Sunday, April 30, 2006

On lyrics and language

This is a post I did for Musings (and my) blog on Hyde, designed for the fan who is closer to Hyde's age and not the age he looks. It's about Hyde's lyrics, but I like some of the things I've said about language and meaning, so thought I'd share it here.

Mesmerized

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Belonging

We are all dying to give our lives away to something, maybe. God or Satan, politics or grammar, topology or philately—the object seemed incidental to this will to give oneself away, utterly. To games or needles, to some other person. Something pathetic about it. A flight-from in the form of a plunging–into.
-Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

I've been meaning to write this one for weeks. David Foster Wallace also went to my college but that's not what I'm writing about. I found a copy of his book for free, had it for a few years and finally plowed through it. It's a deeply flawed book, but there is much that is profound in it. It's rather like Pynchon lite--though it still weighs a couple of pounds. This is one of the truest things in the book. We are all desperate to join clubs. I've been thinking about it in regards to buying a car. For years I thought of myself as a Volkswagon owner. I didn't go to meetings, I didn't especially talk to other people who owned VW's esp. Golf's, but I smiled when I saw them on the highway. I now own a Toyota Yaris. I don't think of myself as a Toyota person. I'm not sure what that means. VW was sporty--you know German engineering, little cars that could, the people's car. You were hip but smart. Practical but funky. Toyotas are dependable. Evidently in Europe where the Yaris has been sold for years there are Yaris clubs. There are sites on how to "soup up" your Yaris. People have message boards. The internet means we can belong in ways we never thought possible. You can find a group of people who share almost any passion you could possibly have. I've made friends based on Hyde and L'Arc~en~Ciel. That's a club too. J-Pop fans who are so cool to be international. I'm not saying that the initial like isn't real or that it's bad to belong, I'm just intrigued by my own enjoyment of belonging. Last year I found a group of fellow Vietnamese adoptees. We're all the same age roughly (for obvious reasons) and we share things that very few other people share. Things that don't seem important but when we were together it just seemed amazing and fulfilling to be able to say. For us it was things that are missing from our lives that other people take for granted--the date, time and place where you were born, the name and nationality of your parents, pictures of you in infancy, toys you loved. For most of us having the name of the orphanage is a triumph. Finding them filled something I didn't know I needed and yet, I haven't really kept in touch with any of them. A year later I have only brief contact even with the ones who live near me--somehow it wasn't everything I hoped for, or the community only works when it's a community and not a few people. I don't know. Reading C.S. Lewis lately he always talks about the longing inside all of us for something we cannot define--a valley we think we glimpsed in childhood, a piece of music we thought we once heard. He believed we throw ourselves into things, even love in a desperate attempt to recapture that feeling but what we are longing for is heaven and the presence of God and while real love and real happiness can come close on earth they can only be fleeting. Which is not to say we shouldn't enjoy companionship on earth--Lewis was by all accounts very into companionship, drinking in the pub with Tolkien and debating dragons, but we should understand it's limitations. I've always held myself aloof. I did not belong as a child and so I created a persona of being unique and not affiliated, yet when I am embraced by a theater company or other group I feel deeply grateful. I am like the Groucho Marx quote, I am instantly suspicious of any group that would have me as a member. And I am desperately afraid of being disappointed--of disappointing and being disappointed. This in turn leads me to shut down and pull back.
Thinking of the god awful term of Branding--are our group affiliations part of personal branding. The Goth lite, L'Arc/Hyde, Cairn/Westie terrier owning, hatchback driving, designing, writing, Vietnamese Adoptee brand? Is it a brand if you don't tell anybody? Is it a blog if nobody reads and responds? It's getting too late--I'm starting to ramble. More on this later.

Two movies

Last weekend we watched two amazing movies:

"The Devil's Backbone" and "A History of Violence."

"The Devil's Backbone" is that rarest of things, an effective thriller and more, it's a really good movie. It's what "The Sixth Sense" and "The Others" should have been and weren't. It's definitely shot with an auteur's eye. It's quite beautiful--the setting a character unto itself, bleak and dry, the heat almost visible. The "monster" though it's is shown early never loses it's power to terrify nor it's tragedy. The twist, when it comes, is startling yet satisfying and the climax and denouement effective and fulfilling. I'm keeping it generic because I don't want to give it away. I had heard good things about it and both my husband and I just sighed when it was over. It's directed by Guillermo Del Toro who directed the underrated and interesting "Hellboy" also with a great eye. He is clearly fascinated by comics and appreciates them. One of the special features of the DVD is his original storyboards shown beside the shots in the film and they are drawn like a comic book. Tim Burton also does his own storyboards. Within the story the young boy is reading The Count of Monte Christo in comic book form. The acting, especially by the children is amazing. It's set in a boy's school/orphanage (many of the boys do not know they are orphans) during the Spanish Civil War. Like truly great literature, the world events form a subtle but important background. One of the things I remember from Lit. Crit. in college was an appreciation for Jane Austin's minute acknowledgements of the events in the world, such as industrialization and the plantations in the West Indies that made the life of manners in her books possible. It's there and it's not there, simultaneously.

I've been a fan of Cronenburg for years (I even studied his films in college) so I was eager to see "A History of Violence"--his "cross over" film. It's very good though not as good as "The Devil's Backbone." For a David Cronenburg the violence is quite understated--though for any other director except Tarantino and Lynch, this would be a very violent and graphic film. Viggo Mortgensen (sp.?) gives a taut and intriguing performance. He makes an interesting choice in portraying the past and the present. He can't always maintain it, but he makes a good effort. Like many of DC's later films there is a strong correspondence between sex and violence. A lengthy and funny sex scene early in the film is contrasted with a shorter more violent one later. Interestingly this was based on a comic series.

We watched these on Friday and Saturday respectively. On Sunday I said to my husband that we had picked two very linked films. He looked at me like I had two heads. When I studied theater design in college, the first thing we were taught was to find the throughline of the play. The throughline should be one sentence that sums up the plot as you see it (obviously in the real world a director will probably come to you with his through line and you have to design it; if you're lucky, you'll find a director who will develop one with your input). If you see King Lear as "A once powerful king plays his daughters ambitions against each other," you're probably going to design a different show than if you see it as (as one of my classmates did) "Senile old man is duped by his goody two shoes daughter to the detriment of his more aggressive older daughters." I believe the best through lines focus on the humans. You can certainly design a show with the through line "Power struggles lead to civil war," but I don't think it will be as good. I realized that the two movies have similar through lines. "There are evil and violent men in the world and sometimes the best people must resort to violence to overcome their fears and bring justice." They were movies about doing the right thing in spite of everything--the right thing happening to be murder of the evil. I suppose it's why we go to movies for that closure that does not always happen in life. What was especially nice about both of these films is that while the climax was fairly black and white, the denouement were deliberately kept ambiguous--there is no happy ever after. One knows that all of these characters will face repercussions, possibly for the rest of their lives because of the actions they've taken in the film.

Friday, April 28, 2006

A week or more of blogs in one night

I do things in mad bursts and then don't do them for awhile. I'd like to break that habit. I've thought of about 90 (alright, I exaggerate wildly, say 15) things to blog about through the last week and I write them in my head and then I don't have time (read don't make time) or when I sit down at the blank screen it doesn't seem so brilliant anymore or it seems to require more than I can give at that moment. Can we remake ourselves or should we focus more on accepting who we are?

Red Queen has been focusing on cleaning and I went up to help her. I have helped people get organized and while I still have a lot of things I'm actually pretty ruthless in terms of clutter--will I really do this if I keep it, read those magazines, make those recipies. I asked her if she wanted me to be more ruthless with her. Some things are just fun to keep and don't take up space like the 4 years and more than one college worth of college IDs she found in an old wallet. She went to college a little after the time I was born. There was an American war on and it wasn't in the middle east. Keeping the cards was funny. She didn't keep the wallet. The question for us crafty (as in make crafts, not Brer Rabbit, Coyote and Anansi) and artsy types is what projects will we never really return to. I was trying to convince another similar friend to give up the Macrame yarn, books and beads. "Will Macrame every come back? Do you love it so much you would do it anyway? If you retired tomorrow would that be a project you would start?" I asked Red Queen if she needed me to call her once a day and say, "Whatever you're holding, throw it away." I sent her an email that said that and she wrote back saying she really couldn't throw away the mouse or keyboard, but would try to find something on her desk to toss.

I know for me, and probably for them it's a little death to throw projects away. It says that you aren't the person you thought you were going to be when you bought the supplies. Maybe your better (I mean, macrame?) but either way, it's something uncompleted--or maybe that's just the depressive's way of looking at it and I should find a better way of framing.

It's like this blog when/if I walk away from it will I be satisfied with what I've done? What makes it "SUCCESSFUL"? The peace it brings me. The one or two friends who read and comment? Should I be trying to get it read by more people or is that more trouble than it's worth? I NEED TO FIND A PERSONAL DEFINITION OF SUCCESS AND I DON'T SEEM TO HAVE ONE. Blech. That got darker and more self-pitying than I intended.

Final library note

I also picked up a book called My Depression, a Picture Book by Elizabeth Swados. I think I need to own this book. I kept holding it up for my husband and we both just nodded in recognition. She's not us, but she's been there. That's been the hardest thing in my life--to be a depressive and to be married to a depressive. In many ways we haven't been good for each other. In many ways we've been the only one who understands the other.

"My depression begins with a little cloud at the edge of my vision. I only sense it's there.
"I begin to hear every word that every negative critic, professional or otherwise, has said or written about me."

When I'm sliding back I replay every dumb thing I think I've ever said from childhood on. I relive every time I was selfish or rude. I stage fights in my head with every person who's ever hurt me (and I don't even win then!). Really strolling memory lane tonight. This is one of the clearest things I've ever written about depression.

For Those for Whom the Ground Beneath Their Feet is Always Even


There is a moment, a moment of release as your tires unclench and lose contact with the road, when the car is free floating on the hydroplane, when nothing has happened and yet you and the car must be aware of the inevitable collision, and yet you can do nothing to turn away. In some ways I imagine it must be like the moment when a frayed rope unclasps and lets go its last gasp and the boat it has protected is released to shiver downstream towards the falls. After you are well, or at least stable, this moment becomes completely visible to you and almost more terrifying than a life and death moment, because unlike the car crash, which takes place in real time, and is therefore over, almost before your conscious mind can register, and the mind gently protects you by overwriting the memory by all that comes after--after all, the crash is external; the moment when you are aware that this medication is no longer working, or some trigger, as yet unresolved in therapy has been sprung, or that after a relative period of halcyon peace, something inside has shifted over and left you defenseless becomes like Trinity's leap in "The Matrix," frozen in digital perfection and examined from all sides, and what comes after will seem as nothing because you are examining that moment over and over again in your own mental time--in perpetual loop, and like digital, whatever is lost with time is repaired or replaced by the system, so that there is no fading, or skipping. And unlike the car crash, or the old tether, there is a terrible societal pressure and therefore, an internal pressure to believe that this was somehow avoidable. That you must not want to be well, when no one believes that you wanted to hydroplane.

I resist the overmedication of America, a vision of Soma doused generations, smiling benignly and advancing not at all, is horrifying, and resisted medicating myself for years, but the truth of the matter, and what is wrong with the Prozac Panacea is that if you are using it to be happy and not unhappy then you don't understand. We who must medicate don't use it to be HAPPY. By the time most of us have reached the point where we are willing to be chemically changed, to be dependent upon 24 hour pharmacies and some form of prescription plan for the REST OF OUR LIVES, happy is the furthest thing from our minds. We have come to believe that HAPPY does not really exist. We believe that we have more chance of going to Narnia or Oz than to Happy. What we are looking for is the ability to remain upright, to continue putting one foot in front of the other in our day to day lives, let alone to actually be able to be Unhappy pursuing our dreams and goals and taking all of the daily risks that most people encounter without feeling either happy or unhappy.


I eat sugar for the rush of madness on my tongue, a flash in some fleshly way like joy, and I am forever longing for that lost moment.

It isn't fair that joy is, by definition, so brief, but despair lingers for seasons, clinging like leaches or ticks, waiting for the bare foot in the warm grass, the bather in the soft water, pivoting that delicate moment of happiness. The grass becomes itchy and uncomfortable, the seaweed grabs at your ankles, and I have never learned to smear these lesser moments together into some form of contentment.

Perhaps, that is it, then. Despair requires nothing on your part, in fact, demands nothing on your part to thrive, while joy says, "Chase me! Do something! Do Something!" and the chase is part and parcel, but how long can a person run?

For Musing on Driving

Musing had a line about the joy of driving that is sometimes lost and I said I would look for an essay I wrote some years ago when I was writing a lot. Here it is. I wasn't sure if I would post old writing here, but maybe I should. Why, the hell, not? It's my blog and there are no rules about it. Right?

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like my car.


I love highway driving, at night especially. Very little thought--the music--yours alone, even stupid albums or bad, maudlin mixes that your friends laugh at you for owning, or don't even know that you own--you can sing and no one can even see you singing, let alone hear you. It's your world.
I used to speed down the highway late at night, when the lanes are a bowling alley, and the Pru and the John Hancock are distant pins. Pull over into the fast lane and let fly! Well, it was flying for me, but it’s a pretty modest thrill. That's the advantage of having a repressed, deprived childhood (there should be at least one, shouldn't there?). It takes very little to feel wild, reckless and dangerous. So, I do 75 or 80 mph and feel like a mad woman, pulling ahead of the pack, until some loon gets mad at me for being in the left lane and not doing 95. He's right; left lane is for overtaking and passing. I have these little rules for myself in everything. I can speed, but only on a nearly deserted highway, and I never play lane hopping, swerving in and out like some demented game of ancient Frogger. The problem is that doing that in heavy traffic will get a lot more than you splattered if your geometry is wrong. I figure that speeding on an empty highway, the only person I'm going to splatter is me.
I believe in personal responsibility, I really do. It's hairsplitting of the finest order and hypocritical to the old guy in a cap, riding back from dinner somewhere with his wife of 50 years in the passenger seat, doing the exact speed limit in the middle lane, sunk so low in the seat of his Cadillac that I can only see his hat as I come up on him from behind doing my 80 miles per hour or so, and I wonder briefly if it’s the hat that's driving or a person and then I pass him with an annoyed wave, but at least it's a line somewhere and I admit that the philosophy is slightly flawed. It's like eating only the white of an egg and thinking that you're safe because you didn't eat the yolk, or ordering lite-beer, or diet coke with your burger and fries. Yeah, but… Yeah, but I'm still breaking the law. I knew a man once who stood up in church and said that God told him to slow down on the highway, and "Praise the Lord," he had slowed down from 80 to 70 and avoided a pile-up and he just thanked the Lord that the Good Lord had helped him save his family. I remember thinking, "God told you that it was Ok to break the law by 5 miles per hour, but not 15?" But then, I already knew that this guy was a pompous hypocrite and his church a sham, so it's sort of the exception that proves the rule. I don't think that God spoke to him at all.
So I'm not saying that the fudging is right; it's just what I do. Unfortunately, a friend of mine pointed out, (though fortunately not while we're in my car), that the guy doing 90 and zigzagging in and out like a mad flea, or the line of gang-bangers (by which I mean a line of cars tailgating the guy in front of them, for four or five cars up to the guy who's going the speed limit as if the group of them can pressure him into going faster--which just means a multi-car pile up instead of just two) probably think that their fudging is ok, maybe even right, just like me, or the guy doing 45 in the far right lane. We're all doing the best that we think we can.

Anyway, back to me, in my car, beyond right or wrong. I have another friend who will take the straightest way, even if it takes longer--a matter of principle--to defy the traffic patterns in this city. He would probably be appalled to know that I have sometimes taken the longest route, around the whole city in order to stay a little longer in my car. Sometimes I don't even speed. I find a nice stable car doing the speed limit and I stay a safe distance behind, so that the world becomes the white lines and his tail lights.

This is as good a place as any to post a picture of my new car. It's very like my old car, only blue, and new, and a Toyota, not a VW.

More from my library run

Another book I found was one I'd been thinking of looking for, but there it was in new books, The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. It's Penelope's story--waiting for Odysseus, hearing the stories, waiting, with that interesting feminist (in a good way) twist of Atwood's. It's interesting to me because during the BAD TIME (one good thing about that time is I did a lot of writing of which I'm still proud) I read and used a lot of myths in my poetry. I've just begun reading it. I don't love it yet--I'll have to see where it goes. It's a little petty in it's treatment of Helen, but then I might be too were I Penelope. I think Atwood's last two books were amazing. I've read most of her fiction, and I've always enjoyed her plots, but I've often found some of her characters and their motivations a little stiff, unemotional and unengaging. I never really believed the women in A Handmaid's Tale even though the plot was fascinating if heavy handed and the women of Cat's Eye, while I related to many of their actions still seemed a little cold. In contrast I think The Blind Assassin was painfully sad. I wept for all of the doomed characters. I could see myself living those lives or feeling those feelings and doing the same stupid things. Oryx and Crake is so amazing on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin. The plot line is terrifying and plausible. The characters and their actions still completely human. It's one of the few times that I've felt her men weren't just representations of things. Even the say "villain" of the piece is trapped in the world in which he lives with the mind and the pain that he's been born with. I understand his actions and we understand why despite his brilliance he is still trapped by emotion. I made my husband read it and he would just turn to me sometimes and say, "Wow." So we'll see what her Penelope learns. Meanwhile here's my take on Penelope and Helen (see the next post for my thoughts on posting my own work.)

Faith in Our Fathers

And yet, was Agamemnon an innocent,
sacrificing Iphigenia
for his freedom?

And yet, is Clytemnestra unredeemed,
as abandoned as Penelope
but not as strong?

And even as Orestes and Telemachius
defended the memory of their fathers,would they have welcomed them back?



From a longer piece entitled "Instead of Epistles"

Some girls thoughÂ…

Oh, I envy you.

Cleo, where on earth did you learn to play the game?
You played the players back with the hand you were given plus a few from under the table.
And when your bluff was called, you folded with good grace, and still on your terms.

Lizzie, I don't know how this lonely, little girl who could have, should have had such issues
Beat them all, like she beat the fever--scarlet queen--a scarlet theme.
How did you manage to stay unmarried and uncaged--it sat so poorly on your mother's head

Oh, Ladies, I want to know, did you ever doubt? Did you ever believe?
Were you cold, and sore, from whalebones, and knitting needles, jewels, and children.
What made you human? What made you stop? What made you go on?

Helen, and you other pretty girls I do not envy you, not even for your beauty.
It bore much too high a cost. Pretty girls, even in fiction, Tess, for instance
Especially if standing poor, were like the best fruit, waiting to be seized.

Things that amuse me--or the pun is the lowest form

I love puns. I love Ogden Nash. I went to the Boston Public Library today which is like going to a candy store for me. I'm one of the only people I know who can successfully browse the Library of Congress filing system--worked in my town library as a teenager (Dewey Decimal) and college Library (P's are for literature, by country, not type, so English poetry is next to English plays). I have to stop myself in libraries or I'll check out more than I can carry home. I had to limit myself to 5 today, putting some poetry back on the shelf, not even picking up the big book on Chanel. I HAVE TOO MANY INTERESTS--it's like I have $5 in a thousand mutual funds--I'm definitely not in any danger, but I'm not accumulating anything either.
Anyway, one of the odd little treasures I picked up was by Richard Wilbur, the poet and translator of Moliere. As a side note here--I went to a really good college which I say with the Groucho Marx caveat, "How good could it be, it let me in..." Har, har. Ah, the self-depreciating humor of the low self-esteemed. But the fun thing about going to a small ivy is that you have a disproportionate number of famous alumnae. Richard Wilbur went to my college. Robert Frost taught there (obviously before my time). Uma Thurman's father taught there--big yip! Actually I'm told he was a great teacher. SO ANYWAY... found this funny little book of Richard Wilbur's sillier poems called "Opposites" from a game he used to play with his kids where you said a word and people tried to come up with the opposite of it--like the opposite of nuts, or mirror. They are illustrated with Thurberesque illustrations and if I get a chance I'll scan some on Monday to add. These are my favorites:

What is the opposite of riot?
It's lots of people keeping quiet


The opposite of doughnut? Wait
A minute while I meditate.
This isn't easy. Ah, I've found it!
A cookie with a hole around it.

The opposite of a cloud could be
A white reflection in the sea,
Or a huge blueness in the air,
Caused by a cloud's not being there.

And my favorite favorite:

There's more than one way to be right
About the opposite of white,
And those who merely answer black
Are very, very single-track.
They make one want to scream, "I beg
Your pardon, but within an egg
(A fact known to the simplest folk)
The opposite of white is yolk!"

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Love Beckett, hate Beckett, you'll love this:

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/47722

Monday, April 24, 2006

Observation of the day: The Fear of Doing Things Wrong Often Keeps Me From Doing Anything at All

From earliest childhood I can remember fearing that there was a "right" way to do things--a correct way that most everyone else knew and that I didn't, and that it was pure, dumb luck that kept me from being found out. Even down to stupid things. I used to stress that I wasn't highlighting correctly when taking notes, too much highlighted, not enough? And yet, I was an excellent student (according to my grades) so the ends were rarely in question, only the imaginary person looking over my shoulder laughing. When I started using computers and would make the same mistake over and over I used to wonder at what point the computer would decide I was too stupid and just turn itself off. DISCLAIMER: not literally or in a disassociative way, I mean the rational part of my brain knew that didn't happen, just as we know the light goes out in the fridge, and yet I imagined the computer sitting in judgement. I'm feeling much better now, to paraphrase "Night Court" and yet there is still a piece of me that worries, esp. about the big things. Did I phrase that right? If I found the perfect words would I make a sale? Do they think I'm an idiot?

I even worry sometimes that I'm not blogging "right." Or that it must add up to something in the end. There are somethings I do without hesitation--design for instance, but not drawing or singing, or physical things. I am always working to correct it, but it's so hard to unlearn the things we think we know.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Computers and the people who program them

I was entering birthdates into a database like this 4/19/36. The program gave me a pop up that said:

"You have listed the birthday as 2036. It is more likely to be 1936. Do you want to change this?"

Well, d'uh....

Sometimes though it would automatically make "36" 1936. Go figure.

This means whoever programmed made it Y2K compliant, but not real world logical, BUT wrote a pop-up message anyway just in case. Coders are another species.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Seeing Closer

I was afraid of this film. We've had it from Netflix for something like a month which rather defeats the purpose of Netflix. I lived some of this once. That's all I can say for now.

It was perfectly written, perfectly acted--I said or heard all of those things at that time. I was probably closest to the Clive Owen character. A little bit Natalie Portman. I've wished all my life I could be more like that kind of person--able to leave, travel light, reinvent oneself. Instead I have a few identities I cycle through day to day, have far too much stuff and regret too much. I almost made the mistakes of the Jude Law character in the last scenes, but stopped just in time. I don't think I was ever the Julia Roberts character--except in one thing that Owen's character says of her: that she can't let go of being a depressive, of being unhappy. Having that identity makes her happy.

I've said all my life I didn't want to be depressed, and yet behavioral medicine made me realize that I had created a little nest for myself as the dark and brooding one. Listening to goth music, thinking too much, proud of my insomnia. I was afraid of letting that go. What's funny is I don't think I actually came across as all that dark and brooding. I just thought I did. I still like the trappings of Goth, just bought a little coffin shaped wallet and purse which actually makes me smile when I take it out. I'm not going to switch to rap music all of a sudden, but I am afraid of listening to some of it now, because it's luxurious to feel that bad. "I'm only happy when it rains...I'm flying high on a deep depression...pour your misery down on me."--Shirley Manson, Garbage. It's like I only think I'm deep if I'm depressed. My husband loves Garbage and Interpol and the Editors. I was listening to the Editors the other day I just wanted to weep and I CAN'T EVEN UNDERSTAND HALF THE WORDS. But I still like the sound. I'm trying to find a way to like the sound without being sucked into the addiction of it. We are all addicted to something, to many things, but most people don't even realize it. Maybe that's part of what Hyde fulfills for me, I know the lyrics are dark but they're in Japanese. According to the very funny but still Goth musician, Voltaire, "Punks looked at the world and got angry. Goths looked at the world and got sad."

My husband was indifferent to the film, which hurt me more than I can say. I think he was afraid of watching it and so found distractions and reasons to dislike it. He didn't want to revisit those places even as catharsis, even in fiction, not yet for him. If I'm not to step back into it, I have to give him that room.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Two contrasting thoughts

If I managed to blog every day as I intended these would show the difference a day makes as well as that life perspective thing I keep coming back to.

Sunday If you've read my blog you know my car has been dying. We gave up on it last week. On Saturday we went and bought a Toyota Yaris--brand new car, brand new in the US. Not as bad as I expected. Couldn't sign for it then--Saturday and they only had stick and I want automatic though my husband test drove the stick. Then when I got home I found out that my beloved Hyde is doing a show in San Francisco in July (thank you, thank you, MUSING WOMAN!). I missed the tickets but there is another chance next week. It was just such a week of highs and lows. I was looking forward to an easy week this week.

Monday On Monday a scaffold collapsed on Boylston Street in Boston killing 3 people. It's about 3 blocks from where I work on Fridays. I used to walk along there on my way to work when the weather was fair. Life is so fragile. There's a line in the play I was rehearsing said by the girlfriend of a cop, "You can't promise (nothing's going to happen). You can't promise that. Go work for the post office and you can't promise that. Not even then." I worry about death, mine, my husbands, my friends, death, disease, accident. So fragile.

Wednesday Couldn't get the car and now looks like it won't get here until Saturday--feel lied to. Simultaneously was promised a replacement fax ink cartridge from WB Mason before noon and it didn't arrive by the end of the day--already a date late because of Mason's error. Spent half the day rebuilding my computer at work because of a glitch IT was completely unable to fix and which I and the Branch Manager solved in ten minutes when we realized it was probably mechanical and not software oriented. There's a amazing short story (I'll have to get the name of the author from my husband) called "The Marching Morons" from the 1950's. The title comes from an idea that if all the Chinese were lined up and made to march past a point the line would never end because people would have babies and put them in the line before it could ever finish (disclaimer--he's not implying that the Chinese are morons, read on). A man who is frozen wakes up in the future and discovers that while everything looks slick it's actually on the verge of falling apart and about 12 intelligent people are frantically holding everything together behind the scenes. The morons have become so numerous they will never end. Is that what we are coming to? Accepting poor customer service because there is no one offering anything better? Realizing that no one can be adequately trained because technology is moving too fast? I am too young to feel this bitter. Driving home my frustration causes me to honk at the car in front of me when the light turns green only to realize that it's a turning green and doesn't apply to us. Feel like a heel. Try to remember yesterday's lesson of the important things in life. Try not to take the world's glitches personally. Steal wi-fi.

And since we are speaking of excellent science fiction I end with a link regarding the death of Polish writer Stanislaw Lem. My husband lent me some of his books when we were first dating. Unbelievable. What true science fiction/futurist fiction should be. Funny and fantastic and staggeringly intelligent (kudos to the translators as well). He is only known in this country for having written Solaris, made into a movie in Russia and then into a movie with George Clooney, directed by Stephen Soderbergh. Since I intended to list more authors of note with this blog I will start with this. I will try to add an excerpt soon--particularly the love poem written in trigonometry.
http://www.wbur.org/arts/2006/56980_20060330.asp#lem

Moral conundrums in the modern world

I'm writing this on one of my bosses laptops. I doubt that he would care...he encouraged me to bring it home to do some data entry for him which I've done. I'm responsible for cleaning the computer, so I'll guard against virus etc. My electricity, my time. More troubling I am using wi-fi from one of my neighbors (3 family dwelling). Am I stealing? Both neighbors above and below have a tendancy to play their music too loud so I have the slight satisfaction but that makes it worse--then it's revenge, not just stealing. Oh, dear. It's fantastic though. I've been able to relax in front of the TV while my husband works on our computer and work through all the emails I haven't been able to deal with for the last few weeks and even come here to blog. If I had my own laptop, would I use it every night? Opinions?