Fight, Fight, Fight, Bite, Bite, Bite

I enjoyed the first season of Daredevil. Check out that description! Blind lawyer by day, vigilante by night. What’s not to love? In season one we got to meet Matt Murdoch, learn how he developed his awesome fighting skills, and watch him start up the little-lawfirm-that-could. Over the course of that initial season, Murdoch/Daredevil took on the suave-but-crazy Wilson Fisk, risking everything to stand up against corruption. It was a pretty good baker’s dozen of episodes and I queued up each one with a reasonable amount of interest. Then, they offered up season two. Continue reading

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Why I’m a Jerk at Dinner Parties

People think I like to help in the kitchen. There’s two truths to the matter. I do like to be involved in cooking (I’ve cooked professionally and love to cook to this day). But I also like to keep tabs on how the food I eat is being prepared. Anyone who wants to be blase about checking the temperature of their Sunday roast or who thinks that wolfing down raw cookie dough is a necessary part of childhood, allow me to steer you to the Food Poison Journal. If you want to be casual about your own health, that’s jim dandy, but when it comes to preparing food for others (which might include young children, the elderly, people with chronic illness, and those who simply wish to not become very ill) being negligent about food safety is inappropriate. Oddly (and, sadly, for me) this stance makes me an unsociable weirdo when I decline ill-prepared food. I’m the villain. Me. The person who’s sharing this article from Nutrition Action Healthletter only because I give a damn about your health. Continue reading

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The Dive-Right-In Disclaimer

A decade ago I emailed the only person I’d gone to high school with who’d gotten a PhD in History. This was someone who had a good job and even better sense of humor. I asked if they thought my plan to pursue an MA in History was a good, or a bad, idea. Their reply was “if you love History and you don’t care if you ever make a dime, then dive right in!” I took that advice to heart, went to grad school, and got exactly what I expected: a fine education, a new set of academic skills, and a degree that was only marketable in the most narrow of niches. (In short, I went after that degree knowing that I probably wouldn’t make any money with it.)  Continue reading

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The End of Drive-Thru Coffee

I know other people have blogged about this before (and been criticized for their seeming stinginess), but I don’t get drive-thru coffee anymore. Drive-thru windows kind of stress me out anyway. At below-average height, I have to risk tearing off a side mirror to get close enough to reach, and I struggle to understand the attendant through the tin-can-phone-sound-quality of the ordering speaker. I’d rather walk in and handle the whole transaction in person. But every once in while, I’d pluck up my courage and hazard it. Last summer, I was on my way home from a bike ride and had to stop at a red light. There was a Starbucks on the corner and, since I was waiting anyway and had two bucks in the console, I figured ‘what the hell.’ I was sweaty and dusty and wearing my pedal-cleated shoes, so I didn’t want to walk in. I got in the drive-thru line and ordered a black coffee. Continue reading

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Audio Classics (for the Classics-Resistant)

My relationship with classical literature is tenuous and recalcitrant. Friends occasionally try to engage me on the great works I should have read, only to ask, mystified, “what kind of English major were you?” Well. I’ll be honest. I was the kind of English major who found the classical style of writing about as familiar and appealing as the corsets and straight-last shoes people wore when they penned their masterpieces. A voracious reader since childhood, I dreaded each new semester’s syllabi, rife with things that promised to be a hard slog at best. (Since high school, I have been assigned to read The Faerie Queene no less than five times. I grind my teeth just thinking about it and, yet, will confess: I have never actually read it. I managed to pass every pop quiz and test by taking good notes from the lectures.) I believe classical literature has its merits but I also believe teachers, students, and casual readers should all consider that writing style has an impact on our ability to understand and enjoy a written work. Reading the classics can be as challenging as if we were to dress in period costume, perch on badly made wooden benches in drafty, uninsulated buildings, and study those pages by candlelight. Continue reading

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Filed under Podiobooks

Here’s the Thing

Years ago, friends and relatives (more of them than I care to admit) enthusiastically compared me to television’s Adrian Monk. That was how I stumbled onto the show after it had begun. I caught an episode mid-season and saw how right they were. This is not to say that I share every one of Monk’s phobias (I actually have no problem at all with glaciers or ladybugs), but I can’t deny that I’ve spent a lot of time squirming with awkwardness in situations that more normal people would take in stride.

image by Zoe MacDonald (prezi.com)

image by Zoe MacDonald (prezi.com)

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Barnes and Noble and the Bookstore Dilemma

Fifteen years ago, I thought Barnes and Noble was second only to Powell’s City of Books (incidentally, if you haven’t been to Powell’s, it’s pretty awesome). The nearest Barnes and Noble to me, back then, was 75 miles away and fuel for the drive there and back cost as much as two paperbacks. I loved the enormity of the store, the fact that they sold coffee, and that amid the spacious sprawl they provided places to sit. The community I lived in had no library back then and my other bookstore options at the time were grocery stores (the nearest mall’s Waldenbooks had vanished) and two used bookshops, one badly disorganized and the other with a cranky, sharp-tongued proprietor (you couldn’t buy sci-fi books there, “trade only!” was the snarling response the two times I tried). Naturally, I was an eager purchaser of books online once that became an option. Continue reading

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