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basically a monkey in a dress

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Sunday, September 30, 2012
I loved How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran.   Her writing is funny, brash, raunchy, honest, and kind. One of the things I like best is the sensible assertion that feminism doesn't require one to be to be some super-powered paragon of good traits, but rather "simply the belief that women should be as free as men, however nuts, deluded, badly dressed, fat, receding, lazy, and smug they might be." 
The chapter titles (below) give you some idea of the shape of this book. I started reading this while in the waiting room of a ZoomCare -  I didn't feel good (sinus infection) and they were running late, but this book was such good company! The early chapters were audacious and bracing yet comforting as I sat in a rigid chair waiting for someone to look up my nose with a flashlight.

Prologue: The Worst Birthday Ever
Chapter 1: I Start Bleeding!
Chapter 2: I Become Furry!
Chapter 3: I Don't Know What to Call My Breasts!
Chapter 4: I Am a Feminist!
Chapter 5: I Need a Bra!
Chapter 6: I Am Fat!
Chapter 7: I Encounter Some Sexism!
Chapter 8: I Am in Love!
Chapter 9: I Go Lap-dancing!
Chapter 10: I Get Married!
Chapter 11: I Get into Fashion!
Chapter 12: Why You Should Have Children
Chapter 13: Why You Shouldn't Have Children
Chapter 14: Role Models and What We Do with Them
Chapter 15: Abortion
Chapter 16: Intervention
Here's a quote from an interview she did with The Hairpin
 “The trick is, and there’s a little bit of heartbreak, you have to just give up on the idea of being a princess. You have to give up on the idea of being fabulous. My kind of base position on existence is that you just have to admit you’re a bit of a twat. You’re a bit of a div, you’re a kind of sweaty, stumpy, well-meaning idiot and you’re trying your hardest, but it’s just enough to be a sort of pleasant, polite person who’s working quite hard and tries to be nice to the people they’re nice to. We don’t need to have any more ambitions than that! This whole sassiness thing – everything’s got to be sarcastic, everything’s got to be knowing, everything’s got to be cynical. You’ve got to be on top of your shit twenty-four hours a day. THAT is exhausting. It’s just far better to go, you know what? I’m just basically a monkey in a dress, and the best I can hope for every day is just to be nice, to smile as much as possible, to be gentle, try and be a bit understanding, work really hard, go and smell some flowers, have a cup of tea, ring your mum if you get on with her, just kind of dial it down a bit. There’s a more sustainable idea of being a woman rather than feeling like you’re in a fucking movie twenty-four hours a day.”

summer is leaving but I don't want it to go

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Saturday, September 22, 2012
For today, some photos from aug/sept. that I haven't posted yet. These are happy roses from my summer-long rose-improvement campaign of FOOD AND WATER. Who knew? Besides everyone, I mean. 

These are hops growing on one of the cables that stabilizes a telephone pole. I read somewhere that Oregon (prob. the whole PNW) is one of the few regions in the world where hops grow easily. They're so cute. 

Otis loves to climb trees, but he REALLY loves for people to stand beneath whatever tree he's on, so he can casually hop onto shoulders. This is not always met with delight, as you can imagine. (it largely depends on how big of a surprise a sudden cat on the shoulder is.) 

transformation defies any attempts to explain

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Friday, September 21, 2012
I'm almost done with this book and I'm enjoying it very much - so much that I'm in no hurry to finish because then it will be over. Half of the story takes place in Italy in the early 60s vaguely around the filming of Cleopatra, half takes place in present day Hollywood(ish). Usually when there's this kind of divide I prefer one setting over the other, but in this book it's so well balanced I'm happy to return to any set of characters.

Here's a quote from p. 93, describing Michael Deane ("the Deane of Hollywood"), now an old man struggling for relevance in the current business.
Suffice it to say that, upon meeting Michael for the first time, many people stare open-mouthed, unable to look away from his glistening, vaguely lifelike face. Sometimes they cock their heads to get a better angle, and Michael mistakes their morbid fascination for attraction, or respect, or surprise that someone his age could look this good, and it is this basic misunderstanding that causes him to be ever more aggressive about fighting the aging process. It's not just that he gets younger-looking each year, that's common enough here; it's as if he is somehow transforming himself, evolving into a different being altogether, and this transformation defies any attempts to explain it. Trying to picture what Michael Deane looked like as a young man in Italy fifty years ago, based on his appearance now, is like standing on Wall Street trying to understand the topography of Manhattan Island before the Dutch arrived.

let my people vote

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Enraging that it has come to this, hilarious in that Sarah Silverman way,  and NSFW!

Go here for more information. 

caterpillar eyes

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012
caterpillar, brunching

NOTE: this post is from a few weeks ago, and I never posted it for whatever reason. (caterpillar insanity?)

There are caterpillars eating my petunias and this simple fact fills me with rage. CATERPILLAR RAGE! I know that caterpillars gotta eat, etc. but it just makes me so mad. Why can't they eat something else?! Weeds, for example?  They eat  right through the middle of buds that have yet to open and keep on eating until everything has holes in it or is dead. I hate them. The only practical way to deal with the problem is to pluck them off one by one (destroying them with fire would only compound my problems).

Even the big ones are tough to spot, but the little ones are nearly impossible. They're tricky and blend in with the plant, but I've discovered the secret: you have to look long enough until you get your caterpillar eyes. It's similar to night vision; you can't just walk into the dark from a brightly lit room and expect to see - so it is with the budworm caterpillar. You have to adapt, and then pluck those bastards off one by one as they come into your field of vision. What you do with them after that is up to you. I put them in the yard debris bin and figure they can eat to their hearts content along with any slugs I find.

UPDATE: shortly after I wrote this, the caterpillars were no longer the main problem. That would be the scourge of powdery mildew. It's really hard to focus fury on a mildew - I can't just pluck it away and consign it to the bin so I'm reduced to heavy sighs, muttering, and the knowledge that soon it will be winter and I'll be longing for a nice warm day and my caterpillar eyes.

observation deck

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Friday, September 14, 2012
the great Salt Lake

This photo is from last year's epic cross country road trip; I may have posted it before.  It was taken at the Great Salt Lake, and I thought the viewer looked rather Jawa-like. Maybe that's what they look like under their robes!

This evening's thoughts:

• the saying was that the internet runs on cats, but I think those halcyon days are over. The currency of the internet these days is outrage. I passively contribute by letting myself get worked up about how some people are deliberately misunderstanding what some other people have said or done (someone is wrong on the internet!), and then I think about how dumb it is to waste any mental or emotional energy on it and return my attention to politics or pinterest. (I KNOW!) speaking of the former...

• I'm pretty sure Romney will lose because he is dangerously clueless and even those in his own party can't work up much enthusiasm for him. Even the party bigwigs are unconvincing  - GWB, they could work with - but Romney has no charisma, no juice; he's like a dried up corncob with impressive republican hair. There's little support for Romney that if, when you scratch it, isn't really just wanting Obama out of office. (Can you even believe that Kansas is "mulling over" whether to put President Obama on the ballot because of some birther bullshit? They "suspect he is ineligible!" I cannot believe it - if you made it up it would be too much - and yet here it is!)

•My friend Daniel has a new blog called Democraycray  - he's blogging his thoughts and frustrations  every day until the election. I'm also fond of the 90 Days, 90 Reasons site and the politics blog at Esquire.

• While I'm talking about it - did you watch the conventions? What did you think? I thought the DNC was miles better. They sounded like serious people and running this government is a serious job! And they're serious about helping people! There were only a couple of speakers at the RNC who sounded like grown ups who could put two thoughts together away from the teleprompter talking points (Chris Christie, Condoleeza Rice), but neither one of them seemed to give two shits about Mitt Romney.

and now I must go to bed. I don't plan on blogging very much about politics, but I had to get some of this out of my system.