Monday, February 26, 2007

Unclassifiable information.

After the Oscars, somehow this seems tonic. Also, anyone interested should check out's post on same. This may not be up your alley--I certainly have never had much patience with Britney--but all the same. Thanks to Amelia for making sure I saw this.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The glory, blah blah blah.

The Oscars are over now. We had something of a reprise of last year's Oscar debacle, with many of the same folks over for the viewing. This year, we had another DVR episode, with my daughter accidentally brushing the remote with her foot, thus interrupting our delayed Oscar experience, then adding insult to injury by accidentally changing the channel! This meant we missed the announcement of the Best Supporting Actress award (no great loss, according to nearly everyone there). Other than that, and other than the fact that Bruiser threw up early on, we had a pretty good, if noisy and kibitzing, time.

There's always weird stuff at the Oscars. What about that weird guy behind the scenes who kept talking about all the surprises? And what about the Pilobolus dance troupe--on the one hand, kind of cool, on the other hand, as my daughter pointed out, what about the ass that comprised, basically, the heel of the The Devil Wears Prada shoe? Huh?

I had seen nearly all the films with nominations in the major categories this year. (Despite a number of documentaries viewed, I had only seen An Inconvenient Truth. Can't figure out if that's because the docs didn't come to SLC or if I was lazy.) Still haven't seen Pan's Labyrinth, trying to ascertain ahead of time if I'm going to feel too lacerated by the degree of violence, and my scouting has given me conflicting data. Still haven't seen Dreamgirls, can't decided if it will delight or annoy me (on the one hand, Eddie Murphy, whom I stoutly believe still has acting and comedic chops; on the other hand, sorry to say, Beyonce and honestly, probably Jennifer Hudson). I will probably see both.

And why is it that when a film I really, really loved, such as The Departed, gets awards that I feel personally gratified and vindicated? Did I make the movie? Did I write its terrific screenplay, direct, edit, or produce it? Was I one of the big fat movie stars that did the acting that, taken together, comprised a seminar in film acting? I think we all know the answers to these questions. And yet I felt so very pleased that it won Best Picture. So very, very pleased.

Well, that's it--I have no answers except that my over-investment in the fate of films at the Oscars puzzles even me. The show's too, too long, and watching it with anyone but my own self reminds me uncomfortably of everything that's wrong with the entire experience--how stupid the whole award thing is, how it trivializes one of my most reliable and deep aesthetic experiences. Yet I was pleased to see Scorsese finally win his directing award, pleased that his longtime editor won the award and moved that both he and she were visibly moved. Sorry that Peter O'Toole, who surely is one of the great actors, didn't win for his very moving performance.

And so on. Next year, I'm sure I will be doing the same thing, watching the stupid show with lots of chatter and food and dogs, simultaneously critiquing it and taking it in.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My funeral.

Once, I opined to my brother in an e-mail that, at my funeral, I would like to have the song "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" from Guys and Dolls, with full cast and costume. (My son--singing son--feels that's inappropriate, but I don't--check out the lyrics. I also want parts of the Brahms German Requiem, with a big old choir. I'm going to leave it to others to work out the details of that.)

However, when I suggested to my brother that he should help secure the choir, costumes, etc. for the musical portion of my funeral, he had this to say:

"I already have your funeral planned out. Your casket will be next to the slurpee and popcorn machines. We will be listening to Slaughter and Twisted Sister from the CD "Monster Ballads" available from K-Tel."

I like my idea better, but I'm open, I guess. Not that I'll be around to, you know, eat popcorn or tear up at Slaughter or anything. I'm going to have to think about whose hands into which I should entrust this sacred matter. I do, however, like the idea of an event that I have sort of planned but that I'm not actually in charge of anymore--when you're dead, you actually do have to let go of things. Well, some things, anyway. We'll see how good I am at letting go when I'm dead.

But I'm telling you, that song from Guys and Dolls would make a hell of a send-off.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

300 extra miles, the hard way.

Well, we're back from our anniversary trip (happy anniversary, honey!) which was fun, but in an ordeal kind of way. That's because the template for this trip was set when the historian and I ran down to San Bernardino-ish for running son's race in December. It was surprisingly not an ordeal--we drove just to Cedar City late on a Thursday, to Walnut the next day, which took us only till about 2 p.m., and without any kind of unearthly early wakeup, I might add. That gave us the afternoon and evening in Walnut, the morning at the race, half the afternoon poking around Claremont and environs, a drive to St. George, and an easy drive back home on Sunday. It was so fun!

So we decided that a SoCal trip through the hi-des (I saw this as a bumper sticker) would be cool, but that this time we'd go to the coast. It was only about 150 more miles each way. The plan was, we'd drive through the area of the high desert where I spent some growing up years (Edwards AFB), which seemed cool, then down through a mountain valley to Ventura and up the 101 just 30 miles from there to Santa Barbara.

Okay, but it turned out that those 150 miles were slow miles. There were some fast parts through the mountains, but some slow parts in the desert, which made the trip feel laden with anxiety for an already anxious person. (Hint: I'm not talking about the historian.)


ring of fire in the Whiskey Pete's swimming pool

miles outside of sin city

palm shadows in the pool


Santa Barbara evening sky

evening sky 2

orange grove (we bought a box of just-picked oranges)

blizzard-ish in Utah on the way home

Friday, February 16, 2007


1. I took down my Christmas tree just yesterday.
2. I was in an escalating rage about work-related stuff for much of the day yesterday. It did not make me a nicer person. I had to cry and then walk around in the cold at the dog park at 6 p.m., plus eat Indian food, to simmer down.
3. I'm behind in my work.
4. I'm often gripped by a venal envy and also I often see slights where they are not intended.
5. A three-day weekend will save me from myself (I hope).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love and play. And a mouse update.

Love: Happy Valentine's Day to the people.

Play: I sure do get a gigantic charge out of the little techno-toys. Thanks to middlebrow for putting a thingie on his blog, thus inciting me to explore it myself. It's good, though, don't you think? Just to play with stuff like this as the amateur that I most certainly am?

It feels analogous to the fun running son is having in his film-making class, which he's taking for the second time--bright boy, who's maybe really having a joy-of-learning experience for the first time in a long while (again, except for basketball class). To bring everyone down by citing a poem, it's also like Yeats said:

"Labour is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul.
Nor beauty born out of its own despair,
Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil."

("Among School Children")

Mouse update: Seven (maybe eight--see chart below) mice later, each released unharmed into the wilds of the field behind the house, we seem to be slowing down, perhaps meaning that for now, we are statistically mouse-free.

Incidence of Mouse Collection
Using Humane Mouse Trap

Or else that the mice are plotting their revenge.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I don't have no money, but baby I'm rich in personality.

Thank the Lord for YouTube, because I got to watch Prince--I ask you, who rocks harder?--cover the Foo Fighters and Ike and Tina Turner, and I didn't have to actually watch the Super Bowl. You, too, can view this epic performance:

Part I
Part II

Argument of last resort.

Mark Stivers

Friday, February 09, 2007

Mouse heaven.

One day this week, while I was making my lunch, I saw a small mammal streak across the back of the counter against the backsplash. I shrieked--a bonafide, girlish shriek. I managed to locate the critter--his long tail gave him away--and I had managed to get my mouse-trapping towel in hand. The wee bastard looked up at me. Face to face. The cheek! The nerve! Brazen, shameless, clearly without a clear sense of his place in the scheme of things, i.e., not allowed in my kitchen while I am making lunch!

After several fruitless sallies with the towel at the very bold mouse --alas, to no avail!, hence the term "fruitless"--I gave up. The mouse leapt from the counter, across the floor, and to parts unknown, i.e., parts invisible to me, in the crazy mouse-lair that is apparently my kitchen. The thought of it made me a little twitchy. I called the historian to announce this mouse activity, information which he absorbed with his customary equanimity.

Our cat has done a fair degree of mouse-killing this winter, as well. It's because we live on the verge of a big field, and it's been a very cold winter. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway. Luckily I had, with a fair degree of prescience, ordered this, in a very prudent set of four:

Humane Mouse Trap!

You bait it with a cracker smeared with peanut butter, which, in the fiendishly clever ("humane," they say in the ad--HA!) design of the trap, the mouse cannot ever reach, but can only smell! Thus, when the mouse enters the trap, driven mad by the divine aroma of roasted and ground nuts, the back door snaps and the mouse pounds the perforated walls with its little paws, saying "Attica! Attica!"

At this point, you take the contraption outside and release the rodent, preferably with a little blessing. "Vaya con dios, wee bastard," for instance.

Three mousies so far, and it's been only twenty-four hours since we set the traps. Tomorrow, we start the mad disinfecting. Like, forever.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I'm sorry it hurts so much.

Here is a picture of running son's foot, as he unbandages it:

Once he got it unwrapped, there was a five-inch long bruise along the outside of the foot which is at the moment purple and which will, no doubt, turn all the colors of the bruise rainbow over the next few days. (In consideration of the exquisite sensibilities of my readers, I am sparing you an actual photo of the actual bruise.) He rolled/sprained his ankle in basketball class and has been icing, elevating, and, as you can see, wrapping it.

He took off the wrap in order to take a shower, but the unwrapping was quite an ordeal. For some reason, he believed that athletic tape would not hurt to remove, but of course, there he was wrong. "Coach White told me I should shave it," he said, with an "as if!" snicker in his voice.

That was before the hurting started in earnest. "Do you think this is actually pulling out hair?" he said. I told him I thought so, probably yes. He had to rest in between pulls. After one particularly huge ouch, he said, "What IS hair, anyway? What is its alibi?" Such a good question.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Eaten by dogs.

After a hectic Friday, involving work at school in the morning, a dash home to let the dogs out, and a dash back to school for tenure meetings, I hopped in the car and dashed up to Logan to visit college daughter. We had a whirlwind 24 hour nonstop fun-fest, including the viewing of three (3) films; the consumption of dinner, breakfast, and lunch; a spot of shopping; a swapping of certain music files; and chatter, klatsching, and catching up.

The movies were The Queen (second viewing for me--held up well); The Last King of Scotland (I asked the guy at the Logan Art Cinema what the film was like. He hadn't seen it, so he inspected the rating notes on the poster. "Strong violence and gruesome images," he announced. "You'll have to tell me after you see it." For the record, I concur with the official ratings notes. ); and Because I Said So, which is every bit as not-good as all the reviews say, and yet, go figure, I somehow still enjoyed it.

The big dining news in Logan is the Crumb Brothers bakery, where you can have a lovely breakfast of truly inspired pastries, and you can also have a lovely lunch. We had breakfast. College daughter is considering transferring someplace closer to home, so this may be my last trip up to visit her in Logan. But it might be worth going there sometime just for the bread, I kid you not. Anyway, if you're in Logan, you should go there. The only sad part of this story is that the loaf of wonderful whole wheat bread I brought home was mysteriously eaten--two-thirds of it, anyway--by dogs while the historian and I were out tonight.

Shopping moratorium update: I bought college daughter a new pair of jeans and a few shirts, a belt and some gloves. Myself I bought a red undershirt (see necessary underwear exception clause of moratorium below). Otherwise, nothing. The photographic record:

Shopping but not buying (dressing rooms at Old Navy, where college daughter is trying on clothes)

Who doesn't need orange and ochre leather gloves? On clearance? For $7 a pair? I put these back, though.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A brief history of my life (in pictures).

As a result of my new whirlwind of winnowing, straightening, and reshuffling, otherwise known as "I'm not buying new clothes or books" behavior, I have culled a fat pile of photos that I've been scanning in and uploading to Flickr. I may be the only one having fun, but on the other hand, I certainly am having fun, and that's at least a good part of the point.

Here are some of the artifacts from my past that I have found:

I.D. Card

At eighteen

Make-up artist daughter and running son in dinosaur blanket


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