Friday, February 25, 2011

A little tragic.

Brief statements concerning the movies.

1. In our preparations for the Academy Awards, we have been unstinting. We have seen the documentary shorts, the people. THE SHORTS.

However, we have not viewed 127 Hours, citing the little-known "I am not required to watch movies where guys saw off their own arms" clause of the Movie Enthusiast's Commitment Contract. Nor have we seen Javier Bardem in Biutiful. Javier Bardem is, indeed, biutiful, but I understand from my "sources" (two young women we talked to in the lobby at the movies last week) that the movie is hella depressing.

Therefore, we ate Mexican food and I watched episodes of Veronica Mars.

[brief aria on Veronica Mars:] O! Veronica! Had I known how very good you were, I would not have said, "Who in the hell is this Kristen Bell?" when I first saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Instead, I would have basked in the glow Veronica Mars cast forever upon Kristen Bell, kind of like the glow The Man Who Would Be King and, let's be honest, all the James Bonds, cast forever upon Sean Connery, even though he mostly made crap for most of his career. I love Veronica Mars, and that is all.

Also, we watched the 30 Rock episode we missed last night because we went to a poetry reading. High culture! It is so distracting from important television!

2. There are certain people whose performances was robbed in terms of Oscar nominations. As if you care, right, but in case you do:
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, for Shutter Island;
  • Pierce Brosnan, for The Ghost Writer;
  • Greta Gerwig, for Greenberg;
  • Andrew Garfield for every single thing he was in this year;
  • Noomi Rapace, for all those Girl With movies;
  • Catherine Keener, for Please Give;
  • Russell Brand, for Get Him to the Greek;
  • Bill Murray, Robert Duvall, and Sissy Spacek, for Get Low;
  • Matt Damon, for True Grit.
Also, are we sure we didn't find Andrew Garfield's to be a likable character in The Social Network? I am pretty sure that he was.

3. We will be watching the Academy Awards with family. There will be food and there will be friendly wagering. And probably loud talking and some arguing. It will be great.

4. I was so tired tonight, at the end of a looooong four-day week, that I didn't want to go see a worthy movie. And there weren't any unworthy ones I wanted to see. That is a little tragic, in my own personal opinion, if you want to know.

But I did find out that the lead guy from The Dandy Warhols, Courtney Taylor-Taylor, has a series of one sentence movie reviews on the official The Dandy Warhols website. Sample review: Of the 1967 Lee Marvin Point Blank, Taylor-Taylor says this: "This movie is so totally fuggin cool that I didnt really mind the little bit of bad acting and editing which included some real ham-fisting by Star Trek’s very own Dr Roger Corby whose name it took me going to sleep and waking up to fully recall without any help from imdb."

Oh, okay, another one: of the aforementioned 2008 Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Taylor-Taylor says, "Don’t let the lame-ass “Something-ing Someone” title fool you, this flick is only about twelve lines shy of being the perfect gutbusting break up comedy of all time."

(I don't think I could get sick of writing "Taylor-Taylor" for a very long time.)

(Also, the reason I am listening to The Dandy Warhols and going on their website and reading their one-sentence movie reviews and all is not because of one of the greatest songs of all time, "The Last High," but because the theme song for Veronica Mars is a The Dandy Warhols song. And it is good. The people, I am in the grip of a small obsession.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Q: Whatsoever did happen to the three little dogs?
A: Well, it was high drama. Online, on the website for the animal shelter of my city, it said that they (a) were not open on Saturdays, (b) were closed before we could get home on the worky-work days of last week, (c) were possibly scary and disheartening to visit (not on the website), (d) whatsoever would we do, and whatsoever would become of the three little dogs?

Well, after said dogs had been at our house for a week, cozily ensconced in our laundry room/enclosed porch, we decided we really needed to take them to the shelter, since we were getting no action from our flyers/sign/newspaper ad. So running son and I (with a heavy heart) took the dogs to the shelter.

Where the shelter folks were, of course, very nice, but only after interrogating me as to whether I found said dogs, and to wit, within the city limits. And where the young woman working the desk said, "I know who those dogs belong to." And lo! the heavens did sing, for there was within the city limits of my city a man who has four (FOUR) Shih Tzu dogs, and he had picked up one of them (not one we found), and had said these magic words to the young woman: "I am still missing three (THREE) Shih Tzus."

And the young woman did remember these words, and did repeat them unto us after which she rang the gent whose Shih Tzus we had in our wriggle-filled arms, so that she could deliver the message. BAM.

Q: Where have you been, hightouchmegastore?
A: At an undisclosed location.

Q: And what did you eat there?
A: Tacos pescados. Shrimp and fries. Salmon hash. Mussels and frites. Gougeres. Pear tartlet with honey ice cream.

Q: And what awaited you upon your return home?
A: The kids and grandkids came over for lasagne and gelato. We took down the Christmas decor. High spirits and merriment. Three fewer alien dogs in the house.

Q: And are you rested and ready to fight another day?
A: Boy howdy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Open letter to the word "indefatigable."

Dear the word "indefatigable,"

I just spelled you for my husband, the historian, who is copy-editing a manuscript he has worked on for many, many years, because it is about to be published. There's a certain justice to that. He has worked without fail, without complaint, and with great dedication on that manuscript. He spent countless hours in archives, looking at microfiche, and then scouring old newspapers online for mention of socialists, anarchists, and other assorted radicals in the back hallways and alcoves of Utah history. He is an exemplum of you, the word "indefatigable." In the dictionary by your entry, the picture is of him. I'm just guessing.

Apparently, the word "indefatigable," it was about the 17th century when people started to to experience tirelessness, wearilessness. It might have coincided with the rise of coffee-drinking in Europe, which also coincided, roughly, with the rise of capitalism, and that nexus of coincidences, the word "indefatigable," is the crux of my small disagreement with you.

We are not machines, the word "indefatigable." We are only human. We come home from a day of meetings and workshops and online grading and ordinary fretting, a week of e-mails and worries and small stray dogs, and we feel weary. We feel, rather than indefatigable, tired, flagging, weary and exhaustible.

I admire you, the word "indefatigable." And I admire what you stand for. I like your energy. Most days, I resemble you quite a bit. You are my target, my goal and my guide. But tonight I am tired. I have descended and I have reclined. I am on my bed and I am watching television. The word "indefatigable," I will speak to you tomorrow, but for tonight, let's call it a day.



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A cohort of dogs.

The people, what is it with us and dogs?

1. It is the historian, whose deep compassion for a lost dog knows practically no limits. NO LIMITS, the people. And the dogs sense this about him.

I believe I have already mentioned that three small dogs--three little ewoks, if you will, for they are that very variety of small dog that resemble ewoks--were roaming our neighborhood like an ultra small gang. We were out walking Bruiser (Prince of Dogs) and they espied us, and fell upon us like wolves upon the fold, except that they were, y'know, really small, so actually they just swirled around our feet and ran figure eights around us and, in general, followed us home.

I spoke to them sternly. "Go home," I said, sternly. To no avail.

We took Bruiser in the house and did not allow the dogs to go inside. We got in the car to see if perhaps there were fliers crying about three lost ewoks. Alas. We returned home, and there were three dogs, sitting on our porch, waiting for us.

Reader, we took them in. We have an enclosed porch out back. We fed them, we gave them water, we made a bed for them. Meanwhile, we made a sign for our front yard: "We Found These Dogs," with pictures of the dogs. We made a flier: "Found: Three Dogs!" with pictures of the dogs. We posted this hither and yon. We put an ad in the paper. With pictures.

Has anyone claimed the dogs? No.

Yesterday, we took the dogs to our vet for a scan, to see if they had microchips embedded. No. I called the animal shelters--had anyone been asking for three ewoks? How should we know? said the woman I spoke to at the county (she didn't really use those words). We don't keep a log. (So confidence-inspiring, this interchange was. This may be why we haven't taken them to the shelter yet.)

But we need to take the dogs to the shelter.

The people, the shelter makes me so sad.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A few things I have been thinking about.

1. The Jazz and Jerry Sloan. I have opinions. And I have thoughts. To sum up: I wish it had happened either last summer or this upcoming summer, it was probably just about time, and I think I will scream--SCREAM--if the fans of the Utah Jazz put undue blame on a certain point guard. To sum up: I will SCREAM.

2. The fact that I am going to Scotland in March! to see everyone who lives there.

3. This summer. In fact, I almost can't stop thinking about this summer. (summary: Los Angeles/Idaho/my backyard/quiet/iced tea/make some movies/write some poems)

4. The mouse who possibly still lives in my house. And its possible brethren. We caught one in the humane trap (released, probably made its way immediately back to the house. In fact, I think we are ourselves making the mice in the field smarter as we speak.), and today I said to the historian, "I am indulging in the fantasy that there was just one mouse, and it's running all over the house, and now we've caught it, they're all gone." The historian chuckled, knowingly. As in, he knows I'm on crack and he also knows that the mice have, like, established a condominium in the dark places of this house, stealing out only to feast upon toast crumbs. Also, to flaunt their mousy intelligence and wiliness.

5. The sparkly shirt I plan to wear tomorrow.

6. The fact that I keep leaving my headset and mic in my office, rendering my intention to record audio comments for my students moot until I fetch it. (Freudian forgetting? Possibly.)

7. Veronica Mars. Currently streaming on Netflix. Seriously, how did I not know that this show was awesome? And set in SoCal? And full of class resentment? in other words, right up my alley? (thanks to college daughter for the heads up, and for watching countless episodes with me.)

8. The three little dogs who followed us home on Saturday, despite my sternest efforts to get them to go home. They are living in our laundry room while the posters advertising the fact that we found them flutter forlornly on the lampposts of the neighborhood.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

envious? or resourceful?

I saw theorris's instagrams, and thought: why can't I have that? (an unattractive yet persistent thought in my noggin, it must be acknowledged. by me. and my noggin.)

So I googled it to confirm I couldn't have it (not without a smartphone), but I can have this:

Poladroid (screenshot with poladroids)
...and it's kind of fun, too.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's funnier the further west you get.

While we were in Washington, D.C., a few friends gathered at a pretty fabulous restaurant. It is one of those restaurants where the provenance of everything is specified on the menu. Order the food, receive the genealogy of the food.

And let me be the first to say, I was grateful for the information. The food was fantastic and the whole affair was just lovely. But I personally found it hilarious that the veal, the duck, and the pork were of Amish derivation.

(The pig never drove anywhere. The duck paddled by candlelight.)

Apparently I'm the only one who finds this so funny. I mentioned to one of my D.C.-located friends that we'd eaten at this place.

"You went to Fabulous Restaurant Name?" he said. Indeed, I said. Lucky us.

And then I sprang my "now let me tell you the one about the Amish duck!" on him, and he was all serious: "There's a lot of Amish people around."

And I was all: "But the meat! The MEAT is Amish? No, that's funny."

And he was all: [to himself] Nope, not all that funny.

The next day, I told this story to my cousin who lives in D.C. He was all, "No, that Amish veal thing, that's pretty funny." You know, the kind of funny that's by decree, but doesn't actually make you laugh?

Oh, I can deconstruct it. The savory soberness of Amish. The very alternativeness, the refusal of high-tech, the humility of it all. The plainness. Surely this must translate into . . . what? More righteous meat? I think that's how it works.

But I am still amused by it. Amish! Amish duck!

Our compatriot, at dinner, orders:

Maitre d'host: And for you sir?

Compatriot: I'll have the pork. (pauses--glances at me, the source of the Amish-themed merriment) The Amish pork.

Maitre d'host: Sir? (severe pause, so that the compatriot may reflect on his inappropriate jest) How would you like that cooked?

I'll take my Amish pork medium well done, thank you.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Short thank you notes.

Dear Monday,

Thank you for the little things. The canceled meeting, the quiet morning. The peach turnover, which, though it doesn't scream "February breakfast," was warm and delicious.


Lisa B.


Dear Camel Colored Sweater,

Thanks for looking so good today. Even though I bought you from the Victoria's Secret Catalog, thanks for being so versatile, since there was actually no way I was going to wear you as a very short dress/sexy nightgown? Especially not to work.


Lisa B.


Dear Tomorrow,

I would like to postpone you.

Thank you,

Lisa B.


Dear Chile Verde Burritos,

Thank you for being my dinner and thank you also for, in your flexible way, being not averse to being styrofoamed and taken out. Also, thank you for revealing your capacity to be a leftover.


Lisa B.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Pictures, mostly of art.

So: home. This entailed getting up at 4:30 a.m. and venturing forth, showerless and inadequately rested (this goes without saying), still with the sick, ready to go home but unready for the journey.

Glad to be here. We got to see a baby blessing this afternoon, the historian's son's tiny daughter. Then we had cake, and then we came home. There are boys in my basement playing Super Smash Brothers, and why not? It's a night of games.

I confess that I felt good for almost nothing but downloading my pictures and uploading them to Flickr. They are pictures I took yesterday, when Dr. Write and I had a quick but sensational tour of three museums and a tapas restaurant, along with a quick smash & grab at an H&M. It was great.

This is not a good genre, the photograph of art, but I kind of can't help myself. Also, I love the light in museums. There was one room (you'll know it when you get there--) where whoever lit the place was a genius, maybe as much of a genius as the sculptor whose work was displayed there.

Anyway, consider yourself warned. Here are my photographs, of art:

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Dear Flight Across the Continent,

Dear Flight Across the Continent,

First of all, I want to express my gratitude for the conditions under which I undertook you: the plane was not full, and therefore there was a seat between me and the guy in my row. There was wireless, and that meant I could do a little internet teaching. Thirdly, pretzels. Fourthly, ginger ale. Also, couple of pre-teenage girls who were singing together, softly, before takeoff.

I was not amused by the alarming sound that went on for a good ten minutes while we were sauntering out to the runway. It was a cross between grinding and shrieking and perhaps droning. I came to believe that it was the landing gear, although technically we were using the landing gear, weren't we, before we took off. This sound did not inspire confidence. I add this uininspiring sound to the fact that the pilot made an announcement about a sensor that was malfunctioning but was merely "informational" and therefore was going to be "disengaged" before we took off.

Call me sensitive, Flight across the continent, but I think an informational sensor might not, optimally, be optional. Especially when flying across a continent.

Which, I will now boringly remind everyone, is a long way. Although it is technically not across the entire continent (2442 air miles from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.), it is still a lot of miles. One thousand eight hundred and forty eight, to be exact. And four hours, another measure of distance. And knowing this, I still did board you, Flight across the continent, I boarded you with my very headcold and my laptop, and my belief that DayQuil, Advil, and time would get me through.

Headcold + cabin pressure = not delightful.

But we did make it, Flight across the continent. As in, I am here, and functioning, with DayQuil/Advil and time on my side. I do not like to contemplate that soon we will greet each other again, Flight &c.: at 7 a.m. Sunday morning. See if you can't arrange that not-quite-full situation again. That made the whole deal more bearable, and that might make us friends, kind of. At least occasional acquaintances that don't quail when they spot each other, say, at the airport.

sincerely yours,



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