Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Daddy-O and media update: October

Daddy-O continues to do pretty damn good, considering that he had a huge chunk of metal shoved into his body only two days ago. ("TETSUOOOOOO!") He was pretty worn out yesterday from his physical therapy, so our visit went something like this:

ME: How's the food here?
DADDY-O: Well, this hospital may be more like a hotel, but the food sure ain't. It was...uhhhh...
ME: If you want to sleep, it's fine. You need your rest more than you need to discuss shitty food with your daughter.
DADDY-O: No, I want to visit with y...with y...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Anyway, he's got physical therapy and occupational therapy until the late afternoon, so I'll be indulging in a little retail therapy at Mall of America. R and I will visit him in the late afternoon, and when we get home I'm going to take a bath, watch Lost and CSI:NY, and return phone calls and/or notes.

Not necessarily in that order.

As for the media update, asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary. It was a pretty crappy month for fiction, overall, but the one novel I did star is shortlisted for my favorite book of the year.


1. Winkie by Clifford Chase: This has got to be one of the weirdest books I've ever read. It's about a sentient teddy bear accused of terrorist activity; imagine Toy Story meets Ted Kaczynski. I didn't much care for it, but it sure gets bonus points for originality.

2. The Brambles by Eliza Minot: The story of three siblings who learn their family's biggest secret when their father dies. Well-written, but it left me cold, probably because I didn't like a single character.

3. Leonardo's Swans by Karen Essex: Leonardo da Vinci plays a major role in this historical novel about two sisters in Renaissance Italy. Eh.

4. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks: If you read only one zombie-themed novel this year...well, it should be Cell by Stephen King. However, zombie aficionados will enjoy this one too.

5. Sharp Objects* by Gillian Flynn: An unnerving modern Gothic about a reporter who reluctantly returns to her hometown to cover the murders of two little girls. I think the less you know about this book, the more you'll enjoy it, so I won't say anything else. Oh, except that it fucking ROCKS. I would have read it in one sitting if I hadn't had to work and sleep.

6. Lisey's Story by Stephen King: You know, I thought King had gotten his groove back after Cell, but apparently not. This novel is about a woman mourning the death of her husband, a famous author whose horrible childhood led him to a place called Boo'ya Moon. Yes, Boo'ya Moon. Anyway, all sorts of shenanigans ensue and King winds up plagiarizing his own book, Rose Madder, near the end. Disappointing, although there is one genuinely unnerving scene that sort of made everything else worth it.

Side note: If you take the dust jacket off, the book cover is truly awesome. I got a lot of people going "Ooooh, what's that?" when I was reading it in the hospital waiting room.

Read so far this year: 44


1. Belle de Jour: Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl: This anonymous book, written by a British call girl turned blogger, is pretty cheesetacular...but it's still as much fun as a copy of Us, only ten times as dirty!

2. Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture* by Ariel Levy: An incisive look at how women are embracing things like "Girls Gone Wild" and porn, supposedly as an act of feminism. (Disclaimer: I don't think watching or performing in porn means you aren't a feminist. After all, isn't part of feminism being able to do whatever the hell you want, whether it's staying at home raising children, working as a CEO, or being a porn star? But I do agree with many of her points, especially where "Girls Gone Wild" is concerned. Joe Francis is no better than a pimp on the corner, and possibly worse; Google the recent LA Times article on him and see if you can suppress a shudder.)

3. The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery: The story of the author's pet pig, Christopher Hogwood, who she rescued as a runt and who became a much-loved, enormous member of her family. I cried my ASS off. (Fun fact with which you can blackmail Daddy-O: the one thing that will make him go absolutely gooey, goofy, googly-eyed with delight is a baby pig. Seriously.)

4. My Pet Virus* by Shawn Decker: At the age of 11, the author found out that he had received a HIV-tainted transfusion during treatment for his hemophilia. This memoir recalls everything from his dating traumas to the backstage visit with Depeche Mode he received from the Make A Wish Foundation. Darkly funny, self-deprecating, and uplifting.

Read so far this year: 67


1. Swan vol. 7 by Ariyoshi Kyoko

2. Cancer Vixen* by Marisa Acocella Marchetto: A memoir about the author's battle with breast cancer. The art is pretty crappy---I've seen her work in The New Yorker, and she can draw, so I'm assuming she kept it simple due to the length of the book---but it's funny as well as heart-wrenching.

Read so far this year: 71


1. District B13: I can barely even remember what this French flick was about---a government conspiracy to blow up a ghetto or some shit---but this isn't the kind of flick you watch for the story. The tight action in this movie chiefly consists of parkour, a French fad in which participants attempt to pass obstacles as quickly as possible.

2. Lady Vengeance*: In the final installment of Chan Wook Park's revenge trilogy, a woman is released from prison after serving 13 years for kidnapping and murder. It turns out her accomplice is much more to blame, and he's gotten off scot-free, so she wants payback. Visually innovative, nice and twisty, and surprisingly poignant.

3. Jackass: Number Two*: I thought it was impossible to shock me anymore...but I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

Seen so far this year: 76


1. "SexyBack" by Justin Timberlake: For four minutes and two seconds, this song makes me want to be a stripper.

2. "Fuck the Pain Away" by Peaches


"Shangri-La" by chatmonchy

I'm sorry, but J-pop girl bands make me stupid happy, and I love this song. And look how freakin' cute they are! The lead singer is totally rockin' her Klute shag.