Great White Snark: 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013


I am bummed. 

(Which, for my UK readers, means I am sad, not that I was anally invaded, thankyouverymuch.)

Here's the thing. I want to whine a bit, because this is my blog. But I always feel so guilty whining, especially around the holidays, because I have so much for which to be grateful. And while I'm initially inclined to sit around and feel really sorry for myself (because poor me), there are people who have it so much worse and are so much more uplifting and nice and happy. Basically, they have a better attitude than I do. 

So. I am going to whine. A little bit. But I also want everyone to realize that I know how much worse it could be. And I am really grateful, so I will follow up my whining with a "thankful list." Is that okay?

I am bummed out because I started this Christmas season actually a little bit excited about the whole thing. Christmas is never my favorite time of year, but it seemed like everything was going pretty well. My aunt is in town to help out with my grandma, my parents' health is good, Michael is doing well...all seemed like it might shape up to be a normal Christmas (disasters of Christmasses past: emergency trip to NC on Christmas day to retrieve my ailing grandmother and bring her here to live, my dad being temporarily blinded by retinal detachment surgery, me having my wisdom teeth out, and the kicker, my grandpa passing on the 23rd). 

Then I wrecked my knee. 

Which wasn't really all that bad. I mean, it sucks, and it still hurts. But I didn't need to have surgery, so that's a good thing.

What really sucks about it is how long its taking to heal. Granted, I am two weeks out of my injury. They said it'll be about 8. I've got a LONG way to go still. But I am SO SICK of just lying around. Or going one place and being too tired out to continue running my errands and finishing my Christmas shopping. I don't like being physically frustrated when mentally, I'm ready to GO. 

This, of course, being the first year in ages that I haven't finished my Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving, I ended up having to order the remaining gifts on my list online. Which is a beautiful thing. Except for when they ship you the wrong item and in order to get the correct item in time for Christmas, you have to go to the physical store anyway, which is exactly what I was trying to avoid doing in the first place. 

This has happened. Twice. I still haven't made my final return and frankly, I'm not going to. Everyone can just deal with getting the rest of their presents after New Year's. 

THEN, I got sick. So now, I am sick, coughing, sniffling, not-sleeping, and achy. And my leg is still bad. My physical therapist ripped me a new one yesterday, so I'm sorer now than I've been in a long time. THANKS, GUYS. 

So even if I could muster up the energy (and swallow enough DayQuil) to go out and finish my things, my leg's too sore. And I'm hacking up a lung. 

I went back to work for like, 2 days and it was glorious. But apparently, two days is more than my ridiculously puny system can handle, so now I'm back to invalid status. 


I am very patient with others. It's a good trait. But I am ruthless with myself. I am angry with myself for getting hurt in the first place. I'm mad that the injury so lowered my immune system that I got sick on top of it. I'm mad that I went into shock and wasn't braver, and as a result I'm not producing enough serotonin and I feel depressed when I should be making jokes about the irony of the situation. I'm mad that I didn't get my Christmas shopping done sooner. I'm mad I don't make more money (which would have facilitated getting shopping done sooner). I'm mad that there's still time to make sure everything is perfect, and instead, I'm in bed, looking like hell, again. I'm mad I'll miss my family's Christmas dinner tomorrow because I had a blast seeing everyone on Thanksgiving. I'm mad I had to cancel meeting up with Bethany to exchange gifts. I'm mad I haven't seen The Hobbit yet and won't until probably after New Year's.

I'm just a little miffed. 

So, that's my whiny time. I'm just bummed because I tend to be a perfectionist. I want everyone to be healthy and happy on Christmas, with the perfect presents wrapped perfectly (I skimped on wrapping this year, too, because getting down on the floor to wrap is one thing. Getting up is an epic of Beowulf proprotion.). I feel like I'm letting down my friends and family by not getting to see them, like somehow they might think I'm making things up to get out of social things, which I'm not. 

Hopefully, this cold will pass without becoming bronchitis, and I'll feel halfway decent on Christmas. 

On to the Things For Which I Am Thankful:
-That I didn't need surgery.
-For Bixby, who literally makes me smile and/or laugh every day even if I feel crappy.
-For my parents, who are nice enough to let me live with them, assure me that Christmas will continue even if I don't do ALL THE THINGS, and are helping me and taking care of me.
-For my bed. I mean, if I'm going to be stuck somewhere on and off for a month at a time, it might as well be somewhere I love, right?
-For the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings DVD's, the special features of which I've been systematically watching while I'm down and out.
-For books, for keeping me sane.
-For the friends who've stopped by and brought cards, flowers, encouraging emails and texts. You guys mean everything to me, and I'm so grateful for your love and support and well-wishes.
-For my job. Here's how you know your boss is awesome: you call her from the emergency room to let her know what happened and her first question is, "Are you there alone? Do you need me to come over there?" Seriously, I was totally morphined up, but I almost cried. Secondly, they've allowed me to do some telecommuting from home, and have basically said, "make your own schedule while you're recovering." Thirdly, every single one of my co-workers got each other Christmas gifts, even if it was just little things from the Dollar Store or homemade cookies. It's just so sweet. Fourthly, when I came in earlier this week, they had literally moved my entire desk and workspace downstairs for me so I don't have to trudge up the stairs. Seriously??? My job is amazing, and I thank God every day for the people I work with and for allowing me to be there with them.
-For Christmas. Because even if it's not the perfect, soft-focus event I imagined in my mind, we're still allowed to celebrate it however we want to or can in this country. And I'm so glad I have a savior who reminds me every once in a while to be a Mary, not a Martha, and just sit at His feet and be in His presence, especially at this time of year. And it's okay to sit, and be still, and know that He is God. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Joyful and triumphant.

I was kind of a Scrooge with my "war on Christmas" post, so I thought I'd post some nice holiday things. 

And finally...

And on that note:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I took "shop till you drop" to a whole new level.

What happened to me yesterday is one of those things where I hope the only lasting after-effect will be a fantastic story. 

So, I don't really even know where to begin. I guess I'll go chronologically. 

I went shopping yesterday, because I had time and a gift card, and I was just looking for some cute wintry clothes. I'll just come out and say it, I was at Plato's, the one in Altamonte. So I'm in the dressing room. I had tried on a dress, a couple of shirts, and was finishing up trying on jeans. I was putting back on my own jeans when, and I have honest-to-God no idea what happened, I fell. I mean, I FELL. The floor is some kind of rubbery material, and I have a feeling I went to twist my leg to balance, and it didn't move, so I just ended up twisting my leg, and my knee absolutely gave out. I screamed. If you know me, you know I have a relatively high pain tolerance, and I hate drawing attention to myself, but this was easily the worst pain I've ever been in in my entire, short life. So I screamed, and I fell because I couldn't hold myself up. The lady in the dressing room next me goes, "Are you okay?" And the question was echoed by all the employees who had come running when they heard me. I was like, "NO!" The dressing room attendant asked if I could open the door, to which I very cleverly answered, "I'm not even dressed!"

This is the saddest part of this story, btw. I had no shirt on and my jeans were halfway pulled on. Because this happening fully dressed would not have been NEARLY embarrassing enough. 

So anyway, she's like, "I have the key, we're going to get you out." And my thoughts were all equal parts, "OMG they're going to see me with no clothes on," "OMG, my knee is bent," "OMG, this is exactly what happened to Chichi (my mom's gimp chihuahua)," and "OMG, I'm gonna faint." They did open the door, and I had purposely not looked down because I could feel my knee was all bent out of shape. All three of the girls who were there gasped when the door opened. And I said, again very cleverly, "I'm going to faint." 

Luckily, the dressing room attendant (who I later learned was the manager on duty) had EMT or paramedic training. Thank GOD she was there. Seriously, I have prayed over this girl so many times because the whole experience would have been about 50 times worse if she had not been there. She very calmly grabbed me by the shoulders, took me out of the dressing room, and laid me down flat. She's like, "Don't faint, you gotta stay with us," but she laid me out flat anyway, which was really spectacular. She got me some clothes to cover up with, which was like, the best thing ever. 

"The Winner Is" from the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack was playing this whole time, btw, which is an odd memory to have, but from now on that's how I'll think of that song.

Anyway, Angel Girl (I don't know her name!) got me a cold cloth for my head (presumably to help with the whole not-fainting-from-pain thing), and she's like, "I'm gonna pull your jeans the rest of the way down because they're constricting the knee, but we've got stuff to cover you up." I think I just nodded. Or kept saying, "I'm sorry" like, over and over again. She got the jeans down over my busted up knee. And she was like, "Oooh, you did a number." I sneaked a glance and then thought I was going to faint again. 

I'm not posting a picture because a) my thought at that time was not "OMG SELFIE #IEFFEDUPMYKNEE!" so I have no pics, and b) it's super gross. But if you want to see what it generally resembled, click here at your own risk. 

They called 911, almost as soon as they heard me fall, which was amazing. But I was so scared. I'm pretty sure I've never been that scared in my life. Luckily Angel Girl sat next to me the whole time, and I was like, "What just happened?" She told me I had dislocated my knee pretty badly, and that an ambulance was on the way. I know nothing at all about medical things or injuries, so I'm like, "Is it broken? Is it even possible to break a knee? Do I need surgery?" And she very calmly answered me and said it was definitely dislocated, there could have been an internal fracture, and the paramedics would take me to Altamonte hospital. She asked if I was there with anyone, to which I wanted to be like, "If I was, don't you think they'd be here by now? I'm kind of making a scene." She had gotten my purse and clothes together and got me my phone. I tried calling my mom, but she was visiting my grandma and didn't have her phone on her. Luckily, my dad was at his office, which is about 10 or 15 minutes away, and I was like, "An ambulance is coming, please meet me at the hospital." The paramedics arrived just as I was finishing talking to him. What I really wanted to do was be like, "OMG COME NOW I AM SO SCARED!" but sometimes I try to be an adult. 

The paramedics come in and the one guy goes, "So, what are you doing?" And I answer, "I'm on the floor, naked, in Plato's Closet." He laughed and goes, "Well, you're not exactly naked," and they had some kind of ambulance blanket they covered me up with THANK GOD. Because having a store full of women see you in various states of undress is bad. Having 5 ripped guys you don't know see you in various states of undress (while lying on the floor with deformed appendages) is mortifying

They got an IV going and started me on morphine. I remember them trying to straighten out the leg, but I was like, "Guys, that's not gonna happen." So they upped my dose. Still no way they were able to straighten out my leg. Even with that much medication, I was absolutely still in pain. They finally gave me Versed, which I think knocked me out. If it didn't, I have literally no memory of what happened after that. 

I do know that they were awesome. I started going into shock and they were super nice and the one older guy held my hand and kept telling me I was doing fine and it was going to be okay, which is really what I wanted more than anything. Anyway, shout-out to Altamonte ambulance guys, you were AWESOME. 

I came to in the ambulance, and my leg had managed to go flat. The guy told me that the kneecap had been put back into place, and they were going to run x-rays at the hospital to make sure it was okay. They got me out and wheeled me into the hospital, where, HALLELUJAH! my Dad was waiting. I got a room, which was also nice, and then waited a couple of hours for them to do x-rays and everything. The whole afternoon is a little hazy after that. I remember trying to stay awake and coherent, but I felt really tired. Also, I have no idea what I may or may not have said, and that's probably a good thing because this whole story is already embarrassing enough without recollection of any drug-addled rambling that may have occurred. 

To complete my humiliation, I will only say two words: bed pan. 

Around 5, they checked me out. The x-rays came back okay, I guess. They gave me a leg brace and orders to stay on bed rest until I could get checked out by an orthopedic doctor, which won't be until Monday or Tuesday. So now I'm left with some humiliating memories, an incredibly sore knee, two people I'd like to thank and have no way to because I don't even know their names (Angel Girl and the Nice Paramedic), the threat that this may happen again (because apparently, that's common), and the promise of crutches and 6-8 weeks of physical therapy. 

I'll keep everyone updated, because I know this is an enthralling story. Ugh. The things I get myself into. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Not getting to say Merry Christmas even though I'm a Christian? BOTHERED.

I'm the Queen of unpopular opinions. I just have a lot of them. I also don't care. 

This time, I want to talk about Christmas. 

Here's the deal. I am a practicing Christian (a Catholic, specifically), and I take offense to the fact that mainstream media and marketing are trying to eradicate the whole CHRIST aspect of CHRISTMAS.

This pisses me off every winter, but this year, it's a lot more prominent. I think it's because I do a lot of the PR work at the library, and I'm constantly being told to make it "less Christmassy, more holiday." 

Here's what doesn't make sense to me. I have no problem acknowledging Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, or whatever else your preferred winter holiday is. But it's a little stupid to me that we have to have "Winter Parties" and say "Happy Holidays" when Hanukkah ends on Thursday, and Kwanzaa doesn't start until December 26th. So basically, between Thursday and Christmas, the ONLY holiday that's actually actively available for well-wishing is Christmas. Unless you want to go around wishing people a Happy Solstice on the 21st, and if you do, go knock your socks off. Just expect a lot of raised eyebrows and inquisitive looks. 

I like that we live in a country where we have a wide variety of religions and their holidays. I think it's nice that we can all enjoy that freedom. That being said, this nation was founded on Christianity, and I think the Founding Fathers would have a heart attack if they saw the bastardization of the Constitution that's occurring right now. I also think that if you can't deal with the fact that the people who founded this country were what might be called "Bible thumpers," and our pledge has the word "God" in it, and our money says, "In God we trust," then you should leave. There are lots of other countries out there. Go find one that aligns with your personal beliefs. 

(SHPIEL: There's a lot of debate about the date of December 25th and "how does anyone know that's when Jesus was born?", but here's the deal. January 6th has always been celebrated as Epiphany, the day when the wise men visited. The church wanted 12 Days of Christmas (yes, like the song, I'm not making this up, go research), so they literally counted backwards and ended up at December 25th. Also, Christmas comes from the words "Christ mass" because when Christmas was officially made a holiday, there was only the Catholic church. There are a lot of different supposed reasons for the choosing of December 25th (nine months after the conception of Christ, incorporation of Sol Invictus into the church, etc.), but the date isn't important! Celebrating the incarnation of Jesus IS!)

And I get that we have to (and should!) acknowledge other religions, but I don't like it when that comes at the cost of eliminating MY religion. If everyone is going to be all "religious equality!" then how about we still acknowledge Christianity? I know they're not the minority, but we still need to acknowledge them. And the truth is, without Christians, there would be no Christmas! It's become secularized and if you want to adopt secular parts, that's fine. But you need to acknowledge that historically, there would be no Happy Holidays without Merry Christmas. 

And even the secular parts, like presents and decorating, have origins in the Christian traditions. So you can pretend to have "holidays" but you're basically wrong. And that's fine, like, if you don't want to believe that's fine. I feel sorry for you, but that's your choice. But don't just pretend like you invented everything and that Christians who want to celebrate are wrong and insensitive and all that. Because if we're all having equal rights, we have every right to say and celebrate Christmas. 

So I'll be saying Merry Christmas, and I hope you say it to me. And to my Jewish friends, I hope you're having an awesome Hannukah. I don't know anyone who celebrates Solstice or Kwanzaa, but if you do, hope they're nice. 

TLDR: I like equality, but I don't like it when that means that white people and Christianity get pooped on just because they're the majority. If you really want equality, then let's be EQUAL. 

End rant. 
Also, I hope I didn't actually offend anyone with my middle class, white girl, Christian ranting. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What would Beyoncé do?

"Beyoncé isn’t Beyoncé because she reads comments on the Internet. Beyoncé is in Ibiza, wearing a stomach necklace, walking hand in hand with her hot boyfriend. She’s going on the yacht and having a mimosa. She’s not reading sh**ty comments about herself on the Internet, and we shouldn’t either. I just think, Would Beyoncé be reading this? No, she would just delete it or somebody would delete it for her. What I really need to do is close the computer and then talk back to that voice and say, "F**k you. I don’t give a s**t what you think. I’m Beyoncé. I’m going to Ibiza with Jay-Z now, f**k off."
-Kathleen Hanna (lead singer of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre)

Bonus gif of Beyoncé being fabulous:

Kathleen Hanna is pretty fierce, too. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world."

Thankful List

  • Topping the list this year is my job. First of all, I'm glad I even have a job. Secondly, this time last year, I was worried I was going to be a secretary forever, and actually cried (tears of joy) when one of my co-workers came up to me to discuss The Secret Garden which she had recently read. I realized then (more than ever) that I needed to be working among books and with other bookish people. God heard my prayers and placed me in a job that's perfect for me, and with people I really enjoy. I'm so grateful that the Director decided to take a chance on "the coupon girl with no experience." It's changed my life!
  • I'm grateful for my family, who are wonderful. Especially my Mom, who no matter what life throws at her deals with it gracefully and with dignity, and no matter how hard her own battles are, touches everyone she meets and knows with kindness and generosity. I'm grateful for my Dad, who's not only brilliant, hard-working, and generally the best guy I know, but for giving me impossibly high standards when it comes to dating guys, because I know what the best is, and won't settle for less. And for Michael, who is such a hard worker, is so smart it actually makes me sick, and is, comparatively speaking, a really good kid and great brother. 
  • I'm grateful for my mom's older sister who's really stepped up and helped us out this holiday season. And for my paternal grandmother, who's like the glue who holds us all together and is always welcoming and awesome. I'm also grateful that as my cousins and I move towards adulthood, we're able to reconnect in a way we couldn't when we were little kids with years between us. Being five years older is the difference between kindergarten and 5th grade when you're little. When you're older, it totally doesn't matter anymore. 
  • I'm grateful that I have a heavenly Father who loves me and forgives me, and doesn't expect me to be perfect. He just wants me to be me. 
  • I'm grateful for America, and even though our we're facing difficulty, we still live in the greatest country in the world. (Mostly because I get to have a blog where I can talk about God and government and not have to worry about getting shot for it. *_~)
  • I'm grateful for Bixby, Sherman, and all the animals we're blessed with on this planet, both wild and domesticated. Seriously, animals are great. ALL of them. But especially pugs and manatees and narwhals.
  • I'm grateful for being relatively healthy, asthma and monthly colds aside (which are due, mostly, to the fact that I work with children, who are well-recognized germ bags. Adorable and hilarious, but germ bags nonetheless). 
  • I'm actually grateful that I'm strong enough to be single in a society which tells me that I'm worthless if I don't have a guy at my side or a ring on my finger. I'd rather be happy, like I am now, and single than stuck with somebody I can't stand. 
  • I'm grateful for all my friends and acquaintances, even if we just talk on Facebook, because you make me feel loved and not as weird as I think I am in my head. But I'm especially grateful for Bethany, because we met when we were 15 and we'll both be 25 this year, which means she's been my bestie for 10 years. It's really nice to have someone grow up beside you, and know all your stories so you don't have to explain it all to them. Actually, she could probably finish all my stories for me with better accuracy than I could. 
  • I'm grateful for books, literacy, and imagination.
  • Food. Enough said. 

I know I've missed a lot, because I have so much for which to be grateful. Thank you, if you're reading this, for being here and being awesome. And Happy Thanksgiving!
(Or, as they say in the south with the emphasis on "thanks" and no "g" at the end, THANKSgivin'!)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Potential new least favorite book?

I just read the most heinous book. 

OH MY GOD, I literally can't even talk about how much I LOATHED this book. It was the most vapid, insipid, stupid, brainless waste of paper I've ever had the utter displeasure of reading. 

Not true. Heart of Darkness is still my least favorite book, but this book actually insulted me as a fan of Austen and an educated human being. 

What I hate most about this book is that it masquerades itself as some kind of almighty tribute to Austen, who is probably my favorite author, when really, it's so trite and STUPID that it's insulting to insinuate that you are glorifying her by reading or writing this book, and it's insulting to people who have actually READ all of her books to tout this as some kind of tribute. 


The main girl is a sad, Darcy-obsessed, single woman who wins a trip to Austenland, a place where you can go and literally pretend to be in a Jane Austen book alongside trained actors and everything. Of course, she falls in love with the Darcy character, but without the intrigue and intelligence of the ACTUAL Pride and Prejudice romance. 

Also, Hale repeatedly bashes Northanger Abbey, one of my favorites, and lauds SuckMansfield Park, the only of Austen's novels I actively dislike. 

It was just infuriating to me. I had to question if she'd ever actually read any of Austen's book, because this is the kind of dialogue, book, characters, and scenarios that Austen SNARKED IN HER OWN BOOKS. If you're going to write some kind of tribute novel, AT LEAST TRY, DAMMIT. 

Luckily, I've read other works by Shannon Hale and I know she's a good author, but it's like she got a prescription for stupid pills, popped them all, and birthed this monstrosity. 

I was so pissed off with this book that I literally felt my blood pressure rising as I was finishing it. If you were born with only half a brain, or you hate Austen, or you love really poor storytelling, go ahead and read this book. Everyone else, go read an actual Austen book. Or Sherlock Holmes, who would probably have injected cocaine, overdosed, gone on a crazy chemistry spree and poisoned every single person in this book, and then successfully framed Charles Augustus Milverton. Which would have been a really suitable alternate ending. 


While reading: 


 Summary of the book: 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Books I've Read Since The Night Circus

I've finished quite a few books in the last couple of weeks and wanted to do quick reviews of them. 

The Arrival, by Shaun Tan

This one was totally different from anything I usually read (or anything I've ever read, for that matter). For starters, it's a graphic novel, which usually isn't my thing. Secondly, there are no words. It's that artistic. Now, I realize that I should probably have been more serious and artsy about this book, but when there are no words, then my inner monologue takes over. And my inner monologue is really vulgar and tends to be kind of an idiot (also, it's British, don't even ask), so the reading went something like, "Okay, so this guy's going to buy postage stamps. Oh no wait, that's bread. And wait, there's a little ratf----r. What the eff even is that. What is it doing. It's like a shark-rat with gills. It's a ratf----r. Wait, everyone has a pet. That one's like a cat-fox. It's a cox." And on and on. 

This is actually a really moving story about a man who leaves his wife and child and home in a place that's being taken over by something bad (represented by a spiny dragon tail), and goes someplace new and foreign, tries to make a living over there, and later brings his wife and daughter to live there with him. It's an artistic story about immigration and emigration. He goes. The language is totally new and different (and so the reader experiences it with him, is completely made up and nonexistent). There are strange customs (everyone has some kind of pet, like in the Golden Compass books), strange ways to get food (I still don't get it...the best Inner Monologue and I came up with is that it's some kind of guessing game/vending machine in a wall), and everyone he meets has come from someplace else. It's like AMERICA but fictionalized. I liked it. I like that I was able to have a stupid narration in my head, but later realize what a cool story it is. And top of that, no matter where you're from or where you're going, you can "read" this book, because there's no words! I give major creativity props to Shaun Tan, and highly recommend it. I finished in about 20 minutes. You should at least go and look at the cute animal pictures. 

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

Two things to note about my experience with this book: 
1. I have not seen the movie. 
2. I audiobooked it, and realized AFTERWARD that the actual book has some incredible illustrations that I totally missed by listening to the story, so I feel like I need to go back and actually read the physical book. 
That being said, I can't talk about the illustrations or the feel of the book, and I'm sorry about that. But the story itself was good. The boy, Hugo, works and lives in a train station in Paris. He's an orphan, and his uncle, the station's clock keeper, takes him in until he mysteriously disappears. Hugo continues to operate the station's clocks, because he doesn't want to go to an orphanage if anyone realized his uncle was dead. In the meantime, his deceased father had rescued an automaton (robot, or mechanical man) from a museum fire and was working to repair it. He died, and Hugo took over trying to fix it, certain that it held some kind of message for him about what to do in his life. 

It's a really interesting story in that it has some interesting factors: train stations, clock keeping, mechanics, magic tricks, early film, and Paris. I feel like the story wasn't as magical as I thought it was going to be, but maybe that's just me. It won the Caldecott and the movie is wildly popular, so maybe I'm just broken. But it seemed forgettable to me, if not for those few unforgettable aspects mentioned above. I do recommend it, but not to older readers. I'll keep it mind for the kids at the library, though. If you're an adult and you want to read a great kid's book, READ HARRY EFFING POTTER, ALREADY. 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

I'd heard a lot of buzz about this book on YA blogs, and I decided to give it a go myself. It's not usually something I'm into, Native American lit, but this book was actually really, really good. 

There are enough places for you to go read summaries of the story, so I won't summarize it, but it's a really great story about a Spokane boy who is desperate to escape the downward spiral of life on an Indian reservation, and he does this by going to the closest white school off the reservation (which is 22 miles away). It's touching, eye-opening, depressing, darkly comical, and illustrated with comics by the narrator which add a much needed note of levity to an otherwise heavy story. It reminds me a lot of The Perks of Being A Wallflower, but with a racial twist. If you like that kind of stuff, I definitely recommend it. I finished it in one sitting. I just couldn't stop. The narrator hooked me from page one, and I loved every second of it. It's an easy read, but one, I think, that'll stay with me. 

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley

THIS BOOK. OMG, THIS BOOK. This is the book I keep waiting for and it only comes every once in a great while. It's the book I was hoping that Godawful Sherlock Holmes thing would be. I was like:
It's the story of 11 year old Flavia de Luce, who aside from having a spectacular name, is a chemistry genius, prankster, and amateur sleuth. Although I use the word "amateur" loosely, because she's 11 and she basically solved every aspect of the mystery correctly. She, her father, and her two sisters live in a historic country manor home in England. Her mother is deceased. One morning, after a mysterious visitor calls on her father, Flavia finds aforementioned visitor dead on the grounds. She then cunningly pieces together the mystery of his death, using her brilliant knowledge of chemistry, her childhood naivety, and her bicycle called "Gladys" who I think she pretends is a horse. 

Flavia is a brilliant character. I can smell Sherlock Holmes on her, but she's different enough not to be a sad reincarnation. If Sherlock Holmes died and was reincarnated in the 1950's as a little girl, he might have come back as Flavia. Or if he'd fathered an illegitimate daughter with a dramatic actress (and don't even say Irene Adler or I will cut you). Or she could be a distant relative. She's calculating, chemical, and cunning like Holmes, but she has a flair for the dramatic and does, at times, show her emotions. She's just completely unique and I absolutely fell in love with her. 

I also loved the mystery. I GOT IT WRONG. I hate it when I'm reading a mystery, the red herring shows up, and like three chapters in I've solved it already. BORING. This one tricked me, and I love that! And Flavia didn't solve it by being like, "Look, a footprint, let me follow it." She conducted experiments, played on people's emotions, researched, etc. She's awesome. She's only eleven and she's fictional, but she's like my new role model. 

What I also love about this is that, because she's only a kid, she's an extremely unreliable narrator. Half the time I wasn't sure if her theories were childish and therefore, dismissible, or so crazy they just might be true. 

Loved, loved, LOVED this book. Luckily, there are three more in the series, with another two to come. CAN'T WAIT, omg, thank you so much Alan Bradley. I might even change my rule about not trusting people with two first names (or rather, people with a surname that could also be a first name) because you wrote this awesome character and story. Maybe. 

Absolutely recommend to Holmesians or people who love mysteries. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Operation Christmas Child

My bestie, Bethany, did the world's cutest Operation Christmas Child box:

Here's her box. Isn't it adorable??
Naturally, this inspired me to do one, too! My mom and I decided to each do one--she did a little girl and I did a little boy. Here are our boxes:

I didn't take a pic of the inside of mine because it was literally SO PACKED that if I un-rubber banded it, I think it would've exploded all over the place. 

It's so easy (and fun) to do! All you need is a shoebox, either cardboard or tupperware (we bought tupperware ones because they're reusable), and then you select if you want to make a box for a boy or a girl. The ages are 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14. Mom and I did a boy and a girl both aged 5-9.

We each got kiddie toothbrushes and toothpaste (which were on some kind of BOGO deal at Wal-Mart), little stuffed animals, crayons and coloring books, silly putty and Play-Doh, hairbrushes and combs, and washcloths. We also put in a bar of our homemade soap and little hand-written Christmas cards (apparently, if you include your address, you might hear back from the kid who gets your box!). My mom gave the little girl a jump rope and doll, and I gave my boy some Hot Wheels and dinosaurs. 

Seriously, this is the most fun Christmas shopping I've had so far this season (and I'm almost done with everyone on my list!). I think it's fun because you know you're going to literally change someone's life with the things you pack, and because you have no idea who they are, which makes it kind of fun to guess.

We did the Operation Christmas Child boxes when I was in elementary/middle school, and then for whatever reason, I didn't hear much about them in high school and college. This is the first box I've done in a while, but GOSH, they've grown their business! You can track your box online now (which is AWESOME), you can leave an address for your child to write to you, and you can even build a box online for $30, which is a really great price (even though we stocked ours with stuff from the dollar sections of Target and Wal-Mart, that stuff adds up quickly. Money well spent, though!). You have to at least check out their website, and if you don't have the time or inclination or ability to go out and physically buy all the stuff to put into a box, then I absolutely encourage you to do one online. It's so easy! There's really no excuse not to. 

Collection dates run through the 25th of November, and you can search for drop off places on the website (I know a lot of YMCA's collect them, too). 

And it's a reputable company who actually DELIVERS the boxes to children in need, so you don't have to worry about getting scammed. 

And, if you're not convinced yet, here's Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty trying (and failing) to pack a box:

It's just a great thing to do, and I encourage everyone to do it. It's going to make such a difference to a child to whom, without your help, Christmas would just be another day of the year. Please take a minute, even if you do one online, and at least think about doing a box. Or, if you are so inclined, pray for the delivery and recipients of the boxes. Prayer is free, but doing a box is just a lot of fun. I feel like this is what Christmas is really about, and even in our rough economy, we're so blessed compared to the majority of the world. Sharing what you have is probably the best thing ever, and what better time to do it than Christmas?

Let me know if you have any questions! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

This is probably the best book I've read this year (with the exception of The Graveyard Book, but that was a re-read). 

Everything about this book is absolutely magical, enrapturing, and basically perfect. From the cover, to the quotes at the beginning of sections, to the print on the page, it's consistent in its whimsical aesthetic the whole way through. 

How do I even begin to summarize?
I want to say its the story of two magicians who are pitted against each other in a game, wherein the circus is the playing field. But that's not really accurate. It's more like...instead of Vader vs. Luke, this story is like the Emperor vs. Obi-Wan. It's the story of two master magicians duking it out through their proteges. And the circus is the backdrop, and it is magnificent. 

The entire circus is black and white, with only pops of red throughout. It's very Tim Burton-esque, and I feel like the book should've had an accompanying soundtrack by Danny Elfman. There's your typical circus fare: a fortune teller (who can actually accurately read her tarot cards), a contortionist (who you're never quite sure is good or evil), acrobats...but then there's other things. A set of mysterious twins, one who sees the past, the other who sees the future. Men without shadows. A tent full of bottles, upon opening which reveal stories through appealing to the 5 senses. A tree that grants wishes. And no one within or involved with the circus ever ages or gets sick. 

And in the midst of it all is Celia, the illusionist, and Marco, assistant to the circus's proprietor. They've been bound together since children, trained meticulously (and in Celia's case, cruelly) in the ways of magic, and are pitted against each other in a game which spans decades. 

I'll be honest. I did not expect a happy ending to this book. But I was pleasantly surprised! And while I can't they necessarily lived happily ever after, they at least existed so. 

This book had everything in it: mystery, romance, some scary bits (but not what I'd call "horror"), and the beautiful, gothic, dreamlike scenescape the author so vividly painted. I absolutely, very highly recommend this book to male and female readers alike. You've got to try it! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Wear Your Lingerie in Public Day!

Sad, but so true. 

Just wanted to share some Hallow-snark from my fav website, Someecards. 

Happy Haunting, friends!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Positive feedback is important.

I love E-bay. I think it's probably the best place to shop ever, because it's like an online thrift store with a bookstore off to the side, as well as a place to buy clothing and jewelry and purses, and where to go to find obscure objects from your childhood that are no longer sold in real life stores. So it's basically like an online New-Used-Vintage-Thrift-Boutique-Museum-and-Bookstore, which is everything I want out of life. 

But every once in a great while, in my browsings, I find the most bizarre things, and I wanted to share some of them with you, for the lols. 

These are all 100% real, and as of "press time," were available to purchase on E-bay.

Peanut M&M from 1989 with a piece of wood inside of it instead of a peanut.

Description: "This is a real 24 year old peanut m&m from 1989 with a piece of wood inside of it instead of a peanut. Comes with the original wrapper.

When I was 20 years old back in 1989, I bought a pack of peanut m&m's from a vending machine. As I was eating the m&m's, I noticed one of the m&m's had an unusual oblong shape to it. (just over an inch long). I bit into it halfway and saw that the other half of the m&m had what appears to be a piece of wood inside of it, instead of a peanut!"

Asking Price: $3,500 plus free shipping

Commentary: $3,500 for a defective 24 year old M&M??

My entire Back as ur Billboard

Description: "I am A real Tattoo Advertiser  otherwise known as A Human Billboard....This means I get Tattoos of advertisements for Businesses like yours. I am offering My entire back as your Advertising space.   Not A 4"X4" spot....My entire back from shoulder to shoulder and from neck to waist....This will be my largest and most publicized other than my head tat I did for  Which is proof in itself that I live up to what I say I will do. I have never backed out of any deal I have made and have never talked about removing any of my advertisement Tattoos. Never will."

Asking Price: $45,000

Commentary: ...I can't even. 

Pair of peace earrings first worn by future world class cellist
Description: "This is the very first pair of earrings worn by our very own future world class cellist.  While she is acknowledged to be the best cellist in her grade and has earned a perfect score at NYSSMA,  it will take many more years of private lessons to achieve her goal.  All proceeds from this auction will go to the advancement of our budding cello star."

Asking Price: $999.99 plus free shipping

Commentary: I'm pretty sure they couldn't sell Yo-Yo Ma's earrings for $1000, but it's ambitious of them to try.

Proper Folding and Wear of the Tinfoil Hat
Description: "Complete instructions for the proper construction and wear of the protective tin foil hat, including materials, the best brands and types of foils, a size chart, proper construction, safety considerations, even fashion tips!"
Starting Bid: $0.99 plus $0.46 shipping

Commentary: At 99 cents, this is a STEAL. 

Description: "VINTAGE  1960'S CERAMIC WEIRD GUY   #13701
REALLY  NICE!!!!!!!!!!"

Asking Price: $499.99 plus $3.77 shipping

Commentary: Although I love that his title is literally "Weird Guy," I don't think the 10 exclammation points after "REALLY NICE" make this worth $500. He looks like something I've seen in the Goodwill like, a hundred times, although I guess if he's a legit relative of Pac-Man he might be worth that much.

The Secret of Time and Space
Description: "Why does time exist?
How does it exist? True Measurement of Energy!

(This knowledge most certainly comes from the future where it belongs)

A letter will be mailed to you with my Nobel worthy manuscript, not only logically redefining what limits 'light-speed', but the function and mechanism of 'time' itself!"

Asking Price: $0.99 plus free shipping! 

Commentary: 99 cents seems too cheap for information that certainly comes from the future. If it's not coming from Dr. Who himself, I call shenanigans. 

LIMITED TIME OFFER! One premium Soul
Description: "This soul is a premium, gently used, medium sized soul. This soul may be sold to Satan in exchange for super rock'n roll powers, or whatever else he might offer. Don't get caught in a pinch without your spare soul!
This premium soul also makes a good replacement part for those who may have lost their own."

Starting Bid: $0.99 plus free shipping! 

Commentary: I had no ideas that souls looked like the psychedelic prints hanging inside hippie shops, but it all makes sense now! Also, 99 cents is a steal if you do actually become a rock god. 

 The Ghost Box - Own your own ghost!

 Description: "Our team have collected real ghosts from various cemeteries, haunted houses and other areas where celestial beings conglomerate. We have perfected a “capturing ritual” that forces the ghost into an enclosed area. The inside of the Ghost Box has been treated with a protoplasmic inhibitor which makes it impossible for any spirit to escape from. In addition, a special seal has been placed on the Ghost Box. This seal is called a “Shou” or the Chinese symbol for longevity. The origins of this symbol go back as far as 124 B.C. The original purpose was to seal in evil spirits away from an individual, therefore extending their chances of living longer, better lives.

     All ghosts that we collect are spirits that have been around for ages.They are no longer able to move on to a different realm, be it Heaven, Hell or otherwise. We do not use spirits who have died recently or who have any recollection of their human existence. For this reason, it is perfectly acceptable to name your ghost if you desire to do so. Depending on it’s characteristics, it may or may not respond to a name. And although the ghosts provided have neither male or female characteristics, it may take on such traits to correspond with it’s name, again depending on the nature of the ghost.

Once the seal is broken and the box is opened, you as the owner take on full responsibility for it’s actions. We will not be liable for any actions or reactions of the ghost. If you decide to open the box and release the ghost, you will find another scroll inside describing the ghost held within. This decision should be done wisely, as once the ghost is let out, you cannot put it back in the box.

Custom orders will not be accepted."

Asking Price: $15.99 plus $9.99 shipping

 Commentary: So THIS is how the guys from Ghostbusters are making a living now! I'm just bummed that you can't custom order a ghost. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A lesson in the two types of Halloween music.

There are two kinds of Halloween music: good and bad. The same is true of most kinds of music, but Halloween's in a week so we're focusing on that right now. 

Here is an example of good Halloween music:
I didn't realize that "Danse Macabre" on banjo (paired purely with a cello...perfect!) was something I wanted with all my soul until I heard this. It's epic, right??

Here is an example of bad (but hilarious) Halloween music:
Will Smith. Rapping about Freddy Kruger. With a horrible voice over and godawful ending segment involving a phone call. Everything about this is wrong. But in such a lol-worthy way! It's so horrifically campy and Fresh Princey, you can't help but cringe and secretly kind of like it

Enjoy. And if you ever need Halloween music, I have quite the collection, so don't hesitate to ask! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

I re-named the Recycle Bin on my computer "Azkaban" so that way, whenever I throw something out, it's like, "Are you sure you want to send this file to Azkaban?" And I'm like, "YEAH, I AM THE WIZENGAMOT, HAHAH."

Friday, October 18, 2013

What was actually on the menu at the Star Wars Cantina...

I just wanted to share pics of the food I made assembled for our Star Wars event at the library last Saturday! 
This was our Darth Vader pinata. The girl who won the Wii lightsaber duel (you read that right...she KICKED BUTT) got to smash Vader's head with a lightsaber. Candy was enjoyed by all. 

Yes, our ice machine does have a picture of Vanilla Ice on it. You can thank my boss for that bit of cleverness. 

This was probably my favorite. I used chocolate teddy grahams (for Ewoks), Captain Crunch cereal, Raisinettes, and coconut M&M's (they were the only green ones I could find, even though I searched high and low for mint flavored ones!).

I regret nothing.

This was just watermelon juice and Sprite. Btw, do you know how hard it is to find green juice that isn't either vegetables or Kool-Aid? HARD. 

Because we needed something to balance out all the sugar. 

See? The Oreos have a dark and a light the force! Ahh??

Just animal crackers. 

Couldn't come up with a better name for this...

And finally...

...the dress! 

It was an awesome day. One of those ones where I'm like, "I can't believe I get paid to do this." It was a lot of work, and I was exhausted, but it was totally worth it. 

Now, tomorrow, I get to do our 3rd Annual Princess Tea Party, complete with 200 little girls in princess attire and a menu completely consisting of various forms of sugar. This will be interesting...