Monday, April 27, 2009

Book #28 (5K #5): "The Golden Compass" by Phillip Pullman

This is what teens should be reading. Harry Potter is cute and fun, but ultimately too childish. Take Twilight and burn it, or use it as a doorstop. It's worthless. Let's get young people to read His Dark Materials, and let them find out what really great fantasy literature is all about.

His Dark Materials is a trilogy of books that take place in a number of worlds parallel to our own. In one of these worlds (the main setting for The Golden Compass, each human is accompanied by a daemon, basically a representation of their souls in the form of an animal. Children's daemons are constantly changing to fit their moods. Once they reach adulthood, however, the daemons settle into a permanent shape that reflects what the people are inside. It's a completely alien concept at first, but Pullman does a fantastic job of explaining the link between humans and daemons, and some of the book's most moving moments come when that relationship comes into danger.

This world is ruled by an all powerful organization called The Magisterium, a stand-in for the Catholic Church. Pullman doesn't shy away from the comparisons and his criticism of the Church. In fact, the entire plot is driven by the Magisterium's desire to suppress what they call heretical plots that would essentially strip it of its power. The Oblation Board, part of the Magisterium, is conducting some sort of secret experiment in the Northern areas of the world, and the bulk of the book is spent with the characters trying to find out what it is.

Into this complicated and dark plot comes Lyra Belacqua, the main character of the book. She's a young girl who, largely by accident, is thrown into a mystery that involves the kidnapping of children, some of them her friends. Lyra is an interesting and complex character, not your usual children's book heroine. She's stubborn and arrogant, a natural leader and an expert liar, which saves her from a lot of trouble. Sometimes she's even a little unlikable, but I think it helps to see that this isn't a perfect little girl. She's abrasive, but that helps her survive situations that others wouldn't.

So Lyra, curious and determined, is taken along on some pretty scary adventures as she works to solve the mystery of the disappearing children. Pullman creates a dark, dangerous world full of monsters and magical creatures; the armored bears in particular have to be some of the most amazing things I've ever read about..

The book ends in a cliffhanger after a series of nonstop battles and confrontations--it was pretty damn hard to put down the book at any moment. It's fast-paced and exciting, sometimes downright creepy and disturbing. It's not a book for really young children, but I think anyone over the age of 16 would enjoy it. The Church criticism would perhaps be lost to a young audience, but it's another way for adults to enjoy the book. Pullman is obviously going for controversy here, and some people might be turned off by his constant cries of 'the church is evil! the church is evil!'. However, I think it would be unfair to dismiss such a talented and imaginative writer just because he's critical and controversial; it's too good and too rich a story. It's a great book, really, and I'm starting on the next one (The Subtle Knife) just as soon as I post this.


Done with another 5K Challenge! The best of the five? I'd have to say this one and "Teacher Man". Two very, very different books, but both from two wonderful writers. Everyone should read them

Friday, April 24, 2009

Book #27 (5K #4): "Tiburcio Carias Andino: Anatomy of an Era" by Mario R. Argueta

Disclaimer:I'm not feeling very coherent today, so this review will be pretty short. And it probably won't make a lot of sense, because my brain is only running on turtle speed today. Apologies for the incoherence. But here goes.

This could have been a very interesting book. It deals with a decisive period in Honduran history, starting from about 1923 and ending in the 1964, following the political life of dictator Tiburcio Carias Andino. It's a detailed and thorough account of every aspect of Honduran history during this time period--an era of civil wars and political strife that set Honduras back 50 years. We still haven't recovered from all the mistakes our country's leaders caused at the start of the century. It was a time when despotic politicians practically sold the entire country to powerful American companies, who in turn controled our politics to best suit their needs. It's the same sad story of most Latin American countries: weak, power-hungry men enriched by corruption while progress of every kind was halted for almost 50 years.

It's a terrible legacy, and the author makes sure to point out how even today our politicians are repeating the strategies of the past; trying everything they can to hold on to power, and screw the consequences. It's the same families that have been ruling our country for decades. No wonder we're stuck in the third world.

The book itself, however, left me feeling cold. It reads like a recitation of facts, with names being thrown around with no follow up or context. It has a lot of facts, yes, but sometimes I just lost interest, or just completely lost the thread of what the author was saying. It was more like a government report, and it wasn't involving. For example, he tells us he'll talk about Carias' political life, but he mostly just throws out names and numbers and important dates. There's no real connection to the history we're reading; perhaps if he had talked more about how the politics affected Honduran society in general, it would have helped. As it is, it feels like reading a boring, bland textbook with a lot of tables and lists. Only very rarely does the author analyze what the facts mean. I had the hardest time not falling asleep as I read it. I confess I even skipped a lot of pages filled with nothing but detailed accounts of how many bananas the United Fruit Company exported. Without any sort of context as to what it means, who the hell is going to care?

It's a shame, really. I read it to learn more about the history of my own country, and specially about a time period that my own parents and grandparents lived through. But their stories are far more interesting and involving than just reading a lot of dates and numbers. I wish this book was far more than it was.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Book #26 (5K #3): 'Teacher Man' by Frank McCourt

"I was more than a teacher. And less. In the high school classroom you are a drill sergeant, a rabbi, a shoulder to cry on, a disciplinarian, a singer, a low-level scholar, a clerk, a referee, a clown, a counselor, a dress-code enforcer, a conductor, an apologist, a philosopher, a collaborator, a tap dancer, a politician, a therapist, a fool, a traffic cop, a priest, a mother-father-brother-sister-uncle-aunt, a bookkeeper, a psychologist-the last straw."

I've wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. Since I was in 2nd grade, I think. I started full-time teaching in 2006, fresh out of college and having no idea what the hell I was doing. I don't want to give a recitation of my life, so I'll just say this: teaching can be exhausting, frustrating, and unbelievably cool.

And Frank McCourt knows exactly how it is. That's why this book is so, so, so good. I think I didn't stop grinning once while I read it. It's fantastic.

'Teacher Man' is the third part of McCourt's memoirs, which began with the magnificent Angela's Ashes, where he tells of his miserable childhood in Ireland. In the second book, 'Tis, McCourt tells of his teenage years, when he returned to America (where he was born) and worked a variety of jobs before settling into teaching. In Teacher Man he covers his entire teaching career, from his beginnings as an english teacher in a low-class school in New York City, to the day he retires--it's after that that he began to write Angela's Ashes.

It's an amazing story, really, because up until he became famous for Angela's Ashes, McCourt was only a poor English teacher with a deep sense of inferiority and bad self-esteem. So his story isn't one of fantastic adventures and great battles: he's just a guy who had a terrible childhood and who then became a High School English teacher.

It doesn't sound like something that would really hold your interest, but McCourt is an amazing, gifted writer. He's sincere and self-deprecating, hardly believing that he managed to overcome his childhood. Even when he's sunk into the deepest of miseries, he holds to his uproarious sense of humor, loving every story, telling it as if he can't believe he's telling it at all. And he knows teaching is a constant battle: one that sometimes leaves you defeated, and that sometimes leaves you feeling like you're the king of the world. It's not Robin Williams in The Dead Poets Society. It's tough, but you love it, and maybe once in a while you can make a difference in somebody's life.

I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. McCourt has a unique, captivating style that's just plain touching and as funny as anything I've ever read. Even if you're not a teacher, you'll find something you recognize in it. You'll remember your own teachers and your own high school years. It'll crack you up, and hopefully it will make you go a little easier on teachers.

If you are a teacher, my sympathy and my admiration go out to you. And please, read this book.

"The classroom is a place of high drama. You'll never know what you've done to, or for,the hundreds coming and going. You see them leaving the classroom: dreamy, flat, sneering, admiring, smiling, puzzled...You are with the kids and, as long as you want to be a teacher, there's no escape. Don't expect help from the people who've escaped the classroom, the higher-ups. They're busy going to lunch and thinking higher thoughts. It's you and the kids. So, there's the bell. See you later. Find what you love and do it."

See? Genius. I was almost crying at that.


Today is not a good day for many of us. There is something nasty in the air filling us with blah. There's discontent and bad moods everywhere.

Such times call for desperate measures. We're going hitman. SHIRTLESS hitman.

So here is a whole post full of shirtless Jason Statham. Because we need it. LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND.








I feel better now.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Book #25 (5K #2): "Cry Wolf" by Tami Hoag

How to write a Tami Hoag novel, in Ten Easy Steps!

1. Introduce your heroine. She is tough and independent. She works in a field usually dominated by men. She is unfeminine and thus, doesn't have a man. She is TOUGH (make sure to say this a LOT) and has a Dark Past.

2. Introduce your hero. He is a very masculine MANLY MAN. He is dangerously handsome. And dangerous and flawed. He has a DARK PAST.

3. Introduce the Second-Tier Female. She is beautiful and feminine. Give her a minor plot line. She will be useful in making the Heroine look like an Unfulfilled and Unfeminine Woman.

4. Introduce Second-Tier Male. He is Handsome, but not as Handsome as Handsome Flawed Hero. He is an Important Person. He is Mysterious.

5. Have your Tough Heroine meet your Flawed Hero. Introduce SEXUAL TENSION. Have your Flawed Hero talk in cliches and bad come-on lines that should make the Heroine cringe but Oh He Is So Handsome and Dark. SEXUAL TENSION.

6. Put them all in Small Idyllic All-American Town. Introduce Colorful Characters.

7. MURDER one of them. Small Idyllic All-American Town is shaken to the core. TO THE CORE. Have someone say "Things like that don't happen in this town!" repeatedly.

8. Have Flawed Hero and Tough Heroine run around Small Not-So Idyllic Anymore All-American Town trying to find clues to the murder. THERE IS SEXUAL TENSION.

9. Add a couple of SEX scenes. Make sure to use the words "Most Feminine Part of Her" and "His Throbbing Manhood" and "He/She Should Not Have Given In". It will be HOT.

10. CLIMAX. Tough Heroine finds the Murderer, he kidnaps and tortures her for a bit, and she is rescued by Flawed Hero because it is True Love After Two Weeks.


OK, in all fairness, Hoag isn't a terrible writer. Just mediocre. And it's not as horrible as most romances. The SEXUAL TENSION is hilarious, but I guess it works if that's your thing. The book is kind of comforting in a way, the sort of thing you read when you're really sick or really bored and don't want to think too much. It's painful, but in a fun way, and it's good for a laugh. So if you need something to read while waiting at the doctor's office or whatever, go ahead. But don't say I didn't warn you.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Sunday Hot Post: The Men of Lost

In this edition of the Sunday Hot Post (it makes you happy before Monday!), I give you the men of Lost.

If you watch Lost, you know that it's a mind-buggery of a great show. And you also know that someone up there in casting had the brilliant idea to cast a sleuth of ridiculously good looking people to run around shirtless and sweaty for 40 minutes every week. We are very thankful. If you don't watch the show, don't worry. I'm sure you'll appreciate the post. There's something for everybody on Craphole Island!

1. Naveen Andrews

We start with my favorite. Sayid is the baddest mother on the Island. He's smart, dark and mysterious, and talks with a killer british accent. He also has fantastic hair that looks good wet, dry or all straightened out when he cleans up. It's perfect!

Another one, you say? OK!


2. Josh Holloway

Sawyer is the bad boy of the Island. He's sarcastic, talks in a dirty-south drawl and comes up with clever nicknames. And I think it's part of his contract that he should be shirtless 90% of the time. We don't mind.

And he has dimples? Come ON. That's not even fair.

4. Daniel Dae Kim

His character, Jin, is a devoted--if slightly possessive at first--husband, smart and reliable and doesn't take crap from anybody.

Shirtlessness abounds.

One more:

5. Henry Ian Cusick:

Him and Sayid fight it out for Most Luscious Man-Locks on the Island.

You, um, forgot a button...oh, never mind.

5. Nestor Carbonell

No one really knows who his character Richard is. He's a mystery. He appears to be immortal. And, for some magical, reason, he seems to have been BORN WITH EYELINER (someone on the show even called him EYELINER MAN). It is very hot. And he's hot.



Oh, wait I almost forgot someone.

Well, not really. But, ok here's a picture of Jack, played by Matthew Fox:


No one likes Jack.

Goodnight, everybody!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Book #24 (5K #1): "Wicked" by Gregory Maguire

I like Gregory Maguire. While I didn't find this one quite as enjoyable as Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (which I reviewed here), Maguire has a style I can't help but love. He's got a crazy imagination and with it he creates worlds that are dark, bizarre, hilarious and intriguing. He's found a niche in taking minor characters from popular fairy tales and telling their 'true' stories, in a deliciously gothic, dark fashion.

Wicked tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. He sets the story in an Oz that is dangerous and corrupt, sunk in political intrigue, racism and religious conflict. This isn't the land of the happy little Munchkins and the harmless creatures. In Maguire's Oz, just about everything is ready to kill you.

Elphaba, who will become the Witch, is born green and immediately labeled a freak of nature in Munchkinland. She grows up to be fiercely independent and reserved; deeply suspicious and mistrusting of the world around her. And with good reason. She goes to Shiz University, where she meets vapid Galinda (later to be Glinda the Good) and gets into all sorts of trouble and intrigue. The plot is fairly complicated in the first half, but the book is kept afloat thanks to some great supporting characters and Maguire's sense of humor.

Unfortunately, though, the second half doesn't hold up very well. Once Elphaba leaves Shiz and becomes a revolutionary fighting against the tyranical Wizard of Oz, the book badly loses momentum. On her own, without any other characters to play against, Elphaba is too paranoid, too mysterious. Maguire tangles the plot so much that it's almost impossible to know what's going on sometimes, and without the sense of humor provided by the supporting characters, the book becomes far too dark and depressing. I can see why many people get completely turned off at this point; it's hard to keep going to the ending we all know. The book definitely loses its way in the second half, and though the writing is still pretty impressive, the plot falls apart. A lot is left unanswered, which is yet another problem. Things might be resolved in the sequels Maguire has written, but if you didn't like Wicked, what will induce you to read the next books?

On the whole, though, I was glad I re-read this. Some of it made a lot more sense than it did on my first read, when I just couldn't get what Maguire was trying to do. It's clearer on a second read, though still confusing. But I like the Oz Maguire has created, his characters are well done and he works in many different themes, mostly quite well. I like what he does and want to read more of his books. Wicked might not be the best he's done, but it's still a remarkable read.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Second 5K Challenge is ON! Allez lire!

The Cannonball Brigade has spoken. We have a new 5K Challenge. I'll let the awesome Prisco explain the rules:

"In honor of the winner of the last 5K, Miss Genny (also Rusty), we are declaring a new 5K for the month of April. Starting April 15th (Tax Day for those fortunate US Citizens) through April 29th, we're to read five books of our own choosing. The catch, cooked up by our fiendish redhead, is it's a genre relay. You must choose one title from each of the following categories:

1. Fiction
2. Non-Fiction
3. Fantasy/Sci-Fi
4. Biography
5. Romance

To the victor goes the spoils, which means you get the dictate the terms of the next 5K, which will most likely be in June. It starts soon, so get to plotting, plotz!"

Compared to the last 5K (5 400-page-books-in-two-weeks-Prisco-is-insane), it should be relatively simple.

My list (open to change):

1. Fiction: 'Wicked' by Gregory Maguire. This is a re-read, but I got a lot of good feedback for my review of 'Confessions of An Ugly Stepsister', a lot of which included criticism for Wicked. So I think I'll give it another chance and review it properly.
2. Non-Fiction: 'Tiburcio Carias; Portrait of an Era' by Mario R. Argueta. A book about a hugely important era in Honduran history, that I know woefully little about.
3. Fantasy: 'The Golden Compass' by Philip Pullman. I'm really looking forward to this one. Another recommendation from the Pajiba list.
4. Biography: 'Teacher Man' by Frank McCourt. The third part of the author's memoirs, where he deals with his teaching career.
5. Romance: Either 'Outlander' by Diana Gabaldon or 'Cry Wolf' by Tami Hoag. It'll probably be the Hoag one (I reviewed one of her books before. Hilarious. And bad.), because the Gabaldon is HUGE. I think I'll review the Outlander books after the 5K.

I'm about halfway trough 'Wicked'. It's really great so far, but I recall it getting stranger as it goes on. We shall see. Stay tuned for the reviews!

And if you're not into the reviews, there will be a video featuring cute dogs AND another Sunday Hot Post to look forward to this week. There's something for everyone here at figgyland. Figgytopia.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book #23: "Ain't Gonna be the Same Fool Twice" by April Sinclair

This is one of those books I found lying around in the family bookcase, that I figured I'd read because, why not? I've been pleasantly surprised by bargain buys my dad has brought home before. It was kind of beat up, the colorful cover torn up, with dogeared, stained pages, and even a couple of pages torn out*, that didn't exactly cry out 'this is a respected book'. Why, yes. I do often judge a book by its cover.

That first impression never really changed for me. There's something so sad about a disappointing book. Like you know there could be something there, and sometimes you get glimpses of what could be something interesting or exciting, but that's quickly lost in the unimpressive whole. This book was just that. Not awful, but just not very good either. At least it's a fast read.

Stevie is a college-aged black girl living in the mid-1970s, still unsure of herself and her own sexuality. She's a perfectly normal girl: smart, funny and opinionated, who is just trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. On a trip to San Francisco with some friends, she discovers she's rather intrigued by the gay and lesbian scene she sees there on display for the very first time in her life. So she decides to stay there, exploring her attraction to women and the gay lifestyle, really getting to know herself in the process. Sinclair explores race and sexuality through Stevie's naive and sometimes prudish eyes as she opens herself up to a new kind of culture.

But it's only sort of interesting. Stevie meets a lot of characters, but most of them feel flat and cliched, and they quickly becoming annoying. I don't know if Sinclair really intended for everyone to talk in bad, forced 70s slang ("You go, girl!", "this deserves a Zorro snap!", "I'm not trippin, yo!"), but it felt like she was trying way too hard to set this in the 70s for some reason. I don't really understand why this had to be set in the 70s at all. Yes, it was an important time for gay culture, but Sinclair doesn't really explore why. The story could have been set today (or in 1994 when it was written) and I don't think it would've made the slightest bit of difference. I think it just makes the 70s slang and stereotypes feel that much more forced and fake. Maybe they were fresh and real in the 70s, but as I was reading it, it sounded almost like a parody.

Nothing really exciting happens, either, which is a problem if your characters aren't very exciting. Stevie goes to parties, she meets people, she does drugs, she has sex. But nothing seems really significant, nothing really connects. Stevie seems to get emotional, but we only know that because she starts using a lot of exclamation points. In fact, her fights and reactions are just laughable sometimes.

Too bad. It could've been a fun and witty look into sexuality and race, instead it turns into a weird trip into 70s nostalgia, with no real substance and just a lot of bad slang.

*Two pages. I didn't even care. Whatever happened in them didn't really matter, because nothing makes any impact in this book.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Book #22: 'The Corrections' by Jonathan Franzen

To be completely honest, I don't think I have the eloquence to do this book justice. I'm not that good a writer. It's too good, and I don't think I have the words to tell you why. But I'll try. I'll buck up, try my best and hope I don't come up too short on my praises.

Because this book needs to be praised. To the high heavens. This might sound like a cliche, but I've honestly never read anything like it. There were several moments as I read where I had to stop, mouth open in awe, and re-read a sentence that was so beautifully crafted that it almost made me tear up. Franzen's really is some of the most perfect, heartbreaking writing I have ever read, and the book is a wonder.

The Corrections is the story of the Lamberts, an outwardly typical Midwestern family. The elderly parents, Enid and Alfred, live a sad life; Enid spends her time waiting for things to come, disappointed and saddened by her children, whom she has never truly understood. Alfred, battling Parkinson's and paranoia, is a hard, strict man who prefers to be left alone and shows almost no emotion besides anger. The children--Gary, Chip and Denise-- have spent their entire lives trying to get as far away as they can from their parents and everything that they represent. They each resent one or the other parent, seeing Alfred and Enid as the principal reason why their lives are falling apart.

Gary, who should have the perfect life (he is rich, has a beautiful wife and perfect, modern children),is battling depression as he constantly tries to make himself noticed and enviable. Chip is a disgraced ex-professor whose every move in life has brought him a new catastrophe. Denise is a chef, a workaholic trying to survive a string of bad relationships with both married men and married women. It's a disunited family whose members are disintegrating.

The book follows each of the characters as they try, and largely fail, to correct the course their lives have taken. The theme of 'correction' is brought up throughout the book; the children are trying to correct the mistakes their parents made, only to fall into even bigger errors. Franzen also works in themes of betrayal, disappointment of expectations, the normal troubles of families, envy, and greed. Featuring large throughout is the theme of the American culture of consumerism and the expectations that come with the American Dream. For all their struggles to correct the mistakes of their parents and to get the things they think they want, not one of these characters is truly happy.

It's fascinating to read. Franzen connects each of the stories so artfully that it took a second reading for me to really understand everything that he was going for. It's a tragic book, really, full of sadness and heartbreak, but Franzen also brings a great sense of humor to it. He writes dialogue and characters that are recognizable and hilariously familiar; this could easily be your family talking. In fact, Enid reminded me so strongly of my own grandmother that it became almost surreal to read.

Franzen doesn't shy away from anything. His characters are deeply flawed and make horrible decisions, but they are the actions of real people who go through real tragedies. There's no flash to their stories, but the book never feels slow or forced. Franzen fleshes out fears and motivations, and we come to know these characters perfectly, understanding them if not always liking them. From start to finish this book is about people, their dreams and their failures.

And again, the writing. God, it's beautiful writing. Franzen's prose is thoughtful, often hilarious, moving, and just perfect. The book is hands down one of the best things I have ever read, and this review doesn't even come close to doing it justice. I loved this book. Even now, two days after finishing it, I'm still in awe of everything Franzen did with it. I keep wondering How did he do that? How do you write something that insightful and beautiful?

It's the kind of book that reminds me why I love books. Sometimes, just a collection of words make you feel like you've experienced something completely new and almost magical. I know I'm gushing here, but believe me, The Corrections is worth it.

PS: I found this book thanks to Pajiba's 'Best Books of the Generation' List:

In fact, just about every book I've read from that list hasn't disappointed--it's the reason why I trust the staff and commenters on that site so much. Read Phillip's blurb on this book, it's just perfect.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Second Edition of the Sunday Hot Post!

Another edition in the highly popular Sunday Hot Post, to try and get you through the last few hours of the weekend in a happy place.

This week I decided to go for hot men that most of you will probably not recognize. A couple are very popular outside Latin America and Spain, but hopefully you'll discover someone new.

I hereby present:

The Top 5 Hottest Latin Gods

1. Reynaldo Giannechini

Soap opera and theater actor from Brazil. He's in my list for Top 5 Best Looking Men Alive. Yow. In fact, he deserves another photo:

mmm. moving on.

2. javier bardem
Spanish. Incredibly good actor. Unbelievably good looking.


3. Juanes
A hugely popular latin pop/rock artist from Colombia. Hot AND has a great voice.

4. Valentino Lanus
Mexican soap opera actor. Not a great photo perhaps, but he's gorgeous.

5. Rodrigo Phavanello
Another Brazilian soap opera star. He played my favorite character in a soap opera I watched recently, and I just completely fell in love with him. He's not even my usual type, but he's just so damn cute. Gets two photos cos I couldn't find one in a decent size.


Oh, and just as a bonus extra: during the course of my 'research' I found this great photo showing you just how much Javier Bardem and Jeffrey Dean Morgan resemble one another:

To quote Pam Beasley: "It's like, second drink!"

Hope this helps you fight the Sunday blues. Have a great week!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Movies I Watched...And Wished I Hadn't.

I was going to write a review of Wicker Man. I was going to try to write a review, anyway. But you know what? I can't.

So here is an exact transcript of the 'notes' I took on notepad while I was watching the movie. There are no words to encompass the utter mind melt this movie brought upon me. Maybe this will help. I think you can pinpoint the exact moment when my brain just goes into full incomprehension mode.

And don't worry, there's no need to have seen the movie to enjoy this. In fact, it's better if you never, ever watch it.



Why did 6 different production companies do this? So none of them could take full blame for it? Clever.

Is this a joke?

I love when cars in movies just spontaneously burst into flames for no reason at all.


why is everyone asleep in this movie?

I want to hit these people so they talk faster





lolol why did he have to check on his needles? so we know he has them?

everything's ok. No, it isn't.


It's like...nothing. what is this. It's so boring. And nothing is happening.


I am on the edge of my seat. Because I am about to fall out of it. From utter boredom.

Creepy barns! yay cliche!


Pigeons. Not a nic cage movie without pigeons.

What is this MUSIC. It sounds like stormy period movie music but he's just walking in a barn. CREEPY. EXCEPT NOT. The only creepy thing is his hair.

God who did this score?


This is the most scintillating dialogue since I listened to two old men reading hte phone book to each other.



A tree. wooooooooooeeeeeeeeeeeee....

creepy pregnant women! Ooooh. Not.


sweeping strings for the pregant women!

Walk into the school why not interrupt classes you bastard with bad hair.

Everything this guy says makes me want to punch him.

His wig looks specially wispy today.

The hair! and the music! is confounding! AAH!



*Nic Cage points at blackboard, his hair screams "WHERE IS THIS GIRL!"
me: That is not a girl. That is a black board.


This woman's hands are attached to her hips.


What is this southern accent nic cage is trying to go for? It sounds pseudo-Georgian by way of Douchetown.

Creeeepy stones.....wwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeooooonnnnnnneeeeeee eee eeen

Woman. say something.

This woman sounds more bored than Nic Cage himself. I didn't think that was possible.

oooh creepy cage in the ruins. Snore.



Stop talking in stupid pseudo cryptic language you wench.

This is ridiculously pointless and stupid and boring. why should he believe anything this whackjob is saying? Oh right, he's a moron.

This woman has the most boring voice imaginable.





Ooh the book must be evil.


That's what a good cop does. BREAK INTO PEOPLE'S HOUSES.

This woman answers NO QUESTIONS AT ALL EVER. Did she escape the island on Lost?

Wow that was the least romantic kiss ever. Ew. I feel dirty.


This thing has no plot at all. What the hell.

Nic Cage put some pants on for the love of everything good and holy please.


The fact that Ellen Burstyn is in this makes me die inside.


SOUNDS LIKE INBREEDING TO ME. That would explain Nic Cage.

This is so fucking painful and boring jesus help me.

Why is leelee sobieski in this damned movie? why? what does she do? why? did they pay her? WHY?

Oh good lord if I see one more flashback I will die. ARGH.



Something bad is about to happen! I CAN FEEL IT! Yeah. I felt this when this movie started. Before that.

OK there's a dead man in te bed and he just doesn't care.

what the fuck woman covered in bees. oh god.

STEP AWAY. FROM THE BIKE. TAKE YOUR STUPID MASK. That's not quite as good as 'put the bunny bawk in da bawx'. Yeaah wave a gun at an unarmed woman.

I DON'T NEED FUCKING PERMISSON. Yeah, you're Nic Cage! You're a Coppola, damnit! Don't need no one's permission!

GOOD LORD. the last five minutes of this have been spent going WHAT THE FUCK.







LISTEN TO THIS MUSIC. It's trying so hard to be Mozart's requiem. Oh this poor composer's trying SO HARD to add some emotion to this movie.

OHMYGOD the bear punch! was better! than I could ever have imagined it!!!!!! OVERLOAD!

Oh God he's still wearing the suit. This is a furry's best dream.

Yeaah..the cellphone works after being under water for ages. Hee. Pete can't help you know, Nic! You punched a woman! You're doomed.

Let's yell into our cell phone. That will lead them off your trail.

What the fuck is going on. Ooh the little girl is totally evil. Like we didn't know that.

Oh Ellen Burstyn. Do you have no self-respect?

Good lord the twins. The twins talking simultaneously.

What the fuck is this dialogue?



It won't bring back your goddamned honey. It will bring you the ghost of Nic Cage's wig.


Nic Cage got all his screams from speech bubbles in old Batman comics. YEAGH! RAH! EEAAAH!

That's kind of an awesome statue. It does not deserve Nic Cage.

I like all the women with the cute face paint. "I was a tiger!"

Oh lord he's not dead yet. They're dragging this on. And on. ARGH. DIE ALREADY.


I think my brain just shot itself.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

in which figgy returns

Well, I'm back.

Will write more when I've recovered from all the beachin' I did. I'll just say it was awesome, that we have great beaches and there is no greater pleasure than sitting by the ocean in the sun reading a book and sipping fruity drinks. Am exhausted.

Need to catch up on 4 days worth of internets. A daunting task.


Saturday, April 4, 2009


First things first:

I haven't been posting much. This is mostly because all I've wanted to post are entries full of this face: >:/ or this face: :( , and a lot of times I just stopped myself before becoming one of those OH WOE IS ME journals where every day is the same. Truth is there's just not a whole lot going on, and when there's not a whole lot going on I get all frowny faced. So no need to post a bunch of repetitive entries because there's no need to remember that March was on the whole a horrible month. Best I put it behind me and say HELLO APRIL! It is Spring! Only it isn't, because we don't really have Spring! So we just go from 'nice and kinda chilly' straight on to summer and it is 90 degrees! Oh boy.

Anyway, just wanted to update because I finally get to go out of town and I GET TO GO TO THE BEACH. All caps necessary BECAUSE I AM SO EXCITED.

We're leaving tomorrow on a 6-hour bus ride to the Atlantic coast where there are fancy hotels and gorgeous beaches. And rooms with Air-Conditioning, OH JOY! There is nothing I want to do more right now than slip into my bathing suit and spend literally the entire day in it at the beach and the pool and only taking breaks to eat. I'm gonna regain my tan, I'm gonna eat seafood til I burst, and I intend to get out of this funk I've been in. It's gonna be fabulous.

Really, I need a break from all the monotony. I've decided to not even take my laptop, because I just need to disconnect and get in with the real world (for three days at least) and just relax. Not even think about anything. I'm taking my ipod and my giant book ("The Corrections") and that's it.

So if I don't see you today, I'll be back Wednesday. Hopefully we'll avoid all the crowds leaving town for Easter weekend, and come back to a city largely depleted and calm for once. And hopefully, my batteries will be recharged and I'll be out of this funk.

I can't wait. Wee!

This is where we're going. Ooooh, yeah.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Book #21: 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' by John Berendt

When I started reading this, I had no idea it was based on true events and real people. I knew there was a movie based on it, so about halfway through I did some quick research and found out that, aside from some minor changes to names and situations, every story and every character in this book is real. That made a great thing even better.

'Midnight' is, in a nutshell, about the city of Savannah, Georgia. John Berendt, the narrator, is enchanted with Savannah from the second he first visits the city. To him, and to the reader, it's like going into a completely separate and alienated world, full of strict rules and bizarre characters that live in a place that seems untouched by time and the outside world. It's fascinating, really, and to find out that all of the stories are true adds an extra touch of charm and mystery to the book.

The first half of the book is mostly full of little stories about the characters Berendt meets during his many trips to Savannah. Each character he encounters not only has their own personal story, but is full of tales and scandals about people dead or alive. You get the sense that there's far more there than could fit in a book. We find Berendt trying to navigate the maze of personal relationships and the strict hierarchy of Savannah high society, where everyone knows and remembers everything about everybody. This was easily my favorite part of the book. Berendt is never judgmental, and though there are stories of racism, murder, theft and general snobbishness, it's all full of humor and the sense that the characters just don't care what anyone outside Savannah thinks. It's seriously great fun to read.

The second half is a little less exciting. One of the characters we're introduced to early on in the book commits a shocking murder that rocks all of Savannah high society. It's a complicated case that ends up being retried four times in a period of 8 years or so, and Berendt focuses mostly on the trial and this time period in the second half of the book. It's interesting for the most part, but the problem is that nothing much changes from trial to trial, and reading about it becomes monotonous and repetitive sometimes. I found myself getting impatient for Berendt to stop talking about the trial and get back to the crazy characters and stories. He does, but keeps returning to the trial, which bogs down the pace of the book somewhat. This isn't to say it makes the book bad, just not as perfectly consistent with itself as it could have been.

That being said, this is overall a great read. I love stories that deal with multiple characters, and Berendt does a fantastic job of juggling their stories and personalities to give us a sense of the world they live in. It's amusing and dark, full of stories of blood and murder, scandal, death, parties and living the high life. I loved it, and just like Berendt himself, I was left fascinated with Savannah.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Good Riddance

I am so glad March is finally over. What a horrible month it was.

Here's to hoping April brings some good things. Come ooooon, April!