“I didn’t come rushing to New York to visit you in the hospital, Oliver, because I didn’t care.” It was not precisely the answer to the question as posed. Yet it said it all. He looked up from The Washington Star, squinting over his half lenses.
He removed his glasses and balanced them on the Chesterfield’s leather arm.
“I just didn’t care,” she said clearly”
Warren Addler’s The War of the Roses
In case you haven’t been keeping on my posts regularly, I’m unforgivably busy and (sadly) this week keeping mind and body together has gotten to be enough of a task by itself.
Which means there has been no progress on the cross stitch project. None at all.
I haven’t even had time to look at it.
So, instead of showing you nothing, I thought I’d share with you something else to waste your time with.
While some people’s favorite form of procrastination might be Pinterest, Facebook (glad to say I’ve officially kicked the addiction and I spend less than 30minutes on Facebook a week now), Etsy, WordPress, or e-shopping I like to browse Netflix movies.
I love movies, they’re my favorite waste of time, whether that’s going to see them in theaters, curling up with pizza and a rental, or mindlessly stitching and watching (or just mindlessly watching). And while on my latest Netflix surfing spree I came across a movie that I was really drawn to and ended up really enjoying. So now I’m sharing.
Cafe is the story of a coffee-shop patron who one day discovers he is just an avatar in a virtual world, all controlled by a benevolent programmer taken the form of a teenage girl. While nothing is real all the characters still have free will, and when tragedy strikes it’s time for innocent bystander #1′s true colors to show.
While this is a surprisingly whimsical movie with an unexpected happy (if a little over the top) ending it asks a lot of philosophical questions. Like “why are we here” “what is free will” “why do bad things happen” “what are we supposed to do with our lives”. And as someone trying to find answers to some of these questions myself something about the movie was strangely…comforting.
So go load it up on Netflix, spend an hour and half with it, and then come back and tell me what you think.
Oliver, my father used to say that a man can never outdo a woman when it comes to love and revenge.
The War of the Roses Warren Adler
Good morning (or afternoon) blogger friends. This past week has been just a blur of one stressful thing after another. Luckily I was able to pull an almost all nighter Sunday and get caught up so (hopefully) that means this week will be less stressful.
But I also have 5 class sets of various papers coming in…so probably not.
My last day of teaching full time is May 20th and I’m looking forward to it. I still enjoying teaching, but the stress of trying to be a full time teacher while working 2 part time jobs has really gotten to me. Teaching is the kind of professions where you need your weekends to catch up and recoup. Not having that is slowly driving me crazy and some time off is just what I need.
In happier news the best-friend-roommate is graduating with her BFA this weekend and I get to go visit her on Friday and see the spectacular inspiration she has put together.
For my inspiration this week I decided to post some fabulously fun crafts I found on the internet of various natures, just for some diversity. I’m ready for a change, so maybe you are too.
Well I hope there was something here to get you inspired for the week! Right now my one track mind is just looking forward to a break. Life can get overwhelming at times and it’s just a little hard to handle.
Thanks for reading and standing by through the crisis. I promise to have more interesting, time worthy posts coming at the end of May when I have the time to put into it. I’ve got some great things planned….just you wait.
Here are the books I’m adding to my to-read list this week and think you should too!
Le Divorce by Diane Johnson: I’ve seen this book a lot and never bothered to pick it up because the cover looked like something you’d find on the front of one of those middle age-joke birthday cards and I just didn’t want to lower myself to that standard. But the story actually doesn’t sound that bad. Two American sisters find their way to Europe and try to survive in Parisian society. With satiric laughs galore. I’m always up for a good “let’s make fun of what Americans think Europeans think of Americans” novel so maybe this one is worth giving a try. It won’t be going anywhere near the top of my list, but just in case I can’t find something to read someday, this one will be in the back of my mind.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: I got a copy of this book when it first came out (even before all the controversy hit) and I hated it. I tried to love it. I told myself it was the kind of book I’d like. But in the end I decided it was boring. It didn’t hold my interest and I wanted to jump on to a book that would. Ironically I think the book I picked up instead was Dracula, arguably one of the most boring horror novels out there if you think vampire novels are all supposed to be like Twilight. But, I keep thinking I need to give this book another try, so maybe I’ll pick it up and at least force my way to the end this time.
Sleepwalk With Me: And Other Painfully True Stories by Mike Birbiglia: I watched the movie version of this on netflix and saw Mike live on campus back in college, so why not round out the triangle and read the book too. Mike’s a funny guy, and it’s times like these that I could use a laugh, so maybe midst all the job hunting woes and painfully going no where I can take a step back and laugh at somebody else. I mean, that’s really what we all do to make ourselves feel better anyway. Right? Okay, fine. Maybe that’s just me…
“I let them do some simple arithmetic. In a group of one hundred people, how many assholes are there? How many fathers who humiliate their children? How many morons whose breath stinks like rotten meat but who refuse to do anything about it? How many hopeless cases who go on complaining all their lives about the non-existent injustices they’ve had to suffer? Look around you, I said. How many of your classmates would you be pleased not to see return to their desks tomorrow morning? Think about that one family member of your own family, that irritating uncle with his pointless, horseshit stories at birthday parties, that ugly cousin who mistreats his cat. Think about how relieved you would be – and not only you, but virtually the entire family – if that uncle or cousin would step on a landmine or be hit by a five-hundred-pounder dropped from a high altitude. If that member of the family were to be wiped off the face of the earth. And now think about all those millions of victims of all the wars there have been in the past – I never specifically mentioned the Second World War, I used it as an example because it’s the one that most appeals to their imaginations – and think about the thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of victims who we need to have around like we need a hole in the head. Even from a purely statistical standpoint, it’s impossible that all those victims were good people, whatever kind of people that may be. The injustice is found more in the fact that the assholes are also put on the list of innocent victims. That their names are also chiselled into the war memorials.”
― Herman Koch, The Dinner
There are a lot of fantasy fans on both sides of this fence. They either really love this series or hate it. All you have to do is look at the comment fights going on in any highly ranked review of these books to figure that out. Now, many of these reviews are valid, many are written by fans jumping on the “game of thrones” popularity train, and some are by fantasy fans who (for lack of a better term I’m stealing one The Literary Man did a blog post about) have decided that George R.R. Martin is their writer-nemesis.
I don’t think the Song of Ice and Fire series is groundbreaking. It will not change the fantasy genre as we know it and start a legacy of new, better, more engaging fantasy books. Nor is it filth not worthy to lick the blood off Elric’s soul stealing sword. It’s the first book in a series of epic-length fantasy novels (like so many other fantasy serieses out there) and that’s how I plan on reviewing it. As a book. Because it is a book. (See how easy it is to state the obvious?)
In the North winter is coming, regardless of how long the summer has lasted, and the Starks (the lords in the north) are preparing for it because that’s what they do. It’s even their house motto. The South, however, has long forgotten about how bad winter can be and instead of worrying about the possibility of undead killers rising out of the snow “behind the wall” and attacking them in a war they’re obviously not prepared for, they’re worried about which royal family has the right to the iron throne. As you can expect a lot of political intrigue ensues: who killed who, who is plotting revenge, who may be trying to poison your food, who slept with who, and which bastard is which. Tie that all together with some decently written battle scenes and an (in some cases) overabundance of sex, rape, and incest and Martin has written a fantasy novel that has currently sky-rocketed to serial success.
There are a few things I don’t like about this book. The first being rape. I understand and willingly acknowledge rape has its place in literature, but only if it is done well and for a purpose. Otherwise it’s out of place and insensitive. Martin toes the line pretty closely, but nothing in his novel has crossed it to the point of me feeling I have to put the book down. And don’t make the mistake of confusing the book for the HBO series. Yes, the novel has lots of nudity and sex, but it’s not quite the flesh fest HBO makes it out to be, so if you’re concerned to pick up the book after watching seasons 1-2 don’t be afraid you’ve already seen the worst. Some of the characters seem a bit stereotypical. But I try to forgive because in fantasy that sometimes can’t be helped. You always have your wise wizard/scholar/maester character that tries to speak wisdom when it’s not wanted, or your witch-crone that you think is on your side but turns against you. It’s fantasy. Doing something 100% original is practically impossible.
Issues aside there were things I loved about this book. Tyrion Lannister is a refreshing take on the “loud mouth dwarf who drinks a lot and sleeps around comic relief” character and by the end of the book was one of my favorites. The Stark family wolves were endearing (being the owner of a large and possibly vicious dog myself I couldn’t help but fall in love) as was the Stark family. And Dani Targaryen quickly become my heroine favorite although closely in competition with Sansa Stark. The brothers at the wall adds another layer to this story and I always enjoyed when the narration switched to Jon Snow, I felt like I got a purer adventure story there than elsewhere in the story and I’m looking forward to seeing it progress in the later books.
Now, in case you couldn’t tell by the nature of this review, there is a lot going on in this book. There are characters to remember, houses to keep straight, and about four different novels going on at once. Such is the nature of the epic fantasy. Be prepared if you’re picking this book up for the first time, you’ll be confused for a while.
But once I figured out the names, started following the plots, and assigned my allegiance for the battles I really enjoyed this book. It’s fun, fast paced (the majority of the time), and creative in the sense Martin creates a world you can lose yourself in. It’s a series that’s well worth the effort (I enjoyed the tv series as well but I’ll try to keep this a strictly book review). Now, if you’re jumping on the “Game of Thrones” bandwagon just because it’s popular and you want something to talk about with your co-workers but have never loved fantasy ever in your life this is not the book for you unless you’re seriously willing to give genre-fantasy a shot. It’s a great genre, but a little long-winded and overly complicated for those not willing to invest. If you’re an epic-fantasy fan (and while I might not be as up-to-date or informed as I used to be I have written several papers over the Silmarillion and creation of Middle Earth so I’m not ignorant) don’t just hate the series because of the hype.
The reason fantasy fans love fantasy (or at least the reason this fantasy fan does) is because it gives the reader a chance to be transported into a new world. You can get lost there. You don’t just fall in love with the characters you become them. You forget about reality and embrace the impossible and the magical. I felt all these things while reading “Game of Thrones” and can’t wait to pick up book 2 and lose myself all over again.