...but I didn't feel like shopping, so I gave my blog a new outfit.
Bored in bed? Need a new book? Then you're in the right place! Scroll down the left-hand side of this page and you'll find a new category called Sarah's Book Club. I'll regularly update you on what I've been reading while traveling, and each book will be expertly rated by me. Seriously, I have good taste in books. But sometimes my favorite books are kind of psycho. So you've been warned. Happy reading!
Oh, and if you like web widgets, I've turned myself into one. You'd think I'd be too busy for this crap, but I honestly can't help myself. You're welcome.
So I was catching up on celebrity gossip online and came across this article about Lindsay Lohan's latest train wreck.
I don't care so much about the Lindsay part of the article, but I do care about the drink she's holding.
I'd know that bottle anywhere. Looks like either the ginger or mango flavor. God, I miss my Kombucha. It's one of the things I miss the very most about my old life. I can almost taste it. I'm tearing up. I need to take a walk.
Please don't tell me Kombucha is going to be the latest cool Hollywood craze? Actually, better that than getting photographed while not wearing underwear. Man, I'm such a trendsetter!!
Now that I've gotten used to an existence with little to no television, I'm firmly back on the book-reading circuit. Being on an extended (permanent?) vacation finally affords me the ability to guiltlessly devote an entire day to reading. It's the smart person's pastime, after all, and, despite the lack of physical activity involved, nobody ever accuses the avid reader of being a lazy bum. In all honesty, I haven't had the free time or mental capacity to go through books at this pace since my V.C. Andrews phase in middle school (and that was mainly because of all the incestuous sex plot-lines...what can I say, I was a curious child). I'm really very proud of myself, and I hope you are too.
Here's the latest damage:
1. "High Fidelity" - Nick Hornby
I own the DVD, but I'd never read the original book, which is actually a lot more similar to the movie than most books. My problem is that I love the movie too much, especially the main character of Rob as played by John Cusack (swoon!). The original book character is English, does not live in Chicago, and does not have sex with anyone resembling Lisa Bonet. It was a fun read, but this is one of those rare cases where I prefer the adapted film version to the novel. God Bless America.
2. "Hannibal" - Thomas Harris
The follow-up to "Silence of the Lambs" brings the tale of Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter to an apparent close. I didn't love it, and I must first blame my lack of enthusiasm on Julianne Moore. Not because she's not a good actress, but because she isn't Clarice Starling. Jodie Foster is Clarice Starling. Jodie Foster is who I imagine when I read about what Clarice Starling is up to these days. But Jodie Foster didn't want to do that movie sequel, so they got Julianne Moore to play the role, and I know that, and it messes with my imagination and I find the whole thing exhaustingly distracting. My second issue was the author's decision to have Clarice and Hannibal suddenly get together (yes, sexxxually) at the end. Kind of a cheap move that felt thrown in just for the hell of it (sorry for the spoiler, but you had quite a few years to beat me to it).
3. "Bonfire of the Vanities" - Tom Wolfe
Juicy, fictitious take on racial tension, class distinction, and prejudice in New York City in the decadent 1980s. Kind of a comedy, but more ironic and less ha-ha. My gripe is that every single character in the story is unlikable in some way, either because they have affairs or hate black people or are just generally selfish and rotten, so it's difficult to root for anyone. I also couldn't put the book down, so I guess the author's technique worked. I seem to recall this book also being made into a movie that was universally panned by critics. Probably won't bother renting it.
4. "In Cold Blood" - Truman Capote
Ok! Really enjoyed this one! Truman Capote's retelling of the events that followed an actual set of murders in rural Kansas. Written in 1965, the book has a pleasantly old-fashioned tone and keeps you on the edge of your seat without getting too sensational.
5. "Eleven Minutes" - Paulo Coelho
Ugh. Nobody wants to read the beloved author of "The Alchemist" going into depth about the erotic pleasures of sadomasochism, do they? Maybe it's just me. In his usual existential style, Coelho tackles the sex vs. love theme, and the lengths that people will go to achieve one or the other or both. It's not a crappy book, I just found it a little too smutty in a supermarket romance novel sort of way.
6. "A Monk Swimming" - Malachy McCourt
The younger brother of "Angela's Ashes" author Frank McCourt gets a book deal to write his own memoirs, and this is the result. His are not a particularly pleasant chain of events to put into print (poor young Irishman moves from Limerick to New York City, drinks himself to near-death every day, fails as a family man), but hilarity does manage to ensue. McCourt is a very funny storyteller, and if half of what he's shared on paper is actually true, then he's lived quite a life. Being an Irish lassie myself, I tend to sympathize with anyone from the old country who's had a rough time of it and drinks a lot. When I do this, Brendan likes to scoff and remind me that I was born in America and have lived a very pleasant life and don't even like whiskey.
7. "The Corrections" - Jonathan Franzen
It was Brendan's book first and he raved and raved, so I gave it a go. Intricate story of an unraveling midwestern family, their individual idiosyncrasies, and their judgement of one another as each one follows life in a different direction. They story tackles some emotional issues raw enough to make me blush from time to time, but it's the sensitivity that really strikes a chord. I freely admit that I wept like a baby through the last few pages. Gasping, snot running, the works. If you can handle depressing material (and I really mean that), it's a fantastic novel.
I also have a favor to ask of you, fellow bookworms. A few years ago I was vacationing in Mexico and picked up a book someone had left behind at the resort called "The Keepsake" by Kirsty Gunn. It was one of the weirdest, most disturbing books I've ever read. Ever. But it was also terrific. I came home with the intention of buying it online,
but have yet to be able to find it on sale anywhere oopsie, it's right here on Amazon! Has anyone read this obscure book, and if so, do you feel like explaining it to me?
Oh, this OS X saga just keeps getting better and better.
Warning: The following blog entry is not going to be interesting or rewarding for you unless you're an iWeb user or Superman. Just FYI.
Here's the deal: I lost my iWeb "Domain" file somewhere between the OS crash, archiving and installing, and mirroring the old system into the new Macbook Pro. iWeb is what I'm using to publish brendanandsarah.com to the world, along with "The Traveling Morans" podcast. However, iWeb now thinks that I've never used it before and has no record of the countless hours I've slaved over my project using its extremely limited functionality. My site files are published to a local folder and still intact (for the record, I publish to my own server rather than to .Mac), but as far as I know, once that "Domain" file goes missing, there's no way to re-import my published pages back in.
Under normal circumstances, I would approach this grand software challenge with a level of enthusiasm Brendan would probably categorize as crazed and obsessive. Unfortunately, I'm in India, the Brazilian embassy is refusing to grant me an entry visa, and I'm running out of toilet paper. Suffice it to say I really can't deal with this right now.
So, dear readers, if you've got some iWeb advice, speak your wisdom. Thanks in advance.
So earlier this year we had that non-working/exploding battery issue with our Macbook Pro that everybody else had too. You all knew this because I complained loudly and bitterly about it on this very blog. We ended up throwing out the battery and spending three months hunting for power outlets.
Then, about five days before we were due to return to the States, the Macbook decided to stop booting up altogether. Instead of my normal login prompt, I got a cryptic Darwin/BSD prompt that wouldn't take my password. Nobody in Bali was familiar enough with OS X to be trusted to troubleshoot, including me. It sucked. I archived and re-installed the OS, but had to re-import all my photos into iPhoto and re-create all my albums. With about 14,000 travel pics, it was quite a project.
Three days ago, our laptop fan broke. More specifically, it made a automotive fanbelt-like screeching noise that made coming within 15 feet of the Macbook without pulling my hair out impossible. At this point, I was ready to throw the damn thing into the fire and have a meltdown party.
But we need a computer, and we're leaving for India tomorrow. So this afternoon, we went down to the Apple store in Oakbrook, Illinois, to ask nicely for a new fan. A couple hours later, we left with a new Macbook Pro. A brand-new freaking machine with better features than our model bought last March, complete with fancy new glossy display and another full year's warranty, all for zero dollars! Man, I love Apple! This must be what all the fuss is about!
Special thanks to Mike Betzel who clearly understands the meaning of excellent customer service. You rock, man. Team Apple 4 Life!
(I also fell in love with those new adorable black Macbooks at the Apple store, but Brendan doesn't think we need two laptops on our trip. He's so weird.)
It's 10 a.m. Monday morning here in Kuta, Bali. At 4 p.m. our plane takes off for Hong Kong. We arrive at about 8 p.m. and gain back an hour. Several hours later, we board a plane to Los Angeles. About twelve hours into the night, we will arrive at LAX. Upon touch-down, the local time will be earlier in the evening than when we left Hong Kong (if that isn't time travel, I don't know what is). We kill a few hours there and then board our last plane to O'Hare, finally landing in our final destination at around 5 a.m. Tuesday morning Chicago time.
I can't wait for our two-week rendezvous, Uncle Sam!
Just a little note to say we're alive and well and haven't forgotten about you! I've got travel tales and pics from Cambodia and Indonesia just waiting to be uploaded (though when the internet cafe is still on dial-up and the power keeps going out, you tend to give up easily). However, we go back to Ubud, Bali, tomorrow, where I happen to know of some free wifi. The fun continues then!
Oh! And Episode 11 of "The Traveling Morans" will be uploaded in the next 48 hours.. pinky swear. Thanks so much for your patience.