Thursday, June 24, 2010

Remember When? Before Cell Phones

Scott rushed in to the bedroom this morning to inform me that he was leaving to get the new iphone.  I groaned and probably complained a little and went back to bed.  As I was arriving at the office, Scott called me to inform me that 600 people were waiting at the mall in Frisco to get their new iphones.  600 people.  Scott wasn't crazy enough to wait, but at least 600 other people were!

We've both had iphones for years and despite my protests at first I honestly can't remember life before I had it.  Not that it changed my life, but it has added so much convenience.  I sometimes wish I wasn't as connected to the Internet as I am because I don't really like using the iphone to write emails, but want to look something up quickly?  Piece of cake!  Need to find my way to the restaurant?  Easy peasy!  I listen to audiobooks on my phone, take a quick picture if I don't have my camera.  Play games, check the weather, multiply a couple of numbers, browse my calendar.  Life made easy.

I was a late bloomer for my generation--I didn't get my first cell phone until I was 20 (I say this all the time to my 14 year-old brother whose had a cell for years).  I lived on calling cards when I went to college and survived on having a shared "kid" line with my two sisters when we were younger.  When you don't have, you get by. 

But really, what did we do before cell phones?  Do you have a smart phone?  How has it made your life more convenient? 

Edited Note: I rarely use my phone to chat and I could live very easily without a cell phone other than for emergencies and conveniences.  We don't have a house land line and I go days without making or receiving a phone call.  But I sure do like the little perks that come with the iphone!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hair today, Gone tomorrow

Honestly, I don't even know why I bother trying to grow my hair out.  It's incredibly thick and unruly.  Impossibly hot during the summer and I'm way too lazy to blow dry it out so most days it ends up in a ponytail anyway.  I think my hairdresser was a little shocked to see me so soon (another reason why I shouldn't grow my hair out--hate getting it trimmed).  And every time I see someone else chop their hair I'm green with envy (Amanda!).

But now that it's summer, I'm done with trying to grow out my hair.

 Hello once again, summer hair. I missed you!

Feeling cooler already,

Friday, June 18, 2010

When I'm Not Reading Book Blogs...

I started out as a book blogger with Trish's Reading Nook.  In my heart I think I still considered myself a book blogger but I'm slowly starting to branch out and read other blogs as well. 

I wanted to share a few of my favorite non-bookish blogs with you in hopes that you'll share a few of yours with me!  And hey, if there's a new book blogger that you're just absolutely loving, throw them in as a suggestion, too.  I've been weeding the Google Reader--removing blogs and adding new blogs like crazy.

Gotta check these out:

Oh, Fransson - a quilting genius
Red Pepper Quilts - I LOVE her quilts!
Obsessively Stitching - has great quilting tutorials that one day I'll muster the courage to join
Sewtakeahike - Lots of fun hexigons (or "hexis")

Joe Pastry - AAAAAmazing
Cake Journal - Beautiful cakes and how-tos
Originate and Renovate - My cousin-in-law Annie is so stinkin' creative!

Cavaclade of Awesome - It's pure Awesomeness to the nth degree. Paxton always makes me laugh.

So what's on your list??  I'd love to add some gardening blogs to the list if you know of any!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë

Title: Wuthering Heights
Author: Emily Brontë
Published: 1847  Pages: 344
Genre: Literary Classic
Rating: Unrated (I'm a chicken)

Where do I start a review for a book that I have revered above so many other books for over ten years since I first read it as a senior in high school--a book that I credit for my love of literature and maybe even the reason why I received two degrees in English literature?  I'd say I'm at a loss for words but that couldn't be any further from the truth.

The short of it:
Wuthering Heights is a timeless tale of obsession and unrequited love.  Set during the late 1700s in a rural and secluded area of England, the story begins when a young gypsy ruffian, Heathcliff, is brought to the homestead of Wuthering Heights to become the adopted brother of sorts or plaything to Catherine and Hindley Earnshaw.  When neighboring cousins, Edgar and Isabella Linton, enter the picture, young Catherine must choose between her soul mate, Heathcliff, or a life of comfort and adoration with Edgar.  It's not a pretty picture who she chooses and the whole rest of the lot suffer throughout the rest of the book because of it.

The long of it (I can't promise no spoilers so read with caution):
It had been ten years since I read Wuthering Heights and the story had become foggy in my mind but what I remembered most from my previous readings was the language and descriptions of Brontë's haunting story.  And the language didn't let me down ten years later.  It isn't often anymore that I read with a pencil in hand, but my brand spanking new copy of WH is so underlined and annotated it would make you book purists blush with shame.  I almost feel like I am alone in this sentiment, but Brontë's writing is so rich that I could almost get drunk on her descriptions and expressions alone. 

Cathy: "It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff, now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire" (82).

Heathcliff: "Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort--you deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears. They'll blight you--they'll damn you. You loved me--then what right had you to leave me? What right--answer me--for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or satan could inflict could have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart--you have broken it--and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me, that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you--oh God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave?" (165).

Heathcliff: "Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest, as long as I am living! You said I killed you--haunt me, then!  The murdered do haunt their murderers.  I believe--I know that ghosts have wandered the earth.  Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad!  only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God!  it is unutterable!  I cannot live without my life!  I cannot live without my soul!" (171). 

Heathcliff: "And yet I cannot continue in this condition!--I have to remind myself to breathe--almost to remind my heart to beat! And it is like bending back a stiff is by compulsion, that I do the slightest act, not prompted by one thought, and by compulsion, that I notice anything alive, or dead, which is not associated with one universal idea...I have a single wish, and my whole being, and faculties are yearning to attain it.  They have yearned toward it so long, and so unwaveringly, that I'm convinced it will be reached--and soon--because it has devoured my existence--I am swallowed in the anticipation of its fulfillment" (331).

I'm sorry--I don't care what you say and how abominable these characters are (because they are tremendously effed up), that is passion in those words.  Pure unadulterated passion.  Or obsession.  It's a fine line with this novel.  For me it was tough not to get swept away in these moments.

But the characters are awful.  And nearly everything that happens in this novel is awful.  I spent the first half of the novel seeking justification for why Heathcliff and Catherine act the way they do to one another.  I wondered if Hindley had treated Heathcliff differently or if Heathcliff hadn't overheard Catherine's dismissal of him to Nelly that this story might have had a happier outcome, but they all proved to be utterly wretched.  I finally gave up my search for hope and watched one disaster after another occur within the pages.

At the end, though, I think there was a turn around with Cathy (the younger) after nearly everyone else is dead and gone.  She finally gives Hareton a shred of rope and slowly pulls him out of his own state of abuse and to me this small light brought worth to the novel but it was also a case of too little too late.  By then so much damage and destruction had been done that I sincerely hope there are no Cathy or Hareton juniors to continue the [incestuous] cycle of horror.

But classics are still read for a reason and this one has endured for over 150 years.  I don't spend a lot of time wondering why a particular book has continued its popularity and stood the test of time, but as I was reading this one painfully slow I couldn't help but wonder why this book is still celebrated within the classical canon of literature.  The language and writing alone partially answer this question for me, but I think this book also raises interesting questions about human nature and if we are products of the environs from which we come and if we are able to overcome the obstacles we face to become something other than what we are destined for.  For Catherine and Heathcliff they fell victim to what was prescribed for them but for Cathy and Hareton I think they proved that we aren't simply products are our environment but we also have some innate goodness that given the opportunity can win and shine through.

Or I'm just rambling a bunch of psycho-babble.  Either way I am left with a love-hate relationship with Wuthering Heights.  I wouldn't recommend reading it as slowly as I did or dissecting the characters until you can't see any goodness within them.  I think this book needs to be read quicker and looked at as a whole instead of all its miserable parts.  Or maybe not.  Maybe it is just a miserable book.  But, I still contend that it's being read 150 years later for a reason.  I may not understand that reason and I may never understand that reason, but I don't doubt that when I pick this book up again in 10 years that I'll still fall in love with the language even if the despair is sometimes more than I can handle.

Have you read Wuthering Heights?  Do you see any worth within the book or simply a continuous avalanche of wretchedness?

A big thanks to Jill at Fizzy Thoughts for hosting the Wuthering Heights Wednesday Readalong.  Don't miss out next month when we tackle Brothers Karamazov in a new readalong.

Check Out These Other Participants in the Readalong:
Literate Housewife •Vivienne (Serendipidy) •Messy Karen •Victoria •Jenny (Take Me Away) •Ti (Book Chatter) •Lisa (Lit And Life) •Dar (Peeking Between the Pages) •J.C. Montgomery (The Biblio Blogazine) •Whitney •JoAnn (Lakeside Musing) •Gentle Reader (Shelf Life) •Amy (New Century Reading) •Geri (One More Foggy Notion) •Rob (Books are Like Candy Corn)

I am an Amazon Associate and if you buy Wuthering Heights or any other Amazon products through this review I receive a small portion of the purchase price.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green and David Levithan

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Authors: John Green and David Levithan
Published: 2010  Pages: 310
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

First can I just say Yippee for finally finishing a book?  It's not just that I haven't been writing reviews lately, it's that I haven't finished any books [recently] to write reviews!   So, big fat Yippee!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is the story of two teenaged characters by the name of...yup...Will Grayson.  John Green and David Levithan cowrote the story, each writing for one Will Grayson in alternating chapters.  WG 1 has just fallen out with the Group of Friends and his only true remaining friend is the very gay Tiny Cooper who is constantly falling in and out of love and hooking poor WG 1 up with Jane.  WG 2 struggles with depression and being a closeted gay and has fallen in love with a boy online named Isaac.  The two WGs meet by pure chance at a Chicago porn shop after WG 1's fake id isn't enough to get him into a concert (the fake says he's 20!) and WG 2 travels by train to meet Isaac for the first time.  From there on out their lives intertwine in ways that you wish could happen in real life.

This is my first foray into David Levithan and my second taste of John Green (I listened to Paper Towns and as soon as I can get my hands on a hardcopy will try to review).  At first I'll admit I didn't really care for this book.  I was only reading a chapter here and there before bed and I preferred WG 1 much more than WG 2.  In fact, I couldn't stand WG 2.  He was moody and negative and just a plain downer.  But everything changed for me once the two WGs met and their stories began to intertwine.  In the end I think I even prefer WG 2 and could see so much more growth in him as a character than for any other character. 

I'll start with the things I didn't like.  WG 2 doesn't use capitalization and his story line caused me to hold my book close when I was reading in public so book peepers couldn't read the foul language and sexual content over my shoulder.  I didn't like the moodiness and the down and out depression.  I lived through this once as a teen and don't really care to revisit it through literature.  I bought this book after RAVE reviews and I couldn't help but be let down just a little teeny tiny bit. 

BUT.  The things I loved.  Tiny Cooper.  The fact that Tiny Cooper wrote a musical first about himself and then about love.  Since I'm obsessed with all things musicals (Glee!), I loved loved loved this.  I also loved how real the characters are.  Ok, so maybe they're a bit exaggerated and even a tad stereotyped, but there was a realness in their interactions, conversations, and thoughts that I really appreciated.  When you're 16 or 17 or 18 you believe that you hold all of the world's wisdom, and I think to an extent teenagers do have a lot of wisdom.  Just maybe not the maturity to fully realize what that wisdom actually means.  I felt this when I was listening to Paper Towns as well--there's so much honest raw truth in these books--the knowing everything without really knowing anything or having the experience to put that honest raw truth to good use. 

In the end I enjoyed the book.  I mark down for the language and content--at times it's a little base and even crude.  And I know this comes with the teenaged territory, but still.  This book definitely had it's gritty moments that made me think "really...?"  But the good definitely outweighs the bad on this one.  And above everything else, it's a story about love.  What more can you ask for?  Love, and finding yourself, and forgiving, and discovering, and recovering.  But mostly love.

A few favorite parts:
"That's the problem: so many things are true.  It's true that I want to smother her with compliments and true that I want to keep my distance. True that I want her to like me and true that I don't.  The stupid, endless truth speaking out of both sides of its big, stupid mouth.  It's what keeps me, stupidly, talking" (WG 1, 53).

"'Yeah,' I say.  "'It's hard to believe in coincidence, but it's even harder to believe in anything else'" (WG 1, 114).

"the only time that i pretend i have it all together is when maura's around.  i don't want her to see me falling apart.  worse case scenario: she stomps on all the pieces.  worse-than-that case scenario: she tries to put them together again.  i realize: i am now where she was with me.  on the other side of the silence.  you'd think that silence would be peaceful.  but really, it's painful" (WG 2, 264).

"that's it--hundreds of texts and conversations, thousands upon thousands of words spoken and sent, all boiled down to a single line ["i think you're in love with my need"].  is that what relationships become?  a reduced version of the hurt, nothing else let in.  it was more than that.  i know it was more than that" (WG 2, 298).

I am an Amazon Associate and if you purchase Will Grayson, Will Grayson or other Amazon products through this review, I receive a small portion of the purchase price.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Don't Wannas - or Restlessness

I have the bad case of the "Don't Wannas." Actually, I'm not even sure that's what the case is.

I'm restless.

I want to blog about our road trip to Arkansas (see picture above of gorgeous sunset) or anniversary or this and that and the other.

My three year bloggiversary went by without a mention (not sure it still counts since I moved blogs?).

I'm currently reading FOUR books and can't seem to finish one (haven't since April!). Edited: Finished first book in two months! Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

I spent all night trying to switch my hotmail account to gmail when I should have been working out--or blogging--or bloghopping--or finishing one of those four stupid books.

Work is draining every ounce of ooomph from my life.

My poor quilt is sitting in our sweltering hot upstairs still waiting to be finished.

Scott turned 30 last weekend. Which means I'll be 30 soon. In a year.

Last weekend flew to South Padre on less than 24 hours notice; flew home less than 48 hours later. Had a great weekend on the boats, in the sun, at the bar, and even bungee jumping!

Glee finale last night was Awesome. Except they stole Scott and my idea for a Journey musical. No joke.

Really? I just wanted to post something. Had hoped to be finished with Wuthering Heights to post about that but today managed to slip away without even getting my weekly post up.

The oven timer's going I guess it's back to reality.

How's YOUR day been?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wuthering Heights Wednesday: Vol II 8-13 (22-27)

Jill at Fizzy Thoughts is hosting a readalong of Wuthering Heights. Every week the participants read three chapters and post about their readings on Wednesday.


A pretty uneventful several chapters. Edgar and Linton are both declining in health and a round of Cathy and Nelly visiting Wuthering Heights then not. Cathy loves Linton then she doesn't. Then Heathcliff entraps Cathy and Nelly at Wuthering Heights in order to force Cathy and Linton to marry.

My Thoughts:

I'm not sure if it's just a matter of reading through the book a little slowly, but I'm ready to get to some action! At least the chapters are short? Ooooh, and Mr. Lockwood expresses interest in Cathy? WTF is that all about?

Some lines that caught my attention:

"Well, you dropped Linton with it, into a Slough of Despond" (237). Slough of Despond??

Cathy: "I said his [Linton's] heaven would only be half alive, and he said mine would be drunk; I said I should fall asleep in his, and he said he could not breathe in mine..." (252).

Heathcliff: "Had I been born where laws are less strict, and tastes less dainty, I should treat myself to a slow vivisection of those two [Cathy and Linton], as an evening's amusement (274).

Casting Wuthering Heights:
A blogger friend recently complained to me about all of the readalongs in her Google Reader (guilty!), and since this was a slow week I thought I'd have a little fun with casting my personal movie of Wuthering Heights. Here's who I'd cast:

(Josh Brolin aka Yum)

(Helena Bonham Carter)

(Peter Facinelli)

(Gerard Butler)

(Nora Zehetner)

(Draco Malfoy or Tom Felton)

(Zachary Quinto)

(Um...Susan B. Anthony?)

Doing this made me realize the ratio of men to women in this book! Sheesh!

Who would you cast in Wuthering Heights?

Check Out These Other Participants in the Readalong:
Literate Housewife
•Vivienne (Serendipidy)
Messy Karen
•Jenny (Take Me Away)
•Ti (Book Chatter)
•Lisa (Lit And Life)
•Dar (Peeking Between the Pages)
•J.C. Montgomery (The Biblio Blogazine)
•JoAnn (Lakeside Musing)
•Gentle Reader (Shelf Life)
•Amy (New Century Reading)
•Geri (One More Foggy Notion)
•Rob (Books are Like Candy Corn)
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