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things I did and did not do

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Thursday, January 31, 2008
litter with enthusiasm

I did post once a day for the entire month of January! more or less. 31 days, 31 posts. I have some thoughts about the value of this experiment (I did receive benefit from it) which I will write up SOON, but not tonight. If I've learned anything, it's that I don't have to put Every Single Thing in one post. It's okay to spread it around.

I did not finish my quilt! but I got it pinned and mostly tied so I should be able to finish it tomorrow. I wasn't able to work on it much tonight because of the television. (nevermind that I worked on it the entire duration of crafty and still didn't finish...)

First, the debate: it was rather refreshing to hear candidates talk policy instead of insinuating that their opponent smokes crack and eats babies for breakfast. (they're saving it for the general election, I know!) Some pundits called it boring, but that's because without any name calling or chair throwing they think they don't have much to talk about. Chris Matthews probably had a coronary. (I don't know because comcast took away MSNBC. I kind of miss his barking laugh, irrational shouting and weirdly inappropriate segues. "I think you'd look good on the back of my motorcycle," etc. Wolf Blitzer just isn't the same. sigh.) p.s. I miss John Edwards.

Second, Lost: Holy Shit! I missed the first 20 minutes or so (have recorded it but not watched it yet) and I have only a very small idea of what's going on, but it was pretty exciting. Lost almost lost me somewhere in the middle of season 2, but I'm glad I stuck it out.

Third, Eli Stone: Is this where I admit that I think Jonny Lee Miller is A-Dorable? Because I do and I will! The lawyery part of this show was pretty stupid (except I'm always happy to see Spy Daddy from Alias and that guy who played the other doctor from Everwood), but I liked the idea of the spiritual and the scientific being the same thing, or two sides of the same thing. Other plusses for the show: George Michael makes me laugh! Jonny Lee Miller! Did I mention him already? (sickboy goes to law school!) (he also played Edmund in the 1999 version of Mansfield Park, which I thought was superior to the somewhat drippy one that was on Masterpiece Classic last week.)

Good night and happy January!

what exactly is blowing in the wind?

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008
peggy lane

It is so windy outside right now, this very minute (12:03 am as I type this) -- the wind chimes are going bananas (b-a-n-a-n-a-s), the trees are doing that thing they do when it sounds like maybe they are going to blow over, or snap in half, or at the very least have an arboreal hysterical fit thrashing their leaves and limbs, spitting bark and pine cones all over the street. I imagine it's somewhat more irritating to the squirrels who live in the trees so I should probably just ZIP IT or else get a chattering lecture in the park tomorrow, subject of: 'what do you have to complain about' which is already on my mind, so YOU zip it squirrels, you get me? I don't want to hear it. (fortunately squirrels can't type OR read and really they don't even have the internet despite the half-hearted efforts of metrofi, so I needn't worry about them be leaving me any sassy comments.)

I have had an oddly off-kilter day. I am bummed that Edwards dropped out of the presidential race. He was my guy. I'll vote for Clinton or Obama, but neither one of them really thrill me. I dislike the increasingly dynastic nature of presidential politics. Bush 1 (vp 2x, pres 1), Clinton XY (pres 2x), Bush 2 (pres 2x) and then Clinton XX? I could live with it, but I can't promise I wouldn't have irrational tea-party thoughts. What would be harder to live with is her reluctance to admit mistakes (Iraq comes to mind) -- I know that part of it is not wanting to be seen as a "weak woman," but after 8 years with a president who never admits to a mistake, it's not a trait I embrace. Obama has lots of charisma, but not much experience. He and Hillary do not sound very different on many issues, except he's more charming. (Obama:" blah blah blah, what you want to hear, blah blah blah." Clinton: "blah blah blah, what I think you want to hear, blah blah blah.) Edwards was the most viable populist candidate, and I felt like he cared about more than just winning. He wanted to be president not just to be president, but to fix this effing mess we're in. Anyway. I'm sorry he quit.

As for the rest of my off-kilter day -- nothing major, nothing overtly bad, just like someone closed a screen door on the great day I should have had -- I could see it, but it was slightly obscured by lint and dead bugs. So irritating! Especially since I know it's mostly a matter of attitude rather than situation. Wah wah wah. But tomorrow will be better, I can totally tell! for one, I do think I'm going to get my quilt done. I tried to get it all pinned tonight (backing, batting, top) but it was hard to lay it out straight when I had two feline assistants who thought that I was down on the ground to judge their lucha libre style wrestling match, which HAD TO occur right where I was working. Another reason tomorrow will be better: craft night! I hope to sit around and gossip with friends while sewing on binding -- a great way to end the first month of the year!

I Feel Bad About My Neck and other thoughts on being a woman

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008
by Nora Ephron

I picked this up on a whim at the library and was so pleasantly surprised. Not that I was expecting to dislike it, exactly, but I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. I was only vaguely familiar with Ephron the essayist and most familiar with her work in movies: When Harry Met Sally (love!), Sleepless in Seattle (liked it, but for me it was coasting on residual WHMS affection and the abuse of Louis Armstrong made me grumpy before it even started), and of course You've Got Mail, which I hated and referred to as the Great American Stalker Romance until I was forced to rewatch it recently after getting into an argument with a cousin at a family reunion about its alleged merits. (it's what we do -- if there isn't a lively disagreement in the air Certain People will monopolize the room with tales from the golf course.) Anyway, I don't love YGM, but I no longer actively hate it. (I have got to get into the endorsement business! "I no longer actively hate it," raves anonymous blogger.)

Back to the book -- I think I hesitated reading it sooner because I was expecting a collection of As Seen On Oprah essays -- all "rah rah woman!" on the outside and "let's go shopping!" on the inside. I was wrong, thankfully, as I so often am. She does talk about physical appearance and other issues that some might consider shallow, but it's so honestly observed! She's stripped the vanity and false modesty often found in writing about these kinds of homely topics and dives right in -- even when it is about vanity itself. Plus, she's really funny. It's personal, it's universal, it's a pleasure to read.

Speaking of pleasure, one of my favorite essays in the whole book, the essay I'd recommend reading while standing in the aisle of the bookstore if you're not going to buy it or check it out of the library but are somewhat curious nevertheless, would be On Rapture, which is about reading. "Days pass as I savor every word. Each minute I spend away from the book pretending to be interested in everyday life is a misery. How could I have waited so long to read this book? When can I get back to it? Halfway through, I return to New York to work, to finish a movie, and I sit in the mix studio unable to focus on anything but whether my favorite character in the book will survive. I will not be able to bear it if anything bad happens to my beloved Marian Halcombe. Every so often I look up from the book and see a roomful of people waiting for me to make a decision about whether the music is too soft or the thunder is too loud, and I can't believe that they don't understand that what I'm doing is Much More Important. I'm reading the most wonderful book."

hold list acrobatics, etc.

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Monday, January 28, 2008
reading sign

I have two spots available on my library hold list and it is freaking me out! Each card gets fifteen slots for placing things on hold (unless you're an educator, then you get something like FORTY) and mine is usually maxed out at all times. Right now is tricky because everything I'm waiting for is a little ways away -- on the one hand I like to have the flexibility of an available spot, but on the other hand, two empty spots feels like I'm wasting one. The stuff I have on hold will undoubtedly all arrive at once, but this is a happy kind of problem.

I recognize fellow hold-list obsessives when they come in -- they are always just as pleased about the now available space on their list as they are about the item they are picking up. One woman even said we fifteen-items people should form a club to share enthusiasms and strategies (she was going to use her newly available space for a Helen Mirren film festival), but we couldn't come up with a good name so that beautiful idea died right there. I was shelving holds the other day and noticed that someone was using her kids' cards to put stuff on hold since she had maxed out her own. Unfair! I don't actually need more spots -- I have more stuff than I can deal with checked out right now; having even more things instantly available is probably not The Answer. Even so... people have had kids for dumber reasons. (kidding!)

Quilt news: I think I'm going to finish it this month, which also freaks me out. this post could be called "jen freaks out over inconsequential things" but then almost every post could be called that, so whatever. (sometimes when I type whatever, the v doesn't show so it's whateer, which makes me want to put an apostrophe in it to become "and then she spake whate'er and flounced away.") ANYWAY -- thinking of it, finding/ adapting a pattern, getting fabric and getting it all done in the same 30 day period is unheard of for me, so we'll see if it happens. It's definitely possible! I sewed the borders on tonight and it's looking pretty fabulous, I have to admit. (as long as you are not obsessed with perfect points, which, thank god, I am not.) I was also thinking that it might be fun to do a very similar one in much more subdued colors, just to prove to myself that I CAN -- maybe blue-grey/green with little pops of red. And now I shall spake whate'er and flounce off to bed as it is VERY LATE and I am so tired.

shut up already, Tom Jones

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Sunday, January 27, 2008
I have What's New Pussycat stuck in my head (woooah ooh ooh ooh ooh). What more can I say, really?

knuckle tattoos

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Saturday, January 26, 2008
knuckle tattoos

1) free season passes rule!

2) roller derby people watching is UNRIVALED to any other in my recent experience. Really. It takes all kinds to make the world go round, and all kinds are sending representatives to roller derby.

3) those girls can really skate. The teams have improved tremendously in the season or so I've been attending bouts, and I can only imagine that they will continue to get better.

4) the skater names crack me all the way up. They are often violent or vaguely obscene (Scratcher in the Eye, November Pain, Fire Crotch) but not always. One of my favorites from tonight was from the visiting team (Rat City Roller Girls from Seattle) -- Rollin' Bayou. (she was really fast, too.)

5) my free t-shirt is totally cute! I may take a picture of it later, but for now, know that it has lightning bolts on it.

6) the announcers worship at the altar of the "let's get ready to ruuuuuuuuuuuuuumble" guy.

7) did I mention that with the season pass comes reserved seating? (well... reserved in the sense that only people with a wristband or pass can sit there, not reserved in the manner of a butler in a periwig skating you to your specifically saved piece of metal bleacher that may or may not have beer spilt on it already.)

8) did I just say periwig? It must be in anticipation of whichever Jane Austen they are showing tomorrow night on PBS.

9) you know what would be awesome? Jane Austen roller derby night! think of it -- the regency dances could EASILY be done on roller skates, right? Right!

10) Jane Austen Roller Derby is possibly the best idea I've had all day, which lets you know what kind of day it has been. (mostly fun, actually, but sleep is probably not a bad idea.)

occasionally the answer is provided

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Friday, January 25, 2008
I was thinking what I think every night around this time (what the hell will I post?), then remembered my weird Margaret Atwood Coincidencetacular. (which sounds sort of like it should be part of some surreal Truck Sales Event. I think it's the "tacular.")

ANYWAY, I was looking through a small notebook that has been lurking in the bottom of my purse and found a bunch of poems that I copied down in 2006 while waiting for a friend at the seattle public library. One of them was Margaret Atwood's Siren Song, which I like quite a bit although it's rather cynical and gives me vague feelings of feminine inadequacy. Where does the Coincidencetacular come in, you may ask -- I was processing books the other day at the library and came across a collection of Atwood poetry and opened it precisely to this poem, which was TOTALLY WEIRD since I hadn't thought about it at all for over a year until I found the notebook just a day or so prior. (p.s. I think what won me over on this one was the use of the words "feathery maniacs" together. "these two feathery maniacs" !!! )

Siren Song by Margaret Atwood

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:

the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see beached skulls

the song nobody knows
because anyone who had heard it
is dead, and the others can’t remember.
Shall I tell you the secret
and if I do, will you get me
out of this bird suit?
I don’t enjoy it here
squatting on this island
looking picturesque and mythical
with these two feathery maniacs,
I don’t enjoy singing
this trio, fatal and valuable.

I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you.
Come closer. This song

is a cry for help: Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique

at last. Alas
it is a boring song
but it works every time.

I decided I would post the Atwood poem tonight but wanted to balance it with something a little less resigned to the stupid predictability of humanity and thought "maybe Simic" since I've been thinking of Simic lately. He seems a little more affectionate and forgiving toward the foibles of his fellow humans. Then, ta-da! into my inbox came the Powell's review of the day for Sixty Poems, a new Charles Simic collection! Woo hoo! That settled that. I dug around and found Cabbage, which I doubt is in the new collection but I don't care because coincidences only have to take me so far -- I can walk the rest of the way.


Cabbage by Charles Simic

She was about to chop the head
In half,
But I made her reconsider
By telling her:
"Cabbage symbolizes mysterious love."

Or so said one Charles Fourier
Who said many other strange and wonderful things,
So that people called him mad behind his back,

Whereupon I kissed the back of her neck
Ever so gently,

Whereupon she cut the cabbage in two
With a single stroke of her knife.

dry county

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Thursday, January 24, 2008
pink poppy
(poppy from one of the not-winter seasons.)

I am ready for spring! The worst part of winter, right now, this very minute, is not the cold (it's bracing!), it's not the rain (not raining!), it's not that nothing's blooming (camellias are getting ready, bulbs are pushing through), it's that my skin is so itchy dry I am contemplating making some sort of sandpaper suit to deal with it. (oh, fine! lotion or other unguents would probably be more sensible and take less time. Unguent! that word always makes me laugh and I'm not sure why.)

Now that the hilarious word/ itchy skin portion of this post has concluded, please allow me to link to these two wonderful things:

1) I can't describe it better than the title, so please click for Stephen Colbert's Civil Rights MLK Day Writer's Strike-Busting Writerless Show -- In Song. I found it funny, informative AND moving, which is a can't lose combo if you ask me.

2) I am in love with the whole notion of The Commons, which is a collaboration between flickr and the Library of Congress. The idea is that by uploading photos from the vast LOC archives, people -- the great unwashed public -- can not only view them with more ease, but can also contribute to the body of knowledge by adding tags and notes to photos. This is so fantastic! it really touches on one of my favorite functions of a public library -- to facilitate the dissemination of information -- information that belongs to anyone who comes looking for it. Now we don't have to look so hard. I am really excited by the idea that this could spread to other civic institutions. Anyway. I know this has been all over many blogs, but I personally find it deeply awesome so I wanted to mention it just in case. I haven't looked through them all yet (there are a lot!) but there are some very cool color pictures of women working on aircraft during WWII -- you can see what color Rosie the Riveter painted her nails! There are also WPA pictures, and also oddball pictures from the period like this sideshow poster. These are being publishes with a "no known copyright restrictions" Creative Commons license. Well done, Library of Congress!

they say three weeks, I say not so fast

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Thursday, January 24, 2008
stylish black frames

Three weeks to form a habit? I call bullshit! For three weeks I've managed to post every single stinking day before midnight (or, you know, at least get the posting window open before midnight) and now, almost exactly three weeks later I am posting willy nilly after midnight for the second day in a row. (Willy Nilly After Midnight sounds like a really bad chicago blues cover band. One I would drive across town to AVOID, and yet here they are, cluttering up my brain. Thanks so much, WNAM! Why not just add a 40 minute harmonica solo and the words "Blues Explosion" to your name and then sit back to watch the Willy Nilly After Midnight Jen Brain Explosion?)

I cannot even form/break habits correctly. I would worry about it in a "this does not bode well" kind of way (a distinct category of worry chez jen), but I am too tired. (it's a whiny kind of tired -- the kind of tired that would vanish if I drank a bunch of water and ran around the block. Only it's way after midnight and 20 degrees outside, so I don't really see that happening -- yes, the only reason I'm not running around the block is because it is cold and late! ha ha.) Plus I have an excellent excuse for the second night in a row. (end of book + bathtub = pruny pageturning) Maybe I am forming a new habit of excellent excuses! things are looking up!

Speaking of good news (which I was, kinda), I can confirm that I did indeed win season passes to Roller Derby! The phone call was to determine if I was over 18. I get two tickets to each of the seven bouts of the season plus a voucher for two t-shirts! All for having my laptop on my lap while watching the simpsons. Woo Hoo!

Brown Gravy Saga: "Do you have brown gravy today?"

"We don't have brown gravy on any day."

I had such a good lunch yesterday, not least of all because I got to hear the above exchange between the Old Man asking and the tattooed pierced waitress who was helping him. I was working at Belmont and decided to try someplace I had never been for lunch -- I get an hour and there are a lot of restaurants in the vicinity, so it wasn't an Impossible Quest. I ended up at The Cricket Cafe and I'm so glad I did! I had a veggie skillet, which was chosen at the last minute because someone at another table ordered one and it sounded really good. (artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, eggs, spinach, potatoes and GLORIOUS CHEESE. I would eat one right now if it miraculously appeared in front of me.) I was going to get something else (boring, safe) and had the sudden impulse to just trust that a place that specializes in breakfast could maybe come up with something wonderful and they did! The clientele was an interesting mix of mostly young creative class slackers/hipsters (work in other restaurants by day and bands or art collectives by night, at least in my head) who were just getting going at noon, a few random strays like myself and the aforementioned Gravy Man. He and his wife wandered in and sat right in front of the door, where all of his brown gravy desires were thwarted. He asked about the soup and nixed it because of the unknown curry element. (I'm projecting here -- maybe he knows curry and hates it, or it reminds him of his childhood spent on the sub-continent and makes him cry for hours if he tastes it. I know a lot more (which is not much) about his longing for brown gravy, which they do not have on ANY DAY.) I think he got a sandwich, but to be honest I was reading my book again by the time his food came. Anyway, if the presence or absence of brown gravy is not a determining factor for you, I would recommend the Cricket Cafe on Belmont.

(Photo note: this picture cracks me up! it was on the side of a dumpster that had been painted by elementary school students. I LOVE the almost perfectly rendered stink-eye. I predict that this kid has a future as a political cartoonist.)

pinch doses of laudanum

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I am late with today's posting because I just got back from the decemberists show. My feet hurt, but I think the loudness cured my sinus issues. Details, including contest prizes, brown gravy, sold out concerts, the problem with pirates and my extensive psychoanalytic theories on a certain Made of Ham lead singer to follow shortly.

pink mountain majesty, more like

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Monday, January 21, 2008
jan. quilt project

Ta-da! here is my quilt so far. I show only a tiny piece of it so that the full horror must be imagined, like the Cloverfield monster. (I haven't seen Cloverfield, so maybe I'm talking nonsense.) Big thanks to Martina and my sister, both of whom helped me lay out the squares in a manner that best spread the color around. I still have to trim it down and add borders, etc., but this is a huge start.

I thought Northanger Abbey movie was great fun and I'm sorry that I have eleventy thousand books in line to be read, because I want to read that one now. Maybe I will reorder the queue (which is only a sort of vague oh, you're next kind of thing anyway). It was all tied up very neat and quick at the end, but I thought it was kind of perfect because that sort of ending fit exactly with the kind of gothic novel being sent up.

After enjoying an evening of "is it possible to read too many novels" television, I thought I'd try my hand at uploading a pattern to the Vintage Sewing Patters wiki. I must say that I am wiki-stupid. I had the article, I had the picture, but I couldn't get them to match up. The beauty of a wiki is that someone else can fix it, and I was lucky because someone else did! I need to figure it out though -- I couldn't work out how to get any specific information from the help forum area (like how to match up the picture with the description, how to get the whole thing listed in the proper categories, how to remove the "'" from McCall's, etc. etc.). I have scanned a bunch of other patterns and copied down the pertinent info so I can upload them later, assuming I am suddenly blessed with wiki-fu. But yay for the person who fixed my mess for me! It's a cute pattern.

In contest news, it seems that I may have won season tickets to the Rose City Rollers! (Portland's Roller Derby league.) I entered a contest online during the Simpson's last week or the week before and found a message on my cellphone today wanting to "talk to me about it" which seems weird. I am now playing phone tag. If they make me skate an obstacle course or something first, I will not win. I'm not quite sure what the deal is (why not just email me?) but it's pretty fun speculating even if I don't ultimately get the tickets. (although it will certainly be more fun if I do!)

In driving home news (there's a lot of news today), the view on my way back to Portland from West Linn was incredible! It is unusually cold here in the PNW for a week or so -- this means no cloudy sky which means the almost-full moon is fully visible. As I was going home the sun was mid-way through setting, so the moon was OUT and gorgeous in a blue-purple sky. What made it even better, though, was that the sun was reflecting pink on mt. hood, so I had the pink mountain (purple mountains majesty, WHATEVER) and the almost full moon all right out my window. So lovely!

I have got to go to bed. Tomorrow is very busy (and ends with a rock show!) so I need to sleep IMMEDIATELY or I will be trampled by a bunch of 15 year olds when I collapse on the floor for a 10pm nap.

sundry Austen items

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Sunday, January 20, 2008
+TV reminder: tonight Masterpiece Classic's Complete Jane Austen continues with Northanger Abbey. I've never read NA! (note to self: get on the stick.)

+ via Smartbitches , a HILARIOUS ultra-condensed Collected Work of Jane Austen:

The Collected Work of Jane Austen
by Jane Austen
Ultra-Condensed by Christina Carlson and Peter da Silva

Female Lead: I secretly love Male Lead. He must never know.

Male Lead: I secretly love Female Lead. She must never know.

(They find out.)


read more condensed literary works at: Book-A-Minute

+via Meg Cabot -- a link to vote on your favorite Austen hero, Masterpiece Classic-style. (Please have smelling salts at the ready so you don't faint from surprise when I confide that Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth, has a healthy lead.)

Persuasion v. Persuasion

I wanted to do a comparison between the 1995 adaptation and the 2008 adaptation, but decided that it wasn't fair since I've only seen the 2008 version once (why didn't I record it?!?), whereas I have seen the 95 version somewhere in the 4-7 times range. (most recently this afternoon while I worked on that infernal quilt.) It was so interesting to me since they are both modern adaptations, both from the same source material, etc. etc. How they each chose to get the same information across was fascinating. (plot-moving lines from the book would pop out of different character's mouths, etc.) The newer version focused (I think) more exclusively on The Romance, while the older version certainly did as well, but it was grounded in a larger context.

I quite enjoyed the new one with a few quibbles -- I probably would have liked it more if I weren't so familiar with the other.
Quibble 1) Anne looked at the camera so often that I was put out when she didn't take the good advice I was so generously dispensing from the couch.

Quibble 2) OMG -- that running at the end. The whole ending felt rushed (especially when compared with the 95), but all that running, running, running to get to Wentworth (after she found out so he could find out, etc.)... it felt like an engineered gimmick (thank god there were no airports in 1814 Bath), which kind of bummed me out because there was plenty of drama in the situation without having to give her shin splints at the same time. I did like how the actress looked as though she might puke or cry at any minute -- that seemed eminently plausible considering her emotional state.

Quibble 3) The very end, with Anne and Wentworth in front of some gigantic manor -- I think it was intended to be a massive STFU to her status-crazy busybody family, but since wealth and prominence were things that Anne discovered she didn't value as much as her unctuous relations, it seemed pretty hollow compared to the excellent ending of the 95 version. (Anne on the deck of a ship with her husband, whom I'm convinced she would have gone with whether or not he'd made his fortune in the war.)

some things I really liked about Persuasion 95:

+ the sense of historical context -- since the royal navy was so important to the story (Wentworth made his fortune at sea, many other key players were navy affiliated), it was nice to have a sense of what was going on (temporary peace while Bonaparte was exiled to Elba) and how naval officers fit into Society. (not at all, according to Anne's snobby father.)

+ the sense of familial context -- so much of the drama in Jane Austen novels isn't just the Will They Ever Get It Together of the romance, but how the community at large has such an influence over the lives of Our Hero and Heroine. (I loved the scenes early on when Anne is visiting her hypochondriac sister Mary -- played by the wonderful Sophie Thompson -- and every one of her extended family, all very fond of her, take it entirely for granted that she will sort their petty issues out. This is shown with brief little moments of them each saying "you must blah blah blah blah" and we see Anne get more and more tired and resigned as they all vent their grievances, often directly relating to the gripe she just heard a moment before.)

+It felt like there was enough time for the story to play out as it should -- minor characters were highlighted and served their purpose without seeming like they should be named "Guy Who Gives Bad News" or "Dragon Lady" or "Nurse Exposition." This really goes back to the context thing. The 95 movie was only 10 minutes longer than the new one, but when something is less than 2 hours long, ten minutes can be a long time.

+ So much of the interaction between Anne and Wentworth happened in front of a group of people who had no idea (even worse, wouldn't care if they did) about their history and how tense and fraught it was -- lots of subtle acting, double meanings, significant glances and repeated breaking of my heart.

+ the end -- I loved that at the almost end where Anne catches up with Wentworth (in another of those moments that is hugely significant to them -- the "they find out" moment, but ordinary business to the present but oblivious Charles Musgrove) there is a parade of theater performers, stilt-walkers, etc, who are not just out of the blue but have been set-up beforehand. The streets of Bath celebrate along with us! I also loved that we got this moment where they know (and we know they know) and instead of that being THE END, we get to see a little bit of how it will play out with their family and friends.

Anyway -- if you haven't seen it, I recommend doing so if you like that sort of thing (Jane A. smart women, the royal navy, dandies, fops, insufferable relatives, meaningful glances, oblivious but well-meaning friends and relatives, scoundrels, great costumes, setting right things that once were wrong, etc. etc.). It is one of my favorite Austen adaptations from that period of 95-99 where you couldn't sit down without seeing one.

stitching and swearing

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Saturday, January 19, 2008
A lot of swearing.

More tomorrow. I'm not going to sleep until I get the top of this thing (quilt) put together.

cod liver day

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Friday, January 18, 2008
Today started off promising, went to hell, then got better again. My plans were such: much fun and accomplishment in the morning to be followed by an afternoon of satisfying library work. OR SO I THOUGHT. I got to the branch I was working today (conveniently near my house) and they didn't have me on the schedule. No big deal, right? It wasn't my fault -- I was at the right place at the right time filling a job they had placed, but they forgot to put me on the schedule. I hate this kind of thing because it is my nature to feel like somehow it was my fault -- instead of being useful and necessary, I was now this massive inconvenience, a problem to be solved. Argh. My inclination was to just say "you know what? it's okay -- I'll go home." But dude! It wasn't my fault and they (not being crazy) knew this -- it all got straightened out and it ended up being fine (like always). That they tried to pass me off on another branch (also nearby) and failed is not a statement about my work ethic or my character. I knew while it was happening that it was one of those things that I needed to grit my teeth and get through and it would be fine. And it was! I'm not even going to spend too much time beating myself up for my guilty first reactions -- I just have to recognize that I had them and let them go. (and hope that as I do this it will happen less and less.)

On the plus side, this branch was right by a hippie grocery store so I got to stock up on my favorite bulk lotion (Kiss My Face aloe and olive). (Portland has an abundance of hippie grocery stores ranging from hard core co-ops to expensive yuppie hippie stores to the awesome hybrid-hippie "sell diet coke AND organic cat food" grocery stores.)

In news less about my neuroses or hippies and more about the wonder of the world, may I just say that I love the internet, specifically (right now, tonight) blogs? There are so many wonderful blogs out there and I get to read them just by virtue of having an internet connection! How cool is that? (I just read several outstanding blog posts here and there and am filled with blog-affection.)

One of the things going on at the library right now is web 2.0 training for regular staff. (training is not available to on-call peeps like myself.) Anyway, as part of the lesson plan they are creating blogs and you wouldn't believe the bitching that is going on in certain quarters. Some people do not see the point and think it is the 21st century equivalent of a vacation slide-show or an open invitation for kidnappers or identity thieves. I suppose it certainly could be, but ... really? I know I don't get to cast any stones since I flipped out (quietly!) over a simple scheduling mistake that was corrected with zero rancor, but SERIOUSLY PEOPLE. It's not like we're talking about technophobes who don't like to read -- these are people who work with computers and various media every day in a freaking LIBRARY. Their crazy is so much crazier than mine! ... or at least that's what I'm telling myself before I go to sleep.

cold feet, stitching, Dave Rygalski

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Thursday, January 17, 2008
according to my blogger dashboard, this is my 601st post on this blog. I think there are probably a couple of ones in draft stage that I never deleted, so it's probably not really 600, but still! I feel like I should somehow mark the occasion with a better post than this, but I am brain dead from a day at the sewing machine so it's not going to happen. sorry. here are some things I learned today:

1) I hate ironing. A lot. Especially in the early stages of a sewing project. Alas, that is when ironing makes the most difference so it must be done! I brought the ironing board out to where I was sewing so I didn't have to walk very far.

2) I am lazy.

3) I think I cut way too much fabric -- it's okay since whatever I don't use on the front I can use on the back, but still. I don't love cutting fabric either. So that's no love for ironing, no love for cutting -- is there anything in this endeavor that is worth it? Fortunately, yes.

4) I like sewing things together. I have even been contemplating actually quilting this quilt instead of just tying it, but I think that feeling may pass.

5) Busby is not as helpful as he thinks he is.

no, really. you need my advice

This doesn't quite fall into the category of a lesson learned, so I'll just say that my feet have been cold all day and it's driving me crazy.

I ended up watching neither Indiana Jones nor Jane Austen but a couple discs worth of Season 3 of the Gilmore Girls, which I had forgotten that I had from the library. I still really like that show yet acknowledge that its Capital Q Quirky is not for everyone. (I have a theory about the town of Stars Hollow, but I'll save it until I've seen more episodes.) I think 6 eps in one day might be too many. Actually, I think six in one day is just the wrong amount -- the right amount is either fewer or a lot more. Anyway -- my thoughts after today's episodes boil down to one question: were we ever supposed to like Dean? I know he's the good boy who loved Rory, etc. etc. but he's also a passive aggressive JERK. I know Jess got a lot of flack at the time, but looking back on it now he doesn't seem so bad -- especially when compared to whatshisname Logan that came later. Ugh.

Other thoughts that missed boiling down:
+why did they put Jackson in a toupee?
+Awww-- it's Dave Rygalski aka Seth Cohen aka Adam Brody!
+Why hasn't someone killed Taylor? There could be a whole town conspiracy to cover it up! It would be the best episode EVER.
+Emily Gilmore reminds me so much of my aunt it is not even funny.
+I feel bad that the character of Lane got the shaft as the series went on -- I wonder what would have happened if Dave Rygalski hadn't moved to The O.C.?

in a galaxie not far away

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008
galaxie 500

I was just looking at this picture last night (flickr is my post-a-day savior) and then drove by a turquoise blue Galaxie 500 on my way to the Crazy Lady Job today! It might have even been the same one. What makes it really weird is that two days ago I found a Galaxie 500 CD at the library. (I am always reading about this band but had never heard them, so I picked it up.) Ha! to be filed under: kinda weird but just one of those things.

I am in a really good mood -- it might not last through the morning, but right now I'm feeling pretty damn fabulous. I don't have to work ANYWHERE tomorrow, which is lovely. I plan on starting my quilt and watching either Indiana Jones movies or Jane Austen movies. (If I watch the 95 Persuasion, maybe I can make a Persuasion post tomorrow. or maybe I'll watch something else, I'll have to see how the spirit moves me. all I know is it has to be something I'm familiar with or I won't get any work done.) Anyway, I found the rest of the fabric I'm going to use on my quilt out of stuff already on hand. Woo hoo! I hope it turns out the way I want and not in a way that causes seizures or retinal bleeding. (time will tell.)

Speaking of sewing and really flimsy segues, I brought home a box of vintage patterns from the CLJ. She is prepping to mount a major ebay/etsy campaign to unload a MOUNTAIN OF CRAP, except not all of it is crap. Actually, we argue about what's crap and what's not all of the time. First on the list is checking out these patterns to make sure they have all of their pieces, etc. etc. I wanted to bring them home so I can upload some info to the wonderful Vintage Sewing Pattern Wiki if I happen to find a pattern that's not already in there.

I was going to tell the tale of the psychotic on-call sub I worked with yesterday, but I think I will save his paranoid close-talking adventures for another day and go read for a while.

the sea fairies, or why I don't get to name donkeys anymore

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008
lounging mermaid

Today was all over the place -- some very good, some very bad. A bit of very good happening this very minute: I can see the half-moon right out my west-facing window which means it isn't raining for once. Hooray!

I was looking for something on flickr (and thinking about a cc license for my pictures -- but I'll save that for another post) and saw these snaps from The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum. I came across this (along with many of the Oz books) when I was moving some stuff for my mom last year. This copy was my dad's book when he was a boy, a gift from his grandmother who encouraged him to get his nerd on. (her EXACT WORDS. okay, not really.) Anyway, I remember reading this when I was a little girl and just falling for all of it in a big way. It was so exotic! The ocean part I GOT since I have always loved the ocean (we lived on the Gulf of Mexico, which is close enough when you're six) -- it made perfect sense to me that people would live in the depths of the sea. I was so entranced by the peonies that appear in the book -- frankly, those were as exotic to me as living under water in a mermaid palace. ( I think of that book every time I cut peonies in the spring/summer.)

ANYWAY, my childhood best friend lived 2 miles up the road (which wasn't far since we lived in the sticks), and she had a horse and an orange grove. I was at her house all the time. Her dad had bought two donkeys to keep the horse company. The big news was I was going to get to name one! EXCITING. Of course I totally flubbed it! I was reading this book and the girl's name is Trot, which I suggested. It's all well and good if it's 1911 and you're visiting an underwater kingdom, but it's really lame if you're a donkey living in gulf-coast florida. Her dad never said anything directly to me, but I was relieved when he named it Festus instead. (a FAR SUPERIOR name for a donkey!) I was thinking about this tonight and going "hey... the horse's name was Star, which is also really lame!" but then I realized that Priscilla (my friend) had named the horse but her dad was the one who really the gift for naming things -- Priscilla (the daughter), Sallafina (the cat), Festus (the donkey) -- these are all obviously the work of the same fine mind. (Sallafina is one reason I was so taken with Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy (especially the first book) -- the truly excellent name of witch Serafina Pekkala reminded me of the cat -- especially since the cat was all black and rather witchy herself.)

To sum up: 1) Peonies are impossibly beautiful even when you can pick them in your own front yard 2) I defer to others on all donkey naming, although Festus is a good one. 3) The Sea Fairies is available as a free e-book since it has passed into the public domain. Do yourself a favor and get one with the John R. Neill illustrations though.
The Sea Fairies

in which I talk about it anyway

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Monday, January 14, 2008
the bathroom skirt lady
I was trying really hard not to whine again about how hard it is to blog every day if you're lazy and not used to it like I am (It's hard! wah!), but I'm almost halfway through and this is only the second time (I think), so it could be worse. (I have more respect than ever before for the regular daily bloggers out there!)

Anyway, after yesterday's short post I was hoping to have a book post ready but it IS NOT due to the fact that I need to think about it some more, but now it's almost midnight and I need to post something. So without further ado, Things I Wasn't Going To Talk About For A While Since They're All I Ever Talk About:

The Park:

+The Stick of Damocles has fallen! Shortly after I wrote about it last time we had a big wind storm and the stick AND the limb it was balancing on both came falling down. It did not stab me through the eyeball and kill me like I thought it would, which is good... although now I worry that I have to go back to my unnatural fear of cars driving the wrong way down one way streets. I honestly couldn't figure out whether I should be relieved (the stick fell without me being there! the crisis has passed!) or worried (the stick fell! the penny dropped! only I don't know what the consequences are yet). When in doubt, I default to worried.

+ I get it all wrong, part 4999221: The merry-go-round at the park (well-used and abused) was MISSING one day and I was sure that someone had gone flying off of it at 1000 MPH and hurt themselves so the park was taking it away. I was wrong, wrong, wrong (I shouldn't even be surprised anymore!) -- they were replacing it with a new and improved merry-go-round, which appears to go just as fast, only now it is less slippery there are more places to hang on.)

+ cool or gross? I found a tiny, intact colorful bird wing separate from a bird. It's only a couple of inches long, it didn't have any juicy or fleshy bits hanging on it, it is beautiful and a marvel of engineering, which is cool, but...
It's from an almost certainly dead bird, which is gross! I currently have it in a secure but undisclosed location awaiting verdict.

The Library:

+ I had to cancel a job today. I realized that an 8 hour shift I picked up for next tuesday was the same night as the tickets my sister gave me to the Decemberist's first show after their cancelled tour! OH YAY! (for show) but OH NO! (for cancelling job.) You can't cancel a job through the website, you can only cancel by calling the branch or going in person. Since the branch in question was in the neighborhood of some of my other errands, I went in and took care of it. I hated having to do it, but the job was 8 days away and it filled before I even got home so I don't feel too bad.

+ I need to do a major cull of stuff I have checked out. I'm back up over 60 items, which is just about my limit for keeping track of things.

+ I believe I have defeated my Joseph Cornell Adversary. (alternate title: I didn't have to wait 6 weeks to get my book back!)


+ I not only found a pattern for the quilt I want to make, but I picked up some super groovy fabric to mix with my own. (it's the Amy Butler Belle quilt (go to free patterns on this page) -- ooh, here's a picture,although the colors in the flyer I have are much more vibrant. I really dig that the circles are just appliqued on and that the whole thing is relatively easy.)

+ I think I may have had an idea for valentine's cards. (I don't know why, but valentines are my second favorite cards to make after Halloween. Maybe because so many commercial valentine cards make me want to pluck my eyes out with a fondue fork? Maybe as a way to claim part of the day? I don't know!)


+ I really enjoyed the Sarah Connor Chronicles which surprised me since I don't think I've ever seen all of any Terminator movie.

+ The Complete Jane Austen!! I have many more thoughts about this, which will have to be in a later post. (hopefully before next week's Northanger Abbey.)

Crazy Lady Job:

+ I went back for the first time since before Christmas today. It was a good day; the return to the horse and buggy era was only wished for one time!

+ On my commute to the CLJ, I worked on fulfilling one of my resolutions. I listened to something new to me. (today it was Sacred Hearts and Fallen Angels: The Gram Parsons Anthology.)

sunday link

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Sunday, January 13, 2008
I just came across this blog, Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today? and it made me do a happy dance in my chair. She draws pictures of the things she buys every day. It may not sound awesome, but IT IS, trust me. (although you don't have to trust me, even though I am very trustworthy; you just have to click on the link and see for yourself.) I love these kinds of projects that make something special out of something ordinary. I also love the notion of being accountable (to yourself) for the stuff you bring home. And the notion of a daily drawing blog appeals to me as well. Many notions that I am in favor of are featured in this blog!

I did happy dance #2 when I got to the January 1st entry and saw that she bought Maira Kalman's Principles of Uncertainty, a title I spied at the library and scribbled on a post-it for later acquisition. (I love Kalman's Max the Dog kid's books and was so happy to see a longer work.)

make it do or do without

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Saturday, January 12, 2008
When I was going through a bunch of old newspaper clippings at my Sweet Sad Crazy Lady job (don't ask) I came across this unidentified bit which was on the back side of another clipping. (which is why it's just partial and I don't have the date, although I think it might be from the thirties as it has that depression-era aura of practicality and forced cheer. The picture for this post is from WWII, when "go shopping" was NOT the advice given to the populace of our nation at war.)

...indeed many pretty and useful articles for the home can be made of things ordinarily considered of no value, and thrown away. Old broom-handles make very good towel-runners when painted and varnished or enameled. Boxes large enough for packing quilts, or small enough to hold handkerchiefs, pins, and so on, tiles for umbrella holders, jugs, jars, bottles and other containers, covered with fancy paper or wall-paper pasted on, then lacquered and varnished are very attractive; for small jars the fancy envelope-linings are beautiful and in a little while one can save quite a quantity to use in this way. Patchwork aprons utilize scraps and are very odd and pretty, as well as serviceable; even bathrobes made of patchwork are popular -- and of course there are always quilts and cushions. Old dresses, with sleeves removed and necks lowered will serve as underskirts. And we all know that old garments of any kind, stockings with the rest, can be given a new lease on life and usefulness by making them into rugs, crocheted, braided, hooked, or as you please. Really there is no necessity for wasting anything.

These are all good ideas today, too! I love the emphasis on "pretty and useful" -- why not make your life a little brighter by choosing/making utilitarian things that are attractive? This resonates with the modern indie craft movement which thrives on the aesthetic of "very odd and pretty." The article writer seems a little more enamored of varnish and lacquer than is the current fashion, but the sentiment is familiar.

No Necessity: I have been getting rid of a bunch of stuff. I'm a semi-reformed sentimental packrat and I have too many things. I've been successfully reducing, although it's taking me longer than I would like. The big lesson is not getting rid of stuff, though -- that's not so hard once I get into the zone (may I recommend donating whatever is donatable? it makes it so much easier to let go knowing that it may get another shot at usefulness with someone else) -- the hardest part is not dragging NEW stuff home and falling into the same old trap. Do I really need it? Will I use it? Will I still be using it in a year? Do I really want it? (this last one is always a good one to ask -- I'm surprised at the number of times my answer has been "no," which is great from a less-junk-having/ more-money-having perspective.) I'm not saying that there is no room for buying things for pleasure, I'm just saying that often there is great pleasure in finding just the right thing instead of 15 things that aren't quite there.

Speaking of reusing material ubiquitous for our times, has a fantastic roundup of Plastic Bag Crafts, including how to make fabric from them! (and yarn for knitting!) there are lots of cool photos and links to many, many tutorials.

In News Completely Unrelated to the Above, The Complete Jane Austen starts tomorrow night on Masterpiece Theater (PBS)! It starts with Persuasion, and I'm anxious to see if it's as good as the 1995 version which came at the start of the last Jane Austen boom. I remember watching Pride and Prejudice as it came on night after night -- it was DEFINITELY water-cooler conversation at my place of employment. Actually, this news is not completely unrelated, as Jane was a quilter.

the medicinal bark of winter trees

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Friday, January 11, 2008
My head still hurts! I am squinting my eyes (it hurts too much to glare) at the barometric pressure and cursing its sadistic delight in squeezing my sinuses. What did I ever do to you, barometer?

But on to the photos! As I've said before, I love the way that bare trees look against the sky. There are so many shades of grey in the world and we get to see a lot of them in a typical portland winter. Anyway, here are a few pictures that I took wednesday and today.

looking up

These first three are from wednesday morning at the park -- I decided I would try to take them from a different angle since I've taken pictures of many of these trees before. Usually I stand away from the tree and shoot up through the branches. Yesterday I decided to stand with my back right up against the trunk of the tree and to aim straight up. I got a little dizzy, but it makes a totally different picture than the other way.

looking up

friendly tentacled monster??? I love how these almost look black and white, but not quite. (it really is grey out!)

vertigo tree

Legs? kinda? I always think of the greek myths when I see something like this. Oh, Zeus and Hera with your hardcore yet whimsical punishments.


This was taken today near the library where I worked. I was also there yesterday and witnessed one of the most beautiful things I've seen in the new year. The wind was gently blowing, the rain was very soft, the sky was more grey than the blue-grey of today, and this tree was FULL OF BIRDS who were all chattering and singing and not sounding very winter-like at all. There were wind-chimes going from the next block over, but they were the good kind and not the kind that makes me want to swing at them with a canoe paddle -- it was one of the loveliest little moments I've experienced in a while.


Blue bark on a blue tree.

The new flickr uploader is really nice, by the way.

good old days

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Thursday, January 10, 2008
put them here

If I had a dollar for every person who said some equivalent of "life was better before those infernal machines" today, I would have AT LEAST five dollars! The computers went down at the library. This hasn't happened since I've been working there (which, granted, isn't that long), but I asked around and it has been YEARS since there was a system-wide failure. They were offline for a couple of hours. This was a bummer for people there to use the internet and for people who wanted to pay fines or renew stuff or do anything beyond the basic checking out -- but honestly, most people got the books they came for.

Of course that didn't keep some patrons from saying truly puzzling things like "I bet this makes you wish you still used the Dewey Decimal system!" My reply was "..." with an unspoken "WTF?" She figured that Dewey wasn't quite right so added "I mean card catalogs!" which STILL made no sense and no difference to how she was using the library today -- she still got to check out her 7 ninja yoga dvds or whatever -- we just wrote down her library barcode and then wrote down the barcode of her items to be entered later and sent her on her way. (another instance in which my old retail receipt writing experience came in handy. who knew?!) Another woman sighed "wasn't it better in the days before computers?" to which I was replying "not really," but kind of wondering if maybe that was just my opinion since I haven't worked there with it any other way -- but then one of the long-time staffers came by and just said "no, not at all" and I felt a lot better. I'm sure some things SEEMED better (or at least more quaint with the book-stamping and all) but in order to fully reap the benefits of a system and collection this large, a computer catalog is a necessity. Anyway. They were only down for a couple of hours and it did dissipate the tension from an obviously mentally disturbed young woman shrieking "ARE YOU MENTALLY DISTURBED?" to some poor guy who happened to say something to her. (she was waiting for a computer.)

Despite all that, it was a good day. I got to see one of my pals who dropped by the library (as it was her home branch and she had library business) which was a nice surprise!

I think Ms. Productive is a figment of my imagination

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008
I stayed up way too late last night. I keep thinking that I'm going to go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier and be Ms. Productive (I am an optimist), but it keeps not happening. Why can't I be tired at 11pm??? I guess I'm just going to have to be sneakier with myself and try to be more efficient when I am awake. (why I have to be sneaky instead of just deciding like a rational adult is a good question, but it is not one I am prepared to tackle just now.)

Speaking of things I want to do, I want to make a new quilt. Do I need one? No. But my friend Blondie has been doing some amazing quilt studies in color and texture and shape that have me all jazzed to make a new one for myself. I don't want to do anything too complicated -- just a simple pattern with crazy fabric. (the fabric will make it look more difficult than it is; I'm perfectly willing to let the fabric do the work.) Of course I have to decide on colors and whatnot, but that's the fun part. There are a bunch of other projects I want to do, but they're still in Blob On Brain stage, so I need to do some thinking. But right now I'm going to do some reading and then some sleeping. (Behold the miracle of my new powers of organization! ha.)

something not quite right

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

This mix cd attempt never really came together. I took too long -- I started it probably in late September or early October and only officially declared defeat this week. One of the problems with keeping it open so long is that I listened to it a lot driving the million and one miles back and forth to my Crazy Lady job, and it became tainted with Crazy Lady Cooties. In addition to these very reasonable reasons, a couple of these were songs I thought I'd love forever, but it turns out I only wanted to hear them 143 times (or however many) and now I don't need to hear them any more. Most of them, however, are great songs that need to find their way onto the right mix. This one just wasn't it.

Temporary title: We're all gonna die so let's have fun and give things away -- this was my attempt to tie together all the disparate songs together. I believe that the sentiments and actions described are true and worthy, but this mess wouldn't convince anyone. It does not cohere.

1. The Underdog -- Spoon: fantastic! it's worth it for the horns alone, but then there's everything else. "you got no time for the messenger/ got no regard for the thing that you don't understand/ you got no fear of the underdog/ that's why you will not survive. this song makes me think of people who are willfully ignorant (like our current administration) and gives me hope that they will get their eventual comeuppance.

2. Twentieth Century Boy -- T. Rex: eeeeeeeeee! I still lo-oooove this song. I was considering adding another glam rocker on here so T. Rex wouldn't have to be the only band wearing jumpsuits and glitter glam platform boots, but this idea was too late to save the mix.

3. We're Going To Be Friends -- The White Stripes: oh, I love this one too! I've thought for a while that you can roughly divide the White Stripes' catalog into either angel or devil sitting on your shoulder songs. (they make this conveniently easy to imagine by wearing only black, white and red.) This is a sweet (angel) song and was seasonally appropriate because of the whole back to school theme. I also like the sentiment. "I can tell that we are gonna be friends/ yes I can tell that we are gonna be friends." Sometimes you just know.

4. The Painter -- I'm From Barcelona: I got this from the Believer Magazine's summer mix CD. I still like it a lot, but I think it's not quite right here. (it drives me crazy because I want to know why are the cops are on their way, what did this self-described crappy painter do?? and how great is it that even as he leaves one step ahead of The Law that he tosses off "don't give up on your dreams, nobody!"?? )

5. Find Love -- Clem Snide (radio session): This is a song about necessary generosity. directions: a) find love b) give it all away. There's a bit more in the in-between (some of the places you might have to look involve tangling with bears and bees and my favorite, sharks). What I love about this song is the notion that the thing worth fighting for -- not just fighting in that "oh, it's a struggle" way, but worth FIGHTING KILLER BEES FOR -- is not worth anything if you don't then give it all away. Not just some of it, but ALL OF IT. I want to say it's very zen, but that's not quite right. It's never over, I guess. You have to find it and give it away all of the time. It's like hunting and gathering in caveman days -- do it all the time or you'll starve to death.

6. Open Your Heart -- Lavender Diamond: Another Be Generous Of Your Heart song, with a violent yet delicate sensibility -- "open your heart/ tear it apart" This song is the opposite of romantic anti-bacterial soap. It advocates the 5-second or longer rule. You have to not only open your heart, but if it drops on the floor you need to be okay with that or you will end up contracting some super-virus that will kill you dead because you have no immunity to anything built up in your system.

7. Roadrunner -- Jonathan Richman: insanely great in the car! Actually, it's great anywhere, but it's especially great in the car when there's not much traffic so you can drive fast. "roadrunner once, roadrunner twice/ I'm in love with rock and roll and I'll be out all night!"

8. Heart It Races -- Architecture in Helsinki: So fun and snotty! But then I hit the wall and started skipping it. There's one little boingy noise at the beginning that sounds just like the error message on old macintosh computers.

9. I Believe In You -- Yacht: I love it. He's very sincere (but not obnoxious) and very generous. He doesn't want to sell you anything, he just wants you to know how awesome you are. "your magic's real, so why aren't you using it?/ you can have the world for yourself/ you don't ever have to worry about losing it/ the magic inside of you is infinite" He does have a list of things that might help (climbing lampposts, writing lyrics, touching leaves, tasting raindrops, THE USUAL. but unlike some bossy singers, he never suggests that the only way to access your innate magic is by doing what he tells you to do. It's like Dorothy and her ruby slippers -- you have the power already!) -- I picture him conducting seminars in the forest surrounded by acolytes wearing t-shirts with rainbows and unicorns on them. (I would wear such a t-shirt in order to attend!)

10. Human Fly -- Nouvelle Vague: so fun! It must have been October when I added this one because it sounds like a halloween old-school stripper song. bump grind bump "I've got a garbage brain and it's driving me insane"

11. Rain -- Bishop Allen: I'm pretty sure the weather and my mood dictated this choice -- "Oh, let the rain fall down, and wash this world away/ or let the sky be gray/ cause if it's ever going to get any better, it's got to get worse for a day."

12. Easier (Alternate) -- Grizzly Bear: this version is also from the Believer CD, and I think I like this one better than the official album version. Or maybe I just heard it first.

13. Honey Honey -- Feist: I believe I have already rambled on about why I like this song so much (and I DO), so instead I will say that I worry I'm in the early phases of a beekeeping obsession. You know how it starts -- books on urban beekeeping start falling across your path or articles crop up in the paper. One day it's all "oh, sure -- it might be fun someday" and next thing you know you're in a net suit taking hive statistics.

14. Be Kind To Me -- Michael Hurley: It asks the important question: "why be mean when you can be nice?" which I honestly think more people could stand to ask themselves.

15. Thirteen -- Big Star: Still great!

16. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea -- Neutral Milk Hotel: I love this song, but I think the one I really wanted was Holland, 1945. I do love that this takes such a jolly view of what is often a somber subject: "and one day we will die/ and our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea/ but for now we are young/ let us lay in the sun/ and count every beautiful thing we can see" .... "and when we meet on a cloud/ I'll be laughing out loud/ I'll be laughing with everyone I see."

all in all some really wonderful songs, but not ones that belong together quite like this. I think I could salvage about 1/2 of it together, and find good homes for the rest. I just had too much going on all at once.


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Monday, January 07, 2008
by Jesse Reklaw

From the introduction: "One night while rooting through the recycling bin for magazines, I found all the confidential Ph.D. application files for the biology department at an Ivy League university from the years 1965-1975. Stapled to many of the yellowed documents were photographs of the prospective students. ...

The recommendation forms supplied accompaniment, via their "strengths and weaknesses" or "personality" sections. The quotes below each photo are actual things said about the pictured students by their former professors or employers, not intended to be seen by anyone but the application review committee."

It's really wonderful and kind of creepy at the same time; a little Found Magazine, a little Post Secret. To give you a taste of what the commentary is like, the comments for the guy on the cover included: "No brooding malaise or bitter rebellion in this man." It's fascinating -- not just for the tiny illicit thrill of reading something you were never meant to read, but also for the '65-'75 assumptions made about gender ("domestic responsibilities may intervene"), race ("she seems to be well adjusted to society") and lifestyle (HIPPIE). (as many assumptions are probably made today, but buried under the coded language of our times.)

I found it at the library (which is building a great zine collection), but you can buy it directly from microcosm press for only 3 bucks! (both Amazon and Powell's have it for $4, which is still a bargain.)

raspberry rita

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Sunday, January 06, 2008
my head hurts. I would describe the headache, but I think that would make it hurt more.

As I have said many, many times before, I LOVE the shuffle function on my ipod. There are hundreds of reasons, but the most recent is for some Raspberry Beret/ Lovely Rita proximity. They are practically the same song! BEHOLD, an incomplete comparison:

Both are lovely little story songs of pop perfection from the POV of a male admirer. (the male gaze is not exactly the unicorn of popular music, I grant you, but still!)

The song protagonist is not merely an observer -- he interacts with his pop-song dream-girl:

+Lovely Rita is asked "when are you free to take some tea with me?" and he gets a date out of it -- even sitting on the sofa with a sister or two. I think he made some points because he "inquired discretely," and also maybe because she liked the way he said "met-ah maid." although maybe he's moving too fast with this "where would I be without you?" business. I'll tell you where you'd be -- traffic court! I hope this whole thing wasn't a scam to get out of some parking tickets. (am suddenly feeling very protective of Rita. You'd better not break her heart, you check-skirting sister-flirting Beatle, you!)

+Beret Girl is told "I think I love you." I'm assuming this worked because a) it was Prince, and b) she was incapacitated by the sight of Prince working in a 5 & Dime. (Every time I hear this song I get a little picture in my head of Prince sorting plastic combs or with a price gun in the gum aisle and I laugh and laugh and laugh. it's so surreal!)
-- they go riding on his bike down by Old Man Johnson's farm. (how much do I love that the farm has a name? a lot.)

Both Prince and Paul McCartney have a keen eye for fashion details:

+Lovely Rita: Wears a cap (looks much older), a bag across her shoulder (makes her look a little like a military man.)

+Beret Girl: All we know is that she has a raaaaaspberry beret, and when it was warm she wouldn't wear much more. She most likely shops vintage/thrift ("the kind you find at a second hand store") Considering she was "built like she was" ... I'm guessing she didn't look like a military man at any time.

What do we know about these guys?

+ aforementioned fashion awareness
+ Paul likes his women androgynous and if they want to pay for dinner it won't hurt his feelings.
+ Prince will not be hampered by The Man! he willfully slacks at his job AND admires a girl not just for the way she fills out a raspberry beret (alas, I don't think he was swooning over her giant brain), but also for her rebel "in through the out door" behavior.

authority v. anti-authority! hmmmm.

I am sure there are a million more -- if you think of any feel free to leave them in the comments. Right now I'm going to take the decongestant that makes me sleep like the dead and hope my headache is gone by morning.

miscellaneous pictures already

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Saturday, January 05, 2008
dude, this posting every day thing is hard! Not that I thought it would be easy, but I didn't think I'd be whining about it on DAY FIVE. ha ha ha!

One of my plans for winter is to start taking pictures again and getting my flickr stuff sorted out a little better. I was an early flickr user, I have a LOT of pictures and have gone through phases where tagging and organizing was, uh, not the highest priority. Of course that makes it so easy to find things later on! (and it's ridiculous that I haven't done it, because flickr makes it so simple. But I digress...)

In anticipation of Getting My Shit In Order, I was poking around and found these Five Random Photos:

Furry Pants

Busby, who even at his most sleek summer fur levels is not a small cat, essentially doubles in size in the winter. (all fur.) the colder it is, the bigger he gets. This photo was from a couple of years ago. It makes me laugh because it looks like he has no legs at all, just tiny feet sticking out from this crazy ball of fur.

birthday fun

This photo also makes me laugh, although I was obviously not amused when it was taken, oh so many years ago. I'm not sure if it was my birthday or my sister's birthday, but my mom used to love to get us matching smocked dresses for holidays and special occasions. Dig the braids!

out the window of my hospital room

From my hospital stay last year. Both the view and the morphine were lovely. I did a tag search on "windows" and found that I have named a lot of pictures "out the window" -- I could do a whole mosaic of them and maybe I will! (but I promise not to post it until January is over.)

out the window

This was just a random out the window shot on the way home from Multnomah Falls, I think. That's the Columbia river, looking across to the Washington side. The everyday scenery in this part of the world is really beautiful.

zinnia opening

... and here is one of my early flickr pictures. I only ever joined flickr so I'd have a place to host pictures for my (practically abandoned) garden blog. Maybe I'll revive that this year too.

blue door and a poem

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Friday, January 04, 2008
cool blue door

I love this poem! It's another from the The McSweeney's Book of Poets Picking Poets, which, as I've said before, is a really great collection. The blue door picture doesn't have anything to do with anything except I thought it looked cool.

Lynn Emanuel

you hover above the page staring down
on a small town. Outside a window
some scenery loafs in a sleepy hammock
of pastoral prose and here is a mongrel
loping and here is a train approaching
the station in three long sentences and
here are the people in galoshes waiting.
But you know this story about the galoshes
is really About Your Life, so, like a diver
climbing over the side of a boat and down
into the ocean, you climb, sentence
by sentence, into the story on this page.

You have been expecting yourself
as a woman who purrs in a dress
by Patou, and a porter manacled to
the luggage, and a man stalking across
the page like a black cloud in a bad mood.
These are your fellow travelers and
you are a face behind or inside these
faces, a heartbeat in the volley of these
heartbeats, as you choose, out of all
the journeys, the journey of a man
with a mustache scented faintly with
Prince Albert. "He must be a secret
sensualist," you think and your awareness
drifts to his trench coat, worn, softened,
and flabby, a coat with a lobotomy, just
as the train pulls into the station.

No, you would prefer another stop
in a later chapter where the climate is
affable and sleek. But the passengers
are disembarking, and you did not
choose to be in the story of the woman
in the white dress which is as cool and
evil as a glass of radioactive milk. You
did not choose to be in the story of the
matron whose bosom is like the prow
of a ship and who is launched toward
lunch at the Hotel Pierre, or even the
story of the dog-on-a-leash, even though
this is now your story: the story of the
the-dark-road described hurriedly by
someone sitting in a tavern so you could
discover it, although you knew all along
the road would be there, you, who have
been hovering above this page, holding
the book in your hands, like God, reading.

bagpipe solo

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Thursday, January 03, 2008
I was thinking about this resolution stuff and thought that I could really torture myself and anyone who happens to read this by drawing it out all month! mwahahaha! I don't think I will (because I'm not entirely evil), but here are a few more related to entertainment:

Read More -- I didn't keep count of what I read this year until a couple of weeks ago -- it was more than I thought, but not as much as I'd like. I want to introduce a little more variety and challenge to my reading diet. I have been reading a lot more poetry and non-fiction which is what I wanted to do a couple of years ago, so yay me! But even so -- there are so many books I want to read, I really don't have a good excuse for not reading them. (I have plenty of excuses, but none of them are good.)

Mix It Up -- 2007 was a lousy year for me making mix cds which I used to love to make all the time! I think it was in part because I wasn't listening to much new stuff due to my need to cocoon my rattled self with the familiar. But like I said last post, change is good! (in fact, I think that could be my 2008 motto -- where I always get it wrong with "change is good" is that my mind immediately goes to the opposite of what I want or am familiar with and assume that change will be this terrible disruption, which of course is ridiculous! I mean, sometimes it is horrible, but not always. Not even usually. Besides, change happens whether I like it or not, so I'd rather be happy about it and maybe even get to the point where it's not a disruption but a fun new twist. what? It could happen.)

Where was I? MIX CDs! yes! I think maybe I'll try to do at least one a month for myself. (including theme mixes of stuff I have already. I like the notion of putting things I love already in a new-to-me context.)

My ipod needs a major refresh as well. Wheeee!

What To Watch? -- Well, TV is going to be dire for a while so I think it's time to plan some themed movie events. The library has so much (including a ton of TV on DVD -- there was a guy in a panic today because he was returning Dallas season 5 and his hold for Dallas season 6 had expired the day before. I'm sure you'll be relieved to know that it all worked out) -- it shouldn't be too hard to come up with something fun and interesting. I had an inadvertent Carole Lombard festival this summer which was very enjoyable, so with a little bit of planning I figure I could have a whole lot of fun. Actor? Genre? Year? Director? Coolest Cover? Close My Eyes And Grab? Farscape Marathon? Recommendations? Some top 100 list or another? The possibilities are endless!

My favorite item processed at the library in the past week: about 10 pieces of bagpipe specific sheet music. I love this for many reasons: 1) someone is learning the bagpipe! I'm glad the hoodlum children who live next door have thus far limited themselves to the trumpet. 2) someone learning the bagpipe thought "I wonder if the library can help me out?" 3) The library has a ton of sheet music! (central has a whole sheet music department. it's awesome) In this collection is music intended for learning the bagpipe! 4) it was all pretty old and had quaint retro bagpipe-design covers. 5)honestly, I don't think I can type the word "bagpipe" enough times.

change is good

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008
change is good!

I bought this little coin purse to give as a gift, but it makes me laugh and laugh every single time I look at it so I decided to keep it. I think it’s the coinbeast's gustatory delight in change: I shall feast upon thy coins, INDEED. ) I mention this here because it seems in keeping with the first of my Super Sexy New Year’s Resolutions.

I used to think I didn't like new year's resolutions -- making them seemed like one more road paved with good intentions and we all know where those lead. For the past few years I've eschewed traditional resolutions in favor of more general mood or behavior directives. (2006's Say Yes and 2007's Be More Generous.) This worked, but I've decided that there is room for the broad theme AND the specific resolution. I still don't like vague and unhelpful resolutions and I hate HATE HATE how resolutions are used like a cudgel to beat the resolved in gym membership advertising... on the other hand, I really like making lists.

That being said, let me get to the first of my SSNYR: Zero Debt! I'm really close, but my bout of uninsured hospitalization at the end of 2006 was a setback -- the bulk of my bill was excused, but there was still quite a bit to pay. (for comparison purposes, 2007's visit to the emergency room for a similar but not as nearly as bad issue still cost me $500, even though it was less than 10 minutes with a doctor who didn't do anything beyond look at my face with his eyeballs and write me a prescription for a very cheap antibiotic.) ANYWAY. I am giving myself until the 15th of january to do a tiny bit of celebratory shopping (for things like CLOTHES and SHOES which I actually do need to have) and then I'm going into serious pay-down mode. It shouldn't take me too long to get things back under control, and as a friend said "no debt feels like sticking it to THE MAN" which it totally does! I'm not quite to the point where I want to keep cash in socks stashed around the house rather than using a bank, but if they piss me off one more time I will make a resolution to learn to knit Pushing Daisies style money cozies. hee hee.

upon thy coins

eights are great!

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

I have a good feeling about this year. Last year was a hard one -- I started it off sick and sad with an overall rating of Miserable But Trying to Be Cheerful (wretched!), but by late July or August things started being less of a struggle and more of a pleasure. The best part is that things seem to be trending in an Even More Awesome direction. Woo hoo!

I was planning a (brief) recap of the year and a (brief) list of what I want to do in 2008 (I am very excited), but the end of the year brought unexpected out of town company and every single thing I thought I would have done by today (including my ever-present nemesis, LAUNDRY) is sitting around undone or in sad heaps on the floor, so I'm going to take care of that and then come back to my Deep Thoughts. (There is BAGPIPE SHEET MUSIC involved!)

In other news, Martina is masterminding Powellhurst's Second Annual Blogstravaganza, in which she will post once a day for the month of January. This sounds like fun and I keep thinking maybe I'll try it too.

More later. More with BAGPIPE SHEET MUSIC later.