Some books need a third read

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I seem to be in the middle of my third read of Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series.

I don’t understand how this happened.

This was my first read:

Wtf is this??? Jessica is at the top of her class, a brilliant athlete, has a group of friends and she’s complaining??? On top of which, you’re telling me this Marcus character is the cool kid and he’s a ginger with dreads, but really just super intelligent and misunderstood? And don’t even get me started on this Paul Parlipiano character. Just NO.

My second read:

OK, I’ve accepted that she’s not Daria, her love interest is not Trent and that is a good thing, and I do like the story, and the writing is not at all bad. 

Current read:

How did I not love this from the start!?! I love how bitter and cynical Jessica is. So what if she’s an athlete (for all of the first book), so what if she’s really smart to boot? Bitter. Cynical. And at times wonderfully irrational. What more could you ask for? I loves it. You don’t have to be Daria. Even if it’s preferable. 

So ja.

If you’re not familiar with this series, and interested in knowing what it’s about, Forever Young Adult does a brilliant job explaining the plot and why you need it in your life.

I absolutely love this series and a terrible movie/TV series really should be made asap.

Of course, I fully expect Jared Leto to be cast as Paul Parlipiano. So what if he’s…30 years to old? Doesn’t matter!

Do I feel slightly guilty that I’m

a. a grown woman reading YA?
b. “wasting” time on rereads when there are lots of new and brilliant books to read?

Kinda. Yeah. But I’ve got zero control.

 

..it should probably also be said that the slut-shaming and judging people by appearance that this book is kinda fond of is problematic. But yea. You can’t expect all books to be a feminist masterpiece. 

The Happiness Tag

This tag is slightly overdue as I’ve been away from my desktop. Yeayea, I know it is possible to post via mobile devices but I just cannot be arsed. Too much effort. For me.

I was tagged by Lise, now let’s go!

The rules

  • List five things that makes you happy
  • Share five songs that makes you happy
  • Tag at least five bloggers that makes you happy

Five things

Coming home. I wasn’t far away. I’ve been staying at my parent’s house the past week, keeping the cats company while my parents were off hiking. It was nice, it is still home in a way. Even so. Coming home home, to my apartment, makes me v. v. happy. I want to argue that it’s because for my uses, my home is practical. Practical makes me happy.

And also. My things. People who say things don’t make you happy lie. They do. It might be temporary, but still. I take anything I can get.

Cat company. I always feel so special when cats choose to hang out with me. In truth, I’m about as special as a piece of furniture, but never mind that! Prefer it when they choose to lie next to me tho, as opposed to on.

This guy, for example, does not generally keep this distance:

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He prefers to be as close to your face as is possible. For me, this is the perfect distance. Means you can get up and make a cup of tea, do a load of laundry, water the plants, or any of the bizillion things my brain comes up with. It doesn’t seem to be a big fan of sitting still for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Feminists. In general. Feminists are without a doubt some of the funniest people. A recent example: assholesonline. Let me explain. This account is run by Linnea Claesson. She receives a threat from some guy, as per usual, this one says he’s going to “get his boys and visit her” unless she takes down a picture she’s posted. She refuses. Which is enough for me to cheer.

It gets better.

She posts this little clip (watch watch watch!):

The sign on the door reads Welcome Fredrik (name of the guy) and in brackets and his boys. In the caption she’s written I don’t get visitors too often so I’m VERY excited! 

The fact that someone had this idea at all makes me insanely happy.

It doesn’t end here.

Dinner with Fredrik and his boys. She’s set the table and is waiting.

As I was saying. Feminists are hilarious.

Super enthusiastic people. You know, people like Beth Ditto.

 

Vegan option! A vegan option that has been making me quite happy lately, is this ice cream:

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This is not only the best vegan ice cream, it is better than their non-vegan ice cream. I.e. it is creamier, and the flavor is all there.

PS. They also make dairy and soy free ice cream, in case you’re not a fan of the soy. It has a rice base and it’s just as nice.

Future plans. As in future plans to have time off work to go somewhere to see a band.

If I thought some more about going to the UK to see Deaf Havana, I’d be a slightly less miserable person. Can’t quite seem to remember to tho.

Five songs

In general, happy songs do not make me happy.

There is one glaring exception: Die Ärzte. I can’t quite explain this. I don’t think they do anything except for happy songs. Is it because I read their happy as sarcasm?

I’ve already mentioned their Monsterparty which always and without fail puts a smile on face because it’s beyond ridiculous, but I guess 3-Tage-Bart isn’t far behind?

…and you kinda need to understand German for this to make any sense at all. If it wasn’t for the lyrics, I’d never listen to this. In fact I didn’t, until my German was good enough for me to understand what the songs were about.

The type of songs that frequently do make my happy, are songs like Stray from the Path’s First World Problem Child.

Because aggressive. I like it.

There is also something about Diamanda Galás that makes me happy. Her mere existence makes me happy.

Like feminists, that someone would even think about doing what she does, it makes me happy. For example, she did an entire record of screaming, called Schrei X. It not exactly made for everyday listening, you probably can’t listen to it more often than you would watch a movie. It’s a performance piece I would say.

This is one of her more accessible tracks:

I’m also going to list Thrice’s Black Honey. Because. Not only is it a great track, which in itself is enough to make a person happy, but also. Every time I’ve been to see Architects they play it pre-show, and it makes me v. v. happy to have someone other than myself playing me this song.

Also. Miserable/depressing songs make me happy. Amity Affliction, they just do it so, so well.

 

Tag

Hitherdither? You up for it?

Things I worry about

I’m a worried sort of person. I worry about a lot of things. Most of which are irrational or simply completely and utterly unimportant.

For example, I often worry that my taste in music will stagnate. I live in constant fear of being the person who hasn’t discovered a new band for 20 years. Who’s still going to see the same band playing the same songs only in a far bigger venue and with a lot less passion.

Currently top of my wishlist: end of year summary of new acts listened to by the end of the year from Spotify. Although that’s probably asking a lot since they didn’t even manage to send me any type summary for last year. Should probably take notes based on last.fm’s last.week.

Moving on…

This is also one of few areas where I put in an effort. It is possible to learn to love an act you previously couldn’t stand. Or at least thought very little of. I do this all the time.

The idea of working too hard to like something that doesn’t come natural to you I find very strange in this context. You’d miss out on a lot and never develop your taste. Besides, some of my absolute favorites are an acquired taste. Actually. Can’t think of one that isn’t.

This idea, presented by one influencer in passing and which has since proceeded to annoy the hell out of me, seems to be based on the assumption that people like a certain genre, and that acts within this genre will appeal to you naturally.

This is just insanity. I’ve worked equally hard to like Stray from the Path (hardcore) and Jonathan Johansson (pop). Initial reaction to both Noooooo, what is this?? I hardly think I’m unique in this. By which I’m trying to demonstrate that it’s not connected to genre.

I’m not saying you can learn to love anything—to my great dismay. I still want to be Silvana Imam’s biggest fan but it’s just not happening. And then there are some you should just stay away from by principle, what I am saying is that you could well be missing out if you’re still going back to what you listened to as a teenager, not adding anything new to your playlist.

Sure, I still give Antichrist Superstar a listen every once in a while, but then I’ll add the latest Pvris to the list, because music is not getting any worse. In fact, I have this constant feeling that it is in fact getting better. If you don’t agree, then I’m 100% sure you’re still listening to Guns N Roses and, let’s face it, they’re not aging well.

Basically, I also worry that you, yes you, are missing out too.

This might have been brought on by spending to much time at uni with people even older than me (yes, imagine that), who still haven’t moved on from Sisters of Mercy. Not that I don’t love First & Last & Always, it’s just. Have you seen Stray from the Path live? Can’t we just let Andrew Eldritch move on to other things?

So basically. If you’re wondering what that old person is doing at the gig, well that would be me, and this should explain why.

In which I overuse THE HORROR

I don’t always read gig reviews, but when I do, I make sure you know about it. 

Not that’s it’s a conscious choice; there usually aren’t any gig reviews I’d be interested in reading. That, or I’m just terrible at finding them.

However. Pinterest is sometimes helpful.

HELLO. Review of the Amity Affliction/Northlane/Stray from the Path/Wage War gig in Glasgow in 2016? I saw them when the tour made a stop in Stockholm, let’s see what Scotland made of it, clickety-click!

Aaaand..it’s a let down. Apparently, the purpose of the review is to demonstrate what a man the writer is.

Like when he comments on the general appearance of Northlane. Singer especially.

[T]heir vocalist Marcus Bridge still looks like Booky Wook author Russell Brand and their music, sadly, is still too niche for me to become an avid fan.

Interpretation: Marcus is too pretty, it will attract the girls. THE HORROR. Metal logic dictates liked by the girls > not heavy enough > if you do like it DON’T ADMIT TO IT. It will make you look like less of a man. That writer guy doesn’t understand why Northlane, third on the bill, gets the biggest audience reaction thus far, is hardly surprising. If you consider what the writer aims to do, failure to understand Northlane’s greatness is expected, but if you’re into the metal made these days, it’s entirely confusing.

As for their music is too niche, isn’t that like saying I only like music that appeals to a great mass of people? Oooorrrrr…? I don’t know why anyone would say that.

And don’t even get me started on the fact that it’s not as if you’d confuse Marcus and Russell Brand.

📸 @moki_mooose

Ett inlägg delat av Northlane (@northlane)

However. I’m not opposed to reviewing the appearance of the band. I think it would benefit gender equality. Women in music are already heavily judged by appearance, why should men in metal bands be any exception?

Specifically. I DO want a review of Wage War’s appearance and style.

I am serious. I need something to work with! The music isn’t doing it for me.

As in, I might, at one point, have been looking for something to throw at them. Not necessarily because they were bad. They just weren’t any fun. Not quite worth sacrificing my NYX Liquid Suede for though.

There’s this interview I keep thinking of. Guy in metal band complained people in bands weren’t allowed to be non-pretty anymore. WHAT BANDS ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT??? Kennt nicht! To me, they all look more or less like Wage War. Pretty or any synonym of the word isn’t exactly appropriate as description, is it?

And besides. What you choose to wear always sends a message. Clothes communicate. You can try and pretend it doesn’t all you want, changes nothing. May as well talk about it. Wage War; clearly not trying to challenge the prevailing world order. But then, this is metal and it’s a very conservative genre, as pointed out by Simon Reynolds and Joy Press in The Sex Revolts decades ago. Which, by the way, you really should give a read if you haven’t already.

Especially if you feel the urge to write things like this:

When The Amity Affliction finally take to the stage just before 9pm there’s a notable change in the atmosphere. … it was more a case of screaming ladies taking over the noise department and for a second I wondered if I’d been teleported to a gig hosted by the anti-christ himself, Justin Bieber.

Oh no. The few girls in attendance made their presence known. THE HORROR. Clearly, we don’t belong at metal gigs, as it needs to be commented on. Clearly, we should stick with Justin Bieber—and I’m assuming he is the antichrist because girls like him. That which girls like=evil.

Meanwhile.

Slightly surprised these guys get away with not a word about appearance. But then he’s already established they’re the girls’ faves, followed up with a final comment on how this gig was the least sweaty and bruised he’d ever been at a gig, therefore he would be unlikely to go again, i.e. Amity Affliction failed to make him feel like a man, which is obviously was this poor bloke uses metal for.

Thank you Stockholm. 📷 @xpeesx #tcbhworldtour

A post shared by The Amity Affliction (@theamityaffliction) on

I’m also confused as to why this is included:

Whilst both [Amity Affliction and Northlane] are considered metal they do have differences in their styles which I will do my best to explain.

Yesss. That’s what we need the review to do, explain the difference between Amity and Northlane. Not as if we could find that out for ourselves by, say, using Spotify? And also, why are Wage War and Stray excluded? I mean they’re all different types of metal. No explanation there??

There never is an explanation though. Unless you count labeling Northlane too niche as an explanation, or the writer’s personal opinion that Amity’s mix of melodic and heavy, well, doesn’t actually mix.

As if there is a contradiction between melodic and metal.

I suppose melodic makes for an easy listen, whereas heavy does not. Melodic music for women, heavy music for men, and thusly don’t mix? That is the reasoning behind it, right?

Obviously the idea that there’s a contradiction is simply inaccurate. Heavy + melodic = BEST MIX /fact.

…even if how to measure the level of heaviness certainly can be discussed. Anyone invent a heavyometer lately? No?

It is clear already from the start that Mr Reviewer Guy prefers the first two bands on the bill, Wage War and Stray from the Path.

Bolstering this tour are two mighty bands from the United States.

(Does my incorrect use of block quotes bother anyone? No?! What about these brackets!?)

This use of mighty. I just don’t approve. Moving on

Despite not being the headliner, SFTP take the title for best band that evening in my opinion.

What’s with the despite? Pretty sure it’s allowed to prefer an opening act to the headliner. Even if the reason is because they don’t make you worry you’ re compromising your manliness.

That being said, despite not being a Stay fan, they do put on a good show. I would repurchase, even if they’re not exactly in my playlist. (Tho the new single is v. v. catchy).

Also. I DO want to talk about is this look:

Berlin tonight

A post shared by Stray From The Path (@strayfromthepath) on

Well that or, the short speech Mr Singer Guy did in Stockholm; he pointed out that the show was for everyone and don’t fucking harass the girls, and if you see someone doing that let them know that’s not OK. (I’m paraphrasing, he said something to that effect, my brain was all Hey! That’s vaguely feminist! put him in the feminist compartment and moved on with its life. My criteria for the feminist label for men in metal are extremely low.)

OK then. I think I’ve demonstrated why gig reviews probably aren’t something I should be reading, even if I’m able to find them. Throws me straight into rant mode it does.

Not that I hate rant mode. Just don’t think other people are that wild about it.

There is no such thing as a bad song

You know how there are some songs that you’ve known about forever and felt kinda meh about and then suddenly one day you wake up and go OH. BEST SONG EVER. 

That’s not just me right?

Gossips’ 8th Wonder is one such song. Always used to skip it. But now. I get it.

And that is why I try to avoid saying any song is bad, because nine times out of ten, I’m just just not getting it.

Currently reading

There are not a lot of books that will not make my mind go into feminist analysis mode.

I’m not saying I’m good at it, I’m just saying it’s what my mind likes to do. Doesn’t seem to matter what kind of book it is.

I’ve stumbled on an exception.

Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett.

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I’ve zero thoughts except for Oo I like the voices the reader does.

That’s. Nice. For a change?

 

What vegans eat; fake meat

Fake meat; sometimes I hate it and sometimes I love it.

Right now, friggin love it! Not only because the high protein content makes my life so much easier, but also, they seem to have upped their game. It comes already seasoned and the texture is nice. That didn’t use to be the case.

4 favorite fake meat meals

Vegobitar (English: vegetarian pieces)

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Basically a soy product pretending to be pieces of chicken. I don’t think that it would fool a carnivore, but that’s hardly the point.

What I do with this is easy.

Just take a few favorite veggies, chop them up, fry in a pan together with the veggie bites and some garlic, add some bean pasta and aubergine puree and you’re done.

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Green and purple foods. Have I mentioned it’s a favorite?

Soy sausage

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I was never big on sausage. But oh. This one, it is not bad. It’s pretending to be a chorizo; can’t say if it does a good job or not. I never had chorizo.

Again, I’m basically lazier than Cheap Lazy Vegan. However, unfortunately for me, not as cheap. But when it comes to this sausage, no regrets.

I just make a sort of ratatouille to go with it. Sort of means frying some broccoli, all of it! The stem is the best part. Add aubergine and a red pepper, fry until aubergine starts to look the way you like it, add sausage along with some crushed tomatoes with garlic (can’t even be bothered to add the garlic myself apparently..), and a bit of oregano. Let it heat up for a couple of minutes.

Serve up with a slice of wholegrain toast and tomatoes.

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K*ckl*ng (English: Ch*ck*n)

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Another chicken type product. Soy again, and again, I don’t think anyone would mistake this for chicken, and if you’re trying to avoid chicken, that’s going to be a relief.

Some of my usual suspects, i.e. green in the form of asparagus, and what was left of that head of purple cabbage, plus a couple of carrots. Just fry up with garlic, obvs, lime pepper and wasabi sesame. Serve with extra sesame seeds and a bit of roasted garlic mayo (currently obsessed, yesssss).

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Bonus: as I was tidying up I found a small piece of glass on the counter. Clearly from one of the containers I was using. Lunch is going to be exciting! Will I or won’t I cut up all of my insides because there’s glass in my food!?! Nobody knows!

Soy mince

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Don’t you just love any product that clearly states it’s vegan?

To be fair, it is also great when I use my eyes to read the packaging. I just discovered I’ve been having a fake meat that is in fact not vegan. Was egg in it. So that’s great.

Not this one though! Clearly vegan, and not something I eat -that- often. I was never in the habit of using mince. For the most part, I’m more likely to just use lentils.

Not because this is a bad product, it’s not at all. Nice consistency, carries flavors well, healthy, what more could you possibly ask for?

So I thought up this combination:

Cut up a medium sized squash, one red pepper, and one small aubergine, mix it around in some vegetable stock, a tablespoon of oil (I used the oil my sun dried tomatoes were in), oregano, and garlic granules. Stick in the oven, about 250 degrees for 22 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook 90 g of couscous, mix in a bit of sun dried tomatoes and defrost the mince in a pan with some cumin, salt and pepper.

This will serve about 3 people.

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Was not unhappy with this meal.