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Showing posts from April, 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.



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 w…

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 …

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 w…

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…

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, …

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 i…

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 le…

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&qu…

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.

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…

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…

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?