Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Case for Twilight: Part 1

Men hate Twilight. This is, gender profiling aside, truer than the commonly accepted fact that men like football.

They hate Twilight for any number of reasons. Topping the list is the fact that the vampires "sparkle", which seems like an awfully trivial reason to hate an entire franchise. I think its a front, by the entire male population, to avoid the real reason they hate it so much.

They're jealous.

Somehow, these two fictitious characters have captured the heart of women everywhere, and here you are, men of the world, still scratching your collective heads regarding everyone with two X chromosomes. It's frustrating, men. I understand. I do. But lets be proactive here. Really, if you stop glaring at Robert Pattinson and muttering the words "Vampires don't sparkle" under your breath, you might, might, be able to take a few tips. Maybe.

The thing about Twilight is that it speaks to 95% of women in ways that society has made a bit taboo. I'm not talking about the oh-so-controversial over-protectiveness that borders on the obsessive, although that is part of it. No, what I'm referring to are four very basic longings that secretly reside in the heart of most (I would say all, but a few are still vehemently in denial) women. It's important to note that I don't think that Twilight is the model for a perfect relationship. I myself would never date a vampire. It is also important to note that this is not an advertisement for Twilight. I am not trying to convince anyone to read anything. Twilight is rather horrifically written, to be honest. I simply understand why those who read and love it, myself included, do so.

This is simply a friendly note the men of the world, explaining the insanity. I'm only exploring the first today, but I'll go through the other three later this week. Or every Thursday for a month. Or something.

To Be Beautiful

Bella is the personification of how every woman has felt, does feel or will feel about herself. Not particularly pretty or smart or worthwhile. EVERY woman has felt this way at one point or another. Even women who grew up in supportive, loving homes sometimes look in the mirror and say "Icgh". It's not low self-esteem or self-degradation. It just is.

Bella is, in her own self-estimation, shockingly average. She does not see herself as anything special, and whether or not she IS special or beautiful or smart isn't even the point.
The point is that the man she loves sees her and calls her beautiful. Not just beautiful, but more beautiful than any woman he has ever known. Topping this is that he says it with complete honesty and conviction. We know that Edward sees her and truly sees the most beautiful woman in existence.

Women long for this; to be called beautiful, to be considered beautiful, is important. It isn't just a physical thing, either. We want to know that you see us, really see us, inside and out, and see us as beautiful. This isn't to say that women are or should be insecure and requiring of a man's approval to think that she is beautiful. I am not speaking of the woman who sees herself as worthless or ugly. That is a whole different ballgame, with a whole different set of rules. I am speaking here of your every-woman. The one who is confident in herself, but only most of the time. I am a relatively confident woman. I am secure in the fact that, while I will never model for Victoria's Secret, I am far from unfortunate looking. I can look in the mirror and know that I look nice, but I want my husband to notice. I want him to say it. I want to know that he sees me and sees a beautiful woman.

So, the next time you are ready to scoff at the absurdities of Twilight (and I would have the utmost sympathy for you. It is rather absurd), look at the woman you love instead, and see that she is beautiful, and let her know.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

GoodReads Description:

In Mary's world there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.
And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future-between the one she loves and the one who loves her.

And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

I'm not sure what to think, really. It had all the good elements of a good book. Dystopian? check. Zombies? check. Overbearing religious society controlling the lives of everyone it touches? double check.

It had all that, and, to be fair, it was well-written and engaging and all that. Worth the read, for certain. There are many an OMG HOW WILL THEY ESCAPE moment, several very, very heartrenching passages, and a zombie infant. It really doesn't get much better. The book is a bit confused sometimes, isn't really sure if it wants to be an adventure or a romance, and so, instead of combining the two, contents itself with being an adventure story that is constantly threatening to turn into a romance, before the adventure beats the romance back into the shadows with the festering arm of one of the undead.

Mary is our main character, and she is brave and inquisitive and unsatisfied to go along with the status quo simply because it is the status quo. She has a great deal of strength and righteous indignation, which I found fantastically refreshing. She finds a way out of her gated village into the Forest of Hands and Teeth to find the Ocean her mother told her about as a child, and dreams of a world away from the Unconcecrated (Zombies), away from the Sisterhood (the Catholic Church) and away from fear (take your pick). Other than the fact that she is a bit whiny and a lot a bit self absorbed, she is a likable, sympathetic character.


She confused me a bit, I must say. For one thing, there is this odd love triangle...thing, going on. Mary loves Travis, who loves her too, but only sometimes, even though he's really engaged to her best friend. Travis's brother Harry loves Mary, and she loves him too, kind of, and could maybe be happy with him but she loves Travis. Sometimes. What's never made clear is WHY exactly she loves Travis so very much more than Harry, who has been, it is made clear, her best friend forevah, and who, it must be remembered, wants to marry her, whereas Travis is going to marry Mary's best friend Cass until he decides halfway through the book, for no apparent reason, that he has loved Mary all along and Harry decides he has loved Cass all along and suddenly we're playing musical partners while our brains yell "Then WHY haven't we been doing this since the beginning?!"

And then your brain explodes.

Secondly, and this is a minor complaint, the secondary characters weren't as fleshed out (hehe. zombies. fleshed out. hehe) as I would have liked, but really, the book was a good read, and not a terrible way to kill a summer day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

30 BEFORE 30: Have a Baby and a review

Don't get excited. My womb is dusty and empty, sadly. Mostly dusty, probably. I haven't gotten a chance to tidy up in there in awhile, and finding a uterus maid is just ridiculous.


Doctor Connor, who looks like a mix between Santa Claus and Bilbo Baggins, found out that I had not had 70 days and said something to the affect of "Good gracious me! This must be remedied!" and prescribed me Provera. In case you don't know what that is, it's awful. It's basically strait progesterone to send my body the message "RESET!" I am experiencing PMS on crack, which means that I spent all of last night telling my husband to "STOP CONTRADICTING ME!" But I'm not "THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT KNOCK IT OFF BEFORE I STAB YOU OMG I'M SO SORRY I'M EMOTIONALLY UNBALANCED" You're not emotionally unbalanced. You're beautiful "STOP CONTRADICTING ME!"

Yea. It was bad. I'm better today, possibly because there is only one more gosh-forsaken pill in that terrible bottle, and its for tomorrow morning and then I never have to see it again until the next time my body says "Wait...what was I doing?"

Which could be sometime next week, honestly. I'm not sure whether my body skipped out on all the lessons on puberty or if its just really lazy and only pushes the right hormone buttons when it feels particularly compelled by the spirit, which is to say never.

On the bright side:

Inception is the best movie I've seen in a long time. It was better than Avatar and I want to marry Leonardo Dicaprio.

My husband has agreed to put in wood floors with our tax refund huzzah!

I talked my best friend in the world into going to Quebec with me. I actually don't think she's convinced, but you really can't argue at 30000 feet. So there, Jules. So there.

Friday, July 16, 2010

30 BEFORE 30: The Lord of the Rings

I finished The Fellowship of the Ring not five minutes ago. I won't waste time with a review. Suffice to say that Everyone should, at some point, read The Lord of the Rings. Read The Hobbit first, though, or you'll be completely lost.

I watched the film adaptations of LOTR before I read the novels. I don't usually do this, but, when the movies came out, I was 14 and had already attempt to read the books, only to find that, even with my advanced reading abilities, they were beyond me. Even now, at 23, it took me a good two and a half weeks to get through.

Reading this after watching the movies has given me new appreciation for Peter Jackson. With the exception of Tom Bombadil, the film is incredibly true to the book.

But we aren't talking about the film.

Let me just talk about Mr. Bombadil for a moment. What a fantastic character. He is silly and ridiculous, while somehow managing to also be wise and powerful. My favorite part of his character, however, is his love for his wife, Goldberry. It isn't the main point, or even a secondary point in the passage, but every time Tom speaks, he ends his thoughts with some variation on "I have to get home, Goldberry is waiting!" It just struck me as so tender and sweet.

I very much enjoyed this reading, now that now that I've given it the attention it deserves.
Onward, now, to The Two Towers. See you in two weeks.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Belated Father's Day

My sister and I both moved out in the past year. She got her own apartment, and I got married. This Father's Day, we thought it would be a good idea to take pictures for my Daddy of all his girls. This is him, by the way.

That's right, my Dad could kill your Dad with this giant machinery. That aside, he is pretty awesome. He is the best papito any girl could have. And he loves his girls. So his girls got together and took pictures. Well, WE didn't take them. Krystal with West House Photography took them, because she is amazing. Here are a few.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Clothespins: an update

Posting has been so light recently. I blame it on not owning a computer.

I went to a girlfriend's bridal shower today and, using the handy tools of trickery and deceit, DOMINATED in the clothespin game.
That bag I'm holding? Full of bath stuff. FREE bath stuff. In a super Klassy bustier purse that I will carry everywhere. And the beautiful girl in the background? That is sweet Liz, on whom my trickery and deceit was used.


In other news, a week and a half ago, I started on my 30 before 30 task of reading through the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I have complete determination in this, but, when doing any strenuous activity, it is important to pace oneself. So I have read 130 pages of Fellowship of the Ring and three of the four Twilight "novels". I feel like I'm on the right track.