Category: musings


Sunday Salon: Twas the Day Before Work

Posted 5 July, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

sundaysalon1

 

Time // 6:07 PM EDT

Happenings // Just got back from Nashville for a weekend with the family. It’s left me exhausted. On the way up I discovered (probably to my professional and blogging detriment) Periscope. It gave me some amusement on the drive up to Nashville.

We went to see The Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson and I basically learned he was a pretty big dick. Who okayed putting his face on the twenty dollar bill? Endorsed slavery? Expanded the role of the presidency? TRAIL OF TEARS? I THINK WE CAN FIND SOMEONE BETTER TO PUT ON OUR MOST USED PIECE OF PAPER CURRENCY. Ahem. Just saying.

Tomorrow is the first day of a new job with a considerable commute. I’m going to get to listen to so many audio books. I don’t know what this commute might mean for the blog – but – I’m not making any decisions yet. Naturally I’ll still be active over at The Socratic Salon. But let’s just wait and see.

Reading // Still working my way through the audio of Wizard and Glass.

Watched // Jurassic World, by far it’s the best Jurassic Park film since the original but – and I’m gonna get some haters here – outside of Parks and Rec, Chris Pratt couldn’t act his way out of a wet paper bag.

Okay Readers! How was your week? What do you anticipate for next week? 

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Love Wins: A Dramatic Reading of Obergefell

Posted 1 July, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

So last Friday the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 5-4 opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges which ultimately made marriage equality the law of the land in the United States. The decision with four separate dissents totaled 103 pages. While I found the majority decision, written by Justice Kennedy to be as eloquent as Supreme Court decisions come – the real gem in this piece was Justice Scalia’s dissent. He’s furious and it completely shows in his dissent. With all respect due to a Justice of the Supreme Court, I present to you a dramatic reading of Justice Scalia’s dissent in Obergefell. Enjoy. I know it’s no Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles, but I still had fun. Justice Scalia’s opinions are not my own, I’m just reading what’s been written.

If you want to read the full text of the opinion and the other dissents it can be found here.

A further resource for all things SCOTUS is SCOTUSblog.com, for their analysis and all the info on Obergefell go here.

Leave me a message about my performance, or just your thoughts, Reader. 

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: Love Wins Edition

Posted 28 June, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

Time // 1:50 PM EDT.

Watching // Somehow I’ve gotten sucked into a Naked and Afraid marathon on The Discovery Channel. It’s like a train wreck that I can’t look away from.

Reading // I’m looking. I finished The Beautiful Bureaucrat this week and I’m looking for something as satisfying and readable as that.

Celebrating // The inevitable Supreme Court decision that makes marriage equality the law of the land in The States. The best summary of the 103 page opinion and dissents can be found in Haiku format at McSweeney’s.  I also love what Twitter did with the love wins hashtag.

The fact that SCOTUS left the ACA in tact is also a decision that shouldn’t be overlooked. I won’t say my faith in SCOTUS was restored, but I’m feeling better about them.

I’m also starting a new job, the bad part is that it’s going to be a fifty mile commute – and getting outside of Atlanta is going to be a bitch, but the good part is that it’s going to give me plenty of time to listen to audiobooks, oh, and more money.

Listening // I’ve started on the fourth volume of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower on audio. It’s a re-read, so far so good. I’m less familiar with the fifth through the seventh books so if things are going to be challenging that’s where the challenge is going to be.

Waxing // The gouda! Instead of waxing it in a wheel I cut it into fourths and learned why this isn’t traditionally done, it takes three times as much wax and twice as much time. But at the same time I found with my last batch that once I cut into the wheel it started to turn fairly quickly. The wheels are about five and a half inches in diameter and 3 inches thick, so it’s a lot of cheese.

gouda

Looking ‘gouda’!

What happened in your week, Reader?

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: Father’s Day Edition

Posted 21 June, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

Time // 8:13 PM EDT

#flashreadathon // has been pretty good. I’m almost done with the audio of the third Dark Tower book, The Wastelands, finished a airplane read ARC called Eeny Meeny, and started on Christopher Rice’s book The Vines, which I’m thinking some thoughts about.

Watching // Yesterday I took The Girl to see Inside Out, the new Pixar film – I’ve been waiting for it since I first saw the previews since it seemed like a great opportunity for Disney to make some headway into the idea of educating our kids about emotions (and the importance of all of them) in a fun way. I don’t know if I was tired or overhyped for it, but I was a little let down. It was good, but I wanted great.

Feeling // Meh. It’s Father’s Day and my husband is a great father to The Girl, but I lost my own dad almost four years ago quite suddenly of what we presume was a heart attack. He was 52. It’s one of those things where the sharpness of pain lessens with time, but the ache never really goes away.

Me (in the rainbow shirt), Dad, and AnnaSaurus Rex circa 1985.

Me (in the rainbow shirt), Dad, and AnnaSaurus Rex circa 1985, in what might be the ugliest chair on the planet.

Thinking // About Charleston, of course. I feel deeply for the victims and survivors and am infuriated at the opportunist politicians using this awful event to suggest that from their place of rich, white, Christian privilege that somehow they are the martyrs.

“But it’s 2015. There are people out there looking for Christians to kill them.”

Even now looking at those words, they enrage me. This shooting did not take place because these people were Christians, it took place because these people were black, and anyone too blind to see that needs out of public service. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Also // ran into this weird post this week where a blogger claimed she intentionally plagiarized another blogger just to prove that 1. No one cares about plagiarism and 2. There would be no real repercussions. It’s a bizarre post that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense – I’ve never followed or interacted with this blogger, but frankly had it been me she’s tried her little ‘experiment’ on, I would have filed a lawsuit. I don’t go out on the internet looking to see if my work has been plagiarized, (nor do I believe it ever has – I mean, my content just isn’t that amazing or consistent), but if I did happen to run across someone who did I might be inclined to take legal action. I guess the lesson is it was a stupid experiment. Don’t try this at home, kids.

Okay, Readers – enough of my usual Sunday Cheer – how was your week? 

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Choose Your Own Adventure

Posted 8 June, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

three bearsOnce upon a time there was a little girl name Goldilocks, while wandering in the woods one day, her parents on the verge of being charged with criminal neglect, she comes across a cabin.

Although the door is not locked she opens up the door because she is quite hungry and tired. She crosses the threshold of the dwelling, maybe she has an intent to create a felony within, maybe she doesn’t – it’s hard to say. Regardless, she is uninvited into this home. There are pictures of the Brown Bear Family on the wall, Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear.

As she enters the cabin she sees three bowls of porridges sitting on the table. She sits down in the biggest chair and takes a bite of the porridge.

“Ouch!” she exclaims, “This is too hot! Maybe I can sue the homeowner for the pain and suffering that has come to me from tasting this too hot bowl of porridge. With that money I could stop wandering the woods breaking and entering into strange cottages.”

She sits down in the second chair, takes a bite of the porridge.

“Oh my!” She exclaims, “This is toooo cold. Must be Mama Bear’s porridge as mothers in this day and age are forbidden from eating warm food as they prepare it.”

She moves to the third chair, which is very tiny. She tastes the porridge and exclaims, “This is just right!” and gobbles up the porridge. As she’s finishing the porridge with the perfect temperature, the chair breaks beneath her KABLAM! Goldilocks lands hard on her rump and thinks of adding this to the civil suit she’s considering against the bear family for leaving a too-hot bowl of porridge sitting on the table that she has already encountered.

Rubbing her injured bum, Goldilocks makes her way upstairs where she finds a loft with three beds occupying it. Quaint. Goldilocks thinks as she climbs into the biggest bed. She tosses and turns for a minute before giving up, exasperated, “This bed is too hard!”

She climbs into the medium size bed, tosses and turns, wonders why these bears who can afford fine porridge and dining room furniture (except for that baby chair that was clearly not up to modern code standards) can’t afford a Tempur-Pedic bed. “This bed is too soft!” she sighs and moves into the smallest bed.

Exhausted, burned, and bruised – Goldilocks lays down in the little bed and falls fast asleep.

Meanwhile the Bear Family has returned home from their walk.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge!” Papa Bear growls.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge too!” Mama Bear exclaims.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge and they ate it all up!” wails Baby Bear.

“Look at the chairs!” Papa bear shouts, “Someone’s been sitting in my chair!”

“Someone has been sitting in my chair too!” replies Mama Bear.

“Someone has been sitting in my chair and they broke it to pieces!” cries Baby Bear.

The Bear family heads upstair apprehensively, Papa Bear grabs his shotgun.

Upstairs Papa Bear notices that someone has been sleeping in his bed, Mama Bear notices the same thing – and there in Baby Bear’s bed is Goldilocks, who has awoken and started to run down the stairs to escape the three frightened and angry bears. She stops in the kitchen, grabs a knife and starts to scream obscenities at the bear family.

This is his home and Papa Bear needs to protect his family so he discharges his shotgun at the ranting and raving Goldilocks.

 

Is your Goldilocks:

Black or brown?

A flaxen beauty with skin pale as the freshly driven snow?

 

You have chosen to shoot a black or brown Goldilocks: There is no national media coverage of this story. The police come out, take your statement and agree that this girl was breaking and entering and may have been involved in gang activity. The community agrees that the death of any young person is sad, but obviously she was a bad seed and got what was coming to her. Within a few months, life as you know it returns to normal except that Baby Bear continues to have nightmares from the home invasion.

 

You have chosen to shoot a Goldilocks with skin as pale as the freshly driven snow: Nancy Grace picks up this story immediately and your face is splashed across most national news outlets. You are the Brown Bear who shot a little white girl who only wanted a little porridge and a place to sleep. There are rumblings that the district attorney may send your case to the grand jury for indictment and even if they don’t you can hardly leave your cabin these days for fear of media, paparazzi, and the death threats you have been receiving. No one can understand why a big strong brown bear would need to take up arms against a little girl who clearly was just doing what kids do. Her parents are threatening civil action against you as well for wrongful death. Plan to spend the next 10 – 20 years in an orange jumpsuit. Also, take the plea deal that is offered to you.

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Finishing May

Posted 1 June, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging, musings

Finishing May

 

I managed to eke out eight books in May. Three re-reads, two audio, four ARCs.

A few for The Socratic Salon, a few for my own personal edification, and a few because they’d been sitting around long enough that I felt they needed to be read, reviewed and ditched. It’s a tough call between Girl at War and The Shore for the best book of the month, but I think ultimately, for me – it has to go to The Shore. Both were brilliant debuts, don’t miss either.

Planning

I think I’m going to listen to the entire Dark Tower series on audio. I read it years ago and have been meaning to re-visit it for awhile. So why not now? Why not audio? The narration on The Gunslinger was decent and I’m probably halfway in to The Drawing of the Three.

Feeling

May has been a bit slumpy with blogging and with life. I hope to see that pick up in June but there’s much going on and parts of me are having a hard time finding joy in anything. (Cue the Abilify commercial.)

The U.S. Supreme Court… failed to really clarify anything in the realm of internet threats today with it’s ruling Elonis v. U.S.which is disappointing but seems to be on par for the Court this term. Basically, the opinion stated that it’s not enough for prosecutors to show negligence with regards to internet threats, but the state must show some sort of ‘mental state’ for the speech to be criminal. It’s quite a crazy case, with Elonis having made threats on Facebook to kill his wife, federal agents, and a classroom full of kindergarteners. Free speech, it’s a fine fine line sometimes.

I’ve got nothing else, Reader. How was your May?

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Sunday Salon: Grumpy and Grinchy

Posted 17 May, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings

Time // 8:50 AM EDT

Reading // I’m struggling still, but I did just finish The Dog Stars by Peter Heller, I’ll probably try to throw it in a mini-review, but it really wasn’t all that good. I pushed through for lack of being able to concentrate on anything else. I’m going to try to read A God in Ruins for the Socratic Salon discussion, but I’m having difficulty getting past the first few pages. I have a few other ARCs and what not I need to get to, but I also might just re-read All the Birds, Singing for Socratic Salon as well, since I know I loved that book.

This Week // I’ve been in trial all week (previously I was employed by the IRS and was not a part of the agency that did trial work), it was much more mentally and physically demanding than I ever imagined it could be, I find the work to be important (criminal prosecution) – but at the same time I’m still struggling for that work/life balance and I don’t know what that might mean for the blog in the future.

Problems // A full understanding on how fully rape culture exists in this country. How many people truly believe that if there aren’t any bruises or injuries then it must have been consensual sex. It makes me ill.

Blogging // I’ve not been pulling my weight over at The Socratic Salon, but today I hope to get ahead of the power curve to some extent and do some work. I also hope to maybe queue up three posts for next week too. We’ll see.

Sleeping // A lot. Too much actually. Went to the doctor to do blood tests and nothing came of them (except for the fact that I have insanely high cholesterol for my body type THANKS DAD). So since I’ve already had a standard sleep study done I’m going to have to have a neurological sleep study. Blah. Whatever, anything that will get me rested to the point that I don’t have to have 9 or 10 hours of sleep to operate well for 8 hours of my waking life.

So as usual, I’m grumpy and grinchy, but tell me about the loveliness of you week, Readers! 

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Monday Musings: Three Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Blogging

Posted 4 May, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

life lessons

I’ve been blogging fairly strong for about a year and a half now. By no means does this make the the expert at anything – but I like to think that some experiences are universal (at least among book bloggers or bloggers in general) and thought that I’d put some things I’d learned out there in the blogosphere.

1. Find your people.

Sure, the community as a whole in book blogging is pretty great, but sometimes there are going to be bumps in the road with that community. I think that if you can find the people you can bitch and rage to safely and privately you can save yourself a lot of unnecessary drama by getting those feelings out somewhere safe and private rather than doing things like vague-tweeting and word vomiting all the feelings up on social media.

2. Be yourself.

There’s nothing worse than an inauthentic blog and it’s usually pretty easy to pick out those blogs. Not only do I have little desire to visit a blog that feels inauthentic, it leaves me to wonder what the person is trying to do, and why? For most of us I think that blogging is a hobby – if you keep your authentic voice we’re all going to have a better time. Which leads me to…

3. Do it for yourself.

If you’re not having fun, what’s the point? What’s worse is that sometimes your audience can tell you’re not having fun which may push casual readers away. Try to keep in mind this is (probably) a hobby and the only person you really have to make sure is pleased with your finished product is you. Massive page hits and going viral is great – but the satisfaction that you get from writing for yourself can actually be even better in the long run.

While I’ve applied all of this directly to blogging, I think I’ve learned some pretty valuable life advice from blogging. What about you, Reader? If you’re a blogger have you learned anything deep and important from doing it? If you’re a reader, what do you get out of reading blogs? 

Signature

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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The Sneetches: A Lesson

Posted 24 February, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging, musings

If you were born after 1961, (or had kids after that time) chances are you have a passing familiarity with Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches. Just in case you don’t let me refresh you with the first few stanzas of the story.

Now the Star-Belly Sneetches
Had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches
Had none upon thars.

Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.

But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches
Would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.”
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort
“We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort.”

…the rest of the story.

The story ends with this… 

 

And he laughed as he drove
In his car up the beach,
"They never will learn.
No. You can't teach a Sneetch!"

But McBean was quite wrong.  I'm quite happy to say
That the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day,
The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches
And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars
And whether they had one, or not, upon thars.
©1961, 1989 Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.C.

What I want to say is this…

So we’ve been quite unhappy, these past couple months
In the book blogging world and it’s driven us nuts.
It’s time now we each learn something new from old sources
And realize that what we all need is supportez.

Whether new blogger or established
The snark should stop now on Twitter.
Passive aggressive and vague tweets help none of us critters.

Let’s all decide bloggers are bloggers
And respect each other thusly.
Calling out the bad with respect all quite justly.

Upholding the good and respecting our differences
Understanding the negativity is a terrible hindrance.

We can all come together and enjoy
The community again,
If we can ignore all the egos
Can I get an amen? 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Great Movies from Great Books: A Bad Idea?

Posted 7 January, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in books and publishing, musings

I’ve been frightened to open my computer since Bout of Books started because I’m sure I’ll get sucked in (like I always do) and get no reading done. But the blog must go on! So I’m hoping one early morning post won’t eat up my whole day (read: I get sucked into a thousand other things that probably need my attention more than books.

You probably know me as a ray of sunshine. So I’m going to talk about something negative today (I know… it’s shocking). Okay, kind of negative. I’m joking… okay 80% joking. Today I want to talk about my beef with:

Great Movies that come from Great Books
I know. I know! I love movies as much as the next guy, but recently I’ve been doing re-reads of books that I haven’t read in 20+ years. (Jurassic Park, Carrie, and The Shining … even Harry Potter, though obviously the re-read was closer to the initial reads) come to mind immediately. I want to express my deep and undying love for the movie adaptations of these books. However, as great as these movies are, they make us lazy. Instead of re-reading Carrie or The Shining I let them languish on my shelves for many years, satisfying my urge with the wonderful movie adaptations. After all, movies are two, three hours at most – totally enjoyable, better with heavily buttered popcorn than a book, and infinitely more social (at least if you’re me, I talk through movies).
But when I finally got around to getting back to the original source material for these movies (which of course I always knew was better) I was blown away by exactly how much better. Everyone who has seen it (except Stephen King) can agree that Kubrick’s The Shining is a cinematic masterpiece, but honestly, after re-reading the book after so many years in preparation for the release of Doctor Sleep, I was completely taken aback (and kind of understand King’s frustration) by how badly the source material was bastardized AND how much friggin’ scarier the book is. Not just scarier – deeper. Because there are tons of elements at work that Kubrick was necessarily (and perhaps at times unnecessarily) forced to leave out. But because the movie is much easier to access it has become the universe most of us first think of when we consider The Shining. Do you see what I’m saying here?
 
I think that the problem becomes doubly troubling when it comes to classics. I consider all the books that I listed above classics in their own right, but now I’m talking about undisputed classics – Gone With the Wind, Austen and the Bröntes, Dumas, Hugo, Tolstoy, even Dracula. Some of these books are chunky-chunksters and admittedly hard reading. Fantastic movies have been made out of books from all these authors – but inevitably just as with The Shining they are watered down and those who never read the books truly miss something (I’m looking at you non-bookish high school and college students 😉 ).
My problem, I suppose, is that of the purist. The age old question (which shall never truly be answered or agreed upon) on whether it’s better to expose the general public to some sort of greatness from these grand works of literature or whether the only way to truly experience them is in the purest possible manner – that is by reading the book.
Classical music aficionados (of which I proudly consider myself an amateur one – due to my past life as music major) run into the same trouble. Classical music surrounds us in everyday life, commercials, cartoons (Rhapsody Rabbit, sadly not available for viewing is among my favorites), and (worst of all) muzak. So, is it better to present the public with these bastardized versions of classical music so that people with no interest in classical music are at least exposed to these great works of art or is it an affront to the greatness of the work itself? But I digress.
Often the question comes up in bookish surveys on what book you would love to see adapted to the screen – my answer invariably is none of them. For a long time the reason was because it’s so easy for Hollywood to get the book spectacularly wrong, but the more I think about it another reason is that it makes us forget the complexities and wonder of the books that are adapted.
Does this mean I’m going to stop seeing movies based on books? Probably not. But I am going to try to remember the source material is (almost) always inevitably more complex and wondrous than whatever the big or small screen can show us.
Incidentally, I just read a terrible book that would make a great movie… but that’s another post.
Also, if you want to get to the books before the 2015 movies are released you should check out Shannon’s post at River City Reading on Books to Read Before They Hit the Screen.
Now I must return to reading. I have thirteen books that I haven’t read that are going to be in The Tournament of Books 2015.
What do you think, Reader? Are you a book (or music) purist? Do you think that eliminating movie/TV adaptations would spur the casual reader to take on more of these books? What about the hard books? I also want to note I’m super-scared about HBO’s adaptation of Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy – but if anyone can pull of even a semblance of the greatness of those books – it’s HBO. I hope.
 
 
 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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