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beware stairs, bears and leeches

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Happy Halloween!

Here is a site where you can visually remind yourself of every letter the Gashlycrumb alphabet.

Here is a site that links to various Gorey fonts.

Here is a site concerning all things Edward Gorey.

Here be an embedded video of the gorey inspired color-saturated creepy mansion and hedge maze (!!!) having gothy and glorious NIN video for The Perfect Drug:

And here are the tinies themselves! (text only) I am embarrassed to note that I got at least two names wrong when I used this for Halloween cards last year. (Winnie and Prue, I apologize.)

A is for AMY who fell down the stairs
B is for BASIL assaulted by bears
C is for CLARA who wasted away
D is for DESMOND thrown out of a sleigh
E is for ERNEST who choked on a peach
F is for FANNY sucked dry by a leech
G is for GEORGE smothered under a rug
H is for HECTOR done in by a thug
I is for IDA who drowned in a lake
J is for JAMES who took lye by mistake
K is for KATE who was struck with an axe
L is for LEO who swallowed some tacks
M is for MAUD who was swept out to sea
N is for NEVILLE who died of ennui
O is for OLIVE run through with an awl
P is for PRUE tramped flat in a brawl
Q is for QUENTIN who sank in a mire
R is for RHODA consumed by a fire
S is for SUSAN who perished of fits
T is for TITUS who flew into bits
U is for UMA who slipped down a drain
V is for VICTOR squashed under a train
W is for WINNIE embedded in ice
X is for XERXES devoured by mice
Y is for YORICK whose head was knocked in
Z is for ZILLAH who drank too much gin

The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey.

stop and go from the tunnel to the cemetery

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007
some basic facts:
What: an evening with Ira Glass (not really a reading, not really an interview)

When: October 7, 2007

Where: Oregon Convention Center

Why: Ira's reasons: promoting his book The New Kings of Non-Fiction, which was for the benefit of the 826 store in Chicago (see also: 826 in SF (pirate store!) 826 in Brooklyn (super hero supply store!) both actually fronts for literacy programs. I love that they exist with that veneer of a secret life; it's like money laundering for the mob. On the one hand, how sad is it that we live in a society where it's necessary to have a legitimate front for the nefarious business of LITERACY for CHILDREN? On the other hand, a super hero supply store sounds a lot more fun than after school tutoring, you know? Ooh -- check it out! there's an 826 in Seattle, Michigan and Los Angeles, too! We don't have one here in Portland, but we do have Community of Writers which has a similar mission (and hosts Wordstock, which is FINALLY happening in November).

OPB's reasons: he's a big draw and they sold a lot of tickets. So many that they had to move from their original meeting place of a mini-mega church to a ballroom in the convention center.

My reasons: Blondie invited me as a thank you for helping her paint the basement apartment in her house. We'd also seen Ira Glass together before, so it was a tradition.

Smugness Factor of a Portland Audience of Public Radio Supporters: very high. The dirty (but eco-friendly) little secret of a lovely and livable progressive city such as Portland is that people are generally pretty pleased with themselves. ESPECIALLY, it turns out, if they don't watch much television. (I say this with love and my own set of pet smug topics. ::cough::publiclibrary::cough::.)


We found seats pretty close up and on the aisle. Blondie is a film festival veteran and has developed effective strategies for seating, egress and avoiding butt numbness. I wish I could develop an effective strategy for deflecting people with too much perfume from sitting next to me. (why would you want to smell like you fell in a vat of baby powder and lysol??? WHY?!)

The introducer guy came out to do his thing. He mentioned that Ira Glass (host and creator of This American Life) was worried about what he was going to do with all his material on gay sex and atheists since we were no longer meeting in a church. (it was funny, I swear.) He introduced Glass and April Baer (local morning radio host), who was interviewing Glass for this event. Baer was in Work Mode from the start -- she had her questions on cards and her voice was Radio Ready, even though she was not being broadcast. Glass was much more natural and conversational, dragging her off on oddball tangents and diversions. She would try to steer the conversation back to her talking points, but he wasn't having it. He remained gracious and charming, but not tractable. She was game, but there was an underlying quality of "just answer the #$%% question" and "why won't you do what I want you to do?"

I don't think they had very good chemistry. It was kind of weird -- I couldn't tell if it was because she admired him (which she admitted early on) and was nervous or was tired (she normally goes to bed at 7pm), or if it was some philosophical divide, but they seemed to be about a half a click off with each other. She made a joke somewhere along the way about Vermont and Oregon being rivals, which lead to some hilariously bizarre Vermont-baiting comments in the question and answer session. (Vermont, you're jake with me!) He kept returning to this which did not seem to thrill her. She, in turn, poked a sore spot by bringing up the piece The Onion did about This American Life. She said "you must feel like you've made it now!" and he replied that he actually found it very hurtful since his intention with the show is not irony, but utter sincerity; that theirs is a ministry of love.

He talked about how TAL was an incredibly hard sell at first. "We run a good business," but executives thought the TAL concept was ridiculous, that "it was goony to be talking to normal people." They take a great deal of pride in how effective they are during pledge weeks (their moneymaking pledge drives were what got many stations to pick them up in the first place). The goonier the idea, the more effective he wants the business end to be.

It's been long enough now that I can't really remember in what order anything happened -- I didn't expect to take notes so I had to scribble them on a folded piece of paper and... well, anyway. The following all happened, although it's paraphrased and out of order.

Shortly after she tried to rein him in and get him talking about the book, he pulled a card off the table and said "let's see what it is that you say every day." He read a card that said "it's stop and go from the tunnel to the cemetery," which describes a bit of traffic reporting on a particularly gnarly bit of freeway. He said "this is poetry! This is the story of our lives -- when you think about it, our whole existence is stop and go from the tunnel to the cemetery." I thought this was pretty freaking moving and profound, but Baer launched into a literal explanation of how bad traffic can be on that stretch of road. (Again, maybe she was tired, maybe she thought he was making fun of her or maybe she just did not think it was freaking moving or profound.)

A large portion of the evening's conversation was about the expansion of TAL to television and Showtime. It was obvious that a lot of people (Baer included) thought this was a sort of betrayal of the radio show. Of radio itself. Glass sees it differently, obviously. I was surprised at the amount of vitriol directed at television from the audience. Glass proclaimed "we are living in a golden age of television!" (paraphrase) "Like the 40's were a golden age of the automobile, when there were 50 different cars and most of them were really dangerous and you never knew when one would blow up." Baer said she'd take his word for it, and he said "Sister, you don't have to take my word for it. The technology exists so that you might experience it yourself!" She said something about going to bed at 7pm every night (she works early), but he wasn't buying it. "Tivo is your friend." Anyway, he particularly mentioned the glory of Mad Men and how lucky we all were to be living in a time when the Colbert Report and The Daily Show are on every night. He went on to defend the work that they're doing on the Showtime verison of TAL, but since I haven't seen it and it's been almost a month since this event, I don't remember the details. (except that they have total creative freedom, and that he doesn't think it's a sell out.)

The question and answer session was agonizing, as they almost always are -- having a skilled person on the answering end of the microphone can make all the difference. Glass took the long rambly meanderthons, the hurt radio feelings, the inarticulate groupies and the shameless self-promoters and managed to answer their microphone utterances with helpful coherent creative advice! I know a lot of this is ground that he's covered in other interviews, but I thought it was really good, so here's the scribbly note version.

On being creative: start making the stuff you want to make as soon as you can. You need to create a body of work. Push yourself through the years where you make bad stuff to find your voice. Your taste is good enough that you can tell it's crap, which is discouraging, but keep working! Have faith. At first you will spend at least half of your time coming up with something to work on. Have a weekly deadline if you can. He then told a story about how when he was coming up in radio and doing work for other people, his goal was always to give the producer what they asked for, but to have at least one little moment in there that was his. Something he was proud of, something that represented his voice and taste and vision. I thought this was a really great concept, especially since all or nothing thinking is so easy to fall into. Oh! I almost forgot -- he said to always have your eyes and ears open for things that inspire you. He then told a story about a friend (can't remember who) who stumbled across the conundrum of why some trees have red leaves in the fall. Apparently this is a mystery of botany! (I LOVE THIS) There is no definitive biological reason for red leaves; in fact, it is an energy drain for the tree to make them red. If we don't know for sure why trees make their leaves red (just red -- yellow and orange have explanations), then how can we think we know anything? Anyway, his friend spotted this puzzle in an obituary for a botanist, and a new obsession was born.

To sum up: Keep working. Have faith! Listen to the radio. Enjoy the golden age of non-fiction and television. Look for the poetry in your everyday life.

crooked cards and happy birthdays

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Saturday, October 27, 2007
I am making and sending Halloween cards today -- pretty much the last day I can mail them if I have any hope of them reaching their destinations by Wednesday. I almost didn't do them this year because I've been so busy, but decided that since they are my favorite cards to do, I had to at least try. They are crooked and crazy and no two are exactly alike... but I kind of love them! My rules were these: I couldn't go buy any supplies (this forced me to focus), and I couldn't overly complicate. Ha ha ha! The former was definitely easier than the latter. (I forced myself to NOT add stitching, for example.) I'm on a break right now while I wait for ink to dry and my hand to stop cramping from the scissors.

Yesterday was my sister's birthday! (happy birthday, Bec!) As part of her larger celebration we went and saw the 3-D Nightmare Before Christmas last night. It was spooky fun as always. I thought the 3-D worked really well in some places, but in others it just looked blurry. The jack in the box at the beginning scared the bejezus out of me, although jack in the boxes scare me even in plain old two dimensions. (I'm easily startled.) I like a lot of the same things about this movie that I like about Pushing Daisies: funny, stylized, romantic, sometimes musical, relatively optimistic but with an underlying darkness. I noticed this time that Jack Skellington wears beatle boots! (Ned wears Chuck Taylors so it's not exactly the same, but stylish footwear is stylish footwear.)

My ink is dry! now I have to go find what I did with the photo corners...

Sam Cooke was right.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007
Night Deposit

Good news: I survived a day outside of the confines of Training Week! Of course I got to use the "I just finished Training Week" excuse, but it seemed to work out fine. Today I was at a very small branch near my house -- everyone was kind and patient (including patrons!) even though the rain was coming down pretty hard and plastic bags are not free. I worked briefly with one of the women who interviewed me. It was funny since neither one of us could remember where we'd met before, until obviously one of us (not me) did.

More Good News: Pushing Daisies got a full-season order! I'm so happy! Now I feel safe enough to state that although I always want her clothes, sometimes Chuck bugs me. This makes me happy, though -- if she were unrelentingly perfect I would want to throw her under a bus, but since she is occasionally annoying it somehow makes me like her more. Olive got a lot more interesting this episode as well, although there was a shocking amount of bedazzling and taxidermy going on.

Other Wed. Entertainments: I quit watching Private Practice. Dirty Sexy Money has been getting more interesting which is too bad because I was all ready to go finish reading Michael Chabon's latest -- which I am enjoying VERY MUCH now that I've got it back from the library again. This is the downside of library borrowing: sometimes someone else wants it. Or 80 other people want it. I look at it as an exercise in character building.

Good Link: My sister sent me a link to this story, which I find so interesting and timely. It deals with the tricky nature of the Power of Positive Thinking. This quote really resonated with me: "As a psychotherapist, I know that sometimes a lot of what people need when faced with adversity is permission to feel crummy for a while, to realize that feeling bad is not automatically the same as being mentally ill. Some of my one-session "cures" have come from reminding people that life can be difficult, and it's OK if we're not happy all of the time." For me, when most recently trying to drag myself out of the misery pit I'd fallen into, I found that this was the only thing that worked! It seems counterintuitive, but it's true. Sam Cooke remains right (like there was ever any doubt); Don't Fight It, Feel It. Even if it's cruddy. (although I am pleased to state that my miraculous mystery good mood remains!)

itunes has its own ideas

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007
the north star ballroom

Today I came across a meme involving itunes and the shuffle function -- two of my favorite things! This is one I've seen around in various permutations, but it's basically the soundtrack to Your Movie. Or A Movie using your digital music library. Silly, fun and sometimes strangely appropriate.

I have been going back and forth on whether or not I'll do nanowrimo this year, and it struck me that random and arbitrary affiliations like the ones generated by this meme could be an interesting jumping off place to start on something new. OR NOT. Anyway -- here's what came up for me while pushing the "next" button (and instructions for playing along at home):

(Obligatory rules)

1. Open your music library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc.).

2. Put it on shuffle and press play.

3. For every question, type the song that's playing. When you go to a new question, go to the next song.

4. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool.

opening credits: Find Love / Clem Snide (radio session version) -- so funny because I recently loaded this to my ipod and have been listening to it obsessively. I have more to say, but I'll say it later. (there are shark attacks and killer bees!)

waking up: Snakes in the Grass / Essex Green -- very mod-poppy and excellent waking up music -- especially if you planned on spending the day riding around having madcap revenge adventures on a vespa.

falling in love: Hairy Trees / Goldfrapp -- way to be subtle, itunes!

fight song: Leisure Suite / Feist -- pillow fight, maybe.

breaking up: Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts / Bob Dylan -- love triangle! gambling! knife fight!

prom: All You Need is Love / The Beatles -- you also need a brass band.

life is good: I Only Want To Be With You / Dusty Springfield -- ... I don't know how I feel about this song. I think that maybe the singer needs to develop some independent hobbies. Life might be good like this, but it would be GREAT if it were more along the lines of "I want to be with you, but I also want to work on my 1/12 scale papier mache taj mahal. Let's figure it out."

mental breakdown: Keep On the Sunny Side / The Whites -- this is actually a great song if you're having a mental breakdown. It's comforting without being smothering.

driving: Apples On a Stick / Crossover -- this is more of an adult jump rope song than a driving song, but would also work for driving (although I think better for being stuck in traffic than for the open road).

flashback: It Ain't Me Babe / Bob Dylan -- just the kind of conversation that would replay 10000x times. I'm beginning to think itunes is kind of a sadist.

getting back together: Buckets of Rain / Bob Dylan -- Ha! Life is sad/ Life is a bust/ All ya can do is do what you must./ You do what you must do and ya do it well,/ I'll do it for you, honey baby,/ can't you tell? Random itunes is apparently also looking forward to the new Dylan movie.

wedding: The Painter / I'm From Barcelona -- I love this song, not least because of the following lyric: I've got to go now, the cops are on their way/ I haven't got a license, but I've got a lot to say/ Don't give up on your dreams, boy! don't give up on your dreams, nobody. I don't know that it's particularly wedding appropriate, but I'm going to say Why Not? He could be the guy that nobody remembers inviting, like the Ancient Mariner with the truth he must speak!

night before the war: Here in My Heart (with Anna Domino) / The 6ths -- I haven't listened to this in a long time, but it's a pretty little song and strangely apt for the category -- it's all sweet lovey nothings until the end when it asks In a while, will your smile fade away?/ Will we be history gone astray, nothing to say? which seems like a reasonable concern if you're going to be gone for a while.

final battle: Do What You Want / OK Go -- the final battle features lots of cowbell and people do-do-doing what they want. (they apparently want cowbell! the battle isn't over until the cows come home.)

moment of triumph: Chariot / Page France -- !!! This song has many elements of songs that came before on the list (snakes and bees, wedding feasts), but essentially is one of those cheery death songs: fire come and carry us/ make us shine or make us rust/ tell us that you care for us/ we need to hear a word for us/ let your body stand with us/ let our rags be turned to dust/ Chariot you swing for us/ We think that you can carry all of us/ so we will become a happy ending

death scene: Boa Constrictor / Magnetic Fields -- love is wrapped around my heart/ like a boa constrictor, babe.

funeral song: I'm so Tired / The Beatles -- this seems like more of a fake "you thought I was dead, but I'm just really, really tired although maybe I'd rather be dead since you are torturing me, p.s. this is all your fault" chain-smoking funeral song.

end credits: Eveningland / Hem -- this is so short! they'd either have to play it 15 times, or I can't have 500 eastern european computer animators in the credits for this movie. Decisions, decisions!

training week (the rest of it)

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Saturday, October 20, 2007
I promise I will shut up about the library stuff soon.

Sunday: Last day volunteering at my beloved local library branch. Am filled with such sentimental good spirits that I must admit I'm no good at maintaining a nemesis. Volunteer Nemesis #2 turns out to be (as I had been increasingly aware, but trying to suppress) a decent guy. We bonded over the alphabetical ineptitude of the new people.

Monday: first day of training. See last blog post. What I did not mention was the minor, mostly interior hissy fit I had when they gave out the branch assignments for the end of the week. They SPECIFICALLY would not let me train a day at my branch. (Oh, the injustice!) There are names for all the different library size categories which I cannot remember, but basically everyone trained one day at central, one day at a busy branch and one day at a smaller neighborhood library.

Tuesday: more of the same, although information is starting to get increasingly esoteric and worrisome. Will I ever remember HALF of this? upside: learned of the library ghost AND that the place I had lunch not only used to be a funeral parlor, but also hosted proms and weddings. You've got to admire that kind of circle of life multi-purpose mixed-use.

Wednesday: My day at the busy branch that is not my branch. My trainer was really nice and Right There for any and all questions I had. She was admittedly "old school" (I think people maybe need to stop saying this) and did some things in a rather... idiosyncratic way, but she was the first to acknowledge that this was just the way she liked to do them and that other ways were also fine. Other people there were nice if I asked them something directly, but otherwise ignored me. Since this is probably what I would do as well, I really can't fault anyone.

Thursday: Central! Apparently, Central is one of those love it or hate it locations. I loved it. I miss working downtown and the building is seriously wonderful. (WONDERFUL!) I was there the same day as one of my fellow Mon./Tues. trainees; even though we didn't work the same schedule, it was nice to know there was someone else going through the same process at the same time. We got a fantastic tour of the building first thing. I have now seen the holy grail serious library users: the closed stacks -- basement and sub basement both. There is a dumbwaiter! I'm disappointed to find out that there's no pneumatic tube system; requests for materials are instead faxed to the stacks. But I guess you can't have everything. After the tour, we started working on the desk or in the workroom -- everyone switches every hour. Labor is divided very differently here than in the branches: circulation staff is its own little army, as is paging, as is reference, etc, etc. There was someone different assigned to be my minder every hour, and all of them (but one) were incredibly patient. I must note again that I am a terrible judge of some things -- one of the people I thought was barely tolerating my presence in the workroom was so sweet and helpful when shepherding me on the desk later in the day -- a good reminder that many people who do this work are the same kind of people-liking introvert that I am. Friendly, eventually.

Thursday night: My sister and I meet up with Martina in Beaverton to see Crazy Aunt Purl's reading at the Cedar Hills Powell's. There were some complications meeting up (my fault), but it all worked out! CAP was funny, just like her blog -- there were lots of people knitting in the audience and she talked about her cats and her zucchini and how much fun she was having touring the pacific northwest. (My bullshit detector found this to be a sincere sentiment.) Powell's evidently didn't get their full order of her books, which must have been disappointing. I think they sold all the copies they had. We weren't having anything signed, so we ended up hanging out in another section of the store after the reading, laughing our fool heads off about some dumb thing or another. (I believe the uncontrollable laughter started when we thought about how our conversation might sound to the uninitiated. Especially, for some reason, the phrase "curly garfunkle," which made TOTAL SENSE in the context of our discussion, but might have sounded a little strange without the benefit of 20 years of conversational shorthand. Whatever it was we laughed and laughed and laughed.)

Friday: Small Neighborhood Library: This started out SO BADLY, but was okay (not great) by the end of the day. My basic thoughts for this branch: if you don't want to have trainees, don't tell human resources that you'll take them! Each person individually was fine, but as a whole it was a mess. The person I was supposed to be shadowing seemed like she'd rather be doing anything else. It all worked out by the afternoon (I think there were some interpersonal issues going on that had nothing to do with me). I made a couple of mistakes on the desk that I recognized just after I made them, but I think nothing TOO major.

Saturday: SLEEP, how I missed you! Nothing new job related going on today.... but I did go to roller derby, which I hope to write up soon.

This was a busy week for me -- so much new information thrown in with all these new people. It's a new job, and by its very nature (substituting at many locations) I'll be the new girl for quite a while. Honestly, that's probably all kinds of good and character building for me, but right now it makes me incredibly tired. I expect it will all settle and sort itself soon. I think the biggest challenge will be figuring out how to manage my time so I can do the things I want to do. I know it's possible, I just have to be smart about it. (note to self: be smarter! but first, sleep.)

training day one (5 things)

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Monday, October 15, 2007
North Portland Branch

Day one was in the computer lab of the North Portland branch. It's a lovely old brick Carnegie Library.

Five things which I learned or was reminded. (and lunch.) (I promise I won't do this every day.)

1) This library system is very popular with taxpayers. It's extremely well-used with a robust collection and high circulation rate. I tend to forget that this is not the case in every city and town across the nation, and therefore am confused when people assume that I will be working in a quiet, book-smelly room with dust motes floating gently through the air. My local branch is one of the busiest in the 17 branch system and I love it! Libraries aren't shushy anymore. There's a lot of hustle bustle involved.

2) My job will be as a cog in a giant wheel, but since the wheel is dispensing information with every click, I don't mind. It's kind of zen -- the work is never done since the work is circulation. check out the books, check in the books, send the books on their way. (of course it's not just books.)

3) I think the hardest part of being on the desk will be keeping a poker face when someone presents a book I love. You can't interact with people about what they've chosen for reasons of privacy. It's almost like being a doctor or a priest -- patrons need to feel like they can check out whatever they want without someone making judgments. This makes perfect sense, but I know it will be hard to not say "OMG! I love that book!" (assuming that it is one I love and not, say, Thomas Kinkade's "Cape Light," in which case I will bravely stifle my inner recoil.)

4) We practiced creating new library cards, so I made one for Buffy Anne Summers. This amused me to no end, but then I had to trade it with someone else! the card I got in return? John Doe. (I am assuming that it was John Doe from X, so it's still okay.)

5) I ate lunch at the Chapel Pub right across the street. It used to be a funeral parlor, but is now an absolutely charming and lovely place to have a meal and read a book, which is exactly what I did.

chapel of the chimes
(chapel side entrance)

ambivalent, but not about the hat

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Thursday, October 11, 2007
I had my first day of new job stuff today! Well, a couple of hours of filling out paperwork and getting logged into the system and email set up, etc. I find myself feeling weirdly ambivalent about everything. I really, really liked volunteering at my local branch (I just found out that it's one of the busiest neighborhood branches for its size in the entire country). Even though I'll still be involved (now with added $$), it will be different. That's a good thing, but I also think it's okay to take a day or so to feel awkward about the transition. Everyone was super-sweet and excited for me on Wednesday, which was my last weekday there as a volunteer. (I'm going in on Sunday, although I think I'm probably not supposed to, technically.) I've decided that I want to volunteer somewhere else because I like being useful and offering support to recipients of my choice in tangible non-money ways. I'm thinking maybe Film Action Oregon/ Hollywood Theatre -- they show an eclectic mix of movies AND there's an element of historic preservation, which I dig. I'm willing to pop popcorn for a good cause! I'm still deciding, though.

I know that part of this semi-deflated feeling is because I've been so narrowly focused lately -- now that I've reached THIS goal, I have to think about what the wider view is because there's no way in hell this can be the culmination of everything I want for myself. (No job should be.) I started from a position of feeling pretty low, so this will be a good springboard to awesome. Or else! You get me, new job?! No pressure except for maintaining balance on my delicate mental health!! (actually, despite feeling mondo-crazy 2/3 of the time, I think I'm fairly sturdy.) Assignment: figure out at least medium-term wonderful and outrageous plans and schemes. Leave room for vacation, and extra room for fabulous.

and now for TV! There are other shows I want to get into, like the twisty and delicious Mad Men -- but I'm going to save that one for after I write up the Ira Glass thing. (he is also a Mad Men and television in general FAN.)

Moonlight: This is funny, like an inadvertent vampire comedy. I say "vampire" loosely, since in this world they can go out in the daylight and enjoy reading the bible by campfire while cooking garlic in a crucifix shaped frying pan. Our Hero is tortured by guilt and self-loathing (of course), has feathered hair, tight pants, a big belt buckle and occasionally pointy teeth. He fights crime! I did not find this story to be particularly compelling, but despite its egregious abuse of vampire lore (why not just call them something else?) I found it relatively inoffensive. I was barely watching, though.

Pushing Daisies: This show makes me happy. It gets my heart pumping not just from the extra love coursing through my veins, but because it walks the razor's edge of being almost too cute -- my heart beats faster because I WORRY it will tip into Quirky Twee territory, but then it rights itself to Charmingly Twisted and my pulse returns to just beating faster because of all the love. The anxiety is part of my Love Experience. Also, I want every outfit that Chuck has worn, I want more of the Aunts (they return next week!), I want more little details (art school! cheese box! Knitted money cozies! Olive's toile obsession!)... Basically, I'm just happy to have a show that I look forward to watching. Oh, yes. If I had seen the Dandy Lion dress and hat (THE HAT!) pictured at the top of this post a month ago, I would have figured out how to make one for Halloween. I think it's too late this year, though. Too bad! it would have given me the excuse I've been longing for re: white go-go boots. (I would have to go with different eyelashes because yellow would look so bad on me.)
many days later edit: I had to add this tiny, blurry picture I found of the whole dress, so that the hat might be appreciated in context.

Dirty Sexy Money: I stayed awake for all of this one! I like how they have, in addition to the weekly filthy-rich family hijinx, the ongoing mystery of who killed Peter Krause's father. This is the kind of show that I'm happy to watch if I'm home when it's on, but I wouldn't bother to record if I was out. Cheesy sleazy fun.

Private Practice: I don't think I need to watch this again. Everything is either boring or pisses me off due to its high predictability and sexism. Mostly, just boring. I could watch longer to test my theory that as Addison gets happier, her hair will get redder (they did the same thing with Meredith/blonde), but I can follow that in the commercials in the event that I care. (the really disappointing part is that this could have been good! I like these actors! The premise is not without promise! And yet... I think they spun off too soon, but what do I know.)

Not about tv or my work issues but...

Via Bootstrap Productions -- this right brain v left brain thing freaks me RIGHT OUT! When I opened the page the animation took a moment to load and I saw it counter-clockwise, but once it started going it was all clockwise, all the time! These results are not a big surprise, although I do take some issue with it telling me I am "fantasy based" and the thought that I'm a risk taker is HI-larious! although maybe they mean something other than "bungee jumping from a helicopter while eating fugu with razor blade chopsticks" which always slots into my mental definition of Risk Taker. If they mean "will wear purple with orange," then I'm way risky.) (update: it keeps switching on me, although it is predominantly clockwise!! I wonder if it changes if you do something particularly right brain v. left brain? If you look at it, be sure to check on it again.)

random helpful hint: do not store important but tiny documents (such as, say, your social security card) in an altoid's box. especially if the box is in a position to get wet and therefore rusty. Just a little tip from me to the world.

well, that was unexpected

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007
one nine

Unexpected but good!! I've been waiting so long to hear back from the place about the thing (library: job), I was beginning to get into that zone where I believed I could, and might have to, wait forever. But NO! I am out of the zone! I got a call this morning that informed me my references were favorable (note to self: check and see if they even called references) and therefore I was on the "Eligible to Hire" list, with the caveat that I shouldn't get TOO excited because I'm #19 on that list. (I don't know if it's a list of 20 or what.) Anyway, I'm quite pleased! I have some sort of orientation on thursday, a week of training next week and then I'm not sure what happens except that I'll be eligible not only to hire (which is now starting to sound kind of sketchy the more I write and say it: "are you for hire?" "sure, but only in the library"), but eligible to sign up for substitute shifts around the system until someone decides that 19 is their lucky number and hires me for real.

to sum up: Woo hoo!!

would you be an outlaw?

| On
Sunday, October 07, 2007
I am so tired, but in such a good mood! The tired I get (my sleep schedule has gone wonky -- SLEEP! I miss you! please come back before 2 AM), but the good mood I have no explanation for. It's a mystery I'm willing to live with, however.

this & that:

crafty: ( side note: I always think of that Beastie Boys song She's Crafty whenever the word "crafty" comes up, unless it's "hello, crafty" in which case I think of Hello Nasty, also by the Beastie Boys. I don't know why this is.)

I can't knit. I mean, I can knit a plain regular stitch (I don't even know what it's called!) scarf or something, but anything more complex is beyond me. It looks like magic when people clack those needles together and actual PATTERNS emerge! (Although one time I did knit ONE slipper but when it came time to do the other one (years later) I had no memory of what I should do or how I even completed the first one. It was like an out of body knitting experience.) I would like to learn some day, but until then I will content myself with...

crochet! It only takes one tool, which is a hook. A HOOK! I can say I have a hook hand, which automatically makes it appealing. Plus it's easier. I'm only slightly more skilled at crochet than knitting, but it feels like a skill I can improve fairly quickly. I just made a simple (but adorable) scarf out of The Happy Hooker in one evening! (of course it was one of those evenings when I stayed up WAY TOO LATE, but let's focus on the positive, which is that I finished it!)

Willamette Week (portland's alt weekly newspaper) just did a cover story on the craft movement in this city. Crafts (both the furniture making and sweater making kind) are big here, which is very convenient if you like that sort of thing... and I do. In the past 2-3 years it has blown up and there are more and more places to buy/sell/admire handmade items and the supplies necessary to make them. It's an interesting piece which tackles some tricky grey areas of traditional women's work, third wave feminism (just because you're under 40 and making granny squares does not automatically make you a some kind of rebel or political feminist, in case you were wondering) and yarn acquisition.

a song stuck in my head: Thirteen by Big Star -- I think I first heard this on the Gilmore Girls soundtrack (which is v. good, IMO), but most recently while listening to a Big Star collection. It just guts me with its beautiful quavery vulnerability. I don't think these feelings are limited to the age of thirteen, but maybe thirteen's around the last time they are presented so unselfconsciously. "Won't you tell me what you're thinking of/ Would you be an outlaw for my love/ If it's so, well, let me know/ If it's no, well, I can go/ I won't make you" It has a lot of my beloved lalalala's, which doesn't hurt, either.

movie I can't wait to see: I'm Not There by Todd Haynes. I've been hearing little bits and pieces about this for ages and have been all atwitter waiting for it to arrive. This excellent piece in the NYT Magazine has shifted my atwitter to aflutter, which comes right before hopping up and down. I love that it promises to make no linear sense, but to make sense in a bigger, more holistic way -- which seems to me the only way you can properly take on a subject like Bob Dylan. Anyway, I hope it makes its way here soon because I can only take so much anticipation.

music video I still adore, even though I see snips of it several times a night in an oft shown commercial: Feist's 1, 2, 3, 4. This entry on Quiet Bubble, which breaks down the whole video in such a smart and interesting way, proclaims it "one of the best movies I've seen this year." I think this is a fantastic blog post, and not just for use of the word "ramshackle." (although I have a ramshackle soft spot.)

I ran out of time: I have more to say (always!) but time has gotten away from me. I forgot that Blondie's picking me up in half an hour to go see Ira Glass. Ooops! and also Hooray!

quick three tv

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Thursday, October 04, 2007
1. Pushing Daisies: LOVE! if I were a cartoon, my heart would be beating 10" away from my chest every time I think about it. I'm still pondering the whys and wherefores (and this is a quick list, after all), but TV critic Peter Ames Carlin articulates many of the reasons it worked for me in this review.

2. Private Practice: this was as subtle as a sledgehammer. ("who's going to take care of YOU, Addison?" bah.) I will give it at least one more shot because I liked the character of Addison Montgomery on Grey's Anatomy. (stay tuned next week when we apparently get to see the Secret of the Playboy's Secret Pain! I know this because there was a ... cemetery! and rain! and a "you think you understand, but you don't!" door slamming moment. (okay, maybe no door slamming, but I wouldn't be surprised.) If they could somehow acknowledge the soapy ridiculousness of this (like The OC when it was working) I think I would like it a lot better.

3. Dirty Sexy Money: I liked this, which surprised me. Granted, I fell asleep for 20 minutes in the middle, but that is no reflection on the show and more of a reflection on how I always fall asleep for 20 minutes between 10 - 11 these days. (it's either then or during the Daily Show -- I would have missed Jon taking his medicine from Ted Koppel (love!), which would have been A SHAME.) I will watch DSM again.

That was my TV for Wednesday. I am really enjoying some other shows (MAD MEN!) on other nights, but I'm experimenting with this whole brevity concept. (this coincides with me running late today, but whatever.)

To recap: I heart Pushing Daisies. A lot.

read freely

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Monday, October 01, 2007
I do, I do!
This week (sept. 29 - oct. 6) is banned book week. The American Library Association has celebrated this every year since 1982 to draw attention to the importance (and tenuousness) of intellectual freedom.

They define intellectual freedom as such: Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.

Does this seem unreasonable? No, it does not. Yet the government, (in the form of, say, The Patriot Act) seems to disagree.

The ALA's motto for banned book week: Free People Read Freely.

Here is a related item from a library comic strip I enjoy:

(read more Unshelved here)

Google Books has an informative page with the most challenged books of 2007 ( gay penguins, I kid you not) and information on other frequently banned/challenged books.

Go forth and read something to celebrate! It's bound to be offensive to someone!

wind farms and the C.A.R.T.

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Monday, October 01, 2007
The Crazy Ass Road Trip is a longstanding tradition in my family. We did not have a lot of money when I was growing up, but that didn't stop us from having on the road adventures. (Gas was cheaper back then, and curiosity, as always, is free.) ANYWAY, what this means is I have seen many weird things that were spotted on a map and tracked down with casual yet borderline obsessive zeal. It often went something like this: "What do you suppose they mean by biggest hole/tree/ alligator/ etc.?" "We'd better go check it out. Girls, get your things." And off we'd go. None of this is really important except to give a little background by way of explanation -- when my mother says something seemingly crazy like "I want to take pictures of these county courthouses, and I want you (meaning my sister and I) to go with me," it's not as weird as it sounds. Or it IS as weird as it sounds, I'm just used to it.

These particular courthouses were in Moro, Condon (eastern-ish Oregon) and Goldendale, Washington -- east of The Dalles and west of Pendleton, more or less. It's so beautiful in such a different way than the western valleys of Oregon (where it rains -- what most people usually think of when they think "Oregon"). The normal otherworldliness of the eastern Oregon landscape was amplified on this trip because our journey took us through Wind Farm country. It was so surreal to come up over the top of a hill and see the spinning wind turbines -- unexpected, but so beautiful in its way. This particular grouping of turbines crosses state lines. I could see them all the way over on the Washington side. (Granted, the Washington side isn't far, but still!) According to the official website, this is an excellent area for wind farming due to the big sky and consistent wind (no doubt from its vicinity to the Columbia river gorge). So interesting! Here are some pictures from a one day Crazy Ass Road Trip. Most of these were taken from the car and don't really do justice to the vastness of the landscape or the COLOR. The fields were a lot more golden than they appear on camera.

out the window on the way to goldendale
(no wind turbines here, but the contrast between the hills and the clouds was spectacular in person. I took this one on the move -- I just rolled down my window and snapped.)

afternoon in eastern oregon
(!!! -- this is so pretty I almost can't stand it! No turbines here, either, but they were on the other side of the road. This is the view from the turbine side. I have to say the clouds made taking pictures easier.)

(the road. Doesn't it look like a car commercial? Did you know that they film lots of car commercials in Oregon for this very reason? I think it would be terribly fun to drive in a convertible roadster of some sort, a completely different kind of fun on a bicycle, but I can report with certainty that it is plenty of fun in a regular car. Those mountains in the distance are on the Washington side of the Columbia.)

wind farm
(here they are! They seem huge from far away, and they ARE huge up close.)

wind farm
(more of them -- I wish I could have taken a picture that showed how many of them there were. It was something to see.)

In non energy producing, road tripping or family story related news, there has been a chestnut escalation! Today there were TWO chestnuts on every post at the park. You wouldn't think that would make it twice as fun, yet somehow it does. (there was also a Mystery Key, but I believe it was unrelated.)