Saturday, January 31, 2009

May need to reevaluate my life

I turned on the TV just now, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was on, sort of towards the end of it. And I guess I am emotional for some reason because every damn thing that happened made me cry. Mr. Tumnus came back to life and I was all MY GOD IT WAS SO SAD WHEN HE WAS STONE. The centaur guy, who I didn't remember from when I saw this film before, but apparently he was an important character because everyone looked really upset when he died, died, and I was all OH GOD HE WAS A FIERCE WARRIOR AND FELL BRAVELY. The Pevensies were all upset because the White Witch had stabbed Edward, and I was all NO NO NO WHAT WILL THEY ALL DO WITHOUT THEIR SULKY BETRAYING BROTHER? Lucy went around curing people with her bottle of cordial, and I was all JESUS CHRIST REMEMBER HOW IN THE BOOK ASLAN WOULDN'T LET HER SIT WITH EDWARD. WHAT A JERK HE WAS.

Then The Count of Monte Cristo came on, and I threw all my Kleenex at Guy Pierce (Guy Pearce?) in a rage, until I ran out of Kleenex; and then I cleaned them all up and went to bed. This is possibly the most tragic thing I have ever done, ever. Should've gone on the Abita pub crawl. (But I don't like beer though.)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Something I find entrancing

Sound editing. No, really.

When my friend Nezabeth and I used to watch the Oscars every year, I always guessed which movie was going to win sound editing and sound mixing. I’m sort of crap at predicting who will win the major acting categories – this is because I make my predictions based on what I want – but I am brilliant at getting the sound categories. I called Two Towers, Master and Commander, The Incredibles, and King Kong. Also Chicago, Return of the King, Ray, and King Kong again. Yes, I am awesome. You may admire me at your leisure.

I don’t know why I’m so clever with the sound categories. The only thing I can think of is that I just think sound mixing and editing is about the coolest thing in the world. I watch making-of things so I can find out how they made the sound effects, and if I don’t find out, I feel really let down and sad. They use the coolest things – by which I mean, the simplest. Like for the octopus beast thing in the Mines of Moria in Fellowship, they took a toilet plunger down to a stream and swooshed it all around, and that was how they made all those noises. Or this one old episode of Doctor Who that had a sewer monster, they made all its noises by putting a humongous amount of soap on their hands and squooshing it all around in front of a microphone. I was saying to my sister a little while ago that I wouldn’t want to be a sound person – because I wouldn’t be able to think up ways to make the noises – but I would love, love, love to be married to (or best friends with!) a sound person, so they could tell me all the things they were doing.

Last night I was just about ready to go to bed, but I wanted to finish up one little thing, so I put on a thing of Doctor Who Confidential, thinking that I would just watch it for five minutes while I finished up my project, and then I would go to bed. Unfortunately I put on the episode that goes with “Midnight” – a damn creepy episode – and the whole thing was all about sound editing! It was so fascinating. It talked all about how they use a bottle opener to make the noises for the sonic screwdriver, and how they made a set for the plane-thing and knocked on the outside so the actors really didn’t know exactly where the knock was coming from. Plus they all talked about how hard it was to get the dialogue right, because huge segments of the episode have more than one person talking at once. And evidently what they did was to have each actor record his or her own dialogue alone, while the rest of them mimed their dialogue; and that way, the sound people would have a clean track of dialogue for each character. (I didn’t go to bed after five minutes.)

Seriously, sound editing is mad fascinating. Maybe when I am rich I will go and hang out in a sound studio. I will be all “Oh, yeah, I’m researching for a book,” and they’ll be flattered because they’ll think I’m about to write a book about them, when really I will just be there to see all the cool and clever things they think of for sound effects.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Why is it Thursday?

Why is it Thursday?

I don’t feel like Thursday today. You know how sometimes it’s some day, and you just really, really, really don’t feel like having that day right then? That’s how I feel today. Every time I look at my calendar I feel displeased. Thursday. Bah. I would have changed it to Friday, just to make myself feel better, but I couldn’t because the Friday shoe is so ugly. I’m so unwilling to have Thursday that I would actually rather it be Wednesday than Thursday (setting myself one day further back from the weekend), except that of course, that would then mean that I’d have to have Thursday all over again.

For a lot of today, I was trying to decide why this should be. I like Thursday usually. It’s not one of those days of the week where I feel depressed. The Office comes on Thursdays. Thursday is only one day away from a weekend. At Essex I had Thursdays completely off. There are three books I like a lot with Thursday in the title – Noel Streatfeild’s Thursday’s Child (bless Noel Streatfeild), G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday (a line that speaks to my soul: “We have abolished Right and Wrong.” “And right and left,” said Syme with a simple eagerness, “I hope you will abolish them too. They are much more troublesome to me.”) and Rumer Godden’s marvelous Thursday’s Children. Thanksgiving, the only day of the year that I get my uncle Mark’s wonderful dirty rice, is on a Thursday. British elections are held on Thursdays, and God knows I love elections. Both of the Brownings were born on Thursdays.

Well, hey, that really helped. I feel a lot better now. Thursday!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The headline I just saw

I just saw a headline that said "Octuplets breathing on their own, doctors say", and my first response was, Well, duh. Octupuses breath on their own all the time. Oh, and P.S., CNN, in addition to posting this retarded headline that isn't news at all, you spelled octupuses wrong. Sheesh.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Exactly why I don't get my oil changed


They call you up and they're all, hey, I'm done with your oil, but oh, your tires are cracked and worn. And I'm all, oh, well, that's cool; and they're all, oh, yeah, AND THERE IS DRY ROT.

The word "rot" is not a word you want to hear when - well, ever, actually, but particularly in application to the tires on your car. When people start saying "rot" about your tires, what should have been a quick, cheap, easy procedure of oil changing suddenly becomes a big expensive undertaking in which you have to replace your damn tires completely.

Moral: Never ever ever get your oil changed. Ever.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The upside to procrastination

Sometimes, when you put something off for ages and ages, you feel like you have accomplished something tremendous when you finally do it. I have found this to be true in a number of situations. Most recently, the issue of getting my oil changed. I have been putting this off for quite a while. I got it changed sometime last year, and they put a little sticker on my windshield to tell me when I had to get it done again.

Initially I really intended to get my oil changed when they said I needed to get it changed. Then the date came and went, and I was all, well, screw it, I’ll go by mileage, you’re supposed to go by mileage anyway. And then the mileage came and went, and I was busy, and when I eventually noticed that I had passed up the mileage, I started pretending the four was a nine – which it MAY HAVE BEEN, YOU DO NOT KNOW – and most recently, when even that didn’t save me, I took the sticker down. The sticker was only depressing me anyway.

Then I discovered that there is a Firestone quite close to where I work, and I reflected that I could just drop off my car in the morning and pick it up on my way out, easy peasy. I printed out a little coupon for an oil change, and I wrote down the number of the Firestone location, so that I could call and make an appointment. There could really be nothing easier than this. But still I put it off and put it off; and today, today, this morning, I finally called and made an appointment. When I hung up the phone, I really felt like I had achieved something. I almost wanted to give myself a prize from my prize system, but fortunately I remembered that that would be insane.

Tomorrow I will have nice new oil! Hooray for my little car! Oh, and, when I called up the place and told him what kind of car I had, and how many miles, he said, “That’s why you bought a Toyota.” Damn straight.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


So I'm sitting here, editing some stuff for work, watching Doctor Who, and taking an occasional break to watch a Tale of Mere Existence, the existence of which I have only just recently remembered, because I was thinking about the approximately twenty-second space of time at age thirteen during which I questioned my sexuality, and it reminded me of that video about a pickle, and I tracked it down. And anyway, I've been doing that, and eating pistachios, and I was reading the thing I'm editing, and I pulled a pistachio out of the bag and popped open the shell and bit down on what was inside the shell and IT WAS ANOTHER SHELL.


It was an unpleasant surprise, and I spat it out really fast, and it got on my coat.

See, what had happened was that a small full shell had fallen into a large open empty one. And upon reflection, it's not really fair for me to feel betrayed by this, because I am always so pleased to find pistachios in the bag that have fallen out of their shells. And this is the flip side of that.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration As Witnessed By Jenny

5:45: My alarm goes off. I shriek angrily because I do not want to be wakened from my dream. I am dreaming that I am at the inauguration and hanging out with the Endless. They are all in costume so as not to be recognized. Death is really cool, and Delirium is disguised as a fish, a thinly veiled reference to The Kindly Ones. I cannot find Desire or Despair, and it has just occurred to me that I must be one of them, since I have been being very friendly with the other Endless. Destiny promises that Barack Obama is going to be a good President. I crawl out of bed and set my alarm for 7:30, which is an hour and a half later than I usually get up for work.

7:10: I realize that I have not done something I was meant to do by today. I get out of bed so fast that I fall off, which I haven't done since I was six years old. I am much taller than I was at six, so I am undamaged. I get dressed and ready and go into work very fast because I am such a failure at work. When I make mistakes at work, I feel as guilty as if I had set off a nuclear holocaust. I have now completely forgotten about the inauguration.

7:45: I get into work and email my supervisor with apologies. After I send it, I am concerned that I have not been clear enough that I AM AN IDIOT. I hope I have made this clear enough. I consider sending another email to reiterate this point. While I am thinking about it, my executive director emails to say that she doesn't mind if we stay home to watch the inauguration.

7:46: I start fighting back tears. Partly because I am such an idiot, but mainly because I have remembered that it is the inauguration today, and I am very inspired by the historical and inspirational moment. I expect that I will more or less be fighting back tears all day.

7:47: I go to the CNN online coverage, intending to watch it while I am working. Adobe Acrobat immediately declares war on my internet browser. I will not surrender. I am determined to watch the CNN online coverage. No way am I missing this historic moment. Against the power of my need to see history in action, Adobe Acrobat and its PDF documents CAN NEVER WIN.

8:30: Adobe wins. I close I email my supervisor to ask if I can work from home even though I am a humongous irresponsible idiot. She agrees to this, and I go flying home. I feel confident I can get home before the Obamas can get from the church to the inauguration, because I will be dealing with far less traffic and security.

8:50: I get home and turn on the TV. It is very historic and inspirational.

9:44: Oh wow, oh my God, there they are, Bush is leaving and Obama is starting, and everyone is screaming and I want to scream too because everything is changing, eight years of Bush, the entire life of my political consciousness, and there he goes, there he goes, there they go, and everything will change. I have to make a concentrated effort to pay attention to work. My eyes are filling up with tears again. I am so happy Bush is leaving.

9:50: CNN announces that they are about to have their last commercial break before the inauguration really starts. Last break? Last break ever? I HAD BETTER TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING BECAUSE I CAN NEVER GET UP AGAIN.

9:53: Fitted out with a catheter and surrounded by a large pile of things I think I might need from now until noon (both phones, Famous Amos cookies, pistachios, all work papers, other laptop in case this one dies for some reason, large box of Kleenex, Chapstick, four blankets in case I get cold, small fan in case I get hot), I settle back down to watch the inauguration and do research on effective schools.

10:02: The TV says this inauguration has the largest audience for anything ever. This makes me think of the episode of Doctor Who where Rose had a poodle skirt and the Doctor had a ducktail, and it was the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, and the TV was going to suck out everyone's brains because they were all watching TV. I become very paranoid that a similar alien is planning a similar plan, and I wish I had thought of getting my sunglasses when I was going around collecting things. However, I am not sure sunglasses would protect me, and anyway I cannot get up any more.

10:16: I was kidding about the catheter. I really need to go to the bathroom but I don't want to miss anything important, and they are playing incredibly important music.

10:30: Oh, CNN, stop talking about slavery. I will cry. I am telling you I am going to cry if you don't stop it.

10:31: There I go. Buildings built by slaves. Luckily my stash of never-get-up-again things includes a box of Kleenex.

10:40: They announce Obama. As ever, I am surprised and worried at how skinny and young he looks. But everyone is so, so, so happy. Look how they all wave their flags exuberantly. If I were there I would wave a flag too. Also exuberantly.

10:45: I like praying and all, but this is a remarkably Christian prayer that Rick Warren is giving. I wish he would desist. This is very Christian. It's making me uncomfortable. Please stop, Rick Warren. Not everybody is a Christian.

10:46: Oh, he mentioned Dr. King, and they are showing people praying. I'm so glad I have these Kleenex.

10:48: MaLIA. And SASHA. He just said their names in a really weird way. Sasha is praying very cutely. I wish Rick Warren would not say the Lord's prayer, particularly if he insists on saying it in a way that sounds totally silly. OUR Father. Who ART in heaven. HALLOWED. Be thy name. Oh, shut up, Rick Warren.

[Edit to add: Jon Stewart agrees with me. Somewhere in there. Around the middle.]

10:50: Aretha Franklin is made out of fabulousness. I have never seen such an enormous bow on a person's hat in my entire life, and I respect her so much for wearing that. Oh, God, it has rhinestones.

10:58 but really 11:01: I notice that my clock has been three minutes slow all this time. Damn clock. Drive you crazy. But look, this is the first (no, second really) minute in which Bush is not the President. This is hard for my brain to take in. Bush has been the President since I was fourteen years old and I started paying attention to politics. I can't believe he's not the President anymore.

11:03: Obama is about to take his oath of office. So, wow. This is it. Really, really, really it.

11:04: Obama and Roberts mess up the oath of office. I try to decide whether it is Obama's fault or Roberts’ fault. I decide to blame Roberts, because I don’t like him as much. I like John Paul Stevens. We should bring back John Paul Stevens. He didn’t mess up Biden’s oath, and he wears a bow-tie. Or Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I love Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I bet she wouldn't have messed up the oath either.

11:23: I am very impressed by what good sentences Barack Obama can make. He manages whole multi-clause sentences without saying something stupid and incoherent. I am just not used to this.

11:25: Obama gets finished with his inaugural speech. So that's it. Look at everyone celebrating. What a good, good, good, good day. There are no Endless, and I am not actually there, but - hahahaha, oh God, they just showed Bush, and he looks like he's about ready to cut a bitch - anyway, to return to the point. There are no Endless, and I am not there, but this is an incredibly good day. New President. I hope this turns out well.

11:27: I reflect that poets should never read their own work.

11:28: My mother calls me to tell me that poets should never read their own work. We are both rather tearful from all the inspirational inauguring that's been going on.

11:29: Tired of listening to the poet, I say “President Obama” several times out loud, to see how it sounds. President Obama. President Obama. Really? Not President Bush anymore? I cannot adjust to this, so instead I think cranky thoughts about Martin Luther King. People haven't said much about Dr. King. Shouldn't we be talking about Dr. King a bit more? Remember how he died fighting for this? I would like this to be mentioned a lot more. Like about every two seconds.

11:30: I cannot believe the poet is still talking. In the time that she has been talking, I have thought many, many thoughts. This is the longest poem ever. I have never heard such a long poem. I start counting how many different thoughts I will have before she finishes talking, but this soon gets boring, so I just wait for her to finish.

11:31: Oh good. She is done. Finally.

11:32: The benediction guy has an awesome voice. I could listen to benediction guy all day. I hope benediction guy never stops giving his benediction. What a great voice. It is still very Christian. Why is everything so Christian all the time? Not everybody is Christian.

11:37: They sing the national anthem. I love the national anthem. I don't care what Tony Kushner says! I cry while watching everyone sing the national anthem.

11:40: Someone has just said that Bush is being taken to a helicopter and into retirement. I don’t think I have ever heard such a beautiful sentence. Taken to a helicopter and into retirement.

11:43: I suddenly remember that I needed the loo an hour ago, and notice that now it is a total emergency. I still don’t want to get up but I guess I have to. I spot John Kerry on the television. I totally forgot about John Kerry. I am still kind of mad at John Kerry for losing the election in 2004. Okay, I’m going.

11:46: I feel much better.

11:49: President Obama – oh, I will just never get tired of saying that – is about to say goodbye to Former President Bush – again, I will never get tired of saying that. The CNN announcer says, “The Bushes are gone. They’re packed up, they’re out of there, and they’re moving back to Texas.” What a wonderful thing for them to say. They should say it again. In fact they should always say it.

11:54: The Bushes fly away in a helicopter. It is very, very easy. They get in the helicopter, and the helicopter flies them away. I feel a little annoyed about this, like Dorothy at the end of The Wizard of Oz – after so much stress and turmoil, it was that easy to sort everything out again? All we had to do was put them in a helicopter, and the helicopter would take them away? WHY DID WE NOT DO THIS YEARS AGO? I sulk about this.

11:55: The Obamas and the Bidens wave goodbye, reminding me that I should not be sulking but rejoicing. Due to the historicness and inspirationalness of the day.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Did you know this was possible?

I was cross-stitching, right? With a cross-stitching needle? And the cross-stitching thread? And what happened? What happened? I WILL TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENED. My needle SNAPPED. Snapped in TWO.

I didn't make that up. Did you know that a cross-stitching needle could just randomly snap in two? I thought I felt something snap, and then I was all, Oh, Jenny, don't be silly, your needle did not snap, you ridiculous girl, that's impossible, and then a second later, I was holding half a needle.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


No, I mean it. Seriously. Join me. They’re going to stop making it again if you don’t join me and I CANNOT TAKE THAT AGAIN.

See, when I was in England, one of my most regular meals was frozen chicken & chips, and I would also steam some broccoli to prevent myself from feeling guilty about how unhealthy this was. I would eat the broccoli first and then get on to the chicken & chips, and I would put cheese on the chips, and I would dip them in chili ketchup. God, it was good. I got the chili ketchup because I was dying for something spicy, and because if I got chili ketchup, my entire meal (apart from the broccoli which didn’t count) would begin with ch.

And then they stopped making it. They just, they just stopped. It was just gone. One day I went to Tesco and found no chili ketchup. I thought it was a one-time aberration, but when I went on the website for Heinz, it became clear that they had discontinued the chili ketchup. My chili ketchup. I never recovered from the blow. I bought some stuff that claimed to be spicy ketchup, but it just wasn’t the same. (My mouth is watering, thinking about chili ketchup.)

But! Recently! They have started it again! They are no longer calling it chili ketchup, which is fine because I say chicken and fries now, as I am back in America, so my ch-meal was already shot to hell. They call it Hot ‘n’ Spicy Ketchup, or something like that, but anyway, nobody seems to know about it. And I wish they would know! I’m afraid Heinz will realize nobody knows about it, and just stop making it. I lost it once and I do not want to lose it again! Every time I buy it at the store, the cashier examines it suspiciously, and I assure him or her of its wondrous merits. I wish I could launch a joyous PR campaign about how joyously delicious the spicy ketchup is. MUCH MORE JOYOUS THAN NORMAL BLAH BORING KETCHUP.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I've always wanted synesthesia

It’s always been just one more thing to be jealous of Nabokov about – which, believe you me, I’m already jealous enough of Nabokov. But my sister just emailed me some things about ordinal linguistic personification. I never knew that this phenomenon a) has a name; and b) is a form of synesthesia. Did you? It’s fascinating!

I do not have this with numbers. It's all about months and days. Some months and days are just better than others, and the reason is that the nice ones are nice and the bad ones are bad. For instance, I always like Friday better than Saturday, even though I work Fridays and not Saturdays. Friday is a clever, arty, interesting girl day (Friday is the only day that reminds me of a letter (C)); and Saturday is a loud boisterous shouty boy day. Like the Ghost of Christmas Present. You really have to be in the mood for loud and boisterous and shouty, which is why I sleep late on Saturdays (but not usually Sundays) and try to fill up my day with people and things, so I won’t have to be alone with Saturday. Doing nothing all day on Saturday gives me a headache. Doing nothing on Sunday is soothing. Sunday and Friday are my favorite girl days. (Monday is very nice, but I feel so sorry for poor little insecure Monday that I can’t get comfortable with it.) Tuesday and Thursday are my favorite boy days – Tuesday has depths to plumb, and Thursday is an expert on dozens of things – but Wednesday, which is diffident, not so much.

I would advise April and October against living with each other even though they are good friends. February has a good sense of humor and deadpan delivery. June is cocky, but July is arrogant and they always try to outdo each other. August is one of those people that are really really nice but you can never think of anything to talk to them about for some reason. December is gracious, and November does not have time for you.

I have always tried to repress this, because it seemed self-consciously whimsical (nothing worse than self-conscious whimsy - I mean, apart from the dozens of things that are much much worse than self-conscious whimsy, like pretentiousness and genocide), and also because people tend to think you are insane if you tell them things like November does not have time for you. But see, I didn't need to bother. It's ordinal linguistic personification.

I was just reading what some other people who have OLP were saying about months, and it's totally different to mine. It says August is "a boy among girls". Ridiculous. August is definitely a girl. July is a boy (June too), but September is a girl. September is cool and fun and thinks of interesting things to do. Oh, but wow, this person with letters has exactly my same ones for J and K - "J [is] male; appearing jocular, but with strength of character; K [is] female; quiet, responsible…” Weeeeeeeird. Oo, and here's another one, that says K is energetic and bubbly but not always approachable, which is completely wrong.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Resolution for 2009

Pay better attention.

(I broke all my New Year's resolutions last year. This year I am only making one, and I am making one that doesn't have measurable outcomes, which means that I can never feel I've broken it. So there.)

Monday, January 5, 2009

My new obsession

Watching the population clock on the US Census Bureau website. The clock updates every minute, so you can see how many babies are being born in each minute. You can see it for the United States and for the entire world. It is so fascinating. I’m not even kidding.

I was watching Arrested Development after work today, and it occurred to me that I wanted to find out some information from a recent census (educational attainment by state, if you’re interested), so I went to the website. And there was the population clock, in the upper right-hand corner. I’m enthralled.

Because every single minute, it changes. Which means that at the end of every minute, all these babies have been born, brand new babies, which is fascinating all by itself, because you know, a minute ago they were still living inside of another person, and now, this minute, here they are, whole independent people who will eventually walk and talk and have affairs and jobs and illnesses and brilliant successes. (And yes, I realize how cheesy this sounds, but I can’t help it, that notion is so remarkable.) I find myself wanting to do Tarot card readings for all the new babies, to see what’s going to happen, but I can’t, there are too many of them. Every minute, more babies born. Wow. I only remembered Arrested Development when the credits rolled, at which point I realized I had missed the entire episode. Something about "Afternoon Delight".

The only way this could be more fascinating was if it had one for deaths as well. But the clock never loses numbers, because it updates every minute, so if anyone’s dying, it’s being counted out by the babies being born. I suppose this is probably a good thing. Imagine my chagrin if I had to choose two separate clocks to look at, maybe one at each side of the page. My eyes would get tired looking back and forth. The US and world population clocks are right on top of each other, and there are only two of them, so it’s no problem.

Also of note: When I start reading US Census Bureau reports, I sometimes start wondering about statistics that don’t matter. In particular I often wonder how many times a word or name crops up in a book. This is something I worry about because I write, and I get nervous about using words I like too many times. Or sometimes I just feel like finding an average number of times a certain common word is used in a certain number of bestselling books, like how many times on average do the current NY Times bestsellers use “good” as opposed to “bad”. ("Good" appears on an average of 23.7% of NY times bestseller pages (the top ten hardback fiction and the top ten paperback fiction), and "bad" appears on 8.3% of NY times bestseller pages. Just After Sunset by Stephen King has the highest percentage of "good" - 36.4% of pages; while The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz has the highest percentage of "bad" - 15.6% of pages. In case you were interested. Though I suspect that nobody in the world is interested in that information.)

(Incidentally, Martin Millar says he likes using the word "good", and here's the stats on that: Of the four Martin Millar books currently in print, 41.6% of the pages have "good" and 16.8% have "bad". For the interested (I KNOW THAT NOBODY CARES I CANNOT STOP MYSELF IT IS A SICKNESS), the book in which he says he likes the word "good", while it has the second-highest percentage of "good" incidences of all the four books, is still 23.5 points behind the book with the first-highest percentage. It also has the second-highest (by a far, far smaller margin) percentage of "bad" incidences.)

Today I remembered that my friend Laura had complained about Stephenie Meyer using the word “chagrined” too often in her Twilight series, so I investigated on Amazon. Results: She started out with three uses of “chagrin” or “chagrined” in Twilight (two should really be the limit, Laura and I decided, but we can live with it), then cut it down to one in New Moon (go Steph!). Then things started to go downhill. In Eclipse, the third book, she used it four times, and in Breaking Dawn, five. But the real winner is her non-vampire book The Host, which used “chagrin” or “chagrined” a grand total of seven times. That is many.

Since I’m on the subject of Stephenie Meyer, and I have my camera right here next to me, I think this is a good time to post the picture of the thing Vey made for Anna. I am so, so jealous of Anna. It is three-dimensional art which is already cool, and it is also an unbelievably excellent feminist palimpsest. I love it. The picture doesn’t do it justice. In real life it is still more magnificent than it is here. If you can believe that.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Recovering from Christmas

Mm, it’s difficult. Christmas is good because I can spend money wantonly and not feel fussed about it. Christmas presents don’t count as part of my budget, see, because – well, no reason really, I just decided that I didn’t want Christmas presents to count as part of my normal budget. I had lots of fun Christmas shopping this year. Lots and lots of fun. Now I have to stop buying things. So depressing. No more presents. Maybe I will buy myself a few records, to make myself feel better.

Another point to consider: I saw a lot of my sisters this holiday. Now I will see them less. The ones that live out of town are back out of town again (sniffle), and the one that lives in town is all with the working and then going back to school. It is back to real life. I like Christmas better. Nobody has top secret gifts for anybody anymore. Anyone can look in anyone’s closet now without its being one bit a catastrophe. That is sad. We got rid of our tree. The Christmas decorations at work are all gone. No more presents to be unwrapped. Christmas is over until next year, which is a long long long way away.