Kubrick Fest Recap

I finally finished. It took me way longer than it should have to watch 15 movies especially since some of them were extremely short. The biggest hold up was my work schedule, which was changed just as I started this project. I did end up getting almost all of the films from Netflix. A few of the shorter ones are streaming for free on YouTube. I’ll provide links to those. Here goes:

Day of the Fight, 1951, black & white: A 12ish minute long short doc about a boxer. Kubrick financed it himself and based the film on a photo spread he had done for a magazine in 1949. He also makes a cameo in it (he’s the guy ringside with a camera). It reminded me of what I think those old black and white informational type videos that appeared before a feature film might have been like. Watch it on YouTube.

Flying Padre, 1951, black and white: Another short doc around 8 minutes long. This one is about a Catholic priest in New Mexico. He’s got a really big but rural parish and has to fly around to tend to his peeps. Again, it made me think of the old news reels that showed before movies before I ever went to a movie. Watch it on YouTube.

Fear and Desire, 1953, black and white: Kubrick’s first feature film. Can’t say that I’d recommend it. It’s a little over one hour long. It’s an anti-war flick between two unidentified countries. It’s a little forgettable. It's available on YouTube.

The Seafarers, 1953, color: A short doc made for the Seafarers International Union. I did find this one interesting because I was in the Navy for so long. Also, Kubrick used a long, sideway dolly shot that because a signature technique of his. Also, available on YouTube (subtitled).

Killer’s Kiss, 1955, black and white: Film noir crime flick about 67 minutes long. Boxer at the end of his career begins a relationship with a neighbor. Crime ensues. Meh. I think I had to rent this one from iTunes.

The Killing, 1956, black and white: More film noir, this time starring Sterling Hayden. Based on the book Clean Break by Lionel White. Dude plans one last heist before getting married and settling down. Things don’t go as planned because they never do. Well, okay, things rarely go as planned. I actually enjoyed this one. Available through Netflix DVD.

Paths of Glory, 1957, black and white: Anti-war flick starring Kirk Douglas. Based on the book Paths of Glory by Humphrey Cobb. Douglas’ character tries to defend some French soldiers charged with cowardice after a suicide attack. This one made me glad that we now have actual rules about court-martials. They might not seem like fair rules to the average civilian, but most military would agree that they are fair per the UCMJ and the way the military works. Anyway, thumbs up. Give it a shot if you like war flicks with feels. I understand the book is based on actual events. Available through Netflix DVD.

Spartacus, 1960, color: EPIC historical drama and, again, based on the book Spartacus by Howard Fast. This one has even more big names: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Tony Curtis, probably more that I’m too young to remember. It won 4 Academy Awards (Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color, Best Cinematography, Color, and Best Costume Design, Color). If you don’t know, Spartacus lead a slave revolt during the Third Servile War in the Roman Republic. The movie is about the revolt and what happens to Spartacus. It’s long. 184 minutes long. Available through Netflix DVD, if you feel you must. I’m not saying that it was bad, just long. Noticeably long. Maybe don’t watch it all in one sitting like I did.

Lolita, 1960, black and white: Based on the book by Vladimir Nabokov. THAT book by Nabokov. Starring James Mason, Shelley Winters, Sue Lyon (Dolores), and Peter Sellers. Hated it. Not because of the subject matter but because I’ve read, and love, the book. Not surprisingly, Kubrick had MPAA problems and had to tone it WAY down. It won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (wut?) and Sue Lyon won a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer. I can’t recommend it, but it’s available from Netflix DVD if you wanna try it.

Dr. Strangelove, 1964, black and white: Shocker! Based on the book Red Alert by Peter George. Political satire, black comedy starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens (that’s a name!?), and Tracy Reed. It’s about a USAF general that goes rouge and orders a nuclear strike on the USSR, and the people that try to stop it. It also follows the crew of a bomber that’s part of the strike. Nominated for four Academy Awards and seven BAFTAs. It won four of the BAFTAs. I’ve seen this one twice and have only ever come away thinking, meh. It’s available through Netflix DVD it you wanna give it a shot.

2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968, color: Sorta inspired by Arthur C. Clarke’s short story “The Sentinel.” Clarke wrote a novel of the movie at the same time that was released after the film. I understand that Clarke and Kubrick did work on the book together but I don’t know how well the book and the movie work together. It was the first in the Space Odyssey series. The movie is fucking beautiful. Well, I’m pretty sure it’s fucking beautiful. The parts that I’ve seen are fucking beautiful. Unfortunately, something about it causes me to fall asleep around the time HAL is lip reading Dave and Frank. I wake up around space fetus. Every single time. My mom loved this movie. It’s available via Netflix DVD.

A Clockwork Orange, 1971, color: Guess what! Yup, it’s based on the book by Anthony Burgess. Apparently, the original book has 21 chapters. The last chapter was omitted from publication in the US prior to 1986. Kubrick used the US version for his screenplay and everything I’ve read indicates that he wasn’t aware of a 21st chapter until after the screenplay was finished, or nearly finished. Either way, he didn’t use it. This one clocks in at 136 minutes and features a very young Malcom McDowell. There’s some nice commentary on crime and what could go wrong with trying to “fix” a criminal. It’s weird, violent for its time, and makes one go hmmmmm. I had actually never seen it before and now that I have, I don’t have to watch it again. Available via Netflix DVD.

Barry Lyndon, 1975, color: period drama. Based on The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray. No. Just no. Apparently, this is now considered one of Kubrick’s finest films. It does have some very beautiful scenes but no. I found it to be 187 minutes of OMG is it over, yet. Available via Netflix DVD if you feel you must. Take a break at the intermission.

The Shining, 1980, color: Based on Stephen King’s book of the same name. Depending on what film circles you run in, this might be THE Kubrick film you know. It stars Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. It’s now considered one of the greatest horror films ever made. Basically, dude takes his family to hotel sit during the winter. The hotel is built on a Native American burial ground because of course it is. Horror shit ensues. People die. I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I’ve never had an kind of reaction to this film. I think it’s beautifully shot and has some really amazing scenes but I’ve never had any kind of reaction to the horror/thriller part of the movie. I’ve not read the book. I don’t know what the differences are. Maybe the book would fuck me up. Stephen King has been known to do that to me before. I’m sure it’s available lots of places, probably even runs on TV, but you can definitely get it from Netflix DVD.

Full Metal Jacket, 1987, color: war flick. Based on the book The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford. This is the reason anyone cares about R. Lee Ermey. There’s a lot of young faces here: Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D’Onofrio, more but those are the ones that I still know. I’ve always thought the Parris Island part of this movie to be the most entertaining. It’s a good war flick and I watched it many times at the Marine Corps barracks dining hall over pancakes because Marines love a good war flick over pancakes. Available on Netflix DVD or your nearest Marine Corps dining hall. Occasionally, it’s streaming on Netflix, too. Make your own pancakes.

Eyes Wide Shut, 1999, color: erotic drama. Based on the 1926 novella Traumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler. I really liked this one when I first saw it. When I watched it this time, it pissed me off. Basically, dude thinks women are more faithful than men and gets mad when wife challenges his little brain. He gets so upset that he almost bangs a prostitute. He ends up at an upscale sex party. Shit happens, not really to him. He confesses everything to his wife. They go Christmas shopping with their daughter. If you wanna see Nicole Kidman in various states of undress, including naked, a lot, watch this film. She’s naked within the first 30 seconds of the film. Eyes Wide Shut was actually released after Kubrick’s death. I don’t know if I’d recommend it or not. It’s available via Netflix DVD. Sometimes they have it streaming, too.

A.I: Artificial Intelligence, 2001, color: Kubrick didn’t direct this one. There seems to be some dispute about what his input was, if any. Some filmography lists include it and claim he wrote the concept and original story outline. Some lists don’t included. Steven Spielberg directed it and calls it a collaboration with Kubrick. The film is dedicated to Kubrick, also. My goal here was to watch everything that Kubrick directed so, I didn’t watch it. Netflix DVD has it. You watch it. Let me know what you think.

Well, there it is. I’m done. Got any Kubrick favorites or disagree with me? Let me know.

Stanley Kubrick, 1949

Stanley Kubrick, 1949

Decluttering: Too Many Vehicles

I’ve kinda stalled on my decluttering process in recent weeks. My hours at work have increased so buy the time I get home I’m tired. I think I’m thinking too big and I might try tackling smaller projects in the future. Maybe a stack of papers here or a drawer there. A little progress is better than none, right?

I did do something big back in March. Something that caused a few of my friends to threaten to Baker Act me. I consolidated some vehicles. At one time, last year, I had three vehicles. Now, I have one. It wasn’t a quick process. Deciding to sell one of them took almost 5 years.

The quickest vehicle I sold was my mother’s truck. Having an older truck around the house would have been nice for hauling things to the dump but after about a month I decided I was being silly and I just simple didn’t like her truck. Within 2 months of her death, I had sold it to my neighbors oldest daughter dirt cheap.

This left me with a brand new Ford Exploder and The Jeep.

The Exploder (yes, I mean to use Exploder) had been purchased less than a week before Mom’s stroke. I hadn’t even made a payment on it when she died. We had purchased it to help with Mom’s new life. It was easier for her to get in and out of, there were various safety features that assisted in driving and braking, and there was more room for her various medical stuff while we traveled. It was a very nice truck and we had gotten a really good deal on it. I inherited enough to pay it off after making the request three payments. It was paid for, so it was easy to decide to keep this one.

The Jeep. I had bought my Jeep, brand new, in 2004. There wasn’t anything particularly special about my Jeep. I had built it up just enough for my needs, but it was still a rather simple Jeep. It had been a second vehicle since 2007, when I had bought a large Ford F150 STX 4x4 through Military Car Sales while I was deployed to Afghanistan. I used the Ford, mainly, to haul the Jeep around between duty stations. As most Jeep owners do, I loved my Jeep. It was an extension of me. I probably took better care of my Jeep then I did of myself. The first blip of selling it didn’t show on a radar until late 2011, after I moved back to Florida. I hate wheeling in Florida. It’s not fun. There are no mountains to climb over and nothing really of note to go look at. The feeling didn’t stick. I love my Jeep. We’d been trough a lot together.

The second radar blip showed in 2014. By then, the F150 had been replaced with a Toyota RAV4 that my mom and I shared for traveling. I drove the Jeep daily but did little off roading. I went to a couple off road Jeep events but I had never really felt comfortable hanging out with the Jeep or off roading crowd. I didn’t mention the thought to anyone. Instead, I got in my Jeep and went for a drive and let the thought pass.

In January 2016, I was standing in front of my carport staring at two large, gas guzzling, vehicles and I thought, “This is stupid.” It’s just me, a chihuahua, and two cats that I don’t really want. Why do I need two vehicles, one of which I rarely even drive? I was driving the Exploder almost exclusively. I’d take the Jeep out, maybe, once a week just to keep it operational. I had fallen into a job and didn’t have time for the off roading that I didn’t like anyway. Of course, I then drove the Jeep and thought, “Nope. Can’t do it.”

But then, I did.

Late in March I posted on Facebook that The Jeep was available for sale. My friends nearly broke Facebook. Mostly, they were concerned about my mental health. The thing about old Jeeps is that they still have a high resale value, but arranging for financing for an older vehicle isn’t easy. You basically need a cash buyer. This isn’t to say that it took a long time to sell The Jeep. Within a few days of posting about it, I traded it and the Exploder in for a Toyota Prius. I know, it was a radical change.

Because both The Jeep and Exploder were paid off, I ended up driving off the lot with Judas Prius and a nice check. The Prius suits my current driving needs, my insurance bill has drastically dropped, and I’ve only bought three tanks of gas since I bought it. Do I miss The Jeep? No. If I ever move out of Florida I might change my tune, but for now, I’m good.

CF: The Hunt for Toothpaste

When I started my cruelty free journey there were several products that I was not looking forward to replacing. These were mostly products that I had used for many years. Lancome, for example. I’ve use Lancome moisturizers for many years, and finding a moisturizer that is just perfect takes a lot of testing and buying product that one ends up not liking. I’ve used St. Ives Skin Renewing Collagen Elastin Body Lotion for I don’t even know how long. I’ve been a Crest kid since I learned how to brush my teeth. Crest, Lancome, and St. Ives where the Big Three products that I haven’t been looking forward to replacing, but I didn’t have to replace them soon. The jar of Lancome I have lasts forever, or will at least get me through most of the year and possibly even into next year. Same goes for the giant bottle of St. Ives sitting on the vanity in my room. I had a small stock pile of the Crest toothpaste I preferred, along with three small bottles that my mom had stock piled.

Mom was a fan of those Crest bottles. Have you seen those? I’m not sure Crest still makes them. They were about 4 ounces of Crest liquid gel. I don’t remember which flavor they were. I was never a big fan of them, but since I wasn’t just throwing things away I thought I’d use them up and then go look for new toothpaste.

And then, I used them.

Did you know toothpaste has an expiration date? I never thought about this issue. See, my mom would routinely go to the Navy base in Jacksonville to do some errands. We bank at a Navy Federal across the street from the base, so she would go do whatever banking she needed to do and then go to the Commissary on the base to buy some bulk items for our local Humane Society. She would also pick things up for herself. Cat food, toilet paper, laundry detergent, fabric softener, stuff like that. She wouldn’t necessarily make a list of things she actually needed, she would just wing it. This is resulted in me learning things like: fabric softener solidifies and toothpaste expires. The solidifying fabric softener story can wait for another day (if it needs to be told at all), today, expired toothpaste and the hunt for cruelty free toothpaste.

I wanna say that it was back in March that I cracked open the first bottle of mom’s toothpaste. I didn’t like it. The taste of it was fine, but the clean teeth feeling didn’t last long. Like, it only lasted about half-an-hour. And after that time had passed, it felt like I hadn’t brushed at all. It was day three of this when I finally really looked at the bottle for an expiration date. All three bottles were, at least two years past their expiration date. Nice. I dumped the contents of all three, rinsed them out, and threw them in the recycling bin. Then, I headed for Publix.

Publix is my grocery store of choice. I’m not sure that it will remain my store of choice but, right now, it’s the go-to store. There weren’t many cruelty free choices for toothpaste. Actually, there was only one brand with two flavors. And, there was one little issue. The brand was called Jasön, the flavors are not relevant, the issue was fluoride. Neither of available flavors had fluoride. I’m not #TeamAntiFluoride. I like fluoride in my toothpaste. I did buy one tube because I wasn’t going to hunt down cruelty free fluoride toothpaste at 8 pm. My teeth felt much better after a good scrubbing.

A few days later, I made my way over to Earth Origins, the only natural grocery store in town. There I found many shelves of various brands of natural toothpaste, including Jasön with fluoride. I went with the Kiss My Face brand because they had the flavor I like best (with fluoride). My teeth are happy. I’m irritated. Not about the toothpaste, but now I can’t pick up everything I need at one store. I, suppose, I knew this would happen. I just didn’t think it would happen so quickly. *sigh*

Mom's toothpaste of choice. Not sure if they still make it.  

Mom's toothpaste of choice. Not sure if they still make it.  

That Other Thing I've Been Working On

There’s this other thing I’ve been doing. I actually started a few months after my mom died. Well, I supposed I started the day after my mom died. It was on that day that my sister and an uncle made me go through my mom’s closet and get rid of all of her personal effects. Clothes, toiletries, medical stuff that was around the house, it all got bagged up and hauled over to the Humane Society Thrift Shop. Well, some the medical stuff was donate to hospice or a nursing home, but the point was that it didn’t stay here and I had to start immediately. I’ve talked to a few people that didn’t start immediately after a loved ones death, and well, they never started.

My sister and uncle didn’t insist that I keep going, just that I start. So, I started. After they left, I finished clearing out mom’s room. I pulled everything out and got rid of a good chunk of her bedroom furniture (none of it was family furniture). Then, I went on vacation. It was a preplanned trip, and I decided that mom would kick my ass if I didn’t go just because she had died. Plus, I was going to one of her favorite parts of the country. I had a fun trip, but it was hard because she was supposed to have gone with me. When I got back, I was a bit of a depressed bum for a few months, but eventually I had to make the house mine. So, I started decluttering again.

I have often thought that it would have been easier if I hadn’t inherited the house. If I had to prep the house for sale, I wouldn’t have time to analyze mom’s things. I’d have to make a decision to keep something or get rid of it quickly. I’ve heard of this process of handling your items and if they don’t bring joy to you, get rid of it. It comes from a minimalism movement that I don’t know the name of. I’m not very sentiment when it comes to my own things. I find memories more in my head, or heart, rather than objects. I have had a little stumbling block about this when it comes to my mothers things. Why did she keep such-and-such item? Where did she get it? Is there a story there?

The reduction of stuff in MY house bought on some other changes in Casa O’Neill. Namely, the amount of stuff that was being recycled. Everything that has left the house has either gone to a new home or it went to the Humane Society Thrift Shop (mom’s preferred local charity). Very rarely have I just thrown things away. I have sold a few things. But mostly, I’ve given my mom’s things to people that needed them or would bring them joy. This was the state of mind I was in when I stumbled across the first video I saw about products that lie about being cruelty free. Currently, I think I’m doing better with the cruelty free than the decluttering. But, I’ve got a new job, slowly increasing hours, a bunch of distracting interests, and a bazillion books to read. I am working on it, just, slowly. I’m okay with that.

I had help with today's post from another part of my inheritance, Rudy Monster.

I had help with today's post from another part of my inheritance, Rudy Monster.

“If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.”

Since I don’t have enough other things going on right now, I thought I’d watch all the Stanley Kubrick ever. That’s not as daunting as it may seem. There’s only 16 films, 13 feature length and three short docs. I’ve found at least one site that throws A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, which would make 17 films, but Kubrick didn’t direct this film. He did develop the film and did the original writing but several other treatments were written for Kubrick. When Steven Spielberg finally directed the film, after Kubrick died, he used a treatment written by Ian Watson. There seems to be some debate about how interested Kubrick was in developing A.I.. The film is dedicated to him. I’m not sure if I’ll watch include it or not but here are the films I will watch:

  1. Day of the Flight
  2. Flying Padre
  3. Fear and Desire
  4. The Seafarers
  5. Killer’s Kiss
  6. Paths of Glory
  7. Spartacus
  8. Lolita
  9. Dr. Strangelove
  10. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  11. A Clockwork Orange
  12. Barry Lyndon
  13. The Shining
  14. Full Metal Jacket
  15. Eyes Wide Shut

I’m a little ashamed to admit that I haven’t seen some of these movies. And, I don’t mean the short films that I didn’t know about. I mean a few of the big feature films. I mean a few of Kubrick’s best known works. I’ll tell you which ones when I get to them. I have already located sources for all of them. Netflix has most of them on DVD. I found the shorts on either YouTube or Vimeo. And, it looks like I’ll have to rent two of them. I watched the Netflix DVD I had at home so I’m ready to start. Straight through. No movies other than Kubrick until I’m done.

And, GO.

Mission Cruelty Free: Frist Steps

The first thing I did after deciding that I would, in fact, go cruelty free was to identify all the things in my house that weren’t cruelty free and which ones would have to be replaced the soonest. These were the products I would concentrate on first.

The first thing that I discovered was that my mom had stocked up on a lot of various products. It was going to be months before I needed things like toothpaste or dryer sheets. It’ might be years before I actually need any hand soap. My mom wasn’t a hoarder. We both have access to military bases and we used to make trips up to Jacksonville once a month to deposit coins in the coin machine at Navy Federal and then head to the base for the NEX and Commissary. At the Commissary, mom would buy bulk packages of paper towels and soap for our local Humane Society and then we buy out all the Fancy Feast Garden Blends cat food and iCat’s favorite treats (I forget what they’re called). Then, she would pick up other items like toothpaste, laundry soap, non perishable food items, and if we had brought a cooler with us, frozen foods.

I had originally thought that I wouldn’t throw anything away just to replace it. I would use it up and then replace with something else. I quickly had to make an exception to this rule. While cleaning out the makeup drawer, I realized that I had a lot of expired makeup. I couldn’t even give this stuff away as, some of it, was decades old. Into the trash it went and I started researching new brands. One of the sites that I have found helpful with this is Logical Harmony. The woman that runs the site seems to be diligent with her list of products. She even has lists of companies that she has reached out to and what the status is. If a company gets moved to the avoid list, she tells you why. Products on the approved list contain information on whether or not the product is vegan and if it is owned by a parent company that is not cruelty free. There is also a YouTube channel with product reviews and sometimes discount codes. The site is not limited to just makeup. Another good source is the Leaping Bunny certification. It’s the only certification out there for cruelty free products. PETA might be another source but I’ve talked to someone that found their list to be incorrect. Personally, I have found PETA to be a bit extreme in their tactics with companies that don’t agree with them 100%, so they are usually low on my list of sources.

I also signed up for a subscription box to try new products as I am not terribly makeup or skincare smart. I didn’t want to buy a bunch of product that I ended up not liking. So, I signed up for a petit vour beauty box. Not only are all these products cruelty free, they are also vegan. Other boxes I looked at that claimed cruelty free did not seem to pay attention to parent companies. Plus, it’s only $15 a month, which was the lowest I found.

So, yeah, one of the first things I did was throw a bunch of makeup away. I’m not going to go into detail about what products I switched to as makeup choices can be fairly personal. I will say that I have found a lot of smaller, independent companies making amazing, fun products. Also, Too Faced is awesome.

How many sleeps?

Ever heard of segmented sleeping? Me neither, until today. Well, at least, I heard that phrase today. Before today, it was just “two sleeps.”

About a week ago, I read an article that I cannot find now. Figures. But there seems to be many articles on “two sleeps.” It was called “two sleeps” in the article I read a week ago. Today, when I goggled it I found articles calling it segmented sleep.

Whatever you choose to call it, segmented sleep is this idea that the solid 8-hour recommended sleep is not the natural sleep pattern for people. The article I read suggested that the longer sleep pattern became a thing after the invention of electricity. Other articles suggested that two sleeps started to dwindle in popularity towards the end of the 17th-century and was pretty much dead by the 1920s.

So, how did people sleep? Basically, they slept for a few hours, woke for a few hours, then went back to sleep until morning. What did they do during the period they were awake? Fuck if I know. That seems to depend on the article you read. This is the part of the article that I read that made think the whole thing was bullshit and it doesn’t really matter now. The point of the article seemed to be more about the author’s creative process in the middle of the night rather than the history of segmented sleeping. And that’s the part that peeked my curiosity.

I’ve always been a night person. Currently, my job and school don’t allow for much nocturnal creativity. My blog, art, and various projects have suffered for it. The author of the now hiding article was trying it out for his writing and I thought I’d give it a try, too.

Night One: Wednesday, April 13

I decided to do my first sleep on the couch. I don’t know why I thought this was a good idea but I won’t be doing it again. I fell asleep about 8 p.m. and woke up 40 minutes later for I don’t know why but I rolled over and went right back to sleep. Around 10:40 p.m. I was woken up by a major storm. Normally, I wouldn’t care but Wednesday night one of my cat was still outside. So, I got up, opened the front door, and was promptly run over by my cat. I tried to go back to sleep but no joy, so I went ahead and got up about 11:15ish. I got a ton of stuff done. Dishwasher loaded, load of laundry done, two blog posts written, one album for my RS500 project listened to, bed made, Maya downloaded (I started a project but quickly realized that my instructor wasn’t lying when he said I needed a 3-button mouse), showered and ready to go back to bed by 3 a.m. Then I made another mistake. Thursdays are my early days at the j.o.b. so, I have to be up and moving around 7:15. Reading until almost 4 a.m. was a slight miscalculation. When the alarm went off, I hit the snooze twice before dragging myself outta bed. I was really tired.

Nope. Not gonna work for me.

Well, wait a minute.

The morning grogginess isn’t really all that unusually. I hate getting up in the morning. It wore off just like any other morning but then something kind of cool happened, or didn’t happen. I didn’t get that midday tired, I need a nap, feeling. I didn’t get tired again until around 7 p.m.

Night Two: Thursday, April 14

I did my first sleep in bed this time and slept through my midnight alarm (maybe, I might not have turned it on). I woke up on my own around 2 a.m. I didn’t have anything planned for this wake period but I did do another load of laundry (I try to do one load a day) and I watched the new episode of Bones on Hulu. I went back to sleep close to 5 a.m. and slept for until a little after 8, with only one snooze button smashing.

I’ve been working on writing this off and on all day. It’s currently almost 2:30 p.m. and my energy levels are still up. I guess I’ll keep trying this segmented sleep schedule through the weekend and see what happens.

My Book Life: 2015 Edition

Did Goodreads do this My Year in Books thing last year? I don't remember it. It's a nice little graphic.

I'm feeling kinda meh about my 2015 year in books. I started the year in a 50 book goal that got dropped to 45, at least on Goodreads I dropped it. I tried to hit 50 anyway but because of everything that happened and all the time I spent not reading, I knew I wasn't going to make it.

I hit the 45 book goal with 8,749 pages. It occurs to me that I didn't read a tome this year. I usually try to ready an 800+ page book, at least, once a year. The largest book I read in 2015 was 442 pages (Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes). My shortest book was just 15 pages (A Death by Stephen King), probably a Kindle single. I'm not sure those should count. I dunno. My average book length was a tiny 194 pages.

 *side note: I'm having a little fight with this Logitech keyboard for my iPad Pro. It doesn't seem to be able to keep up with my typing speed. Hmmmmm*

Goodreads tells me that the most popular book on my reading list is Ender's Game with 766,518 other people reading it, too. While the least popular thing I read is 1215 and All That by Ed West. It was another Kindle single and I really enjoyed it. Only 50 people on Goodreads read it.

Wanna talk ratings? No? Too bad. My average rating for 2015 was 3.9, which is about how I feel about he year over all. And as I'm typing this, I'm wondering if that counts the last book I read. I know the answer to this because I haven't actually rated the last book I read. I'm still thinking about it. Anyway, overall it was a pretty much a year full of okay books.

This breakdown isn't as in depth as I'm going to go. It's just going to take me longer to do my analysis. There's spreadsheets involved. I'm not even sure that I'm going to do an in depth analysis this time around. 2015 was depressing all around and I'm thinking that I should just stop analyzing and just move forward.

So, here they are! All the books I read in 2015 in order completed:

  • Ender's Game by Orson Card
  • Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
  • Sex Criminals Vol 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • Mass, I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman
  • The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell
  • 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  • The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City's Cold Case Squad by Stacy Horn
  • Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  • Of Shadow and Stone by Michelle Muto
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • A Death by Stephen King
  • Sex Criminals Vol 2: Two Worlds, One Cop by Matt Fraction
  • The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
  • The Yard by Alex Grecian
  • Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
  • Beowulf by Unkown
  • Road Rag by Joe Hill
  • Snowpiercer: The Escape by Jacques Lob
  • Storm Front by Jim Butcher
  • Dexter by Design by Jeff Lindsay
  • Sex, Book One: The Summer of Hard by Joe Casey
  • Black Widow,Vol 1: The Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmodson
  • The Bat by Jo Nesbo
  • 24 Hour Mindfulness:How to be calmer and kinder in the midst of it all by Rohan Gunatillake
  • How to be a Heroine: Or, What I've Learned from Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Black Widow, Vol 2: The Tghtly Tangled Web by Nathan Edmondson
  • Red Run by Kami Garcia
  • All You Need is Kill by Nick Mamatas
  • The Death of Trotsky by Cecelia Holland
  • Authority by Jeff VanderMeer
  • Practical Deamonkeeping by Christopher Moore
  • 1215 and All That: A very, very short history of Magna Carta and King John by Ed West
  • The Long Run by Mishka Shubaly
  • Fables, Vol 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
  • Fables, Vol 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham
  • Fables, Vol 3: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham
  • Sojourn, Vol 1:From the Ashes by Ron Marz
  • Wytches, Vol 1 by Scott Snyder
  • Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum - A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison
  • The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderso
  • Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman
  • Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simemon

Looking Back

2015.

Part of me wants to say that it was a really shitty year, but it wasn’t. At least not entirely.

The year rolled in with Mom at home. We were working through all her physical therapy and arranging the house so that she could get around when she was in her wheel chair. I took a couple of cycling trips with the WWP to Jacksonville. By the beginning of April, Mom was walking and had driven a few times. We were looking forward and planning some short trips to prep for bigger trips. We bought a big new SUV that could be customized with adaptive equipment and was more comfortable for Mom.

Then she had a massive stroke and didn’t recover.

 *sigh*

That made the year shitty.

But other stuff happened. In June, I went on a year long planned cycling trip with Trek Travel to the California wine country. I got a part time job in a Trek shop! My video and sound class was a lot of fun and I landed a second job in social media because of that class. I made a mini documentary that was shown on a big screen at our local drive-in as part of student film night. My professor took me to sit in on a graduate level class at UF. My nephew got married in November and because I went to that I got to see a good friend that I hadn't seen in far too long.

I learned tons of stuff this year. So many things that I'm not sure I could list them all here. Some of them are things that I never really wanted to learn. Things like, you don't always know that the AC has a leak until the bill goes through the roof. Freon is expensive. Yards are pretty when they belong to other people and I don't have to mow them. I hate shrubbery that grows quickly and wildly. Gravity works very well when I bring my bicycle to a complete stop but don't unclip. My mom kept a lot of weird things and I have no idea why. The makers of my favorite moisturizers, Lancôme, are cool with doing bad things to bunnies.

Okay, I kind of knew that last one but, for some reason, it has just struck me that I should do more to let them know that I'm not okay with having bad things done to bunnies.

So, yeah, one massive sucky thing happened. But lots of little good things happened to keep me going.

I suppose I'm ready for 2016.

I'm Not So Sure About This No Bra Day Thing

So, October 13th has become known as No Bra Day across the land and, possibly, around the world. But why? I mean it. Why? Don’t say, “To raise awareness for breast cancer!” Are you sure about that? 

I’d like to think so, too. 

No Bra Day isn’t something that I’ve given much thought since I first saw it all the way back in 2011, and the only thing I thought then was, “Why is this in July?” (Yes, July. I’ll get to that later.) Then I thought no more about it until I saw this on Facebook:

Wait, what? How does me not wearing a bra show support to people that HAVE to wear a bra. Shouldn’t I, maybe, don every bra I own? Wear one on top of my shirt? Or maybe these great ideas:

So, I did the logical thing and headed over to Twitter where #NoBraDay was trending. One click on the hashtag and, I found that mostly people want to sexualize the day or think it’s utter bullshit.

I tend to agree with the ones that think it’s total bullshit. I went back to Facebook. Facebook seemed confused, too:

Okay, that last one, hits the nail on the head. Here’s my perfectly healthy breast free from their bra because you can’t do this.

All of this made me curious. Where the hell did this day come from and why is this a thing? So, I did some clicking around and found mostly nothing. No one knows where this day came from or who started it. This article reports that it might have been breast cancer advocates. This article thinks the entire thing might be a jokeHere’s two articles suggesting that it is just sexualizing breast cancer.

And then there is this website, which may or may not work for you. While I was working on this post, I was greeted by this when I tried to bring up the page:

Used up it’s monthly bandwidth? I’ve had several websites. At least two of them were hosted on free sites. I didn’t have a monthly bandwidth limit. Wtf is this? Don’t worry, I had screen capped it earlier. This is what the main page looks like:

Please note that the write up says nothing about breast cancer until the very bottom, and then it’s only mentioned in passing. The page has a copyright mark at the bottom dated 2011 and you’ll note the July 9th date of celebration. There does not seem to have been any updates to the page since 2011. There is a Facebook event page here. You might notice that the write up is exactly the same as from the website right down to the July 9th date.

I think someone, somewhere, can’t believe their joke has turned into an annual event. 

While I was researching No Bra Day I found this on Facebook:

Metastatic Breast Cancer Day. Never heard of it, have you? Me, neither. I’ve thrown a lot of links at you and if you only click on one of them, make it this one. Bottom line: metastatic breast cancer kills 110 people per day. It doesn’t need it’s thunder stolen by a cheap joke to get women to post pics of their breast on the internet. 

I’m not going to tell you not to participate in next year’s no bra day. I wish that you wouldn’t but free country. Please, at least, do your own research. If you find something that clears this mess up, please share it with me. Perhaps your Google Fu is better than mine.

P.S. I did not looking to the little thing about Susan G. Komen mentioned in that last picture. I have, recently, heard bad things about their practices but, again, research before you donate to ANY charity.

The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m just gonna start off with No, this is not Gone Girl. Not. Even. Close.

The Girl on the Train seems to have been one of the first books I bought this year. I don’t recall having heard much about it before I bought it. Since my mom’s trips to the hospital, I had fallen out of the Book Loop. I bought this cold after reading the inside dust jacket. I didn’t see the comparisons to Gone Girl until later. Stop it. Just. Stop.

The story is told from the perspective of three different women. Rachel is an alcoholic that has lost just about everything and might have witnessed the key moment in murder. She was blackout drunk at the time so she doesn’t remember. Anna is the new wife (and former lover) of Rachel’s ex-husband. She, Tom (the ex-hubby), and a new baby live in the house that Rachel shared with Tom when they were married. Rachel is not over this arrangement and it doesn’t help that she takes a train into London everyday that stops at a signal directly next to the house. Lovely. Lastly, there is Megan. Megan is dead for a good chunk of the book. Her story starts a year before the murder in the book. Also, Megan and her hubby live next door to Anna and Tom.

Confused.

Don’t worry. Paula Hawkins does do a wonderful job of explaining everything. Mostly. It wasn’t until The Big Reveals started that things went off the rails for me. Usually, by the time something was being revealed, it was no longer a surprise. I saw the ending coming with a little over 100 pages left and that just sucked the life out of the book for me.

Also, it bothered me that Rachel was described as ugly through out the story for, seemingly, no other reason than being fat. I found Anna to be the ugliest person in the book and she’s supposed to be The Pretty One because she’s skinny and blonde. Fuck you, Paula Hawkins, fuck you.

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