Sunday, March 26, 2017

What'd Red Do This Week

OK another busy week but DON'T WORRY, stuff still got done. Let's dive right in
  • Reached out again about the AHCA because OMG. I've seen the list of what it would not cover and am really curious what it WOULD include. And hey, victory there! Now we just need to make sure they don't do whatever they can to destroy ACA
  • I had a legit nightmare about Gorsuch so figured I should probably reach out about him again
Read Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple which wasn't quite as good as Bernadette but Bernadette is still one of my most favorites so hey, big shoes to fill there. And I still enjoyed it. And all the Seattle talk. Now I started both The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin and Invasive by Chuck Wendig, which I did not realize is in the Zer0s series, but here we are.

More of the same. We're finally catching up on the last season of Veep which is a treasure. Right now I'm watching Shrek cos it was on TV when I turned it on and that seemed like a good enough reason. Watched some Trevor Noah stand up, some Futurama (though not super into the movies they made when they brought the series back but whatever, still love the Professor), some Bob's Burgers. T

I should drop this section cos it's nothing interesting. More My Fav Murder which I'm almost caught up on so...crap. Listened to Hamilton again. Of course. 

Working out
Since keeping track of my citizening has helped keep me going, maybe I should include workouts I do (or more recently don't do) here. I did manage to find some yoga that was similar to the classes I was taking till my gym closed for renovations almost a year ago (grrr) so I managed some of that this morning. And I'm trying to get back to doing the stationary bike. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Shrill: In a certain light, feminism is just the long, slow realization that the stuff you love hates you.

Lady comic memoirs, you are a THING I  am super into and feminist lady comic memoirs is pretty much a dream. I've enjoyed Lindy West's writing on Jezebel for a while* so I was excited when I heard she had a book out. Plus I mean, the whole lady comic memoir love.
A League of Their Own is a classic family comedy that mines the age-old question: What if women...could do things?
West talks about all the things you expect her to talk about: growing up, her weight, being a loud feminist on the internet and the shit that comes with that, relationships, her writing. It's a mix of columns she published elsewhere and new work, although I don't actually know which is which so hey, it's all new to me!

I'm not going to lie, West intimidates me. This book shows her growing into her loud, shrill self (there's a chapter "How to Stop Being Shy in Eighteen Easy Steps"), but I am still in awe of how unapologetic she is about her self, in a world that VERY much wants people like her to shut up. And perhaps because she made her way on the internet, she feels like she's more 'in the trenches" than someone like a Tina Fey or Amy Poehler, who OF COURSE dealt with insane and insulting things. But the internet is its own beast.
Conventional wisdom says, "Don't engage. It's what they [the trolls] want." Is it? Are you sure our silence isn't what they want?
I laughed through the whole book, but almost teared up when she discussed talking to an internet troll who set up a profile of her (recently deceased) father to taunt her. To hurt her in a way that the multiple rape threats she was getting every day couldn't do. And she confronted the guy in one of her columns. And THE GUY CAME FORWARD AND APOLOGIZED. I mean, some of his apology was an "I'm sorry but..." and then a series of excuses, but hey, apology from a troll. That's pretty good.
I do fight monsters, just like I always dreamed, even if they are creeps in basements who hate women instead of necromancers in skull-towers who hate lady knights.
So yeah, I was a fan of this. I mean, that was sort of a given and West didn't disappoint. But really, feminism. Fat-positivity. Lady comics. Yeah, this was going to be a good one.

Gif rating:
*Have you read her reviews of Love Actually and Titanic? Regardless of your feelings about those movies, read these and love yourselves. Also instead of writing this I spent a couple hours reading her reviews. Oops.

Title quote from page 19, location 188

West, Lindy. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman. Hatchette Books, 2016. Kindle

Sunday, March 19, 2017

What'd Red Do This Week

This was a busy week so I didn't do nearly as much as I wanted to.
But let's see what I managed.

  • Reached out to my local rep (again) to vote against Trumpcare
  • Made my monthly donation, this month went to Planned Parenthood again, since healthcare (or you know the decimation of it) is top of mind

I finished up Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward the other day and OH MAN you guys, it was so good. Except I'm not supposed to write a review for it until we're closer to the release date, which is in September. So in the meantime, hey, it's excellent so maybe keep that in mind. I also finished Feminist Fight Club which was a good time, even if there were maybe too many puns (which, I KNOW, not a complaint I thought I'd have). Next up is Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple because Where'd You Go, Bernadette was so good.

Nothing super exciting here. Still powering through Futurama. Watching Planet Earth II. I did watch The Force Awakens and very much enjoyed it, more than the other movies (even original trilogy, sorry). Oh and there's been college basketball on but that's not really my choice and I know very little about what's actually going on. 

Same ol', same ol'. A bunch of MFM. Some How Did This Get Made. I may start Last Podcast on the Left soon, per a coworker's recommendation. I shall also be avoiding Sword and Scale per multiple coworkers' recommendations that everyone should stay away from this lest they get nightmares. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

"Girl" Books, I might need a break

From my own shelf:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Gone Girl
The Girl on the Train
The Good Girl
The House Girl
Luckiest Girl Alive
I was browsing through titles on NetGalley and, you guys, I think I need to take a break from books with "girl" or "girls' in the title. Because there are so many out there. Goodreads has a list of almost 800. And a lot of them deal with actual grown women and not girls.

Emily St. John-Mandel looked into this, in a piece titled "This Is Why So Many Books Have 'Girl' In The Title" by Lena Grossman. St. John-Mandel actually put together a list with over 800 titles (eliminated children's books, and books with less than 250 ratings) and found that more than half of the titles dealt with "girls" that were in fact women.
Now there isn't actually much to actually answer the question of why, despite what the title might tell you. There's the suggestion that saying "girl" suggests a vulnerability that wouldn't be there if it was woman.

Having "girl" in the title doesn't make a book bad. It doesn't really say much about the book. Really, it says more about the marketing. An NPR story says it's not just about marketing, though the interview seems to suggest that yeah, it is about marketing. Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train did well so "girl" in the title becomes sort of a shorthand, telling you if you liked X then you'll definitely like Y.  Though of course it's not to say no books had "girl" in the title before Gone Girl. Three of the books I listed at the top of this post were published pre-Gone Girl.

The point is, this is a trend I'm not crazy about. When there's a few, it didn't bother me. I didn't think twice about it. Then I started noticing it everywhere. Obviously I'm not the only one (hence those links above). This is like the "Wife" trend (as was pointed out by others as well, so well-trod ground here), where it seemed that ever other book was the "something-something Wife". And just like with the "girls" trend, the title doesn't necessarily reflect on the quality of the book, nor does a few instances mean much. But once you start seeing it over and over, it started to leave a bad taste in my mouth.

I'm not crazy about the infantilization of women being referred to as "girls". I'm not crazy about the stories about women being framed in their relation to a man.
So I dunno. Maybe it something really great comes out that people are raving about, I'll pick up another "girl" book. But otherwise, I'm thinking twice about going for these books.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

All Our Wrong Todays: You don't need time travel to smash apart a world. But it helps

I managed to snag a copy of All Our Wrong Todays from NetGalley which was exciting. I didn't know too much about it but from basic summary (time travel!) and a couple positive reviews from others, I figured it was a good gamble.

What if the world we're living in was an alternate timeline from what the "real" present should be? And that everything we know is actually just a primitive and backwards society compared to what we're supposed to have? I mean, look, the way things are going, doesn't the idea that this timeline is a mistake seem like a comforting thought?

The world Tom Barren knows is this technological marvel, where there's unlimited clean energy, no wars, no hunger. Everything is basically perfect. Even waking up in the morning is pleasant. Sure, not everyone is perfectly happy, because people are still people but society pretty much has things worked out. Basically it's what the 1950's figured 2016 would be like, though with a bit more social progress.

Tom's dad is a genius, working on a time machine that can take people back to the exact moment our timelines shifted (not that anyone knows about this other timeline). It's the moment when the Goettreider's Machine was invented, the machine that generates unlimited clean energy and makes the entire future possible. But you know what happens with time travel: you change one thing and the entire future is changed. So of course that's what happens and Tom finds himself in the timeline we know (because Tom's sort of a fuck up), trying to make sense of what has happened, how it happened, and how he can fix things.

Overall, it was a fun story. There's a lot of ridiculous stuff happening, but it's time travel so the more you're willing to just go with things, the better.

That said, there were problems with it. The female characters aren't great. And a fairly big part of the plot is an insta-romance, which is not my thing. I can suspend disbelief involving time travel, but people falling deeply, madly, truly in love in two weeks? I can't.

There are also some bits that I won't get into cos it's a bit spoilery but there's stuff where characters do things a bit TOO perfectly and you can give whatever excuse you want, but it still made me eye roll hard.

I also, looking over my notes now, realize I made a number of snarky comments not just about insta-romance but a few different points, which I typically do if I'm not enjoying a book. I did enjoy this, but it's not perfect

Gif rating:
Title quote from location 3164

Mastai, Elan. All Our Wrong Todays. Penguin Group Dutton, 2017. NetGalley

Sunday, March 12, 2017

What'd Red Do This Week

A bit late but it's cool, I still got this

  • Reached out to local reps to call for bipartisan and independent investigations into the Russia link, especially given the nonsense this weekend around wiretapping.
  • Reached out to local reps to call for an investigation into the Yemen Raid that led to the death of around 25 people, including the Navy Seal William "Ryan" Owens.
  • Reached out to senators per ACLU about the second Muslim Ban
  • Reached out to local reps about the garbage AHCA proposed. I believe the ACA has room for improvement but this nonsense is not it.
I need to reach out to my local rep Leonard Lance because at his town hall he explicitly opened it saying he didn't believe anyone there was a paid protester and that is ridiculous and blah. THEN he sends out a fund raising letter claiming that liberal groups are sending paid protesters to his events and WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE? And I know, politicians are full of shit, but I can still get pissed and voice said displeasure.

Still reading Sing, Unburied, Sing, which I sort of paused to read Feminist Fight Club cos I wanted something light and quick. 

I will be watching The Force Awakens (finally) in a bit with my bro, who lent it to me a while ago but I never actually watched. Whoops. Oh and more stand up on Netflix (Jen Kirkman, please make more standup specials, kthxbai) and I thought instead of watching anything new I would just rewatch Futurama for the billionth time. #goodchoices