Monday, September 19, 2011

Ugh. Crappy Day.

tl;dr: Kinda crappy day.
Today was a series of annoying events. I barely slept and had bad nightmares the little bit that I was asleep. The worst part of the dream was one of my family members wearing a metal cilice. Cilices are metal chains with inward facing spikes that are worn by some penitents to symbolize a union with the suffering of Christ. Mixed with the general weirdness of the dreams I was just really uncomfortable.
I had to get up earlier anyways because I had to shower before the water was shut off at 9 for construction work. Because I was cold and it was raining outside I tried to dry my hair and ended up blowing the fuse in my room despite using an adapter, so I now know my blowdryer is useless. Apart from the lack of sleep, blown fuse and a mild headache I was still is a good enough mood. I caught the T-Bane with perfect timing and I felt prepared for class as I had done all the readings. Sometimes doing the readings is a bad thing when pretty much nothing in the lecture is new information so I ended up reading a book for the majority of the class in order to stay awake. Considering I had forgotten all writing utensils it was probably good that there was nothing new to write down. I had been pretty stationary all weekend and the rain was clearing up so I decided to walk from the T-bane stop instead of taking the bus. Even getting the fuse fixed was painless; just a quick message to the caretaker and they dealt with it within half an hour. Lunch went fine, watched some Dog Whisperer, and then I read a bit until it was time for dinner.
I was quite excited to eat the frozen pizza I bought on Saturday so imagine my surprise when I couldn't find it in the freezer. Someone stole my fucking pizza. So after being pissed off and resisting the urge to leave an angry note I decide to make something else for dinner and get over it. So I make my food and head back to my room to find... a locked door. My neighbour had left while I was in the kitchen and locked the door to our two rooms behind her. We typically pay attention to whether the other had left the door open and she had seen me in the kitchen but I guess it was just habit to lock it behind her. I went through the trauma of eating my dinner without salt and dragged a chair into the hallway to wait. I had no idea how long she would be gone but I figured it wouldn't be for too long. I know there's a number to call to get someone to let you in but they charge a fee outside business hours and I also don't have a phone.
The Muslim neighbour that I mentioned in a previous post came out into the hallway at one point and I made a comment that I was locked out. He was actually really nice, he offered to let me use his phone to call someone and asked if I needed anything. So maybe his problem isn't as bad as it seemed, we'll see.
My neighbour returned about an hour and fifteen minutes later to find me waiting in the hallway. She felt SO bad when she realized what she did and she said the previous person who lived in my room had done it to her once too.
So nothing really terrible happened but it was just a generic crappy day that has been accompanied by an unending headache. I think I know the cause of my headaches the past couple days but I'm really hoping it's not it.
Tomorrow will start a new adventure considering my neighbour's father is coming to visit her from Ethiopia and is staying with her for a couple weeks. I personally could never share a room with my father (or anybody really) for that long. I have no idea what he's going to do all day while she's at school or whatever.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book Review: The Blade Itself- Joe Abercrombie

The Blade Itself - Joe Abercrombie

Rating 4/5
I found this book to be a fun quick read fantasy read. Hard to believe I'd call a book with a torturer as a main character fun but it was. There was a vein of dark humour running through it that once even made me laugh out loud on the subway. There is some gore in it which may turn some people off but I think it's appropriate. The world was detailed without being overly complicated. Most new fantasies authors have picked up on the fact that good/ bad dichotomies don't interest anyone anymore and now feature flawed characters that aren't always so loveable and Abercrombie does this well. I personally loved Logan Ninefingers and Sand dan Glokta which are by far the most despicable of the characters. Chapters were written in different characters' POVs and I think Abercrombie did a really great job in giving each a unique voice; some chapters were more analytical while others were more simplistic based on what character was being portrayed. My two qualms were that I didn't like the two female characters and kept waiting for Jezel to gain some sort of depth.
All-in-all an enjoyable read, I will eventually read the rest of the series, and recommend this to fans of gritty fantasy.


Quotes:
"He looked down at his hands, pink and clean on the stone. “There are few men with more blood on their hands than me. None, that I know of. The Bloody-Nine they call me, my enemies, and there’s a lot of ’em. Always more enemies, and fewer friends. Blood gets you nothing but more blood. It follows me now, always, like my shadow, and like my shadow I can never be free of it. I should never be free of it. I’ve earned it. I’ve deserved it. I’ve sought it out. Such is my punishment.”
“Every man has his excuses, and the more vile the man becomes, the more touching the story has to be. What is my story now, I wonder?”"

Friday, September 16, 2011

Awkward Encounters

Sharing a kitchen with a new bunch of strangers can be quite awkward. I'm not the most outgoing of people so apart from a friendly greeting I'm not going to be the one who initiates a conversation or whatever. From the people in the hallway I've encountered in the kitchen most are friendly and content to say "Hei" and go about their business in the kitchen while I do the same.
There is one exception. There's a middle-aged Middle-Eastern man who as some very odd behaviour. I have had three separate encounters with him and they've all been uncomfortable. The first was when I came out of my room to go to the kitchen and he paused and looked like he was going to change his mind and no longer enter the kitchen but he eventually did and I'm guessing that it was because there was another Middle-Eastern male in the kitchen talking loudly on the phone and I was in/out of the kitchen quickly just to grab something.
On a different day I was in the kitchen making a sandwich. He walked in the door, took two steps, apologized, and backed out. He had a shocked expression as if he walked in on me naked. I told him it was okay and he could come in and he just said he'd wait. So I finished up and left the kitchen and he was just out there waiting for me to leave. I went into my room and he went into the kitchen.
Tonight I had put a pot of potatoes on the oven to boil and left them for half an hour and he was sitting at the table eating when I went back to check on them. He didn't run out of the kitchen necessarily but packed up his stuff and wiped down the table hurriedly and left in under a minute, taking his food with him.
This sort of behaviour makes me feel uncomfortable. We all share the kitchen and have right to equal access and I have no problem sharing the space with him but he obviously does not feel the same. I'm assuming that he is Muslim and is uncomfortable being in a room alone with a female. It may be some entirely different reason but if it is then I cannot fathom it. If this is his reason then honestly it pisses me off. I refuse to be made to feel uncomfortable in my own space because some ignorant moron doesn't think that he should be subjected to my presence. I don't want to chase someone out of the shared kitchen but I am not doing anything wrong and so I do not believe that I should be inconvenienced.Of course, he's the one mainly being inconvenienced because I have no problem being around him; he's the one who feels the need to leave. He has an issue with me that I cannot help and it is a fundamental problem due to his misogynistic religion.
It will be interesting to see how this develops. Despite a desire to confront him over this I'm not going to. It feels inevitable that he'll eventually get tired of avoiding the kitchen if I (or I'm guessing the other females on the floor) am in the kitchen. I'm not going to say anything but I wonder if he will. We'll see. If he's planning on living in Norway he's simply going to have to get over this ridiculousness and communicate with Western females who aren't content to hide under a veil and accept his superiority. He's going to have to get over himself or fuck off.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Recent Reads I Haven't Reviewed.

There's a couple books I've read this summer without writing up a full review so I'll combine them all into one instead of making several posts. 
Dance with Dragons- George R.R. Martin
 This LONG awaited continuation of the Song of Ice and Fire series was a great read as always from Martin. Any author that can sneak in a Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference about farting in someone's general direction without it coming off as cheesy is my hero. I'm in anguish over some of the events of the end of the book because Martin continues his typical cruelty of the character cliffhanger. I felt somewhat less emotionally affected by the majority of the events in this novel and some parts (Daenerys) bored me with their repetitiveness. Compared to the typical fantasy I'd give this book a 5/5 but because it pales in comparison so some of the others in the series I'm downgrading it to a 4/5. Also the first book I read on my new Kindle.


Wolf Hall- Hillary Mantel

This is an historical novel chronicling the rise and career of Thomas Cromwell who came from humble beginnings as an abused son of a blacksmith, became a successful merchant, and finally became advisor and close friend to Henry VIII. I enjoyed the read immensely and it was a relatively quick read despite its large size. It was a much much more realistic portrayal of Henry VIII's character and motivations behind the English Reformation and his relationship with Anne Boleyn compared to the historical wrecks that have been popular recently. The book seemed slightly imbalanced. For the first 3/4 of the book the pace was steady but very detailed and then the last 1/4 was rushed. She's currently working on the sequel that continues to follow Cromwell's life and I'll probably read that once it comes out. I give this book 4/5 rating.


Let the Right One In- John Ajvide Lindqvist
I want to read as much Scandinavian lit as possible(but I'm not a big fan of crime fiction which is the big trend) so I decided to try this paranormal vampire-ish fiction. I read this entirely on the train from Bergen to Oslo so it's pretty short. It's about a bulllied boy who has a mysterious new neighbour who is a very odd little girl. There's been a series of odd murders in the area that seem to be connected. The paranormal aspects of the novel mostly seem to highlight the sad truths of childhood that the young boy experiences and the friendship between the boy and the little vampire is quite touching. Some parts involving a pedophile are seriously disturbing. This vampire book is not for people expecting a Twilight novel. I give it a 3/5 rating. 
An epidemic of white blindness strikes an entire country and one woman who has retained her sight takes it upon herself to protect and lead a small group of the blind. This dystopian-ish novel makes you wonder what you would be willing to do to help others while remarking at the depths of depravity to which humanity is capable of descending. It seems that if people en masse lose one sense then they lose all humanity. The structure of the novel was a little weird as there's no names and everyone is only referred to by physical characteristics that had been assigned them before the blindness struck. There's also limited punctuation- with no quotation marks and only periods and commas. While discomfiting it was a fantastic novel that I give 4.5/5.