Sunday, July 24, 2011

It's Art Fair. Again.

It's Art Fair time here in Ann Arbor, and that means crowds, heat, and a bunch of crap masquerading as art. There are a few diamonds out there in the rough, though.

A friend and former coworker carves wood into amazing pieces of functional art, like bowls. I've always wanted one of his pieces, and this year I followed through:


Another good thing about Art Fair is that the local shops go into full-blown sale mode. And lo, it is amazing. When I was a college student, living in Ann Arbor in the summer, we would salivate over the offerings at Urban Outfitters and local clothing boutiques. Now, however, you couldn't have paid me enough to go near their tents.

And then there are the things that drive me absolutely insane. Besides the traffic, and the people, and the heat, and the strollers, and the walking, walking, STOPPING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIDEWALK FOR NO REASON, walking, STOPPING, STOPPING, ARGH, there are things like this, and there is just no excuse for this idiocy:


My guess is that they were so worried about spelling souvenirs correctly that they neglected to spell-check the rest of the goddamn sign. I mean, seriously.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Books, Borrowing, and Patience

With Borders closing (SAD FACE), I plan on relying on the library even more than before. To be completely honest, I haven't purchased a new book in months. I did, however, get a kick ass bird book at an antique store for five bucks, and it's awesome and I love it and I totally didn't break my "no book buying" rule because it was used, AND I was on vacation.

The problem with the library is the sharing. I don't like to share. I want my book when I want it, which is usually immediately. I have been waiting for Tina Fey's Bossypants for months. At my last check of my account, I am the 34th person of 228 people on the waiting list. Granted, the library ordered dozens of the book, but with three weeks to enjoy a book, and perhaps a lack of speed readers up in here, I am not anticipating my copy until September. At the earliest.

The best thing about libraries is the sheer volume of books available, but also the fact that I am saving money and using the resources of my community. Yeah! However, my sense of community diminishes whenever I check my online account:

I am currently 108 of 147 for In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, and 63 of 95 for Game of Thrones.

Yes, Game of Thrones. I figured that I would see what all the fuss was about. It's what all the cool kids seem to be reading these days.

So, in conclusion, READ FASTER, PEOPLE.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Grand Idiot

Okay, so I've done some stupid things in my day. Hell, I've done some stupid things in the past day. But this one takes the cake.

Here is where I would tell you what led up to the tragedy, but it's extremely boring and involves me tripping over things, because that's what I do because I am my mother's daughter and I constantly have bruises and cannot remember how said bruises came to be.

Anyway, I broke my damn laptop. The screen is busted and I am an idiot and I really, really hate myself.

I know that it's not the end of the world - it's a thing, not a, I don't know... leg - and it can be replaced. I know that this now gives me an excuse to get a computer with the kind of memory that I've been craving, but I have not the money for this kind of situation.

I have not the money for many situations. For example, it would be nice to fix the side mirrors on my car, but do I have the money for this? No, I have not the money for this. I would also like to purchase nice bookcases for the living room so that my beloved books do not perish from mold and neglect in the storage unit, but do I have the money for this? No, I have not the money for this.

Anyway, my laptop has now become a desktop and I'm using a monitor my friend Josh gave me back in, I don't know... 2005?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Animals or How Mike and I Are Really Glad That We Found Each Other Because No Other Sane Person Would Have Us

This has been a really, really rough week you guys. Mike had to go to Iowa (of all places) for work and I really missed him, I was totally PMSing, and my teddy bear -- my precious Teddy -- was undergoing major, life-altering surgery.

Those who know me well know about Teddy. They don't even think that it's strange that I am 30 years old and still have a strange affinity for my childhood friend (at least, they don't say it to my face).

I wrote about Teddy some time ago, and I'll just reiterate that my connection to him has not changed. Nor has his appearance.

(If you don't feel like reading that link, here are the basics: Teddy has been through way too much. It all started when I was a toddler and used to rip out his fur and stick it up my nose. My parents laughed hysterically rather than tried to stop me, and now he has fur on his head and paws. And nowhere else. Also, since I used to carry him around tucked with his neck under my arm, there is no stuffing left in his neck. It's pathetic, really.)

You see, Mike and I are a weird couple. I'm not kidding. We are bizarre, extremely strange people, and we are lucky beyond lucky that we found each other because we just fit.

Obviously, we recognize this, or else I would be way too embarrassed to share all of this with you. So here it is: We have several stuffed animals (more than eight) and we have given them all different, distinct personalities.

Often, I will come home and find them arranged in hilarious ways. Once, they were playing poker:

Lamby Lamb had a good hand, you guys.

Another time, they were all mooning me for neglecting to take them on a car ride out to Holland with me:


It all started with Mr. Happy Dinosaur. One of the best gifts I've ever received, Mr. Happy Dinosaur made everything better. Plus, no one would ever mess with me if they knew that I had a dinosaur to protect me.

So Teddy had surgery. And I was distraught. But now? His head doesn't flop over and stuffing isn't pouring out of his neck. So, that's good.

Yes, that pillow has eyes. Yes, I sewed eyes on a pillow.
The eyes are the window to the soul, you guys!

Basically, we are crazy people with stuffed animals, and we admit as such. But we're happy, in our own completely bizarre way, so we're cool with our collective insanity. But if you disagree, feel free to leave comments. I'm sure that Lamby Lamb will take it well. EXCEPT THAT HE WON'T and will most likely murder you in your bed.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Where the Hell is Cheboygan?"

For the Independence Day Holiday, I headed up north with K-10. Her dad has an amazing house on the shores of the Twin Lakes in Cheboygan, Michigan.

I know, Cheboygan sounds made up. But I assure you, it's a town. And a super awesome kitschy one at that.

For most Michiganders, "Up North" means exactly that. The majority of us leave the Detroit area and head north on I-75 and stop when we reach our cottage on a lake. It doesn't have to be one of the Great Lakes - there are many, many inland lakes that will do the trick. For us, the easily amused here in the Mitten, it is the ultimate retreat from civilization, work, bosses, and responsibilities.

Did you know that Michigan's number one industry has nothing to do with automobiles? It is tourism. Who'd have thought!

Anyway, it was an awesome, relaxing trip. K-10 used her vacation time to train for an upcoming triathlon, while I used the time to sleep, read, and watch birds. It was brilliant for the both of us.

From the driveway.

I don't know. I thought it was cute.

It's like being outside. BUT NOT.

View from the living room.

View from the deck.

Here's a good story: This is a winery behind someone's house in a residential neighborhood. We pulled into their driveway and K-10's dad knocked on the door of the house (which is what the sign instructs), and the guy took us to an out building where we sampled the sweetest wine ever (and not in a good way). It was... weird. And extremely awkward. But that's Michigan - we do awkward REALLY WELL.


I wanted to eat here. I wanted to eat here SO BAD. I wanted to meet the owners and shake hands, as this is the best bar name EVER.

Mama loon and baby loon, you guys!

Another loon!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm Heather. I'm Disgusting.

Mike's been traveling all over God's green earth lately, for work, and I've been alone in the house. In some ways, it isn't so bad. I miss him like crazy, but I've been staying busy enough that it's not too bad.

So in an effort to avoid the crushing loneliness, I've been working out lately. Like, every day. It's not that I'm bored (I mean, I am), it's that I'm going to be thirty-one in mere days and let's face it - no one's getting any younger!

So as soon as I get my ass home from work, I change into my workout gear and I head to the gym with Kelly. Working out with a friend is pretty much the best plan. We push each other to GET GOING when one of us would rather sit on the couch. Luckily, the lack of motivation seems to hit each of us on opposite days.

Of course, there was that time that I showed up at her house with nachos and sangria when I was supposed to be picking her up for the gym.

So my routine has been working quite well, though the house has not been faring as such. I try to keep it clean, I do, but it's hard!

Basically, by Thursday, the house is a trash dump, and when I get home from the gym there is nothing I'd rather do than pass out on the couch. Instead, the night melds into a tornado of vacuums and cleaning products. I can't let Mike think that he's shacked up with a dirtier Tasmanian Devil.

Time to destroy the house, yay!

I mean, seriously. I am a slob. Why I can't seem to be able to clean up after myself on a daily basis is beyond me, especially since I am usually so organized.

The dining table? Not for eating! It's a dumping ground for anything and everything!

The kitchen counter? That's where everything goes that I determine belongs elsewhere than in the fridge or pantry.

The fridge? Oh God. If you're ever at my house, promise that you'll never look in the fridge.

Promise me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

This was the first David Sedaris book I've ever read. I had heard that he was, um... quirky, but jeez.

I recognize that not all authors appeal to everyone, and that a reader might not love every single thing an author has to offer, but I wish I hadn't chosen this Sedaris offering first because I'm now a little nervous about sampling his other works. I read this because his writing has been praised, but I can't pretend that I liked this one just to be cool.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is a collection of short stories with animal protagonists, living human-type lives and dealing with human-type problems. Thank God the stories were short, because I don't know that I could have read more than a few pages of his prose.

Each story was weird. Each was equally depressing. I totally get that Sedaris was making observations about the human condition, and in a way, the stories were quite reminiscent of Aesop, but sweet God, man - did you have to be so disgusting?

The story that stuck with me most featured a crow talking to a ewe about child-rearing. The crow seems to be enthralled with the ewe's lamb and how content it seems to suckle from its mother. The crow commiserates with the ewe about children and how difficult it is to relax when one is so consumed by motherly love and that damn protective instinct. The crow talks about how she meditates to relax, convinces the ewe to do the same, and while the ewe is experiencing another plane of existence, the crow pecks out the eyes of the lamb in order to feed her own babies.

What. The. Hell.

Again, allegories. I KNOW. I get it. But it doesn't mean that I have to enjoy it.

The illustrations are by Ian Falconer, of the famed Olivia books. The drawings are an amazing addition, and as weird as some are (there is one of a hippo's anus), they really do make the book whole. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is an imaginative, interesting, intentionally creepy (?), brilliant work. And I hated it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Magicians

How to describe The Magicians? Calling it a "Harry Potter for Adults" would be underestimating its power and creativity. Perhaps a cross between Harry Potter, The Narnia series, and a typical college experience would be more appropriate. With more than a few hangovers.

Quentin is bookish, at the top of his class in high school. His best friends are as nerdy as him, and they all have grand plans for their futures at university. But everything changes when Quentin is transported to a hidden school, masterfully passes a (seemingly) ridiculous entrance exam, and is admitted to Brakebills Academy. A school for magic.

Magicians is gritty. It feels true to life. Lev Grossman satisfyingly describes his teenage characters truthfully, without holding anything back. Yes, teenagers swear. Yes, teenagers have sex. Teenagers rebel against authority, go through an apathetic stage, and perhaps have a moment of awakening.

I really wanted to love this book, and for the most part, I did. But while the first two thirds of the story were wonderful, the last third fell short. It was trying way too hard to be something else (namely, Narnia), and became extremely predictable. While creative, I felt like there were too many similarities. I've since read that Grossman was paying homage to books from his youth, and I think that's wonderful, but there is a little too much of that going on for my liking.

The sequel, The Magician King, was just released. Just because Magicians didn't meet my expectations, Grossman is simply too talented to ignore. I'll be reading his second outing.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Devil In the White City

Erik Larson crafted a page turner in The Devil in the White City, chronicling the construction and production of the 1893 Chicago's World Fair while interspersing the narrative with fascinating accounts of one of America's first serial killers.

After the brilliant display of the 1889 Paris World Fair, the idea that the United States would host the next fair was laughable to the world, and even to most of America. The unveiling of the Eiffel Tower was deemed one of the most incredible feats in architectural history, and consensus was that the U.S. would never be able to match that feat, let alone surpass it. How would a lowly industrial city ever pull it off?

Daniel Burnham and John Root, the Chicago Fair's architects, were determined to wow the world and to prove their critics wrong. They assembled the best and the brightest designers, landscape architects, performers, and visionaries and fought forced budgets and the powers that be to bring their collective dream to life.

As for outdoing Gustave Eiffel, they brought George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. to Chicago. He had an idea about a large wheel.

But something sinister was lurking, just at Chicago's edge. A madman, putting his devious plans into motion.

H. H. Holmes was an attractive, charismatic man. He charmed women, left long-suffering creditors at ease, and was an extremely successful businessman.

He was also a psychopath.

Armed with facts, while sometimes forced to imagine himself in the minds of Holmes's victims, Larson brings the reader along the path of a deviant mass murderer as he charms his way into women's pocketbooks and legacies before murdering them in cruel and sickeningly imaginative ways. After skirting his debtors for years and murdering countless numbers of people, Holmes is finally brought to justice by a tireless detective.

I was sure that I was going to skim the sections about the World's Fair and devour the parts about H.H. Holmes. I'm weird about the macabre. Much to my surprise, the entire book was amazing!

Larson's accounts of the conception, planning, development, and construction of the World's Fair were intriguing, and his writing style ebbs and flows in a way that I found myself devouring every word. I am looking forward to reading his next book - In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin.

The fact that there are sixty people ahead of me on the library waiting list should tell you something about Larson and his skill in creating a pager-turner!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

"It's the Best Day Ever Again!"

I love cats. I've always wanted a cat, but I am incredibly allergic to them. It's clear that they think that they are lions and tigers in the wild, creeping around and peering through house plants - searching for prey and whatnot. And that's why I love them.

But this is probably an accurate representation as well (NSFW):

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Honey Badger Don't Care

Maybe this is old news to you people by now, maybe not. Either way, I cannot rest until I know that people are aware of the HONEY BADGER.

This thing is insane. It is ferocious and crazy and it certainly "don't give a shit." Watch the glorious, glorious video and enjoy. And then watch it again, because you'll want to do so. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

An Advantage to Having Small Feet

When the grocery store has JELLY SHOES in kids' sizes,
you can relive your 1980s childhood!

Saturday, July 02, 2011


I found this in my sister-in-law's Facebook pictures:

Doesn't its neck look like a sock?

Happy Llama Day! Or, Happy Whatever the Fuck This Is Day!

Friday, July 01, 2011


While reading Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy:

BF: "I really like these books. Reading those fucking hobbit books was like work, only worse."