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bookhoarding

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Month

January 2012

Moving: Bookhoarding edition

Moving is a pain in the ass for most people, but it’s even worse for booklovers (or bookhoarders). Because I save most of my textbooks (except the Math ones, yuck) and frequently get books as gifts I have about three shelves worth of books with me. That’s not counting a spare few boxes I have hiding out in select households of Bakersfield. If you’ve ever moved you know that you can’t just pack a box full of books (unless you have super strength).

Multiple moves have taught me some strategies. First of all, I put about eight books in each box I have to pack. My school supply box, crafts box and clothes boxes all have a bunch of books in them.

After that I still have a crap-ton of books. This is where my second strategy comes into play. I stuff every conceivable inch of the car with books. Under the seats, between boxes, on top of boxes. Everywhere. I use a bunch of reusable bags to haul these babies from the old house to the car, and from the car to the new place.

At some point during a move I always wonder why the hell I have so many books. Do I need to keep my first copy of Pride and Prejudice? Yes. It’s the copy I’ve reread every year since I was in jr. high. Why do I insist in hauling my complete set of Hitchhiker’s Guide books everywhere? Because, like a towel, you should never go anywhere without it.

Each book has some value to it to me that is beyond monetary. Sure, I could sell them and make some skrill, but I just know I’ll need to reread my Shakespeare textbook one day.

Plus, I consider it preparation for the library I’ll eventually have in my future home.

Review: Trader Joe’s Chocolate FIlled French Toast

An acceptable review I wrote. Published in November.

Trader Joe’s needs to either hire me as a taste-tester or just have me directly deposit my paychecks into their account. I was minding my own business in the freezer section when my eyes spied Chocolate Filled French Toast. I immediately pinched myself, thinking I’d slipped into Purgatory and this ambrosia would be but a mirage, but this is for real. Coming in sets of two, these beauties may not look like much more than glorified quiches, but just wait, they’re microwavable. I had to warm mine a little longer than the time on the box, but that was a sacrifice I could make for the gooey, chocolatey bliss that awaited me. It tastes just like chocolate filled French toast should taste, a little on the eggey side, but the chocolate more than makes up for that. Sure, it could be a little crispier on the outside, but when I’m hungover and cranky these little mounds are like nectar of the gods (plus my lazy ass won’t ever try to make this from scratch).

Review: Anonymous

A movie review that was published in November.

Its finally happened, someone let the Oxfordians write a script. If you aren’t a massive lit nerd like myself (i.e. you’ve gotten laid this year) then you don’t know that there’s a whole group of people who firmly believe Shakespeare didn’t write one play, instead they think the Earl of Oxford was the true playwright. This is the premise upon whichAnonymous is based off of. From the trailers and tagline I assumed the entire movie would be about the conflicts Shakespeare faced being a fake, instead I was pleasantly surprised to see that plot was centered more on the (theorized) drama going on in the Earl of Oxford’s life.

The film makes a bunch of time leaps within the first 15 minutes, which is annoying because it leaves little time to get accustomed to the setting, the multiple characters and political drama, but eventually the pace slows down enough for it to all make sense (unless you’re my grandma, sorry Mimi). Oxford (Rhys Ifans) struggles with playing his role in strict Elizabethan society while hiding his true love: writing. Ifans gives an outstanding performance that I was absolutely floored by (really stepped up since playing the Welsh lodger in Notting Hill). His subtle facial expression and great facial hair really kept me enthralled with the over-the-top stretches the script took with historical facts.

Queen Elizabeth I (Vanessa Redgrave) comes off as a clueless, powerless ruler who relied entirely too much on the Cecil family to keep herself afloat. Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) reminded me of the main character in My Name is Earl, he was more invested in women, ale and money than learning to write. Thankfully the blatant Shakespeare dissing took a backseat to the political drama unfolding between Oxford, the Cecils and Elizabeth. Then there’s this massive bombshell that made even me want to take a shower.

Overall I’d say it was a fantastic movie for anyone who gives a crap about historical drama, Shakespeare or outlandish theories. In an era of movie re-makes I’d say this is a pretty sweet original if you can stomach Elizabethan English for two hours.

Review: Sherlock Holmes 2(movie)

Another review previously published in the paper.

Though I am no Conan Doyle scholar, I’m going to assume he would have been content with Guy Ritchie’s further interpretation of his Sherlock Holmes series. In the second installment of the movie series, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, we find Holmes (Roberty Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) facing the classic villain; Professor Moriarty.
The first 15 minutes of the movie were a let down, especially when compared to the first movie’s action-packed opening. As much as we all enjoy watching Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) walk around with a parcel, I didn’t really care for her. The stories are about Holmes and his detective work, not his love interests. I did appreciate that the first fight scene quickly followed her exit and harkened back to the style of the first movie by doing the play-by-play occurring in Holmes’ mind. This style was used more consistently  in this movie than the first, which I thought was a vast improvement in consistency. Later on it’s used effectively when Moriarty and Holmes match wits and somehow enter each other’s mental playbook.
The plot does the title justice as the detecting duo chase the shadowy specter of Moriarty through different locales. The fast-paced country hoping wasn’t distracting from the political mysteries going on. It was fantastic to see the dynamic duo fighting uniforms on a train, taking a wagon through the French countryside and even riding horses across the border. There’s a spectacular bit that pokes fun of Holmes’ fear of horses. I won’t ruin it because it’s pretty damn amusing.
One of the best parts of this movie was the blatant bromance between Holmes and Watson. The tension between them seems to have only escalated with the marriage of Watson and his Mary. There’s are some particularly homoerotic moments in a train car that will be forever cemented in my mind.
I have to give the movie credit for including just the right amount of comedy. I think part of the appeal of the series is its ability to perfectly balance the high action with subtle breaks for humor. Along with the humor I have to give Ritchie credit for being more clear about Holmes’ substance use. In the first film there’s a vague reference to opium, but in this film we see him chugging embalming fluids.
All sequels face the issue of being compared to its predecessor. In this case I have to say I was a bit disappointed, but I probably had exceedingly high expectations for this film, so I can let some of the flaws slide.
It felt to me that the complex storyline was put in place to make it compensate for lack of action, but there seemed to be plenty of thrilling fight sequences. I would have been content with a less detailed plot, but I get that Moriarty’s presence would require a maze-like plot.
Check it out if you are down for a good-ole mystery and some man-love.

Review: Hobbit Trailer

Originally published in The Synthesis.

The first installment of The Hobbit may not be due for another year, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be fandom chaos. The first trailer was released hours before Tintin’s midnight release (no coincidence that Peter Jackson is involved with both) and featured a lot of familiar faces. I understand that the production company probably wants to make a solid connection between the Lord of the Rings franchise and this one for people who haven’t read the books (or IMDB page), but I felt it relied too heavily on that. While it was great to see Galadriel, Sting (that’s the sword), the ring and Gollum I was a bit miffed that there isn’t one hint of the Smaug. I have no idea where they cut off this movie and where the next will pick up, but from what I remember about reading this book 11 years ago (yes, I’ve been a serious nerd since my teens), the dragon was by far the most exciting part. They’re probably saving the dragon for the second part of the movie, but Smaug’s role was vital to the plot so I feel like I was robbed. Regardless of my critique I’m still going to end up at the midnight showing, decked out in some elf ears.

I never get the good apartment

I missed out. Apparently if I had moved in to this complex three months later I would have had the apartment above my current one. If that had happened I would have been able to train for American Gladiator.

See, every family, yes, family, that has moved in upstairs had shown the same characteristics. From these repetitive actions I can conjecture a few important things.

First of all, there is a track that runs from the room directly above mine, to the living room, kitchen and back.

Second, there is a bed of hot coals in the dining room area, which requires participants to jump up and down continuously.

Third, the apartment comes with a personal trainer that wakes the children upstairs at the most ungodly hours to begin their training. The start with intensive jumping jacks above where my bed is located and progress to the track, where laps are mandatory from dawn to dusk. Training continues throughout the day. Sometimes even until late hours.

I never get the good apartment.

Book Hoarding: The beginning

I love books. I was the kid who burrowed deep into the dusty pages of books in the bowels of sad (but air conditioned) libraries instead of frolicking outdoors every summer.

This started when I was a babe, my grandmother forcing me to stay awake just a few minutes more to hear a story. I was encouraged to bring stacks of books home each time we visited the library.

In college I was able to visit many substantial libraries that inevitably brought tears to my eyes. From the study rooms to the never-ending rows, I am comforted by so many things related to books.

Now that I’m an unemployed college grad I hope to finally have a moment to sit back and ENJOY the books I’ve collected over the years. Some I had to buy for class and only had to read two pages of, or none at all. Others are gifts that I’ve never had a moment to just sit and read. Many of them are books I have saved from an untimely shredding.

So this site will hopefully be filled with many odds and ends in relation to my love of the written word. I call myself a book hoarder because there are few things in the world that are acceptable to hoard, books are one of them. Join me.

 

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