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one year

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Just about one year ago (it was the 28th! I thought it was the 29th) I made my first post on law of sympathy. I was doing last, LAST minute research for nano in the 1911 Britannica (my grandfather was an encyclopedia salesman, among many other things) and I got side-tracked with the different laws of magic. The Law of Sympathy just resonated as a name and a theory, plus I was procrastinating pretty hard core, so... I'm sure you can see where this is heading. What a difference a year makes! Instead of having 3K words to go for nano, I only have 2K, and I just have to update my blog to procrastinate, not make one from scratch. If you squint at it, that's progress! I'll take it.


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Friday, November 25, 2005
I hope that everyone has had or is having a pleasant holiday weekend. There was wonderful food and company at my house. (I was a Turkey Cassandra on the subject of overcooking. Were my warnings heeded? No, they were not. But, to look on the bright side, it allowed us to fully experience the Miracle of Gravy.) I am so grateful for my friends and family. They are all Good Eggs, despite their tin ear for my excellent advice. hee hee.

Today has been a very lazy day indeed. I intended to get an earlier start on catching up on nano (still have about 14K words to do, and only 5 days to do them in), but I tweaked a muscle in my neck and couldn't do anything but recline on the couch with a hot water bottle and watch Sense and Sensibility. (and fall asleep - I missed the whole part where Willoughby is exposed as a cad). It got me thinking about Jane Austen's cads. There are a lot of them - and you can always tell who they are because they are too charming to start with, and the other guy (you know, The One) doesn't like him. Willoughby, Wickham, Mr. Elliot, Frank Churchill (he's a modified cad, but even so...), all of them slick and charming and ultimately lacking in character. I still want to see the new Pride & Prejudice adaptation, but haven't managed it yet. It was a little surprising for me to realize that I think I have seen more rock shows this year than movies. That is one definite change from 2004! I guess since movies are almost as expensive as concerts I feel like I am getting more value for my money with the music. I mean, the movie will be the same (only smaller) on DVD at home, but a concert is a much more interactive experience.

I have decided with only 4/5 days left on nano that it is time to start pulling the crazy stuff out of my brain. I think I'm doing too much thinking, and not enough writing. The whole idea of this exercise is to Get It Down, and then mold it later. This is not about getting it right the first time, or even getting it mostly right. It's about pushing yourself beyond the inner editor who sits in the middle of your head tut tutting and making dramatic sighs, and getting on with the crazy ideas that are stuffed into the crooks and crannies of your gray matter. So, onward to crazy.


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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Woo hoo! Since I upgraded my browser, I can now do nifty things like put pictures in posts using the blogger feature. Oh, what a world! This will come in handy for future posts about books and TV and whatnot.

Tonight I go see Fiona Apple (7.00 for a convenience charge? I, for one, find it inconvenient.) But it is Fiona, and it is her first stop on her new tour and I kind of felt like I had to. But that is the last splurgy show for a while. I will be back on the 15 dollars or less wagon. Which is actually a very nice wagon that gets many songs to the dollar.

In nano news, I am further back than I thought I would be, but if I keep plugging along with 2K words a day, I should finish on time. Finish in the sense that I will have 50K words in 30 days, not finish as in being done with it. Although getting it to a point where I can let more than one person read it is on the agenda for the new year. (for real this time, not like the attempted rewrite disaster of aught five). Anyway - here's my word count as of last night:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
33,050 / 50,000

and to top off this festival of random thoughts, here is a Fiona song, followed by a Decemberists' song. They are both here via yousendit, so the links will expire in 7 days.

Paper Bag - Fiona Apple
The Chimbley Sweep - The Decemberists

decemberist's show part III: the decemberists (in 4 parts)

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Monday, November 21, 2005
part I
part II

First Part - the crowd: This show was sold out. The Decemberists are a Portland band who have managed to build a big home town following. There was very good energy, even though it was at a venue I despise because it is uncomfortable in almost every regard AND they have draconian security measures to get in....because of the stabbings! (encouraging, no?) It is in Old Town which does not have the most salubrious reputation (in fact, the bus mall, which is the subject of one of the D's songs about youthful hustlers - "On The Bus Mall," for the curious - runs right outside the Roseland). I used to work nearby so the neighborhood isn't as scary to me as it is to some, but it doesn't fill me with happy feelings of delight and well-being every time I scurry through. Not scary, but sketchy - I hope this is a distinction that makes sense outside my head.
The crowd itself was very young, but enthusiastic. I only wanted to get all Kill Bill on about 3 people, which when you consider how many of us were all crammed together isn't bad at all. Mostly, I was filled with affection for everyone because I was so glad to be there and they seemed glad to be there, so it was just a sort of glad-fest! It wasn't just me, either. The guy behind me (who I jumped on once by accident during the Chimbley Sweep) was very nice about it.

second part: the stage: the stage itself was of medium size, although it seemed smaller, somehow, with all of the video recording equipment around. There was a large banner with many birds on it (I believe it was designed by the wonderful Carson Ellis) and there were little fake birds wired to all of the mic stands - fake birds like like I imagine dotty old English ladies wear on their hats when attending vicarage teas or inquests. Sad news for the brain trust standing behind me for the first part of the show: feathers moving in this instance are a sign of air conditioning, not vivacity.
The birds were because The Decemberists' name every leg of their tour - Portland was the last stop on the "Flight of the Mistle Thrushes" tour. Now they are off on the "A Jaunt 'Cross the Pond Tour 2005 " - which is headed to Great Britain, of course. Yes, it is almost too adorable to be borne, yet somehow they pull it off without making me want to roll my eyes forever. That was pretty much it in terms of decor, besides a lot of mic stands and instruments and wires and cameras. The cameras were weird at first - we were standing under the big boom arm of the robotic camera. Eventually, everyone pretty much stopped paying attention to it (except it got right in keyboardist/accordionista extraordinaire Jenny Conlee's face a couple of times and she rightfully flipped it off. I wonder if that will make the DVD)

third part: the band The Decemberists are generally a 6 piece band, but on this night they had their horn section with them, which was fantastic! Colin Meloy sings and plays guitar. He was wearing a red and white striped jacket that made him look like a charming but insane escapee from a barbershop quartet. OKGo is also working the Austin Powers/barbershop look, but they are trending to dandy (god bless their pointy shoes), whereas CM is trending to dorky, which is somehow even more appealing. He is precisely the sort of mushroom-pale, giant-brained, adorable nerd to whom I would have fallen in secret thrall during my college years. The rest of the ensemble is as follows (Hooray for flickr so I can link to all of them!) Chris Funk is a tall gentleman who also plays the guitar (and the banjo, and the hurdy gurdy, and some toy xylophone type thing). Jenny Conlee plays the keyboards and accordion, and also does some important Ghost of Dead Mother harmonizing (and other harmonizing, of course) Petra Hayden plays the violin and sings (along with Jenny Conlee) harmony and also all female ghost parts. She also sometimes performs a version of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights, but she didn't at our show. Nate Query plays both electric and stand-up bass with much finesse. And John Moen plays the drums (and also the sleighbells during the Minus 5's set) and really looks like he loves his job. Individually, I am sure they are all very fine people, but collectively they are marvelous.

fourth part: the show I bought tickets to this show months in advance. My sister kept mentioning what a nice birthday present tickets would be (her b-day is in late October). The last big show they had played in Portland sold out, so we enacted this ongoing drama of her looking up tickets and threatening to buy them herself. I would tell her to knock it off - how is a person supposed to get a surprise present under these conditions, etc, etc. I finally got them the day I bought tickets to see OK Go. Martina also bought a ticket and joined us in hopes of breaking The Curse of The Decemberists (in which she tries to see them perform her favorite number - The Mariner's Revenge Song - and is foiled by circumstance).
As I said earlier, it was a young crowd (lots of under 21's), but with enough of a mix that I did not feel like I was standing in the middle of a high school assembly. We were on the floor in front of the stage, and actually had a pretty good place (and managed to hold on to it) despite the press of hundreds more people. It was really shoulder to shoulder, but for the most part people were pretty decent.
Before I go any further, I feel like I should say a little something about why I like this band as much as I do. It is difficult to sum up, so I think I will resort to a short list:
1) they are smart, but not humorless
2) they sing about pirates, spies, gin-running uncles, dead babies, chimbley sweeps, legionnaires, and so on. Their catalogue is like one long adventure story, yet there is still real feeling and real emotion behind it.
3) They are a Portland band and it is possible that I am responding to some subliminal pdx-sensibility.
4) use of the word 'bombazine', which I feel is criminally underutilized.

When the band came out and started performing their first song, it was one I had never heard before. It was loud, deep, and heavy with lots of vague british-isles imagery. I will confess to thinking they were covering Black Sabbath (I am a metal expert only as far as repeated viewings of VH1's 100 Most Metal Moments, and its sister show 100 Least Metal Moments will allow.) Anyway - it sounded not like what I was expecting at all, but I liked it, even though I was half convinced it was the band goofing on something. It turns out that the song was The Tain, their take on the famous Ulster Cycle . This song is long - they released it as an EP all on its own (which I obviously need to purchase!) After this sort of extended intro, they pounded right into The Infanta which was a very satisfying way to start the show. I know I've nattered on about this idea before - but when you get a crowd who is very into a show, it seems like the band responds with even more, which feeds the's like a wonderful feedback loop where each iteration becomes even more joyful (that sounds dorky, but it's true). I'll be interested to watch the DVD when it comes out and see if it is even something that can be photographed, or if it is something that has to be experienced. Maybe there is something in the air.
Unfortunately, all those happy, sweaty, jumping people made the air inside the venue Very Hot. I think it was right before The Sporting Life, Colin said that they were about half-way through and led the audience in a round of "Rock Show Calisthenics." Right after the stretches and in the beginning of the next song, disaster struck our party. Martina was overcome by the heat. The dastardly Decemberist Curse had struck again! She went to go find someplace to try and get some air and missed her beloved The Mariner's Revenge Song. Of course now it is our sworn duty to break the curse by attending as many Decemberists shows as it takes. The Mariner's Revenge Song is a terrific closer - it is long, it builds and builds, there is audience participation (screaming like you've been eaten by a whale, the irresistible impulse to sway back and forth like the audience is also on a ship in pursuit of vengeance), and a big finish. The band left the stage, but they didn't make us stand out in the crowd and hoot and cheer for too terribly long before they came back out for the encore, which consisted of The Chimbley Sweep (fantastic!) and I Was Meant for the Stage during which the lead singer from the Minus 5 came out and played guitar. This song devolved into chaos (although I suspect similar chaos has happened before) as band members switched instruments, noodled along in 'if it had been one minute longer I would have stopped having fun, but it didn't so it's ok' mini-jam sessions, and finally ended with Jenny Conlee ripping the birds off the microphones and throwing them into the audience. Suddenly set lists, guitar picks, and Mistle Thrush props that were not nailed down were all sailing out into the audience. What really got people into a feeding frenzy though, was when the WHALE puppet from TMR song was thrown into the audience. Poor whale. He was pretty well ripped asunder by the crowd. Those jaws will never be reunited.

All in all (curses aside), it was a fantastic show. I think we'll definitely go see Colin Meloy's solo show in January, and be on the look out for the next Decemberist's concert and the DVD of our show!

Here's a set list (that I copied from the D's message board)

The Tain
The Infanta
The Soldiering Life
July, July*
Leslie Ann Levine
We Both Go Down Together
The Engine Driver
On the Bus Mall
Eli, the Barrow Boy
Colin Solo: Every Day is Like Sunday
The Sporting Life
16 Military Wives
Mariner's Revenge

Chimbley Sweep
I Was Meant For the Stage

* nobody was quite sure where July, July fit in on the list.

around and around

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Friday, November 18, 2005
down, down, down

Ha ha! So much for predicting "oh, I will have no time for blogging during november," or, "so much time, it is rideeeculous." Clearly, (as I have always suspected) I have NO IDEA what I am talking about!

As is usually the case, I am almost done with eleventy hundred things. So - coming soon - the final part of my Decemberists' concert experience (the part with Decemberists). Maybe I can get it done before the next show I go to. What a thrilling new concept!
I would be much further ahead with not only this, but nano, if I hadn't taken that ill-considered side trip down HTML alley. I got the notion that I should really re-do my garden journal so that it will support wider pictures without spilling all over the edge. It was nothing fancy - just changing the colors on an existing (but different from the one I've got) template. And yet. Many fruitless hours later (after the hissing, the cursing, and recriminations) I decided that perhaps that is a project best left for another time

PS: this picture is from inside the Cape Blanco lighthouse along the Oregon coast.

very interesting

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005
A quick note before I return to the intricate demands of my new and improved nanowrimo plan - There is a great guest blog piece today over at by Damian Kulash of OK Go. This post is dealing with DRM, inefficient, hamfisted copy protection measures, and the realities of how they effect a working band.


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Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Bandit Queen Boogie: A Madcap Caper of Two Accidental Criminals, by Sparkle Hayter #38
I have missed Sparkle Hayter! I liked Bandit Queen Boogie a lot - it was fast and fun and slightly felonious. I really admire the way that Hayter is able to write these caper-style novels. BQB is simultaneously completely over the top, and totally believable. I think a lot of this is because she writes such great female characters. For example, both Blackie and Chloe are funny, wrong, right, nice, mean, selfish, generous, tough and vulnerable... you get the idea. They are relateable - even as they do things I'd never do. I need to read her next book - Naked Brunch - it looks like it might be even more fun. I am still missing her character Robin Hudson, but it looks like I won't have to be missing her for long... I just checked her website, and it looks like there will be a new Robin Hudson book. Yay! Sparkle Hayter also keeps a blog, which makes me love her even more.

Live Bait by PJ Tracy #39 - This is the followup novel to Monkeewrench, which I just read not that long ago. I enjoyed this one, but not as much as the first. There are several reasons I can think of: 1) I didn't wait long enough. If I had waited 6 months or a year, it probably would have been fine to dip back into that universe and not be disappointed with who is or isn't there. 2) It was summer in the novel. For some reason, Minneapolis in the summer is a lot less interesting to me than Minneapolis in the winter. Unless Prince was having a BBQ, and then I would be all over Minneapolis in the summer. Alas, he did not- at least not in this book. 3) I had totally imagined Magozzi all wrong! (I know writers don't spell too much out and let people meet them halfway, but don't go adding distinctive handlebar mustaches or whatnot late in the game because it will mess with my head). 4) Nazis.

the sun has come out

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Monday, November 14, 2005
Woo Hoo! The sun is out!! I kicked nano's ass this morning (am still not caught up, but I have a plan). Things are looking good. I have miles of stuff to do, but it feels less oppressive than it did even yesterday. I credit the plan.

Now, because it is dorky and involves iTunes, I present to you the latest blog/LJ meme that is sweeping the nation: Here are the directions so you can play at home:

Set your iPod/iTunes on shuffle and use each song as it comes up in order to answer the following questions:

(for the record, this is from iTunes, party shuffle feature.) This is like Magic 8-ball, iTunes style, which means for some I will nod along and admire its sagacity, others are just puzzlers and deserve to get the 'shake and try again' treatment.

Question: What do you think of me, iTunes?
Grace Cathedral Hill - The Decemberists all dust and stone and moribund Oh, iTunes... How about these lyrics instead we were both a little hungry, so we went to get a hot dog. That sounds more like it.

Question: Will I have a happy life?
Pretty Liar - Jude : ummm, yes? OK, maybe not according to the lyrics of this song, but let's just take the title. I will have to brush up (since I am in my annual late fall frump and also a terrible liar), but I will do my best. The music is really pretty, though! And I am not going to let some so-called "random" program dictate my happiness. (although it makes me happy a lot)

Question: What do my friends really think of me?
Millennium - Robbie Williams: All I can think of when I hear this song is the video, which was a hilarious James Bond (Connery era) send-up. Including jet-pack. I can live with it.

Question: Do people secretly lust after me?
California Rules - Je Suis France: the sweetest ocean breeze/ fills your chest/ so come on, come on/ come on come on. I think this means if people aren't people should!

Question: What should I do with my life?
The Venga Bus - Venga Boys: There are only three possibilities according to this answer: 1)party 2) party 3) get commercial driver's license so that I might become a cross-country party bus driver.

Question: Why must life be so full of pain?
Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve: ha ha! it doesn't really answer the question, but ask it again. At least you can have symphonic pop pain, which does mitigate, IMO.

Question: How can I maximize my pleasure during sex?
Very Funny - The Magnetic Fields: You're a cheeky monkey, iTunes.

Question: Will I die happy?
Portland Oregon (with Jack White) - Loretta Lynn: Portland Oregon and sloe gin fizz/ if that ain't love I don't know what is- I dunno - if you take away the barfly overtones, I think it sounds pretty happy to me! I lost my mind in Oregon.

Question: Can you give me some advice?
Friday Night - The Darkness: clearly, I need more hobbies. Monday rowing/ Tuesday badminton /Dancing on a Friday night/ I got ping pong on Wednesday/ Needlework on Thursday/ Dancing on a Friday night/ With you, with youuuu

Question: What do you think happiness is?
Let it Rain - OK Go: Oh, man. this is SAD. This is a depressed song. I will use it though, and say that happiness is probably the opposite of this song.

Question: Am I complete freak?
Last train to Clarksville - the Monkees. This obviously means NO. Monkee-haters are the freaks. I take this also as vindication that Mickey Dolenz is the better Monkee singer.

...look over there!

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Friday, November 11, 2005
Sharpie, I love you

see the pretty colors? sigh. So - today's/tonight's nano update is I did not do nearly as much as I had planned, but I did do some mapping out of where I'm headed with these very sharpies. Tomorrow/today* is another day!

*in my mind, it isn't the next day after midnight, it is the next day after I go to sleep and wake up again. This causes all sorts of problems.

I also spent a little bit of time over at Pitchfork reading record reviews. Not for the faint of heart. When they like something, they really like it. When they don''s not pretty, but often funny. Unless you really love the thing they are thrashing. Caveat lector!

more happy distractions

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Thursday, November 10, 2005
Today and tomorrow I am determined to catch up on nano. If I say so out loud and write it down, maybe it will be harder for me to weasel out of it (usually true). To mark my good intentions (and good mood), I am going to try putting up an Old 97's song that makes me smile. I'm using yousendit, so it is good for 7 days or 25 downloads, whichever comes first (7 days would be my guess). Anyway, here it is: Indefinitely.

obligatory nano update

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005
where I should be (for bare minimum 1667 words per day):
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
13,336 / 50,000

where I am:
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
11,125 / 50,000

Not too bad, all told. This November fortunately has 4 full weekends in it, so as long as I don't get too far back, I know I will make it up. I've been trying the recommended technique of just working on it really hard in concentrated 1 hour bursts. This works better for easily distracted me. I close all my other programs and just write. I can still waste time like nobody's business, I just really try not to for one puny hour.

I swear, Nano is like mugging your own imagination. You jump out from behind the bushes at this idea you had one time, take the valuables and run like hell for 30 days.

* what is up with blogger eating posts?

decemberist's show part II: the minus 5

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005
The Minus 5!

I knew nothing about The Minus 5 before seeing them live, except for their AMG biography, which is not hugely helpful if you've never heard any of it. What a great surprise! The first song sounded very brit-popish and made me think of the Austin Powers soundtracks (which is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned). Somewhere around the middle of their set, though, they had a song that sounded like it was being sung by the devil (the devil who sits on ones shoulder and makes inappropriate suggestions, which if one follows one will almost certainly be filled with regret, yet one does not care because the devil makes a persuasive argument.) Here is where I had my Minus 5 epiphany. They are so much more than the sum of their (supergroup) parts! They are one of the few who have the hotline to that sexually charged and wildly flailing energy of rock music that so many try for but don't quite reach. Or at least they had the number on Nov. 4, 2005. I don't know why, I don't know how. It's alchemy.

side notes:

+ the drummer is awesome

+ why is it that some rock dudes (like say, the Minus 5) will let their hair go grey and who cares- but politicians and the media (Trent Lott and Mike Wallace, I'm looking at you) insist on shoe-polish black long after it is reasonable? I mean, if your face looks like crepe paper, you're fooling nobody with your blue-black hair! (I guess one could argue right back at me with Steven Tyler and Anderson Cooper - but at least Steven Tyler has highlights put in so it's not just BLACK)

+Hey - that's Peter Buck from R.E.M.! I wonder if it feels weird or what for him to play venues this small? The people in the crowd are RIGHT THERE.

the mumbles- they fight crime!

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Sunday, November 06, 2005
The Decemberist's Concert Review part 1

You know - I think I had it all backwards. Nano will lead to MORE blogging, not less. I don't know what I was thinking. So, on to my subject - The Decemberist's concert on the 4th was pretty amazing. It is probably one of my top 3 concerts ever. (I'm still debating, and since they were filming it for a live concert DVD, I guess at some point I will be able to re-evaluate)

Part one - The Opening Act

Let us not talk of standing in line around the block in the rain, only to get to the metal detector and realize that I would have to run my camera back to the car through sketchy town. Nor shall we dwell on the metal detector and the pat down (I came up clean, in case you were wondering). Let us get straight to the music.

Band 1: I have since learned they are called Blanket Music (see link above) and are up and coming twee superstars. Hooray for them! But, since either the sound was muddy or they are just natural born mumblers, I never heard who they were that night. So, I called them The Mumbles. I really think this is a better band name than Blanket Music, but it probably doesn't have that twee cachet, so I'll live with my disappointment...but not before I reveal my master marketing plan for The Mumbles!! First, they need a cartoon show where they solve crimes (not unlike Scooby Doo), and then sing a song at the end of every episode (not unlike Fat Albert). This would be a huge hit, I tell you!! It all maps perfectly - Lead Singer Mumbles with his pale and earnest face peeking out from a black turtleneck looked like a youth pastor prepping for the hootenanny following a hay ride - he can be the serious one who talks to the police. Floppy-haired, striped-shirt, bass-player Mumbles (my co-favorite) looked like nothing made him happier than jumping around and being bass-player guy - he can talk to witnesses and get them to confess things. Bearded Keyboard Mumbles (my other co-favorite who actually didn't mumble at all) can be the one who talks to the criminal element since he looked the 'scruffiest.' Drummer Mumbles - I am sorry I have no part for you! From where I was standing I couldn't see you at all. Maybe Deus ex Machina Mumbles who shows up at the end with the answer to the problem of the week, everyone has a belly-laugh and then starts playing the final song? Maybe something more glamorous. In any case none of this will work if you insist on calling yourselves Blanket Music. Seriously though, they were fun, even though the sing-along "I Love You" chorus went on a little long. Pay no mind to the jerk standing behind me hurling insults. He'll get what's coming to him when we cast him as the idiot villain in the Case of the Insensitive Heckler. Don't worry, I remember what he looks like.

done/ to do

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Friday, November 04, 2005
+ put air in tires during monsoon rains that will stop unbeknownst to me in 30 minutes. ( DONE - at least it stopped raining)

+read entire internet to see if it will somehow result in today's nano words being written effortlessly. (DONE - result was unsatisfactory, however)

+ use brush on three ill-conceived pincurls and give self unflattering white-girl fro (DONE - thank god for fro-flattening monsoon rains!)

+ eat all but the last two spoonfuls of ice cream. (DONE. I know it was an evil thing to do, but I had evil hair)

+ have brilliantly fun time at the sold-out Decemberists show tonight (TO DO! HOORAY!)

+ try on all clothes in closet to assemble most satisfactory rock-show ensemble (HALF DONE! what was I thinking, is all I can say to some of the things hanging in there)

+ actually write today's nano quota (TO DO: although this might get rolled into tomorrow's words since I realized why I hit the wall (long boring story involving a nano notebook and the intricacies of my latest 'that might work' scheme for writing))

+ waste time writing list and blogging it (ALMOST DONE!)

tree post

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

This was yesterday. Today that tree probably only has about half as many leaves since it has been raining more or less all day, and is likely to continue for a week. It's raining less than a monsoon, less than a world-ending flood - but rather than making me feel fortunate like it probably should (huzzah! the city has not flooded!) that knowledge wraps around me like a wet miserable towel. Bleh. But pretty tree!

lost and found

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005
So, I thought I would try to maintain at least a couple posts a week, despite the fact that I am participating in NaNoWriMo. Big talk from someone just wrapping up the first day, I know! But rather than dive right in to all my nano 05 strategies immediately (since they have not been tested beyond 24 hours), I thought I would post something from my "hey - blog about that someday" file. Today's topic: Abandoned, or lost and found.

1. First up, a link to some atmospheric photos of an abandoned amusement park in Japan. I understand that there are actually several abandoned theme parks there (like in Spirited Away). Check it out here. It's all in Japanese, but the pictures speak for themselves well enough if you don't happen to read Japanese.

2. Secondly, the Derelict London site is very interesting. I've spent a lot of time there just looking at the disused railway line. It's addictive, and I'm not sure why.

3. Britain's Cold War Underground City, is also worth reading about. There are no pictures, but it is intriguing nonetheless. It has 60 miles of road and it's own railway station. And it's for sale! It makes me think of Neverwhere a little bit.

4. Found Magazine, is always an interesting distraction. A good place to go if you're not sure whether you want to laugh or cry - it's even bets which you'll get after a few items.

5. This site is one that I love - it's called Look At Me, and it is a home for unidentified photos of people looking at the camera. I really like this site, although it makes me a bit melancholy. I rescued a group of pictures from an estate sale many years ago of a couple who did a lot of exotic traveling during the 1920's - Egypt, Sri Lanka, Thailand - on sailboats, elephants, and rikshaws. Why anyone would let those go for 5 cents each is a mystery to me, but I'm glad I've got them. I guess I could send them in - there's a great one of the two of them on board a ship. Anyway - this site actually could be a huge nano help if ever a person were in need of a visual to prompt writing.