Monday, December 29, 2008
My sisters and I watched the finale of Doctor Who’s fourth series last night. Anna graciously refrained from asking me and Robyn what was so great about Rose, though I’m sure she must be wondering. We go on and on about Rose. Whenever we say something nice about Donna, we pause and say that of course we miss Rose and wish she would come back. Whenever we sneer at Martha – mad Martha, blind Martha, charity Martha – we discuss how much better Rose was. Anna probably watched the finale and thought to herself that Rose doesn’t even come close to living up to – oh, honestly, I can’t even finish this sentence. Anna inevitably thought Rose was great, because Rose is great. Obviously. Undeniable. It is like that Fry and Laurie song – however built up it is, it could never be a letdown, because it’s so clearly brilliant.
Anyway, I got home last night intending to go to bed early and sleep until seven, giving myself plenty of sleep before returning to work. I just thought I’d glance at my story quickly, to see if it was still as crap as I remembered it being. Instead of that I worked for an hour and a half, and then I set my clock to wake me up earlier so that I could work on it in the morning.
This always happens. It did when I finished Buffy, as well. I’m not completely sure why, but one of the reasons I decided to read Lonely Werewolf Girl (thereby permanently cementing my love for Martin Millar) was that he said he wrote it because he was sad Buffy was over. Oh, how I identify with that. Maybe the reason I am so intent on finding new books and films to love is that when I finish them, I am all set to write like a mad writing fiend.
One of the most dreadful things about my year in England, which, I can tell you, contained a lot of pretty dreadful things (as well as, be it said, a lot of really nice ones), was that I was depressed and not writing anything, and I had just finished reading The Time Traveler’s Wife and Jane Eyre, and I frantically frantically wanted to be working on one of my stories, and I just couldn’t get anything written. Every time I tried to write something, it was shocking crap and I practically had to print every bit of it out so I could stomp on it and spit on it and set it on fire in the kitchen sink. It was so unpleasant, like, like – I can’t think of an elegant metaphor. I can only think of yucky, poop-related ones. Never ever ever again will I be depressed enough that I cannot work when I want to work.
Now that I've written that, I've caused myself a small amount of discontentment, because: Why are there so damn many ways to spell Elliott? It's madness. I believe Ogden Nash wrote a poem on this subject. I used to have a substitute teacher in elementary school, who called the two Elliotts in our class "Ay-it". An original notion.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Yesterday I put away all my Christmas things. It's always great fun to put away all my Christmas things, although in this case it reminded me how swiftly my bookshelf space is diminishing. I keep meaning to buy a bookshelf to put in my living room, so I could store my excess books there. Last night I moved my record player downstairs so I could listen to it more often, like when I am writing my story downstairs or washing dishes or cooking or covering books in contact paper downstairs. I was going to put it on the floor by the TV (which is the only place for a bookshelf in my apartment), but there wasn't a plug for it there, so I put it on the kitchen counter instead. (Don't worry: the counter's very big, and we hardly ever cook.) And all day today I have had it in my head that oh well, can't get a bookshelf now, my record player's there.
This is cognitive conservatism, and it plagues me. But I did a lot of things last night, and it was pleasant listening to records at the same time. I listened to my new (but old) Beatles record, and I listened to my Elliot Smith record, and I listened to my new Death Cab for Cutie record. Records are nice, and everyone should rejoice in their continued existence.
Monday, December 22, 2008
And that was nice. Growing up is sad because these things happen less and less often. I get sad when Bonnie and Anna are away and I never see them, so it's nice that it's Christmas and everybody is around.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I have always felt sad for prime numbers, because they have almost no divisors. Just themselves, and 1. Poor little things. I mean, numbers like 42, they have oodles of divisors, and they can all play drinking games at the 42 divisor Christmas party, and the poor prime numbers have really lame Christmas parties where they and 1 sit around wearing Christmas hats and making awkward conversations with each other. I mean it’s not so bad for numbers like 7, that were never going to have a bunch of divisors to start with, because they’re just little small numbers, but imagine how bad, like, 1259 must feel. I bet 1259 has tried to convince 1 to unite with it so they can be 1260 and have lots of friends, and 1’s all like There already is a 1260. There can’t be two. It would mess up everything. And 1259 probably cries and begs (cause 1259 is drunk), and 1 feels embarrassed and wishes it could go home.
Whoa. I just looked up prime numbers on Wikipedia to find a high one, and I had no idea the world of primes was so rich and fascinating. Apparently other people do not feel sorry for prime numbers – or if they do, they are making a hell of an effort to make them feel special, like when teachers are extra extra nice to the weird kids in an effort to prevent them from noticing that everybody in the class is shunning them.
Anyway, this happy primes information is great. Now I feel like the happy primes are loners because they like to be. They enjoy the company of their good friend 1, and that’s plenty enough company for them. Good for the happy primes! They know what they want!
(On the other hand, that makes the other ones unhappy primes, which just strengthens my pity for the rest of the prime numbers. Poor lonely things. They’re at their lame-ass Christmas party drinking heavily and eventually passing out on the floor while the long-suffering 1 cleans up their vomit and heads wearily over to the next party. Must be tiring for poor 1.)
As a grown-up who no longer takes math classes, this happy numbers business is pleasing information. My birthday falls on the 7th, which is a happy prime number, and on my next birthday I will be turning a happy prime. (Yay me!) But I’m glad I didn’t know about it when I was still in school, because I know it would have screwed me up. Calling certain (most!) numbers unhappy is a ticket to my anthropomorphizing them, and that, my friend, is a one-way nonstop train to total math failure. Trust me. Let’s not talk about how bothered I was by that whole comparison of greater than/less than symbols to alligators that were going to eat the bigger numbers (why? That’s not fair! Just because they’re bigger!). If I had known that these numbers were happy, and those numbers were unhappy, I would only have wanted to give answers that were happy. If I got an answer that was obviously implausible, but happy, odds aren’t bad I’d have left it alone so it could have its happiness. Better to get one question wrong than be forced to look into the bottomless abyss of misery that would result if I did it correctly.
Oh, yeah, and I also would have spent a lot of time doing pointless arithmetic to figure out whether the larger numbers were happy numbers. And I would have felt an even stronger aversion to negative numbers than I already did, because they would then not only have been negative but unhappy.
Wikipedia says, “If n is not happy, then its sequence does not go to 1.” That is such a sad sentence. Poor forlorn little n. Oh, n, be 7, darling, then you can be happy, dear, dear, dear little n.
THAT IS NONSENSE. DAMN YOU MS. LEBLANC.
See, I had this mean second-grade teacher one time. She was totally lame, and she didn’t like me. Or anyone that was smart, ever. She one time gave me a B in reading. Me. A grade of B. In second grade reading. AS IF. It was a serious blow to my vanity. And once I got a 99 instead of 100 on a spelling test, because she said “it’s”, and I wrote it down as the contraction, and she marked it wrong. And I said, “But you didn’t give it to us in a sentence, so how could I know which one it was?” and she said, “If you wanted it in a sentence, you should have asked.”
GOD she was such a bitch. Giving me a B in reading. Yes, I have a grudge.
Anyway one time we were playing contractions bingo, right, which was where she would say a contraction, and if you had the whole words written out on your bingo sheet, you got a little chip. Like she would say “she’s”, and if you had “she is” on your sheet, you could put a chip down on it. Before we started she had us coming up with contractions to use for bingo, and we had done a bunch of obvious ones, and I raised my hand and suggested “it will”. Ms. Leblanc laughed and said, “It’ll? It’ll? Well, I guess we can use it.” She had a very contemptuous tone. It made me feel like a great big contractions failure.
What a crock of shit! There is nothing wrong with “it’ll”! People use it all the time! I mean, yes, you wouldn’t use it in a formal paper, but since you also wouldn’t use any contractions in a formal paper, THAT DOES NOT MATTER.
I never really noticed how completely I have rejected the contraction “it’ll” in my life. I just spotted it yesterday. I shall stop it right away. Nothing wrong with it! No reason for me to have scorned it all these years! It’s a completely reasonable and useful contraction, and I cannot believe I have internalized Ms. Leblanc’s scorn to such an extent that I almost never use the word. I’m changing my ways, starting today. I will use it so often that I will be known for it!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
IN BOSTON FOR GOD'S SAKE.
THERE ARE ALREADY TWO WAGAMAMAS IN BOSTON.
Wagamama executives, there are people down here in the South who yearn for you tragically! Do you not understand that I would travel to Texas, to Mississippi, even to Alabama, to eat your food, if only you would open a location here. Furthermore I would tell everyone I knew that your food was worth driving to another state for. Please, Wagamama. Massachusetts is not the only state in the union that could benefit by your delicious ramen noodles and chicken katsu curry.
Please, Wagamama. I beg you. Please come to Louisiana. Please. Boston already has two. They don't need a third. And if you are dead set on giving them a third, please try to remember that they don't need a fourth. Louisiana needs one. We know how to appreciate good food here, I promise you. Please.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I wanted to make a snowman, of course. But I didn't want to disturb the beautiful snow that was on the ground in the side yard:
I really didn't want to disturb any of the snow, because snow is RARE, and it might not snow again like this for years and years, not with global warming, and we might be grown up. However, I knew that I was going to be going into work shortly, and I would have to brush the snow off of my car windshield, so I made a snowman out of that instead.
Aww, he was so cute. I named him Sammy and grew very attached to him. When it was time to drive off to work, I didn't have the heart to smush him. Poor Sammy, it would have been unkind. So I just left him where he was. Every person I drove past on the way to work, I wanted to lean out the window and shriek "LOOK AT THE ADORABLE SNOWMAN ON THE HOOD OF MY CAR!" (I didn't want his existence to pass unnoticed.)
And then I got to work, and I had to leave him behind in the parking garage. It was really sad. In the short time we had together, I had become terribly fond of him. I hated the idea of leaving him all alone to melt in the parking garage, but I had to. I figured I'd come back at the end of the work day and take the pennies and dimes away, and mourn him quietly. Poor Sammy. I took a bunch more pictures of him in the parking garage, so I wouldn't ever forget him.
He leans forward so beseechingly. I feel so sad. When they sent us home from work so we wouldn't hit the ice, I found his little pathetic body in the garage. I won't post that picture. It's way too sad. I almost cried. And of course I could not desecrate his teensy little self by taking away his eyes and buttons, because WHAT ELSE DOES HE HAVE? So I said a little snow prayer over his little snow body, and drove away in sadness.
Do not name your snowman. That is the moral of this tale. Rest in peace, Sammy.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
However, in both cases, I proved to know the answers. It was that episode in the second series where Angel uses Anne's homeless shelter to mess with Wolfram & Hart, which is sort of shady of him. And Oscar Wilde was convicted for two years on a charge of gross indecency between males under that crappy Section 11 part of a law that was really meant to prevent sex with underage girls. Rubbish Labouchere (he was the guy who introduced Section 11 into the law).
Well, of course, if you ask me one question about Oscar Wilde, it is not unlikely that I will tell you a whole lot of more information about him. So I told Laura all about how things would have been different if they had proved that sodomy took place, and then I told her about some of the evidence that was introduced against him. And instead of saying "That's gross, stop talking to me," she said "Oo, that's very helpful for my paper."
Oh, and then, and then? After I had continued telling her stories about Oscar Wilde and his ways and his family, she asked me what was a good book to read about Oscar Wilde, if a person was only going to read one book about Oscar Wilde? Not for her paper but just For Life? I assumed that she was teasing me, because I am a big Oscar Wilde dork, but no, indeed, she thought that he sounded interesting and wanted to read more about him.
I HAVE BEEN WAITING MY WHOLE LIFE FOR SOMEBODY TO SAY THIS TO ME.
In case you're wondering, the book to read is Gary Schmidgall's brilliant and insightful The Stranger Wilde: Interpreting Oscar. It's not a biography in the traditional sense, but it deals well with everything, and has lots of interesting information, and furthermore it talks in admiring terms about Ada Leverson, whom I love. Plus, if you ever get bored with one bit of it, you can just skip on to the next chapter, because each chapter deals with a different thing. The one about angels and demons was a particularly good one.
The Stranger Wilde. Gary Schmidgall. It's excellent.
Also, happy birthday to Laura! And Emily Dickinson!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I only mention this because Vertigo just re-released their Tarot cards in honor of the 20th anniversary of Sandman, and they are damn cool. Dave McKean did them. I love Dave McKean's art. I have never seen anything that Dave McKean has drawn that hasn't been cool and interesting and layered and a little creepy.
Behold! Aren't they cool and beautiful? Dave McKean should be in charge of all art everywhere. I wish I had a really massive Dave McKean picture to put up in my living room. It wouldn't match anything; but my furniture doesn't all match anyway, so who cares?
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Last night around ten, I had just finished a project for work, and I had just finished an episode of Doctor Who, and I felt very sleepy, so I went upstairs to my room. Once I was up there, I couldn't decide whether I wanted to watch an episode of Torchwood or just read for a bit and then go to sleep. I thought about it for a while, and finally decided that it wasn't really important for me to watch Torchwood and make myself tired for tomorrow. Of course, being me, I felt like I should do one more thing before I went to bed, in order to make sure the day had been suitably productive, and I decided that a really good thing to do would be to find out whether the light switch in the hall (whose function I have never been able to ascertain) controlled the attic light. I thought that would be good because it wouldn't take long, and it would give me very valuable information to have for later on.
So I went into the hall and pulled the rope/string thing for the attic ladder to come down. Turns out that thing is not as easy to pull down as the cable guy made it look. Damn ladder is damn heavy. Needs two hands. And caution. And going slow. Pulling it very quickly with one hand proves to be a recipe for rope burn. Like, really bad rope burn. The kind that ceases to qualify as a rope burn because it has cut so extremely deep. But the pain signals took a while to reach my brain, and while they were still making their way through my nervous system from my index finger, I carried on pulling the attic ladder down, thereby exacerbating what was already the worst rope burn of all time.
My finger bled right through two Band-Aids. I thought of going to the shop to get a butterfly bandage, but then I remembered that butterfly bandages are useful for holding a gash together, which is to say, pulling two sides of an open wound close enough that they can think about hooking up again. They are not for assisting in the process of regenerating nineteen layers of skin. Leading me to the conclusion that bleeding all over my - in the order it would happen - coat, house key, steering wheel, and credit card in order to acquire a butterfly bandage from the shop would not be an effective use of my time. Fortunately the third Band-Aid did the trick, and quite rightly considering I put it on so tight that my fingernail had turned completely white by this morning. When I took the Band-Aid off this morning and washed it with soap, the damn thing started bleeding again. It really hurts.
I am never ever ever ever pulling down the attic ladder again.
Also, the light switch does not control the attic light at all. Unless the attic light bulb is bust, in which case it is just out of luck on account of how I am never ever ever ever pulling down the attic ladder again, ever.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Well, okay, no it's not really. But I feel very fond of it. And it hasn't got a football team for me to support, so I have to support its monster-designing children.
...Okay, I'm shutting up about Doctor Who now.
I probably am not shutting up about Doctor Who now. I think it is great. And I haven't even seen any episodes with Tom Baker in, and he's supposed to be brilliant. He has lots of hair, and Sarah Jane, and Jelly Babies. I got one out of the library yesterday, and I shall watch it tomorrow or sometime that is not tomorrow but is soon. So if you have not yet watched any Doctor Who, I think that you should come over to my place tomorrow or soon and watch Tom Baker with me.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I swear. That's exactly what the FAQs are like. See?
Heeheehee. Oh, and you know what else awes me with its insane awesomeness? DOCTOR WHO, THAT IS WHAT. I'm watching an episode from the late sixties right now, and it contains a sweet Scottish guy called Jamie, and the actor's real name is Frazer, and he wears a kilt all over the place and is stirred and moved by the sound of bagpipes a-playing. I am in total love with Doctor Who and I want to marry it and have its babies. I feel a bit like - for those of you who have been clever enough to read Forever Rose - I feel like this, when she first reads The Once and Future King:
It was hours later when I put that book down again, and the drumming had stopped and the telephone was ringing and my brain had the sort of dazed feeling you get when you wake from a very vivid dream.
So that's what they were talking about, Saffy and Sarah, and Kiran and Molly and Miss Farley and Daddy and Indigo and Sarah's parents and even the Unlovable Mr. Spencer.
Well, that is just what I feel like watching Doctor Who. So that's what they were talking about, every British adult who has ever been interviewed in modern times. Doctor Who! It is brilliant! Of course they would all be madly in love with it because it is TOTALLY TOTALLY BRILLIANT. Sometimes there are alien cat doctors keeping poor humans prisoner; and sometimes there are Dalek robot-things that want to exterminate everybody; and sometimes there is Sir Lancelot and Madame de Pompadour and the Doctor and Rose have a bet on that Rose can get Queen Victoria to say "We are not amused". YOU JUST DO NOT KNOW WHAT THERE WILL BE.
This is not unlike discovering a new author that I totally adore who has written dozens of books. Like when I first discovered Diana Wynne Jones, only I wasn't old enough to appreciate what a rare and beautiful phenomenon it was. Or when I first decided to quit being a snob and read the Sandman, and there were all ten volumes of it left for me to read. Well, this is just like that. Only way vaster (not better, just more), because there are 751 episodes of Doctor Who in its glorious history, of which 108 are lost, so that's still 643 (is that right? I can't count) episodes for me to watch. Well, fewer than that because I've watched some now. But whatever. There are hundreds!
Which is to say that if I were going to do a Doctor Who FAQ, it would go like this. Why is the Scottish kilt guy so awesome? Why is Patrick Troughton so awesome? Why is Tom Baker so awesome? (Hello, Jelly Babies? Marry me, Britain!) Why are David Tennant and Billie Piper so ridiculously awesome? Why did something so amazing happen as that the Doctor flung a sword up in the air and said that a sword rearranged was words, and when the sword fell back down it was a dictionary? How did anyone think of such a brilliant thing? I want to be able to fling things up in the air and have them come down anagrams of themselves! I want to be able to fling - um - I don't know - flesh in the air, and have it come back down a shelf. That would be amazing. I do not like flesh and I do like bookshelves.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Not all men were so disenchanted, though [with the film of Twilight]. At a midnight screening in Texarkana, Texas, last Thursday, a gentleman dropped to his knee with a ring as the credits rolled. To the delight of the screaming crowd, he asked his girlfriend if theirs might be as enduring and unconditional a love as the one shared by Edward and Bella.
I didn't make that up. I couldn't ever have made that up because it's way too awful.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
However, I do like the new American (suuuure) guy of dubious sexuality. I was worried he was going to turn out to be evil, but Wikipedia says not, so I hope he sticks around for a while. Not like that other guy I didn't like, who joined up on the TARDIS a couple of episodes ago, and then was gone almost immediately.
(I think it's nice when the Brits carry on being proud of the Blitz. Bless their hearts. Yes, Britain, that indeed was your finest hour.)
Edit later to add: The new American guy of dubious sexuality appears to be sticking around forever. I like him because I can depend on him to have his own spin-off show in a bit (hurrah!), and because he is always cheerful, and because he always has a gun. Seriously, the man always has a gun. Historically it's just been Rose and the Doctor relying on their wits to come up with something clever, and you know, that's not bad, they're both very smart, but now, see, now, it's Rose and the Doctor relying on their wits, and also - a gun! And if the Captain ever finds himself without a gun, he just fashions one, MacGyver-like, out of whatever happens to be nearby. It's brilliant. I'm glad Rose brings him back to life.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Well, the reason I bring this up is that David Tennant's tenure (hee, that sounds funny) as the Tenth Doctor is coming to an end, and they're searching for a new doctor. And again, I wouldn't care that much about this - I didn't when I first heard about it - except that I read on Neil Gaiman's blog that they are considering Paterson Joseph to do it! Wonderful Paterson Joseph! I adore Paterson Joseph! I dote on Paterson Joseph! Paterson Joseph would be simply ideal!
The BBC miniseries of Neverwhere has many imperfections, as I will be the first to admit. Hunter is totally weird, and the footage of the Beast is totally silly. However, it also has many perfections (aha, see what I did there?), including Mr. Croup, who is just how I imagined him, and especially including, and here's the point, the Marquis de Carabas. Damn, the Marquis de Carabas was good. And that was Paterson Joseph. I liked him because he was exactly perfect in the part, and I also liked him because, as Neil Gaiman observed, he's not very tall, but he's really good at acting tall.
Anyway, he's the odds-on favorite to be the next Doctor Who. I would love that. I would watch Doctor Who every, every week, if Paterson Joseph were the new Doctor. I would become a mad Doctor Who fan - I've been meaning to do that anyway - and get all the old shows out of the library and see what all those British writers are talking about.
But of course now that I've brought it up like this, they will probably give the part to somebody else. Pooh.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
And I was sitting reading, so I only saw it out of the corner of my eye, but you know how sometimes you see or hear things and you're not paying that much attention, and then your mind plays back a little video/audio clip of what just happened, and you're all, Something's not right here, so you play it back for yourself a couple more times, and those times you're doing What's wrong with this picture. Well, I was doing that, watching people on the Bongs & Noodles escalators in my mind's eyes, and in my mind I was humming that Sesame Street song about One of these things is not like the other / One of these things just doesn't belong / Can you tell me which HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THAT OLD GUY CAME LUNGING UP THE DOWN ESCALATOR.
He did. I swear. I don't know how he managed it, because he looked totally feeble when he was walking around, but the man went UP THE DOWN ESCALATOR.
You just have no idea how happy that made me. I started laughing, and I tried to pretend it was at my book, but since my book was incredibly depressing and you could tell from the cover, I don't think I was fooling anyone. The old lady next to me was giving me a look of friendly concern, so I said, "Did you see that guy come up the wrong escalator? He came up the wrong one. And he's a grown-up." She said, "No, I didn't see that," and went back to reading her book pointedly. And seriously, nobody had noticed. There were people all around, and they were totally unphased by the fact that that old dude, the one now hobbling feebly around the music section? He came UP THE WRONG ESCALATOR.
It was just like 29 February, when I'm really excited because it has made my life happier, and everybody else is acting like it's totally normal. He was really old! And he came up the down escalator! Just like I used to get in trouble for doing at Bongs & Noodles, when I was much much much younger!
There was also this thirteen-year-old girl wandering around, and she came upstairs and said "WHERE ARE THE REST OF THE BOOKS?" and went downstairs again. In a huff. And I kind of felt it. I really hate it when I go to bookshops and there is another floor, and I'm thinking, oh, wondrous, I will go up there and there will be vast magnitudes of more books. But then I get up there and find far fewer books than I was anticipating. It's such a letdown. That's why that Waterstone's on Gower Street made me want to cry with happiness. It just went on and on and on. I loved it so, so much. Darling, darling Waterstone's on Gower Street. Why can't we be together? Why does the world keep us so far apart?
Also, I saw a guy with a baby carrying around a copy of New Moon, and the baby was cute so I was watching them, and when he caught me looking, he put New Moon in his other hand and turned it around so the cover was facing inwards and nobody could see it anymore.
Friday, November 21, 2008
But don't worry, everyone else I know! You will all have nice presents! I am planning and plotting and possibly scheming! CHRISTMAS IS AMAZING.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Anyway, that's not why. The reason is that Stephen Colbert is happy. His happiness is infectious! He perpetually looks like he's about to burst into joyous giggles. Know why? Because Obama got elected, that's why! And every time I watch the Colbert Report which is rarely because I am rarely up this late, but today I have just finished a draft of my story and I want to work on it more and more and more so that's why I watched the show today, and anyway every time I watch the Colbert Report, it makes me giggle too. Giggles are hovering so close to the surface every time Stephen Colbert speaks, and it makes me feel cheerful.
I mean, yes, okay, I wasn't depressed before. With the story-writing and Christmas approaching and the good election and everything. So the Colbert Report may not be a real cure for depression. I have no way of gauging right now. But if you're already feeling pretty cheerful, it can make you feel even cheerfuler!
Oh. You know what else can make you feel cheerfuler? This, which is possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen. When she says "hippopotamus" wrong - oh my God. Just watch it. So, so cute.
Thanksgiving is just a general placeholder for when Christmas things can't happen before. (A syntactically bewildering sentence there.) No Thanksgiving means no unpleasant deadline to which we would have to pay attention. Christmas festivities could begin whenever the hell we want, which they already do for me, but there are just so many people who feel bound by the not-before-Thanksgiving rule.
But I actually started writing this post for a reason that has nothing to do with Christmas, which is turkey commercials. When Thanksgiving gets close people start having these horrible turkey commercials with people doing lots of horrible things to raw turkeys. These commercials are uniformly so incredibly vile that they trigger my gag reflex, and I have to swallow frantically and turn the TV off. NO MORE RAW TURKEY COMMERCIALS. If I wanted to see that crap, I would watch the beginning of Pieces of April. UGH.
...I don't hate Thanksgiving really. It's always nice to get together with the family and eat lots of foods. Especially when there is dirty rice. I just wish people didn't get all hatey about Christmas until Thanksgiving is over. I get excited about Christmas way before Thanksgiving shows up.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Then I got back to my office, and something reminded me of my cat, and I burst into tears. Well, not burst into tears. I didn’t sob or anything. I just got very choked up and shed several tears and had to pretend that my contact lenses were giving me trouble. Note: If I start crying in public, I nearly always pretend that my contact lenses are giving me trouble. I am excellent at this and you probably cannot tell the difference between when I am faking it and when my contact lenses are actually giving me trouble.
Today, speaking of contact lenses, I stabbed myself in the eye with the receiver of my desk phone. This hurts more than you might think.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
You just have no idea what a relief this is. I have spent a large part of my life being irritated by the way long-sleeve shirts are never long enough for my arms, and subsequently guilty that in spite of my apparently freakishly long arms I can still not touch my toes comfortably.
But that is all crap! I've been so terribly wrong! It isn't about my arms, it's about my shoulders. I have broad shoulders. I needn't have felt guilty at all in those terrible years of P.E. and particularly in yoga, because it's nothing to do with my arms. I just have broad shoulders!
I'm aware this isn't exactly an epiphany, because I have always known that I have broad shoulders. I've just never made the connection between them and the long-sleeve shirts issue, mainly because I try not to think about it. It's unfortunate, you know? I look adorable in long-sleeve shirts, when the sleeves are long enough. They're very slimming, and if the sleeves are long enough to go past my wrists, they make my fingers look long and elegant too. So I would like to be able to wear long-sleeve shirts, but they just end up being so trying, and the elbows stretch out and drive me crazy, and I have to shove them up when I get hot, which is often, and then the wrist part gets stretched out too.
Whatever. My arms aren't freaks. So there.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Latin is fun. It is lame that I have just spent three, almost four, years without translating any Latin whatsoever, considering how fun and relaxing it is to do Latin translations. When all along I could have been doing Latin translations to wind down after a stressful day, of which there have been many in the past three (almost four) years. When I have had my very nice purple Aeneid just waiting to be picked up and dusted off and re-translated.
My high school Latin teacher was one of the best teachers I ever had, ever. She knew everything about Latin and also about Greek and Greece and Rome. She had so much knowledge. She should get a shiny prize for being the best Latin teacher of all time. I would have stuck with Latin anyway because I really like it, but my Latin teacher made it way much more fun. Plus in junior year, there were only five of us in the AP Latin IV class, and James would sometimes make these amazing white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, and we would talk about strategies for escaping from marauding alligators, and we played Strike-a-Match like fiends. So that was fun.
That said, it is kind of liberating to be translating the Aeneid without my teacher. Because I can just depart from the literal translation if I like my way better. When I was doing the Aeneid on Sunday while driving with my family, I got to the bit where it talks about the saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram, the unforgetting wrath of savage Juno, and I remember doing this bit in Latin class, and I wanted to translate it as the savage unrelenting wrath of Juno, because that sounded cool to me, and my teacher said no. And even when I explained that it would be transferred epithet, a perfectly legitimate literary device used by Virgil on a number of occasions, she continued to not accept this as a translation. But you know what, you know what? I can translate it that way now! That's right! Nobody can stop me! I WILL TRANSFER WHATEVER EPITHETS THE HELL I WANT.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
1. I got a new guitar book and some really nice pens. I know pens don’t sound that exciting, but these are very good pens. One is purple!
2. I got a bunch of new books out of the library. Wonderful wonderful books!
3. I remembered “You Can’t Hurry Love”. I have always liked that song but I have forgotten about it for several years. Now I can play (part of) it on my guitar. "You Can't Hurry Love!" How have I forgotten this song? Hooray!
4. I am getting better and better at reading Tarot cards. Pretty soon people will hire me for birthday parties. I read Tarot cards for half the wait staff at IHOP, and that was great, great, great fun.
5. I wrote a crap-ton of my story, which is getting very very close to being finished. (I mean, a draft. Since I have changed my mind about fifty million things during the time I was writing it, I have to go back and edit out some things and put in some clues and make changes, but having the draft this close to done is wonderful.)
6. I got to go to the Bama game. That is right. I went. To the Bama game. In the student section. We lost but it was a pretty fucking awesome experience. We played damn well (except for Jarrett Lee - not one of his better nights), and there was this one particularly superb play where Trindon Holliday (I love Trindon Holliday more than any other player because he is little and plucky) was running the ball, and he dodged two guys, and then two more of the Bama people ran at him from opposite sides, closing in tighter and tighter, and he flung himself up in the air and through the ever-closing gap between the two Bama guys and he hit the ground and kept on running and it was magnificent.
7. You saw number seven coming. Lucky number seven: Barack Obama got elected! He got elected, he got elected, I have lost track of how many times I have burst into tears watching the TV or listening to the radio, and I have definitely lost track of how often I have heard and said the words historic and inspirational. I have been scouting the stores for a frame that is good enough to frame my now even-more-amazing-than-it-was-before picture of Barack Obama (so far no luck). I feel actually hopeful about the country when I wake up in the morning. I have a great big girl-crush on the fabulous Michelle Obama, coolest First Lady of all time. America is not terrible after all! We are not a nasty biting puppy! We are better than we thought we were! And you know how much he won? He won so much that he could have lost New York and California and still won. If he had lost New York and California, those bastions of liberality, he would still have won! YAY FOR BARACK OBAMA.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
But hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray! I am so happy! Yay for America! Wonderful America! (Damn, don't know when the last time I said that was.) I themily wore purple today to celebrate.
Edit to add: I'm looking forward to watching the news today! I haven't looked forward to watching the news since, you know, ever. Hurrah!
Edit again to add: Well, except that time Cheney shot that guy in the face. But that wasn't the same as this.
Edit yet again to add: Farewell, Decider. We have not had a good eight years, and I disliked you before it was cool. I have journal entries from very early on in this millennium, to prove it.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Plus, for once, my voting precinct had plenty of signs. For once they are not hiding from the voters. It made a nice change, not to have to fuss at them for failing in their civic duty.
Now with the suspense. I cannot take this suspense. I wish I could look up what's going to happen on Wikipedia like I do with everything else in the world.
I read that Catullus poem I love and once memorized for Latin, where he missed his brother's funeral and has to go far, far, far to see the grave place. I like it a lot, and I remember a surprising lot of the Latin. I really, seriously have to get back into reading Latin. It's just that I already have so many activities to do in the evenings - cross-stitching, watching Gilmore Girls, doing Tarot card readings for my stories (this is great, great fun), reading my Tarot book, reading Harry Potter, reading all of Shakespeare's plays, practicing playing guitar, watching Gossip Girl which has taken One Tree Hill's place in my heart, covering books in contact paper - and it makes it hard to find the time to do still more things. But darling Catullus! And darling Virgil! And darling, darling Ovid! And, oh my God, Cicero! Dear, darling, wonderful Cicero, with his beautiful elegant sentence structure!
Okay, that's it. I'm buying some Latin books. I miss me some Cicero and Ovid and Catullus and Virgil. What's good about this is, I'm not taking Latin classes anymore, so I don't have to read any shit I don't want to read. There will be NO MORE Pliny for me, ever. NO CAESAR. And praise our God of Heaven and Earth, NO MORE LIVY EVER IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Vile, vile Livy. When I meet Livy in heaven I will give him the cut direct, and go straight over to hang out with complex-sentences Cicero and exciting-stories Ovid.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I dreamed that Oscar Wilde and William Shakespeare were having a humongous fight in heaven. Oscar Wilde said that Shakespeare didn’t have the courage of his convictions (meaning he was Not Really Queer), and Shakespeare said that if anybody here didn’t have the courage of his convictions, it was Mr. Lied Himself Blue In The Face To Avoid Prison, and then Shakespeare said “How didst that work out for thee anyway?” and Oscar Wilde said that he considered it the height of tactlessness for Shakespeare to be making fun of the unfortunate incident that led to his never seeing his sons again, and he would have expected Shakespeare to be more sympathetic since he had lost a son of his own. And I thought that both of them were unkind to bring up these painful incidents, but I didn’t want to get in the middle of it. I was just about to tiptoe away when I woke up.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Here is a poem that I like a lot, and it is about the sea, and Robert Frost wrote it. It's called "Neither Out Far Nor In Deep", which isn't the best title ever, but it's very Robert Frosty, so I guess that's what you get.
The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.
As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull.
The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be—
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.
They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?
I like that poem a lot.
Friday, October 17, 2008
It looks exactly like the electric socket is just so charged full of electricity that it just can't help lighting up. It's like the electric socket is gloating: YOU CANNOT RESIST MY POWER.
...I find it unsettling.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Happy, happy birthday! It’s his 154th birthday today! 154 years ago today he was born to Sir William (noted oculist and aorist once accused of chloroforming and raping one of his lady patients, which was very scandalous) and Lady Jane Francesca (it was Frances really but she fancied herself descended from Dante, her maiden name Elgee supposedly being a corruption of Alighieri so she made her name sound more Italian) Wilde. I can’t help thinking he should have rejoiced more in his given name instead of abandoning it upon reaching adulthood: Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde. He said that eventually he was going to become so famous that he would be down to one name. (Like Dante.) Oscar Wilde charms me.
I have many, many facts about Oscar Wilde in my mind. At one point I was going to write a thesis on him, but then I decided I didn’t want to at all, so here I am, packed full of interesting facts about Oscar Wilde and his friends and relations, all dressed up and nowhere to go. I have strong feelings about his friends and relations, by the way. Very, very strong feelings. For instance I feel confident that Ada Leverson and I would have gotten on famously. If I had only been born a really long time ago, I could have encouraged her to ditch her worthless husband sooner, and we could have stayed in England and been BFF and talked about the good old days before England was such an ass to our good buddy Oscar. (Her birthday was 10 October. Libra.) Bosie’s was 22 October, but if ever I saw a totally-not-Libra completely-Scorpio, it’s Lord Horrible Bosie Alfred Horrible Douglas. One time I had this dream that he came over to my house in tears because he missed Oscar Wilde so much, and I pretended to comfort and console him when really all the time I was pumping him for information about Oscar Wilde. I told him he was a great poet, maybe even better than Shelley (He said this himself one time, that he was such an amazing poet he’d been compared favorably with Shelley. Bosie, you make me throw up.), and he sniffled and told me lots of interesting things Oscar Wilde said and did. It was an extremely satisfying dream.
I also dreamt once that I met Oscar Wilde, and I ran to fetch my voice recorder in order to record his reportedly beautiful voice, but it was out of batteries. That was less satisfying, and it’s the only time I’ve ever dreamt about meeting Oscar Wilde. Although I would like to.So celebrate, everyone! Oscar Wilde was born today!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Oh! Oh! And Christmas cards! I am a total grown-up now, and that means I’m going to send Christmas cards out! Oh, I’m so excited! Fabulous Christmas cards, I shall go shopping for them tomorrow! And I shall make a list of people to whom I wish to send Christmas cards! All my beloved family members will know that I am thinking of them with love in my heart in this most joyous Christmas season! I’m so glad that my aunt and uncle gave me some of their Christmas records, or else I wouldn’t have any Christmas music to play around my room. Oo, except that Roches CD. I’m going to play that Roches CD tonight before I go to bed. Wonderful Roches! Wonderful Christmas!
I am in a ridiculously good mood now. Not sure if it’s because I’ve just started reading Harry Potter over again, or because I thought of Christmas, and Christmas always puts me in a good mood. I love Christmas! Christmas is a wonderful holiday! I love presents! I love buying presents, and I love hiding presents in my closet, and wrapping presents up in shiny paper, and coming out to the living room on Christmas morning to behold the glorious heap of presents beneath the tree! Capitalist materialism is fun! If the dominant paradigm is wonderful Christmas, it does not need to be subverted but EMBRACED. Want “Deck the Halls” stuck in your head? Come to me! I am already singing it! Nobody can tell me it’s too early! I’m my own woman! Hurrah for Christmas carols!
I have not had a good Christmas since starting this blog. My 2006 Christmas was far from home and my family and came very shortly before a break-up; my 2007 Christmas was far from home and came very shortly after a death in the family. You would think that these things might have soured my love affair with Christmas, but no, they haven’t even approached damaging my transcendent love for the joyful Christmas season. When it is Christmas, my wonderful uncle Jim comes to visit, and we give him lots of hugs and affection because we know he has missed us in the months (or weeks, as it may be) since he has seen us last. We make delicious sugar cut-out cookies with each other. Sometimes we go camping and eat yummy brisket and red beans and rice and read Forever Amber with Bonnie. We play Christmas music and sing Christmas songs and hang Christmas lights and it’s just the most best time of year. Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!
(In the interests of full disclosure about holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving are also coming up. Whatever. It’s all about Christmas.)
On my way to grab some food this evening, I stopped at the Dollar Tree and bought two things of wrapping paper, some sparkly red and green gift bags, white tissue paper, and two things of Christmassy to-from tags. It was joyful. Only one of the things of wrapping paper was Christmas-themed. The other one was just awesome. People with upcoming birthdays will see.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
And I, knowing that my mother doesn't stay up past eight, said: "Really?"
And my mother said: "Yes. Till ten-thirty!"
In other news, I watched a really depressing football game today. I went straight home before it was over and I read that bit of the sixth Harry Potter book where Ron succeeds in turning the Gryffindor Quidditch season around, to cheer myself up (it didn't work). CBS had the meanest commentators ever and they loathed LSU obviously, and I now completely decline to ever watch CBS again. I mean, my God, CBS, WE GET IT ALREADY. YOU ARE FELLATING THE ENTIRE FLORIDA TEAM ON THE SIDE. QUIT REPLAYING THAT AWFUL PLAY.
However, my aunt and uncle, with whom I watched the football game until we all got too depressed to continue, learned that I had purchased a record player, and they gave me all their old records. Now, this includes some Barry Manilow ones, giving me the opportunity to mock my aunt for her previous musical tastes by singing "Copacabana" at every commercial break (now it's stuck in my head, so that'll teach me to make fun of the music people used to like before they wised up), but it also includes the Jesus Christ Superstar album that she got when she was twelve, the Jesus Christ Superstar album that I love like my life, the version of Jesus Christ Superstar that is my desert island record. Also Cat Stevens, Simon & Garfunkel, Diana Ross, Grease, and many other things.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
...That is the magic of the New Pornographers on vinyl. It's true what everybody's been saying. Music just sounds better when it is coming off a record.
Anyway, I ran a Google search for "God sent quail to the Israelites", and Google suggested that perhaps I had meant to search "God sent mail to the Israelites."
Quitcher bitching. Behave yourselves and listen to Moses or no milk and honey for you.
You better love Me,
(Postmarked from Mt. Sinai.)
Bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes!
They've got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses
And what's with all the carrots?
What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?
Okay, my confession is not about bunnies. It is about kittens. I am secretly a little frightened of them. (Well, it's not a secret now. Obviously.)
Yesterday evening my friend Lauren sent me a link to this picture. And okay, yeah, it's kinda cute. The kittens are climbing! They are hungry for their food! Part of my mind acknowledges that this is the case, the cuteness and the climbing and the hungry. The other part of me thinks, THIS IS FUCKING TERRIFYING. I mean, this woman is not in any danger - there are not that many kittens, and someone else is there, taking the picture, so if the kittens went insane the photographer could come to her aid. But that is too many swarming climbing kittens in one place.
Kittens have unstable personalities. They DO. One second they'll be curled up on your lap cuddling with you, and the next second they'll have lost their little kitten minds and they'll be off climbing the walls or hunting your toes or gnawing on your records. You just don't know what they'll do! There is a REASON people only buy one or two kittens at a time! There is a REASON people always want to give their kittens away to good homes! It is because they do not want the kittens to RISE UP IN REVOLT AND KILL THEM.
I think this is because when I was young, my friend down the street had kittens, and I hated spending the night at her place (I mean, I liked it, but I didn't like these damn kittens), because Nigel and Eli would run around crazy at night, and it was rather frightening, because it was all dark, and then out of nowhere little needle claws would attack my fingers and wake me up. What if they felt like sleeping on top of my nose and mouth? WHAT ABOUT THAT?
Er, but most of me thinks kittens are cute. As long as I don't have to sleep in a house with kittens. And as long as I can lock them in a room when I have tired of them.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
It is the best record player ever! It was only twenty dollars and I got it at Goodwill and I got speakers for seven bucks apiece, so the whole thing was a little over thirty dollars. And I bought a bunch of records at Goodwill also, and after I bought those records I went to the library and on the way back I went to THE BEST STORE EVER, i.e., The Compact Disc Store. It's so great! There's a dog! There are records! It's near the comic book store! And I bought a bunch of used LPs, and additionally I got new ones because all the cool bands release their records on vinyl too - apparently because all the records I looked for were there - so I got the Decemberists' Picaresque, and my favorite Shins album (Chutes Too Narrow), and one by the New Pornographers (and the guy said he thought they'd be getting some Neko Case records in soon too), and also I bought Abbey Road new. Because I like it.
Records are awesome. I am sitting in my room nostalgically listening to Man of La Mancha, which I used to listen to when I was a kid before my father gave away all our records (yes! he did! All of them! Though I begged him to desist!), and I am just as happy as a clam. Some people say it doesn't make a difference but I say it's the difference that makes it.
(That's from Empire Records.)
I ate dinner at my parents' house after I went on this records-buying spree, and when I came in the house with all my new records, my mother was totally unimpressed. She said "You paid for these?" and she said it was just like if I had come home all excited because I! Had bought! A push lawnmower! She said records are hard to deal with and easily damaged and out-of-date, and we should embrace the way of the future. But instead of that I think I want to embrace the way of the past, which includes large cool cover art, lyrics, and a pleasant crackly noise when you put them in.
Each time I think of the many records I now own (I mean, not tons and tons and tons. I think I probably have about fifteen of them? Fifteen or twenty?), I heave a happy sigh. I love my lovely new records. I have speakers in my room. I have a record player. I cleverly fixed the needle so it's not unbalanced and dangly anymore. I have cool records and a new favorite store. This was a good weekend.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Portrait at the White Rat - she says she dreams to own this sort of friend, a little rat.
The Red Room
This one may be my most favorite. It has a pirate ship! Hunters Princess
I actually like a bunch of them, but I'll quit linking to them. Thoughts? Aren't they nice? I set one of them as my desktop background. Not one of those. A different one that works well with my desktop icons. I really like it! Hooray!
Friday, October 3, 2008
Or any day between now and the day we forget all about Sarah Palin. You can choose! Today I went to see Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist with Vey and Laura, and Vey explained how it was Talk Like Sarah Palin Day. It's hard to sustain at first, and you are prone to lapse into other stupid accents, but as time goes on things get easier. The hardest thing for me is trying to remember not to say naughty curse words.
However, last night I watched the season premiere of Pushing Daisies, and I don't know what my cranky-ass problem was. Pushing Daisies is wonderful! Emerson Cod is snarky. He balances out the sweetness, and Lee Pace is still very cute and sweet, and he went and got all of Chuck's books! Plus it is a clever and a well-written show, even when horrifying things happen like a person composed entirely of bees. Ick.
Aw, Pushing Daisies. No wonder I liked it so much before.
Last night there was no Office because of the VP debates. Sarah Palin is ridiculous, and her accent is silly, and I was really looking forward to watching The Office last night. Pooh.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I do not much care for black coffee, which is quite bitter, but I drink it anyway because I am 1) afraid of becoming a yuppie and thus disinclined to purchase trendy mocha-type drinks; and (more important) 2) too lazy to bother about putting it sugar and cream and then stirring it adequately so it doesn’t all settle on the bottom. I greatly enjoy writing in coffee shops because sometimes really awful people come in for long or short lengths of time and talk about all the really awful things they and their friends have done, and it is fun to eavesdrop on them.
My new laptop has a clit mouse. I have not used a computer with a clit mouse since before I learned what a clitoris was. Fortunately (fortunately because otherwise I would kill myself) it also has a touchpad.
Whenever I see those signs that say “No shirt, no shoes, no service” or “Shirt and shoes required” or whatever, I always always check myself to make sure I am meeting these requirements. I have not paid a lot of attention to this previously, but I was strolling into the library yesterday on my lunch break, and I did it twice in such rapid succession (at the entrance and then at the door to the stairwell) that I couldn’t help but notice. My brain went, Shirt? Check. Shoes? Check. Okay, we’re good to go! My feet paused for this moment of consideration. I guess in case I ever lose my mind and accidentally go out without a shirt on, this will be handy because I won't also have to get booted out of a library or wherever.
On my lunch break after going to the library, I read Lux the Poet, which I had on hold at the library and which had just, just, just come in when I got there. I am reading it as a substitute for Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me, which I have not yet read because I’m delaying gratification until some as-yet-undetermined point in the future. I still really like Martin Millar. His books are so sweet. Lux the Poet is all about an angel who got framed and booted out of heaven so she’s doing loads of good deeds to get back into heaven. Except that’s not what it’s all about, that’s only one bit of the whole thing. But it’s my favorite bit, although the other bits are also good. The aforementioned angel is very tired but she carries on giving coats to bums and helping little old ladies across the street because if she carries on doing that long enough, she’ll get to go back to heaven again. There is also a funny poet not altogether unlike the poet in The Graveyard Book (the poet in The Graveyard Book was not heavily featured enough for my tastes, so it’s very pleasing to be reading Lux the Poet so soon after), and a girl with a film, and an angry thrash metal band called the Jane Austen Mercenaries. Martin Millar makes me smile.
Also, an unexpected side effect of becoming a rockin’ guitar chick: The cuticles on my right hand are suffering. I am a compulsive cuticle-pusher-backer, and I ceaselessly push back the cuticles on one hand with the fingernails of the other. Now that I am keeping the fingernails on my left hand trimmed very short in order to play chords more effectively (dude, C#m is unreasonably difficult. It’s almost a C! Why must I spread out my fingers so dramatically just to play it?), those fingernails are not long enough to push back the cuticles on my right hand. IT IS DRIVING ME INSANE. I am thinking of playing only chords that require three fingers, and giving up using my ring finger in guitar-playing, just so I can grow that fingernail out and continue pushing back cuticles when I wish to push back cuticles.
And before you ask – No, pushing back my cuticles does not give me hangnails. I’ve been doing it for a while and I have cuticle-pushing finesse now. Lucky me.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
But okay, let's say you can do that. Let's say the campaignin' train makes special stops when requested. Why would you ever want to do that? I think McCain is ridiculous.
And since I'm talking about presidential candidates, I wish that Sarah Palin would quit dragging around her medically fragile infant so that she can show off what a great person she is for not aborting the kid with disabilities.
But then I remember that libraries are funded by tax dollars, and I am paying taxes. I figure, I work hard for the money I earn, and a lot of it gets taken away for taxes. That’s fine, and I support taxes, but a lot of taxes pay for things I would rather not pay for. Like the salaries of people I really dislike, such as John McCain and David Vitter. And when my tax money is paying for something I do like, even though it is not something I desperately need (like all the rest of Martin Millar’s out-of-print books), I should nevertheless take advantage of it.
So hurrah for interlibrary loan! My tax dollars at work! Now that I'm no longer in school, and I'm all with the job, I am no longer reaping the benefits of public-school tax money; nor am I in a state of poverty that requires financial support. Thus I must take joy where I can in the use of services paid for a little tiny teensy bit by me, like roads and sewers and interlibrary loans.
...Interlibrary loans are more joyful than the other two to contemplate, but I would rather have roads and sewers than interlibrary loans. Just wanted to clear that up.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
When I was in England, I went to see Caroline, or Change at the National, and it’s all about this woman who lives in Lake Charles in the 1960s, and the family she works for has a little half-basement. And she sings “There ain’t no underground in Louisiana”. At intermission, all the British people were talking about how palpably untrue that was, because of course there was underground in Louisiana, otherwise where did they have their basements? And they chuckled.
Monday, September 22, 2008
In other news, I am tired of having everything ship from Memphis. Why Memphis? What’s so good about Memphis? Why does everybody have offices in Memphis? (By everybody I mean Amazon.com.) One of these days I’m going to live in Memphis, so when I check my packages for tracking, it will say, 6:08 AM, Left Memphis shipping office; 12:55 PM, Arrived at your house. I have two separate (alas! wouldn’t it have been cooler if I’d gotten all my books in one massive parcel?) parcels heading my way, and the big one is in Memphis. The little one is coming from Oregon, but still, out of fourteen books, only two are not coming from Memphis!
Also, after some arduous consideration, I have finally settled on my five desert island movies. I would take these five and accept no substitutes. Empire Records, Before Sunrise, Angels in America, King of Hearts, and the fifth season of Buffy. I choose the fifth even though it does not contain Angel, because the fifth does contain a lot of Anya and Tara, and I am very fond of Anya and Tara; moreover, the fifth is the season with Spike having dirty lusty love for Buffy, the Buffybot, a really excellent season finale, and (this is mean) Joyce’s death. I am glad when she is no longer around, and “The Body” is a really good episode.
I am pleased to have this settled. I have more or less chosen my desert island books – a recent change to the line-up substitutes The Ground Beneath Her Feet for The Color Purple, because although I don’t like The Ground Beneath Her Feet quite as much, it takes longer to read – but I have long struggled with the movies question.
Oh, yes, and also, today I found a website that explained how the internet works. I have long been struggling to understand how the internet works, and now I do, all because of Tim Berners-Lee. See, what happens is, there are all these computers that keep track of where web pages are stored. So I type in the address of a web page, like the library web address, for instance. Then my computer asks one of the clever computers for the number of the computer that hosts the web page for the library, right? When it gets that number, it asks the library computer to send me the library web page, and the library computer agrees to send it, and then, voila, I have it! (It comes in packets, a little bit at a time, until at last I have the whole thing, which is why a more complicated website takes longer – more packets to send!)
Lovely Tim Berners-Lee! I have always been so troubled that I use and use and use the internet without ever really understanding how the whole thing worked. I knew it was about sharing information, but I have never been clear on the process. Now I only don’t know how the clever computers manage to keep track of what websites are stored where; and also how it can be that one’s own computer knows who to ask for the number of the computer that has the webpage. And also how computers communicate in the first place.
You know what would be a good and improving project? If every time I went to the library, I got a children’s nonfiction book, in addition to my fun reading books. In this way I would learn a little bit of information about a bunch of different topics, and I would not get confused and feel stupid, and then I would have a broader network of knowledge in which to place new information about topics I have hitherto not understood (like the internet). Each time I go, I can get something from a different call number section.
Yes! Genius! I am in love with this idea! It is the best idea ever had by me in all the history of time! I will become a well-informed person only by reading children’s books! I will start with the 000s, which conveniently are computers, and after that I will go to the 100s, which are religion and philosophy, and I will work my way up. I will either go through each century exhaustively, or else alternate on successive library visits.
Soon I will know dozens and dozens of new and interesting facts. Updates as warranted.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Graphic novels: I thought of getting Death: The High Cost of Living but did not on account of Anna having left her copy at home when she moved away (plus I am holding out for The Compleat Death which I just discovered existed); and I wanted to get Blankets by Craig Thompson but could not remember if it was as good as all that and furthermore it was $20, far too large a chunk of my $100 for a book I couldn’t even remember that well. I do remember it being quite, quite good though. And I wanted to get it because I am trying to read more books by men so that I won't be a sexist reader. Because this one time I fussed at my friend Chris for only reading books by men, and then I remembered that virtually all my favorite books (Fire and Hemlock, The Color Purple, I Capture the Castle, The Time Traveler's Wife, To Kill a Mockingbird, Greensleeves, Jane Eyre) are by women. And this would be a guy author and a graphic novel and a grown-up book, so it would fulfill three affirmative action type quotas. But it was $20. None of the other books I got cost that much. I'd have had to sacrifice two big or three little books in order to get Blankets.
Bookshelf limitations: My bookshelf is quite large, but it has quite small shelves, tall enough for mass market paperbacks but not trade paperbacks. I have to stack trade paperbacks and hardbacks sideways on my bookshelf. This was a problem during the book-ordering process. I wanted to get Fire from Heaven but could not because my copies of The Charioteer and The Persian Boy are both mass market paperback, and Fire from Heaven was only available in trade paperback, and then they wouldn’t have matched so I would have had to shelve them separately.
Strategy: I didn’t get any still-in-print kids’ books (apart from Hilary McKay, who is unreliably available in America), any recent bestsellers, or any classics, because I think those are more likely to be discoverable at garage sales and library and university book sales. Hence I did not purchase The View from Saturday or Jennifer, Hecate, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth; I did not purchase Special Topics in Calamity Physics; and I did not – although I greatly wanted to – purchase Aurora Leigh or anything by G.K. Chesterton.
St. Ignatius and his theories about consolation and desolation: I almost didn’t get the three Martin Millar books. I thought, Oh, Jenny, hold off on those, you haven’t read them enough to be sure that you will always like them, and you haven’t read Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me at all. But when I thought of not getting the three Martin Millar books, I was filled with a soul-deep sadness, and I ended up getting them after all, because it was clear to me from this sadness that God wanted me to get them.
That’s right. My life is all about strategy. And yes, okay, I will acknowledge that my life is a little bit about serious control issues, and sometimes I should just chill out and get the books I want when I want them – but I HAVE A SYSTEM.
Here was the final tally:
Permanent Rose (all by Hilary McKay; because I haven't got them)
Keturah and Lord Death
Tom Finder (all by Martine Leavitt, my new this-year discovery)
The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery (because my old copy got all coffee-y)
Sunshine, Robin McKinley (I haven't got this either, and almost didn't get it because the other Robin McKinley book I own, Beauty, is in the not-grownups book section of my books, and buying Sunshine will necessitate a transfer of both to the grown-up section. But then I remembered that I also want to buy Deerskin so I would have had to have Robin McKinley books in the grown-up section of my bookshelf anyway. So I went ahead and got it.)
Getting the Girl, Markus Zusak (it is a sequel but the first one isn't in print here)
The Good Fairies of New York
Lonely Werewolf Girl
Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me (all by Martin Millar, my other new this-year discovery - or maybe last year? I can't remember when I read The Good Fairies of New York)
I also got two other books I can't mention here because I am getting copies of them for Anna for Christmas. Don't tell. I am most of all excited about the books by authors whose first names begin with M, three of which are new books to me. I am so excited about Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me that I lost patience waiting and went to Amazon and read the excerpt they offered me, and it was charming and made me feel even more impatient. I wanted to run searches on Amazon Reader for random words that would allow me to read large chunks of the book, but I forbear because I want to delay gratification. Here's the bit I read:
We go into a comic shop on Oxford Street and look at some comics and then Manx finds a large display of dolls from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There are figures of Buffy, Willow, Xander, Angel, Spike, and some others. We are entranced...
"I'd like to buy all these Buffy dolls and play with them. I'll have time on my hands soon, I've almost finished the Led Zeppelin book. I'm at the 'nice and big' stage."
"What's the 'nice and big' stage?"
"I go through the text making sure I haven't used any long words. If I find any fancy adjectives have crept in I replace them with small words like 'nice' and 'big'. I've liked these words ever since I was told not to use them in English class at school. And I make sure that the sentences are short so as people won't get confused and I shorten all the chapters so they won't get bored. I can't read anything complicated these days, my attention span is too short. Everyone else probably feels the same."
I love Martin Millar. I really do. I am only sad that Neil Gaiman didn't tell me about Martin Millar long ago. And I am glad that I had desolation in response to the notion of not getting his books, so that now instead of having no books by Martin Millar, which was not representative of my ever-growing fondness for his books, I will have three.
Edit to add: Shit. I've only just remembered that Good Fairies is mass market (because if I got it in mass market paperback I got Saffy's Angel for free), and the other two trade, paperback. And now it's too late to change. However, I have rationalized this into being okay because I have put some of my Neil Gaiman books (the hardbacks and graphic novels) on the top shelf of my bookshelf, and I have put the paperbacks on another shelf. And I will just do the same with Martin Millar, and Good Fairies can be sensibly shelved with Neil Gaiman as it has an introduction by him. Hurrah. Serious shelving crisis averted.