Friday, September 03, 2010

Relocating the Old Blog

As of today, I am migrating this blog to a new Word Press Account. Basically, I am just sick of Blogger, and would like to stop giving Google as much of my business as possible. I am not deleting this account or anything, I am just not updating this blog anymore. Instead, you can read all about my continuing adventures Here.

The new blog title: Exercises in Resigned Mediocrity.

Here is the address: http://www.zanzibarannie.wordpress.com

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Freedom Update 2

I stopped reading it. Another 50 pages in, I realized that it was only getting worse and that I couldn't stand any of these people. I felt like this was the same contemporary fiction book that I have tried to force myself to read before, only to stop with similar feelings of disgust and then return to reading nonfiction only for a while. I think Tolstoy had it wrong; when it comes to modern fiction, it seems that it is the unhappy families that are all alike. All of the family members in them are selfish jerks.
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Freedom - An Update

Last night I read the first 117 pages of Freedom. The reviewers are right. It is addicting, well-written and I cannot put it down. However, as I am reading it, I get the distinct feeling that I really hate this book. I hate it for reasons that could surprise some people who think I am just a complete cynic. The fact is, I am also, very, very much an optimist when it comes to the nature of human beings. So, I don't like that as I am reading this book, I keep thinking to myself, yep, I know exactly what is coming next and it is not very good at all.

Look, don't get me wrong. There are days when I look around the world we live in and think that it is so terrible and that people treat each other so badly, that I wish that God would just end it all that afternoon. There are some terrible things in this world, and I, for one am not someone that believes in ignoring the awful things in the world for the sake of being naively positive. However, as awful as we treat one another in this world, at the same time, I truly believe that we are capable of great things and great kindnesses as human beings. That is why as much as today may suck, tomorrow may suck, and next week may suck, I refuse to give in to complete despair. But in this book, you just feel like, wow, these people all just despair more and more over time. It is just all of the things that I don't want to be. I know that my life hasn't exactly turned out according to what I would have idealized. There are things that make me sad, but that is no excuse for treating other people like crap or suddenly deciding to behave in unethical ways because I am sad about something. I realized this the second that I saw that movie American Beauty a very long time ago. People raved about it, and I just thought it was horrible; because, can you really care if horrible people come to horrible ends? How is that compelling?

Granted, I could be completely wrong, because I am only 118 pages in and this book is over 500 pages long, so I could read another 118 pages tonight (which I plan on doing) and find out that it has totally changed in tone. But I doubt it. And that makes me sad, too. Because even if a happy outcome isn't always possible (and in this mortal life, it most assuredly is not always possible, as rarely do people get everything that they hope for), I at least want to fathom that it may be possible. Or that, at the very least, people are redeemable in some way.

I try to reserve my absolute cynicism for politicians only, please.

Some North Carolina Suburbia Indicative of the State of Things

First things first, let's talk about this wall mural inside a Firehouse Subs in Chapel Hill:


Look, I am as anti-Duke as the next North Carolina fan, but there are just so many things wrong with this mural. First off, why is that ram there? Yes, I know that the ram is the mascot of UNC, but I just am not so sure why a ram would show up for a trailer fire. It is true, that watching a trailer fire could be an exciting way to spend the afternoon. You don't know how many times I have been driving around near my parents in Mississippi and have seen the remnants of a trailer fire and thought to myself, I bet watching that trailer burn would have been an exciting way to spend an afternoon, but I just don't understand why an animal, much less a ram, which is widely known in the animal kingdom to have a very short attention span, would want to watch a trailer burn.

Other problems that I have with this, come on, let's be realistic, no Duke fan lives in a trailer. First off, there are very few actual Duke fan that become residents of North Carolina. Duke fans are from the Northeast, and soon after they graduate from Duke flee on mass to Wall Street. I know the economic crisis has been terrible, but last time I checked, there still aren't any trailers in Tribeca. Second of all, Duke fans regard people who live in trailers with such disdain, that no self respecting trailer resident would ever be a Duke fan. I should know. When I was born, my family lived in a trailer, and for that reason alone, I could never, ever be a Duke fan. Disdain of the common person is not within my DNA.

Finally, I totally understand the Chapel Hill firemen's sentiment about using a garden hose when discovering that the owner of the residence is a Duke fan, but if that poor trailer resident is a Duke fan, then this scene is just altogether too pitiful. I mean, the poor trailer owner occupant I am sure is disdained by other Duke fans by virtue of living in a trailer, and now they are the victim of anti-Duke bias by people who should be sympathetic to them. Talk about taking it from both sides. It just is very, very sad actually.

Moving on, now. David and I discovered that we have a gardenia bush growing just off our back deck, and I was thrilled. Gardenias are my favorite, of course. We already discovered a hydrangea bush in our yard, so with this additional discovery, I am so pleased that my two favorite flowers are already resident in our yard.




Speaking of yards, this is how David spends his free time - weeding and pruning. In this instance, he is weeding the rose garden in the front of our house.
Knightley and I, of course, instead lounge in the grass and just watch him work.

A trip to Hillsborough reveals a part of the story of the original Regulators from North Carolina:


Of course, the first thing that I thought of when I saw this sign is how much I miss my friend Charelle singing along to the Warren G and Nate Dogg song.
Other North Carolina things. Here are Sarah and Ripken, with Ripken's mom looking on, enjoying the UNC women's soccer game versus Stanford. It was so much fun, and this picture makes me realize how much I love my sister, because Sarah risked the wrath of the freshmen children we were sitting among to satisfy the desire of a three year old to sit on her shoulders.



Finally, if you need some quantifiable measure of just how suburban things have become, then look no further than this picture. This is David checking out for us at the Gap.


Look, I know what you are all thinking. What? Who shops at the Gap anymore? I am telling you this right now, if you don't go into the Gap, you are missing some good stuff these days. After years of not going into the Gap, I purchased two wonderful shirt dresses from the Gap earlier in the year. And let me tell you, I wear them all the time because they have been the perfect thing for the ridiculously hot and humid summer that the East Coast has experienced this year. Also, every time I wear one of them, I get a compliment from someone who then asks me where I got the dresses. I can see the look of shock on their face when I tell them, "The Gap." They don't believe me. That's fine; that's their prerogative. I just bought two new dresses from The Gap, and they both are both comfortably wearable and cute. So, if you don't believe me and don't go into The Gap, because you don't think they have had anything good since the mid 1990's, then that is fine with me. At least that way, I don't have to worry about running into anyone else wearing my cute dresses.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Freedom




I am reading Freedom without having ever read The Corrections. There, I am admitting it now. I pretty much adore Franzen's essay collections, which I have read, so when I read all of the reviews about the new book out today, I couldn't say no. It just seems appropriate to read presently, the same way The Suburbs by The Arcade Fire seems appropriate to listen to.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Updates

Apparently, the people of Arizona (or more accurately, 23% of the Republican Primary voters in Arizona) are even dumber than I thought. Even with that ridiculously poorly written, hysteria inducing commercial, somehow Ben Quayle pulled out the win in Arizona last night. Crazy people, who lack the ability to write a cogent 30 second campaign spot, rejoice!

Second, unrelated update: A while ago, I mentioned that the article Amanda and I wrote was accepted for publication. It finally has been published, and it was reviewed today on the Law Librarian Blog. Since the review wasn't humiliatingly terrible, but instead was rather positive, I thought I would mention this.

Danish, please











I love the Danes. I have never been there, but right off of the bat, Denmark immediately invokes images of things that I love - Isak Dinesen stories and cheese Danishes. You can add another thing to that list - great clothes. One of the best parts about shopping in the EU is the availability of stores carrying Danish designers. Fortunately, the first day in Madrid we found a boutique called Yube that carried both Bruuns Bazaar and by Malene Birger. Unfortunately, I had to limit myself to just one item, because it was late in the trip and we had already spent too much money. I really wanted a dress, and as it turns out, the one that I thought was more appropriate for Spain wasn't by either of these designers. I am slightly regretting that decision. Both both brands are very hard to find in the States. And it really is a shame, because both designers have great stuff at fairly reasonable prices in Euros and British Pounds. Bruuns Bazaar even has a lower price point line called, BZR from which I just ordered this dress online -
I wish someone would sell these designers in boutiques here. In the meantime, I guess I need to start planning a return trip to the EU (or maybe even Denmark itself?) so that I can satisfy my Danish fashion desire.