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Wednesday, April 30, 2008
so much catching up to do!

I know it's almost the weekend again, but here's what I did last weekend, photos where applicable:

this is from the other day -- part of my ongoing park project. It's getting harder and harder to sneak around and do what I need to do because as the weather gets nicer, more people are out and about. I may have to switch from waiting until nobody is around to just pretending that nobody is around.

Friday: 1/2 extremely fabulous day, 1/2 wretched punched in the heart day. Upon reflection, I find I am much more fond of the former than the latter.

Saturday: Beach Day! I went to the coast for the day with my mom and sister. Sometimes an outing is just the thing. Good times were had! Important beach news: My favorite Thai restaurant has moved to a better location, but their food still tastes wonderful.

we heart your dog

This was cute -- if you can't read it, it says "We (heart) Your Dog." By the time I walked by it again it was being repurposed for another sand castle, so I was glad I took the picture when I did!

different colors

I have to limit what I'll allow myself to pick up when I go to the beach or I end up with too many rocks in my pockets. (really many too many.) Last time it was rocks that had circles (quartz inclusions) that went all the way around. This time, I told myself I would only pick up things that were different colors.

lincoln city

I know it doesn't look like much in this photo, but the sky was actually a very restful blue/greyish color -- but not gloomy grey -- the sun was bright enough to give me a tiny (very tiny!) sunburn. sigh. Okay, not a sunburn. but I swear to you, I could FEEL the sun!

kathy's fabric stash
Sunday: I went over to my friend Blondie's house to help her list an apartment on Craigslist. We did that (and got a call within 5 minutes! it's a pretty sweet apartment), but the bulk of the day was spent working on my crazy vintage quilt project. I was typing up the details to post tonight, but I think I'll let them be their own post later on this week. She just redid her guest room as a sewing studio and it looks fantastic. The photo above is of her fabric stash, cotton division. Mine is nowhere near as tidy. (NOWHERE NEAR.)

blooming tree
And now, some random necessities. Since it is the last day (barely) of national poetry month and since I worked at one of the best poetry browsing libraries in the whole system today (that is not Central) and since I love the way he uses punctuation for his own inscrutable purposes (damn The Man and his tyranny of grammar!), here's a poem from E. E. Cummings:


but if a living dance upon dead minds
why,it is love;but at the earliest spear
of sun perfectly should disappear
moon's utmost magic,or stones speak or one
name control more incredible splendor than
our merely universe,love's also there:
and being here imprisoned,tortured here
love everywhere exploding maims and blinds
(but surely does not forget,perish,sleep
cannot be photographed,measured,disdains
the trivial labelling of punctual brains...
--Who wields a poem huger than the grave?
from only Whom shall time no refuge keep
though all the weird worlds must be opened?

(that last line should be all the way at the end, so it's "?" above, and then ")Love" below it and to the right, but the HTML to make it so, like so many other things, is eluding me.)

new way to commute

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Ooooh! I was going through some stuff I'd bookmarked and found this video, which appeared on Stereogum April 2nd. It makes me ridiculously happy! (I can't help but think my shins would hurt a lot if I tried to get around in this manner. Although defeatist thinking is what will stop me from inventing the perfect bouncing shoe!!! I must snap out of it...)

Wednesday over at Fluxtumblr, I saw this video of She & Him with Yo La Tengo on Conan. FUN! I especially like how Zooey starts off with Tentative Nervous Tambourine, but by the end she is in full on Yay, This Is Going Well Tambourine mode.

In short: wheeee! (it's Friday and the sun is supposed to shine this weekend, I'm excited. I can't help it.)

chainsaw alarm clock (with list)

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Paul Bunyan
Someone down the street was having some (major) shrubs removed at the CRACK OF DAWN this morning. At first I thought it was just a leaf blower (annoying enough already -- if there is a more pointless piece of lawn equipment, I'd like to know what it is), but it turned out to be a chainsaw, shortly followed by a wood chipper. (wood chipper!) I know these guys probably have a forest worth of urban shrubs and trees trees to pulverize over the course of an average Wednesday, but shouldn't they wait until at least, I don't know, a civilized hour?? I'm sure they'd probably been awake since 3:30 AM doing lumberjack drills or ironing their plaid shirts (now I have a bunch of black bearded Paul Bunyans in mind, which makes me laugh so I am retroactively less annoyed at wake-up by wood chipper.) (although Paul Bunyan would not have used a chainsaw! He would have instead glared the tree down or used an axe or one of those big logging saws that looks like rusty metal shark's teeth -- all of which would have been MORE QUIET.) Anyway. I will get over it. I'm not one of those "I'll sleep when I'm dead" people; sleeping is nice. Also, the body needs sleep, probably more than it gets! If you don't, you'll contract the Sleeping Madness and Concomitant Maladies. (Americans are notoriously sleep deprived -- rest of the world, I admire your sleep ethic!) I know this is true because Leslie Stahl told me so on 60 minutes.

and now, a list!
Here's a list of some places for keeping track of books/movies/music online. These are all considered to be social media type places since you can interact with friends and contacts and their lists, but even so, these sites do not give me the existential panic that something like Facebook does. (I know, I know. Lots of people LOVE facebook, but it gives me heebie jeebie dread in ways I can't quite explain. I'm sure my vision of what facebook entails is completely lunatic (somewhere between a frat party and Masonic rites), but since I can't even look around without signing up, it will remain in the "here be monsters" section of my internet map.)

All Consuming
Thanks to Martina for tipping me off to this site! I like it because it provided a widget for my blog sidebar so I could indicate what I was listening to/ watching/ reading. (I was always jealous that typepad blogs had this built in.) You can track and assign simple worth consuming/not worth consuming grades to books, movies and CDs. I believe you can also use tags and add comments, although I haven't taken advantage of these features

+ dead easy
+ nice widget
+ I really dig the list feature -- you can make your own list or adopt the list of someone else (or the AFI, etc. etc.) and it will keep track of how close you are to completion as you add things. I have adopted several movie lists by director, but it would also be a great way to adopt book lists and so on.
+unlike the others on this list, it's not just for books!

+ pulls all its data from I've got no major issue with Amazon and I realize that it's providing a lot of information, yet it gives me an Andrew Carnegie/Robber Baron But Book Friendly Monopoly Feeling. It's a complex feeling. (robber barons --> teapot dome scandal --> current administration cronyism.)
+ I find it difficult to organize information -- the native format is in the order in which you "consumed" it. You can section it out by type of list (book or dvd or music), and I think by month, but it's not especially intuitive. I suspect it would be easier if I'd use tags.
+ I wasn't really wild about the "consumption" phraseology. I still don't love it (it sounds greedy and not thoughtful, somehow), but this is really a minor quibble.

summary: I will continue to use it! There are a lot of great things about it (music and dvds!), but I don't think I will retroactively try to enter my entire collection. It's more of a Useful As I Use It application than something that has value as a complete record. (at least for me.)

main site
my page

Thanks to Maggie for inviting me to Goodreads! This is a much more comprehensive way to organize books than all consuming. I can (and have) made a million different "shelves" so if I want to see all the books I've listed on crafts or short stories, I can do it pretty easy. This has a starred rating system (1-5), and an easy method of comparing books to others on your friend list. (also really easy if you're scanning someone's list and think "oooh, I read that one!" to add it to your own list.) I find this to be very browsable and easy to navigate. Books only.

+dead easy
+nice widget! (I'm so easy to please.)
+easy to do a lot or a little sorting, depending on your level of categorization OCD.

+pulls almost exclusively from the Amazon database (see above, re: my robber baron ambivalence)
+things don't upload in the order I put them in. (this is probably due to user error of some sort.)

summary: I can easily see adding all my books (opposed to just those that I'm reading as I read them) to this system. It's easy to use and pleasing to look at.

main site
my page

I've had my eye on LibraryThing for a while now, but haven't pulled the trigger and listed any of my books yet. I think this one is probably the most versatile and powerful of any of the online self-catalogs. It's the most dangerous to me, and therefore I have been avoiding it! You can "Catalog with Amazon, the Library of Congress or 680 other world libraries," which is pretty damn cool! There's a lot of flexibility, and you can even use a little USB barcode scanner (which they sell) to make cataloging quicker. In the little bit of poking around I've done, I see that you can search for books or titles or authors and LibraryThing will pull up ANY discussion in which they've come up, not just the postings to directly relevant topics. (everyone knows the good stuff is often tangental to what you THOUGHT you were looking for.) And, I know this may be considered shallow, but they have a lot more covers to choose from, so you can get JUST the right cover for that paperback Mary Stewart novel from 1972. (not the one with the girl running across the moors in a white nightie, but the one with the girl in a red dress and killer bobbed haircut.) Anyway, since I only just created an account tonight and have yet to add any books, I can't tell you how it works with with friends and recommendations, but I'm sure I'll have more to say about it soon. Books only.

+easy to use
+enhanced recommendation skills
+widget! (!!)
+used by lots of off duty librarians
+first 200 books are free.

+not entirely free. Current fees (for beta) are $10 year, or a $25 lifetime membership. But the first 200 books are free, which is certainly generous enough to get a feeling for whether or not you'll use it.
+certain to be a massive time-suck.

summary: I sense danger, wonderful bookish danger! I think I'll give this a go, at least see if I can import my goodreads list and see how it organizes differently.

main site
my page (currently empty, but who knows by the time you click?)

it was more of a figurative tomorrow

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Common Spring Fever is a stealth problem with untold victims. Sufferers may become confused and antsy, believing perhaps that they are losing their marbles/religion/car keys. The fact is, this affliction -- this Vernal Itchiness -- is caused by a combination of weather, allergens, and of course the potent Northern Hemisphere Spring Virus. Wind and blossoms, hail and bird's nests, rainbows and mud, gentle breezes and cutting wind. WTF, April?

Some Symptoms of The Fever:

1) Poor choices: Yesterday I went barelegged to work, even though it was really too cold for no tights. The sun was shining and I had to do it! (maracas dress, which NEVER FAILS to make me laugh aloud at least once when I'm wearing it.)

2) Crazed impulses: I could not settle down long enough to write this blog post until I first put my hair into braids and tied a hand dyed silk ribbon around my neck. I look like a waitress in a theme restaurant. (theme: impaired judgement.) But I did it just in time! knock knock knock. I've found that interactions with door to door do-gooders go a little smoother and more quickly if they think you might be crazy. (this time it was a gentleman named Rogue from the Sierra club who was handily dispatched since I'm already a member and he was looking for someone named Katherine.) I have no real beef with door to door do-gooders; I know it's a thankless job and most of them are trying to DO GOOD, but I have to say I do appreciate the ones who are gracious (like Rogue!) opposed to the ones who call you a "panda killer" if you don't have the time or inclination to sign their petition and agree to donate X dollars per month in perpetuity. (This made me laugh and laugh and laugh. "Maybe tomorrow, hippie," INDEED.)

3) allergies

It's Still National Library Week:

Here are a couple of cool things I found via the library's internal reference blog. I read it when things are slow on the desk. (yesterday was pretty slow, which I'm chalking up to THE FEVER.)

1) Did you know that the New York Public Library now has a page on iTunes where you can subscribe/download some really great material FOR FREE? I love this kind of stuff, and there's even more available on the NYPL website.

2) has a feature on 18 Sexy Trips to the Library Stacks. I have to say that their description of sexy is so broad as to be ridiculous (Philadelphia? really?), but to their credit, they did track down 18 movies that feature libraries in honor of National Library Week, and let's face it: "18 Sexy Trips to the Library Stacks" sounds a lot more catchy than "Hey! We thought of 18 movies that have libraries in them."

List of cool places to keep lists to come sometime this weekend! I've run out of time and want to do give it a little more thought. Happy Passover/Friday/Spring Fever!

you have to play the tuba

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008
post no bills


on the list titled "necessary to delay impending madness":

1) haircut! my hair has reached the length where I look like I have traveled in time (either frontwards or backwards) from the Era of Stupid Hair. Unfortunately, even though I really like the girl who cuts my hair (she has an awesome chicken tattoo!), I really hate making an appointment. HATE IT. Eventually my hair hatred will override my appointment-making hatred and I'll have cute hair again. It's just sad when a person has to resort to an internal hate fight to get a freaking haircut. I think this time I'll make an appointment for next time while I'm there!

2) knee boots. This has been creeping up on me for a long time. First it was one of those jokes that's more of a test -- out loud: "ha ha ha! go-go boots/boots to the knee? suuuure." (inside: secretly covet but think they may be too weird, too much, too loud) -- but I have moved out of that stage and into Acknowledgement Of My Desire. I almost tackled a woman in the library yesterday because she had the coolest non-slutty boots to the knee I have seen in a long time! And then another one came in! it was boots, boots, boots, everywhere! They are so perfect with dresses and skirts in this weird spring weather. I have a pair that come about 6" from the knee, but it's just not the same. sigh. The good news is since we're coming out of boot-season here, I might be able to find some for cheap.
recently learned at the library:
1) little boys of a certain age (around 6-7) find garfield HILARIOUS. I would have thought it impossible for anyone to do so, but I have seen it with my own eyes!

2) this technically was at staff day and not at the library proper, but I think it counts. Ursula Le Guin was a guest speaker (gracious and wonderful), and during the Q & A she was asked about her advice for aspiring writers. She said (paraphrase): get a good job! You'll need it because hardly anyone gets paid for writing anymore. (she further recommended the kind of job that doesn't devour your every thought and will to live so that you have time to write.) The other thing she recommended, and she was rather apologetic, was practice, practice, practice. She said that it was the unfortunate truth of any of the arts; if you want to play the tuba, you have to play the tuba.

More lists tomorrow, including online places you can keep lists.


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Sunday, April 13, 2008
I am deficient in Vitamin YES lately. I am in the annoyingly vague zone of:

I think so
could be
I don't know
you may never know
it might work
that sounds good, but...
probably not (but maybe!)

and it is so boring! (boring's all wrong -- it's irritating; it's frightening; it's coming completely unmoored from reality which occasionally has its charms, but this is not one of those occasions.) I wish I could say this was something concrete, but it is a million ephemeral things and maybe 3 tangible things. My aim for the new week (one day at a time!) is to embrace the ephemeral, to delight in the ineffable and to get out of my own goddamned way.

So, because it is National Poetry Month, because it is the start of the week, because I am wearing bouncy moon boots and planting a flag of SO WHAT? in the uneasy jelly mountain of things that could happen, here's a poem about YES from the Poetry 180 site.

God Says Yes To Me

Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic

and she said yes

I asked her if it was okay to be short

and she said it sure is

I asked her if I could wear nail polish

or not wear nail polish
and she said honey

she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly

what you want to

Thanks God I said

And is it even okay if I don't paragraph

my letters

Sweetcakes God said

who knows where she picked that up

what I'm telling you is

Yes Yes Yes

(did you know that the 17th is Poem In Your Pocket Day?)

(did you know that you can subscribe to a poem a day?)

As crazy as it sounds, I do feel better already.

gorilla with a flame thrower (obviously)

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Friday, April 11, 2008
This video for national library week made me laugh.

In Other News, I am still waiting on three out of three things, which is not what I call a good time. I'm sure it's making me a better person and all, but it may well drive me crazy first.

In Better News, I can see the crescent moon right out my window, and that's pretty cool for the following reasons:

1) the crescent moon is beautiful, which I don't think gets as much attention as it deserves. I know it's technically overshadowed by THE EARTH, but it's really overshadowed by that glory hound the full moon.

2) that I can see this waxing crescent moon means that the sky is clearing at least a little, and MAYBE the sun will actually shine on the city of portland tomorrow. The sun may shine, and at least one of my three issues may get resolved! I know, I know -- let's not get carried away.

thwarted, or maybe not

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008
I have had a headache all day, which I lay at the feet of the changing weather. It's been raining off and on all day long, but it's allegedly supposed to be in the 70's tomorrow. The barometer squeezes my head once more! I had a lot of energy and a long list this morning but the energy was diverted headacheward fairly early and the list isn't any shorter. Well, it's a little shorter but it wasn't very fun.

Which brings me to my thwartings. I was all prepped to get my Rant On about how everything I've attempted lately has been a failure, but I realized that simply isn't true. What is true is that I have had to wait longer, or things don't happen in the order I think they should happen, or, and this one can be difficult (but rewarding) for me, sometimes things come completely out of the blue! I'm becoming aware that my timelines are often completely artificial and born of impatience rather than any real sense of rightness. My instincts are usually sound, but my timing is usually off. It's getting better, though. I know it sounds cheesy, but I think watching the seasons change in the park has been a big help. The phrase "in the fullness of time" is resonating more and more. (Not that this keeps me from having flat-out freakouts on a regular basis!) ANYWAY. Most recent example would be yesterday when I went downtown to run what was supposed to be a ridiculously simple errand. Of course that didn't work out, and when I got back to my car... TICKET. My expired tags scofflaw bluff had been called by the meter-maid man! The "failure to display current registration" will cost you. (and I deserve to pay! You scoff the law, you takes yer chances.)

I went home (after two more unsuccessful stops), then decided to go to DEQ and finally get the stupid tags. I expected to wait in a hideous line, so I brought reading material. I expected that they would close before I actually got to the testing bay because it was after 4 when I left home. Well, guess what? not only did I drive almost directly into the testing bay (I barely had time to fill out the paperwork), the test took less than 5 minutes, I didn't have to get out of my car -- and since there was no one else in line (and I was EXPIRED) the test guy told me I could put my tags on right there. Of course I ended up ripping one of the tags in half trying to get it out of the baggie and I can't say I'm too fond of squatting in front of OR behind a car that is running, but I left the DEQ a law abiding citizen once more.

Anyway. The photo of the ticket is one taken with the photo booth program on my computer. Another instance of getting ahead of myself -- I decided to start a self portrait project in feb. which I gave up due to boredom, but now, a couple of months later, the photo booth makes it easy and fun. Hooray!

Here are some spring pictures. Everything is changing so fast!
spring tree
Allergy season is upon us, but how fun are these tassels? (answer: so mega-fun!)

no flash
I love how velvety the petals look. This shrub (I can't remember the name) is a hit with the birds.

oooh, this reminds me: flickr now will allow pro members to upload video. I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand -- isn't this why youtube exists? why do they have to go messing with a good thing? on the other hand -- one of the justifications they used was that they saw the video as an opportunity for "long pictures," which I think is pretty cool. I like the notion of a long picture. There is a 90 second cap on length, and I have to say the whole idea has me thinking about the video setting on my little camera, which I never have before. It's like capturing a moment instead of an instant. Or something. The limitations (90 seconds, my camera's extremely limited video ability) remind me of how much fun I had taking landscape pictures on the polaroid (R.I.P.) iZone camera. So, we'll see. Today I took a tiny video (like, 7 seconds!) of some crows flying. I expect there will be a lot of pretentious amateur "beautiful garbage" ala American Beauty videos on flickr in addition to the cats falling off things and babies eating lemons found on youtube, but so what? There will be some really wonderful things, too.

she didn't hear the question!

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Sunday, April 06, 2008
"Not 'Anytime Annie'? Say, who could forget her? She only said 'no' once, and then she didn't hear the question!"

Ha ha! I just watched 42nd street, and I have to say my favorite character was Ginger Rogers as Anytime Annie. A monocle (!!!), a completely fake posh accent, a finely tuned bullshit detector, a smart mouth, a heart of gold -- what's not to love? I'm going to have to have a Ginger With No Fred film festival. (Fred's such an attention hog.) I would have much preferred to watch more of her and less of that strangely underwater performance by Ruby Keeler as the ingenue. (her timing was so weird and her performance so flattened it was almost like she was recovering from having been accidentally shot with a tranquilizer dart or having her lines simultaneously translated from Russian. I kept hoping that this reaction lag was somehow rooted in her character, but... no. ) Anyway -- Ginger Rogers stole the show whenever she was on the screen. This post at the Self-Styled Siren has considered and wonderful Anytime Annie details.

(the fake accent reminds me of a guy I worked with a couple of weeks ago -- he was dressed like an extra in a Guy Ritchie movie and spoke (only to me!) with a fake english accent. He used his regular voice with patrons. Why do this? Is it because I'd never worked with him before and he thought I wouldn't notice? It's not even a very good fake english accent! It's so bizarre, but it made me laugh.)

Vague Enough?

I read a blog post a couple of weeks ago that I found profoundly affecting in a fun and affirming way (rather than an "oh, I guess I don't have it so bad after all" way). The thing is, I can't link to it -- it would be far too directly revealing! It was code red button pressing for me. It's the kind of thing that if I'd heard it aloud, would render me unconscious and I'd have to be revived via portable defibrillator or random lightning strikes. You can't count on either of those! Reading is so dangerous. It was a short piece; less than 150 words, but it was one of those lightbulb over the head moments. Eureka! Aside from making me dizzy (in a good way), it pulled back the curtain on a window I forgot was there, and I'm so happy it did! The view is lovely and not nearly as limited as I once supposed.

Letters Section:

dear ice cream,

it's not you, it's me. I have to stay away for my own sake. I'll call you when I can button my jeans again.

I miss you already,

p.s. will you tell frozen yogurt?

Back On Task:

Today is the day I intend to get a major storage issue taken care of. Woo hoo! Wish me luck. I have all the supplies I need, so I suppose what's next is to get off the internet and actually DO IT. I will be thinking about what other figures (beyond Anytime Annie, the Planter's Peanut and the Monopoly Man) wear monocles. I can't figure out how or why they were ever considered practical, but they DO make me laugh.

green is the color

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008
green mosaic

I decided to risk another photo mosaic, despite the fact that after I made the last two I ended up either sick or in the emergency room. I'm sure it's not related... (my superstitious hope is that by mentioning it, I obviate the curse.)

(it's not completely ridiculous! After I wrote about my right shoe always coming untied, it stopped coming untied! My left shoe -- previously not a problem -- comes untied instead.)

to: april, re: my telekinetic failures, pink, etc.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008
to: pinky

Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) I think it would be REALLY GREAT if I could just accomplish things with only the power of my thoughts. I'm not unreasonable -- I'm perfectly willing to think about the things I'd like to accomplish for up to (although ideally less than) 70% of the time it would actually take me to do them. AND YET this incredibly generous offer remains untaken by whatever power in the world grants mental spoon-bending abilities. (I don't really want to bend spoons -- it's just a figure of speech. I really want to move all my furniture while catching up on my reading.) But no matter! I've decided to take the high road here -- no hard feelings from me, Spoon Bending Authority, despite the fact that I promised I'd only use my powers for good! I can take the hint. (I also thought of a nasty side-effect of telekinesis: the unbidden thought! I don't know about you, but some days around the old brain it's all id/super-ego fight, fight, fight and I can't even imagine what kind of mess that would make were it to manifest directly.) So, OKAY! My pledge for April (which I see as being a very busy but very wonderful month) is that I will stop waiting for my Brain Powers to kick in and just do some of those things I've been meaning to do. I'm actually pretty excited, and have already begun getting things done on april-eve.

Pink in the Park The picture at the top of this post was from a week ago or so -- someone had put these stenciled stickers on one of the gates around the park. Litter? maybe, although I would argue that it's not. Cheerful? Definitely! Speaking of pink, there's a beautiful cherry tree at the park that's in full bloom right now. Pictures do it no justice, because there's just no way to capture how frothy and ephemeral the blossoms are -- they look like they're just floating AROUND the tree rather than being attached. I think you could cure a lot of ills just by standing under this tree. (I think it's how I finally overcame my telekinetic dissapointment.... which gives me a great idea for my new Crackpot Counseling Service. Who's the crackpot? Sign up and find out!) Seriously, though -- it is the kind of beautiful that changes things for the better. I did take a couple of pictures -- the one below is hopelessly blurry, but I like it anyway.

profoundly blurry cherry blossoms