Wednesday, December 30, 2009

end of the year revizzle.

I'm almost finished with the first book of my novel! I just have to finish writing it up and then I'll print it out to hand-edit it. I find having a paper thing to correct/fix/rewrite makes me feel a lot better. It's how I do the original writing, on a yellow legal pad. Usually sitting out on the lawn with a soda in hand. But delicious nonetheless.

I decided to do one of those memes that everyone else is doing, so here goes:

1) Was 2009 a good year for you?
It was a pretty good year. Not the best, but not nearly as bad as everyone else had it.

2) What was your favorite moment of the year?
Julie's wedding, hands down. I had such an amazing time.

3) What was your least favorite moment of the year?
I can't think of anything really too awful. Maybe there were a few times at work, but I don't even remember them.

4) Where were you when 2009 began?
Either at home or at Laurie's. I don't really remember. But not from drinking, I assure you.

5) Who were you with?
I uh, really don't remember. I suspect I was at my house by myself.

6) Where will you be when 2009 ends?
Great Escape!

7) Who will you be with when 2009 ends?
Wendy, Tom, and Laurie.

8) Did you keep your new years resolution of 2009?
Not really, no. But I made actual concrete plans to get those resolutions under way.

15) Did you break up with anyone in 2009?

16) Did you make any new friends in 2009?
Yes! Emma, Melissa, all the wonderful girls at Colonie Center, all the new girls at Crossgates. I'm absolutely forgetting some people, but as usual I liked pretty damned well everyone I met.

17) Who are your favorite new friends?
Hmm, I don't like choosing. But was a blast when she was here. I miss her!

18) What was your favorite month of 2009?
July was super amazing.

19) Did you go abroad in 2009?
As usual, I went to Canada.

20) How many different states did you travel to in 2009?
um, I think I just went to New Jersey this year. And that was only via bus stopping in NJ. I did go to Ontario and Quebec though.

21) Did you lose anybody close to you in 2009?
Thank god, no one died. I did lose a close friend, but I feel that was for the best.

22) Did you miss anybody in the past year?
Yes. All of you, you know who you are. Especially Theresa all the way out in Japan.

23) What was your favorite movie that you saw in 2009?
Star Trek!

24) What was your favorite album from 2009?
I liked The Ting Tings' CD, but I also really liked Mika's new album.

26) How many concerts did you see in 2009?
4, I think, if I recall correctly. 1) Tom McRae in New York; 2) The Tragically Hip here in Albany; 3) Laura Pausini in Montreal; 4) Mike Doughty in Troy.

27) Did you have a favorite concert in 2009?
I'm not gonna choose. I loved Laura, the chance to see her live was like a dream come true. The Hip put on an amazing show as always and I got to meet all of them and Mike Doughty at their shows. And Tom McRae was fun as well. So no, no dice.

28) Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2009?
Only when I went out. That was like twice and I believe both times were Jen's fault ;)

29) Did you do a lot of drugs in 2009?
I did the exact opposite -- Zero.

30) Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?
Not that I recall.

32) What was the biggest lie you told in 2009?
I don't lie anymore. I do not recall telling any in 2009.

33) What was the worst lie someone told you in 2009?
That someone was my friend when she really wasn't.

34) Did you treat somebody badly in 2009?
Not intentionally, but if I did, I really am sorry. I don't mean to do it.

35) Did somebody treat you badly in 2009?
Oh quite possibly.

36) How much money did you spend in 2009?
LOL, most of it.

37) What was your most embarrassing moment of 2009?
Either when I fell off the ladder at work, or when I dropped the bottle of ice wine in a crowded pharmacy in Montréal. I'm gonna go with the former cause I'll never see any of those people again.

38.) What is one thing you did in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Went to Canada and stayed overnight by myself.

39.) Did someone close to you give birth?
Christine did. My sister will next year.

40.) What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
My Peace Corps application completed.

41.) What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Heather's wedding June 6, 2009; Julie's wedding July 4, 2009.

42.) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I got a temporary promotion to work at the Colonie store this summer.

43.) What was your biggest failure?
Not finishing anything I started, be it Peace Corps application or getting my finances in order.

44.) Did you suffer illness or injury?
I fell off a ladder, whacked my wrist, and couldn't use it for a week and a half. I caught a nasty plague right around Thanksgiving and couldn't speak or stop coughing for a week.

45.) What was the best thing you bought?
My digital camera and my tickets to Laura Pausini. <3

46.) Whose behavior merited celebration?
Most of my friends'.

47.) Whose behavior made you appalled?
A certain ex-friend who remains nameless.

48.) Where did most of your money go?
Rent, trips. LOVE it.

49.) What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Julie's wedding; Laura Pausini concert.

50.) Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or hardened?

b) thinner or fatter?

c) richer or poorer?
Hmm, about even.

51.) What do you wish you'd done more of?

52.) What do you wish you'd done less of?
Sitting on my ass.

53.) How will you be spending Christmas?
Spent Christmas with my parents, siblings, and niece.

54.) Did you fall in love in 2009?

55.) Any one-night stands?

56.) What was your favorite TV program?
NCIS, Battlestar Galactica (RIP), Lost

57.) Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't hate people. I just choose not to speak to them or have anything to do with them. Life's too short for that.

58.) What was the best book you read?
Hmm, I loved the Kushiel series. We'll go with that.

59.) What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Ting Tings. That's about it, I've been out of the musical loop.

60.) What did you want and get?
A new digital camera.

61.) What did you want and not get?

62.) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Justin, Kim, and I went to Golden Dragon for our birthdays and I was 27.

63.) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having my finances in order and my Peace Corps application processing.

64.) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Go to my store, buy off rack. Done.

65.) What kept you sane?
Lol, Sanity. Actually, reading did. I make sure to have a new book.

66.) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm a proud member of the Cavillry (Henry Cavill).

67.) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
Life's too short to hold grudges. Let them go, and you'll be happier.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Audience participation time.

Working on the book again, and I have a question.

I wonder if it's too odd/cliche to have a severely injured woman slip away from the bodyguard and her daughter and have one of the following options happen to her:

1) She jumps off a cliff to end her life
2) She surrenders to the people chasing them, and dies in their custody. Daughter and bodyguard escape to safehouse
3) She disappears and is never seen again.

For the purposes of the story -- the daughter is the scion of a fallen house, and the bodyguard is smuggling her and her followers off-world.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Incredibly real-feeling dream I just had

Ok, so for some reason I was in Ottawa in the summer. I think I was just outside of Parliament, but near a bank of some sort. I saw this bus or taxi crash into the marble front of the bank. As I stood there, while it was on ffire, I saw this helicopter flying over the river, but it was a helicopter towing a tractor trailer, but it wasn't. I pulled out my camera and filmed it as it exploded and crashed down to earth fifty feet away from me, near where the taxi accident had been.

Turns out the helicopter was a flying saucer and it had aliens in it. But nobody survived either accident. Then I went and caught my bus back to the US and this dude kept following me, real creepy like. He was there one minute and not the next. Then he revealed that he was a vampire, and I told him to GTFO. A big wrestler type dude, complete with singlet and messed up hair came over and removed him.

I got to customs and another creepy dude was there. He was following me too. And I explained to the customs lady what I had been doing in Ottawa, and got on the bus. Creepy #2 wasn't with me. I got back to Albany and into my room and in bed, and I got up because I heard a noise. And the lights wouldn't flip on, so I opened the window to the streetlights and saw the two creepsters hanging out in my room. "It's not gonna work," Creepy #1 said. I yelled for the Wrestler guy and he took Creepy #1 out.

"You can't get rid of both of us that easily," Creepy #2 said. And then I heard a knock on my door and I woke up.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Today I did nothing.

And yet in the spirit of making sure I update you on the minutiae of my life every day, I am going to post.

Today I spent a goodly amount of time in front of the TV or the computer. Actually both. I was going to do stuff but then I realized I didn't have to, which made me happy. I didn't have to call the landlady -- she cashed my check the 11th but it didn't show up in my online banking til the 17th, wtf. I love my bank but it is SLOOOOOOOOOOOWER than molasses* when updating online banking. But it instantly knows when someone tries to log onto my account from another country. Whatever, HSBC ;)

Anyway, what did I do today? I bet you are all just DYING to know. I'm not. But I put up the rest of my Christmas lights. This was accompanied by a lot of cursing. See, I went outside, but like a smart person I did not put on a coat. I wore a hoodie and jeans outside and kept yelling "FUCK IT'S COLD OUT HERE" approximately every thirty seconds. But I accomplished my task! I nearly put my foot through a folding chair though. That was fun. Except the exact opposite. This was also accompanied by a chorus of obscenities. "Fuck, fucking chair fuck you, fuck." And the dude walking by chatting on his phone didn't notice, so I declared victory.

So after that I went inside and watched TV til it got dark and then I decided I really wanted to go to the store to get something for dinner -- nothing I had was really floating my boat. I got to the end of the block before I decided it wasn't worth it. It was booger-freezing weather, something I hadn't encountered since I was taking finals at SLU. Goddamn no I wasn't going to walk the half mile to the grocery store and back in that shit. Go ahead, take away my cold sensitivity card, but I went inside and made hot chocolate and that was more awesome than yelling at the wind to stop blowing.

So then I made dinner and I watched more TV. This cold case detective solved the Jack the Ripper killings, or so he believes. I thought it was kind of neat -- he started out trying to solve these hundred year old cases in NYC and linked them to the Ripper murders. Then it turns out that nobody had apparently bothered to read one of the main suspect's confessions for over eighty years. Not sure if it's legit or not, but it sure seems pretty convincing. Here, you can read up on Norris's suspect.

So then I came in here and surfed the internet some more and now I'm going to work on editing my book a bit so I can print it off and begin editing it by hand. Tomorrow is work and gift shopping day. Shooooot me.

*This is the only time molasses moved quickly.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

grab bag of notes

Today I accomplished a lot. I went to the bank with Kayla's kind assistance. I stopped over at Laura's house for my books, since I had them shipped there instead of my sketch neighbourhood. I did two loads of laundry. I even returned my cans and bottles and went grocery shopping.

Only failure in that is that I forgot to turn in my bottle redemtpion slips at checkout. Well to be fair, I was having to keep an eye on the cashier and the bagger. I handed them my recycleable bags (shut up, they're easier to carry than those plastic bags they give you), and told the guy one of them was the cold bag. So he proceds to put the milk, bread, and cereal in the cold bag, and the frozen pizzas and pot pies in the regular bag. How...does that even compute? Ahh well.

I watched the Thanksgiving episode of NCIS and let me tell you, I'm kind of disappointed with that episode. It just seemed a rehash of all the previous episodes involving children. For once I'd like a normal kid in an episode. We had Abigail Breslin as a blind hearing prodigy, we had the kid whose dad was a super genius, ad nauseum. I hope the Christmas episode wasn't as disappointing as that one. The Halloween episode and the power outage episodes were superb.

I haven't done a whit of Christmas shopping. I'm a failure in that department. It would help if I knew what to get people. I know what I want which I kind of failed to communicate (hint to siblings reading this to pass along to parentals): pajamas, a new sheet set, bookshelves, and possibly a new crockpot, cause the lid to mine got smashed this summer and I still don't know how.

So that's a random mix of update for you. Now I gotta put away my laundry so I can do more tomorrow. That and put up the rest of the Christmas décor. And clean the kitchen again. And I know I'm forgetting something. That is all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Holocaust and a Soapbox

My cousin Kate posted this article on her twitter: Man snuck into Auschwitz during WWII. This guy kept sneaking in and getting the real scoop of what was going on inside the infamous concentration camp. He managed to save the life of one of the prisoners directly and probably helped boos the spirits of many more. What an amazing story.

Also, I would just like this opportunity to say: Holocaust deniers, you can suck it. There's gotta be a special level of hell for people like you. When I took a course on the Holocaust I was disgusted by how much denial propaganda was out there. There's obtuse and then there's being deliberately obtuse.

It bothers me both on a historian basis and more importantly on a personal basis that people would choose to blatantly ignore evidence of over six million people being murdered. It just undermines the sacrifices made by the dead and the survivors of those concentration camps. Even if it wasn't your own ethnicity forced into the camps, how can you not have compassion for those that were? I hope I never understand how someone can think like that.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My room is too small. My spoon on the other hand? Too big.

Tonight I got tired of squishing through my doorway because there is so much stuff behind the door. So I set out to clean up my room. Mission accomplished, but cleaning behind the door turned out to be the last thing I did.

Instead I finally put books on the bookshelf out in the living room. The entertainment center the boys left us has a side that is a bookshelf, and I kept saying, "Self, let's put thoe books there." Tonight I did.

As I went through my books it turns out that I have a handful of books I haven't read yet! This plus the six I ordered from Amazon will keep me in business for a while, and I'm stoked. I forgot that when I was packing to move to this place, I hit a $1 Bargain book sale at Borders, and I put those books right into the box when I got home. Forgot plum about them til I opened the box tonight to put them on the shelf. We'll see what quality they are and if there are any hidden gems (like Persepolis from an earlier batch).

I finished Shadow of the Wind and Meagan lent me Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. As I startd to read this one I had to flip to the first page for the publishing info because goddamn did it ever remind me of Twilight (which I haven't read yet). Slightly awkward girl finds herself the object of affection of a tall dark handsome new student. But there are people who don't want them to be together. Also, Nora, the heroine of the novel is raised by a single parent. And she lives in a tiny town in Maine, in a backwater town that is too small for its own good.

This isn't to say that the book was all bad, I enjoyed it! Nora does a lot of things on her own, and she actively takes part in trying to protect herself from the supernatural baddies that are around her. And her life doesn't revolve around the fallen vampireangel. It's a cute YA book -- if you're a fan of Twilight, or if you like fantasy you might find this a fun read.

Also going through my books I keep forgetting to review one of my other bargain books: The Wayward Muse by Elizabeth Hickey.
To be fair I only picked this one up because it name-dropped Dante Gabriel Rosetti, a name I vaguely remembered from a literature class I took at SLU. He was a painter and a poet. Hickey writes the story of his love affair with the wife of one of his friends, a model from a poor family. I liked this book enough, but I think if you pay for it you're wasting your money. It's a good story, and Jane is a relatable heroine, and the story is a remarkable one, but the characters never jump off the pages, and it just seems like you're reading an article on these two people.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

die in a fire

Well, really it's tomorrow already but I'm trying to make sure I have something to say everyday.

Tonight all I got is that my house is ridiculous. It was built way long ago (so long ago it has really funky light switches in the back of the house (I'll take photos for tomorrow's post). I suspect it was around before electricity became common place, because the outlets are ancient. Most of them cannot support the three prongs, and that makes life difficult in a technologic world. I'm absolutely certain that this place is doomed to end in a conflagration because the wiring is so out of date.

Sometimes when I run the microwave or the toaster oven the lights in the kitchen dim. I can't run the microwave and the popcorn maker at the same time, or both slow down. Sometimes plugging things in results in a large shock of electricity. And the lights have to be fiddled with in order to turn on occasionally. SO yes, death by fire. Wait, what was I going on about?

Oh, right. In my bedroom I have two outlets. One is by the door, and the other is behind my bed. WHy, you ask, would I block off a perfectly good outlet with my bed? I'll answer that. My room is TINY. There's a giant radiator that takes up a good two feet of the middle of one wall, and when the room is 7X7, that makes it really difficult to place anything without blocking the door or the radiator, once again causing a risk of death by fire.

My outlets are newer, as they support three prongs (Thank your deity of choice here). But I have to run an extension cord across the room to my computer in order to run it. Th extension cord in turn supports the surge protector. Greaaaaaat. Even more death by fire.

The point of all this is, I have to wait for one cell phone to finish charging in order to charge the other one because I have too much stuff plugged into one outlet. #firstworldproblems

Saturday, December 12, 2009

cheating is for losers

I find it kind of interesting this confluence of articles I came across yesterday. I was gonna post them then, but the 100k thing happened and I went with that instead.

I am certain that none of you live under a rock and know at least somewhat the situation with Tiger Woods lately. It's been pretty much everywhere lately, and it's an incredibly sad story.

I want to point out that everyone has been screaming for Elin Nordegren to divorce Tiger Woods over these allegations. Understandable, but it is her decision. If they work it out, the more power to them, but if not I don't blame her in the least for dumping him and taking his kids and money.

This leads to two other articles I read yesterday. I don't know if any of you remember the story of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. Sanford was the asshole who went missing for a few days "camping" in the Appalachians. Except by camping he meant flying. And instead of Appalachians, he meant Argentina. I can see how he got them confused. Except for the part where, once in Argentina he met up with his "soul mate" who he cheated on his wife with for several years.

Well, Mrs Sanford wasn't going to take this shit lying down. (Good on her!) She took their kids and moved out, and told her husband it was up to him to make the effort to rebuild their family. While he hemmed and hawed and told the media he was going to "try to fall back in love" with his wife, she kept on being a HBIC. And when she gave up on him, she dumped him and moved her things out of the Governor's Mansion. None of this stand by her man stuff. Love this woman.

So i switched from annoyed to happy and then to a complete WTF? when I read this article. The TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) rejected a huge advertising spread from Ashley Madison. Well, you say, why would they do that? 250k is a lot of money that could go to upgrades and maintenance! Well, when you realize that Ashley Madison is in fact a dating site that markets to people wanting to cheat on their significant others, you can see why they chose to reject that particular bid.

I adamantly refuse to link to Ashley Madison, so if you want to check them out, go ahead. But click the unfriend button first, thank you.

The CEO of the company then had the gall to say, "Nobody out there at the TTC should be creating morality judgments," he said. "They should be in the business of trying to operate transit lines." Sure, they're in the business of operating subways and stuff, but you're breaking up families.

Friday, December 11, 2009

love affair with music

I've been on since it was called Audioscrobbler. I have many good memories from this site -- I've always been interested in useless statistics, and the site provides that in spades. It records every song I've played since I started, with the exception of the time in the summer of 2008 when I was without internet access. If I had internet then, this post would have come much sooner.

For today, I reached 100,000 plays on Last.Fm. One thing I'm constantly amazed at is how well it knows me. My recommended radio is a wonderful blend of all the different stuff I listen to -- as wide and varied a list as my computer hard drive has. I've found so many useful things there. Last.Fm is where I found out that Laura Pausini would be in Montreal, and you know how that made my life. has also charted the change in my musical tastes over the years. It's fun to look at my charts and see what I listen to now as opposed to what I listened to even last year. I also try not to let one artist dominate the list now like Great Big Sea did for me early on. Not that there's anything wrong with that ;)

I've also discovered some new stuff solely from Last.Fm. I can't remember the names now, but I swear it's the case!

Remember, this is for posterity!

The final ten tracks to 100000:
10: After Forever - Silence from Afar
09: Laura Pausini - I Do to Be
08: Jolie Holland - Enjoy Yourself
07: Jimmy Eat World - The Middle
06: Nightwish - White Night Fantasy
05: Michael Bublé - Save the Last Dance for Me
04: Within Temptation - The Other Half (Of Me)
03: Alison Krauss - Down to the River to Pray (O Brother Where Art Thou)
02: Tragically Hip - Putting Down
01: Blackmore's Night - Windmills

So there you have it! :D

If we are not friends on we can become so: add me as metropolis-noir!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Oh books.

If any of you need a really good, really creepy, one of those books that surprise you with every page, you NEED to read Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind. It started out reminding me of Night Train to Lisbon but it took a very very twisted turn and I love it. I'm not finished with it, but I need to stress how impressed i am by this book. I got to a certain twist and that's when I got to the mall. I almost said, "Oh no" out loud! Then I had a few minutes to eat lunch before I started work and three pages later the book twisted again. But it was time for me to clock in. Damn you, book! And then on the way home it threw me another, albeit expected loop. Goddamn, I love this book so hard. BRB putting the rest of Zafon's books on my wishlist.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

too many books, too little time

I was skimming the spotlit community Bookfails earlier and it inspired me to think about what the worst books I ever read were.

Years ago I hated HATED HATED Jane Eyre. I hated that she got together with Rochester (SPOILERS!) in the end. It took reading The Eyre Affair for me to really like the book.

I also really hated The Old Man and the Sea. In fact, all of Hemingway is anathema to me. I've tried to read him, I really have, but I can't stand him. Also in the vein of great books that I should like but don't is The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck is good (I liked Of Mice and Men), but reading Wrath was like watching paint dry.

I try to finish every book I start whether it is worth my time or not. But I put down The Road by Cormac McCarthy sometime last year and I haven't picked it up since. With the movie coming out I might be inclined to finish it, but it's just so damned DEPRESSING that I can't take it. I also never finished The Coffee Trader by David Liss. I really wish I hadn't wasted my money on that book. Although it might have been the free book in a buy two get one free deal, I don't remember. Totally not worth reading.

I've only been dismaed with one book recently though and that was Laura Esquivel's Malinche. If you read the review I posted, I mentioned that I'm not sure if it was the translation or if the story was just that bad, because I did enjoy the movie version of Like Water for Chocolate.

So tell me, friends: what are some books you absolutely hated? Books you threw against the wall, wanted to set on fire (as wrong as it is), books you never wanted to see again.

ETA: I totally blanked on how much I HATE Virginia Woolfe. HATE. To the LIghthouse was INSUFFERABLE. the side of my face...

OH MY God how did I forget Joyce? Fuck Ulysses and Portrait of the Artist as a YOung Man. Those books are the worst ever ever.