Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Iraq's Own Kramer
I was just watching some of the coverage of the President's surprise trip to Iraq, and I had a horrible realization. As I listened to the reporter and then watched the facial expressions of the Iraqi Prime Minister as Pres. Bush began speaking, I realized that we, the United States of America, are Iraq's sitcom-style annoying neighbor.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Summer School of Life
During the summer between her junior and senior years of high school, Dimple learns more than anyone can ever learn in a classroom. She learns her parents aren't nearly so dull as she'd thought and she comes to terms with her (East) Indian heritage and her own Indian body. She meets an unsuitable suitable Indian boy, Karsh. Dimple and her best friend Gwen Sexton learn a lot about friendship. She learns a lot about love from her older cousin Kavita.
Dimple Lala is a great main character, and you'll find her in the young adult novel Born Confused, by Tanuja Desai Hidier. Although Dimple is susceptible to common pitfalls of teenage life, she is established very early in the book as a thoughtful, interesting 17 year old. She is an artist-- she photographs everything, and she's good at it. It often bugs me when a character begins as an airhead and somehow becomes smart and interesting by the end, but Dimple isn't like that. She certainly grows and changes through the book, but her progress is gentle and traceable. This book will take you through a range of emotions (as most good books do) as Dimple herself goes through a range of emotions.
Magic and Maniac
Practical Magic is the first book by Alice Hoffman that I have read, but it will probably not be the last. I really enjoyed it. I've always liked the movie, but didn't know until recently that the movie was based on a book. As is typical, the book is better than the movie. The characters in the book, like Sally, Gillian, Antonia, Kylie and even others, some not even included in the movie, were so much deeper and more interesting in the book. Antonia and Kylie are much older in the book. They are teenagers, not little girls, and they have their own problems and concerns. The magic in the book is less... hokey, I suppose, than in the movie. They never brought Jimmy back to life in the book; he was just bad enough to cause problems on his own.
I also recently read a children's novel called Maniac Magee, written by popular children's writer, Jerry Spinelli. Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee is one cool kid, but his friend Amanda was probably my favorite character. How can you not love a girl who takes her "library" to school in a suitcase to protect it from her little brother and sister? Manic Magee deals with race relations in a small town, but not in a heavy-handed adult way. Jeffrey (Maniac) never saw a difference between black and white. He made friends on both sides of town. Sometimes he made enemies too, but mostly friends. He came to town as Jeffrey, a runaway (and he certainly ran), but he became Maniac, a town legend.
Not A Dancing Queen
Last night I went the wedding of a friend from high school, and there was a lot, a lot of dancing. Mostly I just watched-- I'm a people watcher, so I didn't mind. My table conspired to get me out on the dance floor for Blondie's Heart of Glass. If it'd been any other song, they might not have won me over, but I figured since I'm one of few people I know who actually likes that song, maybe I should go dance to it. So I did, sort of. I'm not a great dancer under any circumstances, and I'm almost incapable of dancing in public-- like physically unable. I just sort of... stiffen up in the presence of others, even if there is good music involved. Now, they did have an open bar, so I could have drunk my way to the dance floor, but I had to choose between dancing and driving then, and driving seemed pretty important. Anyway, after Heart of Glass was over, I returned to my seat and more or less stayed there for the rest of the night.
The last song was a slow dance, and since a cluster of people getting ready to leave had formed in the middle of the room, a friend (another girl) and I moved away from our table to get a better view of the dance floor. A couple of guys came up and said that since it was the last song and we were all just standing around, we should all go dance. I've never been asked to dance before. Slow dancing terrifies me. In a phenomenal social blunder, I panicked. Seriously. I couldn't speak. How do you turn down an offer to dance? Especially from a seemingly nice, good-looking guy, who's probably never been turned down for a dance before? How do you do that and not come off as the total freak of female nature I so am? Finally, I laughed and said I don't dance. At all. By this time, my friend was half-way to the dance floor with the other guy. I told "my" guy (I failed to even learn his name!) it was still nice to be asked. We stood in silence for the rest of the song, which wasn't long. "See?" he'd said, "It would have only been a for a few seconds... we might not have even made it out there". I agreed and said I was sorry again, and politely (I think, I hope) made my escape.
My friend told me later that the guy she danced with had asked her if it was true that I don't like to dance, or if I just didn't want to dance with his buddy. She confirmed the truth of my really not wanting to dance.
Later at home, after finding a good friend online and giving her a run-down of my no-dancing evening, I found my Blondie CD and danced alone, but that was okay; that's how I like to dance. Well, I was mostly alone; one of the cats, Gizmo, sat on my bed and watched. In truth, many of the songs at the reception made me want to dance, just not bad enough to get over the fact that there were other people in the room. So I danced myself silly at home in my room, with Gizmo giving me dirty looks. I danced through Heart of Glass, then stopped and skipped the disc forward to Atomic, kicked off my heels and danced some more. After that, I listened to one more song, Dreaming, and danced out of my wedding-going clothes and into my pajamas and put my tired-ass, dumb-ass self to bed.
In the morning, my mom and Lee Ann Womack (via I Hope You Dance playing through my mind), had me wondering if I'd made a mistake not dancing with... Nameless Nice Guy. Probably it was a mistake. Yet, if the same thing happened tomorrow, I know I'd still say no.