Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions for 2013

I've just looked at my Goodreads stats, and I've read 10 fewer books and 1,841 fewer pages in 2012 than in 2011. That's sad.

Anyway, I am yet again making New Year's Resolutions, although really, they're more like goals, although I suppose all resolutions are more like goals.

One change you may notice (if you pay attention to this sort of thing) is that I'm not going to list all of the books I hope to read in 2013. Instead I'm going to list the ones I have read. I never manage to read much of anything on my resolution reading list, because I'm always too busy reading something else, so I just thought I'd dispense with that altogether.

So, without further ado, here are my resolutions:

  1. Consolidate my reading lists (and boy, do I have a lot of them!)
  2. Accomplish some financial goals:
    1. (I'm not sure why Blogger started numbering again and didn't move to lowercase letters. I just wanted to let  you know in case you though I may have come up with this bizarre list convention myself. I assure you, I did not.) Pay off student loan 3-03 (again, I didn't come up with this numbering convention).
    2. Pay off credit card
    3. Put $5k in my IRA
    4. Pay off student loan 3-04
    5. Get our savings account up to $25k
  3. Spend a day watching the Lord of the Rings movies (this and #4 were both things I hoped to accomplish during one of my unemployed stints, but sadly? they didn't last long enough for me to get around to this)
  4. Spend a day watching the Harry Potter movies
  5. Edit the novel I wrote in November into something passable
  6. Read all of the books I borrowed from friends (yes, I haven't forgotten)
  7. Lose weight
  8. Run a sub-4 hour marathon (I'm pretty sure that this is directly dependent on #7, at least to a degree)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Sixth Man (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #5)The Sixth Man by David Baldacci
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was fine. Sean and Michelle are getting a little old for me. Sometimes a book needs characters to move the plot forward, but when those characters are the main characters, the book feels a little screenplay-y to me. I mean, when you watch an action/adventure movie, it's okay that the characters aren't particularly multi-dimensional, but in a series, it's nicer to care about the characters.

And I'd call this a spoiler, but it's just so random that I don't think it will spoil anything, but there's a secondary character in this book who's really a lot of nothing, and this character ends up being the bad guy (or one of them). With absolutely no explanation after the fact. It was like Baldacci just needed to tie up a loose end or two and said, well, I'll just have this person do it since they're already here and therefore I don't need to make any changes to the plot or anything.

On the upside, it was a nice, easy read, which I needed, since my mom was in town for the holidays, so "quiet reading time" was a bit sporadic.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Midnight in Paris

Last night, my mom and I watched Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson. It's a Woody Allen film, which really tells you just about everything you need to know about it.

The basic premise of the movie is that the protagonist, Gil (Wilson), is dissatisfied with his life and imagines a better world/time/ Paris in the 1920s. He somehow time travels back to that era and meets a number of cultural icons of the time, including Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Gertrude Stein, and Picasso.

In his real life, Gil is surrounded by some really annoying people  one of them being his fiance, with whom he has no real chemistry.

During one of his time travel/fantasy escapades (the movie isn't clear on exactly what is he really traveling in time, is it his really doesn't matter), he and Picasso/Hemingway's lover Adriana travel further back in time, to Paris in the 1890s, which Adriana thinks is preferable to Paris in the 1920s. It is this experience that awakens Gil to the fact that the present is always less pleasant than the past seems because life isn't always pleasant, but that a person shouldn't try to live their life in the past.

Gil returns to the present, decides to live in Paris, breaks up with his fiance, and presumably lives happily ever after, or at least happier ever after.

I enjoyed the  movie. It was good, but not great, but on another level, I found it relatable. I mean, who hasn't been dissatisfied with their life, or some aspect of it, and imagined themselves in a better time or place? The Virginia in my imagination is taller, thinner, and has way better skin and hair.

I think this is also the premise behind fan fiction (or at least one of the premises) fiction allows the reader to insert him or her self into the story, and therefore allows the reader to escape their own life for a while, yet to do so in a way that they still control.

In the movie, what was more unbelievable to me, wasn't that Gil was managing to travel back in time, it was that no one in his present life seemed to understand this sense of yearning for something more/fuller/bigger that comes from feeling unfulfilled. I mean, isn't that just human nature? Otherwise, how would we grow at all?

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I've recently been officially hired on by my company, so I've had to go through new employee orientation, despite the fact that I've been working here for two and a half months. The acronym for "new employee orientation" is, of course, NEO. So of course, this is what I think of:
Sadly, this is totally not what I've been hired to do.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

On Obsessing

I have an obsessive personality. I'm not actually sure if that's a medical condition or not, but if it is, I've just self-diagnosed. No doctor has ever told me this. It's not always a bad thing. For example, when baking, I always wash my hands after cracking the eggs, before moving on to the next ingredient. And it enables me to stick to the point in arguments (Captain America, long before he married me, learned that the "sleep on it"   philosophy of dispute resolution didn't work for us--he'd wake up just fine and I'd wake up exactly where we left off).

Okay, technically, hes's not beating anyone up with his shirt
here, and it really makes no sense that he'd be fighting
someone without his shirt on, but look at all those muscles!
On the other hand, it's not so good when, for example, I really like one Jason Statham movie, and then go ahead and get every B movie he's ever been in from the library. For the record, I've always LOVED action movies. Don't judge me. The Transporter ones are awesome, if only because he beats people up with his dress shirt (and, consequently, you get to see him sans shirt), but the Crank ones where his heart is removed and replaced by some sort of battery thing that runs off adrenaline or something and so he has to have sex in public to keep it charged...yup, they're just as terrible as my synopsis made it sound.

My latest obsession is post-apocalypse/zombie/vampire survival, which is just really silly. But I am wondering if I can turn my nerd-ocalypse novel into an apoca-romance. Is that a genre, or did I just invent one?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Psychologically speaking, it's the pits

When I was in middle school-ish, I had this How To Host a Murder party called Archaeologically Speaking, it's the Pits, which has nothing to do with this blog post at all except for the title of the post. I feel better having cleared that up.

For the past week, I have been waking up with terrible panic attacks. What happens is, I wake up and my heart starts racing, and I say to myself, just get up and get going, and my blood turns to lead and I can't get out of bed (and I realize that if my heart's racing, you'd think my blood would be moving a lot faster than lead in my veins, but that's just not how panic attacks work), and then I think I don't have time for this, and if you get up, you can get the shit you need to get done done, and then there'll be nothing to panic about, but I still can't get up. And then, because I'm neurotic, I think, great, you're probably giving yourself ulcers and gray hairs, and stress causes zits, and all this adrenalin that you're pumping into your body for NO REASON WHATSOEVER is just going to cause you more problems, and then you'll really have something to worry about. Because that's productive.

For the past week, Captain America has been in New Mexico learning how to drive like a movie stuntman. Okay, not really. He's been learning offensive driving, and no, that's not what happens when you take driver's ed in New Jersey and learn to drive with your knees so you can flip someone off with your right hand while you lean out your window shaking your left fist at someone else, all while swearing, preferably in Yiddish. That's also not what he was learning how to do.

Last night, we went to my company's holiday party. So of course Captain America's flight was delayed. Conveniently the party was running on California time, so it didn't really matter at all that we were late. And of course, because we haven't seen each other all week, there was an immediate need to have an argument in the car on the way to the party. Captain America was grumpy because he had just flown and his flight was delayed and he was hungry and this party fell in the middle of a 10 day work week for him and finally I just blurted out, I can't do this right now. I've been waking up with panic attacks all week and I really need you to be charming and delightful like you usually are at these things because I work with really nice people and they all want to meet you and I want them to like me. (As an aside, my official start date with the company is tomorrow.)

And Captain America said, thank you for telling me you've been having panic attacks.

He didn't ask me why I was having panic attacks. He didn't suggest I go to the doctor, or make any suggestions at all, or pry for details or anything.

Yup, I'm married to a super hero.

Who needs angels when you have Captain America?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Do we all just live in a perpetual state of anguish?

This isn't Cicero.
Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to. --the character Cicero in the movie Gladiator.

I was on the phone with Captain America the other night, complaining about how busy I am when it occurred to me that it's all my own fault that I'm busy. The problem, in a nutshell, is that there are so many things I'd like to be doing, or doing a lot more of. 

For instance, I love to read. Probably more than I like to do anything else. And I read a lot, but not nearly as much as I'd like to. I feel like I am so far behind on what I want to be reading that it's actually stressful trying to figure out when I could fit more of it in. But I also feel like I'm so close to getting to a point where I could read as much as I if I could just get caught up, I could stay caught up. 

I feel the same way about exercising. When I'm unemployed, a trip to the gym can take me four hours, door-to-door. That allows me 15 minutes of driving each way, an hour of ellipticalling, 40 minutes of running, 40 minutes of lifting weights, 40 minutes of stretching and the like, 20 minutes in the sauna, and 10 minutes to deal with things like peeing and filling up my water bottle and changing my shoes to use said sauna (don't get me started on how stupid I think that rule is). I get that four hours is a lot of time at the gym, and obviously this would be the long day (the short workout is the alternative days when I don't lift). In real life, I do get to spend about two hours a day at the gym, but then I have days where there is no way I can fit in 30 minutes of cardio. Which, for me, is a stupid amount of time. I have to spend the same amount of time wrangling myself into my sports bra, and the same amount of time stretching, for a whole lot less exercise. I realize this sounds like an excuse, but somehow 30 minutes is just where I say, I have better things to do with my time. If I know I can get in 45 minutes, though, it's worth it. 

So, I'm perpetually feeling frustrated because there are SO MANY THINGS I WANT TO DO, and instead, I have to spend my time at work, or even worse, commuting to and from work. (I am aware that all of my problems are first world problems. As I was discussing with a friend the other day, isn't that sort of the goal? I mean, how awesome would it be if everyone's problems were first world problems?) Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with my job. The pay is good, the company is good, the people are nice, the hours are even reasonable. It's just not nearly as enjoyable as reading or exercising.

What I was wondering aloud to Captain America the other night, though, is whether or not everyone else lives in this same perpetual state of anguish that I'm in that I'm not doing what I want with my life, or if everyone else has managed to grow up and accept it and I'm still the teenager raging against the world. 

Good Lord, I hope not.