Foto Friday: Jersey Boys and dinosaurs in Chicago

Last weekend in Chicago was lovely. We saw Jersey Boys, which was great! And one of the main characters was played by CMU alum Shonn Wiley. (The Bank of America Theatre was not so great, though. Poor auditorium design…)

We also got to enjoy some good eats thanks to Restaurant Week, and the weather was cold but not unbearable. And really, what more can you ask of Chicago in February, eh?

A few highlights:

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The Bean (or the Cloud) with snow on it! Also, there were like no people. It was rather surreal.

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Thanks to my dad, I’ll always have a thing for rail lines.

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The Field Museum, which we quickly learned is the home of Sue, the largest, most complete, best preserved T-Rex.

How Twilight is kind of like porn

Well, I finished Twilight last night and loved it. More for the story than the writing, although sometimes Meyer surprised me with her turn of phrase. But mostly I’m a sucker — no vampire pun intended — for intense, irresistible love.

That said, I surprisingly feel no urge to rush into the rest of the series. For me, the hold was the romantic tension between Bella and Edward, and all the squishy nostalgic feelings their relationship stirred inside me. (I’m very stable and happy with Andy, so it was a lot of fun to relive that drama vicariously.) But Twilight ends with them happily together, whereas the rest of the books seem to unnecessarily complicate that — I know because I’m horrible and read the Wikipedia summaries! — so I think I’ll wait. Besides, the iPod app (Stanza) is doing some funny formatting things to the eBooks I downloaded (i.e., not breaking the lines in the right places) and I think I’d enjoy a properly formatted book more.

By coincidence, John August recently linked to an interesting and humorous op-ed about Twilight called “What Girls Want” (by Caitlin Flanagan, Atlantic Monthly, Dec 2008). These were my fave parts:

The salient fact of an adolescent girl’s existence is her need for a secret emotional life — one that she slips into during her sulks and silences, during her endless hours alone in her room, or even just when she’s gazing out the classroom window… This means that she is a creature designed for reading in a way no boy or man, or even grown woman, could ever be so exactly designed, because she is a creature whose most elemental psychological needs — to be undisturbed while she works out the big questions of her life, to be hidden from view while still in plain sight, to enter profoundly into the emotional lives of others — are met precisely by the act of reading.

Reading the book, I sometimes experienced what I imagine long-married men must feel when they get an unexpected glimpse at pornography: slingshot back to a world of sensation…


Because it takes three and a half very long books before Edward and Bella get it on — during a vampiric frenzy in which she gets beaten to a pulp, and discovers her Total Woman — and because Edward has had so many decades to work on his moves, the books constitute a thousand-page treatise on the art of foreplay.


Anyway, now it’s back to the real world. The real world in which I need to start a story or a novel soon. Like, yesterday soon. Like, omigosh I’m already 23 and not a literary superstar soon!


Personal evolution — are you doing it?

Um… to be perfectly honest, I’m being a complete bum, playing on my new iPod Touch (thanks, Walmart, for your Social Media Outreach giveaways!) and reading Twilight (thanks, Stephenie Meyer, for letting me be a giddy 12-year-old girl again!). So I guess I’d have to answer my own titular question with a resounding/embarrassing “no”…?

(Actually Twilight IS giving me some unexpected insights to my writing, but I’d be lying if I said that made up the majority of my motivation or enjoyment.)

Anyway, in lieu of real thoughts (which would require real thinking, which I am boycotting at the moment) here are some things you should read:

1. Mary’s new blog Displaced Texan.

2. From John August’s post “On being here or there”:

Your twenties are a crucial time, and I’d argue that it’s harder to discover yourself — or reinvent yourself — when surrounded by a vast network of people who already have a fixed opinion of who you are. I went to college and grad school not knowing a single person, and while it was a little terrifying, it was also liberating. Decoupled from my previous opinions and embarrassments, I was able to become the 2.0 and 3.0 versions of myself. I could only do that by going somewhere new. By changing place.

3. Floreta’s beautiful post “Trust”. These are my favorite lines:

I am prepared to live my life alone. Not in cowardice, but in triumph.

Foto Friday: Red

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Roses aren’t the only flowers that are red.

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And just for fun, this was a wedding group at Fountain Square on Valentine’s Day.

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Hey, consolidating holidays and anniversaries makes sense to me!

Good Bad Ugly: Link/List edition

Ugly: Tatiana’s laugh/scream. She did a good job toning it down after she made it into the Top 36, and I did feel bad for her getting cut from American Idol last night, but seriously? Listen again. And make sure you’re not near any windows.

Bad: I’ve been at a loss for words lately, both here on the blog and in my writing. There’s a lot of “soul-searching” occurring in my tiny little head, so there isn’t much brainpower left for anything else. I feel very strange and unsatisfied when I’m not working on a story, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to dive back in yet. Good lord, I hope that changes soon. Like, today soon.

Good: I’ve got a whole list, so bear with me. (And blame Katy, the list-lover!)

• Supposedly I have won an iPod Touch! (I say supposedly only because I haven’t received it yet and don’t want to jinx it.) For those of you thinking HOW and WHY and IHATEYOU, I can only say, “Giveaway at To Think Is To Create,” “Luck,” and “Hmm, that’s not very nice.”

• After months of arguing with my dad about domain names, my mom finally settled the matter and just picked one. Introducing the website for my parents’ printing company, Grafikshop, designed by yours truly. (It’s nothing special, but I hope it helps them out!)

• My friend Margot came up with a very original, very hilarious response to the Octuplet Mom. (Do I think 14 babies is crazy? YES! Especially if you can’t afford them!)

• Last but not least, we’re taking Andy’s mom to Chicago this weekend! It’s Andy’s Christmas present to her, because she’s never been and we love going. Our plan is to visit a couple parks and museums, see Jersey Boys, and shop a bit. Now let’s just hope it doesn’t get too abysmally cold…

What’s your Good/Bad/Ugly?