Saturday, May 4, 2013

5 Things: Upon a Rainy Day

The Upstate's in a cold, wet place right now. It's been rainy off and on, and never really sunny enough to dry things up. Tonight we're supposed to receive a few inches of rain, which means there are flash flood warnings all over the Upstate, North Carolina, and even northern Georgia right now. (Obviously, people in Illinois and the Midwest in general are rolling their eyes at this already; they've been dealing with floods for what feels like a couple of weeks now).

I worked today, but I think everyone's ideal cold rainy day is a day at home staying warm and dry, right?

I let myself day-dream last night and kind of put together a wishlist of rainy day things; what I'd like to be wearing, what I'd like to be drinking, reading, the blanket I want to snuggle under... anything I could think of. Just dreaming about taking the chill off.

Also, to be writing the word 'chill' in May in Upstate South Carolina is deeply amusing to me.

1. The Book I'd Be Reading

Superman: The Unauthorized Biography by Glen Weldon

Most of the people in my life know that I've got a soft spot for the Man of Steel. People think he's boring, and it's a point to them that he really is often written in a way that is deeply boring. He's just... Superman. He wears a suit, he saves the day. Recent versions have turned him into an even more obvious allegory for Jesus Christ; a Savior who comes to Earth to save us from ourselves and even dies and then returns later.

Superman, though, can be an intriguingly complex character.

We're talking about a man whose entire sense of identity is built around a kind of abandonment complex. The core of him is that he deeply wants to be human; he looks like us when he wants to, he talks and acts and thinks like a human being in many ways. In the end though, he's not human. He's Kryptonian, the last son of a dead society (until, of course, comic writers wanted badly to introduce more superheroes like him... then we get SuperGirl and all sorts of chaos in the mythology). He wants to be one of us, but inevitably he is constantly reminded that he is not.

What does that do to a person? There aren't a ton of Superman comics that really get into that in a way that feels serious. Kingdom Come is one of my favorite books of all time; it's a generation-gap story at its essence, about old-school Superman and the way the world essentially disowned him by moving on. Superman is hiding out in Kansas, back to living the simple farm life he grew up with, after becoming increasingly disaffected by the growing violence of a new generation of superheroes who apply power without a sense of responsibility. It's a love letter to the old-school DC heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman, and a kind of cautionary story about the true result of the newer generation of superheroes, who are more about what their powers get them and what they can do as opposed to who they could do it for.

He's graying around the temples but still a huge and powerful man, angry and righteous while still, in the end, good. The effect of who he is trying to live in the world and the toll it takes on him is made clear. He's not exactly a nice person; how could he be, when he has spent his life being underestimated, overestimated, and forced to walk among people inherently inferior to him?

Weldon's book starts at the beginning and traces Superman's life, who he has been and how he's been used as generations change and the beliefs and values and things of importance change with us. I deeply want to curl up with this book on a cold afternoon, just me and a blanket and maybe a snuggly dog, and dive in. Weldon is a certified Superman Fan, which bodes well, and I've read some good reviews from other critics who like Superman.

Maybe it says something about me that my two favorite superheroes are the two most often consigned to the one-dimensional claptrap bin; Superman and Captain America. I like these genuine good guys, trying as hard as they can to work in a world that isn't quite the one they thought they knew or the one they really belong in. They can be complex, but are often underwritten and painted in broad strokes, used poor or not used at all in favor of superheroes that can be more easily made gritty and dark, or witty and irreverent, without sacrificing a huge core part of their character.

Actually, now that I've written this I think Jason and I will hit up the bookstore here in a little bit. Hm.

2. The Outfit I'd Be Wearing:

Sweater Shirt Pants Slippers Socks

Look, I can be a huge comic book fan and also want to wear pretty things, okay?

I love me some teal. Love love love. This nice open-weave sweater can work during the summer on warmer days (IE, almost every day) with a tank top, but for this rainy-day imagining I'm doing, a nice long-sleeved shirt underneath helps you keep warm. The idea here is basically one step above pajamas, but nice enough that if I have to leave the house for some Godforsaken reason, I don't have to do anything more than switch up shoes.

I own this Land's End shirt, which was a Christmas gift, and it's incredibly soft. A little short, though, for those of us with a tall person's waist and tree stump legs, so I mostly layer it under things.

Skinny jeans, SmartWool socks (do I ever wear any other kind?), and black slipper-moccasins with fleece on the inside keep me warm while I sit and read, even without taking into account...

3. The Blanket I'd Be Snuggled Under:

Vintage Striped Wool Blanket by CharmHouseVintage over on etsy.

I just love this blanket. I think it's even shown up on an earlier 5 things. I love stripes and sort of deep forest colors. I go look at this on etsy every once in a while, but I'm a bit loathe to spend $65 on something I'm just going to cover myself with while I'm sitting on the couch.

Oh well.

Nothing wrong with day-dreaming, right?

4. The Tea I'd Be Drinking:

Vanilla Chai by Amanzitea

Cold days call for chai, in my opinion, and maybe a little caffeine to combat how warm clothes and blankets and dim light can make you sleepy. Amanzitea is near to us, so it's the tea place we've been visiting most often, so I'm thinking this awesome chai is basically what I'm looking for. A little honey and a little warmed milk (or almond milk, which is what we have in our fridge right now) and basically I'm set for the afternoon.

We've talked about how much I love tea, right?

Right. Of course we have.

5. Who I'd Spend the Day With:

You knew who this would be.

Oh, what. Did you seriously think I wouldn't take this opportunity to be sappy and annoyingly cutesy? That's what bloggers do, right?

But hey, there isn't any ideal day where Who I'd Spend the Day With isn't half the reason it would be ideal.

And other sappy shnoogy-woogums type of stuff can be imagined here; I won't make you all hate me by continuing any further with it.

In other news, a friend of mine just had a baby, who I've already had the good fortune to meet when she was only a day old. It is always a surprise how very very tiny newborn babies are. They seem like the smallest and warmest of little bird-bone fragile things, and I find myself holding them like they will somehow spontaneously combust. Nonetheless, she opened her little eyes and looked at me. Well, she opened her little eye. She is not yet fond of opening both at the same time.

Babies, you guys.


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