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Showing posts from December, 2007

And so we are moved

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

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

Atonement (the movie)

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

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

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

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

Atonement (the book)

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

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

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

Know what I hate?

Secret Santas.

Know what I hate more?

Yankee Swaps.

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

For those who don't know what it is:

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

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

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

So we are moving

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

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

We have been here for nearly 11 years.

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

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

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

The message and the meaning

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

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

Pride and Prejudice

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

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

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

London Revenant

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

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

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

Brave Story

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

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


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