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In Which I Complain About Food and Praise a Book

I’m coming to the end of a long first week of something I thought I’d never get myself involved in: the Atkins diet.

My boyfriend’s brother talked the two of us into it. Saying he would do the cooking may or may not have been a huge factor in my agreement, but I’ll admit – I didn’t think it was going to be this difficult. I now have a fridge and pantry full of food I can’t eat, I work in a restaurant that serves Italian food, and I can’t even explain to you how difficult it is to set aside the buns when I order a double bacon cheeseburger during my occasional lunch out. (I recently discovered Hardee’s has a “low-carb” option where they will wrap your sammich in a bunch of lettuce leaves, instead of bread, which is definitely helpful).

I’m keeping a stash of Atkins shakes and bars at work so I don’t feel tempted to eat a butt-ton of garlic bread in a moment of weakness, and I don’t have to give up my beloved Diet Coke or tea (although the latter I can no longer put honey in). I think if I were doing this by myself, or doing the cooking/meal planning myself, it would be a lot more difficult, but thankfully my boyfriend is a good partner for this, and essentially all I have to do is wait around for someone to feed me. I’ve already lost 5lbs, so there’s something. ^_^

My daily routine has finally fleshed itself out; since coming to the revelations that I mentioned in my last post, I’ve recognized the need for a routine, even just to keep myself mentally stable and acceptably sociable. Five days a week, I get up and make breakfast pretty early in the morning. My boyfriend picks me up on his way to work, and I walk three blocks to the coffee shop just south of ISU’s campus. The employees already know what I want and where I sit, and usually what I’m reading at the time. I tend to alternate between writing and reading, and then at noon I meet my boyfriend for lunch. Usually there is more reading, or some errand-running, afterward, and then most days I go to work at 4pm. It’s a full day – or at least, it feels like it to me – but I get a little bit of exercise, and don’t feel like I’m hiding in my apartment, which makes leaving my apartment for other things much easier. Most of my friends are gone from the summer, so the social interaction I get from the employees here is pretty crucial. also, I have a place with few distractions where I can work and be more or less left alone.

1Q84In the past week I’ve blown through Haruki Murakami’s novel 1Q84. I fell in love with Murakami just after I graduated high school in 2007, and I try to read one of his novels at least once a year. They’re a bit of a challenge, so I always need a lengthy break between them. 1Q84 was absolutely lovely, although at times I did find myself kind of wishing things would move slightly faster. At almost 1,200 pages, it was a bit of work, especially after having read mostly pop lit for the last year or two, but I got through it and was thoroughly satisfied. Five stars, hands down. You can pick it up for Kindle for about $13 bucks on Amazon, or just through down a little bit more for a paperback copy that will also double as a doorstop.

(Also, for the record, it is entirely acceptable to refer to this book as “1984.” “Q”, or “kyoo”, is the pronunciation for the Japanese word for “nine.” Those Japanese sure do love their puns. Haha. Stop it.)

Now that my brain has successfully been challenged, I’ve decided to let it relax with some significantly more “fun”Shades-of-Milk-and-Honey reading. I dropped by the library and picked up Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal. I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen novels (I enjoy Pride and Prejudice, but Sense and Sensibility is more my thing), and this looks like, while not particularly deep, it will be a pleasant experience during which I can let my brain relax from the Iron Man-esque marathon I ran it through with Murakami. The book currently feels like a slightly AU (alternate universe) Austen-esque novel. You can follow my progress on Goodreads, and feel free to friend me! I’m always looking to share and receive book recommendations.

I’ve chosen not to push myself on the writing, given the problems I’ve been having over the last couple of years with it. Instead of holding myself to a specific daily wordcount, I’m choosing to sit down and write as much as I feel like I can, twice a day. If it’s a sentence, or five pages, then that’s a great thing. Even this blog post will probably be most of what I can manage today, but at least it’s something. I’m hoping to gradually “work out” my writing muscle a little bit every day, until this year’s NaNoWriMo. I’ve been thinking about applying to be an ML, but we’ll see how I feel. I don’t want to push myself too hard. Like I’ve been handling my issues: do what I can, and try a little bit every so often to do a little more. No punishment or shame if the “new” thing doesn’t pan out… just try again later. My comfort zone needs to expand, but it doesn’t have to explode.

Having run out of things to say, I will leave you with this .gif I found on tumblr. I guess I should also say I loved Star Trek Into Darkness? I’ll talk about that more next time, I supposed. I’ve got a lot of things to say, but I’m still digesting, so to speak.

Here you go.


Oh, Bother.

So, here’s what happened.

On February 4, 2011, I started this blog and purchased an upgrade which was, according to the site, supposed to last for an entire year before renewal. On January 7th, 2012, I was charged that renewal, despite not having the money in my account – which I WOULD have had if WordPress had actually given me a whole year and waited until the actual date. When I complained at WordPress, they were glad to reverse the transaction (which did not, however, take care of my overdraft fees)… but also removed my upgrade.

I’ve spent two weeks trying to explain to them that I should still have the upgrade, because one year has not passed since original purchase, but they’re being particularly obtuse about it, and I’m about to lose my cool. I just sent them another firmly worded-email accompanied with a screenshot showing the purchase date, hopefully that will get through to them. In some places I used capslock, I’m afraid.

Anyhow, apologies for all that. Until I get this sorted out, or the time to fix everything, you’re going to find several broken links. I’ll get to that eventually. Also, I’ll be getting back to regularly posted content here soon.

Until then, here’s a book review.


Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)Changeless by Gail Carriger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s been a year since I read the first book in this series, Soulless, and I was eager to pick up the second one.

Changeless did not disappoint. The main characters and their supporting cast stayed true to the personalities built by the author in the previous book, something that can be a challenge for other writers, as I’ve noticed. I had several laugh-out-loud moments, and a moment of genuine sadness that would have elicited tears had I not been in public.

The plot was a LITTLE too busy; there were some things that were left undone that were acknowledge even by the characters, in a sort of shoulder-shrugging “oh well” sort of manner that I found more maddening that anything else. The new characters that surfaced were intriguing and, in general, I liked them. Plus, anything that mixes steampunk with Scotland is a winner in my mind.

There are a few stylistic things that Garriger does that get under my skin; the switching of POVs in the same paragraph, and the habit of stating what a character’s personality traits are (although, in her defense, she does later do the actual SHOWING, and so I chalk the whole thing up to an Austen-like quality to her writing), and the occasional phrase or word that seems inappropriately modern even given the alternate-history setting.

All things considered, though, I devoured the last 150pgs of this book in one sitting, and am just now sitting down to start reading the next book in the series.

Things That Make Me Go “Squee~!”

Holy crap, you guys.

I do plan on writing a long blog post about the things Beth and I giggled about the entire time she, her brother, Techno Jesus, and I were at my roommate’s wedding on Sunday, but that will have to wait, because I am at my parents’ house for the next week or so and thoroughly exhausted and I’ve told the Wedding Story about four times since I got here, so I am temporarily Wedding Story’d out.

The bedbugs have returned to my apartment, and I was just inches from running away screaming from the premises. You have no idea. As it is, I may be able to get a fumigation arranged while I’m gone and quivering in the bug-less bed in the room I share with my sisters in my parents’ basement, so let’s cross our fingers.

Last night Techno Jesus and Chris of Binary Expletive and I went to go see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows last night. I wore my fancy corsetry. When Techno Jesus finally sends me the pictures, I will post them here for you to see. Let’s just say my waistline looked very Victorian and very fantastic, and was very confusing to the employees of Steak ‘n Shake at 1am after we saw the film. The film itself was pretty good – there were a few slow bits and a few bits that made me roll my eyes and wish we could just move on (the physical fight Watson and Sherlock have while the latter is in drag is not something I can imagine anyone being amused by due to its monumental stupidity), but they did a fantastic job with Moriarty, if nothing else. While the film did not grab me the way that the first one did, as far as second films go, it was really not all that bad.

On the subject of films, when I saw the trailer for this one, I immediately ran to my father’s room and asked him on a daddy-daughter date to go see it when it comes out in December 2012.

He said yes.

Because I don’t have much to say in this post, here’s a cleverly-worded book review!

PegasusPegasus by Robin McKinley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Robin McKinley has never failed to enchant me with her work, and this book is no different. From the first time I picked up The Blue Sword in first grade, I have loved this woman and the way that she reinvents the way girls’ stories are told.

This is most definitely a YA book, but from page three I could not turn away or put it down. There is not much in the way of plot, if you consider plot to be “here is the definitive goal” and “here is the definitive conflict” and “here is the definitive villain.” A lot of it comes as a “slice of life” story, the main characters getting to know each other, while hints of a major conflict to come slowly but surely begin to form. You do not hit what I call the major conflict until the very end of the book, but since I’ve known before I picked it up that she was working on a sequel, my only qualm upon turning the last page was that I wanted to read that sequel now.

Pegasus is a lovely story that takes it’s time letting you get to know the history, the structure, and the people of the kingdom that McKinley created. What’s more, you get to know the main characters on such a deep level that you cannot help but know them as real people (or pegasi), and I almost didn’t care that there was no traditional conflict except for what was bubbling beneath the surface. I genuinely cared about the characters and wanted to see them succeed, be happy, interact. After the faith I’ve been losing in YA lit over the past few years, McKinley brought me back with this novel.

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