Me, Myself, and My Visual ‘Handicap’

I was considering writing about Brave, Disney’s newest princess Merida, but I thought back over my previous posts and I realized just how much I write about visual things. TV shows, movies, reading, etc, etc, etc. I suppose this just says that I am an incredibly visual person. Which I am. I guess. I have to see everything just ’cause I can.

It wouldn’t surprise me that it stems from my blurry vision when without glasses. The world is a wonderful place and I’d rather wear glasses than wander about in a blind haze. Through all the hatred, the war, the negativity that we, as people, bring to this earth, nature makes me want to leave my home, my safe spot, my bubble. Of course, I’m a worry wart about silly things like volcanoes and earthquakes, spiders and venomous snakes, but hey, I will risk these things to explore both the non-lethal and lethal sides of this extraordinary planet.

Even in yoga, when the instructor told us to close our eyes, I still had to look around. Whenever I could keep my eyes closed for a length of time, I was insanely proud of myself. You’d think after twelve weeks, I’d get the poses down, but oh well. Once, I even considered removing my glasses and forcing myself to keep my eyes closed. Then I decided against it, because it felt like a stupid idea.

So while the only time I keep my eyes closed is when I’m asleep (even in my sleep, I still visualize things; some of my dreams have proven to be pretty weird), I can’t really call my poor eyesight a handicap, because it is what makes me want to go see Stonehenge for myself, to go to the Great Wall of China, visit all the museums in the world to see the art and the history, risk getting bitten by some monster in some country no one would ever expect me to go to. I may be a timid person, but I want to explore, and I want to see the world for what it is, nerdy glasses and all.

Screw you, poor eyesight, you aren’t gonna hold me back. And I’ll just keep extra pairs of glasses in my luggage and my person, should you ever try to keep me down!

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The Killing: Holy Crap, Really?

Here we are, back for another (and the season’s last) episode of The Killing. If you watched it, you understand my “Holy crap” statement.

So we already knew Jaime had something to do with it; if it hadn’t been clear in the beginning of the season finale part 1 episode, it was definitely clear at the end when he was confronted by his grandfather and Richmond. But holy frickin’ crap, the second person. I know she didn’t know Rosie was in the trunk, but goodness sakes’. That made my jaw drop. Hard. I think I need to go and see if I can’t have it x-rayed, to check for any cracks. Talk about a curve ball.

I’m not going to tell who this mysterious culprit is, but let’s just say I have the feeling she’ll be convicted for man-slaughter.

Portland, oh, Portland, How I Love Thee

There are days when I wish I had my own digital camera. This camera would document everything that I have deemed worth doing that day visually. However, I’m a bit on the poor side, so unless I wish to dip into my college funds for this nifty little device, I’m stuck until I find a job and can start earning money.

This was one of those days.

I traversed the Santiam Pass, slugged my way through the city of Salem, paused to get something to eat at a local restaurant called San Blas in Molalla, before heading to Milwaukie. Clearly, the names of these cities will mean nothing to you, but to me, Santiam and Bennett Pass separates me from the home I knew previously to Bend: Molalla. I grew up there, that’s where I spent sixteen years of my life, and that’s where a lot of my memories are. In Milwaukie, one of my best friend’s lives in her own apartment and I hope to call it my own home some day soon, too.

But this silly reminiscing isn’t what’s interesting; no, it’s more of the day I had when I finally arrived in Milwaukie. Around four pm-ish, my friend and I went, quite literally, across the street for a Slurpee from 7/11. Yum, watermelon-lime icy mush. Then we decided where to go from there. We could go to the mall, we could go to the movies, we could stay in and watch a movie, it all depended on what I wanted to do.

So we went and saw That’s My Boy. It was… actually not that bad. I don’t normally laugh out loud at comedy movies unless it’s incredibly funny to me. And I laughed. Lucky Andy is so cute, too. Ha. But it wasn’t the movie that got me: it was the short drive from where my friend lives to the Lloyd Center, where we’d be catching the flick at one of the two Lloyd Center theaters. Now, I’ve been through Portland before, even if it was just in a car or on a bus on the way to the Keller Auditorium, where many of my elementary field trips ended up going. It never struck me as it did today, though. Maybe it was because I was with a friend, that I was seeing it through the eyes of a nineteen year old girl who has literally nothing to lose by moving here, I don’t know. But what I saw… What I saw was the opportunity to become an adult in a world that has decided to perpetually treat me as a child (okay, so sometimes I can be childish; I’m getting better at it, though!). I saw a city that I had never seen before because I didn’t care. Now I do, and I know that I want to live here. I want to work here, learn here, become myself here. Can you blame me? I’ve been to New York and Portland takes the cake for me.

Or doughnut. We circled the block several times before and after the movie at the doughnut shop I’ve been dying to try: Voodoo Doughnuts. Oh my god, just the simple cake doughnut with sprinkles I had after dinner was simply divine. I cannot wait to sample more. There’s a bacon maple bar sitting in a colorful pink box with black type on it that reads, among other things, Voodoo Doughnuts, just waiting for me to eat it. But I’ll have to wait until morning to consume my heart attack, just to say I ate it for breakfast.

Speaking of food… There’s this restaurant in Burnside Bridge (same area as the local Chinatown strip and Voodoo Doughnuts) that was iperocha. If you recognize that as Greek, congratulations, Alexi’s is, in fact, Greek. I had seen it when we first went down to circle around VD, and for whatever reason, my stomach told me that it would be good. The half eaten gyro sitting in the fridge is saying “Eat me! Eat me!” was good. I had a sort-of gyro last month, when my mother stuck a sausage link in some pita bread, put tzatziki on it, and called it a gyro. What a crock. The only similarities were the tzatziki. Which is delicious. Tender lamb, tomatoes, onions, sprinkles of feta cheese… My heart beats faster as I think  about it. Also ordered was feta cheese flambeed in ouzo. Oooh, my, with some of the home-made bread, that was awesome. Not as in radical, but awe-inspiring.

I haven’t even touched this place yet! And when I come back next, I’m hoping to have access to a camera to document the experiences. And I’m getting tired of having hardly any pictures of my friends and I. Seriously.

Now, here’s hoping to going strawberry picking tomorrow. If you’ve never had an Oregon strawberry, shame on you. That’s one berry that never makes it to the bucket when I’m in a U-Pick patch. It goes directly to my stomach.

Book Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

So this is the second post about a book in the past week. I’m partially surprised at myself and mostly not, since I read so much. I almost always find a book to shove into other people’s faces and say “YOU NEED TO READ THIS!” And depending on who they are, they usually do. Soo… Here goes!

You know when you find a book you really want to read, you start to read it, then you get so far into the book, you throw it against the wall because something about it just so desperately annoys you? And then, be it hours, days, weeks, or even months later, you pick it back up and find you absolutely love it? I know that feeling quite well: Masque of the Red Death is the third book I’ve done this to. The first two were Evermore by Alyson Noel and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (What? I hated the Hunger Games? What kind of terrible person am I?; Not that horrible. I couldn’t get past the train scene at the time, I was bored, and it had to go back to the library the next day.).

Once I got over my initial boredom with Masque, and the self-loathing Araby, once I got past that she and her best friend, April, are club-going, drug-ingesting young’uns (I believe they’re only sixteen, I’d have to check again), the story is good. As Griffin has stated, Masque is an extension of Edgar Allen Poe’s story of the same name. Whenever I think of Poe, it’s the seventh room that I’m reminded of:

…In the western or black chamber the effect of the fire-light that streamed upon the dark hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all.

In this reworked, and much longer version of Poe’s masterpiece, our main character is Araby Worth, a teenage girl living somewhere on earth. The only actual name and reference to an actual landmass to confirm that this crap filled era is on earth is ‘Scotland’. I’m, of course, completely curious where this could be. Probably in England, yet it could be anywhere.

Araby is the daughter of the scientist who created a preventive measure against the plague (I will call this one the Black Plague, since it’s pretty similar; pus, sores, and they die pretty quickly) that has decimated the city Araby lives in. She and April frequent a club called the “Debauchery Club” to forget the literal oozing hell outside. The ‘bouncer’ (he tests the blood of patrons to make sure they don’t carry the deadly disease and contaminate the club), Will, has caught Araby’s eye. We get the gist that he’s handsome, tattooed, and mysterious. Woo, more hot fictional characters. Who doesn’t love that?

So this goes on, the club going, the taking of drugs, the worrying about how her parents feel about her, fine, whatever. We also get the information that her twin brother, Finn, died from the plague, this is the reason that her parents seem to ignore her, and that April saved her from her suicidal tendencies only to get Araby in mind-numbing drugs. My favorite! Then we meet… Wait, no, Araby has to fall into a drug-induced blackout before we know who, exactly, we meet.

To which we read about her waking up in the bed of a male stranger. Oh, no, it’s just Will. Did they have sex? Thank god, no. This is one thing I appreciate about Araby: she’s chaste and won’t even hold hands, let alone kiss them in the very least. However, it’s not because just three or so years earlier, the era was similar to every era when marriage before sex was popular, it’s because Araby took a vow to never to do things that would potentially make her happy that Finn would never get to do.

Turns out, Will saved her because she almost died. And took her home. To meet his kids. Ha, did that surprise you? He takes care of his younger siblings, Elise and Henry. Araby is taken with the youngsters; she doesn’t seem horrified as many others would be. This gives her a better outlook on Will’s situation, and when she returns home, sends his family food, and attempts to secure a mask for Henry, so he, too, can go to school with Elise.

Araby then finds a note in a book of poems her father bought her, telling her to meet this mysterious note sender in a closed off garden at midnight. Of course she does this and this is when we meet (again) Elliott! April’s bi-polar elder brother. Araby doesn’t like him, but does find out Elliott is gearing up to lead a revolution against his uncle, Prince Prospero. And of course she does what he asks, which is betray her family. She then manages to get herself poisoned, betrayed, kidnapped, and bitten by something (as well as get a death warrant on her father’s head, and her mother kidnapped by the Prince) as well as having both Will and Elliott have feelings for her. In my opinion, Elliott is a bit too crazy for anyone, but whatever.

Towards the end, a new plague appears: the Red Death. This happy little virus kills almost instantly, causing its victims eyes to burst, I’m assuming, so that when one is overtaken by this horrible little sickness, blood runs down their face, like tears.

At the end, Araby, April (now infected with the Black plague, since her father is psycho), Elliott, Kent, (a burgeoning young scientist), Elise, Henry, Will the Betrayer,  Thom, an infected 12-year-old boy, and a random prisoner (you cannot leave without a hostage, that wouldn’t be dumb) are escaping the city via air: Kent has created a real, actual flying airship! Yay!

Dear lord, where’s the obvious sequel in this series?! I have to know what happens next! Do they rescue her mother? Attack Prince Prospero? Find Araby’s father? Will they find a cure for both plagues? Will the revolution bring forth some actual prosperity? And the biggest question of all: Who will Araby choose?! Non crazy Will, who takes care of his younger siblings and is by far the more mature of the two, or Elliott, a rebel leader who has some obvious frickin’ sanity issues? Will she forgive Will or will she fall madly in love with Elliott?

Once I got past the initial “oh, boo hoo, you want to be dead because of the lack of trauma you’ve gone through!” (Oh, hush, I realize witnessing her twin die is horrible and traumatic, but come on. That should give her reason to live: make sure no one else is killed, by the disease or for having the disease), about Araby and her drug addicted ways, Masque is actually pretty good. I mean, once Araby begins to grow up a little and decide to have an actual purpose other than moaning about what she moans about, being drug addled, and passing out a lot, she’s not that bad. I’ve noticed that Griffin highly enjoys writing her characters with issues and obsessions. Araby’s is that she’s suicidal and doesn’t want to be happy because Finn died. Until Will showed her that her thinking is flawed and that it isn’t the way to live in such a despair ridden world.

Although it sounds like I’m complaining and against this book, I’m not. I really liked the story and am eagerly anticipating the next book. I enjoy Griffin’s writing and look forward to reading more, not just in this particular series. She gets two thumbs up and a huge goofy smile from me.

Now… Onto the next book…

Oh, Dear God, What the HELL IS THAT THING AND WHY DOES IT FREAK ME OUT?

See, this is where I’d post several freak-ifying pictures, just to poke and prod at people. However, this actually stems from a search of looking for a certain phobia. Why? Because I couldn’t remember what the hell it was called. Terrible idea. I mean, really. There are just somethings you don’t research. Like spiders, or lotus flowers.

Say hello to my irrational fears of spiders and holes. The trypophobia  is probably worse than the arachnophobia, for me at least, which is saying something. I clicked a link, not really thinking, and immediately, the lotus flower was in my face saying “LOOK AT ME. LOOK AT ME AND FEEL YOUR SKIN CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWL!” I scrolled down to where I couldn’t see any of it, and tried really hard to not to pound my head to get rid of the images.

This is where my friend, we’ll call him “Furry” (I’d call him Asshole, but that just… yeah..), gives me this incredulous look, says “WTF” and tells me he has lost faith in humanity. I agree, I lost faith in myself when I discovered that soap suds gross me out. Soap suds? What? Yes, laugh all you want, soap suds creep me out.

One of my many fabulous imperfections. Woo, wonderful, aren’t I? I’m just full of awesomeness. Raise your hand if you have a really stupid phobia; I know we all do! It’s kind of obvious, since I’m afraid of clustered holes.

Word(s) of the Day

To be absolutely prodigious and full of witticism, I’m posting two words of the day. Both of which were used in the previous sentence! Why is this exciting?! I don’t know, but it made me feel better to look down upon a friend using “big” words. We all know they aren’t, give me a break. They should be in day-to-day language.

  • Witticism: a witty remark or sentence.
  • Prodigious: wonderful or marvelous; extraordinary in size, amount, extent, degree, force; abnormal or monstrous

Wonderful, isn’t it? I love words. My all time favorite is flabbergasted. What’s yours?!

Book Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

First off, let me just say: it’s a frickin’ love-hate relationship between me and Clare. No, we don’t actually know each other; there’s just some stuff that she’s written that I absolutely hate but I can’t help but love. Now, I’m not sure if that means she’s a good or a bad writer, I suppose it just depends on who you’re talking to about this kind of thing, since everyone has different opinions.

But I finally finished Clockwork Prince last night. After having it on my night table for… a month or so, I finally picked it up and read it. I have thus far liked the Infernal Devices series; it hasn’t been dragged out, in my opinion, like Mortal Instruments. I’ve read up to the fourth book and after the third… Bah, too much drama in City of Lost Souls. This is besides the point.

In Clockwork Prince, we’re continuing where we left off in Clockwork Angel. Tessa Gray is living with the Shadowhunters of London’s Institute, and she’s dragged along, even though she’s a Downworlder. I’m going to basically assume that anyone who is willing to read this knows what I’m talking about. If you don’t, read the series and don’t read further on! But yeah, Tessa is willingly dragged along as the Shadowhunters she lives with try to find that ass named Axel Mortmain so that Charlotte and Henry Branwell can keep their positions as head of the London Institute.

Also living in the Institute are the only two boys who could possibly be more annoying than Jacob and Edward, had Clare written like Meyers. Oh, dear god, I already feel the claws sinking into my flesh for daring to compare Jem and Will to the monsters in Twilight. The only reason I find them annoying is because there’s a love triangle and Will is the stupid “Oh, I’m cursed, no one can love me” and all dramatic. Then you have Jem who (I, of course, am in love with; who wouldn’t be?) is only annoying because he’s actually dying. I love both male characters, but I’m just tired of reading about male leads that have to be dramatic when it comes to love. I know, I know, you can’t escape it, but I can try. But I cannot lie, my heart broke a little (okay, a lot) for Will in the end. This is why I dislike love triangles. I dislike them, I dislike them, I dislike them.

Overall, I loved the book. I can’t wait for Clockwork Princess, due out next year. It can’t come soon enough. And the reason I didn’t give more of a summary, because I know someone will complain, they always do, is because I’ve learned that ruining plots for people is just that: ruined. So go out and read the Infernal Devices! Or don’t, it’s not like I’m going to come beat you for not.

Also, Party for Everybody! Who can say no to the cute Russian grandmas from Eurovision? I can’t help it, they are adorable. And I’d like to thank Scandinavia and the World for making a comic about Eurovision. Otherwise, would I have really seen Turkey and his man-boat?