Weeks 21 and 22: Big Brother, Burlesque and Brave New Bread

So, I’m behind.  Again.  I’ll be brief, trying to cram two weeks into this post, then I’ll have two more to catch up on.

THE RECIPES

Week One: Amazing Pork Loin

This was, to my recollection, one of the easiest recipes ever.  I literally put everything into the crockpot and ate several hours later.

Hubby liked it, too.

Week 2: Jelly Bean Bread via Diply

This recipe popped up in my newsfeed, I don’t recall who shared it.  But it was by far the most difficult one to date.

Things did not start well…

After discarding the idea that I should stick closely to the “two and a half cups” of flour suggested in the recipe, I finally added enough flour to feed three Depression Era families and wound up with something that was not a gelatinous mess.

My cutting board will, I fear, never be the same.

Then the worst part:  FOOD COLORING

It called for an 1/8 of a teaspoon of coloring. More like half a vial.

It took two hours of prep time before I was even ready to “let the dough rise” and take a break.  Most of that was food coloring.  But, hey!  I got caught up on my Nightly Show.

One of these is not like the others.

There was also an incident involving the blue ball.  I dropped the blue ball on the floor.  I had to improvise a new blue ball out of leftovers from the bowl and dough swiped from the purple ball to add to the blue ball.  I’ve now said “blue ball” five times.

All egg washed and ready to sit for a bit before baking.

I really, truly thought the hardest part was going to be the braiding, but by the time I’d finally got ’round to it, I was in Zero Give-a-Fig Zone, so that made it easier to just toss it around.

All done!

So, yeah…it burnt a little.  But dude:

1.  I made bread from SCRATCH.

2.  I made it in different colors that did not all wind up brown.

3.  It was actually edible.

4.  I got to have WINE when it was all said and done.

THE FITNESS

Week 1: Keaira LaShae’s Belly Dancing

I continue to really enjoy Ms. LaShae’s style.

I missed Brina K. in this one.  But appreciated the costuming choices!

Also! One of the dances you boogie down to in this bit is her own single!  I’m a fan.  Fun fact: I did this routine shortly before getting in the shower for work.  No one was home and I was in NO mood to spend five extra minutes putting together a work-outfit.  So I closed all the blinds and did this one totally in the buff.

Don’t tell anyone.

WEEK 2: Burlesque by Jazzercise

The most Burlesquey thing about this workout was the Neon Blitz Victoria’s Secret Fitness line couture featured on all the hookers dancing.

Seriously, it was pretty standard aerobics, there was nothing terribly risque about it.

But my legs did hurt for a couple days after, so that’s not nothing.

THE BOOKS

WEEK 1: Brave New World

The caste system, which included conditioning of the children to make them happy to be poor/lower class.

I’m kind of really glad to be combining these two books in one post.  They’re alike in a lot of ways and have had multiple comparative analyses.  They’re both set in dystopian future environments, both with far overreaching governments.  But, though they share so many similarities, the takeaways (for me anyway) was very different.

No one does any babymaking anymore, they just make babies.

Brave New World is the story of Bernard Marx, a man who feels out of place amongst the upper crust Alphas and in his leadership position at the Hatchery (because people are hatched now, not born).  He takes a girl (Lenina – yes, they’re all throwbacks to socialism and communism) on a vacation to visit savages in the west, where they meet John.  John was born of a woman who used to live in their community but was ousted when she got Pregnant For Real.  He reads Shakespeare and prefers the simpler things in life.  And they turn him into King Kong.  Mostly because he doesn’t want to take “soma” (like their version of alcohol) or participate in technology.

He’s sort of like a teenager without a cell phone.

WEEK 2: 1984

I won’t spend a lot of time on the plot description of 1984, because I feel like we all know it:

Winston Smith lives in Oceania, as part of the Party, which tells him everyday that they are at war (and have always been at war) with a country he knows was an ally only mere years before.  They monitor his every move, such that his decision to begin a diary of his subversive thoughts feels like the plot of a bank heist.  Yes, Big Brother is watching you (through the television, no less!  Brilliant).  This book has such a commonplace position in the zeitgeist that I felt I should read it and that I didn’t need to all at the same time.

Two weeks after the fact and I couldn’t tell you if I’m glad I did.

Winston Smith paved the way for Katniss Everdeen, for sure.  But the restrictions placed on his freedom are profound.  Just the idea of a Thought Police, the idea that your thoughts could make you criminal.  It has a lot to say about how people allow themselves to be brainwashed.

Here’s a pretty awesome chart of the differences between the two books:

When all is said and done, I think I enjoyed Brave New World more.  Was it because I expected less of it, having heard so much over the years about the profundity of 1984?  Maybe.  But there was something quite relatable about the technology worship inherent in Bernard Marx’s world.  I remember in high school, I had a teacher that said he didn’t own a television and I thought, “What must your life be like?”  I LOVED that the word Lord in Brave New World had been replaced with Ford (i.e. “Oh, my Ford.”).  I’d actually really love that to be a catchphrase that hits the stratospheric heights that Big Brother has.

But for now, I can say I’ve read them both and discuss at length.  And, in the coming weeks, the books start to feel markedly less “reading assignment” and more recreational.

UP NEXT:

Recipe: Slow Cooker Tamale Pie

Fitness: Burlesque by Jazzercise Legs

Book: Never Let Me Go

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