Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

Tag: books (page 1 of 3)

I moustache you some questions

moustache

So I found this via Running and Reading and thought I would play along.

1. Four names that people call me, other than my real name:

Counselor
Molasses
Hop-a-long
Michelle

2. Four jobs I have had:

Hostess at the old school Brownings
Criminal Investigator
Music Department Clerk
Attorney

3. Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

The Shawshank Redemption (hell I’ve probably watched it once a month for years)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?
Splendor in the Grass
Dead Poet’s Society

4. Two books I recommend:

Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov

On Writing by Stephen King

5. Four places I have lived:

My parents house
Washington DC
New York
Couch Hall

6. Four places I have been:

The White House
Cummins Prison
Samburu National Game Park
Katz’s Delicatessen

7. Four places I would rather be right now

Bed (I am sleepy)
Waffle House (yet i am hungry and craving some scattered and covered hash browns)
Washington DC
Swimming

8. Four things I don’t eat:

Deer (venison)
Boiled okra
Iceberg lettuce
Green peppers

9. Four of my favorite foods:

Chicken tikka masala
Black bean quesadillas
cheese dip
Chocolate cupcakes

10. Four TV shows I watch:

Assuming this is shows that are currently on the air

Scandal
House of Cards
American Horror Story
Big Bang Theory

11. Four things I’m looking forward to next year:

Little Rock half marathon
moving
Finish a marathon
Getting AGS Alumni off the ground

12. Four things I am always saying:

That sucks donkey balls
What?
Where are my keys?
Hey

holibadge-snowman

Proof that I am a nerd

I bought this book for fun. I am not a grad student. I am not a psychologist by trade. I am not a literature professor or English teacher. I just bought this book because it sounded cool. Okay I was a psychology major in undergrad but that was YEARS AGO!

TOTAL NERD!

Holidailies 2011

Friday Five: Things are looking up

Apparently there is a lot of cool things in my near future so this Friday for the Friday Five, I am going to list them.

  1. The Arkansas Literary Festival. This is a fundraiser to raise money for the library but oh what a festival it is. This year has David Sedaris. (yes that one that talks pretty… well someday) Pioneer Woman. Charlaine Harris. oh the fun. the fun.
  2. I won two free tickets to see Hairspray at the Arkansas Rep. WHOOPEE!
  3. Next weekend one of my favorite professors is giving his Last lecture. He was hilarious even on regular days and I can only imagine what he is going to cook up for his “last lecture.” yee haw.
  4. Awesome work stuff! No i’m not telling you
  5. The weather is gorgeous. GORGEOUS!

Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents

I love running. It is on my bucket list to finish a marathon. I love traveling. It is on my bucket list to go back to Africa and to travel to a whole bunch of places. So I imagine my sense of anticipatory glee when I saw this book about a woman who runs seven marathons on all seven continents. IT has travel and running. Oh I will definitely LOVE THIS BOOK!

Except I didn’t love this book.

While the author believes that long distance can helpful spiritually and psychology as well as physically, she also uses phrases like “my inner divine,” “My inner warrior,” and “my inner bitch.” Something about this fragmentation of her soul in this language annoys me. I know that some of her language and description of her spiritual journey is from feminist spirituality writings. I am also very certain that she has read “Women Who Run With Wolves”

Something about her voice just bugs me. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it did lessen my overall enjoyment of this book.

Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents

Review: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherBattle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What does it mean to be a good parent? What are the goals of child rearing? Amy Chua tackles these questions in this funny autobiographical tale of raising her own two children “the Chinese way”: no playdates, nothing less than an A, three hour practice sessions on either the piano or violin, etc.

The youngest daughter is headstrong and fights her mother every step of the way. The oldest daughter is not.

This book gave me a lot to consider about the influence of culture, the strength of children, and the possibility of a “proper” way to raise a child. It was very thought provoking.

IT’s also funny.

View all my reviews

The 2010 highlights and lowlights

Yeah this is my round up of the best and worst of the year 2010. This is not an objective list. This is entirely my opinion and consists of the things I personally experienced which means there are movies that I have not seen and books that I have not read that probably would affect this list if I had seen or read them. Also, this means that some of these things were created in other years.

Favorite song of 2010

Fuck You by CEE LO GREEN

Come on. You know me. YOU KNOW ME. Left to my own devices, I’m a potty mouth and a half. It’s only respect for my elders and the desire to be professional that keeps me from cursing like a sailor all the damn time. So of course, this catchy doo woppy old school sounding song with the F-bomb in the title was DESTINED to be my favorite song. Add on top of that it’s dedicated to an ex who did the singer wrong and I’m on that song like white on rice.


Favorite book

I found the Swedish “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy all kinds of riveting. I read the first two in the span of three days. For favorite of the year, I am going to have to go with True Grit by Charles Portis. It’s written by an Arkansan and takes place in Arkansas. Besides that, it is written in a voice that is both smart and sassy. Mattie Ross is a 14 year old girl who goes to Fort Smith to avenge the murder of her father. She solicits the aide of the mean, drunk Rooster Cogburn. Hilarity ensues. There’s a certain witty repartee combined with religion that is so quintessentially Arkansas I had to chuckle in recognition.

People who don’t like Arkansas can go to the devil! — Mattie Ross

Indeed.

Favorite cultural trend

Using the internet for good. Earlier this year, there was a rash of suicides by gay teens who were bullied. This, of course, was very bad. Then some people got together and created the “It Gets Better” project. People from all walks of life made videos telling people to hold on and that no matter how shitty things seem right now, it does get better. Many of these videos had the person telling of a time where they felt down and depressed. Some relayed stories of the time they were so down they tried to kill themselves. It was touching.

My favorite though is the snarky calling out of Clint McCance, the Arkansan who wrote that he hoped gay kids kill themselves on his facebook page, by George Takei: “You are a douchebag”

A close second was the seven year old Katie, the girl who with the Star Wars water bottle, and the solidarity of girl geeks everywhere to tell her not to let those pesky boys bully her into putting down her bottle and that Star Wars does indeed rule.

Worst personal moment

This would be my friend Angela going into a coma and dying out of the blue last May. I didn’t even know she was that sick. She had MS but was more or less fine. Then BAM. The aftermath involving the crazy child custody brouhaha and whatnot was completely horrible and still hasn’t ended. Being a lawyer, I got put in the very uncomfortable position of explaining to folks that “no I can’t do anything about it. I’m a witness. The rules of professional responsibility means i can’t do lawyering on this case. I’m a witness.” Lord have mercy.

Of course, watching a trainwreck from a distance and knowing there is nothing you can do is always a lesson.

I still miss my friend. Sometimes I will see something on television or read about some local brouhaha in the newspaper and want to call her to discuss it.

Best Moment

Conan playing that guitar

The Conan O’Brien tour. Oh yes. This came about two weeks after my friend died so it was even more awesome.

Favorite movie

I didn’t see as many movies as I would have liked this year. Partially because most of the movies I want to see never make it to the local theater. I saw some pretty gosh darn good films. I’m going to pick The Social Network.

The Aaron Sorkin/David Fincher chatfest about the creation of Facebook managed to make computer programming and lawsuits interesting. Go figure. True Grit is a close second and I have not seen Black Swan yet.

Best Comeback

BETTY WHITE!

Holidailies 2010 Badge

Summer book loving

Apparently everybody and their Mama (well Boots and Savannah) have been putting “books I read this summer” posts and I figured that I am a good little Leming. Here are my books. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I have to admit I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in April but since the third one came out at the beginning of the summer, I will address all of them in one big Lump. Yes, it’s a mystery/thriller which means there is a lot of gory crime. I have to confess that my experience with the criminal justice system has left me a little warped regarding crime. i.e. I’m a lot more unfazed by it than a lot of people. But yes Virginia, there are some gory, creepy violence against women scenes in this book. It starts with a reporter (Mikael Blomkvist) going to jail for libel and an autistic petite computer hacker goth girl (Lisabeth Salander). Somehow they get together to solve this mystery about girl who came up missing. It’s Swedish. There’s lots of real life places and things in it. It’s riveting. ******

***************

The Second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire (Vintage), takes up where the second book ends. This one goes into Salander’s background and we find out how she ended up where she was at the beginning of the first book. We find out who and where her mother and father are. We find out why she is in foster care in the first place. We also find out that she has siblings. It’s all kinds of crazy and riveting.

*************

**********

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest shows where the issues regarding Salander are resolved in an over the top mystery thriller fashion but resolved just the same.

Yes, the books violent. All of the books are violent and people are raping, torturing, and killing other people in all three books. While certain characters have feminist aspects to them, I’m not sure I would call the books themselves feminist. Blomkvist seems to respect women and isn’t threatened by their success or intelligence. At the same time, he sleeps with most of them in the book. While Salander is smart in a typical male field (computer hacking), she also feels insecure about her body and gets breasts implants. While they’re not War and Peace, they’re not nearly as daft as the Twilight series either. I thought there were fascinating and loved them. But I love books like this anyway.

I ended up this summer reading the first three books in the Sookie Stackhouse series: Dead Until Dark , Living Dead in Dallas, and Club Dead . These are the books of which the HBO TV show “TRUE BLOOD” are based. Frankly, I can’t believe someone based a television series off of these books. I can’t believe the author has managed to write ten books based on these characters. The books are merely okay and the first one is pretty gosh darn bad. If I hadn’t heard from multiple sources that they get better, I would have stopped after the first one. I think the author uses the vampire, werewolf, and other mystical creatures as a crutch to avoid character development. Or something. Oh and the descriptions of the clothes bother me. Make the girl fugly why don’t you? ugh. They are mindless and they are entertaining enough that I finished them.

Click: The Magic of Instant Connections is a nonfiction. This book caught my eye because I met a person and it was the stereotypical, “It was like I had known Bucky Chucky my whole life.” It freaked my shit out, actually. I remembered some of the phenomena listed in my social psychology classes from college. The book itself, however, is written in a much less academic style— similar to Blink by Gladwell.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within I like writing and someone recommended this book to me. It was actually recommended by a journaler but the author herself is a poet. It has a lot of writing exercises designed to loosen up and let your writing flow. Some people even call it their “writing practice.” It was a very touchy feely new age type of aesthetic so unless you are into that sort of thing, you might not like it.

Grave Secret This was written by the same author that wrote the Sookie Stackhouse books but I liked it a lot better. I liked the characters better. I liked the plot better. It’s about a twenty something woman whose parents were drug addicts. She got hit by lightning as a teenager and now she can “read the bones of the dead.” This means when she walks across a grave, she will know who the person buried below is and how they died and a myriad of other facts related to the person. Of course, there is a plot of a mysterious death that causes an uproar and shenanigans including two attempts at shooting the “dead reader” herself. Oh and she’s in love and has a relationship with her stepbrother. KINKY MS. HARRIS. KINKY!

Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (P.S.) I found this in the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble and took it for a spin. This is the memoir of a woman from the age of 10 to her 30s. Over the years, she becomes bulimic and then her behavior over time slides over into anorexia. Then she relapses on the bulimia. LAther, Rinse, repeat. She talks about her parent’s crazy relationship growing up and all sorts of other possible causes for her condition but it’s more of a stark, no excuses, reminiscing of her sordid past. It was so sordid and scarring that in the afterword, the author mentioned that she relapsed back into anorexia after writing the book. Yeah it’s a downer.

StrengthsFinder 2.0: From the Author of the Bestseller Wellbeing This is mainly a career type book. You buy it to get access to this online personality quiz and then use the book to examine the results. It was helpful but NOT THAT HELPFUL! So there. boo yaa

Saturday Seven

  1. I bit the bullet and got my own domain. This should be very interesting. I already have hosting for my professional site so I just added this domain. I’m not sure why I think this is better.
  2. I saw This Film Has Not Yet Been rated. It is about the rating system of the Motion Picture Association of America. It’s about the arbitrariness of the ratings. It points out that the identities of the raters are secret. The film makers hire private investigators to find out who they are. They study movies and point out that the same frames of a sex scene (same position, same angle of the camera, etc.) that get an R rating for a heterosexual will get an NC-17 for a homosexual. It’s a fascinating documentary.
  3. World Cup. DAMN! Nail biter. So close.
  4. My parents are selling my childhood home and the buyer is tearing it down. I have to go through the remaining items still over there to see if there is anything I want. Also, if my brother and I want to coordinate a yard sale, we need to do that this week. The house has floor to ceiling bookshelves in one room. There will definitely be books and old furniture. gosh. They managed to give away my childhood piano. It was out of tune so they gave it away to a guy who was going to pay to have the thing restrung. I saw the eight year old girl who came to watch her family load it into the back of their truck. Her eyes glowed. I think it’s a good match. Apparently, the family owns the donut shop in Crossett.
  5. I am getting back to running. I have to do it really late at night. (8-9 o’clock) but I am getting it done. I’ve been looking at other forms of fitness. It’s time I get serious about this.
  6. My friend Sharon is meeting our mutual hero PAMIE. I’m excited for her. I’m also excited for Pamela Ribon (aka Pamie). She got an article published on Oprah.com. Yes THAT OPRAH.COM.
  7. Speaking of books, I finally have got the first Sookie Stackhouse book. The books take place in a fictional town in Northern Louisiana. While the actual Bon Temps does not exist, there is a Monroe Louisiana and a Shreveport Louisiana. There is a rather large mall in Monroe too. Also, yes, it is realistic for a small town to have a chapter of a group that celebrates the civil war. It rings true with the exception of vampires being real and roaming the earth.

The Friday Five

  1. Over at the Tumblr page I am doing this 30 days of songs meme. The list is under the Friday Five list if you want to play at home. I am thoroughly enjoying it. It’s been a while since I’ve written something non legal. I write on here but it’s been a while since I have had to thing about a topic and write about it. I love music so it has been so much fun going through songs. Searching for the right song to pick for each day has been far more fun than I, or you, would think it would be. It’s a downright HOOT!
  2. I miss my friend. She’s been dead over a month. I don’t cry. I am able to “go on” but occasionally, I forget. When Obama gave his speech regarding BP, I picked up the phone and pressed her number on autodial. I am handling it. I know she wouldn’t want me to spend my days not living my life while she is stuck in the ground. She might slap me at the pearly gates if she finds out I did.
  3. The local domestic violence shelter needs $6,357 by August 1, 2010 to buy their shelter. The building is owned by the Drew County Public Facilities Board and they have decided to sell the building because the rent is cheaper than the expense of the building. Well that is the official statement. I have no nice words. This domestic violence shelter is here and serves five counties. To just up and decide to sell it at pretty close to the last minute shows a lack of commitment to assist victims of domestic violence. To put it succinctly, “BLARGH”
  4. I finished Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within . It brought back that urge to write. It reminded me that when I was younger I liked to write and that I took a creative writing class. Yes, yes indeed. It also reminded me that nothing comes out of the gate all nice. It’s all written in a notebook in a big hurry and then later it gets edited down into something nice and presentable. You have to be able to release the emotions as fast as they can come out of you. That is the most raw and the most real. Those concepts and themes then become the most relatable. So I got another Moleskine and I’m ready to go. I think I’ll start small.
  5. Oh yeah it’s HOT! Crazy hot. Heat index in the 100s hot. blargh.

Day 01 – Your favorite song
?Day 02 – Your least favorite song
Day 03 – A song that makes you happy
Day 04 – A song that makes you sad
Day 05 – A song that reminds you of someone
Day 06 – A song that reminds of you of somewhere
Day 07 – A song that reminds you of a certain event
Day 08 – A song that you know all the words to
Day 09 – A song that you can dance to
Day 10 – A song that makes you fall asleep
Day 11 – A song from your favorite band
Day 12 – A song from a band you hate
Day 13 – A song that is a guilty pleasure
Day 14 – A song that no one would expect you to love
Day 15 – A song that describes you
Day 16 – A song that you used to love but now hate
Day 17 – A song that you hear often on the radio
Day 18 – A song that you wish you heard on the radio
Day 19 – A song from your favorite album
Day 20 – A song that you listen to when you’re angry
Day 21 – A song that you listen to when you’re happy
Day 22 – A song that you listen to when you’re sad
Day 23 – A song that you want to play at your wedding
Day 24 – A song that you want to play at your funeral
Day 25 – A song that makes you laugh
Day 26 – A song that you can play on an instrument
Day 27 – A song that you wish you could play
Day 28 – A song that makes you feel guilty
Day 29 – A song from your childhood
Day 30 – Your favorite song at this time last year?

Blogging for Books

Little Rock Tweetup has decided to give back to the community and will be having a Twestival on September 10th at the Clinton Library. This year’s “twetival” will be benefiting Reach Out and Read Arkansas. You can purchase tickets here. It’s 10 dollars and you are to bring a book for a child under the age of 5.

Today Friday September 4, 2009, we were to blog for books. Our assignment was to name a book we liked as a kid. I loved The Monster at the End of This Book . It’s a Sesame Street book and it’s the story of Grover who hears that there is a Monster at the end of this book. He is scared. He tries to get us to stop turning the pages by setting up barriers such as ropes and bricks. He’s all scared and freaked out. In the end . . . . well I won’t tell you the end. read it yourself.

For some reason, I loved this book. It was about fear and overcoming your fear. It is also about how sometimes people worry over nothing and make things scarier than they actually are. It’s a good lesson for everyone, not just kids.

A children’s book that I discovered as an adult is The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts (My Body Science). It’s a Japanese Children’s book about… well you guessed it: Farts. It’s educational and amusing. I mean how can you now laugh at farts. Farts are funny.

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