Tuesday, December 29, 2009

an...update?

Yeah, so, I got like, married and stuff.

*squee*

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A countdown.

6 days til my family comes.
10 days til Christmas.
12 days til the wedding.

Eeee!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Transported

I'm in Dallas!

Keep meaning to post here updating and it just keeps...slipping. Too many things to do (not really, I lounge around while Graham's at work), people to see (Graham. Too cold to go outside), countries to conquer (true), etc.

Anyway, I'm here and it's awesome and I'm already starting to think about the future--something I haven't been able to do with any clarity for a very, very long time.

19 days to the wedding. eeee!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

THE END Of THE CANNONBALL!

I have finished the Cannonball! DONE. 100 books in 1 year. No idea on the page count yet, but maybe I'll have time to count. It was pretty brutal at the end, and in the past three days I read four books. All the way through, too.

I had planned on finishing with Gone With the Wind, one of my favorites, but I started it too late and didn't want to rush through it. So I grabbed yet another Grisham and zoomed through it. It was pretty good, too.

In the next few days I hope to finish the reviews (yes! all 40 of them!) and write Best and Worst lists as well as recommendations by genre, etc. I do like writing the reviews a lot, even if they're not widely read or published in Pajiba anymore. And I'll always have them up for quick reference in case anyone asks me for a particular book.

'm so happy I finished. A lot of my reads were re-reads, as I have very limited access to new books and had to supply myself from my shelves as well as my dad's. I'll do a count, but I also read a lot of new books, and it was a great experience. I read books I had never given a chance to before because I was afraid I wouldn't like them, and discovered some great authors along the way. I revisited old favorites, and by writing the reviews I was able to finally articulate why I liked or hated a book. And I look forward to reading some more.

I won't be participating in the second Cannonball Run, but of course I'll keep reading and I hope to be able to do reviews for everything I read from now on. It's just so damn fun.

I loved this challenge. And I'm happy I finished, even if it was a little late. Huzzah!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Democracy or something like it.

You've probably noticed that I've stayed far away from talking about the political situation here in Honduras. There's really only two reasons for this: one, my brain's been consumed by the logistics of getting my entire family to a wedding I've still to finish planning, moving out, starting new life, etc. The second reason (and I think maybe it'll explain my selfishness) is that about a month ago I grew completely sick and tired of the whole thing. It all got to a point where everything that either side did just made me clutch my hair in frustration and scream in anger. And I think it's understandable that you can't live like that. It was either push all that back (it's impossible to completely ignore it) as much as possible, or go completely insane at the utter lunacy of it all. So I did the first.

And really, the updates would all have been along these lines: This guy said 'we want elections!'. The other said 'Get Me Back into the Presidency!' and then they stuck their tongues out at each other and continued to play chicken while getting absolutely nowhere. Deals were signed, broken, signed again, complained over, until the Americans intervened and it was all over for Zelaya. All that you really need to know is that the elections are tomorrow and Zelaya's positions weakens as more and more countries decide to recognize the results of tomorrow's vote. And he'll continue to sulk in the Brazilian embassy while the others play lottery with government positions and we end up in exactly the same place we were at before the whole mess started.

I'm being deliberately flippant, of course. There was a lot going on and a lot of ugly things came to light about our political and social systems. But the simple truth is that all this was about a handful of men wanting to take or keep taking more power for themselves. And now we get an election that they pretend will fix everything instead of changing nothing at all. It's disheartening and depressing, but that's politics in this country.

But there are a few good things that could happen tomorrow. first, we could have a legitimate and transparent election for once. I think everyone is terrified to display even the slightest evidence of fraud. There's a lot of outside people watching and keeping these guys on their toes. Of course there's still some distrust on my part but hey, there's always some hope. The second thing I'm hoping for (and perhaps this is more of a pipe dream) is that enough people have become disgusted by the way the two big parties here have been behaving to not give their votes to either. I doubt any of the smaller party candidates will win anything, but what I hope for is that independent candidates will see a huge turnout of voters on their side, and that fewer people will give their votes to the big parties. I don't think this country will ever change until we can erode the power that the two parties have. And even a small increase in votes for third parties will help. And I think it's good that we're having an election at all. Things could've been much worse.

Today, I saw a huge caravan of Liberal Party cars going down the highway. Every now and then someone would toss out handfuls of leaflets into the air from one of the cars.

The entire length of the highway was completely covered in useless, wasteful red and white leaflets. Miles and miles of wasted paper that will go on to pollute more rivers, to clog more sewers that will one day be useless in a big rain. Tons of paper that no one will clean up (or some of it will be cleaned by underpaid city workers) and will just make the city dirtier.

And for what? What a sad, pathetic joke. But hey! democracy, right! yeaaaaaaaah!

Monday, November 23, 2009

How to fit a new life into a box

Phase One of the Great Packing of 09 has begun. And it's making me reflective as hell.

What do I take with me? What will I need immediately? What can I leave behind and have sent later ? What don't I need? What do I just throw away?

It's weird. I've had some pretty big moves before, but nothing quite like this. We moved to Brazil and I was too young to remember. We moved to Venezuela and we took everything. We moved back to Honduras and again, we took mostly everything. I went to college and took a lot but not so much, since that wasn't a permanent move.

But it's always been WE, my entire family, moving into a big new house and having to share rooms. But now I'm LEAVING--all capital letters. Who knows when I'll be able to see my old room again. I'm starting a new life--hell, a new HOME and how bizarre is that? I've never lived on my own before, and though this isn't a complete move into independence, and it's very exciting but also kind of scary. And I just want to DO it already, you know? I want to start organizing the apartment, turning it from the bachelor pad into a house for two. I can't wait for that part.

So I'm kind of trying to calm down about the Selection and Packing of Stuffs. It's not like I won't ever see these things again. It's just...how do I even begin to pick what books I want to take? It was hard enough deciding to leave just about every bit of fiction here. I've already re-read most of it this year for the Cannonball. And one of the best things about the US is the abundance of public libraries and cheap bookstores. But I can't leave my art books behind, can I? And what if I start work soon and need them for...something? I must take them with me! It'd be like abandoning my children!

I'm taking my art supplies as well, of course. Can't live without them and they're expensive as hell to get new.

and the rest? Oooh boy. How do I even begin?

A list. I shall make a list right now so I won't go insane.

1) photo albums--staying. I don't need them right now and can always get them later.
2) framed photos -- taking with me. Graham's apartment lacks decorations.
3) jewelry and make-up -- have to take it all with me in the suitcase, or send it with my mom. There isn't a terrible lot of it but the boxes are kind of bulky. Need to find a good way to transport them.
4) journals and other papers, drawings, etc -- staying. can be sent later.
5) pottery stuff I made -- taking or sending by mail. They're multifunctional and provide good decorations.
6) decorative plates, pretty boxes, bits and pieces, etc -- sending by mail. Again, they're very practical and add nice color to places.
7) actual home/practical stuff -- going to take my mixer, because I can't live without it. Also my recipe books. Maybe sending along some special bowls and things like that.
8) bulky clothing and shoes -- sending them with the family. My mom, dad, grandma and uncle can take some in their bags. fortunately I don't actually have a lot of clothes I want to take, but shoes do make a lot of bulk and I can't leave my shoes behind.
9) two big blankets, fancy towels and my special pillow -- I don't know. Need to ask mom.

Most of that stuff is going to be sent by mail in boxes. That way they can sit in the apartment in a corner until I need them, while we clean out and organize the place.

Ooh. That helped a lot. Now that I put it that way it's not THAT much stuff I need to take - or at least it won't take up too much room when packed together. The books are really the biggest things and I might even leave some behind for now and take the best ones. They're heavy and could be expensive to send out, so I need to talk to my mom about it.

And the rest is really aesthetic stuff that boys don't think to get. I really wish I could take my giant mirror with me because it's awesome. But I think that'll have to wait. *sob*

So. I think that's it for now.

I hate packing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

the zombie invasion will begin when I've had some coffee

What a great day I had yesterday.

After finally mailing out the first batch of invitations, I went out with two good high school friends and had a wonderful lunch of giant burgers and crepes for dessert. Afterward we headed out to a mall like proper girly girls and hung out at the perfume store. My one friend is a something of a professional shopper and she took me on a tour of uber-girly stores--as much as I profess to hate shopping I have to admit that every now and then I do like to do a little bit of girlyness and look at pretty things. Decided to spend some money and bought myself some awesome perfume with a huge discount and I don't feel a bit guilty over it. After all, it's not every day I let myself spend like that.

Headed out to a jewelry store of all places and looked at fancy purses. Not something I'd buy but they were certainly pretty. And oh it was fun looking at all the pretty shiny stuff.

We then headed out to my friend's place, and had a blast looking at wedding photos and her wedding video. You wouldn't think that would be full of hilarity but it was good times.

And it must've been because of that that I spent the entire night having wedding-anxiety induced dreams. It was all very emotional and bizarre and I don't know why I always have those stupid dreams where my hair isn't right or someone forgets my dress or whatever. Not fun. Woke up at 3, then 5, then 7 and finally gave up on sleep at 8. Sometimes my stupid brain won't give up on its one-track wanderings when it's exhausted.

And I woke up and have a very sore throat and feel very zombie-like.

So, a great day, a bad night, but it was totally worth it. Have a very busy two weeks coming up (AAAAAAAH I'M LEAVING IN TWO WEEKS HOLY CRAP) and I'm trying to work up the energy to start up today but I can barely even write this entry.

Need more coffee.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bits and pieces and aaaaaaaaah so much to do!

Oh boy oh boy oh BOY!

It's happening! It only started to sink in slowly over the last few days, and just as slowly my brain's coming to accept that YES I'm really getting married and YES I'm leaving my home. It's kind of terrifying and exciting and sad and joyful all at the same time and I'm running around feeling like I'm forgetting to do something or that I need to be doing something even though I know I don't. So for the purpose of keeping the madness at bay, another quick run-through of what's going through my mush of a brain right now.

1) Invitations should be done TODAY. They should be ready to be shipped out tomorrow.
2) Need to figure out when mom and I will be distributing cards to people here, at the same time inviting them to the big farewell blow-out I'm gonna be having before I leave. It's for all the people who can't come to Houston to the wedding, and it should be a blast.
3) Seriously need to start packing or at least sorting out the stuff that I'll be taking with me when I leave. It's really just kind of bizarre....I know I'm not taking everything, but where do I even start to pick? I'm thinking of taking most of my art books....most of the stuff on my desk...some clothes...kitchen stuff? ARGH. I need to make a separate list or something. What to take, what to leave behind for later, what to leave behind for good. What to send by mail, what to take with me, what to have my mom take when she goes. It's madness.
4) Mom and my older brother should be working out final hotel details today. The plan is for them all to join us in Houston so we can spend Christmas together before the wedding on the 27th. It should be so much fun.
5) Need to call the lady who's doing the wedding favors and tell her she can finally add the date to them.
6) Need to figure out how I'm gonna do my hair and makeup for the wedding. Blah. I hate my hair and trying to figure out what to do with it. Need an expert.
7) Seriously need to go to the dentist. Ow.
8) Need to work on the guestbook. I better start picking paper right now.
9) Need to write up more Cannonball Reviews AND an intro to a guide. That needs to be done NOW so I'm moving this to #1. Also, I told myself I wasn't going to read more Stephen King books but dammit, I've gone through every book on my shelf and all I have left is...Stephen King and some Tom Clancy books I don't want to read. So what the hell, more King it is. His books are easy and fast to read and dammit I need to finish this in 14 days. So there.
10) Think up new insults to throw at Manuel Zelaya for being a huge stupid baby and generally being an embarrassment to this country.

I like that last one specially. Really brings forth the creativity.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Book #61: "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman

I feel like I should have liked it more. I hate when that happens. I come in with outrageously high expectations, thanks to people whose opinion on most things is pretty valuable to me (except when it comes to TV shows), and I'm all excited and then...eh. It was just good. I was expecting to be moved. Shaken. Stirred. To be laughing uproariously.

I barely chuckled a couple of times. I would have been happy with it just being great instead of fantastic, but to be honest I just found it good. But ultimately forgettable.

I've been trying to process my feelings towards it almost from when I started reading it. I liked it, but it wasn't taking me in. There were some cute jokes, but it seemed like it was trying too hard to channel Douglas Adams. And then for the longest, damnedest time it just didn't goanywhere. There were times when it seemed like it would, but then the little vignette with some plot in it would get broken up and taken over by another clever little vignette talking about some clever little character who thinks some things and is never heard from again. It's very choppy, like a movie full of quick little cuts that never let you get a grasp on anything for very long. It's fitting to the manic tone of the book, I suppose, and I can see why it was done, I just didn't like it at all. It was frustrating, and pretty quickly I began to get annoyed at having a good bit that was just getting good get interrupted as we move to yet another unimportant character doing something "funny". It just got exhausting and annoying, and sometimes it just kept me from enjoying what is a fun little story.

It really is a great idea. Eleven years before the Apocalypse happens, the antichrist (in baby form) is delivered to earth by a demon. Unfortunately, he is placed with the wrong family. Of course no one realizes this until, eleven years later, an angel and a demon get together a week before the apocalypse and try to put a stop to it by getting rid of the Antichrist (who is supposed to start the whole thing out). Among the many, many supporting characters are the four horsemen (or...bikers) of the Apocalypse, the descendant of a witch who predicted the whole thing, some witchunters, a few more demons, the metatron, a psychic, the antichrist's gang of buddies and a Dog. The angel, the demon and the dog are pretty funny. The others are really kind of...dispensable. And useless. Even the antichrist is never really there.

So, really, I was just disappointed. It started out with a couple of lame jokes, but I just thought "this can only get better, right?" but then...it didn't really. There were parts that I'm sure are supposed to be really hilarious, but I just kind of read over them and chuckled. It just never really clicked with me. It starts and stops and just wasn't all that compeling. And to be completely honest, the one thought that kept running through my head as I read the jokes and situations was "Meh. Douglas Adams did it better."

I really did want to like it more than I did. I didn't hate it, but I didn't get that happy feeling in my stomach that I get when I really love a book. Ah well.

Book #60: "Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham"by JRR Tolkien

This will be a short one, so I can get it over with an get to the Good Omens review, a book I read about 2 months ago and have been wanting to post the review for for ages.


The short stories* were Smith of Wooton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham. They were nice little stories, fairy tales really. Written before and after Lord of the Rings (my all-time favorite series), they're really not at all related to Middle-Earth, and seem more like little exercises in story telling that Tolkien wrote for kids. They're more like The Hobbit, really, with Farmer Giles featuring a dragon and the cutesy dialogue and all that. Not bad stories to tell your kids, really.

So, they were a fun read but not really that big a deal. It's always nice to read something else by Tolkien, and after you've read LOTR and The Silmarillion you might as well read this. They're short and pretty funny sometimes.

And if you should really, really, really read LOTR if you haven't yet. And The Hobbit.

*They were each about 200 pages long, so they count.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

finally!

keep myself from going crazy trying to remember it all:

1) Get the invitations printed. I've already designed the invitations myself. But now I'm considering changing the colors to fit the season better. Need to find a nice place to print them and get them all mailed out ASAP.
2) Get the favors finished. The favors are gonna be awesome. We're having someone make them, and I need to give her the date so she can put it on the things. I won't tell you what they are. Bwah.
3) Guest Book. I want to make my own Guest Book, with some watercolor paintings. Need to get started on that TODAY. I was planning on buying a nice journal with textured paper, but so far I've been unable to find one. So I'll use my sketchbooks and hope it all turns out great.
4)Hairand veil. I have my dress, shoes, jewelry. I want to use my mom's old veil (she still has it!) but it needs to be fixed as it has a giant swathe of bright pink tulle on it . Oh, the 80s. And I need to figure out how to wear my hair. Harder said than done, as I hate my hair and can never get it to look good except on like, Sunday night before I go to bed.
5)Flights!. I just realized that it'll be for good this time. That's kind of terrifying. Turns out one-way trips are ridiculously expensive, so I'll figure something out and make the return a year from now. Maybe we can come here for next Christmas?
6)Pack up!. While I did take most of my room with me when I went off to college, this will be slightly different. I'm actually thinking of starting to ship things off before I leave, such as winter clothes or shoes that I won't be using here. And books. So many of those.

That's all I can think of for now. Oh, and of course on Monday I need to go to the Embassy and actually get the package and Visa. That'll be fun.

I also need to finish the Cannonball. I'm on Book #85, which means I need to read 15 by the end of this month. Eep!

I'll probably be editing more things into this. It's a lot, but yay! I'm so happy to finally be at the place where I can actually plan all of this.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

WHEEE!

Most of you know this already, but in case you don't yet:

I GOT MY VISA.

And there was much rejoicing!

The Embassy called me at 9 this morning, while I was still half asleep, and told me I was approved. I need to go by the building on Monday and drop off my passport and they'll give me the giant envelope with my visa that I'm not allowed to open that I have to give to the Customs agents when I get to the US.

But that's IT. Nearly a year later (it will be a year since our application was submitted on November 10) and through countless trials and days of pain, I can finally get married.

Holy crap, I'm actually getting married. EEE!

December 27th. Oh, my!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Book #59: "Jurassic Park" by Michael Crichton

Here's another book whose story everyone knows because of the movie. That was a kickass movie, wasn't it? I remember I was ten years old when I first saw it, and it was the most amazingly cool thing I had ever seen in my life. We made my dad take us to watch it about 5 times in the theater. It turned my brothers (and just about everyone else we knew) into completely dinosaur freaks. I wanted to be the Laura Dern character when she grew up--I even went through a phase when I wore nothing but shorts, long sleeved work shirts and boots. It took me a long time to figure out that studying dinosaurs is one of the most boring jobs you can have these days. Unless they're actually running around trying to eat you it's all just digging around and trying to piece them together. Bo-ring! But damn, that movie was cool.

And it all started with this book. The best thing I can say about it is that well, at least it inspired an awesome movie. But only because Spielberg changed the hell out of it. Thank God, too, because if we had to listen to dialogue straight out of Michael Crichton at his most ridiculous, we would've had one painfully stupid movie.

The story is basically the same. A group of scientists lead by millionire John Hammond has found a way to clone dinosaurs, bringing them back to life and putting them in a theme park on some remote island in Costa Rica. Before opening the park to the public, he invites a group of scientists and his two grandchildren to take a tour of the park. Hilarity and mayhem ensues when the park's security is sabotaged and the animals (including everyone's favorites, the velociraptors and two T-Rexes) get loose and start munching on the tourists. It's a great story, violent, bloody and exciting. The big problem with the book is that the story is drowned under mountains of horrible exposition, awful dialogue and stupid (and I mean stupid), annoying characters.

Unlike the movie, where Hammond is a likable old man and Jeff Goldblum rocked the Malcolm character to great hilarity, the book makes everyone a pompous idiot. Hammond is terrible and you spend the entire length of the story wishing he'd get eaten already. Malcolm pontificates for pages and pages. Grant spends hours spewing a bunch of techno-babble that just serves to make Crichton look like he's adding a bunch of filler to make the book thicker. It's awful, but you really shouldn't worry about skipping most of that crap. You'll miss nothing.

And it's just not as fun reading about dinosaurs eating people when you can't see them. I can't imagine reading this without having watched the movie. We know dinosaur bones, but to actually imagine them running around and eating people is impossible without some reference, and Crichton isn't a good enough writer to give you a complete idea of what's supposed to be happening. Roars are terrible, animals are massive, and that's about it. He writes some good actions sequences, but the actual animal attacks are all over the place. Some just don't mean anything.

But it's undeniable that he has a great imagination and a cool story. All the bad guys get their comeuppance at the end (nom nom nom) and the good guys live. And it inspired a great movie. But a great book it isn't. Maybe a fun airplane read, but kinda worthless without what Spielberg did with it. I guess that's what I get for reading it so many years later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Book #58: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I suppose it's kind of useless to review a classic like To Kill a Mockingbird. Didn't we all have to read it in high school? Hasn't everyone seen the movie? But I suppose there must be someone out there who has kept away from it precisely because it was the sort of thing you had to read for an English class, and everyone knows most of the stuff they made you read back then was pretty horrible. But I think this book is the rare exception to that rule. In fact, I think making young kids read it is a mistake--it's a bit too grown up, there's too much in there for most kids to really get it. Reading it again now, when I'm at least a little smarter than I was in 8th grade, I was able to love it much more, to understand it better and understand why it's considered such a classic.

To those who don't know, To Kill a Mockingbird is narrated by Jean-Louise Finch, known as "Scout", and it's the story of a few defining years in her childhood. She and her brother Jem are raised by their single father Atticus, a respected and upstanding laywer in their small town in Alabama. Along with their good friend Dill they play, go to school, and observe the world around them, including the mysterious Radley house and its occupants. Nothing of any real significance (though of course to kids everything is important) happens to them until their father is asked to defend a black man in a trial where he is being accused of raping a poor white woman. It's then that things really start changing for the children, as they begin to see what people are really like.

It's a pretty simple story and plot, really, but this isn't a plot-driven book. It's about growing up, and how our perceptions change as we leave childhood and become young adults. Scout is a beautifully written character, a tomboy who gets into trouble but always means well. Telling the book from her perspective (as an adult remembering her childhood) is what really makes the book work so well. I could identify with her doubts about having to fulfill everyone's expectations of her--having to behave like a young lady when she really just wants to play with the boys, for example. The supporting characters are all fleshed out and believable. It's really not surprising that Atticus Finch is almost always named as one of the best "good guy" characters in literature and movies--he just wants to do what is good and fair, even if that means having to break through centuries-old racial and social barriers. He's the kind of guy that makes you wish the world was full of people like him.

To put it in few words, this is a Great book. Capital "G", people. It's a coming-of-age story that blends in themes of racism (specially poignant in the 50s when it was written), acceptance, doing good, and learning that there is more to people and situations than first meets the eye. It's funny in parts, exciting in others, and completely devastating in some. It's the kind of book I think everyone should read, is my final point.

In addition, everyone should watch the movie after reading this. It's one of the best book-to-screen adaptations ever made--nothing is lost in the transition, and it's a wonderful movie. And Gregory Peck will completely rock your world as Atticus.

Quickie

OK it's time to catch up on some reviews, and I'm going to buck up and make an effort to do full write-ups and have them count towards my final tally. I'm so close--reading #82 as we speak. Huzzah!

Onwards!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wheee!

Eeeeeee!

OK so I'll write a fuller update when I feel a bit more coherent, but just in case you didn't see this before:

The interview went very well. The lady said we just need to send in one more bit of info on G's parents and we're there. Everything else is approved. So I'd say we're about 95% there!

And while it's not completely over yet, the worst part is. The paperwork, the waiting, the stress, the not knowing whether the interview would go well. It's done.

And last night I slept easy for the first time in...well, months and months. I went to bed without the stress killing me, and this morning I woke up happy and relaxed and oh it felt good.

I'm almost there. And in a couple of weeks I'll have the stamp on my passport and that is IT.

Thank God :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The start of the rest of my life.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow!

Tomorrow's the day, folks. My visa interview. Tomorrow I conclude a process that's taken more than a year to get through. Tomorrow I'll finally have an answer. Tomorrow I might finally know what's going to become of my life. That's not even an exaggeration. If they say yes, I get to leave in December and get married to the man I love. If they say no, we keep trying. Tomorrow I'll know.

And though I've been freaking out for...oh, well, since before he sent out the application (which works out to just about 14 months of complete mental agony), and this last week has been like an obstacle course through hell, I'm OK right now. I've spent the day filling out forms perfectly (I made sure I had extra extra copies in case I screwed up), organizing everything, sorting pictures, filing everything carefully into a big folder so I can pull out anything I need when they ask me for it. And I feel calm. I've done everything I'm supposed to do, and then some. And from everything I've read online, if you have all your documents and you don't act like a complete moron at the interview, it's almost impossible to get the visa denied. So I've determined to be calm and collected, relaxed, and just trust that everything will be alright.

So, here goes everything. I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In which I can see a light at the end of the tunnel...

Gonna be out of commission this whole week, as I'm scrambling to get everything ready for my interview on Monday.

I have almost everything, just need to pick up a couple more pieces of paperwork and I'm done. It's just that, this country being what it is, and considering that these papers need to be made by Honduran government workers, I'm still terrified of disaster striking. But at the same time I'm trying very hard to remain positive, as the other way...well, that way lie monsters. I tend to freak out pretty easily, but I've gotten very good at calming myself down. It just takes a lot of work.

So I'm stressed as all hell, nervous, sleep-deprived. I could barely eat lunch today I was so stressed. But I got my photos, I got my final vaccine, and I even got a haircut. fighting hard to keep away the demons, but it's working so far.

God willing (yes, I do believe in the Big Man, and let's leave it at that) I will have my the packet with my medical exam tomorrow, and if the Big Guy is feeling really, really cool towards me I'll have the birth certificates as well. The latter is less likely (more likely to be done Thursday) but I can always hope that someone at the registry will take pity on me and actually do a quick job of them.

The best thing, though? The thing that's keeping me going even through all the stress and madness of trying to navigate Honduran government agencies?

It will all be over on Monday. One way or another. The painful, exhausting, depressing, mind-numbingly frustrating journey through hell that I've been through to get this visa so I can finally be with the person I love will be over. for good or for bad (and God willing it'll be good) it will be over. I'll no longer have that question weighing on my mind. It's taken almost a year--the hardest year of my life. But it will be over. In just a handful of days, I'll know.

God willing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

No Whining Wednesday!

OK, so even though this is really a hellish week, I need to make an effort to look at things positively today. So here's some good things, in list form. Because I like lists:

1) Honduran bureaucracy is hell on earth. But my adventure's yesterday are over, and I managed to get my police certificate today.
2) Will call the registry and if things are the way they should be, I won't need to go back to that hellhole again. I have two birth certificates and hopefully they're the right kind. It's insane to even think there might be two types and I have the wrong ones. Ugh. it's just a damn birth certificate!
3) Doctor's appointment tomorrow. With that, I'll have collected all my paperwork. It's gonna be a pain in the ass, but it'll be over with fast.
4) Interview in 12 days. I'm terrified and excited and I can't wait. Jeebus, you guys, I might finally get married.
5) Glee tonight. That last episode made me cry with the Queen goodness. Somebody to Love is my favorite song of all time, and they rocked the hell out of it. I wish I could sing like that.
6) I bought a strawberry pastry at the bakery and I will gorge on it this afternoon. It's a reward for the pain of bureaucracy.
7) The political situation here might be moving along. Might. I'm carefully optimistic--these guys have a terrible record when it comes to "dialogue", but maybe something good will come of it. MUST. BE. OPTIMISTIC.
8) With all the craziness this week I'm glad I don't have to write a Pajiba column today. Remind me to send Doran a fruit basket.
9) Mmmm. Pastry.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Back from vacation

I'm back from a week-long trip to Guatemala. It was wonderful and relaxing and I wish I could've stayed in the hotel pool forever. Some quick notes:

-I hadn't realized how stressed I was by what's been going on here. It was beyond weird to realize I could walk down the street and actually go out into the city without worrying about whether protesters were holding up traffic or wondering whether something terrible was going to happen that day.
-Guatemala is gorgeous. Everyone we met was incredibly polite and nice. Again, what a difference to not have everyone around you looking anxious and angry.
-It all made me feel very sad for my country.
-Guatemala has the best coffee in the universe.

And so on. But see? it's been two weeks since that clown has been back, one week since the other clown has been claiming that something is gonna happen and...?

Yeah! What's happened? FUCK ALL. Hurrah for advancement and dialogue!

Honestly, who do they think they're fooling? They'll work out some shady deal, divide all the power between them while everything is conveniently forgotten and the rest of the country will be just as fucked over as we've always been. Aren't we lucky to have such brave, principled, worthy leaders?

Someone left a comment recently asking me to state which side of this craziness I was standing on. Whether I support Zelaya or Micheletti. All I have to say to that is: bitch, please. It's like asking whether you'd prefer to sit in a cow pat or horse droppings. Either way you'll just end up covered in shit.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

There is nothing about this that doesn't reek.

One of the most ridiculous things about this whole mess are the outrageous and wholly meaningless declarations that both sides are making. Empty words, that's all these people know how to say.

On the one hand we have Zelaya, still holed up in the Embassy, talking about how he's trapped and helpless. That he is willing to hold a dialogue. With whom? What, you think he would say? HA. And did he forget that he put himself in this situation? No one forced him inside the Embassy--HE WENT THERE HIMSELF. He is the one that compromised the Brazilian government and forced them into a situation that they had barely touched in the past.

It's not surprising, really. Zelaya's stance through all this is to play the helpless victim, who has done nothing to deserve such treatment. It's the other side that's completely irrational and not budging in their stance. It's always the other side. It's never his own fault. And yet he's sitting happy, yelling meaningless populist slogans, not offering a single reasonable solution other than "WAH WAH LET ME BE PRESIDENT AGAIN". Not only that, but he's also still insisting on harsher measures against Honduras on the part of the international community. He's asking for the elections to be ignored by the larger world. WHAT DOES THIS ACCOMPLISH? Almost all the monetary help from the international community here goes to the poorest sections of the population--the very people Zelaya claims to be fighting for. I think this is the most infuriating part of Zelaya's stance. Money for the roads? Gives work to poor laborers. Money for education? Gives poor children schools. Money for food? It's not Micheletti and the "elite" who is suffering from want of food, Mr. Zelaya. And the fact that his supporters seem to be completely blinded to this (what with his constant cries of RAH RAH MICHELETTI HURTS THE PEOPLE! DOWN WITH THE RICHIES!).

And really, there is NO reason for Zelaya to change the tune of his song. It's working. His supporters are still as many, they're still as angry as they ever were. They fight the police, they look bad, they claim to be victims. But Zelaya himself isn't hurting. He can afford to keep riling them on and not offer any sort of solution to this problem. Why change what has been working for him for as long as he's been President?

To get back to my larger point.

On the other hand, we have the current government. What have they been doing since Zelaya returns? They've been in meetings. They issue their empty declarations in national broadcasts that don't announce a goddamn concrete thing.

Such and such a group supports the current government! blah blah blah!
Such and such a group believes in democracy! blah blah blah!
We are open for dialogue but will not say a single thing about plans or actual ideas of what's going to be discussed! or by whom! blah blah blah!
Curfew for no reason at all ! security! blah blah blah!

It's insanity. Nothing but empty air and the very same strategy that Zelaya is using. Rile up their supporters by painting Zelaya's supporters as nothing but savages with no ideologies (and like it or not, there are PLENTY of people supporting Zelaya who have very clear views on what they stand for). Keep throwing dirt on everything they do. Keep blaming other countries for letting Zelaya come in, instead of actually doing something about it. You know why people panicked and emptied the supermarkets and gas stations yesterday? Because no one had ANY IDEA of what was going to happen today, or tomorrow. Would another curfew be issued? NO ONE KNEW. And when people don't know, and they hear rumors and crazy stories going around, and their actual government isn't saying anything about what might happen in the future, they PANIC. And yesterday was a perfect example of this. It was complete chaos.

They make declarations on how the rest of the world should let Hondurans work out their differences, which is just the biggest joke of all because the ONLY people offering ANY solutions or plans are...OTHER COUNTRIES. They're asking for dialogue and who's going to conduct it? The OAS, of course. Because God forbid the government makes any kind of decision to back down and antagonize either group. And again, it´s not Micheletti who is suffering the consequences of international pressure. What the hell does he care? He's a millionaire businessman and so are all his close allies. They can keep pretending like Honduras can survive without assistance until the end of time. It's not them who will be starving.

So what happens?

The "resistance" has a march. For what, exactly? They ask for Zelaya's return. What do they think will happen if he is let back? What then? Everything's forgiven? The country will be rich and prosperous--as it's never been before? They disobey the curfew knowing full well that the police will scatter them. They carry sticks and stones, molotov cocktails. Set fire to cars and buses and expect the police to do nothing about it? Like it or not there are some in their midst who ARE violent. The police is needlessly violent as well. It's a stupid, meaningless, useless circle that does nothing but widen the margin between Zelaya's supporters and Micheletti's--between social classes, really. And it does nothing, nothing at all.

The government supporters have a march. They are (amusingly enough) GUARDED by the police so that the "resistance won't affect them". And let's face it--a large chunk of the people in this particular march are upper middle class and upper classes. The "leaders" are people who throw away millions in weddings and 15 birthday parties. We've all seen them before, and to see them pretending to be part of the people is just insulting. That's why I don't go to the marches, even though most of my friends are there. It's the same as Zelaya claiming he's one of the people. So they make empty declarations. They cry out against Chavez. They want Zelaya to give himself up to the authorities--WHAT AUTHORITIES? Do they really think this is in any way feasible or reasonable and not completely fucking stupid?

It's just so completely empty. Meaningless. Both sides blame each other, they get more entrenched in their stances and don't budge an inch. They propose no actual solutions. The pro-Zelaya channel insults and lies. The pro-Micheletti channels insults and lies. Each of their marches is righteous and good. The other side is evil and eats children.

And I sit here, in complete disgust at the lies people buy wholeheartedly. While the people in power sit happy and unaffected, happy to let the days go by while the actual people go to pieces and beat each other over nothing. They can spout their meaningless messages, offering no solutions, offering no plans.

How's this going to end? Will it? I don't see any side actually backing down and being reasonable. But again, they don't have to be. They're happy going along with what has worked for them in the past.

It's so sad, and so infuriating. I can't even watch the news anymore, because no one is unbiased. There's no one to trust in the media, and it's nauseating to watch them spout their lies as mouth pieces for either side.

Ugh. This is likely to get worse before it gets any better.

**UPDATE**

An example!

Micheletti is interviewed by CNN.

CNN Interviewer: What are the chances of there being a direct dialogue between you and Mr. Zelaya?
Micheletti: WE WILL HAVE ELECTIONS BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY.

*end scene*

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME!

Ha. Haha.

So the curfew has been changed, so that we're allowed to go outside today from 10am to 5pm. The resistance movement quickly grouped together at one of the universities for a quick march, and the rest of the city...well...

I guess the rest of the city decided to go as quickly as possible to the nearest supermarket or gas station.

My uncle tried to go to the supermarket nearby, but almost immediately turned back when he saw that there was a LINE outside it to get it, and that people were trying to get into the gas station well, any way they could.

This isn't really...news or all that scary. It's usual for whenever Hondurans feel a little bit of panic. Before storms that never come, before protests...hell, sometimes even before a football match in case people get too angry the next day. Still, I'm just hoping people keep their heads and nothing crazy happens, as it easily could.

Mom and I are just gonna sit at home, and we've ordered a few extra groceries from the little market down the street. I don't really know what else is going on outside--probably not much outside of people who've been stuck at home for a whole day going outside and SPENDING because god forbid we go one day without getting stuck in a traffic jam. Oh, Tegucigalpa. You batshit crazy city.
Anyway, I'll celebrate my birthday by making a giant cake and eating pizza with the family, watching Spirited Away for the awesome, and maybe drinking.

**EDIT**

A very brave friend went out today and took these photos:


I think you can get the idea of just how unbelievably CROWDED this supermarket is. Just the thought of going in there right now freaks me out.Eeeesh.


Cars almost literally piling into a gas station.

These are from the local paper El Heraldo:


Madness, I tell you. But understandable, considering that no one knows when this craziness will end, since no one in the government is saying a damned thing.


I don't quite get the madness for gas, though. I guess it's more of a knee-jerk reaction. That and Hondurans just LOVE to waste gas.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ARGH. ARGH.

So these people have extended the curfew to ANOTHER 24 hours. Jesus Christ. Supposed to end at 6pm tomorrow.

There's people who haven't had electricity all day. People who have no food, or water.

WHAT THE HELL?!

I am so beyond angry right now. If I don't hit something soon I'll just pass out from rage.

So again:

FUCK.

*EDIT*

Now that I'm less angry:

This is just moved into really scary territory, folks. I mean, really, I can understand why they've issued the curfew, or at least I can understand their reasoning. But they also seem to be forgetting the kind of people they are dealing with here. They know that Zelaya's supporters come from the most populated (and poorer) sections of the city. Meaning they don't have to go very far to talk to each other. They know that they are volatile, quickly moved to anger and violence. They know that they are very well organized. And yet...their solution is to keep everyone holed up at home for 48 hours? Their solution is to let anger, violence, revenge, boil up in people for days while they in the government shuffle their feet and issue meaningless declarations and nothing moves forward? They're making people panic about food, about water, about what's going to happen. And not one of them is coming forward and giving an actual, concrete plan on what is going to happen. Just empty declarations and vague promises. How long are they going to keep this up? How long before people just blow up?

And if today is any indication, nothing is going to happen tomorrow. Tempers will get hotter as leaders go into their secret hour long meetings where nothing is decided except to keep doing nothing, and the curfew will be extended for God knows how long.

This is a nightmare, and I'm just wondering if there is ANY way that this will not end in some disaster. The ONLY positive thing I can think of is that finally, after months and months of uncertainty, SOMETHING might finally happen to end all the bullshit. So all I can do is just hope that this final resolution will be peaceful. That these people will move from their stances at least a little bit.

SOMETHING has to happen, is my point. And all we can do is sit here and hope that that something won't be disastrous.

I just wanted some cake for my birthday, dammit. That's all I wanted.

**EDIT**
I just heard the Brazilian secretary of state (I think) talking on CNN about what happened. I liked the solution that he gave:

Micheletti needs to open up the airports again, call for a real negotiating committee, let Zelaya sit quiet in the Embassy while they work things out, and just end this peacefully already. Call off the curfew, tell people that things WILL Be worked out peacefully, have Zelaya tell his followers to go to work and wait while they fix this.

*laughs*

Yeah, that's gonna happen.

Grounded in our rooms.

What a royal mess.

I don't really have a lot of news--no one is reporting a damned thing. I suppose that with everyone grounded in their houses until 6pm not even the reporters can get out. Though of course one wonders whether they would report anything even if they could.

The city is just completely, eerily quiet and empty. What we hear is that at dawn a group of some 300 people who had been camping in front of the Brazilian embassy were removed by force and there were quite a few wounded.

This curfew is insane, and I'm sure that many people are going to be swayed firmly into Zelaya's side because of it. And if the government's stance (of...ignoring Zelaya completely, or so it seems to me) stays the same, and the curfew is extended (good lord don't let that happen) I think Micheletti's support will dwindle and turn into outright hatred.

Nothing is happening. Just nothing. As usual we're just sitting around, helpless, while these idiots do absolutely nothing but punish the population because they won't budge from their stupid, stubborn positions.

"Infuriating" doesn't even begin to cover it.

I think I'm just gonna ignore the news, watch some lemurs on Animal Planet (as long as I can, I wouldn't be surprised if the power or cable were shut off) and keep grumbling that these bastards better not fuck up my birthday tomorrow.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I AM SO COMPLETELY SICK OF THIS SHIT.

So Manuel Zelaya snuck back into Honduras in the middle of the night.

He's holed up in the Brazilian Embassy.

He says he'll turn himself in to the authorities for a judgment. He hasn't yet.

Micheletti has issued a 7am-6pm curfew for the whole country tomorrow.

They don't give a damn, they're not the ones who have to miss work or school or LIFE tomorrow.

So what you'll have is a tense and possibly panicking population holed up in their homes and no one reporting on anything.

There is NO WAY this will end well.

And I am so deathly tired of this shit. Just completely fucking exhausted with these people. Damn them all to hell.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cannonball Read: Harry Potter series

52.Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

It's cute and imaginative. Funny, sweet and a breeze to read. Definitely the sort of thing that any kid would love. The characters are fun and varied, and though most fit into perfect black or white categories, there's enough darkness lurking in the book to make it smart and enjoyable for adults. Specially if you like fun little fish-out-of-water stories.

56. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This is my least favorite of the series. Partly because here is where Rowling starts with the pattern that becomes painfully repetitive pretty quickly. Harry is suspicious of something. Harry starts seeing or hearing things. No one believes him. So instead of telling someone who knows how things are (or who can do something about it), Harry decides to take matters into his (sometimes very stupid) hands and try to fix things by himself. So he does, he's extremely lucky and overcomes whatever evil shows up and then Dumbledore wraps things up nicely at the end. It works for this book, sort of, but the plot is really very silly and there is a lot of useless filler. It's still fun and light, but somewhat forgettable.

57. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Definitely my favorite of the series, plot-wise. Rowling takes what seems like a straightforward idea (escaped prisoner tries to kill Harry) and adds a nice amount of twists and turns so that at every turn there's a new surprise or unexpected turn of events. It's a lot of fun, with the revelations being pretty shocking and adding a great deal of depth to the series. And it breaks away from the formula quite nicely, even though the ending is rather infuriating. A great read.

64. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The best thing about this book is that it opens up Rowling's wizarding world to completely new depths. We get the Quidditch World Cup, the wizarding schools, the Yule Ball, the final, heartbreaking scenes. It's definitely a more mature entry, with the dangers to Harry becoming far more real, with death being a very real possibility to him. It's a very long book, but it never got boring. It's (as cliche as this sounds) action-packed from start to finish, and the final few chapters are truly exceptional in how tense and truly scary they are. I love to read these books in order and see how the books mature along with their audience, and Rowling starts to tweak her writing and tone to get far away from the sillyness and immaturity of the first books, while still keeping that young-adult vibe in her books.

67. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

A bit of a let-down, honestly. It's definitely the most frustrating book of all, with the the-world-against-Harry formula pulled out to an excruciating degree. Quite frankly, after Harry runs into his fourth or fifth obstacle, I just started getting angry at JK Rowling. Let the kid catch a break, for heaven's sake. It's a very uneven book, and unfortunately slow, specially when compared to the previous two offerings. And worse, it takes what should be a more mature group of main characters and just makes them completely and infuriatingly stupid. I know Harry is supposed to be at that super-stubborn-teenager phase, but Rowling really does push it here. It's just not a fun book, being too frustrating and annoying with every stupid decision a character makes. Even the ending doesn't hit too hard, because it comes about from a million stupid decisions and failure in communication between the characters. Definitely an unwelcome bump in the series.

**

And here's where I ended this re-read. My sister took my books with her to college, the idiot. I guess I'll continue the reviews eventually.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Never forget.




I was getting out of an 8am class. I had been in Oneonta, NY (4 hours from NYC) for only two weeks. I had never lived on my own, and was just barely getting used to being thousands of miles away from home.

I remember coming out of class, and I quite clearly remember a girl passing by me talking to her friend. I heard her say something like "someone just bombed the World Trade Center!" but I dismissed it as rumor, or it just didn't connect to my brain in the least.

I walked to my room, my mind on something else entirely. I'm sure people were running around me in a panic, but I honestly don't remember seeing any of it.

I went into my room, where my roommate Stacey was watching some music show on TV. I said hi and sat down at my desk and opened my computer. About ten seconds later someone starts banging on the door calling for Stacey. I open the door and Stacey's friends comes barging in, babbling about turning on the news, grabbing the remote off of Stacey's bed and turning on CNN.

A tower burning.

"A plane crashed into the World Trade Center"

"Holy shit!"

And we watched in silence, wondering what the hell was going on. An accident? What had happened?

And then, as we watched the anchor standing with the WTC in the background, a tiny black speck ran into the other tower. An explosion.

"What the hell was THAT?"

Stacey in a panicked voice. We froze, as the anchor turned behind her.

"Oh, God. Oh, God."

I remember sinking into my bed as the anchor struggled to hold her panicked face together, as she announced that another plane had crashed. As people started figuring out that it wasn't an accident.

I froze. I put my hand to my mouth and watched, wide-eyed. Not understanding. Terrified.

And then I ran for my phone, and scrambled around my desk, trying to find my calling card, as Stacey and her friend sobbed on their beds, as we all wondered who around us knew people in New York City. Just about everyone.

I couldn't get a line. I was shaking. I remember that. Shaking. Feeling cold and unbelieving. The phone rang, my mom was in a complete panic. In the fear of the moment "New York" included me. I told her we were waiting, to see what would happen.

Classes were canceled. The rest of the day is so confusing, so terrifying in my memory. The towers collapsing. I could hear screaming from the other rooms. I went out at one point and people were collapsed in the halls, sobbing. My other friends and I (none of us Americans) sat together, holding hands and staring at each other in terror. I remember praying with my friend. Watching helplessly as our NYC friends sobbed into phones, contacting their families. All of us wishing desperately that we were home. We never felt that alone again. So terrified.

I don't like remembering this. Hell, who does? But we have to. We have to remember. And we need to share our stories. It's 8 years later, but I still remember the panic, the sadness, the complete and utter horror of it.

We'll never forget. I can't believe how much it still hurts to remember. Christ, all those people.

I'll stop now. The keyboard's getting too blurry.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday of Reckoning...

A quick update on yesterday's post, mostly for my own reference:

1) We lost. On a really cheap penalty kick. Because Mexico sucks so bad that they couldn't beat us properly even when we were playing horribly, so they had to go and fake their way to a victory. Then kept falling over ridiculously to make the time pass by. God I hate that team so very, very much. We're still in the running, and just need to beat the US (hard) and El Salvador (easy) to get into the World Cup. We just need to get in third place. Please. PLEASE.

2) I love Glee. So very, very much. It makes me happy. The scene with "Gold digger" and the teacher rapping just completely slayed me. God I love when something is just completely happy with itself. It's so contagious. It really just made me completely joyful.

3) Oh, Tyra. This is going to be an amazing season.

4) That cake was glorious.

5) no package. But here's an update: I love my fiance. Take that cheese and run with it.

One more day to Beach Day. Huzzah!

Other good thing:

I am 69 books into the Cannonball. I loved Neverwhere. Very, very much.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I think I'm finally getting the hang of Wednesdays.

No Whining Wednesday!

A list of things to look forward to today:

1) Mexico-Honduras game. This is for World Cup Qualifiers, people. This means it's a big deal. We're three games away from going to our first World Cup in 27 years. IT IS A BIG DEAL. Unfortunately, we're playing on Mexican turf and they're kinda pissed over us beating the pulp out of them last time. And our team has a tendency to fizz away into nothing at the last minute. But I can't help it. I'm still hopeful. And very, very excited.

No, really, it's a big deal. We have a history with Mexico. THEY KNOW WHAT THEY DID.

2) Glee premiere! I have no shame in admitting I love the hell out of musicals. And television. And sweet, hilarious shows. So this is the trifecta of awesomeness as far as I'm concerned. My only fear is that it'll air at the same time as the football match and then I'll go insane with the channel flipping.

3) ANTM premiere. That is all. No, really, shut up.

4) CAKE. I made an awesome pineapple upside-down cake last night. Unfortunately my mom is allergic to pineapple so I didn't leave much of it at home; instead sent most of it to be sold at her office. But I kept a big chunk and it shall make a grand dessert. There's also some corner brownies left. And anyone with any taste whatsoever knows that corner brownies are the best.

5) Maybe my package from the US Embassy will come today? This is just pure wishful thinking, but...it could happen. And in any case I'll be calling the Embassy later today to see if they HAVE the package from the State Department yet.

Things to look forward this week:

Going to the beach on Saturday. HEY-O.

I do love No Whining Wednesdays. Just writing all this cheered me up.

Friday, September 4, 2009

And then there was one...

So my little brother's gone off to study in France. Yeah, that France. The one I've never been to. No I'm not writhing with jealousy. Not at all.

But, anyway, what this means is that I'm the only one left at home with my mom. Where this house has always played a sort of hotel for people and has rarely if ever been empty, it's now almost completely devoid of life. My older brother's studying in Tampa, my sister's in Iowa, my second brother's in Taiwan and now this one's gone off to Paris. And soon (Good God I hope so) I'll be gone to Texas. And while a part of me is all sad, and another part of me is all annoyed because I was supposed be gone by now (waah! waah!) and yet another part of me is hoping the big empty house doesn't scare me too much (it will though) the biggest part of me (there's a lot of parts, see) is slowly trying to come to terms with the basic concept:

I AM AN ONLY CHILD. Like, suddenly, after 25 years of sharing a house and food and toys and bathrooms and EVERYTHING with 4 siblings and two parents and now it's just ME. And I get to do WHATEVER I WANT. I get to buy snacks and not have to hide them. I get to take hour long showers because I can use all the water that 5 people aren't using. I get the internet all to myself. I get to go out to eat and my mom won't have to worry about going bankrupt trying to feed 5 hungry people. I GET TO STEAL MY BROTHERS' AWESOME DESK AND COMPUTER CHAIR. THE COMPUTER CHAIR, PEOPLE!

I CAN'T HANDLE ALL THE AWESOME. OMG THE CAPITAL LETTERS.

Oh, the freedom! Oh, the humanity!

No, really. Every couple of seconds I think of yet another awesome thing I get to have all for myself for these precious months I have left here.

I'm sure the novelty will wear off eventually and I'll start missing them all, but for now I'm going to enjoy the fabulousness.

I GET TO KEEP MY CHOCOLATE OUTSIDE AND NOT IN THE CLOSET.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Review bombardment! review bombardment! Take cover!

Once again, I'm copping out by spewing forth a pack of short reviews at you instead of the long individual posts. I'm not just being lazy here--it's just that none of these are really worthy of a full review. I've said a lot about Grisham, King and Gabaldon in previous posts, so you can look those reviews up if you're interested. As you can see I'm leaving the Harry Potter books for one big review when I'm done with the series, and when I catch up I can get back to the long reviews. When it's worth it.

#51 The Street Lawyer by John Grisham

Another solid Grisham book. This one's about a wealthy, successful and heartless lawyer who, after being held hostage by a homeless man decides to ditch his career and work for the homeless. It's a bit preachy, as Grisham is obviously trying to bring attention to the problems of the homeless, but it's still a pretty good read. Grisham's always reliable when you want a quick, enjoyable story, and this one doesn't disappoint.

#53 From a Buick 8 by Stephen King

Hands down one of the worst books I have ever read by this guy. It was slow, stupid, and mind-numbingly boring. I found myself skipping pages like there was no tomorrow, as the Good Old Boys in the book talked some more about how weird this car was and oh what could it be and oh tell the kid about this other weirdness that happened with the car. That's it! It's a car. In a shed. Weird crap comes out of the car. They talk about it. Endlessly. Definitely one of King's worst books, and it's convinced me that just about everything he's done since he finished The Dark Tower series has been terrible. I don't think I'll be picking up anything new by him. Better stick to the classics. This book just bored the hell out of me. Shame on you, Mr. King.

#54 A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

Now that's more like it. It's better if one just ignores that the...what? Fifth Book (I'm too lazy to look it up) of this series ever existed, and just skip along to this one if you really want to read anything past the third. This is still a pretty stupid, overlong book when compared to the start of the series, but it's not terrible. That's some compliment, huh? But really, after the 1500th time that Gabaldon puts one of her characters in mortal danger the whole thing becomes a maddening exercise of repetition. Do something stupid, get kidnapped or nearly killed, survive to do something stupid again. Have some boring sex (seriously, are we supposed to believe that Jamie and Claire are having sex at 50 that's just as steamy as it's ever been? come ON) and just talk about how perfect everyone is. That's it. At least there's some interesting bits with the Revolutionary War starting, but of course that's only in the background to all the moronic things these characters do. And there's more Brianna and Roger, two of the most insufferable characters of all time. And for the love of God, just end this series already. I still don't understand why this book had to be 600 pages long. There is NO NEED. Get over yourself, Gabaldon, and just end it. End our pain already.

#55 Airs Above Ground by Mary Stewart

An awesome little spy thriller. It's not spectacular, but I definitely recommend it if you like mysteries and spy stories. I'm not even a fan of the genre, and this one won me over. It's well-paced and smart, with likable characters and some great action sequences. A great read.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This will never end.

The US State Department has issued an order to stop non-emergency, non-immigrant visa services to Honduras as a temporary measure to put more pressure on our government to accept the San Jose accord.

I can see why they did it. But I think it's just one of those things where they're punishing the larger population for something that was done by a handful of people. As childish as it is to say, it's just not fair. But what the hell. Politics. I'm so sick of this.

I confess I'd be in a rage if this affected my visa process. But in this I've become massively selfish and I can only be grateful that my visa won't be affected. If it were I don't know what I'd do. Probably lose it completely while not being surprised that yet something else is standing in the way. As if the 8 month wait wasn't enough. Oy.

So, there it is. It's a time to be selfish. At least everyone in my immediate family has a visa already. The extended family? Oh, boy. Probably not. But hopefully everyone in power will get their heads out of their asses soon enough and this will all be over. I'm mightily sick of it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Movies I sorta watched. I wish I still knew nothing about them.

These are the movies I was subjected to during various bus and plane trips during my vacation. I can't believe that anyone would watch any of these voluntarily. I could barely stomach half an hour of actual watching, the rest of my impressions were from glancing at the screens every now and then, out of some sense of curiosity. I'm happy to say that I didn't miss much, as I could see the way every single one of these pieces of cinematic vomit would end after the 30 minutes I watched. It's good to know exactly what you're missing. Except I wouldn't exactly say I was "missing" it, Bob.

17 Again

Matthew Perry somehow magically turns into Zac Efron and gets to go to high school again. Entire film premise flawed by the major black hole that occurs when you realize that the two leads look NOTHING alike. As it always goes with the reversal movie, the kid has to get used to the 'modern' high school. He knows too much in class. He acts like a weirdo. He learns valuable lessons from his kids. But at least Freaky Friday was funny and had an appealing cast. This had the blessed effect of putting me to sleep on a 4 hour bus ride, and only after the first fifteen minutes! Wonderful. Zac Efron is the blandest of the bland, and the rest of the movie fits the bland lead perfectly--like lukewarm vanilla pudding. It's not funny, original, or even mildly interesting. It's terrible and painfully predictable. Don't even bother.

Fast and Furious

Cars. Shaky cam. Dark moody colors. Vin Diesel making this face for 2 hours: >:|. Every time I glanced at the screen, there he was. is he supposed to remind you of the Terminator? But at least the Terminator was motherfrakking SCHWARZENEGGER, and he was supposed to be a robot. Vin Diesel looks like a bloated Easter Island head, and he's just as alive and nowhere near as interesting as those statues. There are lots of boobs. No, really. What's with these movies and women? Here's basically what the entire movie is about: we zoom in on a parking lot chock full of what I assume are supposed to be "cool" cars. It's night. There are lots of people milling about: the men, usually menacing, smirking, drinking and comparing dick sizes through their cars. The women, undulating in tiny skirts and high heels, rarely ever shown in full--it's a parade of anonymous legs and boobs. Because, what else do you need? They're just pieces of meat. The men probably care more about the differences between the damned cars. So. They start a race. We see wide shots of cars going down streets. Tires squeal. A shot of Vin Diesel looking straight ahead. A hand moves a gear shift. More wide shots. Quick shots. The race ends. A long, pointless "plot" scene follows. Then another race. Rinse, lather, repeat. For FOUR MOVIES. Beautiful. What else do you need? Oh, I'm glad I got more that I was given more than half a brain in the mind-distribution lottery--otherwise I'd be sure to enjoy this flashy piece of crap. That's the only way I can imagine anyone would love this. Complete and utter brainlessness. Or maybe you just have to be 12 years old.

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Oh the fates conspired to deliver to me the perfect companion to the Male Idiot's Movie that was Fast and Furious. This is the absolutely most perfect movie for the Female Idiot. It hurts me to say this about my own sex, but I know plenty of girls would love this embarrassing chick flick. Because some people really only need the flashy (and hideous) clothes and the predictable love story to be happy. And really, I admit to loving a good chick flick as much as the next girl, but there's a line between a guilty pleasure and something that makes me want to turn in my girl card. Because if this is the sort of crap we're supposed to enjoy, then I want to sign out. This movie's just among the worst of its ilk. it has a horrible, whiny protagonist that I'm somehow supposed to feel sorry for because she can't afford to buy her hideous shoes anymore. It's such an irritating premise to be forced to swallow, and I was frankly just offended to find that we're supposed to like this entitled, selfish little moron and want her to get ahead by lying her way up and sleeping with her perfect, idiotic boss. Let her live for two weeks in a third world country and see how much she misses her cushy lifestyle then. I loathe this type of movie. Oh, poor rich girl can't afford shoes and can't find a job in fashion. Boo fucking hoo. But somehow she perseveres from mere luck and pluck! yay! No, just let me punch you in the face. There's nothing likeable about this movie. Nothing. Nothing original or unexpected. It makes women look bad. It gives fuel to the people who clump all women into one shallow, stupid group. It made me hateful. And that's not the best thing to feel when in the middle of an eight hour trip next to some gigantic 13 year old girl who kept digging her elbows into my side. Urgh.

Night at the Museum 2

Some nice and clever visuals. Amy Adams sure is adorable. But oh, how I loathe Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. I wish they'd just go away forever.

***

I don't wish my pain on anyone. Good thing I had a lot of books and my ipod with me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Onwards!

Well, I'm back.

I'm both miserable and excited to be back home. Miserable because of the obvious, but excited for a lot of reasons. Like this might really be IT, this might be the last time I'm home for good before I move to my new home. The rest of my life, if you will. I don't want to jinx anything by even mentioning wedding dates or anything (and god knows we need all the help we can to get the visa people to not hate us anymore) but we might just have a tentative date and other plans. A lot is hanging on the balance for the wedding, but we might just be getting there before the year is out.

I'm also looking forward to having my own room again, and just enjoying these last few months of being by myself. Of course, it sucks to not have Graham here with me, but if I don't look at some positive side of this I'll just go completely out of my mind, so. I'm going to do a lot of crazy baking, and I'm going to get my financial stuff together, and try not to be too anxious about everything. Or miserable about not being where I want to be.

The first few days apart are really the hardest. It's the sudden realization that that other person is no longer THERE, that I'll no longer see him when he returns home from work, that he won't be the first thing I see in the morning. And I won't lie, it fucking SUCKS. I won't get into cheesy detail but it's miserable and horrible and I really really want to have to stop feeling that way. And just...god I'm just hoping this is the last time I'll have to do that. So there's that.

And I know it won't hurt so bad after a while. And the more days pass the closer I get to being there again. So, just a matter of getting through every day. And finding enough to do to get me through them.

Anyway. It was a fantastic trip. It was so good to be able to be over there again, and get away from the madness of this country (yay escapism) and just get to know my future home a little better.

And screw anyone who says anything to the contrary: Texas is awesome. There's so much more energy and well, just (excuse the stupid word but it's the only thing I can think of right now) FLAVOR than there was in the Northeast where I lived before. Of course I haven't gotten to really know it, but on first impression I can tell I'll like living there.

Also, Six Flags kicks all kinds of ass. And I found the perfect wedding dress. I can't freakin' wait.

And that's it for now. I have a lot of reviews coming up, and gotta do a lot of baking, and a lot of extra reading. There you go. That's my update.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book #49: 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius' by Dave Eggers

I don't know if I'm the right audience for this book. I was a very pop-obsessed teen in the 90s, living in Latin America and just as far away as I could be from the San Francisco/MTV in it's hey-day culture that surrounds Dave Eggers' story. Of course that's not all that this admittedly great book is about, but I felt like I was missing out on something by not being to connect to what is such an important aspect of Eggers' life. I suppose to those who grew up with that sort of life it's a great nostalgia trip, but for me it meant detachment from the work and just an overall desire for him to talk about something else. Because everything else is so deeply emotional and poignant that it made the lighter parts a bit frustrating to get through.

Eggers starts out his memoir with a hilarious, lighthearted but meaningful introduction. It sets up the friendly, off-the-cuff tone that remains through the rest of the book, as if he's right there talking to you--I've never seen the guy but I could imagine the picture on the back gesturing with his hands as he talked. It's a great set up, and makes the first few chapters even more of a kick in the gut. Because the memoir proper starts out with a truly heart-wrenching passage detailing Eggers' mother dying from stomach cancer, only a few weeks after their father has died. It's one of the saddest, most painful things I have ever read, and it's Eggers tone of trying-desperately-hard-to-be-lighthearted-about-it that really gets to you. It's brutal, really, and it marks a complete change in Eggers' life.

Eggers is left in charge of his 9 year old brother, Toph. Barely in his 20s and adrift in life, Eggers does his best to be a brother, a friend and a parent to Toph. His sister and older brother help, but for the most part it's the two of them trying to get along, with Eggers alternating between attempts to be responsible and ways to have as much fun as possible with Toph. These are some of the best parts of the book, as I was alternatively horrified and amused at Eggers' attempts at raising his kid brother. Eggers is honest and clearly loves his brother to death, and you can feel his fear of making some huge mistake with the poor kid.

Then he starts talking about life in San Francisco and his job at Might Magazine. This is where the book lost me. While everything dealing with his family was moving and hilarious, the parts dealing with his 'career' honestly just bored me. I guess maybe you have to have been the "revolutionary" counter-culture fighter in their 20s to really get it, or maybe those types just bug me. All I know is that the book really dragged for me there, losing the momentum it had started with.

This isn't a book for everyone. Eggers has a very loose style, with each chapter written in a different way--as an interview, as a long confusing rant, as an emotional confession--and it's full of great little moments and stories. But it might frustrate you if you like something more straight forward. But all in all it was a fun book, with possibly the best title of all time. So all I can say is check it out, you might end up loving it. Or not. But give it a chance.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Books #47 and #50: "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Returns"

Book #47 The Godfather by Mario Puzo

There's really not much to say about this. It's an outstanding book, and if you love the movie then you will definitely love the book. There are some extra subplots, involving Johnny Fontane, which are entertaining but not really an integral part of the book. It's really the examination of the Corleone family that makes this book so gripping and fascinating; not just the inner workings of a Mafia crime family, but the relationships between the members of this incredibly proud, incredibly strong group of people who'll do anything to survive in the world they've created. It's really simple, almost stark writing, and really allows you to understand the film a little better, particularly when it comes to the character of Michael Corleone. Definitely a recommended read, and a good companion to the movie. Needless to say it has to be one of the best book-to-film adaptations of all time (some elements of Godfather 2 appear in the book, such as Vito Corleone's backstory) and just a great read.


#50 The Godfather Returns by Mark Winegardner

This one's definitely weaker, though it's understandable. It was written 35 years after The Godfather, by a different writer in a vastly different era. The "golden years" of the Mafia are far in the past, and most of our knowledge of it seems to come from...The Godfather. So it's no real surprise that the book reads almost like a fanfic piece written by a really huge fan of the movies. It's a decent read, but has none of the heart or excitement or grittiness of the original book. Plus, it's just very, very confusing to anyone who hasn't memorized the two original films line for line. It's really a bunch of little stories of what was happening in the background of the films--how Fredo came to betray Michael, for example, or how Michael came to the height of his power. But it's just a very confusing timeline, and again, unless you know the movies by heart I think you'd be completely confused. It's a book for the die-hard fans, I suppose, but not really worth the read. The writing is clunkier and doesn't have Puzo's polished, flowing style and none of the character development. There's a lot of useless filler that never goes anywhere, and I was constantly wondering why I was reading. Really, was this book even necessary? Seems to me like it was just someone trying to milk The Godfather cow for profit, and unfortunately it was just a weak effort.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Book #48: The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon (Book #5 of the Outlander series)

Time for more short, half-assed reviews. This one I "wrote" while reading the book, because I was so angry at so many things and I just decided to take notes on things that made me angry about it. Here's the result. It makes no sense, but it boils down the book to the essentials. It's terrible, too long and meandering and I didn't give a damn about anything in it. Definitely the lowest point in the series.

-Going over the same topics over and over and over and over again. Get the fuck OVER it.

-Roger and Brianna are fucking boring.

-Brianna is a spoiled, selfish brat.

-nothing happens for at least 200 pages. NOTHING.

-300 pages and they haven't fucking left

-brianna is the type of hag that gets angry at the slightest thing then angrier that everyone doesn't immediately know why she's angry. then she starts swearing like a moron. helpful. why the hell does Roger love her so much? there is nothing redeemable about her

-roger is an incompetent asswipe, getting himself captured TWICE for being an interfering nitwit.

-after the 15th time one of these people gets in trouble or is nearly killed, it's really fucking monotonous. either REALLY kill one of them or just fuck off with the near deaths.

-snake bite. bear attack. hanging. for fuck's sake, woman. leave these people alone or just KILL THEM ALREADY.

-someone needs to go back through these novels and figure out how many times the men just stand there looking longingly at the women doing whatever. That's all they ever seem to do when they're not in MORTAL DANGER.

-christ. it's been like 20 pages of them dealing with a snake bite.

-holy fucking cow, two pages on blood types. WHAT THE HELL

At this point I gave up and just started skipping pages like crazy. Horrible, horrible book. No one should read it. Either stop at the one before this or skip to the next one. Jeebus on a piece of toast, this was terrible. Someone stop this woman.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gone fishin'



I'm on vacation in the US for the next three weeks, so won't be posting much. See you on the flip side.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bunch of reviews. Books 39, 45 and 46.

I think I need to give up pretense and admit what I know to be true:

I'm never gonna write the reviews I've fallen behind on. Mostly because I don't feel like it. Plus, it's been a while since I've read them, and none of them made that great an impression on me. So I'm going to be writing very short blurbs until I catch up, at which point maybe I can get back to the full reviews.

So.

39. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Loved it. Really funny, insightful, and I just love Hornby's style. Rob, much like Bridget Jones, is sort of a guide on what Not To Do to Keep a Healthy Relationship. He's a perfectly ordinary, selfish guy still stuck in his 20s, realizing that he needs to change and grow up in order to leave the rut he's dug himself into that he pretends he likes so much. The music talk is way above my head, but that shouldn't stop you. The songs themselves don't matter as much as the idea behind them, and Hornby is great at making the connections. The supporting characters are perfect, particularly the horrible music snobs that seem eerily familiar. I loved it.

45. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Hmmm. It was just OK. Had the usual King staples: the lonely but surprisingly strong young boy. Absent/evil fathers. The mentally challenged sidekick. The batshit insane minion to the batshit evil villain. The quest. The Dark Tower connections. The beautiful, useless mother. Fun plot, but nothing extraordinary. Basically, Jack goes on this quest to save his mother. He can "switch" between our world and a parallel one called the "Territories", where his mother has a "twin" who is the Queen of this kingdom. She needs to be saved or the evil Morgan will...do something bad. It's a fun book, but the writing is honestly kind of clunky and long-winded at times. It gets kind of repetitive in that Jack never gets a break and you know he'll face a new horror in ten pages, but you known he won't die. It's an OK book. Nothing that outstanding.

46. Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy
Awful, overlong, unnecessary piece of crap book. Just painfully awful. It's 1500 pages of descriptions of guns and 20-second battles as an elite group of anti-terrorist soldiers train, then are called into action, they win, they come out alive and go back to training. There's a massively stupid and overarching plot regarding a deadly virus about to be released upon the world, but you know that absolutely nothing will come out of it. I don't know who the audience for this thing might be, or why the hell it has to be so damn long. I skipped about half the pages, to be honest. I'm not at all interested in descriptions of training sequences or weapons, nor do I want to read about 15 equally boring missions that you KNOW will turn out perfectly for the good guys. You know what it is? It's like reading a 1500 page detailed walkthrough of a videogame, only you never get to play it. It's horrible, long, tedious and just stupid. The dialogue is just PAINFUL, and none of the characters are interesting. Everyone in the background is a robot spouting off really horrible lines. There's 15 subplots that no one cares about. It's just awful. Don't read it. Really makes me wonder who the hell is a fan of Tom Clancy, and who can get through his monstrosities. Did I say it was AWFUL? I need to say it again.

Guilty Pleasure Sunday

To end this week on a high note, let us forget about stupid politics and the even stupider politicians who play them.

....Yeah if you still think this is any kind of a professional or serious blogs your momma clearly raised a fool.

And let us start on what might just turn out to be a weekly feature:

The Sunday Guilty Pleasure

In which I post a video or a photo or...something about something I happen to like that I probably shouldn't. Of course taste is subjective and who dictates taste etc, etc, let's dispense with the bullcrap and let's do this for funsies.

This week, because I haven't been able to get this damned song out of my head:

Kelly Clarkson. Specifically, this "My Life Would Suck Without You" song.

Here is a video (not THE video because I got tired of looking for it. And by that I mean I looked at two videos on youtube and this was the sane one)



Why this is Guilty:
-It's Kelly Clarkson.
-She's an American Idol winner.
-It's happy-dappy bubblegum pop music.
-It has the word "suck" in the title. That just ain't right.
-It's really kind of a silly song.
-it probably means that I am a monster with no taste in music who probably eats children and kicks puppies and should be made deaf.

Why this is a Pleasure:
-I kind of LOVE Kelly Clarkson. I know she's a product of one of the worst shows in television history. But...she's just kind of kickass. She's gorgeous, and refuses to get into that whole Hollywood weightloss bullshit. She's not that polished little doll. She's...damn, she seems like a real person. She's comfortable with who she is. She seems like she'd be an awesome chick to hang out with. I am not deathly in love with her (don't have her albums, etc), but I've honestly loved a couple of her songs and I am completely happy that she's been successful. The pop music business needs kickass girls like her who can actually sing and are good role models.
-Admit it: she has quite an amazing voice. It's always been strong, and passionate and she actually looks like she's trying.
-This is a quote regarding her new album cover: "They've obviously photoshopped the dickens out of me, but I don't care, whoever she is she looks GREAT!". I love this girl.
-This is a freakin' FUN song. Silly lyrics and all, it makes me dance in my chair like a fool and I want to learn the lyrics so I can sing it at the top of my lungs. In other words, it makes me turn into a 15 year old.
-It's just FUN song. It's not genius, it won't make history, it probably makes the music snobs cry (actually that's another plus). It's just fun and girly and she has no shame in using the word 'suck' in the title. That takes guts.
-I really really like this chick.

So, there you go. Have at me. Go ahead. I'm not afraid of yous.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Our Royal Clown, ladies and gentlemen.

From the New York Times.

Need I say more?

An update, sorta.

I've already said how I felt about today's events in the previous entries.

An update:

"President" sits on his jeep at the border for hours.

Lots of stories coming out now about what's going on. I'm too amused at this fucking circus to write about it coherently. It's beyond ridiculous.

Seriously. He's just sitting there in his car, talking on the phone, occasionally asking people for a revolution or some fucking ridiculous thing. It's just...laughable. Until of course, it inevitably turns violent at which point he'll doubtless place the blame on everyone but himself.

Oh, yeah. I wasn't going to write anymore. Just gonna drink my juice.

Yep. We're surrounded by assholes.

So today will be fun.

Zelaya is on his way to the Honduras/Nicaragua border. He just gave a press conference in the middle of the highway saying that he's on his way.

The armed forces and police are guarding the border.

There's a mob (don't know how large) standing on the Honduran side, demanding that the border be opened.

Micheletti has ordered a 12pm-6am curfew for places around the border.

(um...yeah...that's...insane.)

The US Department of State has asked Zelaya not to try and come into the country.

And now there's a national broadcast. Let's listen in.

Aha. Just announcing the curfew again. Tegucigalpa has it 12-4:30am.

So. Raise your hand if you think there is any chance that this will end well?

Yeah. Didn't think so.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Stubborn as a mule" doesn't even begin to cover it.

Deposed Honduran leader prepares risky return

So. Your biggest allies are telling you that to return now is to ask for trouble.

You KNOW there will be trouble.

Yet you vow to return, at the head of a mob, forcing your way into what still is a sovereign border? And you...expect to just be let in. And then what? March on into Tegucigalpa completely unopposed.

Very smart. Very peaceful. Very reasonable.

Except, you know, the complete opposite of that.

Now really. Anyone. Tell me how these are the actions of a reasonable man. Tell me what Zelaya expects will happen if he acts against the advice of...everyone. Anyone. Please. Because it is completely beyond me at this point. I can only stare at the screen, jaw hanging wide open.

I give up. I give up on trying to understand any of these people. I'm going to go beat my head against the wall now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

argh.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/23/world/americas/23honduras.html

ARGH. ARGH. ARGH.

What the hell do these people want?!

Mr Micheletti: accept the proposal. There is no WAY they're going to let you get away with this. Give it up. It's FOUR months and with it you completely avoid any bloodshed, any financial repercussions, any of the complete chaos that is going to happen if you don't accept. For the love of everything holy take the proposal. What else do you expect? Honduras CAN'T survive without international help. Do you WANT Zelaya to come marching in here and remove you by force? What do you want? What do you expect will happen?

Mr Zelaya: Come to your senses and don't try to force your way back in here. You've already got the world on your side. You have a proposal. You are looking better than anyone else in here, but the second you start threatening a forceful return you destroy any chance that you're going to return here peacefully and unobstructed. Please just...be reasonable.

It just makes me so incredibly angry. That Honduras, that the people, the POOR people that these two men claim to be fighting for are going to get royally screwed because they can't come to a peaceful agreement. Why go to the talks at all if you're not ready to give in a single inch on your positions? Why build up the animosity towards you?

So now we're standing on what could be the brink of a civil war, because these two gigantic egos can't come to an agreement. My God. It's FOUR MONTHS. Just because you can't accept that you were wrong doesn't mean that we should all get screwed over.

I feel so incredibly helpless right now. I am so angry I'm crying. It's so unbelievably frustrating to watch this ridiculous back-and-forth from two parties that completely refuse to stand down. But most of my anger right now is focused on Micheletti. Yes I understand that it's almost admitting defeat. But what would you rather have? War? An embargo? To have your people starve and panic because you can't accept the only peaceful solution to come your way?

OK. I better stop before I start crying from sheer frustration again. I've never been this angry before. Damn all these politicians.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Book #44: "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" by Helen Fielding

Pff. I knew it couldn't last. The crazy, endearing sillyness of Bridget Jones' Diary is almost completely gone from this frustrating sequel. Worse, the whole thing felt unnecessary, written only because people loved Bridget so much and they just wanted some more. But all the heart is gone out of it.

It's still mildly enjoyable, I guess. On the one hand, Bridget is still the same crazy, paranoid, self-doubting geek from the first book. Her parents are still insane, her friends are still giving her bad advice that she's still taking. On the other hand...well, see everything I just said. It's the exact same ingredients that made the original so much fun, but with a second serving the whole quirky soup gets a little exhausting. On top of that there's the frustration when you realize that Bridget didn't learn a damned thing from her trials and tribulations in the first book. She has Mark Darcy, who she spent an entire book learning loved her for who she was and didn't want her to change. But within a few pages she turns into a paranoid idiot again, terrified when a woman at Mark's work even comes close to him. And poor Mark is left completely bewildered when Bridget goes into freak-out mode, trying so hard to be the perfect woman for Mark that she ends up making him think she hates him. She spent the whole of the last book learning that her friends might not be the best people to take relationship advice from, but in this book the advice gets even worse and Bridget keeps listening to them. And so, Bridget goes from someone who's just slightly confused to someone who just might be an idiot.

The plot feels clunky and forced. Fielding keeps throwing Bridget into increasingly dumber situations, and like in any cliched romantic comedy, you know that something (stupid) will drive Bridget and Mark apart. The whole thing just gets annoying and cliched, and where the first book made me go "Oh, Bridget..." a lot, this one was more of a "Dammit, Bridget. Stop being an idiot". And don't even get me started on the whole stupid Thailand trip. It's cringeworthy.

There are still some funny scenes, and some very cute allusions to "Persuasion", my favorite Austen book. Bridget's parents are still just as hilarious as they were before, and their scenes with Bridget are some of the best in the book. But unfortunately the weaknesses of the first book just get augmented here. Mark is never completely fleshed out, so you never really get a hold of what his character is like. Though I suppose that that's sort of the point. Bridget's silly paranoia becomes irritating, and she's made a little dumber and clueless here. The whole thing is sadly predictable, just your cliched romantic comedy.

So, to conclude, this was just flat out disappointing. Funny and a harmless, easy read, but definitely a step down from the original. Too bad.