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the ficus mushroom

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Thursday, September 30, 2010
This week! I don't know where to start so I think I won't - I'll just jump right into TODAY. Today was the day of the ficus mushroom. I don't know if it's because it's mushroom season or what, but today it was observed that there is a big, bright screaming yellow mushroom growing in the base of the ficus in the lobby of the library. It was impressive! It also made me laugh - we would go over and look at it in shifts. At any given moment during its (literal) 15 minutes of fame, there were two or three people looking down at it nodding their heads "that's a big mushroom." I didn't go get my camera - I hope it's still there tomorrow and that it doesn't explode all over with poisonous spores or whatever.

SPEAKING OF SCREAMING - slightly after the mushroom discovery there was a toddler throwing an epic tantrum: unconsolable wails of incoherent rage and sorrow. I felt bad for her - she was clearly having a tough time. Her mom got her out to the lobby (where the mushroom is!) and she screamed and screamed (the doors are not soundproof, alas), until finally she calmed down and they came back into the library. This turned out to be only the eye of the storm - Tiny Tantrum (who was in a very cute little dress) lasted about 20 paces before she melted down again. Her mom put their books down on the counter and they marched right out of the building. As ear splitting and disconcerting as it was (a regular patron who came in right after with his own baby daughter noted that we all looked shell shocked), I felt bad for both of them. Is it worse to be the tiny creature who cannot be reasoned with, or to be the adult trying to reason with the unreasonable?

And now, some videos!

This video of Janelle Monae on Dancing With the Stars makes me so happy - I got those little involuntary behind the eyes tears of joy. Because of the singing? The dancing? The enthusiasm? the tuxedos? the horns? the aviator cap? the lady in the audience who claps like my mom? THE CAPE? Perhaps all of the above.(via Fluxtumblr. )

This one is fun - they're having such a good time, which causes me to have a good time! (I would like to note that Jimmy Fallon STILL cannot keep a straight face! He was the worst cracker-upper on SNL and I see it continues. In sketch comedy it can be a problem, but here I like it - he's clearly enjoying himself and it seems like people are not always willing to admit that they're enjoying themselves, which is a shame.) (via Vulture.)

two videos

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

live version of When We Swam by Thao + Mirah. I like their style! (and albums.) via 17 dots.

John Legend and the Roots performing a cover of Arcade Fire's Wake Up. This is so good! via Vulture.
p.s. John Legend is a handsome man.

how it is at 3:44

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Monday, September 27, 2010
right this moment I'm sitting outside and it is lovely. LOVELY! A chickadee just took a swim in the bird bath (which has water in it thanks to the downpours of yesterday). It's sunny, 80 degrees and a little bit humid. I'm allegedly out here to work on some book writeups I've been meaning to do, but for someone who is supposed to be doing that, I've read 3 Mad Men recaps. (I was so worried Sally wan't going to get those tickets! Disproportionately worried, considering everything else that was going on in that episode.)

(ooh! there was just now something that sounded like a gunshot, but I'm pretty sure it was a car backfiring. The busybody barber next door just came scurrying out of the duplex on the corner. Since I noticed this, does it mean I'm the busybody? Maybe.)

I've got today off and have been taking it easy. I'm getting over a cold and feel like I'm living underwater - I'm not moving too fast and things take a little extra time to reach me. Anyway - I've got another 3 weeks on my temporary position at work, and I'm thinking about what kinds of things I want to do when it's over.

(busbybody barber is now rounding the corner and picking up horse chestnuts on the sidewalk. I will not make eye contact because then it will take me 15 minutes to disengage from a conversation I'm not interested in, and then I'll have to go inside to keep him from telling me how the neighbor has her appendix in a jar or something. wah wah.)

I took a couple pictures with the photo booth thing on my laptop so you can see how nice it is! (I'm behind on flickr, so if I took them with my regular camera it would be november before I could illustrate how nice it was on this september afternoon.)
The first one is backwards and on glow setting, the second one is just normal but flipped so it's oriented the way I see it.

back to what I want to do:

• first I'd like to note that my sister told me the easy way to make bullet points (option 8 on a mac). Woo!

• make necklaces - I went back to the bead store for the first time in many years and found that they have a big selection of chain at reasonable prices, which I need for my Brilliant Necklace Ideas. I also bought a beautiful slab of sliced and polished red agate and a chunky sparkly stone bead. (this "also bought" part is why I stayed away from the bead store for so long.) But I decided it would be ridiculous to order chain on the internet when a wonderful bead store is so close by.

• get walking again - due to various minor injury, illnesses, and my old friend laziness, I fell out of the habit of my daily walk. I miss it! Fortunately, fall and winter (as long as it's not super-rainy) are some of my favorite times to walk, so I hope I can get back in the swing of it. I need to freshen my ipod for new resolution inspiration. Maybe podcasts? Audiobooks? New music? l've never had great luck with audiobooks, but many of my colleagues love them so I might give it another shot. I think a lot depends on right match between reader and material.

•sewing, as always - I've got to (GOT TO) finish the unfinished quilt I gave as a christmas present last year. It's nearly done, but not actually done. Once I'm out of the realm of obligation sewing, I'm not sure what I'll do. A quilt for fun, maybe? dresses?

PUNDIT BREAK: I went inside and watched Hardball. Eugene Robinson's (The Washington Post) and Seth Rogen's (writer, actor, star of many stoner comedies) voices sound almost exactly alike, which I always find distracting yet delightful. (they even laugh the same!) They should do a political reporter buddy comedy together. I should note that Rogen was not on Hardball.

• writing - oh, man! I almost left this off because I don't even know what to say. I've got a lot of things in a state of suspended animation. I don't like how slowly everything is going, but there's no one to blame but me.

I went to go take this yellow flower picture and passed no less than 4 giant hard bodied spiders in their giant webs. I walked into one web and the only reason I'm not jumping around and doing the 'IS IT ON ME?' hysterical dance is because I saw the spider crawl up into a tree. (BIG ENOUGH TO SEE CRAWLING UP A TREE!) One of the other spiders was busy wrapping up a bee to eat later. Nature, man.


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Saturday, September 25, 2010
Mayor Harry Lane & Georgiana Pittock

here's the update on my recent handwringing:

Onion hands: GONE! I've even cooked with onions since but have learned my onion lesson.

Car anxiety: gone! They fixed it, it doesn't smell like gas anymore (cracked fuel return she said, like she knew what that meant), AND they also replaced my front breaks which means one less repair shop stop for me! It was all very reasonable, too, considering. If anyone in pdx needs a recommendation for a garage, I've had great luck with Gerbrock on Killingsworth.

I was surprised how much buried worry I had about the car. I knew it needed repair but I kept putting it off - I didn't really notice how much it was stressing me out until the gas smell came along and made me notice. But that's all done for now! I can gloat that if I have to drive, I can do so in my paid for ages ago good mileage now SAFE car! Woo! I'm currently obsessed with making new seat covers, maybe from some of the deco-weight Ikea fabrics (which are cheap, sturdy, and interesting.) I think it should be pretty easy to figure out - instead of elastic around the bottom (which always gets rucked up and drives me crazy), I'll sew on some nylon straps and put in some d rings. OR SOMETHING.

(photo note: this year for the grand floral parade, they invited a classic convertible club to drive the car-driven entries. Great idea! There were some pretty sweet cars and this was one of them.)

onion hands, car repair

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010
close your door

ONION HANDS! I have them. I woke up wondering why the neighbors would be grilling so early in the morning, only to realize that I was smelling MY OWN HANDS. I must've caught late-onset time-released onion hands after cooking last night. I washed my hands many times, but if you don't get it in those critical onion-oils moments it's often too late.

Anyway. I've tried all the tricks I know, including washing my hands with salt and using the martha stewart anti onion-hand device, which is a stainless steel thing shaped like a bar of soap. Too little, too late! But my onion hands are very soft now. I hope the rest of it wears away in a couple of hours.

Maybe onion hand is enhanced by nervousness. I had to take my car into the mechanic this morning - I do it so rarely it makes me nervous. Why? I ignore routine maintenance and am embarrassed that I let things get to a point where I have to say "I can't remember when I last changed the oil and the car smells like gas, which seems bad…" The garage guy, after listening to me nervously rabbit on about the obvious, took pity on me and agreed that a gas smell was something worth investigating. Probably to get me to stop talking, but that's okay! I was looking for a reason!

The plus side to this adventure is that 1) I won't have to worry about my car exploding and my last thought being "I thought it smelled like gas!" and 2) it feels good to take care of a problem that has been bothering me for a long time. (this would be the routine maintenance part) It feels even better because it's been something I didn't want to do, and now I've done the hard part! I just have to carry my phone around with me at work (I usually leave it in my bag) so I don't miss the call telling me how many dollars it will cost to get rid of the gas smell, etc.

September seems extra neurotic for me - not sure what's up with that.

updates in new topics

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

HAIR: I got a haircut last weekend and it's awesome. So much shorter! When last I got my hair cut (AGES AGO), I learned the karaoke secret of my haircutter. This time, I learned all about her motorcycle plans. I love her! She never gives me shit or makes me feel boring about my much quieter life, and I loved hearing about how she almost got into a fight at the county fair. (it all worked out and there was no fight, but the story completely held my interest all the way through shampooing and into the haircut itself.)

WRIST: I'm wearing a brace - I thought I was doing so well in avoiding any kind of repetitive stress issues with my increased hours at work, but then my thumb kept going numb. When my whole wrist/hand started hurting enough for me to notice today, I decided it wasn't going to get any better without intervention so I bought a brace at the drug store on my break. Here's hoping! I took it off to type this, but then I had to put it back on. I hope a weekend's worth of not doing too much with it will help.

WORK: I love my job and feel really lucky to have gotten this temporary assignment. On the other hand, I have MANY COMPLICATED FEELINGS about the fact that I'm still in this weird working but not officially employed zone after all this time. It bums me out! I know, I know: government job + bad timing + weak economy = irrational hiring process. I'm glad to have what I've got and I know it's not ME so much as the situation. That's the rational explanation, anyway - but the irrational thought at the front of my brain is that somehow it must be me. Blerg.

GOOD THING: some kid (about 12) came up out of the blue and said "thank you for helping me to get books." It wasn't about anything I'd done particularly, but more a thank you to the library itself. He was a little shy about it - he waited until the other patron in the aisle had left, but it clearly was something he felt like he had to say. So sweet!

not where I started

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Thursday, September 09, 2010
I keep starting a new post too late at night - then I remember I have another one started, then get a good idea that I'm too tired to incorporate, which sets off a domino maze of falling excuses and reasons and HERE WE ARE, in some new post that's not that first new post or the existing one but some partially self-aware mutant.

Time for bullet points! which will be asterisks because a) they are prettier b) I am too goddamned lazy to html in some genuine bullet points and don't know how to do it some easier way. Also, isn't this a refreshing break from the usual numbered list? I don't think so either but see above re: domino maze, etc.

* SO MANY GOOD BOOKS. Seriously. Work makes me tired so pretty much all I want to do on the weekends is read. Conveniently, work is at a library and I have no shortage of things I want to read at hand. It's nice. Right now I'm reading Jennifer Egan's Look at Me, which is so stinking good I can't stand it. (I love it.)

* A coworker upgraded herself to the newest Kindle, which she LOVES with a burning love. The screen is really nice and the text is easy to read. I just hate that everything has to go through Amazon. (I know it's the same thing with macs and Apple's topdown lockdown, but I'm too far gone there.) My current state of kindle is this: I'm not going to buy one, but if someone gave me one I'm sure I'd be addicted in no time. (this scenario seems unlikely.)

* I just looked at Wordstock's website (which is difficult to navigate) and managed to figure out that Aimee Bender will be there. Hooray!

* I watched Terriers last night and I like it! It reminds me of Rockford Files in a way - working class smartass detective in sunny beautiful southern California, with all the conflict and contrast implied. I'll know more after I see another episode, but I can tell you right now that Donal Logue is really good and I hope this works out for him and for me, a member of the Viewing Public.

* OPB showed a documentary on the Pendleton Round-Up tonight which was interesting. (So interesting that I watched it even though it's pledge week. You know it has to be good!) This is the Round-Up's centennial year, and they still do things like they used to - no advertisers, no sequins on the rodeo queens! Did you know that the Westward Ho! Parade that opens the festival is the largest non-motorized parade in America? Well you do now.

* I have a sewing project which currently exists as an obligation in an ikea bag, but I THINK JUST MAYBE it's further done than I remember and therefore it won't take me too long to just finish it and move on to something else. I'm not going to look for at least 24 hours. This is my new project fantasy and I don't want to ruin it with potentially disappointing reality.

oh you teen detectives

| On
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
peggy gets around
(photo is from the back of a Peggy Lane Theater Series girl detective book.)

I wish I could describe the noise I made when I read these hilarious Nancy Drew comics by Kate Beaton. (involuntary high pitched dolphin pig noise. There, I've said it.) She just gets better and better which is great for all of us because she was so good to start with.

Now whenever I see Nancy Drew books at work (all the time) the covers seem even more delightfully bizarre. Today's treasure was The Ringmaster's Secret. (Dude with a villain mustache in a top hat and whip(!) superimposed over Nancy standing on a horse's back like a jewelry box ballerina.)


Also excellent, from August: Matthew Perpetua's interview with Rob Sheffield about Sheffield's new book, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran.

As a former teen girl in the 1980s who was obsessed (OBSESSED) with popular music (particularly if it came from the UK*) I loved this discussion. I wish they'd get together and talk about music once a month. (I say once a month since every day seems an unreasonable request.) The link is to part 1, but you should click through and read them all. I haven't read the book yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

*I went to a religious boarding academy (high school) which was very strict about not allowing secular music lest we catch the Devil from it. Long story short, I had a friend on the outside (she was "village" and also from England, so she was double cool in my estimation) who made me mix tapes from the local college radio station and smuggled them into the dorm. Kids today with their internet! They don't know how good they've got it.


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Sunday, September 05, 2010
I wish there was a traveling band of time-lapse reupholstering elves who would steal into living rooms around the world (or just mine) and remake old couches into new couches in ONE MINUTE AND FIFTY EIGHT SECONDS. They play jaunty french-ish music, they wrap your cushions in batting, they pipe the seams, they leave no mess, and the springs would no longer make that intermittent gong show cartoon spronnnng/sproiiiing sound after they've gone.

The more I think of it, the more I like this idea. They could travel the world once a year like Santa! But on a flying carpet instead of a sleigh. (Of course.)

All fantasies aside, I think this little video is interesting from a How Things Work perspective even if you don't have a couch!

(video via Poppytalk, a very nice Canadian design blog.)


| On
Thursday, September 02, 2010
(photo is of the Ringler Annex, on grand floral parade day, which was in June.)

1) I swear to god, the loudest chewer in all of North America works where I'm working and takes every @#$% break at the same time I do. I don't even know how it's possible to make that much noise eating. It's not what you'd expect - not gross banana mouth noises as perfected by bratty 5 y.o.s everywhere or open mouthed chewing - but some kind of extra-cracking crunching. It's like he's chewing teeth! In a comic book, he could fell a building by opening a box of crackers and taking a bite. No matter what he eats it's the same! It echos! If he starts humming in addition, I will have to kill him.

2) I forgot to fill out my time sheet and didn't even remember until after 10pm tonight. (I can do it tomorrow, but I'm paranoid I'll forget so I've left notes all over to remind me.)

3) I've been obsessed with Camera Obscura lately. (I don't know why - it just comes over me and I have to give in.) Right now I'm listening to an itunes "genius" playlist based on I Need All the Friends I Can Get, but it's not working for me as I just want to hear that one song. iTunes, I think you used to be smarter. More on this later.

4) how about those new iTouches?? I've been saying forever that I want one with a camera (basically an iphone without a phone) and now it looks like they're closer than ever! Although does it shoot only video? I want a still camera so I can download the 2 billion photo aps. (note: I will not be getting one anytime soon. But when I find I need the internet in my pocket, this is probably how I will do it.)

5) my cousin keeps sending me links to photos of her house and her kids on Facebook. I can't see them since I don't have an account. I'm halfway tempted to make one FOR THE CAT so I can see these bleeping pictures. (at one point she had the time and patience to send me a special non-believer Facebook infidel link or whatever, but that time has passed.) The logic is if it's the cat's account I will somehow not waste as much time on the internet as I would if it were my own. Like the cat types and would be concerned if I violated his facebook privacy so I'd have to keep it short and sweet. (that's right, I said THE LOGIC.)

6) I'm reading Zeitoun by Dave Eggers for book club, and holy hell - it's really good. More on this later as well. (I mean it!)

7) I watched Anvil! the story of Anvil tonight and it reminded me of Unknown Passage (the Dead Moon documentary). Probably because it was a documentary about musicians who have been plugging away all this time and toured Europe while making the film, and ... maybe those are all the reasons.

8) Album Tacos makes me laugh. It's ridic, but strangely awesome.