Monday, November 26, 2012

Just Finished: The Silver Linings Playbook

Before The Silver Linings Playbook (the movie) came out in limited release last week, I decided to read the book. I liked both, but it's amazing how different the stories were. Anyway...this is about the book...

Enter our narrator Pat Peoples, a high school history teacher and coach who spent several years in a nut house. For Pat, there's no sense in watching movies because he's decided that his own life is a movie, one that is leading to the silver lining of ending "apart time" with his wife Nikki.
"If clouds are blocking the sun, there will always be a silver lining that reminds me to keep on trying, because I know that while things might seem dark now, my wife is coming back to me soon....(And you can even re-create the effect by holding your hand a few inches away from a naked lightbulb and tracing your handprint with your eyes until you go temporarily blind.)"
Unfortunately for Pat Peoples, Kenny G is the soundtrack to his movie, and an obstacle standing between him and reunification with his wife. Like the fact that he doesn't remember how long he was in "the bad place," Pat can't remember why the mention or sound of Kenny G sends him into violent episodes. The saxophonist even appears in hallucinations.
"After I returned to New Jersey, I thought I was safe, because I did not think Kenny G could leave the bad place, which I realize is silly now—because Kenny G is extremely talented and resourceful and a powerful force to be reckoned with."
Pat's mother is reason he was able to leave the hospital and she has brought him home, a risky move since he is still convinced Nikki is coming back if he can only workout the obligatory 8 hours a day ("I sort of let my appearance got to where I was 10 to 70 pounds overweight.") and read all the books on the syllabus of Nikki's class.

Reuniting with Nikki may be Pat's sole focus, but he also has to contend with an Eagles obsessed father who refuses to talk to him, the reality of losing over three years of his life, and whether or not to take his medication. 

Things begin to change unexpectedly for Pat one night at his best friend's house when he is introduced to Tiffany – his match in mental instability. When Tiffany starts following him silently on his daily runs, the two strike up a friendship of sorts because Pat is "trying to be kind not right" and because his psychiatrist urges him to.

Although he refuses to admit how much he needs Tiffany, Pat slowly begins to realize that she may be the only one who can really understand what he's going through. She also might be the key to getting Nikki back.

The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick's first novel, has quite a few humorous moments (I didn't even mention Pat's awesome, Eagle loving Indian psychiatrist), a lot of talk about football, and great moments of honesty as Pat gradually begins to embrace reality. Pat's relationship with Tiffany (she convinces him to be her dance partner for a competition) could have developed more. The movie actually had more dialog between the two than the book, but all in all it's a good book. Nick Hornby (About a Boy) lovers will appreciate the humor and writing style, though not as funny, and even those who don't like football (like Tiffany) can appreciate it.

Go see the movie too. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are great in it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Here's looking at ewe

I'm having a hard time remembering names, even faces lately. A wee bit problematic in my line of work. I don't think I even realize how many names and faces and phone numbers and emails I encounter on a weekly basis between three towns for the paper and church. Then I have to match them all up. Whereas I have a slightly unusual name and represent 25% of the diversity around here...I don't blend in quite as well. 

Also, when many of the people you meet are in a similar geographic...then you have a lot of similar hair styles, clothing choices, etc. What I'm really saying is...all middle-aged white people look alike. Haha. Just typing that made my eyes water. Am I going to get in trouble for that?

Let's move on to the sheep. My publisher overheard someone talking about their sheep farm and got their name (eaves dropping proves very beneficial for the newspaper biz). So, I looked up the sheep people and set up an appointment to go out there. I was so excited. If you know me personally, you know I really like sheep, Irish music and red heads (not in that order).

The farm has 12 ewes, 40 in the owners' younger days. Unfortunately, I didn't get to hug any, but they were cute and hilarious. Such dumb, fluffy animals. How could you not love them?

They made quite a ruckus when their owner fed them.

I like when they stare at you.

The sheep stands alone, the sheep stands alone... Way to make the minority feel ostracized, guys.

Sheep are so classic in black & white.

What the bleeeet are you looking at? I really like sheep puns.

Blue eggs, like redheads, fascinate me. I love that the farmer-ess had a whole in her gloves. She was no nonsense.

Not to be left out, this beautiful aracauna rooster struck a pose. I really wanted to live on a farm after this visit...I'd just rather do the cooking and not all the growing...I'll help though, and hug the sheep.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A walk in the woods, a bird on a wire

Now that it's cold enough to have less deer ticks and mosquitoes carrying West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and flesh-eating bacteria, I'm feeling a little more ambitious about taking to some of the trails around here.

Right before that Hurricane Sandy, I took a walk along one of the Land Trust-owned properties near me. It was quite nice and I even found an old jar intact, apparently from some previous owner of the property.

But first, which way to go...

I felt you really needed two perspectives on these signs.
This might be a beanstalk to the sky. Might.
A fiddlehead fern

Kind of looks like that tree on the right pushed him and is trying to push over the other guy. The forest is brutal.
See the tiny spider?
An Ewok hairball. An Ewok's pet. Something from a 'Wrinkle in Time'...
And a bonus...birds on a wire!
And a few more. They're so cute. I took this through my sunroof at a red light.

Friday, November 16, 2012

And it was all yellow

After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things. It is as if
We had come to an end of the imagination,
Inanimate in an inert savoir.
- Wallace Stevens 

I can hardly pass this watering hole without stopping. It reminds me of my favorite book cover.

A semi-avenue of trees I often pass. Dreamy.

Another one of those things I took an obscene amount of pictures of...from every angle, exposure, etc. It's just so amazing. Even wasps can make something amazing.

There are a lot of yellow leaves around here.

Oh hey, watering hole. I just love how this picture (one of 272) came out.

Ever heard of geocaching? Even if you haven't, this is a fake bolt with a tiny piece of paper stuffed inside. It's like being a spy except without the intrigue.

A cranberry bog that is being left to go back to wetlands. I've been tempted to hop in there and pick some berries covertly, like a spy not like a geocacher.

New England

Another avenue of gold.

And possibly my favorite road around here. Wolf Island where I've seen neither wolves nor islands so it's a bit of a misnomer. Someone told me there are ghosts on this street.
One thing I've learned since moving up to New England is that there are supposedly ghosts everywhere. One day in front of my house, someone stopped me to ask me if there was a ghost up in the attic...WHERE I LIVE? What kind of a question is that to ask a single girl living by herself in a town with almost no street lights. Thanks a lot, random passerby. Very neighborly of you. Actually, it didn't bother me. Really....did you hear that creak?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend reprieve

My weekends usually consist of a bike ride, covering one of the umpteen festivals they have around here for work, church on Sunday, and a pity party or two because...well, isn't it obvious?

But...A few weekends ago I actually had a people packed weekend! It was just what I needed.

For months, literally months, I've been trying to get to one of the New England Food Truck Festivals that were going on all over the place. I was finally able to go and get some folks to come with at the very last one for the season in Newport. It wasn't as good as the food truck round up I went to in San Fran, but still.

We were only in Newport for like 3 minutes before my friend Kelly (right) got into character by tying her sweater around her neck. Very Newport.

The lines were wicked long so we didn't actually end up eating that much together. Oh well. Next time we get serious.

Apparently, food truck festivals are hazardous.
I almost ate here, but then I didn't. I love the name.
Not a butt shot, a boot shot. Tall boots were apparently on the dress code for the festival.
Had to go for the tacos! I told them that my name was November. "Is your name really November?" said the lady taking the orders. "No," I said. She didn't seem to mind.
I thought these girls looked cool. cider doughnut holes. Doesn't the black cuff make my hand look sort of beatnik?
After my day o' festivaling, I headed to Boston on the most perfect fall day to meet up with a friend from my China days who was in town for the Head of the Charles race.
Row, row, row
你好, Alissa! One of the most fun, genuine people I know. It was so great to see her, even if only for an evening.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The [real-er] autumnal edits

I ride my bike a lot. A few weeks ago I finally bought a basket for it. Should have done that sooner. It's changed my life...or perhaps helped a-right it a little. In China, I rarely rode my bike without at least one of my camera in my deep basket. The new one isn't deep, but it's doing the job and I can finally take pictures of all the things I love traversing on my two wheels.

 A very old church. I think it's called Tinkum, a family that owned one area of town.

 Next few aren't from bike rides but a land trust property near here. These trusts are nonprofits that preserve land. The ones around here have lots of trails...and deer ticks!

Experimented with this and got a daguerreotype look which I quite like. Maybe a little Ansel Adams inside out?

 Water, water everywhere.

 These late autumn evening colors were killer.

 What do you think of this one? I'm partial to it, but then it's my picture.

 Every time I bike past this dam (or whatever it is), I feel compelled to take a picture.

 Yummy leaves! I love you.

 Hey, look an empty road! What a dagdern shame to only see it going 40 mph.

Also, to the Americans who use copious amounts of hand sanitizer, refuse to touch door knobs in public places, and bathe in antibacterial soap, do you wear your shoes in the house? Really?

Sorry, had to get that out...
Back to our regularly scheduled program.

 I love mail. My birthday is coming up soon!

 I would live in this barn if they let me. It's so pretty, I took 45 or so pictures of it.

It even looks good out of focus, in the background. That barn is no showboat.