Saturday, March 31, 2007

Everything to Everyone

Is the name of a Barenaked Ladies album. That aside, I was laughing at Red Queen/The Other Joan's comment below. I think I say something profound everyday (o_o") I just don't say something profound about the same things everyday. Mirror keeps his blog pretty focused on Theater and Theater in Boston with only tiny personal sidelines. Red Queen finds her "Art of the Day." David's is clearly a much more focused blog designed to discuss his work (and his hireability) within the fields which interest him. It's personal, but tied to the professional. I don't have a focus to this blog. I like to review films and books (although my reviews have been less formal than I am capable of). I did NOT want to become maudlin or self-absorbed. I've started real-world journals for that and found that it wasn't productive. What I wanted was to find the more universal meaning based in my personal experience and to practice writing essays which I've always enjoyed. I was talking to my husband about this today. Tomorrow's blog will be my 40th since I restarted this in February (there's a lone January post of a poem connected to Cogitate that throws the number off). I've missed a few days, but I've posted doubles some days . Some are pretty meaningless--more enforcing the discipline than the writing. Some I'm pretty proud of. I read somewhere that if you do something 20 times it's a habit. If you do it 40 times it will stick with you for life. I don't know if that's true, but I do miss this now when I don't do it. When I started it last year I worried a lot about whether anyone was reading (I don't have any kind of tracker attached--I have a feeling I'd look at it obsessively for a few days). Now I find I'm writing more to be writing--which is good, and was one of the things I was hoping for. At the same time, it's different than a real-world journal because it is somewhat accountable. There are people dropping in to read it, probably not every day, but enough. I feel obligated to write in case one of my friends is reading. Writing everyday gave me the confidence to post it places and put it in my signature to encourage my friends to drop in and read (and remind them it's there). I do not edit and re-edit. I write as I have always written--as I would say it, with only moderate altering of order for strength. If I were really publishing these somewhere I would do more extensive revisions. Better paragraph structure, etc. The film reviews would take the film point by point, layer by layer. There might be more quotes and I would certainly bother with the links which I am sloppy about now.

What I do know is that not all of my readers are interested in the same things. Poor JT admitted to barely recognizing the names of movies (he has a small child and thereby no time). Others seem primarily interested in (or at least only comment on) the film reviews. This has always been a weakness of mine. I presume that everyone is interested in everything. I seldom stop to explain in conversation (no links) and I had a friend once tell me that she just smiled and nodded a lot of the time--she was interested in hearing my interest, but had no idea what I was talking about. Musing and I discussed why Cogitate seemed to start strong and fizzle a bit and agreed that it was because there were too many disparate interests--coming from the different sides of her life, all interesting, just not all interesting to each other. I won an essay contest in high school with an essay based on Pablo Neruda's We Are Many (woo-hoo, a link!) where I wrote of the many different people I am to the many different kinds of friends I have. It makes it difficult to have a party work (like Cogitate), but it makes life better. (As a side note it won me that scholarship at Scripps that I turned down and I used it for some college apps--I'll have to see if I can find it and see if it's still any good, or if it was only good because I was 16).


As a PS to yesterday's post about my husband and my taste and sort of tied to this, who knows what things I would be interested in had I met someone else, that is I might have lost some things but gained others (and vice-versa for him). I might be more interested in music of the 90's. I might know more about motorcycles. I doubt very much that anyone would have interested me in sports, but I could be wrong. Red Queen has had to face my worst fear--the lost of one's best friend/husband by death--so I know why yesterday's post resonated with her in a way that writing on The Children of Men would not.

How my husband made me (and how I made him)

I've been thinking about this one for awhile in the discussions I've been having about where my life went wrong and the college I could have gone to--the paths not taken.

I had the chance to go to a college in southern CA about 35 miles from LA. I went instead to Amherst College, Amherst, MA. If I had had the chance to visit Amherst I wouldn't have come, but I was dazzled at a distance by its history and its status. I had worked hard in high school to get into the best college and Amherst was considered the best. If one believes in alternate universes, then somewhere there is a Novel who went to Scripps (unless she died in the earthquake or the riots or of the smog that rolled in every afternoon). Now the most instantaneous and obvious difference in my life if I had gone to a different college would have been the fact that I would not have met my husband. The romantic answer is that I was fated to go to Amherst TO meet him and that it's wonderful, but I actually think it's more complicated than that. I have a type in men, as evidenced by my only two relationships. I like pretty nerds. Comic book/sci-fi geeks. Now, I have lots of friends who fit that criteria. I would have met many more no matter what college I went to. Would another one have done just as well? I knew I wasn't going to marry my high school sweetheart, no matter how fond of him I was then. I fell in love with my husband at first sight without knowing he was another comic book/sci-fi geek (well, except for the fact that he was working in a book store). At some point though, beyond the hearts and flowers and initial chemical glow, love is a decision you make. Many people don't know this, but every happy couple who's been together for a long time that I've ever met does. Six years ago my marriage almost fell apart and I made the decision that it wasn't going to end and dragged him with me until he agreed. I've had crushes on lots of people (most famous and out of reach) during our marriage as had he. Could I have gone off with any of these people (saying for the sake of argument that they felt the same way)? Probably, but only if we made the decision. When marriages were arranged, some people were happy probably because they made a decision (together--it only works if you both decide) to be happy together. It's more romantic to think that there is ONE person in all the world who could make us happy, but the world is awfully large and unless we really believe in fate you could miss that person easily by taking different trains (see Sliding Doors below). It's happier in my mind to believe that there are a group of people who could be for you. A combination of love at first sight and surrounding oneself with people of similar interests.

None of my married friends are getting divorced although all have had rough patches. At this point in my life I can't understand how to get divorced. How do you separate not just the stuff, but all of the associations that one has. This is what I was getting at by my title. I was 18 when I met my husband. He was 23. Many of the cooler things I know I know because he introduced me to it. Much of the music. Many of the authors. Certainly more comic artists. I'd like to think that I've introduced him to some things as well. The joy of silk shirts for one. I've probably brought him more movies. So if I had gone off to Scripps and met someone close to but not exactly like my husband would I still have the same tastes and associations. Many things I'd have found on my own. I'd probably still own a Zen over an I-Pod because I have an aversion to having the "hot" item of the moment esp. when there are better alternatives. I might not know that there are better alternatives to Internet Explorer. I found David Mitchell (author) and brought him to my husband. Would I have also found Ian Banks and Geoff Ryman? I found The Killers first and came home and said, "You have to listen to this--you are going to love it!" He introduced me to many obscure bands of the 80's that I'd have probably never found. I already liked Sylvian--he liked him more. I already read Neil Gaiman.

We do not agree on everything by any means. I cannot make him like L'Arc despite every effort--he thinks they're good instrumentally if only Hyde wouldn't sing. He has a strange, small obsession with some pop girls--Kylie Minogue, Sophie Ellis Bexter, Juliet, Pink, No Doubt--that I do not understand (well, beyond the OBVIOUS, but he's seldom obvious.) And we like many of the same things for totally different reasons. We both like Duran Duran and Kate Bush, but when making a mix a long time ago we realized our favorite songs by both were radically different. We share depression and I often wonder how different life would be for both of us if we had married someone who pulled us up--would they have understood us though?

Beyond the stuff, there are 17 years (JESUS! In one year I will have been with him longer than I was without him) of associations--in jokes and shared moments. We joke that when we are old we will speak entirely in cultural references which mean something to us but are unintelligible to others like the Darmok episode of Star Trek:TNG. We almost do now.

Not everyone shares your love for velour, sir.
Don't Bogart our Lord
Deep down I'm Baloney?
This made Charles a moody dog.
Fedora, the Wub/Guinness, the Bean

(Futurama, The Simpsons, Invader Zim, Charles of the Wild, our dogs).

How does anyone take these things apart? Is it possible to love those things again after a divorce or a death? I don't want to find out.

The Third Thing

Once again, I am struck,
By the comfortableness of home,
Of knowing where the sugar bowl will always be.
This comfortableness,
Which exists nowhere else,
Of you reading the Sunday paper
Dishes in the sink
And the ironing undone.


I am used to you, my dear.
I love you in glasses and white shirts
And in winter with a scarf around your slender throat.
Nerd love.
I forget, that though I will never find you
Watching football, beer in hand,
You are still a man,
And sometimes silent.

Our books are slightly blended.
All my music is your music.
And all the films and TV shows,
And places and times that pepper our anecdotes,
Are things which belong to no one else.
How could we dream of separating these things,
And starting again?
How does that happen--that invisible meshing?

Did I always like these colors? Did you?
Did we always make spaghetti this way
And not another?
When did we create this third thing?
Our relationship?

I know you didn't like dogs,
Until I showed you terriers,
With their spirit and their loyalty.
I have still not learned to eat tomatoes,
Or eggplants, or Indian food,
Though I have tried.

You know Armani
And I know Gil Kane.
We have seen each other's
Best and worst underwear.
We have ignored each other's
Best and worst underwear.
Even the rings on the coffee table,
The dents on the car
Are a story between us.

This third thing that is like the dog and the cat.
Separate and yet essential.
There is no end and no beginning,
Born of itself and made of each thing.
It is not a Gordian knot to be unraveled
And to cut even a piece away is to die.

This cannot just be making do, can it?
2002 (middle draft)

Know thyself

Evidently I snap my underpants when I put them on. That's probably more than you wanted to know about me. In fact, it's more than I wanted to know about myself. It's not something I knew about myself until my husband pointed it out the other evening. You can bet your life that after my bath, I was painfully aware of how I put on my underwear. Isn't it funny how little aware we are of ourselves, particularly of our physical selves? One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to poke holes in a paper bag, put it on my head and look at myself naked. By removing your face (and thereby your self-identity) you can look at yourself objectively, as if it were someone else's body. It's hard to look at oneself objectively, either physically or mentally. When I was very thin I thought I looked normal, even large and ungainly. It was only after I gained weight that I began to appreciate how thin I had been. It was also then that people began to point out to me that I had been kind of scary thin (not deliberately so--just very fast metabolism). Now that I am at the upper end of normal for my height I still cannot perceive whether I look fine and should not worry about it (as many people say, but we all say that) or whether I am as pudgy as I feel.

On the mental side, I try to judge myself accurately, but it's very nearly an impossible task. "So, I turned myself to face me/ but I've never caught a glimpse/ of how the others must see the faker/ I'm much too fast to take that test"--Bowie, Changes. Even those of us with the lowest self-esteem still love ourselves too much to really completely look. We don't like ourselves but we love ourselves. We justify and excuse ourselves because we know all of the factors that led us to this point. It is likewise nearly impossible to look at others objectively because we don't know all of the factors in someone else's head--no matter how much we think we do.

Mirror's wife, my friend, and I were discussing the Eneagram once and I said but doesn't it depend on some self-knowledge? Don't all personality tests presume that with the anonymity of the test you will be honest and that honesty will reveal the real you? My mother and one of my bosses have so little self-awareness that it seems almost impossible that they not know that they are lying to themselves. (Don't worry, my mother doesn't have a computer and my boss would need me to identify this site, make a shortcut on her desktop and put it in her calendar to read to find it). Almost anything they say about themselves almost makes me want to believe the opposite based on personal observation from, "I've always been organized," to "Everybody loves me." At points I want to scream and shake them and say if that's true, why (in my mother's case) is your house a wreck or (in my bosses' case) do you need me to put your files back? I won't even touch the examples of why, "Everybody loves me" is clearly not true for either woman (or for anyone for that matter). I absolutely know that not everybody loves me. The problem is that both of these women ARE completely sincere, in as much as they know themselves. Therefore, doesn't it follow that if they were to take personality tests they would answer that they are terribly compassionate, understanding people people, when any casual observer would argue with that? The test would simply confirm to them what they already know. And no amount of outside truth would convince them that there self-view was not accurate. Of course, would it be at all desirable to prove that to them? I love both of these women (and am terribly frustrated by them) and I really wouldn't want to be around if they had to truly face themselves. Why would I want that for someone I love?

I, on the other hand, am waiting for filmic proof that I snap my underpants. Just kidding. I veer between trusting my own impressions (everybody else sucks) and doubting myself (I suck) and there is no film that can show the truth in that dilemma.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Poetry

I had a voice over industrial job today--which was nice. It's the third I've done for this particular project and it's nice that I got it because (as repeatedly mentioned) I DON'T HAVE A DEMO TAPE. The owner of the recording studio said I should have one and that he could prob. get me work if I did it. Of course, he also makes them so...

The project is reading a textbook for adult or young adult illiteracy. It has a very..., well, black slant. First time I read a part in Raisin in the Sun. Second time I read some poems, among them "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, " and the history of Hip Hop (condensed). I kept falling over the names. Back when Cogitate (the board) was still alive I thought about putting that one up and then it (the board) fizzled and I didn't bother. It's funny because Maya Angelou has become such a subject of parody (Family Guy had her hosting a cooking show--"Like the bread, I rise, I rise) that I had forgotten that it is a lovely poem. Likewise today I was reading a section on Poetry Slams, but printed above my text was "I, Too," by Langston Hughes.

I, Too

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,
"Then.Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

It's so simply and yet the plainness of the text, and the basic conceit are deceptive because it's so carefully crafted and so powerful in it's simplicity. It's conversational, and yet declarative. It has a truth, a verisimilitude to it. I don't know why, because you read a poem with equally simplistic language by an amateur and you don't believe the images, or they seem cliche, and this one doesn't for me. Interesting.

Angels and Violence

I was thinking of this for two days and I noticed that Mirror has also commented upon it. The Guardian Angels are back in town in response to a series of violent shootings in the south part of Boston (where I never go). I remember some 12 or 13 years ago on a day trip to Boston, wondering in Chinatown around 8pm and being approached by a young man in a red beret who asked if we needed directions because, "This was a rather unsafe neighborhood, especially at night." We assured him that we knew where we were and that we were on our way home. I felt quite comforted by him, although I really didn't know (and still don't know) much about the Angels as an organization. After we moved to Boston in the mid-90's there was the supposed clean-up and I rode the train from Chinatown regularly late at night after shows without much fear or concern, but like I said a few posts ago, I held onto my bag, I did not become immersed in a book, I looked around and tried to ride and stay with mixed groups of people. It's sad to me that Boston should have this need again.

Neil Gaiman (author of a collection called Angels and Visitations--how's that for a segue?) is auctioning off the keyboard upon which he made his reputation with Sandman. He also has a short story up for a Hugo, but I really dislike the story. I think it's one of his weakest, but it has an obliqueness that I can see would be appealing to judges. He also mentions that the Dr.Who episode, The Girl in the Fireplace, is up for one as well--I could see that, but the new Dr.Who has a lot of great stories.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Extra post of the day

Skimming back over posts since I began this quest to post everyday I found a reference to John Hannah being on Fraiser and that made me think of the fact that two (2!) different bosses asked me if I'd seen the movie Sliding Doors with Gwenneth Paltrow and John Hannah from 1998. How weird is that? It's not like it was a blockbuster. To be fair we were discussing how I chose my college each time and didn't go where I was offered the full scholarship, but I think it bizarre that we all knew the film. Hilariously I could remember John Hannah's name but not Gwenneth's (though I knew who she was--Blythe Danner's daughter). They knew who Hannah was by remembering that he was in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Sliding Doors is about the two different paths that Gwenneth's life could have taken--1) if she'd caught a train and 2) if she hadn't. It's an interesting film about the tiny decisions in our lives, and the things that seem like disasters but aren't and vice-a-versa.

I emailed my husband and asked (jokingly) if he thought it was a sign. He replied, "That we should move to Britain and miss a train?" Har, har.

Random thoughts (do I have any others?)

I mean to write long exciting things and I have several going (realize I'm going to have to post two extras to have a full set for March) but TV is interesting again, which leads us to...

Over the weekend, caught the last episode of "Blackadder Goes Forth (or Fourth)" which is the saddest episode of the whole set (well, duh, since it's a comedy!). At the end of each Blackadder series everybody dies a horrible death, but it's surreal and it's funny. At the end of this one, set in a trench in WWI, everybody goes over the top and dies and it's not funny. It's terribly, terribly sad. "In Flanders Field the poppies grow" (John McCrae). "Poppies for young men, death's bitter trade" (Sting). And the series treats it as such--there's no closing credits, no music, just the field as it is now, soft and green. Stephen Fry before The Baftas and his novel and Bright, Young Things. Tony Robinson before archeology. Rowan Atkinson before Mr. Bean, and of course, slack-jawed and feeble looking, Hugh Laurie before "House". It was strange to watch "House" tonight and think of George. What's funny is that you can see what great actors they are. When George says he's scared it's touching and sweet. It's not a punchline.

Begging isn't what it used to be--a man hit me up for money when I was filling my car with gas yesterday. He'd just begun his spiel of trying to get back to New Haven, but not having money when I cut him off with, "I really don't have any cash on me at all." And I really didn't. I had about 37 cents in dimes and pennies. I think he was getting the same story from everyone. We were all buying our gas with plastic like we buy everything these days. I didn't have any cash because I'd spent the last of it at Staples because I was only buying $5.00 worth of stuff and I hated to put it on the card. We are moving further and further away from hard or paper money. Now I have my lovely Charlie card with $13.00 left on it for the train. I think I even have a little money on a Metro card for NY. One of my bosses has a Starbucks card with $98 on it. And I refill all of those things with plastic. I'd like to not have hard money. I definitely think we're moving towards it. I think (and this is the subject of much debate between myself and my husband) that we will have our credit information embedded under our skin like David Mitchell's soul in Cloud Atlas (see old post). So what will beggars do? Will they carry credit readers? Will we be taking them into stores to buy them things as some of my friends do now? What happens when they don't want what you offer if it's not cash?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Illusionist

Well, we waited a week. It's not really comparable with The Prestige because the through lines (that is the point of the movie) is so completely different. It's an ok film. Quite pretty and the acting (even Jessica Biel--which was actually pleasant, because I thought it was going to be Jessica Alba) excellent. I love Rufus Sewall, and Norton and Giammatti keep rising with each film I see. It occurred to me that Sewall has now played two depraved sons of rulers who thought themselves better than their governments. He played Charles II in a made for TV. Of course, everyone seems to have played Charles II from Sam Neil to John Malkovich. It was a basic love story and the twist was pretty obvious.
I've been lurking at IMDB quite a bit this week and I agree with the assessment that although the "magic/science" of The Prestige is impossible, it is nevertheless explained and "plausible" within the film. Only some of the tricks are explained here and it's somehow dissatisfying that some are and some aren't. That lovely CGI makes them appear like real magic, but then we're told (not shown--the ultimate storytelling no-no) that they are illusions.
The Illusionist is a pleasant film and had I not seen some amazing films recently, would probably have gotten a higher rating from me. The Prestige is a much more ambitious film, both as a story and in cinematic terms and would be remarkable at any viewing.

Speaking of, Children of Men comes out next week on DVD. It was still playing in the same theater where we saw Pan's Labyrinth. I can say this now since most people have seen the film or at least heard about it. I don't want children, I don't like children, I'm a little afraid of children (maybe a lot afraid). I think the human race is an experiment gone wrong that God should wash down the sink. That said--the moment in COM when Kee and Theo carry the baby through the crowds of rebels and soldiers and everyone goes silent and just reaches out to touch or just see this miracle; when all you hear is the sound of the baby crying, is such a spiritual moment that I wept as if I had not heard a child for 18 years and as if that was the thing I wanted most in the world. Now that is filmaking/storytelling. I'm glad to see at IMDB that most of the posters agree. When we saw it in the theater as a preview with no advance hype at all I don't think that most of the audience felt as my husband and I did. We were clutching each other and shaking. I guess it's good that we have pretty similar reactions to films.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Computers

I am back on my main desktop! My husband bought another drive and set it up and is planning to make the first drive (the one with OS problems) a slave to this new one and in theory keep the programs on one and the files on the other. In theory this all makes sense but I'm glad I don't have to do it. For the moment, he just got this set up tonight and we don't have our settings in it yet, so everything looks funny and we haven't downloaded the Japanese lang. pack so sites I go to aren't reading yet, but at least it's very fast and the sound is back and hopefully the burner will work better than it was which sort of started this whole thing. The only other thing is that all of my files are on the unconnected drive for the moment which sort of makes me sad and worried, which is silly since I don't need them tonight, or even tomorrow and anything I'd really want to work on I'm carrying around on a USB drive or on the laptop, but still it's just a weird feeling that it's ALL GONE!

This is rather an exciting week in computers. B got her old computer working (I didn't ask how) so can now spend her nights in a L'Arc stupor in her room. I got my work computer synching with one of my bosses computers at work through a shared file (best we could do with the network we have), and loaded new form filling soft wear w/out glitches. Could things be looking up?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My fundamental problem

Yesterday I finally called a local school that has a certificate program in Industrial Design. This is my non-fundamental problem. I want to be an Industrial Designer or, at any rate I want to design stuff and have factories make it and be paid for it by working for a company that already has marketing and sales departments (as opposed to designing stuff, taking out a massive loan to have a factory manufacture it, or make it myself, and then ALSO have to go out and drum up orders for said stuff). I want to be Philippe Starck. I want to design useful, pretty things. I have lots of ideas for both useful/pretty things and useless/clever things. What I don't have is a degree in Industrial Design. So I called this school. I've had the catalog telling me about the program since LAST SUMMER. Making the call made me physically sick to my stomach. I did it at work and I thought I was going to have to go into an empty office and lay down. I reached a machine, of course. Today a guy called me back with basic information. The deadline to apply for the fall is April 1st. I probably could have guessed that, and that's probably why (sub-consciously) I haven't called before now. The deadline to apply for next spring is November. Now I'm running through all the reasons why this isn't the program for me. And I'm back where I started.

Now, obviously I do things on a day-to-day basis. I am not disfunctional. I pay my bills on time. I call about problems with bills. I call numbers and get design work. I go on auditions and when cast do a show or a commercial, or whatever. When I do the design work, I do it in a timely fashion. Why then am I crippled by this? When I sit down at the computer to look for a better program I also become sick. I want to lie down and never get up. Over two years ago I wanted to go to Britain to study. I still do. I even got friends (who had hired me as a set/costume designer) to write letters of recommendation. What I did not manage to do was put together a good portfolio. I put together part of a portfolio. I thought of all kinds of good ideas for a great portfolio. I felt sick. I lay down. I stopped working on it and only poked it with the tip of my mental tongue, like a sore tooth FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS! I'd be done by now if I'd managed to do it. I ticked off the friends. I understand that. I'd be ticked too.

I feel nearly as sick when I try to find a script for a voice over tape, but mainly I feel overwhelmed. There are SO many people out there looking for work. Who do I think I am to try this? Do I really think I'll get anything, and then I'll have put out that money for nothing. I got headshots in 1999. I've probably just about paid for them in the work I've gotten since (well, maybe better than that--but add in classes and reprints, and money I've lost doing shows in gas and parking tickets, etc.--you get the picture).

And all the while I continue to get older. My non-retirement looms closer. And opportunities close around me.

I keep trying to figure out why I'm so afraid it makes me sick. That's part of why I went through that course of Behavioral Therapy. When I got sick yesterday I went through the list my therapist gave me about analysing a feeling. Things like "What's the worse that could happen? What does this say about me? What memories does this bring up?" I'm still working on the answers.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Checking in

Still here. Still writing elsewhere. May post everything in a huge monster clump when computers are happier.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Technical Difficulties

We're having computer problems which may require the complete reinstall of the OS. Blech. I'm writing this on my laptop with stolen wi-fi, which makes it all very, very slow, so I may have to break my streak of continuous posting. Hopefully not, but know that it is due to circumstances beyond my control.

Went to see Pan's Labyrinth tonight and am not going to give it enough space here. Lovely, lovely, tragic movie, although, not as good (to me) as Devil's Backbone. But stunning visuals, great edititing, excellent storytelling. Del Toro is definitely in my pantheon now.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Prestige

Last year two films came out about competing magicians in the 1800's. How strange is that? We obviously watched the one above tonight. Annoyingly because we both shuffle the Netflix list we are getting The Illusionist tomorrow. I really didn't plan to watch them back to back. That said, this movie blew my socks off. Unfortunately, it's like Children of Men. I don't know how to talk about it without spoilers. It is a slow, beautiful, horrifying movie, wandering through different times fluidly and effortlessly as in Christopher Nolan's earlier Memento. And like Memento, it explores the problems with obsession and manipulation (I like finding through lines in director's work). Like Memento the time twists are essential to the response of the audience. They are not arbitrary or unnecessary. I know that it's possible to watch Memento "in order" but I cannot think that the impact would be the same. I will say this: this film and it's final twist frightened me more than any film I can think of in recent memory without gore or monsters (except the human one). I actually felt sick afterwards. What it reminded me of most strongly was reading one of the "greats" of horror, M.R. James or Lord Dunsany, perhaps Lovecraft, but Lovecraft slides into BEM's (Bug Eyed Monsters) too much while James and Dunsany are masters at the art of suggestion.

What I can say is that the acting is superb. I've been a fan of Christian Bale since Empire of the Sun but I believe he was almost overshadowed by Hugh Jackman in this. Jackman's darkness is subtle but profound. I'm not giving anything away by saying that he plays a double role brilliantly. Supporting cast of Michael Caine, Andy Serkis and David Bowie (as Tesla?). I even thought Scarlett Johannsson was tolerable in this. This one will stay with me for a long time. I cannot think that The Illusionist will compare.

More adventures in random shuffle

Camelot is one of my favorite musicals. For a long time it probably was my favorite musical. I discovered in in 4th grade and played the album so often I think I wore down the ridges. I would turn it down really low and lie in front of the speakers. I knew all the words. I read The Once and Future King (book on which it's based) in 4th grade because of it. (And yes, I know that T.H. White author of TOAFK stole from the Arthurian legends already existing. I read those later) I also read On the Street Where I Live by the lyricist/librettist, Alan Jay Lerner because of it and worshipped him until the day he died when I was 16. I still think lyrically it's one of the best musicals ever written. The lyrics tell the story and sing spontaneously out of the story--which is what I like in a musical--none of this, we're singing a song because we all know it, crap--no, just I'm saying lines, then I'm singing lines, then I'm saying lines again. If you're going to suspend disbelief, suspend it all the way. (I hate the movie of Camelot, by the way. DON'T WATCH IT, IT'S AWFUL!)

Yesterday Album of the Day brought up Camelot and it was a standards kind of day (rainy and grey) so I let it play. I realized when the first song was "What Do the Simple Folk Do?" that I'd left it on shuffle. Now, shuffling the songs in a well-crafted musical (according to my rules above) means the story is out of order, but I was busy and I know the musical so well that I decided to let it go on. For some reason the random play seemed to bring up songs from the second act first and then went back for the earlier ones. Camelot is very tragic in the second act. The King is betrayed by his wife and best friend forcing him to sentence her to death (the friend flees). His bastard son stirs the court to revolt and the beautiful dream of "might FOR right," dies. "What Do the Simple Folk Do?" is one of the last light songs as the king and queen wonder how the simple folk manage to be happy and realize that the simple folk wonder the same thing of them. So I wandered backwards through this musical, right back to the Overture and the first song where the king is comically dreading meeting the woman chosen to be his bride, "I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight." It just seemed a study in human life. How we start out believing that life will be good, that love will happen, that our dreams will succeed, and then life happens and sometimes good things happen and sometimes they don't and sometimes other people's happiness has to come before your own as when Guinevere and her lover find each other only to realize they can't be together or it will destroy Camelot:
"Here we are, my love, silent once more
And not far, my love, from where we were before."

Working backwards, as in Harold Pinter's brilliant play, Betrayal, seemed to highlight even more the tragic poignancy of happiness and life in general. If we could only go back and warn ourselves to not make the same mistakes--would we make other worse ones? Ironically (and this only occurred to me now), Merlin in TOAFK and therefore in the musical, lives backwards, so does try to warn Arthur about everything, but...the best laid plans aft gang agle (sp?). So many things I would do differently if I could, and yet...would my life be better? Would I be happier, different, content?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

More important things than blogging

Spent quality time with husband. Back tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Here's the silly thing

Remember how I had resolved to go to bed at 11 this week? Well last night my movie ended at about 10:45, came in, checked email, posted, all done at 11:02. So one should go to bed, correct? I'm so proud of myself that I decide to check the IMDB listing for Ridicule, then I check the IMDB listing for Flushed Away that I watched this weekend. THEN I read the comments on Flushed Away (for which I have to log in) because it had a lot of inside jokes and I wanted to see some lists. Instead I read the post of some idiot who "can't understand why they would make a film starring rats, slugs and toads," esp. as "women hate rats." There's a huge line of people all posting to tell him what an idiot he is, that a) it's not just women who hate rats, b) that many women DON'T hate or fear rats c) this is a cute film with anthropomorphic creatures, not REAL rats. I had not yet posted on IMDB at all, just lurked even though I been irked by a variety of comments. But this one sent me through the roof. I add my two cents about how all children's movies with animals as characters are about humans and human foibles, but redressed in animal form to highlight the points, and has he never read Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS! Then I check his other posts and discover he's posted almost the same topic over at Ratatouille, a Pixar flick that hasn't even come out yet. Add my two cents to that.

Now, here's what I'm trying to understand about myself. Why on earth did that post make me SOOOO angry that I had to chime in, even though what I had to say had pretty much already been said (albeit not as eloquently--if I do say so myself ^_^) Was it just that? Ego. A need to be heard? If that were true I'd be posting everywhere. A need to break a resolution and NOT go to bed when I said I would, thus continuing a cycle of self-defeating behavior? A while back I posted this:
Why does there have to be people like Heather...
on the egos out there that just seem to live to go on boards of things they dislike and trash people. I try not to do that. I trash things I don't like on boards where I've been invited and here, but I am often moved to defend things, esp. if the argument against is not a question of taste, but a question of knowledge or lack thereof. Do I think I'm going to convert people? Start a discussion? I don't expect that and yet there I am behaving irrationally--as though I were caught up in some sort of road rage (board rage). There's maybe once a year that I lose it irrationally in that way beyond my ranting in front of my husband and maybe a few close friends. I'm not proud when I do it. One time we had just come back from a two hour trip. We were within blocks of our house and a guy waiting at an intersection in front of us backed his car into the front of our car. I got out and just started shrieking at him like a harpy. "What are you an idiot? High? How dare you?" I was not the person I wanted to be or generally am. Lately I've found myself doing it a little bit on the phone with unruly vendors and it scares me. Irrational anger is generally misplaced and I don't know what I'm misplacing it from...

Tonight I can either work on a poem, read some more of Moby-Dick or read a play in which I will be reading a character on Saturday. All are frightening in different ways. None are essential (as in must do them tonight). Let's see which fear wins out...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ridicule

French film, 1996. Young provincial aristocrat (circa 1790's) goes to appeal to the King to help him drain the swamps of his county. In order to get to the King he has to become a wit (and along the way sleep with Fanny Ardant). In the end when he prefers the innocent and intellectual daughter of his benefactor the court turns on him. This is what Dangerous Liaisons and Valmont could have been if there had been anything at all at stake for anyone in them (although the book and the play are better than either film). Very lovely, and said a lot about the crowd mentality, the vapidness of wit as a soul purpose for being and the fear that accompanies any game of popularity. I've written about this before--cruelty masquerading as intelligence. Cleverness masquerading as depth. Sad that it seems so timeless.

(One thing that was delightful was the effort to distinguish the French Esprit from the English "hew-mah" (humor), deemed untranslatable.)

Monday, March 12, 2007

New Waste of Time

The Riches--FX. Eddie Izzard, Minnie Driver.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Departed and some quick catch-ups

I threw out two trash bags of stuff today--projects I will never finish, even fabric I will never use, paper cranes. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was that, "There will always be more fabric." There will always be more origami paper. This time I was smart, I did some projects FIRST and then reorganized and threw out after, instead of cleaning everything first and then running out of time and energy to do a project, resolving to do it tomorrow and not doing it until the sewing room needed cleaning again. Did my laundry, sewed a bodice to a skirt, made a shrug and cleaned my silver jewelry.

Then tonight we watched The Departed. My God, what an awful film. It really was. I know it's gotten all this critical acclaim but I just thought it was a mess. The first half dragged on trying to lay on all kind of important inferences about Boston politics, race and class. It only became interesting at all when it started just stealing every scene from Infernal Affairs. I mean every scene, some nearly frame by frame. IMHO a movie that steals that much from source material should NOT be considered for an Oscar, no matter who the director is. Come on, they criticized The Vanishing for being a frame by frame shoot of the original and that was the same director adapting his OWN work. Mr. DiCaprio did some very good work as a man under extraordinary pressure, but I don't know what they were talking about praising some of the others. Nicholson just ate the scenery with only filmicly generated menace (positioning, lighting, etc.) as opposed to the real deal by Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast (though oddly both films have Ray Winstone??!!!). Wahlberg and Baldwin were utterly ludicrous caricatures of hard-nosed, hard assed. Damon and Sheen were comfortable and competent, but I don't think it's their best work.

Anyway, I'm trying to get to bed before midnight, and aiming to get to bed before 11 every night this week. We'll see if I can both blog and go to bed. I'm adding new resolutions each week.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Disposable World

I worked part of the day in my sewing room, mainly doing small repairs and ironing. I've felt the need to do something with my hands lately, build something as opposed to just writing or working, but I couldn't do anything until I caught up with the ironing which was piled on the sewing table and dealt with the repairs piled on the machine.


I finally put together a document room at work yesterday. It felt just like my old days in visual merchandising, moving shelves, unpacking boxes, rearranging as new things emerged. One of the things I really liked about Visual was the sense of having really DONE something at the end of the day, something you could point to and say, "That's what I did today," as opposed to administrative or HR work where one sometimes feels as though all one is doing is shuffling paper and sitting on the phone. I'm not really selling the insurance I'm just making sure the paperwork goes through. There were many things I hated about Visual (the aching back and sore feet being two) but I do miss the accomplishment. Building a set was always more immediately satisfying than acting for that same reason. Something solid.

The flip side of this is the accumulation of things. My sewing room is full of projects I've finished that have no other home. Sometimes I get an idea and I build it just to see if it works. I learned to quilt for that reason, but I'm not a quilt person so I don't know what to do with the things I've made. Like I once decided to papier-mache bottles and paint them like this:
I don't really have room to put them about and they're not all to my taste, they were just what the bottles needed to be. I'd love to sell them in shops, but the selling of things is a job unto itself and I don't know if I like them well enough to commit to making lots of them. Now that I have very nearly decided to give up theater all together I wonder if I should return to trying to sell crafts, but again, it starts to seem like less of a good idea the more I think about it. I've sold hats in a few stores, but not enough to justify the time. I'm now trying to sell or give away my overstock just to get it out of my house. My mother and I sold miniatures when I was in my teens and it was a miserable, existence, not in the least because it meant I spent my weekends trapped at a table at some craft show with my mother.
In addition to scads of completed projects (like the 100's--I'm not kidding--of paper cranes of every color and size I've folded and sometimes made mobiles out of) all of which take a lot of space so they don't get damaged, are the materials for projects that I'd like to try. I never lack for ideas. I can see potential in almost anything. Today I threw out wooden thread spools that I was going to group and paint for the simple reason that I don't want to any more, but I've collected them for years and it was a slight wrench. I have bags of scraps that would make lovely quilts. And tons of fabric and patterns. I have a bag where I throw dried rose buds and blossoms from the bouquets my husband gives me. I've covered maybe two boxes and put them on cards. Oh, I also sold cards decorated with tatted lace one year. I think I netted a grand total of $48.
I am not as bad as many of my friends. If I took say, two weeks, maybe three and worked solidly everyday I would use up everything I have. I have friends I think who could sew and craft continuously for the rest of their lives and not use up their stash, but I DON'T want to be like that. I'm trying to weed everything, even books. To say, will I really look at this again? Will I refer to it? Would I want to lend it to someone? It's hard though, because there are so many memories associated with everything. Holding an object is close to Proustian for me. I can remember when I bought clothes that I love, where I was when I finished a book, found a treasure. I ironed a shirt today that I've had since I was 13. I remember buying it in Express when Express was THE label to have and I couldn't afford anything. I also put a shirt in a bag to take to Goodwill that I've never worn. It seemed like a good idea, but it was just never comfortable enough to get past trying it on in the morning. It's even harder throwing away clothing that I made. I think about the time I put into it, the enthusiasm for the project and I can't quite let it go as if it had never been. I throw away a lot--all the time. I grab free books off of library free carts, read them and pass them on. But some absurd things are very hard for me to let go of--like the one half of my first semi-decent pair of scissors. The pin fell out and I lost one half, but the one by itself looked like art to me. I let it go. It feels like letting go of something I once was. Like I'm betraying the past, even though I know it's not.

I got to suck on Sir Derek Jacobi's wrist

Just got suckered into watching Underworld: Evolution. You know, you think I'll just watch this opening until something better is on and then you've gone and watched the whole thing. It was pretty eye-candy and it didn't suck (all puns intended). It stayed true to itself which is all you can really ask. I haven't actually seen the first one but this had Sir Derek Jacobi in it, one of my heroes. He was very good and treated it with great seriousness. Looking at his IMDB listing I'm struck by what a lot of fluff he's been in. Lawrence Olivier famously claimed to have taken his role in Clash of the Titans (which both sucks and blows, to quote Bart Simpson) to pay for his Bentley, an indulgence late in life. I'm not sure if Derek's buying Bentley's with this, but he's always delightful--no small parts, just small actors. He steals the show in Nanny McPhee, was apparently in a recent Marple (which seemed to have cast entirely from alums of Masterpiece Theater--trolling for viewers? Anthony Andrews, Greta Scacchi to name but a few), and was also in an episode of Frasier some time ago. Bill Nighy (not yet in the pantheon of great actors, but working his way up) is also always fun to watch. Sir Ian McKellen is rolling his way through the great fantastic fiction works with great aplomb.

Annoyingly Ben Kingsley seems to come to Hollywood to make money to do the films he wants to do and then phones in his performance. Did Species let him do Death and the Maiden? Did Thunderbirds pay for Sexy Beast, Blood Rayne for House of Sand and Fog? I just wish he'd let himself enjoy it.

Hollywood loves the evil Englishman: Alan Rickman, David Suchet (two for the price of one, ethnic AND English), even poor Sean Bean. Strangely English dames don't really get invited over to play villians. But there aren't really that many female villians, unless they're femme fatales and Helen Mirren, though still hot, is a little beyond that. Dame Judy Dench? Not so much.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

10 Years On

My husband sent around an article from the BBC about how England had changed in the last 10 years and invited people to add how America had changed.

I found this at the BBC site and as I was reading (and not getting a lot of the references) thought about the US. How
has the US changed over the past 10 years? (Since we're much larger. Regional references are OK.

I'll start:
~I93 (Boston) was a parking lot looming over our heads, now it's a parking lot under our feet.
~We (the US) had a national surplus in 1997, now we're 3
trillion dollars in debt.
~10 years ago there wasn't a Starbucks on every bloody corner.

1. Coffee is served by the pint and it will cost more than a pint of beer.
4. I remember arranging to meet friends at a given location/time many days in advance. If they were late you had to scratch around for 10p to ring from a phone box (and their mum would always tell you they had set off). They would never stand you up, as the cowardly way of cancelling without warning by text just didn't exist then.
It's OK to take photos at concerts, so long as you use your phone.
12. Helen Mirren was occasionally called "Ma'am" by junior officers in Prime Suspect, but not by anybody else.

14. Swear words are no longer asterisked in a newspaper.
15. Headline puns are no longer the sole property of the tabloids.
19. You can no longer wear a hat or a hooded top inside a shopping centre.
21. Northern Ireland is one of the UK's top tourist destinations.
23. The phrase "Big Brother is watching you" should actually be the other way round for many people.

27. Passwords were for international spies and entry to gang huts a decade ago. Now you can barely buy milk without the need for some secretive alpha-numeric code.

I was trying to think of some both national and personal and I don't know if it's indicative of my mood this week, but I can only really think of bleak ones.

Ten years ago we were not at war (well, not officially and not in Iraq). Ten years ago the Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in New York City. One didn't take one's shoes off for airport security. The Red Sox still hadn't broken "the curse" (I guess that counts as a positive). Blogging had yet to happen, but Geocities was revving up. Nobody had made a good film of a comic except Batman which was the old exception that proves the rule.

On the personal, it's rather timely. We moved to Boston in the end of March, 1997. I am not where I meant to be in 10 years, but looking back I'm not sure I had a vision of where I'd be, not a real one, and that is perhaps the answer. Ten years ago I didn't know how to drive (that is a positive in many ways--maybe not for the environment, stealing misery from the jaws of joy, that's me).

Ten years ago my father was still alive. In three weeks that will not be true. It's funny because I've been thinking about that a lot lately. I've been working on a long poem for about three weeks about the ten years that have passed since then. I'll post it here--I've given myself until the actual anniversary, April 1st, but I know it's going to take a lot of rewrites.

Two years ago I did six months of Behavioral Therapy. My therapist said that I tend look back at my life as a series of lows, of bad decisions and regrets. He made me map my life focusing only on the high points. It was much harder and I don't think I'm alone in that. I have done theater, design and acting. I've even been nominated for an award. I've done good work wherever I've worked. I've made good friends. Isn't that really what life is made up of? (I can't even figure out how you'd get the preposition off the end of that sentence). I didn't get divorced. I didn't kill myself. He (my BT) would say those last two are negatives framed as positives or something like that.

Sometimes I feel like we just moved here. Other times it seems amazing that I've done so many different things in just 10 years. I'm trying to focus on that.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

One must make time

I can either blog and play online or I can watch movies. Tonight I opted for the movie. Watched Chungking Express (thanks Matt!). Fantastic. My estimation of Wong Kar-Wei just keeps going up. Planning to change all my signatures to: It was still an emotionally charged towel. (Just had the thought, wonder how that relates to Hoopy Froodism). More on that another time. Annoying because I had a lot of randomly generated links in my head today.

Also realized that My Space layout HAD changed, but I can't see it while logged in. How phenomenally STUPID is that? So now have a rather fun but silly half layout going (with an annoying query box--no, I don't want you to tell me if you think I'm hot) which I don't have time to change tonight. When I get it done I'll link it here for no good reason. Like an old BASIC program--why do we blog again? See A A)why do we blog again? See A...

Or--like some weird friend loop. Hey, link to my blog and I'll link to your blog and then they can go from your blog to my blog and back again!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I'm tired, I'm sorry

It's all caught up with me. I worked out tonight for the first time in some time. It's freezing in my apartment because some doofus who works for my landlord flipped off our heat at some point during the day and it was only turned back on about 7pm. I'm just tired. I refer you to Matt's brief frightening blog, David's interesting choices on an upcoming Geek event, and Mirror's comments on hypocrisy. Still not sure what to make of Neil Gaiman's upcoming movie (well, movie of his book) Stardust, and Whedonism's random quote generator had one of my favorite quotes from Firefly--He's putting the hair away now. TTFN.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Melancholia

I saw a dead cat on the way home (I think it was a cat). It always makes me sad--that idea that something was alive, warm, breathing, thinking to a certain extent and now it's not. And then I thought of all the people dying around the world right now, today, everyday. Consciousnesses and personalities and thought patterns and behavior patterns disappearing every second, and new ones that didn't exist before coming into being. When I used to tell my therapist that I get hung up in these reflections she said I was projecting, taking some internal sorrow that I could not face and seeing everything in the world as sad, but there IS this continuous sorrow in the world, perhaps matched by the joy of new lives, but perhaps not. Does joy equal or balance grief? Many deaths are unnoticed and unmourned and not all new lives bring happiness. Is it just because I have a melancholic disposition that I come back to this again and again?

One of those "And this was my day" posts

So we are in our new office--good things, bad things. On a server now, which objects to Blogger.com so no more spur of the moment posts in the middle of the day unless I develop a better system for mobile blogging. Of course I can write something down in the middle of the day, "They may control my Internet, but they'll never control my mind!" At least now I can clean all the work related crap off of my own laptop.

I'm right under a fluorescent light which I hate. We were kidding about my adding a curtain across the opening of my cube and I said I needed a canopy. I'm wondering what they'll do if I actually put one up tomorrow. One of my bosses brought lamps into her space and isn't turning on the overhead light at all.

I still have to put the file room in order--really dreading that. Prob. Friday. No profound thoughts here, sorry.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

No time, no time

Posting minutes before midnight (and also reading everyone else's posts because the whole point of this should be give and take--nice Bunny suit, Mirror) on a work night. Had a relaxing morning reading the paper and talking to my husband. Had a lazier than planned afternoon then got frantic around four and ran around doing laundry and dusting and spent the evening labeling postcards for work because I'd forgotten about them (d'oh!). But I have posted at least one thing everyday for eight days and I'm pretty proud of some of them. Still feeling energized. Hooray! Talk to you tomorrow, world.

(Oh, and the responses to my rant at VAN have been positive.)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Random follow ups and one peeve

I could probably blog continuously, given half a chance. Yes, I am that self-absorbed. There's always that self-narrative going on in my head. I try to wait until I at least have some semblance of a central thesis--some premise that goes beyond the "and then I did this, and then I did this, and it was cool." To at least find the lesson learned, which might or might not be obvious to the reader, and if there is some point, then it might be applied in a universal way. I wrote this on the Blackberry on the train going downtown. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get it to talk to my computer via it's cable so I had to retype it, but it gives me a chance to edit.

Continuing the discussion of being insular from a few days ago: I was walking back from South Station after seeing a friend onto a train. It was late and the neighborhood can be rough (Financial District--ghost town on weekends and nights, with lurking homeless and drunks). I'm seldom afraid, but I try to be sensible and be aware of my surroundings so I thought shutting out the world might be a mistake. Plus I'm not used to walking around plugged in. It somehow still seems like an affectation. I was waiting for the crosswalk signal and standing next to two guys who had come out of the train station. They were talking about someone who had done something crummy to one of them at the gym (I think). One of them said the F-word and then, very surprisingly turned to apologize to me! I shrugged and smiled and said, "No problem." Somehow he thought (perhaps because I wear a velvet beret?) that he should speak in French. So we exchanged basic French, "Ca va bien?" "Ca va." "Ah, oui, mademoiselle. Tres bien. (pause) et tres jolie, n'est pas." "Ah, merci." "Au revoir." "Au revoir." At which point we were across the street and we parted. As the voices of him and his friend disappeared behind me I heard his friend ask about the French and he declared, "I am a jack of all trades, and a master of none." He repeated this twice more in great declamatory tones before his voice faded away. I was very proud of my ability to "roll with it." Usually in situations like that I laugh and forget what to say and fail to improv. Improv is all about accepting what's handed to you. Now, see, if I'd been plugged in I'd have missed all of that.

I was plugged in on the subway but witnessed something which needed no sound. A bunch of young men, dressed in 'gangsta' style had been waiting on the platform. At first I thought they were doing some sort of dance (like I would die 4 you) and then I realized they were all signing. From the tiny, tiny bit I know it looked authentic, but there was a flare to it that made it clear they were mock dissing each other in sign! All the things a regular group of youths would be doing only completely silently although they were mouthing words. It was fun to watch.

Another L'Arc Random play moment: Finale, Anata and Hitomi no Jyunin make a lovely group.

The peeve comes from the VAN (Vietnamese Adoptee Network) group that I belong to. I found this group in 2005. It was remarkable and healing and I've written about it elsewhere. There's been little action on the group board lately but someone put up a question about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt adopting from Vietnam--did we think it was a good idea. I like and admire Angelina and I was bothered by the posting, but I can see why it went up. I wasn't going to respond. And then another member whom I liked quite a bit when I met put up a very angry reply saying essentially that he thought it was terrible that a celebrity couple who could have biological children were using their money to adopt and that adoptees need security and that even if B & A weren't exploiting this, the media was. I was very, very bothered by it and replied angrily asking if he somehow thought that only people who couldn't have biological children should be allowed to adopt, or was he saying that celebrities shouldn't be allowed to have children and after admitting that they weren't exploiting the situation he was saying that they should still be punished by not being allowed to adopt. I said that I thought any attention to the desperate children of the world waiting to be adopted was a good thing ESPECIALLY by a couple who could have biological children because then adoption wouldn't be seen as a last resort by people who couldn't have children the "RIGHT" way. (Adoptive parents actually have people say stupid things like that, "Oh, couldn't you have real children?" "No, so I had to buy these synthetic ones(???!!!)." I can't quite decide if I overreacted, esp. given my fondness for Ms. Jolie (and Mr. Pitt, for that matter--he went to my Dad's Alma Matter until he dropped out to go to Hollywood {Pitt, not my Dad}). I am actually bothered by Madonna's adoption, because Angelina has done many other things to show her support of the needy of the world, and Madonna sort of seems to be only doing this one thing. We shall see what the fall out is tomorrow. Sometimes I talk too much.

The computer wars or how my husband tossed my cookies

Sharing computers is a fine art. We share the desktop at home and I have my own laptop, but no connection unless I steal wi-fi. I can customize my laptop to my heart's content. I generally go along with the desktop issues. For instance he made me a tiny Hyde icon for my folders, but I was warned that if I ever changed the wallpaper or screensaver to anything L'Arc or Hyde related he would remove every last piece of L or H related information from the computer. O_o

My husband is sort of a techie-light. He's self taught, but most of the techies I know are. He knows quite a lot more than I do mainly because he does the research, and like most techies I know he's unhappy with the general out of the box specs. He doesn't use IExplorer he uses Maxthon. He tried to convert me to Open Office rather than windows, but I couldn't do that since nobody else could open files I sent them. So we end up with two of everything on our computer.

Last week we had some computer problems which are still unresolved. He borrowed my laptop to try and do some research. I've been using my laptop at work, because my work IT person is worse than useless. I'm not kidding. Her solution for everything is to reinstall the operating system. So all the computers she gave me were set up for networks even though our office wasn't set up for networks and would crash looking for the network. I ended up bringing my own laptop to work when I thought we were moving in a few weeks. That was in December. We moved today. Anyway, my husband used my computer and the next day I got to work only to discover that all of my cookies and internet history were gone. Since I didn't want to clutter my computer with things I was going to have to take off I'd been depending on cookies and history to find frequently used websites. I was a little peeved.

Monday I get to find out if my computer at work will actually not crash every 20 minutes. But I won't get to customize it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

In which the author discovers she cannot lie under oath, but that small miracles do occur

I went to fight a speeding ticket this morning. The incident happened just before Thanksgiving. The notice I received said arrive at 8:30. So despite Yahoo Maps optimistic belief that the trip takes 18 minutes I set out at 7:50. I arrived at 8:28 and ended up driving around the block twice because there is no parking lot for the Brighton Courthouse because this is Boston (to quote Futurama--as I often do--I'm shocked, well not that shocked). Parked frantically in a spot under a sign with the cryptic message, "No parking 4 hours before or 1 one hour after a football game at (?) school." How would one know? Had stupidly worn flats in order to work better packing boxes at work only to have to tread over unshovelled sidewalks. Ran into the courthouse to a truly Dickensian hell. About 60 people were already seated on benches all around the walls, some in suits, some in jeans, all already looked like souls in purgatory or the Bardo, resigned and waiting. I'd had this weird and naive belief that being called for 8:30 meant you had an appointment of 8:30, or at least sometime in the next hour. Not so. Apparently everyone for the morning was called for 8:30. This included people actually awaiting real court proceedings. I started on the floor, moved to what I'm sure was not intended as a seat as it was in front of a lovely photographic display on the history of the Brighton courthouse and finally moved to a bench. In my haste (and mistaken belief that it wouldn't take long) I had forgotten to bring in my book. I could have really made a dent in Moby-Dick in the THREE hours I was sitting there. Yes, gentle reader, three hours. I kept thinking, "Should I go out for the book, or will they call my name while I'm gone?" I once fought a parking ticket and ran into the courthouse at the scheduled time, met with one snuffling clerk who stamped canceled on my form and sent me on my way--I thought it would be similar. I checked my email on my phone, checked some WAP sites to see if anything was worth downloading, played Tetris and several games of Sudoku before my phone battery faded, about the time I moved to a bench. I slid down in the bench and stared at the ceiling. I would have taken a picture but my battery was too low by the time I realized what an nice ceiling it was and started composing this in my head. It was an arched, vaulted ceiling in a sort of neo-classical, maybe Federalist style (I am very weak in styles of architecture). I watched the people. A woman who was desperately thin and acned had an exquisite child who, though clearly somewhat spoiled, was quite cheerful up until the last part of the third hour. Another cheerful gentleman who looked like a William H. Macy character (paunch over too tight belt, suit from perhaps 1982 at the latest, bushy Flanders mustache) went out and got a paper which he willingly shared with anyone. It was at least peaceful, if not precisely friendly. I also kept thinking longingly of my Mp3 player, but I probably would have been too afraid to use it as the person calling names seemed to never be pronouncing anything resembling human words. I watched a woman who had identified herself as Kim on her cell phone and a gentleman apparently named Roger respond to calls which to me sounded for all the world like, "Mmmhmmm Bhmmm.'' When the crowd had thinned down to about 4 of us, including William H. Macy but not the little girl I moved up to the nearest bench. I was just looking at William's paper when they called something resembling my name (my real name is hard to pronounce at the best of times).

And that, dear reader, is when I found out what I'm made of. They broke me; hunger and exhaustion were enough. They said, "Do you think you were speeding?" And I said, "Yes, but not as much as the ticket says." They said, "Do you want to appeal," (which would mean another trip to Brighton, another missed morning, in all likelihood another 3 hour stint albeit better prepared) "since by your own admission you were actually speeding?" I sighed and said "No,"and they reduced the ticket by half--$100. God help me if I ever actually end up in an interrogation room or Guantanamo, especially if I am at all guilty of anything.

Because, here is the truth of it. I do have a lead foot, but this is my first speeding ticket. This is Boston after all. I didn't know that that stretch of the Mass Pike was 55 (since the rest is 65 and the point of a Turnpike is to be speedy without having to worry about merging traffic! Just MHO). I was passing someone. It is very likely that I was speeding. It's actually possible that I was doing 70 since I thought the highway was 65 but I only admitted to 60 today since I know that ignorance of the law is no excuse--in my mind I was only 5 miles over the speed limit. It is also true that other cars were passing me--which I did tell the magistrate to no avail. It's also true that in my tiny Yaris once one gets beyond 70 mph one starts to feel it, so I wasn't lying when I said I didn't think I was going the 76 mph the ticket said.

I don't know whether to be happy or sad that I was unable to lie to get away scot free. When I finally got to work, one of my bosses said, "That wasn't the time to be entirely truthful." But she's in sales. After all I still fudged the truth. A few years ago a $100 ticket would have been crippling. I once drove for a year with an expired inspection sticker (and only got a warning!) because I got the inspection but couldn't afford the repairs that caused me to fail. Even $200 would not have been crippling. Inconvenient, yes. Annoying, certainly. And back debt would have been paid down more slowly, but not a reason to sit and sob. $100 is annoying and inconvenient. I'm lucky to be in such a place, and lucky to have never gotten a ticket before. In contrast when I fought the parking ticket (there have been several I didn't fight--because not seeing the sign that said, no parking on every other Tuesday is not a defense--this is Boston after all) I knew I was in the right. I had checked the time in my car and on my watch because I was going to an audition. I knew precisely when I put money in the meter and a full hour had NOT passed when I came back to the car and saw the very rude officer slipping the ticket under the windshield wiper--faulty meter. Justified. I never felt fully justified about this, and it fell out under pressure.

I remember when I was in high school my mother and I were attending an obnoxious Fundamental Church and on Sunday nights people would "testify" to God moving in their lives. A man I truly hated, (and pretty much still do) stood up and told how he was flying down the highway at 80 miles an hour and God told him to think of his family and slow down, and so, praise Jesus, he had slowed down to 70. Wasn't that wonderful? And I thought, "So, God said it wasn't ok to break the law by 25 miles per hour," remember in the 80's most highways were still 55, "but it was ok to break the law by 15?"

I will say, this has been a deterrent for me. I still speed, but I don't move out beyond traffic. :P But at least I don't say God gives me permission! I've definitely driven more carefully in the last two months. I do thank God for the fact that I am in a position to roll with this and for that matter to have a phone with cool features and an Mp3 player to miss.

One last frustration. When I left the courthouse I had to roll back and forth to get out of the iced parking spot. I did curse a bit.

On the way to work--by now starving--I decided to be decadent and have McD's. And then I remembered that I could pick up some change of address postcards for one boss. I had only the vaguest memory of where the copy shop was. I drove up the street it's on and didn't see it. Clearly I was going to have to go to work, get the number and go back. I turned around and pulled into McD's, looked across the street, and saw the copy place! It required crossing one of those streets where the traffic never stops, but other than that it was a triumph! Boxes got packed, and bizarrely one of my bosses gave me an old but working Blackberry (?!) So if anyone really needs a Blackberry, let me know. It means I now have three handheld devices that do similar things--because I love my phone way too much to give it up for the awkward and ugly Blackberry (the phone was an obscenely decadent gift from eBay for my husband who decided it was lovely but the buttons too small so it became mine!). I could listen to three different radio stations at once if I had three sets of ears. What I do like about the Blackberry and intend to use (because it works w/out Sim card) is the notepad and keyboard. I can blog as I think it and then upload it!

Mood: weirdly optimistic. I'm wearing a small black rubber band that was on a phone cord on my finger as a ring.