Thursday, December 11, 2008
The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. Well, let's see:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett (I need to be able to underline this three times- the Best Pratchett)
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
My therapist mentioned several weeks ago that if you are engaged in work for social justice, equality, et al and truly expect that you will "fix" whatever problem or situation you are working against, then you will not only be sorely disappointed, you will be bad at your job. This got me thinking about one of my big issues, namely that I have gotten so cynical over the past 8 years I can barely stand myself, and so prickly that I probably shouldn't fight the good fight anymore even if I had the energy, which I maintain I do not. I do not doubt that wanting to fix the world, and suddenly being slammed up against the realizations that not only could I not fix the world, but that most people don't really want the world to be fixed, contributed to this greatly. I was thinking about this yesterday morning, watching the Obama speech. He's not going to fix everything, and probably people will get mad at him for it. But there's nothing to fix. It is an imperfect world. But just because it is imperfect doesn't mean we shouldn't want it to be better, or that we shouldn't strive to live as though it is at the very least worth saving.
I've said several times over the last day and a half that if Obama does nothing but bring a modicum of compassion back into our national politics, I for one will consider him a resounding success. Whether I lost my compassion along with the country, or whether the loss of compassion in the country made me lose hope... who knows? I would not have called myself an Obama supporter, and maintained throughout that I would have preferred Hillary. I guess I drank the Kool-Aid though, because I no longer believe that Hillary could have won. She certainly would not have been able to give the sort of speech PEO (I'm going to call him PEO from now on, you heard it here first) gave yesterday, and I probably would not be sitting here contemplating what I can do for my country. Something has changed, at least in me. I feel willing to give the whole living thing another go, with fewer battlements to hide behind.
I am going to be running in a memorial race next month for a guy I went to high school with. I went on two summer ministry trips with him, and after the second, which ended right before senior year, I made a mix tape for all of the participants, all of whom I felt very close to at that point and throughout the next year. I used to do that a lot, make tapes for people (who didn't?), and I used to listen to and appreciate music more; I let music affect me emotionally much more. I'm thinking I should make myself a PEO playlist, that I can have as my ipod mantra, to call upon as a reminder that things aren't really that bad, and things can change. For a few weeks I've been thinking about REM's song "These Days," and how I'd play it if PEO was, in fact, PE today. REM apparently thought "I Believe" was more apropos to the moment, but since it's off the same album (my first and favorite REM of all time) I'll forgive them. If you don't have it, I'll burn you a copy. Along with my PEO mix.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I certainly don't want false hope, and I understand the whole time-space continuum thing, but damn do I wish some returns were in. Like, all of them. More than just Dixville Notch that is. (By the way, that article isn't correct: the town leaned Democratic during Jed Bartlett's reelection. Well, Hartsfield’s Landing did anyway)
Several feeds, most of them detailing potential voter intimidation and challenges and whatnot, are not helping. The Onion is helping a lot actually, but I still feel this pounding in the pit of my stomach. Thank god Google is feeding the madness!
I'm going for a long run tonight, then I'm getting drunk and watching season three of the West Wing. Wake me when there's good news.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
This is not to say that I am now a fan of baseball. I still maintain the best part of any baseball game is beer and hot dogs, and watching it on TV ranks up there with scrubbing a toilet. However, I would be lying if I said I didn't tear up last night (after sitting up straight in shock for about 4 seconds before it sunk in that, yes, that was the final strike, holy hell we effing WON). For all it's craziness, inferiority complexes, and occasional baby-mocking, I still love this city, and it makes me so happy that nearly everyone has something to smile about today. Except for my neighbors, who might have stayed up a bit too late with the beer and the fireworks. But hey, this only comes every 28 years...
Also, Feanor insists he is starting to like baseball. This presents a problem for me, because I was growing kind of fond of my house, and I'd hate to have to move out of it.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Since I did the major quit last year, the absolute worst quit, the one our society, Greek tragedies, and even most of the people I love do not understand, it suddenly doesn't seem too bad to step back from a volunteer obligation, put down an award-winning book, or symbolically tell politicians to eff off. And I am realizing that, for me at least, the act of quitting holds hands with that other favorite of mine, honesty. I don't really want to take classes: I just want to prove that I'm smart. I don't really want to volunteer for something that is devoid of meaning, even if it means ostensibly getting something for free. At the moment I don't really want to volunteer for anything at all. If I am honest with myself, I'd be happier spending my time and energy in other ways. And that's okay, even if it inconveniences other people, or leads them to think less of me.
The thing about quitting is that it is more freeing than perhaps anything else. There's a reason I think why the word for leaving a place is the same as leaving a relationship, a job, or a dream. Quitting prison must be wonderful. Gaining anything, even money, would not be as freeing as the fact of giving up something that is not good for you. Gaining anything comes with its own obligations, which is fine if you're willing to pay them. As for me, I am not quitting the running, my marriage, or my friends, but everything else is fair game. Job, you have been warned.
But I am serious about the politics tip. There is only so much outrage I can cart around with me at any given time without feeling defeated. I haven't been sleeping well, and I've been anxious for weeks, and there is still nearly two weeks to go (if not, god forbid, much longer). So goodbye Caribou Barbie, and your 150K wardrobe. Goodbye scary old wrinkly man and your filthy mouth and makeup. And goodbye even to you, my beloved Savior. Don't fuck it up, and you'll have my undivided attention for the next 4 years, no quitting. Honest.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Speaking of cooking, I am in love with Sam the Cooking Guy. There are two episodes of Just Cook This on every Monday night right after I get home from my 5K class, and I just sit on the couch and drool for an hour. I'd probably do that anyway, but his manner amuses me, and the food looks very tasty. Also, my favorite: very quick cooking/preparing. The pork chops last night had me drooling for non-exhausted reasons. Maybe he'll do a Thanksgiving show...
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
All to say I've been more conscious of what I'm spending, and although I haven't been able to get my monthly charges totally under control yet, that's mostly been because they are laden with home-centric purchases (I got a great kitchen island, even though it's currently pushed up against the wall). I've been trying not to spend too much on activities. Since my one job at phillyist entails looking up cheap things to do, I feel pretty good about my knowledge of said cheap fun. But a few weeks ago another avenue occurred to me, in the form of that other favorite of mine: volunteering. You know, the thing I talk about all the time but haven't done in over a year?
I ended up signing up as a volunteer usher with Annenberg's Dance Celebration. There were nine companies in the season, and I had talked myself out of buying a season pass, which would have been over $300 (and much more if I dragged feanor with me). I just got the schedule today, and I'm down for performances at all but one. Cost=being on my feet for a few hours, and then free performances. I'm not 100% how good a deal it will turn out to be, since I'm not sure I'll really get to see the entire shows, nor what the view would be like. But you can't argue with the price.
I also just found that there are $10 seats left at many of the Philadelphia Orchestra Access concerts; even with the handling charges that's $31 for two tickets. Not too shabby... though I still have a sneaking suspicion about why I want to hear classical music...
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Though I don't get the google algorithm, a talk by this guy hipped me to at least one facet of it: google remembers you, and remembers your search history, such that future displayed search results are affected by said history. Spooky huh? Also adds another wrinkle to the addage that the web and its accoutrement are serving to isolate people intellectually, politically, etc. by allowing them to segregate into areas where they only interact with people who think and feel as they do. You may think you're searching for a multitude of viewpoints on a topic, but if you've been searching and clicking and refining on topics related to it, google might just guess what you're really looking for.
Anyway, this is to say that I suspect I will not truly uncover "digital dirt" about myself by vanity googling, since google knows I search using "Philadelphia" and "Penn" a lot, and probably took that into account. I may never know what my boss is finding out about me, as we speak even. Hi there! I'm a productive employee who never blogs on work time!
Monday, September 29, 2008
I haven't read the act itself, and I'm not even sure I think the premise is sound. But the Time article that made me aware of this little gem is making me crazy with the silliness already.
"It's one thing to stop smoking indoors, but who are they to control what happens outside?" says Steve Dugan, a 20-year-old freshman at Clarion University. "To do so is an infringement on our fundamental right to personal choice."Really? In case you haven't noticed Steve there are infringements on "our fundamental right to personal choice" (what does that even mean, honestly) all the time. It's called living in a society. It may be my fundamental right to punch you in the gut for blowing smoke in my face, and sure I can exercise that right, but there are consequences, which are in place to protect you from my rights as it were. The consequences both of smoking oneself and subjecting others to smoke are well documented. So why does your "fundamental right to personal choice" get to trump my right to lead a life without having carcinogens blown into my face?
Then there is the keeping the children safe argument:
"Do we really want 18-year-old girl walking by herself off-campus at 2 a.m.?" Dugan asks. "All we're asking for is a compromise that considers students' needs here."Hey, I wanted to drink Stoli on my way to English comp class, and I wasn't allowed to do that, even though I had a drinking problem. Since when do laws or even campus policy have to be ordered in such a way to benefit addicts?
In response to all this, students have been holding "smoke-ins" on all affected campuses over the last week and a half. Because that's a great way to garner sympathy: increase your smelly output. As I said, I haven't read the law, and escaped law school by the skin of my teeth and therefore can't say whether such a thing is actually infringing a bit too much on all those pesky rights of ours. But it would be nice to not have to hear shit like this:
So much for diplomacy and compromise. I might as well just start punching people in the gut if I'm going to eventually die from lung cancer due to their carelessness anyway.
"If I'm going to get in trouble for smoking outside," Slippery Rock University senior Alex McGill told her campus newspaper, "I might as well just light up in class instead of going out in the wind and rain."
I'd like to state for the record that, not only would I have probably said the immediately above when I was a 21-year-old smoker, but I probably would have followed through. And yes, I put the Stoli in an orange juice container and still aced Expos.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
My schedule is filling up crazily again, and although there are several events in the next few weeks that would be pertinent to my class (or my general well-being), I'm already booked those days. Happily however I'll get to see the Sarcasmonauts this weekend, and next weekend I get to hang out with my formative feminists and see some Goya. I am also still harboring the notion of training for a 5K, but we'll have to see if that works out (or rather, whether I will work out).
Finally, I am planning a haircut this Friday, and am considering something Extreme. We'll see if I chicken out before then. I am also in desperate need of a pedicure. If I had thought things through, I probably should have married a nail tech. I guess it's not too late to send Feanor back to school...
No, finally: The new Killers song has got to be one of the stupidest I've ever heard, and I'm a huge fan of ABBA. Are we human or are we dancers? Dude.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
That is, until last month. While on a family vacay, where only my BIL also had a affection for the sludgy stuff and the caffeine-y sludgy stuff at that, I relented and had regular coffee every morning. And the effects were not that bad, such that when I got home and ran out of decaf one morning, I bought a half hazelnut half decaf large coffee from the shop next to my office. And I have been doing so nearly every morning since, destroying not only my caffeine ban but also my determination to only get coffee when I had my reusable mug with me, and to make it myself at home to save money. Sigh. What the drugs will do. Then I made the mistake of cracking open Skinny Bitch, an exercise I do not recommend to anyone wishing to keep a fragile self esteem intact, and they're all like It's Poison And If You Can't Get Through The Day Without It You're A Pussy. Seriously. So now I am an addicted toxic weak polluting mess. With anxiety. Sigh.
Natalie Angier, Woman: An Intimate Geography
I will most likely have more to say about that after I have my coffee.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Jezebel had a slightly less fuzzy (and sheepish) reaction to Lamott's piece, which while somewhat sensible to me nevertheless misses what I believe the main point: positive energy begets positive energy, and we shouldn't lose sight of why we want decent political landscapes in the first place. Negativity only serves to annoy the pig as it were. However, much as I hate Palin's politics, I agree that she hasn't quite reached Voledemort status. Yet.
Finally, just finished reading an article in the Smithsonian about the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates, which reminded me that Republicans haven't always been evil, and probably some of them still aren't. It was also nice to read about the origins of a dark-horse presidential candidate out of Illinois coming from relative obscurity to lead the country in abolishing slavery (however reluctantly so). Gives one some hope. Wonder if he was ever a community organizer...
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
One of the craziest things when thinking of this election is the timing of something much more important, namely our wedding anniversary. We got married one week and a day after the last presidential election, which may have just saved us from total despair. I had guilt at the time, mostly over all the gay-marriage-ammendment bullshit that went down the same day, and which frankly bothered me more than the re-election (see the crazy/hateful distinction). I am really really hoping that this year we will have many things to celebrate on that auspicious day, and unironically be able to raise our glasses to the nation's union, not just our own.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
So, the most famous event that was predicted before it happened even? The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Huh. Prime Minister of Israel getting assassinated after potential peace with Palestine had been broached? Who could have possibly seen that coming! Way out of left field! If only his security detail had known, maybe they could have stepped it up a notch. I hear Israeli security details are real slackers...
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Here resides the tale of residents of Gladwyne all getting flyers last month saying they should try to keep Aaron McKie from moving in because he was arrested for trying to purchase guns while under a restraining order (for allegedly breaking his former girlfriend's jaw). It contains lots of quotes from folks who say that it was probably just a misunderstanding, he's a nice guy, etc. And this:
It made me turn purple, but I'm not even 100% why. So we're saying what exactly? That women who get beaten deserve it, therefore good women in the neighborhood who mind their own business have nothing to fear? In the bigger picture, that "nice" guys are incapable of violence against women? I'm all for innocent until proven guilty, but this attitude scares me. Am I totally off base?
Michele Seidman, who was filling up at the station, said she had known McKie when she worked in public relations at what is now the Wachovia Center. "He's the nicest guy," she said.
As for the allegations, she said, "It's not like he's a sex offender."
The whole thing is offensive (see Cynthia Figueroa's letter), but that line in particular burns, because it obviously points to the habit of blaming victims of physical abuse, but also shows a profound misunderstanding both of what sexual assault is and what it means. Violence is violence, no matter what form it takes. And sex offenders are, wait for it, real people who might, just might, live next door without you even knowing it. But anyway, would it somehow matter if the dude was a sex offender in a way that is fundamentally different from knowing he broke a woman's jaw, then went and bought a gun?
The bite in the ass is the whole papering the neighborhood to keep the riff raff out is way out of line, and smacks not a little of racism. It is tempting to slide the other way, and say the whole exercise was out of line and leave it at that; besides, the impetus was not to protect the womenfolk, but to make sure news helicopters didn't disturb the air in this quaint suburbia-- even the anonymous letter writer could give a shit if a guy with a PO against him gets a gun. But the impulse some people have to level abuse against women against, say, the ability of one to pay one's taxes, say hello when checking out at the grocery store, and to be nice to puppies is still gross. Sisterhood, where are you?
I'm going to give it a whirl, and hope that I don't sprain something.