Friday Favorite: Abandoned Amusement Parks

Friday Favorite: Abandoned Amusement Parks

I don’t know where my fascination with abandoned amusement parks comes from, but I’m totally captivated by them. As I comb through images, I’m often struck by the contrast between the sensory overload these places provided in their heyday and the eerie stillness they embody in decay. It all feels very post-apocalyptic, like I’m an anthropologist from the future uncovering secrets about a society long since departed. Atlas Obscura’s “Essential Guide” is a recent discovery of mine and a great introduction into this world of forgotten amusements. Click on this picture of the devilish ride at Spreepark in Berlin to get started.

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Some infinities are bigger than other infinities

Full disclosure: I’m a huge John Green fan.  His first novel, Looking for Alaska, is one of my favorite books of all time.  So he can pretty much do no wrong in my opinion.  I do, however, have some pretty high expectations when I read his work.

That being said, The Fault in Our Stars not only met my expectations but exceeded them tenfold.

Here is the plot summary from Goodreads:

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Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

I know at first glance a story about teens with cancer sounds terribly maudlin and depressing, but this one is so far from that.  Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely those moments and I didn’t get through this book without a few tears (ok, maybe more than a few).  But there is humor that offsets the darkness.  The characters aren’t just “Cancer Kids.”  They’re incredibly complex in a way that you don’t usually see in books from this genre.

I’ve heard some critics say that the characters aren’t believable because they launch into these long, beautiful soliloquies about life and death that actual teens could never come up with on their own.  I suppose that would bother me if I expected everything I read to be an accurate portrayal of real life, but I’m not one of those readers.  This book is just so beautifully written that I can forgive those sorts of inconsistencies.  John Green is so good at creating these little golden nuggets of sentences that you want to keep in your pocket and carry with you, like this one:

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books . . . which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like betrayal

Or maybe that’s just me.

Either way, I loved the writing and the characters.  While the dialogue may come across as inauthentic to some, Green’s exploration of illness, death, and loss feels extremely truthful.  Rather than putting a Lifetime movie spin on things and tying up all loose ends in a neat, palatable package), he leaves the reader with more questions than answers.  We don’t know what the future holds for Hazel, but we’re definitely left with a lot to think about.  This is  a story that sticks with you in the best way possible.

What I’m Watching Wednesday: Rebel Wilson

Bridesmaids is one of my favorite movies of all time. I love everything about it (the engagement party toast scene slays me), but Rebel Wilson is like the icing on the cake. She’s HILARIOUS and steals every scene. I think J is kind of sick of the number of times I’ve re-enacted them, but I can’t stop myself. This video is missing one of the best lines ever (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE4ZH8oh3lM), but it’s got pretty much everything else.

What to Wear? Napa Valley Wedding

My friend is getting married next month in gorgeous Napa Valley.  This means I get to take another trip to California (yay!) and also that I need a new dress for the occasion.  I’ve been scouring the Internet for pretty frocks and I definitely know that I want something in a print.  There are just so many fun options!  But which to choose?  Here are a few of my favorites:

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1. J. Crew Arabelle Dress in Hummingbird Floral Print  2. J. Crew Frances Dress in Watercolor Floral  3. Ruche Le Peintre Printed Dress  4. Anthropologie Rose Bramble Sundress  5. Anthropologie Elizabeth Zebra Dress  6. Ruche Mikayla Floral Dress

I’m kind of obsessed with the zebra print, but I love the colorful floral prints, too.  Any suggestions?

What I’m Watching Wednesday: John Krasinski vs. Jimmy Fallon

When I was 9, I had a lip syncing birthday party. My friends and I went to this place in a mini mall that had tons of costumes and wigs and we dressed up and sang and danced to Paula Abdul, Madonna, and countless oldies. I also had a cookie cake that still lives on in my memory as the best thing ever. This video, however, may be a close second. John Krasinski + Jimmy Fallon + Lip Sync Throwdown = a bunch of my favorite things all rolled into one.

It’s Growing on Me

Vancouver doesn’t feel like home yet.  The last time I was on an airplane headed to Vancouver, the girl next to me asked if I was headed home and I think it freaked her out that it took so long for me to answer.  We then had an awkward conversation in which I mumbled something about how I’m from LA and was just home visiting family but I’m living in Canada so yes, I suppose I’m going home but it didn’t feel like it.

She didn’t really want to chat after that.  Note to self: do not overshare with strangers.

I’ve been here almost two months at this point and while I still don’t feel quite at home, I am appreciating more things about Vancouver.  When you tell people you’re moving here, the only thing they really have to say is that it’s absolutely beautiful.  During the height of my unhappiness about the move, I wanted to punch people in the face every time I heard it.  Just because a place is beautiful doesn’t necessarily make it worth giving up your entire support system/job/warm weather, etc.  I still miss the warm climate I left behind, but surroundings like this almost make up for it:

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This weekend, we took our first trip to Horseshoe Bay.  It’s just a half hour outside of Downtown but it feels worlds away.  We enjoyed strolling along the waterfront, taking pictures of the ferry and the gorgeous landscape, and munching on fish & chips.  It was nice to get away from our neighborhood and experience a change of scenery.  We took a drive to Shannon Falls after lunch and just kind of marveled at everything around us.

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I’m not sure if British Columbia will ever feel like home, but it’s growing on me.