Friday, June 29, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey: A Review

My friends wanted me to provide a review. I've been making cheeky little comments while I've been perusing the novel and calling it Fifty Shades of Smut, Fifty Shades of Barf, etc. However, E.L. James is laughing all the way to the proverbial bank after penning a wildly successful trilogy. (I've been working on my first novel for awhile-- it's an endeavor, so I respect the process.) So, really, who am I to judge? The writing is fair, and I do respect her for her success.
The book is a dark love story between a young college graduate (Anastasia Steele) and a mysterious billionaire (Christian Grey). The story revolves around the theme of dominance and submission. And since it's a book about erotica, there is a lot of sex. (Keep a bowl of dark chocolates ready.) I think there is a reason why the characters are very young, as Anastasia is 22 and Christian is 26 (or 27). Otherwise, characters my age (40+) may not have survived some of the scenes (unless they are fit). Pop your aspirin! Also, characters my age would make their own money so they wouldn't have to be bribed with cars and money.
Here's what I liked about the story:
  • The setting: Portland and Seattle
  • Good attention to detail and setting
  • Anastasia's character: clumsy, down-to-earth, intellectual
  • Anastasia's friends and family (except the one that hit on her)
  • Anastasia's old hippie vehicle
  • The sex scenes (some of them)
  • The email banter between Anastasia and Christian

Here's what I disliked about the story:

  • Christian: he needs hospitalization and pharmaceuticals
  • Spoken dialogue: went back and forth with the formal and informal. Seemed stilted.
  • Violence: there were a couple of scenes that bothered me.
  • Ending: I like all stories to be self-contained, even in trilogies Although it is clever marketing, I think it is disrespectful for the writer to leave the reader hanging. (As an impatient person, I don't like it.)
  • Layout of the book: editors! We need more white spaces, please.

I hope this helps you make an informed decision about checking this book out! Here is a link to her website:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Could Write A Book

I heard the sombering news that beloved essayist,filmmaker, journalist, and writer Nora Ephron passed away this week at the age of 71 (damn you, cancer and pneumonia), so I wanted to write a post to honor her. Ever since I learned of her passing, the movie When Harry Met Sally keeps crossing my mind: the actors, the music, story, and of course the unforgettable dinner scene and the brilliant line that follows: "I'll have what she's having." Of course, besides screenwriting, she wrote books. My favorite was I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being A Woman. Here is a list of her credentials:
Right now I am playing the CD soundtrack (twentieth-century style) of When Harry Met Sally featuring Harry Connick, Jr., a handsome crooner from New Orleans. He sings "I Could Write A Book" as I finish this post. Nora Ephron, you could write a book, spin a yarn, and enlighten us though film. Heaven has gained an amazing star; we have lost an inspirational trailblazer. Nora Ephron, thank you for inspiring me. You will be missed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Coursework, Gardening, Literature

I'm grateful to have an interim week this month. I'm spending it revising my independent study, working on the process of securing travel grants to present the independent study in Portland, Oregon, and working on plans for teaching a new class on Monday night. I taught World Literature once before a couple of years ago, and I'm looking forward to teaching it again. I will definitely include vampires and Nosferatu the silent movie. (Steve has offered to be a guest speaker when we show the film.)
Besides the writing, Steve and I are trying hard to keep our flowers alive during this dry spell. The lilies are blooming in the yard. (Fortunately, they are drout-resistant.) I hope we get rain very soon. Perhaps I need to take Greenie to the car wash to bring the showers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Presenting Conference Paper :)

I finished my independent study a couple weeks ago. Yesterday, I received an email that my proposal, entitled "Journey from the Shelves to Microsoft Word to the Web" has been accepted! I will be presenting at the AGLSP (Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Program) at Reed College in Portland, Oregon in October. I'm really looking forward to it. Now I need to work out the details (including travel grant proposals) and plan this trip. I have a feeling when I visit Portland, that it will be difficult to return home. Hopefully, I can bring my handsome cohort (Steve) with me for moral support. (Plus, I like to travel with him.)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Drought: A Poem

How interesting... I wrote this poem and then it rained. It's kind of like a literary version of washing one's car before it rains: Drought: A Poem It must be dry when people cheer at the rain in the afternoon on a summery Saturday in the middle of June. lcs/2012 P.S. We captured a sunset at the beach tonight in-between the storms. Photo and posting soon to follow.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Haiku: Poetry Ancient & Modern

I found a gem that I checked out a couple weeks ago: Haiku: Poetry Ancient & Modern. It's an anthology compiled by Jackie Hardy. The book is compact and has one or two haiku on each page. There is also art and graphics included.
Haiku is fun, short, and sweet. In case you don't know or remember, a haiku is an untitled poem that traditionally has five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line, with a total of seventeen syllables. Of course, you can--and people do-- break up the syllables or disregard the seventeen syllable rule. That's something I adore about haiku and poetry, once I learn the conventions or rules, I can break them if I so choose.
Off to write some haiku! I encourage you to try it. Be warned, it can be addictive. ;)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Crimestopper Drunkwatch

An uneventful Monday night at Hacienda Restaurant turned out to be a little dramatic. Who knew the actions of the Caucasian couple who stumbled in and sat in the booth behind us would soon prompt me to call 911. The couple was intoxicated and destroying the menus. N., our regular server, called the manager up to the table and informed them that they would not be serving them alcohol. (The man thought it was Sunday.) The disgruntled couple waddled out of the restaurant. N. and the other servers watched the couple cross the parking lot out of the window and attempt to access other bars and restaurants in the square. Fortunately, it was Monday, so most places were closed. The staff called another venue that was open across the square to not serve them because they were intoxicated. Steve and I watched them wander aimlessly in the square and were shocked when the woman opened the driver's side of an old white Honda. Oh no, you didn't. I thought. I said to Steve, "We have to call 911. They're going to kill someone." So I pulled out my phone and called 911 to report it. I alerted the staff and they told the manager. I walked outside to see if I could see the car. (I didn't, but the manager said they turned left.) I didn't particularly enjoy being the drunk driving patrol and just wanted to enjoy my dinner in peace, but I was really afraid that they were going to hurt someone and/or themselves, and I didn't want another sleepless night.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Friday Night at the Cove

Tonight I got out of my comfort zone and went with friends to a baseball game tonight in the Bend. The last time I went to a baseball game in South Bend was in the late 1980s. I don't remember much about it. Tonight I remember more, and remember how much I detest crowds. It's nothing against people --okay some people-- but the energy and sea of humanity overwhelms me. Thankfully, I got over it soon after we settled into our seats. It was a beautiful -- and warm--night. We opted for more comfortable seats with cup holders. I think the bench seats would have done me in. Also, the three of us had to get water, snacks, etc. at different times and I have to walk around sometimes because my back and hip hurts.
There was a crabby family at the end of the aisle. We apologized each time we had to move past them. The last time, I sheepishly said, "I'm sorry. Next time, you may want to start charging a toll." The woman replied in a quiet and snarky tone, "That thought crossed my mind." Witch,
I thought. If you don't want people to crawl past you, get seats in the middle of the row! I wasn't going to lower myself to her level and respond rudely, but she will end up in this blog post. By the way lady, the 1980s called: they want their short gray frumpy feathered
hair back. (Later, we exited to the right if we had to get up. The older gentlemen were sweet.Okay, I am retracting my claws. I've been hurt a lot recently, so I'm more inclined to lose my faith in people. Anyway, I do appreciate the people who remain in my life, like the friends who took me to the Cove tonight for a simple game of baseball and fireworks.

Friday, June 01, 2012


It's Friday night and I'm alone with three cantankerous cats. (I love them dearly, but they are getting on my last nerve. Java has finally settled on the couch next to me.) It's too cold to garden, but I'm grateful for the much-needed rainfall. I submitted a proposal to present at a MLS conference in October. It's on the seemingly never-ending independent study I'm (finally) finishing up. I hope it gets accepted. At this point, I'm going to be cautiously optimistic. I'm still waiting to hear back to see if I won a scholarship based on one of my papers from my writing class. Caution works well for me these days. I put in the proverbial toe first and then wait to see if the floor drops. As a professional told me this week, "I'm working too hard to be okay among everyone else." I then asked him if he could prescribe me a new brain, so I could feel like I am okay among the world. That wasn't an option. I need to learn to embrace the good things with ADD, but sometimes--okay most times-- I just HATE it. I would give up every ounce of creativity--every last drop-- to have a normal brain. The Scarecrow and I could cavort down the yellow brick road and meet the Wizard for brains, but he even turns out to be a fraud. In my entire life, for as long as I can remember, I have never felt like I have measured up. And until I die, I probably never will, until I can change my perception.

Saturday Chez Sigety

It's a quiet Saturday afternoon chez Sigety. I'm curled up on a wicker couch on the front porch, surrounded by books and comfy p...