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thank you thank you

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Thursday, November 26, 2009
park bouquet

I'm not going to make a long post or even a list, but I just wanted to take a minute to give thanks for all the wonderful people I know, and thanks also to all the wonderful people I don't know. It is an honor to be your family, your friend, your invisible audience. I want to mark my gratitude here on this digital page to reflect what's already marked in my heart. (THANK YOU.)

Also, dinner was fantastic.

that tree in the middle
I'm thankful for this tree, but this is not a list!

that round thing is the SUN
and for moments like this where the sun is shining behind thick clouds and it seems like some kind of apocalyptic afternoon, but really it's just a Wednesday and the sun will shine in its regular way soon enough.

grab bag of awesome

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

in no particular order:

ONE. Eric, The Foreign Exchange Student by Shaun Tan. This story is so flipping cute yet weird and I love it. Watch the slide show at the link above, but remember it's also viewable on paper pages in his book Tales from Outer Suburbia, which would probably make a lovely gift for someone you know. (via Neil Gaiman)

TWO. Catherine and Heathcliff audition for Twilight

THREE. Jenny Crusie's RomCom Rant: it's provocative and awesome in its scorched earth honesty. It's her opinion and I don't agree 100%, but I love that she calls it like she sees it. I've only seen the first movie in question (The Proposal) - the second (The Ugly Truth) looked so toxic from the ads I've no desire to ever see it. The comment thread is great too, although I don't know why Love, Actually is on so many people's favorite movie list. I hated that movie and left the theater wishing it ended with instantaneous death by lightning to all. Maybe I should watch it again. I'm very fond of Four Weddings and a Funeral and large parts of Notting Hill, so it's not like the mere thought of Richard Curtis makes me want to stab pens in my eyes or throw ensemble casts into volcanos. (unlike, say, You've Got Mail. Relatedly, I rewatched Sleepless in Seattle recently and realized that Nora E. is 2/3 of her way to a stalker romance trilogy!)

FOUR. I cannot stop listening to: BiRd-BrAiNs by tUnE-yArDs. I've been reading about it here and there (okay, Fluxblog and various links from Fluxtumblr), liked what I heard and bought the whole thing. IT IS AWESOME! This record makes me feel good from the inside out - it contains such creative spark that just listening to it lights fires elsewhere. It's got a wild private swagger - not that she isn't in control, but that she didn't worry about what anyone else might want and made it exactly her way, which as it turns out is just what I wanted to hear.

FIVE. Parks and Rec: I'm usually watching Fringe when this is on so I've missed it till now. (Yes, I started watching because Meg Cabot mentioned that there was a library feud episode and the library dept. was called a bunch of "punk-ass book jockeys." Ha! I've since watched all the other episodes that were available on demand.) POEHLER! I've missed you! "in case something bad goes down, I wore my sharpest rings. This one will tear you up." hee hee.

SIX. Double Feature: First Daughter (2004, starring Katie Holmes and Marc Blucas)/ THE APPLE (1980, starring a bunch of people in itchy looking gold lame with hologram stickers on their foreheads) - First Daughter started promisingly enough, but it tanked after First Daughter did her drunken bewigged cowboy hoochie dance. I was kind of hoping for a good old fashioned Teen Movie (which would have only gotten better after a drunken bewigged cowboy hoochie dance), but this was not that. (Do great teen movies really only come around every 10 years? Am I missing some recent great teen movies? All I can think of is the High School Musical franchise and the Saw movies, neither of which scratch my Teen Movie itch.) (not that I've watched Saw because I would have nightmares for 100 years.) Is it Harry Potter and Twilight? No prom scene unless it's for Vampire Prom or Wizard Prom?

The Apple was insane. I'd heard of it, but never seen it... UNTIL NOW. It's like the singing, dancing, running, nonsensical, evil-goatee, budget-glam love child of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Logan's Run. Everyone (except the cave hippies) wears stickers on their forehead. There's singing, there's dancing, there are hallucinations (OR ARE THERE?)! I kept saying "they should sing this one on Glee" or "They should do this for a group dance number on So You Think You Can Dance." I was surprisingly vindicated when the credits rolled (after... well, you really have to see it to believe it) and saw that Nigel Lythgoe (aka: Mr. SYTYCD) was the choreographer! ha ha ha! I'm sure that there are clips on youtube, but I recommend just watching it without further warning if it sounds like your cup of crazy, possibly drugged tea. If you need a little more information, I think the trailer tells you everything you need to know to help you come to a reasoned decision.


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Thursday, November 19, 2009
Found in the book drop. (click picture to enlarge.)

1.) Work out 3 times a week.
2.) Do good in school, no F's!
3.) 450 texts a day.
4.) Skip only 1 time a week!
5.) minimize flirting, maximize friendliness.
6.) Try something new.
7.) Gain interest in pool.
8.) Eat healthy (only organics)
9.) NO FAST FOOD! (Don't lie)
10.) Spend 10 mins less on appearence!
11.) No pop, or soft drinks, only 1 a week.
12.) If we lie, 1000 sit-ups!
13.) Jog 2,3 times a week.

There are so many things I love about the list - the alternating marker colors, the maxim of 5 leading to the general idea of 6 to the specifics of 7, the ambiguity of 3 (is that minimum or maximum? I'm guessing maximum), trying to keep herself honest. I wish she (I'm assuming she) wasn't so hard on herself, but I like how she's attacking things she perceives to be a problem while also allowing permission to 6.) try something new. NO GIVING UP!

Wordstock 2009: saturday

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009
PART ONE: (I split this in half because it was long. Part two soon.)

Wordstock! Unlike years past, there wasn't really anybody that I was dying to see. I did a tiny bit of research beforehand, but I was pretty much willing to see where the day took me - here's where the first half of Day 1 went:

10/10 SAT 12:00: SCOTT WESTERFELD/ Powell's Books stage. I didn't know about Scott Westerfeld, but Bec wanted to see him - she'd read about his book on Boing Boing and was intrigued. Westerfeld is best known for his YA series Uglies/Pretties. They've sold lots of copies and made lots of money - he knew that his pull with the publisher was at its apex, so he determined to use his "Uglies power for good." He wanted to do an old-style Boys Own Adventure novel, and he wanted it to be illustrated. By this point he'd won me over, not just because he was funny and enthusiastic, but because I love the old-style illustrated novel (Oz books, hello!) and this particular Boys Own Adventure has an adventuresome kick ass girl in it. (although she has to disguise herself as a boy...)

He did a brief history of the illustrated novel (with slides) and pointed out how illustration used to be such a huge part of the culture at large: Catalogs, newspapers, adult novels, kid's books, everything! Illustrators were in demand and influential. Did you know Sherlock Holmes' famous deerstalker cap was actually an invention of the illustrator? Neither did I! Westerfeld wanted his new book to be an adventure, he wanted it to be illustrated on heavy paper, and he wanted it to be Steampunk because he likes the aesthetic of "just because you have a raygun on Mars doesn't mean you don't dress for dinner." The result is his novel Leviathan, a steampunk alternate history beginning right at the crack of WW1 with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie - this Youtube book trailer gives you the particulars of this alternate world and a nice look at the art.

Since Wordstock I've read Leviathan and enjoyed it, particularly Keith Thompson's very fine illustrations. The Clanker/Darwinist (Central Powers/Allies) divide is well imagined and I like that I was vaguely creeped out by the Darwinist "beasties." The cooperative, whole ecosystem nature of the idea is appealing, but it still has a mad science/ Island of Dr. Moreau/this could go terribly wrong vibe. Shades of grey!

That said, this book seems to be on the younger end of the YA spectrum - more Hugo Cabret than King Dork. (I love both of those so it's not a criticism, just an observation.) I was a little put out that the novel ended on a cliffhanger - it's obvious NOW that it's meant to be part of a larger series, but I would have liked to have known that when I started. (So I'm telling you - it's just part one of an eventual three! Behemoth comes out next year.) All in all, this was an excellent way to kick off Wordstock. I learned a lot. Read Leviathan if you like that sort of thing, or even if you think you might like that sort of thing.

10/10 SAT 1:00: JOYCE MAYNARD/Columbia Sportswear stage. I'm not sure how we ended up here, other than I remember reading Maynard's column way back when it ran in the Oregonian. She started off saying that she never understood the advice that you should write what you know - she thinks you should write about what you want to know, or what you want to know better. This is how she came to write a book from the p.o.v. of a 13 year old son of a single mother.

She finished writing the book in ten (TEN) days. She talked about how publishing has changed so much in recent years - she had to find an agent again since she was primarily known for her non-fiction, sales of which had dropped like a stone. When she did find an agent, s/he promptly suggested that they submit her book with no name attached since at this point being Joyce Maynard might hurt more than it helped. This was hard to hear, but it turned out to be a very shrewd decision. The mystery generated gossip column buzz that the book was written by James Franco. (!) There was a bidding war and she got a very good price for her novel. (is there anything James Franco can't do?)

Then my notes say "do you want to get lunch?" because once the specter of Franco had been raised I wished it was him at the podium reading this story from the p.o.v. of a 13 year old son of a single mother instead of Ms. Maynard. Sorry, Joyce! Bec and I walked up the street to Burgerville and beat the crowd. My cheeseburger was excellent as always.

part 2 to follow.

balloon cure

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Sunday, November 15, 2009
I am vaguely bummed out and headachy and creatively flat for reasons I do not comprehend. Antsy, too. (Maybe there is no reason! maybe it's just my turn.) Anyway, I thought to counteract that, I would embark upon the balloon cure.

chandelier w/balloons
Tonight's balloon cure (for me) consists of posting pictures of balloons. (I'm aware that the balloon cure for others may relate to hot-air balloons, or swimming pools full of balloons, or rubbing balloons on your hair to make them stick to the wall. Ooh, or water balloons. I'm sure there are others, but I've run out of easy ones and I'm ready to start typing under the next picture.)

I heart these chandeliers
These pictures are from my sister's birthday. We went to the Pink Martini CD release party at the Crystal Ballroom -Martina came with us (I have typed Pink Martina twice already in this post, only once on purpose), and we ran into some other friends there.

The Ballroom part of the Crystal Ballroom is on the third floor. There's an elevator, but most people take the stairs if they're able. (I should mention that the stairs are moodily lit and decoratively painted. I always feel like I'm climbing to an adventure, and I'm always right.) We tromped up to the second floor and crossed a lobby to get to the final flight of stairs. Stationed at the base of the stairs were people giving away flowers - so charming and unexpected. A woman asked me if I wanted a flower and handed me a beautiful red gerbera daisy. It had a broken stem, which I was fine with because I wasn't expecting a flower in the first place, but the guy on the other side of the stairs saw that it was broken and gave me another flower. Sweet! We walked the final set of stairs and turned the corner only to see thousands of balloons with long mylar streamers glinting in the light of the two fancy chandeliers. Everybody had flowers in their hands. It was so lovely but humble at the same time; it felt like a birthday party or prom, which was just exactly perfect.

Pink Martini always make me think that they should be The Band in one of the big Hollywood musicals from the 30s, particularly one set in South America where there's a big dance scene in a glamorous hotel somewhere with mistaken identity hijinx of one sort or another. "You're heir to an Argentine cattle empire and not a stowaway? That's funny, because I'm not an heiress! I'm a plucky nurse from Kansas taking a fancy vacation on a dare/bequest from an eccentric/rich aunt.") Anyway - Pink Martini would be playing during the big number where Betty Grable and Don Ameche dance the rhumba (the dance of love!) while Carmen Miranda and China Forbes take turns singing and shaking maracas.

floating spotlight balloons
The show was fun and laid back. I've only ever seen Pink Martini in big venues or outside (maybe only outside: the biggest venue of all) - this was a very small stage and they have a lot of members, a lot of guests, and a lot of equipment (harp!). At one point it was jokingly said that they had half of the Oregon Symphony with them, except it didn't look like a joke to me - there were lots of bows flying. The performers were having fun, we were having fun and the balloons were hanging in there.

glowing balloons

thumbs aloft

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Monday, November 09, 2009
serrated yellow

1. I took this leaf picture a couple of weeks ago, but I think it's still seasonally appropriate

2. Peter Ames Carlin has a blog again. From his website I have gleaned that a) he has written a new book about Paul McCartney* b) he's still writing about TV, which c) includes Mad Men. Hooray!

3. This space is reserved for cursing and complaining! I had a lot of both here, but it was boring to write let alone read so I decided on a placeholder instead. This is that placeholder. I feel like my brain has gone on vacation without me. It better come back rested is all I'm saying.

4. The picture below was taken with the photo booth thingy on my computer + the poladroid.

* In one of my recent bouts of opening old boxes I came across some issues of Star Hits magazine, which I used to obsessively buy at my local Swampwater (aka: Punta Gorda), Florida Shop & Go when I was a kid. They always captioned their seemingly endless collection of thumbs up McCartney pictures with Fab Macca Wacky Thumbs Aloft. It made me laugh then and it makes me laugh now! It always seemed like affectionate, good natured ribbing, although I expect it might grow wearying if you happen to be a Beatle with sproingy thumb syndrome.

the end of my alaskan headache

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Thursday, November 05, 2009
hello. it's late and it's raining and I am so tired, but my head doesn't hurt anymore, for which I am grateful. (there was, apparently, according to the exited man standing in front of a green screen, some kind of SYSTEM in Alaska that was causing PRESSURE in the atmosphere and I guess because I'm so freaking delicate, Alaskan pressure gives me headaches. I know it sounds like there's a dirty joke somewhere in there, but I promise you it's just meteorology. that's what she said!)

The rain is so nice right now in a comfortable for sleeping way. (I am so tired, which I believe I have mentioned.) If I could bottle the temperature and sound and general good-for-sleepingness vibe happening out my window and give it away to insomniacs, I would.

I think I'm also tired due to an unexpected bonanza of work hours. I'm glad to have them, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't putting a crimp in my nano domination plans. The world's noisiest eater of carrot sticks - he could win a PRIZE - took his breaks at the same time as me today, so anything other than writing carrot, carrot, carrot, CARROT, jabbed to death by carrots, carrot, orange mayhem, carrot crossbow, 20 carat orange diamond lost in gaping maw of crunching carrot beast, etc. was right out. I read the tomato essay from Charles Simic's The Unemployed Fortune Teller instead, and that was just right.

also just right when you're tired and it's late and it's raining and the sound of crunching carrots has mercifully ended: this video of St. Vincent and Andrew Bird (via smut to-go). I'll admit that I might have lost patience with it if I first heard it in in the busy daytime, but it's aces for rainy nighttime.

hey, november

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Monday, November 02, 2009
pink, purple, green, leafy

things I forgot but quickly remembered:

1. TIME CHANGE. But that got sorted as soon as I opened my computer yesterday. Thank you, extra hour, for making me seem less slothful in the mornings. BOO TO YOU, however, for making it dark by 4:30. (boooooo! I am booing like the old lady in The Princess Bride movie. I mean it. This is not a tee hee, boo hoo boo, but a Caesar says thumbs down, release the lions boo. HARD CORE BOO.)

2. NANOWRIMO. I'm in! it's not too late to catch up. I was having my usual dither on the subject and decided that this year I'm doing it, dither be damned. Yeah! I had this romantic notion that the next time I did nano I would come to it all organized with an outline and a PLAN, but I realize that's not really part of my modus operandi. (see? I'm in the swing already: modus operandi = TWO WORDS! M.O. = one word.) I'm still working out some of the get started stuff (I don't have to know everything, but I have to know some things or I will cry), but I'm using an idea I had a few years ago and I'm liking it even though it's still somewhat amorphous and I keep backing away from the coolest part. Anyway. I'm on the job! it's only a month, and I need the deadline if for no other reason than I always think of great other things I want to do when I don't have time to do them. (I will make a list!, and possibly include the list in my nano project if I get really desperate for word count, which is a distinct possibility.)

other things:

1.Teesha Moore has put up a series of tutorials on making/collaging/lettering art journals on her blog. So inspiring! I love her sense of color (which is: MORE, PLEASE). Anyway, she's a great explainer and I can't wait to try it out.

2. Wordstock post coming soon!