Monday, August 11, 2008

Overdue R Post

Wherein I discuss:
Ramirez, Ravelympics, Reading, Revolts, Rivers, Romance

Manny Ramirez: Last year I liked Manny enough to invest in a Ramirez Red Sox Tee. Then he shoved an old man, slapped Kevin Youkilis and didn't play on purpose. The verdict: Good riddance, I won't miss you, I'm just pissed I wasted $20 on the shirt. I should've bought a Jon Lester shirt.

Ravelympics: I tried to resist the Ravelympics. I tried to resist starting a new knitting project. But I couldn't heck no, I couldn't. The point is basically this: you cast on at the start of the Games (Beijing time) and cast off by the end, having completed an entire project during the games. Of course, forget the projects I'm working on, the wedding gift that is now 2 months overdue, the shawl for my mother and the conundrum I'm facing with the unmatching yarn. Forget it. Forget it and start this, a selfish project for myself, in this luxurious black mohair with beads. It's hawt. I hope I can finish because casting on was an absolute bitch and a half. I won't have the neat little ends shown in the picture, but I was not about to rip anything out. Noooo way.

Reading: I've been reading some pretty fantastic books lately. Of course there have been the duds. "1491" was fascinating, but read as disjointed and jumbled, with a lot of personal "storytime" from the author. Then there was the delving into incredibly rich detail about things such as spearheads but would then gloss over things like those Olmec heads saying something to the effect of "the curious thing about the Olmec heads was that the helmets the figures wore resembled those worn by Chinese soldiers." Um. Ok. Elaborate please? Regardless of its flaws, it made me want to learn more about several of the topics discussed in the book. Other badness? I hated, hated the end of "Friday Night Knitting Club." I am not above sad endings. Sometimes I even like a good cry. It was so tacked on though, like the author thought of the ending first or was desperate to finish the book and wanted a dramatic was the desperation of the ending that drove me crazy, shocking, tacked on, etc. Blah.

Enough negativity though. You know what I have loved? Delving into books about Africa. There have been some adventure ones, some save the animal ones, and some more serious ones, all AIDS and orphans and the struggles of international adoption and negotiating the legal system in post-colonial nations. What I love more than anything is that each of these books embraced some element of Africa, some gritty piece of glorious, beloved Africa. Peter Allison's book was by far the most entertaining and hilarious. His stories paint a vivid picture of safari life and are heartfelt and humorous. I laughed out loud when I read parts of this book. Neely Tucker's book made me cry (in a good way). His story of trying to adopt his daughter, a child found in the bush, tossed away like trash, is heartwarming. You feel his frustration as he tries to navigate through all the proper channels of the post-colonial Zimbabwean government and your heart breaks as he tells the stories of the orphanages visited by him and his wife. This is actually a great portrayal of how frustrating it can be to deal with certain authorities in Africa. Though my experience in Kenya is far limited, I have known the whole waiting in line for hours only to get turned away, told you were in the wrong line, or even questioned as though you were a completely suspicious person with something sinister in mind. I can't believe the patience and love and compassion maintained by the Tuckers throughout the whole experience. Similarly, Melissa Fay Greene discusses the difficult situation of orphans, AIDS orphans in particular, and the challenges facing those brave enough to become caretakers. Her biography of Haregewoin Teferra was enormously educational and I am grateful I read it, having almost tossed it aside as "too long, too depressing." Nicole Itano's book was similarly educational, though I loved how she profiled three specific people as a way to make Africa's stuggle with HIV/AIDS more personal. Finally, Mark and Delia Owens talk about their noble pursuit to save the elephants in Luangwa Valley in Zambia. I loved this one because they HAD to integrate people into the bigger wildlife management "picture." Check out their foundation - I fantisize about starting such an organization!

Revolts: Listen to this - I have a cousin, whom I have never met and don't care to, who lives in California and teaches at one of the UC's. We can't remember which one. Anyways, a cousin said to my father "I went out to visit Jack and he's got a TON of guns in his house. Like a ton." "Well," said my father "He was always into weaponry and hunting and such" (later my father told me about a fishing trip they took where Jack killed a bullfrog with a knife, thus scarring my father for life.) So my cousin says "yeah, but you know what he said when I asked them what they were all for? He said they were for 'the revolt'" "What revolt?" asks my dad. My cousin says "Well that's what I asked "what revolt?" and he said "for when the blacks revolt. I want to have adequate protection." Obviously I was horrified when my father relayed this story - even my cousin who is a bit of a redneck from Maine was appalled. My dad and I sort of sat there silently. Then he started laughing and said "You know what would really unscrew him? Sending him a wedding announcement. That would just drive him crazy. That'd be great." I think that'd be pretty funny....but I think I'll just pass on that one.....

Rivers: I've rediscovered the North River. It's practically in my back yard. I've been out on it twice and it's been faaaaantastic. It appeals to all of my bird nerd tendencies, plus it puts my kayak to good use. Of course this week's forecast is craaap. Ah well. I'm loving it. I have fantastic photos, but haven't uploaded them yet (lazy).

Romance: So I was watching a movie the other day. Or perhaps TV - ok I forget. There was this uber-romantic scene where the guy does something really nice for the girl and everything is all warm and fuzzy, blah blah blah (ok it sounds like I was watching Grey's Anatomy, lol). So I was wondering - when Jam and I live together, will he be a romantic person? I mean he totally does what he can from afar in Brooklyn, but as our lives have become a little more frantic from school and such it's sort of gone by the wayside. I mean it's not the end of the world or anything, I mean a person can't expect flowers every five seconds but.....I dunno....I guess I just wondered if there would be a revival once we lived together and got married. I hope so - in a very childish way, I totally acknowledge that it's ridiculous and somewhat juvenile - but let's just say, it would be nice.

Too bad Jam doesn't read this anymore. You know, so he could get my oh-so-subtle hint. Le sigh.

Ok that wraps up the R's. I'm good. Hope you're all good too.

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