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Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Vegetarian Grill

Now, before you call shenanigans on me for posting this before I finish reading Rights of Man, allow me to promise you that I have indeed been reading it. However, I've also been on a quest to whip my family's dietary habits into shape. Although I'm not going to make them go strictly vegetarian, I am trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our menu. Also... I'm scared of grilling. And I want to overcome that fear. So, yes, I am reviewing a cookbook.

It's a cookbook. So, it has recipes. I haven't tried any of them yet, because I'm still scared of the grill. But that's not important. Let's change the subject. In the cookbook, there are little random blocks of info- hints, tips, anecdotes- that sort of crap. This is common and totally unremarkable except for one little line I found: "My kids and I especially enjoy grilled marinated tofu, right out of the refrigerator."

....And this is where I call BULLSHIT!!!!! I've never met a kid who has enjoyed tofu- not grilled, not marinated,  not anything! You could dip it in peanut butter, cover it in chocolate, and smother it with caramel and your average kid would still gag as soon as that shit hit their throat. Furthermore, I've never known an adult who has said "you know, I really enjoyed tofu as a child." Sorry, Ms. Andrea Chesman- I'm not buying it! Whatever crap that poor woman is feeding her children must me abominable in order for them to "enjoy" tofu. Unless, of course, by "kids" she is being literal and referring to young goats. Then I might owe her an apology, because goats will eat anything.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

...And Now For Something Completely Different!

I've focused solely on the literary aspect of of this blog thus far, but the name also clearly implies that I am a housewife. And so, to fill the vast open spaces between books, I'm going to start adding some housewifely material to this blog. Mostly because of how long it took me to read Don Quixote, partly because I just started reading Rights of Man, which, from the looks of things, will also take a while to finish.

My first housewifely tip is... FAKE IRONING! I hate ironing clothes. I hate it like I hate stepping on a slug barefoot. That being said, my friend Toni taught me this little trick. Get a spray bottle, and fill it half full of water. Fill the the remaining empty space with any white colored fabric softener. Spray on dry clothes until slightly damp, then shake, stretch, and smooth the wrinkles away, and hang them up. Good to go! Why white fabric softener? Because the colored stuff will leave spots on your clothes. This is cheaper than buying the anti-wrinkle spray, and less hot and more lazy than ironing. FYI- does not remove wrinkles from face, no matter how much you shake yourself. Oh well, at least I tried!

Also, even though I started this blog with the intent of only reading the classic books I have immediately available to me, people like to give me books as gifts- so there will also be some more modern books coming soon at random intervals.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Don Quixote of La Mancha

This book took me a long time to finish. It definitely has its awesome moments, and I can see how it came to be considered a classic- however, it also has many long boring stretches and is hard to follow at times. The parts that are good are very, very good- and the parts that aren't... well, I've fallen asleep while reading it on more than one occasion.

Long story short: Alonso Quixano is a retired man of fifty with too much time on his hands and an unhealthy obsession with books about knights and chivalrous adventures. One day he decides to become a knight, because he is bat-shit insane and has way too much free time. He renames himself Don Quixote, decides that a lady in town is his lady-love (unbeknownst to her) and changes her name to Dulcinea (which she is also totally clueless about) and sets off on his old beat up work horse to commit acts of chivalry in her name (again, with her having no idea that this is going on).
He sets out on a mission to be knighted. He goes to an inn, which he believes is a castle, and has the innkeeper knight him. After leaving the inn, he has a negative encounter with some people who refuse to acknowledge Dulcinea's beauty. He is very severely beaten. He gets found and rescued by a neighbor who brings him home.
Don Quixote's niece, housekeeper, priest, and barber try to talk him out of continuing his adventures. He doesn't listen to their advice, so while he is still recovering they wall up his library and destroy his books. When he tries to find them, they convince him that the whole library was taken by an enchanter. He, being totally bonkers, believes it completely.
Despite the advice of his friends and family, Don Quixote resumes his misadventures. He promises a dull-witted neighbor, Sancho Panza, that he will give him an island to govern if he will be his squire. Sancho agrees, believing  a knight as fine as Don Quixote will surely earn a fine island. Sancho eventually catches on that Don Quixote is crazy, but they have many interesting misadventures including:

Don Quixote battles windmills, believing that they are giants

The making of a wondrous remedy which is supposed to heal, and instead causes the Don to vomit and pass out and nearly kills Sancho

Leaving an inn without paying, only to have Sancho get tormented and their wallets get stolen

The loss of some teeth

The murdering of some sheep

The stealing of a barber's basin, believing it to be a helmet

Various beatings, bouts of diarrhea, and assorted uncomfortable bodily afflictions

Being captured and hauled home in a cage

The attacking of various innocent people, animals, and inanimate objects

and a whole lot of trickery at Don Quixote's expense.

Definitely worth reading, though at times the reading is very slow. I particularly love the battling with the windmills- for some reason that scene really strikes a chord with me. Much of what we see as a giant or obstacle may in reality be a tool to help us in some way. So when armed for battle, be sure to ask yourself: is this truly a giant? Or just a windmill? Is this even my windmill to battle?