17 January 2006

this year, i am resolute!

Every new year I start off with a short, non-specific list of resolutions which I subsequently abandon by start-of-day January 2nd. With this year feeling figuratively bigger and potentially better than any other, I wanted to do my resolutions right. So by drastically overthinking each one, and getting myself out of the timeframe where 98% of the population falters, I'm a step closer to guaranteeing success. Potentially.

1) Eat healthier.
This one was not a conscious decision, but moreso my body screaming for nutrients not attained by a constant diet of coffee and hot dogs. It was early in the month still when I saw a character on television eating a grapefruit, and immediately wanted one. Not an "oh, a grapefruit might be tasty!" sane kind of wanting, but an angry, desperate desire. There was yelling at no one in particular about how Hannaford closes at 9:00, thusly denying citrus fruits to the community as a whole. A few days later, I strode purposefully away from the candy aisle to attain prices and availability of veggie platters. I've historically been minerally abusive to my body. This sudden craving for fresh produce is my subconscious last-ditch effort to get right with itself before I turn 30, and everything starts going downhill. It's like my body is a bomb shelter, and there's a nuclear war coming, but I'm still dangerously low on canned goods and Tang.

2) Exercise.
When dirty jeans have a just-washed fit, one begins to realize they're losing the battle. I thought I had this one beat last year, because I purchased DVDs of Pilates. Couple the fact that pilates are EXTREMELY hard and not fun with my intense dislike of Mari Winsor, and you'll be as unsurprised as I am that the exercise resolution last year derailed itself within a week. This resolution is deceptively tricky, and the results depend heavily on the success of my other resolutions. Luckily, I'm pretty gung-ho about the other ones, so hopefully exercise will work itself out. And walking is easy enough when the temperature's right.

3) Read 50 books this year.
I never would've thought to set a number, but since everyone and their uncle is doing the 50 books list, it seems like a worthy goal. I'm off to a horrendous start, what with January being half over, and no way to get to the library. Reading books I own feels like cheating. Not that we don't have a slew of very shitty literature in the attic, the remnants of our Library Book Sale expeditions. Beggars can't be choosers. I'll probably rummage through them later. I just won't share the list next year.

4) Set a leg shaving schedule.
Sorry, people who don't care. It's a resolution. Right now I'm averaging twice a year, and that's just not going to work anymore. I'm extremely lazy, and don't like to exert effort. Showers are exhausting enough before having to worry about the acrobatics that go into leg shaving. Don't expect me to stand in a tub full of water on one leg while wielding a sharp object and not come out seriously injured. I'm just not that gifted. And you couldn't pay me to try waxing my legs. I attempted that once, and am of the opinion that waxing is punishment for sinners. Hell is full of silky-smooth, baby-soft demons. So this year, I'm going to step up to the plate, and vow to set a regular schedule. How regular will depend on various factors that I won't trouble anyone with, but at least once a month? Maybe?

That's all for 2006. I'm not going to overwhelm myself. The four resolutions I've got here are basic, but tricky enough for this year. Next year I'll branch out, be a little more creative and adventurous. Or I'll try these ones again. Because I'm not out the woods yet - I've got 11 1/2 months left to fail.

14 January 2006

two evils

Friday the 13th and the full moon.

Two things I generally pay little attention to. Sure, I'll pretend like it affects my life in some way/shape/form. Separately.

Together, they pack a powerful, damaging punch.

Here's the list:
-fell down (not just a stumble, but WIPED OUT!) twice. In my house.
-accidentally kicked the radio. hard. there was blood.
-was unable to turn my head to the left, or even suggest the left as a viable directional option.
-discovered a crack in my windshield.
-was pulled over because the officer thought my exhaust might have a leak. he then discovered that i don't have insurance or an inspection sticker. was ticketed, might lose my license...yar. (we were coming back from cumberland farms, having just picked up our dinner.)

I didn't know about the full moon until 6:00 last night. If I had, I would've called out sick, and stayed home, wrapped tightly in a blanket, curled up in the fetal position in the darkest corner of the attic.

06 January 2006

book list '05

Only after reading Jim's blog did I realize that my 2005 Book List is done. I had hoped to squeeze a few more titles in, with the hopes of making it longer and smarter-looking. But what can I do now? Submit it. I didn't follow the whole 50 books list concept the way others did. I didn't write anything about the books I read. Which is why I'll attempt a sentence or two here. Because I've got nothing but time today.

Let me acknowledge and thank the Seattle Public Library for a large chunk of these titles, and also thanks to the Jay-Niles Memorial Library. A lot of fun for a little library.

And now, in chronological order:

1. MY LIFE IN HIGH HEELS by Loni Anderson
Very clear that she's trying to clear up the lies that spawned from her very public, very messy divorce from Burt Reynolds, this proved to be an interesting read. She comes off as down-to-earth, and very likeable. I learned that she totally nailed Gary Sandy for two years during WKRP in Cincinnatti (which surprised me, because I always took him for a Jan Smithers-type).

2. GRACIE: A LOVE STORY by George Burns
George Burns is old and sweet and loved his wife. I mean, he was old and sweet and loved his wife. Well-written. I finished this book in a day.

3. A SERIOUS PERSON by Orland Outland
I was surprised by this one. Always kind of a sucker for what I'd describe as the novelization of a gay romantic comedy, Orland Outland combines the stuff that makes for the best beach reads with issues and sentiments that force your brain into gear. Very much worth the mocking I endured (I will admit, the covers scream "fluffy love book").

4. MY WIFE AND MY DEAD WIFE by Michael Kun
I have a hard time when a book ends unsatisfactorily. By unsatisfactorily, I mean not the way I wanted it to end. It was a good book that I enjoyed almost all the way through. I enjoyed it enough to seek out his other book, which I didn't finish.

5. EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF by Orland Outland
Notice that? One book between the two Orland Outland novels? That was intentional. I thought it'd look obsessive if I read them back-to-back. Again, there were guilty pleasure aspects, some stuff that almost didn't work, but was generally validated by the end. And more issues and thinking! I started noticing the pattern in this one. The hard-hitting stuff starts readily presenting itself about 3/4ths of the way through. He doesn't want to beat you over the head with his opinions, but he wants to make sure you're thoroughly sucked in before serving up his opinions on culture and society. This took no more than a weekend.

6. ORACLE NIGHT by Paul Auster
I consider Paul Auster to be my most worthwhile discovery of 2005. I picked this one up randomly, because the cover seemed mysterious. And with a title like "Oracle Night", I was willing to try it. And it was every bit worth it. He relies on footnotes in this book, but he rarely abuses it. I didn't get to read any of his other books this year. Seattle Public Library had one other title, and I didn't get a chance to read it (I owe SPL money for it, actually). And Jay has none of Paul Auster's books.

7. THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE by Nina Niffenegger
Not exactly the kind of book I read, it's overly lovey. But it wasn't bad. I didn't dislike it. After reading it, it started appearing on lists, so I was glad that I read something people are talking about.

8. LITTLE CHILDREN by Tom Perrotta
This is the first Tom Perrotta book I've actually read. It was great. I'll leave it at that.

I looked Orland Outland up on the internet after reading and enjoying two of his novels. It was then I learned that he had written a series of Doan-and-Binky mysteries. Not sure what that meant, I was still desperate to locate one, if not all of them. No luck with Seattle Public Library. I struck gold randomly at Half-Price Books in Lynnwood. I bought this for $1. I was somewhat disappointed by it. I eventually sold it. The concept still amuses me, and I can't say I'm not tempted to try the second book of the series. First books, like series pilots, are a little clunky, and overly introductory. Maybe it gets better? I'm not holding my breath.

10. P IS FOR PERIL by Sue Grafton
This is the first mystery writer (other than your Agatha Christies or Sir Arthur Conan Doyles) who hasn't horrified me with terrible writing. She weaves a nice web, and doesn't try to be too clever. This was another $1 book I bought in Lynnwood, drawn by the name after seeing it on Jim's list. Thanks for sharing, Jim!

11. THE BEST LAID PLANS by Sidney Sheldon
Terrible book. I loved every minute of it.

12. G IS FOR GUMSHOE by Sue Grafton
Still good.

13. SUMMER SISTERS by Judy Blume
I'm continually conflicted by Judy Blume's "adult" novels. I don't mean Wifey adult, but you know. Aimed at grown-ups. I was sucked into this book, but I didn't necessarily like it. It had its moments. It was a little risque (if that's how you spell it? risk-AY!). Very L-I-T-E lite read. Or this: I enjoyed it, but didn't like it.

14. MAGICAL THINKING by Augusten Burroughs
I've actually read this book in its entirety three times this year alone. And once last year, right after purchasing it. There are few authors who can write autobiographically-based short stories and end with me desperately wanting to befriend them. Jeremy was quick to point out that no way in hell would Augusten Burroughs be able to tolerate me. He's not wrong. But I can dream, can't I?

15. J IS FOR JUDGEMENT by Sue Grafton
Seriously, it's just the thing sometimes. A good mystery. She doesn't beg you to solve it, she just takes you along for the ride.

16. R IS FOR RICOCHET by Sue Grafton
It was July. We were unemployed and staying with Jeremy's parents. His mother and I handed these off to each other as soon as we were finished with them.

17. RUNNING WITH SCISSORS by Augusten Burroughs
This guy is amazing.

18. DRY by Augusten Burroughs
I read Running With Scissors in a day, then immediately followed it up with Dry. It's totally the way to read these. One of my re-reads of Magical Thinking came immediately after I was done with this one...it makes it even more powerful.

19. A IS FOR ALIBI by Sue Grafton
I was worried about reading the first book of the series after already reading later installments. But this title was pretty solid.

20. EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES by Lynne Truss
The funniest punctuation and grammar book you'll ever read!!! I'm constantly afraid of boo-boos as a result. I appreciate her appreciation, and can stand even less to be exposed to anything involving the movie Two Weeks' Notice.

21. BOOKENDS by Jane Green
Eh. Two words: Chick Lit.

The first and probably the last Deepak Chopra book I'll ever read. Not that it wasn't interesting. But it almost feels a little too self-helpy to enjoy. A lot of the concepts are the same as polarity, which was interesting and familiar.

23. A LONG WAY DOWN by Nick Hornby
Not his best book, but I enjoyed it enough. It'd probably make a better movie. I couldn't cast it in my head though. I'm open to suggestions if anyone else has read this.

24. LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel
Once you get through the first 30-50 pages, you will not put the book down. I desperately need to think about the book, but I don't want what I think is the case to BE the case. I can't be clear without ruining the book. I love it, and fear that thinking about it too hard will only depress me.

I was curious, okay??? It wasn't as awful as I thought it would be.

I daresay, without having previously read any of her books, I have underestimated Fannie Flagg. I think I've already used the phrase "weave a web" somewhere in this list, but she does. And it's charming. And good. And I didn't want it to end.

27. ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY by David Sedaris
I've read this several times. I banged it out again on the flight to California. After I finished, I started reading Magical Thinking again.

Twenty-seven books. It felt like more, looked like less... it averages out. Cable has been my downfall. I did nothing but read before we got television hooked up. This year will be different. I've still got access to a decent library. It's not huge, but it's got variety. It's better than Portland Public Library, I can tell you that!

That was kind of fun. I can't speak for you, dear reader. But I had a good time.

05 January 2006

TV loves 2006

2005 is done. And I have yet to correctly write the correct year on any document. It wasn't this hard last year. Actually, the transition from '04 to '05 was extremely easy. Instead of looking at is as age-related memory loss, I'll take it as an omen. The trickier the changeover, the better the year will be. I've got nothing to complain about as of yet.

We had invitations to Portland and Millinocket for the New Year, which would've been fine if I didn't open the video store New Year's Day. We went to the home of some of our Jay friends, and had a pretty good time. I was the DD, so I cut myself off after my second cider jack (no drunkenness, but still ended up sick the next morning. what a terrible drink!).

I'm getting used to being stranded at the apartment. I'm better about keeping myself entertained. A lot of it centers around podcasts (The Ricky Gervais Show!!!!) and playing Chuzzle for hours on end. It also involves a new TV show. New to me. Cancelled a couple years ago. I stumbled across the first episode of a marathon, and checked it out, purely out of curiosity. And proceeded to watch the marathon in its entirety. I now record the two episodes per day that air on the Women's Entertainment network. I'm not stalling. I'm not ashamed. It's Felicity.

That's right, Felicity. Keri Russell, Scott Speedman, Scott Foley, the pink power ranger ... I remember watching the pilot when it first aired, and not hating it. But then sometimes, when you aren't immediately drawn by a show, you lose track of it, and suddenly you don't care anymore. That's what happpened. But talk about coming back with a vengeance! I stopped on the episode because noon isn't a hotbed of quality television programming. After being pulled in, I consulted the schedule and found that there was another episode coming up. And another. And then another. And I can't tell you I wasn't delighted (I could, but it'd be a big fat lie). I sat on the couch for six hours, watching the Felicity marathon (the last six episodes of the final season!). I was still unshowered and in pajamas 15 minutes prior to Jeremy's arrival home that day. Allow me to say I'm not obsessed with this show, though everything I just typed probably argues the opposite. It's a very good show. But it doesn't come close to touching on the brilliance of the first several seasons of Ally McBeal. Or Northern Exposure. Surely not Gilmore Girls either. Though I have cried at Felicity three times since I've started watching. And in researching Felicity on the internet (yes, shut up.) I've found a lot of creative links to Alias, House, and Scrubs. I already enjoy Scrubs, and this encourages me to give the other two shows a try. It's the best way to find new shows. After I had become addicted to Gilmore Girls, I learned about all the incestuous creative commonalities between it and Family Guy. The writers! The producers! The actors! I was surprised, and equally not surprised. Great shows hide well in the sea of crap that makes up most of television these days. You've got to dig deep to find worthwhile options. Because when television is good, it's truly great. And when it's bad, it's devastating.

Jeremy took overtime this week, so he's been working 9-7. His check is going to be one of silk, written out in gold ink. It also means that on days off (which now fall every other day, thanks to not being able to work over 20 hours anymore), I'm here alone from 7:30a.m. until just after 8:00p.m. It's not as long as I expected it to feel. I'm a first-rate putterer. Only a fourth-class tidier, but I'm working on it.