23 December, 2010

Books I Have Read in 2010, part one

I have gotten really, really far behind in this whole "keeping track of all the books I read" thing. But since I'm homebound and sick and got nothing else/better to do, here you go. These are the first ten.

Stop Forgetting to Remember: The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz
Stop Forgetting to Remember: the Autobiography of Walter Kurtz by Peter Kuper

Another autobiographical graphic novel I found whilst browsing aimlessly at the library. Kuper mixed it up a bit by making it an autobiography not of himself, but of a fictional person who happens to have had a very, very similar life to his. Wink. The whole book is like a very long version of one of those "this happened to a friend of mine" stories that you hear at parties. Sometimes even in Sacrament Meeting!

I am like 95% sure one of the stories I heard in my most recent Sacrament Meeting was one of those. Anyway.

An autobiographical graphic novel kick is for sure a good kick to be on, and this is a good one, even though it technically breaks the most crucial convention. It's still powerfully honest, and breaks the fourth wall in really cool ways. It's not often that one finds a magical-realism-infused book about parenting and male friendship that still manages to be so touching. I feel like now that I have read this book, I totally understand men. NOT.

Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin

I decided recently that it's really important for me to read the books of the people with whom I disagree most vehemently, because I want to make sure that I sincerely disagree with their ideas and not just a straw man version of them. Which is often what people I dislike do, argue against ideas they claim their opponents have instead of their actual ideas. But I digress.

I disagree pretty heartily with most of what Sarah Palin says, does, is, represents. After reading her (albeit heavily ghostwritten) memoirs, I can now say with a certainty that I wasn't just imagining things. I really do disagree with her, even dislike her as a person, which is too bad. Someone who reviewed this book on Slate described this book as a "1000 page paean to willful ignorance." That pretty much sums it up.

The thing that really, really bothers me about Sarah Palin, more than her trumped-up claims about her governmental experience, more than her sick parading of her kids for the press, and more than her irritating lack of diplomacy, was that multiple times in her book she claimed that as a child she was a "bookworm" and "a nerd" who spent all her time reading.

First of all, no way could any well-read person have the stunted vocabulary and incomprehensible syntax that Palin seems almost proud of. Secondly, Palin claims that her favorite books are Animal Farm and The Pearl. AKA two of the shortest books on any middle school teacher's required reading list. She makes no mention of any book longer than the two aforementioned. Please. Bookworms read books. You can't spend decades reading and only have those two (very good, let me be clear) books on your hit list.

If Sarah Palin is a nerd, then I'm prom queen. I really feel very strongly about this. You can't grow up as a superstar teen and then try to play your past as a brainy outcast so you seem relatable. Can't have it both ways, sister.

I better stop because I keep getting angrier and angrier at Sarah Palin.

My Rotten Life: Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie by David Lubar

Carlos and I listened to this on CD while we were driving to and from Spokane the week before my birthday. It was a fun, fast-paced book, meant for about Carlos' age group. It took a few cues from Harry Potter (likable everyman hero, goofy-but-loyal best friend, genius female sidekick) but was still reasonably original. Also played around with the ideas of zombiehood in some interesting ways.

The Great Gilly Hopkins
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katharine Paterson

Another one from the Banned Books List. Another strong piece from Ms. Paterson. It's about a little girl who has been in foster care for most of her life and is (understandably) angry at the world and slow to trust anyone. Of course, she gets taken in by a diverse cast of characters and comes to love them. That part was predictable. The ending was not. Really good book.

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson

It's kind of embarrassing to admit that I read this, especially since it wasn't for any project or goal. I read it because Natasha Parker of The Mormon Therapist recommended Hold Me Tight as a good book about relationships and she is my favorite Mormon blogger and speaks a lot of truth. Anyway, this book had some very interesting ideas about attachment theory as it related to adult relationships rather than just parent-child relationships. I think she is pretty spot-on. This would be a good book to get on your Kindle so nobody in public would know you were reading it.

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

I thought this book was a true story until I finished it. As it turns out, it sounds like it was kinda one of those "Walter Kurtz" type deals where the author writes a book about a main character with his name and his exact life even though it is supposedly fictional. There is a really graphic description of a pig being slaughtered which made me really sad, but is apparently super accurate, so I can maybe understand why this book was banned. But I think the story is really important, and taught me a lot about Shaker life, a religion I knew very little about beforehand.

Gooney Bird and the Room Mother by Lois Lowry

Another of Lowry's books for younger children. Super cute. Would be great to read to a K-2 class. Reveal at the end caught me totally off guard. I like it when books do that.

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

This book reminded me of Lemony Snicket's sense of humor. By which I mean it was awesome. It is also a about smart orphans and dumb adults. I would totally read this to a 4-6 class.

Cancer Vixen: A True Story

Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marcello

Yup, another autobiographical graphic novel. By a woman! Exciting!

I think I am going to send a copy of this to my mom because it's about beating cancer and that's what she did.

Sometimes I have a hard time relating to stories, most of which are by women, where the main plotline is like "I was super rich and sexy and glamorous and then this super-hard thing happened to me and now I know what's really important and I brought a turkey dinner to Bob Cratchit's house!" Mostly because I am neither rich nor sexy nor glamorous. But whatevs. This is still a really good book. It makes me wish I knew more Italians (shout out to ma Pearce girls).

Strangers in Paradise, book 1 by Terry Moore

Do you like lesbian-homoerotic-crime-thriller-graphic novels????

Me too. Here is a book that may interest you.

Not really much else to say about this ... I had no idea what it was about when I started (aimless library browsing once again) and by the time I realized that the love triangle was two chicks and a dude, I was like, but what's gonna happen when the mafia finds out? And I had to finish it.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Also, this book is one of very few books where one of the main characters is an overweight woman and the essence of her characters is not TO BE AN OVERWEIGHT WOMAN. She has a role outside of that. Know what I mean?

21 December, 2010

Why Some People Think I am Eccentric

Because if enough people think something, it has to be true. Especially if it's on the Internet. Duh. Evidence annotated below.

Happy Solstice! The universe has conspired against me and made me menstrual and ill in conjunction with the full moon. I couldn't fall asleep last night and then woke up at 4 AM with back pain so severe it made me throw up, which was less than fun. Then I couldn't fall back (get it?) asleep. I went outside in my underwear and a fur coat (1) to see if the eclipse was still visible, but of course by then it was over, and anyway it was far too cloudy to see anything. When my alarm went off at 6 AM I hadn't slept at all and I was so disappointed I almost started crying (2).

The only good thing about last night is that Sego spooned with me and he is the best huge furry hot water bottle in the whole wide world.

Even when I was starting to feel sick yesterday afternoon, when my boss called while I was watching Fire in the Sky (3) I foolishly agreed to take a work assignment for tomorrow/today. I could really use the money. So far I don't really regret it because even though I am tired and in a lot of pain, it's better to be in pain and distracted by work than in pain at home with nothing to do. Although I still have some craft projects to finish for some Christmas gifts. In some ways, crafting is more of a chore for me than regular chores (4).

I also have 17 more books in the queue that I need to finish writing about before the end of the year. When did this become an actual goal instead of just something to do because I was no longer in school? I don't know. (5)

There is this boy at church whom I find fascinating for a number of reasons, but the biggest one is that he seems really, really content. As in, comfortable in his own skin, happy with the way his life is right now. I am jealous and also curious as to what he knows that I don't.

Lastly, when I was cleaning out some boxes of high school memorabilia I found--wait for it--an autographed poster from the band Jericho Road. I never liked or listened to their music, but all you need to know about them is that they were a Mormon Boy Band and that they were ridiculous. One time I was at the Deseret Book in Bellevue buying some scripture markers on my way home from the temple, and those guys were just there, all alone. They struck up a conversation and invited me to their show, but I was busy. They gave me an autograph anyway. Bless their hearts.

Any chance that would be worth money? Doubtful, I suppose. Might put it on the eBay anyway. (6) You never know.

11 December, 2010

Not Being Naked: day 30

fake snakeskin shoes + denim skirt + purple plaid shirt + long white sweater + fake pearl necklace

Pretty good outfit for going on a date with myself.

SO excited to wear my other clothes!!! Still, this was fun.

the end

Not Being Naked: day 29

Once again, this is for last night.

fake snakeskin shoes + white leggings + grey skirt + neon green shirt + brown belt (thrifted) + long blue sweater + opal necklace (won by my mom at a casino) + fake pearl bracelet (Forever 21)

Can I just say that my pearl bracelet is the most fun thing in the world to fidget with? It's true.

Also, I am starting to eye all my other clothes rather covetously, so it's a good thing today is my last day!

Will post final outfit after I put clothes on.

10 December, 2010

Not Being Naked: day 28

I can't believe this project is nearly done!

other white shirt + denim skirt + fake snakeskin shoes + other pearl necklace (was my mom's)

This was a cute outfit, but it was NOT AT ALL appropriate for the rock show I attended after my doctor's appointment. I looked like a square. Oh well.

These boys and girl still put on a hell of a show.

08 December, 2010

Not Being Naked: day 27

Two things.

1. On Monday my neighbor drove by me while I was walking with Sego to the mailbox. He rolled down his window and was like, "Hey! I'm glad you're not naked."

I was SO CONFUSED AND CREEPED OUT for like five seconds and then as he drove away I was like ohhhhhhhhhhh.

2. I know this picture is blurry, again, but I didn't want to take it over again because, look how good my legs look!

I was afraid I would not be able to get them to look that nice again.

Quit when you're ahead, that's my motto.

short red dress + white leggings + black hooker boots + black t-shirt + red necklace

07 December, 2010

Feminism is Not Ded

Temping is a suitable short-term career path for me because I have a very short attention span and like to dabble. If I had to perform some of the occasionally mindless tasks that I do as a temp day in and day out for months on end, my soul would probably die, but as it stands, with me doing something for a few hours or a few days at a time, I usually enjoy whatever it is I have to do, even if it is boring. Also, I feel like I get a nice miniature vision of many different fields and companies. It's like every day is Take Elisa to Work Day.

If I were to make a list of the things I have learned through temping, it would probably consist of all the different filing systems I have learned, how many phone lines I can manage, blah blah blah. I do not think I would list what I learned to do today, which is to assemble and transport 52 mannequins.

Today I worked at a mid-fashion clothing company that I have never heard of before, and for privacy's sake won't list here, but let's just say it's akin to those California-infused preppy clothing stores you see in the mall like PacSun, Aeropostale and such. I was told that I would be performing manual labor of some sort, so I dressed accordingly in jeans, and showed up at the corporate office at eight o'clock this morning.

My supervisor and both my co-workers were male, and here is where the feminism thing comes in. I noticed that I did not seem especially welcome at this position, which was unloading large boxes from a truck. My co-workers talked to each other but not to me, and my supervisor was polite but gave instructions as to exactly what we were doing while I wasn't, technically, there. This got me a little bit on edge, because I figured that they didn't want me around because they assumed, as a woman, I wouldn't be able to lift said boxes. This hurt my pride especially because I am pretty strong, even though I am short. Ever since I was nine or ten (and keep in mind at that age I more resembled a fifteen or sixteen year-old) my dad went to me when he needed help with lifting heavy objects or working on fix-it type stuff, because my brothers were too young. I won't pretend to be able to compete with, like, professional construction workers, but I can definitely hold my own with a couple of doughy office workers.

This turned out to be true.

After we unloaded the boxes I noticed that one of my co-worker's attitudes had changed. He smiled at me and acted friendly. Success! I had proved my worth, video-game style. But the other one still wouldn't even look me in the eye, which gave me a medium-sized chip on my shoulder. His attitude made me feel like I had something to prove, so as we started on out next task, I determined that I was going to be the BEST DAMN MANNEQUIN ASSEMBLER OF ALL TIME.

Here's the thing about being a working woman, at least in my experience. Most of the time, in more cerebral environments like school, blue collar offices and (more often than not) church, I feel like the general M.O. is pretty merit-based and doesn't have that much to do with gender. In my classes in college, for example, I usually felt like I was judged based on my abilities alone. But if I'm in an environment where it still feels like a male-dominated arena (i.e. factory work, manual labor, etc) I immediately assume that everybody there assumes I can't do whatever it is we're supposed to do simply because I am a woman. I start out with something to prove, which is maybe silly because probably a lot of the time no one is thinking anything bad about me in the first place. It's totally dumb.

Anyway, so we started taking the mannequins out of the box, putting them together and wheeling them over to the elevator to eventually be taken upstairs. I should mention that this was an amusingly awkward job because the mannequins were all male. It was impossible to put them together or move them around without grabbing embarrassing parts of their anatomy. The height adjustment valve was very poorly placed and required me to stand in what appeared to be a rather compromising position, with my hand in an embarrassing place. These mannequins were also packing like James Bond on a mission. Don't think I'm just a pervert or a ten year-old boy in a twenty-six year-old woman's body, because every single person who walked into the lobby where we were assembling the mannequins snickered like crazy. This was an Austin Powers level of obvious, entrendre-wise.

Anyway, so the second co-worker and I were able to joke around for a few minutes, then he went upstairs and left me with this other guy who obviously really didn't like me. I hadn't said anything to him at all, so I was left to assume that he had a problem with me because I was a woman. As we pulled out the headless torsos, which by the way smelled like hemp, I thought about the state of feminism in our country, and how in so many ways, we have so far to go.

Finally--FINALLY--this guy turned to me and asked me what "I like to do." I'm terrible at answering that question, by the way. I think I need to take up knitting again so I have an easy answer.

"Oh," I said. "I like, um, swimming, and ... sci-fi."

His pasty face lit up. "Really? Me too!"

And then we were friends and talked about nerdy things for the rest of the afternoon.


MORAL: Sometimes someone appears mean and scary but it turns out they are more afraid of you then you are of them (like bears, and not like that little girl from The Ring). For example, maybe you think someone doesn't like you because he doesn't like working with women, but it turns out he is actually just afraid of all women, except ones who are equally excited about Tron Legacy.

Not Being Naked: days 24, 25 and 26

I'm going to call this the "about to do laundry" edition.

So Saturday night I went clubbing, and it was then that I realized that when I was choosing my 30 pieces I was definitely not including anything appropriate for clubs. Kelso asked my advice on what to wear, and all I could think to tell her was, "Something that shows off your whatever. Also, you can never go wrong with black."

Blurriness invokes how outfit probably appeared to
drunk, loose-knuckled frat boys at aforementioned club.

Accordingly, I wore black leggings + blue v-neck t-shirt (which I now know with a certainty is cut inappropriately low) + blue square necklace + black hooker boots + black fake leather jacket. It looked pretty OK.

The next day I wore this dress, which I may or may not have have worn 3/4 Sundays in the past month. It's so comfortable! And it can sit in my duffel bag all day without wrinkling. Twenty thumbs up for this dress.

brown polka-dot dress + green jacket (gift while I was on my mission) + black hooker boots + opal necklace = perfectly acceptable, although I have few memories of that outfit because I was so sleep-deprived. In between church and dinner I slept for like four hours.

This is what I wore yesterday. White t-shirt + denim skirt + fake pearl necklace (thrifted) + fake pearl bracelet (also thrifted) + black sandals = a lot of the pictures in this skirt make my hips look really big. I don't care, just an observation.

03 December, 2010

Not Being Naked: day 23

The theme of the day is "greyscale." I put on my grey shoes and my grey dress and then I was like, well, I can't stop now!

fake snakeskin shoes + grey and white dress + long white sweater + grey beaded necklace + silver hoop earrings (thrifted ... forgot a picture, sorry) + black purse (thrifted)

See, it's pretty much the same thing.

02 December, 2010

Not Being Naked: day 22

Today I worked eleven hours. That is a lot.

This photo is blurry to represent that my eye started twitching like crazy around 5PM.

I was wearing black hooker boots + other grey skirt + black t-shirt + long white sweater + red scarf (thrifted) + orange earrings (no idea ... maybe inherited from someone?) = by the end of the day, I am pretty sure I smelled bad

Check out my droopy, droopy eyes.

The End

01 December, 2010

Not Being Naked: day 21

Today I worked at a fancy shmancy hotel. Which was awesome because I got a free lunch and paid a very good salary. It was sad because I was not an official member of the company party (I was just the typist) so when they brought in the free brownies, there was not one for me. This is how that made me feel:

This is me being sad in a fancy shmancy hotel mirror, wearing white blouse + brown skirt + red necklace + red superhero boots. One of the executives told me I looked "adorable." She had a cool haircut, so I trust her opinion. This is me lookin' at my boots, bein' sad 'cause I didn't get a brownie.