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kitchen sink news

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Monday, February 23, 2009
weather: It sounds like some kind of crazy chime-ringing, oh-auntie-em house-moving, tree-shaking windstorm outside my window right now, but I think it's fake. I mean, it sounds like all those things, but since it's dark I can't really tell. Maybe there is localized huffing and puffing trying to blow my house down and it's as still and smooth as glass down the street! (maybe I should have taken drugs for this headache sooner, before I got to Weather Conspiracy on the brain chemistry dial.)

library: My favorite patrons this week have been, without question, 8-10 yr. old girls checking out their Nancy Drews and likewise. There have been a lot of them for some reason. They either have their library card READY TO GO on top of their neatly stacked pile of books, or they have their library card in their WALLET, which is obviously a point of "I practically have credit cards!" pre-tweener pride. (although a few of these girls have gotten ready to check out and the card is not where they were expecting it! This is so traumatizing to their library going book toting crime solving organized selves -- I always try to find something to do on the computer so that they can regain composure and remember that it is in their backpack pocket and not in their wallet after all.) Anyway, I like it when kids come up to the counter to check out their own stuff. Some weeks it's kids with manga or comic books, but this week it's been a lot of the titian-haired girl detective.

I have a lot of favorite patron types, now that I think of it. I'm also very fond of: 1) kids who are obviously dragging their non-reader parent or guardian there so they can get their weekly library fix. (and the guardian who brings them)
2) anyone who checks out an actual book with pages! (although I must note to non-reader parents or guardians and others that the library is not just for books. But books are awesome.)
3) I also love it when someone who hasn't used the library in years, or maybe ever, comes in and gets a card and CHECKS STUFF OUT. I mean, that's what we're there for!

Working the way I do at various branches all over town, I can tell you that anecdotally at least, people from every socioeconomic stripe use the library. Everyone makes the same excuses when stuff is late, too! The wording may change (I've heard "I was in jail" and "I was in europe" and "I was on tour" as reasons why something was desperately late), but the basic human reasoning remains the same: I don't think I should have to pay. People are funny!

I have lost track of where I was going here. oh, right. Hugh Jackman.

The Oscars: I liked it! I like Hugh Jackman a lot already -- he's so charming and talented and seemingly comfortable with himself. He's in a lot of bad movies, but I can't even hold that against him. (Yes, I have seen Van Helsing!) So, if you take Hugh Jackman, to whom I am already fondly disposed, and you set him up with an opening number that he pretend designed in his pretend garage out of fake pretend garage props? I'm pretty much helpless. The resulting opening number made me laugh a lot, but it wouldn't have worked if he wasn't giving it his all. I also liked the reconfigured stage and how the acting awards were distributed. By having previous winners say something specific about the nominees (my favorite: Shirley MacLaine to Anne Hathaway), it seemed more like actors celebrating their work and less of a "who has the best 'happy to be nominated' face" reality show. I know it was a little rough in spots, but I think doing it this way added continuity and a sense of community, which makes total sense for such a collaborative medium.

Lest you think that I am predisposed to love everything that crosses my line of vision, I have to say... (and I'm surprised to find the thought in my brain)... I think I'm getting Beyonce fatigue! I love her, but it seems like she's everywhere. Everywhere is too many places! She's gorgeous, but what the hell was up with her red carpet dress? It looked like a spandex bordello curtain. And she really needs to lay off At Last. I mean come on! I know she sang it in Cadillac Records and it was therefore fair game and maybe even relevant, but she JUST sang it at the inauguration, and Etta James is still drawing breath! Let Etta James have her song, Beyonce! You've got enough, you don't need that too.

Anyway, I certainly understand people who miss Billy Crystal, but I don't think the days of that kind of Oscar telecast are coming back. It's time to move forward. While this year's broadcast was far from perfect, I think it was a long step in the right direction. After it was over, I thought "I want to watch more movies!" which certainly hasn't been the case the past few years.

Here's the youtube of that opening number. I agree with Heather Havrilesky -- it was "a scrappy, bizarre masterpiece!"

thursday's child has far to go

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Thursday, February 19, 2009
Today's a busy day and I have umpty million things still to do, but it's the good kind of busy. One of the things I've already crossed off my list is uploading some pictures, so I thought that I would post some here since spring is coming and these are even more or less timely as I took them yesterday, except for the one I took 5 days ago. (that was all one even longer sentence before I went nuts with the space bar, the backspace key, a handful of punctuation and random capital letters. YOU'RE WELCOME.)

park crocus

park crocus! These come up every year in a muddy under-tree part of the park, and it makes me so happy to see them! I mean, look at them -- not only are they beautiful, but it proves (yet again!) that I am not out of my mind for liking orange and purple together. Mother Nature agrees. If you don't, you can take it up with her.

new sugar maple

I hadn't been to the park in a few days, but yesterday I counted THREE new maples! Woo! They keep a good arboreal eye on the trees -- they're very well cared for. If one comes down due to disease or, I don't know, lightning or something, the tree is always replaced. Sugar maples make me happy because they offer great shade in the summer and beautiful leaves in the fall.

dog found!
This makes me think of that Fiery Furnaces song. Anyway -- I'm sorry that the dog was separated from her people, but she HAS BEEN FOUND! The sign was gone yesterday, so I'm assuming that they have all been happily reunited.


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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

in honor of Oregon's Sesquicentennial (which was on the 14th), I shall now provide a list of 150 facts previously unknown about... ME. Me and SASQUATCH! Me and sasquatch in OREGON. What? Wait. okay, not really.

I will tell you that Umpqua Dairy has released a special "Oregon 150" ice cream that is very tasty, flavored with honey, hazelnuts and huckleberries. I don't know if it's available elsewhere (I think it's a regional brand), but if you see it, try some!

West Coast Crafty has a lovely celebratory Sesquicentennial post here.

Oregon State University Archives have joined the Flickr Commons. They have some nifty New Deal (Civilian Conservation Corps) photos. The CCC was a jobs program that focused on a) providing work to those who didn't have any b) carrying out this "broad natural resource conservation program on national, state and municipal lands." (more details on the photos here.)

I love this photo! It pictures members of the CCC watching a movie while out on the job. It reminds me of Sullivan's Travels, although I know the circumstances are somewhat different. What movie do you suppose they're watching?

Eating donuts! Donuts so good that shirts refuse to stay on. Or maybe they were working too hard for shirts! "I don't need your stinking buttons, I'm working here! Well, I'm eating donuts right now, but I'll be working soon." Maybe the new guy doesn't get to wear a shirt until he's been hazed. Or something. Oh, the mystery!

this one is described as "felling snags along a fire line in the Siskiyou National Forest." There are some fantastic photos in the commons -- more international institutions are joining all the time to expand the commons and heighten exposure to these wonderful collections. Check them out!

magic beans

| On
Friday, February 13, 2009
round red timer
The other day I was driving around in my automobile and drove right by three or four guys clowning around and posing with a cardboard sign with MAGIC BEANS! written in magic marker. It was awesome and made me laugh for blocks and blocks. I have no idea what they were doing! I mean, they were taking pictures and fooling around in one of those long park strips that are found in some neighborhoods, but what were they doing??

It was probably band photos, but maybe it was some kind of Recession Amusement -- the kind of thing lots of people would do if it occurred to them. They were having fun! I think modern American culture has trained us to think nothing is worthwhile or fun unless you spend money on it, which is SO WRONG on so many levels. Maybe simple Magic Bean pleasures will become acceptable to practice in public again, now that the economy has cratered. (although it would have been nice to get there without global financial catastrophe.) Or maybe these guys were ex wall street types SELLING magic bean futures and derivatives at highly inflated prices! There will be congressional Magic Bean hearings! or maybe they sold their last cow for a sign that said "magic beans!" because they were totally high. Ooh, or they were members of a political vegan banjo band making a Jolly Green Giant statement about the folly of modern post-cardboard living. Will this mystery ever be solved? I hope not!

I meant to mention the magic bean mystery sooner, but I've been busy this week formulating my non-spreadsheet solution to personal getting things done and non-craziness. I think Elvis called this TCB, although non-crazy wasn't on his stated agenda and my TCB involves no rhinestone jumpsuits, plate-sized belt buckles, or an entourage of bodyguards with nicknames. I'm okay with this (and other) breaks from the Elvis model, however. So far, my solution features a glamorous kitchen timer (pictured), a calendar, foil star stickers and a whiteboard. I think it's working! I still have some catching up to do, but if I can get things to a certain level (I'm close) I think I'll be able to get a lot more done, which will lead to less agitated crazy, but not tamper with baseline 'that's just how I am' crazy. Woo! Then I'll have time to make my own Magic Beans! sign and not feel like I should be doing laundry. (random justification: iTunes just played me Eloise (Hang On In There) by William Bell.)

zooming crow

Today is friday the 13th, so here is an OMINOUS CROW. I took this last week, which is when I had a macro photo epiphany! (not in this photo, obviously.) I've had this camera for a while, but I'm still figuring out various settings -- this was the walk where I got my macro mojo back and can once again take innumerable but in focus pictures of things like raindrops. Mwahahaha! This seems truly evil and appropriate to mention in a paragraph devoted to Friday the 13th.

LOVE card

Found at the library this week:

fortune untethered from cookie, found in the bookdrop: Modify your thinking to handle new situations. At first, of course, I took this as a proclamation of DOOM, but then I got a grip and think it's good, if obvious advice -- especially for often oblivious to the obvious me.

card found in the lobby: (see photo above, blurry despite previous boasts of macro mojo.) This was on a counter where all the neighborhood announcements go, which somewhat lessens the delightful randomness of finding it on the ground or stuck on a telephone pole. It's for an art show -- I almost didn't take it, but decided I liked how the red, blue and gold looked together. I'm glad I did, because by the time I got back from lunch, the rest of the stack was gone! Lesson learned: ACT NOW.

found on the floor, near the door to the lobby: a vocabulary card!
on one side it says
1. die Liebe,--
2. lieb
3. sich verlieben (w. in, acc.)
4. beliebt

on the other side it says
to love; to like
1. the love
2. dear, beloved; agreeable, nice
3. fall in love (with)
4. popular

It occurred to me this morning that this might have been fished out of one of the language learning sets. I will check next time I go. But it made me smile to find it!

be careful how you frame the question.

I love taking pictures of books on shelves. This bright pink "the Answer is Always Yes" caught my eye at work. It's funny how certain titles jump out at me on different days. I know there's probably a rational explanation, like it's a new book and my mind registered that it was different. (It's in an area I walk by all the time.) Or maybe because it is bright, screaming pink. Who can fully understand the mysteries of the human brain?? I grabbed my camera on my break and took the picture and there you have it. I still feel majorly squirrelly and furtive taking pictures in the library, even though I know it's a-ok as long as I'm not disturbing anyone. Maybe it's more fun because I think I shouldn't do it? (THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS YES.)

a watcher scoffs at gravity

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Sunday, February 08, 2009
My Coraline movie experience: unhad, unknown, still a mystery, since it was SOLD OUT! Last night, and all 3 shows I'd be willing to go to today/tonight. So the new plan is to try some time during the week. I'm glad it's doing well, but dang! I wanted to see that movie already.

Dyeing Orange, an Oompa Loompa Story: No gloves = orange hands. Need I say more?

Ye Olde Tyme Televisionne: This afternoon was the quasi-monthly meeting of people with whom I watch Buffy. (we clearly need some kind clever name.) We're working our way through the entire series in order -- there are six of us, and all but one saw all or most of the series when it aired. One of us had never watched it, so we have a strict no-spoiler policy. (it's so funny -- there's always furious elbow jabbing, shushing, and laser-eyed looks if someone accidentally says something that might be interpreted as a spoiler, which is often more spoilery than whatever the innocently uttered comment was.) It's so fun to watch this way, and I'm not kidding!

Despite having seen all the episodes at least once, they still surprise me. Today was the day we watched Restless, which was the episode with the freaky First Slayer dream sequences that followed the official season 4 finale. This is one of my favorite episodes of the whole series!! It's trippy and funny and scary. It follows story logic AND dream logic (which are not traditionally compatible), yet is still true to each of the 4 main characters. It's so skillfully done! Each of their fears and strengths are on display. It was so visually beautiful, too. Sigh. Anyway, Giles (who was underutilized in season 4) has several stellar moments, including on the swingset with Spike ("Put your back into it -- a watcher scoffs at gravity!"), and his Exposition Song later on. Of course I also love Willow's Death of a Salesman anxiety dream, Xander's Apocalypse Now anxiety dream, Giles' She Doesn't Need Me anxiety dream, and Buffy's I Will Find You and Kick Your Ass, I Am My Own Person! dream. Oh, Buffy.

I love Buffy. I have loved other Joss Whedon shows, but I'm dreading Dollhouse. I will give it a fair chance; I hope I'm wrong with my misgivings -- but... I guess going from the strong but vulnerable Buffy Summers to the "I'll be whatever you want me to be because I'm programmed that way" Echo Nolastname doesn't seem like forward motion, you know? I know he plans to subvert the trope, but there is so much room for this to go spectacularly wrong. I love Eliza Dushku, I love Joss. I wish I felt better about this.

LOST: I'm still loving it! I think the smartest thing they ever did was give it an end date -- they were able to go WAY OUT THERE, but I don't think they're going to leave us hanging. Things are coming together. I'm also impressed with the way that the story is so different than it was in the first season, but the first season's stuff still (mostly) makes sense. We (and the Losties) had only partial understanding, which is not unlike life in general -- as understanding increases, things get more complicated. I enjoy the episodes with less Jack and Kate more than episodes with more Jack and Kate. Now that I think of it, Sawyer too. His Sarcasm In Need of a Shower routine is wearing a little thin with me. (I could change my mind.) Anyway, I love the time-travel aspect, I love that the show doesn't seem to be afraid of the crazy ideas. Those crazy ideas may not always work, but that they're willing to TRY means a lot to me. (doesn't that sound silly? But it's true! So many things are so careful, it's refreshing to watch something (especially on a major network!) that's a little reckless and willing to embrace big ideas. )

BONES: I enjoy this, but it seems more and more that they're just looking for excuses to put Bones and Booth in costumes/disguises. I generally enjoy it when they do (undercover at the carnival!), but I feel vaguely guilty about it. To me, this show has never really been about the procedural aspect of whatever body-droppin' criminal they're chasing; it's been about the team. However, they seem to be playing pretty fast and loose even with that (they have Bones in particular doing things that seem reaaally unlikely for someone of her established temperament, but people change, right? ha ha!). To be honest, I'm usually doing something else while this is on (reading the internet, crocheting, etc.) so perhaps I'm mistaken. I still love Sweets, even though he is their on staff Deus Ex Machina.

LIFE ON MARS: This is my favorite show this season!! (Pushing Daisies was my favorite, but it is sadly no more.) This is the show that I close my computer and just watch. I know that many fans of the original BBC show have not been won over by this remake, and I can understand that -- especially since I hear that the first several episodes were directly, almost word for word, from the original. (I haven't seen it yet, but will gladly watch it when dvds become available.) Once again, I like the time-travel stuff (and that it's as yet unexplained); I love that it's set in 1973 New York, which seems as wild as the frontier contrasted with set-in-the-present procedurals. It's got a rough and tumble energy that's lacking from a lot of other cop shows. I like all of the actors, I dunno... it just appeals to me on a lot of levels.

FRINGE: I mainly watch this not for Pacey (aka: Peter Bishop, although I Iike him) nor for Agent Dunham (she's got a great cop poker-face), nor for Daniels from the Wire (he should be in every show!), but for John Noble as Pacey's freaky, fragile, genius scientist dad, Walter Bishop.

BIG LOVE: This show is a weird one for me. I have to think about it a little bit before I can say much more. It is very irritating yet compelling -- I started watching and can't stop, but I can't really recommend it, either.

THE MENTALIST: I've only watched this a few times, but I love Simon Baker in it for a very simple reason: he smiles. He's not playing an idiot, he's a smart man with a complicated past, YET HE SMILES. This is so rare on TV! I think more men should smile on television, even when they're not in a sitcom, even when they have Secret Pain and a Troubled Past. I'm tired of all these grim-faced stoics.

On that note, I am tired in the completely prosaic sense and have to go to bed.

blue skies (not pictured)

| On
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Hello again. I'm having a Get Things Done February so far, and it's been great! I've been chipping away at some long-term stuff I've been dragging my feet on, and it's been very satisfying to at least make some progress. HOORAY! It's true what they say: the journey of a blah blah blah begins with starting.

Today is a lovely day with bright blue skies sugared with high wispy clouds. (I was in the park earlier and a little girl (I think it was a girl) said to her mother "is that the sun?!?" like she was seeing Big Bird perched in a tree or something equally unlikely, which I thought was funny although come on, kid! It's been sunny before. Recently, even!) It may snow tomorrow though. Or so THEY (international weather cabal) say. (who knows? I think they make things up with an elaborate dopplerized weather cootie-catcher.)

My plans for the remainder of today include dying stuff (hot pink and orange! wish me luck), and maybe probably going to see Coraline tonight. Yay! I want to see it in 3D, although I don't need another pair of 3D movie glasses collecting dust. (they are useless for 3D television events and 3D comic books! WTF??) They don't even give you a "bring your own glasses" discount! Maybe they'll have a glasses recycling bin, which seems like the very least they could do. ANYWAY, for a fun portlander-eye view of the Coraline premiere, might I direct you to the always instructive and entertaining West Coast Crafty. For a Gaiman-adjascent (also instructive and entertaining) account, please visit Kitty's Neverwear. Both have some great pictures of the sets brought to the after-party, and both seemed to have fun, which makes everything better in my eyes.

To make your own Coraline flower go here. Push all the buttons and pull all the levers! It's fun. I'm bummed because of all the flowers I made, this first one (my least favorite) was the only one I could save correctly. Let it be known that there were some really excellent purple and red ones (called Devil's Frill and Devil's Frolic, respectively) that I was unable to save for whatever reason. THE DEVIL, maybe? hmmm. I love old fashioned flower names -- they're all over the Banes and the Beards and the Frills and the Frolics.

Here are some grey-sky pictures from last sunday -- I was walking to my car (after 5) and it was still light-ish out! I love how everything is almost the same color.

evening walk
sky marbled with clouds and dusk and maybe marshmallows.

evening walk
curly branches. I can't remember what these look like with leaves on them.

evening walk
just a touch of pink to the west to indicate that THE SUN is going elsewhere for a while. (I swear, the touch of pink is there! Although maybe you need 3D glasses to see it.)


| On
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
pink stereo

February so far: the sun is shining, the birds are singing and spring is in the air. (although it may leave the air. You know how it is.) ANYWAY, I was reading around the internet and saw yet another iteration of the itunes song meme and decided that it was time to play along since I haven't done one in months.

I know it's silly and originally designed by 11 year olds for 11 year olds, but it's fun for everyone. I always seem to find things I haven't heard in ages or didn't even realize I had. I tried to keep my comments to a minimum, but was not always successful.

here are the instructions, followed by my results.

1. Put Your iTunes on Shuffle.

2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.

3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!

4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.

1. what do your friends think of you?
Girl Anachronism -- Dresden Dolls. (I would like striped stockings, but I think that's about where the similarities end. Just contemplating that level of chest-beating garment-rending LIFE DRAMA exhausts me, but I do admire the cabaret stylings!)

2. If someone says, "is this okay?" you say...
Tick Eats the Olives -- Devendra Banhart. (what I say to EVERYTHING, because it sounds like some kind of spy code. other person: "I understand the weather can be unpredictable this time of year." me: "tick eats the olives" handclaps ta-dah! the door to the speakeasy slides open, and we dance the charleston until sunup.) (but not to this song.)

3. How would you describe yourself?
Suffer For Fashion -- of Montreal. ("it's not supposed to happen like that")

4. what do you like in a guy/girl?
Shining Star -- Earth, Wind & Fire (Wheeeee! the lyrics are kinda woo woo space groovy, but the song makes me feel good. "words of wisdom: yes I can")

5 . how do you feel today?
When Your Mind's Made Up -- those Once people.

6. What is your life's purpose?
Kablerium vs. Obliviosity -- Helio Sequence. (obviously.)

7. what is your motto?
All Hands on the Bad One -- Sleater-Kinney. (I feel like I should embroider this on something.)

8. what do you think about very often?
Black Night -- Johnnie Morisette. (a-ha ha ha. "when will my troubles end?")

9. what is 2+2?
Be There -- Kelly Slusher.

10. what do you think of your best friend?
Polly Come Home -- Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

11. what do you think of the person you like?
Song For Myla Goldberg -- the Decemberists. (seraphim and seaweed swim)

12. what is your life story?
Hotel Song -- Regina Spektor. (hilarious! My evil twin must be getting up to some adventures she's neglecting to mention. this better not be on my credit card.)

13. what do you want to be when you grow up?
California Desert Party -- Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. (There's guacamole!)

14. what do you think of when you see the person you like?
Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole -- Martha Wainwright. (itunes is kind of a misanthrope today, but this made me laugh so hard!) (I don't really think this about anyone I know.)

15. what will you dance to at your wedding?
Ooh La La -- The Faces. (oh, this is funny too. wish I knew then what I know now? too late! There are werewolves everywhere. who picked the date for this party?)

16. what will they play at your funeral?
I Don't Blame You -- Cat Power. (I also laughed at this, because I totally blame you! FROM THE GRAVE! Prepare for haunting.)

17. what is your hobby/interest?
Paul's Song -- M.Ward. (there's Portland rain in it! I wouldn't really call it a hobby, but it is an interest.)

18. what is your biggest fear?
Gotta Serve Somebody -- Bob Dylan. (I think I might be turning into a contrarian. If you say I gotta, I don't wanna. Not even for you, Bob Dylan.)

19. what is your biggest secret?
This Loneliness -- El Perro del Mar. (itunes is weeping prettily on a red velvet fainting couch. "no, it's nothing! I'm fine, just allergies." boo hoo hoo/ embroidered All Hands on the Bad One hankie/ delicate nose blowing/ heavy sigh.)

20. what do you think of your friends?
Weddle On -- Tammare. (Friends, I don't really know this song, so feel free to apply Shining Star here!)

21. what will you post this as?
Pre-Crimson -- Apples in Stereo.