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happy halloween!

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Friday, October 31, 2008

For some bah humbug reason (I'm not sure which one), I wasn't going to carve any pumpkins this year -- but then around 3pm I was OVERWHELMED with the need to make a jack o'lantern, so I ran around and found some pumpkins, came home and made three.


I'm a traditionalist. I love looking at the beautiful and/or elaborate pumpkins out there, but when it comes time to make my own I like triangle eyes and a wide gappy grin. They're so jaunty. (and easy!)

scary witch

Happy Halloween from the 70s! I'm pretty sure that this was taken just prior to going out trick or treating, and I'm similarly sure that the cat was not too thrilled with the whole program. (This is a picture of a picture, since I couldn't find the original. My dad used to take a lot of b/w photos and developed his own film/photos.) I only recently saw a color photo of this costume -- my face was green and the yarn trim on the cape was ORANGE -- mom always made great halloween costumes for me and my sister.

One of the trick or treaters tonight was in a homemade pirate costume. She had a drawn-on eye patch and a scimitar made from cardboard and aluminum foil. MY FAVORITE! She was only about four, but sang the whole trick or treat song (although her mom had to prompt her to get started). Her mom was dressed as a hippie in a caftan with a Make Peace not War sign and a painted daisy on her cheek, the pirate's dad was also dressed as a pirate, but he had a baby strapped to his chest which just made it funny.

In short, I love halloween, I'm sorry that I almost let it go by without doing ANYTHING I solemnly vow that next year I will get with the program earlier. But better late than never!

Here are a couple of halloween videos -- the first one is a recitation of The Raven by Christopher Walken, with lovely creepy illustrations by Gustav Dore. (via: Bookshelves of Doom)

and then this silly/funny robot horror film from the Obama campaign.

write with invisible ink

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Thursday, October 30, 2008
pink ink

Here is the crazy truth: I am weirdly optimistic right now. Not just about election things (knock wood), but about LIFE IN GENERAL. I'm digging this sensation, but it is totally surprising to me! On paper, I should either be really depressed or blithely unconcerned (depending on if I'm wearing my WOE! or woah! glasses), but instead I feel sort of blithely concerned. It's not all rose petals and baklava, but it's not hair shirts and tofurkey jerky either. (due respect to tofurkey jerky lovers, but it gives me a terrible rash.)

My Free Will Astrology horoscope this week hit me in just the right spot -- particularly the part about the person I'll be in five years. Normally I think that kind of speculation is not particularly useful, but right now it strikes me as very creative: the birth of something bigger and better than I previously allowed myself to imagine.

"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past," said Thomas Jefferson. It might feel a bit unnatural to live as if that were your motto, Cancerian, but I hope you'll try it for a while. Here's the experiment I propose: Whenever you have a spare moment, visualize a pleasurable and interesting scene you would like to create for yourself in the future. If a fearful image pops into your mind as you do that, imagine yourself rolling that image up into a ball and throwing it into a roaring fire. Meanwhile, any time your attention begins to wander off in the direction of the old days and old ways, pounce on it and redirect it into a vision of a fulfillment to come. Halloween costume suggestion: the person you'll be five years from now.

A note about the invisible ink in the photo: it totally works! I went through a brief glass pen obsession phase and saw the invisible ink at the art supply store... so of course I had to get some because HOW COULD I NOT?! I can't remember if this ink fades again once it cools off. I think it does. I hope it does, because that is, of course, way cooler. I will have to dig out a glass pen and give it a test.

status report

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008
just a quarter!

My pity party is mostly over! My brain has (thankfully) moved into "well, how about this?" stage and out of the melodramatic metaphors for my failures and disappointments stage. It's just as well I wasn't blogging during the MMFMFaDS, since most of those were bulwer-lyton worthy. (NYQUIL, I kid you not. I was pleased with it, which is even worse!)

More soon -- in the interim, here's an exciting high tide video I took with my little pocket camera at the beach. (this was with stairs safely behind me. I could have taken a much more dramatic and exciting video when I was stranded on some rocks due to critical miscalculations about how fast the ocean moves (FAST) -- but I was flapping around too much to turn my camera on.)

whipping around, briefly up briefly down

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tonight I did the smartest thing I've done in a week -- I took an actual pill designed for actual migraines to treat the headache that had spread to all muscles in my upper body. I'm still weirdly clenchy, but my headache's gone! Anyway. I got good news/ bad news about my job, which has lead to a bumpy 24 hours. More on that later -- I just got rid of the headache and don't want to push my luck.

and now, some pictures so this isn't quite so short:

chestunt time again

Last year someone made my fall by leaving perfectly centered chestnuts on top of all the pillars surrounding the off-leash dog area of the park. They're back! it made me so happy to see these, I can't even tell you. In not making my fall news, someone broke off one of the crucial pieces of bark that I was using to support leaf-bouquets in my tree. Maybe it wasn't deliberate, maybe it just fell off (although I don't think so) -- at any rate, the chestnuts made up for it. Breaking off that bark has forced me to expand my program, so if whoever (and maybe it was some really fat delinquent squirrel and not someone with malicious intent) was hoping I'd quit, they are out of luck.

I'm not really sure what this is about. Arboreal potluck after dark? Would a tree use a fork? I don't know. Some things we are not meant to know.

let's discover puppets
one of the many books I did not buy at the Friends of the Library book sale a couple of weekends ago.

presidents and pumpkin heads

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Monday, October 20, 2008
OCTOBER!!! (In my mind, I say this like Colbert shaking his fist with impotent rage at Barry Manilow or one of his other fake enemies.) OCTOBER, we meet again. (maybe it's not Colbert, maybe it's Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery talking to Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek. But I digress.) Actually, I really like October; it contains both my sister's birthday and Halloween. I'm just wigging out because work is so slow this month -- this gives me time to construct elaborate doomsday scenarios regarding my future employment. I'm really good at this -- so good that I often don't notice I'm doing it until I get to some really baroque bit of torment like: and then they REVOKE my library card forever and I have to go rogue like James Bond that one time in the one with Ursula Andress as a sexy librarian who SCUBA dives called Overdue For Death.

I'm sure it will all sort itself out -- september was really busy which makes october seem even slower -- but in the meantime I've got all this nervous energy (no doubt fueled by this addictive mini-series on every station called Election 08) and too much time to think about it. I've been working on projects, which helps. Unfortunately, I've been working on many of them with CNN playing in the background. So now I've got all this nervous energy AND an overwhelming desire to punch Lou Dobbs until my arm gets tired. I'm not a violent person, there's just something about seeing those weird ceramic teeth gleaming from his deflated pumpkin head.... He shouts and scowls at anyone who doesn't adhere to his personal talking points and cranks on and on about his straw man polls and arguments. He makes Wolf Blitzer look reasonable, and that takes some doing. It is truly the stuff of nightmares, but he HYPNOTIZES ME like a cobra.

HOWEVER, every now and then I get a little perspective and remember that politics in this country have always always crazy and maddening, yet interesting. We've always been a nation of hopeful weirdos, do-gooders, malcontents and willful obstructionists (among other things). Change is born from difficult times, which bodes well for a big change soon. (glass half full, silver lining, it's always darkest before dawn... am I missing any?)
So, speaking of politics and history, here are a few presidential things I've come across lately:

abraham lincoln

1. I love this portrait of Lincoln ("Lincoln knew who he was, even though he would get depressed. how could he not?" ) from Maira Kalman's wonderful book The Principles of Uncertainty. Lincoln had a lot on his plate. I wonder what more he would have gone on to do if he hadn't been assassinated.

2. This is from a while ago, but's 5 Most Badass Presidents of All-Time always makes me laugh -- mostly because I did not have to live under the administration any of these guys. (Andrew Jackson really was, as they say, "a fucking lunatic.")

Andrew Jackson, Most Badass Quote: "I have only two regrets: I didn't shoot Henry Clay and I didn't hang John C. Calhoun."
That's right. In a life rich with murdering people for little-to-no reason, Jackson's only regret was that he didn't kill quite enough people. People like Calhoun who, it should be noted, was Jackson's vice president.

3. I am completely infatuated with this forty-four presidents zine photoset on flickr. If you haven't seen it already, you should go look right away. I love that the text is a combination of presidential fact, flights of fancy and morrissey lyrics. I had a hard time choosing which images to post here. If you (like me) need to hold it in your grubby hands, you can buy a copy from the author's etsy shop here. It's very reasonably priced. There is a second part to Calvin Coolidge (not every president gets two pages), that flies off in a completely unexpected direction, so be sure to look for it. I was so charmed by both halves. Until now I've always considered Coolidge to be one of the most boring presidents.

I thought the Woodrow Wilson (part 1 above, part 2 below) was a good sample of the drawing style AND a window into how stressful the presidency can be for a thoughtful person. (okay, I also loved that he was "checking my google," because if he could have, I'm sure he would have.)

Mary Blair or Bust

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Saturday, October 18, 2008
[unrelated side note: the new iTunes visualizer looks like the big bang!! at least it does for Ella Fitzgerald. Maybe it's responding to the big band.]

[related side note: isn't this picture great? The artist at work. I love her Peggy Olsen hairdo! Although in fairness, when Mary Blair had her Peggy Olsen hairdo it was still stylish.]

I've long been an admirer of the work of Mary Blair, but I didn't know I was. Her particular colorful, optimistic style was familiar, but I didn't realize it was all work of one of the pioneering women of twentieth century illustration. I think it was a post on boing boing around a year ago about an exhibition of her work in San Francisco that connected the dots for me. She illustrated many children's books in the 50's, (some of them have never been out of print), but I know her look best from the work she did with Disney. She's responsible for the look of It's A Small World (I don't think she wrote the song, so SHUT UP), and also did the concept art for the animated versions Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland. (!!!, ??, !!) I'd clicked a few links and registered that I liked it, but didn't think too much more about it until I was emptying the book drop at work one day and came across the 2007 children's picture book for Cinderella, which uses her original concept art to illustrate the story. (this is one of the books I've had checked out for months.) What finally got me moving with this post is that just the other day I found the Blair version of Alice in Wonderland.

Cinderella, retold by Cynthia Rylant: The Disney Cinderella movie is one I've had a sentimental attachment to for a long time. I like the Cinderella story in general (less bloody than Snow White, yet justice is served), and I have a particular fondness for the animated feature. This is a movie that my dad took me to one day when I was sent home sick from school -- I've considered that this entire memory might be apocryphal, but I don't think so. It's the only way I can make sense of the fact that I am very fond of the movie despite there being a stuttering mouse named Gus Gus who is a part time tailor yet can't be bothered to make himself some pants. (I know, I know! Disney is a pants-free zone if you're a talking animal.)

The Rylant retelling is really stripped down -- this version is for young children, so the fact that Prince Charming is a silver-spoon himbo with a foot fetish and extreme parental pressure to get married RIGHT NOW isn't particularly emphasized. Mainly, she reiterates that "this is a story about love." (and MAGIC FREAKING PUMPKINS.) The paintings are so lovely and lively! In the animated feature things were smoothed and slightly subdued, but this is full of snappy, bouncing energy. Bright splashes of color and a great sense of movement suggest that Things Are Happening.

The illustrations and carefully chosen words get at the heart of the story -- to Cinderella's longing for love, for acceptance, for family, for a dress not made by birds and rats. If you are a Cinderella purist this might make you tear out your hair and heat up the iron shoes for your wicked stepmother to dance to her demise at your wedding (oh wait, that was Snow White, right? or both? Does anyone meet a grisly end in Cinderella?), but it's not a bad retelling. These stories can take a lot of stretching and contracting. Plus, the art is SO FUN, I promise.

Alice in Wonderland retold by Jon Scieszka: I found this one waiting on a truck to be shelved at work the other day. Hooray! I have less of an emotional attachment to the Disney Alice (I'm crazy about the Tenniel illustrations of the original), but once again the Mary Blair concept art is so zingy, bright, playful and fun it's well worth laying your eyes on. This adaptation seemed considerably more abridged to me than Cinderella, perhaps because the Alice story has a single author and has not been as worn down by time; it's not yet as malleable. By necessity (could you read the whole thing aloud 3x before bedtime?) there are a lot of things left out or elided.

The tack he takes to make this story appealing to very young children is by drawing a comparison between the young reader and Alice. She was very curious and sensible, and did what you,the very curious and sensible young child reading the book would do. (take drugs and follow strangers around! Get sassy with someone who has been yelling "OFF WITH THEIR HEAD" within earshot! okay, maybe that wasn't the point he was making.) ANYWAY. I certainly enjoyed this a great deal and plan to add both books to my own personal library. I hope Disney releases a Mary Blair Peter Pan volume soon!

For more Mary Blair fun and information, please consider visiting these links:

This Flickr set has many images from both of these projects, plus a whole lot more

Read about Mary Blair's disney career on her Disney Legend page.

Cartoon Modern is a wonderful resource and just plain interesting.

Animation Backgrounds is such fun to look at! They have many Mary Blair inspired images from both Cinderella and Alice.

crafty cat familiar

| On
Monday, October 13, 2008
he's waiting for me
Tonight while I was dragging the recycling bin up to the street, I noticed two things -- 1) the full moon (v. lovely with a rainbow around it and everything, which probably means trouble for some sailor out there*), and 2) helpful Busby the cat. He thinks running out just far enough ahead of me so he has room (and time) to throw his body down on the pavement to trick me into petting him is of paramount importance. It works about 50% of the time, which is why he keeps doing it, I guess.

Busby LOVES to do crafts! Since it's october and the moon is full and he's a cat, it made me consider that perhaps he's my crafty familiar. Of course I'm not a witch, (although my sister and I were denounced as witches by a crazy woman** in Enterprise, Oregon earlier this year. I can't believe I didn't mention it before!!), and a quick google reveals that familiars are supposed to be helpful, which would be a REALLY GENEROUS assessment of Busby's craft aptitude. He sure does enjoy it though, and I wouldn't trade his unhelpful helpfulness for some actually helpful yarn winding imp. This picture is from a week ago or so when I was working on sewing little patches on a vintage quilt I've been mending. He loves hand sewing best of all, with the thread moving all the time and the needle flashing. (In addition to chasing thread, I think he likes the cheap thrill of potential needle danger.) Tonight I was going through a bunch of ancient yarn because I have become obsessed with the idea of making a babette blanket. Busby was literally in the middle of it all, slapping and chewing at yarn while I tried to untangle it. There is nothing to do but laugh!

The babette blanket looks so beautiful in the picture because it's made out of lovely new soft merino wool. The one I attempt will be an insane hodge podge of undetermined fibers with added cat spit (I will wash it!), but I can't help but think that making it my way will be pretty fun and fulfill my desire to use what I have, so I'm not too worried. Who knows when I'll get to it though -- I'm in a project adding mode, where my new project is finding future projects rather than actually working on anything.

In other news, I know it's probably because my knowledge of economics is sketchy at best, but isn't it bizarre that the entire global economy seems to hinge on something as intangible as the mood of traders on the floor? I keep thinking of Minority Report with those whatdoyoucallthems that were soaking in a big vat of amniotic goo, and they had to be kept calm all the time so they could keep doing their magic voodoo. I keep hearing about "soothing the market" and it just sounds like science fiction, or maybe a nature program where the traders are spooked and have scattered across the veldt and Henry Paulson is trying to calm them back to their usual grazing patterns by emptying huge bags of money from a helicopter.

*it's interesting to me that I'm always hedging my bets against these little things that I find beautiful (geese, moons, etc.), like I feel the need to be "balanced" and give equal time. I think it's from a basic desire not to offend, or to be sensitive that what's good for me might be bad for someone else. It's coming from a good place (I think), but it makes me ask the question: why am I so quick to step on my own pleasure? So next time I'll try the "it's good" without qualifying that it's good for ME and see if I feel terrible or not. There's got to be a middle way.

** not a euphemism! She was shouting anti-witch scripture across the street at us from a bench in front of a building (which I presume was full of crazy people. Or maybe witchsmeller pursuivants.)

song about the weather

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Friday, October 10, 2008
I saw more canada geese flying today! Half a dozen, flying low and loud right over my head. As usual, I heard them long before I saw them. They are so graceful in the air, which is so incongruous with that HONKING. But the incongruity makes me love them even more.

I thing Bloglines is dying. My feeds are slowly, one by one, getting those little red exclamation marks that mean they're not updating, and the support forum is nothing but cialis spam. BOO. So I moved everything over to google reader, and that's actually going okay! WOO. I just did it tonight, and even for change averse me it wasn't so bad. I had a couple of feeds in google reader from ages ago that I used to test it out way back when, but never made the switch because all my stuff was at bloglines. I lost all of my "saved new" posts, but how many of those did I really need to save? Probably not that many. Anyway -- it was a fairly painless transition, and google reader is much nicer in a lot of ways. (although I was just using plain old bloglines, not the beta, which could have been solid gold and serving caviar for all I know.) Technology!(shakes fist at sky in manner of cranky people the world over.)

In television news, I watched and quite enjoyed Life on Mars tonight. Woo! Harvey Keitel as a nyc cop in the 70's beating the crap out of people -- what's not to love? I'm always interested in these kind of kinda sorta "time travel, or am I crazy?" stories. (the main guy, played by Jason O'Mara, is a 2008 cop who gets bonked on the head or something and ends up in 1973. He thinks he's crazy! But I think he's cute.) This is a remake of a BBC series, which I have not seen. I'll definitely be watching it next week to see how it progresses. For all my looking forward to Pushing Daisies, I've yet to see either of the two new episodes! But I will. Dirty Sexy Money was good and soapy/trashy, although I miss the girl twin. Brian Darling is my new favorite. He's so interesting -- a wonderful example of someone who is unpleasant yet sympathetic. (jealous, petty, vengeful in ways that are only occasionally successful, loyal, sarcastic, yet sometimes surprisingly generous.)

october weather

(back to the weather, and pictures) The weather is shifting all around, which I guess is typical for the time of year, but still feels like some kind of trick. When I left for the park this morning, it was overcast but not raining.

october weather

Then there was some blue sky! Most of the trees are still green, but as you can see some are red already.

october weather

I wish the green looked as green in this picture as it did in reality. I suppose I could sweeten the color, but that seems like a lot of work. You'll just have to take my word for it. I loved how these delicate greener than they look leaves contrasted against the bright but grey sky.

october weather

This was my favorite picture today. Crazy clouds!

october weather

But still some sun. Shortly after I got home it started raining and pretty much stayed raining the rest of the day.
More exciting weather reports as conditions warrant. Now I'm going to go bonk myself on the head and Time Travel/Or Is She Crazy? to the land of sleep.

phrases of which I have tired

| On
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
yee haw!

an Incomplete List:

red meat

main street/ wall street

game changer

my friends (said with that grating angry/whiny tone)

you betcha (wink, gun finger)

maverick/ team of mavericks/ just a coupla mavericks: (what is the collective noun for maverick? a raft of mavericks? herd? parliament? swarm? grist? ostentation? siege? (I think it's a siege!) destruction? skulk? hurtle? implausibility? mustering? sneak? prickle? bloat?)

colorful yet

| On
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
early fall mosaic

Even though summer is officially over and the earth has tipped to "rainy in portland" season, there is still a lot of color to be found. I'm trying this crazy thing where I appreciate what I've got right now instead of living in the imagined future or idealized past. (I'm TRYING, but not always successful. Like always.) These pictures are all from the last two weeks or so.

that ain't all, I lost my mind in oregon

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Monday, October 06, 2008

I heard Portland, Oregon by Loretta Lynn on my walk this morning and wondered if there was a video to be found -- lo and behold, there is! I love this song. I love how they attempted to get a local feel by flashing video of the city at the beginning (a couple shots have me going "hmmmm, that looks more like Pittsburgh" but they're probably just from an unfamiliar angle); Jack White's respecting regional attire by wearing a plaid shirt, and country music goddess Loretta Lynn is in a peach prom/wedding dress with spangles. I've got at least FOUR of those! hee hee. Okay, not really. but how much would I love it if that was the local costume? I would love it x100 for the pure surreality of it. Riding your bicycle in the rain? Wear the silver prom dress with black spangles! mud/rain drop problem AVERTED. I bet there are even 100% post-consumer recycled sequins to be found if you look hard enough.

edit: I can't stop thinking about this now -- it would really liven things up in the Portland winter: two camps (ala Mad Men's Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? campaign)-- are you a Dolly or a Loretta? Gritty blue ridge mountain glamour prevails over goretex performance textile practicality! NEWS AT ELEVEN.

hello, lovely

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Saturday, October 04, 2008
It is raining! A lot! (a lot in this instance means I can SEE IT and HEAR IT, which is unlike the usual gently dripping grey skies we get from October to June.) This is not a complaint, but rather an observation. I don't know if it's because of the rain or because he thinks I need to hear it, but there is a bird in the tree right out my window reading me the riot act. I think it's either a crow or maybe a steller's jay, since they are the Birds Most Likely To (read me the riot act). Oh, good! now a squirrel is defending my honor. (or agreeing with the bird. Sometimes it's a definite advantage to not speak the language.)


Since it seems like all I do is bitch anymore, here are some things that have made me happy lately.

1. rainy day afternoon portents:

double rainbow 10.2

Thursday afternoon I had to run around and do some errands before crafty night/ debate night. Like many people, I've been stressed out about work things, personal things, and living in the world things; some days it's easy to know that this too shall pass, and other days it seems like I will be stuck in stress purgatory FOREVER. Anyway, I was running around on this drizzly day, picking up some stuff from the library and making some copies. (Craphound #7 makes for excellent debate night collaging, by the way.) During my errand travels I saw a yellow mini-cooper -- for as long as these have existed, they've served as a sort of hooray/good luck talisman for me. (I know! it's stupid, but it's true!!!) As I was driving to the grocery store to pick up some bread I saw a RAINBOW as big as the world -- a full side to side leprechaun pot of gold rainbow. By the time I got to the parking lot, it was a double rainbow and people were wandering around the pavement in the rain like they heard the rapture was about to happen or something. It was one of those times where strangers were saying "isn't it beautiful?" to each other. How often does that happen?? I stood out in the rain like a fool and snapped some pictures, including these. After that I was off to the park to pick up the CSA share. I realized I forgot the bag from last week, and the woman handing out the shares said I was "absolved" and I had two weeks (when the share ends) to return it. As I walked back to the car, I realized I'd been everywhere with my sweater on inside out. (I have heard that this is ALSO good luck, but maybe that rumor got started to keep people from being embarrassed about something that can't be undone.) Anyway. Rainbows are sure pretty.
double rainbow 10.2

2. Have you been listening to the weekly Fluxblog podcast? You should be! Fun, fun, fun.

3.Kelly Link not only has a new short story collection coming out called Pretty Monsters, but this collection is illustrated by Shaun Tan! AND, because she is awesome, her last collection, Magic For Beginners, is available for free download on her website. (particular favorite stories from that one: The Hortlack, Magic for Beginners, Stone Animals)

4. Improvements of things already existing: about two weeks ago I got a haircut that makes me believe I can solve important problems, and then I solved an important problem! (coincidence or causality???) I was working on my computer out on the patio (back in the days before the return of the rain), and I accidentally hit the brighten screen button. What a revelation! it was like getting a new computer!! Somehow I'd had it set about four clicks from THE DIMMEST and I wondered why it was hard to read. ha ha ha! Anyway. It's all fabulous now and my hair is no longer driving me crazy.

5. Elizabeth Peters has written a new Vicky Bliss novel!! I have a deep, abiding, cheese-loving affection for these books. I first read them at a very impressionable age and imprinted on that style of comic romantic suspense adventure. I have no idea how they'd hold up for me if I was reading them for the first time now, but as it is I cannot (but will somehow manage to) wait. Vicky is smart, beautiful, and has archaeological/art historical/ ass-kicking/romantical adventures -- you know, the kind where you maybe have to hide in some huge piece of furniture in a castle or a tomb and jump out and bonk someone on the head with an artifact and flee to safety, but you do it while being a wisecracking smart ass the whole time! Woo hoo!

6. encouraging graffiti at the park:
uplifting graffiti

7. My new sneakers:
with red trim

where is my robot butler?

| On
Thursday, October 02, 2008
(bookshelf, pre-dusting, obviously.)

I am sitting in a new orange chair! It's not actually new -- my sister gave it to me a while ago -- but I just today got around to parking it under my desk. It swivels! It has wheels! It is orange and white and chrome and looks not unlike a 60s mod creamsicle, if that creamsicle was an office chair. My previous orange chair (also a gift, also of pre-Ikea vintage) is vinyl and has a crack that turned into a tear that turned into visible foam! It needs to go to the Office for Vinyl Repair (when I am president, this will be a cabinet level position). Until then, the duties of that office will probably be carried out by Secretary Orange Duct Tape.

I was off today, and I spent a goodly portion of my day CLEANING. I am still offended that the cleaning I did a week ago (a month ago, whenever) did not last! The universe continues to defy my wishes on an almost daily basis. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, BUT NO. At least I have my orange chairs. And I have to admit that there is a certain satisfaction to be found in dusting and mopping the floor. I kind of like that part. It's the putting things away and washing dishes thing that drives me crazy. (It's the twenty first century! where is my robot butler???)

So, this morning I was out walking and I was thinking about Obama signs (as I walked past yard after yard with sign after sign), and how this year I haven't seen a single solitary McCain yard sign, and only one McCain bumpersticker. In 2004 I went by at least one or two Bush signs on my way to where I go. I know Portland is in a huge liberal bubble, and the part of town I live in even more so, but still! I'm far more likely to run into Ron Paul signs than McCain signs, to be honest. I generally don't talk politics at work because I go from branch to branch and it's TRICKY and I don't want to be the woman who can never go back to XYZ location because she got into a big fight with a co-worker over just how dumb IS Sarah Palin? (for the record, I think she's plenty dumb, but the last 8 years have shown that dumb is not a barrier to high office in this country.) So far it's not been a problem because someone else will bring it up first. (I like providing head nodding support when needed to backup some of the more outrageous (but true) assertions. The reaction will be "he called his wife WHAT??? No, he didn't! He couldn't have." then comes my part -- the sad head nod. "he totally did." or, depending on location "he totally did, that asshole.") In short, I generally spend my days in the company of people who are aligned with me politically. This is good for my day to day blood pressure, but it also means that it's easy to lose touch with what is reality for a lot of people.

Enter: my florida cousins! and Aunt and Uncle, who were out here visiting for a wedding. Tonight my mom, sister and I went out to dinner with them. One day I might type up the whole thing in grisly detail (although then I'd have to make stuff up because it didn't really get that grisly), but for now I'll say that political views... differed. It was all my fault that it even came up -- I made a joke about "suspending my campaign until we figure out a way to make this bill palatable to the american taxpayer," to which my cousin replied "at least McCain doesn't just vote present" which of course really grated my cheese since McCain has the worst attendance record in the senate, worse than the guy who was IN A COMA, etc. etc. etc. It got dialed back in time, and my cousin didn't want me to be angry "I'm just foolin'." He let me have some of his dessert. Anyway, he was joking around and said he told his friend that after 4 days in Portland (which, according to him, is like living in the middle of a Sierra Club meeting) he might switch his vote to Obama. I don't think he will, but what I found interesting is that my gut response was that it didn't matter -- Obama was going to win anyway. (In 2004 I probably would have tried to find a way to lock him in a closet until after the election.)