Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Paris in Love with a Short Attention Span

So I just finished reading Paris in Love, by Eloisa James. And it's just bugging the hell out of me.

For one thing, she's got a great marriage, and that title just screams single woman, so I feel a little cheated right there. But that's okay, I loves me some Paris, so there was lots to enjoy. Except the format.

Now, I hate to bash another writer, especially one who teaches at my alma mater (though I never took one of her classes). But. She states in the beginning that the book is based on her Facebook notes (oh, spare me) and tweets posted during her year living in Paris. And that she mostly kept the short, choppy format. Saints preserve us. 

Now, I get that she and her publisher are trying a thing here. And they may be on to something, I guess. Apparently, scientists say that we can remember blog posts better than novels. But scientist say a lot of things, so let's not overhaul the modern novel just yet.

It's one thing to snack on tweets, blog posts and FB notes (is that really what people do instead of blog? Is it even a thing, really?) throughout the day. But when I pick up a book (on the subway, on the couch at the end of the day) I'm ready for a meal. I get that she's playing with new modes of communication and not just being sloppy to meet a deadline. But this reads like one of those trivia books meant to be read on the toilet, a couple of pages at a time. 

It's especially infuriating when encountering multiple snippets on the same subject that could've been reorganized into something more cohesive. It's not good when a modest, fledgling author such as myself is revising your book while reading it.

I lived in Paris for 4 months and I've been back several times, so I can't honestly say if it was her writing or my love of the city that kept me reading to the end. 

It really worked when Jennifer Egan put a PowerPoint presentation into a novel because she was suggesting that in fifteen years, teens will be using PowerPoint for their private journals. It was mind-blowing, though it meant that the ebook version was useless because the PowerPoint section was too small to read.

I really hope we get more innovation in books, but I'm not looking forward to more Twitter memoirs.

Eloisa James does write of visiting several of Paris' lesser museums with such appreciation that I'm inspired to check out some of NYC's more obscure offerings. So let's see if I manage to make that happen in the coming months.

Read anything interesting lately?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Go On Without Me

Blue January
Photo credit The Cleveland Kid
I'm still behind on everything thanks to being sick for most of January. Speaking of which, have you noticed how people complain (on Facebook and in real life) how they and all the kids are deathly ill at once and January can suck it, and they all say these things as if they're surprised because they've forgotten that every January they've lived through has been exactly like this one (i.e. rife with pestilence)? It's like how everyone in NYC starts speculating about whether we'll have a white Christmas at the start of December even though NYC doesn't get cold enough for snow in most Decembers and in my 40+ years, it's only happened twice, maybe thrice. And June isn't super hot, but September can be, but everyone is shocked about it every year. It's like people have the attention span of goldfish.

Anyway, I'm at that wonderful stage where I'm feeling better, so I want to do lots of stuff, but I'm out of shape from all the bed rest, so I get winded just putting on my boots. Good times. So here are some links for your edification and amusement.

Via The Hairpinother cakes you can make with a penis cake pan. It's as hilarious as it sounds. 

Via The Bloggess, misidentifications in FB photos. Be sure to look at all 5 pages, since you do not want to miss the second to last one. Trust me. 

Via Epbot, on gender equality in kid's undies. It makes me nostalgic for my Wonder Woman Underoos and furious that the little girls of today are deprived of that.

Even fashion bloggers can have homina, homina moments. Maybe not love at first sight, but recognition that it was coming.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Open Letter to Inaniminate Things That Need to Fuck Off

Rainbow Nails
Photo credit LelĂȘ Breveglieri

To Nail polish:
Do you have something against my fingernails? Are you deliberately trying to get away from me? Because that seems to be the only explanation for how I can do my nails while sitting on the couch, watching TV, and then my nails chip before I get up. It can't be from all the strenuous sitting there I'm doing. Yes, TCM's 31 Days of Oscar does lead to some watching of heavy-duty movies. But that shouldn't affect my fingernails.

To Google Reader:
You make keeping up with all the blogs I like to read easy. But when I check the little box marked "Keep Unread," I mean it. I don't mean keep this post unread for a while until you decide that I've left it there for too long and don't deserve to have it still waiting for me any more. Yes, I know I'm way behind on The Walking Dead, but we were in no condition to give it the attention it deserved in November. And I like to read Tom and Lorenzo's recaps after watching the episode. But you decided to stop keeping those posts waiting for me so I had to go to their site and search for them. Dude, you're Google. You're not supposed to turn on me like that.

To Clock Radios:
OK, what is up with your iffy radio reception? You know, because it's nice to wake up to music, but not so nice when it's staticy music. And no one has touched that dial. And then I reach to adjust the dial and you use my body as an antenna or something and the radio station comes in clear again, thereby making any dial adjusting futile. And then the next day, the radio reception is fine again. What's up with that? Is it the phase of the moon? The barometric pressure? The relative humidity in the 5 square feet surrounding the clock radio? This has happened with every clock radio I've ever had, so I really feel that I'm owed an explanation.

To Bottles of Environmentally Friendly, Super Concentrated Laundry Detergent:
Love you, mean it. But. Detergent was less concentrated back when I was learning important life skills, such as estimating whether or not I had enough detergent left in the bottle to do the latest batch of laundry. This whole super-concentrated thing is just throwing me off. Now, yeah, the food co-op is just around the corner, so running out to buy a bottle is no big deal. But when I go to the co-op, buy a new bottle of environmentally friendly, super concentrated detergent, plus a few other items, then get on line behind not one, but two people who are buying enough food to feed a family of four for a month, come home, catch my breather because I'm out of shape from being sick in bed for two weeks, take the laundry down to the laundry room and then discover that there was enough detergent in the old bottle after all, you make me long for a big wasteful bottle of Tide (which is totally street currency now, btw). Is it really too much to ask for some markings on the outside of the bottle indicating how many washes I have left? And yes, most people would just buy a backup bottle when the bottle is running low, but I can't seem to get my act together to that point, so get off my back, environmentally friendly, super concentrated detergent.

Add your own items that need to fuck off in the comments.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Knitting Mystery

Photo Credit starshaped
I first heard about Loes Veenstra from AmpuTeeHee
Since 1955, Loes Veenstra has knitted over 550 sweaters and stored them in her home on the 2nd Carnissestraat in Rotterdam. The sweaters have never been worn.
Just take a second to absorb the enormity of that. Loes and her massive collection were discovered, put into a museum collection and a book was made about her work. As a surprise, the guy who put the book together organized a flashmob of people wearing her sweaters.

The video is very happy and joyful, but I couldn't stop wondering why she did it. Why did she knit sweaters and then hoard them? Did she have no desire to wear them herself? Did she have no one to give them to? She people ask her to knit her a sweater, but she refused since she already had a hundred sweaters packed away and she didn't want to break her record? Or was she just a knitwear designer or a test knitter for a pattern company?

I fell into the internet and all I could discover was that she knitted these sweaters to keep busy. And then packed them away for decades. I can't help but think that as exuberant as some of her sweaters look, Loes Veenstra must have lived a pretty sad life. Knitting is warmth. Knitting is love. And she didn't even wear them herself.

This blog post includes some pictures of the exhibit.  And here's a look inside the book about her work that shows more of her sweaters. 

It's the Cosby sweaters that seem saddest to me. They were the height of fashion when she made them, and then she put them in a box instead of showing them off to the world.

Thoughts? Am I just a maudlin killjoy?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Go On Without Me

So it's been vertigo-a-go-go over here, including trips to two emergency rooms in one day. I'll tell you all about it once I'm recovered enough to spend more than a few minutes in front of the computer and have have finished reporting the doctors at the first ER to the state authorities. Oh yeah. It was that bad.

In the meantime:

Toddler babysitting tips from The Hairpin. I would add letting them  play with a rubber band, though you actually have to pay attention to them so they don't try to eat it. This is actually not a problem, because a toddler playing with a rubber band is hilarious.

A new nail polish accessory thingie that proves we're living in the future. 

Mary Ingalls didn't go blind from Scarlett Fever and why it matters.

Seen anything online that's worth checking out? Share in the comments.