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pretty blue eggs and back alley REVENGE

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009
beautiful eggs

aren't these pretty? They were tasty, too. I think these colored eggs come from the araucana chicken. These particular eggs, however, came from a co-worker of my mother. (who is a giant araucana chicken!! who works at the hospital! Not with patients, you understand, but somewhere in the same mutant lab that created her.)

beautiful eggs

reading update: I decided it would be ridiculous to rush through a book that I'm enjoying at a leisurely pace in order to get to a book I might not even like, so I have put aside Moby Dick for now and am reading The Song Is You. I haven't gotten far enough in it yet to say if I love it or loathe it, but maybe I won't land on either of those extremes. Actually, I can say that I don't loathe it, but the whole thing makes me wary and I'm worried it's going to devolve into some kind of stalker novel even though I know it probably won't. I'm leaving plenty of space in my mind to be pleasantly surprised, though. (I love pleasant surprises!)

drunken idiots on the corner whom I can hear through my open window update: is it wrong that I hope they have a firecracker accident scary enough to make them stop shouting and setting off explosives, but not loss of limb serious? Because that's where I am right now. Maybe I should tell them if they keep it up a giant, firecracker-hating, blue-egg laying chicken is going to come and wreak havoc upon their alleyway. Yeah. Dr. Mutant Chicken doesn't like loud noises.

from somewhere a while ago

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009
sun going down

photo from a roadtrip I took in 2005 with Martina. this is somewhere in eastern oregon. Actually, middle oregon. Middle-eastern oregon. Wherever it was, it was WAY PRETTY. and in oregon. and about this time of year, so it's not completely random.

I have a bunch of photos to upload and a bunch of books to write up and lists and whatnot, but I the sun has been shining and I have been outside planting things and watering things and pretending like I don't see the cats when they hide in the jupiter's beard to surprise me.

echo memorial cemetery

here's a pretty little cemetery gate from the same trip. Looking at it now, I notice the fragment of the sign to the right -- a found poem of dubious quality: open/ NO plan/ Bushes/ of sex/ NO glass.

I mean, what's going on up there? (up there, because the Echo cemetery is on a hill overlooking the town, which is small but picturesque.) Sounds like you don't want to stand too close to the bushes unless you're prepared, which goes against NO PLAN. It gets more confusing the longer I think about it, so maybe it's time to go to sleep. It's very possible I was outside too long today without a hat.

the hyena

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm now about halfway through reading Moby Dick. I know, I know! I've been at it for months. It's so good, but as I said a while ago, it's also easy to read a couple of chapters and not pick it up again for weeks or longer because I started another book or there is some unswept corner of the internet that I haven't read yet. Another reason it's slow going is because the whole thing is narrated in my head by a brain sailor. My brain sailor talks slow and stretches out his rrrrrrrrs; he sounds like the Sea Captain on the Simpsons and Admiral Croft from the movie version of Persuasion that I like. The brain sailor cannot be rushed! Melville agrees, since he takes his everlovin' sweet time weaving sails and counting feathers on an albatross before getting to "the vast swells of the omnipotent sea." And whales, of course. So far I haven't gotten to THE WHALE himself, but he looms over the whole story -- I'll probably jump out of my skin when he actually arrives.

Anyway, I was thinking that I'd put this aside AGAIN to read another book which I just got and know I won't be able to renew (Arthur Phillips' The Song is You, which I expect I'll either like quite a bit or hate a lot), but now I'm thinking... I've got 3 weeks before I have to take back the Phillips book, there is no reasonable reason why I couldn't finish this book first and still read the other one... we shall see! If my brain sailor skips out to go to some No Landlubbers Allowed convention with the Morton's fisherman or whoever, anything could happen!

I read the passage below today -- it's the first part of a chapter titled THE HYENA, and it's a wonderful distillation of a certain kind of mood -- one of those dangerous, quicksand states of being often found on an adventure. A "genial, desperado philosophy."

There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own. However, nothing dispirits, and nothing seems worth while disputing. He bolts down all events, all creeds, and beliefs, and persuasions, all hard things visible and invisible, never mind how knobby; as an ostrich of potent digestion gobbles down bullets and gun flints. And as for the small difficulties and worryings, prospects of sudden disaster, peril of life and limb; all these, and death itself, seem to him only sly, good-natured hits, and jolly punches in the side bestowed by the unseen and unaccountable old joker. That odd sort of wayward mood I am speaking of, comes over a man only in some time of extreme tribulation; it comes in the very midst of his earnestness, so that what just before might have seemed to him a thing most momentous, now seems but a part of the general joke. There is nothing like the perils of whaling to breed this free and easy sort of genial, desperado philosophy; and with it I now regard this whole voyage of the Pequod, and the great White Whale its object.

THAT ODD SORT OF WAYWARD MOOD! (has heart eyes for Melville again.)

buffy, brat pack, awesome

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Monday, June 22, 2009

this makes me laugh and laugh! although I feel a little guilty about laughing so hard since I haven't read Twilight or watched the movie. Not very guilty, though. My excuse (if I need one) is that it's culturally pervasive. (If you can't see the video above, the direct link is here.) Buffy has such a great WTF face.

and this one makes me happy! It's charming, fun, and takes such good advantage of the light. I vote more rooftop dance parties! (via Fluxtumblr.)

more soon! my time/crazy tangles seem to be smoothing out, for which I am grateful.

grandfather clause

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I had a little moment of Society May Save Itself today after a very ordinary transaction with a patron. She was picking up holds, renewed some material, I told her about her fine -- when we were done she said I love the library, I'm so glad it's here, especially now. I said ME TOO, which I know sounds kind of dumb because I'm sitting behind the desk, but it really is true. She went on to say that she was so glad that libraries already existed because in the current cultural climate, she didn't think the concept would fly. (Can't you just hear Fox News going on and on about what kind of socialist slippery slope we're on if we spend a bunch of public money so people can READ for FREE??) I agreed and said it was kind of like aspirin. It's only vaguely related (under grandfather clause), but she was patient let me get to my point -- if aspirin were to come on the market today, there's no way it would be as cheap and readily available as it is. You would need a prescription if it was legal at all, because it interacts with all kinds of things and is powerful and unpredictable.

Yeah, she said. Libraries and aspirin. I'm glad they were grandfathered in.

(in other news, this week, like last week, has gone bananas. But all is not lost in the Getting My Act Together sweepstakes -- just slightly delayed.)

(in other, more related news: if you live in the greater Portland metropolitan area and are thinking about clearing out some books to make room for new books, please consider donating to the Friends of the Library! You can drop off donations at any branch and get a tax receipt if you want one!)

strawberry time

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
strawberry picking
This last Saturday my friend Leslie lit the strawberry symbol from her place downtown, which means strawberry picking on Sauvie Island! (this lights up strawberry shaped special receiver I wear on a wrist cuff as well as a giant strawberry klieg light above town.) We've gone strawberry picking every year for the past few years, but it's always a spur of the moment "I can be ready in 20 minutes" kind of thing. It's fun. Usually my sister joins us, but this year she was already knee deep in making strawberry jam, so I promised to pick extra.

strawberry picking
This photo is after we moved away from the strawberry field with the small, dry strawberries and the little girl with giant yellow lab who was trying to behave himself while the tiny tyrant issued fake reprimands like "Oh, no MARLY! don't eat the strawberries that are right there. No, right over there. You are so bad!" We stood up and agreed by mutual instinct to move over to the field with hardly any other people and HUGE GIANT juicy strawberries. Of course our mutual instinct failed a little bit, because we chose the most bumpy way to get there.

strawberry picking

it was worth it! Strawberry season isn't over yet. My experience is that you think you have enough strawberries, but you really don't.

8 second parade

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Sunday, June 14, 2009
I don't want to jinx anything, but I feel like it's possible that I will get my interim act together this week. Woo hoo! (the words 'act together' make me think "we're getting the band back together" from the Blues Brothers, which makes me think ROAD TRIP, which makes me happy.) Little things are finally getting done, which clears the way for bigger things, which means I can start new things. Eventually. (this is very possibly interim eventually mealymouthed, but my act together progress is a fragile thing which could break at any minute, so I'm trying to keep my expectations reasonable.)

Here's an 8 second parade to celebrate!

(from the Grand Floral Parade on June 6th.)


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Friday, June 12, 2009
J cat says hello

general: this has been a strange week, but it seems like I keep saying that. maybe june is a strange month, or maybe I am suspended in a strangeness vortex that only looks strange to me.

locale: I am sitting outside under the massively blooming mock orange tree! I just had to go get a sweatshirt, but it's not actively raining and the tree smells really good so I am counting it in the win column.

weekly baby robin drama: courtesy of the cat known informally as the Orange Menace. Once again he brought a live bird up the stairs and into my bedroom so that I could admire it. Or maybe he just likes watching me wake up and freak out. (the robin is fine, but there was a fair amount of early morning slapstick involved in getting the bird back outside and reunited with its pissed off mama.)

sears and roebuck calling: earlier this week I got a telemarketing call from 1970! I picked up the phone and got that big long telemarketer lag, but I thought it might have been work so I hung in there. I said "hello" and got nothing but irritated. Just as I was getting ready to hang the hell up, a cheerful voice comes on and says "hell-o! Sears and Roebuck calling!" He was old (grandpa-old), and sounded just like the traveling fabric salesmen from New York I knew through my old job. (I loved these guys, by the way. They enjoyed telling ridiculous shaggy dog stories that were, at best, 15% factual and I enjoyed listening to them.) I immediately started to worry that Madoff had stolen this old man's money, and now he has to work trying to sell siding from sears -- but even as I worried, sears have been calling a lot lately and what's up with that? I mentioned these frequent calls to mr. hell-o roebuck, who said "we have? I'm so sorry! Thank you for telling me, honey. I'm going to get you off the list." Which is probably also only 15% factual, but I found him strangely charming. I hope he was some soon to retire executive they pulled from the back to help out in a pinch and not a recession/retirement scam victim. Whatever the case, I hope he is able to maintain the obvious joy he takes in his work!

portland facial hair update: Abe Lincoln beards have been holding steady, but I have noticed a definite uptick in waxed mustaches. And unicycles, but that's probably unrelated.

list of four

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Monday, June 08, 2009
for word lovers

Today was weird in a nothing is as it seems kind of way. Not that the patrons were all lizard people or my co-workers giant sentient cats or anything (to be clear), but things were off and I felt awkward and clumsy and late even though I was on time and no more graceless than usual. Bah! I have a lot of half formed ideas about the power of perception and how misunderstandings can be compounded without much effort at all, but I'm tired of thinking about it and ready for it to be tomorrow.

But first, some links!

1. Wordnik is WONDERFUL! I would love to have this implanted directly into my brain. Here's what it is: "An ongoing project devoted to discovering all the words and everything about them." It's so much more than dictionary definitions, although you get plenty of those -- there's also examples from books, graphs on usage, pronunciations... it makes my heart happy! Plus, it's still new enough that you can be the first person to look up a word. (it tells you how many people have searched for a word.)

here are two words I looked up today for fun (because it's always fun!): perspicacious, serendipity

2. The video opening for the Beatles Rockband thingummy. I would watch this cartoon every week! I love their long pointy legs and the lively sense of playfulness that pervades the whole piece.

3. The We Love You So blog, which is tied in with Spike Jonze's Where The Wild Things Are movie -- they describe it as such: "This place has been established to help shed some light on many of the small influences that have converged to make this massive project a reality." I've been following it for a couple of weeks and they often have good stuff and links to other good stuff. Like this little piece on Roald Dahl's writing hut.

4. The World of Kane blog has kindly collected information about the Joann Sfar Serge Gainsbourg biopic, including these wonderful illustrations.

I love Sfar's work in comics (The Rabbi's Cat, Vampire Loves, the Professor's Daughter, Little Vampire), and am intrigued by these life and times of Gainsbourg drawings (more of which you will see if you click the link!). The film is live action and slated to come out in 2010. Gainsbourg's life certainly offers a lot of material, it will be interesting to see where they go with it.

bonus: here's Pitchfork's perfect 10.0 review of Histoire de Melody Nelson.

lunch hour troubadour

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

A week ago I was working at one of my favorite branches and went to eat lunch at one of my favorite parks. It was a saturday, it was sunny, most of the picnic tables were reserved or occupied but I didn't care because I was out of the building and if it came down to it, I could sit on the grass. I found the lovely green bench pictured above, unpacked my bag (book, lunch, drink, camera, cellphone for a clock) and was very content. There were people around -- a couple with a small baby having a picnic on the lawn to the right, some frisbee people were doing what they do across the way (throw a frisbee in the middle of someone else's picnic, apologize, do it again 125 times, etc.), there were dogs romping and generally everyone was having a fine time in the sunshine. I was sitting with sunglasses on and book in hand thinking how lucky I was to be there on such a beautiful day.


Someone rode a bike up to the empty grassy area to my left -- I wasn't really paying attention at this point since it's not as easy as it sounds to balance a book and a salad on a park bench. He started playing guitar, Django Reinhardt gypsy-jazz style. This could be bad news, but he was very good (not something you take for granted in a public park on a sunny saturday) which was a pleasant surprise. The next thing I noticed is that for some reason he wasn't wearing a shirt, but he was cute. (now that I think of it, this may in fact be the reason he wasn't wearing a shirt.) I continued reading my book and having my lunch and feeling pretty good about life in general. The music switched to something kind of pop-folky-blitzen-trappery -- for these he sang, and again, he was very good. Then one more song, a more bluesy number about his girl leaving town (this seemed familiar, but I couldn't quite place it), then the music stopped, he put on his shirt, put the guitar back in its case and rode away. I finished my lunch and went back to work, just as the ice cream truck (which in the park is an ice-cream bicycle) came by. It was so lovely.

(this was taken looking up from the bench)

over and over

| On
Monday, June 01, 2009
clover through the window

What a strange day June 1 has been -- strange but good. (I have made about 4 attempts to describe the strangest part, which involved... well, let's say clip-on earrings because it's true if not the whole truth. Clip-on shorthand for THE WHOLE TRUTH. "Judge, I'm telling you -- clip-on earrings." case dismissed!)

[QUESTION: should I get my ears pierced? my ears aren't, which I know is weird to many people -- I could explain, but I am in no shape to do so tonight.
pro: there are many super cute earrings out there in the world, many of which I could make myself!
con: the horror show of earring accidents that keeps playing in my head: "Local Woman's Earring Caught in Freak Archery Incident! -- news at 11", etc.]

[side note to the above question: the best ear piercing story that I know is Blondie's. Back in the olden days, her mother wouldn't let her get her ears pierced so she had a friend's mother do it with some ice, a needle, and a potato in a bowling alley bathroom. HARDCORE! ]

But enough about potatoes and bowling alleys and clip-on earrings. Here's some CLOVER. The clover is blooming all over the place. The picture at the top was out the window on the way home from the beach a couple of weeks ago. I missed taking photos of several stunning red clover vistas, but vowed that I would get at least one more picture of the clover before it was gone for good. (and by gone for good, I mean until next year.)

red clover, red clover
and I did! The bees love this stuff. I love that bright arrow of green in the middle.

red clover, red clover
and here I love that you can see some beautiful rolling countryside.

and here's Joan Jett singing Crimson and Clover, which has been going through my head over and over for all of clover season, although the version in my head has been Tommy James and the Shondells. I couldn't find a youtube video of that one that wasn't just a "floating album cover" thing, so Joan Jett it is! Joan Jett would have totally had her ears pierced in a bowling alley/roller rink bathroom.