Saturday, November 28, 2009

Book Review: The Arsonist's Guide To Homes in New England- Brock Clarke

The thing about being sick is that you get to do a lot of reading. And for those of you who care for a health update, I am over my H1N1, and now I have moved onto bacterial bronchitis which is, a pain in my ass. Or my chest. Whatever- either way it sucks and if this is even a portion of what death feels like, I hope I can just be trampled by an elephant to really round out the pain factor. Those around me are probably THRILLED with the fact that my voice keeps going in and out especially my kids who have been running wild since my commands of "stop throwing your milk" and "stop coloring on the carpet" are going unheard.
So I finished this book I found in the $5 bin at Barnes and Noble. There literally is an entire website dedicated to this book: I think you'll like this book. It's written as if the main character, Sam Pulsifer, is speaking to you. And really this is kind of a tragic story essentially making fun of memoirs. I loved how the story unraveled and even though it's meant to be a comedy I found it to be kind of sad. I felt bad for Sam and in the end kind of felt like he always got the raw end of the deal except he doesn't think he did. So it was weird, but good.
And if I had more energy I'd go more into this.'ll have to settle for this. But to make up for my lack of energy- the first person to comment and say they want the's yours. I will mail it to you for free. :) But leave your email address so that I can email you and get your mailing address because unfortunately, the illness has knocked out my psychic abilities. ;)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Book Review: The Search for God and Guinness

So this is obviously not the type of book I would normally choose to read since
1. I'm not religious and
2. I don't drink beer. Or any other alcoholic beverage.

(The horrors!)

But I agreed to review the book because it was free and at the time I had nothing else in my "to read immediately" bin.

And I have to say, this was a very hard read for me. It literally was a book that made me want to sleep. It has taken me over a MONTH to finish it, which is huge because I'm not only a very fast reader, but I can pretty much get through anything (except Anna Karenina...I still can't get page 5- my head basically wants to explode).

The first part of the book is a very lengthy, almost way too much detail for my pee brain to absorb about the history of beer. Where it originated (maybe), how it was made (we think), and the wonderful journey it's been on since. It connects beer with God and speaks of how different religions viewed beer.

Then it moves onto (finally) Arthur Guinness and his quest of making an even better brew, something that was better for you. The most interesting part of the entire thing was how Arthur literally built a business by being smart and savvy yet being an absolute gentleman to his workers and the community around him. He provided a great social service to Ireland which continues today in the Guinness world. The things he did and provided for his staff and their families was amazing and is ironic because in America, you are LUCKY if you get sub-prime health care coverage. It really shows that it is possible to provide generous wages and benefits to employees AND make a profit. Consumers are willing to support companies that support their staff- it's just too bad that more companies aren't that way.

So I would recommend this book if you like beer, are interested in companies who changed a social and economical climate of an area and a person who genuinely strived to do more and be better. On the other hand, if you aren't a history person (like me) you may be bored to death. But I assure you- you will survive. And might learn something.

If you want to become a Thomas Nelson book review blogger, go to:

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Moon, I am in love

You all know I had to see New Moon on opening night. Thankfully, I have a kick ass sister in law who got us tickets as soon as they went on sale. Although I was apprehensive of a midnight showing what with my playing chicken with 30 an all, my love for Robert Pattinson took over my common sense. And it was all I thought it could be and more. :)

First off, I have to tell you that seeing the movie at the Duluth 10 theatre in Canal Park was awesome. They had the entire place decked out in Twilight inspired decor. This is only 2 pics I have , but the whole place was decorated. On the walls to the ticket counter they had huge posters with memorable lines from the book which was awesome.

And a cardboard cut out of my love Robert that I seriously debated on stealing. Yummy. And since this is probably the closest I'll ever get to him, I had to get Kate to do the picture. Obviously.
This is after the movie, around 2:40 in the morning, and I am VERY tired. And bloated. YAY period. But at least I got a "Team Edward" shirt. Which apparently makes my boobs look bigger. Which sucks. They need no assistance. They should carry their own I.D.'s for god sakes. But that may also be because in this picture I'm wearing 3 shirts and a sweater. Because you know- I can't think ahead and realize hey- I'm buying a shirt, so maybe we can lose a layer or two.
But before the movie we ate yummy, super greasy food at Old Chicago. Have I ever expressed my love for their Italian Nachos? Fantabulous. Yum. Then we headed over to wait in the line. Amazingly- there was hardly a line. Of course you have your die-hard Twilight freaks with their home-made shirts (which we are totally doing for Eclipse, Kate!!).
And obviously, you have the people with little to no hygeine skills who insist on testing our lung capacity by standing dangerously close to us in a poorly vented area. These two women in particular, in their early 50's or so, who came just as we were getting seated but a husband held their spot in line so they got to cut in line and unfortunately got stuck next to us. And let me tell you- my lungs ain't what they once were which is disconcerting because I don't smoke. I avoid second hand smoke and yet my lungs suck. I thought I was going to vomit. The only way to explain the stench is that it was a combination of smoke, cat, possibly really stale liquor and lack of showering. And there were two of them like this and everytime moviegoers from other movies walked past- a cloud wafted towards us. It was seriously, the longest 30 minutes of my life standing next to them. They were continually referred to as "cat lady 1 and 2" and it was bad. Like I could smell them through the movie but thank god weren't sitting next to them. They ended up being 4 or 5 rows back. But still. Ew.
So before the movie started we got to see the first promo poster for Eclipse. *Exciting* and I almost pissed myself when I realized that it comes out in June. June 2010, lambs!!! The same month True Blood, Season 3 starts. It's going to be a hot month for me. I may turn into a hot mess. Which is fine- I'm totally ok with that. :)
When the movie started, super excited. Basically the movie rocks socks, the ending was GREAT, and now I'm so fucking excited for Eclipse I may not make it. Even more so because Eclipse was my favorite in the series. And Kate- WE ARE MAKING SHIRTS. Or I will make one for you. ;) HA!
But the most annoying thing? College and high school girls screaming everytime Taylor or Robert came on screen. Now don't get me wrong. Seeing Robert makes me all hot and bothered and makes me think crazy thoughts of leaving Matt and the kids to throw myself at the mercy of Robert and beat the living shit out of crazy Kristen Stewart because I fight dirty and would totally win that. But damn. You don't see me losing my shit up in there. Like have some class. Freak out in your car or something afterwards.
And in the bathroom after? There were a couple of chicks crying. Absolute sobbing because they are so in love with the movie and can't wait for Eclipse. Again, control your crazy yall.
So yes. It was awesome. You must see it. And can I just say? Even though I don't like the Jacob character, Taylor Lautner is yummy. And I know he's 17 but damn. He's got to be turning 18 soon. It's fine. And Robert in the almost revealing himself scene? Well, we won't talk about it. Or the beginnign at the school on Bella's birthday? The facial expression? Matt has no chance on a sunny day in hell against Robert. And he totally knows that. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Book Review: I'm Down, by Mishna Wolff

First off I have to tell you that in case you haven't noticed, I'm on somewhat of a memoir kick. And I prefer funny ones a la Jen Lancaster and David Sedaris but I'm not a complete loser. I'll read other ones too. Just not today.
So I can't even remember where I heard about this book, and it may have been on Jen Lancaster's summer reading list although let's be real- it's not summer now and I can't remember that far back. But I knew I wanted to read it and one day there it was. The lone copy on the wrong shelf looking at me. It was practically destiny. Our Barnes and Noble employees are getting slack on keeping the place tidy and orderly. Whatever.
So the premise of the book is Mishna is white (obviously from the cover) and is from a totally white family. Her dad however, believes he is black and after her parents divorce insists on raising Mishna and her sister, Anora as black people. Which is just dandy for Anora being the younger child, but Mishna is pretty white and the black kids let her know. She tries, throughout her childhood, to become black enough for her Dad who I am sure in his own mind tried to be a good dad. But what becomes an insight into poor America is the realization that Mishna is very much left to raise herself. She doesn't fit into the black neighborhood she lives in and really stands out at her rich white kid school so she never really belongs anywhere. She tries multiple sports and other activities to find the one thing she is really good at but her childhood is a struggle.
And it wasn't until the very end of the book when everything clicked into place for me and I suddenly realized why I felt so connected with Mishna. My childhood was very much like this and I continue to live in that "not sure where I really belong" middle ground. I'm white and grew up in a semi-white neighborhood when in Florida but we were poor but we didn't know any better. It wasn't until I grew up that I realized that we were poor and that wasn't going to change. And I have always struggled with trying to make my parents happy. I never really felt like I did anything that really stood out and made my parents brag about me. Sure, I got good grades and for the most part was a good kid. I had my faults as all kids do, but I wasn't really good at anything. When I went to a technical college and graduated I was proud of myself. But years later in a conversation (and truly, I can't remember what we were even talking about) I remember one of my parents said, "Yeah, but that's not a REAL college" and it really sunk me. I think my parents had higher aspirations for me to be something better. But to be honest, I like being a secretary. It requires me to be organized (check), detail oriented (check), I get to make and follow lists daily (check), and I deal with people (check). PLUS- office supplies are like the most fun thing ever. I can't even tell you how exciting it is to get new supplies. Back to School shopping is my 2nd Christmas.
Anyways. But I related to Mishna because I have often felt the way she felt. I had a great childhood and my parents did do a lot for us and worked very hard to give us what we had. And in truth- I think every kid grows up and later feels badly at something that was lacking in their childhood- it's unavoidable. There is always something.
But it is a great read, and I read it in 2 days so it's a good weekend book. And you root for Mishna the whole way through and then you thank god that your parents weren't racially confused. :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Swellers, Paper Route and Paramore Oh My!

This is going to be a long post with a bunch of pictures. So you know. But I got to go to another concert with my super fun friend, Tammy. She is awesome. I wish I could just parade her on here for you to fully get how cool and fun she is. So on Friday we had our Swellers/PaperRoute/Paramore concert that was not only moved to a new venue but rescheduled because of Hayley of Paramore's voice being a bitch. But FINALLY we got to go.

(As a side note, if you want another review of this concert check out my bloggie buddy Mr.O. His blog rox.)

I had a ton of errands to run Friday morning and then I had to work for a bit in the afternoon on some projects that I pretty much put off all weekend. BUT by late afternoon Tammy and I were hitting the road so we could check into what we were afraid was going to be a super ghetto motel. Like real ghetto. Thankfully, on a scale of 1-10 ghetto-ness (10 being 100% ghetto) I think ours was like a 7. I mean our key was huge- look at it.

And they had the real motel rooms where your doors open into the parking lot. Which I hate. But we got a room on the second floor. Which turned out not to be a ton better because it wasn't sound proof at all. And our neighbors (translation= everybody else in the joint) was having a really good time. If you catch my drift. AND, there was this gem in the parking lot.

The neighborhood wasn't too bad until you got like a block down to what is called "Porky's" which looks like some kind of fast food place. Let's just say I wouldn't want to be hanging out by Porky's after dark. And then the bars near us all had cops arresting people, so I don't know. We stayed in our room after the concert.
But yay! I got us there, without getting lost (translation= I followed the GPS directions perfectly). And can I just say of all the places I've seen concerts, the Roy Wilkins Auditorium kind of sucks. It's like a glorified high school gym. But whatevs. We stood in line FOREVER, like 2+ hours with people (translation=kids under 18). The guy ahead of me had some bowel issues and believe me- the gas clouds around him were horrible. And you are crammed in there, so it's like you have no where to go. And then we had to hear a 19 year old preach to her 13 year old sisters about socially awesome Paramore are and how much human trafficking sucks. For 2+ hours.
So when we finally get in and realize that it's going to be packed on the floor and that we are older than 90% of the people there Tammy and I longingly look at the balcony. After paying $5 for a coke and tyring to understand why you can't get lids or straws in a concert anymore (seriously, weapons??) we decided to fuck it and go to the balcony. Plus, we're both 5'3 so the chances of us seeing anything were slim if we were standing.
Finally- the Swellers started. I can't say that I know the Swellers but let me tell you- I will be buying their music. They are awesome. They played a short set (bummer), but they had a ton of fun up there. It is always really exciting to see a band perform when you can tell that they not only want to be there, but love being there. Love playing, love their bandmates, etc. Plus it does not hurt that all 4 guys were hot. It's like a bonus.
The Swellers

And then after them came Paper Route. I have no pictures of them because they sucked so mother fucking hard core. Tammy and I both hated them. Like hated so much that I debated how far I could throw my ginormous coke. They had literally 11 instruments, and at one point there was an accordian and sleigh bells. I was waiting for cowbell because that may have brought them up a notch but nope- they leave out the cowbell. Bastards. They literally just banged on things, you couldn't hear lyrics, one of the lead singers (there appeared to be 2) was so annoying. He's up there trying to be all bad ass going from one instrument to the other and nothing sounds cohesive. They sucked. THANKFULLY they had a super short set. And it should be some indication when very few people clap for you. Ever.

And then after another round of rearranging the stage Paramore came on. And if there is ever been anyone who should be a singer in a rock band that person is Hayley. She is awesome. I can't even tell you all of the songs they performed but they obviously did the two off of the Twilight soundtrack (both amazing), a lot of new ones of the current album, and a few from their other two albums. And for an encore they did 3 songs one of which was the acoustic "Misguided Ghosts" which is such a terrific song and EVERYBODY in the place sang to it. Great moment.

They interacted with the crowd and in return got a lot of crowd participation.

Tammy and I. Sorry it's super blurry but my camera was being a douchebag. But let me assure you we looked hot. As usual.
I will note that about mid-way through the concert Hayley started coughing in between songs, and throughout the entire thing you could see her drinking tea. A stage helper dude kept bringing warm tea out to her. Tammy and I both thought her voice was going to completely give out towards the end, but somehow she rallied for the encore. But I'd bet my next paycheck she paid for that the next morning. I hope that she is able to make it through the rest of the tour. AND, if you are able to see them- it definitely is worth it.
So on the way home, it's obviously dark but I had my trusty GPS, Maggie. (Thanks, Dad!) And I don't know if it was because I was tired, or that my eyes burned BAD from being in a smoke free, yet really smoky auditorium, or if because I'm truly just an idiot, but when Maggie tells me to take a left and dings- and I do so- I don't expect to be going the WRONG WAY ON A HIGHWAY. Maybe my expectations are too high. And I realize this as soon as my only two options of A)drive into a grassy embankment or B) continue going the wrong way until our real exit because that sucked. And I apologize to the lady getting into the turn lane that I happened to be driving in because I know she probably peed. I almost did. Thankfully, I do Kegels like it's nobody's business and was able to hold the urine that threatened to come out all over the seat. AND, thankfully we only had to drive about a block the wrong way until our exit. And I figured there's no point in waiting for a green arrow since I'm already breaking road laws left and right. But once we got onto I94, we were just dandy. Except our blood pressure was pretty high and I was paranoid this all happened in front of a state trooper or something. But it was Maggie's fault.
Fast forward to the next morning. We decided that on our way home we'd hit up the Tanger Outlet mall in North Branch because that's fun. And we got some GREAT deals. Like cute stuff for the kids. And I got a scarf at the Old Navy outlet for $1. Yippee.
And then we had to stop in Hinckley at Tobies to get baked goods. I picked up Matt two of the lemon poppyseed muffins (his favorite) because I'm a good wife. AND because he did the enema on our daughter (more on that later) because he has his good moments. :) But as we turned out of Tobies- this is what we were stuck behind for 3 minutes at a light.
Welcome to Minnesota- Deer Hunting Season.
You can probably guess that I don't hunt because it's so disgusting. And don't comment about hamburger or chicken because in my head I still believe that these come from a grocery store and I like my meat injected with dyes and water. THIS is not my idea of food. And I don't know if you can tell, but there is another deer inbetween the ATV's with it's legs all sticking up. Disgusting.
Anyhoodle. We finally made it home and on our way back decided that we must get together more often. Of all of my friends, she is the one who understands my "married with kids and don't want to get old" struggle. Have I mentioned how awesome she is??
Stay tuned for my next post tomorrow about enemas, poop and tears. It's riveting.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tampa 2 for 2

I feel as if I have neglected you on my flight home story. Now, I wasn't blogging back in the day and therefore you have no idea that I am apparently I have the face of a terrorist. At least according to the Tampa International Airport. Before I tell you of my flight home experience, let me start by giving you a brief description of what my flight home from my honeymoon was like.
  • I was "flagged" in Duluth because me being a fucking idiot, switched my driver's license the Monday after our wedding not realizing my actual plane ticket had my maiden name on it. We flew out Wednesday after the wedding, so yay! I was flagged immediately.

  • This meant nothing on the way to Florida because I'm assuming Duluth, MN and Detroit, MI don't take the threat of terrorism as seriously as Tampa does. And I get this- Duluth is so tiny that really, the biggest threat you have is the guy running the Avis car rental counter and in Detroit you should be more afraid of the nut jobs who hang out at the airport for fun. (And as a side note, flags should go up with flight attendants give you the "low down" of the Detroit airport. Such as, walk against the wall, don't look or talk to anybody, use the buddy system, and absolutely hold on to whatever you are carrying like your life depended on it)

  • On the way BACK however was a different story. In Tampa I was flagged immediately and was told to get in the line with the red cones. Sure. So being the genius I am, I made Matt carry my purse and carryon. Because there is nothing suspicious of a young 20something male carrying a bright blue and green jelly purse. Totally normal.

  • Keep in mind, I'm in the special line being headed up by a woman who I swear to god looked like Mimi from the Drew Carey show. And ahead of me is a 18 month old child in an umbrella stroller, who like me, has been "flagged".

  • At this time it was 2004 and that was when all the new airport security junk was just coming out and they were REALLY searching you. So I was told to get into "the booth", which fine, no problem. I'm thinking I'll have to get the pat down which you know, is fine.

  • NO. I will not speak of all that was um, searched, but let me tell you- it's a dark booth with a cheapy lamp in the corner and two female searchers. Are they cops? I have no idea. But they weren't gentle. And they give you no time to reassemble yourself.

  • After a 5 minute search, you are literally shoved out of the booth so the next person can go in. I walked out of there and what Matt saw was me standing there, clutching my belt, my shoes, my sweater, hair accessories, jewelry, my pants undone, my shirt all messed up and kind of rolled up in the back and my socks on wrong. I just told Matt I didn't want to talk about it.

So fast forward 5 years. Thankfully I can personally attest to the fact that The Booth has improved. I know this because again, I was flagged in Tampa. I believe it is because I had a sweater on again. I can't be sure because other people with sweaters and jackets were going through just fine. So I get to the guy and he asks me to step into The Booth. Now, I must have had the look of fear because of my last booth encounter, so I'm sure that didn't help me. So I get into this see-through tube thing that kind of looks like one of those time transport tubes. Keep in mind, in my hand is my license and boarding pass. He tells me to put them in my right pocket. Okey-dokey. So you stand there in a bizarre stance, then turn to the other side and hold your arms like an idiot. Then you wait until the mysterious voice through the earpiece says you can go. And the guy goes, "Ma'am- we have to get a female here to search you- you appear to have something in your right front pocket." To which I respond, "And that would be the items you just told me to put in my pocket." And the look in his face was enough to make me almost wet my pants because I again, am thinking of The Booth. So this lady comes over and tells me the procedure of a pat down no less than 3 times. And she's speaking to me so slowly that I can't help but wonder if she thinks I'm deaf, can't understand ebonics, or if I'm a retard. Either way, it's annoying. So she gets mother fucking tongs to get my boarding pass and license out and the guy is like holding his holster thingie. I mean COME ON. Do I look like a terrorist??

Fuck you Tampa.

On a dumb ending note, we bought $30 worth of stuff from the store in there (and for those of you wondering what $30 gets you in Tampa that would be: 3 pens, twizzlers, m&m's, water, 2 coloring books). and my bag is totally degradable. Weird.

I also think this is the most ridiculous list of things to reuse this for. Really? Only one muddy shoe? What do you do with the other one? Judging by the size of the bag (the size of a Target or Walmart bag) you could put like 2 pairs of shoes. Or like 10 diapers. And no, I would never use this as a shower cap. I'm pretty sure every other plastic bag I've had explicitly tells you not to put bags on your head because they can be choking hazards. But maybe I'm just an idiot.