- Fizzy Thoughts: March 2008

The end of March Madness.. and off on an April Adventure

Monday, March 31, 2008

For two months in a row, I blogged every day. I'm not really sure how I managed to accomplish that, but I did, and it's over. And so far, no one over at Slow Travel has laid down the gauntlet for April. Thank gawd. Thanks to all of you for the comments. I looooooooove comments, even if I don't always respond to them.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Savannah for my long awaited vacation. Yes, I realize I went to Italy 6 months ago, and that was a long awaited vacation, too...but let's be honest, all my vacations are eagerly anticipated and long awaited, because I'd much rather be traveling than working. I can guarantee as soon as I return from Savannah I'll be dreaming about where I can go next.

Anyways...I'm packed, the house is clean, my car is at the mechanics for some much needed TLC (aka its 90,000 mile service) and I can throw away my mile-long to-do list, because it's all done. And I finally finished Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt's non-fiction (hah!) account of murder in Savannah. I loved reading about all the places I'll be seeing, but I still can't get over the fact that this book is classified as non-fiction.

Here are a few of the places on my must-see list for Savannah:

So stay tuned...the laptop is going along for the adventure, and while I'm sure I won't be posting daily, I do plan to blabber on about what I'm up to in Savannah.

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In Bruges

Sunday, March 30, 2008

In Bruges is one of those films where you're not really sure if you want to recommend it to someone. My mom, her friend and I (and most of the theater) really enjoyed it. But we were at the Palm, and in San Luis Obispo, when you say it's a Palm movie, people instantly know what you're talking about. Not necessarily mainstream, a little off, and sometimes weird.

In short, In Bruges is about two hit men holed up in Bruges, Belgium, after a job went bad. Ken is excited at the chance to play tourist...he thinks Bruges, in all it's medieval glory, is wonderful. Ray isn't so happy. Early in the movie he tells Ken, "If I'd grown up on a farm and was retarded, Bruges might impress me, but I didn't, so it doesn't." When their boss, Harry, calls Ken and gives him an order things begin to get complicated. And the language gets even worse.

Colin Farrell is great as Ray, especially when he acts like a petulant little kid. In one scene Ken is playing tourist and trying to explain the significance of a church. Ray pouts on a pew, and makes noise by rattling chairs around. When Ken glares at him and tells him to stop, he slinks up to Ken, dragging his feet just like a little kid would.

Here's another quote from Ray: "Because at least in prison and at least in death, you know, I wouldn't be in fuckin' Bruges. But then, like a flash, it came to me. And I realized, fuck man, maybe that's what hell is: the entire rest of eternity spent in fuckin' Bruges. And I really, really hoped I wouldn't die. I really, really hoped I wouldn't die." Ray's hatred of Bruges is a recurring theme in the movie, and it's actually funny how much he loathes the town. Especially because they do a great job of showing Bruges' beauty. If you're a traveler, it'll make you want to plan to visit one day.

The movie has lots of blood, and lots of creative (and not so creative) swearing and politically incorrect language. Which probably says something about my maturity level. But in my defense, my mom liked it, too! So while I really enjoyed the movie, I have some reservations in telling anyone to go see it. But let me know if you do, and what you thought.

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What's in a name

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I stole this meme from Sandra, because my original idea of telling you about the movie In Bruges is simply beyond me. Loved the movie, but words fail me. So...I found an amusing meme about names.

1. Your rock star name (first pet, current car): Louie Honda

2. Your gangsta name (fave ice cream flavour, favourite type of shoe): Chocolate Wedge

3. Your Native American name (favourite colour, favourite animal): Green Giraffe

4. Your soap opera name (middle name, city where you were born): Lora Downey

5. Your Star Wars name (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 of your first name): Powji

6. Superhero name (2nd favourite colour, favourite drink): Pink Latte

7. NASCAR name (the first names of your grandfathers): Chuck Erett

8. Stripper name (the name of your favourite perfume/cologne/scent, favourite candy): Happy M&M

10. TV weather anchor name (your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter): Gregory Glasgow

11. Spy name (your favourite season/holiday, flower): Spring Daffodil

12. Cartoon name: (favourite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now): Peach Capri

13. Hippie name (What you ate for breakfast, your favourite tree): Lunabar Willow

Okay, I cheated on #10 and used the 6th grade teacher, because I can't seem to remember the name of my 5th grade teacher, despite the fact that I can picture him in my mind. And #2 should really be something like chocolate with chocolate chunks and fudgy swirls wedge. I like my ice cream to have texture and lots of chocolate in it.

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A fun-filled evening at Casa Softdrink

Friday, March 28, 2008

It's official. As of 3:15 this afternoon (that's an odd time, but I had a hard time getting all my stuff done and leaving on time) I am on vacation. I don't have to be back at work until April 15th. In 4 days I leave for Savannah. And I have a to-do list a mile long, most of it involving cleaning and laundry. Why do I feel such a compulsion to have a clean house whenever I leave on a trip? Anyone else have this issue? Tonight I cleaned the kitchen. I even mopped the floor. Good times.

However, tomorrow I'm taking a break from the drudgery and going to the movies with my mom. We have plans to see In Bruges, so at least I'll have something a little more entertaining to blog about tomorrow. We hope.

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Cover Up

Thursday, March 27, 2008

While acknowledging that we can’t judge books by their covers, how much does the design of a book affect your reading enjoyment? Hardcover vs. softcover? Trade paperback vs. mass market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?


I'm a visual learner. I adore books with quirky layouts and font changes and little illustrations, especially fiction books where you don't normally see these things. Special Topics in Calamity Physics and The Cheese Monkeys are good examples. For me, these additions are eye catching and they add a little visual interest to a page filled with lines of text. It's like finding a treat in the book.

I also like photos, especially when they're interspersed throughout the book. Or, there's a picture at the beginning of every chapter, as in Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight. What I don't like is when the pictures are all in the middle of the book. I look at the pictures first, and they have no relevance. Then when I'm reading and something sounds familiar, I flip to the middle and check out the pictures again. It bugs me, because it interrupts the flow of the book, but I can't seem to stop myself from looking at the pictures.

And don't get me started on cover art. I've been known to buy books just because the cover caught my eye. It can be quirky, or a beautiful picture, or even an eye-catching title or color. A few of my favorites:

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The next generation

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My boyfriend is a surfer. Every year he takes off for 3-4 weeks and travels to some remote place in search of great waves. This year, it's Indonesia. A group of 10 guys chartered a boat...they'll be sailing around in search of the best waves Indonesia has to offer. And knowing HB, he'll only get off the boat for a wave. He is so not into any other travel experiences.

HB also makes surfboards as a hobby. He makes all of his own boards, and most of his friends have at least one board that he's made to their specifications.

So HB left today to go up to Monterey, to meet up with the group traveling to Indonesia. He told me when he arrived at his friend Randy's house, the first thing Randy's son Braden said to him was "Hey Mitch, where's my board?" Braden has been surfing for awhile and evidently, he's ready for his very own board from Boards by Burger. HB replied, "It's not your birthday yet dude." Braden informed him it's in July.

Braden is 4.

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Short and sour

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Taxes suck. Doing other people's taxes really sucks.

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A few things

Monday, March 24, 2008

First up...

Lisa is having a book giveaway. Yay Lisa! She recently reviewed Keeper and Kid and interviewed the author. I had read about this book before, and thought it sounded interesting. Now, thanks to Lisa, I really want to read it. And see, by telling you about the book, I get an extra chance at winning it. Although I'm simultaneously lowering my odds because you might just go sign up to win the book. It's quite the dilemma.

Second up...

Seven days until vacation. As Yoshi would say, wa-hooooooooooooo! Does anyone remember Yoshi? He's the little mushroom headed dude on Mario Kart. Anyhoosie..I'll be going to Savannah, Georgia next week. And I can't wait.

Third up...

Because I'm going to Savannah, I'm re-reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. At least I thought I was re-reading it. It's not in the least familiar, so maybe I'm just reading it. Whatever the case, I'm still enjoying it, although I was disappointed to discover that although it's presented as nonfiction, the author actually inserted himself into much of the book where he never was. Whoa...that doesn't make sense. Let's just say he writes the story as if he was there from the beginning. And he wasn't. I'm a bit miffed about this. But I'm still enjoying the story. But still miffed.

Fourth up...

Ferris Bueller's Day Off is on. And HB is watching it for the umpteenth time. Why is it that guys can watch movies over and over (and over and over) again? Ferris Bueller always reminds me of when I was teaching high school, and I would ask the class a question and get 30 blank stares, I used to say "Anyone? Anyone?" and I would crack myself up. The class didn't get it. That was 12 years ago, and it made me feel old then.

Fifth up...

Trish wrote an awesome post about Google Reader. You should read it. I did, and then I promptly abandoned whatever feed reader hangs out up there on the tool bar. As a new convert, I can say that Google Reader is the bee's knees. Love it, love it, love it. Thanks Trish!

Sixth up...

I didn't think I had five things to say today. Although this is where I confess at this point I'm just blabbering on 'cause I wanted to make it to...

7-up

Hah! I'm easily amused.

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Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 23, 2008




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6 Random Things

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Here's another meme that I've seen while out and about reading various blogs. All you have to do is share 6 random, and little known, things about yourself. Have I done this before? If I can't remember, then it doesn't count. And besides, I need a topic! So, here goes...

1. I love going to the dentist. I have never had a cavity, and I used to babysit the dental hygienist's kids (23 years ago...yikes!). So there's no stress and fun conversation whenever I go to an appointment.

2. That same dental hygienist actually made my prom dress. It was one of those bubble dresses popular in the '80s. *shudder* Oh, and it was green. And no, I won't post a picture.

3. When I was a substitute teacher, I got nailed in the forehead with a spit wad. And in the butt with a piece of homemade barbed wire (staples twined together, it was really quite clever, although it was a pain in the ass. And I mean that literally.) I was also called bitch. High schoolers can be so charming.

4. I have never sent a text message. In fact, I disabled the feature on my cell phone.

5. I don't remember when or how I learned to read. Not even a glimmer of a memory.

6. I only wear one contact lens. My vision in my left eye is so bad it can't be corrected.

And I'm sure you could have gone the rest of your life happily not knowing those six things. But there you have it, my post for the day.

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Google image meme

Friday, March 21, 2008







The wonderful Lisa, my long lost twin who knows I need help thinking of stuff to write about every day, tagged me for this meme:

Go to Google Image Search. Type in the name of the last book you really enjoyed (because you may not have enjoyed the last book you read). Perform the search. Now, obviously you’re going to get pictures of the book cover, but see what else comes up, and how it relates to your life right now.

I entered Peony in Love, and because it's currently a hot book, I got oodles of pictures of the various book covers. But hidden amidst the covers were these three images. The first is incredibly relevant, if you ignore the fact that there's no way my feet would ever fit in anything that tiny seeing's how I wear a size 10. Yes, 10. But, I love, love, love shoes. HB once asked me how many pairs of black shoes I had. I told him not enough. The second picture is, appropriately enough, a book cover. Showing a woman reading. Need I say more? The third picture was a bit harder. It's a picture of a pavilion, and it happens to illustrate an article Lisa See wrote about Peony in Love. But there's a garden in it, and I'm reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which is about Savannah, which is where I'll be in 11 days.

So...shoes, books and travel. Three of my favorite things.

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The End

Thursday, March 20, 2008

You’ve just reached the end of a book . . . what do you do now? Savor and muse over the book? Dive right into the next one? Go take the dog for a walk, the kids to the park, before even thinking about the next book you’re going to read? What?
(Obviously, there can be more than one answer, here–a book with a cliff-hanger is going to engender different reactions than a serene, stand-alone, but you get the idea!)

I'm a diver. Well, I try to dive (I'm a little afraid of heights). It usually goes something like this:

Self, I say, that book was a downer. Why don't you pick something a little more upbeat next time? Hmmm, what do I have sitting over here that's upbeat and different...nah, none of those books interest me right now...maybe I'll check my email...hmmm, I wonder what Trish, or Care, or Lisa's been reading...hey, I should blog about that last book...eh, maybe later...maybe I'll go stare at the bookshelf...maybe I'll stare at the other bookshelf...geez, I need to stop buying books...I should read one of the books Judith lent me...ack, April's coming up, I should read one of the books for the Expanding Horizons Challenge. Yeah, that's what I'll do. And then, 20 pages later...this book's boring. Hey, I'm going to Savannah in two weeks, I should read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Yeah, that's it. That's what I'll read.

And I did. I read Chapter One last night.

However, there's a really good chance I'll go to the bookstore in a few days, and I'll get distracted by some book with a pretty cover...really, it's surprising I ever finish anything.

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I'jaam

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I'jaam
Sinan Antoon
2007
97 pages

This short novel poses as a manuscript found in the Central Security Headquarters of Baghdad, Iraq. Written without dots, it is given to "a qualified personnel" to add the dots (I'jaam is the adding of dots to provide elucidation in Arabic script) and provide clarification as to what was written. The translator, so to speak, adds a few footnotes, to clarify meaning and probably to cover his ass. The manuscript was written by a political prisoner, a poet who records reflections of his days as a university student, as well as snapshots of his time in prison. It shows the fear and paranoia of daily life in Iraq during Sadaam Hussein's reign in the late 1980s. It is also a chilling portrait of the atrocities of prison.

Despite all that, the book still falls a bit short. At 97 pages, it is too brief. The author only gives a snapshot...the book easily could have been fleshed out, with more descriptions of Baghdad. Although, I guess if you're striving for accuracy, that might not have been on a prisoner's mind as he wrote. Still, it's missing a bit of something. And the end is driving me batty. If it truly was his last piece of paper, as he stated, then he must have been hallucinating, and he just imagined the last scene of freedom. Right? Anyone??

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Scribbling the Cat

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Scribbling the Cat
Alexandra Fuller
2004
251 pages

After our online book club discussed Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight (with input from the author herself), I wanted to read Bo Fuller's next book, Scribbling the Cat. In Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Fuller described her African childhood. In Scribbling the Cat, she joins up with a white veteran of the Rhodesian War to revisit his memories and places of his war. It ends up being a bizarre road trip through Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

K, as Fuller tags him, is a charismatic, complex man. A ruthless killer, and a fierce fighter, both during and after the war, he is now a Christian fish farmer in Malawi. Still plagued by demons, and showing an odd mix of racism and kindness, he is obviously in love with Fuller and agrees to journey into the past with her. Along the way, they visit fellow war veterans, who all seem (like K) to be whacked, for lack of a better term.

The book is short, and a quick disturbing read. It is filled with an odd mix of Afrikaans/Rhodie/Shona slang. Fuller doesn't hold any punches with herself, although she does cast K in a sympathetic light. I'm still not sure if I agree with her approach to K...she falls just short of admitting to using him to gain a story. I wouldn't call this book a favorite, but paired with Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, it does provide further insight into the lives of white Africans.

Click here to read more about the book, as well as an interview with the author.

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Sam I Am

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St Patrick's Day everyone! Today, I'm wearing green in memory of my dad.


Here he is, doing a few of the things he did best...talking, drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette. Hi Dad!

Today would've been his 66th birthday. Yup, an Irish guy born on St Patrick's Day. Granted, the Irishness was pretty distant, but my dad still loved his St Patrick's Day birthday. He always wore green on St Patrick's Day. My grandfather, on the other hand, refused to wear green. We may be Irish, but we're not Catholic, and my grandfather was contrary. However, my dad didn't care... in fact, he was agnostic. He just liked to celebrate his birthday by wearing green and eating corned beef. And drinking a few beers and smoking more than a few cigarettes. And, since my dad's nickname was Sam, one year my mom even made green eggs and ham (and green grits, 'cause my dad was also from Mississippi) for his birthday breakfast.


So I've got my green on. And if I'm really lucky, my mom might cook some corned beef and leave some in our fridge. The beer and cigs, though? Gross!

Finally, in honor of my dad (and Amy, who came up with the idea) here are Three Things I Learned from My Dad:

  • Just say no. This was an indirect lesson, as he had a hard time saying no. My dad died at the age of 53 from esophageal and brain cancer, a result of a few too many beers and cigarettes.
  • It's okay to not believe in god.
  • A sense of humor is important. Especially if you grew up with my dad.

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Kooza

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My mom and I drove up to San Jose yesterday to see Cirque du Soleil's Kooza. It was absolutely amazing.

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Peony in Love

Saturday, March 15, 2008

WARNING: This post contains spoilers. Please don't read it if you don't want to know what happens in the book Peony in Love. Just know that I really liked this book.

Peony in Love
Lisa See
2007
320 pages

I had been eagerly anticipating this book for months. Although, I will confess that I was a little apprehensive about actually reading it. I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan two years ago and it remains one of my favorite books, for a variety of reasons. The top reason being that I had just dropped out of a master's program in history, partially due to the snobbery I was surrounded by, and then I read Snow Flower and it reminded me that there is more to history than dry, boring academics and their dry, boring books and I was so thankful that Lisa See brought history to life in that book I thought she was the reincarnation of Clio (the goddess of history). Okay, not really on that last part, but I still thought she was all that. And a bag of chips.

Anyhoosie, so part of me was wondering if Peony would live up to Snow Flower. For me, the answer is a resounding yes. I hadn't read much about this book, so I was surprised by the turn the book took, and I ended up loving the whole premise of the book. Once again, I find myself a big fan of Lisa See because she brings Chinese history and culture to life. Unlike those boring-ass academics in the above mentioned program who thought history was all about credible sources and serious books. Which are important, but I think historical fiction also plays an important role because it can convey mood, and create vivid pictures for people who normally think history is the most boringest subject ever. Whoa, I'm back on my soapbox. Sorry. In short, for me, Lisa See created awesome historical fiction in Snow Flower. And she does it again with Peony.

So, some background on the book. It is set in China in the 1600s. Peony, the main character, is a young woman from a wealthy family. She is practically obsessed with an opera, The Peony Pavilion. Peony is about to married off, and one night while her family is watching a performance of The Peony Pavilion, she slips away to meet a young man. This is an incredibly daring and taboo act for a sheltered, secluded young woman. Although she is not discovered, Peony falls in love with the young man, and influenced by the opera, she pines away from love sickness. Then, she dies. And this is where the book gets interesting.

Peony becomes a ghost. And because her family did not follow all of the proper rituals, she becomes a wandering, hungry ghost. She remains in the earthly realm, able to influence the actions of certain people. Peony realizes that the young man she secretly fell in love with was her intended husband. When he marries another, she haunts the new wife in an effort to fulfill her quest to provide a written commentary of The Peony Pavilion for her beloved. She is also determined to find a way to prod her family into to completing the rituals that will release her spirit. The entire second half of the book is about Peony's life as a ghost. By having her main character be a young woman hampered by tradition, and then a ghost bound by the complex ancestor worship of ancient China, the author is able to bring to life Chinese culture and tradition in a way that traditional history books just can't do. And this is why I love this book. First, Lisa See chose two ancient Chinese texts, The Peony Pavilion and The Three Wives Commentary. These are actual texts. Then, she composed a story around them. Then, she took it a step further and used her ghost to illustrate Chinese religion. Instead of saying this is what the Chinese believed, the story becomes this is how it happened, this is how it was. I think I'm rambling, and not very coherently, either. So let's just say I liked the book. Really, really liked it.

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Surf Night

Friday, March 14, 2008


Last night HB and I went to Surf Night at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. Once again, it was a sold out event at the Fremont Theatre. The event was a tribute to 95 year old pioneer surf film maker Bud Brown, and featured his film Surfing the 50's. After the movie there was to be a Q and A session with some of the legendary surfers. There were some amazing legends there, but there were very few Q and A's. Mostly, it was just everyone talking about Bud Brown. Gerry Lopez, Peter Cole (who narrated the film), Fred Van Dyke, Joel Tudor, Linda Benson, Walter Hoffman, and Bruce Brown all spoke and Fred Van Dyke was hysterical. At 78 years young, he couldn't stop talking about about how stoked he was. For the final question, someone asked how old everyone was. They went down the panel, and all of these so obviously mentally and physically fit people were stating their ages...all over 50, most in their 60s, and a few in their 70s. And then they got to Joel Tudor, who was embarrassed to admit he was 31. It was cute.

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The Glass Castle

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Glass Castle
Jeannette Walls
2006
288 pages

I finished Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle last week, but I just realized I never did follow up from my initial impressions of the book. So here are my thoughts on a few more of those questions from the reader's guide:

Though it portrays an incredibly hardscrabble life, The Glass Castle is never sad or depressing. Discuss the tone of the book, and how do you think that Walls achieved that effect?

I think her tone is very matter-of-fact. She told the stories of her childhood without self-pity, and without much judgement of her parents. I do think as she grows older in the book, the tone becomes darker, and you can see more of her feelings of disappointment in her parents. But overall, Walls does a remarkable job of telling it like it was, and of allowing some of the unique and positive qualities of her mom and dad to shine through.

In college, Jeannette is singled out by a professor for not understanding the plight of homeless people; instead of defending herself, she keeps quiet. Why do you think she does this?

At that point in her life, Walls is embarrassed by her parents. She doesn't want to have to explain or justify her parents' actions, and be put in a position of having to defend them. Because despite everything, she still loves them.

For many reviewers and readers, the most extraordinary thing about The Glass Castle is that, despite everything, Jeannette Walls refuses to condemn her parents. Were you able to be equally nonjudgmental?

No, I'm afraid I'm not that good of a person. There were times when I liked them because of their intelligence and creativity, but I still judge them for making their children's lives difficult, and for the risk they so often placed them in.

Like Mary Karr's Liars' Club and Rick Bragg's All Over But the Shoutin', Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle tells the story of a wildly original (and wildly dysfunctional) family with humor and compassion. Were there other comparable memoirs that came to mind?

Yup, Alexandra Fuller's Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight.

Normally, I'm not much of a memoir person. Unless it involves travel, then I'm totally into it. But this book (and Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight) are two wonderful examples of the genre. Both authors have unique experiences that they tell without pity. They drew me into their childhoods and left me impressed by both their resilience and their writing skill.

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A San Diego haiku

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm back from San Diego, where I attended a training for trainers. We learned all about the importance of preparation, lots of stuff about adult learners and learning styles, fun exercises (as in learning exercises, not sweaty exercises), and some other stuff I can't remember right now because I'm not at work and so I'm not being paid to think. Basically, it was about how to design trainings. I thought I would share with you the grand finale of my two days of training. Our group had to write a haiku about what we learned. After much thought and reflection, we composed this masterpiece:

Start pot of coffee
Must read it, learn it, know it
Now, time for cocktail

We even illustrated it with a coffee cup and a martini glass. Can you believe I get paid for this?

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Daffodils

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Just like I hate to cook, I also hate to garden. Our front yard is a small patch of green grass. Our back yard won't be discussed. However, I do like looking at all the pretty pictures of flowers that are blooming in people's gardens at this time of year. Especially Krista's. She'd scream in horror if she saw our backyard. I'd probably scream in horror, too. Luckily, we don't have to look in that direction very often.

Anyways...to continue yesterday's theme of favorites, my favorite flower is the daffodil. Especially the two-tone varieties (hah, two-toned...now it's totally obvious I'm not a gardener), because much as I love daffodils, I'm not a fan of the color yellow. But, I love daffodils because they're so chipper looking, and they remind me of spring. And I just like the word daffodil.

What's your favorite flower?

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List of favorites

Monday, March 10, 2008

I snagged this from Shenanigans, a fellow contributor to Readers Without Borders, a website that is currently on hiatus.

A list of some of my favorite things:

Colour: Green
Smell: Chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven
Food: Currently, it's macaroni and cheese
Snack: Chocolate
Alcoholic Drink: Margarita. On the rocks. With salt.
Non-Alcoholic Drink: In the morning, something warm and sweet and not necessarily caffeinated from Starbucks. In the afternoon, diet Pepsi.
City: London
Country: England
Book: I love them all. Well, almost all.
Poem: I don't do poetry.
Quote: "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
Film: Napoleon Dynamite.
Television Programme: I don't watch much tv, but I'd probably go for Law and Order:SVU
Song: I can't decide, but almost anything by Dave Matthews.
Album: Crash. Dave Matthews Band.
Boy’s Name: Jack. (That's a joke. Get it?)
Girl’s Name: I've always liked Emma.
Weather: Rainy days if I'm inside with a good book. And sunny days if I'm outside.
Hobby: Reading.
Chore: Favorite chore? You're kidding, right?

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Yet another reason why tv is crap

Sunday, March 09, 2008

I rarely watch tv, but I do listen to it most every day. If HB is home, the tv is on. So when I sit here in my chair reading or blogging, I am usually half tuned in to the tv chatter in the background. Plus, I don't normally wear my contacts or glasses at home, so the tv is a little fuzzy.

For the last week, I have been hearing an ad for Gene Simmons Family Jewels. I haven't ever looked up and actually watched the ad, but I've heard it three or four times. Last night, I actually had my glasses on and I looked up when the ad came on. So I saw Gene Simmons (and just let me say, ewwww). I have to confess, for the last week when I heard this add, my mental picture was of Richard Simmons and I couldn't ever really figure why there was a show on Richard Simmons and his family jewels. Disgusting either way, but at least it makes sense now.

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Boing

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Your Daylight Saving Time Has Come

I will be reluctantly springing ahead. Tonight marks the end of my favorite time of year. Not that I don't like spring. I love spring. I just like it to be nice and dark when I go to bed. HB, on the other hand, likes it to be nice and light when he wakes up so he can go surfing. So both of us whine and complain and say mean things about the asinine lawmakers who decided to bring on Daylight Savings Time earlier. It now lasts for most of the year, and I hate it, hate it, hate it.

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searching for ???

Friday, March 07, 2008

We've been talking (writing?) on Slow Travel about how people end up at your blog. Since I use StatCounter, I thought I would share some of the recent searches people have done, either on google or yahoo, that have landed them at my blog.

pictures from don't let's go to the dogs tonight
paris tourist best momentos 2008
momentos of the book called rules of the road
blonde driver jock
historic secret books
a house called cini near monselice
how to use the word hope in a sentence
don't lets go to the dogs tonight chapter summaries
twinkle, twinkle maori
there will be blood i'm finished
don't let's go to the dogs tonight essays
cute little female blonde bottoms
blonde twin boy pictures
it is not true that we hat we have only one life to live if we can read
squaw of suns of hippo
dont lets go to the dogs tonight blood
blood of flowers
how to use the word your in a sentence
moloch bikers
knick knack paddywack give the dog a bone
twilight meyer
use word bigotry in sentence

I'm willing to bet there was some serious disappointment amongst this group when they landed here.

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Hero

Thursday, March 06, 2008

You should have seen this one coming … Who is your favorite Male lead character? And why?Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!


Since I cheated last week, I feel obligated to cheat again this week. So I'm going to choose from travel memoir author dudes. This time, the Oscar goes to....Rory Stewart.
Rory Stewart wrote The Places In Between (as well as The Prince of the Marshes). The Places In Between tells of his walk across Afghanistan, and the people he met on his adventure. Stewart impressed me with his intelligence, his desire to truly understand other cultures, his willingness to invest in the future of Afghanistan through his Turquoise Mountain Foundation, and his guts (walking across Afghanistan in 2002?!? Yikes!). Check out his brief biography. He's a smart, accomplished guy...and he's only 35. And he's kinda cute, in a goofy sort of way.

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Initial impressions of The Glass Castle

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I am currently reading Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle for our March Slow Travel book club. Our fearless leader, Brenda, posted a few links to a review, an interview and a reading guide. I'm only half way through the book, but I'm going to go ahead and reply to a few of the questions.

The first question in the reading guide asks: "Though The Glass Castle is brimming with unforgettable stories, which scenes were the most memorable for you? Which were the most shocking, the most inspiring, the funniest?"

  • For me, one of the most shocking scenes was when Rose Mary and Rex so easily walked away from a house in Phoenix. A house that was paid for and provided ample space and free rent for their family. They walked away from that for what is shaping up to be a bleak existence in West Virginia.
  • Another appalling scene is the ride in the back of the U-Haul, with the baby. Parents up front in the cab, kids shut up in the back of a truck.
  • In contrast, the scene where Rex gives his kids stars for Christmas presents is touching and shows the creativity and genius that these two adults were also gifted with.
Another question asks: "The two major pieces of the memoir -- one half set in the desert and one half in West Virginia -- feel distinct. What effect did such a big move have on the family -- and on your reading of the story? How would you describe the shift in the book's tone?"

  • Although I'm only 35 pages into the West Virginia part of the book, I can definitely feel a shift in tone. The book is darker...not as carefree, certainly not as happy. The children are aware of how they are viewed by others, and they are struggling to fit in. They are also starting to feel shame. It's harder to read the book, too, knowing that the children are starting to emotionally feel the effects of their parents carefree/careless attitudes. However, a few things haven't changed. The children are still resilient. And Walls doesn't attack or accuse her parents. She hasn't fallen into self-pity. As usual, she picks herself up and marches on.
I don't know how she did it, but this book is amazing. Walls refuses to throw a pity party. I am constantly battling feelings of amazement for the creativity and intelligence of the family, and disgust with the cavalier attitudes the parents had towards providing the basic human needs of food and shelter, not to mention safety.

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New Moon and Eclipse

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

New Moon and Eclipse

Stephenie Meyer
2006 and 2007
563 and 629 pages

These are books two and three in Meyer's Twilight series. The final book is due out later this year. The series is marketed as Young Adult, but the books are also popular with adults. Like me.

New Moon picks up right where Twilight left off. However, after Edward realizes that the Cullens put Bella at risk, he decides it's time for the family to move on. Bella is devastated, and spends months in limbo. barely functioning. It's only when she reconnects with her buddy Jacob that she begins to snap out of it. Except Jacob has some mysterious things going on, too...he's about to become a werewolf, the mortal enemy of vampires. Bella has also become somewhat of a risk taker. When she goes cliff diving, the Cullens (who keep track of her through Alice, who can see into the future) believe she has committed suicide. Edward goes a little batty when he hears this and he travels to Italy to try to incite the Volturi to kill him. Alice and Bella hotfoot it after him, and the story ends with everyone alive (as alive as a vampire can be) and back together in Forks.

Eclipse continues the story with Bella's graduation from high school and looming 19th birthday. Since she does not want to be older than Edward, Bella is on a fierce campaign to become a vampire before doomsday, so to speak. Edward wants marriage first, which is freaking Bella out, since she never pictured herself as a girl to get married right out of high school. And to complicate matters even more, Jacob has declared his love and is being an obnoxious 16 year old. Or maybe he's still 15...I can't keep track. Meanwhile, back in vampire land, Victoria (a vengeful vampire) is still out for Bella's blood, forcing the vampires and the werewolves to work together to defeat this latest enemy.

Book 4, Breaking Dawn, set for release on August 2, 2008, will tie up the story and finally answer the question about whether Bella gets her wish of being a vampire.

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March Madness

Monday, March 03, 2008

Here we go again...

Once again, those crazies over at SlowTravel have talked me into blogging daily.

Okay, they're not really crazy. And I'll take full responsibiity for my actions. Besides, girasoli kindly listed all the bloggers, and my first thought was, "Cool...cut and paste and I've got myself a blog entry!"

We've got some of the same suspects, and a few new faces. For now, here's the gang...

* a journey of a thousand miles begins with ... too much luggage
* destination anywhere
* old shoes - new trip
* postcards from the trail
* shave ice & gelato
* that's my story...and i'm stickin' to it!
* the best trip ever
* vagabond artist
* what i really think

I'll update my sidebar sometime before the end of the month.

I have a crazy month ahead. At work, we start an eight week training class today (in the interest of full disclosure, I'm cheating and writing this Sunday night), and I'm the chief coordinator. Next week, I'm attending a training in San Diego, so I'll be out of town for three days. The following weekend, my mom and I are driving up to San Jose to see Kooza. HB still has to do his taxes (which involves my laptop, and probably my help...and he's self-employed, so that's no picnic). I have to finish my mom's taxes (the good news is they're almost done). Then, HB leaves for his Indonesia surf trip the last week of the month, and I leave for Savannah April 1st. And now, I'm going to try to be witty and wise (hah!) on a daily basis.

March Madness, indeed.

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A very special guest

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Today, I have a guest here on the blog. I'd like to introduce Gunther.

Gunther: Meep.

Softdrink: Welcome, Gunther. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

G: I'm a 1986 Volkswagon Vanagon. Beige, with a spiffy grey racing stripe. I hang out in front of Hamburger and Softdrink's house, when I'm not cruising with HB, looking for waves. By the way, I think your across the street neighbor hates me. Personally, I think I'm pretty handsome for a 22 year old VW.

S: Crazy Mary has issues. Just ignore her.

G: She can just meep off.

S: Gunther! Watch your language.

G: But she called the cops on me! You remember when my engine quit? And I couldn't go anywhere? And HB was working really had to find me a new engine? She called the cops and told them I couldn't move and they put that mean white stripe on my tires and left a mean note on my windshield. I didn't like that and I don't like her. Although you guys did push me into the driveway and I got to hang there for awhile. That was cool.

S: Vanagons evidently have long memories. Let's move on... You've been with us for about 12 years. What are some of your favorite memories?

G: Well, I've been down to Baja a couple of times with HB and his friends, on surf trips. And I've been to Oregon twice. Once, on the way to Oregon, we stopped at Lassen and went camping. That was fun. HB used to do wheelies with me. That was fun, too, although my shocks didn't like it much. I got to go to Pomona, to the races once. But I broke down on the way home. That's not a good memory. But remember when HB was towing me home on a trailer, with his truck, and we jack-knifed at that stoplight? That was a fun ride! And you said a bad word!!

S: Yup, we learned I scream bad words in scary situations. That was scary, Gunther, not fun.

G: Well, I had a good time. Kinda like being on a ride at Disneyland. At least how I imagine it, seeing's how I've never been to Disneyland.

S: Any other memorable experiences?

G: It's always entertaining when HB locks my keys in me. Meep, meep, meep.

S: Don't laugh at HB, Gunth. So, you're pretty well traveled. What have you been up to lately?

G: Just about every morning HB and I head down to the ocean to drink our coffee and check out the surf. Or we go to the hardware store. That's about it. Every once in awhile, I take Softdrink to work if her car is in the shop. But she drives a Honda, so that's not very often. I have a little temperature issue, so I stick pretty close to home these days. Plus, HB has all those other rides...the truck, and the motorcycles. They take up lots of his time. But he leaves the surfboards in the back of me, so at least I got my buddies to hang with.

S: I think you'll always be HB's favorite Gunth, don't worry. As a well travelled van, do you have any advice for the newer models? Anything you'd like to say to the drivers?

G: Despite what Sammy Hagar says, you can drive 55. Slow down and enjoy the scenery. And stop laughing at me, it's not nice. The rust just adds character...it's the badge of a surf van.

S: You've definitely got character. Thanks for answering my questions today, and for sticking with us for so long. There will always be a place in front of our house for you.

G: Meep.

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Welcome, March

Saturday, March 01, 2008

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute. ~Rebecca West, "Mr Chesterton in Hysterics: A Study in Prejudice," The Clarion, 14 Nov 1913, reprinted in The Young Rebecca, 1982

Feminism is the radical notion that women are people. ~Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler

Well-behaved women rarely make history. ~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

March is Women's History Month. Since written history tends to be dominated by dead white men, and because I taught high school history (briefly, but long enough to know that history departments are also dominated by practically dead white men), I love that we have a month to promote women's history. I wish that we didn't have to have the month, but let's face it, traditionally, history is most people's least favorite subject. It needs all the help it can get. So in honor of women's history, here are five pretty cool women you may not know much about...
Also, I feel compelled to add that I have never liked the term herstory. Bleck. I wish someone would flush it down the toilet.

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In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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