Friday, April 30, 2010


Fingers crossed.  I soooooo hope I get on the flight tonight.  I've been looking at pictures of Sunny and I want to cuddle with her sooooo much.  And I looked at pictures from my last trip and remembered how fun our day was at Balboa Park and how freakin' awesome my sis is.  Please oh please oh please let me get on the flight!!!!!


I tried to keep a blog just for keeping track of my reads.  I decided to consolidate.  Here are a couple posts from it about books I really liked.

Six hundred pages of dream sequence? Or a brilliant narrative that continually morphs, leaving the reading wondering who is who and what is real? I thoroughly enjoyed this read. The author creates a cast of ethereal characters who have no apparent connections. They do capture your attention, however, and draw you into their stories. Describing the book is quite difficult, actually. I recommend reading it yourself to see what you get out of it.

*Warning* If you don't like puns, don't read this book. If shakespeare wrote a fairy tale, this would be it. The turns of phrase are impeccable. Although I often wanted to prick the princess with a pin and make her fall to earth, purely for the joy of seeing her finally have something strike her back, I liked the story. As can be expected with fairy tales, the plot is otherworldly but the prose is magical. I really enjoyed this read and found myself imagining how kids would react to the tale.

I re-read this book after it came up in conversation last week. The story is beautifully crafted. Charlie's tale is sweet and poignant. I recommend it to everyone.

Sad. But uplifting. I waited too long to read this.

After reading Maus, seeing District 9 and reading this book, I am wondering if the human race has any redeeming qualities. The satire and zany characters make it a particularly entertaining read. Saunders has a quirky sense of humor that reminds me a lot of Terry Pratchett. A short read, but one that is quite profound for such a seemingly comedic situation.

These book exemplify creativity. The author transcends the autobiography genre by illustrating his story instead of merely telling it. By being forced to look into the eyes of the characters, the reader can't ignore their "human side" (though, oddly enough, none are actually human).

My recent quest to read more non-fiction began with this book. My sister read it based on the recommendation of a friend of hers, who apparently loves to learn about the history of beverages. This book covers one of the most interesting topics I have read about. I have been reminded of some random portion of it every day since I began reading it. I drink at least one of the six drinks (beer, wine, spirits, tea, coffee, and coca-cola) during the course of most days. Learning the history behind such common beverages is quite fascinating. In a way, it made me feel a little better about humanity. That we have been drinking some of these things since we first stood erect shows that we are able to maintain a continuity of sorts, even as the world continues to rapidly evolve. And somehow that makes me feel better. Don't ask me why.

Countdown 2nd Edition

Per Sara's request, I have added the Vegas trip :)

No Fish This Time

I have dreams.  Lots of them. And often quite incredibly
detailed.  I have several of them written down and have considered posting them on this blog so you may see those later.  Some of the memorable ones are:
  • persuing Tom Cruise, the serial killer who cut off people's left ear as his trademark before throwing them in a muddy river, and finding out my dad (Ben Bratt) was a heroine addict 
  • petting the heads of several distressed fish at a hotel in Australia whose water had been drained by some unknown evil villain.  I had to run back and forth from the ocean with buckets of water to pour over the poor little fish so they could breathe.  All was saved when Mr. Jarvis worked a contact to restore the water. 
  • last night's dream, which I will try my best to document for you here
Some stuff happened I don't remember.  I know several events occurred prior to the first portion of the dream I remember but I can't recall exactly what they were.  The first thing I can remember is that I was shopping at a store much like a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's (perhaps anticipating my trip to Cali this weekend?).  I spent a lot of time wandering around the store shopping but, in particular, the decision about which chapstick to choose proved quite difficult.  In the end, I grabbed the most visually attractive (and what I thought was the cheapest) option which was some kind of organic version of Soft Lips, the brand in the extra long thin white tube.  

When I was at the check stand the girl scanned my chapstick and it came up as $5.  Five dollars!! Outrageous! Who pays $5 for chapstick!  Inside I was indignant but outside I just asked the girl if she had entered it incorrectly.  I insisted that it was on sale for $2.50 but she showed me the label and sure enough, it was FIVE dollars.  Instead of just not getting the stupid chapstick, I asked if I could go get the cheaper one.  Because I was at Wild Oats or wherever, the girl was incredibly accommodating (probably because she had just smoked out before work) and told me to feel free.  

Although the chapstick was behind me and to my left, I wandered in front of the checkstand and over to the right (which made sense because that's where all the candy was).  I decided to grab some chocolate before I went to the chapstick and could think of nothing but how much I wanted chocolate dipped raisins.  My friend Brandi happened to be shopping in the same area at the same time so she helped me with my pursuit.  Side note: every store should have a chocolate section like this store did.  It was beautiful and the selection was outstanding.  What didn't they have, you ask??  Chocolate dipped raisins.  Oh, there was something that looked just like it was the right thing, but when I bit into it I discovered it was really haystacks in disguise (the candy haystacks, not the real thing, though this being a dream anything is possible) and, though I love coconut, I was thoroughly disappointed. 

My craving was never fulfilled due to the fact that the check stand girl came over to ask if i needed help finding the chapstick.  Dammit!  The chapstick.  I totally forgot.  So I headed out of the chocolate section.  Things here get a little foggy.  Somewhere, somehow, some way, a girl named Laura (I think) came to me in some kind of vision or appearance (not sure how to say that she actually appeared in front of me and spoke, although her body was not present) and told me that I needed to help her.  She had been wrongfully committed to a mental institution in some kind of conspiracy theory.  This poor girl looked so distraught, yet sane, that I felt compelled to find her and help her.  

In true detective story fashion, she didn't actually tell me the name of the mental institution or where it was located.  She cryptically told me to look for the names, yada yada, yada yada, and yada yada.  (Not only did I forget these names upon waking, I forgot them almost immediately after she told them to me but she had already vanished).  I set off on my journey to find this lost soul.  

Barely a foot out of the store, I noticed I was being followed by a quite large and quite cro-magnony man.  He didn't speak much, mostly grunted, but he was clearly there to prevent me from finding my way to my desired destination (obviously part of the grand conspiracy).  For some reason, it seemed like he was related to me and was set in my path to distract me from my goal.  I saw through the ploy.  Not knowing where I was ultimately heading, I spent most of the next little while attempting to get away from this guy.  Somehow I convinced him to knock on the doors of the houses we were passing and ask them for random items of my choosing to see if they would give it to him.  While he waited, I slowly walked away and gained some distance.  

Being in a residential area, I wasn't sure where I should go to find a hidden mental institution.  I did know that I needed to ditch this guy for good.  I came across a little craft shop run out of a home in the neighborhood and decided to go in to figure out my next move.  As it turned out, the shop was run by three very nice nuns.  I explained that I didn't have much time but that I was trying to find this hidden place and also trying to get the big dude off my back.  They looked at each other knowingly and seemed to silentlyconsult each other about their next move.  

The next thing I knew, I was being lifted up by three nuns and dropped down a laundry chute (in case you are picturing them wearing black habits, they were in fact pastels.  Blue, green and pink).  The experience was quite pleasant.  Everything was soft and luxurious, and it smelled fresh and lovely (though normally things you put in a chute are dirty and not luxurious.  As I write this, I see that they were providing a cleaning service and were in fact sending clean items to people on the other end).  

After landing softly in a pile of fresh linens, I momentarily debated about relaxing and taking a nap but Laura came back to mind and I motivated myself to get out of the laundry bin.  I got a bearing on my surroundings and saw that I was at the mental institution.  Now, you might picture a dark, scary building.  In fact, this place was more like a university campus.  To my right was a semi-circular drive lined by three or four buildings of similar construction (glass fronted, brick buildings).  Each had four columns in front, thus dividing the front into three sections, and each section had a big sign hanging inside with the name of a generous donor who had financed the building's construction.  (now the heavy-handed directing of the detective movie would show you a flashback to when Laura told me to look for the names yada yada, yada yada, and yada yada, but in the dream it was more just a moment of realization for me to see I was on the right path).  The problem?  None of the names were the ones she told me.  As I mentioned, I forgot the names right away but I KNEW I would recognize them if I saw them and these first buildings were not them.  I walked down the path past the buildings so I could read the names on all of them.  All the while I was headed toward the union building which was on my left.

The union was a beautiful old building, covered in ivy.  The construction was more modern in shape, kind of a swirly circular thing (a bit like the vancouver library but not so dramatic).  When I walked in, I was stunned by the building's beauty.  The walls were made of a warm, caramel colored wood.  The lighting was all indirect so it gave an incredibly inviting, comforting aura.  Students were scattered about the place; sitting at tables in groups, settled into the overstuffed amazingly comfortable chairs, or brooding in the coffee shop in the middle.  These students weren't normal students though.  They were crazy people.  It all looked perfectly normal in a quick scan, but the small details gave it away: a guy in a straighjacket being escorted away by two orderlies, massive locks on all the doors, nurses all over the place.

After I snapped out of my awe of the building, I remembered that this place was dangerous and I was on a mission.  Although the big guy was long gone, I felt as if I was being led away from my goal.  I noticed that the center of the building was all union-y and scholastic, but it also had several wings off the main area, each with the same arrangement as the buildings across the way.  The wings housed different types of crazies.  Some looked quite mellow and others a little more dicey.  I decided to explore the names on each wing and started walking in a counterclockwise direction to systematically explore the building. 

In the first section, the ceiling got much lower (not uncomfortably so, but not the three story rise of the room I had just been in.  The decor changed a lot, much more glass and modern lines.  And the people changed too.  They were much more hipster, but expensive hipster, not used-clothes-store hipsters.  I followed what I thought were restroom signs down a hallway to the right but they turned out to be His and Hers elevators.  Across the hall there was what looked like it could be a bathroom but when I peeked in, it was actually some kind of bar full of really snotty, well-dressed women so I left.

I found my way back to the main path and continued my counter clockwise journey.  Just when I was about to give up, I came upon a wing that was absolutely disturbing.  First off, it was dark and dingy.  It seemed to suck the light from all the other rooms and hallways.  To walk down this wing, one would have to step up a foot or so because the entrance was elevated for some reason.  This platform was covered in what used to be grey carpet but which was at that point completely grimy and had big torn patches (everything else in the building was tile or hardwood).  Most disturbing, however, were the inhabitants.  These were the CRAZIES! Some were crawling around on the disgusting floor, wearing worn out rags for clothes, they were covered in dirt and many of them made deeply disturbing sounds: moans, gargles, screeches. 

I looked up and saw the names of who the wing was dedicated to and (dun dun dun duuun!) it was the ones Laura had told me in the beginning.  In the middle of the entranceway, three couches were arranged in a U shape facing down the wing and a nurse was there helping one of the patients.  I walked up to the couches and started asking the nurse about Laura and where I could find her.  At first, she was reluctant to give out any information but I could tell she was protecting Laura.  Once she believe I was there to help, she told me that Laura had escaped the day before with another patient.  He was caught and brought back.  She got away.  The nurse signalled to a very short african-american patient to come over.  She whispered something in his ear and told me to walk with him and he would explain.

As it turned out, this little guy was the one who had run away with Laura.  He kept leading me all over the building promising to tell me about what happened and where she was.  What he never actually did was tell me anything important.  He mostly just hit on me or talked crazy talk.  He was super touchy and kept trying to get me to make out with him.

Disclaimer: things get weird here.  I kept trying to get the story.  He kept trying to get me to kiss him.  When he got too frisky at one point, I pushed him away.  He stepped back a bit then dropped trou and asked what I thought.  I was so shocked I couldn't say anything.  As I tried to walk away, he leapt toward me.  It's not hard to fight of the aggression of someone who is is four feet tall but it was still annoying to have to do it.  Out of no where, came another (much more attractive) african american man.  He was tall and thin, with shoulder-length dreads and a black leather trenchcoat (of course there were sunglasses too, did you have to ask?).  He walked up to the little guy with this gun thing (it was more like a tube though on the end of a gun), put it over his shwanschtooker and fired.  His bits disappeared.  Then the trenchcoat walked out super cool Matrix style never to be seen again.  The short guy looked down and couldn't find words (or his parts).  I carried him back to the scary wing and gave him back to the nurse.  Then my phone woke me up.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Cool Club

For those of you who don't know, I participate in a bi-monthly book club with several of my friends (all very smart, fun, and well-read). Some weeks, it may be hard for an outsider to determine if books or Franzia are the true core of our meetings, but either way we have a grand 'ole time. The club began May 11th, 2009 with the book Madam Bovary. Since then, we have read many different genres and styles. What I like best is that the book club is a true democracy. We vote on the books, we decide what mood we're in (if we need a break from books about weighing poo or the holocaust), and we take everyone's ideas into consideration.

It is because of the varied tastes of our group that we have been exposed to so many great reads. I am glad I've had the chance to spend time with such interesting people and get to know them and their reading styles over the last year. It is something I will truly miss. In the hope that I might have some free time in London, Chris and I set up a blog so everyone participating remotely (I'm not the only one) can have a central location to make comments, suggestions, or whatever else they choose. We will also have a calendar with postings as to the location for each meeting and a snack assessment (perhaps a signup sheet? we're not sure how that part will work quite yet).

Without further ado, we present It's About Balloons!!!! Please feel free to go back and reminisce about the past reads, comment if you want to, and see what we have on the table for the next couple weeks. Since the beginning of the club, we have tried (though lately it's been a stretch) to find a link between the current book and Madam Bovary so if you have any suggestions, post away. Also, due to one line in The Echo Maker (something about licking his armpit like a kitten, I believe??? Kelly, you will have to correct me if I have that wrong) we are also seeking suggestions as to The Least Erotic Line from the current read.

Thanks for reading with us!!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

God I Love the Smell of Old Books

I'm just sayin'....

Do What U Do

I do love this song!  On my ride to work this morning, I rediscovered it.  Worth a listen : )

Do What U Do by Pink

I like that though
That's what's up

Some people like the summer when it's hot
Some people like the winter cold
Some people speak their minds when they wanna
And some other people ain't so bold

Whatever it is that you do
You should do you should do it with your head held high
So when you're doing your thing it's cause you wanna
And they never can ask you why

I say
Do what you do
Say what you say
Mean what you mean when you say
Cause it's you life
Gotta make your own rules
And you gotta do it your way

Some like it easy when others they like it rough
But ain't nobody gotta like it but you
Girl, boy, boy, girl, girl, girl, boy, boy
Whatever, you should do what you do

How can they tell you
that you Cudda shudda wudda
Well ask'em can they walk in your shoes
Cause it's you life and you do what you wanna
And remember, baby, it's all about you

I say
Do what you do
Say what you say
Mean what you mean when you say
Cause it's you life
Gotta make your own rules
And you gotta do it your way

Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

So if it's on your mind
Then you should speak your piece
And say what'cha say
And if you want it done
Then get it done
And do it your way

I say
Do what you do
Say what you say
Mean what you mean when you say
Cause it's you life
Gotta make your own rules
And you gotta do it, do it your own way

Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

I say
Do what you do
Say what you say
Mean what you mean when you say
Cause it's you life
Gotta make your own rules
And you gotta do it your way

Bag Check

As I walked to work this morning, I noticed that my bag was particularly heavy.  Normally, I carry a book or two, some food for work, and my wallet.  When I got to work, I decided to inspect the contents:

1 Notebook - 3 Subject
1 Small Tupperware container full of polenta for breakfast
1 Book - The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
1 Wallet containing the following:
     $.18 in change
     1 packet birth control
     1 Debit Card
     1 Library card
     1 Ride UTA pass
     1 HSA debit card
     1 ISIC Card
     4 Subway gift cards, most likely empty
     2 Insurance cards
     2 Coffee Garden punchcards (one yellow, one blue)
     1 Tea Grotto Punchcard
     2 Megaplex Gift cards - most likely full
     1 KUER Member card
     1 Max Brenner Business Card (amazing restaurant!!!!)
     1 Starbucks Music Pick of the Week Card
     2 Perfect Travel Business Cards - Weirdest place ever
     1 UCard - Regretabbly, Staff not Student
     2 Fidelty Gift Cards, mostly empty
     $40 cash
     1 Capital One credit card - cut in half
     1 Barnes & Noble Gift card - mostly empty
     2 Rent Checks
     Receipts: London Market - Pickle!!
                    Max Cafe, NYC - I would live here if I lived near here
                    Sunflower market - YUM!!
                    Original Pancake House
                    3 Smith's
                    Library Check Out - The Plague Due 4/12
     1 Appointment reminder for tattoo April 12th!!!!!!
1 Can refried beans - Spicy Jalepeno - Note that I have no can opener
1 Journal
1 Bottle Bio-oil
1 Pair of socks
1 empty envelope
1 post-it with reminders
1 Ben & Jerry's Chunk mail sign-up card
Receipts: 1 Barnes & Noble
               1 English Garden
               4 Smith's
1 Empty ziplock bag - sandwich size
2 Cute purple pens
1 Red pan
1 Lock for the gym

Phew! Fewer things will be going back in the bag than what I pulled out.  What happened here?  I used to be the girl who carried the purse that barely fit her phone and wallet.  I think E has some kind of blame here.  I'm sure of it.  Until I lived with her, I did not see the value in carrying books everywhere always but now it's a habit, as are my journal and notepad.  I was so excited to be done with carrying a back pack but it seems that nothing has changed. Sigh.