Monthly Archives: September 2014

Introducing the Eternal Optimist

I’m often accused of this.  As I see it, there is nothing wrong with optimism as long as it is balanced with a good dose of realism.  Looking for the best possible outcome as long as you can plan for the reality that you’re not always going to get what you want gives me a bit more enthusiasm, my smile a little quicker, and helps me look forward to my day.micawber


The Louder the Better!

“Play it f@#%in’ loud!”
― Bob Dylan

I’m in a mood today…I want lots of punk rock played loud enough that if it were any other day, you’d be worried about the speakers.  ScotsFest begins in Tulsa tonight, and a friend flies in from out-of-state today, and tomorrow we’ll all be there for the music, food, shopping and of course…adult beverages. (This time, I know in advance…1 glass of wine = 1/2 a bottle…last year I did not see the sign.)  At least we can be responsible(ish).

This all puts me in a mood.  I want to dance.  I want to sing it out at the top of my lungs, even if I don’t know the lyrics.

However, this behavior is frowned upon in public places…especially offices, so…can you do it for me?  Pick your favorite song and crank it up, sing along!  I’ll be sitting here with my earbuds in place, trying not to sing out loud.

First up on my playlist…hmmm, I think…The Clash…or Flogging Molly…or…I’m gonna need a playlist today.  Any suggestions?  What’s your favorite song?

‘Til next time,

Jessica

P.S. Dropkick Murphy’s just got added to the playlist…


The Opposite of Me

Okay, not really the opposite of me, but darkness isn’t my favorite.  Yes, I may let my imagination run away with me more often than not, and there are things that you can’t see that go bump in the darkness.  Maybe there’s a reason so many people are a little afraid of it.  I’m just saying.Nyctophilia


I read a list of banned books today and thought of this.

“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”
― Oscar WildeThe Picture of Dorian Gray

I stumbled across a list of “banned books” on the internet…somewhere, and as I was looking it over, I realized a lot of my favorites, books that changed my life, are on this list.  They changed my life for the better, books didn’t corrupt me or lead me astray, they opened my eyes, made me more compassionate, more empathetic, more tolerant of people in the world.  I’ve never read a book that made me a worse person, but I’ve certainly read ones that made me a better one.

Personally, I go to lists of banned books to find something to read when I’m not sure, so a lot of these I’ve read.  A few, I’ve reviewed here for you.  Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is on the ALA’s frequently challenged or banned books list for 2013-2014, and so is Looking for Alaska by John Green, both of which are wonderful books that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.  There were others I’ve read on this list, but these two jumped out at me for being extraordinarily good books.  You can go back and look at the lists from this and previous years along with the reasons the books were challenged and whether or not the school retained them.   They also have a Banned Books Week you can support as well.

Banning books…that just…it just makes me mad.  I’m putting a lid on the Rabbit Hole now, stepping down off my soapbox, and opening the floor for discussion.

Do you think the people who challenge these books have actually read them?  Tell me about some of your favorite books.   Did you parents ever stop you from reading something?  What was it?

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 


Evening Serenity

The time of year will soon be on us that I love the most.  When the evenings begin to stretch out, the bugs start to leave you alone, and I can sit out in the evening and just breathe it all in.  This makes me think of twilight spent on a porch watching the light fade after the kind of day you know you never want to forget.serein


I Should Have Known A “Bad Monkey” Would Be Funny

BadMonkeyHave you ever been innocently wandering down the aisle at a bookstore and have a cover reach out and smack you?  I mean figuratively not literally. (Although if this has happened to you literally, I think that’s a story I need to know!)  It happened to me.  Big, bold, neon orange and yellow with a screaming monkey in a pirate hat on the cover.  You know you’d pick it up to read if it were you.  If nothing else, I needed to take a closer look, because this is something my nephew would want to hear about.

Carl Hiaasen’s Bad Monkey was not the monkey I expected, but it was the monkey I needed…wait, is that Batman?  Anyway, the whole thing starts off with an arm that gets put in a cooler, and like a monkey it bounces all over the place from there.  You would think that with as many plot twists, sub plots and deranged animals (and thugs named Egg) things would get a bit out of control, but they don’t (well, except in a good way).  Hiaasen keeps a firm hand on the reins of this plot, and seeing all those lines that seem tangled come to a smooth controlled knot at the end, is immensely satisfying.  To say Bad Monkey is fast-paced would be an understatement, but it will take you on a wild, grin-filled, ride.

Although, I picked up the book with my nephew in mind, Bad Monkey is not for the 13-year-old.  However, the brief overview of the plot I gave him garnered me a smile.  A real one…like with teeth. (He no longer laughs out loud at the things adults say.  It is beneath him.  This is no reflection on my skill as a comedian…no, really!) The book’s comedic value comes as much from the crazy situations the main character Andrew Yancy finds creates for himself as the cast of characters surrounding him.  Escaped convicts from Oklahoma, a detective bumped down to roach patrol, the arm in the freezer, and a hurricane…oh, and you can’t forget that deranged monkey.

You know how I am about characters, and Yancy provides a flawed hero.  He actually does the stuff that most of us only fantasize about.  His girlfriend’s a bit kooky too (actually, so is the ex…you know the escaped con from Oklahoma?)  Yancy has the depth I like in a character without that filter that keeps most of us out of jail.  It’s kind of like letting your id run around mostly unchecked for a while.  He’s a good guy though, who wants to do the right thing, but rules get in the way.

This is the first book of Hiaasen’s I’ve read, but I will be looking for more.  Especially, if his others are as much of a fun-filled adventure as this one.  Sometimes you need out of the wizards preventing the end of the world, drug and alcohol addicted characters, or peculiar children and run with something a bit more light-hearted.  Hiaasen will be my go-to guy next time I need a lift out of the doldrums.

My mom and I were also talking about the book, and she mentioned that Carl Hiaasen was interviewed on NPR.  I haven’t looked to see if the interview can be found online, but it sounds like it would be worth the time to check it out.

First Lines:

On the hottest day of July, trolling in dead-calm waters near Key West, a tourist named James Mayberry reeled up a human arm.  His wife flew to the bow of the boat and tossed her breakfast burritos.

Today I cannot resist stealing The Nerdist Podcast’s sign-off.

Enjoy your burrito,

Jessica

 


A Higher Revelation

“Music is … A higher revelation than all Wisdom & Philosophy”
― Ludwig van Beethoven

I have a love/hate with Beethoven. His music is transcendent.  However, as a pianist (very amateur pianist) no matter how much I practice, I feel like the man is trying to tie my fingers in knots and my hands ache every time I finish a piece.  But Lord how I love to hear his music…I can hear this belief in every piece.

‘Til next time,

Jessica


I Just Love Trees

This is one of my favorite sounds.  I’ve spent a lot of time laying on my back on the trampoline at my parents house, under the trees, just listening to the sound of the wind in the leaves and watching the sunlight dance through the shade…there’s also been more than one argument between a squirrel and my dog.  Seriously, they were talking to each other and it wasn’t particularly friendly on either side.

‘Til next time,

Jessicapsithurism


Jim Parsons on Sesame Street

It looks like Jim Parsons and I share a common fear….