Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business by Dolly Parton ***

Yep, I read Dolly Parton's autobiography. I guess there has been some debate recently if women can be funny, & on the side of women definitely being funny was this book. Yes, it is a hoot in parts. Her hilarious descriptions of life in the mountains & the fact she doesn't take her self very seriously are great to read. Plus, her one-liners are the best.
She seems like the sort of person that gets along with everyone. She's very spiritual also, though not religious. There's a lot to find in common with her, & I like where she writes upfront that anyone who's reading this book to be like her shouldn't do that--be like yourself.
Here's why I'm only giving this 3 stars though--I guess I just get tired of reading stories about famous people. Pretty damn lame, eh? Like an un-famous person is going to get a deal to write about their massively exciting life. I guess what I mean is that it seems to be that famous people are rather selfish & self centered. I think this is by necessity, because you have to constantly strive for your goals & not let other people get in your way if you're going to become famous. You can't bow out of opportunities of you want to become famous either.
I suppose I'm a tiny bit jealous, to be honest. I live a compromised life, like 95% of the people on the planet. I know a self-help guru would say I'm choosing that, but like I said, so are 95% of my fellow humans, so I don't feel very alone. We all go out & buy the self-help books, write down lists of our dreams & goals, make all the moves to make it come true, then realize we don't have the money/time/energy/support/motivation to do it. And we come off feeling like shit.
Now, Dolly acknowledges her fans & seems like a genuine, sweet loving woman. But at the end of the book she talks about all her plastic surgeries, her refusal to be seen by anybody without wearing a massive amount of makeup, a wig, & 5 inch heels, & her talk about starting a cosmetic line the help all those "homely" women out there.
No thanks, Dolly. I'd rather just roll out of bed & let the world see me for who I am. How horrible!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Solstice

Well, things have been kinda weird around here. There are three reasons for that: summertime, cancer, & careers.

In the summertime heading, it's hot & Puppy is out of school. Now he's still in ESY (extended school year), but that's only half days Monday thru Thursday. So he's thrown out of sync. Plus we just can't live as regimented a life as they have at school, & he thrives on routine. Therefore, his behavior is careening around from one extreme to another, & the house is taking a pounding. He's ripped several things off the walls & hurt plants outside for no reason. He's in limbo land, & right about the time he gets in the swing of summer, school will start again. Sigh....

Also under the heading of summertime is that fact it's hotter than hell around this godforsaken patch of land. The humidity is thru the roof & you only have to walk outside for 5 minutes to be covered in sweat. God help you if you actually move around out there in that soupy mess, cause you'll be begging for mercy soon after.

Now, on to cancer. My dad has it, it's metastasized, & he's getting chemo. He's tolerating it well, but he's still very weak & has lost a lot of weight & muscle mass. We won't know if the chemo is working until late August/early September when they do another CT scan. So until then it feels like everyone is in a holding pattern.

I don't really want to go into my relationship with my father on here, but suffice it to say it's had some rocky patches. Those were quite awhile ago, & I certainly don't dwell on them anymore. But when mortality rears its ugly head it funny what you start to think about. All the issues, all the worries seem to bubble to the surface again. That's been difficult to deal with lately.

Now, on to career. I'm slowly going back to school. That is hard for me to officially say, since I've tried doing that before & it just didn't work out. I'm hoping that this time it will really happen & I can make a career change, but it's going to take several years for me to get to that point & I'm worried I won't make it. Hence, I'm scared to actually tell anyone about it.

So there you have it! It looks like it may be an interesting summer, but I'm remaining hopeful on all 3 counts. That said, I've decided to try to update this & my other blog twice a week--we shall see. If I actually do that, I'm sure I'll be writing about my 3 issues again. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon ****

I don't know much about comic books since I haven't read one in about 30 years. I used to go through piles of them at my grandma's house in St. John when I was a kid--I'm guessing they were ones my older cousins had discarded. A lot of them were Disney ones, about Donald Duck, his nephews, & his Uncle Scrooge McDuck. There was one great one of Macbeth--yeah, Shakespeare. I'll always have the image in my mind of Lady Macbeth scrubbing her hand & saying, "Out out, damn spot!" that was imprinted there from that comic book.
More recently, the closest I've gotten to comics is reading Maus by Art Spiegelman. It's Spiegelman's attempt to wrap his mind around the experiences of his father & mother, who lived through the Holocaust but lost their only child (at the time) to it. He portrays Jews at mice, Germans as cats, Poles as pigs, & Americans as dogs. It is an amazing book, & he wrote a sequel also. The imagery is stark & graphic, the subject difficult but necessary.
Kavalier & Clay was obviously influenced by Maus, but it was mostly influenced by Jack Kirby, who the author acknowledges at the end of the book. It's about the hey-day of comic books, right before & during WWII. Two cousins, Josef Kavalier & Sammy Clay, collaborate on a new superhero--the Escapist. It proves to be monstrously successful, but both cousins have demons they are trying to escape from themselves.
For Joe, it's Nazi Europe. He is desperate to get his family to America, but fate is making it very difficult to do so.
For Sammy, it's himself. Society doesn't make it acceptable to by gay in the 1940's, & Sammy doesn't want to be on display.
This is a great book. I highly recommend it. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because of the ending. It's not a disappointing ending, it's just kinda abrupt. But it is good. Very good.