Last night I was fortunate enough to attend the Dayton, Ohio book tour stop for Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson. Let me start by saying that Jenny Lawson was wonderfully entertaining, super friendly, and all around AWESOME! Dayton, being the lamest place on earth, was the one and only stop on this book tour or the last to tell Jenny she wasn’t allowed to curse.
She did a Q&A session afterwards and I asked what advice she would give to my daughter who is away at college and struggling with anxiety. Her response: ‘tell her she rocks for even having the courage to go away to school, I didn’t, and pretend you’re good at it.’ She then went on at length about building a support group and being open about having a mental illness and although my daughter wasn’t able to go to the signing with me, when I passed the advice along she smiled, nodded, agreed, and then was super bummed that she missed the signing.
As to “pretend you’re good at it” Jenny explained that this was advice given to her by Neil Gaiman (OMG!!!) and that she writes it on her arm before every speaking event. This will totally be my next tattoo.
After the Q&A we got our books signed. Since I preordered to get the signed book plate for my hardcover and I won her blog contest for an autographed audiobook, I decided to pick up the paperback for my daughter and Andy. When I told Jenny the book was for my daughter whom I’d spoken about, she added “you rock!” to the signature. Very cool of her.
Then it was photo time
And I even got a hug from Copernicus. 🙂
So yeah, it was AWESOME!
I’ve had a few people ask me why I never blog anymore and my response has been that nothing funny has happened for me to blog about. Then tonight at the Jenny Lawson book signing (which I am TOTALLY going to blog about) I was reminded by my friends and loved ones that since the last time I blogged:
- I played Cards Against Humanity with a 13 year old entrusted to my care;
- face planted on the sidewalk on my way into a shop;
- took my college sophomore daughter shopping for her 5th high school prom dress;
- told a nurse stitching me up that I was sorry if I smelled but I peed a little in the accident;
- told my entire craft group that I’m not really into crafts, I’m just trying to learn how to like girls;
- I’m sure there’s a lot more but I’m bullet pointing and bullet points aren’t funny anyway.
The point is, I’m back. Crazy, weird, funny things happen in my life all the time, I just forgot to notice them. So going forward, I am going to make a point to blog once a week. If I think I have nothing to say, I’m going to get a second opinion. If that doesn’t work, I’ll just post a picture of my butt … or .. something.
Monday I was pretty much smack in the middle of a 52 car pileup on the highway. It made national news from what I hear. A friend and her son were following me, their car flipped. I was too worried about them to notice or care that I was hurt, so that worked out. They walked away with a bump and a bruise. I walked away with deep bruises over a good portion of my torso and 12 stitches in my knee. It could have been a lot worse. I thought about posting the pictures of the accident here, and may at some point. For now though, I’m dealing with my car and my friend’s car (which was also our company vehicle) being totaled and the long waiting game while the police and insurance companies try to figure it all out. C’est la vie.
In unrelated news, I have a dog with bilious vomiting syndrome which we control by feeding her pureed chicken, rice, and vegetables. It’s a pain in the butt but so is scrubbing dog vomit out of the carpet every morning. At least I only have to make dog food once a week. I usually just boil a whole chicken but tonight as I was prepping some chicken breasts to go in the freezer it occurred to me that rather than throwing away all the disgusting looking bits that I won’t eat, I should just add them to the dog food. Good plan, but I probably should have put more thought into the labeling.
Andy: Why do you have so much crap in your purse.
Me: What are you talking about? I don’t even have that much in there. In fact, I just cleaned it out and the only thing in there that arguably shouldn’t be is a bulb of garlic.
Andy: Why do you have a bulb of garlic in your purse?
Me: Why WOULDN’T I have a bulb of garlic in my purse. I said it only arguably shouldn’t be there. That implies that arguably it should be.
Andy: No really, why do you have a bulb of garlic in your purse.
Me: In the event of vampire apocalypse, you’ll thank me.
Andy: … sigh … Why do I even let you out of the house.
Me: What? I’m just planning ahead.
Survival skills. I have them.
Sorry I haven’t posted much recently. I am not really a fan of Christmas and apparently my grouchiness this year ruined it for everyone. I was going to post about my reasons for hating Christmas but my mom said “Please don’t” so I guess I won’t. Instead, here are a couple of movie reviews.
I’m afraid this review is going to sound more negative than I intend so let me start by saying that overall, I thought it was pretty good. I am a fan of the book and a fan of the 1977 Jules Bass cartoon (notwithstanding the terrible soundtrack and super cheese of the naming of Sting) so going into this I had some heavily entrenched preconceived notions of what The Hobbit should be. This is why I’m probably being overly critical about some aspects of the film and that upon future viewings my opinion may improve.
- I loved that they included certain elements of the 1977 film version in this version. Bilbo’s attire is very reminiscent of the 1977 film and there are several scenes, Blunt the Knives, the encounter with Gollum, and the rescue by eagles spring to mind, that were wonderfully reminiscent of the cartoon version.
- Much of the dialog in the scenes that actually came from The Hobbit was taken verbatim from the book.
- It was visually stunning.
- Either there were fewer forced perspective issues (the relative sizes of hobbits, dwarves, elves, and men shifting throughout the movie) than there were in The Lord of the Rings trilogy or I have just gotten used to it and don’t notice it as much now. That drove me crazy in LOTR.
- There were numerous incontinuities in the crossover LOTR scenes.
- I missed Bilbo talking to himself. I felt that it lessened his character development not to hear his inner monologue.
- It really should have been a single movie that told Bilbo’s story. That’s what The Hobbit was. Bilbo’s story from Bilbo’s perspective. It was not really intended as a prequel to LOTR and I liked that about it. LOTR does a fine job of telling its story, we didn’t need more.
- I felt that whole reluctant hero story got buried. Sad.
- The decision to do heavy prosthetics on some dwarves and none on others was a poor choice. It ended up being a band of dwarves and humans vs a band of dwarves. There should have been more continuity and less thinly veiled attempt to have a couple of attractive lead characters.
In summary, I felt that folding in other stories to build a LOTR prequel destroyed the essence of what The Hobbit is. The Hobbit is supposed to be Bilbo’s book, There and Back Again: A Hobbit’s Holiday, or more generally, it is supposed to be Bilbo’s individual story. As a movie it was good. As The Hobbit, however, it overreached and in doing so, it lost a lot of what made The Hobbit my favorite of the Middle Earth stories. I didn’t want a LOTR prequel. I didn’t want, in this film, to know more of the story of the dwarves. I wanted the story of an ordinary hobbit thrown begrudgingly into extraordinary situations and exceeding his own expectations.
Les Miserables was Les Miserables. In terms of being a film adaptation of a theatrical musical, it as by far the best I have ever seen. As a show, there are things I love about Les Mis and things I hate about it. In the film, the good, the bad, the convoluted, and the skimmed over were all brilliantly and beautifully portrayed. Generally though, I’ve always felt that Les Mis tries to pack too much in. It’s a bit long and bogged down in spots, and I can’t even express how much I hate the shallow “love” story of Marius and Cosette. That said, it also has one of my favorite minor characters ever, Gavroche, Fantine’s and Eponine’s stories are always heartbreaking, no matter how many times you see it, and the soundtrack is absolutely amazing.
- Anne Hathaway was perfect. If she doesn’t win an Oscar there is no justice in the world.
- Hugh Jackman was really good as Jean Valjean, which is no easy task. That is a HARD role. I had a few gripes with his performance but they were minor, like the choice to speak rather than sing certain lines.
- Visually, OMG. The things that were supposed to be beautiful were breathtaking and the things that were supposed to be horrible were difficult to watch.
- I applaud the choice to show certain songs entirely in close-up. The effect was gut wrenching emotion that I don’t think could have been achieved in any other way.
- The young children were played by young children. I am so tired of the kids being too old in movie adaptations of books, plays, etc.
- This is a very difficult show vocally. I was skeptical when I saw the all star line up and was mostly very pleasantly surprised.
- Gavroche 🙂
- The things I don’t like about Les Mis as a show were all still there.
- Russell Crowe was completely devoid of emotion as Javert. Javert is supposed to be a very passionate character and Crowe seemed to be merely going through the motions.
- Russell Crowe is a mediocre singer. This would have been okay for many, many other shows but Les Mis IS the music. He was a poor choice for a show that rests so heavily on stunning vocals. Also, I found his voice weirdly reminiscent of the cowardly lion (1939) and kept expecting him to bust out some severe vibrato. Luckily he refrained from being king of the fore-e-e-e-e-est.
- I’m really on the fence about Sasha Baron Cohen’s performance. I can’t decide if I didn’t like him as Thenardier or if my judgment was clouded by the fact that I just don’t like him in general. Thenardier and his wife are kind of a wild card in Les Mis anyway. They are the comic relief in a very dark and depressing show and they walk a fine line between being too dark to provide comic relief (they are, after all, the most despicable characters in the show) and being cartoonishly slapsticky and over the top. Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter leaned toward the dark side, which was a good choice, I think. Like I said, I’m on the fence. I liked Helena Bonham Carter’s performance, once I got over Mrs. Lovett (the roles are very similar) being married to Thenardier.
In summary, if you like Les Mis as a show you’ll probably love the movie.
Andy: (putting vacuum cleaner away in closet adjacent to room) …
Me: Okay, this isn’t as weird as it looks.
Andy: It looks like you’re playing Words with Friends in the nude.
Me: Well, I am, but I’m playing against my cousin.
Andy: Okay, that’s actually weirder than it looks.
Me: No, see, I was getting in the shower and I heard Words with Friends chime so I came in here to mute it so it wouldn’t be annoying but then I decided to go ahead and take my turn and then I saw on facebook that my friend’s wife had a baby and I was like “awesome! I didn’t even know they were expecting” and … well … I was getting ready to get in the shower.
Andy: I’m pretty sure you crossed all sorts of weird lines right there.
Me: Well it’s not like I have a webcam.
Andy: Sigh … (wanders away)
This is why people with A.D.H.D. shouldn’t multitask.
In addition to becoming part owner of a retail business recently, I also opened a general practice law firm. I know, right? So in doing all of the tons of set up stuff I got a business credit card for the purchasing of the office supplies and whatnot.
My first purchase!
My second purchase: a printer. Seriously.
It gets better though. When I got to the counter to pay for my red Swingline stapler (and yes, it’s full size despite looking oddly small in this picture) the clerk informed me that I got this little guy for free!
“The Legendary Red Stapler Ornament”
So now I have a little family of red Swingline staplers!
When I got it home and started to open the packaging, I discovered this subtle marketing gem.
Well played, Swingline. Well played.