Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Frivolous Blog Post

I decided this afternoon that it is time for a non-serious or ranting blog post. After talking to Eva tonight and saying some really random that out of context is hilarious, I decided that today would be a good time for a list of 10 random things I thought of or said today after which I thought "wow, I should put that on my blog." Actually some of the stuff was from yesterday but who cares.

So, without further ado...
The Top Ten Random and Original Thoughts of Emily (at least for today)

10. "A fit of apoplexy would be cool"

9. Going to the library can be overwhelming after not having been there for several weeks. I finally had to force myself to just pick books and go because making decisions was really difficult.

8. Our mail never comes before 5pm anymore which is extremely annoying.

7. I bought bed lifters the other day and "installed" them tonight. My bed was already really tall because the mattress is twice as think as some mattresses. However, there was not enough space between the bottom of the frame and the floor to fit most "under the bed" containers. After adding bed lifts, my bed now stands at a grand height of 3'.

6. Add the bed lifters has had the bonus effect of making my bed stationary finally! The wheels on my frame have never locked correctly so I am constantly leaning over between the bed and the wall to retrieve books, pillows, and animals that have fallen in the ever widening crack during the night. Now things like my blankets may actually stay on the bed since the wheels are now trapped in the bed lifters!

5. The main reason I needed bed lifters was to make space for my collection of yarn.

4. I have a lot of half-read non-fiction books on the shelf next to my bed. I should really start educating myself again so I can say I've actually finished those books.

3. Yesterday Chicago experienced a mini-apocalypse. Early in the day Eva came home and remarked that she loved all the snow that was predicted when outside it was a balmy day, kind of like a "New England spring day." Around 4pm while I was down at Belmont shopping, the temperature started dropping. I found out later that it dropped 30 degrees in 2 hours... Then it started raining which was icky since I wasn't home yet. It had already been windy but the gusts got up to 50-60 mph during the evening. Then the snow finally arrived. However, the wind was blowing so hard that large areas of ground had no snow accumulation because the wind was pushing it all into big heaps on the side of the parking lots or next to the buildings. Also, our apartment is a corner unit. Most of our windows (in the living room and Eva's bedroom) face west and my windows face south. The wind was blowing in such a perfect direction that it sounded like a tornado was coming for most of the afternoon until this morning some time. The weather person on the evening news even reported there was thunder in some areas of Chicago. Thunder snow. I've always joked about it and never thought it was real... Oh yeah, with wind chill it was around -30 degrees this morning... Luckily I didn't have to go out.

2. Whenever it is extremely windy, the arm on the parking lot thingy breaks off because it is made of cheap wood painted yellow. Yesterday was the 3rd or 4th time this has happened since we moved in. We thought they had just kept replacing it with another cheap wood thingy but as I was walking home from the library this evening, I noticed that it had been replaced again. However, it was about half the length it should have been so there is a good 5 feet between the pole where the chain blocks the entrance and the other side of the driveway. Eva and I had been wondering why they didn't just buy a more sturdy arm to save money. Now we know they have been saving money by reusing the same piece of wood that blows off every time it is windy and just dealing with the fact that it is only about 4' long now...

1. For some reason I bought a Strawberry Fanta at the 7-Eleven tonight. Still not sure why. I didn't even drink it all...

And there you have it! About a 10th of the crazy things I think about during the day because I am so bored and mostly unemployed! Hope some of it made you smile and/or laugh.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Got inspiration?

I was going to post a review I wrote about the movie Juno earlier today but I got detoured back to what I should have posted about sooner - Barack Obama's victory speech in South Carolina, home of my mom! Of course, if I had written it sooner I would not have been able to include links to Caroline Kennedy's amazing NYTimes Op-Ed piece entitled "A President Like My Father" and Senator Ted Kennedy's wonderful endorsement this morning of Obama.

Today I had a big First in my life - I actually contributed money to a political campaign. I have always viewed it as a kind of sell out or false support because I would like campaigns to be more about the issues and not the money. However, Barack Obama has inspired me in many ways, including his radical ideals of campaign tactics and his deep honesty with his supporters. I couldn't give much because I don't have much right now. However, I feel like I contributed to making change in America.

I got an email today from the Barack Obama campaign (well, actually from Barack Obama because I believe he probably is involved with writing to his supporters). He wanted to emphasize something his campaign manager David Plouffe said in an earlier email. I have quoted it below:

"Here are a few details about our victory in South Carolina. According to the official results and CNN exit polls, Barack won:

  • 55% of the total vote, more than twice as many votes as any other candidate
  • 57% of voters who had never voted in a primary
  • 66% of voters who had never voted before at all
  • Every type of community -- urban, suburban, and rural
  • 58% of voters between ages 18 and 64
  • 67% of voters between ages 18 and 29

The clear lesson from South Carolina is that voters are ready to bring this country together and solve the problems that matter to ordinary Americans.

This election isn't about race or gender, income level or education level.

It's about the past and the future." ~David Plouffe

I think it is time for optimism. Every day I grow more passionate about the ideals Barack Obama supports. It probably has something to do with the inspiring things he says EVERY DAY! He has also bravely resisted the negative campaigning of his competitors, even praising them in his speech on Saturday for being strong and secure in the Democratic party.

It will take you approximately half an hour to watch the speeches of Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy from the last few days. I will also include links below to the texts if you would rather read them. However, at least for Obama's speech, I highly recommend watching or listening to it because the power of the crowd and Obama's strength of character gave me chills throughout his 16 minute speech. In any case, PLEASE read what he has to say at least because it is time to be inspired again. I wasn't lucky enough to be around to hear JFK or Martin Luther King, Jr. Even my parents weren't around to hear Franklin Roosevelt speak about social change. Now my generation has a chance to be inspired by a politician in a way that no other candidate in my memory has been able to do.

Last year I had the honor of being a guest at the 2006 Northwestern University Commencement when Barack Obama was the commencement speaker. I get chills remember just being in the same football stadium as Obama. He was able to reach out to both the liberal graduates and the conservative graduates by addressing them all as agents of change, whatever kind of change they may believe in. Obama is the person who will be able to heal the divide of bipartisanship that gets nothing done!

Four years ago when Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention, I was lying on the couch at my mom's apartment reading a book with the NPR broadcast of the DNC in the background. When Obama started speaking, I couldn't keep reading. I sat up and listened to the whole speech. I remember saying to mom afterwards, "He could be a great president someday." I hope that someday is really soon.

If any of you in the Chicago area want to join me in helping the campaign in this very important week leading up to Feb. 5, please let me know. I just signed up to help out at the Obama headquarters downtown this week and I hope to hear from them soon about when they need help.

The text of Obama's SC Victory Speech is found here.
The text of Ted Kennedy's speech and introductory remarks by Caroline Kennedy are found here. The text of Obama's reply is also included.
I also included a link above to Obama's DNC speech and to his NU commencement address.

So just take a little time to see what Obama has to say. You can even get podcasts from Obama's webpage! I've taken time to listen to Clinton and Edwards so I'm not making my decisions based only on Obama's charisma. I am basing my decisions based on his power and potential for the betterment of our country. So listen to some of the inspiration I've linked above while cooking dinner or brushing your teeth. It doesn't take a lot of time. Give the time you have to a worthy cause - our country.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Election 2008 NPR stories

Hey y'all,
Sorry for the trend of two posts on one day then none for awhile. Oh well!

I listen to Morning Edition while at work and this morning I heard a story that really exemplifies why I don't like Hilary Clinton. This story in particular addresses the negative campaign strategies being used to defile Obama's past. As the commentators mentioned, negative comments often get modified or proven wrong, but the stories about redactions are hidden on "page 23." It is also noted that all the attacks on Obama are effectively distracting him from actively campaigning on his platform by instead making him defend himself for petty things like his high school drug use which he has freely admitted.

Also, in case you missed it, watch Obama delivering the David Letterman Top Ten List last night! I love a politician who can make fun of himself! I just know in Baracktober Obama will be the Democrat candidate for president! Hehehe. I just wanted to use the world Baraktober because it's funny...

P.S. I Love You

Yesterday I finally went to see a movie! The last movie I saw was The Golden Compass over Christmas break and before that I don't remember the last time I saw something in the theaters. Lately I've been avoiding the movie theater because there are so many movies I want to see and I couldn't make up my mind. I was worried that I would pick something that didn't end up being too good and I didn't want to waste my money.

Well, as luck would have it, I saw a not so great movie, P.S. I Love You. However, I think a lot of my cynicism on the movie is based on the fact that I recently read the book. As often happens, the movie was nearly as good as the book and all of my favorite parts were either left out or changed.

The book P.S. I Love You was written by Cecilia Ahern at a relatively young age (21 years old I believe). As is many times the case, age did not matter much in the overall maturity and talent in this book. The setting is Ireland and the main trope is a woman dealing with the loss of her husband to brain cancer. Her husband left her with a "plan" of things to do each month to help her move on. Simple story but the true beauty was in the humor.

Unfortunately the movie seemed to drop all of the original humor and make up new story lines or change character details in a way that completely voided the remaining humor. I will concede that Gerard Butler did a fantastic job playing the always humorous, easy-going Gerry, the deceased husband. The casting of Hilary Swank as Holly was not as perfect. Maybe she was perfect for the uptight Holly in the rewritten story but she was not in the spirit of the book.

After reading the book I knew it was not likely that the movie could be anywhere close to heart-wrenching and hilarious as the book. There were "too many" characters for a two hour movie and way too many intricate details about their lives. One of the big losses, I felt, was in the story of Holly's (the protagonist) story. In the book, she has 3 brothers and a sister with both parents living in the same town in the house she grew up in. They're family dinners were something to both enjoy because of the family humor and dread because of the tension created by a diverse set of siblings. In the movie, Holly had only one sister and was abandoned by her father at the age of 14. Her mother was still bitter about this desertion and did not approve of Holly's amazing husband, Gerry. I was shocked at this huge alteration. Instead of the movie being a joyous celebration of life after the death of a loved one and the process of moving on, it became a drama about a woman who has been "abandoned" two times, once by her father and then by her husband dying at a young age. I'm sure I could write a whole other post about our culture's reluctance to show an actual happy family not broken by divorce or death. I'd like to believe it still exists!

The other major alteration that disturbed me was the addition of an Irish singer, William, who Holly and her friends meet on a trip to Ireland (planned by Gerry). Yes, Ireland, the original setting of the book which was discarded in favor of a trendy look at life in New York. In any case, William is found nowhere in the book. In the movie, however, it was necessary to add some sex, otherwise it would not qualify as a modern romantic drama (note the sarcasm and cynicism in this observation). Part of moving on, according to the movie, is having meaningless sex with a stranger in a foreign country mere months after the death of the love of your life. Talk about mixed messages! I am a lover of romantic comedies and I would have been just fine without this additional character! The time wasted on this relationship could have been better spent by including the exploits involved in Holly finding an administrative job she actually enjoys (in the movie she becomes a famous shoe designer) or looking at the intricate, real relationships in her family (before it was taken to the chopping block).

To sum up, there is something wrong with how Hollywood sees the genre of romantic comedies. I would rather watch a predictable romantic comedy with great characters and dialogue like Ever After or Sleepless in Seattle than watch what Hollywood deems appropriate in realism and contemporary values. Some changes need to be made in Chick Flicks before I waste my money on another one. I can't remember the last time a true romantic comedy was made that was just fun and sweet instead of melodramatic and raunchy. The closest I can think of is Waitress which is too much of an amazing FILM to be classified in the non-artsy category of romantic comedy.

So if you are looking for a movie to see this weekend, skip P.S. I Love You and try something a little more classy. Or better yet, go read a book, perhaps even P.S. I Love You.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Something funny. Hehehe!

I was going to write one post about the 2008 Candidates and the funny thing that happened on retreat but the political part became so long I decided I should cut it up in case people chose not to read all of it. They would have missed the funny part :-)

As promised, here is something funny. This weekend I went on a retreat with the young adults from my new church. On Saturday night we had a "soiree" which did, of course, include wine and beer (Catholics like their alcohol). No one got drunk or anything like that but there was at least enough alcohol in people's systems to make the game "Social Security," from the 70s, a huge hit. I was sitting at the other end of the table playing Flux but it was hard to ignore the Social Security players. From what I gathered, this "cooperative" game consists of moving around a board that looks a little like the Life game board, picking up cards with some sort of subject or something, and then spinning the candy cane spinner that has a question (the candy cane was apparently a quick fix by the last person who owned the game). Then the person answers the question or talks about something. (Examples of these things are questions like "Is it okay for parents to spank their children? Is it okay for children to spank their parents?" or "Talk about your pet peeve")

How this game actually works luckily does not affect the funny story. After that big group moved on to play other games, a couple of us were talking about some of the questions. We got on the subject of whether or not parents should punish their children for swearing if the parents swear a lot around their children. The people I was talking to were of the opinion that it is never okay for children to swear so they should be punished. My answer and the ensuing reply was as follows:

Me: "Well, I'd say if the parents are swearing around the children, the children should be able to swear around the parents. Parents are supposed to be the example of how to behave so the children should not be punished for following their lead. In fact, children swearing at their parents would probably quickly teach the parents to be a little more circumspect and not swear so much."


L: "Are you the youngest?"

Me: "Yes... How did you know?"

L: "Youngest children always make the most logical sounding arguments about things like this."

I found this very humorous and a little freaky at how well she pegged.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

An interesting politics poll

According to

I agree with Clinton 44.44 % of the time.
I agree with Obama 88.88 % of the time.
I agree with Edwards 55.55 % of the time.
I agree with Huckabee 22.22 % of the time.
I agree with Romney 11.11 % of the time.
I agree with McCain 22.22 % of the time.
I agree with Thompson 11.11 % of the time.
I agree with Giuliani 22.22 % of the time.

This poll was obviously flawed because I think the only reason they said I agreed even 11.11% with Romney and Thompson is because I indicated that although I do not think the Supreme Court should ban abortion (although I do think abortion is wrong), I am fully against outlawing partial birth abortions. I also think I agree with Obama more like 99.99% of the time and Clinton a whole lot less. Other than the small sample of questions these numbers are taken from, the other flaw I see is what the questions are looking at. I have noticed after reading detailed plans on candidate websites that there are two ways of "agreeing" with candidates. One is agreeing with the overall goals such as ending the war in Iraq or outlawing abortion. This poll does not address what I find more important which is the methods the candidate will use to execute the ideals once in office. Although Obama has been accused of not having enough plans, his website demonstrates otherwise. If you go to and read the articles under "Issues," it is clear that over numerous years and speeches Obama has outlined the way he wishes to operate in office and get things done. People also complain about his "lack of record" which is ludicrous since the 100s of bills he has supported, authored, or collaborated on during his years in the Illinois State Senate and the US Senate show otherwise. I'm more confident about Obama's plans being carried out than Clintons, thus the reason I agree with Obama more. I guess the poll does show that I like even Edwards more than Clinton which is accurate so maybe it's not as flawed as I think . I guess I find it really hard to believe that I don't agree with 21.22% of Obama's stuff.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Elections 2008 - Super Tuesday is approaching!

As promised, here is a much anticipated (at least by me) post about voting and the 2008 Presidential Election!

I'm very excited about this election year because it is the first time in my life (and not just my voting years but even in high school when politics were discussed a lot) that I have truly believed in a candidate's power to make change for the better of our country. The candidates, at least on the Democratic side, have been exuding positive energy the excites voters and makes the voting something you want to do instead of voting just to vote against someone else (which is what I did in 2004). The only direct exception I can think of is some of Hillary's negative campaigning against Obama in Iowa but since that news uproar (the whole "he just wants power as shown by the fact he said he wanted to be president in kindergarten" debacle"), I haven't heard much more about major negative campaigns by the Democrats. The Republicans are apparently getting a little nasty in South Carolina but that is just another reason my support is with Obama, who has publicly criticized the use of negative campaign strategies (An email was sent to Obama supports asking for a show of support by reaching a goal of 10,000 donors within a certain timeline. This push for fundraising was used as an endorsement of Obama's commitment to shun the use of negative campaign strategies).

I have also noticed in the last several primaries that the leaders have been so close that only a few thousand or even a few hundred have made the difference between first and second place. This is a testament to how much a vote counts! A few thousand may seem like a huge disparity but when you take into account how many people live in each state and in this country, it is a small margin. Indeed, the New Hampshire primary outcome was completely unpredicted since a large number of people who may not have voted initially came out to show support for Hillary Clinton and John McCain. A lot of news analysts have credited McCain's victory to the large number of independents who may have decided to vote in the Republican primary to support McCain instead of the Democratic primary to support Obama, since the polls were predicting a landslide victory for Obama. There is no way to know exactly how much independent voters affected the outcome of these primaries but based on discussions with individuals and general political savvy, it likely made a difference.

That being said, Obama is also expected to win Illinois by a landslide, largely due to this being his "home" state. He is our senator so we know his values, positions, and integrity. However, I still plan on voting on February 5th because I would not be able to forgive myself for not voting if he should win by a smaller than expected margin or should come in second to another candidate. The media and polls influence too much in elections and it is our responsibility as citizens to receive the information provided by the media but to make the ultimate decision of who to vote for based on our own intellect and research. It is also important to vote for your candidate even if polls say he or she will win anyways. What would happen if 3000 other people who were going to vote for that person just decided on election day that it was too cold to walk to the polling place (speaking as a Chicagoan on a very cold day). As we have seen in the past caucuses and primaries, this year of all years it is important that nothing dissuades us from letting our voices be heard in those final numbers on election day.

I'm sure I will have more to say about elections this upcoming year but for now, I hope this is enough to inspire and encourage everyone who reads this to vote, no matter which candidate you support (it would be wrong for me to only tell Obama people to vote).

Let me know if you have any additional thoughts about these elections because I'm always willing to engage in discussions about politics as many of you know.

And last, but not least, I will give you one reason to vote for Obama (I feel a list coming at a later date...). You can get "free" Obama ringtones on his website (you may have to pay a few cents for the 30sec it takes to connect to the internet to download). Enough said.

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Just a fluke...

I had big plans to write a post about the privilege of voting today in honor of New Hampshire but I didn't get to it. Then the results came in and I was not in the mood for doing anything, including finishing my laundry.

So, I'm sure some of you might be interested in my response to Hillary's victory in New Hampshire. I was pretty disappointed but not entirely surprised. Eva and I were watching a news story titled "The Obama Factor" on CBS last night and they probably spent 75% of the time talking about Hillary's boost in her NH campaign. Because she lost in Iowa, despite having been a favorite in this campaign for months, Hillary stepped up her campaigning and influenced a lot of people at the last minute. I'll probably include something about last minute campaigning tomorrow as well... Obama still did amazing in New Hampshire which I think the media has been kind of ignoring this evening. He only had 6000 fewer votes than Hillary which is not a lot in the scheme of the country. In addition, if NPR's cool interactive election map is correct, Obama and Hillary actually won the same number of delegates for the National Convention. In addition, only 22 delegates were at stack in NH while Iowa has 45 delegates. I'm not trying to completely discount Hillary's win since it is impressive that she received the most votes. The bottom line, however, is that Obama is still ahead in terms of number of delegates.

The other factor that I haven't really heard being considered is that after the next couple of small primaries, there will be more than one happening at a time and it will be impossible for the individual candidates to travel to the states in question and directly influence the voters as was done in Iowa and NH. The media will still be a source of "information" but I think a lot of Hillary's victory is due to some of her powerful speeches and press conferences in the last few days.

I started writing a lot more but then I realized I was segueing into the post I want to write tomorrow about voting in general. I guess we'll just treat this as a two-part post! I'd love to hear any comments any of you might have on this exciting election year so please feel free to post comments! Plus it makes me feel loved when people comment ;-)

So far I've found NPR the easiest site to navigate for primary and caucus results. I don't have cable so I can't watch all the live coverage on CNN etc. NPR has both stories and the raw numbers on their website so check out the link above. They have also designed the state by state results pages to have other major races such as governor, Congress, and Senate races when those happen.
The final word: Obama doesn't need to bounce back because he's doing a great job pushing ahead. One small loss won't necessarily mess up the whole nomination. I hope...

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Monday, January 07, 2008

this is not right...

Okay, this is going to be a short two-part post. Promise.

We had thunderstorms all evening. Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. We had THUNDER and LIGHTENING in the middle of JANUARY in CHICAGO! Apparently our high temp of 60 today broke a record that was over 100 years old. And we had thunderstorms. Lots of pretty lightening too, of course, but I just couldn't get into it since it is supposed to be wretchedly cold right now and snowing. Just so you know, it did basically go from 0 degrees to 60 degrees in about three days. That old saying "0-60" doesn't seem so odd now...

Part 2: This is completely unrelated but I just thought I'd share my new internet addiction for the week (or day I suppose since I posted the game last...) It is online radio at it's best - If you are not familiar with this site, here's how it works. You type in the name of a song or an artist and the magic website makes you a whole radio station based on that song or artist, matching similar styles etc. So while I was at work today, I felt like listening to some music but didn't have any CDs with me. Eva had told me about Pandora so I logged on, typed in Tori Amos, and just started listening. They always play a song by the artist first so you can tell the computer whether or not you like that song (as a representation of the artist). After that, the computer just picks other related songs and you are given the chance to either give each song a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, further refining your "station." You can also add more information for the computer to work off of by giving more songs or artists. I did this by adding Joshua Radin, Loreena McKinnett, Indigo Girls, and Coldplay. Of all the songs that played, there were only 2 or 3 that I didn't like. You aren't required to rate the songs but I made sure to mark the ones I didn't like so the computer would know my preferences.

It is like having someone make you a really awesome continuous mix tape with a lot of people you've never heard of.

So if you feel like turning on the radio to listen to music, try the computer instead. The internet site is free but you can subscribe in order to stream music on cell phones and other wireless devices.

Have fun! I'm off to bed, hoping the thunder doesn't wake me up later...

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Really cool game

I found this puzzle game yesterday on It is very fun and very thought inducing! I thought I'd share it with people who might appreciate it as much as me.

Friday, January 04, 2008

No Angel

I'm currently listening to a very interesting audio book called No Angel by Penny Vincenzi. I had passed it over several times before finally checking it out a couple weeks ago. (Note: I've been listening to a lot of books lately because I can crochet while I listen or it passes the time when I'm on the bus or train. I also love being read to so it helps me fall asleep at night, no matter what the story.) It usually does not take me three weeks to finish an audio book because of how often I will just put the headphones on and go for a walk to the bank or sit in my room and just listen. However, I didn't have any time to listen while I was visiting Frances and Jonathan in Baltimore so I got very behind. (They wore me out so much I'd fall asleep after about 30 seconds of the story. I finally gave up.)

No Angel is set in the decades after the turn of this century, around 1904-the 20s (I'm not quite sure when it ends as I am still listening). It is a self professed saga, probably similar to the Forsyte Saga. I incidentally listened to another saga from this period by Barbara Taylor Bradford that was quite interesting a couple weeks ago as well. There are 23 CDs this time (compared to my usual book length of 10-12 CDs) because the book spans so many decades and so many characters. Penny Vincenzi writes fascinating and real characters. It might tell you something about how rich her characters are if I tell you about how I wanted to throw the CD player across the room yesterday because one of them was being so idiotic and I cried when another died during WWI. This is the kind of book that could never be made into a decent movie but it has a life of it's own in one's imagination.

The other startlingly fresh aspect of the book is the author's own voice within the narrative. Although I'm sure the reader adds to the affect, Vincenzi often speaks to the audience in asides and long parenthetical musings, for lack of a better phrase. (Note: I will warn anyone who is thinking about reading this book that there are lots of immoral things in the book such as adultery and sex outside of marriage. However, none of it is gratuitous or unnecessary to the story.) The main character, Celia, is most likely the "Angel" referred to in the title. The story revolves around her life and how her choices affect the people around her as well as herself. She does not behave perfectly and recognizes many mistakes and missed chances. This is where Vincenzi's delightful voices enters in. On example of her brilliant omniscient narration is on the subject of a character's adulterous affair. Vincenzi practically spells out the "stages" of adultery, giving a great deal of insight into how the characters may be feeling and how it often progresses in the same fashion throughout generations. Because of this omniscient insight into what people may think or feel at various stages of an affair, the reader/listener is able to look at the situation and understand the motivations. This is not to say adultery (in this example) is in anyway condoned. When I wanted to throw the CD player across the room, it was actually because I could recognize the serious mistakes made by the adulterous character(s) that still did not outweigh the understanding provided by the author. I hope all that makes sense.

The other distinct voice is found in the reminiscent quality in some moments. There are times when Celia will make a strong decision to do or not do something and the narration jumps to the future and says something like "Many years later Celia would look back on that one moment and wonder what would have happened if..." It is both a view into the character's thoughts but this technique also points out the fact that everything that is happening within the telling of the story has already happened. Celia looks back on her choices instead constantly looking ahead (in the narration) to the consequences. Again, I hope I am making that clear enough. I find it hard sometime to fully express the attachments I create with books, especially novels.

It is interesting that I am writing all this praise now because when I had just started out with this story I contemplated commenting on Goodreads (add me as a friend, btw!) that the narration was way too choppy and confusing. This is because Vincenzi is constant jumping to various characters next to the one she was just speaking through or even jumping to a completely new set of characters across oceans, for example. When she does this, there is no exposition at first - the new section usually starts with dialogue rather than explanation. Therefore, when listening to the story it is sometimes hard to know when there is a break in the text that signals a shifting of focus. However, this has become an amazing feature to me now.

There are so many characters that I do not like any of them to be neglected too long, especially if the particular part of the story at the time involves them a great deal. There are some sections that are probably only a paragraph long, featuring perhaps a couple gossiping about something that has just been described through the eyes of the one being gossiped about. Sometimes major decisions will be visited in flashback so when the dialogue of that section begins, you have no idea what actually happened between the last time you saw the character and this time. The switching can also be very humorous when, for example, one character has just found out she is pregnant and the narration jumps to an entirely new character who is screaming in pain when giving birth. It's all about the juxtaposition.

I suppose that is enough of this book review for now, since it is quite long and I'm not even done with the book! I just wanted to write something because I got barely any sleep last night so I'm extremely tired. I need to keep myself awake until bedtime so I don't mess up my sleep schedule even more.

Have a good weekend!

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Thursday, January 03, 2008


YAY! Obama wins Iowa! Yay!!!!

Go here for the story.

I'm excited. It is a good start to 2008.

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Not at all a boring Thursday night...

I've been having a slow week trying to settle back in after my wonderful vacation. I'm currently sitting at my newly organized/clean desk watching a BBC version of Tom Jones. It is very interesting because I have heard of the play in passing but had no idea what the story was about or when it takes place. It's a pretty funny story as well, with lots of mishaps and barely missed chances.

In other news, we are having yet another plumbing problem. What a surprise. For clarification, I love my apartment for many reasons and after the bed bug incidents/month, nothing emotionally terrifying has happened. It is just the small stuff that I suppose is normal to anyone renting in a high-rise apartment building in a city.

In any case, the latest plumbing issue is in a whole new room! The bathroom! Hooray, variety. After taking a shower today, I was unable to turn off the hot water completely. I went downstairs to tell the building manager that we needed a plumber but apparently the building manager was on her way out for the day, even though it was only 4:15pm and the office is supposed to be open until 5pm. I told her that the HOT water wouldn't turn off and she replied "oh, so it's a leak. I'll send maintenance up tomorrow."

Well, the good news is that hot water is included in the rent and therefore we won't be responsible for the hours and hours of "leaking" hot water wasted tonight. It is not just an obnoxious drip either! It is a steady dribbling stream of water. The bad news is that it is a complete waste of water and goes against all the other conservation efforts in our apartment. Eva and I are very good about turning off lights when we're not in the room, not running the water excessively, using the water saver option on the dishwasher, using energy saving lightbulbs, and so on. And yet we are wasting gallons of hot water tonight because the building supervisor decided to go home early instead of arranging for maintenance to see to the problem tonight.

Two more bits of randomness to go:

Eva came home in between her day job and her stage management job to find a nice big freezer box from her mom, containing various meats and chocolate cake. The unexpected surprise, however, was the packet of dry ice. Eva came into my room to ask if I had any need of dry ice. I couldn't think of anything off the top of my head... So Eva decided to play with it in the bathroom sink. Hehehe. It was really cool to melt some of it with the running water and watch the steamy substance (I think Eva said it was carbon dioxide) roll over the sides of the sink. Eva assures me it wouldn't kill me or set off any alarms, as long as I didn't spend a long time in the bathroom with the door closed... She did say that if I started turning red and had trouble breathing I should stick my head out the window or something... Before Eva left she decided to put the leaky faucet to good use and put the rest of the dry ice in the bath tub. I haven't looked in on it lately but I think it has mostly dissipated now. Luckily the heat has gone from being to low to way to high so windows are cracked in every room (even though the outside temp is in the low 20s during the day). It is, as Frances said, "natural air conditioning." One must resort to such measures when dealing with building controlled heat.

Last bit of excitement for the evening is the Iowa caucuses. NPR has a very nice chart of the caucus returns and I reload it every couple minutes in anxious anticipation. When I first checked I was distressed to see that Edwards was ahead in the Democrats' caucuses. However, that was only with 17% reporting. Now, less than an hour later, Obama is ahead with 36% of the votes at 681 votes, followed by Edwards at 572 votes and 30% of the votes. Clinton is trailing in third with 30% and 568 votes. This is at around 8:39pm CST with 80% of caucuses reporting. I've been learning a lot lately about the caucus process and the Democrats basically use a kind of Electoral college system while the Republicans use a popular vote style. (Go to Wikipedia for a good explanation or check out the stories at NPR) I'm very excited the Obama is getting a larger lead because earlier it was neck to neck with the top three seperated by only a dozen or so votes, each taking around a third of the votes. With 20% still not reporting, however, I'm afraid there may be a final turn around but I can always hope.

So from the above paragraph, you can probably tell two things: I am an Obama supporter and I don't care much about the Republican results. I've been listening to NPR stories about both parties but since I would much rather have Obama win over anyone, I don't have much of a preference yet about who he should run against. At the moment, though, Huckabee has a strong lead with 34% of the votes but only 65% of precincts reporting.

Well, I must return now to my movie since I am extremely lost in regards to what is happening in Tom Jones. I only know that Tom is in jail and just found out he accidently slept with his mother. While meanwhile, the heroine Sophie is bawling her eyes out because of some letter Tom wrote just to get another woman off his back. Yep, I'm lost...

Happy January 3rd to you all!

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