Archive | August, 2010

I’m going to vent about people who vent about the holidays.

31 Aug

There is always some complaining about when stores set up their merchandise for various holidays.  Yes it’s August, though almost September, and there is Halloween stuff in the stores.  Yes, as soon as that’s gone there will be Christmas stuff in the stores.  And yes, they are selling winter coats and hats and scarves and boots and all that good wintery stuff at JCPenney right now.

SO WHAT!?  Does it really bother you that much to see it?  “Oh my eyes, my eyes!  I’m getting a migraine from looking at this pumpkin shaped candy dish!”  “Can’t we enjoy Labor Day first and then maybe see some Halloween stuff?”  No one is forcing you to celebrate Halloween this instant, but the fact remains that it’s good for business to put the stuff out early.  More of it is going to sell if they put it out in August than if they waited for October.  And the fact of the matter is, people are buying it right now.  Besides, who really cares about Labor Day that much?

Same goes for Christmas ornaments, particularly the collectible kind that Hallmark makes.  There are thousands of hardcore Hallmark ornament collectors and they wait in line for the stores to open on Premiere weekend in July to buy them.  The average customer walks in, scoffs that it’s too early to even think about, and then leaves in a huff.  Then they come back a week before Christmas and the ornament is gone and whine at us like it’s our fault we were doing our job and moving merchandise.  Maybe you should have thought about that before you declared it “too early.”  Just because you bought it in July doesn’t mean you have to put up a tree and display them right away.  Stuff them in a closet and forget about them until the day after Thanksgiving.  And for goodness sakes, stop whining and stop taking it out on the sales associate.

As for the department stores and their winter coats, I know it sucks to try on a down jacket when it’s 85 degrees out, but think about it this way – if you need a new coat this year, wouldn’t you rather buy it now so the first day it gets cold you can wear it?  Rather than the first day it gets cold, you put on a thin sweater, dart away to Kohl’s, and struggle to find something you like in the picked over merchandize and in a time crunch?  That’s how you end up with something ugly like this:

Disclaimer: I am not trying to suggest Kohl's sells ugly coats. I like Kohl's, in fact. Anyway, if you have a coat that looks like this I implore you to buy a new one now.

One more thing: There is no such thing as a “Hallmark” holiday.  Hallmark has never in its entire 100 year history invented its own holiday simply for profit.  Including Sweetest Day, which was started by some dude who wanted to spread joy to the old and infirm by giving them candy.  Since then the holiday has grown particularly in this area, and if my husband refuses once again to get me a Sweetest Day card this year solely on principle, I will be sorely sad.


Meliora Weekend!

30 Aug

So I got right on the website at 11:58am to register for Meliora Weekend, the alumni and family weekend at our alma mater.  Can’t wait to get away for a night!  We got a room only for Saturday night, the 16th, because we thought Chris would be taking the STEP on the 15th.  But now he’s taking on the 14th because that was the only date available so we could hypothetically drive over Friday for our department open house and sample lecture, come back, then go back Saturday morning.

Fall of my junior year and Chris's second senior year at our alma mater.

Saturday is going to be a tightly packed day.  We’re seeing the keynote address with Sanjay Gupta at 11am (get in line at 10am!), then a roundtable featuring Sanjay and some other people about the future of health care at 1:30pm, a lecture about how doctors should be more caring to their patients at 3:30 pm, and finally…. the piece de resistance… Jim Gaffigan at 7:30!  That would be the only reason my brother is going with us.  Hopefully he isn’t too bored as we drag him around to a plethora of medical based events, but considering Chris is going to be a doctor, we couldn’t pass those up.

Alrighty, I’m off for the rest of the day – I have to go to the post office and then stop by Starbucks because I heard from their page on Facebook that the Pumpkin Spice Latte is back, and I live for that every year!

Me and my Pumpkin Spice last year.

WIJFR: The Virgin Suicides

28 Aug

The Virgin Suicides
Jeffrey Eugenides
243 pages

I’m just going to say it:  I have no idea whether or not I liked this book.  Tonight someone told me the movie was better than the book… but I don’t know if I want to try.

I expected the book to be depressing, until I read a review before the title page that said, “Rhapsodic… with a deft, often comedic touch…” People Magazine.  First, who knew People Magazine knew such big words?  Maybe they had an intern who was studying for the SATs.  Anyway, I thought maybe I would laugh here and there and that would help make the book the literary classic that I’ve heard it is.   No, I didn’t laugh once.  In fact, I was actually quite depressed myself when the book ended.

I really enjoyed the author’s style, however.  The book took place from the point of view of the boys who lived across the street from the five sisters who, as the book title suggests, all committed suicide.  The adolescent boys struggled with trying to understand girls in general, let alone the depressed and disturbed girls who lived across the street who had strangely strict parents.  I think if the boys had known what the girls were going to do, they would have tried to stop them.  Deep down, they loved them.  They wanted to help.

What I didn’t enjoy was the chapter length.  It sounds petty, I know, but with only five chapters total and paragraphs that ran on for two pages sometimes, I found it hard to find a stopping point before I went to bed last night.  And of course, I didn’t enjoy the subject matter.  It was interesting to read how the girls’ psyches developed after the first, almost unexplained, suicide of the first sister.  The books wasn’t based  on a true story and while I suppose the whole plot is technically possible, I don’t think it’s very likely to happen in real life.

Really, I’m still on the fence with this book.  I thought about it all evening while I was work.  I want to like this book, I really do, and I certainly don’t dislike or hate it… so where does that leave me?  Unsure.

WIJFR: Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind

27 Aug

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind
Ann B. Ross
273 pages

Well, after reading  the Millennium Trilogy which was heavy reading, albeit amazing, it was time for something lighter.  The first book I got in the mail from PaperBackSwap was Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind, the first book in a series about a middle-aged, southern woman whose husband has died and had left her his bastard child and the child’s mother to take care of.

Hilarity ensues.  This book made me laugh out loud a couple of times and the inner voice of Miss Julia has such a distinctly humorous and southern personality.  Miss Julia fancies herself a selfless Christian woman (in a charming way, not a preachy preachy way) and soon learns that her church is not the breeding ground for Christian good as she once thought it to be.  Overall, I thought the book was pretty good, good enough for me to want to read the whole rest of the series, which the author is still in the process of writing.

I’ve already ordered the second book in the series from the same person I got this one from.  I think after that I’ll just get the books from the library because they seem to have them all and it will be faster for me to read them!

Tonight I’m going to start reading The Virgin Suicides, which I heard about from lurking on book club board.  It also happens to be on the list of 1001 books to read before you die.  If I start reading now, I can probably have that list done in ten to fifteen years.  I’d better get cracking!

**And if you’re interesting in reading this book, it’s on my PaperBackSwap bookshelf and my username is pandareads.  It can be yours for free!**

WIJFR: The Millennium Trilogy

25 Aug

You’ll recall how excited I was to buy my Nook and start reading the Millennium Trilogy.  Well last night, just shy of 2 a.m., I finished the trilogy.  My feelings were mixed when I finished:

1.  Relief.  I was relieved the ending wasn’t predictable and forced in order to tie up loose ends.  Even though everything significant was tied up, it was done in the same fashion as the rest of the books.

2.  Happiness.  These were the best books I’ve read in… well, ever.

2.  Sadness.  Steig Larsson passed away after submitting the three manuscripts, so this it.  There won’t be any more books by Larsson.  Evidently he had planned for it to become a ten books series, but things were wrapped up.  It seems like a natural stopping place.

4.  Relief again.  These books are epic and Larsson has created some literature that will endure for generations.  I would have hated for him to have kept writing to the point where things weren’t written as well and he was forgotten by history.

Still, I can’t help but feeling a little sad that there won’t be anymore books about Salander and Blomkvist.

These books have been a great adventure for me.  The characters are sincere and each unique from one another.  The plots are thick and tricky, yet flow together so well.  Despite the graphic violence in each of the books, I highly recommend to them to everyone to read.  I’m sure they’ll be on the Top 100 Books of the Century someday, or some other such list.