Stories, thoughts, observations, rants and dribble. Just another of my attempts to keep the interested people informed ...

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Review of Mindy Kaling's 'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)'

She's not just the face of Kelly Kapoor! From my Goodreads review:

I can't help but compare this book to the other books I've read by female comic writers/comediennes, Bossypants (Tina Fey) and The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee (Sarah Silverman), not to mention If You Ask Me: And of Course You Won't (Betty White). I have to say that it easily outstrips them all. It has the format in common (anecdotes/essays strung together in a vaguely organised way), but something about Mindy Kaling's writing really appealed to me. She covered a lot of bases (childhood, being the child of immigrant parents, university, unemployment, road to success, The Office, relationships, men, her appearance, her (future) death), but I think she did them in a way that was honest and charming, while seeming like she could just be your (very) chatty friend telling you about her life. I liked that. There were a couple of chapters that didn't really strike a chord with me, and I was ambivalent about the last parts especially, which was a pity because it was the end. However, the parts I liked far outweighed the parts I didn't. The random lists had some genius lines in them, and her anecdotes were both awkward and hilarious. I think she will need to progress a bit further in her career to find more material for another book, or focus on a particular aspect of her life, but I would definitely read another of her books.

Things/parts I especially liked (spoilers, I guess? I don't know):
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl (aka The Ethereal Weirdo)
- Roasts are Terrible (yes!)
- her giving us context from the early 2000s (remember when Bennifer was massive, before the other Bennifer?)
- Amy Poehler calling her husband by his last name (aww!)
- the lists of TV shows and movies that would possibly be successful (including 'Fat Astronaut', 'Bad Dog Walker', 'Interspecies Friendships' (based on the original British series 'Interspecies Chums')
- the use of the 'word' monogamishly,in relation to engagement announcements in LA (she is pro-marriage, and I like that, even though I'm not really fussed about it)
- how she is anti one night stands and doesn't know what 'hooking up' really means (who knows what the kids mean these days?)
- Irish Exits
- her realisation that she likes men, not boys
- her advice for married people (including a description of her parents' marriage)
- her advice for guys in general (not even particularly funny; it just seems like good advice)
- the picture of her wearing an amazing Cosby-style sweater as a kid.

OK, I'm stopping because that's a good chunk of the book. Go read it.

Friday, February 03, 2012

A numbers game

I am trying to be more motivated this year. Although I promise myself I'll try to do this fairly often, it's not that often that it actually pans out. So far, in the 5 or so weeks since new year, I have actually clocked up some numbers in a few areas that I decided to focus on. I know a lot of this has to do with two very inspirational friends passing away over the holidays, but if remembering how they lived pushes me to improve myself, I think they would both be pleased. 

I have re-realised that I love keeping track of things. Seeing numbers and graphs and tangible progress pleases me. Last year I started recording all the books I was reading, and achieved my goal of 100 (113, actually) books for the year. This year I'm continuing that (on track for two books a week), as well as keeping track of my weight and measurements (to see if a new eating plan is working) and trying to quantify my Chinese language progress. 

The diet and health tracking falls really well into an experimentation model for me. If I miss a measurement or I give in an eat something I'm not supposed to, I'll ruin the experiment or lose some valuable data. I have graphs and projections and all kinds of things that make my brain happy while I do something that's actually good for me.

So far this year I have:
- read 2000+ pages of 11 books (9 finished)
- studied 1500+ Chinese characters (most of which I know now)
- lost 4000+ grams (it sounds so much better that way, even though I am impressed enough with it).

2012 is going to be a year of numbers and of challenging myself to keep that motivation going. Wish me luck!

Original post sent via email to Wendebulous