29.4.07

Book review

Glamorama
Bret Easton Ellis
Knopf Press, 1998

Ellis is the sort of author who elicits strong opinions; either you love or hate his manic, just-this-side-of-stream-of-consciousness style. I had high expectations for this book, being a fan of Less Than Zero and American Psycho. This book surpassed my expectations. Ellis has nearly perfected his trademark vapid characters, telling their story with remarkable depth and aplomb. It takes a true artist to find density in characters who are, well, dense. Ellis finds a deeper level in his supermodel terrorist group, despite the glaring limitations of his protagonist (the Xanax-popping, drunken Victor, who in addition to being rather superfluous believes himself to be an actor in a film). The book's twists and turns genuinely surprise, and the reader is left with more questions than answers even after the main issues are resolved. Ellis writes in a classic American style along the lines of Faulkner, albeit in more engaging fashion. He even goes so far as to slap the reader in the face with his foreshadowing, a hallmark of classic American lit ('my father? A plot device'). As we've come to expect with Ellis, Glamorama uses music as a plot device, to great effect. The music references are more subtle than in American Psycho, which is a welcome change of pace. Overall, Ellis has done an excellent job marrying the hilarious ignorance of his supermodel characters with the very grave world of international terrorism, psychological issues, mistaken identity, and the loss of self. Highly recommended.

27.4.07

He ain't heavy, he's my conscience...

Tonight I was a bit early for a dinner, and decided to kill some time strolling around the mall area, gawking at what is supposedly fashionable. This season it appears to be stuff I could make better at the house. I found nothing I would even consider buying, which is a shame because I need some shorts. I went into the Gap and checked out the 'Project Red' area, which is set up to get money to women and kids dealing with AIDS in Africa. Some of the stuff was okay, but what concerned me was that only one of the items for sale was made in Africa, and even that was made in Lesotho, not exactly a worker's paradise. You'd think that there'd be more of a commitment to African goods than one lousy shirt. I left feeling all smug and satisfied putting down the Gap's efforts before looking inward. I sell my metals for recycling - am I really doing the right thing taking money for what I ought to do out of decency? I always rationalised it as a way to ensure that the metal is used, like how I'm sure the animal shelter uses my shredded paper. I'm hardly getting wealthy off the deal, making a cool $4 or so with each trip. Maybe I'm flipping out over nothing.

aargh

Month 1 of regular gym-goin' is complete. To celebrate, I will spend an hour trimming the hedges. I wasn't worried about this chore at all in the past, as I liked the shabby look it gave the house. Unfortunately, my dog found garbage the previous residents stored in the bushes. I don't like there being old food right outside the house. It sends the wrong message. I want my message to be 'stay away, rats!', not 'come on in, rats!' What sort of person would throw garbage into a bush? It's bizarre.

25.4.07

Product review: Pasta Express

A friend tipped me off about this product, one of those cheesy 'As Seen on TV' things being sold at the local drugstore. It's supposed to make al denté pasta quickly and easily. In reality it did save time, shaving a few minutes off the normal boiling time, even with having to preboil the water in the kettle. The pasta came out a bit firmer than I'd like, but to be fair I was using a bite-size pasta shape that easily sticks together. I'm certain that with angel hair or other long noodles I won't have this problem. It's also supposed to cook hot dogs and vegetables - YAY!

Rating: 4 awesomes out of 5.

22.4.07

Nothin' but good today.

Goodness! I have hot water in my house again. What a fine development. Clarice's runny eyes are also only allergies; she'll be just fine. My resumé rough draft came in tonight, and I'll be able to do some corrections tomorrow. Overall, I am ecstatic. I never thought I'd be so elated over being able to do a thorough job of cleaning the house, but I am.

21.4.07

Oh, happy day!

My hair is finally beginning to thin around the crown of my head. It's about time that finally started! I want all my hair gone, and fast. I never had luxurious hair in the first place, so when my forehead started growing larger it was not a big deal. I can't wait until it's all gone up top and I can cut my own hair in under 2 minutes. I look pretty good bald.

20.4.07

I KNEW it!

If Aaron Manton were a drink, he would be:

2 parts dangerous

1 parts gorgeous

2 parts charming

Get Your RECIPE Here!

18.4.07

NOISE!!!

Well, I just broke down and paid $468 for the privilege of kicking my own ass with weights 3 times a week. It's really not a bad investment; I've already improved my Rice Krispies-esque right shoulder (baseball), and the place has satellite TV, so I can probably get rid of this internet I have here at the house after getting my laptop repaired. That's a money-saver right there, and more impetus to read more often. I'm down to only 2-3 books a month now. Just shameful.

I'm going to the sto' today to get C some antibiotics for her eye. There's a chance that just using some saline to wash her eye out will work, but I might as well spend the few bucks and make life easier for everyone. It's easier to give a dog a pill than to spray something into her eye. She'll be happy, I think. She's already really happy to get run of the house, so we'll make her double happy.

I just had some pretty crummy burritos I made myself. The filling itself was alright, but I got these high-fibre tortillas that are just AWFUL. I'll have to just go back to the corn style and live with slightly less nutrition. It's not like organic beef, yellow tomatoes, beans and rice with yummy hot sauce and cheese are THAT bad for me.

yuck.

Clarice has some gunk coming out of her eye. EEW. Poor girl.

17.4.07

A tragedy.

Today we are all Hokies. The sort of person who would pick off 33 people is thankfully alien to me. There are just some sick people out there. It was an incredibly unfortunate occurence, and very little could have been done. Every once in a while, a bad person is going to do something bad. We can only do our best to minimise the damage wrought.

15.4.07

Breakin' off this misery....

Back home after a decent little weekend away. I look forward to being able to take off more often. I also need to borrow a female when I buy my first house - my friend's place was comfortable and nice. I tend to be stark and modern in my design sensibilities. IKEA meets museum, if you weeeeeellll....

More good news as my usually nervous dog behaved perfectly when given free run of the kitchen and living room. She didn't chew a single thing! I think she's past the 'destroy things when Aaron leaves' phase. I hate having to crate her when I leave. Hopefully this tend continues. My little girl deserves the whole house.

12.4.07

Uh oh!

I'm going to HURT tomorrow! 'Arm and ab day' is one that leaves me in a heap the next day. Hopefully it will all be worth it here in a few months when I can hit the beach and not feel bad about myself (I also get to buy better gym clothes then - I look like a total dorkazoid in the cotton-poly duds I sport now). The part that sucks is trying to get in aerobic exercise. I HATE running! It's the worst. I'll have to dig out my Edinburgh Bike Coop special and whip up and down our rather impressive set of local trails. Our county bought the land the trains used to run on and made 'em into bike trails. It's pretty impressive for the middle of nowhere. Here's the site: http://www.mcttrails.org/viewer.htm. If it weren't through some really bad areas, I could use the trails to get from my house across the Mississippi to St. Louis. Blecch to East St. Louis.

Why am I still up? I have to do leg day and pack tomorrow! Clarice and Gilbert are taken care of, and I just have to remember where in the world I put my personal hygiene travel kit. Yes, I have one. I love kits. Prepare for the worst and expect the best!

11.4.07

Oh bondage, up yours!

Weekend breakaway! I'm going to beautiful Wisconsin for a few days this weekend. It really is a nice place, known best for the bizarre distinction of making America's best cheeses and some of our best beers (and worst - MIller beer is also based in Wisconsin). It's a pretty nice little place to go for a short trip, though an extended holiday might be pushing it. My friend is in law school at the University of Wisconsin, and we'll be staying in his girlfriend's house in Madison. Hopefully the temperature will go up just a bit so we can get out. There was some snow last week, strange for April.

Clarice is worn out today. I housed a couple friends from Chicago, and they brought their heeler down to play. They had hours of unsupervised craziness and were a pair of exhausted doggies by the time we got home. Gilbert was unsure about the whole situation, but he did alright with double the dogs around. Poor guy. I should get another cat.

8.4.07

This kid is my new hero

http://www.comics.com/comics/frazz/archive/images/frazz2007040261838.jpg

'Big Trash Day'

A few times a year, area residents are encouraged to bring their larger garbage items to the roadside for pickup. I'm consistently amazed at what people throw out. I'll drive around looking through these piles and find some great stuff. Tonight only half paying attention I found a set of nearly new rubber mats for car floors. These are lifesavers. Tomorrow being Easter, there will be no garbage pickup. This gives me another night to really look around and see what I can find. I'm sure I'll be able to find a chair to replace the one that broke last week. What is very strange about the things people tend to throw out is that they are so easy to repair. People often pitch bikes, which is really annoying. What isn't annoying is when they work. My first couple bikes were roadside specials. On the one hand, the waste is depressing. On the other, I'm saving a lot due to the waste of others. It's a sad little dilemma.

7.4.07

Owie

My legs hurt. I hope this soreness will improve as I get used to heaving iron objects around. Sitting down to breakfast today was excruciating. I had my usual fare, cereal w/ toast & marmalade, but it hurt the first minute. Hopefully it will stop before tomorrow's Easter thing with my step-family. Blecch. They're nice people, but being the lone atheist surrounded by very religious folk will be tough. Oh well. Mark's wife ought to be back from Germany, so there will be one normal person around.

3.4.07

Sore and broke

Eating well costs a lot of money. I've jacked my food bill up 30% by switching to better-quality food. I guess it's a good investment in in myself, ensuring maximum benefit from the weightlifting. Tomorrow is day 2, which I think is lower body. Or arms, whatever. I might switch my consumption of meat to whey protein, which provides the benefits at a fraction of the cost (and taste). Oh well.

I'm still waiting with baited breath on my resumé (CV) from the lady I'm having write it. I expect the interview portion to come soon, and a polished product not too far afterward. I've no clue as to what employers want, so I've taken the tax-deductible shortcut. Hopefully it works. I would love some insurance and enough income to deduct the gym dues from my taxes.

1.4.07

300

Save your money. Marks 2 of five for this one. It just never captured the imagination, and came off as a poor remake of Gladiator. The preachy, go Republican Party Fight Them Nonwhites 'moral' did not help either.