Thanksgiving in South Louisiana

November 30, 2009 at 9:55 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

So, I apologize for the fact that it’s been a few days since I posted.  I’m sure all of you out there in cyberspace have been waiting with bated breath for my newest entry, so my tardiness in unacceptable.  I got home last night from my grandparents house and then had internet troubles at my apartment, but thanks to a combination of determination, intelligence and pure luck I am now back online.

I spent Thanksgiving with my dad’s side of the family; my aunt and her three kids, my uncle and my grandparents, whom my sister and I refer to as Grandma and Grandpa Honey.  Is the last name on my paternal side Honey, you may ask?  Why, no.  The story goes that when my sister and I were little and would visit my grandparents, they would always call each other “Honey”; we just figured that was their name.  I think we were around nine and ten before we realized the name was a little unusual, but by then the damage was done and it simply stuck.

Grandma and Grandpa Honey live in a tiny parish about a half hour from Baton Rouge.  The latest store open is a Wal-Mart that closes at 7:30pm, if that gives you an idea of the size of this town.  For those of you that have never traveled to Louisiana, let me just say that it’s like a whole other world down there – even the air smells different.  Not in a bad way, though; just a peculiar combination of pecans, sugar cane and swamp.   I love to go visit, see family and spend a bunch of time doing nothing much in particular.  On Thanksgiving Day we typically eat lunch (or dinner, as it’s known there, since supper is the last meal of the evening) a little after noon and then everyone takes a big fat nap.  It’s been tradition for the last few years for all of us excluding grandparents to head out to the local bar sometime during our stay together, and this year was no exception.  Let me tell you about Fluidz.

Here’s a picture of the front of the bar (and that’s my dad’s bike).  Yes, a bottle of beer and a mug have both been incorporated into the bar’s logo because people might not have known what the place was otherwise.  The bar has a jukebox, a pool table and not much else.  It epitomizes everything that I love about a dive bar, and of course when my family goes in we create quite a scene.  This year my aunt had dipped into the wine a little early and was feeling pretty good by the time we even got to the bar.  My sister and I went undefeated in pool (don’t ask me how that happened) and we all had a pretty good time.  I even got asked by a local to go a ride on his motorcycle (I never did figure out if he was serious or if this was a euphemism).  I politely declined his kind offer.

The next day we all drove the roughly two hours to another favorite place in Louisiana – New Orleans.

Ah, the French Quarter.  Jazz, street performers, shops, drinks and strip clubs.  I absolutely love walking around Jackson Square and perusing all of the art that lines the streets.  We had beignets at Cafe Du Monde and spent the day just wandering around.  New Orleans isn’t a place you can experience in one day and every time I’m there I want to stay longer, but a short visit is better than no visit at all!

The highlight of this trip, for me at least, was my time spent in Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo.  On a whim I decided to get a tarot and palm reading done by the reader in the shop, a short, mysterious bald guy with dark eyes.  It’s not something I’ve ever done there but the Voodoo Queen’s former stomping grounds seemed as good a place as any to go for it.  And while I went into it with a good deal of skepticism, I have to admit that by the end of the reading I was quite shaken.  When I sat down, the man took my hand and held it while remaining silent with closed eyes.  He didn’t say anything for a minute, and then he asked me if I’m a vegetarian.  If you know me at all, you know I’ve been a herbivore for around a dozen years, so obviously his question gave me pause.  He said my iron is low and that’s how he could tell.  Right off the bat the guy did have my attention.

I’m not going to get into every little thing he said, because we talked for about half an hour and there was a lot to it.  Naturally, there were a few things he spoke of that were completely off base (I have absolutely no stomach problems after eating dairy, for instance) but for the most part, I really left feeling like this guy knew what he was talking about.  He asked about my photography (I recently bought a very nice Nikon and have been practicing) and about my creative writing.  He knew that I’ve been published and said that I would get published again.  This is already technically true, since I write for a monthly magazine that will print another issue in January.  He mentioned that I’m really good at scheduling and organization, and that I make lots of lists.  Okay, this is all true too.  He told me he felt I studied Journalism, which was actually my declared major before switching over to English.  Then he asked me if I’d recently been to Australia or New Zealand, which again was striking since I was in New Zealand two months ago.  He asked if I had liked Italy, Greece and Prague but those are places I haven’t ever been to, and when I told him that he said that I would get there and like Prague the best (which is funny, because Prague is a random place I already I have a travel book for).  He also knew that I don’t wear heels because I have weak ankles and constantly twist them, and that I only run when I’m being chased.  That last part is exactly, word for word, what I tell people when they ask me if I’m a jogger or runner.

Let’s see, what else…he told me that my last relationship had held me back, which is always nice to hear from a psychic right after a break up (he also thought my ex and I were together for between three and four years – we split up at three and a half).  As for things pertaining more to the future, he seemed to think I would adopt kids and stay either in Chicago or go to California.  I’ve talked about both staying here and moving there, so that was kind of funny.  He asked if I had gotten my raise, which I laughed about because our entire company went on a ten percent pay cut in March (it’s “supposed” to be re-evaluated in January).  He reassured me the pay cut would be lifted soon, which would be nice.  He also told me that my family should remain healthy for a while and that I myself have a deep life line so I should live a long, happy life.  Oh, and apparently I’m going to be married in three years.

It’s okay, take a minute, I laughed too.  He said that I would meet someone through a set up, we’d be married in three years and owning property in about the same time.  He seemed to place a lot of stock on this set up because he mentioned it three times and right before I left he reminded me to take it.  I told him I didn’t know if I’d be ready to do anything like that for a while but that I would keep what he said in mind.  But just in case, if you have a friend you think would be perfect for me feel free to let me know!

That was pretty much the reading.  In all honesty I thought the whole experience was interesting and even spooky at times, and what’s not to like about being told you’ve live a long happy life and soon fall in love with the person of your dreams?  I know that most times the things told at these readings are vague and general enough to apply to just about anything and anybody, but some of the things this guy said really impressed me.  I didn’t tell him anything about myself or my life and if he was purely guessing then he did a pretty good job.  I don’t know how all of the palm and tarot readings are in New Orleans, but if you ever get the chance and are around Marie Laveau’s I recommend you go for one of these readings.  And I guess if by some strange alignment of the universe I happen to be married within three years…well, that will be spooky indeed.

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Overheard in My Office

November 25, 2009 at 11:10 am (Uncategorized) ()

A little boy (the brother of one of our students) just told me a joke.  To get the full effect you have to picture something like this, as the little boy had just finished inhaling an ice cream cone:

And this is what his mouth looked like.  Here’s the joke:

Q:  What do you get when you cross a bee and a seagull?

A:  A beagle!

I must admit, I didn’t know the answer.

I also got to play hide and seek this morning with some adorable children whose mom was in our office for a meeting.  Kids are cute and I love to play with them, but I’m very glad I don’t have any.  I’m sure my views on this will only be reinforced tonight at the airport, as I make m way to Baton Rouge for my deep fried southern Thanksgiving.  First thing on the agenda?  Hitting Fluidz, the tiny epitome of a dive bar in Ventress, Louisiana.  I tried to find a picture through googlemaps but the only thing that came up was a photo of a dirt road.  Appropriate.  Anyway, my cousins should already be there and well lit by the time my sister and I roll into town this evening, so I’m sure good times will abound.  If you’re lucky (and I’m not too hung over) I’ll make a post about the experience later.  I swear, the last few times I’ve gotten super, stupid drunk have all been with my family.  I can’t keep up but I sure have fun trying!

I hope all of you out there have a great holiday.  If you want me to have a drink for you on Bourbon Street just let me know!

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The Real Deal about Thanksgiving

November 24, 2009 at 2:58 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

When I was an undergrad, I took quite a few courses in Native American History.  I thought it were fascinating and I was simply astounded at the things I didn’t know about the history of America.  For instance, did you know that in 1969 a group of Native Americans from many different tribes came together to occupy Alcatraz Island?  The Sioux Treaty of 1868 stated that all abandoned or unused federal land adjacent to the Sioux Reservation could be reclaimed by descendants of the Sioux Nation, and reclaim that land was what the Native Americans did.  They occupied the island for nineteen months and nine days, and this was something I was never taught about in history class.

Of course, there are many things that are simply glossed over in any given classroom full of young white students.  The history behind the very first Thanksgiving happens to be one of these things.  As a disclaimer, if you don’t want your rosy idea of Pilgrims and Indians laughing and sharing over a giant turkey to be forever altered, you should probably quit reading now and come back another day.  I know my posts are usually full of humor and wit, but this one will be a bit more serious.  Consider me Wednesday at her Thanksgiving Day pageant.

If you do a simple internet search for the true story of Thanksgiving, you’ll come up with a totally different story than the one that’s reenacted every year in elementary school gymnasiums all over the country.  Ready to learn what’s not so easy to explain to a bunch of five-year olds?

“In 1637 near present-day Groton, Connecticut, over 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe had gathered for their annual Green Corn Festival (which is now our Thanksgiving celebration). In the predawn hours the sleeping Indians were surrounded by English and Dutch mercenaries who ordered them to come outside.  Those who came out were shot or clubbed to death while the terrified women and children who huddled inside the longhouse were burned alive.”

Gruesome, right?  Here’s what the Governor of Massachusetts Bay colony had to say the next day:

“A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children.”  It was then signed into law that, “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.”

Doesn’t exactly give you the warm fuzzies, does it?  Well, it’s history and history isn’t always pretty.  Here’s more:

“Cheered by their “victory”, the brave colonists and their Indian allies attacked village after village. Women and children over 14 were sold into slavery while the rest were murdered.  Boats loaded with a many as 500 slaves regularly left the ports of New England. Bounties were paid for Indian scalps to encourage as many deaths as possible.

Following an especially successful raid against the Pequot in what is now  Stamford, Connecticut, the churches announced a second day of “thanksgiving” to celebrate victory over the heathen savages.  During the feasting, the hacked off heads of Natives were kicked through the streets like soccer balls.  Even the friendly Wampanoag did not escape the madness. Their chief was beheaded, and his head impaled on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts — where it remained on display for 24 years.

The killings became more and more frenzied, with days of thanksgiving feasts being held after each successful massacre. George Washington finally suggested that only one day of Thanksgiving per year be set aside instead of celebrating each and every massacre. Later Abraham Lincoln decreed Thanksgiving Day to be a legal national holiday during the Civil War — on the same day he ordered troops to march against the starving Sioux in Minnesota.”

Grisly indeed.  I’m not trying to ruin your Thanksgiving or turn you against your country or anything like that.  As you can see from my last post, I’m quite thankful that I live where I do.  I’m unable, though, to give thanks properly without thinking about the true history of the holiday.  It’s only fair the Native Americans get the respect they deserve, and I like to think that Wednesday Addams would agree with me.

*Special thanks to the following websites, which provided me with valuable information and amazing quotes:

Alcatraz Island Occupation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_Alcatraz

http://www.pbs.org/itvs/alcatrazisnotanisland/timeline.html

The Real Thanksgiving:

http://www.manataka.org/page269.html

http://www.republicoflakotah.com/2009/cooking-the-history-books-the-thanksgiving-massacre/

http://longstreet.typepad.com/thesciencebookstore/2009/07/jf-ptak—-the-great-mystery-was-how-those–indians-were-smuggled-out-of-the-grave-in-spite-of-the-watchfulness-of-those–gu.html

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Giving Thanks

November 23, 2009 at 3:15 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

Today seems as good a day as any to count my blessings.  It’s Thanksgiving week and on Wednesday I will be flying to Baton Rouge to experience the holiday with the southern side of my family (this trip will be entertaining enough to warrant a completely separate post, which I will create at a later date).  As I prepare for my trip, I’m reminded of my Thanksgiving last year…you know, before I was dumped.  My ex was with me on the trip so of course I’ll be thinking about that this week, as much as I don’t really want to (it’s funny how those thoughts you try to steer clear of like to pop into your head at the most inopportune times).  I’m trying to stay positive but it’s not so easy when your heart was recently treated like a cheap pinata.  In an attempt to look on the bright side, here are some of the things that, even when I’m down, I’m still really and truly thankful for.

My family is a far cry from the Brady Bunch but I still think they’re pretty great.  I grew up surrounded by my mom’s many brothers and sisters, not to mention my grandparents and all of my cousins.  I think we’re pretty close and I really look at my cousins as additional siblings who I don’t have to buy birthday presents for.  My actual sibling is pretty cool too, although it took me many years and numerous fights and a broken arm to believe it.  My mom is probably the best mom on the planet and I really do think I lucked out in that department.  My cousins and grandparents on my dad’s side are pretty great too, though I only see them once a year.  My dad…well, if you really know me then you’re aware I have a lot to say on this subject.  My dad is a better father than many men, but he is certainly not the guy I grew up believing he was.

I’m still incredibly lucky to have them all.  Both sets of my grandparents have been married for over 50 years and all four of them are relatively healthy and still quite “with it”, well into their 80’s.  So it looks like I’ve good genes to be thankful for too!  Really though, my grandparents are especially dear to me because they have taught me valuable lessons about what it means to be a family.  So, every day I’m super thankful for all of these people.

I’m also extremely thankful for my amazing friends.  This break-up has really proven to me that I have fabulous people in my life who care about me, even if we’re not related.  They may not all be close but I know they’re there for me if and when I need them.  I’m also meeting some pretty cool cats here in the city and I’m excited to hang out with them more as well.  The more the merrier, right?  Right.

I’m also thankful for my job.  I may feel like this poor woman at times, but I’ve got a solid position that I don’t totally hate.  I’m also good at it, because managing an office seems to agree with my organized nature.  I get along well with the people that I work with (and I know how rare that is) and there’s often enough down time to allow me to play on the internets and post blogs when I want.  It’s not always exciting but I do see the difference in the kids that come to our learning center, and that’s really rewarding.  When you see a child suffering from low self esteem because they lack the proper reading skills for someone their age, only to watch them learn and grow and leave our program with a new attitude towards life…yeah, it makes it worth getting out of bed at 6am and dealing with the commute.  Usually.  But really, I remember the two month period after I moved up here when I was unemployed, and I remember how horribly awful that felt.  I’m so glad I have a job that allows me to pay my bills.

I know this is a post about being thankful, but I want to take just a moment and lament the whole paying bills thing.  I kinda sorta hate it, and it’s when I’m writing checks for things like electricity that I realize sometimes being a grown up sucks.  But there’s more to be thankful for!

Paying bills may not be fun but it enables me to have things like this:

What’s that, you say?  A tree?  A door?  Well actually this is the google street view to my apartment building.  I’m not worried about some crazy stalker hunting me down because this looks just like hundreds of other apartment buildings in the city.  The difference is this is my apartment, and after spending 9 months living with my ex and his parents, I know what a truly glorious thing this is.  I’m thankful I have an entire refridgerator all to myself.  I’m thankful I can walk around naked and dance to records while eating cold pizza and chugging soda from the bottle.  Most of all, I’m thankful to have my own place.  Well technically I guess I share it with Catsby…I guess I should really get on her about her half of the rent.  I’m even thankful I have a freeloading cat.

I’m also VERY thankful for my health.  It seems to be something we take for granted a lot, and I really try not to.  I know how lucky I am to simply be able to take care of myself and move around freely and not have any sort of medical condition that makes living day to day life any harder than it already is.  I’m thankful I’m as strong if not stronger than Rosie the Riveter.  I’m thankful I have health insurance, so if I do get sick I will (hopefully) not go into mass amounts of debt over medical bills.  I’m also extremely thankful that, for the most part at least, all of my friends and family are healthy as well.  Seriously, it’s kind of a big deal and I try not to forget it!

Other things I’m thankful for, in no particular order:

Being female; living in a country that allows me religous and intellectual freedom, even as a female; books and my ability to read them; ice cream; classic rock; the color yellow; having a cat that is waiting at the door for me every night when I come home even if she doesn’t contribute financially; my boobs (we’ve been through a lot together and I happen to think they’re pretty great); the big giant bed and living room couches I managed to get for free; wine; my cell phone and the fact it enables me to keep in contact with those I love; getting free beer at a bar; readily available vegetarian food; the DVD boxset of my favorite show of all time (name withheld to protect my reputation); cheese and my pajama’s.  There are many more things I’m thankful for, but I think this list is enough to get me through the rest of the week.  Ultimately I’m thankful that I’m me, because I think I’m pretty awesome – and I have the blog to prove it!

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Growing old and gray…

November 23, 2009 at 12:27 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

…is apparently something I will not be doing.  It’s become all to clear to me over these last few months that I am acquiring more and more WHITE hair.  That’s right, skipping the gray and going straight for the gold…or in this case, white.  In April 2007 I noticed the first strand that was not my natural color – it was a rogue hair light enough to be mistaken for gray.  It was a date that will, for me at least, live in infamy.  Since it was only one hair I chose to pretend it didn’t exist and tried to act slightly bemused by the entire incident.

It didn’t stop.  Since that fateful day I have encountered more and more discolored strands.  I don’t think it’s enough to really notice (at least that’s what the last person I forcefully questioned about this said) and I try to tell myself that it’s all in my head.  However, this morning as I was brushing my teeth I couldn’t help but become mesmerized by how many completely white hairs I seemed to see.  It was like they were invading my scalp.  The closest thing I can compare it to is this:

Okay, I may be embellishing just a tiny bit.  I guess if I actually had to count there are maybe only 5 or 10 of these bad boys floating around my head.

It still feels like a lot.

I know what you’re probably thinking, and yes, I could color my hair.  All the cool kids are doing it.  But this hair has never had unnatural color added to it and I’d sure hate to break that record now.  I dyed my hair for many years, starting by going deep red my sophomore year of high school.  After that came the lovely black, which I did for a school project where I was trying to emulate Cleopatra (I didn’t have a wig and for some reason I thought permanent black hair color would be just as easy).  When I call it lovely I’m being sarcastic, because that color was actually the bane of my existence for many months.  It didn’t take well to the red that was already in it and I ended up looking like my calico cat.  It was hard as hell to get rid of too, and after many attempts I ended up with a somewhat normal looking hair color that was the texture of straw.  I never went back to black but I did continue to color it rather frequently, various shades all up through college.

That was until I cut it all off.  I had always wanted to try a super short haircut but I never had the guts to go for it, and the summer I went to study in South Africa seemed like a perfect opportunity.  I cut off almost 10 inches of hair (yes, I donated it) and I ended up with the shortest haircut of my entire life.  In a rather ironic twist, it was winter in South Africa when I showed up and surprisingly cold.  I had to buy a hat to make up for my lack of hair.  Anyway it’s grown out a whole lot in the last two years but I haven’t colored it since the big cut and I kind of dig the whole au natural look.  So, I just don’t really want to color my hair.

I guess that means I should suck it up and get used to the white.  If it keeps going at this rate, it could actually be noticeable to someone other than myself in the next eight to ten years.  Until then I’ll leave my hair color the way it is and maybe when I’m older I’ll hatch an easily foiled yet still diabolical plot to acquire one hundred and one puppies to turn into coats.  I guess having white hair could have its perks after all.

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Ode to the Dive Bar (and to The Raven)

November 20, 2009 at 6:45 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Last night, upon an evening dreary

as I walked home, tired and weary

I thought of the little dive bar so close to my front door.

As I stood there, silently debating

my desire for a beer not quite abating,

I decided to wander into this bar once more.

Though it was now bleak November

and the days of warmth hard to remember,

the promise of a good beer still holds quite a lure.

And probably will, evermore.

The bar was dim and none too crowded

my quest for a drink was thinly shrouded

as the good man behind the bar gave a nice slow pour.

The game was on and people were talking

I enjoyed my beer and instead of walking

chose to have one more, just one more.

Then the barkeep passed some dollar bills

to put in the old jukebox, which lacked fancy frills

and the Led got out as I walked back across the floor.

Janis came next and the Beatles followed

the Doors came after and Jim Morrison wallowed,

as my second free drink went down as smoothly as the one before.

It was getting late when I left to go home

quite happy with my decision to go out and roam

for it was more fun than just buying beer at a store.

And now I can have reasonably priced drinks at a bar, forevermore.

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Cheap in the City

November 19, 2009 at 6:31 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

One of the perks of living in a big city is the never ending list of events and activities that are out there, just waiting to be experienced.  However, a drawback to living in a big city is that actually doing many of these things would take me well beyond the financial limits I must unfortunately impose on myself.  So I’ve learned to search for the awesomely cheap or fantastically free activities to do around Chicago, because there are so many.

I’ll be the first to admit that I love a good museum.  I think there’s something fascinating about standing in front of an object that has been around for hundreds or even thousands of years and imagining it in its original time and place.  Yes, I’m rather dorky and no, I do not care.  In fact, when my alarm went off this morning I was in the midst of an interesting dream where I was in an unidentified museum and examining a sort of sword and shield set from the Celtic Era.  Perhaps that was the impetus for this post?

My absolute favorite place to go in Chicago is the Field Museum of Natural History.  Being a student of anthropology I think this is only natural, no pun intended.  It would be a dream of mine to actually have a job in this place, and maybe one day I will.  Until then, however, I will enjoy the FREE DAYS they offer to museumphiles (did I just make up a new word?) such as myself.  The Field Museum offers a handful of Free Days every month, though it’s unfortunate (and well planned) that they all fall during the work week.  Luckily, last Wednesday was Veteran’s Day and as such was a paid holiday for me.  (Sidenote: I love having a grown up job that gives paid holidays).  It also happened to be a Free Day at the Field, so I was in anthropological heaven.  I wandered through the exhibits for hours before I went to my favorite part, which I try to save for last.  The mummies.
I don’t know why but I love the mummies.  The Field is home to wrapped and dehydrated men, women, babies, birds, cats and severed appendages.  It’s so freaking cool and I got to see it all for the low, low price of nothing, which of course makes it even better.  Typically a day pass is around $20, so a Free Day is a bargain.  It would be even better if I had a membership because then every day would be a Free Day…I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Santa reads blog posts.

So now that I’ve talked up the Field Museum, I think it’s only fair to mention the other places around that lure in patrons with their Free Day deal.
The Shedd Aquarium is a great place to go at anytime, especially since Beluga whales are so awesome.  Be warned though that the Shedd attracts swarms of strollers, toddlers and stressed out screaming parents.  Obviously this is even worse on the Free Days, so therein lies the problem.  Actually, I was surprised that the Field wasn’t busier when I was there but the last thing I would do about that is complain.  I guess old bones and ancient artifacts aren’t as fascinating to a two year old as a dolphin doing a dance across water.  I can respect that.

The Adler Planetarium also gives out Free Days.  Unfortunately, this is a place I have yet to visit so I don’t have any witty stories or comments to make.  I will say that it appears to be super cool and I’m rather disappointed in myself for not having gone out there.  The same goes for this next place, the Museum of Science and Industry.

Alas, another fine institution in this city that I have not taken advantage of.  They also have Free Days, so we can now reasonably conclude that every major museum in Chicago likes to give it away for nothing.  But only on weekdays, of course.  I actually had planned on going to this one on my day off last week and was even on a bus headed that way.  However, the Museum of Science and Industry is apparently quite cumbersome to get to without a vehicle (which I lack) and I realized that by the time the bus got me there it would be relatively close to closing.  That’s when I hopped off the bus and hoofed it to the Field, but I’ll always wonder about what could have been.  That is, until I get my lazy butt up early on a weekend and try to go there again.

In the end, a good museum (or any other institution ending in -um…the Planetarium, the Aquarium etc) is worth the price you pay to get in.  That’s how they pay their bills and we should support that.  But if you can find a way to get in someplace that’s legal and free, by all means you should take it, run and never look back.  This rule can apply to all sorts of things, including but not limited to: sports games, concerts, movies, plays, bars and weddings.  In this time of economic awfulness, feel free to be cheap and try to remember that some of the best things in life really can be free!

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Greetings to the blogosphere

November 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I’m not really sure what to expect with this whole new blogging adventure but I hope it can be something I actually keep up with.  I am in the midst of a pretty big break-up and I hope this will provide another avenue for distraction.  I doubt I’ll start a revolution or change the world with my pithy comments but I hope to create something slightly witty and entertaining, while documenting my journey along the way.  The only way out of this is through it, after all.

So where to begin?  How about with a humorous anecdote from my train ride home last night.  I will admit (begrudgingly) that I have read the books that sparked this whole vampire craze.  I did the Twilight thing sometime last year and while I’m not proud, I did read them.  They were fast and easy, much like a trampy girl on a Saturday night.  While I got into the story and got through the books, MANY aspects offended my feminist sentiments and that was something hard to look past.  Regardless, I got through them quickly and enjoyed them to some extent.  I’m currently reading the Sookie Stackhouse series, which prompted the TrueBlood show on HBO.  I don’t know why I’ve gotten so into it but again, they’re quick reads and right now in the midst of my own personal I-just-got-dumped pity party they provide a nice distraction.  Anyway, I was sitting on the train heading home last night when I noticed that the good-looking, masculine guy sitting across from me was reading Breaking Dawn, the last book in the Twilight series.  He had taken off the book jacket to (I assume) detract from the obvious-ness of what he was reading, but I was on to him.  As we lurched along on the train I caught his eye and had to ask what he thought about them – it’s rare that I’ve seen men my age with those books, so I was curious.  Apparently he loves them and is on his fourth time rereading the series.  I fought the urge to laugh out loud as we then moved into a conversation about vampire books in general.  The guy sitting next to him (who was reading The Dark Tower series by Steven King…I don’t know why I notice these things but I do) joined the talk as I mentioned TrueBlood and we continued talking as arrived at our stop.  Actually, we almost missed our stop because we were so into this conversation.  I guess this isn’t really that great of a story or anything, but it made me smile to share a guilty “girl” pleasure with a random man.  Ok that sounds kind of inappropriate but you get the idea.  Who knows, maybe I’ll get a group from my train together to go to the premiere of the new Twilight movie?  Right, that’s not going to happen since I actually have no desire to see the flicks.  I’d just be happy for more literary conversations with people on the train, even if they are about angsty teenagers and the fangs who like them.

This post raises a question – has anyone ever gotten into an argument with a complete stranger over a book?  I once had a very short, very heated debate over the character of Howard Roark from The Fountainhead with a guy on a bus in NYC…and even though I’ll never see that man again, I rest assured knowing that I was right.

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