Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A quick time-out from working to complain about feminism

This is what my book says:

But students are likely to differ in their reactions to Jane's position at the novel's end: Has Bronte reduced her intelligent, passionate, and courageous heroine to an ordinary wife and mother? Has Jane achieved nothing but a woman's traditional place?

OH MY GOD. There just hardly aren't any words for how angry this makes me. In the first place, nobody's asking whether Rochester has been reduced to anything by becoming an ordinary husband and father. It's not like anybody thinks Mr. Rochester is going to do anything surprising with his life from here on out; looks to me like Mr. Rochester has pretty much devoted himself to his wife, whom he adores, and their sweet little baby with the big black eyes, and that's all he's going to be getting up to from now on.

Sidebar: Hey, look. Four out of the five last words of that sentence are prepositions.

In the second place, really? Reduced the many-good-adjectives heroine to an ordinary wife and mother? I'm sorry, but don't all the good adjectives seem to imply to you that she's amazing forever no matter what job she takes? How is becoming a wife and mother going to make her unintelligent and unpassionate and uncourageous? And also, is this woman implying that most wives and mothers out there are unintelligent and unpassionate and uncourageous? Like, they all started out without the benefit of these good adjectives and that is why they achieved "nothing but a woman's traditional place"?

And not to go back over already-covered ground, but reduced? Reduced? Indeed, reduced? That's what happens when a woman marries and has kids, she's reduced to ordinariness? Seriously, what the hell? This is why I get cross. It seems like there are all these feminist thinkers who are of the opinion that any woman who decides to get married and have kids and stay home to raise them is settling for some pathetic male-dominated life. Because of course there's no way anyone could actually make an intelligent informed choice to be a full-time parent. Nooooo. It's oppression that makes you think it's your choice when really all along you're just giving in to The Man.

Barbara Thaden who wrote this article, I don't want to be friends with you. You're a big insulting jerk. This is like the reasonablest crankiness there has ever been since I started this blog.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Silly things that I feel vaguely guilty about, Part IV

Yesterday I was printing out a scholarship application, and the online one was in color, so when I printed it, it was meant to come out in a darkish purple color. But because my color ink cartridge is running out, it printed out in this very pretty light green. Rendering it, sadly, unusable, because I did not feel confident that the scholarship committee's sense of whimsy would stretch to the applicants' turning in Easter-colored applications. I tossed it on the floor to put in the recycled-paper bag the next time I went into the kitchen, and carried on working.

Such a mistake. It sat on the floor in its spring-time-y green print and stared up at me reproachfully all the time I was filling out the sober black-ink application. It looked so pretty and green. I think it was saying: Am I not good enough? I thought I would please you. Why have you rejected me this way?

It made me too sad. I had to get up right then and put it in the recycling, and it's been haunting me ever since.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Giving my half-heart BFF necklace to the Lord

I'm getting confirmed tomorrow!

...Just wanted to let everyone know.

P.S. I have a very cute dress with a yellow belt to get confirmed in. Yay.

Living in a strange alternate universe

This is too backwards for me not to make note of it. Today my sister Bonnie called and woke me up from sleeping. I was sleeping, and Bonnie called and woke me up. At ten in the morning on a Saturday. I didn't even know Bonnie knew about ten in the morning on a Saturday.

Actually very fortunate she did wake me up because I have work to do. But still. This is weird. My brain is not sure it believes it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I both like these quizzy things and feel guilty about them

The original authors of this exercise are Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, and Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright. (via imani)

Bold the true statements. You can explain further if you wish.

1. Father went to college
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.

8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
9. Were read children’s books by a parent
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18

I had gymnastics when I was tiny, and then ballet when I was still tiny, and then I decided I'd rather do choir, so that happened instead. And I had violin lessons at school (briefly because I was awful at it), and then when I was a bit older I had piano lessons. Wow. That is many. (But serial!)
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
I guess?
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school
17. Went to summer camp
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.
Not necessarily by my parents, but pretty much yes.
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
25. You had your own room as a child
For a brief period as a toddler, and then one year after my older sister left home. I don't know if that really counts.
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school
Now this I actually don't remember. There is currently a TV in Robyn's and my bedroom – the old living room TV after our neighbor gave us her larger TV when she moved – but I don't actually remember when it got there. I think it was before I left high school. Maybe? Anyway it's a piece of crap and the sound's always going out and we're always having to get up from the bed and flick the headphone jack, for some reason, to make the sound come back.
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college
....I don't even know what those things are. Probably shouldn't confess to that.
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
Yes. When we moved, and then one California vacation.
31. Went on a cruise with your family
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

Damn, that's a lot of bolding.

I like the books question the best. When my sisters and I were little, we would sometimes ask my parents if we were rich. My father used to say we were rich in love, and my mother used to say we were rich in books. Come to think of it, those two responses sum up my parents perfectly.

Also, we are rich in books. We have something like, I don't know, sixteen bookshelves in my house, of which six are really massive floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Part of me started laughing at that fifty books question (we have more than fifty books in the living room), and part of me discovered that my brain could not even comprehend owning fewer than fifty books.

I am way smart

I am wasting myself not going into academia.

Sidebar: Today in class I was reminded of another reason for me not to ever go into academia. We were discussing critical essays on Jane Eyre, and this one girl was criticizing an essay she was reading, saying it was flimsy and not backed up by the book and she didn't believe it for one second. And our professor said: You should write an article proving that author completely wrong. And I said: But then the author of the original essay will be so crushed. And as soon as the words were out of my mouth I felt like a humongous idiot, which, let's face it, I sort of was, because what? should we let them carry on being wrong just so we don't hurt their feelings? Since my answer to that is sort of yes, it would be definitely very bad for me to go into academia because I'd feel too guilty to make fun of anyone else's stupid arguments of which there are many.

But whatever. I am writing a paper on "Ligeia" that I think makes several excellent points. I am really pleased with myself about this latest point I just came up with ten minutes ago. It's clever, all about her last words and Jesus's last words, and how they are similar but also very, very different, because what I'm arguing is that she is a figure of Christ but she's a corruption of Christ. (I'm saying it more eloquently in the actual paper.) I wrote that last-words paragraph just this minute, in a period of six minutes, even though I was planning to write like one sentence and then go to bed. I am cool. I'm going to reward myself by going to bed early. Yay for sleep.

You know who I'm glad I'm not?

Tim Minear. (I just wrote Tun Nubear because my fingers got moved over one space.) Boy, am I ever glad not to be Tim Minear.

I know I know. There are worse people to be like struggling producers no one's ever heard of or the people who produce that show where people win money for telling the truth about a lot of mean things, and who (I can only assume) go home every day and hate themselves. I'd rather be Tim Minear than those people. Of course. But still, I'm way glad not to be Tim Minear. It must be so, so sad to produce brilliant show after brilliant show, which then get canceled immediately because FOX hates joy. If I were Tim Minear, I would be just about ready to give up. If I were Tim Minear I would be stomping into my room and slamming the door and yelling I AM GOING TO BE A DOCTOR INSTEAD.

But Tim Minear doesn't seem to be doing this. I'm wondering if we need to get Tim Minear into a battered producers' shelter. Could he still produce Dollhouse from there?

I only bring this up because of Drive. Drive is like a way more good car-racing version of Lost, in that no one knows why they are there and there's all this complicity and you are always finding out new and interesting and creepy things about all the characters. It is GREAT. Mal has a truck and kicks Jubal Early's ass (again) (it really is Jubal Early but Mal only figuratively kicks his ass in that he is better than him in every way. But the guy really is called Detective Early). Muffin Buffalo lady is ominous and incites unstable mothers to murder. I have love for it. But! But, but, but – guess what? IT GOT CANCELED.

I know. You're shocked. A Tim Minear show got canceled. It's like saying, An Elizabeth Peters book made reference to The Prisoner of Zenda, or, A Frances Hodgson Burnett character is orphaned.

There isn't even a full season. Wonderfalls got canceled after three episodes, but they made ten other episodes and had closure. Drive got canceled after four and hey, turns out they only ever made six. Grrrr.

Whatever. This is why books are better. They don't suck me in and then break my heart. I'm going back to reading Robin.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I am amazing!

I for sure deserve a sparkly present. Which is good because on Friday night I bought myself a present I didn't even remotely deserve. Two actually. I bought myself the fourth season of Angel because I had to, because whatever rat bastard had it out of the library wasn't returning it and they had had it for like a week, and you may not know but CONNOR SUNK ANGEL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN IN A BOX at the end of the third season, so I really couldn't wait for the lazy loser to return it to the library before discovering whether Angel still loved Connor or not. And I got myself a discount card at FYE also, which makes me feel mad excited, and also extremely benevolent. I informed all my family members about this discount card business at once, and with a careless flap of my hand I assured them graciously that they must feel perfectly free to make use of it as often as they chose, and then I returned to my book feeling smug and philanthropic, and thinking angelic Sara-Crewe-like thoughts.

Anyway, very fortunate I did this over the weekend, because now I have definitely earned it. This evening I have done two impressive things, not counting all the Moby Dick reading I have done. First I invented a really good title for my American literature paper, and then I wrote my entire thesis paragraph. This was Disciplined of me, as I would have preferred to be reading The Head of the House of Coombe or Jane Eyre; and Jane Eyre wouldn't even have been procrastinating as I am writing a paper on it. And then, having accomplished that magnificent feat, I proceeded to fix something around the house.

Yes! I am handy! I fixed a thing! I did it using only my genius! (And a chair for added height, and my car key as a crude lever.) I am a handy fixing-things-up-around-the-apartment kind of girl now! I can plunge toilets and I can fix doors! I fixed a door! With my EXTREME BRILLIANCE.

As a prize for myself I will go to bed early, which may not sound like a prize but oh my God it is. And tomorrow I'm going to exercise at the rec center again in my very authentic exercise trousers, which by now have probably forgotten who I am because it's been weeks since I could be bothered to trot down to the rec center and do virtuous exercising. And every day I will work on papers for one and a half hours, minimum, so that I will not be overwhelmed and tearful when it is my birthday time.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


This is my imitation of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester and their married life:

Mr. Rochester: Oh my God I just had the best idea ever! Jane, let's buy you a diamond as BIG AS YOUR HEAD.
Jane: Neg.
Mr. Rochester: But I love you SO MUCH.
Jane: I love you too.
Mr. Rochester: So I think it would be a really good idea to buy you a diamond as BIG AS YOUR HEAD.
Jane: Honey, no.
Mr. Rochester: YES. WONDROUS.
Jane: All the diamonds as big as my head are cursed Indian diamonds. Why don't we get a sensible brown dress instead?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bad news

W.H. Auden, you know him? The guy I used to really, really love (sometimes)? The guy who wrote "Musee de Beaux Arts", which I read a dozen times during my boring-ass senior English class and copied in its entirety into my commonplace book? The guy on whose behalf I got all persnickety at Lord Alfred Douglas, one of several poets I always look for in the poetry section at the bookstore so that I can point out mentally to Bosie down in hell the fact that these people he dismissed so cavalierly and thought he was so much better than had managed to survive the test of time whereas nobody had even heard of him and his lame loser poetry?

(God, I sound so mean, so filled with rage at Alfred Douglas, so lacking in perspective that I continue to feel hatred for a dead guy I never met. But I don't do this bookshop thing anymore. I'm over that phase. At least until I read Salome's Last Veil or Oscar Wilde and Myself again, which will definitely get me riled up.)

Well, anyway, that W.H. Auden. He's not dead to me, but I'm really, really cross with him. He's going to have to do something pretty magnificent to make it up to me. He can be thinking about that while I finish up my essays for this semester, and I'm going to read a biography of him after exams are done, and if I don't find anything that consoles me, I'm putting him in the section of my brain reserved for writers who irritate me as people so I wish I didn't like any of their books or poems, ever. I will sandwich him right between Robert Frost and Orson Scott Card.

Basically this is what happened. I was reading Tipping the Velvet (not as spare and elegant as The Night Watch (it wasn't intended to be, of course), but I'm enjoying it), and the main character's begun dressing as a boy, and she's just about to become a renter, and the guy, her prospective client, says this:

He said, 'A sovereign, for a suck or for a Robert' – he meant, of course, a Robert Browning. 'Half a guinea for a dubbing.'

I was reading this and I was like "WHAT? Wait, wait, wait, Sarah Waters, there's no "of course" here. What could this possibly mean?" I was so confused that I seriously went to her website to see if I could email her and find out the meaning of this bizarre phrase. But it was all publishery and I was too embarrassed, and I haven't given up hope that the book will eventually tell me. I'm also kind of thinking that if I were slightly less naive it would be obvious. And probably once someone (hi, Bonnie!) with a dirtier mind reads this and comments, I will feel silly for not getting it straight away. But anyway, there's the excerpt. Figure it out. I couldn't.

I did a bunch of Google searches trying to work out what this meant, and nothing turned up, except for this blog post of writers saying mean things about each other. Mostly unremarkable, but W.H. Auden, man, he was fucking ruthless. He said that Poe was an "unmanly sort of man whose love-life seems to have been largely confined to crying in laps and playing mouse." Which, okay, seemed really harsh, but fair enough, Edgar Allan Poe had such a messed-up sex life that I doubt I'd say anything even if the Marquis de Sade started getting on Edgar Allan Poe's case. But then I scrolled down a little bit and you know what else W.H. Auden said, DO YOU KNOW?

I don't think Robert Browning was very good in bed. His wife probably didn't care for him very much. He snored and had fantasies about twelve-year-old girls.

Said W.H. Auden! Of whom I used to be very, very fond! Granted, my fondness peaked during that period when I was spending my senior English class time reading his poems instead saying a lot of rude things to my classmates as they tried to decide amongst themselves whether Hamlet was really contemplating suicide or just pretending to (because he was faking the crazy thing! we can't trust him!), but still, I was very fond of W.H. Auden! Why would he say such a thing, why, why, why, why? Why would anyone say such a thing about dear, sweet, darling Robert Browning? He was such a sweet darling dear! Why would you?

And also, don't say his wife in that manner! She's not just some nobody nothing, she's Elizabeth Barrett Browning!

I was going to try and stop myself from making personal comments about W.H. Auden but he's driving me to it. I can no longer contain my feelings of anger because this is one of those times at which speaking one's mind ceases to be a moral duty and becomes a pleasure. Because unlike SOME PEOPLE who make MARRIAGES OF CONVENIENCE and have NO STABLE RELATIONSHIPS EVER, Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning were happily married for ages and ages and did not PERPETUALLY break off relationships all the time always like a BIG DUMB LOSER. Besides which neither of them were named WYSTAN or HUGH.

Excuse me while I go take some Valium.

Okay, some of that was unfair. He married for convenience, but he didn't marry some nobody nothing either, she was Thomas Mann's daughter and literary executor (I think), and he married her so she could have a British passport and escape from the Nazis. And yes, he didn't have any stable relationships, but also it would have been trickier for a gay couple to swing that than a straight couple (though of course the Brownings did not have the easiest path to bliss that has ever existed in the world). And Wystan Hugh is not his fault and maybe neither was his apparent relationship dysfunction because maybe his parents were awful and messed him up for life.

So I think W.H. Auden was just jealous, which means the above-quoted remark is much more sad than it is nasty, but that doesn't mean I'm going to forgive him for trash-talking dear, sweet, darling, lovely Robert Browning. JUST SHUT UP, W.H. Auden. Nobody asked YOU.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Definitely worth it

I've been watching my post count inch closer to 300, and this is at last the actual 300th post. I was worried that the 300th post would end up being something lame, like a complaint about the dearth of kittens in my life, but I think this new and bizarre fact is worth it. 300 isn't that interesting a number anyway.

Has anyone ever heard of the Poe Toaster? Cause I hadn't. At first when I saw that, I had visions of someone delicately placing a toaster on Poe's grave every year, which would, actually, be pretty great. But basically the Poe Toaster is a dude who shows up at Poe's grave every year on Poe's birthday, all dressed in black and veiled, carrying a cane, and he raises a toast to Poe, leaves three flowers and a bottle of cognac on the grave, and skedaddles.

Evidently this has been going on for more than fifty years. Apparently Poe enthusiasts gather together at the grave site and hang out to watch, and nobody bugs the toaster because they don't want to spoil the mystery. Quite rightly.

There is also some controversy in the Poe Toaster circle because in 1999 the torch passed to a new Poe Toaster (said a note left at the grave), and the new guy's kind of an asshat and leaves political messages sometimes. That hate the French and the Baltimore Ravens. Nobody likes a tradition sullier.

So there you have it. Do with that what you will.

Silly things that I feel vaguely guilty about, Part III

I'm writing a paper for my Victorians class on Jenna Starborn, a frighteningly awful sci-fi adaptation of Jane Eyre, and how the author unhumanizes Berthe. Whose name is Beatrice. Officially I'm glad that Sharon Shinn, the author, went with changing all the names, but she did it in a kind of lame way, and –

Well, that's neither here nor there. I feel guilty because I refuse to read Wide Sargasso Sea. I know it's no big deal, and I can read what I want, but still whenever I think about Wide Sargasso Sea I want to write a note to Jean Rhys who doesn't give a shit, to let her know that I'm sure her book is splendid and I hope she doesn't take it personally that I refuse to read it. I wouldn't feel guilty if I just didn't happen to ever get around to reading Wide Sargasso Sea, but because I know it's there and I'm actively not reading it out of selfish motives, I feel guilty. Basically I don't want to read it because I don't want anyone to spoil Jane Eyre for me. This is very not postcolonialist of me. I feel like a bad feminist. Not because I in any way admit any possible flaw in Jane Eyre, because I for sure do not, ever, nothing, nope, not a bit, perfect book that I love forever; but because I am actually refusing to read a book that might damage my deep and abiding love for Mr. Rochester by giving me the other woman's perspective. It's the booky equivalent of putting my fingers in my ears and going Lalalalalalalalalala.

(I now have the Flash Girls song stuck in my head.)

To countermand this guilt, I am going to read The Madwoman in the Attic, which will in no way damage my deep love for Mr. Rochester on account of its being all academic and not fictiony and it can't make me ever think about Berthe as – what's the Sargasso Sea heroine called? Antoinette? Anyway, I think this will kill the guilt. Maybe.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I really love Shakespeare

Like, hey. William Shakespeare. What a cool guy. I like him for very many reasons, like because he writes good. And because I read this book that said he was probably Catholic. Catholic! Woohoo! And I am Catholic! UP WITH PAPISTRY!!! And because, okay, he was this random-ass Stratford kid who came to London to make his fortune and he wound up being the greatest writer ever. And because he was total actor scum and he was all writing plays just to pull in the groundlings; and because SUCK IT ROBERT GREENE.

And because this is from a play of his that is supposed to be a crap one (Troilus and Cressida):

Margarelon: Turn, slave, and fight!
Thersites: What art thou?
Margarelon: A bastard son of Priam's.
Thersites: I am a bastard too; I love bastards; I am a bastard begot, bastard instructed, bastard in mind, bastard in valour, in every thing illegitimate. One bear will not bite another, and wherefore should one bastard? Take heed, the quarrel's most ominous to us: if the son of a whore fights for a whore, he tempts judgment: farewell, bastard.

And also this is too:

Thersites: Agamemnon is a fool to command Achilles; Achilles is a fool to be commanded of Agamemnon; Thersites is a fool to serve such a fool; and Patroclus is a fool positive.
Patroclus: Why am I a fool?
Thersites: Make that demand to the Creator. It suffices me thou art.

And because, hello? Mercutio? How much does Mercutio rock? I know everyone loves it when he tells Tybalt "Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives", but I seriously love it when he tells Tybalt that.

Sidebar: Tybalt's such a ridiculous person. Do you get the feeling that Tybalt was the loser Capulet cousin when he was younger? Like at Capulet family reunions Tybalt was the one who got teased for sucking his thumb and wasn't allowed to play on the swing set with all the other little Capulets even though he really wanted to because they thought it was funny when his face turned all red and he started pulling up grass and throwing it all around and trying to hit everyone with sticks? And then when he grew up he started to be all like NOBODY MESSES WITH THE TYBALT but everyone still kinda made fun of him behind his back? I know Juliet's officially upset when Romeo kills him and she's all "who else is living if those two are gone?" but she gets over it pretty fast once she figures out Romeo's alive; and I'm thinking her initial reaction is a little overdone on account of she secretly feels guilty for that time at the last Capulet crawfish boil when Tybalt caught her laughing helplessly at Sampson's Little Tybalt in a Tantrum impression.

And don't get me started on Malvolio, or Sir Andrew Aguecheek. I can't even remotely read or watch Twelfth Night with a straight face.

Oh my God, and that scene in The Tempest where Miranda sees all the people for the first time? I love that scene. Actually I love The Tempest generally. One time I saw a glorious production of it at the Globe, and Ferdinand shook my hand because I was a groundling and it was for sure the best play I have ever seen ever.

Well, whatever. I won't go on. I love me some William Shakespeare. I sometimes have anxiety about what I will say when I run into him accidentally-on-purpose in heaven. Because, you know, I don't want to be like DUDE I AM YOUR BIGGEST FAN because a, I don't think that's true, and b, I bet he gets that all the time, and c, I want to say something much cooler than that. I'm just afraid that in the moment I'll forget the cool thing that I have prepared to say (I'm sure I'll think of something before I die, but if not I'll just avoid Shakespeare until I've got something good), and end up looking like a dumbass. In front of William Shakespeare! Nobody wants that.

However, if there is any justice, my pal Will will know about all the times I got really upset when other people made fun of him. Like today we were discussing Herman Melville's thing about Hawthorne's short stories, and Melville gets persnickety about how everyone admires Shakespeare so much, when there are other writers that are just as good if everyone would just admit it. I know this isn't making fun of Shakespeare in any way, but it still kind of pissed me off. I was feeling belligerent, and if Melville had been right there, I would have probably made a rude noise at him and flicked him in the face.

All through class I kept thinking angry thoughts about the mean things I would say to Melville if I ever got the chance, and then I started thinking about other people who have had some nasty things to say about Shakespeare, like Robert Greene and Samuel Johnson. And you know, that's all fine because I can write them off. Robert Greene, does it make you sad that the only reason anyone knows who you are anymore is that they think it's hilarious that you got all snarky about The Greatest Playwright of All Time. This is like that time that Alfred Douglas renounced homosexuality forever and converted to (I'm sorry to admit) Catholicism, and then got remembered only because of having lots of gay sex in his youth. Teehee.

And as for Samuel Johnson, you know, WHATEVER, Samuel Johnson, your dictionary was NOT THAT GOOD.

But here's something sad. Neil Gaiman – you know Neil Gaiman that I love? – had several bits about William Shakespeare in his Sandman that made me feel really, really sad. In Sandman, William Shakespeare is just a nothing writer until he makes a deal with Dream, and Dream gives him the power to write super duper good, in exchange for which he has to write two plays just for Dream (A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest). I feel torn about this. On one hand, I love the scene where Dream goes to get The Tempest from Shakespeare. It's a poignant coda, and I love Dream to shreds. But mainly I am just upset that Neil Gaiman's effectively talking trash about Shakespeare.

I know! It's fiction! Obviously Shakespeare did not really make a deal with Dream! Nevertheless I find it upsetting how Neil Gaiman that I love is making unpleasant insinuations about William Shakespeare that I also love. If I meet Neil Gaiman I won't mention it, but whenever I read these bits of Sandman I feel like Neil Gaiman is a big bully using his Writerly Awesomeness to make people think unpleasant things about Shakespeare. Inside my head I'm definitely being Tybalty and going, "Quit it, Neil! Cut it OUT! I didn't do anything to you! You're being REALLY IMMATURE! LEAVE ME ALONE!" while Neil Gaiman continues, relentlessly, to have written unpleasant things about my boy Shakespeare.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I scored a free paperback of Street of the Five Moons. Which is handy considering The Laughter of Dead Kings is (as previously mentioned) being released later this year. Now there will be much rereading of also Silhouette in Scarlet and Trojan Gold (in which John hums the "Damn the girl!" song) and Night Train to Memphis. Woohoo!

P.S. I was going to say nothing about this, but I feel too guilty lying by omission. Basically the truth is that I swiped it from a shelf in the library that I thought had free books but it turns out you're meant to read them and give them back. So not so much with the free books to keep forever as I had initially supposed. However, I do not wish to give it back because I wish to keep it and write my name inside it and cover it with contact paper. So I know I said it was free, but the truth is that I'm paying for it IN GUILT. I have compromised with my conscience by agreeing to replace it with some other book of my own that I do not want. I'm sure there must be some book at my house that belongs to me that I do not want.

This won't surprise you but

Neil Gaiman makes my life happy.

I discovered that his new book, The Graveyard Book, the book that's going to make my September happy (well, my October really – like I need anything to make my October happy!) , it's called that because of The Jungle Book. It's a joke. Get it? There's a little baby that is two and gets abandoned in a graveyard (instead of a jungle) and raised by dead people (instead of wolves).

Why should it be that Neil Gaiman is so insanely awesome? Why should that be the case? Like remember that time when he wrote that really good screenplay for what turned out to be a really good movie about a girl who wanted to run away from the circus and join real life? AWESOME. Why should it be that way, really? When there are so many dozens of awful people around who could use some equal distribution of awesome, and they can't because Neil Gaiman is using it all up?

...But not all of it actually, now that I come to think of it. I am glad to report that my three favorite living authors (that I can think of right now) are all publishing books in this upcoming year. Diana Wynne Jones (God please preserve her life forever because her books are my longstanding and permanent love affair) is releasing another book about Sophie and Howl (darling Howl! I fell in love with Howl when he said his shining dishonesty would be the salvation of him) on June 10th; and Elizabeth Peters, bless her, is releasing another book about John Tregarth on August 19th; and Neil Gaiman is releasing his Graveyard Book on September 30th.


Oh, and, and, and – not my favorite living author but I do love her a lot – Lynn Flewelling, who apparently has the same birthday as Viggo Mortenson that I also love and adore (he's this generation's Manly Epic Dude, and I think he is generally much better at it than the late Mr. Heston), she is also talking about releasing another book this year. July. But I don't believe it. I've heard this story out of her before, and I waited around two years for Oracle's Queen and was kind of let down by it when it finally arrived. So there will be no hopes-getting-up with me, because I can no longer be fooled by her tricky little games.

AND, Pushing Daisies is coming back in the fall for season number two (probably the last season, but more season than I really had reason to expect given its strangeness and the team of people working on it), AND there is a new Joss Whedon show about which I have excitement feelings, AND another season of The Office, AND I am thinking of taking kickboxing, AND I will soon be getting my very first apartment that is a real apartment with rent and utilities and everything, AND there is my car, my lovely car, my beautiful car, that will remain in my life and not have to be sold, AND I have a new and really excellent hat. And although I have lost my beautiful jacket that meant the world to me, I must just think of it as passing it on to its next owner, and not being greedy with what is clearly the best jacket in the whole universe, and feeling grateful for having had my jacket in my life for so many years before it was required of me to give it up. (This is Acceptance.) And I have reason to believe that I will soon be in love with Doctor Who, about which I have heard for such a long time now, and that would be very joyous because the deep desperate Joss Whedon withdrawal is not far away now (I know it's two seasons left of Angel and four of Buffy but that is so few! compared to five and seven as it was two months ago! that's HALF of how many there were left when I started, which, wow, means that I've watched three seasons each of Buffy and Angel since mid-February).

(Wesley Wyndham-Pryce is, incidentally, dead to me. Like Stephen Colbert, we keep a brief list of people who are Dead To Us, and last Thursday I was forced to the unpleasant necessity of adding Wesley to it. It's such a shame considering all we've been through together, and how awfully awfully fond I was of him when he first showed up on Angel and he was a rogue demon hunter. Oh well.)

Oops, I wasn't supposed to ever mention Buffy again. Oh well.

And the happiness continues because my lovely flatmate Marie is going to live at my place in May, and my lovely friend tim is coming for a visit in the summertime if she wants to and I can get off work to entertain her, and darling Kate is coming home in a month and I've thought of a really brilliant gift to get her if I can obtain it.

Er, this started out as a brief sentence about The Graveyard Book but then I got distracted by remembering all the new good books that are arriving later this year. So that was my bad. I'll stop now.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The guy across from me on the plane

I shouldn't even be writing this post. I should be thinking grateful thoughts – and I am, of course – about how fortunate I was to get home forty-five minutes early, and how fortunate I was to have a seat in the second row on the plane by the window with nobody in the adjacent aisle seat, and how fortunate I was that the airline felt guilty about the flight being delayed (I got put on an earlier flight but then that flight got delayed until forty-five minutes before my original flight) so gave us free access to movies we would usually have to pay to watch and I saw Juno for free, and how fortunate I was with all the channels and the watching of Doctor Who for the first time and Almost Famous and part of The Two Towers. And I am grateful for all of these things. It was very positive.

But I'm going to go ahead and gripe about the guy in the aisle seat across from me on the plane. So okay, on take-off he went digging in his bag (the flight attendants fussed at him repeatedly for not stowing his bag away) and after a long search he emerged triumphantly with one of those round strips of beef jerky (that's what it looked like anyway), which he put in his mouth. And he had it in his mouth the entire flight, with the whole long end just hanging out of his mouth. At one point I looked over and realized that he had flipped the piece of beef jerky around and started chewing on the other end. I realized this because the tip of the end that hung out was no longer round and clean and normal but all chewed-up and gross-looking.

And then? When the plane landed? Well, by that time I had very sensibly transferred myself to the aisle seat so I could move quickly and escape from the plane, and when they said we could get up, I got up to fetch down my suitcase, right? And the guy across from me, the beef-jerky guy, stood up too, and he pushed me with his elbow. He did! It's true! He elbowed me in the ribs and I smooshed sideways and then he said sorry but continued to occupy the space that I had been occupying before he pushed me, so that I could not fetch my suitcase down. Ordinarily I would have said DUDE YOU PUSHED ME! WHAT KIND OF BIZARRE SHOVING CHEWING WEIRDO ARE YOU? except that I feared he was the kind of bizarre shoving chewing weirdo that stalks and kills you. So I meekly flipped him off.

(Not really.)