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Work. It was worklike, then it was bananas, then it was super-extra bananas with the full split and marshmallow sauce (Me: "That's it, I've had it. I am taking 12 full hours off!" Everyone sane: Um.)

I really did go two weeks without reading anything. I think it was terrifying but honestly I don't remember much other than blind panic and listening to RHCP songs on repeat. (Also I just found a bunch of messages in my Inbox LJ had no intention of ever telling me about, so if one is from you, I AM TOTALLY NOT IGNORING YOU AND WILL WHOMP ON LJ IN YOUR NAME. Kisses! --Odd.)

Oh where is this beautiful beautiful entry going.

Oh! Reading. First of all, misura wrote Sharp Teeth (or: My Island is Not a Petting Zoo) with Doctor Impossible/Feral (from Soon I Will Be Invincible) for the current older_not_dead challenge, with the delicious prompt, "Your sharks have gotten fat." I LOVE IT. Go read it.. It feels like the most obvious pairing in the world now that misura has written it down and made it beautiful. And a fandom is born. Yay!

I can't figure out LJ's new Home screen, which seems to be intent on bleating celebrity gossip at me in a manner that indicates it's entirely unaware of how close to death it is. For reference, I've managed to figure out tumblr and am Oddmonster over there as well.

How is it 1pm already?

Wait, I'm talking about reading. So, yeah. After I got off work, I then slathered myself in all US history I could lay hands on for a week. I finally made it to Sarah Vowell's Unfamiliar Fishes, a look at the US annexation of what became the state of Hawaii. I was underwhelmed, this time out, by her ADD and obsession with religious doctrines of 18th century New England, and I didn't really understand her decision right at the front to do away with some of the apostrophes in the names of Hawaiian royalty, but overall, a good read.

I got hold of the latest in my favorite trashy non-fics with Hospital Babylon, 24 fictional hours in a London ER cobbled together from 2 years of anecdotal research. Read it in one night, which was fitting. Warning: it's not for the squeamish.

I read Nancy Eileen Muleady-Mecham's Park Ranger Sequel: More Stories which did what it said on the tin, namely tell more stories from the author's long career as a park ranger. As I happen to love park ranger stories, this one was like a long, warm bubble-bath for my reading soul. It turns out, there really was at least one dude at the Grand Canyon whose last words were "I can fly!"

I think you can guess what happened next, but what most people don't realize is that someone has to clean up the mess afterwards.

I read Alexandra Robbins' controversial Pledged: Inside the Secret Life of Sororities. I do think it is problematic that Robbins' claim that her stories are true is based "I can't tell you how I found all this out, you're just going to have to trust me that it's true". Did that stop me from enjoying the hell out of her book? Nope! I had been expecting it to be like a long episode of As the Greeks Turn, and to be fair, it was that, but it was also packed with historical information about sororities, a look at how the sorority system deals with race and the problematic LGBT issue. The first intersectional feminist book I've read in a long, long time.

And finally, I read On Her Own Terms: Annie Montague Alexander and the Rise of Science in the New West which was PHENOMENAL, as long as you're okay with defining the New West as UC Berkeley. I was surprised by how fine I was with that. Summary: rich white woman gives two museums to Berkeley, then devotes her life to finding the fossils to fill them. In return, Berkeley ignored how Alexander was fucking the President's daughter for forty years. I'm paraphrasing, but barely.

Cue a spate of fictional doolallies:

  • Clammed Up, by Barbara Ross (a murder mystery set on a small island off the coast of Maine that was just like being there);

  • Red Velvet Revenge, by Jenn McKinley (a cupcake-flinging murder mystery at a rodeo);

  • Fogtown (a gender-bending graphic novel of 1950s San Francisco PI's)

  • Manhunter (a very disappointing super-hero in Los Angeles)

  • Daisy Kutter: the Last Train (a graphic novel whose art-style and protagonist I loved, but whose ending I didn't)

  • Such Wicked Intent, by Kenneth Oppel (an Edwardian retelling of Frankenstein where Victor F is the quintessential teenage boy, which is to say he's a jackass-and-a-half, but everyone punches him with butterflies, so that's okay).

I'm back to the park rangering now (Nature Noir, with two pages taped closed) and moreover, back in a writing space, and looking at all the great prompts open until the end of the week at older_not_dead. It doesn't help that my usual writing spot, the basement, is still drying out and being de-mushroomed (hey look, more rain in the forecast). How's everyone else's summer going?

Wait...is it basically fall* already???

*You Antipodeans are, as in so many other things, on your own with that lovely springtime. :) I hope it's going well for y'all.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 27th, 2013 06:02 pm (UTC)
I am so happy that you're back from the Banana Split Of Doom. *hugs*

I'm back, too, from a crazy end-of-summer roller coaster. And suddenly, when I have so many things to do, the words are rolling out of my head. *blinks in surprise*
Aug. 27th, 2013 09:16 pm (UTC)
The trick now is to fight any future banana splits off with a stick. (That sentence should look weird, but yesterday I wrote, "I threw up inside a perfectly good deer." so all bets are off.)

I envy you the words flowing when things get busy, because for me it's only now, like four days into relaxed-and-groovy-self-care-time that I'm starting to hear words again. When shit gets going at work, there are no brakes on that rollercoaster. Not even for emergencies.

I'm glad you're back, dude.
Aug. 27th, 2013 09:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, arm yourself against future banana splits with a good heat gun and some anti-hot fudge shields.

I am as bewildered by the words as always. After months of simply spinning around as my usual h/c mental gymnastics, they insisted on coming out this time.

I do want to write but damnit, I have so much going on right now. Ah well. Any writing is better than no writing, even if it's hurriedly done in the margins of my day, right?
Aug. 27th, 2013 09:36 pm (UTC)
Lovely to see you popping up at the top of the f-list. And glad to hear you're reading again and no longer quite as apt to bury someone in the garden. Not that they probably didn't deserve it, just that the whole grave-digging thing can be such a drag.

If you ever find a way to bottle your wit and your way with words, I'll take a dozen cases. ;)
Aug. 28th, 2013 12:55 am (UTC)
Digging graves is really hard on your shoulders and upper back. I mean, sometimes it's justified, but most of the time the gym is just as effective.

And it's great to see you too! You are too kind, as always :D
Aug. 28th, 2013 06:17 am (UTC)
*whistles* You do nothing by halves, babe :) I have no idea what happened to the past two months. Can I haz a refund?
Aug. 29th, 2013 01:00 pm (UTC)
SERIOUSLY. I'm over here watching everyone going back to school and thinking, "But my summer's only just *begun*."

Hope your autumn gets easier!
Aug. 28th, 2013 07:01 pm (UTC)
There's a Park Ranger Sequel? How did I miss that? I LOVED Park Ranger! Sucker for a girl in uniform, I guess.

At the end of Pledged I was still wondering why women sign up for that kind of mess. Even at that age, I'd opt of anything that begins with a wet t-shirt event entitled The Pig Run. Just--nope.
Aug. 29th, 2013 01:04 pm (UTC)
Aha! I knew there must be a reason why I still had your envelope of books sitting on my end table waiting to be mailed. I can toss in the Park Ranger Sequel, if you'd like. And then get my act together and get to a post office. Rar!

I think that was one of the strong points of Pledged, actually, that Robbins did a great job of explaining all the pressure to join a sorority -- either because all the women in your family did it, or because everyone in your town did it and you anticipate needing to join the ladies auxiliary everything sooner or later, or that there's this idea (which I think has been largely put about by the sororities themselves) that you need the career connections. Breaking into the job market is hard enough that, along with being 18, I could see it making sense that you want this leg up on it. But yeah, the Pig Run was so horrifying. There were lots of parts of that book that horrified me but why everyone condones that crap from the d-b'ing class is just a nightmare.
Aug. 29th, 2013 01:35 pm (UTC)
I was not aware you had an envelope of books for me. Is On Her Own Terms in it? I really want to read that one, too. In addition to PRS, of course.

Have you received the box yet? Books are coming your way!

With Pledged, I got the idea that a lot of girls feel pressured to join, the reasons just left me unconvinced. Probably because it's just so insanely far removed from life as I know it. I can't even imagine the pretty, popular girls from my high school signing on. We were more like the Dolly girls in Winter's Bone, grabbing our switch knives and stomping boots for a night on the town, no Prada required.

Maybe I just don't understand joiners. But from my outsider's viewpoint, I didn't see anything there worth preserving. With the exception of the Black sororities and fraternities. Those seem to serve the actual purpose that traditionally white orgs give lip service to. And if I lived on a campus with step nights, I wouldn't miss a one.
Aug. 29th, 2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
Of course On Her Own Terms is in it. Along with some Eerie goodness. It's a mighty envelope.

No box yet, but you know how mail works here in the northern hinterlands. It's being diligently paddled across the lake from New York by a flotilla of plesiosaurs, and the little guys get tired easily. It's a long way to paddle. They have to take frequent rest stops. And only do it at night.

I was hella horrified to learn from Pledged that MTV's Sorority Girls first season was shot at my alma mater. Greek life there was obnoxiously prevalent, and it was true that during rush, some girls missed class for rush events. Like they would flat out say they were choosing the rush event over the entire reason they'd gone to university in the first place.

And reading Pledged, I couldn't help but wonder: did fraternities make the bros miss classes for rush as well?


It was amazing, wasn't it, how much more focused and together the Black sororities seemed. Like, what the hell, Every Other Sorority? What on earth are y'all doing?

Dude, I worked three jobs and then some as an undergrad. By sophomore year I was sitting in class eating coffee beans straight out of the bag. I can't imagine how anyone not getting serious financial help could afford sorority life as well as going to school.
Aug. 29th, 2013 08:39 pm (UTC)
Don't worry about the box. It's only been traveling a few days and it's crazy heavy so I sent it media. I'm sure they use smaller plesiosaurs for that service. And probably only let them paddle on days with N's in them.

There are many flaws in the system! It's so a rich girl's club. The thing that stuck with me most, I think, were her astute observations on how Greek life isn't just a continuation of high school cliques, it's a University approved and funded continuation of high school cliques.

They talk about preparing Young Adults for Real Life, but being the center of attention in the popular group riding the first float isn't a realistic life goal for most of these people. Probably more real life would be learned living in diverse dorms and, you know, going to class.

I did really love the one girl who said that sorority life prepared her for the business world by, and I'm paraphrasing here (but not much), teaching her get along with crazy-ass broads. But they could just put that on the curriculum, maybe with a weekend field trip to a mid-priced hotel, rather than forcing 185 strangers to live together for 4 years while the accumulated stomach acid concentrate eats through the plumbing.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


TP: the arm is watching you.

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