Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Month: May, 2015

Annihilation and Punching People in the Throat

They sort of go together, although you’d be thinking the punching would come before the annihilation. However, that’s not the order I read them in.

Annihilation By Jeff VanderMeer  It was short, it was weird. It was very creepy and not really reading before bed material because of the creepy and the weird. It’s part of a trilogy, and while I have the next two in the series, i) I don’t know if I want to read it and ii) the first volume was really short, didn’t really end as such and really felt like I’d read a third of a book. But, it’s a third of a book that I really don’t know if I want to finish. The Narrator is – well, I don’t think she’s particularly trustworthy. Although I do want to know if she does do the thing she’s thinking about at the end of the book (not spoilers! Ha.)

So there you go. I don’t know whether I’m going to go the rest of the way or not. It’s weird, and  strange and creepy and well written and interesting and – yeah, I think I’ll wait and see if I miss it or not.

As for punching people in the throat…

I’m currently reading People I want to Punch In The Throat by Jen Mann. Now, this book is a collection of blog posts from the blog of the same name. (Hence not being an issue reviewing in the middle)She’s def a weirdo, though because people in real life know who she is! Unlike other people who like to remain nameless and faceless. Ahem. Now, people either like her or not, going by the Goodreads reviews. Me, I’d be her if I didn’t go back to work in an office full time and outsource raising my children to a very competent village. Oh, and I blog about books and how much I hate housework, and she blogs about all the things about being a parent in a smallish town. I have smallish children (slightly bigger than hers, I think), and I’ve been on the kicking end of the primary school totem pole for ages (you work? Full time? Oh, you can just make these ridiculous bits of tat in front of the television. Not while there’s Candy Crush to be played. And blogging. Ahem.) While I’ve never done school pick up in pjs, that’s more because I don’t often do the pick up (outsourced). I’ve definitely been to the supermarket in plaid flannel pjs and a fabulous coat though. Looking for Drano. Long story. Don’t ask. No, really. Do not ask. (yes, it involved vomit. No, it wasn’t mine. And yes, it was nearly midnight.)

And the “mommy mean girls” (mummy, damn it) definitely exist in every playground – I incurred the wrath of the Cool Mums by not having an acceptable part time job (cafe good, office job bad. Full time job REALLY bad), using after school care and not making my unco kid play sport. Oh, and I knew exactly what she meant when she was talking about Kindergarten Art… I saw the constructions of *my* peers when Chaos had to build a building out of cardboard boxes and crikey, the kids in his grade had talented parents (yes, we both helped Chaos, although the design and painting was all his own work, I made the stencil for nice windows, and Sir Reg did the industrial gluing. The frill necked lizard from an egg carton, a coat hanger and two pieces of construction paper, however – all my own work!) So so pleased that subsequent teachers aren’t as keen on the construction homework any more, and aside from whipping up  a scarecrow costume out of an old flannel shirt and some streamers (and inventing yellow brick rocky road), my construction skills have been resting.

So, I can definitely relate to Punch in the Throat. As I’ve said – I *am* her. Although, I don’t whine as much, I don’t think. I do however swear as much as she does (I’m still trying, ok.) and when you consider she’s American and they’re not as good at swearing as we Australians are… She’s VERY sweary. (one of the reviews described her as very sassy – I assume that’s American for says fuck a lot?) Not that there’s anything wrong with that. And it’s a nice palate cleanser from the last book. But I’m a bit leery of books that are marketed as “funniest thing evah” because I do have a peculiar sense of humour, and stuff that everyone else in the universe finds hysterical (I’m looking at you Seinfeld), well, I’m often still waiting to hear the punch line. So, I wouldn’t describe this book as the funniest thing I’ve ever read, but it’s certainly worth a giggle or two. And it’s damn easy to read before bed.

Can’t resist a good tag thingy

So, I’ve stolen this one from The Mustard Jumper!

What is your favourite breakfast? Breakfast is awesome. I can eat it three times a day (and breakfast snacks. Surely there’s breakfast snacks?) I love poached eggs with runny yolks and super crispy bacon – I was away with the Country Rellies, and the looks of horror when Sir Reg was cooking the eggs, man. He was doing it all backward according to them. If I go out, I normally go for pancakes or waffles or something like that. This is because of the difficulty in getting trained chefs to cook the sodding bacon to the point of snapping. Crikey. It’s not that difficult.

How do you drink your coffee? Small skinny latte. I’m all about the coffee – I don’t like milk particularly, so a small is all I can manage, regardless of how under caffeinated I am. I make one in the morning, and buy one later on. I normally have one or two coffees a day. Any more than that, and I’m up half the night (old persons problems).

What’s on your favourite sandwich? Lettuce, spinach, tasty cheese, tomato, hot salami, and avocado if they’re not $5 each.

Soup or salad? Definitely salad. While I like the idea of soup, the reality is it’s a drink. It’s not food.

What is your favourite cookbook? Cookery the Australian Way (1979 edition with the blue cover)

No more sweet or no more savoury? No more savoury. I’m totally a sweet girl.

Which kitchen (country) is your favourite? Thai or Italian

What is your favourite food movie? I’ve never really thought about it.

What is your ultimate guilty pleasure? CAKE! Food group of its own.

Who is your biggest inspiration? I love love love Heston Blumenthal. I even put my name into the ballot, but hello, two chicks from the boonies weren’t going to get a table. Fat Duck is still on my To Do List.

Home cooking or dining out? I love cooking, but I do love it when I pay someone to cook my dinner.

What is your favourite restaurant? I can’t say I really have one –  I’m more of a going out for breakfast person. Although, the local pizza joint is cheery and cheap.

I do my groceries at … All the places. F&V, coffee and eggs from the fruit shop; meat from the butcher in the povvo shopping centre, bread from the bakery, and I hit up Aldi for junk food and weird stuff. (Thursday night finds me randomly cruising the aisles of Aldi whilst Chaos is kicking and chopping people.) And Woollies, purely because there are two near me.

The best meal I’ve ever eaten is … Hrrm. The most amazing Italian food I’ve ever eaten was in Koh Samui in Thailand. I don’t know whether it was because I was just over Thai food, or whether it was the company, or if the food was really the most amazing Italian I’d ever eaten.Just recently, we’d farmed the kids off and all I wanted was a decent steak. We ended up finding a pub that was happy to whip up a rare eye fillet with pepper sauce, fat chips and salad. It was so so good (and I had no need for red meat for oh, at least a week.)

What is your favourite cocktail? Spirits and I do not get along. At all. I don’t mind a gin or vodka with soda and lemon juice and loads of ice if it’s really really hot. Most of the time, beer cuts the mustard rather nicely. Although I drink a little wine as well.

Coffee with George (Clooney) or Heston (Blumenthal)? Heston, definitely. I’m seriously impressed with his madness. And George is short.

What should not be missing in your kitchen? Coffee, milk and chocolate.

My favourite snack is … Salt and vinegar chippies

What’s on your pizza? Tomato, hot salami, capsicum, cheese and pineapple.

Food you really don’t like? Broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, coriander, seafood of all descriptions (unless Sir Reg catches it, or it’s from the chippie), pork, ham, lamb chops, Brussel sprouts, broad beans, umm. I’m picky. Vegemite. And un-Australian

My favourite food blog is … Don’t really follow food blogs – I like Poh’s Instagram account though. Pictures of her gorgeous doggies and food. Shuddders.

What’s on your food bucket list? Cake?

I cannot live without … Pizza, coffee and chocolate

The Paying Guests

I’ve been a fan of Sarah Waters since Dee made me read Tipping the Velvet a really long time ago. I’ve always really enjoyed her books, and Ms Waters does write rather excellent sexy bits (very um cerebral), however, this isn’t the entire attraction – reading Ms Waters books really draws you into the very fabric of the society of the main characters. (Funnily enough, the Wikipedia says a couple of her influences are some of my favourite literary authors – John Fowles and AS Byatt, and Angela Carter – see, I’m not a total philistine!)

Anyway, in The Paying Guests, Miss Francis Wray and her mother (Mrs Wray) are living in straightened circumstances after the death of their slightly irresponsible father and husband, as well as the two sons of the family being killed in WWI (weird, reading a book about the aftermath of WWI in the midst of all the Anzac Day hoohah.) It took me a little minute to realise this book was actually set between the wars, because it felt more modern than that – I sort of though WWII. But I picked up pretty quickly. I’m slow, but I’m not chicken flavoured. Anyway, because of their financial situation, Miss and Mrs Wray are required to take in lodgers, and they rent out a part of their house to Lilian and Frank Barber who are definitely not like them at all. Frank struck me as being a bit of a spiv, and Lilian was a bit – the word has escaped me at the moment. A bit young and free spirited and blousy (that is so not the word. Far out, Brussels Sprout) And it turns out that Miss Wray had a ‘past’ including a lesbian lover and an ongoing friendship with said ex-lover. She was a “voice of reason” to Miss Wray’s somewhat overwrought histrionics.

Anyway, I’m not going to go into too much detail about the story. There was a plot twist that I was waiting for – it didn’t quite go the way I was expecting, although the fundament was there. And there were a couple of other directions the plot went that, while I was expecting it to head in the direction it travelled, it went by train instead of bus. (Cryptic description is cryptic. Plot device = predictable, mechanism of plot device = not what I was expecting).

I did enjoy it – I found it to be lovely and soft and soothing to read. This on the one hand meant that it took ages to read, because I’d fall asleep reading it; but on the other hand, when I got to the exciting bit, I stayed up reading ridiculously late and then I couldn’t go to sleep! BUT there were aspects of it I didn’t like at all. I didn’t like the relationship between Frank and Lil, at all. He was all sneery and leery and a sleazeball. There’s a scene that’s really NASTY. Sort of rape-y without actual penetration. And yeah, won’t look at snakes and ladders the same way again.

I’ll probably give this book about 3 and a half stars. I liked it, and missed it when I finished it But I forgot about it really quickly – I forgot that I’d a) finished it and b) not blogged about it.