Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ha, Ha, now I'm ahead!

Follow up. I did not use the exercise videos, but I swam every night and tried the gym once (thus using shoes and one of the outfits). I could have worn the flip flops as slippers but the slippers roll up like socks so no big loss of space. I am about half way through Moby Dick and they have finally seen the whale. I watched the film, but not the L'Arc video (Collateral--good film, but unfortunately being set entirely at night it was a bit dark to watch on a laptop). I had motion sickness on the way down and could not work on the Games magazine, but did some on the way back. Looked at the writing and modified one word choice--woohoo, Trollope I ain't. Never touched the Blackberry and listened to 3 songs on the mp3 player. Used the phone a lot. Used the wifi, but as stated below, did not blog just checked others' blogs. Other people brought far more shoes than I--a different pair of pumps everyday. I was able to pack most of the massive chunk of paper they gave us and still get all of my clothes in. If you can still shut the suitcase it's not too much, right? I wish I could have listened to music, read and/or watched the L'Arc video on the way back, but I was with the other women and felt obliged to be entertaining.

Observation: Susan recently posted about comparing ourselves to other women--specifically the women our men once dated and/or slept with. As women we compare and compare. Some of my first thoughts on Tuesday were: I am not the oldest or the fatest, but I'm not the youngest or the thinnest (objective). I am not the ugliest or the prettiest (subjective). Later: I'm probably the best educated (objective) and I may well be the smartest (somewhat subjective). I certainly did the best on the trivia test. I'm definitely NOT the most confident (with or without reason), but I'm also not the most arrogant. Not sure what that adds up to at all.

I am a snob

I sort of wrote this in my head as I was going but have added and amended since I've been back so the tenses may not all agree.

I enjoyed the conference. I really did. (DS (a boss) and I discussed on my return how we both find value if we learn or reinforce something even if the whole thing is not life changing.) What I discovered though, was that based on first impressions I would have been friends with maybe two of the other assistants there, could have worked with about half of the people there and really, really would have trouble being in the same office with the rest of the them (18 total). In the reception and the dinner the most literary of the discussions led to Idol, House and Blades of Glory. Whipping out Moby Dick at lunch led to some strange stares and one person exclaiming that she had never been able to get into reading books (as opposed to cereal boxes perhaps?). [Side note: I remember years ago riding back from California after visiting my father and reading Balzac on the plane, a middle-aged gentleman was moved forward for some reason and on seeing my preferred reading jokingly said, "Is this the literary part of the plane? Everyone at the back is reading Danielle Steele."] {Side, side note: I should set up a sidebar column just for my tangents and would if I could figure out the coding.}

What really got me about the rest of the assistants though was the fact that they seemed to gain all of their identity from the status of the agent they represented. I like my agents and I'm proud when they do well, am happy for them (happy for me too because it means my job continues) and hope that I have helped to contribute in someway. In no way do I think their status reflects on who I am or what I do when I'm not in the office. I can't understand that mentality. And here's where I'm a snob. At least three of them who support supposedly "Elite" agents who make scads of money could not speak with even reasonable grammar when asking questions ! They used double negatives. I realize writing here I wander all over the place, but I certainly don't never use double negatives and it's a free form blog--not corporate training at the home office. It's not that I expected them to be brilliant academics, but I expected them to at least have a level of education. I mean, do they compose letters? Do they write marketing copy? I really got the feeling that the agents hired the cheapest secretaries that they could. Several admitted to having been pulled up from reception. It really made me feel that I have to get out of this position. I have to find something worthwhile to do with my life and my talents and this isn't it. (Don't worry JT, I'm not talking about tomorrow, and you would know before anyone else.)

Later in the week when talking with my friend I lamented the fact that when I was a secretary at my college's library and decided to move to Boston, my boss said that while she was sorry to see me go she was happy for me because I had the potential to do so much more and here I am ten years later working as a secretary. Being a good and wise friend he told me to put down the whip--it's neither here nor there, there is only moving forward (I think he actually put it better).

Also difficult were the two women from my own office. I like them. They are very nice. They too would never be friends of mine were we not working side by side. I'm a snob--when they looked down on assistants at the conference and said that they hadn't gotten much out of it, I thought two very uncharitable things, a) in their stilettos with their tattoos and frosted hair they have little room to talk and b) it was perhaps a bit too much like school for them. Am I a bad person? I had a therapist who really tried to make me feel bad for judgements like that, and I quit going to her. I don't go to therapists to feel worse, thank you.

I do stand by this. I do not look down on people who are intelligent but uneducated. My education has massive gaps (I've never read all of Shakespeare and probably never will) of which I'm not proud. I write like I talk--my participles dangle and my modifiers are not always near their object and I can't spell. But I will look down on the willfully and proudly ignorant and I will equally look down on the well educated but stupid.

I love reading Neil's Blog because...

He's just like us, only he can write about it really well.

He just did a reading where he shared the stage with the likes of Salman Rushdie, Nadine Gordimer, Don DeLillo and Steve Martin and he felt overwhelmed.

"(They are a literary audience, I told myself. They will not have brought rocks. They will not throw any rocks they might have brought. Even if they have brought rocks and plan to throw them, I'm on near the end and maybe they will have thrown all the rocks they have brought before I come on, and I can probably dodge the few remaining rocks.)"

Totally useless extraneous filler

Just popped over to My Space. Nathan Fillion is in London.

I wish I was in London, with or without Nathan Fillion.

"Oh, to be in England,
Now that April's there."
~Browning

The train ride down

So, I am traveling again. Lately I find myself worried about traveling in a way I don't remember feeling before. Last year, going to see Hyde, I thought for the first time of being in a metal and plastic box hurtling impossibly through the air at near supersonic speeds, thousands of feet above the ground as many of my "afraid of flying" friends report. But that was a plane, far away with money I had no business spending. This time is by train, relatively close, with other people's money. Even other people's spending money. Yet, I woke up 4 or 5 times last night, certain I would forget something. Even got up to write myself a note to remember to pack my bathing suit because the pool at the hotel is the one thing I'm really looking forward to.

And I have over-packed. Of that I am certain. I have probably 4 and a half full outfits for a three day trip, but that can be partially overlooked by the fact that the weather has changed abruptly. It was in the high 30's last week. It's in the low 80's today, but I still need a raincoat for chilly nights and sweaters because we have been warned that the classrooms are cold, and if they have warned us, they must be frigid. Plus I am going to be met there tomorrow by two other women from my office and we might want to go out...etc., etc. If I were traveling alone I might not have brought so many clothes. There is the worrying thought that I have three pairs of shoes--flats to travel, pumps for the conference, and tennis shoes to pursue my new quest to workout everyday. These last stuffed in moments before I left after I saw them in the car on my way home. I also have slippers for the hallways and flip-flops for the pool.

In addition, I am vastly over-prepared for the possibility of boredom. It is a 4.5 hour train ride after all, and there is tonight to get through alone. I have a staggering array of electronics and accoutrement's. There is the laptop, in case the hotel has wifi, to ostensibly write free from distraction of husband and pets, and as a portable DVD player. There is mp3 player, Blackberry and phone and all assorted chargers thereof. There is a movie and a L'Arc concert (because I haven't watched one in a long time) and some exercise discs in case the pool AND the gym are crowded or unpleasant. There is Moby Dick, only a third of a way through after all this time. There are notebooks for writing with the unfinished poem for my father stuffed inside. All in all, I am overprepared and will probably look at only a fraction of these things. Oh, and the Games Magazine that was waiting for me when I got home from work.

As I watch the countryside roll by (well, the urban/rural charm of RI, CT and NJ) I remember traveling with my parents as a child. We would go to St. Louis from KC every few months or so--a four hour drive. We would drive out of KC and I would see the signs on the highway, "St. Louis 1/2 mile." I wondered why it took so long to drive a 1/2 mile never realizing it meant the exit for another highway was only 1/2 mile away. I also felt then that cities all looked pretty much the same and wondered if God simply rearranged the buildings to confuse me. My parents thought this pretty funny when I told them. (Later in this trip traveling by car through NJ I am struck yet again by how homogenized the world is--there a strip mall with Target and Marshall's and even Allegro printing which I thought local to Boston.)

When I was a little older and I knew that I was not so important for God to rearrange buildings just for me I would see the lights of all the towns and houses along the way and think of those families, sitting down to dinner, kids doing homework, watching TV, living normal lives that had nothing to do with me and didn't know me and never would. I also had a dream of "normalcy" whatever that might be, because my own home life was chaotic. Now I know that "every unhappy family is unhappy in it's own way." There is no such thing as normal, there is just more common and less common.

Cheating

Of course, I can fill the numbers by cheating a little by making this a separate post.

More things have happened regarding Mike Daisey. He writes about it on his blog and Mirror discusses the ripples in the blogosphere. In short: it was a public high school, not a Christian one as first believed, although some members identified themselves as Christian on the way out the door. The school apologized. Mike contacted both the school and the individual. It was an interesting discussion apparently. Unfortunately, truth (to paraphrase Babylon 5 and probably something older) is a three edged sword--my side, your side and the truth. Is Mike misinterpreting the tone of the vandal when the vandal says the word "liberal" for instance. But I think we have all heard other people use perfectly ordinary words as insults, and if we examine ourselves we have done the same.

Also interesting is the blogosphere's reaction which ranges from the belief that this was on a par with stabbing a painting in a museum to the belief that it's all a tempest in a cup of tea.

I could really cheat by posting, say one word per post, but I have no desire to be that fake. I have a lot of posts in draft form and in my head. Let's see how close I come.

Housekeeping

I was out of town last week from Monday to Thursday and while I had access to wifi, I chose not to blog as I was going , although I wrote some things along the way.

I was talking to yet another friend about my life and my blog and accountability and discipline. One thing I do not lack is truly supportive friends (Thank you all who read here). I mentioned that while it has become less important to blog everyday, it has become important to blog on average of everyday. Therefore posting several times in one day. I am not sure if I am going to make it for April. This is the 24th post and there are only two more days (counting tonight as Saturday, although it will say Sunday--though I have discovered that I can change the date and time, I prefer to be honest). Also, when I reach 150 posts which will be almost 75 posts this year, I would like to start to organize them into categories--movie reviews, personal revelation, etc. for the casual reader.

It's a small world (blogosphere) after all

Many, many years ago a friend sent me the link to an article on the wave theory of traffic which I found wonderful and kept in my favorites for many years until it seemed silly to do so and I deleted it. I don't think I knew how to drive at the time, but it coincided with a book my friend was working on at the time on the intentionality of behavior. He pointed out that we will have a very different trip if we drive with the intention of getting somewhere as fast as possible than if we drive with the intention of getting somewhere as safely as possible.
Anyway, I had often thought of this article and wished I still had it and low and behold during the week Mother Tongue Annoyances to whom I am newly linked, linked to it in turn!

http://www.mtannoyances.com/?p=721

I wish I could say that after learning to drive I always put it in practice, but while I try to always modify my speed to allow people to enter from ramps I do tend to "punish" drivers who think they can bypass long lines of traffic by driving in another lane until the last possible moment and then cutting in. I'm sure it does nothing but increase their annoyance and frustration, but I will not let them in. As vices go, it is pretty small.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Found looking up the etymology of Concierge

You want some flotsom? I got some.
You want some jetsom? I can get some.

Brilliant!

Matt's Japan Blog

http://www.chaospirals.com/blog/japan/

Sunday, April 22, 2007

My two cents

It is a face I have seen in Riefenstahl's work, and in my dreams, but never on another human face, never an arm's length from me--never directed at me, hating me, hating my words and the story that I've chosen to tell. That face is not Christian, by any definition Christ would be proud to call his own--its naked righteousness and contempt have nothing to do with the godhead, and everything to do with pathetic human pride at its very worst.

http://mikedaisey.com/

Mirror posted the link to the ART blog about this and I was hoping that there would be something about it in the paper, but there wasn't (that I saw). Read the post and there's a YouTube of the incident as well. Then Writers Life x3 posted about it and commented on how you don't think it could still happen in Cambridge. As Daisey himself goes on to say, this is the ART for heaven's sake! If language were the worst thing that happened there-- well, it wouldn't be an ART show. And everywhere is everywhere, isn't it? I don't know his work, but certainly what prompted the walk out is nothing compared to most comedians.

I was struck by the power of these words above in his blog, because C.S. Lewis considered pride one of the worst of the sins. It presumes that you are somehow better than other humans when we are all worms in the sight of God (my interpretation, obviously). What could be worse than pride coming from one's Christianity? How pointless and wrong.

I want to know more about this group. I want to know what they thought they were going to, because it just seems suspicious to me that they all "decided" to walk out at the same time. Did a whisper go down the line OR did they agree beforehand?

Are you a Ren or a Stimpy

B with whom I can say the most absurd things (and for that I love her--you know who you are) and I had this intriguing exchange in email.

I used the word "JOY!" in an email and then asked if she thought I was Ren or Stimpy (and fans of the show will know why). She responded that I was Ren to HER Stimpy because she was almost always Stimpy except for certain friends where she was Ren, and that her old boss was R to her S, but with his wife he was probably S and she R and further, that I was probably S to my husband's R.

I'll go with that.

For JT and everyone else who should know these

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~Robert Frost

I was telling JT about this, and I realize now that I had it backwards. When I was in 8th grade our English class had the choice to memorize one of these and everyone (and I mean everyone) chose Stopping by Woods because it was shorter by four whole lines except for me, of course, being a) a showoff and b) already regretful. When I told JT I said it was the other way around because I could remember more of Stopping by Woods but I suspect that a) I've heard both over and over through the years and b) I memorize better by hearing than by saying --thus, I know everyone else's lines in plays before my own. I also thought the slightly morbid one would have appealed to me more then. Looking at them now I think TRNT is the better poem as well, as well as understanding it even more now than I did at a callow 13 or 14. The structure is harder but the rhymes are more subtle and therefore stronger. It is so easy to fall into singsong when reciting Frost because of his excellent use of meter, but TRNT retains it's beauty and has such a conversational tone in spite of it.

Frost rises and falls in favor, and he taught at my college and New Hampshire Public TV uses his poems as time filler between shows, so it's easy for me to forget what an amazing poet he was. Through the simplest of language he explored the big questions. What more can you ask of poetry?

Happy Faces Are Where You Find Them


On those terribly rainy, grey days we had last week I walked out of work and saw this! I swear, I did not rearrange the twigs in any way. I don't know if someone else did, but in an office building full of lawyers and financial people, it seems unlikely. There is a pre-school, but they don't come out by this door. It made me happy (and made me remember I have an ok camera on my phone). I took a portion of the parking spot to show scale.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

On music, even though I said I wouldn't--The death of the album (as art form, not big, black, plastic dish)

So, while I've been downloading (yes, free and illegal--long live Torrentz) all these 80's albums I thought I should grab some new stuff because well, it's free and it keeps you young instead of finding yourself sitting around saying, "In my day, music was music, bah!" As a side note, I don't feel guilty about the 80's albums--I bought them (well, husband bought most of them and some we bought for $1 when albums were dying but the principle is there) once--the bands got their 7 cents of my money. Why should I buy them again when they are only available in reissues by companies that didn't produce them in the first place (Rhino)? You can probably bet that none of those kids in those bands just into their 20's had the good sense to write contracts stating they get profits from future reissues (except possibly Bowie who's pretty shrewd). So who am I supporting? As to new music--I still buy CD's. I view the downloading as a sort of sampling--do I like it well enough to get the liner notes and lyric sheets? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

I am especially interested in new bands now, for the first time in years, because there is this resurgence of what I would call 80's inspired music--bands that are taking the synth sound, pop beat and eyeliner from the best of the New Wave--The Killers, Panic! at the Disco, The Bravery, Interpol, Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand (is anyone else bothered by the fact there are two popular bands named after the major players of WWI?--what's next, The Stalinites, the Prince George's, Woody Wilson?). Hot Fuss (Killers) is a really solid album. Panic!'s songs have a tendency to sound the same, but the album has a nice build and shape. The Bravery's first (second coming out soon) had a similar shape to each song--verse, fast chorus, verse--but was still fun all the way through. It gave me hope. However, I downloaded Silversun Pickups, Shiny Toy Guns and Cold War Kids (WWII this time). I'll have to give them each more devoted listens, but aside from the singles, on first listen the rest of the songs just ran together.

Is the album dying as they say? In the age of the one song download will anyone bother to get anything besides the single? When I was young and poor a friend gave me her cassette of Let's Dance because she never listened to it. I asked how was it. She said, "Oh, I never bothered to listen to anything but the singles." !!!! I was aghast--at the very least it seemed a waste of money. Why buy something and not listen to all of it, at least once. I often find that I am tired of the singles and there are far better but less mainstream songs on albums that I love. Why should bands bother to write whole albums--singles and filler. Certainly many are doing it already. I won't even begin to discuss whether concept albums will still be produced--the days of Pink Floyd (not my genre, but I can appreciate it) or Genisis (Peter Gabriel version) with The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. With my new interest in Japan (and I could be mistaken in this) I have discovered that it is quite common for artists to record just a single with no intention of every producing an album there. This of course allows any celebrity to throw together one single, sell a few and go back to whatever they are actually famous for, in the same way that they might do a commercial.

So, is this a loss for culture? Certainly the age of the symphony is long past, so why is this so bothersome? Because it will allow for more crap to clog up the airways? More on that tomorrow.

Random play/Psychic links

This has been a strange week for music. On Monday I was mentally writing the next section in my lengthy post on taste as I drove to Target and thinking about the first two albums of rock and roll that interested me (the reasons for that will become clear when I post this opus--hopefully tomorrow), David Bowie's Let's Dance, and Duran Duran's reissue of Duran Duran (their first album which they re-released as their third album after their second album Rio and it's hot videos put them on the map, not to be confused with their 10th album, also called Duran Duran but referred to as The Wedding Album because of the cover art which...oh, never mind).

Anyway, I flicked on a radio show here in Boston called "Left Over Lunch" with DJ Julie Kramer which plays 80's and early 90's music (and some 70's glam) between noon and one and which I never get to listen to because of reception. The first song being played was Modern Love from Let's Dance--weird, but Ok, kind of cool, not my favorite but haven't heard it in a while. BUT that was IMMEDIATELY followed by Is There Something I Should Know from Duran Duran--the reissue, in fact the only new song on the reissue. IS THAT WEIRD OR WHAT? Now, Julie Kramer often says that people should send her requests telepathically, but I wasn't even requesting it.

Then, Wednesday, at work, the new guy in the cube next to mine calls out, "Are you listening to The Cure?" Turns out (he's about 11 years older than I am) he is a HUGE New Wave fan and WENT to tons of concerts in the early 80's--U2 in clubs and as opening acts, Psychedelic Furs, Bowie, The Police, The Go-Gos when they were punk, The Ramones, Elvis Costello, and on and on. I was nearly drooling. We startled a co-worker when she walked up as we were discussing the Buzzcocks! So I hit Album of the Day and virtually every album it brought up for the next two days was from the early 80's! Now, this might be partially explained by the fact that I just started downloading and loading all the 80's albums for which I have "albums" and cassettes. I don't know if Random Album is more prone to selecting new music, but that doesn't explain why it brought up two different Psyc Furs albums and So (Peter Gabriel) this morning when I ripped those at Christmas! I have often felt that my Album of the Day is keyed into my mind. Often I will be thinking of an album and it will bring it up on the first or second click. Given that I have over 400 albums in there in at least 10 genres, that's pretty amazing. SPOOKY...

(On reflection--probably not spooky, probably good coding that's written to remember what you tend to go to most often--but I very seldom listen to So. The mystery continues.)

Updates

Nearly a week without posting and my discipline lagged some. Well, it was a screwy week, what with the rain and all and my husband sick. Next week could be weird too as I'm going out of town.

Some of the people I added on the side bar: Margina Dennis was the make-up artist on a show for which I designed costumes a few years ago. A very cool lady who is doing very well for herself.

Fashion Musings is a woman I found through her blog and hope to meet face-to-face soon as she has a career I admire.

Writing Life x3 is the author of a play for which I designed sets and costumes two years ago. Interestingly you can see pictures of this show on the site.


Gahhh...for some reason Blogger will NOT let me change the order so that I keep to the time line. Will try to modify another time.

In the people I don't know section--Dress A Day I found while I was trying to do A Hat a Day, Mother-Tongue Annoyances was referenced somewhere, and 20 Sided was sent to me because of his on-going section DM (Dungeon Master) of the Rings--The Lord of the Rings saga (as shot by Peter Jackson) with notes as though a DM made it up. Very funny--I stayed because he's also a Serenity fan.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sorrow

In light of the events in Virginia it seems glib to post on anything.

I have spent the afternoon cleaning up my favorites and adding things to the sidebar.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

On preferences, taste and criticism

I don't like U2. I don't hate U2, I just don't think they're very good. Certainly not as good as many people think. I think they are on a juggernaut that seems unlikely to stop anytime soon, but so is American Idol. I've been thinking about this post for some time, debating when and where to write it. I don't say this to be controversial, or provocative and I don't do it to antagonize my many friends who do like U2, really, really like U2.

Oh, I could give you lots of reasons why. That Bono seems to have a Messianic complex, that the Edge has been playing the same 3 cords since the beginning of their career (even on his soundtrack for The Batman--animated series {not to be confused with the vastly superior Batman, the Animated Series}). That somehow, because they were Irish and sang a few songs with a message, they were anointed by the British music press and could do no wrong. That they have consistently ripped off their sound from lesser known bands (well, in America) such as Echo & the Bunnymen (I realize that's debatable since the albums all came out around the same time. But this is not a post about what's wrong with U2.

I love Duran Duran. Again, I could give you lots of reasons why. They have consistently broken new ground in multi-media. They were among the first bands to mix their own work (Nick Rhodes is not the greatest keyboard player but he is an excellent, excellent mixer). That they had the bravery (but career stupidity) to break into Power Station and Arcadia at the height of their fame. That they made the first video using Macro media Flash. They were one of the first bands to schedule a concert in Second-Life. That each of their albums is unique and innovative. That they have continued to forge on, despite lack of support by the music press.

I am generally peeved (and have been for 20 years) that Duran Duran gets short shrift because they are quite good looking. HOWEVER, fans will follow the press anywhere. I remember in high school around the time of Joshua Tree when a friend who really liked U2 and had from the very first album was complaining about being at concert with girls who were screaming about how hot Bono was. Bono is NOT hot. Even if I decided tomorrow that he was eligible for sainthood, you still couldn't make me think he was hot. And if it's about music vs. music then the looks shouldn't be part of the discussion. Anything U2 does is seen as important. Part of the reason for this tirade is the fact that U2 is apparently releasing a concert DVD shot in part in 3-D and the press is SOOO excited. Um, Duran Duran did that two years ago!!??? The Wedding Album is full of meaningful songs (as are all of D2's albums in the 90's and 00's but the press never tells you that either.

But again, this is not a post about how awesome Duran Duran is. I am not a music critic. I don't play any instruments. I don't know that much about music. I read an article in today's Boston Globe by reviewer Ty Burr on what one must be to be a film reviewer (here). I've seen A LOT of films including genres I don't care for. I know some about film making. I feel as though I can make reasonably informed commentary on films--whether a film is well made for it's genre--as well as whether I liked it or not. Likewise with books and writing. I don't know much about music that I don't like. I couldn't comment on metal, country or Latin. That's why I don't really critique music here.

That said, the point of this post is that you could show me documents where Duran Duran said that they wiretapped Bono's house and stole all their ideas from him, or testimony that Bono really can cure lepers and it wouldn't matter. Likewise, I could show my U2 loving friends that Simon LeBon's voice had been shown to reduce blood pressure in mice and Bono admitted to having plagiarized New Year's Day from some guy in Galway and it wouldn't matter to them...
BECAUSE it is a question of taste. I like the whole package of Duran Duran. I'll admit that Bono has a wider range than Simon, but Simon has a very decent and controlled tenor and he uses it well. I like the way the instruments work together so that no one stands out as a guitar God or bass King, but that they solidly support each other. I love Nick's keyboard effects that run through everything even if he mainly pushes playback on stage. It is, like most of what is spouted on the Internet, all about the subjective and I am not going to convince anyone NOT to listen to U2 if you love them anymore than you will convince me that Duran Duran is not a musically gifted band.

What I might be able to do--and this would be my hope--is to convince you to listen to Duran Duran (or Kate Bush or David Sylvian or Barenaked Ladies) also. And you might, of your own volition, down the road make the decision that you preferred D2. Or not. Because I have listened to Duran Duarn A LOT (take that proper grammar!). I believe that many of their B-sides (like L'Arc~en~Ciel, interestingly) are their best songs. I know that Simon's lyrics are touching and beautiful:

We're lying in the palm of your hand
No land we see, no place to be
The salt of your tears, adds stain to our hearts
There's no long years can tear us apart
Our futures entwined with your past
Because when we lie awake
We'll be thinking of you
Blow.
Grey lady blow your ships back home

or for Michael Hutchins before he died:

I came over your place today
In a roundabout sort of way
Nothing holding me
Just the company
Gentle giving in the afternoon
Don't ever try to be anymore
Michael, you've got a lot to answer for
You unlocked some of the doors
To my soul...

You've got me waking up wise
To the world...

Trust you to get caught up in somebody's war
You'll come out of it all intact, I'm sure
Just remember what friends were put here for
Michael, you've got a lot to answer for.
And I know that you're going to call me
If you need me
When you need me
If you need me.

Here's what I mean about my not really being qualified to be a music critic. I've never listened to a whole U2 album. I don't know if there are any magic B-sides out there or better songs than those released (just so you know, Vertigo, One and Beautiful Day all set my teeth on edge). And none of my good friends have ever been big enough U2 fans to try and offer any.

Now, the question becomes--would I ever devote the time to becoming a bigger U2 fan? When there are so many bands that I really like. I still don't own all of the Barenaked Ladies albums for instance. I've just discovered Carbon Leaf (and it really surprises people when I say I like them--but I like James as well). I don't have time to waste on a band I've already written off.

So what then is the point of fandom and the Internet? Will I convince someone to like what I like? Even more unlikely will I convince someone to not like something I consider inferior? Are people really using the Internet to find things to like, or just to jump up and down on their own bully pulpits? ESPECIALLY since even on pages where everyone ostensibly likes the same thing you always have wags coming on to tell people how they shouldn't like what they like. WHY? I certainly don't hunt down U2 fans and try to convert them. It's not a religion (the Utwocharist notwithstanding).

L'Arc is a good example. I love them. My husband DOES NOT LIKE HYDE'S VOICE. I've thrown everything at him--rock songs (Awake), experimental (Kasou), bouncy (New Universe), beautiful (Hitomi ni utsuru mono) to no avail. He has at long last admitted that Hyde's voice in the early days (Tierra) is less annoying than now, but he's NOT going to be listening for fun. So if I cannot even convince my husband, then what is the point?

(end of part I)

Friday, April 13, 2007

On premature erudition

I stop looking for a few days and everybody posts new things.

I just decided not to look, not to post, to do other things on the computer and in the world instead. I'm finding this no longer fills the same need it once did, but if I stop I will lose all the few readers I have. That said, this is where I get into trouble. I've written about 6 posts since I last came here...all in my head. And having been brilliant in my own head, I no longer need to put them here.

In fact, I don't need to do anything here. It is not an assignment, a job, a duty. It is a choice which serves a purpose beyond video games. I am longing for a higher purpose now that I have established the rhythm and discipline here. But will I be able to take the same discipline into something more productive? That is the question.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Things on my mind

I've got a lot of things half written in my head, but I want to go to bed so here are just the topics:

Transgendered men (women to men) at all women's schools--should they be allowed to continue once they have finished the process.

Punditry on the web--how many people set themselves up as experts and then say ridiculous things (that "spelt" is not a word for instance).

Miyazaki

TTFN

Monday, April 09, 2007

New Shoes

I bought new shoes on Saturday and ordinarily this wouldn't be enough of an event on which to hang a post, but they were a very different type of shoe for me, and it got me thinking. I used to be more of a shoe whore--but never having much money they had to be both extraordinary and cheap. I've always been more of a flats kind of person, but I had a pair of suede Mary Jane's with 2 inch heels that got me through much of college. Most of my shoes tend to be Mary Janes because I have a narrow foot and tend to slip out of shoes if there isn't something to hold on to my foot, laces, straps, etc. I can't wear clogs at all because I spend the day holding onto my shoe with my toes. I've also traditionally disliked thick soled shoes, even when they were better for my foot--say when I was doing visual merchandising. I bought a pair of Doc's but couldn't wear them on ladders because I felt, or rather couldn't feel the step beneath me. So about a month ago I tried on a pair of pumps on a platform. Now, I've generally been against platform shoes--rather like being against open toed pumps. I've often thought of putting together a booklet of my own style rules--if it worked for those b*!#*s, Trinny and Susannah over at the original What Not to Wear it could do wonders for me. People often stop me on the street to comment on my style. I don't believe in a lot of fashion rules, and believe any rule can be broken in the right circumstance, but there are certain places to start.
Anyway, being on these shoes was like being on Japanese wooden shoes. You could rock on them and they made a cloppy noise when you walked (like Sadako). I also felt like I might fall off of them at any moment. They were very "not me." But I went home and thought about them for a month, and when a coupon came in the mail on Saturday for DSW, and I had planned to be in the neighborhood anyway, I decided to look for them again. I didn't find them, but I found another pair that I had also looked at. They are more of a platform wedge, but also shiny and black, a basic pump on a strange base. Because of the platform they are barely heels at all. They also have a slim ankle-strap making them more like my beloved Mary Janes and helping to keep them on. They are really barely platforms. No self-respecting harajuku girl or Goth Lolita would think of them as such. But compared to my other shoes they are definitely ankle-strap, platform wedges. They were very well received at work which has a few women who spend their days in stilettos and other "difficult" shoes.

Now here is what I'm wondering. When/how did my taste change? Is it merely because the platform wedge has come back so much in style that it has insinuated itself into my brain--that all things can become accepted simply by repetition? Is it something that is changing in me? A slight adventurousness as I push my new disciplines? A hearkening after youth? I can't quite decide.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Adding to the discipline list

David's blog often (or recently) deals a lot with being disciplined, how we work, how we work better, how he works, etc. As I said, I'm trying to reconcile both the blogging every night and the going to bed at a decent hour. Added to that I just got a water-pik which adds about 5-10 minutes to my nightly ablutions (I used it tonight--my tongue went so numb it felt like I'd lost all my teeth--very surreal). As we age we have more and more to do it seems just to stay where we are (very Red Queen). I was thinking I should set time limits for myself on being on-line. Like tonight, I was going to blog until 11:30, watch Basilisk, go to bed, yet here I am (at 12:10) because after hunting down links and putting things together, it was time for Basilisk, so I saved as draft and now am posting after midnight, and yes, it's the weekend, and I can sleep in and all I HAVE to do tomorrow is meet friends in town, but if one is disciplined, one is disciplined even on the weekends and having a set bedtime is one of the keystones of a productive life, yada, yada.


Observation

If I don't drive around the park,
I'm pretty sure to make my mark.
If I'm in bed each night by ten,
I may get back my looks again,
If I abstain from fun and such,
I'll probably amount to much,
But I shall stay the way I am,
Because I do not give a damn.

~Dorothy Parker

After the self-pitying that was yesterday...

Decided it's time for a little more fun. Susan (I use her name because she has it on the blog) sent me the link to her new post which I have added to the sidebar. Being neither single now, nor ever a veteran of serial monogamy I have little to say, but she was nice enough to add me to her blog so I will do the same--reciprocity. I've only ever had two boyfriends in my life and maybe four serious crushes--two on real people (that is people who were near me and might or might not have been interested back) and two on celebrities.

Also heard an old song I like that seemed fitting:

88 Lines About 44 Women, of course I heard it on the radio, so as the commentary says, much was lost to the FCC.

Susan's blog was interesting to me because it's premise--that you can meet several right people in your life and have a good time with them for a bit--is sort of the yang to my post on my husband and choosing, after the hormones die down, that you will make the hearts and flowers happen. Of course, I did want to add that there are some people you should run from--you cannot single handedly save or even maintain a relationship. The other person has to agree too. Learned that from a very dear friend who does not have a blog.

(In case you are wondering--I list friends in the order in which I met them. Red Queen I met in college, Mirror in about 2002/2003, David I met through Red Queen, Musing through Hyde love, Susan I met in 2005, and Matt I met on Musing's board--6 degrees).

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Fun news from afar, but feeling blue just the same

The good news--been in bed before 11:30 for the past two nights. Hope to be there soon tonight.

The fun news--Sir Ian McKellen is touring with a King Lear featuring Sylvester McCoy as the fool. Good to see Sylvester working and in a suitable part.

Neil Gaiman has this interesting link to an interesting speech (or commentary) given by Clive Barker.
http://www.clivebarker.info/newsfantasycon2.html
I'd go with that.

The weird news--a friend I haven't heard from in yonks sent an email announcement of a show he choreographed off-Broadway. Yet another example of someone doing something good. Is this the universe's way of saying "Get off your ass," or "Give up, you sad F*#k, you've wasted your life." He and I were best friends in junior high and we used to talk about taking Broadway--he as dancer/singer, me as serious actress. He's been the dance captain on a touring company of Mama Mia which has evidently been so long running it's close to a career. We were not friends our senior year of high school. We wrote our first few years of college, then lost touch and then last year a directory of our high school came out and we reconnected briefly by email.

News--I keep thinking of writing about it but haven't, but I did that show in the fall. I was an actress and I designed sets and costumes. We got good reviews but no audiences. I loved the play. I liked the other actresses. I felt the director was hard on me and particularly difficult given the three hats I was wearing. He stood me up one time so I wasted hours and lost money by not working. He didn't want me to act in it, and I felt like he punished me for it. That said, we stumbled through. Then he didn't want to pay me fully for all three jobs and when I asked why he attacked me and insulted me. I just didn't answer his last email--it wasn't worth it, but it haunts me just the same. Did I not stand up for myself, did I take the nobler path, etc. It's been three months--get over it already. I've tried the Buddhist technique--observe the anger, let it pass, do not engage with the anger--and it works for a time, but I'm still angry and I'm still hung up. His newest show just opened to good reviews. On the one hand I have friends in it, and I'm glad they're getting praise. On the other--well, I'm still angry. He likes to insult people who angered him (so in some ways I know I have the consolation that I'm not the only person on whom he's turned--many of them I know to be nice and decent) but I wonder what he's telling people I thought were my friends. What I fear is that he's telling people it was about money when it was actually about his lack of respect for me as an actress, as a designer, as a person. The money was minor (it was a stipend, hardly paid for gas) and if he had just said, I can't pay you as much as last year because the box office was low I would have been fine with it, but he didn't. I feel what I fear most--unheard and unseen. I'd actually like to see the play, but I don't want to see him. I thought about sending him a congratulations, but I doubt it would be taken in the spirit it was given, and then I wonder if maybe I only want to do it because it would look more noble. I am quite sure that were the situation reversed he would never congratulate me. It's really made me question whether I want to be in shows ever again, because theater is such an incestuous little world. I'm not thick skinned enough to just not care. Now I'm trying telling myself, "You're a good actress, a great designer and a nice person" whenever I start arguing with him in my head. If I had more self-esteem it would hardly bother me at all. I hate making someone horrid the star of the story of my life, and I do it again and again.

All in all, a downer of a week.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Another reminder

It snowed today in Boston, never mind it's April. The day my father died 10 years ago Boston was crippled by a blizzard. This would be the stuff of poetry if I could just figure out how.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Check post

Out with a friend until 20 minutes ago. Real people interaction trumps computer time. Thought provoking responses from friends to assimilate.
Going to bed soonish.

Monday, April 02, 2007

In pursuit of the elusive 11 o'clock bedtime

Posting early to try and go to bed at 11 after The Riches.

Wanted to add that developing the discipline to blog everyday has started to pay off (as I hoped it would) in other aspects of my life. I'm exercising more, on a more regular schedule. I'm keeping more active around my house. Doin' stuff. Trying to add new things periodically.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

(Tell me why) I hate April Fool's Day

Ten years ago today my father died four days after a heart attack. Six years to the day before that, I attempted suicide. I remember the date of the second because my college roommate thought I was pulling a tasteless prank. To this day I can't believe she thought I would ever joke about something like that. It wasn't because it was April Fool's Day, it was because it was the day after Easter on which I had been happy and at peace and then on Monday I had to go back to class. By strange coincidence March 31st the year my Dad died was also Easter Sunday. Technically he died on the 31st in California but I got the call after midnight my time and it was on the first that I had to deal with it--take it in. I've never liked the day and I really don't like it now. I think (but I'd have to check a calendar to be sure) that my husband's suicide attempt was also April 1st. I'm not kidding. I dread working new jobs when it falls during the week because I never know if someone's going to be clever and do something stupid. I might punch them.

Ive been working on a poem for about six weeks now and I'm really not happy with it. I've written pages and pages that are neither good poetry nor even decent prose. I started with some lines I'm pretty happy with, but I go back and forth between thinking they're really clever (goosing the cliche) or really, really self-indulgent:

I'm stealing when I say
April has always been cruel to me,
and again, here to say,
it is my Lazarus month,
only you did not rise
again like an April Fool
as I did. And which of us
bargained better?

I am very close on a middle bit that may or may not turn out to be a sonnet. When I realized it had some accidental rhyme I started poking it to make it a sonnet and it fit surprisingly well at first, but then the meaning started to be fudged for rhyme and I stopped trying to squash it into form. This is a sentiment I developed after his death and I think it's a very good metaphor. This is the pulled back but still semi-stylized version:

If I should lose the little finger, say
Of my left hand, I could learn to type around.
And all the instruments I do not play
Would prove no sadder loss than now.
Other things I do requiring dexterous skill
Could be--as good or almost--learned again.
Most days I should not feel its loss at all
Until it was as if it had never been.

(Here's where structuring falls apart)

Yet, there would come a moment when
Performing some small but delicate task
I should find myself at a loss unable to continue.

(and I really don't know where to go here)

Most days I hardly feel your loss. Other's advice and comfort
could suffice. But one thing in sixty say, could only be answered by you.
Something irreplaceable is gone and I put my head in my hands and cry.

Perhaps I'm being overly ambitious. I want to weave in more of the world from those ten strange years and back down to the personal. I've never had success with a planned poem before. My best poems come nearly fully formed or are short enough to wrestle. Suggestions welcome. I'll keep you posted.