Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Gilmore Project: "The Deer Hunters" (Topic 1 of 2)

The Project:

The Gilmore Project is an experiment in composition form. As a huge fan of the show Gilmore Girls, I have watched and rewatched the episodes several times over. During my last full viewing in early 2018, I noticed myself watching the show differently than I had in the past and realized that there was a lot of personal reflection being stimulated by the events of the show as well as the music and cultural references. As a result, I decided to start a journey in blog form...exploring each episode and how it resonated with me personally. 

Disclaimer: If you have not watched Gilmore Girls but plan to, you'll want to watch each episode before reading these posts. There will 100% of the time be spoilers. I'd be doing this wrong if there weren't. That's the nature of the beast.

As is the nature of an experiment, sometimes you have to change your approach along the way. I've altered the format for this episode's post to see if I like it a little bit better. This may or may not result in a method that sticks. I have a feeling there will be a few more evolutions of structure as I go along.

The Episode: "The Deer Hunters"

Lane: "You hit a deer?"
Rory: "No, I got hit BY a deer."

Rory gets a disappointing grade on an English paper. As a result, she panics and studies incredibly hard for her upcoming Shakespeare exam. After oversleeping following a late night cramming session, Rory is hit by a deer on her way to school. She winds up arriving late and is not allowed to sit for the exam, which is to count for 20% of her final grade in the course.

There were two primary topics that I noted during this episode. Because I tend to get a little wordy, I'll be breaking this episode into two separate posts, each addressing one of the two topics.

Topic #1: Rory Gets a D

Lorelai: “I hate when I’m an idiot and I don’t know it. I like to be aware of my idiocy, to really revel in it, take pictures. I feel we missed a prime Christmas card opportunity.”
Rory: “I’m sorry.”
Lorelai: “You should have told me.”
Rory: “I couldn’t.”
Lorelai: “You couldn’t tell me? You tell me everything.”
Rory: “It was too humiliating.”
Lorelai: “Oh, honey. You once told me that you loved Saved By the Bell. What could be more humiliating than that?”

Rory is used to being a stellar student. Learning seems to come fairly easy to her and she's always been a bright girl. But Chilton poses new challenges. When she receives a "D" on her English paper (her first D ever), she is understandably concerned and disappointed. 

This situation is one that I can so easily understand. I was a pretty good student in high school and--though I did study and it did take me some effort--I graduated with a 4.0. I expected that college would be more difficult, but I expected that my academic success would continue to a relative degree and had not really prepared myself for the possibility of low grades. That lack of mental preparation slapped me square in the face in the middle of the first semester of my sophomore year. 

Physics 2. Ouch. I had excelled at physics in high school and did fairly well in my first semester of physics in freshman year. I knew it would be a bit of a challenge, but the subject suddenly (apparently) went well above my head. I landed a couple of D's on tests and squeaked my way out of that class with a C. It felt like I was such an amazing disappointment.

For a student used to getting A's and maybe the occasional B, a D resulted in such an overwhelming feeling of utter failure. Like Rory, I went through a period of panic following the initial red marked exam. I was frequently reminded by others that "C's get degrees", but that mantra wasn't one that made me feel any better. I just felt stupid. This led to a spiral of feeling overwhelmed by a complete inability to learn the materials that needed to be mastered. Though I did get out of the class with a passing C, I think the panic resulted in a certain feeling of defeat that followed me throughout the semester. I somewhat gave up. Perhaps I could have actually learned the materials better and gotten myself a B, but there was a spiral of misery that led to the idea that physics...well...it just wouldn't be for me.

You'd think that I would have learned from that experience, but apparently...for me...it's never easy accepting anything less than a B. In dental school, I struggled with more than one subject and being away from home and my family compounded the feeling of despair that resulted from the challenge. I frequently called home in tears - to which my dad responded by consistently handing the phone to my mom..."She wants to talk to you." 

I've never been one to deal with stress gracefully. Some breakdowns were worse than others. My mother will often regale others with the story of how I phoned one night so completely inconsolable that she nearly purchased a very expensive airline ticket to come see me the next day. Yet, when she spoke with me on the phone a mere 24 hours later, I had bounced back from my meltdown and was doing just fine. She emphatically asserts that she would have strangled me if she had indeed spent the money just to find me fully recovered.

Lorelai's concern over Rory's panic and frustration results in a discussion over whether Rory is going to Chilton and striving for Harvard admission for herself or for Lorelai's benefit. I absolutely understand this concern as well. Though I didn't really stop to consider it very well along the way, I can now look back and find a good source for debating within myself whether my approach to education and a career were really because they were what I wanted or because I felt that I had something to prove to others. I still can't really give a firm assertion one way or the other, but I am inclined to think that my narrow focus wasn't really based on what I felt would make me happy.

As a result, I'm more inclined to encourage Darian (and likely will do the same for Brecken and his soon-to-arrive brother) to explore his options and really try different courses out. I've been pretty persistent with letting him know that he doesn't have to know what he wants to do in life yet. He's a teenager. He still has time to figure it out. I fully support the idea of taking general grad courses for the first year (and maybe even the second year) of college. It's much better to have to stretch yourself to a fifth year in order to get a degree in something you love than to try and hurry to finish just to be stuck with a career you don't enjoy. Life is short; do what you love...love what you do.

That's not to say that it will all come easy or that there won't be moments of feeling like a failure, but it shouldn't be that way the majority of the time. Oh...and yes, there are professions that provide a bit of a better lifestyle than others. But, when it really comes down to it, money isn't everything and sometimes being comfortable and happy isn't dictated by your financial status.

The Gilmore Project continues...

Monday, May 21, 2018

Bout of Books 22: Wrap Up

Bout of Books

Another Bout of Books comes to a close. I'm actually quite pleased with how I did on most accounts and I have managed to almost catch up on my Goodreads Reading challenge for this year. That makes me ridiculously happy.

In the middle of the week, I happened across a post on Facebook that mentioned The Great American Read...a series that is coming out from PBS this week. They'll be looking at the 100-best loved novels in America, explore how they have affected their readers, and then put it up to viewers to vote the best out of the list.

Well...of course this just created a new challenge for me. So I spent a chunk of Saturday's afternoon naptime adding books to my TBR and creating a new challenge page for the books in The Great American Read. I just couldn't help myself.

On Saturday, I also managed to make it for the second Twitter chat. It was a bit bumpy thanks to a super cranky boy and a lagging TweetDeck, but it was still a good time. I'm bummed that I missed out on the challenges for this round of Bout of Books, but I honestly may go check them out for future on my own reading fun. I've found that I'm terrible at short-notice challenges...I need lead time apparently.

Now...let's get to the actual reading.

Currently Reading:

I'm kind of "currently reading" this. I haven't actually started it yet, but it's next on the list. I crashed out last night in the wee hours of the morning after finishing my last read.

Completed Books:


I discussed my thoughts on Me and Early and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews in my last post.

Forever in Blue was okay, but was one of those instances where a book was pretty well wrecked by having seen the movie based on the book. Gah, I seriously hate that. The book was still good and was a pretty easy read, but I wish I hadn't had any surprise of the narrative effectively ruined by my having seen the film.

I finished out the week by reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Wow. This book was the one I needed all week. Amazing. It was so raw and real. Uncomfortable every once in a while? Yes. But so freaking awesome. I can't recommend this one enough.

Completed Books with Brecken:

Ugh. Okay...I made a valiant effort to read to this kid. Seriously. But he had a few pretty rough days. We read some occasional pages here and there, but never made it through an entire book. Too many toddler meltdowns to even count. If you're wondering if this has continued to today, the answer is yes. I could use a nap...and a stiff drink.

Overall Stats:

I real almost every day. Thursday was just too exhausting. It didn't happen. I goofed around on Facebook for a few minutes at bedtime and then just collapsed. I read quite a few more pages than I realistically expected and I finished 3 books. I'm pretty freaking happy about that.

Overall, a fairly successful Bout of Books. I'm doing pretty well with my reading pace this year, much to my surprise. I'm hoping it continues, because I'm really enjoying the fact that my reading slump has come to an end.

As for Bout of Books...the next one is coming up in a couple of months. Bout of Books 23 will be held from August 20th to August 26th. I'll be participating. I'm hoping to do a little better prep work for that one so that I can enjoy the community factor a bit more, but we'll see since I'll have the boy and his brother by that time. We'll see how good I am at juggling two kids.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Bout of Books 22: Mid-Week Update

Bout of Books

This week is FLYING by. How is it Thursday already?

I haven't gotten any reading in today, but thus far I've done fairly well at hitting every other day. Most of my reading is getting done at bedtime thanks to my little busybody companion and the multitude of projects to accomplish around here. Some pigs have been sold, some things have been cleaned up, and some of the garden has been planted. We're making progress on the spring to-do list. Seems like there are just never enough hours in the day.

I nearly missed it, but I did manage to join in for Monday's Twitter chat. It landed right when we were having dinner, so Gary was nice enough to take over manning both the kitchen cleanup and bathing the boy while I took part. It was really nice. I'm hoping that I can find the time to make Saturday's Twitter schedule work. Gary will be working and that is usually prime living room play time, so it might be a bit crazy in here. We'll see.

I still need to get caught up with the Instagram challenges and see about participating in some mini-challenges as well. Other than the chat, I've unfortunately been a bit out of touch with the community. I'm hoping to rectify that some before the week is out. If B will take some decent naps in the next few days, I might get lucky. Of course, reading was the plan earlier this week and then I painted 1/3 of the downstairs bathroom instead. (I have an accent wall to paint and then I need to get more paint for what will be the remaining 1/3.) There may be a bit of nesting happening. 

As far as the read-a-thon goes, here's the current progress:

Currently Reading:

This is reading pretty dang quickly, but there is a small downfall. I've seen the movies and they are totally wrecking any surprise. Darn it. The upside is that I do enjoy the story.

I'm about 2/3 of the the way through, so there's decent promise that I could finish the book this evening. Fingers crossed.

Completed Books:

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was unfortunately a disappointment. I hung in and finished it, but there were several moments when I considered a DNF. The style was just a little weird for me. I understand what he was going for, but in my case...it just was not working. Oh well. It's bound to happen once in a while, right?

Completed Books with Brecken:

THIS is where I have really been slacking. I swear I do read to my child. This has just not been our week. Instead, we've been running ragged with errands and squeezing in small naps here and there. Before this week is out, there will be books in this section. Promise.

Overall Stats:

The good news is that there has been progress. Yay! Not all is lost...I'm starting to check off some boxes here and there.

And now...well...it seems we have a cranky kiddo on our hands. I'm going to get him off to bed and then see how much I can accomplish before hitting the hay myself.

How goes your read-a-thoning?

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Gilmore Project: "Kill Me Now"

The Project:

The Gilmore Project is an experiment in composition form. As a huge fan of the show Gilmore Girls, I have watched and rewatched the episodes several times over. During my last full viewing in early 2018, I noticed myself watching the show differently than I had in the past and realized that there was a lot of personal reflection being stimulated by the events of the show as well as the music and cultural references. As a result, I decided to start a journey in blog form...exploring each episode and how it resonated with me personally. 

Disclaimer: If you have not watched Gilmore Girls but plan to, you'll want to watch each episode before reading these posts. There will 100% of the time be spoilers. I'd be doing this wrong if there weren't. That's the nature of the beast.

The Episode:

Emily: There you go. Now you look just like Tiger Woods.
Rory: Wow. That's some hat.

Rory is being forced under the rigors of Chilton to join a sport. After the subject is brought up at Friday night dinner, Emily suggests that Richard take her golfing. Both Richard and Lorelai voice concerns with the situation. Rory spends a day at the club with her grandfather, after which all parties involved, including Lorelai, are surprised to find that both Richard and Rory enjoyed the outing. This spurs some crazy jealousy in Lorelai, who struggles with the idea that her daughter is finding closeness in a relationship with the parents she could never connect with.

The Lorelai Angle:

Ah...so much for my being able to identify more with Lorelai in the Gilmore episodes. Well...maybe that will change as we progress through the seasons. As for this episode, Lorelai spends most of her time coordinating a wedding at the inn and feeling crazy jealous of Rory's relationship with the elder Gilmores. Neither of these situations were really ones I could connect with beyond anything superficial.

The Rory Angle:

Oh, sports. When the subject of the school's requirement comes up at dinner, Rory's quip is "I'm not really the athletic type". This could not be more me. I'm a book worm, not an athlete. But...much like Chilton, my parents (specifically my dad) had it in their heads that I needed to participate in some kind of sport.

I managed to escape this requirement fairly well until junior high. At that point, I reluctantly joined the volleyball team. Now...it should be mentioned that I am ridiculously uncoordinated and completely lack any grace. My parents had enrolled me in both gymnastics and dance in prior years in an attempt to rectify this issue. It did not take. This was somewhat apparent on the court as well. I was...okay...I suppose, but I certainly did not have any natural athletic ability. It didn't help that I had what was probably a pretty crappy attitude about the whole thing. I didn't want to be there, didn't want to participate, and didn't really have any interest in the sport. I have very few memories about that season, but I made it through.

I thought this endeavor would be enough to satisfy my dad. Nope. He soon decided that maybe it was just that volleyball wasn't my forte. I needed to find a spring sport and try again. Ugh. My parents both had been athletic in their high school days. My mom was a cheerleader. My dad was a track star...like breaking school records type track star. I wasn't popular in any way and had zero interest in taking on cheer, so Dad decided that maybe some genetic ability had passed to me and I should definitely try track. Gah.

I hate running. Seriously. Not a fan. So I hedged away from those events (much to my long-distance running father's chagrin) and instead put myself in shot put, long jump, and...minimizing my running...a relay. This worked well for a while. However, there was an...incident. At one track meet, one of my classmates was unavailable for her leg in a longer distance relay. I was (reluctantly) subbed in. And...as if there was some cosmic sign that I should NOT be a runner...I nearly passed out during my run. A subsequent breathing issue led to a minor medical emergency and a resulting diagnosis of sports aggravated asthma. You had better believe I latched on to this. No more track for me. I finished out the season, but after that...there were no more organized sports. Sometimes things just have a way of working themselves out.

Rory's experience may have resulted in a bit more enjoyment than my volleyball or track stints, but...I did take a bit of joy in the fact that she didn't excel on the green any more than I did on the court or the field.

The Gilmore Project continues...

Friday, May 11, 2018

Bout of Books 22: Sign Up

Bout of Books

Don't worry...I haven't given up on The Gilmore Project. The weather finally got better out here and we have been spending a lot of time enjoying the sunshine and the lack of snow. There has been a lot of cleanup to do and we are slowly digging out of the muddy hole. The barn has been cleaned, some spring projects have been started, and I'm working on the garden planning so that I can plant here in the next couple of weeks.

Today though, I need to announce my participation in Bout of Books 22. It's one of my favorite read-a-thons and it starts in just a few days. (Yay!!)
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 14th and runs through Sunday, May 20th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 22 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

What I'll Be Reading:

I still have a couple of days before the read-a-thon starts, so I may finish the book that I'm currently reading. However, since I can't guarantee that it will be completed, I'm including it in my TBR pile.

Currently Reading: 

I don't have a particular order that I'm planning on reading these books in, but they're the ones currently sitting in a stack on the shelf near our bed and the ones that I have chosen for current and upcoming challenge reads. There are far more listed here than I will likely get to, but I like to have options.

Goals / Progress:

I've busted out the Goal Tracker for use once again. I'll be keeping track of my progress using my spreadsheets and then presenting the progress via the tracker.


I'll be doing updates periodically throughout the week. I haven't decided how often yet, but there will likely be at least three updates (including the wrap-up).

I'll be updating the tracker as I go as well as keeping a list of what I'm reading and what I've finished. You know...the basics.

Now...what about you? Are you going to join? You should! Not only is this one of the best read-a-thons for using your own pace, the Twitter chats are fantastic. Fair warning though...they may result in a more burgeoning TBR...the other participants sometimes have fantastic literary taste. Head on over to the Bout of Books website and sign up. You won't regret it!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: Part III

Well...definitely not my finest read-a-thon showing, but I did finally get some reading in last night before heading to bed. I tried to balance my reading with the need for sleep, but still think I failed miserably. Why? Because I tossed and turned all night. Lesson to be learned? I should have just kept reading. :)

Closing Survey :

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

I'm not sure I had a most daunting hour this time. I just wish that there had been more hours in the day...or that I had someone to watch the boy while I skipped out for a bit of me time.

2. Tell us ALLLLL the books you read!

I managed to finish 1 book. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente was a decent read and a good read-a-thon pick. I wish I had the other books in the series at my disposal...I'll have to keep an eye out for them.

3. Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners?

The good news is that I would actually recommend the one book I read. I ended up giving it 4-stars. It's certainly a different type of read, but I enjoyed its quirkiness.

4. What's a really rad thing we could do during the next Read-a-thon that would make you smile?

I've always been a fan of the Twitter chats put on by Bout of Books. Though it may be a bit more challenging for a 24-hour read-a-thon than a week long read-a-thon, I still think a Twitter chat would be something that could be great fun. I'm honestly more likely to participate in that than in the mini-challenges. Though I have to say, I think next time I'll have to take more stock in participating in the Instagram challenge. I noticed it a bit late, but it could be a bit of fun.

5. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep?

Oh, I'll definitely be participating again. I'm hoping to revamp my read-a-thon approach by the October RAT, though I'll likely have a 19-month-old and a 4-month-old in tow unless Gary's work schedule gets altered for that weekend. (That would be amazingly fantastic.)

I'm not likely to prove much help in the organization and prep categories this next time round. I'm lucky enough just to get myself organized. And let's be honest, even that has a pretty loose description around here.

Thanks for the fun Dewey's! I'll be back at it again for the next round on October 20th, 2018!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: Part II

It's past the midway part of the read-a-thon and heading into the hours when I will actually be able to get some uninterrupted reading in. It's going to be a fine balance since I may be able to stay up late and read, but I'll have to pay for it if I go too long as the toddler will still wake up at his usual time tomorrow morning and want breakfast. Also...it would appear that the Nook is considering losing its charge, so I'll have to have a traditional book at the ready as backup. 

Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now?

I've gotten about halfway through the book and it's looking good that I may finish it here in the next few hours. It's a bit of a jumble, not a writing style that I'm used to, but I'm enjoying it all the same.

2. How many books have you read so far?

Ha. This is it. I've managed to get about 2 1/2 - 3 hours of reading pieced together through the day, so not much has really been accomplished on the reading front. Oh well...it was as expected. That's the way it goes.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-Thon?

I'm really not quite sure. I have to see what I have accessible in my paperback selection (most books are boxed in the basement as we work on our house remodel). I'll plug the Nook back in to charge while I read whatever I find there. If I manage somehow to hit a third book (which I'm very unlikely to have happen), I'm thinking that I may go for Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

Ah...story of my day. I've pretty much just put the read-a-thon on the back burner unfortunately. The little guy took most of the day, though I squeezed in some reading while he napped. After that, we spent some time as a family, went for a walk, and got some farm chores done. The boys ate some dinner (I seem to have lost my appetite for the evening) and we got the little guy bathed and ready for bed. But...now it's time to retreat to the bedroom and some nice quiet reading time. Yay!

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-Thon, so far?

It's been a different one for me this time for sure. I need to figure out a way to redesign my approach to read-a-thons since I still very much want to participate, but have to work them around my family. Though my 13-month-old will be getting older and plays fairly well independently, he still needs my attention during the day. And his little brother will soon be along with all the requirements of an infant. More concerning...they'll soon outnumber me. That in itself could prove interesting. Those of you in a similar situation who have suggestions...I'm all ears! I'd love to be able to juggle some read-a-thon time a bit more efficiently.

And now...back to the books. I'll be doing a wrap up post sometime tomorrow...likely during afternoon naptime. In the meantime, wish me luck! Happy reading everyone!

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