Saturday, March 27, 2010

Needing to Rant

I woke up in a bad mood today.  I am the epitome of cantankerous today.  Then I finished reading a book that did nothing to add to my mood.  So in order to appease my seething soul, I need to rant.  So please bear with me.

I just finished reading two books by Kristin Cashore, Graceling and Fire.  There is a third book in the series in progress right now too.  These books are marketed as young adult and the heroines of the books are in their late teens.  So now let me tell you some of the content of these books.  In Graceling the heroine speaks quite adamantly about how she will never get married because that's giving away her freedoms and her right to independence.  Of course the solution to this is to have a lover with no strings attached.  So that's what she does.  Teenager.  With a lover.  And they have sex in the book.  It's decribed.  Multiple times.  Not graphically, but described nonetheless.  And that's not all.  The bad guy?  Yeah, he likes to cut up small animals and young girls for pleasure, and it's implied that he does other things with those young girls as well.  So I wasn't a fan of these things in the first book, and I sure wouldn't let any young adult girl I know read it, but they were somewhat minor plot points, so I figured I'd read the second one.

It was worse.  The heroine of the second book has been having casual sex with her best friend, who is a guy, since the age of 15.  This same best friend goes on to impregnated a member of the royal family and the heroine's body guard, who is 15.  The hero of the book, who is a prince, got a stable girl pregnant at the age of 16, and he goes on to have sex with the heroine in the book.  There is sex left and right.  And again we have older men taking pleasure in younger girls, women having affairs and getting pregnant with other men's children and so on and so on.  I was ready to throw the book across the room multiple times.

And you know what's so sad about all this?  The stories in this book are very imaginative and creative.  The author is a good writer.  It's just too bad that she feels the need to shove her feminist viewpoints down the throats of young teenage girls.  I don't need a bitter female with obvious father figure issues (all the dads in the books are really messed up) teaching my daughters about how she thinks love and marriage (or the lack thereof) should work.  I'm disgusted and appalled that she feels she has the right to market these books as young adult.  I wouldn't have any problems if they were shelved in the adult section.  But they're not.  They are there for the taking by young teenage girls with pliable, impressionable minds.  It makes me sick.

So for those you with daughters, please don't let them read these books.  And if there was any way I could tell the author how sick I think she is, I probably would.  Unfortunately, the type of woman I imagine her to be, she'll just say that I'm the type of person she's writing the book about, the type of woman all these young girls need to avoid becoming at all costs.  I'm married (gasp!!) and didn't have sex until I was married (double gasp!!).  Do you think I could get the library to re-shelve her books as adult fiction?  It's worth a try, I guess.

But I feel better having ranted and raved, and I hope that maybe this keeps at least one young girl away from these trashy books!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Let them eat cake!

I'm behind on my cake blogging.  I have four cakes I haven't blogged about!  So let's get to it.

First, back in January we celebrated my oldest sister's and my borther-in-law's birthdays.  My sis is a HUGE Twilight fan, so even though she requested a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, I still decorated it.

She got the Cullen crest.  It's cut out of candy clay.  It was somewhat difficult to cut out all those little pieces, but I think it turned out pretty good.

Next up was my bro-in-law.  He's a fan of all things sci-fi/fantasy.

So stormtrooper it is.  That was one giant piece of marshmallow fondant.  He looked a bit like he ran face first into a wall before landing on the cake, but at least you can tell what it is, right?  His was a Darn Good Chocolate Cake with chocolate ganache icing.  VERY rich, and yummy.

Then in February we celebrated my Dad's birthday.  He had proposed a fun cake idea to me previously, so I wanted to try it out on him.

You cut a regular cake on an angle and then flip it up on itself to form a slope.  And since he's so "old," I had to write an appropriate down the hill statement on it.  He's way past over the hill.  He's going down the back side.  :)  The cake was a chocolate mint one with chocolate mint frosting.  It's an old Pillsbury recipe that doesn't work well in this altitude so I had to tweak it.  It was better than previous years, but still needs some work.  The frosting was hard to spread too, so the cake looked really rough.  But it was tasty.

And then yesterday we celebrated two of my nieces' birthdays.  Since one was having a horse birthday and one a Dora birthday, I decided not to try and meld those two together.  I went generic girly instead.

But for this cake I tried something new.  I messed with the inside of the cake.  It was a rainbow cake in all aspects.

How fun is that?!?  It was a white cake that I dyed six different colors, then you put spoonfuls of each color in the middle of the pan over and over and it pushes the other colors out to form a rainbow!  You can also do this with chocolate and white cake to make a zebra cake, which is the original form of this cake.  I love it and will probably do this more often to make the inside of the cake match the outside.  Plus I messed with this recipe too and it came out better than it ever has.  Yum.

So there you have it.  There will be another cake at the end of this month for Anton, then after that I think there will be a break until June??  I don't keep the best track of family birthdays, so I'm sure one will pop up to surprise me.  Go eat some cake!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Brain Plan

So here's what I've some up with so far in my attempt to salvage what brain cells I have left.  Per Monique's suggestion, I'm going to brush up on my French.  I took a few years of it in high school, and I have always wanted to be fluent in a second language.  And since French is the language I know the most of, I figured I'd start there.  Allez!  I'm going to use the free language software available through the local library.  It's called Mango Languages.  It's not my favorite, but it's free.  If I finish all 100 lessons they have and decide I want more, I may splurge for the Rosetta Stone.  I'm trying to do a lesson per day.  It only takes me about 15 minutes to do each one at this point, but it's all stuff I know already.

Step 2 in the brain plan is to read more intelligent books.  This isn't exactly the same as less brainless fiction, mind you.  I'll just cram a few intelligent ones in between.  So right now I'm reading a book about a guy who is going around to the happiest countries in the world and trying to figure out what makes them that way.  Good stuff.  Next in line is a biography on Marie Antoinette.  But there will be fiction in between.  I can't take that much seriousness all at once.

Step 3, play the piano every day.  I play the piano at church, so I was kind of doing this anyway, since the only way I can play decently in public is to practice, practice, practice.  But I find playing the piano to be therapeutic. There is a song for any mood I may be in.  I may even splurge and take piano lessons.  There are a couple ladies in the neighborhood who teach, I just need to find out what they charge.  It would be nice to have something else to play besides church hymns, and taking lessons would force me to play these other things.  But I'm cheap, so the lessons may not happen.

And so far that's all I've come up with.  I would like a creative outlet of some sort, but I tend to get all engrossed in any hobby I take up, so I need to be careful with that one.  And I really need to throw some physical element into this all.  Ideally I would have an indoor pool in my house so I could swim every day.  But alas, my parents never installed one.  So between the kids and having to go to a gym and pay money to swim, this one is going to need some further planning and analysis.  If I can figure out those two things, creativity and exercise, I think I'll be doing pretty good.  So wish me bon chance, as the French would say, that I can bring the brain leakage to a halt.