29 January 2009

Today does hold some good news

Good news: Blagojevich got booted from office

Bad news: My friend lost his job for no good reason other than people just aren't spending money.

Kind of outweighs the good.

Attention, Nick Hornby Fans!

According to Nick's blog, the film he wrote, An Education, premiered at Sundance and won the Audience Award and a prize for John de Borman's cinematography. It got picked up for distribution by Sony Classics so maybe we'll get to see it in the US.

Yay, Nick!

28 January 2009

(late) Resolution Wrap-Up, Week 4

Worst pick-up line ever: "Read to me baby and take my mind off this pain." - uttered by the dude sitting next to me on the bus tonight (damn, knew I should have moved to one of the empty seats once the other passengers got off)

A very late Resolution review - I did make it to a ballet class (after minding a visiting pediatrician for the week) but Dad did interrupt my plans to hit the gym; I got a new kitchen faucet out of the interruption, so it's not all bad. I'm not covered in water in the mornings anymore. I ate a little better this week but I need to hit the grocery store to stock back up on my staples.

I picked up several new books this week. Our little group at the store is reading Three Bags Full - a mystery told from the perspective of the flock - and it sounds very cute. I picked up Alison Weir's new book Mistress of the Monarchy about Katherine Swynford, the Duchess of Lancaster; I like her biography of Eleanor of Acquitaine so much I couldn't pass this one up. I also picked up Our Mutual Friend and The Mystery of Edwin Drood to add to my The Old Curiosity Shop, Little Dorrit, and The Pickwick Papers so I have more Dickens to read (in my spare time, hah!). I bought a new book of knitting patterns, Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarns, that has some really nice sock patters. I also came across a new Oxford edition of Christina Rossetti's poetry and prose - couldn't pass that up, either.

I finished Lisa Zunshine's Why We Read Fiction. She has some interesting ideas on Theory of Mind and metarepresentation and how that ties in with our preference for stories. I don't think she quite sold me on the idea because her given examples bounced all over the place without truly going into detail on more than just two titles - Clarissa and Lolita - both of which represented novels with unreliable narrators. Her section on detective novels was woefully short and superficial (and feature two still photographs from the film adaptation of The Maltese Falcon which really didn't belong in the book because the movie wasn't discussed at all). She did spend a great deal of time detailing how Theory of Mind works from a psychological standpoint but she really didn't "prove" (as much as it can be proven) why we read fiction.

Current book-in-progress: Silas Marner (for LbW - February starts next week) and Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann; I seem also to have gotten into a Dickens phase
Current knitted item: Bollocks on that scarf, I started a pair of socks from Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarns (the "Puntuated Rib Sock" pattern)
Current movie obsession: John Adams
Current iTunes loop: Lucky by Jason Mraz and Colbie Calliet

27 January 2009

RIP John Updike

The NYTimes just reported that John Updike died at the age of 76...from lung cancer. This doesn't sadden me quite as much as Kurt Vonnegut (I always wanted to meet him, shame) but I did enjoy some of Updike's work including the first Rabbit book, The Witches of Eastwick, and Gertrude and Claudius.

23 January 2009

News of the Weird

Or would be if this were in the US:

Newspaper claims suspect transformed into a goat

The nuttiest part is that the cops paraded the goat around as the apprehended suspect.

And in other wierdness, does Blagojevich actually listen to himself?

Blagojevich: I'm the victim of plot to raise taxes

20 January 2009

Resolution Wrap-Up, Week 3

I'd like a mulligan, please.

I got sick this week and that is frustrating because when I'm sick I tend to not do much of anything and eat whatever I want. It is doubly frustrating because that rotten asthma I picked up 6 years ago causes a common 3-day cold to last nearly two weeks; my lungs just incubate that crap. So here's to hoping that I'm not incubating anything for which I'll going to need antibiotics.

My copy of the new Pink Carnation book came in last night; The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig. Lauren seems to be retreating in her trashiness. The first novel in the series (The Secret History of the Pink Carnation) was pretty trashy and had some good, old-fashioned Regency spy plot devices. Well, this one had better relationship development as far as the romance between Charlotte and Robert but was pretty light on the espionage part. Still, it was cute and I read the whole thing in about 3 hours (Eloise's relationship with Colin is sort-of boring, even when compared to an untrashy Regency fling). I think my favorite in the series is #3, The Deception of the Emerald Ring.

I also watched the British version (original) of Eleventh Hour with Patrick Stewart and Ashley Jensen. The UK one is only 4 episodes, so it was more like a miniseries; the US version is my new favorite TV show because it has Rufus Sewell (have I mentioned this before?). I liked how Rachel (Ashley Jensen) has a much sharper toungue than her US counterpart, but I feel the US show moves along much faster.

Current book-in-progress: Silas Marner and who knows what else
Current knitted item: Who knew a scarf could take quite so long
Current movie obsession: Netflix instant; I have John Adams next up in the queue
Current iTunes loop: some podcasts downloaded from iTunesU

11 January 2009

Double Gah!

So now that Kate Winslet's won two Golden Globes for both The Reader and Revolutionary Road I'm doubly hacked off that our movie theatres are owned by culture-less slobs.

Perhaps they might now be persuaded to bring these movies in now there's a little gleam of gold.

Resolution Wrap-Up, Week 2

I missed a few days on my food diary, whoops, but I did try to keep the overload of non-healthy things to a minimum, like no scones everyday, no venti mochas, etc. I also tried to keep the snacking late at night down, too; I didn't cut it out entirely but I feel like I'm not raiding the kitchen for the time being.

I definitely need to add more veggies into the mix (yuck, tastes icky). This would be helped by my actually going to the grocery store. Perhaps I should do that today.

I bought a few new gym things last weekend - who knew that finding sports bras for those of us who are well endowed would be that hard? With regular sports bras, as you get into larger sizes the band width just increases, not the cup size. I did finally find some by MotionFit for $44 a pop. Ouch. But at least my boobs aren't stuffed up under my chin. Then, as fate would have it, I slipped and fell in the store parking lot later that day. I caught myself on the hood of someone's car, doing a strange one-armed triceps dip in the process, and strained my latissimus muscle on that side. Hurts a lot. So I didn't make it to the gym until yesterday, rats, but I did do about an hour of cardio (ran out of steam the last 15 or 20 minutes but the point is to actually do the time; I'll build endurance later).

Plan for the day (I work at 3pm):
1. Go to the co-op. Buy fruits and veggies.
2. Go to Hy-Vee.
3. Gym? Maybe after work since I don't think I'll have time between grocery shopping and making it to the store (snowed a bit again so the roads are a little covered).

10 January 2009

What did I decide on?

The evening's entertainment:

4 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days and Dan in Real Life (in the background while I was at work, via Netflix); both were good. 4, 3, 2 is probably better than what I thought it was since it is in Romanian and I wasn't able to catch many of the subtitles. Dan was better than I thought it would be and is the first thing I've watched where I didn't want to kick Steve Carrell for being irritating

After skating home from the office, I put in Oklahoma! - which seems to be the National Theatre production from London; I thought it was Australian. Decent singing, sort of hammy acting. Most notably there were very bad flatland drawls; we don't drawl like we're from Georgia - the vowels are flatter. Major downer: Susan Strohman did the choreography which is BULLSHIT because Agnes de Mille is the bomb; so the choreo looked completely uninteresting - what was wrong with the original de Mille? People don't re-choreography Fosse. But Hugh was good - and he took his shirt off for the fight scene at the end. Mmmm.

I then followed up with The Bourne Ultimatum. Good action movie. David Strathairn is very, very scary. I'm also glad they didn't knock off Nicki because that would have been too depressing; very interesting doubling with the scene where Nicki is cutting/dyeing her hair compared with Marie's scene in The Bourne Identity.

And now I'm probably trapped in my house for the time being because we're getting an Arctic system - there's lots of snow around.

09 January 2009

I really hate our movie theatres

So The Reader is opening in wider release this weekend. I really, really want to see this because I read the book (loved it) and Kate Winslet is rumored to give one of the best performances of the year as Hanna.

Is this playing near me? No. I would have to drive to Davenport, to a theatre-for-which-I've-never-been-to-that-part-of-the-city, and it is still winter in Iowa, with terrible weather, so a Davenport trip by myself is completely out of the question. I actually went to the moviefone website and I can't get any date within a 25-mile radius of Iowa City any time in January to come up for The Reader. Gah!!!!!!

So what should I do tonight? I could go to the grocery store, see a different movie, go home and watch a DVD, or go home and read a book (yes, I have a very boring life). Going to the grocery store is out because I did that one other time on a Friday night and couldn't find anything I wanted to buy because the shelves weren't stocked (and it was busy, go figure). I'm not sure the crap-tabulous Marcus Theatres-owned Coral Ridge 10 has anything I want to watch (I've heard Frost/Nixon is good, but I'm not interested; maybe they have Revolutionary Road?). I do have DVDs from Netflix - Oklahoma! (National Theatre production with Hugh Jackman, mmmmmm), The Duchess (with Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes, at least I could have my Ralph Fiennes fix), and The Bourne Ultimatum (not really in the mood for that but I should get it watched and in the mail). I also have tons of books to read, including The Homecoming (also by Bernhard Schmidt, author of The Reader). I'm sure I can find something to do.

I forgot - I could go to the gym, too, but I should be nice to my shoulder since I wrenched it trying not to fall down in the store parking lot. You should see the bruise on my shoulder blade from the latissimus strain.

06 January 2009


Today I am stymied by a word that everyone seems to spell wrong.

DEFINITELY (seen most recently as definately or difinately)

Use the spell-check, which is what it was invented for, or just learn to spell better.

I also learned a new word today: suzerain. It was mentioned on just about every other page in Eleanor of Acquitaine's biography and also in the introduction to Jaroslav Hasek's The Good Soldier Svejk. So I thought it would be a good idea to actually determine the correct meaning. I wasn't off by much; I just thought it would be more exotic than a feudal overlordship.

04 January 2009

Resolution Wrap-up, Week 1

I've already identified a problem area with the eating: I tend to snack when I get home late at night. My brain is telling me to eat someting but I'm not sure the stomach is actually hungry. An example would be that I was trying to read (brain food is better than body food to make the pounds go away) and I couldn't concentrate until I'd gotten up to make some toast. Yipe! I'll need to work on that.

In other areas, I've not had a venti mocha this week; I traded out to grandes with an extra shot, so the same amount of espresso as a venti but less syrup and milk. I also went to the gym but noticed I have a problem. All my sports bras are really old, as in over 2 years old, and they're all stretched out and don't fit at all. I was wearing three to control the bouncing. It wasn't very comfortable. So I'm going to Scheel's today to buy some more. Not sure if I'll make it to the gym today because I also have to go to the grocery store (groceries are important in this effort - healthy food); I have a gift card to Hy-vee but today I think I'll take care of things I need from the Co-op so then I have fruits, veggies, and healthy stuff (Hy-vee is for the PB, popcorn, etc).

Side note: I also have to go to Best Buy to purchase new earbuds for the iPod - some short, furry little butt-head (not sure which one) chewed up the cord so mine don't work anymore. Grrr.

02 January 2009

Last Year's Resolution

After some thinking, I did remember that I actually did make some progress on one Resolution last year. I had resolved to get my finances under control - basically DON'T WASTE MONEY.

I did manage to get the spending under control somewhat helped by the fact that last year I really tried to ride the bus to work everyday rather than drive. So: $1.50 per day for the bus fare versus gas for the car and $5.50+ to park the car per day. I only have to gas the car every three weeks or so. I did a good thing for the environment, too.

So I can manage a Resolution. A bit. Maybe this healthy thing will work.

01 January 2009

Time to get serious

So, I've gained back some weight. OK, all the weight I previously lost. Which should really piss me off and get me in a competitive mood, but it doesn't. I feel really...resigned to the fact that I'll always be a fat(ish) girl. This feeling does not lend itself to action.

So it's time to get serious. Like I said earlier, resolutions and I don't play together very nicely. Something always gets in the way, mostly my holey memory. I just don't remember to do things like write in a food journal, go to the grocery store, or put clean gym clothes in the car. I'm thirty now, so you think I would have this memory thing down but I don't. It's the New Year so I'm hitting the re-start button and I'm going to try and get this thing figured out.

1. Keep a food diary. I have a black journal all ready to go (I actually bought it last March trying to do the same thing but I only wrote in two days; I tore those out). I should really market my own food/workout diary; the commerically available ones all scream "I RECORD EVERYTHING I EAT AND DRINK" because they're spiral-bound with "Food Diary" printed on the cover. Why isn't there a more discreet version available? I could make a fortune.
2. Eat better. Confession: I hate vegetables (they taste like dirt, even after washing). I'm going to have to rectify that, somehow, without drowning everything in dressing or peanut butter. I also don't eat really, really bad things just not the best things for me.
2a. Remember to go to the grocery store more often.
2b. Get smaller sizes in my white chocolate latte. And don't get a scone everyday.
3. Go to the gym more often. Since I haven't gone very often as of late this one shouldn't be too hard. I just have to remember to take clean gym things with me - I won't go to the gym if I have dirty ones or if I have to go back home to get them.
3a. Be serious about going to the gym. I have crappy joints and I still love to dance. I'll dance longer if I don't have to drag about an extra 30-40 pounds.
4. Remember that fad diets are crap. I know this, I'm an epidemiologist. Lower calorie intake + more calories burned = fat burned. It's a simple equation; just needs some practice to get it right.

I need to break some habits.

BTW, I have to mention that I really like the CBS drama Eleventh Hour. Probably because of Rufus Sewell.

Happy New Year!

Rang in 2009 last night - we had a great time at Kat's house and kept inviting people so it was a party. Albeit, a somewhat quiet party since she does have neighbors and we were trying not to wind up her two kids so the boys might go to bed sometime after midnight.

Onto the painful part - New Year's Resolutions. I have a poor track record with them. This will take more work, but for now, the short form is: BE HEALTHY. There's alot included in that including eat better, workout more, and don't be lazy, but I will need to outline some advance planning.

Oh, and we heard from one of my aunts; apparently another one of my aunts turned into a HUGE &%^$$ on Christmas Day. I still miss my grandfather (my parents drove over for New Year's to see him) but I'm glad I missed the fireworks.