( PS the author was staggeringly hungry at the time of production.Collapse )
( PS the author was staggeringly hungry at the time of production.Collapse )
This prompt and description of gunpowder smell are courtesy of kaisertales, and special thanks for inspiration to all those lovely writers in the OS/P with their glorious death scenes in which the dying person has time, energy, and wit to issue forth cryptic, occasionally prophetic, proclamations and advice and recipes for chili con carne.
The second thing is that I found the most incredible spider the other day. It was like the boss in the final level of the video game of spiders that is life. The third thing is that koalas are awesome.
The .5 thing is that I
And then Rose made me watch that Marina and the Diamonds video and so here I am listening to the playlist that youtube has for Marina and the Diamonds -- by the way, I love doing this. Putting on youtube playlists of singers I don't know well, I mean. It usually turns up a bunch of music I end up loving, they're really good at it. Anyway, that same singer turned up on the list -- and it's even the same songs I listened to with Erika -- and somehow in this context I really like it. Which is weird, I think, as soon as I saw the name I expected to want to skip the song but then I got all into it.
Has this happened to anyone else?
Also, this worries me that maybe other songs I've heard and disliked could just have been blamed on the mood I was in or the people I was with and now I'm missing out on groovy tunes. :<
Also also, Rose, Bat For Lashes is on this playlist. :D
Let's get me something to do, hmm? Two posts in one day, that's no good.
So this is something I was going to write about and then forgot and then remembered again. We're going to have a little rant about people who are anti-chick-lit.
Let me start by saying I love chick lit. And not as a guilty pleasure. I very legitimately enjoy chick lit, and I especially think Sophie Kinsella is a fantastic writer and omg she has a new Shopaholic book coming out next month which omg.
So there was this time last summer, working at Menards, I was on my break, right? Innocently reading Shopaholic Ties the Knot for like the tenth time or something. And Catherine comes up all "Whatcha reading?" which I tend to answer by wordlessly showing the cover of whatever it is I'm reading, 'cause goddamnit, people, I'm reading. Shut up. Anyway, I show her, and she crinkles up her nose and goes "Really?" Yes, really. "Is that any good?" Yes, I love it. Obviously. "Hmm. Well. I know there's a movie, but I haven't seen it." The movie sucks, by the way. "I'm just not really *into* that sort of thing."
Then, then there was this time in Marburg when I decided to go sit on the river bank and read and enjoy sunshine and swans and an ice cream cone all at the same time. It was very pleasant, I was reading Die Schnäppchenjägerin (also known as the German translation of Shopaholic) and this guy comes along and yells down from the top of the bank "WHAT ARE YOU READING." And I have to get up and turn around and show him and yell out the title. And he's all "WHAT IS IT ABOUT" and I'm all "IT IS ABOUT THE SHOPAHOLIC" and he's all "LOLWUT" and I'm all "IT'S CHICK LIT" (yes, this all took place in yelling, it was quite civilized) and he immediately pulls this disgusted face and mutters (yellingly) "TYPICAL WOMAN" and I yell back "YEP THAT'S ME" before he walks off.
Now. I could respond several ways here. I could firstly list the many reasons that Sophie Kinsella is a fabulous writer, making her a worthwhile read. I could point out that chick lit is much easier for me to read in German than Kafka or Brecht, and a better way to learn slang and idioms and the way normal people actually talk. I could say that I have a wide range of literary interests and as such also frequently read things that are not chick lit. I could also demand what the hell he reads that is apparently not snark-worthy.
But none of these things is really the point. The point is that I was judged for unabashedly reading something I enjoy. And that pisses me off to no end. What is up with this snobby attitude towards chick lit? Very specific chick lit, I might add. Jane Austen is chick lit, but nobody snoots at Pride and Prejudice. I think there is this whole thing that reading is something *intelligent* people do (which I find equally ridiculous), so if you're not reading Hogwarts, A History you're just a spaz. Because, I mean, these same people probably watch Gossip Girl or What Not to Wear or whatever, and those aren't exactly productive uses of time either, are they? And that's the whole point. I wasn't sitting there being productive. I wasn't out to impress anyone. I don't read to show people just how schmancy I am. I read things I like. That includes a wide variety of genres and a wide variety of reasons for choosing those books. And none of that is anything I should have to explain to strangers or even to people who know me. It's certainly not something people should be using to judge me as a person, or my intellect, or even how industrious I am. Everyone has moments of relaxation. Just because mine happened to be public didn't mean it was up for criticism. How dare you, sir, how dare you.
And what's this whole "typical woman" nonsense? What does that even mean? What does that have to do with books?
Have you been judged for a book, TV show, special activity, etc.? Do you think there is a stigma associated with certain genres of entertainment? How do you feel about the phrase "typical woman"? Do you think some genres deserve a stigma? Look, really, any thoughts on this at all are welcome.
So there I am, very innocently biking away when I get engulfed by this cloud of black smoke. Like black black. I cough up a lung or two and peer out from the smog to see what could possibly be wheezing out such blackness. I'm thinking, like, a truck with coal in it. Or something. There's this giant truck, I don't know what they're called, the kind with things in them, and the top of it is the source of the smoke, and the part with the things in it is a soothing dark green with some nice trees painted on it and the slogan "The forest goes on forever."
No hints as to what was inside, by the way. The forest, maybe? Being burned alive? I don't know what this means.
This would probably be a better Facebooktstatus update than LJ post, it occurs to me. Only Facebook didn't know about my wanting to buy a backpack, so. There is that. LJ, you are the lucky winner of my post-buying-things joy.
Anyway, stuff that happened:
-- I went to London for a week with Beth. Which in itself was strained. Traveling with your ex, it turns out, is probably not the greatest idea, but we already had the tickets and everything and neither of us really wanted to cancel. Anyway, and then this volcano in Iceland exploded and spewed ash into UK airspace, slowly spreading over all of Europe. This caused every European airport ever to shut down for about six days, leaving us stranded together in England. No planes were flying, and because of the path the ash cloud was taking, the UK and Germany were two of the countries that remained under the flight ban the longest. Then the ferries, trains, buses, what have you, chose to capitalize on thousands of travelers (did I mention this happened over Easter weekend?) stuck on either side of the channel and raised their ticket prices by lots. One week became two, we missed a few days of class, yada yada yada, it was all very exciting. Oh, and somewhere in there we both developed illnesses, just to make everything even more exciting. And that's more or less the last time I spent any time wih Beth. AND THEN LIKE A WEEK LATER I GOOGLED THE ASH CLOUD OUT OF CURIOSITY AND IT TURNS OUT IT WAS PROBABLY NEVER EVEN THERE.
-- I am so in love with public transportation in Europe. Every single goddamn town, no matter how tiny, has its very own train station, so no matter where you are, you are part of the Great Circle Of Life, or whatever.
-- Leah and I spent an extended weekend in Brussels. Belgium, by the way, gets my vote for having the best beer of all the places. Anyway, so the last day we were at this touristy-type Mini Europe thing, and so distracted were we that we sort of missed our train, and decided to just pick a train headed for Germany and hop on. Look, there's a train to Essen! Essen is a large city in Germany and even if we get stuck there it'll be cool! Because on the way to Brussels we got kicked off a train for not having a reservation and were forced to wander around Aachen for a couple hours and it was seriously awesome, we found these castles and cathedrals and towers and shit. Anyway, Essen, we're going to Essen! And... Essen is only an hour away? Essen has a tiny grimy train station the size of a dorm room? Essen has signs in French and Dutch but no German? Shit, there isn't an Essen in Belgium, is there? There is. Fuck. We ask the lone guy in the station where the hell we are and he points to the very northernmost edge of Belgium, perched practically on the sea, not anywhere near the direction of Germany. And laughs. And tells us the only trains leaving Essen for the rest of forever are going straight back to Brussels. And laughs. People in Belgium are really unhelpful, it turns out, some guy in Liege told us we couldn't back to Marburg until 6 the next morning, and it was only by riding the escalator up and down for fun (look, we had nothing better to do) about eight times that we discovered the Truth. Long story short, that was a long day. So when we finally got home we watched Buffy all night instead of sleeping and doing, y'know, homework.
-- We found out the awkward way that in Europe, "gay" means "gay male." If you go into an event or bar that describes itself as "gay," you will not find women in there, and in fact, all the men will be rather taken aback. And, in fact, gay men do not hang out with gay women. Many different people gave me different reasons for this, but my favorite one was, "Well, we tried to work together, but the lesbians all wanted to get involved with politics, and the men just wanted to party all the time."
-- I turned 21! This was rather anticlimactic.
There are little things, too. Like the alley near Oxford St filled with nothing but used bookstores, each one catering to a specific genre, like one for sci fi, one for fairy tales. Like Leah introduced me to geocaching and we had to climb a mountain and at the top was a monument to some Marburg princess from the 1400's. There's a museum in Frankfurt dedicated to the Struwwelpeter, and a museum of Handbag History in Amsterdam. Those were the two best museums I visited. There are always ducks and swans on the river, and sometimes the swans will attack small children. One night I was sitting on the train station steps, and a dog brought me a rumpled coffee cup and waited for me to throw it and we played fetch for twenty minutes. There was a kitty who lived in the tree next to my building, and if you tsked she would come down and rub on your ankles. Fasching is the biggest festival ever, but if you ask anyone what it's all about, they have no idea. Everything is closed on Sundays. Make sure you have food before then, or you will starve to death. I found out on May 12th that there is such a thing as a free glass of water, weeks before coming back.