Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Moving On

I've moved. This is the last entry you'll find on this blog. If you want to keep reading my scintillating stories and adventures and book reviews and everything else, you'll need to visit me at the new home of Chauceriangirl. If you link to this blog, please take a moment to update your links so we can keep in touch!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Faith Loves the Letter R....

Yes, it's another meme. But that's because I'm really busy and have been going back and forth between about 10 different things all at once. Amanda posted this today on her blog; it's one of those fun "get-to-know-you" memes that will probably teach you more about me than you all care to know, however it's fun for me to do! All I had to do was request a letter and once received, I tell you all 10 things I love that start with that letter. I was handed an "R," so here are my 10 items I just love, all beginning with R, in no particular order.

  1. Reading. Well, that just had to come first. You know me. Reading, books, love to read, love to write, read read read read read. R. Reading. I read incessantly. If I'm in the bathroom for longer than I'd planned to be, I've been known to panic if I have nothing to read. In those sad little moments, I'll read the back of the shampoo bottle, the toilet bowl cleanser can, anything. I remember the bathroom at GTE had spare rolls of toilet paper in the stalls, and I'd read the French writing and the English writing, and marvel that the French took so many more words to say the same thing and yet sound so much better than the English. When I was a kid, I remember reading the cereal boxes at breakfast. I always have at least one or two books in my handbag that's really a briefcase, according to Sarah. (It's not. It's just a very large totebag with two binders [one for Gertrude Stein and one for the Juarez project] and a book or two and a bottle or two of water and my money and my iPod and anything else I feel like hauling around. But the most important thing are the books. And the money, of which there is never enough.) Anyway, the #1 R thing that I love is reading.
  2. Red food. Assuming it's supposed to be red, anyway. Cherries, strawberries, watermelon, raspberries, red Kool-Aid, red Jell-O, red velvet cake, strawberry pie, cherries jubilee. . .. Those are the sweet red foods. And then there's medium-rare roast, which is a pinky-red, but I reserve the right to put it in the red food category. And red beans--I love red beans. And I don't know how I almost forgot, but I really like sweet red bell peppers.
  3. Renaissance Festivals, like Scarborough Faire. Always fun. I like mocking the women who use them as an excuse to wear extremely tight corsets so that their breasts are two giant heaving mounds of flesh. They think they're sexy. They're not. It's just kind of gross. And I like heckling the guy pretending to be Shakespeare, by asking him why on earth he left his wife his second-best bed. Of course I have my own theories, but it's always fun to heckle. And I love watching the guys reenact Dante's Divine Comedy. And I like listening to the music and seeing the falcons and watching the jousting and eating sour pickles and being there with people I love.
  4. The Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance, to be more specific. I like the old European one, too, don't get me wrong. I'm an American, though, and I love seeing the art that came out of the Harlem Renaissance. I'm particularly fond of the poetry of Langston Hughes.
  5. Redecorating. There's nothing like getting a room in your home exactly the way you want it, all beautiful, everything just so. And you enjoy it for a while. And then, well, it's time to do something different. That's why most of the tchockes in my house come from places like T.J. Maxx or Ross or garage sales or flea markets. I redecorate often enough that the accessories need to be inexpensive.
  6. Roaring. Sometimes a girl just needs to roar aloud. "I am woman, hear me roar!" Or, alternately, "I am Reptar! Hear me roar!" Whichever. It's fun. I also like to bark at dogs while I'm taking walks, but that doesn't start with an R so I can't list that here.
  7. Rolling my R's. When I was in junior high school and taking Spanish for the first time, I had the dickens of a time learning how to roll my R's. So my mother taught me this little rhyme: Erre con erre cigarro; Erre con erre barril. Rapidos corren los carros del ferrocarril. I practiced and practiced and practiced. And now I can roll my R's. And it's quite satisfying. Just roll your R's at someone you're annoyed at, and it gets you to feeling better right away. Of course, they'll be staring at you like you belong in a loony bin, and perhaps you do, but that's another matter. You'll still feel better after you've rolled those R's!
  8. Road Trips! I really like taking road trips. Unless it's for something distinctly unfun and there's nothing I can do along the way to make it fun. You pack a combination of junk food and healthy food (apples and grapes and sandwiches in the cooler, and cashews and Doritos and chocolate). You pick out just the right music and books on CD. You plan out the route. You pack your stuff, making sure to leave enough room in the car for the stuff you're going to buy while you're road tripping. Then you go! And it's even more fun if you allow yourself time to do all the weird stuff along the way--stop off at the 50-foot high ball of yarn, or go visit Santaclausland in March. And you have to stop at Stuckey's and buy a pecan roll, even though it's so sticky sweet you can't stand to eat more than a bite or two. And you stop at all the tourist traps and look at all the junk, and get back in the car and laugh at the people who were buying the authentic Hopi souvenirs made in Taiwan.
  9. Rose and roses. Rose is a really fantastic co-worker, and I love her madly. She's always thinking of others, and making sure everyone here is taken care of. And I love roses, too. They can be so prim and proper, and then they can be so wild and blowsy that you know they're just as wanton as could be in their hearts. And they smell good, unless it's rose perfume, in which case yuck.
  10. Rock music, in all its incarnations--hard rock, punk, new wave, pop, southern rock, indie, indie folk rock, you name it. If it has a beat and I can dance to it, I'm happy. And if you can't see me dance, you're happy. Trust me on this one.

Well, this was fun, and harder than it may seem. But if you want to join in the fun, let me know and I'll give you a letter!

Monday, March 05, 2007

The 91,436th Reason I Love My Sister

In case you can't tell, by reading my posts over the last few weeks, I've been really uncomfortable with my own self image as opposed to what I see when photographs are taken of me. Particularly after yesterday, I started questioning whether I'd made the right choice of costume. So I've been bugging everyone who saw me, my husband, my sister, the director, etc. And they've all been totally awesome.

S. (the director) said that she thought I looked great, but if I want to keep working on my look, to feel free to do so.

My husband said that I looked good. He also recognizes, I think, part of what's troubling me. I've lost 42 pounds now, but my body's not changing as quickly outside as I am inside. And that's part of the problem. I see in the mirror and in the clothes I'm wearing now how much smaller I am than I was 7 or 8 months ago, but when I see a photograph of myself, all I see is everything I still need to lose. I also see the problem areas that I can already tell you I'm going to get plastic surgery to correct. I think he's right about that. I also told him that I was trying to let out my inner rebel with my costume for the show. He said that my inner rebel isn't a goth punk rocker, but that it's more like Chaucer in the movie "A Knight's Tale"--me walking down the road bare-assed and mooning the world. Of course, I wouldn't do that either, but you get the idea.

And my sister said the last thing I needed to finish feeling secure about my costume. I'm pasting it right from her e-mail, because it made me feel so good that I wanted to keep it where I can find it again when I'm feeling insecure again. Because trust me, I will. Here's what she said: You didn't look horrible. I just saw your blog, but haven't responded yet. You looked--I'm looking for the right word here. Hard? I think that's a good word. You looked hard, which is quite unlike how you usually look. And while I do think you are being hyper self-critical, I also think you are prettier in person than you are on film. You have a spark (crossed with a softness, which is interesting) to your face that the camera doesn't quite know how to catch. Don't know if that makes sense or not. But you didn't look horrible.

I've got the bestest sister in the world.

P.S. What I wrote about the glitter earlier, trust me when I say it won't come off your contacts. I thought I'd gotten it off, and wore my contacts to work today. I've spent the day today blinking in an effort to see, taking them out and rinsing them off again, putting saline in my eyes, etc. OW!!! I'm going to go home, throw this pair of contacts away, and wear glasses for the rest of the week to give my eyelids time to heal. They've got to be scratched from the glitter, because when I put saline in, even though I can temporarily (as in for about 5 minutes) see clearly, it burns like a sonuvagun. So just for emphasis, I'm going to repeat this admonition: If you wear glitter eyeliner or eyeshadow, take your contacts out before you wash your face. The glitter will get on your contacts and will not come off. It will scratch your eyelids. It will make it hard for you to see clearly. It will hurt like you can't imagine. And you'll have to throw your contacts away, which is a sad waste of a perfectly good pair of contacts!

Trying to Declutter my Mind

  1. Some (obviously not all) men can be incredibly vile and vulgar with women they don't know. Yesterday I learned the meaning of a signal that I never would have even noticed before, and I'm completely disgusted that a man would do that to four women who are obviously out in costume for a purpose beyond hooking. And even if we had been hookers, that's still disgusting. It's the kind of thoughts that leads to the behavior of the men who have so horrifically abused and murdered the women of Juarez (and elsewhere obviously, but Juarez is what's on my mind). I know some would probably argue with me that making an obscene gesture to strange women doesn't lead to rape, mutilation, torture, and murder. Obviously it doesn't in every case. But I believe that it's the thought that another human being is less than human, is an object for one's amusement and gratification.
  2. It is very easy for me to start performing on the sidewalk with the other cast members in the play. It is very difficult for me to walk down the sidewalk, in costume, and interact with people on the street. While we were performing, I was so engrossed with the performance and the other cast members that I couldn't even tell you whether anyone even stopped to watch.
  3. It can be very difficult to stay in character and in the moment sometimes, though. A man came up to V. and me, holding up a card that indicated he could not speak nor hear, and asking for money. We couldn't break, and continued. V. was trying to signal her husband to get out his wallet, but he didn't get the message. I think that poor man thought we were making fun of him, and it broke our hearts.
  4. There is a reason there are wide umbrellas over the tables in the courtyard. The four of us were seated at a table while photographs were being taken. Suddenly a huge plop of liquid bird crap landed on the table with a splat as we all hastily pushed our chairs away and got up. So the umbrellas are there for more than decoration.
  5. When you have mousse, texturizer, scrunch spray, hairspray, and 5 colors of hair paint in your hair, it feels really nasty. And if you decide to take a hot soak in the tub instead of a shower, know that you're going to have to change the bathwater before you can get clean. Because all that nasty goop comes off into the bathwater and gets it really nasty. So it's smart to take a quick shower first to rinse the goop off before taking the long hot soak in the tub.
  6. If you use eyeliner with glitter, take your contacts out BEFORE you wash your face. Because if you get glitter on your contacts it's almost impossible to get the glitter off. And it will hurt your eyes. And if you get glitter and soap in your eyes, it burns.
  7. Joe and I went to see "Wild Hogs" Saturday. It's a very funny movie. William H. Macy, IMNSHO, completely stole the show. When I laugh so hard that I can't breathe, I do this funny squeaking thing with my throat until I can catch my breath. Well, I squeaked through at least a third of the movie. And if you go see it, make sure you wait for the end after the credits start rolling. There's a very funny bit that ties everything up at the end.
  8. I wonder if I'll ever see a photograph of myself that I actually like. Joe took a few of me yesterday in my costume and makeup, and I think they're absolutely hideous. I don't look anything like that! I continue to wonder if I'm completely delusional about my appearance, because I think I'm pretty good looking most of the time. But I've almost never seen a picture of myself that looks anything but ghastly.
  9. There is no such thing as too many books. Unless you're a professor assigning textbooks, in which case the fewer the better because textbook companies rob students. Otherwise, though, books are like chocolate: the more the better. There is nothing chocolate can't cure; there is nothing that books can't cure. Yesterday I started reading a really good book at S's place, one that she recommended, and got about 75 pages into it before we had to leave. Page 66 made me cry. As soon as I hear back from her about the name and author, I'll post it here so y'all can read it. And I'll also go buy it. Because there is no such thing as too many books.
  10. Sometimes what you're doing is so interesting and fun that you don't realize you're exhausted until it's completely over and you sit down. And then it hits you. Yesterday was like that for me. I didn't feel like I did anything physically exerting, and for that matter didn't really. And I called my sister, who wanted to hang for a while, but she kept telling me she knew I was tired and I could just go home. But I kept insisting I wasn't tired, and wanted to hang with her for a while. So I went by there and lay on her bed while she put her laundry away, and realized that I was exhausted. Hence the hour-long soak in the bathtub that I mentioned earlier.
  11. I'm having a grand and glorious time participating in this play. I've made some new friends; I've learned a lot; and best of all, I'm doing something I've dreamed of for a long time. It's fun. If any of you are going to be in Dallas the weekend of 3/23 or 3/30, come see our play!!

There's a lot more clutter in my mind, but I figure this is enough for one post.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Banned Book Review #1

The Figure in the Shadows
John Bellairs

John Bellairs' books are very dark, gothic, and spooky. I remember reading them when I was a kid, and finding them incredibly terrifying. They no longer terrify me, as I've seen enough of the real world to be terrified by it, but the atmosphere is still as dark and spooky as I remember.

Lewis Barnavelt is an orphan, and is living with his Uncle Jonathan in New Zebedee, Michigan. His Uncle Jonathan is a wizard and the best friend of an even more powerful magician, Mrs. Zimmerman, their next-door neighbor. Lewis is chubby and very insecure; he spends his lunch hours hiding out at home because he doesn't want to be picked on by the tough kids at school. His best--and only, other than Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmerman--friend is Rose Rita Pottinger.

We quickly realize how insecure Lewis is at the beginning of the book, when he sneaks his Sherlock Holmes hat out of the house in a bag. He wants to wear it on Main Street, only for a few blocks. Rose Rita doesn't understand why he doesn't have the self confidence to just wear it whenever and wherever he wants to. But Lewis's fears prove correct: bully Woody Mingo steals it from him and saunters off nonchalantly.

That evening, in an effort to cheer Lewis up, Uncle Jonathan proposes a diversion. Lewis' great-grandfather Barnavelt's trunk is still in the house, and it seems like a good night to unpack the trunk. The diversion works. Lewis is admittedly dismayed to learn that his great-grandfather never actually saw any action in the Civil War, having been shot in the leg after a poker game. But the stories are fascinating, and when Lewis is given his great-grandfather's lucky coin, he hopes that perhaps things will change. Mrs. Zimmerman quickly dashes that hope, however, as she quickly tests the coin and proclaims that it is, unfortunately, not a magic amulet.

Lewis keeps it anyway. At school things get rougher. He catches Rose Rita fighting with Woody Mingo, and is devastated that his best friend--a gu-url--is fighting his battles. He dreams of being strong, brave, of beating the living daylights out of Woody Mingo. He and Rose Rita continue building their balsa galley in their spare time. One night they decide they need to find a Latin motto to decorate the flag, and check out the books in Uncle Jonathan's library. Most of Uncle Jonathan's books on magic have been put away, as he was concerned about Lewis's unhealthy interest in them. But he missed one, and the children find Mrs. Zimmerman's dissertation. They're scanning through it when Lewis finds a passage about testing amulets in another way, a method that will detect extremely rare and powerful amulets. Rose Rita is bored, but Lewis insists they test his lucky coin. Rose Rita holds the books while Lewis performs the ritual. The elements respond to the ritual, and Rose Rita is shaken as she asks Lewis if anything happened. Lewis impassively says no, and they get back to work on their galley.

But Lewis is lying.

The rest of the book carries us along with Lewis as things really begin to change for him. He gets into a fight with Woody Mingo, and a force outside of himself propels his fist into Woody's nose at the moment when he himself was hesitant. It worked; Woody began to leave him alone. Lewis' friends notice that he is different, but chalk it up to his abortive attempts to diet and get into shape. Finally Lewis gets the courage to tell Rose Rita the truth: the amulet did respond to the ritual. She takes it from him and tells him that she dropped it into the sewer. In reality, however, she keeps it, thinking that perhaps it will be of benefit to him when he is an adult.

Bereft of his talisman, Lewis is tormented once more by Woody Mingo who senses that Lewis is his normal cowardly self again. One day Lewis has the sudden thought that perhaps Rose Rita didn't destroy his amulet. He searches for it, and the series of events that follows nearly culminates in Lewis' death. Fortunately, Uncle Jonathan, Mrs. Zimmerman, and Rose Rita save the day.

John Bellairs wrote three separate series of middle-grade stories: the Lewis Barnavelt series(with Uncle Jonathan, Mrs. Zimmerman, and Rose Rita); the Anthony Monday series(with Miss Eels and her brother, Emerson Eels); and my favorites, the Johnny Dixon series(with Professor Roderick Childermass, Fergie, Father Higgins, and some othre assorted characters). There is no question that the stories are dark and frightening, but there is also no question as to where Mr. Bellairs aligned himself. The stories always end with good triumphing over evil. There is a lot of occult mythology in the stories, and perhaps it is this that gets them challenged or banned. It is a pity, though, because the characters are compelling and the stories fascinating. It doesn't matter how many times I've read these stories; I still enjoy them each time.

Mr. Bellairs is dead, and the series was continued by Brad Strickland. The books are available in bookstores such as Barnes and Noble and Amazon in new editions. If you haven't read any, I'd recommend starting with A House With a Clock in the Walls, which is the first book in the Lewis Barnavelt series. Go! Read! Rebel!

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Banned Books Challenge

Go sign up. You can do it right here. Go ahead; I'll wait.

I signed up to read 10 banned books during the challenge, although knowing myself I'll read quite a few more.

If you know me at all, even a little bit, you know how much I loathe and detest censorship. I could probably find you dozens of quotations to illustrate my point, but I don't have time. So I'm just going to do a quick meme. I don't know if it's already out there, or if it's my own invention, but whichever, it's a fun one. It's like the 100 Books meme I did the other day, but with a twist.

Out of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 list, which ones have you read? Bold them. Which ones are in your library? Place a + in front of them. Which ones do you want to read? Italicize them. Which ones will you read for the Banned Books Challenge? Make them large. And which ones are you just not interested in reading? Make them tiny. It's okay if you don't want to read a book. Just don't try to take it away from others who do want to read it! And, because I always have to, there will be comments for some of the books.

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz

Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. That this book gets challenged just seems ridiculous to me. She's writing about her very painful and difficult life. "Gee, lady, your childhood just sucked. You don't have the right to share your lessons with anyone else who might be going through them. And, sorry kids, but I don't care how much you have in common with this woman, you may not read her book to see if you can learn anything from her. So what if she's an allegedly great poet? Have you read her poems? Why, they're just as immoral as they can be!"

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. Read it, didn't particularly like it, but found it very chilling.

+The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. This is one of those books I "should" read, and have thus refused to do so. I'm sure I'll read it, but probably not until I'm 86.

+Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling Gosh, rereading this for the Challenge is going to suck. Seriously.

Forever by Judy Blume. I read everything I could find by Judy Blume when I was an angst-ridden teenager.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.

Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman

My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger I know this book was supposed to be THE book for disenchanted teenagers, but I hated it. I hated it as a teenager, and I hated it as an adult. I haven't read it in a long time, but I would not be surprised to find that I still hate it.

+The Giver by Lois Lowry This is just a marvelous book, as are the two sequels to it that I have read. I can't understand why this would be on a challenged/banned book list.

It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris

Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine These are silly little scary stories. Nonsensical bosh.

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Sex by Madonna I'm not a Madonna fan.

Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

+A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle Why does this book get challenged? Some kids who have a lot of trouble fitting in manage to save the father of two of the children and, not so coincidentally, find a place for themselves. Gosh, that's just terrible! Better get that book off the shelves, Jed!

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous A dreadful little book, but it scared the stink out of me when I was a teenager.

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers I read this for a YA Lit class in college. It's an outstanding book!!

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard

+The Witches by Roald Dahl
This is a great book! What's wrong with it? Does it promote Satanism and the occult? No, a little boy and his grandmother fight the Grand High Witch and kick her butt!

The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein

Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry Another one I just don't get the banning of. This series is hysterical. There's one book that's actually about Sam, Anastasia's little brother, and he's trying to make a special perfume for his mother's birthday. He collects all the smells she says she likes, and the result is so funny that I literally was rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.

The Goats by Brock Cole

Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane

Blubber by Judy Blume

Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan

Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam

We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier

Final Exit by Derek Humphry

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras

+To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee I wonder why this one gets banned and challenged so much. Is it the unflattering depictions of the whites in this small town in Alabama? Is it the perceived servile attitude of Calpurnia? Becuase if you think Calpurnia's servile, you've got another think coming! This is an awesome book, with some of the greatest characters ever created.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Pigman by Paul Zindel
I liked this book quite a bit when I was a teenager, and had it and all of Paul Zindel's other books. I read them ragged. I don't care so much for them now, but they moved me at a time in my life when I needed what they had to say. Their characters aren't plastic dolls who move and act in a way no human would. They're flawed. Just like we are.

Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard

Deenie by Judy Blume

+Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
This is a heartbreaking work of staggering genius. When I talk to book people who haven't read this one, I always either get it for them or encourage them to read it.

Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden

The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar

Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz

+A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein That this book is banned or challenged just tells me that some people have no sense of humor whatsoever, and have never learned to laugh at themselves. That is a very sad thing.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice) I actually only read the first book in this trilogy. It was disgusting. I felt filthy, and hated it so much that instead of taking it back to Half Price Books to sell, I threw it away. I can completely understand why someone wouldn't want their kids reading it, but no responsible librarian would place it in a school library anyway. So banning it is pointless. If you don't want to read it, don't read it.

Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole You'll notice that I've skipped over a lot of these sex and growing up type books. Well, I know about sex. And I don't have any kids that I need to share these kinds of things with. I'm not being a frigid person who refuses to admit that sex exists. I just don't have any need or desire to read these.

Cujo by Stephen King There are plenty of Stephen King books I like. There are plenty I don't. This is one that I'm just not interested in. So I'm not going to read it. If you want to, please, feel free.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell

Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy

Ordinary People by Judith Guest

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras

Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume A girl explores her identity in reference to her faith. Gosh, better get that one off the shelves!

Crazy Lady by Jane Conly

Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher

Fade by Robert Cormier

Guess What? by Mem Fox

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

+Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Native Son by Richard Wright

Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday

Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen

Jack by A.M. Homes

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya

Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle

Carrie by Stephen King

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge

Family Secrets by Norma Klein

Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole

The Dead Zone by Stephen King

+The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Always Running by Luis Rodriguez

Private Parts by Howard Stern

Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Running Loose by Chris Crutcher

Sex Education by Jenny Davis

The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene

Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy

How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts

The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney

Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

The other books I plan to read for the challenge I found at some other Banned Book sites and are:

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I've read this many times, and welcome the opportunity to enjoy Silverstein's nonsense and rebel against narrow-mindedness at the same time!

Ulysses by James Joyce. I've never read this one. It seems that I've tried it once or twice, but this is as good a time as any to give it another go.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Another one that I completely adore.

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. This has been on my to-be-read list for quite some time. It's time to get it off that list and onto the list of books I have read.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. This is another one that I've read and reread. It never fails to charm and delight.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I have read this one so many times it's ridiculous. I've given away copies of it during Banned Book Week. This is the best! And what sublime irony that expurgated copies of it were passed out to students!

Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs. I love John Bellairs, and have everything he published. His books scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. I find them less scary now, but they are no less enthralling.

1984 by George Orwell. When I read that this was challenged/banned due to "pro-Communist sentiments," my first response was WTF? To the people who think that, I have this to say, "Better to say nothing and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

So what about you? What are your plans? C'mon--be a rebel!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Deadly Sins

Greed:Very Low
Envy:Very Low
Lust:Very Low
Pride:Very Low

The Seven Deadly Sins Quiz on


Okay. Well, I didn't really like the look with the funky colors. And I wasn't so sure I liked the black crap going down my face. And after waking up this morning with puffy and extremely tender skin beneath my eyes, after wearing that black crap for what, half an hour?, it's obvious that I'm not going to be going with that look.

So----back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Playing with Makeup

I look absolutely ghastly in these photos, and that honestly wasn't the intention. I should've smiled. Maybe that would have helped. And my hair wasn't styled until near the end of my playtime, so having normalish hair with seriously abnormal makeup probably didn't help matters either.

The ones with that show my full face are too ghastly to post. I've got to play some more with the make-up and hair. But I'll finish you off with a fine shot of the back of my hair after M-A and V finished playing with it.
No, I won't. On second thought, that photo looks pretty awful as well. I'm way better-looking than you can tell from my photographs. (Or else I'm extremely delusional!) But I look at these pictures and I look so damned ugly in them that it makes me want to kick something. Do I really look that awful?
I know. You're going to say that there's no way to tell unless I post the photos. Well, ain't happening. But maybe when I get new batteries for my camera, and I'm dressed and made-up normally (no stage makeup), I'll get S. or L. or someone to take my picture. And I'll smile. But if that picture makes me look as--I was going to say homely, but downright ugly is closer to what I feel about them--unappealing as the pictures I took tonight, trust me--no one's going to see them!

100 Books

I stole this from Amanda. But she seems really nice, so I highly doubt she'll mind. Yes, I have done a few memes lately. It's because I'm a little hyper right now, and my mind's doing 50 things at once. Somehow this seems to help it slow down, at least for a moment or two. Yes, I have ADD; you've asked me that before.

OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS: Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you want to read, make the ones you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole tiny, put a + in front of the ones on your bookshelf, and put an * by the ones you've never heard of. (Note that the instructions I saw were to make the ones you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole red, but I don't know how to do that. So I made them tiny. Because I don't want to read them anyway, I crush them beneath my feet. Much like the fear demon in the Buffy Season 4 Halloween episode.)

And, because it's me and I can't resist, there will be comments. Be prepared.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown). The book was better than the movie. That's not saying much.
2. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown). I actually thought this one was better than Da Vinci Code.
3. +Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen). What's not to love about this one? I've read it many times.
4. +To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee). Another one I've read many times. I wanted to be Scout when I was younger. I think I wanted Atticus for my father, but I'm happy with my own dads.
5. +Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell). I'll never forget the first time I read this book. I think I was 11 or 12, and was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office when I finally finished it. I closed the book and said something to the effect that there would never be another book that good. Hey! I was young then, okay? Gimme a break! It is a good book, but I loathe most of the characters in it, so I don't read it very often anymore.
6. +The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
7. +The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (J.R.R. Tolkien). This is where I decided I didn't want to read LOTR anymore. And frankly, had it not been for Peter Jackson, I'm not sure I'd have managed to wade my way through the first two LOTR books!
8. +The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (J.R.R. Tolkien)
9. +The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (J.R.R. Tolkien)
10. +Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery). Another person I wanted to be while I was growing up. I never had any doubt as to her existence.
11. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
12. *A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
13. + Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling). I've read these books more than any other book on this list save one. Keep reading if you want to know which!
14. + Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K. Rowling)
15. + Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (J.K. Rowling)
16. + Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling)
17. + Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling)
18. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
19. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
20. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
21. The Stand (Stephen King)
22. +Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte). This is the one. I could not even begin to tell you how many times I've read this book. It's the book that I may go months without reading, but if I wake up at 2:30 a.m. and want it, I have to have it right then. I love this book.
23. +The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
24. +Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
25. +The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
26. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
27. +The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
28. +Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte). Not nearly as good as Jane Eyre. But good.
29. +The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
30. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
31. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
32. Dune (Frank Herbert) Did you see that awful feature film they made, seems like it was in the 80s or early 90s? Yecch.
33. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
34. +1984 (James Orwell). Magnus Frater Te Spectat!
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. * The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. Ulysses (James Joyce). I tried to read this once or twice, but got bored.
41. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
42. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
43. *The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
44. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
45. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
46. + Bible
47. +Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy). I read a few pages, but again, got bored.
48. +The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
49. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
50. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
51. *She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
52. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
53. +A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
54. +Great Expectations (Charles Dickens) I prefer Dickens' shorter novels.
55. +Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
56. +The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) When I was in 10th grade, I fell in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read everything he wrote. I even had a pair of statues I named Scott and Zelda. I hung on to them long after my passion for Fitzgerald had waned, but eventually gave them to a roommate who really liked them. I really liked her, and by then it caused me no pain to give them up.
57. * The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. +Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. +Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
63. +The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
64. War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy). I think I read about two pages of this one. Got bored. I'm sure it's a masterful book, but I'm no longer in university and no longer feel the need to read a book just because I "should," even if I did major in English!
65. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
66. * Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
67. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
68. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brasheares)
69. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
70. +Les Miserables (Victor Hugo). I still can't believe I read the unabridged version of this when I was 12! It's a fantastic story, but yikes, the man blathered on for pages and pages and pages and pages and pages about things that didn't progress the story. And people complain about J.K. Rowling needing to tighten things up. Puh-leeze!
71. +The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery). I've read this in English and French. This is a fantastic book.
72. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Helen Fielding). One of my few forays into the field of chick-lit. I'm not a huge fan of the genre.
73. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
74. Shogun (James Clavell)
75. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
76. + The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett). I've read this one many, many times. I wanted to be Mary and help the garden wake up.
77. *The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
78. +A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith). Another one I've read many times. It has such beauty and pathos and strong, strong women.
79. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
80. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
81. +Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
82. * Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
83. Of Mice And Men (John Steinbeck)
84. +Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier). My nomination for the best opening sentence ever: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."
85. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
86. +Emma (Jane Austen). I love Emma. Love it, love it, love it.
87. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
88. +Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
89. *The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
90. * Blindness (Jose Saramago)
91. *Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
92. *In The Skin Of A Lion (Michael Ondaatje)
93. +Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
94. +The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
95. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
96. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
97. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
98. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
99. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
100. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)

A Voice

Do any of these names sound familiar to you?

Gloria Rivas . . . Juana Sandoval Reyna . . . Esmeralda Juarez Alarcon . . . Violeta Barrios . . . Alma Chavira Farel . . . Elizabeth Castro Garcia . . . Rosario Garcia Leal . . . Rocio Barrazza Gallegos . . . Rosalina Veloz Vasquez . . . Maria Acosta . . . Claudia Gonzales . . . Esmerelda Herrera . . . Guadalupe Luna . . . Barbara Martinez . . . Laura Ramos Monarrez . . . Mayra Reyes Solis . . . Veronica Martinez . . . Silvia Arce . . . Griselda Mares . . . Elizabeth Gomez . . . Laura Inere . . . Lilia Garcia

Twenty-two women. Girls, some of them, barely into young womanhood.

Twenty-two lives cut short in a horrifyingly brutal way.

Twenty-two voices silenced.

Twenty-two people out of the hundreds murdered. Twenty-two people out of a vastly larger number of missing people.

I found those twenty-two names in mere minutes of searching. What will I have found after I have spent hours searching? More names. More faces. More sorrow. More heartbreak.

First come the tears. Then the anger. Then determination.

I am determined to give a voice to some of these women. I appreciate MoMentuM for letting me be a part of its Women of Juarez project.

If you want to learn more about the femicides that have been taking place in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua City, you can start by exploring some of the links I've posted to the left.

Whatever you do, don't just look away.