Sunday, December 27, 2009

17. 12/5/09 World War Z by Max Brooks (342 pages)

Have you read this book? If yes, excellent. If no- Do. It. Now. I read this book for the first time when no one had heard of it yet (I know, everyone says that, but I worked in a bookstore, and I took it out of the box. Really.) It blew my mind, and scared the crap out of me. This is one of the best books I've read in the past decade. Its the dead seriousness with which the author approaches the subject that makes the book work- and makes it terrfying. (Best to read World War Z in the winter, when all the zombies would be frozen). But all excellent scaring aside, its not a book about zombies, its a book about humanitiy barely surviving something really terrible and just what it did to a cross section of the population that is left. The entire book is set up as an oral history that depicts the entirety of the zombie war from individual perspectives. I don't want to spoil it in case theres a person reading this who hasn't already read the book, but I will mention two of my favorite bits as examples. One of the interviews describles how Cuba becomes a major wartime economic power and how Americans flock to there on homemade rafts looking for freedom and end up in prison camps. But rather than ending there with a fairly simplistic point, the Cuban goes on to describe how once Cuba becomes a superpower the Americans' specialty knowledge becomes necessary and both communities have to work together to make the society function. He moves beyond one point to create a whole new system- just like humans had to after the zombie war.
My favorite, favorite part, however, is horrifying, chilling, heartbreaking, and you know, blew my mind. I really don't want to spoil this, so I'll keep it to two words. If you've read it, you'll know what I mean, if you haven't, it won't mean anything.
Paul Redeker.

Monday, November 30, 2009

16. 11/29/09 Graceling by Kristin Cashore (471 pages)

Katie H made Anna read this book, who then made me read it. I'm very pleased to have been caught in that particular chain of peer pressure, because if this isn't one of the best written novels I've come across, it is one of the most satisfyingly feminist. Its the story (of the fantasy persuasion) of a girl who is born with a startling and unique ability to kill. Over the course of the book she learns to control her temper and herself, and then moves on to bigger life lessosns about having relationships with others without losing her freedom, and taking action to make the world a better place. Its a feminist story from the get-go, but it never feels like its pushing a feminist agenda. Katsa makes it clear that all she really wants is to be in control of herself and her life and so she determines never to marry. When she does fall in love, its with another great fighter who understands what she's feeling, and is more than willing to be together in an unconventional way (all the while admitting, without shame, that Katsa can kick his ass any day of the week). Best of all, Katsa never feels badly about any of it because she's a GIRL. She has difficulties and trials, but its all related to her abilities and her relationships, not her sex. Its just so rare to see a fatasy novel with likeable women, let alone truly empowered ones. Finally, a fantasy heroine who's goals have nothing to do with getting married or keeping house. (Not that there aren't any others, just that they are depressingly rare...)

15. 11/26/09 Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris (312 pages)

Sookie Stackhouse's novels are getting more intense, and increasingly gruesome. The story starts with shapeshifters coming out (yay!), but is quickly followed by the crucifixion of a werepanther (yuck). By the time the mystery is solved and the installment is over, Sookie has been tortured, a werefriend is dead, and Vampire Bill seems to be back in Sookie's good books, dang it. Its hard to maintain a sense of lighthearted fun, though, when fairly major characters keep on turning up nastily dead and the heroine gets cut up by psychotic, sadomastochistic fairies. Not even kidding. On the upside, Sookie hops back in bed with Eric, which is delightful.

14. 11/26/09 The Sandman vol. 6- Fables and Reflections by Neil Gaiman (255 pages)

Have I mentioned that I really love Neil Gaiman? And that I REALLY love Sandman? It reminds me of how I used to love Hercules the Legendary Journeys when the gods would appear and get involved, only Sandman is actually quality literature. I really like this volume because it has the story of Orpheus (which is somehow enhanced, for me, by Morpheus's peripheral involvement), and also has clues in all of the stories pointing towards how the entire series will end. In hindsight, there's a very beginning-of-the-end feel to this one, which is unsettling, but its Dream's relationship with his son that I find most compelling. Yeah, the whole thing with Eurydice was sad, but talk about daddy issues...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

13. 11/24/09 From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris (359 pages)

I'm really starting to enjoy the way both Charlaine Harris and Sookie Stackhouse drop men like hot potatoes. I know they all continue to hang around because Sookie's so awesome, but still, in most books the author is reluctant to move from relationship to relationship so quickly. Its refreshing. Its a little more realistic, that Sookie takes other peoples baggage and actions into account. There was a little too much going on in this installment, what with were wars, vampire hostile takeovers, Jason's marriage hitting the rocks, Amelia getting caught on the whole Bob thing, but (although he was a nice guy) I was glad to see the back of Quinn. A weretiger? Really? Come on! There's gotta be a line somewhere. That being said, Sam turning into a lion was pretty excellent. Oh, and the twist at the end was intriguing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

12.11/22/09 The Magicians by Lev Grossman (402 pages)

I loved this book. It was sad, and dark, and it bitchslapped Narnia. Finally real, unhappy people ended up as the heroes in a fantasy story. None of their problems were solved by magic. College had drinking and sex and foolishness. There were lots of hurt feelings, and death came without any sense of fairness. Nothing was resolved neatly. All questions were answered, but there wasn't really any closure. And the climax of the story was chilling and a half. I made lots of gasping and squeaking noises while I was reading the last few chapters, and Sadie got to have a good laugh at my expense. But seriousy? HE BIT OFF SOMEONE'S HANDS!! And you probably won't be able to figure out who he is. I couldn't.

11. 11/20/09 New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (563 pages)

Yep. Still Emo.

10. 11/14/09 Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (498 pages)

I've read this book several times. Its not particularly well written. Its a feminist nightmare (although Twlight itself isn't the real problem there. Its New Moon and, most of all, Eclipse that are the culprits). All that being said, I still love it. And I do like that Bella wants to be a vampire so that she and Edward can be equals. She's not a total moron, just masochistic apparently. I also appreciate that she refuses to believe in the whole vampires are damned thing. It strikes me as a breath of fresh air that the heroine isn't least about that. What can I say? I like vampires, and my review of Twilight has always been that its weirdly compelling, despite my philosophical problems with it. I offer no excuses, just the facts.

9. 11/11/09 All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris (323 pages)

I've been reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels because I love True Blood, and my cousin had all of them so its free. They're fun. They're not very well written. And I know I'm going to look unbelievably shallow when I say this, but I can't help it, it drives me crazy: the descriptions of attire in this book are horrifying. I'm totally going along with it all, believing that suddenly this backwoods barmaid is irresistable to the entire supernatural community when I get a painfully detailed description of her outfit. After that I can't believe she's 26, let alone hot. Skin tight stretch khakis? Blazers? Scrunchies? So many problems. Also, anyone with breasts as reportedly impressive as Sookie's cannot wear a loose halter evening gown with no back without Serious Support Work. Its not only impractical, it would probably look bad, rather than hot and racy. Maybe I just misinterpreted how big her boobs are. I doubt it, though, given how many times it gets mentioned.
So this is the one where lots of vampires get blown up. That's really the plot in a nutshell. It was entertaining, but I think the show is better. The books as a series fall victim to several common problems of fantasy literature. 1- the Anita Blake Used to be a Vampire Hunter and is Now a Supernatural Mega Skank problem. Anita can sleep with whoever, and whatever, she wants, but it was way cooler when she was a badass bounty hunter. In a related story, I fail to see Sookie's appeal, other than the previously mentioned fabulous rack. 2- The This is the Worst Monster You Have Ever Seen...Except This One trap. Seriously? Fantasy writers are turning into the authors who cried Evil. I never believe them anymore when they say someone is super powerful or scary. And finally 3- The Vampires Have a Giant Secret Society With a Rigid Social Hierarchy and Probably Some Royalty of Some Sort game. Really? That's been a secret all this time? Huh.
Like I said, fun. But if you're going to buy something, buy True Blood. Eric is HOT.

8. 11/9/09 The Sandman Volume 5: A Game of You by Neil Gaiman (approx. 100 pages)

Neil Gaiman rocks, and so does The Sandman. This is not my favorite volume, but its like how a "bad" episode of Battlestar Galactica is better than almost all other television. And yes, I am aware that I am showing my uber-nerdiness here. This volume is a good example of the complex ideas that consistently pop up in the Sandman books. It looks like a dream fantasy, but has a great deal to say about personal identity, how much we construct ourselves and how much the outside world has to do with it. And doesn't everyone have a right to be, whether we approve of them or not? I don't know if I'm meant to compare the Cuckoo with Wanda the transsexual or not, but I do. Most readers now automatically feel that Wanda has the right to be whoever she wants to be, whoever she knows she is, and we're all proud of her for leaving her roots to do just that. At the same time, we're all rooting for the Cuckoo to be defeated when all she wanted was that very same thing- to escape from a place where she was trapped in a mold created and enforced by others. If you haven't read The Sandman, you should really give it a shot, and try not to let the graphic novel format scare you, or trick you into underestimating it. Plus, it hilarious to think of Morpheus as the original Emo Kid.

7. 11/8/09 Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (402 pages)

I loved, loved, loved The Time Traveler's Wife, but I loved it before most other people. Everyone says things like that, I know, but I remember when I took the first copy out of the box at work and had never heard of it. The cover was intriguing, and there was time travel, so I gave it a shot. Then later, mostly after the trade had been released, the book clubs got a hold of it.
Audrey Niffenegger has made pretty clear, I think, that she's a little more Neil Gaiman/Edward Gorey than Nicholas Sparks and that her first novel was a fluke, so it shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone that her second novel is radically different, and a lot more effed up. I know a lot of people have been put off by this, but I really liked it. (Of course, I worship at the altar of Neil Gaiman- see the post that follows this one- so I may be biased.)
There's a ghost, her odd lover, the OCD neighbor upstairs, some really odd twin nieces, and an intruguingly lively cemetary next door. Personally, I think the weirdest bit is the relationship between the twins. They're adults, and should be in college, but they still sleep in the same bed? Did no one think to do something about this over the years? Doesn't strike me as a great way to socialize your already really weird children. The fact that three out of the four main characters talk to the ghost fits right in with the story, and is far less creepy than Julia and Valentina dressing alike at 21.
After The Time Traveler's Wife, a lot of readers will look for romance in this book. It is there. Julia gets a sort of crush on the middle aged OCD man upstairs who still loves his missing wife, and Valentina definitely gets involved with her dead aunt's lover. ( Apparently Robert went for Elspeth the Cougar, but was not averse to being all Experienced Older Man either. Talk about having your cake and eating it too, jeez). So, love is there, but its uncomfortable and kinda freaky.
As the story progesses things get creepier, twistier, and more unhealthy for all involved, and I don't want to give everything away and spoil the weird, but lets just say the happiness rate at the end point is only like 50/50. I thought it was a very interesting book, and I think others will too, if they don't go into it expecting more Epic Tales of Love.
Also, it was worth the whole thing just for the scene where Elspeth the ghost gets all hot and bothered when she realizes that David Tennant is playing the Doctor on Doctor Who. Best of all the episode was The Girl in the Fireplace! Good to know that Audrey Niffenegger likes Neil Gaiman AND Stephen Moffat. You really can't go wrong.

5. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (213 pages)

It felt EXCELLENT to finish two books in one day again, even if one of them was YA. Its about polygamy and was borrowed from my sister, Anna, which is where I get most of my polygamy books these days. It didn't strike me as spectacular, but it was very absorbing and a quick read. Mojor kudos to the author for neither romanticizing the situation, nor painting all the participants as monsters. The heroine's family is loving and supportive, but unable to get beyond the beliefs they've been raised with- which means that she's going to have to marry that Humbert Humbert Uncle of hers or else. The heroine herself doesn't really want to leave, but she knows she can't live with the consequences if she stays. And its really chilling when it becomes clear that, in a disturbing dose of reality, not everyone is going to make it out of the escape attempt alive.

4. 11/1/09 An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon (820 pages)

And so this year's odyssey with the Outlander series comes to an end. This was my first time reading this installment, seeing as the book was released earlier this fall. I can safely say that I liked this one a lot better than the last two. I still have plot issues, but the pace was more urgent, which made that less of a problem for me. I didn't even mind the ridiculous number of perspectives (Claire, Jamie, Roger, Brianna, Ian, John, Willie...and even JEM got a chapter), given that it kept the action moving, and ensured that even the bits about battles didn't get too bogged down in military details. My biggest problem with this book is that some of my very favorite bits will never happen now. Years ago I read excerpts on Diana Gabaldon's website called "Jamie Meets Willie" and "Lord John's Proposal". These were two of the most excellent things I have ever read. The major events those chapters talked about still happen, but in very different ways, thus ensuring that I will never read "Jamie Meets Willie" again. This is a tragedy for me, because I always used to go look that one up whenever I needed cheering. That being said, the ways in which the events transpire in An Echo in the Bone is still great, and probably, in the long run, a lot less melodramatic. As a literary choice, it was probably the right one, but it will eternally disappoint me. Ah well.
So of all the 820 pages in the story, it was the last 100 that really mattered. The pace for that last section was frantic and packed with important events an information. I was on the edge of my seat, and didn't really see any of that coming at the end of this book. It was a HUGE payoff for all the time the reader has already put into the series. It could have served the novel better to spread all that action out, but it made the end incredibly exciting and nerve wracking. What will continue to torture me for the next 4 or so years, however, (UBER SPOILER HERE) is the cliffhanger between Jamie and John. How can she leave it THERE?
John, waiting for the death blow: "I've had carnal knowledge of your wife."
Jamie:"Oh? Why?"

3. 10/20/09 A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (980 pages)

An Introduction.
For starters, Karla, skip this entry, and the next, until you've finished. There will be spoilers.
Next, I'd rather not wait this long to write my reviews, but I'm having some irritating computer trouble and can't access the internet from my house. I'm working on it.
And finally, if you've never read a Gabaldon novel (976 pages, 980 pages & 820 pages for the last 3)- this is why I've been so slow lately. No worries. Now that I am fully caught up I will once again read at my normal lightning speed. Or at least faster than I have been.
Introduction concluded.

This is possibly my least favorite Outlander novel. The entire book is composed of a lot of subplots that aren't sub to any overarching plot. Its like 976 pages of really good filler material. I'm disturbed by the fact that EVERYONE is apparently sexually assaulted at some point or other, and it makes me nuts that the entire population of Fraser's Ridge is super ignorant and appallingly ungrateful. Seriously, people, he gave you that land FOR FREE. However, melodrama aside, there were several excellent standouts for me. Young Ian is always a treat, and getting more of his backstory was incredibly satisfying. Brianna insisting on talking to Willie feels like it was basically fan service, but really good fan service, if you know what I mean. The ending made me cry, but didn't feel wrong. Best of all, however, was Tom Christie. Diana Gabaldon has a real gift for giving minor characters real personlity and pathos, with very little screen time, and I think Tom is one of her best. Certainly the best in a while. He's so unlikeable, and yet the sacrifice he chooses to make at the end made me cry like the idea of Nicholas Sparks Cliffs Notes (if with considerably less horror). All in all I don't love this book as much as the others, but it wasn't painful to read or anything like that, and even the bits that upset me are still getting me to genuinely emotionally react, which usually makes any book worth a read.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

2. 10/8/09 Henry and June by Anais Nin (274 pages)

Why did I read this book? Mostly because I love Richard E. Grant. The connection may not be immediately obvious, so I'll just mention that he played Hugo in the film that was made ( I believe) in the 80s. I picked up a cheap copy of the book somewhere, and decided to check it out.
It was good, but slightly disappointing. After all of the vague things you hear about Anais Nin, I, at least, was expecting something slightly dirtier than what Henry and June delivered. That being said, I really enjoyed reading the work of a woman who was comfortable with her sexuality, and had no problem with following her own desires to their unconventional, but logical conclusion. I know enough about history and women's studies to see that her attitude was rare and shocking for the times, and was generally something seen more in men. In addition she embraces this idea, explores it, and never loses her femininity. She refuses to believe that her strong urges and curiosity about women made her masculine in any way.
I know its a journal, but a lack of plot tends to bother me, so it had that working against it, but I admired Anais Nin for the way she lived her life on her terms. I also admired the men in her life for accepting her the way she was.
I can't really tell what she learned or how it all ended, seeing as it was only a year of her diary, but I think it will be a while before I even think about taking on the rest of them. Still, it was nice to break up the Amor Vinicit Omnia mentality of the Outlander novels with the musings of a woman who believed in love but was interested primarily in sex.

1. 10/7/09 The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon (976 pages)

So my first thoughts, in my first entry for this year were mostly about how disappointed I was in myself for year two. FORTY books less than year one? What the hell? I then proceeded to blame Diana Gabaldon for this. I don't know that it was her fault, and even if it was it certainly wasn't very sportsmanlike of me to mention it. I did, however, spend two months (+) rereading her Outlander series in preparation for the release of book 7. That took up a huge amont of time and I STILL wasn't ready when the book came out. This is where the pages counts come it.
Then I moved on to what I actually read.
I really enjoy the way Diana Gabaldon writes, and I have always devoured her books as quickly as I was able. This one was no different, but I remember being vaguely disappointed the first time. Now that I've read it three or four times, I would say that its grown on me. That being said, I think the editing could be quite a bit tighter. She starts by describing- in extreme detail- one day. This goes on for more than 100 pages. There's nothing there that I hate, or definitely think should be gone, but I'm not an editor, am I? I like long books, and I'm no enemy of detail, but that is a looong day.
I also think that the whole book feels like a placeholder between the action, and after having read 976 pages, its startling to realize that if there was an overarching plot, I missed it. I feel this every time I read it.
I do, however, have a strong love and appreciation of Diana Gabaldon's style, and after I'd read the book a couple of times, I decided that if I look at it as a story about Jamie and Roger, rather and one about Jamie and Claire, it gelled better for me. I like to think about it as a sub-genre of Epic Bromance, starting with everyone being bothered that Roger is presbyterian and ending with he and Jamie hainvg Special Vengeance Trips together, I may have interpreted an overarching plot for myself.
It will never be my favorite Outlander novel, but there are some great bits in there, and I really love the last line. But why, oh, why does she continuously need to torture her fabulous main characters in such creatively monstrous ways (a la Roland Emmerich)?

A Bit More Information

So, here's how it works: I spend a year recording the number of books I've read so far, the title of the book, the author, the date I finished it, and my personal review. New this year I've decided to keep track of page counts, as lengthy tomes occassionally skew my totals. Make sense? If not, I'll try to work on it. There may be some kinks trying to translate my immediate reactions in a journal into coherent thoughts on the internet, so bear with me...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I don't really like cake. Does that make me a bad person? Katherine T loves it as the alpha and the omega. I usually only eat it to be polite. It always seems like you can't really say no to someone's birthday cake without slighting their birthday, so then I say "ok, just a little piece," and then I have a bite and remember that cake doesn't taste very good, but I'm stuck with it. Its a vicious and unending cycle of madness. Unless its cheesecake, then its a whole different ballgame, because cheesecake tastes like happiness. Or at least a really good day.

Cake as a metaphor, however, works really well for me. I have to thank Katherine T for this one too. When Anna was explaining the plot of Twilight to her, Katherine T chose to interpret Bella as Edward's cake. His favorite thing to eat. Then she said "I couldn't date CAKE. How does he do it?"

I don't really believe in soulmates per se. Honestly, if I did it would be more depressing cause then you start thinking "where is he? maybe its just me. Maybe I don't get one..." But realistically, I've never seen anything that leads me to believe in soulmates. I do believe that you can have something like it, just with a little more compatability and a litte less Destiny (and I mean the concept here, not that kid who used to knock on our door and ask for money, although less of her has definitely been a blessing). The gist of all of this is that I believe in cake as a metaphor. Your favorite food that you love so much you can keep from eating it. I'm not sure I've explained this concept coherently, but that may have something to do with being extra tired and punchy this week. For those of you who already know what I'm talking about, sorry I butchered the theory. For those of you who don't, sorry if this doesn't make any sense. Katherine T, I have subtly disguised your name so that you won't feel exposed to the paparazzi. Thank you for your patience.

This all really came about because someone at work had birthday cake today, and I said yes to be kind, and then remembered that I don't care for cake...and then my internet was working, and the next thing you know I'm recording my delusional ramblings for posterity. Someday I'll write a coherent entry for this, I swear.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

District 9

That was a fabulous movie. There was nothing historical about it, so I don't have anything to criticize on that front, and I was tense through the entire film- it was amazing. Its been a long time since a movie held 100% of my attention like that. I had to go home and read something happier so I could sleep. It was intense and disturbing. I feel like I could say lots more about it, but I really don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't already seen it and might go. And you should go. These people are really the ones who should be making World War Z into a film...and anyone who knows me knows how strongly I feel about that book, so you know this must be a serious level of trust going on here.

The most important thing I learned from this is that I am, so far, unable to mimic a South African accent. I think I mostly end up sounding Scandinavian when I try- its sorta pathetic. It was really hard to effectively reenact the film when I was unable to reproduce Wikus's accent. I couldn't make myself sound like a prawn either, but I doubt that will come up in life as often as the South African thing. Including the voices really adds something to storytelling, and in this case I failed. Basically, although I was disturbed by the social messages of District 9, and think it was a great piece of art, what will really keep me awake at night is my inability to talk like I'm from Johannesburg.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Movies vs. Reality

I have a hard time watching a movie without doing my own research into what REALLY happened, or at least reading the book it was based on. Went to see Public Enemies the other day, and as soon as Johnny Depp vaulted over that counter to rob the bank I was hooked.

So, now I'm finishing up reading the book the movie was based on, and I'm even more fascinated. The most interesting part? All of the things you feel like they added to make Johnny Depp look cool were things that Dillinger really did. Jumping over counters? Check. Going to the police station where the Dillinger squad was headquartered? Not only check- he went like four times in the last month of his life. Reckless, sure, but cool. I know they couldn't do the plastic surgery that Dillinger had because you don't mess with Johnny's face, but on the whole, the Johnnies are equally cool, although one was unfortunately a criminal.

Also. Giovanni Ribisi (no idea how to spell his name, and I'm too lazy to go look it up) really looks like Alvin Karpis, who is my other favorite yegg. I thought that was weird and cool.

Know what they got wrong? Melvin Purvis? Not cool. Didn't really do that much either, just got the credit for it, and had his picture taken a lot. Also, the death of Pretty Boy Floyd was pretty accurate, except for the fact that is happened AFTER Dillinger died, and Mel Purvis didn't do it. (got his picture taken for it, though.)

What else have I learned? Bonnie and Clyde were dumb and small time. The Barkers were dumber, and Ma Barker the dumbest. Also, Shotgun George Ziegler? Disappointingly not related to Toby from The West Wing.

Knowing these things doesn't spoil the movie for me or anything like just makes it so much more interesting. Don't worry, though. Pretty soon I'll move on from 1930's gangsters and start thinking about Julia Child.

Friday, August 7, 2009

BEST idea?

Are the National Parks America's BEST idea? I was thinking maybe frappuccinos, celebrity worship, or the declaration of independence, but I don't have 10 years and a film crew to prove it, do I?

So last night I went to the screening of clips from The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Could you tell? I realize that my opener may have made it sound like I didn't enjoy the film, but that's not true. It was very interesting, and I fully intend to watch it when it airs on MPBN in its entirety. I did, however, notice that, although I consider myself a patriot, its not in the Ken Burns mold.

Documentaries like that seem to have a feeling of golly-the-American-spirit-is-amazing-and-we're-sorry-about-slavery-and-the-Indians-and-all-that-and-we're-not-ignoring-it-but-lets-focus-on-how-awesome-we-are feeling to them. It works, too. I nearly cried at the Acadia bit, everything was beautiful, the whole thing made me proud, AND it was funny. What more could you want? Well, I like it when they say "Teddy Roosevelt was kind of a douchebag, but ALSO a badass and we love him anyway, and here's why:" I'm a Sarah Vowell kind of patriot, I guess.

I don't know how Sarah Vowell feels, not being in her head, but when I read her books I'm fascinated with every warped twist and turn in American history, and it makes me love it more, warts and all. Lincoln WAS awesome, no matter what else is true about him- so shouldn't we be honest and talk about how he was also emo, and maybe think "gee, I wish I could have given Abe a hug."?

I don't think there's anything wrong with talking about how Jefferson was a prissy backstabber and Adams was a pompous ass who took himself too seriously. Its EXCELLENT. They were real dudes, and I might not have liked them, had I known them- doesn't make their ideas or their writing less great.

GDub may be beyond criticism. He may have actually been perfect, other than the rotten teeth thing. I'm still looking into this one.

I guess that after all of this my point is that I love history, I just prefer it a little more tongue in cheek and a little more even handed. Yep, we rocked WWII. So did the Russians (albeit in their own way), and our refusal to talk about that was a good reason to be ticked at us. Wilson was progressive and formed the League of Nations (which pretty much failed, but was a nifty idea) but he was a bitch to women. Plus, have you seen pictures of him? He looked mean.

History is so great...and I think we have a lot of reasons to be proud. Basically, Ken and I agree...I would probably just say it in a different way. Also, I would probably insist on my narrator conveying disgust at the wealthy "cottagers" on Mount Desert Island who Gave Acadia to the Nation. Frakkin summer people.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


My thoughts lack cohesion today, but it seemed like a good opportunity to keep up the positive habits and write something here. What shall I ruminate on? My unhealthy new crush on John Dillinger? (He wasn't really a killer...just an attention whore) The fact that I need to believe that Nothing Bad Ever Happens in Canada? (Thank you, Avonlea, for making me believe that Canada is a Heaven where no one's arms ever get cut off in a tragic cannery accident and if you Accidentally Shoot Your Dog the new schoolteacher's emo/righteously angry veterinary student son will Save Its Life and Restore His Own Confidence at the last moment.) Or the fact that I hate to be undermined and made to look stupid, which is why I try to avoid making sweeping decisions I don't have the authority to back up (and also the fact that sometimes other people don't make any decisions AT ALL, forcing me to do it, and then those same people come along and undermine me later?)
This is what its like in my head all the time.
It's no wonder I sometimes start sentences in the middle, or forget to end them. In a completely unrelated, and so, kinda thematically related story I'm going to jump topics AGAIN.
Last night Sadie and I discussed an alleged poolside bar in a certain hotel she may go to later this week, and we wondered how they card people. Do you need your ID to be tucked in your bathing suit? Do they card at the door? I like to imagine that there's a giant bouncer with a line of orange buoys that runs across the pool at the start of the deep end. He cards you, and if you have a valid ID and he can see your navel, he moves the buoy rope and lets you in. Can't you hear it now? "Sorry ma'am, there's a dress code here. No tankinis."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Moon-Worshipping Freak

I was going to write something cranky and cutting this evening, probably about how much I hate when people just stare blankly at you becuase they're too stupid to solve their own problems. That, however, is a tirade for another day. I was miserable and cranky, and now I'm elated, and I don't want to go back to the way I was two hours ago.
Why are you so pleased with life? you query. Well, I don't really have a good explanation other than the fact that the moon is beautiful and visible and the night is clear and there's a thrilling cool breeze. Yes, I mean thrilling. I am a weirdo Moon-and-Wind worshipping freak, and I love it. If I didn't have to work in the morning, or if I was a more interesting person, I would find some place to go and frolic outside for the evening, but practicality usually wins out.
Seriously, though, am I the only one who feels, on nights like this, that something magic might actually happen, and I should go out and try to find it? Doesn't really matter, does it? It makes me happy. I wish, since I do feel so happy righ now, that I had more to say on the subject. I'm not 11 or in a bad novel (I don't think...), so I doubt that anyone is going to show up at midnight tonight to tell me that I'm a witch, or an ancient supernatural creature, or the Chosen One who will save the universe or anything. I guess I'm just going to have to settle for being really pleased for a whole evening, for no real reason (which somehow makes it better), and putting a few words about it up here.
I haven't really explained it at all.
Let's just say I'm thrilled with the whole world right now and wish that we had a stone circle nearby where I could go dance in the moonlight, or that I had a realistic, legal (cause getting arrested would really ruin the mood I'm going for here) way to go out skinny dipping in the dark. I may have to sleep on the ground this year after all...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Persistence Gives Up

Ironic, no?
So, I was writing something for work the other day and I had the impulse to use the expression "stick-to-it-iveness". In my defense, writing for work is very different from when I really write, so I use words (and ideas) that I would no more use than let snakes in turtlenecks visit my house. I, and I assume most people, naturally write towards my audience, and it can't be helped. In addition, I never even wrote the word (for lack of a better...well...word) down- I'm not completely lost. It did bring me up short, though, and make me wonder when that expression became so common that a vocabulary crank like myself would even consider, for the most infinitesimal fraction of a second, using it? I looked it up online: it only had 1 dictionary definition, and it was classified as colloquial, but I really wanted it to be officially declared Not A Word. Its irregardless all over again! What's wrong with saying persistence? Or determination? Why do we have to invent a clunky, inelegant, awkward alternative? And why do I let it bother me?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

So the last post? On From Hell? I rewrote the entire thing about 10 minutes ago. It was better. More cohesive, focused, some bull like that. Then the website erased all the changes and published the old version. So, don't judge me too harshly for that 1st draft that got published. I only have 30 minutes left on my lunch break and I'm going to use it to sit in the sun and read about happy people rather than keep giving JTR my time and attention. I've hanxed him.

Monday, June 15, 2009

From Hell

Would it be better if I wrote this blog about the books I read? All of the time? Some of the time? Thoughts? A while ago I read about a study of how many books people read in a year, and the vast majority of Americans read less than 10. In a year. I found this horrifying and incomprehensible, and I am more than ready to admit that my feelings are very colored by my own habits. I knew that I read more than that. A lot more. But how much? Only a year could tell. So I tracked how many books I read. I numbered them, noted the date, title, author and brief notes to myself. That was over a year and a half ago. I ended year one at exactly 150 books (granted, I was reading until like 11:56 cause I wanted to end on an even number). Then I realized that having this book journal was kinda interesting to me, so I'm still cranking. How many books will I read in year 2? Check back end of September.

Last night I finished From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. It was terrific, and I went to write about it in my journal. I had spent most of the afternoon finishing it, however, and it had taken up residence in my head in a scary way, so I kept my remarks short and promised myself I would write about it on my blog in a well lit room. I really should stay away from serial-killer-related literature.

I did love the book, though, before it gave me nightmares. I'm not a huge fan of the black and white art, graphic novels can occassionally be confusing to me when I can't see something in the pictures, and black and white makes it worse. But in this case it was chillingly effective. When Mary Kelly dies (and I really don't think I'm spoiling the ending for anyone) there are pages and pages with no words, and nothing graphic in the pictures, just people going in and out of a dark door. Scared the poo out of me. Also the notion that someone would have warned her, so she knew what was coming was horrifying. In a related story, though, I didn't get that mystery bit at the end, Alan. Does that make me stupid? Did Mary get away and go back to Ireland, and her buddy Julia was the one who got sliced up? Or was it a ghost story thing? Its going to remain a mystery, I suspect.

My only other problem, which really isn't one, is that I don't but the royal-marriage-conspiracy-theory story. But who cares what I really believe here? Not even me. It makes for a good story: gruesome, horrifying, and much to imagination stoking for me, but great nonetheless. Alan Moore made a particularly crazy craziness seem almost...understandable, but still unfathomable, and never pretending for a second that the Ripper might really be doing the right thing.

Oh, and then I couldn't sleep last night. I had to watch loads of West Wing episodes before I could even try.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I just read a dead serious essay on how the old Battlestar Galactica was just as relevant to society as the new one, and that no one will acknowledge that because the old message was conservative (Reagan-era Peace Through Strength) and all of the left wing Hollywood intellectuals would rather think about lily livered moral relativism than hardline weapons stockpiling and insane defense spending. This was in a BOOK. The author seemed quite miffed that people keep calling the old BSG "campy". My question would be "has he SEEN it?" I can't argue that the old BSG didn't have any social or political relevance, as it was applicable to the Cold War and all that, but I CAN argue that it was badly written, had special effects that were already behind the times, and hasn't at all stood up to the test of time. Now, I have no way to tell if the new BSG will last once the glow wears off, but at the very least its better written and doesn't bother with many special effects, which drastically reduces the danger of becoming dated.
On a more serious note, the Cold War dilemma of the original Battlestar Galactica crew has a clear right answer. Peace loving Adar is wrong. Reluctantly militaristic Adama is right. That's the end of the discussion. Its been proven. Its done. That's why the new series is better. Its over. I own every episode you can legally purchase, and I STILL don't know who was right and who was wrong. There isn't really a bad guy. My favorite characters did things that I detested, and nearly convined me that they were in the right. Gaius Baltar was responsible for really bad things, but was he also the hand of god? No one really knows. Well, maybe Ron Moore and David Eick do, but not anyone I talk to on a regular basis. And I wouldn't want to know. It would spoil the entire experience. These people face the situations we face everyday, and, just like us, they rarely get to find out if their choice was the right one.
The original may have tossed around the ideas of mutually assured destruction and Star Wars (the missiles, not the movies), but did it ever grapple with such heinously divisive issues as abortion, religion in government and suicide bombing? And did it ever toy with the notion that we, as a country, might be wrong? Its an uncomfortable thought, and I don't like thinking it more than anyone else, but I can't look myself in the mirror every day unless I'm willing to at least entertain the idea. The new BSG not only entertained it, it took it out to get to know it better, and whatever those characters decided, they learned to live with themselves, just like we do. What makes the new cylons so scary isn't just that they LOOK like us....its that they ARE like us.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Katharine & Emily's Epic Illinoisian Adventure: Day 4

Today rocked! Other than the part where this website wasn't letting me post anything, anyway. I started off the day watching a tv show about a $1000 ice cream sunday and then we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. It was good. Thats really all there is to say about it.
Then we went to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, or ALPLM for short, and that isn't even that short. The first guide we met told us that we HAD to watch the Ghosts in the Library movie, it was a "must see". The he pointed at Em and said, "Well, YOU know." How did she know? Why her? Its a mystery.
In the first half of the museum we checked out Lincoln's boyhood and early political life. I personally enjoyed what I like to think of as "Pimp Lincoln", which is a wax figure of him wooing Mary Todd. He has his arm on the back of the sofa and he's looking at her like "How you doin?" I had the disturbing experience of watching a mother explain to her child about slavery- I won't even go into her word choice there, but it weirded me out but good. And then Tim Russert gave a us a presentation on the election of 1860 as it would have run today. Obviously he wasn't really there. It was a video.
In the second half we saw Lincoln's White House life and death. The reproduction of his funeral was eerie and effective. The Ghosts in the Library movie? Not so much. The Sixth Sense had already spoiled the ending for me. That historian/soldier at Vicksburg was already dead! In a side note I new every song they played over the loudspeakers from my Civil War Ballads CD. Talk about nerds.
Next was Lincoln's actual house. The parking was free because the machine was broken. This prompted a discussion on the ethics of paying for your parking if it was an honor system to begin with. I argued that our consciences were supposed to make us pay, seeing as we were visiting Honest Abe here. Sean contested that Lincoln would never have charged for parking. WWLD?
The Lincoln house was not attractively decorated inside, although it was pretty on the outside. The tour guide was not awesome, but I loved the fact that when someone stepped outside the designated area an alarm went off. I wish we'd had that when I was a tour guide. I also found Lincoln's shaving mirror where Sarah Vowell said she tried to jump up and see herself and set off the alarm.
After lunch was Lincoln's tomb. (Anyone sensing a theme here?) The Museum of Funeral Customs is only open by appointment, so I had to settle for getting my picture taken with the sign. The tour guide caught us on the way in, and made us listen to the history of the tomb itself. Lots of symbols, but none of them particularly subtle, I must say. Gee, what does that eagle stand for?
It was one fine tomb, I will say that, and I think Lincoln deserves it. But what I want to know is: where exactly is his body? Under that slab with his name on it? In it somehow? Behind the wall? Under the whole structure? What about the rest of the family? These questions plague me. On the way out I rubbed Lincoln's nose for luck, and that may have been the best Lincoln thing of all. I think Abe and I had a moment there.
On a whim, to move past the Lincoln theme, we checked out a coffee shop Shawn had just read about. It was INSIDE the Goodwill store. It was amazing. I got a speech from the baristo (or is a dude a barista too?) about how he was there because he didn't want to be a corporate drone anymore, and then got to drink a $4 coffee while watching folks shop at Goodwill. Wrong? Maybe. But it was interesting.
At the end of the day we checked out the University of Illinois and Springfield Lake, and then we came back to Urbana. Now I'm listening to Emily play banjo while I wrestle with the computer and its just like the old days.


This is a test. It is only a test. This blog is driving me nuttty. When I finally get some initiative and start to write every day, it won't let me.

Katharine & Emily's Epic Illinoisian Adventure: Day 3

I've tried this once already and it failed. That sucks. It'll probably be shorter this time around.
Sunday we got up early and went to get the oil changed in Emily's car. It was supposed to take ten minutes, it took over an hour. We waited in a soul crushing and dingy room where Emily graciously saved me from a giant bug. The thing had PINCERS. She smashed it under a vending machine and, I have to believe, caused its death.
We got on the road to St. Louis later than we meant to. It took a while, and was still flat. It was broken up, however, by an enormous cross by the side of the highway. Hilton big. Skyscraper big. I got some pictures. I've been told they really love Jesus around here, and I guess its true.
I don't have much to say about St. Louis itself- I didn't see much. The Arch was impressive, but the Mississippi just looked dirty. We were headed to the Missouri Botanical Gardens, and it wasn't in the best part of town. The gardens themselves were amazing! Every bit was living art, particularly the Japanese and Chinese gardens. The maze was a little lame, being really low and not difficult at all. Nice try, Missouri, but I've been in harder corn mazes.
After the gardens we drove to the Cahokia Mounds. We were too late for the visitors center and the video, which I hear is spectacular, if less 70s-tastic than I could wish. I did, however, get to see Woodhenge, and climb Monk's Mound in a short dress. I wouldn't recommend the second part. Although Em and I got complimented on our lovely outfits at the top it wasn't worth my concern that I was flashing Illinois.
Finally we headed for Springfield where we were spending the night in a hotel, because Emily had always wanted to stay in the hotel right next to the Cracker Barrel. As good as any reason, I guess, and a lot funnier than most. We went to dinner with friends of hers and I had the famous Springfield Horseshoe I'd heard so much about. (Actually it was a ponyshoe, smaller than the horseshoe). It was delicious, and terrible and gave me a stomachache. To finish the night we went out for drinks, which was pretty quiet on Sunday night. Eventually someone stared playing Johnny Cash songs live and we had a really good time.
My favorit quote of the day? " I could have taken the horse." Thanks, Shawn.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Katharine & Emily's Epic Illinoisian Adventure: Day 2

The midwest is kicking my ass. I've heard that "the waving wheat, it sure smells sweet," but its the damn waving wheat preventing me from smelling anything at all.
Today I got a good look at the post office and organic food stores of Urbana- there was free chocolate. Only at the organic grocery, but I guess that's really for the best. Emily is the perfect host and friend. She ironed my clothes and vacuumed the house (that was to help me breathe). I told her she didn't have to, several times, but I wasn't going to wrestle the iron out of her hands...that's just dangerous.
We also went to Allerton Park, which was beautiful. I got to see the Fu Dogs (Chinese AND Korean) and loads of trees, which suddenly seems like a novelty. Also there was a great story about an intense "father-son relationship" that I can't wait to submit to Anna's gaydar. I have an opinion on this one, but I'd like it confirmed by an expert witness.
We had Korean for dinner, and then went to a cupcake shop. There was an entire trendy cafe devoted to cupcakes! They also had gin fizzes, but we didn't get those (with this amount of antihistimines in my system, I could have DIED). The cupcakes were delicious. And we capped off the day listening to a Cuban band with no name and no discernably cuban members. I definitely saw, however, what looked, to me, like a potentially real hippie. Is the claim that Illinois has no native hippies a false one? It would explain why that was the guy that Em kind of knew. The weird thing was that in this cozy, friendly, pub-like place we appeared to be the only two people who didn't know one another. That gets unsettling fairly quickly. Solution? Come home and watch videos on Youtube, then convince Emily that her life is incomplete without Arrested Development. My mission here is complete.
Oh, and I would like to thank my commenter (commentor? Commentator?), you know who you are, for the interest in my doings. I totally got you- not just a pamphet- its a whole BOOKLET! You can thank me later.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Katharine & Emily's Epic Illinoisian Adventure: Day 1

I made it to the great state of Illinois! It is, as advertised, full of corn.
It all began with a ridiculously early awakening, and a surreal pass through Portland's security line- the personnel were all so homogenous and cheerful. Where do we find them? The plane ride was uneventful, although I got to watch the flight attendant fabulously quash a self-righteous hipster, and I think Masi Oka was actually piloting.
We got a little turned around trying to find the car, but Em didn't have any problem navigating Chicago. The Museum of Science and Industry is enormous (don't) and we decided to poke around until it was time for our date with Harry Potter (again, please, don't). There was an entire exhibition on poo, culminating in how many wheelbarrows full of poo it would take to power your laptop (two if you're wondering). The miniature fairy castle was amazing, but the line to go through the realistic coal mine was to long. We did pay extra to see the greenest house in Chicago; it was very well decorated, and, they tell me, energy efficient. The home and garden channel, not to mention my mother and sister, would approve.
Finally we got in line for Harry Potter: the Exhibition. They made people shout and answer trivia questions before we went in, and they even had a sorting hat. Despite that, it was a great show, and I got to see one of Sirius Black's waistcoats- yay!
The South Side of Chicago is really interesting.
The ride to Urbana took a while. I stayed awake, which is really all there is to say about that.
After an excellent dinner Emily took me on a mini tour of the city. There are quite a few chuches here- our favorite being the Korean Jesus-Love United Methodist Church (Hey, Mel!)
Best of all, when we got back to her house and I slumped onto the couch exhausted, instead of making me do something else Emily said "Hey, have you ever watched WKRP?"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Better World

I haven't been doing this very long, and so far I've mostly been pretty negative. I want to change that. I can be a grumpy person, but I don't think I'm an inherently negative one. So I tried pondering some positive things, and one of the ideas that lurks in my head is about the world I want to live in. This is not a political manifesto, or any kind of idea that could lead to...well...reality. Its just my imagination run amok.
Most of my thoughts about the ideal world come from me mis-overhearing (did I just coin a word? If so, its a bad one, don't use it) things, although a few of them come from cranky and elitist moods, and a couple others acutally come from ideology. Oh, and there are somethat come from nowhere, but crack me up. Giant robots anyone? But I want the kind that hide from you in the shadow of an apartment building and remain completely unseen by the tenants inside- and they have to be easily defeated by weakling asthmatics like myself. As mind-crushingly awesome as they are, there is no place for Skynet or Cylons in my ideal world, because they would end me.
Once, at work, I was reading a manual of some kind- rules and regulations, that sort of thing. It included updates. One of them appeared, to me, to say "present practices with respect to time travel shall be continued." That was not, in fact, what it said. But it gave me the dream of a world where time travel is so common that it has POLICY. What kind of policy are we talking? The sky (or the space-time continuum) is the limit! Does your workplace reimburse you for business time travel? Hells yeah! Time travel is no excuse for being late- and I don't care what time it was when you LEFT for work! The possibilities are endless. I should write a novel or something.
They also refer to the email system in my place of business as the Portal. Is that not amazing? So I get an email telling me that I will be notified when the Portal opens again. Portal to where? Like Narnia? (hopefully not a world full of Christian allegory, that would be The Most Disappointing and Morally High Handed Portal Ever) Or like Stargate? Should I put down my stapler to prepare for and epic battle with a disgruntled Egyptian god? Or Khan?
In this world, everything that happens to me has another, better, more interesting meaning (not to imply that the grinding struggle to find meaning in everyday existence isn't worthy of pursuit and intellectual just doesn't make my day go much faster). There's always a door to somewhere, something to learn, or just see. We all wish our lives had a more obvious meaning. It would be thrilling to live Harry Potter for a little while rather than Kafka.
In conclusion, if I ever get a vote, I want giant robots, time travel, magic portals, talking gargoyles, Sherlock Holmes, and telepathy. Clones are optional, depending on if its emo clones or fun ones.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How you can avoid giving me a flesh eating disease

Why shouldn't you you just take some old anitbiotics that you have laying around the house when you don't feel great? Oh, let me count the ways...
First of all, you shouldn't have it laying around the house. You're supposed to take all of it when the doctor prescribes it to you...even if you feel better. You know why? Cause if you don't, you help to strengethen and spread drug resistant bacteria. Which makes it that much more likely that I will get some sort of drug resistant, flesh eating infection.
How do you know that what you just took is appropriate for whatever you may (or may not have)? You don't. That's what you pay a doctor for. Also, if you use a drug for no reason you're giving the bateria another chance to develop resistance. Sensing a pattern? Me having flesh eating disease?
What if they're old or expired? That's just nasty.
If used incorrectly or incompletely (as you've already done once), you contribute once again to drug resistant strains of bacteria, giving me flesh eating disease. Or Joss Whedon. And if you give Joss flesh eating disease, I will eff your day up.
Oh, no matter how much you want it to, antibiotics WILL NOT KILL A VIRUS.
Please, stop being an idiot and thinking that you know enough to self medicate, thereby giving me the inevitable FLESH EATING DISEASE. Seriously, though, if you are doing this, you are most definitely part of the problem, and its making me crazy. Way to cause the plague, genius.

Monday, May 4, 2009


It. Is. Not. A. Proper. Word. Are you to lazy to say "regardless"? It's shorter! Do you think it makes you sound more intelligent? It doesn't. It makes you sound ignorant. And probably self important. You like Thomas Kinkade, don't you? You think he's an artist. I can't even talk to you any more.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Newest Impending Doom

I had never heard of Swine Flu before today, and suddenly its everywhere! Or at least news of it is. Sentences like "its not a pandemic...yet," have been firing up my imagination all day long. I went straight to wikipedia (because that's cutting edge, reliable information) and then followed up with my contact at the CDC (read my mom). I have been assured that as of right now I am in little to no danger and there is no logical cause for panic- but when has that ever stopped me before? Who wants to die of something called Swine Flu?

I don't think I have it or anything like that. I don't have Leprosy either, but, man, I had to think about it for a long time. So now I'll probably be thinking about Swine Flu for the forseeable future. I really can't afford to have a pandemic sneak up on me. After all the reading I have done, I am now certain that even if Dustin Hoffman showed up before the end, and even if he caught the carrier mokney, there is no way he would be able to synthesize its anitbodies into a cure in time to save me. Apparently thats unrealistic. That was terribly disappointing, and it means I have to be vigilant. Call me paranoid, or a hypochondriac if you must, but I refused to be ninja-killed by a virus. So let me know if you hear anything, ok? Hearsay is nearly as good as wikipedia for information.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday I Was Tortured With A Slide Show of 40 Cliches Set To Nature Photographs and Faux Asian Music

The title pretty much says it all. Except that there was no way to stop it once it started, it was very loud (oh Zamphir), and given who sent it to me, leaving it unopened was not an option. But don't worry, The Best is Yet to Come.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My First Rant...

Does it make anyone else crazy when someone asks "how are you?" and then doesn't wait for a response? Even when they actually pause for you to say something in return, 90% of people don't really want to know how you are. All they expect is a pro forma "fine". That part isn't actually a problem for me, as I probably don't want to tell them the intimate details of my life, but now I can't even tell when I'm supposed to say anything at all! Sometimes "how are you?" is used interchangeably with "hi", and the speaker looks at you like you're a freak if you answer their question.
My usual response is "I'm well- and yourself?" Once they get over the surprise of my having answered they usually say "good." I hadn't really thought about that until one day a customer overheard one of these exchanges and praised me for saying well as opposed to good. The meanings really are distinct, and the customer was correct: the word does not mean what they think it means. Such a common problem these days. That being said, I would love to have somone ask me how I am and respond with "Evil, thanks, and you?"
Why don't we just do away with this whole exchange? I'm not saying you can't ask me how I am if you care about me or my answer. I'm happy to have a real conversation with people who are interested (And preferably interesting). If its just a placeholder in your speech, though, just say "hi", or "good morning". That way you won't inadvertently offend me (why are you asking? If I said anything other than fine, you'd be uncomfortable), you won't have to listen to me give you an honest answer to that question ("I'm filled with self loathing due to my inability to maintain a healthy diet or do anything to halt genocide around the world"), and you won't respond with something inappropriate or inaccurate (like "good")and earn my contempt.
Maybe this is why I get so irritable so often: I start picking apart every conversation before its even begun. Still, some manners wouldn't kill people.

Up Next: cell phones, and why I think they are works of know, the bad kind of evil.

Not much of a beginning, but its something.