Duff Does Live Music 2016

  • Sufjan Stevens (3rd x) (Pitchfork) (7/16)
  • Anderson Paak (Pitchfork) (7/16)
  • Brian Wilson (Pitchfork) (7/16)
  • Super Furry Animals (Pitchfork) (7/16)
  • Troye Sivan (2/23)
  • Josh Ritter (1/29)

Books Read in 2016

date refers to date finished; i.e., just b/c I finished two books in a given day doesn’t mean I read two entire books that day!

  • Because You’re Mine, by Lisa Kleypas (7/11)
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (7/10)
  • Uprooted, by Naomi Novik (7/7)
  • Untold, by Sarah Rees Brennan (7/7)
  • The Hare, by Cesar Aira (7/5)
  • Until Friday Night, by Abbi Gilnes (7/5)
  • Stiletto, by Daniel O’Malley (7/2)
  • Hamilton: The Revolution, by Lin-Manuel Miranda (6/30) (nonfiction)
  • Fire Touched, by Patricia Briggs (6/29)
  • The Trees, Vol. 1: In Shadow, by Warren Ellis (6/26) (graphic novel)
  • The Last One, by Alexandra Oliva (6/25)
  • Snow Like Ashes, by Sara Raasch (6/22)
  • The Girl from Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig (6/17)
  • Unspoken, by Sarah Rees Brennan (6/14)
  • Article 5, by Kristen Simmons (6/11)
  • If I Was Your Girl, by Meredith Russo (6/10)
  • Sex Object, by Jessica Valenti (6/10) (nonfiction)
  • The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater (6/8) (reread)
  • Mr Fox, by Helen Oyeyemi (6/7)
  • I Kill Giants, by Joe Kelly (6/6) (graphic novel)
  • The Sellout, by Paul Beatty (5/31)
  • The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater (5/30)
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue, by Maggie Stiefvater (5/29) (reread)
  • The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater (5/28) (reread)
  • The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater (5/28) (reread)
  • Blaze, by Rachael Herron (5/27)
  • Bitterblue, by Kristin Cashore( (5/21) (reread)
  • Fire, by Kristin Cashore (5/21) (reread)
  • Graceling, by Kristin Cashore (5/21) (reread)
  • Bolt, by Dick Francis (5/11) (reread)
  • Break In, by Dick Francis (5/9) (reread)
  • Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays, by Eula Biss (5/7) (nonfiction)
  • The Turner House, by Angela Flournoy (5/5)
  • Booked, by Kwame Alexander (4/22)
  • Gym Candy, by Carl Deuker (4/21)
  • The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson (4/19) (nonfiction)
  • Son, by Lois Lowry (4/17)
  • The Story of My Teeth, by Valeria Liuselli (4/17)
  • Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs, by Sally Mann (4/17) (nonfiction)
  • Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie (4/16)
  • The Crimson Skew, by S.E. Grove (4/12)
  • The Golden Specific, by S.E. Grove (4/12)
  • Giant Days, Vol 1, by John Allison (4/5) (graphic novel)
  • This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki (4/4) (graphic novel)
  • The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 1: The Faust Act, by Kieron Gillen (4/2) (graphic novel)
  • The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die, by April Henry (3/30)
  • Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie (3/27)
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin (3/22)
  • Mara, by Brian Wood (3/19) (graphic novel)
  • The Radiant Road, by Katherine Catmull (3/16)
  • On Immunity, An Inoculation, by Eula Biss (3/5) (nonfiction)
  • An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir (3/4)
  • Messenger, by Lois Lowry (3/2)
  • Gathering Blue, by Lois Lowry (2/29)
  • The Giver, by Lois Lowry (2/28) (reread)
  • The Darling Songbirds, by Rachael Herron (2/27) (romance)
  • The Door, by Magda Szabo (2/27)
  • The Raising, by Laura Kasischke (2/13)
  • Black Wolves, by Kate Elliott (1/23)
  • Loitering: New and Collected Essays, by Charles D’Ambrosio (1/19) (nonfiction) (essays)
  • It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single, by Sara Eckel (1/10) (nonfiction)
  • Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown (1/5) (nonfiction) (advice)
  • The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown (1/2) (nonfiction) (advice)

Books Read in 2015.

date refers to date finished; i.e., just b/c I finished two books in a given day doesn’t mean I read two entire books that day!

  • Dear Mr. You, by Mary Louise Parker (12/29) (epistolary essays)
  • Descender, Vol 1, by Jeff Lemire (12/27) (graphic novel)
  • Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, by Carrie Brownstein (12/26) (memoir)
  • Pretty Deadly, Vol 1, by Kelly Sue DeConnick (12/26)
  • Lumberjanes, Vol 1, by Noelle Stevenson (12/25) (graphic novel)
  • Dryland, by Sara Jaffe (12/25)
  • Yellowcake, by Margo Lanagan (12/4) (short stories)
  • Wytches, Vol 1, by Scott Snyder (11/30) (graphic novel)
  • Saga, Vol 5, by Brian K. Vaughn (11/29) (graphic novel)
  • Saga, Vol 4, by Brian K. Vaughn (11/29) (graphic novel)
  • Saga, Vol 3, by Brian K. Vaughn (11/29) (graphic novel)
  • Saga, Vol 2, by Brian K. Vaughn (11/29) (graphic novel)
  • Saga, Vol 1, by Brian K. Vaughn (11/29) (graphic novel) (reread)
  • The Promise, by Robert Crais (11/26)
  • Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari (11/26) (nonfiction)
  • The Promise, by Robert Crais (11/26)
  • Ms. Marvel Vol 1: No Normal, by G. Willow Wilson (11/25) (graphic novel)
  • Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo (11/24)
  • Back Lash, by Devon Monk (11/17)
  • The People in the Trees, by Hanya Yanagihara (11/17)
  • The Sins of the Fathers, by Lawrence Block (11/9)
  • Slade House, by David Mitchell (11/6)
  • The Glass Sentence, by S.E. Grove (11/4)
  • Through the Woods, by Emily Carroll (11/2) (graphic short stories)
  • Deadly Blessings, by Julie Hyzy (10/29)
  • The Invasion of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen (10/28)
  • The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley (10/22)
  • Bad Blood, by Aline Templeton (10/20)
  • Evil for Evil, by Aline Templeton (10/18)
  • Cradle to Grave, by Aline Templeton (10/16)
  • Dead in the Water, by Aline Templeton (10/14)
  • Lamb to the Slaughter, by Aline Templeton (10/12)
  • Lying Dead, by Aline Templeton (10/11)
  • The Darkness and the Deep, by Aline Templeton (10/9)
  • Cold in the Earth, by Aline Templeton (10/7)
  • Christopher’s Cloud: An Epic Adventure, Peter Pommer (10/5)
  • The Odyssey, by Homer (Fagles translation) (10/2) (poetry) (reread)
  • Make Me, by Lee Child (9/26)
  • Tinkers, by Paul Harding (9/21)
  • After the Apocalypse, by Maureen McHugh (9/18) (short stories)
  • Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (9/16)
  • Speak, by Louisa Hall (9/9)
  • The Warrior Laird, by Margo Maguire (9/4)
  • Harbor Island, by Carla Neggers (8/29)
  • Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel (8/29)
  • Mind of Winter, by Laura Kasischke (8/24)
  • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, by Anthony Marra (8/22)
  • The Tin Collectors, by Stephen J. Cannell (8/18)
  • Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel (8/12)
  • Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War, by Karen Abbott (8/10) (nonfiction!)
  • World Gone By, by Dennis Lehane (8/3)
  • Just Like Heaven, by Julia Quinn (7/23)
  • Lord of Misrule, by Jaimy Gordon (7/21)
  • Live by Night, by Dennis Lehane (7/4)
  • The Dragonet Prophecy, by Tui Sutherland (7/3)
  • Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (7/2)
  • Just the Sexiest Man Alive, by Julie James (6/29)
  • Suddenly One Summer, by Julie James (6/28)
  • Practice Makes Perfect, by Julie James (6/28)
  • It Happened One Wedding, by Julie James (6/28)
  • Love Irresistibly, by Julie James (6/26)
  • About That Night, by Julie James (6/25)
  • A Lot Like Love, by Julie James (6/24)
  • Bet Me, by Jennifer Crusie (6/21)
  • Something About You, by Julie James (6/21)
  • World of Trouble, by Ben H. Winters (6/17)
  • Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson (6/13)
  • Countdown City, by Ben H. Winters (6/9)
  • Splinters of Light, by Rachael Herron (6/4)
  • The Last Policeman, by Ben H. Winters (6/4)
  • Foxglove Summer, by Ben Aaronovitch (5/31)
  • Hausfrau, by Jill Alexander Essbaum (5/23)
  • Blue Stars, by Emily Gray Tedrowe (5/2)
  • This Present Moment, by Gary Snyder (4/25) (poetry)
  • H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald (4/25) (memoir)
  • Dead Heat, by Patricia Briggs (4/21)
  • Glow, by Ned Beauman (4/19)
  • All the Birds, Singing, by Evie Wyld (4/18)
  • Hell bent, by Devon Monk (4/18)
  • Stone Cold, by Devon Monk (4/18)
  • Kiss Me Hello, by Grace Burrowes (4/12)
  • The First Kiss, by Grace Burrowes (4/11)
  • A Single Kiss, by Grace Burrowes (4/11)
  • The Given Day, by Dennis Lehane (4/10)
  • Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading: Finding & Losing Myself in Books, by Maureen Corrigan (4/9) (essays)
  • Shadowscale (Seraphina #2), by Rachel Hartman (4/7)
  • Pioneer Girl, by Bich Minh Nguyen (4/6) (nonfiction)
  • A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall, by Will Chancellor (4/5)
  • Roller Girl, by Victoria Jamieson (3/21)
  • Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed (3/20) (essays)
  • The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander (3/17)
  • Sugar, by Jewell Parker Rhodes (3/12)
  • Wool (Omnibus), by Hugh Howey (3/12)
  • The Manhattan Projects, Vol 1, by Jonathan Hickman (3/6) (graphic novel)
  • Rat Queens Vol 1, by Kurtis Wiebe (3/6) (graphic novel)
  • Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, by Patricia Lockwood (3/6) (poetry)
  • Wittgenstein Jr, by Lars Iyer (3/5)
  • Silence Once Begun, by Jesse Ball (2/21)
  • Boxer, Beetle, by Ned Beauman (2/14)
  • The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters (2/14)
  • Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill (2/1)
  • The Blazing World, by Siri Hustvedt (1/25)
  • Horns, by Joe Hill (1/3)
  • The Years of Rice and Salt, by Kim Stanley Robinson (1/3)

Duff at the Movies 2015

  • The Danish Girl (12/31)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12/30)
  • Brooklyn (11/27)
  • Spotlight (11/25)
  • The Martian (11/21)
  • Spectre (11/14)
  • Truth (11/7)
  • Pawn Sacrifice (9/27)
  • Sleeping with Other People (9/19)
  • Grandma (8/30)
  • Diary of a Teenage Girl (8/28)
  • American Ultra (8/26)
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (8/3)
  • Iris (7/31)
  • Mr. Holmes (7/29)
  • Trainwreck (7/24)
  • Magic Mike XXL (7/14) & (7/25) & (8/?)
  • Testament of Youth (7/10)
  • Inside Out (7/1)
  • A Little Chaos (6/30)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (6/21)
  • Spy (6/6 & 8/6)
  • Clouds of Sil Maria (5/9)
  • Mr Turner (4/25)
  • Furious 7 (4/9 & 4/11)
  • Divergent: Insurgent (4/6)
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service (3/28)
  • American Sniper (1/16)
  • Big Eyes (1/2)

NaBloPoMo 29:

Even for me, I have gotten an impressive amount of nothing done for the past few days. That 900-item to-do list I jotted down on Tuesday night didn’t even get looked at once. I did pay bills today (which wasn’t on the list, ha) and got all freaked out and worried about money since they’re muttering that our likely strike that will likely happen sometime after February 10 will likely go on for a month. I just don’t see how my life can handle that and still have enough money to get through the summer (which is of course unpaid time off, just like Wednesday was an unpaid day off).
Inside the harbor
I didn’t even do my usual Sunday lunch food cooking! I’m going to eat out of the freezer this week. 😉

NaBloPoMo 27: took a real camera out with me today and took the long way home

Must be kinda warm in there.
Definitely a future crime scene
Lots of closed signs round about these days
Saw “Brooklyn” this afternoon. Still pondering it. Not so much a story as in a plot but more a story of a moment of a time and a place. All the old people around me were muttering things about the “immigrant experience” as the credits rolled past. I saw “Spotlight” a few days ago. That was wonderful although very upsetting. A bit in the same vein as “Truth”. Movies based on real events that lay out in excruciating detail how crap our world is and how crappily humans treat each other are always going to be pretty upsetting though, aren’t they. And “Spectre” which I sadly did not think much of. Could’ve been my mood going in but it was a real downer.

Big Screen: Spotlight

This movie was intense. Strong acting by all the players. Intensely upsetting. I mean how can Catholics* even stand to be Catholic after knowing this, let alone all the other yucky things the Church has done or does on a regular basis. And, seriously, are we sure this has stopped? 100% sure? I’M NOT. I couldn’t ever be. Could you?

The end credits with the lists of all the places where this specific type of corruption was discovered? The audience was audibly gasping.

It was great to see Michael Keaton in this, especially after Bird Man. I liked this a LOT more than I liked Bird Man (I would link my review…but I guess I never wrote about that here. Ah well.). Also Mark Ruffalo did a lot to inhabit this part–I felt like his hunched up physicality just MADE that character for me.

*or as my dad calls them “the pope’s dopes.”

Aziz Ansari rules the world.

For a long time, Tom was my least favorite character on Parks & Recreation, it took me a few seasons to really come around on him. I don’t know what finally did it: “treat yo self” ? Or perhaps when he finally shoves Jean-Ralphio to the side? Regardless, I eventually became a fan and started to love his stand-up too (although the repetition thing drives me nuts. When he just says the same short phrase over and over? It happens a LOT in that show with the R. Kelly bit).

So when everyone started yapping about “Master of None” and I needed a new show, it was the obvious choice. This show is SUPER charming, the story lines are adorable. The way we watch Dev develop, however slowly, in all areas of his life is pretty fantastic. On the other hand, as with Rob Delaney’s “Catastrophe,” there are definitely times when the acting is too visible…because too many people on the show aren’t great actors. In other words–you shouldn’t notice that a character is “acting mad,” you should think they are ACTUALLY mad. When the acting an emotion becomes too visible, that’s a fail. I actually thought that less times with Masters of None than with Catastrophe but there were still certain scenes or certain side players on the show that I thought fell flat too many times to be straight up “this is a great show.” I liked it a lot, I loved certain interactions, but I did occasionally get popped out of the scene by the acting.

Then over the past few days, when I apparently became a START A MILLION NEW THINGS because you have all of three random days off person, I decided to listen to his book “Modern Romance.” Wow, this book is shockingly well researched for something written by a layperson. It’s really fascinating.

My problem was…I can’t focus on audiobooks!!! I KNOW. It’s seriously as if my brain FORGETS that I am listening to it WHILE I am listening to it and I accidentally start tuning it out. Then 10 minutes later, I hear someone else’s voice in my head and go oh YEAH I’m listening to that book and this seems to be about something completely different than 10 minutes ago when I was actively listening. I guess I missed something!

Despite my intermittent lapses in listening, which I did not bother trying to rewind, so to speak, or fix, this book has a lot of really interesting anecdotes and fun moments. It was also great to listen to it after watching Masters of None and notice how many things from his romance research wound up making it onto that show. You always read stories about writers or directors doing crazy stuff to prepare: horseback riding for three hours a day for six months, reading 97 books on whale hunting, etc…It’s almost like this book wound up being unintended preparation. I love the intersection between fiction and nonfiction in our lives/work and watching bits from this book get explored in the fictional show was pretty cool, or cool to think about afterward as I read it.

The ultimate takeaway from both is WOW Aziz is SO sincere. The last chapter of the book is all about how despite all the technology and despite all the changes and despite all our baggage, if you go do fun things you love, that’s your best chance to meet a person who will also do fun things you love (and love them and you). Check out this post from his tumblr about his dad appearing on the show. That sincerity is all over the book and it just makes him completely adorkable. Which is, refreshingly, so different than Tom, or at least beginning of Parks & Rec Tom.

If you already liked Aziz, this is just the sugar on top. The same way my paparazzi friend Evan’s stories (both good and bad) about celebrity behavior at fan events can really change my overall opinion on said celebrities, seeing the intersection between Aziz’s standup, his nonfiction writing and his fictional writing/acting really exposes (or illuminates, for a kinder way to put it) Aziz as someone I never would have guessed based on Tom. Now that’s great acting.

An evening with David Mitchell and Lana Wachowski

A lovely evening. Mitchell read from the first passage of Slade House (which I read a week or so ago, I’ll try to tell you about it soon!) and then he and Wachowski had a lovely conversation about art and immortality and writing between genres (as it were).

There were quite a number of moments I wish I could have recorded, but here are the two I wrote down.

On writing between genres, or being told your book should/shouldn’t have something because you’re not in X genre:
“If a book needs a dragon, it should have a dragon.”

On reading reviews: he said he certainly never reads the bad ones, because they’re so demoralizing and haunt you for months, but then he said he doesn’t read the good ones either:
“…even the good ones are wasps at the picnic of a calm mind.”

WOW what an image.

I’ve been a huge fan of his books for a long time now (the other book I took with me to have signed was Black Swan Green, which is one of my all-time favorite books) and it was wonderful to hear Nathan (the first character in Slade House) read in his voice. He doesn’t have a straight-up English accent, there’s a bit of a lisping quality around his Rs that I wondered if originates from his time in Japan/Asia…

I can’t wait to see what he writes next.