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stepping around the one million year trap

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Thursday, February 28, 2013
derby excitement!

The worst thing when it has been one million years since I've written a blog post is how I want to say something about how it has been one million years and then I dither for an ADDITIONAL million years and then I'm tired and go to bed.  My strategy this time is to just baldly state it and then get on with it. Will it work? Would it work twice? These are questions that lack answers at this time.

Here is a bullet list of things I've wanted to blog about, but then fell into my one million year trap:

  •  12th century French werewolf
  • butts of the ancients part 2 
  • garden panic!!
  • my sore throat and how I hate it and how I hate that I can't write one single thing that doesn't have me whining about my sore throat and how I hate it. 
  • Nashville
  • Bunheads
  • and how I love both of them
  • POEMS: are they just the right thing to read when my attention span has contracted to the size of a penny? (I blame the internet, by the way. and when I say that I mean my own lack of impulse control.) 
  • Hamlet. Man, that guy has problems AND a ghost, which is also a problem but sort of the least of them. Although it does egg him on a lot. 
  • SMARTPHONE. I have an ancient dumb phone (I notice that they are called "feature phones" and that the "features" are things like voicemail and numbers on a keypad.) Anyway - this is probably a bit more info than a bullet indicates, but I think I'm going to go with which treats mobile stuff like a utility instead of like some kind of bad contract with Rumplestiltskin deal. You buy your phone outright and then just pay for what you use voice/text/data wise. I'm trying to decide which of their phones I want. It's all android, which is fine. I'm a mac user everywhere else, so I'm finding it all kind of exciting. It's good to learn new things, if only I could make up my mind.
  • I keep having this fantasy where someone delivers 3-5k to my doorstep and I can just spend it on electronics. It's BIZARRE as this is not normally the kind of thing I spend too much time thinking about. But I want new everything. I blame the impending spring and that my laptop cursor keeps skipping around. Nothing is dire (except the phone) and I'm just being wanty
  • those black ants that are everywhere: my nemeses
  • SECRET THING (I can/will tell eventually, just not yet) 
  • my favorite podcasts and what kind of thing I like in a favorite podcast and do you have a favorite podcast?
  • Remember when Hugh Jackman hosted the Oscars and he was so charming and funny? 
  • flickr revival! 
There are more things, but I'm going to read a poem, or read Hamlet stabbing some people and go to bed.  It's raining, which is my very favorite sleeping weather of all time/seasons. 

Hamlet and toy camera mode

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
oregon city bridge

Don't those look like toy cars on a toy bridge? My camera has a built-in tilt-shift mode (which they call "toy") so I can make pretend toy bridges out of real bridges simply by turning a dial. I feel like this earns me an evil laugh, so MWAHAHAHA.  BEWARE, or I shall turn my toy-ray on your metropolis.

THINGS ARE AFOOT. That's all I can say about that right now, but I will tell you aaaallll about it later. (it's not an actual toy ray, alas.)

Stuff I can talk about: I'm reading Hamlet! Which I think I mentioned last time, which was last week. It took me longer than anticipated to finally finish the Lhasa book, so Hamlet got pushed down the line. It's so good! I mean, I know it's "good" because it's Shakespeare, etc. Also because I've read it before (a long time ago), but it's also the kind of good where I'm thinking about it (and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead) all the time.  ALL THE TIME.

My friend Patty is reading it along with me, and we got to talking about the play within the play (you know - Hamlet's "the play's the thing/ wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King" where he plans to trick Claudius into revealing his murdering ways and wife/crown stealing propensity) and I remembered that I quite liked the version of the play they did in RaGaD. AND THEN I found it on youtube, so here it is. I love Richard Dreyfus as The Player. In the Kenneth Branagh version of Hamlet (about which I liked many things) The Player was Charleton Heston -- a major letdown. All I could think of whenever he was on screen was him and his soylent green, his damn dirty apes and his cold dead hands. Whereas R. Dreyfus is just perfectly, appropriately rooster-crowing over the top. (Can one be appropriately over the top? If it's appropriate, then surely it's just at the top and not over? I don't know and I don't care.  I love him in this part.) (Plus it has Tim Roth AND Gary Oldman being awesome.)

I love how The Player describes tragedy: "We're tragedians, you see. We follow directions--there is no choice involved. The bad end unhappily, the good unluckily. That is what tragedy means." (This is from RaGaD - I will find some amazing Hamlet-itself quotes for next time.) There is something to be said for interacting with a piece of art where you know it's bad endings for everyone, as opposed to say a fancy PBS soap opera that MUMBLESHOUT SHAKE MY FIST TO THE HEAVENS.


Oh! There's this coming up, too!! The Kickstarter's over, but the book will be available to purchase at some point in the future!

up to the minute reading

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013
rare bird

What a weirdly underwater day. I don't know what the deal is - maybe just mid-winter malaise.

to counteract, a list!

Books I just finished or am just finishing: 

Are You My Mother? - Alison Bechdel: I feel like I should have liked this more than I did. The art is amazing - as good as anything I've seen from her (Fun Home), but I only connected intermittently to the story. This book is about her relationship with her mother and is very meta (a book that's largely about writing the book and how hard it is to write the book and why won't her mother report back on the book and what does her therapist think of the book) and features a lot of heavy duty capital A Analysis.  I can see how it resonates for many, but it wasn't a Love It book for me. The art is really good, though.  (4/5 stars)

Winning the Wallflower - Eloisa James: I've read and enjoyed another Eloisa James book, so when I saw this novella for free on Amazon, I jumped at it. I've been reading it in the middle of the night on my ipod when the cats are having late night cat insanity. She's a good writer but I think the novella form is not for me, at least as far as romances are concerned. There's just not enough time. I should say novellas about a couple I've already read a novel about would be fine - it's just this so few pages with relative strangers to accomplish so much - it was a little wham bam for my delicate middle of the night cat insanity minder sensibilities. (and not just wham bam but wham bam I love you I want you you're beautiful let's get married have children and thwart the expectations of your parents and my odious cousin the duke - in less than 100 pages.)  I will certainly read more of her full length novels, but this was too much and too little all at once. (2/5 stars)

My Journey to Lhasa - Alexandra David-Neel: first of all - check her out - she had ADVENTURES and lived to be 101. This book is concerned with a trip she took with her adopted (adult) son into Tibet in the 1920s. Westerners were not allowed, western women certainly not allowed, so she disguised herself as a Tibetan pilgrim and snuck in. She spoke a lot of languages, thought quickly on her feet, and had an extreme tolerance for hunger and altitude. I'm about 60 pages from the end and she just thwarted some robbers. (!!!) It reminds me of the Odyssey in a lot of ways - they travel and have adventure after adventure (some of them very similar) before finally arriving at their destination of Lhasa. I had a little trouble slipping into the book at the beginning, most of which I chalk up to not being used to her cadences - but now that I'm acclimated it's easy going. Now to finish off the last little bit! This was for book group and everyone liked it. (4/5 stars)

next up: Hamlet (I was having Shakespeare FEVER and decided to start back into it with the play I'm most familiar with - a friend is reading at the same time, so we're having a mini read-along. Although I don't think either of us is past Act 1 yet.)

the springening

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Tuesday, February 05, 2013
get here soon, spring

I know it's still winter, but I think we've turned the corner here in the pacific northwest. Things are starting to grow. Snowdrops and crocus are coming up, it's almost time to prune the roses AND it's definitely time to plant sweet peas -- I didn't do any last year but I want to do some this year. They smell so good! And they'll bloom well into the summer if you can keep their feet cool. Thing I've learned: plant them in a pot, or at least start them inside because tiny sweet pea starts are a slug delicacy. SLUGS! Ugh. The ugh is built right into their name.

TREE OUT MY WINDOW REPORT: its skinny little tree fingers are starting to thicken up with what will become pink blooms and later red leaves. There are two very busy squirrel nests - residents are always carrying up mouthfuls of leaves and are savvy about not going directly home when there's a tree-climbing cat sitting on the brick wall right next to the tree.

(photo is from a few years ago. You have to soak sweet pea seeds before planting because they have a very tough outer shell.)