Rebirth

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This thing is gigantic. Huge.

I’m feeling better.

Depression is such a weird thing.

I never really understand how bad I get, until it’s actually over. I don’t really know how deep the hole was, until I am out of it, peering back down.

Things that have happened since last fall:  the baby turned one. The drought is somewhat alleviated. People have died. People have gotten really ill.

Life. Life has happened.

Sweet girl.

Sweet girl.

And I ended a board that I’d owned since 2008.

I have a bit more time now. Less stress.

And now spring has sprung.

We take "hikes." It requires equipment.

We take “hikes.” It requires equipment.

The rain has been such a huge help. When my sister-in-law visited last summer, in between the two really, really big fires, she said we all had “fire face” the same way that people in the Bay Area had “rent face.”

I think, maybe, I’ve gotten a small taste of what makes those Dorothea Lange photos so compelling.

It feels like the first time we’ve seen lush, vibrant green in ages.

You, too, can bokeh.

You, too, can bokeh.

Everything seems a little more manageable. We can get through another year.

Cross your fingers.

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Free Adventure Time Printables

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I made these for my son’s room.

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We are big on Adventure Time around here. My husband and I are probably more into it than the kid. He likes it because it’s silly and exciting, and it has a lot of crazy music.

The adults in the house are still sort of surprised it’s on Cartoon Network.

These can all be found in pdf form using this link.

Rain

The lake is full.

This is a huge deal after all these drought years.

And when I say full, I mean full.

All the rain means that things are green. Very, very green.

Really, I just hope that we don’t have a repeat of last year’s fire season.

It’s supposed to rain more this week, too.

Review: Submission

I spent three months reading Kristen Lavransdatter.  Sometime in the middle of the third book I went from reading for pleasure, to being in a grudge match with fictional medieval Norway.

I needed to cleanse my brain palate.

Something ultra modern. Something short.

Michel Houellebecq’s Submission sounded both short and ultra modern.

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I saw some ridiculous article about it in the Guardian, shortly after the Paris attacks. It’s a book that has been widely condemned as sexist and Islamophobic, written by a singularly miserable-looking troll of a Frenchman.

The dude looks like he was born smoking and sneering.

I figured at the very least I could build up a good frothy fountain of ultra modern outrage.

Instead, I got a book that is strangely haunting.

The main character/apparent author insertion, named François for maximum on-the-nose everyman impact, is thoroughly detestable. Humbert Humbert detestable, really. He is the single-serving, monadic manchild we’ve been warned about. He lives a life of fleeting pleasures-food, booze, and sex. His only real friend is a mental projection of J. K. Huysmans formed from his own fannish, academic narcissism.

This dude is basically the embodiment of the internet-based postmodern personality. Isolated, emotionally stunted, obsessive. Ultimately really boring.

Which is why the book is haunting. As terrible as François is, I’d like to think he doesn’t really exist. Or, if he does exists, it’s just in the figure of Michel Houellebecq.

Ten million Redditors beg to differ.

This guy is everywhere. It’s not that he’s stupid. He’s just hollow.

The book is set in 2022, and the story set during an Islamist takeover of France. The politics are interesting, I suppose, but it’s not particularly realistic.

The argument, it seems, is that Islam is ascendant, because it is, theoretically, anchored in meaning. Tradition. A place in the cosmic order.

However, the book ends on such a cynical note, that it’s nearly breathtaking. For all the critiquing of post-modernity and it’s failures, this version of savior Islam, in the early states of it’s “Eurabian Empire” proves that Islam succumbs to meaningless hedonism as easily as anything else.

Basically, the argument appears to be that there is just no escaping nihilism in the 21st century. Not for François, the Islamic world, for the West, or anyone else. Even if Islam “wins,” it loses.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School

After all the Little House (we got through Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, and Farmer Boy) and a ton of Christmas books, it was time to move on to something more modern. Something fun.

Something where the teacher turns all the kids into apples.

And, as my kid put it, “That is weird.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School, by Louis Sachar, 1978

Sideways Stories from Wayside School, by Louis Sachar, 1978