Monday, December 29, 2008
Yes, just about 15 minutes away from my current location one of my dear friends is in the process of having a baby. It's her first and she only started having contractions about two hours ago, so I'm hoping that my trip to Central Kentucky this evening will not prevent me from missing the crucial moment as I anxiously await in the lobby for the announcement of ten fingers and ten toes on a healthy baby girl. I suspect that she is more likely to actually deliver while I'm at work tomorrow than while I'm catching up with friends an hour away.
So while I continue to go about my job and visit with friends, my mind is all babies, babies, babies...well, one in particular!!
Friday, December 19, 2008
1. Whoever decided that Rockband 2 for Wii would not be released until after Christmas. Lee and I really need to go ahead and pre-order that...
2. My real-life Delores Umbridge, who shall not be named but some of you know who I'm referencing. Thankfully, I don't have to deal with her anymore.
3. Whoever it is at Grey's Anatomy (Shonda, is it you?!) that decided to bring Denny back to have sex with Izzy all the time in a weird way that is so not like a classy Ghost way. I love Denny. I miss Denny. I weeped a LOT when Denny died and I still cry when Izzy sweetly continues to feel his presence in her life...but this is just getting ridiculous!
4. I'm also not happy with whoever is responsible for the film release of Twilight (I really need to read that book so I can properly dislike it.) pushing back the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince until JULY 2009!! That is a ridiculously long time! Of course, I guess I could use the extra prep time to getting ready for Dumbledore's on screen death. I didn't handle it well in print (twice) and this has the potential to be another Titanic episode where I sob a lot in the theater concerning strangers sitting next to me.
In other news, I finished Let It Snow, a book containing three "novellas" I guess. They're too long to be short stories I guess, but is there really a page limit on those things? Anyways, it was a delightful read and full of warm-holiday, young-love fuzzies. Among the stories, written by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle, I think Johnson's was my favorite. I also really enjoyed the connections between all three stories, and with the holiday setting, it reminded me a bit of Love Actually.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I'm not a fan of childhood obesity but this is just lame.
Childhood obesity is sometimes caused by crappy genetics. I also believe that childhood obesity, like most childhood problems, starts at home and the diet and lifestyle choices that are directly and/or indirectly taught there.
All of this made me think though about how I support cigarette taxes and now that Gov. Paterson has drawn the comparison, maybe I shouldn't. My general motive for anti-cigarette laws is generally selfish. I think it's disgusting and I don't want to be around it. I do believe that people have a right to smoke if they want to, but allowing people to smoke in public buildings can damage my health which is something I don't want. I do believe this is a slightly different situation than other people's 10-year-olds getting jacked up on Mountain Dew.
On a completely different topic... I knew it! And I might even take part in the survey!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I'm a really big Jane Austen fan. I've read all her novels, seen most of the movies, read some spin-offs, read some letters and biographies. I'm a member of JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) and am a member of the regional chapter. (We're celebrating Jane's birthday with a tea party on Sunday!) During a semester in London, I traveled to her grave, her home in Chawton and some sites in Bath, and I visited her original manuscripts in the British Library on mulitiple occasions. I also went to Gracechurch Street (where the Gardiners lived) just to take a picture of the street sign. I have a Pride and Prejudice bath towel, Pride and Prejudice board game (The trivia is WAY too easy! I mean, only the crazy fanatics are buying this anyway so let's step up the difficulty level some!), Jane Austen action figure, Jane Austen mug... I really like Jane.
Jane Austen changed my life. Really.
In 7th grade I bought Sense and Sensibility because the movie (with Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson) had just come out and the previews looked good. However, I had some difficulty reading it so I set it aside. In 8th grade I had an assignment to read any book by any famous author and I remember asking my teacher if Jane Austen was famous enough for this project. She was. So I pulled Sense and Sensibility out, gave it another shot, and I fell in love. Eleanor was a truly admirable heroine. I thought she was absolutely amazing. I don't know if I had ever been as happy about any literary conclusion as I was when Edward asked, "You mean Mrs. Robert Ferrars?" and Eleanor allows herself to feel completely the emotions of the moment in the actual moment and runs from the room crying with overflowing joy! It's amazing!
A year later I read Pride and Prejudice and from then on out I was completely hooked. (I remember reading it during class and laughing out loud during Mr. Collins' proposal and the aftermath. I got some strange looks.) So much so, that even Mansfield Park could not persuade me against my new favorite author. (One of my life goals is to learn to love Mansfield Park.)
It wasn't just that I had a new favorite author and a new favorite book and a name for my first-born daughter (Elizabeth, of course!). My whole sense of literature and literary taste changed. I moved on to Dickens and the Bronte sisters. Oscar Wilde made me laugh out loud and on Friday nights I would travel to one of Gatsby's parties. Not to say that good books still aren't being written today. They are. (I also love Harry Potter, John Green, Nikki Giovanni, John Irving and I really really need to read David Sedaris, the guy who wrote Fight Club, and Phillip Roth.) But before Jane, I read a lot of books that focused on plot, suspense, surprise. After Jane, I realized that I would rather trade in a high-speed criminal chase for people and places I'll never forget.
Jane Austen did not only shake up my summer reading list, but for the first time, I was really passionate about an academic topic. I had always been a top student and there were several subjects that I liked, but now there was a subject that I really loved. Without Jane I might never have completed my transformation into a total nerd. I might have gone off to law school or been a wretched business major. Instead I went to a small liberal arts school (where academic passion and nerdiness is strongly encouraged) and was an English major. (One of my professors once said that English is the major for lovers, because when you ask people why they're English majors they say it's out of love for the subject.) Who knows where I would be at this point in my life without Jane?! Perhaps I'd be making a lot more money, but I might not have Lee and that's just scary!
So here's to Jane. Thank you for my favorite books, my favorite heros and heroines, my favorite places, and for shaping me to be the mildly obsessive but passionate, happy, well-educated and delightful person I am today.
I also have several friends with birthdays today too, so happy birthday to you all as well! As I say to you every year: Happy Birthday! Aren't you glad you get to share it with Jane?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
But let me say this: I think this is why we read. I mean, finally, what does reading do that movies and video games and television do not? I would argue that books, more than other media, allow us to live inside the lives of others because we have to translate scratches on a page into ideas and make the story ours. We become co-creators of the story, and they allow us to inhabit someone else's body for a while. Books give us the faith that others are real, that their joy and pain should matter to us, and that ours can matter to them. In some ways, this confirms our own existence, because most of our mattering is in the context of one another.
Monday, December 8, 2008
I was part of a book club in high school. There were three of us, and our other friends frequently teased us for starting a club after tree houses and elementary school. Yet they were eventually impressed with how well we stuck with it, although I don't remember it lasting that long. We took turns picking books and I remember reading Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding and The World According to Garp by John Irving, among others I have since forgotten.
Occasionally since college I have thought about starting a book club again. It would be like monthly bookworm parties! Yet I still haven't gotten back into a "reading groove" since college. It's been two-and-a-half years and the rate at which I read is moderately depressing. I'm not sure at this point if a book club would help this situation or not. Maybe I should save it for a retirement hobby. The book club, not reading in general, which I shall pursue diligently no matter how few books I manage to finish.
In other news headlines of note for today:
I am pro-life and was very pleased with this opinion piece.
This was also amusing, if you're against lame 15-seconds-of-fame books.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I'm a big (really big) UK fan. There are few forces in the universe more powerful than the beauty and majesty of UK basketball. I know our record in the past few years has been a little discouraging, but UK basketball is more than that. It's our legacy, it's our passion!
Needless to say, I really enjoyed this article and the following comment from ukfmly brought a tear of joy to my eye (despite the many grammatical errors and I think it's De Sha's...):
Three tickects to game $75. Gas from louisville to Lexington and back $15. Dinner at DaShay's $65. The smiles on our faces on the ride home after seeing the future is bright in Rupp Arena. F'IN PRICELESS.