Fargo Rock City by Chuck Klosterman

Fargo Rock City : A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota This book starts out absolutely, laugh out loud, hilarious. The way this guy writes just throws me for a loop everytime.

The book is a sort of personalized history of heavy metal. He takes important events in ’80s metal history and relates it to his own life at the time. He is about 1.5 years older than me, so I was right there with him on a lot of his experiences.

Then I started to notice a bunch of mistakes. The first time, I thought maybe it was me. I thought surely this guy would have done his homework and know what he’s talking about. Then, he said Tawny Kitaen rolled around on the hood of a Porsche in that Whitesnake video. Every metalhead worth her salt knows that those cars were Jaguars. And then, the guy made the most glaring mistake. He was talking about the video for “Home Sweet Home” and how it was just a really over-dramatized power ballad. Then he said, they did the same thing sexier and better for “Same Ol Situation.” Oh. My. Gosh. You did not just say that. “Same ol Situation” is a song about lesbians. Definitely not a power ballad. I’m pretty sure he meant “Without You” which is a ballad.

Toward the end, I realized why he might have made such heinous mistakes. Apparently, he is a raging alcoholic. The discussion of this required an entire chapter of the book.

In general, it’s a pretty good book. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who is new to heavy metal. Who knows what deluded notions they might get.

Ella, if you’re out there: You would be apalled!

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

The Eyre AffairThis one was my re-read for April. Remember my readolution to re-read one book a month? I almost forgot.

I enjoyed it at least much as the first time I read it. It’s really fun and has all these quirky little literary references that make you feel all smart til you realize there are probably a ton more that you don’t get because you haven’t read all the books he’s referencing.

I may give the rest of the books in the series another chance. I’ve read most of them before, but my interest flagged as the books went on, and I ended up giving up on the last one before I finished. We shall see.

2 books.

I bought my son some birthday present books today, and when I got home, no one was around, so I sat down and read a couple of them.

Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid (Stink) This one is about a boy who is the smallest kid in his second grade class. He is Judy Moody’s little brother (Judy has her own series of books). Each chapter teaches some small thing, like about a newt’s life-cycle, or about President Madison. But it wasn’t at all preachy. And Stink, the main character, draws comics that are sprinkled throughout the book. Pretty cute.

Ricky Ricotta #02: Giant Robot Vs. The Mutant Mosquitoes From Mercury (Ricky Ricotta) This one is great because it has lots of pictures and not a lot of words on each page. Ricky Ricotta and his Giant Robot save the planet from Mr. Mosquito. I thought this one would be good because we really hate mosquitos.

Book Crush by Nancy Pearl

Book Crush: For Kids and Teens-Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Interest (LUST) Nancy Pearl strikes again! I borrowed this book from the library, but I think I’ll have to go ahead and buy it. It was wonderful! I read the 4-7 and 8-12 sections for my kids and the teen section for myself. For those of you living under a rock, this book is a collection of book recommendations for kids and teens. And adults, it would seem.

The Culturally Savvy Christian by Dick Staub

The Culturally Savvy Christian: A Manifesto for Deepening Faith and Enriching Popular Culture in an Age of Christianity-Lite This is a great book! The basic premise is this: our society is shallow and Christianity-Lite has made Chrisianity as shallow as the rest of society. For those who are searching for something more, Staub describes how to transform society by being familiar with current societal artistic trends and use them to tell people about the Gospel in ways they understand. The next step is to create art that springs from our faith. Yeah, well, he says it better.

Passionate Minds by David Bodanis

Passionate Minds: The Great Love Affair of the Enlightenment, Featuring the Scientist Emilie du Chatelet, the Poet Voltaire, Sword Fights, Book Burnings, Assorted Kings, The subtitle for this biography is “The great love affair of the Enlightenment, featuring the scientist Emilie du Chatelet, the poet Voltaire, sword fights, book burnings, assorted kings, seditious verse, and the birth of the modern world.” That just about covers it. Emilie du Chatelet was so incredibly intelligent, in a world in which men were considered biologically smarter, she often stepped on the toes of the great thinkers of the age. She was a whiz at the new mathematical method called Calculus and she invented the concept of energy. Luckily, the much older Voltaire found her intellect a turn-on. He respected her brain, unless she used it in competition with him. Then he got all hypochondriacal and pouty. Whatever. Anyway, this couple were drawn to each other even after they broke up. It was quite a story.

Kids!

So OK. Yesterday, the kids found a beetle in the living room. They wanted me to kill it, but I was in bed with a tummyache, so I told them if it bothered them they would have to kill it. The took one of daddy’s shoes and went off to torture the poor thing. After much screaming and laughing, the boy (aged 6) brought me a napkin and said, “Now, we just need you to clean it up.” I said, “You tortured and killed it, you clean it up.”

Well, this posed a new problem. They were both so grossed out by the whole thing, they couldn’t imagine picking it up. Eventually, the girl (aged 5) got brave and picked up the body half of the bug with the napkin. Neither one wanted to pick up the head. The boy said, “I want to ask for a vacuum cleaner for my birthday so I can sweep up the bug.” I said, “There’s a vacuum cleaner in the living room.” Well, they were off.

Between the two of them, they figured out how to use the vacuum and got the bug cleaned up. When they came back to announce their victory, I said, “I’m very proud of you. You were very brave and smart.” The boy said, “Yeah, and all she had to do was plug my ears!”

I burst into laughter. Apparently, he was vacuuming while she was going along behind him with her hands over his ears. Her ears, of course, were uncovered and open to the elements.

Jane Eyre: Masterpiece Theater

So I missed this when it came on TV in January or whenever. Gar! I was first on the list when it came in at the library, so I’ve been watching it this week while I’ve been down with pancreatitis (we think). I think it’s a really great production. I cried like a baby at the proposal scene (but I’m blaming it on the stomachache). My only complaint is this: This guy –

Toby Stephens

Is way to hot too be Mr. Rochester. Rochester is supposed to be ugly. Really heinous. This guy has dimples and gorgeous teeth and a great Byronic hairdo. He’s a great actor, and I don’t mind watching him at all, but that’s the point. Rochester is supposed to be ugly!!!

You Suck by Christopher Moore

You Suck: A Love StoryI realize that this is the sequel to another book I haven’t read yet. But, this one came in at the library before the other one, so I gave it a go. It turned out that it didn’t really matter. Sure it referenced the major plot points in the other one, but it was highly enjoyable either way. The characters are hilarious, even the ones who are bad. My favorite is the mouthy goth-emo kid, Abby Normal (an homage to Mel Brooks?). There are other references like several “dialed to 11″ statements, that gave me a giggle.

Reference Phone Call

Caller: How do you spell “liberry”?

Me: How do I spell which?

Caller: Liberry.

Me: Oh, Ok. L-I-B-R-A-R-Y

Caller: Hang on. L-A what?

Me: No. L-I-B-R-A-R-Y

Caller: L-I-A-

Me: No. L-I-B-R-A-R-Y

Caller: L-I-B-A-

Me: No no. L-I-B-R-A-R-Y

I ended up spelling it 6 times, to the vast amusement of my coworker who was standing nearby.

One Word Meme

Stolen from Cat.

. Where is your cell phone? Counter
2. Describe your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/lover? Hot
3. Your hair? Up
4. Your mother? Healthy
5. Your father? Wise
6. Your favourite item? Book
7. Your dream last night? Stressful
8. Your favourite drink? Coke
9. Your dream car? Lamborghini
10. The room you are in? Messy
11. Your ex? Married
12. Your fear? Crickets
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? Smarter
14. Who did you hang out with last night? Paintbrush
15. What you’re not? Quiet
16. The last thing you did? Choreography
17. What are you wearing? Jeans
18. Your favourite book? Pride…
19. The last thing you ate? Mint
20. Your mood? Happy
21. Your friends? Awesome
22. What are you thinking about right now? Sunday
23. Your car? Tagged
24. What are you doing at the moment? Meming
25. Your summer? Hot
26. Your relationship status? Married

Go me!

I painted our Dining Room today. All by myself! I picked the color (It matches the roof of a Meditarranean house from a picture painted by a dead relativethat hangs in the dining room.) I taped all the parts. I bought all the tools. I took the kids to 2 walmarts to get the paint mixed. I stripped off all the old border. And I painted the walls. It was incredibly cathartic. It’s been a bad week on top of my dishwasher woes, and I needed to do something completely for me. I needed to work hard for something. And I did. I worked all day long. Plus I did the grocery shopping and made dinner. Michael was at work, and when he came home I was putting the second coat of paint on.

I did tell him I was doing this, so it wasn’t a total surprise, but he still doesn’t love it. He calls it “pinkish orange”. I call it “orangey red”. I do love it. It was exactly what I wanted, and if it will just dry without all those patches, it will make me smile every time I look at it.

We moved into this house 6 years ago and have never had the time/money to fix it up, so it is decorated the way the 20-years-older-than-us couple had done it. Lots of border and wallpaper, which isn’t bad, but I don’t like the ones they chose. And until the last couple of weeks, it just seemed like too much work to change anything. I didn’t even have the energy to make a decision on what I wanted. Now, I have a vision of what I want. And I’m excited!

My kids are way into this whole painting the rooms thing, too. They’ve each picked out at least 4 colors to paint their rooms. They can’t make up their minds. My 6-year-old son was lobbying for black for his room, but we said no. Actually, I said no. Michael said, “He’s his mama’s boy.”

Dishwasher adventures.

Last week, our dishwasher finally gave up the ghost. It was new when the house was built 25 years ago, so it had definitely served it’s time. On Friday, Michael and I went dishwasher shopping. We picked out a lovely black one with enough features to make us happy, but without all the frills that would make it expensive. And we payed cash. Yay!

The installer came on Tuesday to put in the dishwasher. My dog greeted him at the door and proceeded to “help” him install the thing. After getting the old dishwasher out, we decided the builders of our house had started with the dishwasher and built the house around it. The plumbing was a little bizarre to say the least. Anyway, he got the new one in, tested it, checked for leaks and left. I loaded the thing up, filled the soap dish, and started it. It is very quiet. It started washing. I left the kitchen.

A while later, I came back in the kitchen and realized the thing was still washing. Hmm. How long had it been? An hour? Can that be right? A half hour later, I decided to stop the thing and start over. Maybe I’d missed something. I started it again. It started washing. I left again.

2 hours later, I came back. Still washing. Now I know that’s not right. I called the store. They agreed. That’s not right. They said they’d bring me a replacement the next day. They did.

The same installer came back. Greeted the dog. Replaced the dishwasher with the dog’s help. Tested it. Checked for leaks. Took less time this time. He left.

I loaded this one. I put the soap in. I started the dishwasher. It was quiet. It started washing. I took the kids to the grocery store. I came home 2 hours after I’d started it. Still washing. I called the store again. I talked to an appliance expert. He was clueless. He gave me a number to call the manufacturer to see if they knew something I didn’t.

I called them just after 8 am. I explain the situation to the technician on the phone. She says, “Oh, well, the first few times you run it, it will run for 4 -6 hours.” What!!!!!????? 4-6 hours? Can you imagine the water, electricity, and gas this uses? Holy crow! “Just let it run on through its cycle.” Oooooo-Kaaaaay. That would have been a GREAT tidbit to put in the freaking manual!!!!

This afternoon I loaded it up, put the soap in and started the thing. It was very quiet. It started washing. “Here goes nothing,” I said to the dog. I left to get my kids and take them to the doctor. We got back 2.5 hours later. The dishwasher was finished. The light was on over the “Clean” designation. The hallelujah chorus rang in my ears as I danced around the kitchen and scared the dog.

Hooray for clean dishes.

Update: Poor Michael 2

When I got up this morning, all the chinese food containers were neatly stacked up with the sauce and egg rolls on top… on the stove. His cerebral flatulence continued and he forgot to put the food in the refrigerator. We won’t be enjoying all that Chinese food after all.

Poor Michael.

To start with, he called me this afternoon on his way home from work to say he forgot where the Target is in mid-town. It’s across the street from the only waterpark in town and the race track and the baseball stadium, but he couldn’t remember where that was. He was driving around looking for it. He blamed it on his headache, so he didn’t have to start worrying about early onset dementia.

Tonight, we decided to order Chinese food. Michael called in the order, and left about 15 minutes later to go get it. When he got to the restaurant, he noticed the phone numbers posted on the wall didn’t really look like the one he dialled, but he ignored it. Then, he noticed the new menus they had available in color. He got a little nervous when the workers at the restaurant couldn’t find any record of his order. He stood around while they made the order. When he got home, he picked up the menu he had ordered from and realized that it was a different restaurant altogether. Right about that time, the place he had ordered from called to see if he was coming to get his order.

We are now swimming in Chinese food.

Michael wanted me to call this post “Michael’s Rules of Order”.

I finished some books.

Wanna hear about it? Here it go.

The Brief History of the Dead I had heard the theory before. You know, the one about how there are three phases of life/death. Life on earth, the city of the dead, and total death (for lack of better terms). People stay in the city of the dead until no one left on earth remembers them.

The author takes this idea and pairs it with world destruction in the form of a virus. There is one woman left on earth because she was trapped in antarctica on a research mission/ad campaign for Coca Cola. She hasn’t caught the virus, because she hasn’t seen humans since her mission cohorts decided to go for help when their antenna broke. Therefore, the only people left in the city of the dead are people she remembers.

The narration goes back and forth between the woman, Laura Byrd, and the people in the city of the dead. This is interesting, although I thought the story sort of fell apart at the end. The only logical conclusion is that she will die. So then what? What’s the totally dead part like? And will laura completely skip the mostly dead phase and go straight to completely dead, or will she spend some time wandering aimlessly around the deserted city? Well, that doesn’t make sense, but still. These things were not covered in the book.

Storm Warning: The Story of a Killer Tornado And because it is April in Tornado Alley, I decided to scare myself silly by reading this book. It was really good, and I learned a lot about tornadoes. But, I don’t recommend it to my near neighbors (I’m looking at you, Carl).

The main story was about the ginormous F5 tornado that wiped out Moore, Oklahoma on May 3, 1999. That was a horrible, scary, no good, very bad day and reading about it is much like looking at a traffic accident. You can’t stop, even though you really don’t want to see something ugly. With this one, you know it’s going to be ugly.

In minor subplots, it talks about famous meteorologists and their studies of tornadoes and how much we’ve learned in the last 50 years. That part was heartening.

The amazing part of the may 3 tornado was that a tornado a mile wide was on the ground for 35 miles, and only 49 people died. Before they knew the actual body count, disaster relief personnel were reckoning the number to be closer to 600. This is due to good weather forecasting using new technology, longish warning times, and good luck.

There are only 2 pictures in the whole book. On the covers. It was tasteful of the author not to publish pictures of these people’s heartache, but the salacious side of me wanted to see. Especially pictures of a “downburst” that was discussed with some frequency in the book. Oh well, I guess taste wins in the long run.