pointless posts about nothing actually relating to me" just isn't all that interesting.

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