Friday, December 20, 2013

Day 298: Questioning?

It is January Literary Analysis time—time to think about what's going through my eyes word-wise. A couple of exciting things happened to me book-wise in the last month. I was given a Scribd subscription for Xmas (read about that here) and I got my first Quarterly box from Book Riot. Today. After I had, just a couple of days ago, sent the email to say my box hadn't arrived. It is like a weird phenomena that happens at work: people wait for all sorts of different amounts of time to report their loved ones 'missing', but as soon as they do, they turn up. Same with my box. Quarterly kindly refunded my card, and then, knock, knock, there it is. I crawled back to them apologising for jumping the gun and they ended up charging me only for the box and not the postage. Good customer service. [And just so you don't think I am a free-loading whiner, the approximate due date of the box was mid December—I did wait a decent amount of time before penning a friendly but questioning note on its whereabouts.] The box is like a little present to myself every three months, and the main inclusion was Max Barry's novel Lexicon: A Novel, complete with post-it notes throughout the book which add a little to the writer's vision. I also got a calender, an excert from Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney and a notebook and pencils. All very word-nerd. I'm reducing my reading pile, but surely the Quarterly book needs to be added straight away. Surely?

Q: What are you reading right now? Tell us about it.

A: The pile-reducing project continues. I want it to number a lucky thirteen. Currently the number is thirty-eight. I finished Chuck Palahniuk's Damned and immediately replaced it with his Invisible Monsters Remix (a disconcerting book—read the intro and then do what it says to do: it is quite hard!). I also finished Anna Funder's All That I Am. Two down, yay! Well, one really. But I put four new ones in: Lexicon, the two books I am reading on Scibd (Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, The Tangled Story of English Spelling (anyone who doubted my nerdiness before can rest assured of it now!) and Girl in a Coma) and my Goodreads win Dean Blake's Surface Children. I have to be honest with you (because what is the point otherwise?) but I had a very bad thought the other day when I was reading The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore and thinking how it paralleled Flowers for Algernon. I thought: maybe all the books are starting to seem similar to each other, and then, is there any reason to keep reading?? I know. Pure evil! But then Douglas Coupland's Girl in a Coma took such a strange twist that I had to recant. I had briefly skimmed the synopsis (as I do; I didn't want to know too much), seen the word 'apocalypse', and assumed a certain amount of hyperbole was being employed to sell the book. But what started as a sort of word version of 'The Big Chill' has flipped into a completely different generic dimension. It's wonderful. And it reminds me that even if two people sat down to write exactly the same book, the end results would be two completely different books. Similarities enrich the literary matrix. No more bad thoughts. But definitely need more reading hours because the two-out, five-in equation does not bode well for going in the right pile-reduction direction.

List_Addict               Irene

Q: Out of the 16 books that will be turned into a movie adaptation, which one are you most looking forward to seeing this year? (Article Link)

A: Interesting question. Without reading the book first, I would probably choose Serena with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper—mainly for that reason. I am having to try and let go of my initial judgement of Cooper as a himbo. On personal interest, but not sure how well it would work, I'd toy with Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, because I would like to walk it myself. But if I read the books first, then it would be a competition between Divergent, Dark Places and Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn is doing alright for herself, isn't she?

Q: What was the worst book you've ever read?

A: I'm blessed with amnesia regarding this. Looking through my current 'read' list on Goodreads there are maybe two (from sixty-six since I started my account) I 'wasn't enamoured with' but I would hardly say the were the 'worst'. I find something in every book, even if it is a stockpile of what-not-to-do's for a day when maybe I change over to the other side of the written word.

Q: What foods or beverages have you spilled on a book while reading? Anything good?

A: I think I squashed a mozzie on a book once. I hope it was a murder mystery. A little bit of blood never goes astray on one of those. The most likely food substances on books for me would come from chocolate biscuit smudges. I read a bit at meals on solo travelling jaunts, but that is usually on a kindle or iPad and a damp cloth quickly fixes that.

Q: Do you pictures characters as popular film or tv actors? Or do you create a whole new person in your head?

A: Currently I am reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels, and I am annoyed that characters already have looks and even voices. I prefer hand picking them from the detritus in my brain.

Q: Out of all the authors you've read books by, who's brain would you want to pick the most?

A: Mmm. I am so bad at talking with people. I always find these types of questions so hard to answer. Do I have to have dinner with three awe-inspiring people? Do I want to be marooned on an island with my nomination of the world's most interesting person? If I have seat 2A in the pointy end of the plane, couldn't I just watch movies from a horizontal position while alternatively drinking glasses of champagne and water through a straw amd eating with non-plastic cutlery, rather than spending this rare opportunity chatting? Could Chuck Palahniuk or James Joyce or Neil Gaiman maybe just send me an email of things they are thinking occasionally? I am happy with that.

The Outfit
Clearing the Closet: It’s time to go demin skirt, falling apart, much loved. I will miss you.
Jumper: SheInside
Skirt: Op-shopped
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Sparkly Cosmo'

Photographer de Jour: B——

Who wore it better?

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Day 328: White on White

The title doesn't correspond to the fashion. I am, increasingly, a fashion blogger who never speaks about fashion, or a general-rambling-on blogger who wears outfits and obsesses over outfits and who would consider contents insurance because the cost of replacing her shoes is prohibitive. The loss of unique thrifted or op-shopped clothing is uninsurable and unfathomable. The title is about snow. Although, when you look at the 'fashion' photos, the white dots in this odd, much-loved, new jacket of mine do dominate and pick up the white of the dress. I wish it was snowing here. I have done nothing, zero, zilch, nada! for four days because, for the last four days, this has been the daily high: 42.8, 41.7, 43.9, 43.9. For you in the fahrenheit world that is: 109, 107, 111, 111. That was accompanied by lows of: 28.6 (83), 27.0 (80), 25.6 (78) and, even after the cool change, 21.5 (71). We don't have insulation, let alone air-conditioning. Our wooden box of a house is hotter inside that out. V——'s car temperature after a day of work was 53! (127!) This is weather that makes me cry. If I had some fluid in my body, I would cry. Tears had to be the things that ran down my spine, my face, or pooled in odd places while I just tried to exist my way through the days. I would take snow over this any day of the year!

The second largest canyon in the United States (such a disappointing moniker; if you worked there you would be yelling out 'erode, damn you canyon, erode, you're only thirty-three thousand cubic meters away from losing the 'second') is in the Texas Panhandle. It's called Palo Duro, and it looks amazing. It has a road that goes right down into it, and we (read 'I') thought it would look even more amazing with snow on it, so this morning we headed out on the frozen freeways, secondary roads and farm-to-market roads to see it. Only to find it was closed due to inclement weather. What! How can you close a hole in the ground because of weather? So we played badmington in the car park. Americans are funny. A car stopped to ask if we were okay: our car pulled over in the snow, us out playing with a white shuttlecock in white snow and a wind. 'Yes, we're just playing some badmington.' 'Oh, you got it bad!' What have we got?

The rest of the day was wet, slushy freeways and a not-well travelling companion; sunday football playing during a mexican lunch (cor' how many games play at once!); Buddy Holly's birthplace with no sightseeing about Buddy Holly at all. I went to Savers. V—— waited in the car because he wasn't well. We used the pool and spa again, even though V—— wasn't well. He finds the warmth therapeutic. I am not sure how he justifies the immersion in the cold swimming pool though. This one was really cold. It is a strangely desirable torture. We had dinner in a (bikie?) bar which seemed to have an odd code-gesture required for entry which turned out to be the international sign for ID(?). And then we slept the night away in the best bed of the trip. A quietly and unassumedly pleasant day.

Clockwise from top: Farm-to-Market Road, Texas Panhandle; our car this morning in Amarillo; Badmington at Palo Duro National Park

The Outfit
Dress: Op-shopped
Jacket: Thrifted, Salvation Army, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Charm Bracelet: Fossil
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Can't Touch This'

Photographer de Jour: B——

Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day 327: Every Night I've Been Hugging My Pillow

Irene               List_Addict

The snow came. We would, later in this trip, be ill, and it was possibly no surprise. The hotel in Roswell had a pool and spa and so we decided to go for a soak. But then the foolishness kicked in. A warm spa was warmer after a dip in the cooler pool, and then even warmer after standing, on a dare, for a minute, outside, in bathers, while it snowed on you. In the morning the car was covered. Another night of speculating on direction meant we were headed towards Texas, following Neil Sedaka's way to Amarillo because the song had got stuck in V——'s head. Are there more justifiable ways to choose destinations? Two things about snow: you don't expect, as a non-national, to see it in Texas! and, it precludes most outdoor activities and random stops along the way for general sightseeing or simply 'being' in a place. We did, however, manage to make two stops for the day: the Roswell UFO Museum and the Roswell Goodwill Store.

The sure way to guarantee a rumour persists is for a large government body to actively deny it. That is Roswell in a nutshell. Deny it, and then come up with a ludicrous alternative theory that insults everyone involved's (dubious) intelligence. I'm not good at museums. Four years of travelling through Europe cured me of them. Them, and churches. They can hold me a little longer if they have audio. I don't mind information directed straight at my brain via my ear canals, but having to read it doesn't work well for me. Maybe I do have ADHD. I usually just wander about and get bits of the story. There were some interesting bits. There were some tacky bits. It was just as I expected.

The Goodwill store, discovered last minute on the way out of town, was much better than I expected. I had a time limit (there is only so long I can go for before guilt about leaving V—— in a car while I spend hours in a thrift store becomes prohibitive to my thrifting enjoyment) and so I had to be focused and ruthless: straight to dresses, then vintage, then skirts; nothing more (except a glance at some jeans and a jacket), no time for trying things on; go with your gut instincts. The dress section was awesome—got an amazing chintzy-couch fabric, eighties retro dress and a denim dress. Vintage was overpriced. Skirts were great. Thrifting in the States wasn't, at first, what I envisaged it was going to be, but when I opened my heart to it without expectation, it surprised me over and over again. Today's dress, for example, looks terrible on a hanger. But put it on and I shimmey and laugh everywhere I go. I wore this on New Years Eve (even though all I did was go to dinner at my defacto-in-laws). It weighs a ton and is handmade, but it feels a million dollars when its on. I wish my pockets and my closets were limitless. I'd never stop thrifting.

From top: Snow on car; Aliens in Roswell; Snow on Texas

The Outfit
Dress: Thrifted, Lubbock, Texas
Necklace: Bead Shop, Highpoint
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Magic Pony'

Photographer de Jour: B——

Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

Lena B, Actually

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day 302: I've Sub-Scribd

My new words for today are mostly from books located on my Christmas present. My boy gave me a one year subscription to Scribd. It's the Netflix of books. For a year I can read as many books as I possibly can from their apparently extensive (like, over a hundred thousand) collection. I have started with two: David Wolman's Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling (who would have thought spelling could be so entertaining to anyone other than an extreme word nerd like myself), and, Douglas Coupland's Girlfriend in a Coma (a sort of 'The Big Chill' of books). I am in the process of nutting out an elaborate and complicated selection criteria for the next book to read, based on recommendations, which will hopefully have me reading things I may not ordinarily have. I'm spend way too much time looking at what the possible next books will be. Too exciting. But in the meantime I have discovered some new words and one (nascent) who's definition just won't stay with me for some reason, no matter how many times I look it up. Have you come across any interesting words lately? Come over and share them at Wondrous Words Wednesday.

orthography: spelling considered to be correct; the principles underlying spelling

Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling; David Wolman

'America was at war over words. The composition of words, to be precise—what some people call orthography and the rest of us call spelling.'
'Orthography, and irregular spellings in particular, retain the etymological fossils that give words historical richness and poetic power, and in turn give philologists something to do with their time.'

jeremiad: a prolonged lamentation or mournful complaint

Girlfriend in a Coma; Douglas Coupland

'During one particularly fevered patch of vegetarianism in the seventies, I made the mistake of saying I'd been to Benihana's Steak house; a brisk, half-hour, anti-meat jeremiad followed.'

nascent: starting to grow or develop; being born

Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling; David Wolman

'He [Noah Webster, of the Webster Dictionary fame] was a political animal, and in this sense he didn't think of his Speller as something that was merely about the lettering of words. It was in fact Phase 1 of his mission to help stitch the nascent nation together with words.'

Irene               List_Addict

And from a completely different book in a completely different format (Kindle) comes a word I have to warn you about. Don't proceed if you are squeamish or put off by bodily fluids or mentions of rather icky diseases, because the word that follows is of that ilk. It always fascinates me when a bigger group of 'thing' has exceptions known by a more specialised name. Like the differentiation of 'guano' from the larger group of general 'poops'. This is another:

gleet: a watery discharge from the uretha caused by gonorrhoeal infection

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers; Mary Roach

'I don't mind Theo's matter-of-factness. Life contains these things: leakage and wickage and discharge, pus and snot and slime and gleet. We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget.'

The Outfit
Clearing the Closet: It’s time to go grey jumper dress. You unflatter me!
Jumper Dress: Op-shopped
Jeans: Primark
Earrings: Old as time
V——: Looking like he wishes this would end. Soon. Please!
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Cheeky Moose'

Photographer de Jour: B——

Who wore it better?

Putting a link on with:

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I Feel Pretty