Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quality is in the ear of the beholder???

Came across this in a newsletter that was sent to me. I'd have stopped a) because I stop for people who play well and b) for people who play music that I like and play it well, but I probably would not have recognized him, and I probably wouldn't have given money.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html

I am not at all surprised at the results.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mad Men and Frank O'Hara

Watched the first episode. More on that as I digest it.

Don was reading Frank O'Hara. I have a small book of O'Hara poems (not the one in the show) which my poetry teacher encouraged me (made me) read because I do not write like him.

I like some of it--and I like it more than I did 15 years ago (how impossible that seems) now.

Poem

Instant coffee with slightly sour cream
in it, and a phone call to the beyond
which doesn't seem to be coming any nearer.
"Ah daddy, I wanna stay drunk many days"
on the poetry of a new friend
my life held precariously in the seeing
hands of others, their and my impossibilities.
Is this love, now that the first love
has finally died, where there were no impossibilities?

-Frank O'Hara, 1956, Lunch Poems

(For Matt, who is NOT writing about coffee and may have thought I had not noticed)

100 days to the election.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

On getting it wrong

Heh, so it turns out that this week was not the last episode of Doctor Who, it was the last episode but one. My big rundown on how Doctor Who both does and doesn't have to follow the A to B scenario will have to wait until next week.

Mad Men starts tomorrow, against the end of Foyle's War. Thank God for multiple channel taping.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The level of geekness to which I have descended

So I saw this T-shirt, and then I attended a seminar on SEO and realized that it's only true if you're not a spider. :)

And if that were not enough:
http://www.flashninjaclan.com/zzz2013_Gates_vs_Jobs.php

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Yes

I ate a salad with chopsticks tonight because it was too hot to do dishes.

Signs from my radio

Twice in the last week I've heard 'Every Breath You Take' on one station and flipped to another to hear the end of 'Don't Stand So Close to Me' (The Police--late 70s, early 80s).

Should I be worried that I'm being stalked? Is it a sign that I should stalk someone? ^.^

Today I heard 'Can't Stand Losing You.' Oh, well.

EDIT: Of course, it could be simply attributable to the fact that The Police are back in town next week. Also heard 'King of Pain.' Gotta love 25 year old songs.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

So, why do I watch...

what I watch?

Aristotle's Poetics defines the essential ingredients of drama as:
Plot, Character, Theme, Speech, Melody and Spectacle

Greater minds than mine have debated and discussed these points and what they meant in the time of Aristotle and what they might mean in terms of today's drama at length, and will certainly continue to do so as long as there is drama for entertainment. I'm only going to use them as a guideline for what I look for in a story, any story, and here specifically in television shows.

Most of the shows below are character driven. House certainly, Bones and Medium are a small cast of characters, L&O is more plot driven, although in CI the resolution certainly hinges on the characters of Goren and Logan in their respective episodes, CSI can be a mix, although I watched it primarily for Grissom and maybe Warrick, but also for the plot. Since Warrick died and Grissom is leaving I wonder if it will still hold the same appeal as I never managed to be interested in either CI: Miami or NY because I didn't like the characters. Life is entirely and only interesting (at this point--it's still very new) for Damian Lewis' performance. Eli Stone was a mixed bag. 24 is actually mainly plot and has long stretches without Jack Bauer.

House, Bones and Medium all have great dialog as well. Really great dialog, and this, for me makes up in part for plots which are often not particularly exciting and rather formulaic. House is particular has a very definite shape to the hour, to the point where one can almost say, "Oh, the patient is suffering a mysterious reversal after seeming to get better? Must be 9:23. I'm going to the kitchen, do you want anything?" or "It's 9:47 and House is talking to Wilson. Here comes the seemingly unrelated thing that will give him his epiphany." It is also almost as easy in Bones and Medium to pick the culprit as in an Agatha Christie. Not quite as easy as knowing the red shirt is going to die, but close. Occasionally they stump me, and me more than my husband and the season finale was so much of a dark horse that I felt a little betrayed as if pieces were lost in the writer's strike that might have made the ending more believable--more on Dr. Addy's experiences in Iraq perhaps? I used to watch Monk with the quite brilliant Tony Shalhoub as the detective with OCD, but the ONLY reason to watch the show became his performance. The mysteries were laughable and the dialogue repetitive.

What they all have is great themes (and here I think I am varying widely from Aristotle's definition). That is the concept of the show--the maddeningly brilliant Dr. who is horribly damaged; the maddeningly brilliant forensic specialist who is quirky; the soccer Mom with visions, etc. What might be termed the "conceit" of the piece in poetry through which the deeper meaning might be seen--if we buy that television shows have a deeper meaning.

Speech we've covered--great dialogue can cover a multitude of sins for me. Melody--hmm, shall we take melody to mean the timing of the show? Then House is weak. There is a three act structure to most hour long televisions shows. It's considered TV writing 101. Set up of problem, deepening of problem, solution. Most shows follow it to a greater or lesser degree. Off the top of my head I can't really think of a show that truly breaks that shape. So we'll leave that out for now.

And the final piece is Spectacle--this has always been a hotly debated point about what it means in contemporary terms. Is it all spectacle since we can do so much now--greater and greater imitation of life or larger than life. Is that enough? Then Pixar is the master of spectacle, but is spectacle more than just an "Oh, Wow" kind of effect. Television and movies are always going to be more realistic than stage, but stage can be much more spectacular.

Let us use Spectacle here to refer to the bits that transcend the genre. Joss Whedon for instance is a master of spectacle. Buffy had an all silent episode and an all singing episode. Moments when Hugh Laurie is allowed to play instruments has something of spectacle about it (for me at any rate), of knowing that Hugh Laurie IS this accomplished musician--a meta moment, if you will. Eli Stone is primarily spectacle over everything else. The eponymous character gets visions in the form of musical interludes--primarily from George Michael, but with other bits thrown in.

I would say, for me there has to be at least three of the six present to make a show worthwhile. For House it's Character, Speech and Theme. For Eli Stone, Theme, Spectacle and Character.

I run into trouble when discussing Lost. I think the only thing that Lost has going for it is Theme, it's conceit of the plane crash and mysterious island. I find the characters dull and one level and the dialogue wooden. Certainly the spectacle can be interesting, but they've been traversing this island for awhile now--there isn't really that much to see and the "Easter Eggs" require frame by frame viewing which I am not interested in pursuing. If Lost were a book I'd have skipped ahead already. I'm watching only to find out the answers and every Thursday this season I'd think--is this really worth it? It isn't for my husband and often I find myself doing other things while it plays in the background.

A good friend has recently started dating a Lost fan. They've been watching his DVD's of the first season together. She (a seasoned theater veteran with an MA in directing) can often guess the next point or certainly, the next line. This puzzles him no end, but really the dialogue is that simplistic, the characters that repetitive. Enough, we get it. I have a terrible feeling that by the time the answers start coming I won't care anymore.

Having a set timeline can save a show because it requires the writers to meet certain points. There was a shape to Avatar that kept it tight and lean but with plenty of room for side tangents. Babylon 5 in the mid-90's had a 5 year shape--ambitious for a writer/director with few other credits to presume that his show would last 5 years, but that was what the story needed. Unfortunately the clever TV execs made him do it in 4 and then gave him a 5th year which had nothing of note in it. Well, d'uh. Contrast that with the X-Files. The success of the X-Files kept propelling it on, so that answers could never really be given and as a result the last seasons are feeble floggings of dead horses. (Can he possibly have resurrected it for this new movie?)

If you know you have a timeline, then you can progress, from A to B, B to C etc. You don't have to keep coming back to A so that you don't run out of story before your popularity wanes.

Actually, as I think about Melody, the further along a show is, the more it can play with it's own rhythms. CSI could have a season finale about a member being buried, or a background story of the miniature killer because so much has already been established. They can go from A to E in a story and need only return to C in the next episode. The Simpsons too can play more freely with the shape of a story--stories change direction all the time from what it seemed it was going to be about (sometimes successfully, others less so). The Simpsons (and indeed most cartoons) can go from A-Z in an episode and return to A at the beginning of the next without the blink of an eye. Homer has been famous too many times to count. Lisa has tried every sport out there. And each week Homer is back to his job at the plant and Lisa is back to being unpopular and Maggie never speaks. And we don't care because it's a cartoon.

Obviously in cartoons I require spectacle above much else, but we are very picky about dialogue and plot as well. Good voices (funny/quirky) help too. People assume we like all cartoons, but we search long and hard for a cartoon that can hold our interest--that strikes the right blend.

And, as I said I look for these elements in everything. There are writers of speculative fiction (a better term for sci-fi/fantasy, much of which is neither sci-fi or fantasy) whose concepts are amazing but unfortunately fail in terms of character and dialogue.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Avatar Rocks

and kicks butt. And was a dark as Satoshi Kon in places and as imaginative as Miyazaki in places, and you know I don't say that lightly.

I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes anime--well, the whole series, but like FMA: Shamballa, it stands on it's own as well.

Oh, and it paved the way for at least one other movie--we shall see if it happens--I mean, once you've saved the world a little adventure to save someone's mother looks like chump change, but I remain hopeful.

Happy Fan Girl dance now.

Shows ending

So, Avatar is ending tonight in a big two hour movie. Avatar is a cartoon on Nickelodeon. It's been running for three years. I'm sad it's ending, but it is inevitable. Ang, the Avatar, is the last air bender in a world where there are benders for the four elements. He already knew air, first season was water, second season was earth and now, tonight, he has to defeat the Fire Lord who has conquered the world. He has to bring balance.

Avatar is an American cartoon made by people who (apparently) love Anime. Really, really love Anime. It looks like anime, it breaks with reality into chibi or SuperDeformed like anime, where in the midst of serious battle a character will have the anime sweat or the throbbing vein on his forehead. I can't find any good pictures of this, unfortunately. It's generated a lot of cosplay which should tell you that it's been embraced as anime. I've dragged my husband into being a big fan of the show. It's well written for children and young adults, with young adult problems and at the midst of it, this magical power and some kick-ass fights. It's very well animated and has lots of comedy relief.

EDIT: So here is what the show looks like
And this is the show in Chibi mode.

It also has moments of magical and delicate beauty. There is one episode--Tales of Ba Sing Se--where a character we love is setting out on a picnic to honor his dead son and a little creature, Momo, is mourning his missing friend, the flying Bison Appa. Heartbreaking and spare they are haunting art and not often found in any medium, esp. one designed for children.

When I say the ending was inevitable, I view that in a good way. Like I said below, the story cannot keep going from A to B forever. It's strength lies in the fact that it has all been building, like Harry Potter towards this end, and along the way we know that the Avatar cannot kill the Fire Lord, so what will happen? I think they will handle it well, as well as Harry Potter. I'll let you know tomorrow.

On the other hand, next week the Sci-Fi channel will show the last episode of this season's Doctor Who. The last two episodes have been very, very good. But so were last years penultimate and third to last. Will they be able to solve it? I've avoided spoilers, but the news from Britain (which watched this some three or four weeks ago) is supposedly good. Their cramming everybody in it--from past seasons, other spin-off shows--that's often a bad sign.

And, in addition there is the news that there will be no series next year so that David Tennant can go off and play Hamlet. Cha? Just some specials... I've gone longer without the Doctor, but I liked having it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sidenote of interest

Have you noticed how many British actors are playing Americans in shows? It's really an epidemic.

There's most famously Hugh Laurie in House but also Jake Weber in Medium, Linus Roache in Law & Order, Damien Lewis in Life, Jonny Lee Miller in Eli Stone. And those are just the ones I watch and know about because I've tracked all of their pre-America careers.

There was also another Trainspotting alum, Kevin McKidd in the short lived Journeyman (I guess famous from Rome which I never saw). Jack Davenport is in that summer filler Swingtown. Rufus Sewell is going to be in an American remake of a British show (that originally starred Patrick Stewart) called Eleventh Hour. Oddly that was one British show I didn't like, despite Patrick.

In addition, of course, there's the other British remake of Life on Mars which I liked until the ending--wonder what they'll do about that...

Again, I think there are some others that I'm not remembering. Strange to have actors I've always admired suddenly become household names (stranger for them, I should imagine), especially since so many things don't make it across the pond. They absolutely could not sell John Hannah as sexy over here--just as funny sidekick. They couldn't sell Robson Green and they couldn't sell Robbie Williams. Very strange.

On Television

Two of my favorite shows are ending between this week and next. One for good and the other for an extended hiatus. I am rather sad about this.

Mad Men begins in a week--which is exciting but there is something inherently tragic about Mad Men which makes one feel as if one is watching too much Eugene O'Neil.

So, I would like to take this time to talk about what I watch and why.

I watch too much television, I know that. And I realized as I went through things that I can track my life in other people's milestones--the shows I watched, the albums I bought, the clothes that other people designed. I can also track some of my life in shows that I've done, friends that I've had, jobs I've tried--so I'm not so helpless as some.

In this year I've watched pretty faithfully the following:

Bones
House
Medium
Law & Order (which got good again), L&O: SVU (which sucked a bit), L&O: CI (with two detectives for the price of one)
CSI (but NOT CSI: NY or CSI: Miami)
Lost (which my husband does not watch with me--he watches everything above--more on that later)
Life
Eli Stone (which he also does not watch)

Torchwood
Doctor Who
Sarah Jane Adventures

Mad Men (coming soon)
The Riches
Nip/Tuck (though not faithfully as it was a bit over-the-top for an over-the-top show)
{Interestingly I have been unable to interest my husband in any of these}

Avatar
Chowder
Simpsons

Masterpiece Mystery (selectively) or as I like to call it, Misterpiece Mastery
British Mysteries wherever I can find them--Waking the Dead (though I've seen all the ones they're showing), Silent Witness (though she annoys me), MI:5, Wire in the Blood

Keith Olberman for news, since the hip have moved on from John Stewart

Sporadically--Mythbusters, Ace of Cakes, America Eats, Phantom Gourmet (a restaurant critique show up here), other science and discovery shows

We'll also watch reruns of The Simpsons, SpongeBob, James Herriot (which we've both seen all the way through about 8 times). Selected other cartoons--my husband watching Family Guy without me though I find it funny just in small doses.

I feel as though I've forgotten some. Would have watched 24 but that didn't happen and we had some discussion as to whether it was worth watching anymore. I managed to go the entire season without ever watching ER but my husband got sucked into one episode and sucked it did.





You will notice that there are NO "reality" shows in the competitive style. There are also no sit-coms (unless you count The Simpsons). I have watched sit-coms in the past, the last one being Scrubs, and we'll watch reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond, but for the most part it doesn't satisfy me as a genre. And here's why. At some point I remember reading someone famous saying that in writing for television you had to have an adventure, but somehow return to the exact same spot 20 minutes later. Nowhere is this more true than in a sit-com, because the comedy comes from the same situation week after week. People make the same mistakes over and over and we keep laughing. People don't take jobs elsewhere. A minor character might marry, but only to further the original joke. All of television used to be like that, but thank God we have moved away from that model. Jack Bauer will (probably) live through the season, but any of his co-workers are fair game, or worse, they will be revealed to be traitors--to be not at all what we thought they were. That kind of transition used to be used only if someone wanted out of their contract.

Of course, Jack will be back next season making many of the same mistakes so the fundamentals won't be changed, but at least it's more interesting getting there.

Contrast this with any other form of entertainment. A play, a movie, a book is about the most important moments of a person's life in a contained amount of time. The characters should be deeply changed by the end of story or what was the point.

Of course, that's not always true--there is certainly an interesting genre of literature and film where almost nothing happens, but in the grand sense a good story is about getting from A to B, whatever that may mean--internally, externally, internally and externally. Television writing or at least sit-com writing is going to B but coming back to A.

On the chessboard

http://redqueenday.blogspot.com/2008/07/art-of-day-is-persistence-it-does-take.html

So after a good week of vacation, where I sorted many things and put away some things IN THE ATTIC...

You will remember that they were working on my roof while I was on vacation. Now, I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but the we have an attic space accessible by a low door. It's not finished, but there are pieces of vinyl on the floor and two lightbulbs and the previous tenants had fastened a bar, about 4 1/2 feet off of the ground, some 10 feet in length and I presume they hung clothes there. So, since closets in old house pretty much suck, I have hung the bulk of my clothes on this bar and use the attic as a walk in closet. The first month or so I covered them with sheets, but as nothing seemed to ever be on the sheets, I had stopped bothering.

Monday morning, first day back going back to work, I go in, get an outfit, leave.

Tuesday morning, step into attic, feel something sort of crunching beneath my bare feet--strange. Flip on the light. Wonder why it's so dark. Wonder why all my clothes look so DARK.

Yes, all my clothes were covered in 1/4 inch to a 1/2 inch of very fine, black ash. I flick one garment to reveal a white sleeve--well, at least it comes off.

It was one of those moments when the mind goes, to quote Captain Malcolm Reynolds, "Hunh." Not as in a question, but as in a sort of declaratory way. As in, CAN'T THINK ABOUT THIS NOW way.

So I turned out the light, walked down the hall to the bathroom and wiped off my feet. Took a handtowel and wiped up my black footprints, and set about finding something else to wear since all of my work clothes were inaccessible.

I ended up wearing gym clothes and my husband's shirts for the rest of the week.

Well, the good news is that none of my clothes were ruined as far as I can tell so far. My landlady really outdid herself (and I can't imagine my old landlord doing anything like this). First the roofers (who apologized profusely--saying they thought all of the roofs were finished) went in with a leaf blower and blew all of the dust into the back of the room. Then my landlady spent some 6 hours total with a shop vac. Did I mention that there is NO ventilation in this room? That it was a very hot week? That the temperature in the attic had to have been over 100 degrees at all times?

On Saturday my husband and I developed a routine. He would stand with a laundry basket. I would take the clothes off of their hanger, drop the hanger into a box to be washed in the tub, shake the clothes lightly onto a sheet (we threw away that sheet) and put them in the laundry basket. When the laundry basket was full we would walk down a flight of stairs, out onto the little porch where we would vigorously shake every piece again and then I would sort them into trash bags--between dry clean only, washable but delicate and laundromat.

Sunday we took six trash bags to the laundry and spent 50 dollars, (though less time than I had imagined). Then we brought them home and hung them up.

In there too my husband scrubbed the bar, vacuumed again, and wiped the floor. I did loads of laundry in our washing machine (two flights down).

All in all, not the way I wanted to spend my weekend. The dry cleaning is still lying over the stair railing because I can't bring myself to hang it in the attic, and my clothes are all out of order--I was fairly meticulous about woven shirts together, blouses together, pants together... and tomorrow is supposed to be very hot and sticky.

Ah, well...it was not a tragedy. It was an annoyance, a problem, a difficulty, yes, but not a tragedy. I suspect that we will be fighting that soot for a long time to come. When we open the Christmas decorations, for instance, or need the wrapping paper, but each morning there is nothing on the sheets I lay across my clothes each night, so we move forward.

And to think, if I had been lazy and NOT hung everything up at the end of vacation, or moved those shoes into the attic...well, no good deed goes unpunished. So two weeks later I find myself precisely where I was on the last day of vacation--with an awful lot of running in between.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

Husband sent this to me from the Wittenburg Door site.

Love the blog speak.

http://www.wittenburgdoor.com/noahs-blog

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Oddly, along the same vein...

We went to see Wall-E. Wall-E, the eponymous robot, has his little collections too. Amidst skyscrapers of trash.

I loved it, and I teared up. I think the tag line for Dumbo was "You'll believe an elephant can fly," and last year's tag line for Ratatouille was "You'll believe a rat can cook." Well, you'll believe that a robot can love, even if it's to a tune from "Hello, Dolly." I have to admit that "It Only Takes a Moment," has always been one of my guilty pleasures (including the pleasure of watching a gawky Michael Crawford). {Ok, I have to stick in one of the lovely and talented John Barrowman since it's over there--sqee a little}



Anyway, I really loved this film. The ability to make "faceless" machines tear your heart--well, Pixar has always done that. Plotwise I'd have to say I'm still leaning towards Ratatouille and The Incredibles since the plot is a little obvious, but the wordless beginning is virtual an arthouse study.

I am strolling down memory lane...

...without a ding dong thing on my mind (I have this on an album sung by Rowlf, the Dog from the Muppet show--I'm not sure who wrote it)

Anyway, continuing. The big thing that I needed to sort/weed was a box of paper torn from magazines. I have been keeping a file of images, mainly fashion, since I was 12 or 13. It's all in a filing cabinet and I hadn't kept up with my filing for awhile. I'm ashamed to say how long--let's just leave it as approx. two boxes of paper and move on. Again--I was torn with the thought that I should simply throw it all away and move on with my life. After all, to actually do something is better than simply moving paper, but I knew there were things in there that I didn't want to lose. Somethings had been in the file, but had been pulled out as research or inspiration for designing shows, or window displays or clothing and been put back in the pile rather than being refiled.

Part of the difficulty was that in our last apartment I had only a sort of accordion door on the spare bedroom and I couldn't spread out the paper for fear that the pets would get in while I wasn't working on it. Here I can shut the door.

Part of the difficulty was also the fear of relevance. When I began the file I believed that somehow, someway I would be designing something in the future--whether for just myself (as famous actress) or for sale. Now, I know that I won't be designing clothes, I've stopped designing shows and visual display, so what is it for? And if adding new pages is irrelevant, then what is the point of the whole file? I found myself depressed by these thoughts. It's a hard thing to really say--those dreams are past--and know it and mean it. My mother, for instance, at the age of 83 is unable to put down any dream and face reality.

So I sat down and laid out piles all around me for all of two entire afternoons. I threw away a lot. Part of the advantage of time passing was that I was able to see the best of collections from a lot of sources and only keep the best picture. I knew what trends had stuck (trench coats with tweed) and which had not and could keep one representational piece from each. I found a lot of lost treasures and I realized why I keep the file.

No matter what I do with my life, I will always need to revisit the well, and this file is my well--just to spread out the pictures, some silly, some beautiful, is inspiring for me. It lets me continue to believe that I will do something with my life--even if it is not directly supported by the file. I will continue to create something, even if it is just clothes for myself. Do I need all of it? Probably not. But I am not yet ready to slice it away fully. I am not yet ready to say that all my dreams are over--and that is for the good.

Someday, when I'm aw'fly low...

...I will feel a glow just thinking of you...

I've been off work this week and the first part of the week I was off without my husband which meant that I was able to focus--plus they were working on the roof of the house which made me get up and get going--rather than lie in bed listening to the banging on the ceiling. Which is not to say that I don't work when my husband is home, but the way we distract each other is a post for another day.

What I got up and did was to go through a lot of paper. I sorted my paid bills. I made a decision on the unsorted receipts--to stuff them in a box marked with the end date of June 30, 2008 and to go forward from here.

I went through magazines I'd been keeping. Now, as an organizer I would have advised a client to throw them away (recycle) sight unseen, and I almost did, but there weren't that many so I did a fast skin--pulled out a few pages and put them out with Wednesday's recycling. More on that in a bit.

I also went through my memory boxes. When I've had some memento in my life I've either stuffed it into a simple scrapbook or if not conveniently flat, stuck it into a shoebox. I have 6 scrapbooks and had 4 boxes. There is no rhyme or reason to it--I don't "scrapbook" as the new fad goes. I simply stick a few items on each page--roughly chronological, but not religiously so. Haphazard and unembellished. I also take few pictures of my life. Of our trip to England, there are about 4 with either of us in them. I take a lot of pictures of my dog, a few of my cat and a lot of locations. Friends and relations wonder at this and this is why--the object, a ticket stub, a deflated balloon, all bring back the whole event, the way I felt, the reason I saved it. A photo...brings back the moment of the photo. And to scrapbook would start to replace the real memory with the memory of the scrapbooking. So the past twenty years of my life are in these books and boxes in a way that would tell someone else absolutely nothing. I reduced the boxes to three by throwing away some props from shows--strangely as I recede from that time in my life I find the photos suffice, plus I have the research for the items and no longer need the items.

I went through the cards that I have been sent. Those who are reading and who have sent me cards are probably surprised to learn that I keep cards. I'm actually throwing out more as I get older, but I have all the congratulations from my graduation and my wedding, most of my birthday cards and a chunk of Christmas cards. Now, I sat down to throw some away and had started to do that when I realized that I was smiling as I found cards from old friends and I realized that I wanted to have that feeling again in the future as I "rediscovered" these thoughts again. If there was a letter and a card I might save the letter and not the card, but for the most part I kept them all. Musing had a recent post on the fragility of contact--of never knowing what will be the last word. I obviously keep everything from my father, but I don't know when those other friends and relations will be gone. I did come across cards from a few friends who are no longer friends. One set with whom we had a falling out and that was an unpleasant shock, and another set who drifted out of our lives when they had a child and we didn't. I threw those away with a slight sadness. A few other cards bore names that I'm sorry to say I didn't even remember. Co-workers at some point, perhaps someone from a show. I'm sorry, Rob, whoever you are. If I ever encounter you again, I may think of the card I tossed, probably not, and probably you don't remember sending it.

I have always tried to be a good letter writer--sometimes I think I overwhelm people with my eagerness to write letters, but I am frustrated by people who do not treat either letters or now email as conversation. As if they are merely posts of events or humor and that mine are likewise the same. I ask questions--I run onto tangents--much as I do here, and I seek answers and questions back. I seldom get them, particularly in the letters and so the correspondence peters out. But I do try.

I was saddened to realize how long it had been since I had seen several friends--that the Christmas promise of "this year, we'll get together" was never fulfilled.

I had a few printed emails, but I have not done that for a long time. I have often wondered what future biographers will do (not about me--I'm not so vain), but about anyone without the letters to draw from. Would the Adams, John and Abigail, be so interesting and vivid if not for the letters between "Dearest Friend"?

So I tidied them up and put them back in the decorated shoe box and on a shelf. It's only a few shoe boxes worth of space after all. And down the road I will go through them again--and remember less and weed again.