Links Lundi

Good morning! Have some images from “Catching Fire.”

Vishavjit Singh, a Sikh, took to the streets of New York City dressed as Captain America to challenge our ideas of who can be a superhero. (Thanks to Brittneigh for the link!)

The Oregon Zoo now has three adorable, healthy little lion cubs!

Cool projects to do with four things you always find at thrift stores.

Also from Yes & Yes: ten untranslatable words from other languages.  Beautiful.

Eat The Damn Cake has been blogging about her brand-new mommyhood and it’s really wonderful to read.

Via The Mary Sue: Disney princesses in their male counterparts’ clothes.

Top Ten Tuesday Rewind: Favorite Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week is a free-for all, so I went with one of my favorite things to discuss in any situation: my favorite heroines!  This is gonna be a long list.

1. Eowyn from “The Lord of the Rings” by JRR Tolkien.  A repressed upbringing, a secret dream, a crush on a man who loves someone else, a willingness to disregard authority to do the right thing – Eowyn is just a flat-out great character.  How can she be anything else with lines like this: “But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.”

2. Hermione from “Harry Potter” by JK Rowling.  Hermione is clever, sassy, courageous, and would do anything for her friends.  She’s not a gorgeous Mary Sue – Rowling makes a point of Hermione not being traditionally beautiful – and her smarts and loyalty make her an excellent role model for young readers.  Heck, I still look up to Hermione.

3. Eliza from “Daughter of Fortune” by Isabel Allende.  Eliza makes a major mistake as a lovesick teenager and winds up pregnant by a boy who wasn’t as perfect as she thought he was.  Eliza follows him all the way to California from Chile during the gold rush and her quest to find him turns into an enthralling journey of self-discovery.

4. Esther from “Little Century by Anna Keesey.  When 18-year-old Esther is left orphaned in turn-of-the-20th-century Chicago, she decides to take the reins of her life and goes west to claim a homestead in Oregon.  She gets caught up in the range wars between cattlemen and sheep-herders, makes friends, works for the local newspaper, and gets embroiled in the most gracefully-written and least-obnoxious love triangle I’ve ever read.

5. Tarma and Kethry from “The Oathbound” by Mercedes Lackey.  Tarma is an asexual warrior; Kethry is a far-from-asexual sorceress.  Together they fight bad guys!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Vivid Settings

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week I’m listing my top ten place books – books that had such a realistic setting that I felt like I was there, no matter when or where that setting was.  Whether or not I’d actually want to be there is a whole ‘nother issue.

1) The Arena, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.  Even more so than “The Hunger Games,” “Catching Fire” made me feel like I was struggling through the arena with Katniss.  The arena designed for the Quarter Quell is unique, terrifying, and scarily easy to visualize.

2) Paris, The World at Night and The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst. Atmospheric settings are Furst’s specialty, but he writes about Paris with a dark and aching nostalgia that stays with you.

3) New Crobuzon, “Perdido Street Station” by China Mieville.  This grimy mashup of Cairo and Industrial Age-London is built beneath the towering ribs of a giant dead creature.  It’s inhabited by eagle-people, bug-people, cactus-people, people-people, genetically modified people, crime lords, artists, prostitutes, totalitarian soldiers, and scientists.  It’s hot and smelly and sprawling.  How all of this came out of one dude’s head is beyond me.

4) Battle school, “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card.  Assuming you weren’t Ender, and you weren’t responsible for defending Earth from alien invaders, and no one was out to cause you terrible injuries, having organized battles in zero gravity would probably be pretty awesome.

5) Salinas Valley, “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck.  The valley’s varied colors, unpredictable weather, and precarious relationship with water make it a beautiful, timeless, and ever-so-slightly ominous setting.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Places

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week is a freebie, so I’m revisiting my favorite settings!

1. Gatsby’s house, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It’s the ultimate party pad!  Huge, expensive, tastefully decorated, located on the water, flowing with champagne, packed with beautiful people cutting loose…and all that drama seething under the surface.  Ahhh.

2. MerytonPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Their lives consist of going to balls, going on walks, reading books, and conversing through witty banter.  I could deal.

3. The Capital, the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  I know you’re not supposed to like the Capital, but who wouldn’t like a place where food popped out of the wall at a push of a button?  And imagine all the outfits you’d see – it would be like walking into a Vogue photo shoot directed by Tyra Banks on LSD.

4. The Abhorsen’s house, Sabriel by Garth Nix. This comfy fortress is perched on the edge of a waterfall and contains a library, a flying machine, and an irritable cat-spirit.

5. The Dreaming Realm, the Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman.  I think this place would only be fun if you were Dream himself, with the ability to manipulate every detail of your reality, but let’s say Dream was just letting you chill with his powers for a while.  You could hop from mind to mind, collecting things from people’s dreams, then return to his realm and do whatever fantastic things struck your fancy.

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Links Lundi

The most beautiful six words I’ve ever read: Mumford & Sons acoustic bookshop sessions. (ETA: now with the actual video. Whoops.)

Wait, no, these are the most beautiful six seven words: David Tennant in an Alan Furst adaptation!

Prep for bikini season by relishing your dessert, emulating a movie star, getting to the root of why you want to lose weight, and lots more.  (My favorite lesson, applicable for all sorts of occasions: pick a part of your body you love, then do something nice for it.  I would treat my lips to new lipstick!)

Female Friends Spend Raucous Night Validating The Living Shit Out Of Each Other: “We just kept telling her how f***ing talented and beautiful she was until eventually the restaurant had to ask us to leave.”

How to be more dignified, which actually goes hand-in-hand with how to not be a jerk.

A Five-Step Guide To Effective Philanthropy, which is a really intimidating title for an article that’s just going to make it really, really easy to donate to a good cause.

In between Gary Ross dropping out of “Catching Fire” and Lionsgate making an offer to a new director, The Mary Sue came up with a list of 15 possible female directors before the studio picked another dude.  Ross did an awesome job on “The Hunger Games” while not being a woman, but…was the guy who directed “Water for Elephants” (okay, and “I Am Legend”) really the best they could find?  I was pulling for Kathryn Bigelow.

We’ve kind of sort of probably decided to maybe try to get a house next year.  Part of me is going YES FINALLY and another part of me is going WHAT NO WE ARE NOT OLD ENOUGH OR RICH ENOUGH OR RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH AND ALSO WEEDS.  In spite of my turmoil, I am also the tiniest bit excited about things like decorating.  Chelsie’s awesome guest-room redo with its DIY styling definitely inspires me.

Last week’s FBFF was a discussion of “thinspo,” but I didn’t write anything about it because I couldn’t make my brain do anything more thorough than “thinspo is bad,” so instead, read what everyone else wrote.

Links Lundi

The rest of the world begins to figure out that BMI is not an accurate measure of health.

Two boys go for a world record by using 11,000 popsicle sticks to make a stick bomb.

Celebrities and makeup and how underneath all their well-funded glamour, they pretty much look like you.

A 17-year-old pianist invents a low-cost minesweeper that uses sound waves to locate land mines.

Be absolutely sure to read through this beautiful interview with Rachel Cole, who struggled with an eating disorder and is now a life coach.

A mother speaks out about losing her daughter to bulimia and the documentary she made to help others understand eating disorders.

Amandla Stenberg, the actress who played Rue in “The Hunger Games,” kicks off Mother’s Day celebrations by talking about how her mom encourages and supports her: “If I’m feeling unsure, she’ll say, ‘Hey, you’re Rue!'” All together now: Awww.

From the Department of Nerd: geeky Easter eggs.

Links Lundi

From Yes And Yes: making actual things with your actual hands.

We wrote about Wildflower Magazine on Average Fantastic once upon a time, and I’m enjoying seeing how it’s grown to the all-encompassing, woman-centric publication it is today.  You can learn how to make gadgets in the science section, read about spirituality, and peruse the (sadly small) poetry section.  They even have a gaming section!

Deeply Embarassed White People Talk Awkwardly About Race.  As one interviewee put it, “Whiteness is the center that goes unnamed and unstudied, which is one way that keeps us as white folks centered, normal, that which everything else is compared to—like the way we name race only when we’re talking about a person of color.”

Also from the Department of Racism, people who apparently weren’t paying attention when they read “The Hunger Games” and apparently never saw any ads for the movie and are apparently morons were literally angry that Rue and Thresh turned out to be black in the film.

Cate Blanchett goes photoshop-less on the cover of Intelligent Life magazine.  Normally I would applaud this kind of thing, but it’s Cate Blanchett, who is already one of the most beautiful women in the world.  This just feels like they’re rubbing it in.  (But in a good way. I love you, Cate!)

Downton Abbey – people + dogs = the hilariously accurate Dogton Abbey.