Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The historian and I are celebrating our tenth anniversary, taking a little trip to the coast. Looking forward to it so much! I really can never get quite enough of the ocean and how the air feels when you're there.

Here's what I've done to get ready for this trip, yesterday and today:
  • had breakfast with my makeup artist daughter and grandson yesterday
  • visited singing son's wife and tiny son today
  • chatted with college daughter
  • exchanged excellent e-mails with running son in Malaysia
  • chatted with Scotland daughter
  • sent packets of poems to six journals and my manuscript to five competitions
  • picked up a Dublin detective novel from the library's robot
  • cleaned up the kitchen
  • ate up some leftovers for dinner
  • watched the Jazz finish off the T-wolves
  • watched Damages
  • listened to the Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • engaged in a little organizing and rabble-rousing
  • developed a wardrobe concept
And now, I am off to turn that wardrobe concept into a little thing we call "packing." I love the historian! The people, I will talk to you when I get back.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fear the Jazz.

That is the title of a post on one of's blogs today. That's right people, I am listening to sports talk radio in the morning, reading sports blogs late at night: it's how we know it's time to let your freak flag fly for the Jazz, and here are just a few of the reasons why:
  • Williams is rocking the free world with his supple yet muscular play.
  • Korver, when he's on, has a beautiful shot rivaled by almost no one's. (Ray Allen: I know you're listening.)
  • Paul Millsap, blowing minds from coast to coast, and making his free throws.
  • Mehmet Okur: the Turk. Do I need to say more?
  • Kirilenko, adding the x-factor that makes everything better when he's playing.
  • Brewer, C.J., and Price: spark and athleticism and everything nice.
  • Harpring, playing like he means it and getting up after a hard foul just like his dad told him.
  • Knight providing solid backup.
  • Even Collins has a moment from time to time.
  • has it occurred to anyone that we have one of the best benches around?
  • we are beating awesome teams, one after another.
And now, your Utah Jazz, with extra Boozer!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Jane's addiction.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted some links to radio that would improve your life, including some information that may not have fully riveted your attention, to wit: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.

Now this:
Minor pandemonium ensued in the blogosphere this month after Quirk Books announced the publication of . . . an edition of Austen’s classic juiced up with “all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem” by a Los Angeles television writer named Seth Grahame-Smith. (First line: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”)
Next year, there will be Jane Bites Back (in which the exploited author revenges herself vampire-style upon all the people who've been making money off her work since her death). What's next for Ms. Austen the Mashup?  Will Mr. Darcy prove to have been a cyborg all along?  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscars: A Report Card.

Hugh Jackman opening number:  A

Anne Hathaway's performance as Nixon:  A

Not showing clips of the nominated acting performances: D. Whose big idea was that?

Having actors/actresses give tributes to the nominated actors/actresses:  B+. Kind of sweet!

Musical number featuring Beyonce, Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Hugh J., and Zac/Vanessa:  C-. (My son-in-law said he wants to know what Mickey Rourke thinks about the putative comeback of the musical.)

Seth Rogen/James Franco segment on this year's comedies: A+.  Was that Janusz Kaminski with them?  And did he say he loved Zohan?  Hilarious. 

Bill Maher:  B+ for giving props to the documentaries; D for shameless and graceless self-promotion.  I am mad at Bill Maher lately, because I am pretty sure he is an unrepentant misogynist.  Correct me if I am wrong.

Overall performance:  a solid B.  Maybe a B+.  We watched it at my daughter's house; we had a pool to which we each contributed a finsky and singing son and his lovely wife won it going away with a sweep (I'm not even sure if that's a real thing, since I am not much of a better).  We DVRed it, so we skipped over the speeches for the technical awards--somebody tell me if we missed anything.   

Now, it's time to watch some more movies.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Feathers: a disquisition.

According to one of my very favorite tools, the American Heritage Dictionary, Appendix I, Indo-European Roots, the word feather stems from the root -pet, which means "to rush, fly," and is related in very deep, very ancient ways to the following:  
  • petition
  • compete
  • impetuous
  • perpetual
  • repeat
  • propitious
  • apteryx and archaeopteryx 
  • peripateia, and 
  • symptom.
If, as that brilliant but reclusive American poet once had it, hope is the thing with feathers, are the poems I just sent out to journals 
  • pleading their case? 
  • fighting for victory? 
  • ill-judged? 
  • ever going to get published? 
  • a sign of a compulsive disorder? 
  • lucky, possibly, just possibly? 
  • written in an archaic and possibly dead language? 
  • doomed to circulate forever? 
  • an illness?

Friday, February 20, 2009

I have a few questions.

1.  Who likes breakfast?  

I know I do.  In fact, breakfast is a consistent pleasure, day to day.  This morning I ate an omelet, with excellent sourdough toast, at Bambara with my friend--it was elegant and delicious and a complete joy.  Afterward, I took a walk with another friend, who asked me where I had eaten for breakfast.  When I told her, she exclaimed, "Oh! That's elegant!   When you told me you were having breakfast, I thought a muffin somewhere."  I could have explained about how, if you want a muffin in this world, you must make it yourself.  But I spared her a reprise of the Muffin Manifesto.  Tomorrow, however, there will be waffles.   Oh yes!  There will be waffles. 

2.  What could be more fun than watching the Oscar-nominated Live-Action Shorts Program? 

  Well, some things, probably . . . but it is fun to watch them.  You can find them on iTunes-- the historian and I particularly recommend the Danish one, The Pig, and the French one, Manon on the Asphalt.

3.   How many books should be on my reading list?

That's the reading list of books I want to read before school starts in the fall.  Actually, to date, the list is only an ether-list--I am contemplating making this list.  I began this contemplation this afternoon, after I read, with relish, the sports page from yesterday.   Even The Monson could not harsh my happiness about the Jazz.  So, I took my glasses off, began to drift into a tiny afternoon nap-glow with winning basketball high notes.  But then the phone rang, the Salt Lake Valley Police/Firemen Confederation or something, which I did not answer, but which did interfere with the nap-project.  So that left me scanning my shelves, which are full--full!--of unread books.  Hence, the putative list. So the answer to the question is, lots.

4.  How 'bout that Jazz?

How 'bout that Jazz!

5.  What should you do when you have a bunch of turnips you haven't thought of a recipe for?

Peel them and eat them raw. Good for you and delicious.

6.  What next?

Maybe the Oscar-nominated animated shorts tomorrow evening.  I am so prepared for the Academy Awards.  The readiness is all.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

When exactly do I have to go back to work?

This panic-inducing question seems to pop up in my head more frequently these days.  But panic is a sad way to spend your days.  Instead, I shall enumerate what I am doing with myself:
  • finished a tome.
  • started and finished a Dublin detective novel.
  • reserved one more of the Dublin novels at my library; ordered used copies of the rest of them from Amazon, because hey, I have to go back to work soon, and I need to read those books. I don't have time for the library's robot to figure out that they're missing half a dozen Dublin detective novels! for my reading enjoyment!  Sometimes a girl's gotta take matters into her own hands.
  • played around with Adobe Illustrator because it's fun.
  • made a modest tiny little movie.
  • played around with Garage Band.
  • worked on an elegy.
  • worked on another poem.
  • wrote down some notes for another poem.
  • Re-read "Ode to Federico Garcia Lorca":  
When you fly dressed as a peach tree,
when you laugh with a laugh of hurricaned rice,
when to sing you shake arteries and teeth,
throat and fingers,
I could die for how sweet you are,
I could die for the red lakes
where in the midst of autumn you live
with a fallen steed and a bloodied god,
I could die for the cemeteries
that pass like ash-gray rivers
with water and tombs,
at night, among drowned bells:
rivers as thick as wards
of sick soldiers, that suddenly grow
toward death in rivers with marble numbers
and rotted crowns, and funeral oils:
I could die to see you at night
watching the sunken crosses go by,
standing and weeping,
because before death's river you weep
forlornly, woundedly, [abandonadamente, heridamente,
you weep weeping, your eyes filled [lloras llorando, con los ojos llenos
with tears, with tears, with tears. [de lagrimas, de lagrimas, de lagrimas.
  • re-read "Lycidas":
Yet once more, O ye Laurels, and once more
Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never-sear,
I com to pluck your Berries harsh and crude,
And with forc'd fingers rude,
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year. 
Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear,
Compels me to disturb your season due:
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer:
Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew 
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.
He must not flote upon his watry bear
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind,
Without the meed of som melodious tear.
  • had lunch with my friend
  • saw Che (I know, you already know this, but it's my list, and it needs to be complete)
  • saw Confessions of a Shopaholic with my daughter
  • watched plenty of high-quality television
  • read part of an article in CCC on holy cards/immaginette (isn't that a great word?)
  • bought some yellow shoes
  • contemplated these words from Frank Bidart:  "you cannot make me feel embarrassment at what I find beautiful"
  • took Bruiser on several walks
  • admired the stormy sky yesterday
  • felt the wet, raw edge of spring in the air
The week's not over yet, my friends.  Tomorrow:  breakfast with my friend, a walk with another friend, an appointment with the historian, then movies! and vegetables with Chad! and visiting my grandson! and the Oscars over at my daughter's!  Moreover I have plans to consider the following:
  • high culture--symphony, ballet, opera, theater--why do I resist?
  • how does urge fit into everything else?
  • pantoum--a poem about a movie, The Strangers
  • the word "scry"
  • flesh flesh flesh
I am psyched.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Indicators of my character.

Is there a poetry reading tonight?  Yes, there is.

Do I like and appreciate this poet's work?  Yes, in fact I do.

But is one of my favorite television shows on tonight? One with fiendishly complex plotting, one that I desperately anticipate each week?  Yes, a brand new episode.

Do I, in fact, have DVR for just such occasions as these?  Yes, I do.

Am I in attendance at the reading?  No, I am not. Clearly.

And does the television show start in eleven minutes?  Yes, it does. Actually, five minutes.

And will I be watching it? And will it all have been worthwhile?  Yes.  Yes, I will watch it and it will definitely--definitively--have been worthwhile.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The last word from the realm of Faerie.

My big fat novel came to an immensely satisfying close today. In a big plot-driven novel, you don't maybe expect that you'll continue to be surprised all the way to the end, but I was, several times, and the ending was so elegant it brought a tear to my eye and gave me a frisson of delight at the same time. At almost eight hundred pages, that's saying quite a bit.

So, I'm recommending that you all read this book. Don't you want to?  After how long I've gone on and on about it? and whined about the largeness of it?  Well, I think you should.  Here are my guidelines for reading it, extracted painstakingly from my experience, especially for you, to make your life easier, because that's just how I am:

1. Get a paperback copy, because the hardback copy is (a) large, ergo (b) heavy, unwieldy, and in general a pain to wrangle.

2. Get your own copy, because it will take you longer than your library's slightly ungenerous three weeks to finish it. I'd offer you my copy, but it's the hardback (see (1) above).

3. Be prepared, just like a Boy Scout, to go with the eddies and flows. Admire the style. Do not skip the footnotes.

4. Right--there are footnotes. Don't let that scare you.

5. Hope against hope that when they make this into a movie, they don't screw it up.  

Monday, February 16, 2009

I am not a revolutionary.

--but I don't mind seeing one in a movie.  Today, for President's Day, the historian and I decided to go see Che, in honor of the first president of the United States, who was a revolutionary, too.  Or something like that--maybe we just wanted to see it because we love the movies.  Anthony Lane recommended seeing the films back-to-back--"for full revolutionary flavor"--with a break for a mojito in between, so that's what we did, except it was a Coke and some pizza.  (Anthony Lane: you are a smart ass.  When they make the movie of your life, you will play yourself, because no one's ass is as smart as yours.  No one's.)

I recommend the film, both parts.  It was engrossing and so beautifully made, and it did what such a film should do, which is to make you want to know more about the history.  Also, it didn't glorify, particularly, the central figure, nor did it vilify; it presented him in a rich and interesting context which was clearly quite painstakingly researched.  Even so, the film didn't feel research-y--it felt lived in and vivid.  Quite wonderful really, and I also thought it was pretty brave not to make the whole film arc toward some kind of giant, falsified catharsis.  Because history, and revolutions, aren't like that, no matter how the propaganda goes, or how many Che t-shirts get sold.  (Bonus:  here's a very interesting interview with Steven Soderbergh about this film (via kottke).)

And while we're on that subject, let me pause to say that Steven Soderbergh has made a lot of films that are among my absolute, all time favorites:  King of the Hill (a little seen, fairly early one, set in the Depression, that I think is just splendid); Out of Sight; The Limey; and, frankly, his take on Solaris.  He can go ahead and make Full Frontal (which I also saw) or Ocean's 957, as long as he comes back to make such gorgeous, fresh, brave films as these.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Checklist: after the fact.

Did I
  • have "bake valentine cookies" on my before-I-left To Do list?
  • forget the one item of clothing that would have tied certain outfits together?
  • bring snacks for the plane?
  • read a handful of trashy magazines?
  • work on my manuscript?
  • record my poems for the Utah Arts Council Bite-Size Poems project? In someone's hotel room?
  • hear some poetic heroes read?
  • hear Art Spiegelman's evening lecture?
  • recommit to loving visual art?
  • buy some books?
  • get some subscriptions?
  • dream about dinner reservations?
  • eat dinners at some swanky places?
  • forget to bring my bought-for-this-purpose fancy power bars?
  • fail to sleep much the last night, and therefore sleep on the plane on the way home?
  • have an awesome time?
[answer key: yes, yes, yes, yes, no, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes] 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hog-butcher of the world.

At Epic Burger today:

ME: I want the Portobello sandwich, on a whole wheat bun.

CUTE GIRL TAKING MY ORDER: Do you want bacon or cheese on that?

ME (thinking): Ummmmmm . . . bacon.

CUTE GIRL (nods approvingly): Nice.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tome update: still fat, still reading.

I am still reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, the book of yore that I began several weeks ago.  The book got so heavy I had to take a break from it and read some paperback detective novels.  That completed, I then took up the weighty volume againe.  And it is very interesting and I have just decided that it would make a splendid film and perhaps even a splendid movie.  

Yet:  my wrists are tired.  Verily, even mine forearms weary from hoisting the mighty fiction into reading position. 

I read on.



Monday, February 09, 2009

M.I.A. vs. M.I.A.

 (Photos courtesy of Go Fug Yourself: because fugly is the new pretty.)
If M.I.A. has to fight herself in order to establish style dominance, which version of her, last night at the Grammys, wins? the dress in which polka dot patches are kind of like a deconstructed Minnie Mouse, covering--sort of--relevant body parts? Accessorized by awesome white trainers. And sun glasses.  And let's not forget the sheer footless tights.

OR:  would it be the huge kimono satin-y thing that can double as a parachute in case she has to jump out of a plane to deliver her baby which is due, like, yesterday, adding a potentially MacGyver-esque aspect to this outfit?  Also, is that an acid-yellow bra peeking out? To complement the awesome blue trainers? (Ignore irrelevant accessory in the form of Katy Perry.)

It would be hard to call the outcome of this, right?  But I say it ends in a draw, with both versions so way out there, they take the breath away, however you might have experienced that.  Way to go, M.I.A.  

[Note:  I have shamelessly ripped off this idea--X vs. Y--from The Cut, New York Magazine's fashion blog.  In the spirit of Larry Lessig, I am calling it a remix.]

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A little thing about Japan.

Maybe a year and a half ago, I read this story in the New York Times, about a Shinto shrine on the west side of Honshu, Japan, at Izumo, Shimane Prefecture.  This is the oldest Shinto shrine in Japan.  The shrine needed renovations--actually, a new roof--which necessitated the removal of the god inside.  Which the priests removed, the god being covered by a cloth; and now, people who want to can go inside to see some of the parts of the shrine that are normally seen only by priests.  People have flocked, and I sure wish I could too. 

There are a zillion photos of this shrine.  Here are a few I've been poring over (I've also zoomed in on it using GoogleEarth) while working on a poem I'm calling "Seven Clouds":

The building to the far left, with the spiky wheels at the pitch of the roof, is the inner shrine. (from The Office of Resources and International Area Studies at Berkeley)

An old postcard. (from No-sword)

The enormous rope hung from the lintel 
is kind of amazing.  This is at the entrance 
of the more public, hence less sacred, building. 
(From dissidence at Picasaweb)

When I was eight my family moved to Japan--we lived there till I was twelve, or thereabouts.  We never went to the far side of Honshu, which is apparently very different from the more urban side, the Tokyo side. Less urban, wilder.  I am brooding about this place, with its shrines and samurai dwellings and medieval castles and moveable gods.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Too much to do.

There's the rabble-rousing, the Saturday night date, the breakfasting with a friend, the planning of a future breakfast with my sister.  There's the figuring out of how to make my website work with my new computer.  Pasta to eat and a dog to walk, the novel about early English magic to finish and the new detective novels to begin.  A poem to revise. Documents to gather for missionary son. Vegetables to buy.

Che and Revolutionary Road to see.  And He's Just Not That Into You.

Enough sleep to get.

Clothes to hang up, packing to plan, a birthday card to mail.  Valentines.  

In other news, Important Radio that Will Improve Your Life Alert:
You might be tempted to skip listening to these, but do not!  Seriously.  Your life will so be improved, almost as if you'd simultaneously stopped smoking and bought a new iMac.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Slow down, already.

I have been thinking for awhile about how deplorable I find the state of movie reviewing these days.  

Exhibit A:  The Reader.  I will not make any grand claims about this film--I thought it was flawed, with the balance being a little off between the sexual affair the boy has with the Kate Winslet character, and what comes after it; still, I found the film to be serious, a consideration of how people might come to terms with a horrifying history that I found to be something like an allegory.  Yet the bile people have heaped on this film is quite amazing.  Moreover, when the Oscar nominations came out, so did the rage--it was as if the reviewers had coarsened and cheapened their own views, so that Dana Stevens, for instance, summarized the film as "Boo hoo, I slept with an illiterate Nazi."  Wow.  (sorry, I can't find a working link on Slate for this piece.)

Okay, I thought there was another exhibit, but maybe not.  I have been a little overly-exercised about The Reader.  I wouldn't have nominated this film as a Best Picture (ditto Frost/Nixon, at which I had a perfectly good time, but come on), but I don't understand the hate.  I heard someone talking on NPR in the most glib way imaginable about how Holocaust films are Oscar-bait, arguing that perhaps there should be a moratorium on Holocaust films. 

Right.  Because at the point when most of the people who were around during that period of time, in some way involved in that historical moment, are gone or going, it's good to stop trying to figure out what it meant.  Surely by now we've figured every single thing there is to understand about those events.  And surely, therefore, a film that might in fact be seeking some prestige can be nothing but that, a prestige-seeking artifact, rather than another story that tries, in a flawed way, certainly, but tries nonetheless, to imagine what it might be like to grow up in the generation after the Holocaust, in Germany, surrounded by people who aren't all that interested in talking about any of it.  That project would be a specious one, because there are too many Holocaust movies.

Smug, snarky movie reviewers, so so cynical . . . they make me so mad.

Just this week, I read a reconsideration of Waterworld.  Did any of you see this movie?  I sure did, and I wondered about that one, too--why there was so very much hate of it when I thought it was actually kind of cool and certainly interesting.  Well, now it turns out that the film may have been an eco-parable, ahead of its time.  So what if Kevin Costner was full of himself back then?  Isn't every artist (yes, I said artist) kind of full of him or herself sometimes?  If they weren't no one would ever make a thing--you have to trust me on this.  

Ditto Ishtar.  I saw that movie later, after the burnings-in-effigy were over, and I laughed. What the hell?  

Finally, let me say that I checked in, as I do from time to time, to Joshua Clover's blog, jane dark's sugarhigh!  He may be a smarty-pants extraordinaire--but he did admirable critical work in this post on Che, and this post on the SF MOMA.  Also, this post, where he discusses M.I.A.'s song "Paper Planes" in a way that completely altered how I understood the song. (If you dig around a little, you can find high snark passing as film criticism--but it's pretty good snark:  he suggests that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is really Meet Joe Blackward. Ha.)

Basically, what I really want in a critic--and maybe that's the difference:  who are the actual critics, as distinct from reviewers?--is someone who will help me be more thoughtful about what I am seeing, what I have seen, or what I am about to see, or hear, or view.  Someone who might take just a moment to give a film more than a passing thought.  Someone who might let the ideas of the film play in the mind long enough to hear what it has to say.  And maybe a movie reviewer doesn't have time to do this.  But I hope there are critics who can and who will.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

If you want my advice.

I love advice columns, and I love advice columnists.  Wow, do they ever have confidence in giving people they have never, ever met some urging about what to do next, how to think, what to order for dinner, and how to vote.  And what they should do for a living.  For instance:
I am 53 and have decided to chuck 30 years in the garment industry to become a high-school history teacher. Is one ever too old to make such a career change? What can a late-middle-aged rookie teacher expect?

Peter Hoelter
Los Angeles, California

Dear Peter,

Fifty-three is a fine age to make a change. Fifty-four is too late. One thing you should know: students today have a great deal of knowledge. This knowledge is wrong, because it comes from Wikipedia, but they know more wrong things than you did in high school. A word of caution: because of texting and cell-phone cameras, you will have no time at all to set your reputation. Before you finish teaching your first class, every student will know whether you are, to borrow a word the kids today may or may not use, a tool. Avoid this by remembering one thing: you are not their friend, you are their teacher. A little distance can produce great authority.
This is from a newly-undertaken advice column called "What's Your Problem?" at The Atlantic 
(Mildred Krebs: "This advice column is a bad idea.  If I want advice I'll ask a friend, or go online.  Are you going to join in the trivializing of the media?  Will horoscopes be far behind? You are watering down your brand!"  
WYP?: "Dear Mildred, Please don't worry.  It's not as if we'd put a photograph of Britney Spears on the cover.").
So far, so good.

Now if there's one thing I believe, one principle by which I live my life, it's that no one should have to suffer the uncertainties of this world, which is full of quandaries, without good, trustworthy advice. Since I, better than anyone, know this, here are some of my favorite advice columnists:  

Dear Prudence, at Slate.  It used to be Margo Howard, Ann Landers's daughter, who wrote a great column, I thought, though apparently she has turned a little mean.  Now it's Emily Yoffe, and I think she does a pretty good job as well.

Carolyn Hax. The Tribune publishes her alternatively with an advice columnist I am much less fond of (she suffers from excessive earnestness, but I read her anyway, because I need me some daily advice. Even if it irks me and I roll my eyes.). Ms. Hax, on the other hand, while perhaps risking a teensy bit of smugness, is always super smart, a good writer, and witty when it's called for.  

Ask E. Jean, in ELLE.  Her tagline is "Tormented? Driven Witless? Whipsawed by Confusion?" Which, let's be serious: aren't we all?  

The Ethicist, aka Randy Cohen.  Interesting and funny--serious daily-life ethical questions. Always, always worth the time.

Social Q's, written by Philip Galanes.  New-ish, very funny: etiquette questions, sorted.

Miss Manners, aka Judith Martin.  I remember reading a bit from her column--someone wrote in to ask what, if anything, one might say when conversing on the telephone, and it becomes abundantly clear that one's interlocutor is eating whilst chatting.  Miss Manners suggested that one might say, "I beg your pardon, but I can hardly hear you--it seems there's a carrot on the line."  As a result of this advice, I feel certain that I am a better person--I keep it in mind when, upon occasion, I need to be eating something (let's say potato chips) while talking on the phone--I try at least to keep it sotto cruncho.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Just one more thing.

My mom wrote me today, to talk a little bit about libraries (Robt. Kirby wrote about libraries in the Trib this a.m.)--she grew up in the rural South, so for her, the library was a bookmobile.  She said this:  
It brought to my mind the part bookmobiles had played in my life.  They certainly were instrumental in my youth in bringing books to our rural community.  The bookmobile came about every three or four weeks but it was wonderful and the only source of reading material available to me.  I have been reading incessantly ever since.
This reminded me of this awesome Library Bus in Sweden:

[via dezeen]

Just thought you'd all like to know about it. Make sure to click the link above for more pictures--the interior, for instance, where all the books are.

The blessed isle.

I have the Mac.  

'Tis glorious.

And though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil,
For thou, O Mac, art with me.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

On my own: a little whine, with a dog story.

I like being alone.  I like shaping my own day and I like consulting my very own self about what I should do and when.  Of course, I like being with my friends and my beloveds, but what I'm saying is, I do find a lot of pleasure in solitude.


Today I felt almost itchy, I wanted so much to be in contact.  Stuff's going on at work, I'm missing my colleagues, there are never any e-mails, where are my updates?  It's made me a little snappish. However, I do have this to report:
Today, after I picked up Bruiser's poop in a poop-pick-up bag thingie, and I was trying to tie it off while my hands were in gloves, and we were crossing the street at one of our usual street-crossing places, and then there was a cat which he was very interested in, and I was saying, "No! No!," still tying off the poop bag and then, after the cat went into the garage and Bruiser was still looking backward as she disappeared, the little dog at that same house came roaring out into the front yard to the very edge of the chain link fence, barking like he was a T-Rex and Bruiser was going to be his snack, and Bruiser got in his play crouch and then dashed off, while I was holding onto the leash and trying to finish tying off the poop and I got whirled around and the leash flew out of my hands, the poop bag went flying, and I fell.  I'm pretty sure you could see daylight between me and the sidewalk at that point.  I didn't get hurt but it did make me feel mad.  
And when I got back home from this walk/debacle?  Still no e-mails.  

Whine out.

Monday, February 02, 2009

My life is so busy, I can barely watch all my shows.

For instance, tonight, Monday night, is 

(a) The Closer
(b) Trust Me
(c) an important rerun of Saving Grace from its first season, in preparation for new episodes in March

and, painfully,

(d) a concert in our jazz series.

So I put my DVR into service.  This scenario has happened more than once.  There was a concert a couple of weeks ago, before the above shows had started, but there was--in fact, these shows were also on tonight!--

(e) Big Bang Theory
(f) How I Met Your Mother
(g) Two and a Half Men (reader, I confess it.  I know it is unworthy.)

(The concerts were both lovely, thank you for asking, despite the small amount of discretionary whining I did about how I would rather stay home and watch my shows than go out to watch some jazz concert which might be lame.) However, I have hours--hours!--of DVR'd television.  

Of course, it's even more complicated than the labyrinthine dilemma outlined above.  The DVR is attached to the downstairs television.  (Don't even get me started on why.)  And the downstairs, while infinitely groovier than it once was (see: retrotastic blue sectional couch), is so very very cold.  Cold and icy.  Venture not into the basement without thine cozy blanket. And mittens, probably.

Yet, you say, there are hours and hours in the sabbatical day when one could knock off these recorded shows.  Hours and hours to watch television while bundled up in the basement.  A person could cross these shows off the to-do list, in an afternoon, probably--or a couple of afternoons, tops.  The problem with that is:  I am actually writing these days.  Oh yeah.  I am writing.  So all this recorded television is building up, I'm writing, there's the odd jazz concert, the basement's cold.  Who knows when the shows will get watched? Someone's got to do it, and someone's got to get her priorities in order.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Qu'est-ce que c'est, "super"?

Ah yes, the Super Bowl:  the moment in the sporting year when football concludes and we can all heave a sigh of relief.  That is what it means, right?  

Okay, I watched the last maybe five minutes (game minutes--we all know that game minutes are infinitely expandable, so those five lasted, what, an hour? an hour and a half?), and that was exciting, all the touchdownery and awesome receiving and sharp passing and whatnot.  In fact, if I could watch about ten minutes of action-packed football--what I believe is called "the highlight reel"--I might love football.  I used to think I didn't like football because I didn't understand it.  I have made an effort to understand it better, with the result that I still don't like it very much, so I guess it's because all that strategery (technical term) and marching up the field and lateralizing and all the lines--it just doesn't lift my heart and make it sing.  I will be happy to concede this is something wrong with me and nothing wrong with the game.  But my heart doth beat a little faster, now that football season is over for a good long while, and baseball doesn't get going for several weeks and so there is basketball:  beautiful, soaring basketball, which is currently a little hard to watch because of the horrible injury crisis plaguing the Utah Jazz.

Cooking news:  I had the splendid idea of making popovers this morning but the not-fully-splendid idea of putting them in the oven before the oven had fully preheated.  Alert: popovers require a fully preheated oven in order to pop, as it were.  I blame it on my not-fully-awake status.  Thus, our popovers were dense rather than airy, edible but not inspiring, a little bit sad, a little bit disappointing, and yet, still breakfast, so we ate them like the hungry people we were,  and are.  


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