Monthly Archives: September 2015

Sleeping like a (Cranky) Baby

So apparently “sleep” is something I don’t do well anymore. The last couple of weeks have been a stressful struggle to figure out how to get more sleep. I’ve tried chamomile tea, and I’ve tried warm milk with honey. I’ve tried Gravol and Melatonin and Zopiclone (not all at the same time, but perhaps that would be worth an experiment?). No caffeine after 10 in the morning. Exercise early in the evening (long dog walks) but not too close to bedtime. No electronics in the bedroom. No heavy reading or political discussions before bed. Slowly trying to get my daily life under control so I have less things to be anxious about (that’s an ongoing life project and probably won’t get solved, but hey). Eat healthily but not too close to bedtime. Go to bed at roughly the same time every day. Some solutions I’m not willing to try:  alcohol or pot, for example. For one thing, if I drink, Continue reading

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Finished this book: Room (by Emma Donoghue)

Cover of "Room" by Emma Donoghue.

Cover of “Room” by Emma Donoghue.

This book is amazing and I highly recommend it. The story is told from the perspective of a child, Jack, whose fifth birthday opens the book. One thing I love about this book is that his mother loves him, protects him, and does her best by him. Her best is not always good enough, especially considering the fact that they have been held in captivity for years (since before Jack was born), but the will is there. Another thing I love about this book is that Jack is actually heard. Most of the people around him take him seriously, and he is an agent in his own life. Continue reading

Finished these books: Adrian Mole I & II (by Sue Townsend)

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole

TheGrowingPainsOfAdrianMole

The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week I offered to lend the first two Adrian Mole books (The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole) to a friend’s kids. I dug them out of the pile of Books I’ve Read and Am Not Ready to Give Away (a bookshelf in my studio). But once I’d laid eyes on them, I just had to re-read them before lending them out.
Continue reading

Survived my First Solo Gig (with some help)

My improvised laptop stand: a thin wooden box decorated by yours truly.

My improvised laptop stand: a thin wooden box decorated by yours truly. The grey cat is inspecting it for crumbs.

This past Saturday, I did my first ever solo DJ gig. All me, all night, booked for three hours. I was excited and terrified, since the longest set I’ve ever done in public before was only forty minutes, and I have always had sister DJs with me as mutual backup and support.

The venue was a downtown restaurant. They don’t have a dance floor and they weren’t expecting dancing, although they did know I mostly play house music and were okay with that. I planned to tone it down a bit for the beginning of the evening and so I prepped a lot of chill house, like St. Germain and Laurent Garnier.

On the day of, I had slept well but then couldn’t nap much during the day. Was starting to get nervous by the afternoon so I didn’t eat much. Continue reading

Finished this book: The Lions of Al-Rassan (by Guy Gavriel Kay)

Cover of

Cover of “The Lions of Al-Rassan” by Guy Gavriel Kay.

This is one of those books I’ve read many times, along with some of Kay’s other books, and almost anything by Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible, High Tide in TusconPigs in Heaven, The Bean Trees) or Marge Piercy (especially Woman on the Edge of Time; He, She, and It; and the Eight Chambers of the Heart poetry collection) or bell hooks, Dionne Brand, and Adrienne Rich, a few Maeve Binchy books, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (among others), Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s Lucifer’s Hammer, Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things, of course, but also her political stuff), Steven King’s The Stand, Richard Wagamese’s Keeper’n Me, all of Audre Lorde’s poetry and essays, Edwidge Danticatt, Ursula K. Le Guin, Kader Abdolah’s Een tuin in de zee,  Toni Morrison, Thomas King, Marilyn Frye’s philosophy, and so many more books I’ve read over half a dozen times over the years and sometimes far more often. Some books tell a story so well (or tell such a good story, or both), or speak to me in some fundamental way about the world and how I live in it, that I go back again and again. (Also, I’m a real sucker for post-apocalyptic stuff, utopias and dystopias, that kind of thing.) Sometimes it’s a book that feels very deep and meaningful, and sometimes it’s just (!) a great story well-told (and some, like Kingsolver, manage to do those at the same time). Continue reading

Finished this book: Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination (by Helen Fielding)

Cover of the book

Cover of the book “Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination” by Helen Fielding.

Spoilers below, with another warning before you get there…

Helen Fielding gives good dialogue! And she has a knack for portraying the little things that make a character—well, perhaps not entirely believable and real, but very engaging and entertaining. I really enjoyed the first two Bridget Jones books despite the fact that Bridget’s massive insecurities and desperation to snag a man were irritatingly off-putting. I enjoyed Cause Celeb somewhat better although at this moment I can’t remember what it was about. Anyway, Olivia Joules is a great character and I liked her much more than I liked Bridget Jones. Joules is interesting, has some fun quirks, and handles her insecurities with more grace than Jones does. The story zips  along nicely, with the expected and the unexpected both given their place.

However. On the themes of gender and race relations (yes, I always think about this, along with class and homophobia and mental health stigma and ability and and and), I have some complaints that involve spoilers. So, on to the spoilers… Continue reading

Finished this book: A Son of the Circus (by John Irving)

One version of the cover art for A Son of the Circus by John Irving.

One version of the cover art for A Son of the Circus by John Irving.

After reading the prefatory Author’s Notes, I felt some trepidation about reading this book. Irving starts by saying the book isn’t about India; he says he doesn’t know India. And yet this is a book wholly set in India, and the protagonist, Farrokh, is Indian. Farrokh is, however, an Indian for whom India is foreign, much as Irving states he found India to be foreign: “obdurately” and “unyieldingly.”

While I am not familiar enough with the thinkings around voice and appropriation to be able to set out in footnoted detail why this feels weird to me, the fact is that is does feel weird. Continue reading