Friday, May 30, 2008

Cocktails for Three

Cocktails for Three by Madeleine Wickham, who also writes under Sophie Kinsella, is a fun chick lit novel, light and breezy as I like to say.

The novel centers around three friends who all work together at The Londoner (a magazine). Maggie is the career driven editor who is about to have her first baby and is nervous as hell about it. Roxanne is the freelancer who has been having a secret affair with the big boss man for the last six years. And Candice is a writer who has a heart of gold and feels guilty for her conman father who has screwed many people over the years.

The girls meet up once a month to gossip and catch up over cocktails. And that’s where Heather infiltrates their lives. Candice immediately recognizes her as a childhood friend whose family lost everything because of her father. Candice feels immense guilt over her father’s misdeeds and decides to make it up to Heather by getting her an interview at the magazine. Maggie and Roxanne are skeptical of Heather and warn Candice to be cautious.

Candice of course does not listen to the friendly advice and also invites Heather to move in with her (who does that by the way?). Little does she know that Heather is scheming to ruin her life. Maggie has her own problems. After the birth of her daughter, she cannot cope with motherhood and feels inadequate caring for her child (postpartum depression anyone). Roxanne is offered a great job opportunity in Cyprus and is deeply upset when her lover tells her to take it not. She does not know that he is dying from cancer.

They meet up for their monthly cocktail night when Candice drags along Heather. Maggie and Roxanne are not happy and this causes a rift between the three friends. The night ends badly with all three ladies upset at one another.

Eventually Heather’s shows her true colors and Candice is suspended from work for expense fraud. Candice has no one to turn to since her big fight with the other girls and must figure out how to clear her name. Will her friends come back to her in time?

I only picked up this book because I saw that Madeleine Wickham also writes as Sophie Kinsella, and I love Kinsella’s work. While I enjoyed Cocktails for Three, I think I prefer the writing style of Kinsella better. I always find it interesting when authors have multiple pen names. I know that some do it so that they can branch out of their typical genre and want to explore a different writing format or express themselves in another manner that may not be suitable to their typical reader. But in this instance it just seems weird that Kinsella would have another pen name in the same genre. The only real difference that I pick up on is that Wickham seems to be more mature chick lit, while Kinsella seems more whimsy hipper chick lit.

I may have to read them back to back to see if I can pick up any more differences between the two. I’m sure there has to be since she uses a pen name. I wonder which one is really her; maybe neither is her real name. Kinsella is definitely more successful and well known and has written more books.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Singing in Korean, He's Singing in Korean"

OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I cannot believe I missed this! For the last two years, Stephen Colbert has lost out to Korean pop superstar Rain in the Time's 100 Most Influential People Award. In 2007, Stephen came in 2nd behind Rain, this year he finished 3rd behind Rain.

Stephen mocked Rain by doing his own Korean pop video which can be seen here.

Stephen from there challenged Rain to a dance off, which apparently happened last week!!!! I cannot believe I missed this. You have to watch this. It's so freaking awesome. I heart him.

Please Don't Stop the Music

I got my ipod nano back in 2006; it was an early birthday present to myself and I wanted to have it for my trip back to Thailand. My nano can hold around 1000 songs and sadly I only have 463 songs on it. I think the last cd I uploaded on it was The Evolution of Robin Thicke.

I mainly use my ipod now to download the podcasts of The Junkies so that I can listen to them when I’m at work or when I work out. I have never downloaded music from itunes. I used to download music the illegal way, but am too paranoid that the recording industry will come after me and demand shitloads of money from me.

So instead when I want to listen to a song, I go to youtube and play the video of the song I’m feening (I don’t think that’s how you spell that) to hear. Not only do I get to hear the song, but I also get to see the video, and for free! It’s silly! It’s also probably ghetto, but whatevs.

I seriously never listen to music on my ipod anymore. Occasionally when I’m in a bad mood or falling asleep at work I’ll listen to music to bump up my mood or wake my ass up. The few times I do this I realize I skip through a lot of songs. Its time to clean up the ipod and get rid of ditties that just shouldn’t be on there.

But I’m getting sidetracked. I came across Ne-Yo’s video called Closer and it’s my new favorite song. Its so sexual and hot and so Ne-Yo. He looks good in the video and I love the mix of slow beats and then ramped up club beats throughout the song.

From there I started to listen to Ne-Yo’s other songs like Because of You and Sexy Love and realized that each song reminded me of a different guy and I couldn’t help but smile and dance around crazily to each one of them.

Because of You reminds me of The Boy during our sexual high. All it took was hearing his voice and I was turned on, with his lazy drawn out way of saying my name, I was in my car headed over to his place. My favorite line, “I love the way you feel, just got me stuck between my fantasy and what is real. I need it when I want. I want it when I don’t.” He could just look at me and I wanted him. Our sexual attraction was strong, sometimes even too strong for me. And I was completely and thoroughly strung out on him and I could care less. He was my drug and I needed the fix constantly.

Sexy Love always makes me think of The Ex. My favorite line, “She makes the hair on the back of my hand stand up, just one touch.” When it was good between us, it was amazing, nothing compared to it. I was soaring when I was with him. I finally got what it meant to be in love. When we were together, we could never stop touching each other. A part of us always had to be touching, like we were afraid to let go. I just remember staring into his eyes and seeing myself in them and I knew I could get lost in there for hours and I knew there was no other place I’d rather be.

I think its great how songs can transport you back in another lifetime. I also think its interesting that two Ne-Yo songs remind me of two very different people. Check out Closer below.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

After seeing previews for The Other Boleyn Girl, I knew I wanted to read the book by Philippa Gregory first. I have always been intrigued by this time period mainly because when I first stared reading trashy romance novels, they were always set during either King Henry VIII’s reign or Queen Elizabeth’s reign. The Other Boleyn Girl was no trashy romance book, but a historical fiction told through the eyes of Mary Boleyn, who was once mistress to King Henry VIII and watched the rise and fall of her sister Anne Boleyn.

A brief history lesson, Henry Tudor broke free from the Roman Catholic Church, so that he could set aside his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, and instead marry Anne Boleyn. This was huge during that time period because the Church no longer held authority and Henry seized all the power. His whims ruled everything and to question Henry could result with your head on the chopping block.

Mary is the narrator of this story and from the beginning she touches upon the rivalry between her and Anne. As Mary states, “There could hardly be a world for me without Anne, there was hardly world enough for us both.” They are night and day from one another. While Mary is fair and angelic, Anne is seductive and bold. But both are Boleyn girls and must heed to their family’s never ending ambition.

First Mary becomes Henry’s mistress and Anne must serve and help Mary advance the family name. Mary keeps the king’s attention for a few years and even has two children by him. Eventually his attention wanes and he begins to sniff around the other Boleyn girl. Soon Mary is commanded to step back while it is Anne’s turn to make a play at the King.

Anne will not settle for being Henry’s whore like her sister and instead has sights for the throne. Anne’s ambition knows no end and she will stop at nothing to achieve her goal. As history notes, she does become Queen, but the price is deadly. After giving birth to Princess Elizabeth, Anne knows that her next child must be a male heir. Unfortunately she cannot carry a child to term after that and is accused of witchcraft, adultery and incest where she is found guilty and beheaded.

Mary is a bystander in all of this and must watch in horror the choices her sister makes to accomplish her desires. Upon watching her sister’s beheading, Mary states, “And then the sword came down like a flash of lightning, and then her head was off her body and the long rivalry between me and the other Boleyn girl was over … He [the King] had taken my other self: Anne.

Philippa Gregory did such an amazing job painting a vivid picture of this time period. While I felt the book ran a little long, I did love all the detail and attention she put into the story. She stayed true to the historical timeline and depicted the events as she imagined how they occurred.

I loved the relationship between Anne and Mary. They were sisters and cared deeply for one another, but also their worst enemy at the same time. They always tried to best each other and in the end, Anne paid the biggest price for it. Anne was such an interesting character to read. You could feel her determination and strength but also her desperation to maintain her hold on the King and how it drove her to do inexplicable acts. I also liked how Gregory chose to use Mary as the narrator. Her docility and sweet manner was a nice disparity to Anne and it played out well in the story. Until this book, I never even knew there was another Boleyn girl. History only writes about one.

There are so many other themes involved with this novel that I could go on and on about each one. Gregory touches upon homosexuality, women’s rights, the sanctity of marriage, socio-economic classes and so forth. The book is well balanced and I really enjoyed reading it. It gave me a keener insight into Henry’s reign and I want to pick up her novel, The Virgin’s Lover, which is about Henry’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Clock Strikes Midnight

“For the first time, in a long time, I admit it; I want to be in a relationship. It’s taken me awhile to come to this realization. I’m usually the first girl to praise the values of singledom and that you do not need a man to make you happy. And I’m still a firm believer that the only person that can make you happy is you.

Now that I’ve hit some personal accomplishments such as
buying my first home and climbing the corporate ladder at work, I want to have someone special to share these joys with. My relationship clock is ticking and I feel the passing of every second.

When I come home, I notice how very quiet and empty my place feels.”

This was originally what I was writing about my single life and how I want a relationship and then I had a semi-date on Wed and I’m rethinking everything. Ok, maybe not everything. Regarding my semi-date on Wednesday, while it was a fun evening, the timing is off. If perhaps this was three years earlier or maybe three years into the future, things would be different. Now I’m getting sidetracked.

Let me backtrack here. An old friend/co-worker was in town this past week. When we worked together we had a steady flirtation and even after I left the company and he moved, we still kept in touch. So naturally when he was in town, we met up for dinner.

We flirted throughout dinner and by the end of the night ended up making out in the car like teenagers. He was kissing me with so much passion and need and I completely freaked out. It was too much for me. I felt suffocated and trapped. I couldn’t handle the emotions behind the kiss. And there was a lot. I mean, we have been building this flirtation up for years and I was surprised by how much he wanted me. I probably shouldn’t have been.

Of course the minute he becomes available, I want to run screaming in the other direction. It’s so typical of me. But to be fair, logistically it can’t work right now. We don’t live in the same state, and at least for me the timing isn’t right. The crush I had on him before isn’t there for me now. I still admire and respect him and think he’s a great catch, and maybe further down the road I will feel differently. But right now, it doesn’t feel right.

And now I’m torn because I play the game so well and know exactly what to say to keep a guy interested, but the minute I feel him getting to close, I balk and panic. I know its because I’m scared of getting hurt and I need to be open to that possibility. I’ve just been burnt badly the few times I’ve done it, and it makes me more frightened for the next time.

But I meant it about what I wrote earlier before my date. I have been lonely for a while and I do want to share my life with someone. I see my friends that are married and how much love and trust that they have for one another and I know that I want that. I want to come home and share how my day has been with him. I want to hear about his day. I want us to make dinner together and then sit back on the couch and relax together. And then I want to walk up the stairs and fall asleep together.

And I know that before I can do any of this, I need to stop playing the games. I need to stop the flirting and stringing along and open myself up to whatever may come. No more pushing guys away the minute they start to really get to know me. Because I’ll never get what I want if I keep doing this.