Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Welp. My blog is broken. Again.

Sometimes the capacity for the internet to break without you changing anything at all really just confounds me.  This is what, the third time in the past six months this has happened now?  It really sucks all the joy out of blogging, I have to say.  Of course none of you are getting this post because MY BLOG IS BROKEN. AGAIN.

So on the off chance any of you lovely people have had this problem and managed to stumble across this post here goes:

1. Apparently my RSS feed is broken.  I've gone to this site to validate it -

But here's the thing.  One minute it will say everything is fine....and then the next it will say I have 277 errors on the blog.  Which of course looks like complete gibberish to me as I am not html savvy.  As of today it says it's fine every time I've checked...but still no updates on Bloglovin, Feedly, and I would imagine no e-mails have been sent.

UPDATE: Just checked again, and it's back to the errors.  Did I mention that I literally HAVE CHANGED NOTHING in the past hour?

2. I removed all my plug-ins....no difference.

Any helpful suggestions?

UPDATE 2: It's fixed!!!! Or at least the Bloglovin part is - if  you're an e-mail subscriber, would you mind letting me know if you get any? I took off the subscription redirect, so my guess is no. (So I'm also betting on no comments haha)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

Hosted by The Broke and Bookish






  Duh, she's the survival pro.





Shenanigans galore!  (If only Fred were around to complete the other perfect duo for this category...DON'T HIT ME.)



Darcy  



What? Everyone needs a rich hunk!






It's absolutely essential you have someone who's good with campfire stories, and Anne would be perfect!




Artwork by Sash-Kash

Genius contraption making guy - if you have to have a whiner on your crew, he better be worth it.  Foaly, as whiny as he is, can pretty much make anything, which is probably one of the most useful skills I can think of.




Artwork by Shadow71689

 I don't care what you guys think, zombies are always a legitimate concern. (Also Claudia as Georgia is pretty much perfect. Don't know who the dude is though)



Winnie the Pooh



Everyone needs a guy to tell you to just chill out and eat some honey.



The Alphabet from Chicka Chicka Boom Boom 



They can go test out all the durability of trees you want to climb. Or pull down the not steady ones for firewood. Also lots of coconuts! (I mean if the alphabet is there, I'm assuming the coconut trees are too)



Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen


Artwork by Angelwhoisinlovewithyou

Devious plotters are sometimes a tricky group, but if there's anyone I want on my side it's a bruiser (who can keep Lamora in check) and a brilliant/crazy strategist.  You never know, the island might be less deserted that you thought it was... (and ok I super love this picture. I may ship Sabetha/Locke with the force of a thousand firey suns, but I'd be possibly even happier if he and Jean end up together. Which will never happen, but still.)



Celaena Sardothien



So we can be besties. And so she can kill things.

OK SUE ME I WANTED 11 CHARACTERS


Hermione Granger



 Smart? Check. Interesting? Check.  Powerful magic user? Check. I mean come on, every survival team needs a magic user.  Besides, she's probably my favourite character ever, so she HAS to be on the island with me!


On a sidenote, my blog is broken again. If any of you have experience with RSS feed problems, would you mind looking at my post and giving me some suggestions? And if you're regular followers of the blog, you won't have seen my last couple posts, so here's the links if you're interested!

The Book Challenge: Day 04 - Your favorite book or series ever




So...I am going to have a real problem sticking to my guns about no repeats on this list (especially since I keep picking more than one book).

I've already talked about Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, All of Tamora Pierce's books, Abarat, and Unspoken, all of which would be contenders for this category.  I'm going to go ahead and see if I can pick a standalone novel, so let's see where that leaves me...


                                                

I've picked both of these books because
A. Then I don't have to choose between them, and because
B. The less you know about them, the better.  It means I can't talk much about them, but I'm hoping you'll take me at my word here that if you love INSANE plot twists, both of these books are definitely for you.  (And on a sidenote, I've discovered almost all of my favourite standalone novels are adult fiction.  There's like two that aren't.  Is this because almost all of YA is series now? Uncertain...)

If you like gothic feeling books, I couldn't recommend The Thirteenth Tale more. I cannot talk enough about how in love I am with this book.  If you read her book Bellman & Black and hadn't read The Thirteenth Tale, please please please don't judge her writing by that book.  (Or rather her ability to write things that are heart racing, absorbing, and have a plot. Her writing is beautiful even in Bellman & Black, it just didn't actually make anything happen).  I don't know a single person who didn't love this book. (And these are all reviewers or authors whose opinions I value greatly.  Also sorry not sorry, I was a total creeper and totally checked out if we loved the same books.  What? It's important to know!)  Basically, the writing in this book is just beautiful (and we know how I am with beautiful prose), it definitely has a complicated premise (so if you like your mysteries clear cut and simple, this isn't for you), has a...narrator that is my favourite type (LOVE - it's even like an unreliable narrator getting the story from an even more unreliable narrator. IT'S THE BEST.) and best of all, it's all about books :)  (Also if you liked The Thirteenth Tale and haven't checked out The Shadow of the Wind - and vice versa - you totally should.)


The Double Bind is no less complicated than The Thirteenth Tale, but it's a very different sort of mystery.  But again, I can't say how.  I will say it is just as...dark, but in a more graphic way?  This was my very first Chris Bohjalian novel, and remains my favourite.  If you've read any of his novels, I will say that they are all very different, and this one is definitely in a category all on its own, so if you've read his more popular books (like Midwives) it is nothing like them, and you shouldn't bring any conceptions of his style of story telling from those.  Even more than The Thirteenth Tale there's just very little I can talk about.  Like...there are things that I want to say...I just can't! Because you need to know NOTHING beforehand.  Just...can someone PLEASE read this so that I have at least one friend who has read it and I can talk to someone about it?  GO READ THIS NOW.



Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Day in the Life (16)



Things I learned this week:

1.  Almost all of the search terms used to find my blog are about Korean actors. I guess I got a little obsessive there for a while...oops?
2.  I am perhaps more extraverted than I thought - I just need to be around the right people.
3.  And I'm sure having weather that makes me want to go outside certainly helps. (But not with productivity)
4. Apparently you can publish things on a date that passed like a week ago.  And apparently trying to schedule said post for Sunday (aka tomorrow) after publishing it by accident is not possible. (Otherwise known as the further adventures of Elizabeth being not technology savvy.) (Update: I THINK I DID IT!!...but don't kill me if you guys subscribe by e-mail and this sent out like a billion times.  Sorry!)


Feeling angsty? This piece is great. Rock out.


Guys, the camp that I was a teaching assistant at was some of the most fun I've ever had and now I'm all mopey. (...that could also be the large stacks of things I was supposed to have packed this week and didn't).  So I've either been spending WAY MORE TIME online than I usually do, or just wandering around aimlessly outside. (With the idea that maybe I'll find boxes except I keep forgetting to actually look for them while I'm doing said wandering).  I'm still perfectly happy on my own - but only if I'm outside, so I don't know what all this moping around on the internet business is about.

The other day I wandered with the specific instruction that I was only going to go to a restaurant I had never been to, and it was awesome! I'm choosing to believe that I really was this poor waiter's best table because he did look rather frazzled and he didn't just say so and give me a free shot of limoncello because he was taking pity on me because I was eating by myself.  I've never really understood the stigma of doing that.  I got to listen to great music, (the singer sang one of my favourite songs - Why Georgia by John Mayer. I didn't know other people even knew that song existed!) eat good food, drink good cider, and read a book more or less uninterrupted (hence my wish for a table and not a seat at the bar).  In any case, it was fun times.

I have started to amaze myself with my level of procrastination.  I will spend hours walking around for no reason. I will lay on my bed and read Hyperbole and a Half all night.  I actually posted things on fictionpress. Guys. I'm pretty sure I haven't written anything in like...two years.  So on the upside, yay writing things?  (And I actually like some of it. Which is saying something, because honestly a lot of what I posted on fictionpress is absolute shit.  And no, I'm not being modest. I'm not a modest person. I'm being honest haha) On the downside...yeah...packing...

I don't usually self promote, but if you didn't read my review of Hissy Fit - go read it now.  Not the whole review - all you really need is the quote from the book.  Do it. Now. It's totally worth it, I promise.


This is probably my favourite La Roux song (followed by Fascination)  Most of you probably recognize their song  Bulletproof.

Bookish Links

Portrayals of LGBTQIA Characters in Japanese Media (Anime/Manga) - Really a very interesting look at how characters are approached in anime/manga.  There's a lot more of them than we would find in most of our media (us being Americans, since I know not all of you are), but while there might be more of them, they aren't always shown in the best light.
In Case Of Emergency - What books would you save?
A Delicate Balance: Why You Should Read Ai Yazawa’s Nana - Ok I know this is looking a little manga heavy, but guys this manga is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.  Yazawa's artwork is some of my favourite ever, and the story is just...well, beautiful.
A Long Overdue Nod to SciFi and Fantasy’s Best Librarians - Giles! And Evie! My favourites :)
Fan Fiction is More Than Words – It’s About Worlds - Ok you guys know my very strong and enduring love for fanfiction, and this article really nails the biggest reasons why I love it so much.  Read Fangirl and want to know what it's all about?  Here's some of my suggestions as of a year ago for some of my favourite fanfics.  Go explore!
True Life: I Think I’m A Creep - Jamie talks about her need to see what strangers are reading and all the crazy shenanigans she's gotten up to find out! (Confession: I'm totally the same way, if to a lesser extreme.  But you know what's super rewarding? When you're trying to see what someone is reading and they lift the title for you in a super secret way. You might never know if they did it on purpose, but it makes me feel like it's a Super Secret Book Readers Code.  ...ok maybe I am as bad as Jamie)
Favorite Passages - How do you mark your favourite passages?
How I Recommend Books - This is seriously awesome. I'm definitely going to use some of these tips in the future! (Instead of the usual YOU MUST READ THIS I DON'T CARE IF YOU WANT TO OR NOT)
Funniest Book Dedications - This is hilarious!


Nonbookish Links

Steven Moffat Ignores Canon, Insists That the Doctor Could Be Human  - MOFFAAAAAAAAT!!!! What even. Like really? ARE YOU INSANE?! Shall we count all the times The Doctor has explicitly said he is not human? (This article does. So there you are.)
Poolside Purity & Bikini Battles - While I'm not religious and on that front am not likely to agree with that part of this, the preacher who wrote this article is seriously awesome and is bringing to the forefront a lot of the issues I have had with pretty much all churches ever.
British Film Institute Enforcing Diversity Standards - Isn't this great?! I mean if money is the only thing that really changes anything, I'm all for funding working for this purpose!
Horse versions of LotR Characters - So...these are pretty cool (And no they're not a mashup of My Little Pony, in case that's what you were thinking)
Ramblings: World Cup 2014 - Lianne recaps and talks about her favourite moments of the World Cup!
“Excuse Me, Princess“: The Princess Type, for Good or Ill, Part 1 - A well-thought and interesting discussion of princess tropes.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hissy Fit - Mary Kay Andrews


Summary

Goodreads:  Keeley Murdock's wedding to A.J. Jernigan should have been the social event of the season. But all bets are off when she catches her fiancĂ© doing the deed with her maid of honor at the country club rehearsal dinner. The wedding's off, too, as Keeley pitches the hissy fit of the century, earning herself instant notoriety in the small town of Madison, Georgia.

Now A.J.'s unscrupulous banking family is bringing financial pressure to bear on Keeley's interior design business. But a redheaded stranger in a vintage yellow Cadillac is riding to her rescue. Will Mahoney, the new owner of a failing local bra plant, is about to offer the designing woman just what she needs: a plum decorating assignment, a chance to clear her name, and a golden opportunity to give her cheating varmint of an ex-fiancé the comeuppance he so richly deserves.


Thoughts

Oh my god that is the MOST RIDICULOUS ending I've ever read and now I can't stop laughing!

     After a long time, his hand found the zipper to my tightly fitted dress. The dress had begun to fall off my shoulders when I sensed, rather than heard, someone else in the room.

     "About goddamn time," Miss Nancy roared. And then she leaned in, flipped the lock on the doorknob, and gently closed the door.

These are literally the last words of the entire book. Like seriously.  I'm dying here!


Just so you guys know, the only reason I ended up reviewing this book was because of that last page, just so I could share the wonder of it with you.  You're welcome.


It was entertaining, but I couldn't shut off how much everything bothered me. People being judged by what their families did in the past, (entire female lines being called sluts). Nonchalance at women losing their entire source of income because the wives were pissed.  "Chick lit" can honestly be the worst at perpetuating sexism which I think is a real shame.  If we're going to have an entire genre just for women, shouldn't it be filled with awesomeness and badassery?  Instead of having this stigma of "not real literature", we might as well just OWN it.  Of course it's not all books like this - I LOVE Marian Keyes (I recommend the Walsh Family books) and Sophie Kinsella.  You want to read comedy? They're just absolute gold.  Check it.  But back to what I'm supposed to be reviewing.  There are so few female characters here that are shown in a good light.  In fact it's pretty much just the main character and her aunt.  And of course the main character is shown as superior by setting her apart from the other women.  And of course her best friend is not only:

A. A complete bitch
B. Comes from a line of sluts
C. Has no character explanation or depth.

I just can't.  Things like that...WHY? Just why? And of course the fiance's cheating is explained as: men from that family just can't keep it in their pants.  Seriously?  I will say that the main character puts very little stock in that. But then the fiance also has a weird mom fetish thing. So. There's that too.

Yes, there were other parts of the book that I liked (I mean there must have been? I gave it a meh instead of a blegh, but upon writing this review I can't remember the good things.  OH - I liked her other bff who occasionally slipped into gay cliches, but otherwise was lots of fun), but they were so overshadowed by almost literally ALL of my pet peeves that this book certainly wasn't for me, and I could not possibly recommend it to anyone else.  And authors really have some strange ideas about what the small town south is like.  Hint: not like this book.

And then after all of that, everything was wrapped up SUPER quickly. Like there was a before and an after, and no leading to the building of relationships. It was like BAM we're dating now!  Plus that ending.


TL;DR

Don't? I mean if you are one gung-ho chick lit reader, maybe this is for you?  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Top Ten Favorite TV Shows (Or the TTT where you see how obsessive Elizabeth gets about TV)



There's NO WAY I could narrow this down to movies, period, and no way I could narrow this down to tv shows unless I limited myself to shows that are currently still going.  I was actually surprised how many shows I am catching up on that have already finished, or how some that would have appeared even a year or two ago (Covert Affairs, Supernatural) aren't so much my thing in these recent seasons.  ...but then I thought, why limit myself?  So here are my Top 20 tv shows (of the English speaking, non-animated sort. Might as well add that disclaimer too, or I'd have another 15 shows to add haha)



Top Ten Ongoing Series


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c2/Once_Upon_aTime_promo_image.jpg

Ok, so I didn't love this last season, and I'm not sure I like where they're going at ALL with next season's story line in regards to Regina...but I feel like some of not loving this is just that in comparison to how freaking amazing the first two seasons are, it's hard to measure up.  Fairy tale retellings get me every time, and Robert Carlyle as Rumple is one of the best things I've ever seen.
So is Hook's face.



http://ib4.huluim.com/show_key_art/15138?size=1600x600&region=US

If you were reading my blog a couple months ago, you already know all the reasons why this show is basically perfect.   In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this show isn't already secretly the #1 show of my heart...


http://s1.ibtimes.com/sites/www.ibtimes.com/files/styles/v2_article_large/public/2013/09/15/law-order.jpg

I actually have a huge addiction to cop dramas (despite the lack of them on the rest of this list), but this one by far takes the cake.  Olivia Benson is basically my hero. Some of you know a little bit of what I went through last year with one of my stalkers, and anytime I am dealing with the aftermath of that, Olivia Benson is basically gets me through.  Especially with what she goes through in the last season.  I may miss the Captain and Munch and Eliot, but the new cast has been doing a great job too!


 http://www.bbcamerica.com/doctor-who/wp-content/blogs.dir/18/files/2013/08/Doctorwho_50th-anniversary-thumbnail_01.jpg

Ok guys, we're all sad Matt Smith has left the show. But I'M SO FREAKING EXCITED FOR PETER CAPALDI!!! I think he might end up being my favourite.  Mostly because he's just such an amazing actor, but partially because they've said they're going to tone down on the romance stuff.  I know everyone loves Rose, and I did like that part of the show, but Martha just about did me in and Amy was...unnecessarily love triangleish with The Doctor.  I'm sure that's a part of the reason why Donna is my favourite companion (closely followed by Amy and Rory). Anyway I'm talking too much.  Go watch this show.


http://www.tvweek.com/blogs/tvbizwire/sherlock-title.jpg

 I feel like everyone needs to see Season 2 of this show because it is a work of art.


http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120420035626/warehouse13/images/2/2f/Tv_warehouse_13_01.jpg

OH MY GOD THE SEASON FINALE TO SEASON 3 IS KILLING ME. And once again, I don't have access to Season 4 yet D-:



http://i1.ytimg.com/sh/fyB_tlTfS98/showposter.jpg?v=5061ba33

I credit Kirsty entirely with getting me addicted to this show! I also can't watch Season 4 on this one yet (BOOOO) but it has been really amazing so far :)




http://www.levelupvideogames.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/guildseason4cover.jpg

So perfectly awakward and geeky...(although I've only watched a little bit of Season 4). I just pretty much super love Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b0/Modern-Familytigtlecard.jpg

For some reason I often forget how freaking hilarious I think this show is.  I love ALL the characters (but especially Mitch)



http://images7.alphacoders.com/329/329979.jpg

This show is the perfect mix of funny, crazy, geeky, and heart warming.





Top Five Completed Shows


http://admissions.vanderbilt.edu/insidedores/manage/wp-content/uploads/Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer.jpg


This show shouldn't need any introduction or reasons why it's one of the best things in existence.  After seeing my list above, did any of you really think this wouldn't be pretty much my favourite show?



http://www.vividscribe.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/VIPtv_eureka16.jpg

I'm actually surprised I ended up loving this as much as I did.  It took a while to draw me in beyond basic enjoyment, but god did I end up loving this show and all its kooky characters!  It's also got one of my favourite ships (Zane/Joe)



http://www.sfsite.com/grc/0910/dollhouse2c.jpg

Oh my GOD I love this show and I get so upset that I feel like it's the least popular Whedon show! A lot of people genuinely didn't like it, and I just don't get it.  
A. Joss Whedon
B. Eliza Dushku is freaking hot. As is Priya Tsetsang
C. THE TWISTS
D. The acting is fantastic (except Paul. Fuck Paul)
E. Did I mention Joss Whedon made this?
 But really, it's just such an amazing concept. And my room mate who doesn't generally watch sci-fi stuff (the one who I finally got to watch OUAT, which he loved, and Doctor Who, which he didn't) also really loved this show.  So give this show a chance!



http://fraggincivie.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/fringe.jpg

You know, I have almost no recollection of the first two seasons. I have this vague recollection of not watching the episodes consecutively, so this show is due for a rewatch as it is.  But the last three seasons?! The FEELS. And science! And paranormal science! And family shennanigans and cows and <333 br="">



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a5/Torchwood_soundtrack.jpg 

For those of you who don't know, this is a spin off of Doctor Who, involving one of the best characters ever - Captain Jack Harkness (He who will sleep with anything that moves. Probably literally).  This show definitely feels more adult than DW, just as a warning, but it also is blunt and unafraid in a way that DW isn't. And again, it may have taken a while for me to warm up to this show past enjoyment into full on crazy love, by the time you get to the fifth season...*sobs*





Top Five Cancelled Shows

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/clar0841/psychblog2012/lie-to-me_tv.jpg

WHY ON EARTH WAS THIS SHOW CANCELLED?!  I waited for a a whole year before discovering they had cancelled it and..and..it's just not fair!! This was one of my favourite shows ever.  On the upside, at least it wasn't like when Kingdom (which would totally be on this list if I hadn't limited myself to five shows) was cancelled after dropping a huge bomb on your lap.  So when you get to the end of this, you won't be like A;SDJS WTF?!...just upset you don't get more.



http://www.luisescobarblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Three-Reasons-ENDGAME-is-a-Great-Mystery-Show-for-Gamers.-1.png

This show on the otherhand...the last episode was one of the craziest things I've ever seen haha



http://images.simplysyndicated.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Better-Off-Ted.jpg

If you liked Arrested Development, you should check out this show.  The humour is similar in a lot of ways, but I personally think this is way funnier. (Also Phil and Lem are THE BEST.)


http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130914213508/bigbangtheory/images/f/f2/Firefly.jpg

It used to be that the words "Space Western" would have me completely uninterested in a show.  But luckily I loved Buffy enough to give this show a go, and luckily this show has Serenity to wrap it up (...sort of).  I basically tied my roommate to a chair so he would watch this show, and he ended up loving it.  (...you know, as I'm making these lists, it's occurring to me just how good natured my roommate is lol)



http://fanart.tv/fanart/tv/114711/tvthumb/T_114711%20(4).jpg

HOLY CRAP this show!!! I mean it's a boarding school (although I think I just pretended it was a college the whole time since it felt more like that) and it's got secrets and hints of sci-fi weirdness and dear god why did they do this to me?!  I actually watched this right after Kingdom, and now have sworn off all British television (other than Doctor Who and Sherlock) that has not already completed because I just can't handle their one season uncompleted shenanigans.




Monday Musings: Characters with disabilities


After experiencing the better part of three days with no voice, I've thought a lot about how little I know about people who have to deal with this day in and day out.  If you haven't experienced it, I can't possibly express to you how isolating it feels to be unable to communicate with people.  It kind of weirds people out to have a conversation where their voice is the only one that is heard - so they stop talking to you, as your answers are limited to how well they understand your sign language.  So not only can you not communicate your thoughts to them - you're forced to the edges of society by default.  Three days of this was enough to make me quite depressed actually, as I tend to turn a bit morbid if I have time to reflect.  This in combination with seeing How to Train Your Dragon 2 and reading The Autobiography of Ms. Tom Thumb made me think a lot about how disabilities are treated in books.  I know mental health awareness month just ended, but I wanted to talk in broader terms to include physical disabilities as well (and to focus on them in this post).

The only books I can think of that deal with either deafness or muteness is Speak and The Raging Quiet.  And I'm honestly not coming up with any books with physical disabilities at the moment.  I'm sure I've read a couple more (I feel like there might have been a mute character in one of the Redwall books) but taken in comparison to the 1,320 books I've read and multiplied by the dozens of characters in each book...that's a drop of water in an ocean. 

I really, truly loved both Speak and The Raging Quiet - but you know what I want more than anything? I want books like How to Train Your Dragon, where the focus isn't on the disability. I want characters who simply have one, and I want to live in their world and know how that effects them - but I don't want that to be what the story is about. I tend to procrastinate greatly on more serious novels, particularly sad ones (...I still haven't read TFIOS...) so I want funny stories, and bittersweet stories, not just the sad stories.  I want historical and contemporary stories and FANTASY stories with characters who have some form of disability.  I want to be able to read about these not only so that I can try and be an ally to everyone who has to deal with these issues every day, but so that I can try and understand what it is to go through it.  I want books that will make me aware of all the issues I don't know about, and to make me more sensitive to the ones I do know about.  I want books out there so that when I am isolated from the world, I have a character who can relate to me. (...I guess they don't relate to me. That I can relate to?)  And that makes me think about all the people in the world who do have some form of disability and don't have these characters there for them.  Where are the characters with wheelchairs, or thyroid inbalances, or Tourret's, or hearing aids?  Where are the characters who have to read braille or have epilepsy?

I do know there are way more books out there that I am either forgetting or haven't read - any suggestions?  (Particularly on the not sad front)