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Happy Halloween!

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Monday, October 31, 2005
pumpkin head

In honor of Halloween - since I am not dressing up this year, I feel like I should do something to commemorate it besides watch The Nightmare Before Christmas over and over (Go here for a TNBC wallpaper) - a poem. So in celebration, here is a Halloween Giant -Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. It's a classic for a reason! Dig those interior rhymes! Read it out loud, have fun, eat candy, and creep yourself out.

The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
" 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door;
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the lost Lenore,.
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore,
Nameless here forevermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me---filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
" 'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door,
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door.
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is, I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you." Here I opened wide the door;---
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word,
Lenore? , This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word,
"Lenore!" Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping, something louder than before,
"Surely," said I, "surely, that is something at my window lattice.
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore.
Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore.
" 'Tis the wind, and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven, of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door.
Perched upon a bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door,
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly, grim, and ancient raven, wandering from the nightly shore.
Tell me what the lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore."
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning, little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door,
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered;
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends have flown before;
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master, whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster, till his songs one burden bore,---
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never---nevermore."

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore --
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

Thus I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl, whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee -- by these angels he hath
Sent thee respite---respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, O quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore!"

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted--
On this home by horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore:
Is there--is there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me I implore!"
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil--prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that heaven that bends above us--by that God we both adore--
Tell this soul with sorrow laden, if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden, whom the angels name Lenore---
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore?
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting--
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! -- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door! "
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming.
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted---nevermore!

Baby Draculas

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Sunday, October 30, 2005
For Halloween eve, here is one of my favorite Charles Simic poems. (It could be for any other day, really, but it has baby Draculas, so why not?)

My Beloved
after D. Khrams

In the fine print of her face
Her eyes are two loopholes.
No, let me start again.
Her eyes are flies in milk,
Her eyes are baby Draculas.

To hell with her eyes.
Let me tell you about her mouth.
Her mouth's the red cottage
Where the wolf ate grandma.

Ah, forget about the mouth,
Let me talk about her breasts.
I get a peek at them now and then
And even that's more than enough
To make me lose my head,
So I better tell you about her legs.

When she crosses them on the sofa
It's like the jailer unwrapping a parcel
And in that parcel is a Christmas cake
And in that cake a sweet little file
That gasps her name as it files my chains.

- Charles Simic


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Friday, October 28, 2005
by P.J. Tracy #37

I liked this book. PJ Tracy (a mother/daughter writing team) crafted a group of characters that I really want to meet up with again, which is always a good sign in my world. Part of it may be that I was reading it concurrent to watching The Wire Season 2 (OMG - so good, I can't even tell you), so I already was in cop-land. This is a good thing since all but about 6 characters in this book were cops. Not Baltimore cops (that would probably not work and be weird when watching The Wire), but Minneapolis cops and rural Wisconsin cops. In fact, I had a hard time telling some of these cops apart for the first few chapters (but that problem resolved pretty quickly). The mystery itself was pretty strong and kept me guessing. I got all worked up at one point so certain they were going to do this one thing I can't stand (I won't say what so I don't spoil anything)- but they avoided it and came up with something different, but plausible. The authors are also very skilled in setting up the environment. I live in Portland. It hardly ever gets very cold here. The world stops when it gets below 20 degrees. They are dealing with SERIOUS cold in this book, and I love reading about how they live with it (and even how it can affect crime fighting). Anyway - I have already put their next book on hold at the library.

happy birthday to my sister!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Hey Bec - happy birthday! Despite the fact that you constantly got me in trouble (entrapment!) when we were little, I think you are one groovy younger sister, and I hope you have as much happiness as you can stand in your future.

Happy Birthday Bec!

I finally noodled around with the Mosaic Maker, and it is dangerously fun. Expect to see more mosaics in the future.

books and readings (neil gaiman related)

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005
The Sandman Companion : a dreamer's guide to the award-winning comics series.

by Hy Bender #36

It's probably been about a year since I finally finished the Sandman comics. I was getting them from the library one at a time, but I read the last 3 books right up next to each other (or maybe it was the last 2, plus one of the specials they did afterwards). This companion book is really great - he does a book by book breakdown, gives an overview, notes some special things to look for, and then has an interview with Neil Gaiman about each section. I loved finding out what some of his inspirations were for various storylines - he seemingly has read and recalls everything ever written (and how sometimes it was just a time crunch, or a good friend, or a joke), and I liked the insight into how a comic goes together - it's very collaborative, even with a writer who leaves such detailed instruction for the pencilers (and inkers and colorists and letterers). Anyway, this is a lovely companion if you enjoyed the Sandman books. When I finally acquire those (apart from just borrowing from the library), I will want to acquire this companion as well.

This all reminds me of going to the Neil Gaiman reading which as I mentioned a week ago I had forgotten most of! But I found my scrap of paper and can hit the highlights, I think.
* the reading took place in a beautiful old stone church right on the South Park Blocks downtown.
* prize given for the furthest traveled to see NG : some signed statue thing went to a woman who had ridden up from Ashland (bottom of the state) to Portland (top of the state) on the BUS!
* the reading/ Question and Answer session was exactly one hour long - this included about 10 minutes of directions of what he could and couldn't sign, and about how long people could expect to be in line (up to 4 hours!). This made me wonder the thing I am perpetually wondering about how artists, writers, and musicians are also expected to be PR people, marketers, etc these days. It's not enough to produce wonderful art for the world to enjoy, I guess.
*He read from his new novel Anansi Boys. he said that in order to prevent burnout, he's been reading from a new section every night. Our night was about karaoke, and it was very fine indeed. Anecdote: he had somehow managed to get to the podium without a copy to read from, and a nice person from the audience jumped up and offered her copy...
* ...which reminds me: we got there about an hour early, and I was one of the few people who had NOT brought or bought something to read (so I had to amuse myself looking around, which was no difficulty). I told my sister that we were in Nerd Church. (I would go to nerd church every week, for sure). all the pews had the majority of the people sitting in it with their heads down in a book.
*after the reading, NG took questions. One persistent question was about a movie version of Good Omens, which he said had been almost ready to film but for a tiny bit of financing. Johnny Depp was set to play Crowley (there was an audible gasp in the sanctuary at this revelation), Terry Gilliam was to direct. Unfortunately, the timing was bad - a movie about the end of the world looking for financing at the end of 2001. Anyway - he said that it wasn't quite dead yet, but that it was in a "glass coffin surrounded by dwarves." So here's hoping! I think it would be a very fun movie.
* My note about the "whittering on woodland animals tribulations with jam" - I still don't remember what this was all about
* He also talked about the fact that he had kept the rights for a Death movie. That Death: The High Cost of Living was just about the right story arc for a feature, it just needed to be embiggened. He kept it for himself because that way he has the most control and could prevent things like the casting of Angelina Jolie as Death.
* another note I felt compelled to take (who knows why): "disembodied hands skittering around are creepy" - oh! I remember now. there was an 11 year old girl there who asked a very smart question about Coraline.
* my last note (which was actually my first note) says "blockbuster comic book guy" which I now remember was some guy (let's call him comic book guy) passed the long, wrapped-around the building line) and said "I've never actually stood in line for a blockbuster before!"

It was quite the experience. I thought he was a very engaging reader and seemed very solicitous of his fans. He knows he's huge, but managed to be reasonable and kind about it, which is not a given.

spooky trees

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

OK - probably not spooky unless you are a big old scardey-pants like me. And they aren't scary in the daytime, but I imagine they would be *really* scary at night with ghostly scraps of gauze fluttering in the branches, the pounding of the ocean in the intermittent moonlight. etc. etc. It is getting to be Halloween season, and also Bec's birthday week! I shall endeavor to find a more birthdayish picture for later.

franco-klezmer-soul-indie- hiphop-mixture!

| On
Monday, October 24, 2005
Hooray for houseguests. No really. I am so glad that everyone came to visit during October, but I am equally glad that everyone is now tucked away in their own houses far, far away. In celebration of this (and because I should be working on my nano outline among other things), I am going to write up my latest CD mix! The franco-klezmer-soul-indie-hip hop- mixture! (I haven't come up with any kind of clever name, obviously) Anyway, this is one I did with a friend in mind and also a few songs that I had been trying to wrangle for months.

1.Alpha Beta Gaga (Mark Ronson vocal remix) - Air This song has a crazy mix of hip-hop rhyming, ringing bells, jaunty whistles, and... it is well nigh irresistible.

2. Ces Bottes sont faites pour marcher (these boots are made for walking) - Eileen I love this because it is such a fake-out! It sounds exactly like the Nancy Sinatra version, except - en francais! C'est bon.

3. Nifty's Freilach - Naftule Brandwein - I can't remember which mp3 blog I got this from. When I got it, it was unlike anything else in my collection. Even though I haven't heard (or at least listened closely) to much klezmer, this piece really called out to me - so much so that I had to figure out how to get it on a mix. answer: shoehorn!

4. Seven One Eight - Fannypack - From Fluxblog This has a very insistent beat, and JUMP ROPE RHYMES! NC-17 jump rope rhymes to boot. Here's a G Rated sample: you get rude in your underoos/ so so moved by my rap haikus. Hee hee hee. I think I might get tired of 12 songs like this right in a row, but I love, love, love this one.

5. Get Ur Freak On - Missy Elliot w/ Nelly Furtado REMIX - I don't actually prefer this to the original, but it is a version my friend hadn't heard before, and Nelly does bring her own thing to it. This was from the Tombraider soundtrack.

6. Sadder Day - McKay - this is a great soul/electronica style mix. Plus, I like that with the way many Americans enunciate, Sadder Day and Saturday are pronounced exactly the same. I got this from The Number One Songs in Heaven, and he describes the sound much better than I can (always), so you should go read about it there.

7. Jessica - Adam Green Hee hee. Jessica Simpson, where has your love gone? It's not in your music/ Jessica, Jessica Simpson, you've got it all wrong and this came out ages before her TV show! I saw Adam Green open for Badly Drawn Boy - I remember this song more than any other one I heard that night. (what that says about me, I'm not quite sure) Go here to watch the video. (It will open right up in Quicktime. If you want to watch it some other way just google 'jessica adam green') There is ping pong! and an orchestra.

8. Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and other games) - Of Montreal - I might have put this one on another mix too. It's possible - I am crazy about it, as I have recently stated here. it seems too lovely to be true/ but the best things always do.

9. Sitting in the Park - Georgie Fame - this is just a beautiful song and one of the best examples of blue-eyed soul I can think of. (but I don't exactly have an encyclopedic knowledge of B-ES, so feel free to enlighten me). This song just rolls along and sounds just like a warm summer afternoon.

10. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive - Jon Rauhouse & Kelly Hogan - I saw these two perform this before my perfect and idyllic Old 97's concert last year (almost exactly a year ago). It was so good live, but the recorded version does not disappoint. Kelly Hogan has a huge, generous voice. Plus, I like this song a ton already because it has handy reminders for life: bring joy up to the maximum, bring blues down to the minimum

11. Sista Social Theme Song - Menomena This one starts off like some guy playing piano in the mall and gives me that sinking "oh no" feeling, but then an organ comes in and it all turns around to become something that sounds very much like the Electric Mayhem from the Muppet Show might be playing it. Which gives me that "oh yay!" feeling. Although maybe my imagination is too influenced by their name. From the PDX Pop Now! CD.

12. God Slick - Hank - I know I've put this on another mix too, (after rummaging around the internet - yes! this one). I still love it. They sound like they have been marched to the edge of the sanity plank, but they're not bitter.

13. Jon E Storm - Dog Ruff What's not to like? Bratty girl vocals about a comic book character delivered over a super-fast beat is not something you hear every day. Jon E Storm human torch/ I'm burning up I'm burning up/ naked flame, licking me/ I'm burning up , I'm burning up

14. School - Masta Killa - this has an incessantly speeding up beat, as well as the powerfully addictive Wu-Tang chiming in the background. (and very skillful rhyming - I can't help but think it is harder to adjust the rhythm like he does here than to just go at a steady clip). oOoh, I just read that Masta Killa is "the most mysterious Wu-Member." which predictably makes me like it even more.

15. Go Go Power - Sugar Pie De Santo. Besides having one of the great names of all time (she will go in my name hall of fame with Lefty Frizell and Zoot Sims) she does have go go power! This song defies all powers of keeping still. I'm gonna get up from my seat/ shout when I feel that beat/ dance in my stocking feet/ dance till the crack of dawn

16. The Untold Story - MyG Feat. Mikah 9, Sleep, Zelle Rock- This is also from the PDX Pop Now! compilation. I picked this because it has the klezmer-y clarinet that fits within my framework, but it also sounds like hip-hoppy middle-eastern pop. Like I flipped the channel at 2AM and hit the international channel and can't look away from Iranian music videos. excellent.

17. Change Clothes - Jay Z (Danger Mouse) - I put this on another mix Ideeho, but it is so good! It goes with everything. This is one of Jay-Z's more lighthearted efforts - I love LOVE the erratic "wooo!'s," Danger Mouse plays it over the harpsichord part of The Beatles Piggies song. To read about it sounds like the most ridiculous thing ever, but it works. Is that necessary?

18. La Breeze - Simian - from Fluxblog, I learned that this song became popular and was in an advertisement in France. From myself, I think the repeated here it comes build up and break off sounds an awful lot like the start of the Monkee's TV show theme! Anyway, this all adds up to Must Listen To Repeatedly. The build up does pay off, trust me!

19. Is this Love? - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! Man, they have an exclamation point in their name - it feels like I've found my people! The singer for CYHSY! has a... hmmm... non-traditional singing voice, which I also adore - he sounds like he took a big hit on a helium balloon (in the shape of a gorilla in a tutu), ran around in circles, jumped on a trampoline, ran through a field of daisies or other allergens, and then right up to the microphone to deliver important news. And we can do the zarathustra /We can do the broken fist /We can tear down all the borders /Or abbreviate the list

20. Freilechs Von Der Chuppe - Shicky Gnarowitz & the Transparent Wings of Joy - Transparent Wings of Joy? I loved it before I heard it!! Fortunately for the recipients of this mix, the song lives up to the name. Like School and a couple of others, it speeds considerably from the beginning to the end. I also like that there is a lot of crazy cowboy style "yeee haww!" hooting in the background of this very traditional style song. Also from the PDX Pop Now! compilation.

21. Like a Feather - Nikka Costa - this song represents my first successful appeal to the iTunes music store. Back in 2002 when it came out, they didn't have it. I wrote a letter, and three short years later, they delivered! Don't ever let anyone tell you that crackpot letter writing doesn't see results. I love the fast handclaps, and the crazy bass line. Oh, hell. I just like it all (and I was going to make a quilt based on the light pattern in the video. it's all coming back to me now!)

22. La Fin Du Monde - Francoiz Breut - just lovely. I have no idea what she's singing about (the end of the world, but what about it?), but she can keep doing it! This song also changes up the tempo at least twice. It starts sounding like one thing, morphs into another (with backup singer), and then ends in a handclappy indie pop place. I love that place.

bizarre celebrations

| On
Friday, October 21, 2005
I am obsessed, OBSESSED with this Of Montreal song called Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and Other Games). Anyway, that is neither here nor there (except it contains the lyrics "let's have bizarre celebrations" and "let's pretend we're in antarctica", which charm me so much for some reason. Oooh - you can download it for free from their website here.).

Today, I have the house to myself! But not for long. The Out of Town Relatives (OoTR) were joined by yet another OoTR (Idaho division) and they are going up to Mt. Hood. They will be back later this afternoon. They have been lovely guests and will be leaving at midnight tomorrow, and things will get back to normal. Or normal for October. The good thing: I can play music all day long if I want, and I can work on projects. I have a special project I am working on for a b-day present and it requires specialty eqipment (so dangerous I could maim myself) which makes it that much more exciting! If it turns out, I will post pictures. (but not until after the b-day in question).

turn to clear vision

| On
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
turn to clear vision

I wish I had a knob in the middle of my forehead that I could turn to clear vision. Maybe then I could spot the black cloud I can feel skulking along behind me and zap it with something. I need a black cloud eradicator. (Leslie suggested j-pop, which is a really good idea).

In other news, the thing that I wasn't doing and stressing about has been done (finally!), and was well-received except for a couple of really minor fixes. Yay! and phew!

The third wave of visiting relatives arrived last night. I am so tired. They seem nice, but I am all worn out from the first two waves of visiting relatives. Anything else I could say right now would just be extremely gratuitous whining, so I'll keep it to myself, just this once.

To end on a more fun note, check out this photoblog. It's called Cameratoss, and is more beautiful than you might think. Also, consider stopping by and visiting Gothic Charm School, the former Gothic Miss Manners reborn into The Lady of the Manners to dispense gothly advice with kindness and wisdom.

state of the state:

| On
Friday, October 14, 2005
wherein I try to explicate recent obsessions in list form:

number of freelance projects unfinished and eating away at me: ONE

favorite video featuring a Trashsquatch: Cough Coughing by local Portland band Menomena. (there are some great pdx neighborhood vistas in this video. And a TRASHSQUATCH!!)

NaNoWriMo Yes or No: I think yes, since despite the fact I was certain I would never have another idea again, I came up with one I really want to work on. I will probably never do it without a draconian deadline, so hooray for nano!

place to which I must return as soon as possible: Portland Art Museums new new wing. I went yesterday with a friend, and it blew my mind. I got an art headache. (or a headache from not eating, it's not entirely clear which). The building itself is wonderful - they converted an old masonic temple and connected it underground with the existing museum - but the paintings were beyond wonderful. I need to go back again when the free admission period has ended and every middle-school and high-school art class hasn't descended like a swarm of bees. I was both grumpy and pleased at the crowds. It was the middle of the day on a THURSDAY, and it was packed. This means that pdx is full of my people - cheap people who like art. And what kind of curmudgeon would a person have to be to bitch about a MUSEUM having mall-type crowds? It's awesome! On the other hand, I could have cheerfully clotheslined the annoying 12 year old who would step in front of every painting and extend his arms and pose. I just need to go look again. I renewed my lapsed membership (they were having a sale where you get 2 free months), and will just have to go back often. The photography galleries were great too.

Tunnels which I will be exploring TONIGHT: Portland's Shanghai Tunnels. Martina did all the arranging, and we are using it to celebrate part of Bec's birthday month. I featured the tunnels in last year's nano novel, so I am looking forward to seeing how much I have to change (if I ever go back to that story).

CDs I am listening to all the time: Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple, The Majesty of Bob Wills by the Pine Valley Cosmonauts. PDX Pop Now! 2005 Compilationby various pdx indie bands.
I am still deciding which of the Fiona versions I like better. I am so happy that I have both to chose from! Here's the New Yorker Review by Sasha Frere-Jones, and as a special bonus (I really enjoyed it, anyway) a transcript of his interview with Fiona Apple.

Number of things I have to finish before the third wave of visiting relatives arrives on Monday: Innumerable! So, I should go get on that, I guess.

reminders to self when bored and antsy:

| On
Thursday, October 13, 2005
1) clicking your mail every 10 seconds does NOT magically make mail appear.
2) Just do that thing already, then you won't have to worry about it not being done anymore. Really. It is the simple solution to a problem of your own making.
3. (this is embarrassing because I have already written this note to myself within the last 30 days) - if you go to a show, or say a READING, and you plan on writing about it later, write about it THEN. I am looking at a scrap of paper from the Neil Gaiman reading where I have (honest to god) written down "whittering on woodland animals tribulations with jam" I suspect at the time, this would have made SOME SENSE, possibly. As it is now all I can recall is that I really like the word whittering.
4) Self, you have probably not actually read the entire internet, despite the feeling that oh, yes you have. For real. Just go to bed already.

and with that, I should probably take my (ever so) sensible advice and get away from the computer. Maybe even Go To Sleep!

Woo Hoo! it looks like the internet decided to grant me a boon, despite my whining. the "search this" blog thingie up above appears to work now. At least with a few random tests...

fall tv shows opinionometer, cont.

| On
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
I am just going to stab at these really randomly. Some are new shows, some are returning shows - but I think all the ones on this list are returning:

Las Vegas: A wiser person than me called this show "the Love Boat of the 21st Century," and I really can't disagree. Guest stars (as themselves) introduced under the flimsiest of circumstances? You betcha! Just this week it was the Pussycat Dolls or whatever they call themselves. Wacky hijinx? You know it! Romantic entanglements quickly resolved? No doubt! Isaac the bartender? Well, no. But still.
Problem this season: it's not Lara Flynn Boyle (who I thought was great in Wayne's World and Twin Peaks) - it's her freakish LIPS!! My god! It's like banana slugs are eating her face, and rather than have them removed she just puts lipstick on them and hopes no one will notice. Ugh. They also are trying really hard to dress her like she's got more shape than a bag of sticks. It is slightly more successful than the banana slug plan. BUT, in other news - Tad Hamilton is back, as are all the rest except for Nessa. Tad Hamilton had his shirt off in the first episode (he was mourning, of course. The ancient practice of mournful, sweaty, shirtless construction.), and that pretty much sums up the show. It's pretty, it doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense, sometimes Tad Hamilton will take off his shirt, sometimes James Caan will pretend to punch someone. Win/ win!

The OC: - I miss you, season 1 The OC! When Seth was funny and dorky and Ryan was broody and punchy and there was a debutante ball or some fancy party every week. Season 2 was a bust, and season 3 still has time to turn itself around now that they have attempted the dangerous 'reset' maneuver. Will Marissa being poor and going to public school bring back some of that season 1 magic and charm? Time will tell. but it better tell QUICK, or I am going to give up and read books. You hear me, TV? I said I might READ!!!

Grey's Anatomy: I like it. Sure, it's soapy, but they actually have some great characters. The medical stuff is interesting, but it is always back seat to the characters, so I don't anticipate it being the kind of medical show where I develop intense hypochondria from just watching. Favorite characters at the moment are Christina (although that was a bullshit resolution to the pregnancy. OK, actually it was just a half-bullshit resolution. At least they didn't have her fall down the stairs.), Burke, George, and, so help me, Meredith and Dr. McDreamy. Plus, the music is great. Seriously. I think it is second only to Gilmore Girls in the great music during the show department.

Mr. Dynamite

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Monday, October 10, 2005
by Meredith Brosnan #35

I can hardly describe this book except to say that it is loopy and lurid but has a broken yet still beating heart at the center. Warning: it brings out alliteration in those already predisposed. Jarleth Prendergast (aka Trendy Prendy, or Trendy P by the time he's hallucinating the book's version of the Wu-Tang Clan) is an avant-garde claymation filmmaker (among other things, but I think that's what he would like you to know first); an Irishman living in New York; and one of those hopeless screw-ups that makes his own situation worse with every decision. I still couldn't help but root for him, even as I recognized he would be living hell to know personally and that his entire mission statement was lunacy. The whole book is a run-on stream of consciousness sentence as he talks to his dead lawyer. It's wonderful, it's sad, it's hilarious in parts. I've picked out a short passage to sort of give a taste of Trendy P's style. I found it very addictive.

--Things looked hopeless - one afternoon during a thunderstorm I ducked into St. Pat's - I'd never been inside the great cathedral - I lit a candle and asked the Blessed Virgin to help me - just like that: 20 yrs of cheerful atheism down the drain!!! - Holy Mary Mother of God I know in the past I have failed to show you the respect and honour that is your due especially in view of your interesting origins in pre-Christian fertility cults cf. R. Graves and others but please if you can overlook this lapse smile down upon your wayward son give me strength for the task ahead and in return I promise to straighten up and fly right - O BVM in your powder blue gown bring me the head of Peter the Rapist - or rather let me bring YOU the head - Mystery Lady Disco Lady Star of the Sea & Queen of All the Salty Sailors HELP ME amen- Fighting words you might say but deep down Sean I knew I'd gone off the boil:

I could go on and on, but the rest of my favorite passages would take too long to explain out of their context (which, to give you a little hint include a pistol named McSplatter and operation: SNUFFOUT) Trendy P is a troubled man, but well worth spending some time with.

books, wonderful books!

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Sunday, October 09, 2005
I love the internet. I love it for a variety of reasons large and small, but mostly because it allows people to run unfettered with their obsessions at their fingertips. I also enjoy how fellow obsessives (today's edition: books) reach out to help each other. Here are three great links for the book obsessed, by the book obsessed.

1. What Should I Read Next? Easy as pie - you simply enter in the title and author of a book you enjoyed, and it will pull up from its databank the name of another book you may enjoy from actual reader suggestions. I tested it out, and it didn't have any suggestions for me (I put in The Last Manly Man by Sparkle Hayter), but I don't think this means it is a bad resource by any means. I just think it needs more members so it can make more recommendations. Let's not let have the last word!

2. Reader2 - I saw this described as "Flickr for books" - you put up your book list, assign tags, and find your way to new and wonderful things. I haven't really checked it out yet, but plan to.

3. Internet Book List:: A database of book information - this looks to be a sort of cross between Wikipedia and the imdb. It is user-driven, and again the kind of thing that benefits from a LOT Of users so you don't just have the entire history of Dr. Who novels and nothing else.

The Dewey Decimal System of Love

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Friday, October 07, 2005
by Josephine Carr #34

I picked this one up browsing in the library. I have to say, I wasn't sure about it at first. I thought after my overreaction to The Last Detective that maybe I was just broken and no longer able to enjoy the written word; that maybe I should just hit myself on the head with a rock and be done with it all. Goodbye, cruel world! Fortunately I was too lazy to go find a rock big enough to do the job quickly, so I kept reading.
The thing that bugged me the most initially (the imperious, bizarro first person narrator) turned out to be the thing I loved the most! She was completely unreliable, but she knew it (eventually). The character valued order and logic, which makes sense for a librarian, but fell victim to the irrationality of love. Not even love at first - just that insane rush of attraction that can make a person do strange things. I thought that the author did a great job showing how the character was changing without putting a blinking arrow on things. It sounds like that should be a gimme, but it is *hard* to do with a first person narrator. Anyway - I would recommend it. If you do check it out, be sure to give it a chance. It's a grower.

cinderella pumpkins

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005
cinderella pumpkins
aka french pumpkins

With one of these babies all you need is a fairy godmother and a rodent problem and you are GOOD TO GO for any state-sponsored balls.

I had to post this because the main page was looking a little naked and devoid of color. I will definitely be able to do other things I need to do knowing that there is some ORANGE up top.

Oooh - so this isn't a total "post a pumpkin and run" entry, I will start on my Fall TV Shows opinionmeter.

My Name is Earl - I've only seen two episodes, but it is a definite thumbs up, woo-yeah, ha ha ha show. Every character on every episode I have seen (granted, only 2) has been right on the money. This and Arrested Development are just about the only two sit-coms I am watching or excited about. Of course, this is the perfect time to inform those who are unaware, and remind those who may have forgotten that the All Girl Summer Fun Band have recorded an AWESOME song called Jason Lee that you can download on their website. (just go to the mp3's/video button on the left). You won't regret it! I also recommend Grass Skirt, but that has nothing to do with My Name is Earl.

jason lee, doing one-nine-oh degrees, jason lee
(they say) never fall in love with a celebrity
it’s just weird and it’s wrong, except with you and me
i don’t care what they say, this was meant to be

(lyrics from the wonderfully non-cluttered no pop-ups Song Revolution site.)

back to things/this and that

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Company batch #2 have been dropped at the airport, and there are two weeks until batch #3 arrives. Woo hoo!

Fluxblog has a great piece on the new Fiona record today as well as a download of the new version of Red, Red, Red. It is amazing! If the iTunes music store doesn't get back to me today, I am going to have to buy it anyway.

I feel so out of it - time has been switched around and suspended while company was here. Time to get back on track!

extraordinary machine

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Fiona Apple's new CD is available today! Finally! I am debating whether or not I will just buy it from iTunes, or get the actual thing itself from a record store. I want to get it to show my support, even though I have a sneaking suspicion that I will like the internet-leaked creaky circus version of the songs better. But I will be happy to listen to both and be proved wrong - there is no bad here. Twice the Fiona! Allmusic has informed me that my two favorite songs (Extraordinary Machine and Waltz) are both the original Jon Brion versions, so I am happy.

I will reserve judgment until I have actually heard the official version. One of the things I admire most about her (beyond great songs), is that she will go her own way, even if that isn't the most easy or guaranteed to sell the most records. She seems true to herself, which I respect enormously.

willpower vs. machine

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Sunday, October 02, 2005
Hooray! I am typing from my newly updated hard drive. I managed to recover what I thought I had lost (journal program with all my writing, mail, iTunes), and learned tricks for busting open an ibook (when they say it is hard to get the bottom off, they mean it). I still have to figure out what is wrong with the drive I backed everything up to, but I think with a little perserverence it will be doable. Anyway - now I just have to figure out how to get through the next 48 hours without murdering guests of out of town guests. This may be harder than putting the computer back together.