Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Show Us Your Books May 2019

How is it already mid-May, y'all? But it is, and thus it's time for Show Us Your Books! I read fewer books this month, since I wasn't on vacation/traveling. But I did manage to get through a few titles:

The Broken Girls: This book has two parallel narratives, set in the early 1950s and 2014. It's a mystery, and I didn't find it predictable. There was a supernatural element that I thought was pretty extraneous -- it didn't affect the primary plot much and felt a little cheesy to me.

An Unwanted Guest: Ugh, this was bad. A murder mystery that was pretty freakin' boring. And then unfurled everything in the last five pages. No thank you.

The Great Alone: This book is about Leni, a 13-year-old girl in the '70s who moves to Alaska with her family to live off the land. That premise is not really my cup of tea, but I loved this book. It was a nuanced story of love and relationships and belonging.

The Forgotten Hours: I couldn't put this book down. All I could think about at work the other day was going home to continue reading this book, lol. I liked that this showed a crappy situation from various perspectives, and I liked the ending. I don't need everything to be tied in a neat little bow, but I like books that end with some sort of indication that the characters are going to be OK.

Linking up with Steph and Jana. Thanks for hosting, ladies!

Life According to Steph

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Notes from Another Loud Woman

I just finished watching Shrill, and I have some thoughts. Shrill is a Hulu series based on Lindy West's memoir Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman. It stars Aidy Bryant as Annie, “a fat young woman who wants to change her life — but not her body. Annie is trying to start her career while juggling bad boyfriends, a sick parent, and a perfectionist boss” (straight from the horse's mouth, AKA Hulu's Shrill homepage).

Now, as a fat lady, I like to support shows starring women who aren’t a size 2 (not that thin women are bad, but it’s nice when entertainment reflects the real world, where many women are not that small). Some are great (Downward Dog, The Mindy Project) and some are terrible (Mike and Molly). Shrill is mostly great. Annie’s struggles are relatable, her best friend is hilarious, and she has an adorable dog named Bonkers.

I also loved that the show doesn’t use euphemisms like full-figured, voluptuous, etc. to shy away from the word fat. To me, fat is a descriptive word. I am tall, and I am fat. Those are the facts. Pretending that I don’t weigh 250 lb would be as absurd to me as telling people I’m 5’4.” They can see otherwise!

I can be Aidy's leg double, I just need the tattoo!

As I progressed through the episodes, though, I thought, “They’re really focusing a lot on her weight. Not everything in my life ties back to me being fat.” Sure, being judged because I'm fat is a thing. At least, it's not NOT a thing. My new doctor told me I should go on Wellbutrin instead of Prozac “to help with weight loss” and random strangers have mistaken me for pregnant, but it’s not an everyday occurance. Yet each episode of Shrill seems to hinge on Annie’s fatness, and it started to feel like overkill.

Then I checked myself: until I reconciled my feelings about my own weight, my life was centered around my fatness. My teens and 20s were full of insecurity about my appearance. I was mortified when my costume for the school musical had to be custom made because I didn’t fit into the leotards my counterparts were wearing. I was certain no boys would ever like me because I was so fat. I spent a lot of time trying to take up the least amount of space possible, and I hid my "big" personality because I shouldn't have that and a big body.

So I grew up and got skinny and now life is all unicorns and rainbows. JK. I weigh well more than I did in high school or college, but it doesn’t affect my self-esteem like it used to. I work out regularly and try to eat more vegetables than sugar, and I feel generally OK about myself.

And so does Annie. I realized her story wasn’t always about her weight, it was about her confidence. In the end, she doesn’t slim down and get rewarded with good things. She just recognizes that she’s deserved those good things all along, and does what she can to go after them. As should we all.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

My First Show Us Your Books

I've been planning to join the Show Us Your Books link-up for actual years. I've gotten so many recommendations from those posts, but when I tried to write up my own, I realized describing books without spoilers but still saying more than "I liked it" is hard, y'all. Nevertheless, I persisted. I thought I would've read a lot in March since I was on vacation for two weeks, but I think I may have read less because I was doing things all day and too tired to read at night. But I managed to get through a few titles, at least. Here are my thoughts.

Two Can Keep a Secret: A good whodunit. I didn't know what was going to happen. A quick and easy read. Twists I did not see coming.

An American Marriage: This was a little slow for me. Beautifully written, but ... quieter, I guess, than I would've liked.

On the Come Up: After The Hate U Give, I was really excited for Angie Thomas' next novel. This was good, but not mind-blowing. I probably would've liked it more had I not read Hate, because it felt very similar. I did enjoy all the up-to-the-minute pop-culture references, though.

I'm a "yes, people exist" person, too.

The Dreamers: Meh. Interesting premise, but I thought more was going to happen here, tbh.

The Opposite of Everyone: I loved this one. I loved that the main character was a career-focused possible bitch and she was forced to change and work through her past when life happened. It didn't feel predictable, and it didn't wrap up in a nice little bow, but it still had a feel-good ending.

Someone Else's Love Story: From the author of The Opposite of Everyone and taking place in the same "world" (the main character from that book is secondary in this one). Well-written and interesting, but didn't grip me like the Opposite did. It seemed a little unrealistic to me, but maybe I just didn't relate to it the way I did the other book.

Linking up with Steph and Jana, hooray!

Life According to Steph

Monday, April 1, 2019

Entering old age

I've never actually been hungover, but I still find this relatable.

" I can't let you in cause you're old as fuck. For this club, you know, not for the earth." - Knocked Up

Y'all, I'm old now. Not really. I'm 35, so normal life expectancy would tell us I have decades left on this earth. But I FEEL kind of old. Mostly because of various ailments.

Like I can never get enough sleep. If I'm watching TV on a weekend afternoon, I WILL take a 2-3 hour accidental nap. And I've been known to doze off in the movie theater, particularly if they have those nice recliner seats. But I sleep 7+ hours each night, so I really shouldn't be operating on a deficit.

Another issue: Things are sore a lot. I've taken to calling my left side my garbage side, because it's always the side that bothers me. My shoulder is usually sore, because I sometimes sleep on my side. Who knew sleeping would fuck you up? My knee is usually sore, because ... I actually have no idea why. I've worn a brace on that knee when I work out for the last 10+ years, but I've been to the doctor and there's nothing actually wrong with it. But if I'm squatting or, you know, getting out of a car or something, something happens within it and then it will hurt for days. Then I don't want to further injure it, so it's hard to make progress on the workout front. Whomp whomp. 

I go back and forth between "this is normal, you're just getting older" and "I probably have undiagnosed MS." I doubt I actually have MS, but I find if I look up any disease/disorder, I have at least half of the symptoms. So that's a fun game to play with Google if you need more anxiety in your life. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

I Keep Coming Back

Hey y'all. Remember me? I've been neglecting the space for a while. It seemed silly to waste time and space on trivial things when there's so much important stuff going on in the world. But I also didn't feel sufficiently informed to comment on those world events in a way that would be helpful or interesting or even coherent. So, no blogging has occurred.

But I miss it. Writing has been fairly constant in my life, for blogs or journals or articles for my school paper back in the day. It's how I express myself and clarify my thoughts. So we're coming back.

I'm not an expert in many (any?) fields, and I won't pretend to be. I'll write to help myself comprehend things, to start a dialogue about certain topics, or just to get something off my chest. It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be.

So, what's new with you? Not a lot to report here. Same job, same house, recently single, still child-free. I've changed a lot in the last year or two, but in small shifts. I've been reading a lot, listening to dissenting opinions and trying to wrap my head around them, and trying to be kind to people. Whilst also trying to speak truth to power, without being a total libtard cuck about it. I'm still angry about a lot of shit that's going on in the US right now, but I'm trying to channel that anger into something productive, rather than letting it fester and grow into hatred for my political and ethical adversaries.

So that's where I'm at. See you back here, soon.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Eurotrip 2017: Prague

View from the Charles Bridge.

Oh, Prague. You are gorgeous and affordable, and I love you. I spent the most time here of my three destinations, and it was definitely my favorite. I stayed at this AirBnB, and I would recommend it. On the other side of the river from the touristy Old Town, so a little quieter, but there were plenty of shops and restaurants on my street, and the tram stopped just down the block. Pretty much perfect. Some highlights from my time:

- The food. Oh lord, the food. So good! I had a great portobello burger at a vegetarian restaurant, fresh pasta and pesto, all sorts of goodies at a vegan cafeteria, and quite possibly the best pizza of my life. Reservations seem to be a big thing in Prague, but since I was a single, a few places let me sit at the bar/grab a quick bite if I promised to be done in an hour, so I got by without making any. Plus, they have trdeln√≠k and Angelato. I loved it.

Freshly made salty caramel gelato.

- The sights: I visited the Karel Zeman museum, the Kafka museum, Strahov Monastery, the Lennon Wall, the Astronomical Clock, saw a blacklight theater performance, and went the movies (to see Home Again, in English. I had a rough day and needed a break, lol). I'm a movie buff, so I really enjoyed the Karel Zeman museum, which delved into his use of special effects and different film techniques before CGI was a thing.

- The public transportation: I thought it was easy to get around in Prague. A lot of things were walkable from my apartment, but if I wanted to take the tram or metro, it was pretty straightforward (you can buy a three-day pass on their app, and plan your routes on Google Maps). I also took a day trip to Karlovy Vary (2.5 hours from Prague) on a bus for about $10 roundtrip.

- Karlovy Vary: I spent a Saturday here, and it was a great day. Arrived in the morning on the bus, grabbed a quick breakfast, and then went to the spa for a few hours. I had a mineral bath (a literal bath in a copper tub, you just soak for 20 minutes and then they wrap you in a sheet to relax/dry off), a massage, and went to the pool (with sauna and whirlpool). It was nice and very relaxing, but a little different than the states, procedurally. My appointments were booked in separate rooms, and I dressed in between each treatment (they're not about that white robe life). Also you have to pay for your time in the pool, and I got scolded for going half an hour over my projected time (it was inexpensive and not a big deal, but how am I supposed to estimate how long I want to relax in the nice warm water? Ninety minutes was just not enough). I spent the rest of the day wandering around the town, which is full of beautiful old buildings, rolling hills, and fall foliage. Just gorgeous.

This is what Europe should look like, right?

- Not speaking the language: Not knowing Czech was not much of an issue. It would've come in handy for picking out a tablet, but when I asked if people spoke English, most of them did, at least enough to get the point across. For directions and bus routes, I would just remember the general idea
of the street or stop name (like "the one that starts with SD" when I needed to get off at ҆vandovo Divadlo), which worked out just fine.

The one thing I didn't like about Prague (and Europe in general, really) was all the smoking. So many cigarettes, y'all. Colorado has fairly strict smoking laws so I'm not really around it much here, and the smell really bothers me. But what can you do?

Friday, October 27, 2017

The One Where I Whine About My Meaningless, Consumer-Driven Life

Well guys, I made it! I was in Europe for 12 days and lived to tell the tale. I wouldn't go so far as to say "I came, I saw, I conquered," but how about "I laughed, I cried, I ate all the baked goods"? We'll go with that.

I hate that this is the thing that sticks out at me about the trip, because it seems completely stupid, but my phone broke on Day 4. One minute I was scrolling through Instagram, and the next, the screen went black and I was never able to get it to reboot. I'm ashamed to say I freaked out, because I try not to be tethered to my phone, but I did freak out a bit. How was I going to contact my AirBnB hosts? Or look at maps? Or research and plan a day's activities? OR TAKE A GODDAMN PICTURE? I didn't really need it for making calls, but I definitely needed its other capabilities.

I thought it over and decided to buy a tablet to get me through the rest of the trip. I didn't want to spend money on a phone that might not work when I got back home, and I figured a tablet would do what I needed it to do and be more affordable. So I took the tram to the mall and luckily spotted a Samsung sign in a store window right next to the stop.

After asking around for an English-speaking salesperson, I ended up just pointing and pantomiming my way through the purchase, and I left with this. The camera pretty much sucks (no flash and 2 MP) and it's far slower than my phone, but for $72, I made it work and tried to move on with my life. In the grand scheme of things, it was a minor hiccup in an otherwise enjoyable trip. And way better than having food poisoning on a long-haul flight.

I might be extra salty about it because I still don't have a phone, three weeks after mine broke. I ordered a new one within 24 hours of its death, but apparently the replacement was just released and Google is behind on shipping them out, so ... tablet it is. I will say, it's much easier to use the tablet here, where I know where I'm going and have generally the same schedule every day. But I do look forward to the day when I can (for example) text someone that I'm running late, or call my doctor to schedule my annual physical. One day, friends. One day.

(Don't worry, I'll write more about the actual trip in another post. Because it was dope.)