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Showing posts from 2007

And so we are moved

It's been a long couple of weeks. Everything is here, except for husband's albums. It's a long story. We had more stuff than would fit in a moving truck. So, one moving truck, two minivan loads (borrowed from Red Queen) and assorted trips in the Yaris hatchback.
We had to go out for lunch today because we couldn't find our saucepans, and I'm wearing purple socks to work tomorrow with a red sweater because it was the pair that I found rummaging in the trash bag that contains all my underwear.
We did grab a tiny tree picking up the van and ate stuffed pork chops for dinner because we found a baking tray.

The bedroom is arranged, but nothing is hung up or sorted (they promised they could wrap the drawers and then couldn't. Very annoying). These are pictures of some of the packing in the old apt.--too many books. This is without cd's or dishes: Added to the fun is this: This is my car in the work parking lot where I had to leave it two weeks ago. And then we had an…

Atonement (the movie)

And then I won tickets to see a preview of the film last Wednesday.

I don't usually read the novel that close to seeing the film--to go in with the book so completely in my head--and to wonder how they were going to be able to make a film of this book. It was the same director who directed Keira in Pride and Prejudice, and I had liked his direction there.

How to convert a book so completely of the mind--the minds of multiple characters--into a visual medium. It is a book with little external dialogue, but a lot of internal dialogue. It is also (the middle part) an enormous novel describing the chaos of Dunkirk and the horrors of war as seen from a military hospital. It is one character's story throughout her life. And it is a story seen simultaneously from several different points of view.

For the most part I will say that it succeeded. There was a little reliance on close up to show "the internal." But my husband, who had not read the book, said he had little trouble u…

Atonement (the book)

When I realized that I didn't own Pride and Prejudice I also realized that I did not own Atonement by Ian McEwan, now a film with Keira Knightly. I remember in the beginning of summer when I first heard advertisements for it I thought, "But there aren't any good female parts in Atonement." There aren't any good female parts in Amsterdam, McEwan's book before Atonement. This made me realize that I didn't own and hadn't read Atonement.

So, since I now work a few blocks from a Barnes & Noble, a terribly dangerous thing for me--I went an bought them (I also bought The Maltese Falcon and Cakes and Ale by Somerset Maugham--that's why I don't go to bookstores--it's hard for me to stop).

I don't want to give the story away. I had wondered where the transition between the McEwan of Amsterdam and the McEwan of Saturday had happened. This would be the book. I reviewed On Chesil Beach (and I believe Saturday before I started doing labels). McEwa…

Know what I hate?

Secret Santas.

Know what I hate more?

Yankee Swaps.

At least with the Secret Santas you have sort of a chance to actually have the spirit--buy something specifically for someone. But with a Yankee Swap you're buying blind--could be mail/female, geeky, sportsy.

For those who don't know what it is:

Everyone brings a present. Everyone draws a number out of a hat. Number 1 picks a present. Number two picks a present and so on, BUT any later number can SWAP for an earlier gift and the earlier person has no choice in the mater. So it should be called Yankee Steal. So much for the spirit of gifting.

And you know that everyone is just regifting something that they got the year before. Probably true in Secret Santas--I for instance got a set of Margarita glasses last year. Not exactly my ideal, but the buyer thought of me as cosmopolitan and hip and so probably thought it was perfect.

Gift cards are the best. We should just agree to all buy each other gift cards. Much easier. I ha…

So we are moving

To a bigger, brighter, prettier, safer, much more expensive apartment.

Worried about the money, but I think in some ways it will jump start us, recharge us.

We have been here for nearly 11 years.

That in and of itself seems amazing and sad. This is the longest I've ever lived in one building, and I feel sad to go--more to leave our very nice landlord.

And yet, it's not as if we are friends with them. We can barely understand them. In the first few years when our dog, Fedora, was alive we would exchange gifts. I would bake them something and they would give us dog biscuits and Bailey's, but it never progressed to anything like a friendship.

But change is always hard. We have a moving truck booked for the 23rd. So I this may be another missed month. Christmas among boxes.

The message and the meaning

We had our first snowfall and I was driving cautiously home from a dinner with a friend. Not 40 miles an hour but certainly close to the speed limit. I was being tailgated by a car which always annoys me. They finally passed and I saw they had a "We vote Pro-Life" license plate. Apparently endangering the already here doesn't bother them. It's like being cut off by someone with the fish tag or a WWJD bumper sticker--I'm thinking not drive recklessly in traffic, but I could be wrong.

Don't get me wrong--I'm equally or possibly even more ticked being cut off by cars bearing Praise the Goddess stickers or Practice Random Acts of Kindness.

Pride and Prejudice

The Keira Knightly version. While I was sick and lounging on the couch I watched Pride and Prejudice. I had avoided it assiduously because a) who needs another P&P and b)I had just caught Vanity Fair with Reece before going away. The VF had annoyed me quite a lot. I don't think that Becky Sharp should be excused as merely an intelligent woman in a time when being an intelligent woman was not a desired trait. Nor do I think that all her problems could have been solved by just going to India as director Mira Nair seems to suggest. I will agree that the lowest of Englishmen (or women) could go to India and be lords and ladies by virtue of being white, but that was not the gist of the film.

At any rate, I decided it would pass the time to watch P&P and I'm glad I did. It captured for me the romance of the first time I read the novel. And I will say that a large portion of this was because of Miss Knightly herself.

How old is Lizzie? IMDB says that she's 27 but I can'…

London Revenant

By Conrad Williams. An intriguing alternate London story. Is it just London, or is it just that my husband and I are drawn to London writers? Neil Gaiman visits this area repeatedly, as does his friend China Mievielle. Is it the age of the city--the Roman architecture beneath it all, the vast tunnels of sewer and tube? Are there equally stories of Paris that I do not know of, because I don't read in French?

It's a frustrating story--the protagonist is unaware that he is slipping between worlds, and so it takes a bit for us to catch up. It also has the most intriguing discovery of beauty in the grotesque that I've seen since Clive Barker was good. It was hard to eat and read. (Of course, according to my husband I shouldn't have been reading and eating anyway because it's a limited edition, signed copy.)

Strangest of all is the ending--there seems to be an extra chapter of another story after the end, and try as I might, I can't resolve the last chapter wi…

Brave Story

When I returned I read Brave Story by MiyukiMiyabe. I had started a few chapters before I left, but as the book is an 816 page hardback I decided I didn't need to take it on the plane. It's also my husband's book and I don't annotate his books, only ones that are specifically mine.

I can't quite decide if Brave Story is a children's/young adult book or an adult book. Being a Japanese novel (no, I did not read it in Japanese) it had more adult themes than you might find in a young adult novel in the US or Britain, but at the same time, they weren't SO adult that they would be out of the realm of possibility that they were for young adults. Sort of Judy Blume meets Harry Potter. Perhaps it was the collision of realistic themes with a fantasy story. The first third of the book is a pretty straightforward description of being an 11 year old (what is it with 11--Aang in Avatar is 11, Harry Potter was 11 when it began) in Japan with a fairly strict, traditio…


Coming out of work the other day I saw about 5 sad moths, desperately struggling, confused (as are we all) by a day that began near 60 F and ended near 30 F.


While I was in KC my Mom and I went to see Doubt at the KC Rep. She was offered free tickets.

All we had to do was sit through a small presentation.

It was like going for a time-share.

We were there to hear about the rest of the season and hopefully buy season tickets.

Has anyone else heard of this? This new tactic by theaters to get ahold of a captive audience?

Driving Part Two

I didn't know how to drive when I left Kansas City, so driving in my home town was a novel experience. I drove around and past my old schools before I went to see my mother. My home town has a highway down the middle with access roads down the sides.

There were a lot more highways. When I left they were just being built. A high school student died playing chicken there when I was in junior high. Went off an unfinished bridge.

It used to be that after taking I-70 from St. Louis to KC you had to wend through back roads from Lee's Summit to Grandview. Now it's a highway, but you miss the lake that way.


Added B's new blog. She's funny and I love her. I've referred to her often and now you can see why.
Removed Susan's--I think she's lost interest, being busy in New York auditioning and stuff.
Removed Musing's--because she moved blog addresses and is taking a break from blogging. It will come back whenever she wants.

On the sounds of words

Matt's been exploring something like this--only smarter.

This is what occurred to me:

Is it more fun to say "Knickers in a twist" or Panties in a twist?

Panties/twist has a fun ts/st play going on, but knickers/twist has the smooth middle short "i".

Ok, that's all.

Meaningless meanings, again

On the plane I sat next to elderly Japanese-American women on both legs of the trip. Both mentioned the internment indirectly. The first I believe may have been in them but she didn't elaborate and I felt I couldn't ask. The second mentioned how she had not been at risk because she was in Hawaii, but her father had been active in the outcry. It was interesting. Neither had ever been to Japan.

I finished the Eco on the first leg and had to grab a book at an airport store for the second half. I passed on Middlesex by Eugenides. I felt I needed something lighter. So I grabbed a Kathy Reichs, the books the show Bones is based on. A bit of fluff--it's already in the bag for the Goodwill, but good for a plane ride.

So, I'm sitting next to this elderly Japanese couple, and she's reading a history of native abuse in Hawaii, and he's reading a bio of someone like Adlai Stevenson. I wanted to say, "No, but see I WAS reading Umberto Eco. And I just finished Moby Dick, …


My was better than I expected. And some things were exactly as expected--but I was in a better place to see those as aspects of being old, not terrible things that she was doing to me. And some things...were the same frustrations I've always lived with. She has too much stuff and too many plans and, and...

I'm glad I went. I need to go back in the spring to really take care of some things. I got some things set up for her--her non-internet connected computer, a new cordless phone, better TV picture, but I couldn't get the DVD and VHS player connected (I'm not even sure where she got them.)

I only really snapped at her once and that was because I had just fallen down and skinned my knee--in addition to Chinatowns and stadiums I seem to skin my knee in other cities--New York, Kansas City, Providence. I managed to apologize, and that was better of me than I might once have been.

I met her sort-of boyfriend. He seemed nice but less nice than my father, which is, I…


Driving across Missouri was...peaceful. I left St. Louis around noon. I had a car with cruise control and could plug in my Zen. It wouldn't have been my choice of car, a Neon (I think, it's been awhile), but it was fine.

It's a four hour drive, but I told my mother not to expect me until six. So I had the luxury of time--nowhere to be and all the time to get there. I put the Zen on pure random--something I've never done--and set off. There were some silly moments (Cab Calloway after L'Arc, for instance, and for some reason--and I've heard this from others--random play has a fondness for certain songs) but overall quite soothing.

I let myself stop at places called Ozarkland and Nostalgiaville somewhere around the middle of the state. They had been advertised for (I'm not kidding) 70 miles. They were kitsch incarnate, but still fun. I bought my mother one of those booklets about the year in which you were born.

I could see myself doing that--driving acr…


I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to visit my father's grave. I thought it would be mild--he isn't there, of course. But somehow, seeing the gravestone (which I had never seen) hit me in the gut.

I spoke to him for awhile. The grief was partially around my own sense of failure. A sense (which he did not instill) in letting him down. Baggage--it follows along a bumps you in the ankles when you least expect it.

So, How Was It?

Alright, Novel, you're thinking. You've sidestepped and failed to keep up with posting for over a month. Tell us about your trip, the conference, your mother. Like I said, it seems impossible that it was a month ago.

The conference was what it was--it went well, glitches were smoothed over, etc. I have a better idea for next time and the spring will be back in Boston. But the fall will be in Scottsdale (???). I know this because one of my bosses' brilliant ideas was a committee to decide such things, and boy, are they gung-ho. So I've been even busier since I got back than I was before I went. He also has an Idiot's Guide book coming out on Dec. 4th to promote, etc. etc.

Driving thru Kentucky at breakneck speed because I forgot to coordinate time zones with Musing, but had a good dinner. Then the drive through nowhere to St. Louis. I remembered then why I no longer live in the country. The gas stations were closed by 10:30. The highways were dark. The la…

Time flies

Ah, where has the last month gone? I've been busy at work and it's left me drained at home. I spent the last three days trying to build a webpage for work. I'm an amateur at HTML, don't know javascript except to know that I need it, and basically did a crash course in Dreamweaver beyond what I had to know to do the newsletter each week. I can put up the pictures but as always, my ambition exceeds my ability. It's the general HTML problem--what I've built looks great on my 19" screen at home--but is too large to look good lower res. I'm doing percentages and tables and percentages in tables.
I often try to sew beyond my ability and knit beyond it as well. Does that make me grow, or does is it just foolish--esp. when I've said I could do it for work. Should I break down and admit I can't do this? Or is it perhaps better than I think? That happens too.

I'm coming off of being sick--a really bad cold, which caused me to miss friends in…


After showing my mother and Musing my long hair I decided to get it cut.

Louise Brooks--how can one go wrong? Goth girls everywhere love her.

Actually, mine's a little longer--right to the bottom of the jaw and the bangs aren't as heavy so I look more like this. Then I had to dye it black to get the highlights out. I love it and I've gotten a lot of compliments. I feel...more like me. I'm not sure who I was trying to be before, but this is closer to who I am.

On anger

Something unpleasant happened while we were riding to the airport on the T. First, the website didn't tell us that they were busing from downtown to the airport, or that the buses were running from a different station--that we could have accessed by changing at a different station by walking across a platform, but instead had to schlep a suitcase above ground for 3 blocks. So we were a little tense when we finally got on the shuttle to the airport. Across from us was a guy tapping an empty water bottle against the arm rest of the bus. It was annoying and my husband turned to him and asked him, quite politely, to stop as we couldn't hear each other. The guy became belligerent and said that he was happy and he had a right to do whatever he wanted to do, and that we could talk louder.
I told my husband to ignore it, and we kept talking, when suddenly in one smooth motion--so fast it startled me--my husband stood up, stepped across the aisle, grabbed the bottle and tossed it to the…

I'd rather be Moomin

If all that is Christian in me was formed by Narnia and Lewis, then all that is Zen was formed by the Moomintrolls of Tove Jansson. They are kind and generous to their neighbors. They find joy in everything they do and they live in the moment and can walk away from their possessions and dark emotions without hesitation. When they have dark emotions--anger, possessiveness, jealousy they quickly realize the error of their ways. Many creatures try to tell them they are foolish for living the way that they do, and sometimes they struggle with it (reading ThichNhatHanh's Anger to see that even monk's struggle with it was very helpful to me), but in the end they return to peace.
I don't know if you can read this, but the Fillyjonk is beratingMoominmama for her housekeeping--the fact they let a tree grow in their living room or that they keep the dishwashing for days when it rains, or that they pretend that explosions are happening when they dust and the garden is a jungle.

This i…

A comment back to Matt who doesn't allow comments

I always heard that Evelyn Nesbit was the Gibson girl.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

In a sort of planned coincidence (is that possible), after posting the clip from Peter's Friends below, we went to see the above, with Imelda Staunton in rather a different role. Oddly, Emma Thompson is playing a fairly similar role.

Not my favorite film of the series. I felt very little when (spoilers--but is there anyone who cares who does not know this?) Sirrus died while I was deeply affected when I read it. It relied too much on tricks to move things along and found nothing knew--newspaper montage, slow mo over the emotional bits, general montage...etc. A few solid scenes would have served it better. We had all these new characters thrown at us, and no time to get to know any of them. Imelda was horribly wonderful. Rupert Grint was better than he has been before, while Emma Watson seemed less good. Daniel Radcliffe is excellent and since the film and the series rests on his shoulders, that's good. I'm glad to see him breaking free of Potter already. I see him…

No, I do this for myself

After busily underlining things in Moby Dick, finishing it, tucking it away and then pulling out the Eco, and beginning to busily underline things, the gentleman next to me on the plane asked me how many book reports I had to do.

Oh, none, I said. I annotate for pleasure, solely for myself.

From which I found

The link gave me this:

Often I have encountered the evil of living

Often I have encountered the evil of living:
it was the strangled stream which gurgles,
it was the crumpling sound of the dried out leaf,
it was the horse weaty and exhausted.

The good I knew not, other than the miracle
revealed by divine Indifference:
it was the statue in the slumber
of the afternoon, and the cloud, and the high
flying falcon.

(Eugenio Montale, Ossi di seppia)

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

In my big long post about going to San Francisco to see Hyde last year I mentioned that I went into a book store in San Francisco to get a book by Umberto Eco and walked out with the book I wanted to buy in Britain two years earlier. So I went and got the Eco before I went to Nashville. I didn't get it for the title (ha, ha).

So, I read it during the week of the conference. It was a much faster read than say, Foucault's Pendulum. It was also illustrated. :)

The premise is a man who has had a stroke and cannot remember his own personal history but random quotes from everything that he has ever read haunt him and come unbidden to his mind. The first chapter have passages of random quotes--jumbled together. I recognized some pieces but not others. So much to read--so little time.

So here's a test for you:
...the marchioness went out at five o'clock in the middle of the journey of our life, Abraham begat Isaac and Isaac begatJacob and Jacob begat the man of La Mancha, and that…

Blazing Saddles

Watching the tail end of this--you could never make this film today.

I do love this film.

I discovered it quite recently as my parents didn't watch Mel Brooks films. I only watch Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. My husband loves The Producers (not the new thing--which we found unwatchable--putting us deep in a minority). He likes History of the World I too which just seems overdone to me. And the later stuff...well, the less said, the better.

Edit: My husband walked in and although I was looking at the TV guide with no picture, and even though all you heard was footsteps he knew right where we were in the film--and every line.

What R the Odds?

I had one of those stupid music moments again the other day.

Before Rod Stewart and Carly Simon did standards albums, Bryan Ferry of the 70's band Roxy Music and some 80's solo work, did one called As Time Goes By (and he was doing it before that--there's a cover of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and These Foolish Things on his albums). Oh, and he dated/discovered a model named Jerry Hall. You might have heard of her.

Anyway, the last song I heard from the album was The Way You Look Tonight. I was listening to it at work, and when it ended, I had to make a call. I was waiting on hold and realised that the song was...The Way You Look Tonight in muzak. At first I thought I was still hearing Bryan Ferry in my head or projecting it onto the muzak, but no--really The Way You Look Tonight.
{Sidenote: I've been trying to show how fabulously talented Hugh Laurie is lately by sending people You Tube clips, and it just occurred to me to look for this from Peter's Friends:

So, I was thi…

At last--"whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul"

And the most important thing...more important than pulling off the conference in another state, more important than seeing my mother...

I finished Moby Dick on the flight down. I almost didn't pack it, because I knew I was close to finishing it but decided I wanted to finish it, not still have it when I got back.

...whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off...

What can I say? It's Moby Dick.

The first hundred pages are funnier than I expected. The last 100 are riveting and unputdownable. In between are some fascinating bits of boat life and boat lore and an awful lot of information on the biology of whales. is it is that we still refuse to be comforted for hose who we nevertheless maintain are dwelling in unspeakable bliss; why all the living so strive to hush all the dead; wherefore but the rumor of a knocking a tomb will …

Not making a goal--for other goals

I find that I still like flying, but that I like traveling less. If I packed lighter—felt I needed less accoutrements to be content—like this laptop for instance, I might enjoy it more. But the security difficulties make traveling more of a headache than it used to be.

It occurs to me that traveling is a great leveler. The business man must take off his shoes and often his jacket, just like the casual traveler.

But I do still like flying. I like the growing speed down the runway—the moment when the friction of the tarmac gives way to the friction of the air, and one is airborne—doing the impossible. Heavier than air flying. I like watching the earth disappear beneath. The people, cars, buildings growing ever smaller.

In Boston, one often heads out to sea before turning back to head inland towards one’s destination, so one is nearly in the clouds before being over land.

Out of Kansas City we are over farmland. The tiny cows dotting square or nearly square fields. On a Sunday afternoon the …


a flutter of late flying birds
move as one
scatter like tossed pebbles
above the highway
dappling the cars
through the brilliance
of the late autumn sun
and for a moment
we are underwater

Absent not dead

I have a lovely rubber stamp which says that. I'm typing this in Nashville. So Not dead, just in Tennessee. On a hotel "business center" computer because I didn't want to pay for the internet. just occurred to me that the rep gave us some codes to use to log on for the conference... Probably get charged twice.

I'm debating whether to go swimming or just go pass out. Passing out is sounding more and more appealing.

So I am in the midst of my conference--my raisond'etre as far as the company is concerned. So far DHL lost a box we shipped on Friday and refused to deliver it when found--containing many things I needed for Sunday's session. Frantic photocopying on the hotel equipment. The case arrived broken, and the brand new booth had a broken bit too, leading to looking for super glue at 7:30 in the morning. Fortunately the hotel store opens early. Didn't realize someone needed a kosher meal. Erased a presentation from the lapto…


"For transracial adoptees, our lives are written in pencil. Everything you think you know about yourself can change in an instant." Bryan Thao Worra

The Only Pearl Jam Song I Like and It's Haunting Me

Get this widget Track details eSnips Social DNA


(You guys ready...)
breakfast table in an otherwise empty room
Young girl... violins (ence)...
center of her own attention
The, mother reads aloud, child, tries to understand it
Tries to make her proud
The shades go down, it's in her head
Painted room...can't deny
there's something wrong...
Don't call me daughter, not fit to
The picture kept will remind... me
Don't call me daughter,not fit to,
The picture kept will remind... me
Don't call me...
She holds the hand that holds her down
She will...rise above...ooh...oh...
Don't call me daughter, not fit to
The picture kept will remind me
Don't call me daughter, not fit to be
The picture kept will remind me
Don't call me...
The shades go down
The shades go, go, go...

It's nice to have friends at work

Just another manic Monday

Sorry about the title. I had a better one in my head earlier, and now it's gone.

Anyway--I had a terribly productive weekend. I did all my laundry AND all My ironing (not my husband's) Finally filed my own bills, papers and whatnots. Brought down my box of Halloween decorations, split it into a pile for home and a pile for work and put the house things around--even decided to weed some of it by passing it on to other people. Tidied other bits of the house not involved in the above, including my poor neglected sewing room. Wrote all those blog entries AND modified a graphic for work.

I felt very powerful and excited about things and made plans for all sorts of things I could continue to do in the nights and weekends ahead. Oh, and went out and enjoyed sushi and Indian Summer with my husband.

Tonight I worked until 6:30, came home and went back out to drive around a house (may go back to look at it on Wednesday). Washed the towels we dirtied cleaning on Sunday, changed the …


So, I've managed to get one in for everyday and I think pretty much without filler--all things I wanted to post about.

I realized I'm sort of writing letters to different readers and if someone other than the intended chimes in, then so much the better.

I do find I'm working through things on here--and sometimes I'm working through them just by thinking about posting them here.

Edit: I didn't realize it, but this was kind of momentous. 222 posts this year, 300 total.

One I Wish I Could...

So, I've thought about posting this here for sometime.

I feel it's unfinished but I don't know where it would go.


You tied me to a sand dune, and left me baking in the sun
Still I crawled back to you
You sold me into bondage, to wolves and wastrels
I bought myself back for you.
I ran from you with hobbles on my legs.
You cut them off with the teeth of your tongue.
I carved totems from the length of your thigh bones.
You made them into oars.
I put you on a multitude of funeral pyres
And spit on them every time.

Everything I ever did for you
I did under duress.
Everything I ever did for you
Was a bouquet at your feet.
For years you kept my voice in your cigarette case.

This house, this life, this skin
Inside out for you.

All the pictures need rearranging in their frames.
They have fallen out of true.


So here are good pictures of my children. Which made me think of an old poem. I still like this poem--it's different from the kind of thing I usually write. The Dog Poem

Yes, you have shaped us. Bred us down, up
Dark, light, lean, round, sleek, full.
Like tools to a purpose we have been formed
As you form and shape and build with hands that flex and hold.
Were we somehow more malleable, more honeable?
Our DNA more willing?

But what you do not know is that under these customized hides,
We are the first dogs, slipping high through tall grass,
Short fur, the color of the Savannah,
Tails, curved as totems, upright ears that rotate 180 degrees,
Gleaming, unshadowed eyes, beneath smooth brows,
Pointed muzzles, slim as the prow of your ships
As an arrow, as a gun.
A machine of the senses.

We scent you and we are still in our contemplation.
The pleasure of wind running through our fur the only motion.
We scent you, dark and matted , tongues unsuited for grooming,
In stolen skins. They are not ours, and we a…


So, I have a new camera. A Fuji FinePix S700. I've wanted a good digital for ages and periodically I would do some research. I didn't want to pay more than $200. I wanted at least 7 megapixels and some serious zoom. I also wanted it to feel better in my hand than the standard under $200 Canon which I dislike.

So, expect to see more pictures here.

The big thing about buying this is that I've researched cameras off and on for about a year and then put off the decision. What if the price went down? What if something better was released? And I couldn't find a perfect camera under $200.

And you know what, all of that is probably true, but I finally had to reach a point where I just DID it. I could debate it forever and not have a camera, or I could deal with the fact that everything I worried about is true, but doesn't matter, and have a camera.

Now, if I could just apply that to important things.

Why We Don't Have A House

We like our toys. This is the TardisUSB port on my desk at work. We have one at home that we got about 6 months ago from Britain. Now they're available here at Newbury Comics so my husband got one last week and I decided I needed one too. The little construction site pieces came from one of those box kits you can get at Border's or Barnes and Noble. I love those. We have a Zen Garden in a box, a Gong in a Box and Stonehenge in a Box.

This is a small collection of miniature things I keep at my desk (the fire extinguisher squirts water--my husband got it as a Christmas gift from his boss last year). So you're painting and keeping a fire extinguisher nearby for safety when you decide to kick off your Birkenstocks and eat some ice cream with Dr. Pepper. I should have put in something for scale. The little shoes are for massage and actually work really well in the late afternoons when I've been hunched over my desk. They say they fit on thumbs, but I have to put my…

In the Bleak Midwinter (A Midwinter's Tale)

This is one of those little Kenneth Branagh films that disappear into the aether. I'd always wanted to see it, but apparently it wasn't on DVD for sometime. So it came on TV last week and we made a point of watching it.

It has a great cast, many of the people he was making his "actual" Hamlet with around the same time, Richard Briers, Michael Maloney, Julia Sawalah, Celia Imrie and John Sessions (as the actor playing Gertrude no less). Also quite amusing cameos by Jennifer Saunders and Joan Collins (yes, Joan Collins).

The plot is basic--let's put on a show, only it's a slapshot version of Hamlet staged over Christmas to raise funds for a church, by an out of work actor. The only other actors he can get are also unemployed (read bad actors). Because in Britain most actors are working in pantos at Christmastime. The panto is a fairytale or other children's story done with as much innuendo and topical reference as possible. EVERYBODY does Christmas panto, fro…


We watched this HBO film last week. It was a difficult film and it was a film which delicately managed to give no answer.

Lord Longford was a member of the House of Lords several times over, a devout Christian and converted Catholic who devoted much of his life to prison visits and championing prisoner's rights. In the late 60's he started visiting Myra Hindley.

It's hard to describe for people who haven't studied British History how hated Myra Hindley was and actually still is. Her name is on a par with John Wayne Gasey or Jeffrey Dahmer in America. She and her lover Ian Brady murdered 5 children and buried the bodies on the moors. Three were under 10 and two were adolescents.

Hindley and Brady were considered monsters and it was only because of the abolition of the death penalty, a mere weeks before their trial, that they were not put to death. They were both given life sentences, but life was considered to be 21 years.

Longford was played by Jim Broadbent and…

What is Art, and Who is he?

There's an unintentional personal joke in there for Mirror, but it's an interesting discussion.

"Art is a man's name," as Warhol allegedly said.

As I said in my comments, "but I like Duchamp" and I don't like Rothko, and I'm not so fond of Pollack, but I'm way ahead of my mother who can only appreciate representational art. Is this artist, Martin Creed, laughing all the way to the bank (as my parents used to say), or is he on to something. He does seem to have an odd vision of all the canvases and statues stacked up and taking up space.

Theater art for instance is about both what is there and what isn't there. Negative space to use the general term, which can mean both the white or empty space on a canvas, or the literal empty space on stage where there are n actors or set. This is then the ultimate piece of negative space with no "positive space" to surround it or …


There is a new book called, "Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History," written by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. And yes, that is the bumper sticker and t-shirt slogan, but Ulrich is the actual author of the phrase in a 1976 essay. Her new book is not an exhortation to women, but rather an actual study of some less polite women of history such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and also Virginia Woolf.

I was reading the review (because the review is just as good, right? Kidding! Kidding.) and was struck by this phrase:
History is a conversation and sometimes a shouting match between present and past, though often the voices we most want to hear are barely audible.

Isn't that exquisite?

I wish I read more non-fiction, but I find it a slower read, like surfing the internet--things lead to other things, things to be checked, looked up, references followed, etc.

I have friends who claim to read only non-fiction (although I might argue that some non-fiction IS fiction). …

Intimate Details

Red Queen recently won a rather amazing prize from her job where she gets to go to a spa with a few of her friends and she has graciously chosen me as one of those friends.

I'm very excited. It's October 14th, so one week before I leave for Nashville and I'm sure I will need the facial, back cleansing and massage and that it will help me gear up for the trip.

Here's my dilemma:
Do I really want people to look at my skin that closely. I don't like my skin very much. I had bad acne and have lots of scars and gunk in the pores. I don't like to have bare skin in public.

Isn't that silly?

Musing has explored this question recently, here and here. Why do we worry about what total strangers think of us? As if we are somehow abnormal? As if they (the viewers) are not also plagued with body odor and excess hair and gunk in their pores. As if they are not worrying about how we view them.

I have felt obliged to use my skin lotion more religiously to try and reverse…

More on Band Names

That last post reminded me of a time, a long time ago, when I first picked up Games Magazine. On reflection it had to have been some of the earliest issues, because the magazine started in 1977. I got a stack of them at a garage sale. Yes, used Games Magazine is a rather sad purchase but the previous owner seemed to be interested in different puzzles than me (except for the crosswords which were pretty well shot.) The one I'm remembering had a cover puzzle to guess the bands from the pictures. What's funny is at the time (I was 9 or 10) I didn't listen to rock and roll and neither did my parents so these bands with their exotic names were impossible for me to guess--I didn't know what I was aiming at.

A few years later when I did start listening to rock and roll and started to hear band names regularly (if not the bands themselves) I suddenly realized what the bands must have been.
See if you can guess (these are 70's bands for the most part).

A picture of a black smi…