Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Formatting, Book Picks, Friends and Grocery Bag Man

In defense of the crummy formatting of my blog posts: I don't have consistent access to regular internet. (read: we are too cheap to buy internet, even though I feel disconnected from the world without it. So...I post via email.) And somehow, google's email is formatting my posts in a really crummy way.

It might be my fault for not changing a setting. But then again, it might be google's fault: shouldn't they know that I want them to format in a way that doesn't have returns (the result of hitting the enter key) in places I didn't put them?) I'm going to angrily hit return now. (show them who's in charge of the enter key).

As for when Moo will leave for Indonesia: I don't know. She was supposed to leave Saturday. But then, it was Tuesday. Did she really leave on Tuesday? I don't know. (I know I'm her sister, but did I call her on Tuesday? No. Did she call me? No. At this point it's tempting to make up an answer. Wouldn't that be fun? Making up blogs about what her life is like? I say Yes. If she's not submitting any posts, what's to stop me from doing it for her?)

I have a few comments today, but I'm starting with some recently read books (as per a good friend's request) but there's a bus-type story after the book reviews:

Book number one:

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

This book is AWESOME! I love reading it. And so does The Rock (I'm reading it out loud to him), but he LEFT for a CONFERENCE with 20 pages to go. Needless to say, the book is now a great temptation. It's on my kitchen table begging me to read it.

I've managed to resist so far.

It starts with a kid (I'm guessing 13/14 years old) in prison because he stole something from the king. He's a braggart, cocky, and somehow lovable from the very beginning. He is rudely awoken one night, taken into the palace, and enlisted in the king's service (so he's not stuck in prison the whole book, thankfully) as a thief, to steal the most prized goal for thieves: Hiamathes Gift.

The kid is funny, he's a typical whiny teenager, but somehow the author pulls that off without making him annoying. Instead you like him from moment one. There's a lot of suspense because there are so many unanswered questions. Hence the temptation to keep reading without The Rock.

There are three books in the series (argh. Is anyone else sick of reading series? I love and I hate them.) but don't make the mistake of reading the library summary for book three (or maybe the back cover for that matter, I don't know, because I don't want any more ruined for me!) because it will give away more than you wanted to know. Grr. The library shouldn't post summaries like that.

Book two:

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath

I don't know how I managed to find two humorous books in a row, but it happened. The main character (I never remember their names, shame on me) has a dad who is on a fishing boat, and her mom goes out to retrieve him from a storm. Neither return, and in spite of that circumstantial evidence, the main character insists that they are not dead.

In the mean time, she's moved around in her small town to different caretakers with one odd/funny thing happening after another. The title stems from a restaurant in her town where everything is served on a waffle. Recipes included. The people are so quirky they seem real. You know how all of your friends have little oddities about them that make them even better to be friends with? Well so do the characters in this book.

Book Three:

Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotson

The version of this book that I have from the library has a cartoon drawing of a guy surrounded by the faces of 6 or 7 women. The women are UGLY (except for one) and look distinctly like nasty, ugly, gross witches (interestingly, that's exactly what they are). The Rock has taken a great interest in this book's cover since I brought it home. Is it because there is one guy and a gaggle of girls surrounding him? Is it because the witches are ugly? What is the draw? (if he weren't at a Conference, I'd ask him, but on the phone, he'll be evasive, so we'll just have to wait for the answer. So much waiting!)

Ok.

So the guy is a wicked wizard. He does dastardly deeds (but nothing so dark or heavily described as to make you feel uncomfortable. This is a CHILDREN'S BOOK for crying out loud! In fact, mostly the author tells us he's awful, but not enough to really make you feel like he's awful. As a result, you end up sympathizing with him). And why the sympathy? Because he needs to find a wife (isn't finding a spouse everyone's biggest source of agony in life? I bet you already sympathize with him).

So, who are candidates for a wicked wizard? Witches of course. Hence the nasty women on the front of the book. Many shenanigans follow, including one really old witch who frequently, in a moment of forgetfulness, turns herself into an end table. (maybe the front cover should show five ugly witches, one beautiful witch and one end table. Would The Rock be interested in that, I wonder?)

*****

In other news, I now have friends who ride the bus. A guy from church, an attorney, a lady who just started working downtown, and a woman from the IT department. Isn't that a nice contrast to the usual bus stories? I think so.

But, can I tell you a hobo story, and put the nice part of the bus rides behind us? (the nice part was fleeting, I know, but that's symbolic of real life on the bus.)

So, there is a hobo, who I think has come to my bus stop mostly on Mondays. But other days as well (and believe me, I desperately wanted to ask, Why are you here Today? Is it a Special Occasion?, but I refrained, we're not that good of friends (yet)).

But he did tell me about wanting to go to LA. (When he gets the money, of course. Isn't that what's keeping all of us from moving to LA?) His most distinguishing characteristic is the multitude of plastic grocery bags full of his possessions (or are they full of trash? I desperately want to ask about that as well, but...is that offensive? too personal? Ah. What are the rules of etiquette with hobos?).

He carries at least 7 or 8 grocery bags (double or triple bagged for extra strength). That means about four per hand. He walks up to the bench, carefully sets down all of the bags and then, when he sees the bus, he rearranges them so that most, if not all, are in one hand (easier to pay for the bus ride if you have a free hand to hold your change/pass).

So, there he is one fine morning. Bags on the bench, bags on the ground, bags all around (I feel a poem coming on). Anyway, that day I had my regular "purse" bag (although I loathe purses and so hesitate to call it a purse, but...it's a purse-like bag). AND I was carrying two grocery bags. Bags that looked just like his. I felt like the guy's porter. Or little sister. How could I avoid it? There is one bench, facing a main road that leads directly downtown.

So there he and I stood, for the whole world to see our commonalities. I felt embarrassed, then I said, Self, what's to be embarrassed about. If you were driving a car, and saw this scene at the bus stop, you would laugh about it. So, I carried my bags with pride as I followed him onto the bus.

Don't you wish (I know I do) that I could have taken a picture?

I would have labeled it Hobo in Training. --Lu.

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