Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Illustrated Version

I have no illustrations for you, but I will tell you about an illustrated book and verbally illustrate things of note in my life today.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
I just read a book my Dad recommended and lent me. I figured, "I'm going on vacation, I'll bring a book." It turned out to be a very sad one and was definitely in contrast with the otherwise jubilant mood and tropical clime of the Costa Rica honeymoon.

My Dad first told me about "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer because in it there are a few pages with copy editing marks printed on them that look handwritten. The marks are actually in red ink! This book is amazingly printed, because besides that passage, there are photos, pages of "typewritten" text that are overtyped several times until you can't read them, and some pages written solely in numerical code. It's a pretty cool book.

My Dad is an avid reader and he flies for business a few times a week, so he is always picking up books at the airport. So this was one of those, and he lent it to me a while ago, so I was glad to have some time to finally read it. It's 368 pages, but it's a very quick read, and as I mentioned, some of the pages are illustrative anyway. While reading it, I realized how much I miss reading! As a news copy editor, I read for work every day. But it's been a very long time since I read a piece of fiction for pleasure. This book really did have me laughing and crying. I was so engrossed, I stayed up half the night the night before we left Costa Rica to finish it. At the end, I was sobbing; Neil, being the great guy that he is, woke up to listen to me tell him what happened at the end (spoiler, I know). He reminded me that one of the reviewers had described the book as "Heartbreaking." I guess I thought they were kidding. I would highly recommend this book, but it's not quite the honeymoon read. Actually, if I'd read it at any other time, I'd probably have been far more depressed. So I recommend it for a honeymoon. Or any other time where you can counter your reading with happiness.

I applied to the JET program and was granted an interview at the Japanese Embassy last week, which went well. JET is the Japan Exchange Teaching program where you -- surprise -- teach English to kids in Japan. So we'll see if I am offered a position. I applied in December, right before I got my dream job as a copy editor at Gannett, and I was really hoping Neil and I could "jet" off to Japan, but of course, with The Bomb job, now I'm not sure. But it'll be good to have the option.

Crazily enough, I was offered a job with (edited). I had to go through a health clearance and yesterday I finished the top secret security clearance request (yesss!), which was a PAIN to fill out ("Please list every place you've lived/worked/gone to school/talked to anyone for the past 10 years with no gaps"). I guess it will take them who-knows-how-long to interrogate the people I listed as references, and then I'll get my first overseas assignment. Um, are you wondering where the bridge is between me working as a copy editor in VA and me moving out of the country to work (edited)? Me, too.

AeroGardens, Ant Farms and Aquariums
Basically, I just want to grow things. Neil really wants an AeroGarden (shh, I ordered him one tonight!) to grow salad greens, since he is mostly a raw foodist. I want an ant farm and an aquarium because I'm a carnivore. Or so I can watch little animals live their lives in a captivity I've imposed upon them. I've had both of the latter before, and I think they're really fascinating! Even when the ants mysteriously begin to die en masse and the fish occasionally commit suicide on the filter. I think they would be a nice touch and conversation piece in our little studio apt. Because, you know, Neil and I are running out of things to talk about.

p.s. those bastards! A quick update on the UFO situation: If you try to view the updated Washington Post link I posted on 2/5 , you will get a page saying "We are unable to locate the page you requested. The page may have moved or may no longer be available. You may also want to try our search to locate news and information on We at the Post seek to aid the government in hiding the truth." OK, everything but the last sentence. What kind of journalists are they over there?!


mel said...

um, I love how similar our lives are! I am so excited for you about the Foreign Service, I know that is what you want!! too, can I get tips on taking the foreign service exam, I figure I'll take it in July. eep. help!

Stephanie J. Robertson said...

your life is so exciting! i will just live vicariously through you :)

nomadic gnome said...

Things are really moving for you right now! I can't wait to hear what happens with your jet-set life. And its great that you know Jamal would be totally down with the global lifestyle. I miss you both!

mj said...

hey there mystery lady . . .

wow, you have all kinds of cool happenings going on. if you guys ever get some free time we should do some couples dating. by the way i read that book and it is really sad. but really well-written. this is going to sound like a stereotype but it's based on many personal experiences: jewish people write heartbreaking novels really well.

dianabecca said...

hi megan, this is diana palmer from good old byuh. i am so happy for you and all of your recent life altering events. even though i only know you from a distance, you're one of those people one is always hoping good things will happen for--that's how cool you are. i found your blog through stephanie's of course.

don't try to click on my username/blog. it was a temporary blog i made over a year ago that i can't figure out how to delete.

modestmuse said...

As usual, the mass reply:
Diana, congrats on the new baby! She is adorable, and so is Myra -- Stephanie sent me pics. Likewise, I'm always glad to hear upadtes on the wonderful things happening in your life.

Melinda, let's FOR REAL this time study together for the FSWE. I still have the study guide, so if you haven't yet, don't waste the $20.

Whatevs, Steph. You are living in Hawaii. And have a cherub for a baby. If anyone's life should be the object of vicarious living, it should be yours. Or Chris'. (See the link "Vicarious living" on my blog.)

Julie, I lost all of my phone nos. but I want to call you. Especially after reading one of your recent entries. So hit me back. P.s. Jamal -- good to hear the old moniker haha.

Fellow mystery lady -- I like your observation. I think I should take you and the reviewers' book-jacket comments seriously the next time I pick up a Jewish-authored novel. We have free time Fridays and Sats. p.s. thanks for the coffee table. We eat all our meals while sitting on it. Married ≠ grown up.