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it drove the women of my family insane

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Thursday, July 31, 2008
radish skirt!

BEST quote without context from today: "I experienced only one hour of menopause. It's a good thing, too, because historically it drove the women of my family insane."
everyone else in the room: "..."
reply: "No, really."

BEST thing to wear on July 31st, 2008: RADISH SKIRT! I hadn't worn it in forever, and it cracked me up all day! It also seemed cheering to other people, which made it even better. "Are those radishes?" (this picture is weirdly distorting -- the skirt comes just below my knees, which is not two inches above my ankles like it looks in the photo.)

BEST place to eat lunch today, even though the trees were having some sort of tree pollen confetti party: Laurelhurst park, where I noticed that someone has started a bizarre collection of lawn creatures on the little island in the middle of the pond. There is a plastic chicken, a flamingo and an assortment of garden gnomes. Where do they come from? How do they get there? Do they move around at night when nobody's looking? Are the turtles that live on the log in the pond somehow involved? (I feel certain that they are...)

BEST bicycle seen today: one of those crazy welded together two-story bicycles ridden by a guy who I'm pretty sure walks around in stilts when he's not on his bike. Someone who eats fire for breakfast and swallows swords for snacks. In my imagination he would be a charming but tedious neighbor: "I get it! you're a fire eater! Yes, you've mentioned you're going to ride your weird tall bike all the way to Burning Man. Neat. Do you think you could you maybe stop with the arc welder and carnival techno after midnight? THANK YOU. p.s. your chickens got loose and crapped in my rain barrel again." (in imaginary reality he probably works in a bank, is still going to ride his weird tall bike to Burning Man, but doesn't weld after 10pm out of thoughtfulness for me, his imaginary neighbor. his imaginary chickens are too well behaved to crap in my imaginary rain barrel.)

BEST change in weather: this morning it was overcast and hazy, but after about 10AM it started getting sunny, sunnier, sunniest. Then it took a turn back to clouds and will probably rain tomorrow, but those 8 hours of sun were really sweet!

and now I'd BEST get to bed because I'm really freaking tired! I was going to have some blah la la about how this month went (mostly good, with a few pinches of misery for old times sake), but I'm tired and well aware that it's not exactly breaking news.

... and because I uploaded it so why not, here's a picture of what my unfinished project I found in a box looks like when I lay it out on the floor:

laying it out

everything crooked and wonderful

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I have finished painting! Mostly. I mean, I still have to do boring parts like put all the faceplates on and stuff like that, but the part where I'm in danger of backing into a wall of wet paint is OVER. huzzah! It looks really good -- say what you will about painting as a method of cleaning, but it does the job! I was going to compose a list of helpful painting hints, but I find that I don't want to think about it anymore. Maybe sometime soon. (they were really helpful!)

In other project news, I had a visit today from Weird Cousin Bonnie -- she's actually my mom's cousin, and she's not really weird in a pejorative sense. She marches to her own drum; at the time the "weird" was applied to her name, the drum insisted on a pantaloon jumpsuit. (what can I say? I think I was fifteen when I first met her and if I could have taken a pill to be invisible I would have. A pantaloon jumpsuit was faaar from my comfort zone.)

She's just started quilting and brought over what she's been working on. It was very nice -- much nicer than my first quilting projects, which were extremely boring because it hadn't quite occurred to me yet that they didn't have to be. I really liked what she was doing -- she has a great sense of color, but it was fairly rigid and from a pattern (her mother in law is a very precise pattern quilter). I had to make sure that she knew there were other Accepted Methods! (it's a delicate balance between being helpful and supportive and being obnoxiously bossy in craftland.) So I told her to do a google image search on Gee's Bend quilts (source of the photo in this post) -- I did it as I was telling her about it, and I forgot how much I love those quilts. I get the same wobbly legged feeling I get when looking at certain paintings. Everything is crooked and wonderful.

Anyway, a lovely side effect of the visit (beyond the Gee's Bend google) is that she caused me to run all around and assemble my recent(ish) quilting projects. I realized that I have finished more than I thought. This is a rare feeling!

I found one that I had started in the one and only quilting class I ever took. My former employer used to offer remarkable classes until they cancelled their education program, went bankrupt then insane. I continued to work for them for six more years. But I digress! I took one quilting class. Long story short, my quilt was never finished. Looking at it now, I can see that it is the antithesis of my natural quilting style -- lots of fussy little pieces, and HUGE. But today I had an epiphany -- I still really love the fabric and I have a bunch of squares already put together. If I just make 9 more, I'll have enough for a good sized lap/bed quilt (it would lay on top of the bed, but not hang over) and that would be fine with me. I think it's a much more versatile size, not to mention the joy of finishing a project bleepety years old! Updates as warranted.

In the meantime, here's a video I came across via d.Sharp. (I came across d.Sharp via angry chicken, who I came across via Posie Gets Cozy, who I came across because I really liked her shop. What do these three blogs have in common? Well, besides being well written by funny craft goddesses, they are also all from Portland!)

But back to the video! I hadn't heard of this song or Thao and the Get Down Stay Down until this turned up in my feed reader. I love the rambly shambly charms of the song (it turns out I like singing the words "bag of hammers"), but I also really dig the 8 panel photo collage effect in the video. BONUS: there is a claymation video for the same song, if you'd like to see it with brightly colored clay-people with little clay guitars.

found it!

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Sunday, July 27, 2008
The library book that was lost now is found. Hooray! It was right in plain sight, of course. (in my own defense, "in plain sight" is a visually confusing place right now due to moving everything out of one room and into another in order to paint.

I'm up to my elbows in wet paint (I wish this was an exaggeration) and have to get back to it, but here's a video that made me laugh. ("Mailbox!! Mailbox!")

broom shaking is an option

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Friday, July 25, 2008
private booths for ladies

I have had a crazybusy week, but now things should be settling down so I can do crazy things of my own choosing. (hooray!)

Big projects are tempting me. If the weather cooperates (and I think it will) I'm anticipating some major work in the garden. It's scary out there, but it's only going to get wilder and woolier if I don't do something. (you're probably thinking "gardens can't get wooly. she clearly needs a vacation!" to which I would reply: yes they can! but you're right about the other thing.) It's my hope that a bit of concentrated effort will at least get it out of the Scary House On The Corner zone. (You kids get off of my lawn!) Or maybe I should just practice cackling and broom shaking and go with it. Hmmmm.

I'm also itching to paint (a room, not the great american abstract), and I think this will happen soon as well. Blondie always says "it's only paint!" and that it's the fastest way to change a room. She's right! I need some new vistas, a change of view; I need to think about things in a different way. This is starting to sound sort of TV talk show faux-empowering, so I had better back slowly away from the keyboard before I stir up my some-say-irrational-but-they-are-wrong Dr. Phil antipathy. I need to go buy paint anyway.

tune in next time to find out if my mysterious itchy-eye allergy is to TIME (my initial self-diagnosis: "I think my eyes are allergic to time. nothing else makes sense!!") or to cat dander (my aunt's counter-diagnosis: "you are not allergic to time! You are allergic to cat dander"). Please note that she is not a doctor, but she is bossy.

this was going to be that

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Sunday, July 20, 2008
downtown on parade day
Oh, man! I've been trying to write up a book I read ages ago forevah, but I keep getting sidetracked and distracted. I know! so unlike me. Anyway. No book write up tonight! I was going to work on it tonight/tomorrow, but I'm going to be working tomorrow and it's just not going to happen. So, I figured now is the perfect time to finally post this cool picture I took downtown, outside a yarn shop I have yet to go into. (I took this back in June when it was still 50 degrees all the time.) I like the crazy half-burlap dress in the window, and I like the reflection of the building across the street.

I can't wait to get my new camera! (did I mention that the "this" of the post title was going to be made up almost entirely of non-sequiters? Because I think it is.) Anyway, I believe I mentioned here a while back that some fancy Portland ad agency contacted me via flickr about possibly using some of my photos for an Oregon tourism campaign thingie. Well, it turns out they did, and they PAID ME. Woo hoo!! It did not make me Rockefeller (or Hackensacker) rich, but I'm going to get a new camera with the $$. It seems appropriate (and I need a new camera). I haven't decided on what yet, although I'm looking really hard at the Panasonic Lumix cameras. They have a leica lens, they have image stabilization, it will fit in my pocket, the lens is slightly wide-angle (so when I take pictures of things I have taken hundreds of pictures of, they will be a little different), and has slightly more zoom than the standard pocket point and shoot. And really, a point and shoot is all I need right now. I'd love to have a Nikon D-Whatever, but if I can't fit it in my pocket, I'm not going to be using it that much.

Speaking of non-sequiters, I got my very own copy of Lynda Barry's excellent What It Is for my birthday. Not just the book, but color copies of the "word list" in the back in order to make my very own WORD BAG, which is in the top 100 of coolest things ever. (or at least in the top 100 of cool things you cut out and put into bags!!) It's part of the exercise portion of the book -- 4 pages of words which you cut out and put in coin envelopes -- the mystery word envelopes then go into a Word Bag, from which you draw out words and write on that subject for however long. (haven't read all the instructions yet, but was all over cutting things out and putting them in envelopes. This is typical.) My paper nerdery is such that I happened to have enough coin envelopes for all but TWO words. Of course this meant I had to buy another box of coin envelopes! (and some pens and ... ) Anyway, you should at least LOOK at the book because it's really fun and cool, and I'm not just saying that because of Sea-ma the sea monster (who is the "class monitor" and is also very charming with her many eyes and inspiring work-ethic).

I will have more to say about it later, although the word "later" is starting to lose all meaning to me! It's now or never! (at least that's what Elvis said, but can you really take that kind of advice from a man in a rhinestone jumpsuit with a Jungle Room?) Okay. So, it's not now or never. It's LATER, which is not now, but also not never. Right? Right.

NEXT TOPIC: here are three words pulled at random from my Word Bag. Although it's a word box at the moment, because I have them all standing upright in the former box of coin envelopes:


Hmmmm. I'm not really crazy about these words in such close proximity to Elvis and the Jungle Room, but this is how it is tonight in the realm of the non-sequiter. Let me try again:


Speaking of cake: My sister gave me a perfect present for my birthday. It's a pendant made from an old typewriter key -- but not any old typewriter key -- THE INTERROBANG! Which is not only one of my favorite words to bust out on the unsuspecting (because it sounds dirty but is perfectly innocent! What is wrong with you people!?), but also because it is the punctuation that attends my most common response whenever I hear anything even slightly outrageous. (that response is "What!?" I say it a lot while watching the news.) Anyway. It is wonderful! I just have to shorten the chain a little bit, but that is easily done.

I had a really marvelous birthday week. There was raspberry picking, there was a picnic at the park with turtles on a log, there was lebanese lunch with numerology, there was movie-going, there was dinner-having, there was the best of all part of catching up with some people I haven't seen in a while. (best part 2: cutting out four pages worth of words to shove in envelopes!!) I think it's going to be a good year. Oh, wait! I have been told it IS going to be a good year -- no need to wonder. My metaphysically inclined friend informed me that if last year was awful (and in many ways IT WAS), it's because it was a 4 year for me. But this year is a FIVE which means many adventures or something along those lines. I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but it sounded better than 4. (this is also the friend who has visions of me serving in the peace corps (!!!???) and something vague to do with motorcycles, although she really wishes I wouldn't since they are so dangerous. This despite my protestations that the peace corps and the motorcycle are equally unlikely.) I love LOVE love having lunch with her. I should do it more often -- since I'm in a five year, I think I will...

jangly ribs: the musical!

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Thursday, July 17, 2008
The moon, which is either full right now, full in a few hours, or full tomorrow night, is busy singing this weird Rogers and Hammerstein/Gilbert and Sullivan Some Enchanted Evening/ Modern Major General mashup. It's making me LAUGH but geez, moon, come on! Cut me a break. I blame this phenomenon on the following: 1) the moon is actually doing this. (it's obviously singing, and it looks like show tunes from here) 2) too much light opera in the workroom today (so funny! I was working in another area, but I could hear random bits of singing and shrieking laughter every time the door opened.) 3) jangly ribs cause hallucinations.

About that jangly rib issue: this is a self diagnosis, OBVIOUSLY, athough I expect it to catch on and soon there will be ads for Jangly Rib Syndrome Medication that air during prime time. (I think the medication should be m&m's or maybe frozen cherries.) I have this problem, see? Every time I wear a necklace with a pendant, the pendant ends up on one side or the other -- it never hangs in the middle! These are short necklaces, so it's not like I'm trying to be cute about some boob issue ala Thoroughly Modern Millie and her beads that won't lay flat. I gave this some serious thought today at lunch and decided that my ribcage must be off kilter in such a way that pendants can't stay centered. I'm crooked! Then I decided that maybe my ribs just jangle around in my chest when I'm not looking like coins in a pocket. From there it degenerated into a quickly abandoned theory featuring a small creature playing xylophone (or perhaps vibraphone!) on my ribs from the inside, which knocks pendants off center. I feel that this would also explain migraines, but it is a little too twilight zone to investigate seriously. So jangly ribs it is! "Doctor, I've got the rib jangle, and I'm afraid it's serious."

In library news, I think my favorite patron of the last two days was a little boy I helped yesterday. He was about six and had a towel stuck in the back of his t-shirt to make a cape. He came up to the desk practically VIBRATING with inarticulate excitement because he had found a DVD on how to do magic tricks. I think it's probably going to be a tough time for any rabbits, hats or slow-moving cats who cross his path in the next three weeks.

Speaking of weeks, I've had a pretty great one! More on that soon. I just had to post now in the hopes that by REPORTING on the moon, I could get it to shut up long enough to fall asleep. (oh, lord! you try to tell it that since it's an inanimate blob of space rock with no arms and no legs it doesn't get any choreography. I've had this argument before and I'm not having it again! at least not tonight.)

Sixty Poems

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Saturday, July 12, 2008
by Charles Simic This collection is a compilation that spans previous collected poems from 1986 to 2005. It came out in 2007, in honor of Simic being named Poet Laureate. It's a good introduction to or overview of his work, but some of my favorites are missing. (But maybe your favorites are all right here.. you'd better look and see.)

I bought my copy from Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane, Washington during my recent road trip. It was almost closing time -- Martina had already found something, I had talked my sister into a purchase ( a specialty of mine -- really all you have to say is "it's about beowulf!" or "geology, industrial architecture!" if it were about all three, she would buy ten copies), and I was wandering around and realized that I could also buy something. What a concept! They made the final closing announcement. I was fooling around looking here and there, Martina and my sister were already at the counter paying. Finally I spotted this collection -- hooray! I had a library copy at home, but there were a million holds on it, plus some things you just need on the shelf in case of emergency. Long story short, I ended up not having to pay any sales tax (Oregonians are apparently tax-exempt in Spokane), and the girl at the counter was really nice even though I was the horrible late customer who was late for no other reason than dawdling in the poetry aisle. I can only think that my good fortune was because she also loves Charles Simic.

I've written about him here before, so I will try not to repeat myself too much. I like him because he loves trees and movies and can't go to sleep. I love him because he loves the world even though it makes him crazy and sometimes depressed. He likes to eat, he likes to read, he enjoys the company of women. He's funny, he's crabby, he's sexy, he's kind. He's really smart. He takes a gentle view of humanity's foibles (because he is so human himself), but that isn't a free pass for our worst offenses (from which he doesn't excuse himself). He has a wild imagination, but tempers it just enough so that wildness is approachable; relatable, yet still mysterious. It may not make sense but I know what it means. These may not be woods I've been in before, but they are woods I know.

Here are two from this collection (which means there are 58 more!) It's always hard to pick because I like so many, but these were two that hopped out at me this time through.


Lovers who take pleasure
In the company of trees,
Who seek diversion after many kisses
In each other's arms,
Watching the leaves,

The way they quiver
At the slightest breath of wind,
The way they thrill,
And shudder almost individually,
One of them beginning to shake
While the others are still quiet,
Unaccountably, unreasonably--

What am I saying?
One leaf in a million more fearful,
More happy,
Than all the others?

On this oak tree casting
Such deep shade,
And my lids closing sleepily
With that one leaf twittering
Now darkly, now luminously.

the sun exists!

Club Midnight

Are you the sole owner of a seedy nightclub?

Are you its sole customer, sole bartender
Sole waiter prowling around the empty tables?

Do you put on wee-hour girlie shows
With dead stars of black-and-white films?

Is your office upstairs over the neon lights,
Or down deep in the rat cellar?

Are bearded Russian thinkers your silent partners?
Do you have a doorman by the name of Dostoyevsky?

Is Fu Manchu coming tonight?
Miss Emily Dickinson?

Do you happen to have an immortal soul?
Do you have a sneaky suspicion that you have none?

Is that why you flip a white pair of dice,
In the dark, long after the joint closes?

recently played

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Friday, July 11, 2008
Monitor Mix had an interesting post about the shuffle/random function of the iPod a couple of weeks ago. I agree that using the shuffle function on the whole library is rarely satisfying, but I LOVE shuffling selected playlists. The one I use the most often is a "happy" playlist I started a couple of years ago when I was feeling sad. In the beginning I had to vet the songs carefully, because a stealth sad (or upsetting in some way) song could literally ruin my day. (I know, I know. I'm a sensitive delicate flower.) Thankfully, I'm feeling much better now and can tolerate sadness or sarcasm without taking it (quite so) personally. All that being said, the bedrock of this playlist (the one I listen to 90% of the time when I go walking) is made of songs that I love (that make me happy) for various reasons.

I have a whole PLAN to build a new playlist on my shuffle because it's smaller and the battery lasts longer. (My ipod is ancient as these things go.) Anyway, I know it sounds like a minor thing, but I'm all excited by the prospect of creating a NEW list, even though it will have many of the songs that the old one does. I think it needs to be longer, and I plan to be a little quicker adding and deleting things. (It was a big hassle with my old computer, but that's no loner an issue.)

So, since I haven't done it in a long time (and who doesn't love a list?), here are some songs I've heard on shuffle lately:

Campus -- Rostam Batmanglij: Fluxblog had this a while back, and I really like it. This is (according to the internet) an early, pre-Vampire Weekend version of the song. I'm surprised by how much I like it, since my experience with Vampire Weekend thus far has been either indifference or a tremendous urge to violence. I love the way this orchestral arrangement sounds; it's beautiful! I am neither bored nor do I wish to punch anyone in the head. Perhaps this seems like a strange rubric for success, but it works for me.

Grass Skirt -- All Girl Summer Fun Band: This is not particularly deep or thoughtful, but it's summertime and sometimes I just want to sing "it's green and it's itchy, but I don't mind/ when it's swishing through the breeze it feels so fine/ I've got my bikini top it's orange and red/ I'm a coconut princess and I'm gonna knock you dead/ in my grass skirt (grass skirt!) grass skirt (grass skirt!)"

It's Alright, Baby -- Komeda: I love this song -- it sounds to me like they're beaming down advice and assurances from another planet. They have the benefit of Big Picture Vision. These Swedish aliens are correct: it is a crazy world, it's a bit absurd. But it's alright. Woo Hoo.

"Woo Hoo It's alright, baby

It's a crazy world, it's a bit absurd

Woo Hoo It's alright, sugar

It's a crazy world, it's a bit absurd

Woo Hoo It's alright, honey

It's a crazy world, it's a bit absurd

Woo Hoo It's alright, it's OK

It- is- so- crazy"

Trouble In Mind -- Sam Cooke: This is one of the best "I'm feeling bad right now, I'll probably feel better later, but right now it's bad and that's just the way it is" songs. It acknowledges the blue "I got that trouble in mind, that's true/ I have almost lost my mind" but also that this is transitory "you know that I'm blue/ but I won't be blue always/ Yes, the sun gonna shine,/ in my back door someday" He's got a great voice for making you feel the sad, but also to feel the sun that's on its way.

Spanish Harlem Incident -- Bob Dylan: This always sounds like a hot weather song to me. Hot summer in the city. "Gypsy gal, the hands of Harlem/ Cannot hold you to its heat./ Your temperature's too hot for taming,/ your flaming feet burn up the street." It's full of gypsy exoticism, which (like the hula girl picture above) is kind of troubling, (more accurately I like it, but worry that liking it is somehow insensitive) but at the same time he makes good use of that exoticism as a foil for his own self-questioning. "Let me know, babe, about my fortune/ Down along my restless palms." (restless palms! So great.) It could all be a poetic come on, or maybe just narcissism, "I been wond'rin' all about me/ ever since I seen you there." -- it's probably both and more. (restless palms! flaming feet!) "You have slayed me, you have made me,/ I got to laugh halfways off my heels./ I got to know, babe, will you surround me./So I can know if I'm really real."

Soul Finger -- The Bar Kays This is one of those brassy bassy songs that DEFIES YOU to remain grouchy. I can't do it! For 2.5 minutes it convinces me that everyone in the world could be having a good time if only they'd listen to this song. SOUL FINGER!

Strawberry Swing -- Coldplay: I neither hate nor love Coldplay. There are a few songs that I think are really pretty, but I don't go out of my way to expose myself to more. I went to bed before their segment on The Daily Show, for example. But then Said the Gramophone had this song, so I decided to try it. I'm glad I did! It's light, sparkling, undemanding -- like slightly carbonated strawberry lemonade. I enjoy hearing it, but I still wouldn't stay up to watch them, even on the Colbert Report.

hypnotist collector

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Thursday, July 10, 2008
management cannot be held liable

I have been riding this weirdly growing bubble of melancholy of late. I think I figured out the core of it this morning. (I love figuring out the core of it!) The problem goes like this -- I will think that I have a grip on whatever the issue may be, but of course, I don't. Since I think I do, I get more and more agitated by the fact that I'm agitated. (I shouldn't be troubled, I have a grip, after all!) It's a self-feeding cycle of recursive ridiculousness on my part.

In this instance I thought I had things so well in hand, I really knew what was what! Well in hand = Victorian Lady Adventurer who has taken the issue, folded it neatly (like a flag), wrapped it carefully in tissue, put it in a box of just the right size, covered the box with brown paper and tied it with string (either jute or white string, I'm flexible) and filed it appropriately. In my mind, this would be at an establishment which specializes in storing the troubles of Victorian Lady Adventurers. I would hand the box to the clerk (pronounced clark, because of course we're in England) who says "very well, miss" and takes it from me, affixes some sort of cool looking tag with an alpha numeric code stamped on it, and files it somewhere neatly in back. (probably behind cases and cases of mustache wax, since this establishment has to keep a cover (barbershop supplies!) lest the troubles of Victorian Lady Adventurers are used in blackmailing schemes by disgruntled foiled villains.) I'd then turn to my companion and say "we'd best get back to the museum before they open the sarcophagus," and we'd head out of the dim room into the bright day where I would take great pleasure in everything, particularly thwapping people who deserve it (pickpockets, master forgers, etc.) over the head with my parasol. (and then somehow it turns all Mod and I've got a scooter and go-go boots, but I digress.)

But today I realized that I do not have it well in hand. It's not neatly wrapped and labeled behind cases of mustache wax, it's all over the floor! and it isn't something that folds neatly (like a flag) but is instead blobby, difficult to handle and of irregular size (a cross between flubber and Oprah's little red wagon of fat). It has never been contained, but I did throw some newspaper over it so I wouldn't have to look at it. I know this sounds gross and like bad news, but once I figured it out, I felt a lot better. I mean, the trouble's still there, but somehow saying "I see you!" makes it less difficult. I SEE YOU.

And now that I've solved my pressing mental problems, some notes from the park. (where I figured out my pressing mental problem!)
a few things seen today:

+++ crows doing their crow thing. Their crow thing often involves giving me an earful, but I figure it's a friendly earful. ( I can generate quite enough trouble on my own with out having to borrow it from CROWS.) Oh! this reminds me, there is one crow that loves to chase dogs. It's pretty hilarious. The dogs either love it or hate it. The crow doesn't care.

+++ Hummingbird giving the business to a crow. COMEDY GOLD! The butterflies are bigger than the tiny hummingbirds, but the crow was listening. (maybe they were gossiping about the squirrels, or the guy who always leaves 1/4 bottle of fancy microbrew on the end of a tree branch.)

+++ Albino swallowtail butterfly. I'm sure it wasn't really an albino because it had black markings, but instead of being yellowy-orange like they usually are, it was black and white.

+++ kung-fu wallflower -- there was a tall, skinny girl dressed mostly in black, but it wasn't black for chicness or slenderness, but black for maximum invisibility. Nothing flashy, the thing that stood out the most about her was how she barely seemed to be there. I saw her walking on the path, but figured she was just cutting through the park as a shortcut. The next time I saw her she was doing a little stretching, a few minutes later she was slicing up the air with practiced precision. It made me really happy, for some reason.

how do you feel?

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Other Beatle: How do you feel?

Ringo: With me hands, usually.

(Beatle quotes approximate! Please recall that lame puns are 125% funnier with Liverpool accent, 200% funnier when said by a Beatle, and 500% funnier when said by Ringo.That's just the way it is.)

I thought today was going to be the kind of day where I would intersperse reading on the patio with crossing off items on my to-do list (first item: make list!) but it wasn't to be: I got called into work -- but it was okay! I was there just the right amount of time, it was air conditioned (hot today) and they called me, which is always nice.

ANYWAY. I have too many DVDs out from the library. The limit on DVDs* is 15 -- usually it's not a problem, but all these great foreign movies that I want to watch keep crossing my path at work. I drag them home, and they LANGUISH while I wait and wait until finally I can't renew them anymore, make myself sit down and watch them, and then think "why did I wait so long?!?" I do this all the time!! Anyway, I have to get moving on some of these because Lubitsch's The Love Parade is waiting for me and something has to go back. So tonight I watched Help! (which I realize is not in a foreign language, but shut up! it's hot outside and I can't read subtitles effectively when I have to get up every 10 minutes for a new popsicle, okay?) I will have more to say about this later, but it featured a Beatle song I hadn't heard/thought of in a long time. (crucial youtube video below:)

According to Wikipedia, this song was "John doing Dylan." I quite like it. And the video (from the movie) is classic. (Ignore Leo McKern with a gigantic styrofoam manhole cover on his head... if you can.) I love how they reinforce their Beatle (Boy Band) Personalities in this segment: Thinky Acoustic Dylan John in front of the library, shy but sly flirty George, cheeky flirty Paul, and of course RINGO in the bed cave with a tambourine! (I knew I wasn't the only one who kept a tambourine under my pillow!!) In mid-century modern news, I love the sideboard in the scene with the lawn-mowing hobo-hippie who plays the flute/clarinet/woodwind of some sort. (in fact, I think I've seen most of this furniture in the Design Within Reach catalog.)

Book News: I didn't have a chance to get very far (YET) due to the working today and all, but from the first 12 pages of Lynda Barry's What It Is (Powell's, library), I am already willing to call it one of the best books I've read all year. If you are interested in writing, visual art, or really creativity of any kind do yourself a favor and get your hands on this book right away. I bonded with it before I opened it (from the cover!) but I knew it was going to be great by the time I read this: " The thing I call 'my mind' seems to be kind of like a landlord that doesn't really know its tenants. (...) Who is playing that music? That song I said is 'stuck' in my head? Which apartment are they in?"

Other Summer Reading News: I have a TON of short stories arriving on my doorstep and already here. I guess I'd better get busy. I have also decided that I'm having an Ephronathon this summer. I don't know why, but it just popped into my head not that long ago that I've really enjoyed everything I've ever read by Nora Ephron, so maybe I should read MORE of it. yeah! Plus, I really enjoy saying "Ephronathon."

Okay. this was going to have more, but I will save it for another post.

*library limits for our system are as follows: total items: 150 (very generous!), 15 CDs, 15 DVDs. I think the limits on media used to be higher (or not at all) but people (ahem) were hoarding things. The limits keep stuff circulating, which is the whole point.

a musical salute

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Friday, July 04, 2008

there's something about a singing penguin in a periwig that says AMERICA, wouldn't you agree?

So far my big plans for the 4th have included one (soon to be two) bouts of concentrated Sgt. Pepper cleaning (the CD is only 39 minutes long. I clean like my hair is on fire the whole time that it plays and then I can quit -- it's surprisingly effective). I plan to follow this up with sewing (hooray! I am zooming through my pile of projects, which is nice for a change), and fireworks as long as it doesn't rain. If it does rain, I will probably skip them. The great thing about being at this particular latitude is that I don't have to decide until about 9pm!

In other news, I just watched The Great McGinty and have decided that it would be a great double feature with Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Between them you get a nice mix of earnest optimism and breezy cynical corruption -- two sides of the American political coin, and I think good to keep in mind as we barrel into election season.

hail, ceasar!

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008
I'm sure you knew that July was named for Julius Ceasar, or more likely he named it for himself because with his job he could do stuff like that. It's not like anyone was going to say "Hey, Julius, don't you think that's a little presumptuous?" due to his raging ambition and kinda hot temper and ability to have people killed without much effort. Regardless of how tiresome it probably was to be in Ceasar's entourage ("OMG. what do you think he'll name after himself today?"), July is one of my favorite months, and this year is shaping up to be a good one. Why? Many reasons! Not least of which is Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog by Joss Whedon, the first installment of which arrives on my birthday. Hee hee hee! Or I guess Mwahhaha! is more appropriate. This was conceived of during the writer's strike, read the link above for more (hilarious) details. According to Joss, this is "A supervillain musical, of which, as we all know, there are far too few." Sounds good to me.

happy, July!

(July 1st is also James Cain's birthday! Why not watch Double Indemnity in his honor? I know he didn't write the screenplay, but he wrote the novella and besides... Barbara Stanwyk in a cheap blonde wig!!)

(I did not realize that July and April always start on the same day of the week! Is that really true? It was true this year, but it sounds like crazy made-up Wikipedia science...)

Dr. Horrible teaser below:

Teaser from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.