Miss Letting-Go-Getting

Miss LGG’s Book of the Week: The Post-Birthday World
June 28, 2008, 4:14 pm
Filed under: authors, Books | Tags:

One down…twenty-three to go! Remember my personal summer reading program in which I pledged to read two books a week? Yeah, that’s not happening, or at least not at the pace I had hoped. Many of the books I chose are over 500 pages, and I have been sleeping on the bus a lot these days, and it’s summer and all I want to do is ride my bike and sit outside and hang out with friends, and make-out with a certain handsome man and, and, and….

I did, however, finish one of the books on my list…

The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver, 517 pgs.

I first learned about this book from Entertainment Weekly’s yearly recap of the best media. They named this novel by British author Lionel Shriver as their top fiction book of the year which was intriguing to me because it didn’t exist on any other best of the year lists. Here’s what EW had to say:

In a year when nearly everyone was caught up in the story of a young wizard, an ensorcelling book about a mortal adult woman went virtually unnoticed. The heroine of Lionel Shriver’s extraordinary novel The Post-Birthday World is Irina McGovern, an illustrator living in London with her longtime partner, Lawrence Trainer, an earnest policy wonk. They share values and routines, if not a world-beating sex life. As the first chapter ends, Irina finds herself alone with a roguish acquaintance, pro snooker player Ramsey Acton, whom she’s always found dangerously attractive.

Here, the novel branches into two competing narratives. In the first, Irina kisses Ramsey. In the second, she resists. Chapter by chapter, these two richly imagined scenarios play themselves out, eventually meeting up again some 500 pages later. Which was the better choice for Irina — the steamy lover Ramsey or the steady companion Lawrence? Shriver playfully suggests answers, only to snatch them back again.

Before it was co-opted and trivialized by chick lit, romantic love was a subject that writers from Flaubert to Tolstoy deemed worthy of artistic and moral scrutiny. This is the tradition into which Shriver’s novel fits. In 50 years, we’ll still be wild about Harry. And a lucky handful of readers may stumble across The Post-Birthday World and wonder why they’ve never heard of it.

Right on–so true, I have steered clear of any fiction dealing solely with love and relationships because I can’t stand to read formulaic, trite happy-ending crap, which tends to be most of the chick-lit genre. I’m not a total cynic about love, but the fluff love genre of recent years never delves deeply into the workings of romantic relationships or characters’ psyches in general. Shriver’s novel is down and dirty honest, brutal, heartbreaking and so very very real.

Shriver is quickly becoming my favorite contemporary author. Her incredibly thought-provoking We Need to Talk About Kevin had me pondering parent/child relationships and the root of evil for nearly a month. Her writing style is incredibly elegant and dense, yet very easy to read and ultimately her books are impossible to put down.

Seriously, check her out. Good stuff.


Miss LGG


Fun with Wordle and the State of Our Union: 1993-2008
June 23, 2008, 7:52 pm
Filed under: Fun Stuff, Web Resources | Tags: , ,

Praise Jeebus!

Never again will we be forced to listen to another State of the Union from our reigning idiot president. In celebration of that, I copied and pasted the text of all nine of his lame State of the Union addresses into Wordle, a fun and free text cloud generator. Just enter any text you want, choose the maximum word count, layout, font, color and presto (Click on the image to enlarge):

Just for fun, here are Bill Clinton’s State of the Union addresses in text cloud form:

Bush (top 15): America, American, Americans, Congress, country, economy, freedom, government, Iraq, nation, people, terrorists, weapons, world, year/years

Clinton (top 15): American, Americans, children, Congress, country, crime, give, health care, insurance, jobs, people, system, world, work, year

Very interesting…


Miss LGG

Have, Want, Need
June 21, 2008, 5:14 pm
Filed under: Life, Videos | Tags:

I have a great life.

I have the most wonderful friends and family, live in an amazing city and am now headed down a career path that I know will bring me great joy while at the same time contribute to the common good.

Sure there are a few things that I dream about, that I want for myself.

I want adventure and travel, constant learning, a loving, intelligent and kind companion, a home with a garden, a small menagerie of pets and maybe, yes maybe a kid or two.

What I need…what I need is an entirely different matter…I absolutely need some sexually ambiguous 80’s dude to bake bread for me in exactly this fashion…every day…for the rest of my life.

Thanks to Madame Lamb for bringing this gem of a video into my life.


Miss LGG

Status Update: Letting-Go: A+, Go-Getting: A-, Smoking: F (it’s time for the patch), Summer Reading Program: D

Fail Big, Fail Often, Fail Well
June 10, 2008, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Life

After graduating from college, I took an amazing clowning class. Not Bozo, birthday party balloon-animal clowning but European, sadder more complicated character work. Most of the work involved learning to fail well in front of an audience, of being completely vulnerable and naked (not nekked naked) on stage. Failing well involved the full realization that everyone was watching, slowly taking in every single painful, embarassing and sad second of that realization and then trying again with even more gusto. “Taking the drop” we called it.


Apparently I had not quite finished with my smoking.

Apparently I had a few more (packs) to smoke in order to fill my lifetime allotment.

Apparently I have zero willpower when it comes to certain things.

I’m totally taking the drop on this one. I feel you seeing my failure as you read this, and I am going to take it in and try again, and probably again and again.

Okay, had to get that out there–I want you to trust me faithful readers.

Now I can move on to more important bloggings…


Miss LGG

“Looking for the Mouse”
June 2, 2008, 2:27 pm
Filed under: Life, Videos | Tags: ,

This talk given by Web 2.0 guru Chris Shirky is absolutely brilliant. Essentially he asks the question, what could we do with the cognitive surplus that has been masked by the hundreds of millions of hours of passive television watching we Americans do? He makes the argument that it was gin that masked the cognitive surplus leading into the industrial revolution and the sitcom that is masking the next one.

Where do people find the time to participate in this new collaborative Web 2.0 world? What could we do with even 1% less television watching? Hmmmm. He puts it into perspective:

  • 100 million hours of human thought that make up the information in all of Wikipedia
  • Americans spend approximately 100 million hours a weekend watching television ads
  • Americans spend approximately 200 billion hours a year watching television.


He closes the talk with the story of a friend’s four year old daughter who while watching a movie one evening went behind the television in desperate pursuit of the mouse. Four year olds already know that “media that’s targeted at you but doesn’t include you may not be worth sitting still for.” I love that. Imagine what these four year olds will do.

How do we deploy the cognitive surplus? Stop being passive!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be all high and mighty here, I love my television (and my gin). In this crazy world we live in it is so necessary to zone out on the couch every once and awhile. I refuse to give up my Top Chef and my Lost, but perhaps I could do something better with the other hours I spend passively watching reruns of shows I’ve seen a gazillion times? Perhaps.

Try it. Watch just a little less television today and see what you come up with.


Miss LGG

Part 1:

Part 2: