Month: January 2019

Jan 16

Are Grover from Sesame Street and Kirk from Gilmore Girls THE SAME CHARACTER?

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts 5

Hey Y’all,

This post is not about books but it’s been rattling around in my brain for a while now. If you follow any of my social media, you’ll know that the tiny perfect human I created is a big Sesame Street fan. It makes me really happy that he likes the show because it provides me with such a hefty dose of nostalgia PLUS it’s full of all kinds of academic/educational/emotional goodness. I could write an entire post fangirling over it. Actually, I STARTED writing an entire post fangirling over it, but I didn’t finish it because that’s how I roll sometimes. Anyway. The fact that I’ve been watching so much of it recently has really cemented this idea in my head:

GROVER AND KIRK FROM GILMORE GIRLS ARE THE SAME CHARACTER. This might be bordering on conspiracy theory, but hear me out.

EXHIBIT A: Almost every time you see either Grover or Kirk, they’re performing a different job. “Oh hey Grover, I didn’t know you worked in the laundromat.” “Oh hey Kirk, I see you’re selling custom mailboxes today.” It’s the defining running gag of both characters. Sometimes these jobs even overlap, like how both Kirk and Grover have both totally been dog walkers and waiters.

Left: Grover as Dog Walker. Right: Kirk as Dog Walker. COINCIDENCE?!

EXHIBIT B: They’re both lovably inept and kind of clueless. When Grover’s alter ego (known these days as Super Grover 2.0) arrives on the scene, he’s accompanied by the tagline “He shows up.” Because even if he’s not great at saving the day, he’s going to try. All of Grover’s terrible solutions usually result in the people he’s helping figuring things out for themselves. There’s a lot to admire there. And then there’s Kirk. He’s always willing to pitch in but usually screws something up. Remember the time he hid all the Easter eggs in the town square but didn’t keep a map of where they were hidden? Then all of Stars Hollow started to stink and Kirk was being all panicky and Kirk-like trying to track down the eggs? WHY DIDN’T YOU USE PLASTIC EGGS, KIRK??? Lovably inept. Kind of clueless. Not great at saving the day, but tries anyway. Is anyone else seeing this pattern?

EXHIBIT C: They’re both unintentionally wise. During the episode where Kirk attempts to sell Lorelai a Condoleezza Rice inspired mailbox for the newly renovated Dragonfly Inn, he utters the line that has become my personal motto: “Whimsy goes with everything.” Grover, in his literary masterpiece The Monster at the End of This Book (oh hey, I worked a book in here!!!) learns that the monster at the end of the book that he so fears (spoiler alert) is, in fact, “Me. Lovable furry old Grover.” THIS IS VERY PROFOUND AND IMPORTANT AND INSIGHTFUL.

Am I the first person to come to this conclusion? Probably not. I mean, sure, I did an extremely lazy google search trying to see if Amy Sherman-Palladino acknowledged that Grover was the inspiration for Kirk’s character and I didn’t find anything, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been discussed. There’s probably a whole giant subreddit on the subject, but Reddit has always impressed me as a corner of the internet decidedly unfriendly toward the type of person whose personal motto is “Whimsy goes with everything” so I steer clear. I just needed to get this off my chest, okay? And for whatever reason, people in my real life don’t seem too keen to listen to me wax poetic about Sesame Street and Gilmore Girls.

Thank you for indulging me.

 

 

Divider

Jan 11

Flotsam and Jetsam

Brain Dump 6

Howdy Bookworms!

I’m feeling a little bit of blogging mojo these days, so I’m just going to roll with it. Let’s recap the week, shall we? Also, if you didn’t immediately picture Ursula’s minions from The Little Mermaid when you read the title of this post, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore. Kidding. We can still be friends. But brush up on your Disney, folks!

FIRST- Did y’all see that I wrote an honest to goodness review earlier this week about the Man-Eating Hippo books? If you missed it, you should definitely check it out.

SECOND- I finished The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. As I mentioned in my last Brain Dump, it was a bit much for me in terms of the raw cruelty (which, duh Katie, it’s in the title). I actually ended up liking it toward the end more than I expected to due in no small part to some of my fave characters from The Darkest Part of the Forest showing up. I’m not sure I liked it quite enough to continue with the series as it’s released, but it’s also not out of the question. I’m ambivalent. I’m not, however, ambivalent about Holly Black’s work in general, so I might dive a little deeper into her back list instead. The world is wide and books are many. We’ll see where the wind takes me.

THIRD: I started an finished Artemis, Andy Weir’s first novel since the wildly successful The Martian (which I reviewed ages ago when I was still doing a virtual book club.) Artemis is set in a city on the moon and features a female protagonist up to dubious good… Plus a lot of welding and chemistry shenanigans. It was alright. I enjoyed it well enough, but where The Martian had that whole survivalist thing going, this was a little more “unlikely heroes pulling off capers, but in space!” I’ve certainly read worse sophomore novels (I’m still not over Bellman and Black…) so I’m hopeful that Weir can recapture some of The Martian‘s magic in future work.

FOURTH: Speaking of Bellman & Black, I started Diane Setterfield’s latest release, Once Upon a River (my work Secret Santa got me a beautiful hardcover copy- I’m shifting back and forth between that and an audio version.) So far I’m enjoying it a lot. The vibe is a lot more The Thirteenth Tale (another ancient book club pick) than Bellman & Black which is a VERY good thing.

FIFTH: I started reading Blair Braverman’s book, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North. If you’re on Twitter and you’re not following Blair, you’re missing out on the best feed since SUE the T-Rex. So much delightful dog sledding. I know you THINK you’re not interested in dog sledding, but that’s only because you haven’t met Blair yet. Her unique voice and excellent stories about her pups have this decidedly indoorsy gal reading a memoir about extremely cold, extremely outdoorsy things. With no penguins, even! (Penguins are strictly Southern Hemisphere. Despite what adorable Christmas decorations would have you believe, they do NOT hang out with Polar Bears, ever. And not just because Polar Bears would totally eat them. Because geography.)

Whew. That’s all for this week, I think. We’ve got snow coming this weekend. I’m hoping to have some extraordinarily adorable photos of a snowy Sammers to show you soon. As always, if you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Keep learning, Elmo loves you. (I’ve been watching A LOT of Sesame Street. Just. Let me have this.)

Divider

Jan 08

Come for the Man-Eating Hippos, Stay for the Diverse Character Representation

Audio Books 9

Hiya Bookworms!

I mentioned in last week’s Brain Dump that I’d picked up River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey because the premise was so bonkers to me. A quick recap for you:

In the 1800s there was a very REAL proposal within the US government to import hippos into the Louisiana bayou and farm them as a source of meat. As all current Louisianans know, there are plenty of animals you need to watch out for in the bayou, but hippos are not among them. Sarah Gailey’s novella series is a revisionist “BUT WHAT IF HIPPOS” take on the situation. And you know what you get in this scenario? Hippos escaping their livestock farms and forming colonies of brutal feral hippopotami, plus rugged hippo cowboy types slinging knives and being shady.

At first I wasn’t sure that the tone of the book was really working for me because I wanted more hippo silliness than Wild West, but it grew on me. It grew on me to the point that when I finished the first novella, I clicked on the second installment of the story, Taste of Marrow, without hesitation. I’ve got a lot of thoughts here, fam.

While listening (audiobooks are my jam) to this, I found myself tweeting things like “dang these hippos just keep eating people.” To which my scientifically minded friend Michelle was like “that’d be a deal breaker for me, hippos are herbivores.” During River of Teeth, the actual eating was kind of implied, but I wagered that it could have been more murdering with jaws and leaving carcass to rot. Perhaps I’d misinterpreted. The further into Taste of Marrow I got, though, it became pretty clear that these feral hippos were in it for dinner. Sure, the killing part was cool, but then they’d fight over carcasses and stuff, which makes it obvious to me they were noshing on human flesh. So. If you can’t get past literal man-eating hippos, this might not be for you.

If you CAN get past mental leap of feral hippos eating humans (and heaven knows what else, honestly) the series has a lot to offer. The ragtag crew of hippo cowboys are each fascinating characters in their own rites, but the one that really wiggled into my brain matter was Hero Shackleby. The crew responsible for these hippo capers (sorry, Houndstooth, OPERATIONS) is entirely comprised of thieves, con artists, assassins, and general malcontents. Hero, master of poisons and explosives, is portrayed as gender non-binary. All the characters use “they” for Hero’s pronoun like it’s NBD, and since we’re not given much (if any) backstory for most of the characters (at least so far), the reader has no indication of whether Hero was assumed male or female at birth.

I LOVE THIS. I’ve read a lot of books, some of which have contained non-binary or transgender characters. But those books have almost always been ABOUT being trans or non-binary. I’ve never read a book where it’s just a thing that’s there and not particularly critical to who the character is as a human. It’s refreshing AF. Come for the man-eating hippos, stay for the diverse character representation.

Only the first two novellas were available on Scribd (my main audiobook source these days), so I’m not sure if there are more out there just yet. I’ll be on the lookout, though. In the meantime, please know that any purchases made through links on this site might net me a small commission. Last quarter I brought home a whole 66 cents, so.

Divider

Jan 03

New Year, New Brain Dump

Brain Dump 13

Heyyyyyyyy Bookworms!

I’ve started and not finished oodles of blog posts. Seriously, you should see my drafts folder. Part of it is that I’ve gone so long without blogging regularly that I’m overwhelmed with the amount of books I’ve read and not discussed. Part of it is that 80% of my brain is consumed by thoughts like “why isn’t my kid walking yet?” or “OMGGGGG he just said Elmo! It sounds like ‘Neno’ but clearly that’s what he meant” or “Do you think his ear tubes fell out and this is actually an ear infection and not just a cold? I should call the nurse line.” Newsflash: I’m obsessed with Sammers. As if that’s a surprise to anyone. But these nebulous floating motherhood concerns seem to be occupying a lot of the same brain space that my quippy book thoughts used to take up, which has made blogging a challenge. I’ve never before given updates of what I’m reading while in progress, but in the interest of getting back into the swing of things, I’m just going to give you a big old brain dump and see where we land.

FIRST: I’m currently listening to River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey. Scribd got back into the unlimited audiobook game (they were in it, then out of it, and are now back) and I am HERE for it. It kept getting recommended to me, so I read the abstract and I was sucked in by the concept. There was a FOR REAL NOT IMAGINARY attempt by the US government in the 1800s to import friggin HIPPOPOTAMUSES into the Louisiana Bayou. As a meat supply. I might remind you that hippos are notorious bastards that kill more humans annually than any other animal (I just googled to confirm that little factoid, and it seems to be based on lore rather than hard fact because its difficult to quantify murderous wildlife. Still, Africans agree that messing with a hippo is a terrible idea, so.) They are cantankerous, no matter how cute Fiona is. Obviously I needed to read this fictionalized account of such a bananapants concept. So far though, the book’s tone hasn’t quite worked for me. I think I was hoping for a little more absurdism, but it’s gone full wild west. Hippo Cowboys are still compelling, but my mental soundtrack was more tubas than harmonicas ’round the fire. I’ll keep you posted as things progress.

SECOND: I have The Cruel Prince by Holly Black checked out from the library. I only ever take out e-books from the library because returning titles on time has been a problem for me in the past. Plus, I just find that reading on my Kindle is more convenient for bed time, when I do the vast majority of my eyeball reading. The rule of all one’s library holds coming in at the same time is just as true for digital books as physical ones, though, and I’m only about 60% done with this title, despite it expiring tomorrow. Luckily, though, it seems that Scribd has an audio version available so I should be able to pick up where I left off without having to wait in the library hold line again. Thus far I’m not enjoying this one quite as much as The Darkest Part of the Forest (which I liked so much I made my book club read it.) I know Faerie is cruel, but some of this stuff has been next level. Social media bullying is one thing, but forced drugging on faerie fruit and attempts to enchant mortals to kill themselves is… A LOT. Yes, my sensibilities are delicate these days. I have entirely too many feelings at all times. Motherhood has sanded down any veneer I may have had. I’m basically a pile of emotional nerve endings. Lots of them are joyous nerve endings, but I sometimes cry at TV commercials now.

THIRD: My love, my joy, my Samuel. He is now 16 months old. He is not yet walking. Yes, this is late for a tiny human to not be walking. I have been quite concerned. His pediatrician has checked him out, though, and doesn’t think there’s any problem developmentally. Basically, Sam is content with his current mode of transportation (crawling at lightening speed.) Now that he is transitioning to a new room at daycare (which has been a process- my boy likes change less than I do) the doctor thinks he will likely be peer pressured into walking. So. That’s fun. Honestly though, in the few days he’s been in the room (with breaks for holidays and whatnot) he does seem to have made quite a bit of progress and is more interested in being on his feet in general. What he lacks in gross motor skills, he makes up for in language. The vocabulary on this kid boggles my mind. He’ll repeat all kinds of stuff. Some of my favorite of his vocab words/phrases include: taco, ho-ho-ho, peak-a-boo, doctor, car, Elmo, and, YES, BOOK!!! I post zillions of pics on my Instagram if you’re interested in seeing endless Sam Spam. I can only assume everyone is as enchanted with him as I am.

FOURTH: I started a bullet journal. As I lack artistic talent, it is ugly as sin and I will therefore not post any photos of the hot mess. It is, however, proving somewhat helpful thus far. I made a big old chart to help me send the appropriate thank you notes to the appropriate people after Christmas which was pretty great. We’ll see how it goes. I’m going to try to incorporate some extremely simple meal planning. Cooking is such a chore for me, I’m never going to be one of those people who loves to experiment in the kitchen. Still though, one cannot live on frozen pizza alone. And with Sam, I’m suddenly more conscious of the fact that I probably don’t eat enough vegetables (I make sure he has a vegetable with every meal, but I take better care of him than I do myself in literally all ways.) If I’m not more careful, I’ll get scurvy. New Year’s Resolution #1: DO NOT GET SCURVY. EAT SOME DANG BROCCOLI.

That seems like a good place to end things. Don’t get scurvy, y’all. Talk to you soon. Hopefully.

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I may receive a small commission.*

Divider