Homer Tuesday – Cat Decor.

8 Apr

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I believe that a well-placed cat can really be the final touch that an apartment needs…until he decides to try to drink all the water out of the bottom of the plant, push the lantern off the table and eat the two candles. Until then, it’s fantastic.

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Friday Fun Day – 4/4/2014

4 Apr
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Ferris wheel at a carnival that randomly pops up every so often by the freeway here. Didn’t seem that safe, but I didn’t die! So that’s good!

Happy Friday, everyone! I thought I’d have an easy week school and workwise, but instead I ended up pulling a few twelve hour days in a row…and it looks like it’s going to continue that way into the weekend. Grad school, man. That being said, I am celebrating spring by going to a UT baseball game with an old LA friend, so that’ll be fun! May not be the Dodgers, but at least it’s something!

Hope you all get up to something great this weekend!

What I Learned

Links

Let them eat cake.

3 Apr

I have put off baking my first cake from scratch for years. And years. And years. It seemed scary! There’s this thing about cakes falling in the oven or being too dry… It just seemed easier to stick with my stand-bys of cookies and pies.

But then, in honor of a birthday, I bit the bullet and….tah dahhhhh

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Look at those sprinkles!

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And that dense, moist crumb!

IMG_4572I found out that there are really three keys to making a good cake – Choose a good recipe, make sure you actually have all the ingredients for the cake so you don’t have to go to the grocery store twice in an hour (ughhhh), and have a very willing crowd of people who will tell you all sorts of nice things while they eat it all.

So yeah. Making cakes. Not a nightmare. Who knew?

 

Book Review: On my Own Two Feet by Beverly Cleary

2 Apr

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My Own Two Feet by Beverly Cleary

On my 11th birthday, my grandma took me to Barnes and Noble to choose out any book I wanted. This was a big deal, because not only was this one of the very few times that we didn’t go to a garage sale or thrift store to pick out books, but also I got to pick out a hardcover! As a kid, I was insanely into Cleary’s Ramona books, so I decided to get her memoir about her young adult life.

I immediately loved this book the first time I read it. College was a far away, vague idea for me at the time, but Cleary made even the mundane things seem exciting. Living in a boarding house! Having a PE major roommate! Eating a ton of avocados from an avocado tree! The book quickly became one of the few that went into my permanent library, which has now moved with me a few times.

I decided to re-read My Own Two Feet because not only does it cover her undergraduate years, but also her time at University of Washington’s library school and her first few years as a librarian. Since I’m in library school now, I wanted to re-read it to see if things have changed all that much since the 1930s. I quickly found out that they have…and they haven’t.

The same:

  • Cataloguing isn’t always the most exciting class.
  • There is an intense fear of the “cheapening of the profession.” When Cleary was in library school, they were all instructed to not accept a salary of less than $100 per month to keep the profession valued. Today, we are obsessed with accreditation and the purpose of the masters degree. This may be a library science battle forever.
  • There is a weirdly fierce, passive aggressive battle for jobs. And having to relocate for a position is certainly still a reality.

The different:

  • Cleary had to briefly hide her marriage because there was a rule of no more than one married female librarian at a branch at a time. Yeah…not a problem now.
  • Cleary got a C in a class for not smiling enough, according to the professor. Whoa. I would fail so many classes.

Overall, reading this as an adult made me love Cleary even more. She gets the vibe of library school so right, and simply tells what is wrong and right about it. This isn’t a flashy read, but it always rings true. I’m so glad I’ve had it as a type of guidebook since 11. I could’ve certainly chosen worse.

 

Friday Fun Day – 3/28/2014

28 Mar

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Yet another week of grad school gone. You guys, it’s flying past! I can’t say I’ll be that sorry to close this part of my life, but it’s hard to let go when I don’t know what the future holds.

In better, less terrifying news, I have some awesome friends visiting this weekend, and the weather is supposed to be perfect for swimming and drinking margaritas on patios! Sounds perfect! Hope you guys have fun plans too!

What I Learned

  • Get this. LA County has more than 10 million people, making it the largest county in the USA. Impressive, but what’s really crazy? LA County has a larger population than 43 STATES. Holy. Effin. Moly. And, according to one commenter who I’m just going to trust because I’m too lazy to check his math, the county is larger than “Wyoming, Vermont, North and South Dakota, Alaska, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine combined (the 10 smallest states).” No wonder I feel like Austin is small. My head was messed up by living in this monster county for too long.
  • In pop culture news, I rediscovered Bunheads on Amazon Prime. Sutton Foster (and Hunter Foster! Broadway kid’s dream!) + lots of musical numbers + a toned down version of Gilmore Girls + all sorts of references to the California Central Coast? Sign me up. Well, sign me up to watch just the one season it ran.

Links

Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

26 Mar

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 “Caring too much for objects can destroy you. Only—if you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn’t it? And isn’t the whole point of things—beautiful things—that they connect you to some larger beauty?”

Alright, Donna Tartt. You wrote your first amazing novel while still an undergrad. You dated Bret Easton Ellis. Your latest book has already been optioned for a movie. This is all so annoying.

And yet, I can’t help but love everything you write.

The Goldfinch starts with a tragedy, as thirteen year old Theo Decker’s world falls apart when his mother and he are involved in a bombing at a NYC art museum. In the mayhem, his mother is killed, and he ends up with a famous painting in his possession. This event and the painting looms over the rest of this 800 page book, as Theo scrambles from one tenuous living situation to another, meeting both scoundrels and lifesavers in Las Vegas, NYC and Europe.

The Goldfinch is one of those epic, crazy long novels that spans more than a decade and has idiosyncratic, yet fully-fleshed out characters. Every reviewer wants to compare it to Dickens, which seems totally fair. It is squarely in the world of orphan children, horrible step-parents, and ne’er do well friends who basically live on the streets. The language is gorgeous, the pacing is generally quick for a book of this type, and there are enough larger themes of beauty, art and love to make the book more than just a snazzy tale.

As I read through the reviews on Goodreads, it seems that people are in two camps when it comes to this book. You either love it and think it’s one of the best books of 2013, or you feel that it is vastly overrated, too long and generally not worth reading. As an English major, wannabe Art History minor, high-falutin’ but still likes a good story type, I’m firmly in the first camp. This is a book that I’ll be thinking about for a while, just as I did with Tartt’s other two books.

And now I just get to sit back and impatiently wait another decade or so to read Tartt’s next novel. I’m sure the wait will be worth it.

Homer Tuesday!

25 Mar

Sorry, Trix. Homer is going to take over your day for a while.

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