When Technology Gods Strike

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

You guys?

Grad school is exhausting.

Actually physically and mentally exhausting.

All the time.

Sometime soon I plan on sitting down and writing a real post where I outline what the next year entails for me in this PhD program (short version: 200 books read by next June or September, depending on how fast I read) and what that has meant for my daily life (short version: bed around midnight, up by 7).

Honestly, I am going to make some time for the update of all updates.

But, for now?

For now I need a moment to vent. Serious venting. Something that I rarely (if ever?) do, but right now I'm so past frustrated at the technology gods. So, venting is necessary.

Because?

So, I'm in the middle of writing a grant application - you know, so I can afford to live in a city on my own for the next few years. And it has been eating up all of my time and brain power (seriously, I am pretty sure I go to bed every night in some state of brain-dead-mush) and every last bit of emotional sanity I have left.

These things are not for the faint of heart my friends!

And tonight all of my iProducts decide they NEED!TO!BE!UPDATED! Because, you know Apple recently updated everything to do with their products (except for their desktops, we have to wait a few months for the update for that which in itself is causing me tremendous heartbreak - apparently you lose the ability to sync between a desktop and your other devices until that new software is on your computer. So now I can't integrate all my devices like I was able to prior to the updates. UGH!).

So, the iPhone, the iPad, and the desktop all decide to do their thing. And in the process my iPad decides it wants to play some sort of awful game and deletes everything out of my Pages folder. Including this one document I had been slaving away over for a few hours.

Fortunately everything else was backed up a bazillion places, but this document hadn't uploaded to the cloud yet because of the mass electronics updates going on Chez Courtney. So, yes it could have been a lot worse if I had lost all my PhD work so far - so, thank God for that one.

But still! That one document? It's the one that has been causing me the most stress. And I had to start from scratch. After having it almost to complete perfection. So I've spent the last few hours rewriting it and trying not to dissolve in a mess of sloppy, ugly tears over what could have been a much bigger catastrophe.

If you're wondering, that document is done - and probably a whole lot better than the one I had lost was going to be. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself now. Because otherwise I would be a whole lot more grumpy than I was.

If y'all need me you can find me curled up in a ball taking deep breaths and a  nap (or eight).

Technology, guys.

Seriously.

Most of the time I love it, but right now I'm ready to retreat into a hermitage in the woods where all I need is the sunshine and a cup of coffee.

How are you guys all doing on the technological front?


Welcome Back, Me!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Well, hey there everyone! It's been a while, hasn't it?

Good news - I think I'm back to blogging! I've got, oh, about 20+ books to review and a whole new life adventure to write about!

See, I moved to Canada to do my PhD - which means that there is potential around every corner for things to see and do and eat and talk about. So, that makes this little blog of mine a whole lot of multifaceted again - and I couldn't be happier.

So, strap in guys! It's gonna be an exciting ride!

Just so I can brag - look at the view from my bedroom window!
I see you Quebec! Lookin' all fantastic!
We're gonna have a lot fun! 


2013 Reads: Fifty {Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn}

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I guess it's time I finally finished up the reviews of the books I read in 2013, wouldn't you say? So, here it is, the last book of 2013: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I think it's safe to say that you have some sort of idea about what you're getting into when you pick up one of Gillian Flynn's novels. Even if you haven't read one of her books before.

Maybe not exactly what the story you're about to read is about, exactly. But that you're in for a crazy, suspenseful, and twisted ride.

Much like with Gone Girl, I finished this book unsure about if I actually liked what I had just read. Or, maybe, I wondered how if I did like it what that had to say about me. That sentence will make a lot more sense if you've read one of her books. Promise.

WHAT WAS WRITTEN

Camille Parker has inscribed the words of her life all over the contours of her body. Her past haunts every moment of her waking life - enough that she spent some time in a mental hospital. Now that she has checked herself out, she is seemingly on a fast track back.

The newspaper she works for - a second-rate, local daily paper - wants to send her back to her hometown for a story. Back to the world she so desperately has tried to leave behind. She returns reluctantly to cover the deaths of two local girls. 

Once home she is confronted by everything that went wrong with her childhood. Her mother, a narcissistic and neurotic hypochondriac, is unimpressed by her return. And her half-sister, a thirteen year old and beautiful girl, who she barely knows might just be the in she needs on the inner workings of her hometown. 

Once she steps foot back inside her family's Victorian mansion everything that she has fought so hard to forget comes flooding back. A tragedy which shaped her childhood and marked the rest of her life is unfolding before her eyes and she's not sure she can keep it together long enough to crack the story of the dead girls. As she identifies more and more with the girls she is investigating, Camille realizes that she needs to confront her own past in order to make sense of the present. 

WHAT MY BRAIN HAS TO SAY ON THE MATTER

Oh!My!God!

I wasn't sure Gillian Flynn could throw me for a loop again after Gone Girl. I was convinced that I would be able to pick up all the signs that she was laying down - that I was aware of her tricks now.

But man, I was not prepared for what happened in this book. Flynn got me again - and she got me good.

It's hard to talk about her books without giving too much away. And I do not want to give a moment of this book away. The way the little secrets and bits of information drop into your lap at exactly the right moment so you're forced to reevaluate everything you thought you already knew about the story. Those wtf?! moments? Those are the moments I read her books for. And I wouldn't want to deprive anyone from a single one of those moments - or potentially reveal the moment for them.

And if you've read this book already you know exactly which moment I'm talking about.

One thing I really love about this book (and yes, maybe 'love' much like 'like' isn't exactly the right word, but it's the best I've got) is the characters. Flynn is marvelous at creating characters who are people more than they are characters. In this book she has completely succeeded at crafting authentic mean, nasty women. You know those type of women I'm talking about  - the grown up Mean Girls (promiscuous, violent, abusive, self-destructive, and more). And then similarly she is able to perfectly capture their offspring, the mean girls themselves. And those young women? Oh my god, they're even worse.

It's rare to see women portrayed as anything other than either heroines or victim. Instead Flynn casts them as a source of violence and evil within their community as well as the victims of that evil. Because, as we all know so well, women can be so mean - especially to other women. Men in this novel are only secondary - they're the pawns and the playthings of the women around them. And it's interesting to see that so accurately portrayed in this novel.

I would totally recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a wonderful thriller of a novel. Especially one which, in a few ways, seems to turn the genre on its head. Sharp Objects is not for the squeamish though - it's full of sex, drugs, and violence - it's truly not for the faint of heart.

It's kind of like watching a train wreck - you feel bad about watching, but you can't look away. I think Flynn has the literary corner of that market covered perfectly. 

THE NITTY GRITTY

Title: Sharp Objects
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime
Medium: Paperback, 254 pages
Publisher: Broadway Books (31 July 2007)
Date Read: 31 December 2013
Source: Christmas Gift
Recommended For: High School +, Mystery Lovers, Thriller Lovers
Challenges: Goodreads 

First Line: My sweater was new, stinging red and ugly. 
Favorite Line: The face you give the world tells the world how to treat you. 
Last Line: Lately, I've been leaning towards kindness. [whited out, for spoiler's sake]