Sunday, November 30, 2014

My GoodReads review of Odd Thomas, by Dean Koontz

 1 Star, because negative ten stars isn't available yet.

 Odd Thomas, or: The Village Idiot has an adventure. 

Odd loves A Girl. She's as sweet as sugar; she even works in an ice cream shop, that's how sweet she is. She has an ice cream shop uniform. Do you see how sweet?? Village Idiot and The Girl love each other so much they don't even need to have sex. They just rub their noses together like sweet, platonic puppies. They are sweeties.

Some things happen. Village Idiot/Odd thinks about pancakes many times. They are a symbol of something, or maybe not. Odd has a pretty good vocab for a fry cook. He is full of words and pancakes. He is here to feed you and save you. It turns out the Village Idiot is actually IHOP Jesus.

Nothing much happens. Then a weird, kind of interesting thing happens, and you think, hey, something's happening... but then it doesn't mean anything or lead anywhere. 

The thing that almost happened felt like this:

---Pretend you're sitting in, say, an ice cream shop. You're reading a terrible magazine while you eat your cone. The magazine is one of the awful, gossipy celebrity ones with horoscopes in the back written by honest-to-goodness psychics. There's a huge list of a hundred different flavors of ice cream on the shop wall, but they're out of everything but vanilla. The cashier is worried but you tell them vanilla is fine. A monster walks into the shop, grabs your magazine, and turns to order some of that sweet ice cream for himself. Before the monster can finish ordering, the cashier executes a perfect swan dive into the napkin dispenser. "Did you see that?" the monster asks you. "Look at this picture of Helen Mirren swimming in pancake batter," you say to the monster. "That's a crazy picture," the monster agrees. "Do you know where the Apple store is?" it asks you. "I meant to go there and I ended up here." The monster leaves and you sit at the table until the store closes.---

This book is the WORST. If I'd written Odd Thomas, my character would have jumped up and followed that monster to the ends of the earth. Because monsters are cool and interesting and weird and ice cream shops finally got awesome. But Dean Koontz won't allow anything or anyone to be more interesting than Odd. Odd is the star of the show. Except he's not a star and there is no show. 

Odd visits his parents. They are Fucked Up Like Dammit. Odd is a good person. He is better than them. He will use his powers for Good. If his parents had his powers? Odd just KNOWS they'd write horoscopes in the back of trashy magazines and swim in batter-filled pools. 

Odd isn't loved by Mom and Dad. But that's ok. The WHOLE TOWN loves Odd. Town love is better than parent love. Town love is quirky. Town love is sweet. The town and Odd rub their noses together like sweet, happy puppies. Odd loves everyone except killers and book critics. Odd doesn't write books, he makes pancakes. But Odd has Opinions about critics. They're jerks. They're such jerks that Odd thinks about them all through the book. That's how bad critics are: they even upset fictional makers of pancakes. Luckily for his disciples, IHOP Jesus isn't listening to critics. He's building his cash cow, whoops I meant he's building his kingdom in heaven.

Then a thing at the end happens. It wasn't the thing you thought would happen. You thought another type of thing would happen but this isn't that kind of book. "Don't worry about all that," murmurs Dean Koontz. You stare in horror as Koontz leans into the book to rub his nose, Eskimo-style, with Odd. "You're an amazing writer,"Odd chirps, in his quirky, lovable way. "No, YOU'RE amazing," gushes Koontz, "I know what I need to do now," says Odd. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" asks Koontz. "Forty book series," they whisper together. "BFF's forever." There's a roar of applause from the crowd.

Friday, October 24, 2014

grounded till you're eighteen, and I mean it

Some years are calm and happy, or manic and happy, with lots of progress, or lots of contentment.
This year is not that year.

On the other hand; my kid is LITERALLY grounded till she's eighteen. How often can a parent get to do that, for real? Talk about silver linings. She's eighteen in a few months, and she is so so grounded till then.  I've never been so mad at a kid for so long. I've never wanted to actually throttle a child before, but I kept picturing my hands around my kids neck, for a week after I busted her. She pointed a gun at her life, and has the half-witted temerity to be angry with the rather large group of adults and professionals who went out of their way to catch the bullet that she fired. I get that she's young. I get that she's got a limited perspective. But people who literally saved her sorry ass are standing around with burn marks on their hands and she's irritated they got involved. My child, ladies and gentlemen. Between courts and hospitals and even more money problems trying to be solved with lack of same, I've been wishing I was a drinker lately. A glass or three of wine at night seems to help smooth over the rough spots just fine for everyone else. I know I shouldn't drink with my health problems and my family history of addiction, but something's gotta give.

My dog died. I keep trying to write about it and I just can't. I'm embarrassed that his death has hit me so hard. He's been a constant companion to me during a lot of illness, a lot of  moving around, a lot of loneliness.
I hate walking without a dog. I hate how a dog-free house feels. I miss seeing his little face watching in the door window, whether I was coming or going. He went everywhere with me.  He was a companion, not just a pet, and I'm glad he's not suffering anymore, but I really miss him. He had such a big personality for such a little guy. He used to go around the house at night and make sure everyone was home and tucked in.
I could get a new dog, I'm not totally opposed to that, but it would be nuts to do so when I'm trying to get out of this house and into a smaller, cheaper one. I may be supernaturally slow at moving, but I've done it enough to know that adding a new dog to this mix would be badbadbad.

So. Some years are better than others, no?

Books I liked this week:

None of them. My NOOK broke. Because of course it did. I'd wager my laptop's on its way out, the way things are going.
I could read a paper book, but my bedside lamp broke, because, this year, remember? Not. My. Favorite. One. I could read with the overhead light on, like a rational, problem solving person, but I'm tired of waking up with a book on my face and the light on at three a.m.  I guess I could read a book before bed, but that's the kind of high end solution that's currently beyond me.

TV I liked this week: 

Prison Break: 
Pretty boys trying to break out of the Big House, what's not to like? The writing is perfect for knitting, ..it's one of those shows that you can look away from for ten minutes and not miss anything. The dialogue is almost hilariously cliched, but it's not too violent, and it's mostly sort of interesting. Actually I think I'm watching because it's got good looking guys pretending to be the most loyal brothers on earth. I maybe shouldn't analyze it.

TV I loved this week: 

Luther:
I hadn't really gotten on the Idris Elba train until I saw this. He is one charming, beautiful bastard, that's for sure. The writing is good, the acting is seriously great, the plotting is tense...it's just so fun. And by fun, I don't actually mean, you know, FUN fun. It's really violent and really terrible, frightening things happen to good and bad people, and it's imaginatively horrible in places, but I can't recommend it highly enough. So. Good.

Pictures I liked this week: 






















end; have a good week


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jobs, Kids, Money, Life

                                           The Flying Lizards: I want money

Status: looking for work (after twenty years raising kids and no completed degree, so I'm qualified to do exactly what I've been doing: cooking and cleaning, natch). Found a free city gym and that's helping with stress, quite a bit actually. I've been getting the kids and myself into various kinds of heads, shoulders, knees and toes doctors, just to get everything done before insurance changes for the worse. I need to paint the inside house (friends have offered their help, without being asked, bless them) and I need to maybe give a damn about the lawn, but I'm not killing myself with this house sale. I've done the kill yourself fixing and staging a house game, and it's not worth it, not at this price point.

I've finally given up the battle to keep Kid Number Two off of meds: she's been asking for ADHD and anti-anxiety meds for years, and I've had her do yoga and vitamins and herbs and so on, and she still is smart but not focused (which is the natural state of most teens, thus my hestitancy), but she is still pushing, so she sees A Guy for the first time this week. I must say I'm still exceedingly concerned about the long term affects of these meds that all our kids are on; where's the fifty year data showing that it didn't hamper long term brain development, especially at critical ages? I continually wobble between, well, maybe this Millenial generation will be like my mom's generation; a super generation (like the first vaccine generation), who were able to focus their minds and belay their anxiety, thus becoming better and maybe more evolved. That's my thought process on good days. On bad days I'm convinced that we're all drunken monkeys on pills. Stay tuned.

Kid Number One is has started Wellbutrin and seems to be doing better than usual on it. They're looking for work as well, and trying to save up for a name change, and trying to convince unsurance, which is legally supposed to cover (if we jump though all the hoops, which we have) a 'top' surgery for gender re-assignment. They're wearing a binder right now and it's causing a lot of pain and back problems. I think this surgery would be hard but helpful with their depression. I hate saying 'they're' but they've said not to call them 'son' until the name change and surgery. It's hard to be supportive when the person is saying, yes, be an advocate, yes support me, but only so much, not yet. The transgender situation is so different from the gay/lesbian/bi thing. It just is. They're trapped in the wrong body, for God's sake. It's so weird that it's part of the PFLAG thing. It's just so, well, brutal.

It's unpleasantly hot, but it's not endless winter, so I'll take it. My garden looks great. I put in about a thousand zinnia seeds and they mostly all came up, so between the zinnias and fifteen daisy and echinaccea plants, it's very cottage garden-y. It goes without saying that the Lawn Nazi next door is in spasms of hate. It's win-win.

TV I liked this week: 

The War on Whistleblowers (documentary).

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/movies/the-war-on-whistleblowers-a-documentary.html?_r=0

This one is grim. Very well done, and the guys in it are heroes, to be sure, but grim. The free press in America hasn't been this limited and reactionary for more than a hundred years. We've gotten ourselves into a bad way. It's hard to get congress to do anything, let alone re-write laws, or kill them.



TV I loved this week:

Fringe

http://www.fringetelevision.com/

I've never really sat down and watched more than one or two episodes, but I've been knitting frantically in an effort to finish the world's most overdue present, and marathoning Fringe, and Godallmighty, it's so good. It's like Battle Star Galactica type good. Funny and smart and weird with a great romance and wonderful characters; it's what I wished X files would have been (I thought X files went downhill after the first few years). It's so nice to love a tv show again.

Books I liked this week: 

Night Watch, by Terry Pratchett. 

I know I read him almost exclusively lately, but he's great stress relief. Well written, funny, poignant, and character drive plot, as usual.


Images I liked this week: 




















end; have a good week



Monday, June 16, 2014

winner

Three hundred pins on Pinterest.
Eight words written for the book.
That's TWO sentences (but I shouldn't brag).
Who's winning at life now??
Very productive day.
If you space your stuff like this everything looks like poetry.
More winning.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Moving hell

Moving hell, blah blah blah, stressed, blah blah blah, it's enough to make me start drinking, blah blah blahbety blah, my life in boxes, blah blah...
Words are overrated, have some pictures: 













End; have a good week.