Friday, June 30, 2006
Thursday, June 29, 2006
I never knew
I never knew that everything was falling through
That everyone I knew was waiting on a cue
To turn and run when all I needed was the truth
But that's how it's got to be
It's coming down to nothing more than apathy
I'd rather run the other way than stay and see
The smoke and who's still standing when it clears
--"Over My Head"...The Fray
The day after:
No hangover. Gotta get the 'zine online! More later!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
OK, so about this grant. I've been in a perpetual state of irkishness because, until this morning, I hadn't heard anything about financial aid for next year. BIG PROBLEM! Financial aid has been an absolute necessity in the past, and while I could PROBABLY conceivably pay out of pocket next year, I would just get by (aka, no eating, no buying gas to get to school, and certainly no drinking with the peeps). I was mentally preparing myself to be even poorer and to not be able to pay on student loans next year. UNTIL, I checked my e-mail this morning. The financial aid dept has been slow this time around because one of the head honchos quit, and (to be perfectly honest) I waited longer than usual (stupid me) to do my renewal FAFSA. I was really not expecting much money.
I was nervous about opening the report this morning. Shaky in fact. I thought to myself, "Dumbass, you're gonna get one big unsubsidized loan because you waited too long and you'll never be able to have a new car, a house, or children because all of your finances will be eaten by interest." BUT, much to my surprise, there it sat. One sizeable subsidized loan, one tiny unsubsidized loan, and a TWO THOUSAND DOLLAR grant!
Keep in mind, I go to a state university. State=cheaper. In fact, at this point in my life, even though I loved Baylor, I wish I hadn't gone there. I'll be paying those loans back for decades. However, this state school business is a much better deal. That one grant will pay for the majority of my Fall tuition, and I can actually afford to turn down the unsubisidized loan and part of the subsidized loan. THANK YOU Jesus! These developments will also allow me to pay off my credit card in a timely manner and I can still eat, drink, and drive (but not drink-&-drive, of course) next school year.
Dance wit me, bitches!
As for the funny story:
At 7:30 this morning my mother burst loudly into my room, thus disturbing my odd dream about myself as a 1940's movie star attending Frank Sinatra's birthday party. Through my bleary-eyed daze I heard her say, "I have an emergency. I got a Q-tip stuck in my ear."
I wobbled out of bed, hair all a'fro, and followed her into the bathroom to the super-lit vanity. I turned her toward the light, looked through one eye, as it was all I could get to focus, and saw absolutely nothing. She'd been de-watering her ear after a shower and the cottony part of the Q-tip came off in her head. Awesome. It was too deep for me to retrieve with tweezers, so she went to the doc this morning and they pulled it out with one of those scary, super-sized tweezer contraptions.
Let this be a lesson to you all: don't buy the cheap Q-tips. Spring for real Q-tip brand.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Mike Shinoda has one of the most soothing voices in the universe. He's the cute Asian rapper from Linkin Park. And he lays down phat beats. You heard me. Whitebread just said "phat beats."
There shall be a flurry of activity around my computer for the next few days. I have the 'zine to get online and some revising to do.
I've been reading like a maniac. 200+ pages of Cover the Butter (Carrie Kabak) tonight. I'll be reviewing it for the 'zine. Keep an eye out.
The house looks amazing. The trim is painted, new fixtures hung on the front porch, fence mended, new roof on the sunroom, etc. I'll take pics. It's so cute I can hardly stand it.
I hope this little get-together of my school peeps comes together. I need to let off some steam. Because it's depressing to drink a double-tall cherry vodka sour alone at midnight (last night).
Coherent thoughts to come in the next few days. I have things stewing.
Listening: "Walking on Broken Glass"...Annie Lennox...because "Moonlight" was about to do me in.
Five Things on my Nightstand:
1. Very fabulous frosted glass/stainless steel lamp
2. Alarm clock (instrument of the devil)
3. Until yesterday, dust
4. A small digital voice recorder, for catching bits of brilliance before they leave me completely
5. A black/white picture of my grandparents looking all 1950's movie star chic--in a brown, upholstered, beaded frame.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Now, to make me feel better, look at my pretties and tell me how worth my $$$ they are...
2 pairs of dressy capris (black and army green), one blue/green polo, black polo (not pictured), one red/white off the shoulder twofer thingy, brown one too (not pictured), red/goldish brocaded concoction...sort of a tunic, flowy whatever (far right). And two pairs of jeans (not pictured).
Another pic of the tunic red, flowy, brocaded number. Can be dressy or paired with jeans/heels for a night working at the cat house.
A flesh/black lacy Asian-inspired shirt, the red stripey wrappy shirt (my personal fave) with a chocolate cami to go underneath. Brown flauncy sandals (wedges) and acid green kitten heels. Two necklaces: the green, cream, chocolate big honkin' beads, a delicate red/pinky/brown beaded necklace that you can't see in this pic, and the very Indian'ish bronze/red danglies sitting atop the kitten heels.
I love my new clothes. Now I just wish I didn't have to pay for them.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
A prof just e-mailed me to invite me to review the Fables series of graphic novels for an upcoming special issue of an academic journal! It'll be my first academic publication.
My CV NEEEDED this if I'm to get into Illinois or Florida!
It's especially special since Fables is my favorite gn series, the first one I ever read seriously, and it was the subject of the first paper I wrote in grad school AND the first paper I gave at a conference. This series has been good to me!
Listening: "Girl Like Me"...Majorette
Dressed up and so messed up/Cigarettes and nylon. Browsing for something arousing/Ive got my eye on you...
- Dogs go apeshit at 7am...strangely enough, I'm getting used to it.
- After the barking-induced tension headache/hysteria began to set in, I got dressed and adjourned to C-vegas to visit with my peeps.
- Went to lunch with Thesis Advisor to mull over some ideas. Fruitful lunch. I'm very excited about the independent study in Summer II and thesis beginnings in the Fall.
- Came home, swam. In Andi-speak "swam" means "scooped incessantly as all good pool Nazis do."
- Took a nap.
- Discovered that our 'fridge is no longer 'fridgerating.
- Finished A Plea for Eros, which leads me to the sloshing.
Siri Hustvedt is one of the few authors that makes my breath hitch in my throat and can damn near bring me to tears. She's an amazing brain--got her PhD from Columbia, dissertation on Dickens, novelist, poet, essayist, and just happens to be married to acclaimed author Paul Auster--and reading her work sends my brain into spasms of painful mind-bending contemplation while simultaneously throwing me into fits of manic joy because I begin to think, "YES! That's that thing I've always thought but didn't know how to say or write!!"
Reading A Plea for Eros, her book of personal essays on a number of philosophical issues was nothing short of my previous, gut-wrenching experiences with her fiction. I would try to summarize or praise the delicate nuances and turns of thought in her work, but I'm too tired and I would just not do the pieces justice. I'll just say, she weaves her personal narrative into her philosophical musings in such a way that it all becomes pure magic. Pure, unadulterated, genius. Why she hasn't won boatloads of awards, I'll never understand. She has more talent in her little finger than Updike has in his disposable rocket (ptooey, Updike!).
One of my favorite passages...the closing passage actually....
I am afraid of writing, too, because when I write I am always moving toward the unarticulated, the dangerous, the place where the walls don't hold. I don't know what's there, but I'm pulled toward it. Is the wounded self the writing self? Is the writing self the answer to the wounded self? Perhaps that is more accurate. The wound is static, a given. The writing self is multiple and elastic, and it circles the wound. Over time, I have become more aware of the fact that I must try not to cover that speecheless, hurt core, that I must fight my dread of the mess and violence that are also there. I have to write the fear. The writing self is restless and searching, and it listens for voices. Where do they come from, these chatterers who talk to me before I fall asleep? My characters. I am making them and not making them, like people in my dreams. They discuss, fight, laugh, yell, and weep. I was very young when I first heard the story of the exorcism Jesus performs on a possessed man. When Jesus talks to the demon inside the man and asks for his name, the words he cries out both scared and thrilled me. The demon says, "My name is Legion." That is my name, too.
Listening: "Mandolin Rain"...Bruce Hornsby
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
The Jesus of basketball could not save us from a tragic championship death. *bawl*
I'm going to go hang out at the Gap in the Galleria and Richardson-area sushi restaurants in a vague attempt to meet and console Dirk. We could read to one another while he plays the guitar (since that bridge isn't conducive to saxophoning).
*stabs self in the eyeball*
Isn't he pretty?
Listening: "Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off"...Panic! at the Disco
Almost forgot--was officially accepted to the Southeast Pop Culture conference. Will be giving my paper on the translation of Ghost World from graphic novel to film. Watch out Savannah!
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
About 8:15 I finally lost my patience with the dogs and charged out into the living room in my usual sleepwear. Most of you who've been reading for more than 5 minutes know that I prefer to sleep in a t-shirt and panties. You've heard the stories about me running outside in winter without changing into appropriate clothing.
I got about 3 feet into the living room, was saying loud nasty things to the dogs about barking with my ass hangin' out and my hair all 'afro, when I turned to my left and saw Handyman's face in the crack of the door. He wasn't door-peeping or anything, but he had the wooden door cracked a good piece so he could caulk around the OUTSIDE of the storm door. Why the motherfucking hell he needed to open the inside door to caulk around the outside one I'll never know (and don't bother explaining, please), but it meant my ass on display. I promptly gasped, charged back into my bedroom, and put on real clothes.
This is why I hate having "the help" (dripping with sarcasm) around the house.
On a lighter note, this is what The Funky Bee sent me! The Emmy press pack for House!!! It's this cute little hangable blood bag and in a pouch on the back is a DVD with 4 episodes (3 of which I haven't seen because I got in on Season 2 late) and a fold-out with the run-down on all the awards the show is eligible for. I shrieked! And, of course, I've already watched all 4 episodes.
My eternal gratitude to Funky! This is a GREAT souvenir! I luuurv it!
Listening: A Certain Trigger...Maximo Park (new obsession)
Monday, June 19, 2006
Ditched my cleaning Friday, had a cookout with friends, drank and ate too much. I didn't think I'd had that much to drink, but between the eating and the drinking I felt like baked ass on Saturday. Woke up feeling sick around 10am, stayed up til noon, and went back to sleep until 5:00. FIVE O'CLOCK. I hate sleeping that much in one day, but every time I got up I just wanted to lay back down. It had more to do with the onset of a funk (my term to make it sound less ass-tingling and cringe-inducing than "a depression"). Once I got up and stayed up at 5:00 I did a bunch of nothing. I think I played on the computer and watched HGTV. Heavy on the HGTV. I could now totally restructure your overgrown garden into a feast for the eyes.
Sunday dawned with another completely shitty mood that I promptly took out on everyone that it had nothing to do with. My mother is a good woman. Actually, she was depressed, too, so we were just one big ball of sunshine. Yesterday was bad. Really bad. Haven't felt that horrible in a long time. I hauled my butt out of bed at noon, got dressed, and we went to a Father's Day lunch at my cousin's house. It's always a good time--lots of family I like, good food, pups to play with. However, yesterday I just wanted to scalp everyone. Every time someone opened their mouth I felt an almost-uncontrollable urge to roll my eyes until they flew out of my head, rolled across the table, and trekked all the way home. I held myself in check for the most part, listened to everyone else talk, and smile at appropriate intervals. No one knew the difference (I hope). One good thing about my moody "funks" is that I'm keenly aware that I want to act like an ass, and I apologize pretty consistently to my saintly mother who generally just nods and smiles and throws out a random, "Love you!" until it passes. Yesterday when I mentioned it was the worst I'd felt in ages she asked, "Why? What's wrong?" to which I wanted to roll my eyes even harder because it's never a matter of why, simply a matter of when. We talked about it. She gets it. The only cutthroat moment yesterday came when we had our 800th conversation about what color the handyman should paint the trim on our house. We've known the guy was coming for 3 months, we've chosen paint color, but she decided yesterday to second guess everything and change her mind. I didn't care what she changed her mind to, just DECIDE. It's trim. It's not even the whole damn house. So it almost came to blows, but he arrived this morning and all is right with the trim.
As for Father's day: it doesn't register on my radar. My real dad has been dead since 1999 (didn't see him for 6 years prior to his death) and my grandfather, the real dad, has been gone since 2002. It's always been a pretty depressing day for me in general and yesterday proved no different.
On another depressing front, the fucking Mavericks are bound and determined to piss away the NBA championship. I can only hope they buck up and pull out two wins at home to clinch this thing. Either way, Dirk is still my NBA crush. I've had an NBA crush pretty steady since Jason Kidd in 1994/1995 season. I met Kidd his rookie year. He was delightful. Since then the crushes centered mostly around Steve Nash until I came to my senses several years ago and realized Dirk is 7' tall and hot. No, boys at work, this is not a new thing, I just don't tell y'all everything. And I haven't had much time to watch the Mavs this season.
Today's docket: work (aka sit) unti 2:00, finish my cleaning spree, and start revisions on some projects.
Today I don't feel as depressed. Just tired and generally uninterested.
Listening: "Postcard of a Painting"...Maximo Park (the new best song ever)
Friday, June 16, 2006
A full on attack is more like it. No time for lengthy diatribes today. I want desperately to flop myself into the pool, but the wild urge to clean and THROW THINGS AWAY has overtaken me. Everything must go. I'm going from packrat clutter to minimalist chic. I might do befores and afters. I'm fucking stick of STUFF everywhere.
Tonight: drinks and cheesecake
Tunes: 30 Seconds to Mars (upbeat/angry is good for a cleaning frenzy)
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Yesterday I spent the morning ripping and burning CD's for Elise. I'm spreading the love that is country music with her (Dixie Chicks, Alison Krauss). Also threw in some John Mayer (Try!) and Mindy Smith (alt-country/folk).
Elise and Jeremy came over yesterday afternoon and we had our weekly swim party. There were drinks and a rubber swim cap. I put on the best show of amateur synchronized swimming I can recall from recent memory. There was flailing, hopping, and my patented "water whip" using an empty Smirnoff Ice bottle and pool water. Alas, there are no pictures, so you'll just have to use your imagination to the best of your ability. I'm sure whatever you come up with couldn't even begin to touch the assinineanimity of it all.
Post-party I spent the evening fidding around (can't remember what the hell I did). Finished Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. I had a few random (but good) thesis ideas that I need to flesh out.
As of now, since Elise talked to Grad Director, it looks like I'll be taking one course in the Fall, six hours of thesis, and working my ass off the rest of the time with teaching and conferences (putting on and attending).
If all goes well, I'll be in Savannah, Georgia in October for Southeast Popular Culture. If anyone is around there, lemme know! Amanda, I know you're in G-vegas but I have no clue about Georgia geography, so lemme know if it's anywhere close.
Listening: this song in my head that I heard on the radio, and I can't remember the artist's name!!!!
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
"...get yourself some rechargable batteries, take a Midol, and, um... I detect pent-up sexual frustration so might want to rub one out or get you some trim real soon. But whatever you do, DO NOT take out your angst on innocent electronic devices, that just adds the pain of having done something stupid to the rest of the mix, and it accomplishes nothing. So lighten-up, knuckle-down, put some out, and stick it in -- sage advice straight from... "
Now, one might think I would be angry to see my angst called out in the depths of the blogosphere, but alas, I had myself a hearty chuckle once I got over the astounding rhetorical craftsmanship the blogger exhibits. Let me briefly address the commentary point by point.
1. "get yourself some rechargeable batteries" - CHECK!
2. "take a Midol" - I prefer Aleve, which I've made abundantly clear here.
3. "I detect pent-up sexual frustration" - no fuckin' shit. There's a reason I've been labeled "the perv" amongst my friends, and my nightstand houses more hardware than Bob Vila's garage.
4. "angst" - you know where the "next blog" button is, champ!
Listening: "Something Beautiful"...Cauterize
Edit: Someone just found my blog by searching "men in panties." I don't really dig that. I'm more into men wearing eyeliner.
Monday, June 12, 2006
I'm a horrible, horrible fangirl. I forgot that yesterday was Hugh Laurie's birthday, and it's an offense for which I should be flogged in the middle of town. So, I'm obliged to make up for it today. In all honesty, as much as I go on about flaming panties and such, I admire Hugh Laurie greatly for his views on life, humor, and ability in the realm of acting, as well as writing and his musical abilities. He's a very talented man.
- He went to Eton and Cambridge
- Got a degree in anthropology
- Has written 2 novels: The Gun Seller and Paper Soldiers (not yet released)
- Has recorded a number of audiobooks including...get ready...GREAT EXPECTATIONS! That's practically one degree of separation given that I AM the modern day Estella! Not so much, but she's my bloggy namesake--same difference.
- He appeared in Annie Lennox's fantastic video "Walking On Broken Glass"
- He was amazing in Blackadder...have you seen him as Prince George?? Brilliant comedian. Not to mention the Wooster and Jeeves stuff. And A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Genius.
- He digs motorcycles (and looks good on one if I do say so myself)
- He's 6'2.5" tall
- Scruffy...need I say more?
- Plagued by depression (has resorted to St. John's Wort...*Andi raises guilty hand to go along with Hugh*)
- He plays the piano and guitar, as well as composing music, and he's even recorded some. Watching him play is heavenly (but I'm a sucker for men with instruments)
- Wicked smart
Fabulous Hugh quotes:
“I never was someone who was at ease with happiness.”
In regards to House:
“Perfection is intensely annoying. Audiences were ready for a character who didn't obey the usual pieties of modern life.”
“I'm rather enjoying the whole process of reinvention, ... To be able to pretend to be something that I'm frankly not is very liberating and exciting.”
“There's the clown in House, there's an adolescent in him, a child, a playful side. There's also a tormented self-destroyer as well. I get the best of all possible worlds.”
“I find it preposterous. I can see in some ways I am playing a sexy character. The idea of a damaged genius is an interesting, intriguing character, but it has nothing to do with me . . . I think whoever is playing this role would be in the position I am now.”
On the House writers:
“They, all of them, work incredibly hard to make me seem clever and heroic, neither of which I am.”
On using an American accent:
"The problem is one part of the brain is doing it, and the other part is listening all the time. Something like 'coronary artery' gives me a nosebleed. I have to lie down in a dark room for about 20 minutes."
Producer Katie Jacobs on Hugh Laurie:
“Every day at about four or five o’clock, Hugh’s sitting on the kerb completely despondent. He’s miserable no matter what he does. Never thinks he’s good enough, never thinks he’s got it right.”
Listening: "Dancing in the Dark"...Pete Yorn (cover, obviously)
A year ago, when I'd had this blog for approximately 3'ish months, the place was mostly about 1) snark 2) humor 3) ranting.
I was getting around 150 hits a day at the time. Now, I'm getting 60-75...maybe 80-90 on an especially good day (nothing to sneeze at, don't get me wrong...I'm not that big a brat). Now, at first, as I began to see the numbers drop (around the time I started grad school), I was a little miffed and upset. I wondered why people weren't finding me as interesting, etc. I'm really not the self-centered ass I might seem by actually typing this. The way I see it, a writer writes to be read, yes? Writers crave to be read in general...otherwise there would be no books, magazines, or newspapers. So anyway, back to the point, I was a little disappointed in the numbers.
Tonight, as I was thinking, I began to examine what's changed on this blog in the last year, and the changes are nothing short of dramatic. A year ago I was angry. Very angry. Broken in fact. Depressed. Restless. My humor, I can honestly say, was the overflow from what was going on in my life. It felt incredibly good to say "fuck" 12 times per post. I was raging. Trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with myself. I made fun of everything. I used the blog to help work things out, and to reach out to people because I felt like I had no one.
A year later I'm significantly less angry. The blog is a reflection of my temperament now--less volatile and more introspective. For the first time in my life I actually enjoy what I do for a living. I'm in love with my job. I'm happy again. I like who I've turned out to be after all the turbulence of the last few years. I've lost many of the people I love, I've cut out some of the dead weight that was dragging me down. I've found some new people to love as well. I'm happy in my books, and my writing, and my bubble. As hard as I am on myself when it comes to my work, I still enjoy it. I like the challenge--the struggle. I like being break-neck busy until I think I'm going to explode and then having a month off to regroup. I like thinking, and drowning in music, and being with my friends, and fondling my books, and talking about it with you all. I like not being miserable.
It probably isn't as much fun to read. My musings on myself and my personality and my thoughts and my obsessions. They're all very personal and very internal and I don't think they have mass appeal. My blogging now is a bit more like talking to myself...and figuring out why I am the way I am. I'm still angsty, I still fight depression, I still struggle to find some "truth" to make me feel at peace with the world.
But, when it comes right down to it, I'm happy where I am. This blog was a lifeline, and now it's a comfortable place to think and play.
To those who are still reading, I thank you. I enjoy interacting with you, and you've meant something important to me for the last year-and-a-piece. This blog helped me like myself again. It's helped me believe that perhaps the things I think and write might matter to someone somewhere. So, even if the numbers keep falling, I'll keep writing. It's not about numbers anymore. It's not about attention anymore. It's about writing for the sake of writing.
Listening: "I Found a Reason"...Cat Power
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Thursday, June 08, 2006
This is the result...
You'll notice the noticeable line between burned-as-hell and pasty-white. And did you notice what I'm watching on TV? Is anyone surprised? He made my legs feel better.
Anyway, this literally happened because I literally read In Cold Blood for 2 hours with no sunscreen on my legs. I don't usually put it on my legs because my legs are normally in the water. However, I decided to float while I read, and while it was heaven, I'm very lobstery and in pain (though not as much as last night) as a result. Don't try it at home, kids.
This lovely picture is the current state of my back. I did remember to put sunscreen on it yesterday to avoid any further burning and the subsequent itching and peeling. *SCRATCH* Where is my hairbrush when I need it? You think they'd look at me funny here at work if I scratched my back up against doors and table edges?
And this is my curly hair. Just because I thought I'd share. I always put up pics of it straight.
Listening: Amos Lee..."Colors"
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Today, I can honestly say I computed myself into such a state of brain death that I cackled out loud at my own THOUGHTS more times than I have toes. One such thought:
"Wow, I didn't realize I was wearing this shirt. I haven't looked down for the last 8 hours."
In other news, I have a fat ass (and more). So I'll be taking up official residence on the Gazelle as of tomorrow. Right after I wake up, shower, and scratch my back with a hairbrush. Thank you Neutrogena sunblock. You work like a champ! *as I peel*
My new diet: lettuce and water
Monday, June 05, 2006
1. I'm deathly quiet in classroom situations. For all the talk I have bottled up in me and unleash with my friends, and that I unleash in my writing, I say very little in class. When I was younger I was berated for being wrong in a classroom situation, and apparently it stuck with me. I abhor being wrong/feeling stupid, so most of the time I just don't say anything. This mini-mester was really good for me because I talked A LOT in class. I kept tally marks for all the things I got right. I felt pretty fucking stupid when I got some things wrong, but feeling fuckin' stupid wasn't as bad as I expected.
2. I drive the speed limit. Maybe 5 mph over. I've had two tickets in my life and BOTH times the asshole cops turned around on a median in order to come get me. In neither case was I going more than 9 mph over the limit. I figure God, Krishna, and Allah all have it in for me in the speeding department, so I don't tempt the deities.
3. I am a perfectionist. In the sense that I totally dislike and get uncomfortable trying things that I think I won't be good at.
4. I dance a lot. Across the room at work, in my bed, in class. And I frolick a lot too. Sometimes there's leaping. It's all very unexpected and makes people laugh.
5. I listen to music almost constantly. I rarely watch TV (it's on most of the time for movement, but it's on mute), unless it's House, so I'm usually listening to CD's or MP3's. I also sing, but not in public often because I have horrendous stage fright. I always have music on in my car, which means I rarely know if I have a rattle until months after the rattle has started.
6. Children and dogs love and gravitate toward me. I love dogs, but I'm pretty picky about kids.
7. I hardly ever dress up. I'm a jeans and t-shirt or polo kind of girl. I could dress better but I don't give enough of a fuck to do it regularly.
8. I'm a Nazi with a pool skimmer. No bug bodies or leaves in my pool, thankyouverymuch.
9. I'm obsessive compulsive about clean nails. They're always clean. ALWAYS. I'm keenly aware and upset if/when they're not.
Dixie Chick lyrics floating through my headphones at the moment:
And I want
Somehow to believe
In the choice
Am I better off this way?
I can hear the voice inside my head
Saying you should be with me instead
Every time I'm feeling down
What would it be like with you around
I think I'm about to do the unthinkable: go to bed at 10:13.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Wow! Elise, I have to say thank you for making me read this book! I really enjoyed it. This is my first book for the Summer Reading Challenge (refer to sidebar), and the 21st book I've read this year. I'm way behind on overall reading for the year, but while I've taken a cut in quantity, the quality is WAY up.
Here's a blurb I posted in one of my book groups:
#21: The Golems of Gotham, by Thane Rosenbaum
Date Finished: 6/4/06
Genre: literary fiction
Rating: 8.5/10 (very good/couldn't put it down)
Thoughts: This is the story of Oliver Levin, a mainstream mystery writer who suddenly finds himself navigating a massive case of writer's block. His concerned 14-year-old daughter takes it upon herself to summon her grandparents back from the dead. They were Holocaust survivors who committed suicide, and Ariel's experiment calling forth the "Golems" unwittingly produces 8 ghosts--her grandparents, along with some of the most famous atrocity writers of all time....Primo Levi, Jean Amery, Paul Celan, Piotr Rawicz, Jerzy Kosinski, andTadeusz Borowski. What results is the chronicle of Oliver's attempt at navigating life as an inheritor of the Holocaust experience via his parents and his crippling fear of loss as a result of their suicide (and some other stuff that would ruin the book for you, so I'll stop there).
This book was both funny and really depressing, which equals a winning mix in my book. While I thought Rosenbaum was a little heavy handed with his redemptive message at times (and some of the ghost stuff and exposition bordered on cheese), overall it was a gorgeous, worthwhile read. From the first page it really sucks the reader in. In fact, I started reading it while I was leaning on Elise's kitchen island, and leaned there, reading, for long enough to be really uncomfortable. Oliver's plight, along with the fictional characterization of such great authors is any book nerd's wet dream. This book reminded me of Art Spiegelman's Maus in the way that it confronts the inheritance of the Holocaust burden. Even though Oliver wasn't there, the experience and its effect on his parents colored his entire outlook on life and his ability (or inability as the case may be) to interact in a meaningful way with his daughter.
I admit it, I got teary several times. That warrants a big rec from me.
Yummy passages that I *heart*.
"The Golems didn't die from suicide. The true cause of death was too much reflection; casualties of a life lived in furious remembrance. The closer they looked, the easier it became to self-kill. Those who examined too close inevitably saw too much. Each one an Icarus, flying too near the sun, and then, for the sake of finality, stared intrepidly, and fatally, into the hypnotic face of a Medusa head cut off from the corpses of Auschwitz." (125)
"'We are turning over the burden to him,' Paul said. 'We could haveleft him alone as he was, but that was not alive, either. He needs the challenge. It is only in the extremes, on the margins of existence, where life is worth living, where we learn what's possible for ourselves and for the rest of humanity. The middle of the road leads nowhere, it reveals nothing about man other than ambivalence and fear.'" (167)
Next up on the reading block is probably In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote. I've never read Capote, so I'm excited about it.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
1. After what you've put our family through, I don't want to see or speak with you again. I don't forgive you yet. I know I can't forgive you yet because I still hope you're in pain. I hope that it hurts you to realize that I admired you but now I want nothing to do with you. We are very much alike except somehow I got all the good qualities they had to offer and somehow they all missed you. You've never worked for anything, you're the most selfish person I've ever known, you have an almost inhuman disregard for others, and you hurt all of us along the way. Over and over. Without ever taking responsibility. I'm lucky that I haven't felt the brunt of it. I was protected from that. I'm just now realizing your true colors, and I'm saving myself the trouble that would inevitably come.
2. I love you. I don't believe in that "one true love for everyone" thing anymore, but strangely enough, I believe in you.
3. I live in a perpetual state of terror that something will happen to you and I'll be alone. I love you more than anyone in the world. I'm an imprint of you.
4. I held your ring today. I turned it over and over in my hands and thought of the day you gave it to me. Out of a cigar box, of all things. I miss you every day. Thank you for teaching me to tie my shoes, for Big Red, for Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, for always talking to me like an adult. I still talk to you, and I hope you hear me. The best memories are of you.
5. I'm just like you, so I can blame all the hard-headedness on you, right? The never going to the doctor, the sass, the love of books. Thank you for reading to me. I wish I was back in that big bed listening to you read.
6. Come out of the closet already. I don't care.
7. You were such an asshole in school. It's one of life's great tragedies that you're hot now.
8. I would be tempted to say yes.
9. Can we just sit and talk?
10. You want to be brilliant. You're too hard on yourself. You're worried that your life is meaningless and you haven't made a mark on anyone or anything. Stop worrying.
Listening: "My Old Friend"...John Hiatt
So here's the runner-up post....
Nothing serious. A day in the life of sort of thing.
I've jumped the bandwagon with the millions who play around on MySpace. I have a very VERY mixed bag of feelings about this myspace thing. Yes, it's nice to read and hear about people you might've known in a past life, but I'm one of those people that generally reflects on high school with supreme disdain, and I admit to avoiding people I went to school with like the plague. Like the boily, bloody, pus-filled plague. Except the people I like...the names of which are Val, CJ, Rachel, Cher and a few others whom I've deemed worthy and virtually unscare-able. The myspace people will not have access to my blog addy, and if they start filtering over by some ungodly chance, I shall fly the coop faster than Clinton on draft day.
I'm hastily scrambling to get the 'zine online. It's done except for a thorough read-through and formatting the fiction pages. It should be up by tomorrow evening.
I'm thoroughly toasted in the shoulder/arm area thanks to a 1.5 hour dip in the pool sans sunscreen. The one good thing my father passed along to me, besides my supreme knuckle-cracking ability, is a touch of olive in my skin--red today, golden tomorrow.
Swimming with E. from 11:30-3:30 ish
Finish the 'zine
Nap in at least 5 different positions
On TV: Jay "Chin on Your Clit" Leno...because that face protrusion has gotta be good for something. I refuse to believe evolution would take that turn without some particular motivation.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Hugh Laurie is going to be on Inside the Actor's Studio on June 4th. Now, that presents a real problem seeing as I DON'T HAVE BRAVO! I offer one of the following to anyone who will tape it, DVD it, TIVO it, or just let me use their living room to watch it:
2. A quick lay.
3. A batch of yummy baked goods.
Your choice, people.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
My uncle is being an asshole again. Some of you might remember his drunken request for thousands of dollars several months ago. We haven't talked to him in 10 months, and all of a sudden he called SEVEN TIMES yesterday. The last of which was at 12:24am just to piss us off, I'm sure.
The night class I'm teaching starts tonight. I'm sure I'll let ya know if there are any tools in there. I usually like summer classes, though. The classes are small, relatively mild-mannered, and QUICK. I'm teaching from 4:30-9:20 on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Although, I seriously doubt I'll keep them the whole 5 hours. That's a bit much even for a talker like myself.
At page 100 The Golems of Gotham is still heavenly.
The pool is UP! I will begin establishing my kickass tan today.
On TV: Made
Listening: Dixie Chicks