Tag Archives: Recreation

This is NOT Fall

Great seal of Vermont. Although officially ado...

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The weather up here in Vermont suddenly got pretty-and it kills me to say this-warm, and while I’m not complaining about warm weather… I kind of am. There is something great about bicycling down a leaf-bare driveway while the sun bakes you into sleepy submission. That sleepy submission-warmth-comfort thing really isn’t a Vermont fall though and so I feel completely cheated.

Here’s how a Vermont fall is supposed to go down: It’s windy, really windy and this isn’t a warm windy breeze but snapping cold gusts that whip around you. The wind in Fall is supposed to bring tears to your eyes, not crying exactly but tears that well up in your eyes and start to obscure your vision. This is in conjunction with the burning on your cheeks, of course. Winter might make your cheeks sting but in Fall it catches you completely by surprise making it burn like hell fire. A good Fall day isn’t a good one without red cheeks and teary eyes.

But this weak weather isn’t just taking away from the physical enjoyment of Fall but also the sight linked pleasure. In crisp weather you see leaves that capture green, gold, orange and red all in one little wisp of a leaf, you see the leaves being flung into the air. These colors, when taken in with the tear blurred vision, begin to blend together with the dying greens of the field, the solid greens of the evergreens, the amazingly lively blue skies, and just the faintest hints of white clouds.

As the wind whips around you can see animals like never before. Unlike Winter’s wearied attempts for survival, Summer’s relaxed comfort and Spring’s cautious joy Fall brings out this ferocity in nature. Not ferocity that results in maulings but a fierce attempt to live. Deer run and eat, pileated woodpeckers really get into their work and humans begin to can food, stack wood, anything to make sure they make it through the winter.

In this frenzy I find a great sense of bliss. This is life boiled down to the essence, like when you use dash alcohol onto a hot pan and get it down to just its most potent taste. I end up dancing in the our neighbor’s meadow, running through the woods with the dog like two puppies, reciting Dickenson to the trees and loving where I live.

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Things I Liked In September That You’ll Like In October

”]Family watching television, c. 1958

Drawn from all my September posts here are my recommendations (fun fact: clicking on each item will take you to the post I referenced it in):

Books:

  1. “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks”
  2. “To the Lighthouse”

Television:

  1. “Bones”
  2. “The French Chef”

Blogs:

  1. After I Quit My Day Job

Food:

  1. Annie’s Mac and Cheese
  2. Seitan
  3. Quorn Chik’n Nuggets

Margaret Warner:

  1. Margaret Warner

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“The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks” [Review]

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Image by aboutsaffron via Flickr

To be honest I picked up “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks” by E. Lockhart solely because it looked like fluff. I know, I know, never judge a book by its cover and all that but between “The Mayor Casterbridge”, “To the Lighthouse”, and “The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne” I needed something that didn’t have suicide, death, alcoholism, brave new adventures into the art of fiction or confinement to sick homes in it. If it was really fluff that I was looking for than I should have gone with “Nikki” by Meg Cabot, what I got instead was cutting humor, brilliant ideas and a wonderfully flawed character who was actually someone you could relate to. (Yes, I did relate to Judith Hearne’s depression but let’s put that aside, shall we?)

Here’s the plot overview from Shelfari: Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14: Debate Club. Her father’s ” bunny rabbit. ” A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school. Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15: A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston. Frankie Landau-Banks. No longer the kind of girl to take ” no” for an answer. Especially when ” no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society. Not when her ex-boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them. When she knows Matthew’s lying to her. And when there are so many, many pranks to be done. Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16: Possibly a criminal mastermind. This is the story of how she got that way.

Trying to describe the “The Disreputable History” without giving way the whole twisty-turning plot is nae impossible. (Did I use nae right? Eh, someone will probably comment on this sharply if I did.) What I’m going to give you are a few brief reasons why I liked “The Disreputable History” so much that I gave it five out of five stars and marked it a “favorite” on Shelfari.

Why I Really liked “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks”

  1. It has funny grammar jokes. Grammar jokes? Hello! Funny grammar jokes? Where are you going, Sailor!?
  2. The main character is a fan of P.G. Wodehouse. No wait, not just a fan. A good portion of the plot hinges on her reading “The Code of the Woosters”. In fact, some of the grammar jokes revolve around a line from “The Code”.
  3. Frankie is angry. This is not the teenage angst Fuck-My-Parents-Fuck-You-All-You-Don’t-Know-What-I’m-Going-Through-You-Don’t-Know-My-Demons but rather the anger that builds after an ambitious person is spurned. This is a slow simmer anger that builds and builds until fish are kidnapped, bras are everywhere and there is a basset hound sculpted out of vegetables. Crap, only three bullets into my list and already I’m starting to give away the plot.
  4. She uses the panopticon to describe high school. Is that not perfect? It’s perfect.
  5. Frankie’s mother is Jewish.
  6. Popular kids don’t suck and geeks aren’t pure hearted. “The Disreputable History” relies not on flat characterizations but rather well developed social circles.
  7. I read this book in under twenty-four hours and laughed vocally while doing so.

If you’re now going, “Panopticon? Secret societies? Basset hounds? P.G. WODEHOUSE? Where can I get this book?” then there are two things I have to say to you.

1. We should be friends.

2. Buy this at your local independent book store or your town library. Why those two book vendors? Because it’s good for you.

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