Monday, March 13, 2006

...Aaaaaaand the Cat Has a Heart Murmur.

So clearly, it's not the best month(s) for pets. It's Flyboy with the heart murmur...I mean, why WOULDN'T the more rambunctious of the two cats have a heart condition? He's going in this week for blood work to get a better status report on the whole heart situation. The good thing is that a.) the vet is not panicky about it, and b.) they can grow out of heart murmurs, which is promising since the little Goober twins are not a year old yet. Gifts of catnip can be sent on April 10th, when they graduate to grown up, predator type death cat food.

Several exciting things have happened since the last update, and this week was particularly exciting. We cleaned the hell out of the house, which REALLY needed it. It looks totally fab, and I'm excited. We also ordered new curtains for the living room...Speed doesn't really mind the ones that are there but I think they are kind of fug. We're getting sheer sage curtains that will be all drapey and nice, and will bring out the green in the rugs. Plus they were on sale so that the whole window treatment only set us back about a hundred bucks, which for a 128" long window is not too bad. And also not ugly. We also caught up to the fifth season of the Sopranos JUST in time for the 6th season premier, which was last night and also TOTALLY awesome and I love everyone in it.

The house got cleaned in the first place because Tiffany and Scarlett came to visit, which was so, so great because we hadn't seen each other in person since, roughly...forever. We hung at the house a bit, and then went to dinner at Al Fresco, which rules and is on Main Street in Holden is anyone is in the area and wondering what to have for dinner. You will not be disappointed. It was great to catch up with the ladies...Tiffany is engaged and getting married in October, and Scarlett is rockin' DC still, and probably won't be far behind on the wedding front. I missed the hell out of those gals. They both look totally fab.

Creep, Shinygal and the Creepette are doing great, I saw them recently. Such a well behaved baby, I have never seen. She sleeps through more or less anything, and is starting to develop a vice grip of that special type babies get.

Reconnected with the Feminista, of all people, which was so, so fantastic. Another person I missed the hell out of. She is no longer working for the usual cadre of hippies and bleedinghearts, but instead is a rising star in the ClearChannel stratosphere. All I'm saying is that she gets to make commercials and has her own sound effects board, which is only a small step below "magic wand" on my list of Things That Comprise The Ultimate Job. Because seriously. I would abuse that thing to no end.

For my birthday, Dad (and presumably by extention Ma, but I don't know if they plotted this together) gave me a ticket to DC for the weekend of the 24th through 26th, which is also the weekend of St. Brooklynburg's birthday, so that works out really well. I am so excited to see everyone, and it will be nice to be in the District again.

To close, I have a book review I did up earlier today for Uber, and thought I would include it here, because it might get a few more readers than there...such a shit quagmire, that place has become. I pray for the renaissance.

As you may or may not know, I switched jobs last month, and to celebrate, I bought a bunch of books from my Wish List. I tend to use my Wish List as a to-do list for books I want to read but may forget about...a new Harry Potter book, for instance, would be hard to forget, but a book I read a review on somewhere or the back cover while browsing would be much easier. The first book I cracked into was Fat Girl, written by Judith Moore. It got on my list via a recommendation that popped up when I had added a memoir and "Queen Bees and Wannabes" to my list one after the other. I read it first mostly because it was one of the first to arrive and was the smallest. It also passed the First Ten Pages Test, in which I read - duh - the first ten pages and see a.) if I haven't aged five years because it's so dense and b.) if I'm still interested in reading it. It's a good weight and length for a lunchtime reading book.

There are really two books in one here. One is a really very tight, good, well developed story with bright characters and excellent descriptions of the family dynamic. The other story is annoying and gimmicky, and that was the most frustrating part of the book. The story is a memoir, written about Moore's struggle with her weight over her life and all the factors that affected it. She focuses particularly closely on her mother, followed in importance by her grandmother, father, and uncle. In the sections where the book really sings, she speaks eloquently about these people, and you can feel exactly as she did when various scenes happened. Particularly good is the description of the atmosphere in the house when her happy time with her uncle, who could give two shits about her weight, is interrupted by the arrival of her overbearing mother and dying, bitter grandmother. There are SO many levels of emotion and interaction going on, and Moore does a fantastic job capturing them. You feel for her, you ache for her, you're sort of proud of her...but mostly you're sorry for her.

...Which is mostly because she wants you to be. The more agonizing parts of the book are in her over-glorious descriptions of food and her helplessness against them. She is BEGGING for your sympathy in these sections, which you would happily give her, I think, based on the rest of the story and the vicious family she dealt with, but they are presented in such a "look at me!" manner that I found it impossible to give her the full amount of sympathy that she was going for and probably deserved. Here's the thing - I feel her, all right? I'm not exactly a stick, and I never have been. While I'm able to lose the weight when I set my mind to it, my natural tendency is not really to do so. I understand completely what it is to feel helpless against the seductive power of food...but christ, lady. When I talk about it, I couch it in KNOWING that the food is the problem, and in knowing that I have control over it. She refuses to take up that approach, and because of that, she suffers.

What the excessive descriptions of food reminded me of the most were the descriptions of clothing, people, technology, and restaurant meals (I guess you could include murders in there too, although I always thought they were sort of a class on their own) in American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. In that case, however, I knew what he was going for - a statement on materialism and superficiality in the eighties blah blah blah WE KNOW - whereas with Fat Girl, it feels far more like pity grubbing, and ineffective pity grubbing at that. Maybe that's what she's going for.

This is all teamed with an introduction that talks about how you won't like her, but she's just telling her story, blah blah blah. I HATE when people do this, and it makes me want to slap Johnny Depp when he says right at you in the trailer for his new movie, The Libertine, "you will not like me." HATE. It's the exact same thing..."I am so will not like me, and I don't care, all right? No, seriously, I don't want you to like me. I don't! Stop fucking liking me, I'm not likable." It's a kind of thinking you're special that's particularly gross to me, so this was not a good start to get off to.

All in all, I would recommend this book not with a blanket thumbs up, but with the condition that it's an all right way to pass a few lunchtimes at work. The writing is very good, but the presentation leaves a little to be desired. I found it left me wanting to know more about the rest of the folks in the book after the fact...what happened to them, where they wound up, if they ever resolved some of their issues...but of course, in a memoir, it's still being written, so tough shit, basically. It is an excellent presentation of guilt, and of hopelessness, but these are shown at the cost of squashing the hope that you can feel under the surface, but feel her intentionally tamping down. Let the sunshine in, kid, the truth of the optimism that's in there will not take away from your story.

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