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Brit Businessman: I hate having to eat. Because you eat and you just feel like a fattie.
Brit Businesswoman: I haven’t eaten.
Brit Businessman: You haven’t eaten?
Brit Businesswoman: Well, I had breakfast and then lunch.
–57th and Park
Overheard by: Heather
Mason accused me of being hyper after having eaten all the Reese's Peanut Butter chocolate eggs (which I may have done), but I don't think it's the sugar that got me all jazzed. I had a surprisingly good "First Pages" gig at the Chanhassen Library today. I mean, I actually don't know if I taught anything to the THREE (hey, I was only expecting ONE, so this was an improvement) teens who showed up. But, I had a blast playing with the plot generators that we found on-line.A couple of my favorites: For absolute zaniness (including robots poking each other at a funeral), you really need to press "random" and try out one of the generators at http://www.plot-generator.org.ukThe other one that entertained us (though probably me more than them): http://www.springhole.net/writing_roleplaying_randomators/plotgens.htmFrom the springhole site, I got the prompt for how I got my superpowers: "Bought them from a fairy."In response, I wrote this:They told me if I wanted to get superpowers, I had to buy them from the fairy. The problem was you never knew what it’d cost you. Fairies are fickle, you know. Sometimes they just want something mundane in exchange. I heard of a guy who got the power of invulnerability and all it cost him was a slice of Munster cheese. Other times, they wanted too much, stuff no sane person would part with. Sure, you’re immortal, but your body is gone, and you’re just stuffed teddy bear without even the ability to move or speak.I don't know if I'll do anything with it, but it's kind of a fun start, isn't it?The 'First Pages' is an interesting concept, and I do mean 'interesting' in the Minnesota sense. There's a kind of a theme to it. This one was generally supposed to be about "Reading to Write" and the description talked about what kinds of things you could potentially learn from reading books. But, the way that the education department bills it to their instructors is that you're supposed to be far more flexible than that. You're supposed to go in ready to teach that OR ANYTHING THE PARTICIPANTS ASK FOR. We talked a little about what books had taught us about writing (the answer is, of course: EVERYTHING,) but, generally, I'm supposed to go in and ask them what they want to learn... and wing it. I happen to be really good at teaching on the fly for the most part, but I always leave wondering if the participants (I hesitate to call them students in a situation like this) got 1) what they came for, and/or 2) leave feeling as though they got something out of it. I mean, the good news is that it's entirely free. I get paid, but they don't have to pay to play. So, I supposed anything I give them is worth the price they paid, if you look at it that way. But, they are giving up 90 minutes of their day, so I do feel like they should leave feeling like it wasn't a waste.I never know if I achieve that or not.Being an extrovert who is pushed to improvise, however = wired.So, I came home, ate a lot of chocolate and was a little too silly while playing a game of Star Munchkin with Mason and Shawn. :-)Oh, and yesterday, with his day off, Mason wanted to go to the Mall of America with his allowance and buy a big ol' LEGO set he'd been saving up for for forever. He got a LotR's set "The Tower of Orthanc." It's massive. Plus, I got an unexpected royalty check, so we decided to splurge a bit as a family. We went book shopping at all our favorite used bookstores. Mason came home with LITERALLY a box of books. I got these:I got Black Widow 1-8 and Full Metal Alchemist volumes 1-8 (missing #6). I also picked up some Shonen Jump issues that had Bleach in them to added to my collection. I like getting those to see what else was running in Jump at the same time, and because there are often little asides that give you names written in Japanese and whatnot.Now, I'm going to try to harness some of this energy to write! Wish me luck.
Every day, A wakes up in the body of a new person. They are always sixteen, and always within a certain geographical range of each other. Everything else varies. It began when A was an infant. Eventually A started counting days, and is now into the 6000s.A has always lived like this, cultivating philosophical detachment and a non-interference policy. A can access their hosts’ memories, and uses this to go through the paces of their host bodies’ lives, trying to leave everything exactly as they found it. Until A lands in the body of a complete asshole of a teenage boy named Justin, who has a girlfriend named Rhiannon. And A falls in love.I’ve seen this premise, or something similar to it, a couple times before. The version closest to this one was a short story by Greg Egan called “The Safe-Deposit Box.” But the TV shows Quantum Leap and, to a lesser degree, Touched by an Angel, also played with this concept. It’s a great concept. Overall, I liked the book. It has fantastic narrative drive and, as I said, a terrific concept. This review will sound more critical than I actually felt reading it; its flaws are interesting and worth discussing, so I’m going to spend more time on them than on what I liked. But seriously, it’s generally very good and if the premise sounds at all interesting, you should read it. The biggest problem I had with it is that I was interested in the other lives, and in the question of how much a life could change in a single day. I was not very caught up in the love story. And the book is more about the love story. Especially by the halfway mark, A often completely ignores the body they’re inhabiting in favor of obsessing over how they were going to get to see Rhiannon (the logistics of finding transportation to her take up a large percentage of page time), and this was the opposite of what I was interested in.Rhiannon never came to life as a character, nor did I ever see what she and A saw in each other. She’s a generic quirky girl. I kept thinking there was going to be some reveal about what in her past or current life was keeping her stuck in a borderline emotionally abusive relationship with Justin, when the latter has no apparent redeeming qualities whatsoever. But there isn’t one. She’s the object of desire, and that’s it. I completely believe that in A’s situation, they would be obsessive and stalkery about a love interest – for one thing, some degree of stalking is required to get to know anyone at all, at least in the beginning. That being said, A was obsessive and stalkery and it didn’t make me root for their relationship. The non-interference policy was frustrating because A was so inconsistent about it. In one quite vivid scene, A goes through agony in an addict’s body because A refuses to do drugs. (Why won’t A do drugs? I can think of lots of reasons, but A never says why. The conclusion I came to was that Levithan didn’t want to depict drug-taking.) But later, A is extremely reluctant to stop their host from committing suicide. Why is that verboten, but making a host’s body go through painful withdrawal isn’t even considered interference? What I liked best about the book – the snapshots of all the different lives – also had some holes in it. A only speaks English, and must slowly rifle through a host’s memories to respond even haltingly and in a few words in any other language. If A has been this way since they were a baby, wouldn’t they have absorbed at least a couple other common languages? How could A have possibly cycled into multiple bodies whose language they didn’t know over a period of sixteen years without anyone ever noticing? Late in the book, A wakes up in an obese body. Alone among all the many incarnations, A is grossed out by the body and gets no sense of the body’s interior life, apparently due to its fatness. Seriously? That’s where A and their infinite experience draws the line? I can see that it was important for A to meet Rhiannon in a body she was turned off by, but there were better ways to do it. (Like a body that bore a very strong resemblance to someone she hated, or to one of her relatives. Squick!) I also ended up wanting A to experience their lives as more different. Many of them blend together and start seeming very similar. A may have no gender and no race, but people react very differently depending on one’s gender and race, and many other factors besides. I wanted A to notice that more, so they could adjust their behavior accordingly. A poor black boy, a middle-class Asian girl, a white girl in a wheelchair, and a middle-class white boy may have different experiences doing something as everyday as driving a car (a remarkable number of their teenage hosts conveniently had cars) or buying a soda from a convenience store.And while I’m bitching: there was a subplot that got ought to have been extremely interesting (one of the hosts realized that they were a host and went after A) but was taken over by “evangelicals are idiots.” This was especially frustrating since it led to a fascinating plot revelation that could have taken the book in a whole new direction… about one chapter before the book ended. I wish that had been where that storyline had started.Oh, and A didn’t sound like a teenager at all. A sounded like Chicken Soup for the Soul. I could buy that due to the circumstances of A’s life, but all the not-terribly-deep life wisdom sometimes got a bit much. As I said, despite all these qualms, I did enjoy reading the book. It zips along, and I was always excited to get to the next day and the next body. Flawed but definitely worth reading. Every DayCrossposted to http://rachelmanija.dreamwidth.org/1141518.html. Comment here or there.
Businessman: Maria, Maria, Maria. I eat like 5 times a day.
Maria: So how do you stay looking so good?
Businessman: I’m a vegetarian, so I have to eat all the time.
Hipster screamed out: “Michael Bloomberg has electricity now!”
Fat Chick: Thank God. Cheryl! It’s the Golden Arches!
–Bus Entering Port Authority
Today we went to the Winter Farmers' Market and bought absolutely no produce. But we DID get a slice of chocolate cake, a few chive and cheddar scones, gingersnaps, a mini apple pie, fresh baked pretzels and some vegan Montreal-style bagels that the lady assured us had been "boiled this morning", and three bottles of cordials to mix with club soda. Which is what we do for soda in our household, especially since I asked my parents for a Soda Stream last birthday (we got mango passionfruit, strawberry, and hibiscus lemon -- we were supposed to get blackcurrant instead of the strawberry, but I grabbed the wrong bottle at the stand, d'oh). thesurgeon brought us some Grace's kola champagne and Jamaican sorrel syrups when he was up here visiting, so considering that Lori and I have mostly soda in our soda-to-syrup ratios, we're set till like, December, heh.We also spent all last night mainlining My Cat From Hell with 21freckles . Now that I'm a dog auntie I am obsessed with looking at dogs on the street, and am considering a cat even though the idea of a litter box repulses me. Which brings me to my next thing: Lori, me, our friend Dasha and her fella Tobi all moved into this place together last September and we love it here and wanted it long-term, but circumstances for the landlords have changed and now they'll want to move back in September. Which, ugh, those are shitty circumstances for all involved, so if you've got the time and inclination, please send wishes or prayers out to the universe that they change their minds or that we find a really awesome new place! September's a whiles away, so who knows what can happen between now and then, right?And finally, I am gonna be using my makeshift recs journal (missmaggierecs ) as a more all-purpose recs journal now. So not just fic and art, but really anything else I try out in life that I feel like reviewing. Right now, I'm doing makeup!
comments over yonder on http://bossymarmalade.dreamwidth.org/527913.html, y'all.
Had somebody tell me today that LiveJournal confused them. I did not voice my immediate thought, which was an inarticulate version of "then I guess it's not for you" nor the one immediately following, which was rude and had to do with intelligence needed but apparently lacking.. :)Of course LJ isn't for everyone. Of course that doesn't make us "better," just different. Feels better, though. LOL I am such a brat sometimes.
I was able to prepare this a couple of days ahead of time, so the numbers may have shifted in the interim. As usual, I have ranked by descending order of GoodReads users who have rated each of the nominated books.
Hysterical Man: The bridge is swinging! Everybody get off the bridge!
Reasonable Man: It’s supposed to swing! This is a suspension bridge!