Thursday, March 28, 2013

Re-reading The Hunger Games

I recently reread The Hunger Games, so rather than re-post a review, I'll just provide you with a link to my original one:

This time around, I actually read it, as in a book, and not on CD, and it was still awesome, and I still was eager to know what happened, and I still found the ending bittersweet, because it is, and I still can't wait to read the next one, even though I've also already read that one.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Enough already!

So there's some sort of problem with Blogger right now, related to not being able to edit things on a blog. There's a forum to log your problem (presumably so the people at Google can better rectify it), but once you log your problem, you get an email every time someone else logs their problem. This would be fine if everyone were just answering the three questions asked, but instead people are using it as a means to complain about Blogger and Google. Yes, it's totally irritating when something doesn't work the way it's supposed to, but IT'S A FREE SERVICE, PEOPLE!

Give it a rest. Google will get it sorted out.

And I thought I was grumpy!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Where'd You Go, BernadetteWhere'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here's your SAT word for the day: this novel is, for the most part, epistolary (a series of letters/documents). This is always an interesting approach to a novel, but I think it works well here, where things happen to many characters simultaneously, but where using different POV chapters would get repetitive.

This book was really entertaining. Bernadette is this brilliant, eccentric woman. As I was reading this book, I totally thought, I want to know her! (Of course, she's a bit of a recluse, so she's not likely to want to know me).

Having lived in the Pacific Northwest, it was also entertaining listening to her complain about the people in Seattle.

*Spoiler Alert* the bit about the Russian Mafia was a little unnecessary, but not so much so that it was distracting.

This novel wraps up nicely, if in a somewhat predictable way. All in all, though, this book was a lot of fun to read!

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Is this how life is supposed to be?

Or, I'm crabby because I don't get enough sleep because I like to do so many other things.

Someone once commented that "I don't have the time to x" is really just an excuse, and what you actually mean is that you're not willing to make the time. I don't disagree, but it always seemed to me to be a half-thought. It implies that you're doing a bad job of managing your time, and you would completely be able to fit in a new activity if you had your priorities in order. What this further implies is that someone else's priorities should be yours. This drives me crazy!

Example: studies indicate that people who volunteer are happier and have more fulfilling relationships than those who don't volunteer. This suggests that we should all spend some time volunteering. Except, I don't like volunteering. It always feels like one more thing on my to-do list, one more obligation, and I don't come home feeling fulfilled or better about humanity or anything like that. I come home tired and crabby and feeling like I now have to squeeze whatever else I need to get done that day into even less remaining time. And I have pretty incredible time management skills.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what's a time priority for me, because for me, and probably for a lot of other people, time is the biggest limit in their life. Like most people I know, I work hard, so when I'm not at work, I don't want what I do with my precious free time to be hard. For me, volunteering is hard. It's unpleasant and unrewarding, and I always wish it didn't take up so much time. Of course, we all have to do unpleasant stuff in our free time sometimes, and we have to spend time doing emotion-neutral things like laundry and grocery shopping, but I don't want to spend what's left of my now decreased free time doing things I don't enjoy.

Here's what I enjoy doing: reading, spending time with family and friends, writing, baking, exercising, and watching movies.

I'd love to do more of all of these things, but then it would be at the expense of, well, some other of these things (I could read more and exercise less or vice versa), or at the expense of sleep, which I already don't get enough of. I suppose I could work less, but that would likely mean a lower-paying job, and that's something I'm even less willing to compromise.

So this has all been slogging around my head when a friend of mine invites me to a Landmark Education open house thing she's hosting. I originally thought Landmark was like Bridgepoint, or National University, or any other for-profit school. Then I read more about it an thought it sounded suspiciously like a cult. Then I did a Google search to see what I could find out about it from any other source than it's website. Mostly, people  have been saying it only appears cult-like, and it's really a program for figuring out how to get the most out of life. It sounds self-help-y/inspirational speaker-y, but it's apparently all about you.

But I still don't get it. I don't understand specifically what it does. There's no clear cut definition of what the program means by "living an extraordinary life," and the syllabus doesn't outline specific steps or actions. So while it sounds like the kind of thing where everyone would say, of course I want an extraordinary life, of course I want more fulfilling and deeper relationships, it still feels a little bit like a scam to me.

So, on the one hand, if this is helping my friend be happier and have a better life, I want to support her, but on the other hand, I don't want to go to her open house and be the one who's all, but I don't get it. I feel like that would make me even more of a target for all of the Landmarkians, because clearly I'm in even greater need of this program, since I don't understand it at all.

But what it really comes down to is, I don't want to go. I like my friend, but I don't really feel the need to meet a bunch of her other friends, and I'd rather spend my time reading, or sleeping.

I feel like my life is already very full, and at the same time, I'd enjoy it a lot more and be less crabby if I got more sleep, but then I'd have to cut down on something I enjoy doing. Who came up with this system?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Breakfast of ChampionsBreakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'm pretty sure Kurt Vonnegut is the weirdest person who ever lived. If not, he's for sure in the top 10. Up there with that emperor who gave his horse a seat in the senate.

Honestly, I don't really know what this book is about. I followed the plot, I followed the (for lack of a better way of describing it) story-within-the-story where the author speaks directly to the audience. I even get that it's satire. I just don't know what it's satire of.

With all of that being said, I found it to be mildly amusing, and a relatively fast read. I'm just not sure I'm the target audience or in a position to recommend this book.

At least I can cross another thing off my resolution list!

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Stuff I discuss at work

Or, how yoga leads to world domination

My friend: I am so sore. Yoga works!
Me: I know.
My friend: But I might try the 'gentle' yoga next time
Me: Gentle yoga is after spin on Friday
My friend: Haha. Although I am totally fine with not knowing what I am doing.
Me: There will be no stealth ninjas in gentle yoga. That alone might be worth sticking with power yoga. Of course, you could do both, like me
My friend: Haha! I did enjoy the ninjas. Well, watching others be ninjas.
Me: Yes. I dream of the day I become a ninja. It's a goal.
My friend: Yes, indeed. In the meantime I'll work on trying to touch my toes.
Me: I was supremely unflexible last night. Usually I can touch my toes. When I got to Pilates, my trainer told me my back was all jacked up. That might also explain my un-ninja-ness.
My friend: Haha! I am extremely inflexible. This is why I'm interested in yoga. I am so inflexible I'm not sure how I get around sometimes.
Me: Haha! my sister is totally unflexible, too and she exercises like crazy. Her idea of flexibility is as long as someone can touch her toes, it's all good.
My friend: Same here. It really is something you have to practice. You and Bob [another coworker...names have been changed to protect the innocent] are definitely on your way to ninja-ness!
Me: Usually that someone is the person giving her a pedicure.
My friend: Hahahaha!
Me: I don't touch her toes...she totally has runner's feet.
My friend: Well, one step at a time I guess. 1) touch toes 2) do ninja stuff
Me: That sounds incredibly similar to an outline for world domination!
My friend: Haha! You're right!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I'm confused

Because I had so much fun with NaNoWriMo last November, I was totally planning on signing up for Script Frenzy in April. And then I read this Important News About Script Frenzy and just to confirm it, I checked out the ever-reliable Wikipedia. And it appears that script frenzy is no longer a thing, although the website is still up.

This leaves me feeling a little ambivalent. I'm very sad that this event is no longer happening, even though I understand the business justification. But I was looking forward to trying my hand at script writing. On the other hand, I have no lack for to-do lists, so I'm a little relieved that this isn't something I can do anymore. Sure, I could still try to write a script in a month, but it won't be nearly as much fun without all of the silly suggestions from The Office of Letters and Light team, without the discussion forums, and without the awesome graphics charting my progress.

*Sigh* I guess this give me more time to clean up the first novel I wrote, and prepare for more writing in November.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I totally get this

Periodically, I read The Happiness Project blog, and this one resonated with me. I've read about the police theory of broken windows, but I also agree with Gretchen Rubin this idea applies in our personal lives.

although not this much like clutter
My big broken windows are the gigantic stacks of books that I plan to read that are lying around. I've taken to hiding them (no, seriously, I have), because I really want to read them, but I haven't gotten to them yet, and they're starting to look like clutter.

Another thing I read over at The Happiness Project also had to do with's tip number 12...and ignore the inconsistent numbers in this blog...the title says 12, the opening paragraph says 11, and then she lists 12. These things happen.

I really like how her friend points out that she can store stuff at the store. That's brilliant!