Friday, December 28, 2012

great expectations

Something about the end of the holidays makes me feel like a balloon with a pin-hole, air slowly and quietly escaping until I'm flat and rubbery on the floor. Figuratively, of course.

Literally, I feel like a balloon stuffed full of butter, cheese, and chocolate. I should never want to eat any of those things again, having over-indulged to the point of shame and illness, and yet I continue to put them in my mouth-hole, chew, and swallow.

Oh man oh man oh man am I happy this year is ending. I just didn't really like this year, dudes. There were neat parts of it and all, but mostly I felt frozen; stalled. I always love the fresh feeling of the start of a new year. Does everyone feel it? It feels like new chances. It's almost like when you start a new job, before the employees know what a complete freak you are. There's a chance to make a really good impression on people before you start talking to yourself and compulsively chewing on the ends of your hair.

I always say this -- I know I do -- but next year is going to be something else. Big things will happen. It could be anything. I feel like I don't know what's going to happen, but it's going to be big, and it's going to be good. There are so many things I want to do, and I figure I'm going to try to do all of it. I hear you now, you're saying Stop with all the goal-setting, you're setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. I would stop if I could, dudes. It's just the New Year feels so full of hope to me.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

not impressed

Long story short, I accomplished only four of the 33 goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year.

It's almost enough to make me want to abandon the practice of setting resolutions. Almost.

I've already mentally beat myself up over it, and now I am extra motivated to make amazing things happen in 2013. Next year is the year, you guys. Big things all around. Shit is gonna get done.

I've reviewed my goals and narrowed them down to 11 large and obtainable targets. This is the year I will prove to myself I can do anything if I want it badly enough.

Do you guys watch Survivor? If you do but haven't watched the finale yet, read no further.

Basically, there was a contestant named Malcolm, who arguably should have won. He'd been a very strategic player. He's young and fit and was winning most of the challenges. Until one day he didn't win a challenge, and the other contestants promptly voted him out. They knew he was a huge threat who could have won the million dollars.

Jeff Probst asked Malcolm how he was able to perform so well, on par with former legendary contestants like Ozzy and Stephanie. And he said it was because he has "swagger." Whenever he set out to do something, he'd say to himself: All right, here I go. Let's do this. He never told himself it was impossible or too dangerous (Until the last challenge when he totally choked).

Now, sure, Malcolm is a muscular, handsome 25-year-old, and I remember when I was a hot 25-year-old, too. A lot of shit seemed possible. What has changed since then? Not too much. Just being older, which makes me more cautious. And I'm married, but to someone who supports whatever I want to do. I don't have any kids, so that's not an issue.

It's time to remember I'm still young and vital and capable of amazing things. There's no reason I shouldn't also enable myself to have swagger, as cheesy as it sounds.


Do you have swagger? Tell me how you do it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

a ranking of the year's books*

I've ranked the books I read and reviewed this year, although there are only 25. Not sure why I didn't read more this year, but it wasn't for lack of material. I think this was one of my better years of reading as far as the quality of novels was concerned. A lot of these books really made an impression on me and several will be among my favorites of all time. I'd say that everything starting at Under the Banner of Heaven and above is worth a read. The others were not my favorites, but that's not to say other people haven't found them absolutely delightful. In fact, there are apparently millions of people enjoying the Fifty Shades books. If you're looking to give a book as a gift, I think Swamplandia and Cloud Atlas would be fabulous. Several of the sci-fi options would make good gifts for teens. To see my reviews just click on the "books" label at the end of this post and they'll all pop up.

swamplandia
 
the round house

gone girl

ready player one

oryx and crake

cloud atlas

all you need is kill

the sparrow

the last werewolf

john dies at the end

warm bodies

this book is full of spiders

1Q84

wool

when she woke

after you'd gone

bringing up bebe

honolulu

under the banner of heaven

the year of the flood

the leftovers

revolution

ghostwritten

shantaram

fifty shades of grey


*I chose not to write about certain events today because there's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said. Suffice to say every time I hear of it or see it, I feel nauseated. I can't comprehend that we live in a place where something like this could happen to the most precious members of our society. Arming teachers is not the answer, people. Let us look to Australia and Japan as examples of what should be done right now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

things

  • I am really bad at blogging now. (Now, you ask? Psshh.) I suspect I have finally bored even myself. 
  • Which begs the question -- should I review the new Bachelor coming out in January? I think we both know I will. All two of us. I mean, there's going to be a one-armed contestant. I will be there, wine glass in hand. 
  •  I've been cleaning my house for a few days and have finally figured out why it is that professional house cleaners will always clean your home better than you ever will: It's because they see all the disgusting crap you've become used to. Your eye doesn't even see it any more. Here's a tip. Sit on your kitchen floor and look at your cupboards or fridge or dishwasher at that level. Tell me it's not caked in bits of food and cat hair (or whatever. Baby vomit or such). 
  • My husband and I have reached a point where we want nothing for Christmas, but still feel obligated to get each other gifts. If we were smart we would just go to Hawaii for Christmas and call it a day. 
  • My niece turns 1 on Friday ... There are no words. 
  • There are a few new trailers out for a few movies in the works. Here are the links if you're interested: Man of Steel (featuring Henry Cavill as hottest person ever), After Earth (starring Will Smith & son Jaden. Post-apocalyptic space movie? I am there), Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger -- I sort of have a disgusting little crush on him. And for all you other ladies, Johnny Depp as Tonto. Seriously), and lastly Pacific Rim (looks frigging terrible but two of my boyfriends are in it -- Charlie Hunnam -- Jax Teller! -- and Idris Elba. Drool. I'm there).
  • The other day I had the opportunity to use the "Go home .... You are drunk" meme when I posted a link on Facebook to an article that contained a video of the most jacked up driving I'd ever seen -- 13 minutes of a video of Russians driving like maniacs. No one seemed to appreciate my usage of "Go home Russia. You are drunk." So I questioned my husband and he seems to believe I am among a select small group of people who would ever understand what that meme referred to because I spend entirely too much time on the Internet. Point taken, dear!
  •  I had a couple of cavities filled last week and yeah dudes, it sucked, but my dentist is like ... I don't know. He's just so hilarious that I almost didn't give a shit when his drill hit my nerve and I wanted to punch him in the face. He spoke like Christian Bale's Batman for about five minutes straight ("Don't swear to God. Swear to me!") and by the end of it I was laughing so hard I was crying. 
  • Damn, bullet points are hella easier than actually writing an entire, cohesive post.
  • I'm still doing kickboxing, and have to say it's still one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen. I really can't watch myself in the mirror or I start to giggle. And forget about watching Christina -- practically sends me into hysterics. Also, I am really so old. My knees always hurt afterward. I disagree with aging. 
  • Oh, I've gone gluten-free this week! Isn't that fascinating? So far I feel slightly more awake. Normally I feel like I could sleep for three hours at any given point in the day. Just constantly exhausted. I don't actually think I am gluten-sensitive, but would like to wean myself off of processed grains (as well as dairy and sugar) and this feels like a good start. 
  •  If I don't have a kid by next Christmas, there will be no Christmas cards. It's totally thankless and more and more people aren't even sending them out. I think Facebook has sort of nixed that whole thing -- used to be you hardly ever heard from certain people, and now you "hear" from them every day on the Internet. 
  • I believe there are 12 shopping days left until Christmas. I know. You hate me a little right now, don't you? Me too. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

books books books


I decided I should do a few flash reviews since I haven't talked about books in a little while. Here we go ...

 

I actually read The Year of the Flood a couple months ago and forgot to review it. It's the sequel to Oryx and Crake, which is a very good book. It's all that futuristic "we killed the earth" stuff I can't get enough of. I'm afraid Book 2 isn't quite as good. I found myself wondering why I should care about any of the characters. Plus it had these really long songs in it from this weird, made-up religion. Could have done without those, as I basically paged through the lyrics. I probably missed something vital, didn't I?

In any case, I will probably still read the third book in the Maddaddam trilogy, which I believe is as yet untitled and scheduled for release in 2013.



This is yet another sequel, this one to John Dies at the End, which I sort of loved. It was just so freaking weird and scary but fun. And somehow, Wong manages to keep that up with Spiders. It's a little Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but stranger. There is a little something lost in that the novelty of Wong's writing style is no longer novel, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Incidentally, David Wong is apparently a pseudonym for the author, whose real name is Jason Pargin. According to Wikipedia, he'd had some concerns about the merging of his online and true identities.




Wow. So The Sparrow hooked me when I realized it was set in the future and much of it takes place on another planet. It reminded me quite a bit of Contact in places, but in other ways it is much, much different. The basic plot is that a group of people have been sent to an Earth-like planet, but only one has returned, damaged in both body and spirit. It's a long novel, but a quick read because you're inching ever closer to the answer to the mystery of exactly what happened. I found it extremely imaginative and well-written.

Now, of course this novel is the first in a series, but I think it stands perfectly well on its own if you're not into that. But I will definitely be reading the second book, Children of God.




Erdrich's book has been receiving a lot of notice and awards, and rightly so. I'm thankful to have read many good books this year, and this one is at the top of the list. A lot of times I don't agree with the critics because highly acclaimed novels are so often weighed down in fancy vocabulary and detail. But this is not one of those times. It's extremely well-written and detailed, and just a very, very good read. It's written from the point of view of a 13-year-old Native American boy whose mother is attacked. The story takes place on a reservation in North Dakota in the '80s. The characters are all superbly thought-out and the story is very compelling. This one won't disappoint.

What have you all been reading? I just started A Discovery of Witches on the recommendation of a couple friends, and I'm enjoying it. And yes, it's a series! This is some guilty pleasure stuff. I still haven't finished Let's Pretend This Never Happened, although it is definitely entertaining ... not sure what's keeping me from finishing that. I also started White Jacket Required and have been stalled on finishing that one ... WJR is a book by a food blogger I read -- her recipes are the best. Perhaps the issue with the blogger books is that I kind of already know the story.

Anyway, tell me your recommendations, and friend me on Goodreads if you haven't already!



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