July 01, 2003
Linda Greenhouse offers an overview of the Supreme Court's just-completed term. ("In a Momentous Term, Justices Remake the Law, and the Court" - NYT, 7/1/03)
About a week old, but this article on FindLaw briefly reports on Lawrence v. Texas, the day the decision was released. Yes, ALL people have a right to privacy, whatever their sexual orientation.
As for all the hysteria about whether same-sex marriage will come to the U.S., in the wake of this court decision and the recent developments in Canada - I hope it does. If marriage is strictly a religious sacrament, then government shouldn't be involved with the institution. Let's separate religiously sanctioned marriages from the legally valid civil unions.
There's a legal component to marriage, that should not be concerned with religious doctrine. Financial, legal, medical decisions - there are benefits that flow from being a legally recognized unit. Why should this be limited to opposite-sex couples? The issue of children is always trotted out - guess what, gay people have children too, and gay relationships can be just as stable and long-lasting as hetero ones. Given the national divorce rate, it's not exactly like heteros have a great record for family stability either.
Same-sex marriage is not about anything goes, about having absolutely no standards whatsover for who can marry. To deny people who are fellow coworkers, taxpayers, citizens, who are parents, siblings, friends - people who are otherwise equal to you - to deny them from participating in a legal life partnership - that's basically government-sanctioned discrimination.
July 02, 2003
No Fisherman's Tale
Yes, there really is a seal in the Gowanus Canal. Ok, so he's not there now, he's been recuperating for the past two months out in a facility in Riverhead. But it's amazing he's there at all, living for sometime in a dirty canal bordered by the very urban streets of Brooklyn. ("A Brooklyn Seal's Trick: Surviving the Gowanus" - Patrick Healy, NYT, Metro, 7/2/03)
Please people, don't name it Gowanda. That's just wrong.
Neal Stephenson has a new work, Quicksilver, coming out this fall. Hurrah!
I enjoyed Snow Crash and The Diamond Age (which thus far is my favorite). I've yet to get to Cryptonomicon, because it's a huge tome, and probably not the breezy read like the new Harry Potter. Not that I'm reading that one either just yet.
[Link via AngryThoat]
"Catalog of Woe"
This short story, written by Mindy Klasky Maddrey, appears in the just-published anthology Space, Inc. (ed. Julie Czerneda, Daw Books, ISBN 075640147X). The science fiction anthology brings together stories that imagine what a certain job or profession would be like in the future; Maddrey's story is about librarians. Will definitely have to check it out.
WEEKEND WHOPPER RECAP
I was offline a bit in the last few days. Much was accomplished.
Lady Crumpet, Lipstick Librarian - As of last Thursday, I took my very last session of the very last class for my master's program. I guess this means I've graduated. (Of course, better get in all that paperwork to that effect). I had to turn in a final exam, and with only 24 hours notice I had to participate in a mock interview. I was a bit of a wreck by the end, but hell, I'm DONE.
It's entirely possible to find an apartment you like in a day. So long as it's not New York, apparently. Got up before dawn last Friday for a six a.m. flight to Atlanta. One of my sisters picked me up and we went apartment hunting, which was ridiculously, beautifully easy. All these apartments, all these deals - it's entirely possible to pick and choose, the rental market is pretty good right now, since so many people are buying houses.
Crashed Friday night with my friend Marco, who'd tipped me to the fact that the other half of his duplex was up for rent. This was the only firm appointment I'd made before coming down to visit. Before I'd even seen the place, I knew I wanted to move in next door, just based on being in Marco's apartment. The other searching was just for show; I was looking for a compelling reason not to live in a cool house in a cool neighborhood, with one of my best friends for a neighbor. There's a bus stop right outside the door that drops one off at the nearest Marta station, less than a mile away. There's a washer/dryer, dishwasher, a gas stove, central heating/air, storage space, a backyard, a porch, the walls are painted nice colors. And the piece de resistance - a Murphy bed. How cool is that?!? We're a quick drive from Little Five Points, Candler Park, Virginia-Highland - all the kinds of places we liked to haunt when we lived down there before.
It's funny - Marco, my sister, the landlord and I all forgot to discuss rent when we walked through the apartment. I knew it wouldn't be unreasonable; we sorted that out soon enough over the phone. Future landlord was pretty much ready to hand over the keys (after I handed over various fees and deposits, of course). Quite possibly the easiest, breeziest apartment search ever.
Hanging Out Anyway, since we had so much free time, Marco and I got to have a nice lazy time bumming around. Walking around Piedmont Park for the Pride Fesival. Casual culinary hopping as well - Fellini's for pizza, Dakota Blue in Grant Park for burritos and sangrias, and Jake's for ice cream (ginger for me, lime sorbet for Marco). Dakota Blue is like a month old, and it's right there on Cherokee Ave. across from Grant Central (the pizza place). A friend of Mike's is one of the partners, and he came out to say hi to us. While we waited for our food, we grabbed some sidewalk chalk - I wasn't very creative, just scrawled out my name. Marco, ever the artistaman, did a groovy portrait. Good food - will definitely stop by again if I'm in the area.
Family Time Otherwise, hung out with my family. My sister's bulldog now has a face that only my sister could love. (He was so cute as a young puppy, I guess he's still cute to my sister.) This dog is like the grandchild our parents have been waiting for. A friendly dog, but boy is he strong - he was so excited to have a new person to play with he kept nearly knocking me down - looks like somebody seriously needs some training. Supposedly bulldogs are some of the stubbornest, stupidest dogs and don't pick up a lot. We'll see about that. He certainly knows how to sit prettily for a treat.
Frankly, I'm never going to own a dog that cannot clean its own ass. My parents and sisters are constantly having to use baby wipes on the dog after he's gone potty in the yard. I guesss the way bulldogs are built, they can't really get to where they need to in order to clean themselves. On the plus side, you don't feel skeevy whenever he feels like licking your face, slobbery pedigreed mutt that he is.
The poor little family dachshund is shunted to the garage whenever the dog is around - though granted, he's really old, and isn't up for puppy aggression, especially a bulldog pup. I wish I could take him, it doesn't seem my parents appreciate him, poor little old man. I made sure he got some extra lap time.
Homeland Security (Or, Hartsfield Sucks!) My trip back was mostly uneventful, except for going through security. Ok, it was probably my fault because I left my watch in my jeans pocket. Having been pulled aside to my mortification, the very polite woman proceeded to check me for illegal objects. While I was cooperative, I didn't really bother to disguise my aggravation. I wasn't rude, just unsettled. First, I had to remove my slides, after which she proceeded to wand my bare feet. WTF? The wand then picked up the studs in my jeans, my jewelry, my underwire bra, and the metal part of the rubber band for my hair. I kept forgetting to hold my arms out and would keep getting reminded to stick them out. Y'all should be relieved to know that no sharp pointy metallic objects which could be used as a deadly weapon were found in my feet or anywhere else on my person.
*sigh* I know they're just doing their jobs, but c'mon. I guess it was more embarrassment than anything else that made me so flustered. Although there's an attempt to standardize airline/airport security, procedures seem different from place to place. I guess I should be glad that they're doing it. And I did have a good, productive trip overall.
July 03, 2003
"Bloggers Gain Libel Protection"
According to Xeni Jardin's report in Wired (7/30): "The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Tuesday [6/24] that Web loggers, website operators and e-mail list editors can't be held responsible for libel for information they republish, extending crucial First Amendment protections to do-it-yourself online publishers."
On the one hand, great news for bloggers and other republishers. On the other, I feel badly for Ms. Batzel. Her reputation was damaged because of what someone falsely said about her in e-mail, even though the jerk supposedly didn't expect the e-mail to be published. (Yeah, right buddy.) And she's had to up and leave the North Carolina town she lived in, because people think she's the granddaughter of a Nazi, even though it's not true.
While bloggers and other republishers seem to have more protection now, what proper remedy can someone pursue when they've been falsely, purposely, maliciously maligned? Does traditional libel or slander law still offer a person a way to protect themselves in the digital age?
UPDATE: Interesting - a Wyoming man has been fired by Home Depot, apparently in connection with columns and stories he's posted on his website which are critical of the CEO. ("Web Poster Fired by Home Depot" - Tony Wilbert, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 7/3/03) Wyoming's in the Tenth Circuit, however, so the Ninth Circuit ruling would merely be persuasive authority. [Link via ObscureStore]
ALA to meet with Internet Filter Vendors
Article in today's NYT: "Officials plan to meet with software makers next month to voice concern over a law that requires libraries and schools to use Internet filters or risk losing federal money." ("Libraries Planning a Meeting on Filters" - John Schwartz, NYT, National, 7/3/03)
July 05, 2003
We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident
Last night I sat high above the city, in a dark conference room with Jen and her colleagues, wondering when the fireworks were supposed to start. Someone called 311 to find out. At one point we heard him say to the operator, "Yes, that would be the 4th of July fireworks." Not long after, they did burst forth, and they were spectacular. It's the first year that the city also has set up fireworks at the tip of Manhattan, to drum up activity downtown, so we got to view both sets at once.
There are primal bits of happiness in life, and seeing big pretty colored lights crackle and pop in the sky is one of them. Last year I wasn't up to it, but I won't skip them again if I can help it.
It was a date-with-the-city kind of day. Jen and I checked out Cafe Topsy on Hudson Street for brunch, a comfortable, quietly stylish Brit restaurant, where our waiter was most lovely. A cheeseburger with caramelized onions and chips for me, a salad garnished with dried figs for Jen. We shared a chilled cucumber-yogurt-mint soup, and because it was so darn hot, an iced cappuccino for me as well; Jen had wine to please her palate.
Back on the subway, down to Battery Park, where we arrived in medias res for the free Ryan Adams concert. While I'd vaguely heard of this guy, I didn't know his music. Jen assured me that I would at least know his song "New York, New York" because it was all over the place after 9/11. And yet, I must be the last person on the planet to have heard it, because I swear, I've never ever heard it before. I even went out of my way to download a copy in order to find out if I just knew it without knowing whose song it was. Nope. How utterly bizarre. It wasn't like I kept my eyes and ears away from the media at the time.
Anyway, we sat on the grass, the subway rumbling beneath, and listened to the concert, which was pretty good. (Ryan even played "New York, New York" which I at least recognize now.) People were everywhere, sitting on blankets, on bits of cardboard or plastic bags or newspapers, standing or swaying, holding up their (damn) cellphones so friends could hear. Little kids were running around, and everybody yielded yo-yos given out by one of the concert sponsors.
We proceeded to stroll from Battery Park up along the west side, welcoming the breeze coming off the Hudson. The summer heat was no longer quite so overbearing, and it was great to be exploring, walking in the balmy air, the sound of the river in our ears. Little pockets of lawn abounded, people lounging or running around with their dogs or kids. Bicyclists and roller bladers shared the way with us pedestrians and runners. Boats passed by and we waved back to the passengers.
We encountered the World Financial Center and ducked in for some ice cream, walking amongst the young palm trees and up the marble steps, the Site there before us, a construction pit where twin monoliths used to be.
Back on the street we came across the Irish Hunger Memorial, further up we stopped to watch people taking lessons at the Trapeze School. We clapped for the woman who managed to swing off of her bar and catch the hands of the instructor hanging off another. I wished at that moment it could have been me, flying through the air.
At 14th Street, we opted for other transit, hopping on the subway to Jen's office to watch the fireworks. Afterwards, dinner at Rue 57 - blue cheeseburger and frites for Jen, a salad and mountain fig turnover for me. The turnover was presented on a bed of prosciutto, garnished around the edge with bits of gorgonzola, chives, and crushed pistachio. I figured out how to make little packets with my knife and fork so as to savor all the different flavors at once. The flaky, crispy phyllodough wrapping encased the intense, rich flavor of the fig - no mere Newton, this dish.
Back home on the train, with the families and the drunks, the imprint of flashing blooms of color and light still dancing behind my eyelids.
July 07, 2003
My Firm Grossed $175,000,000
...and all I got was a three percent raise. The July 2003 issue of The American Lawyer is now out, with its annual AmLaw 100, which ranks the top law firms by various capacities (gross profits, profits by region, profits by partner, etc.).
Three percent doesn't even cover the cost of living around here. Yes, times are tough, the economy sucks. Yes, my job is entry level. But a glowing evaluation doesn't mean much if it doesn't translate into a meaningful financial recognition for the work that I do. And what's even worse is that the glowing praise isn't even that sincere. I'm so glad I have to leave this job.
Pottermania - Adult Regression?
I think it's a good critique. While I've enjoyed the Rowling series, I've read richer, more complex children's fantasy literature that can be savored by adults. The work of Robin McKinley springs to mind, especially The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown. Just because one writes with children in mind doesn't mean that the writing has to be juvenile. Even in a fantastic setting, one writes with a sense of the genuine, the true, where even minor characters are not cartoonish figures, but seem to have a life of their own in the course of a few well-wrought sentences. Just look at the difference between Tolkien's Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
I wonder if Harry Potter is so popular with adults because they haven't read much other fantasy literature, so they have little to compare against it. Maybe because I've read a lot of that genre, both children's and adults, that reading Harry Potter has been pleasant, but not earth-shattering for me.
John Dean (yes, that John Dean) offers up commentary and analysis on the Ninth Circuit's Batzel decision.
July 09, 2003
Bon Anniversaire, L'Armoire!
A year ago today, Lady Crumpet's Armoire emerged from the foamy brine of my brain to reside here in cyberspace.
It's an eventful day offline as well. Last Monday morning I gave notice that I was leaving. By that afternoon I helped interview the fellow who's since been hired as my replacement. Today the boss is taking me out to lunch, since she'll be out next week. Not long after, I'll meet with HR for my exit interview, since that person will out next week as well. There's too much work left to slack off - in trying to leave my job on a good note, I've actually put in extra hours to get things done so the new guy won't be quite so overwhelmed, and to be honest, so that I don't create ill will when I leave. No one's asked for it, and I suppose I'm a dupe for doing so, but professional purpose is ingrained in me, however I feel about the job and this workplace.
Of course it hasn't been all that bad. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for meeting my good friend and officemate Zeebah. (Miss Zeebah, btw, has a new domain and has finally moved over to using MT. Congrats!)
No great words of wisdom to impart. I feel really engaged with the world, both the external and the internal. I've rediscovered an inner life that ached for expression. I've learned a lot from working the nuts and bolts of running a blog to current events to the thoughts and lives of others. I've made marvelous, dear friends. I think my writing has improved. I'll just try to stay interested, and if you want to stick around, I humbly thank you.
July 10, 2003
Verify Verify Verify
Baby Ink - "where we believe that it's never to early to start expressing your unique personality through professional, high quality body art....Although we are the ORIGINAL body art chain to cater to toddlers and children, our experienced, talented staff is glad to work on people of all ages."
[BBC link via Zeebah]
Poll-Fixing, Hacker Style
Oh hell. Bev Harris offers an analysis of the electronic polling machines that use the Diebold election system, which were used in the most recent elections in Georgia, among other places. Certainly, hacking the polls would be easier than asking the Supreme Court to fix the election. Then we can concentrate on more important issues, like whether Clay or Ruben should have won American Idol.
Also of interest - Harris encourages the dissemination of her article: "Publication of this story marks a watershed in American political history. It is offered freely for publication in full or part on any and all internet forums, blogs and noticeboards. All other media are also encouraged to utilise material. Readers are encouraged to forward this to friends and acquaintances in the United States and elsewhere."
To My Fellow Commuters on the Lawn GuyLand Rail Road
1. Please don't clip your nails on the train. Just because we can't see you doesn't mean we can't hear you. We still know exactly what you're doing.
2. Please learn to modulate your voice when talking to your friends either in person or on your cellphone. No one wants to hear about your digestive tract, your business deals, your legal woes, your relationship troubles, etc. Perhaps your friends don't want to hear this, either.
3. When it is rush hour and the train is teeming with people, please don't hog the seats with your bags or your person. Don't spread across several rows when you could all sit cozily together. If you're a guy, please don't sprawl and invade the scant arm and leg space of the person next to you, just because she happens to be smaller than you.
4. If you're going to be stinking drunk, please be a happy or silly drunk. Or better yet, a sleepy drunk. Please don't bellow about how your dentist fucked up your wisdom teeth and you're gonna fuckin' sue, swilling painkillers and Jack Daniel's all the while. And please don't pick fights with the poor parents who are just taking their kids home from seeing the fireworks and would prefer that you not cuss up a storm in front of their family.
5. Yes, New York City is a very cool, exciting place. But just because you've taken your fat-ass child to see Mamma Mia doesn't mean she should be allowed to mangle "Dancing Queen" at the top of her lungs on the late-night train. Really, it's not adorable. Please get little Britney some singing lessons, then let her sing in a soundproof room. While you're at it, big Britney could use some lessons too.
We are stuck together for the duration of our ride, this is true. But the train is like the elevator - let us give each other some privacy, some space. Let us be decent and kind to one another. Or at least make it possible to ignore one another in peace and quiet.
July 14, 2003
My last week on the job; I'm done this Thursday and have a long-planned trip with my friends from Pemberley. Staring down mountains of paperwork and new books for the shelves. What will get done will get done. I can't do it all. Of course, I might get more done if I didn't have other people interrupting me, telling me how important it is to get certain books on the shelf, and if I need any help, just to let her know. Um, like I'm surrounded, about to drown, I even say "Sure, if there's anything you'd like to take to work on, please go ahead." But I guess that's too subtle for some people to understand.
Definitely having butterflies. I'm used to working, being employed. Not that I won't be again, but it's a point of pride for me to have someplace I have to go (even though there are days I'd prefer not to). But I will definitely be busy over the next few weeks. The list of things to do is getting shorter, as is the time I have left. No need to panic...just yet.
Friday night, Mike and I caught Elvis Costello at Central Park's Summerstage. A good show, although opening act Chris Robinson was a snoozer. Not a great venue - bleachers in the back and astroturf in the area in front of the stage, which got all soggy when we got drenched in a short but torrential downpour. We spotted Willie Garson, the guy who plays Stanford on Sex & the City - finally, I have a sighting of somebody kinda cool!
I'd never seen Costello play before. A good show, even though I'm not familiar with most of his catalogue. (Clearly, there were superfans, though, and they were all hollering in my ear.) The man had like five encores - c'mon, man, don't jerk your audience around. But after the rain let up, it was a gorgeous, balmy night, perfect for some great music in the outdoors.
Sunday, a girly day. Bummed around uptown. Went into Town Shop, one of those specialty stores where they can just look at you and tell you what size brassiere you should be wearing. (The grande dame of the shop, Selma Koch, passed away recently.) I was way, way off base with what I thought was my size. Ladies, it's really important to make sure you're wearing the right size - if you do nothing else for your wardrobe, good foundations will make your clothes look and fit much better, and you'll feel more comfortable and at ease. They're not cheap, but you're making a worthy investment. Just go to your department store, or a specialty shop - the idea is kind of embarrassing at first, but really, it's not a big deal. The ladies at Town Shop were very professional and clearly knew their wares; it was totally crowded when I ventured in.
Downtown - Jen and I did brunch at Balthazar - cocktails, goat cheese & onion tart, brioche french toast & hickory bacon, poached eggs over polenta, really good fresh bread & butter, good coffee, and a bowl of dark chocolate, pistachio, and hazelnut ice cream. We were definitely full for the rest of the day.
Cabbed it to midtown later for a viewing of I Capture the Castle. A good adaptation, though not perfect (are they ever?); Jen and I could easily play six degrees of Jane Austen with this one - there was David Bamber (Mr. Collins), the guy who played Uncle Geoffrey (Bridget Jones), and we think the woman who played Charlotte in The Real Thing (which we saw on Broadway, with Stephen Dillane and Jennifer Ehle as the leads). Really, though, I'm just going to have to read the book again, a really lovely piece of work.
I know I've got a sense of humor
But do other people know that about us librarians? I have mixed feelings about this librarian action figure ("Toymaker finds librarian who's a real doll" - Jack Broom, The Seattle Times, 7/10/03). She's got glasses, dowdy clothes, sensible shoes, and she shushes! So it acknowledges the stereotype, pokes fun at it, but who's the buying public for this doll? Other librarians, I guess. Although looking over my wardrobe selection for today, I'm not exactly Supermodel Librarian, either.
Went down to the Strand to sell some books today. I have too many and can't possibly bring them all with me. It was v. depressing, though. A whole heavy bag netted only twelve dollars, and I lost some of that due to taking the subway. But I'll go again tomorrow. Maybe I'll make enough for lunch money, since this is, after all, New York.
July 15, 2003
...[I]t is real clear to those of us who understand the Twelve Step program that these are very dysfunctional times. We live in a very dysfunctional society, and this is a very, very dysfunctional Administration. The proven way for this Administration to keep power is to keep us all in fear. As long as we are afraid of the unknown and afraid of each other, he, or anyone like him, can rule. It's like they will take responsibility for protecting us. It's when we take back the responsibility for protecting ourselves that they get scared.
I don't watch The West Wing, I generally take more interest in celebrity comments as to gossip. But this remark is hilarious and apt.
While the administration backpedals and downplays the severity of Bush's citing sketchy information in his State of the Union speech - information that was supposed to justify going to war - U.S. soldiers are still dying in Iraq, Afghanistan is falling back into the hands of the warlords, we're sending military "advisors" to Liberia, and now North Korea is claiming that they've extracted fissionable material from their nuclear rods. And there's still no peaceful solution for Israel and the Palestinians - a holy grail if there ever was one.
Hell. Handbasket. See you there.
Publish and Perish
Dissertation Could Be Security Threat (Laura Blumenfeld, Washington Post, 6/17/03) - Talk about a grad student's worst nightmare. Your prof thinks your dissertation is "tedious and unimportant." Dates don't want to hear about it. But because Sean Gorman mapped out publicly available information about the nation's fiber optic network and connected this data to key sectors of business and industry, government officials and CEO's want his dissertation, the basis for one's academic career, classified. "He should turn it in to his professor, get his grade -- and then they both should burn it," said Richard Clarke, who until recently was the White House cyberterrorism chief." Yikes.
Bill Moyers Interviews Jon Stewart
I'd like to watch the actual interview, but you can read the transcript, which is also worthwhile. I really, really should watch The Daily Show more often. It takes real news, real headlines - I'll recognize quotations that are actually in articles from the New York Times - and finds the genuine humor in it. There are times when I'm actually hysterical with laughter - the clip in which Stewart "moderates" a debate between President and Governor Bush brought me to tears. (Go to the show's site to check it out.)
July 16, 2003
I haven't been getting much sleep. Putting in extra hours to leave things on a good note. No one wants to hear my complaints about all the little things that irk me about my job. I'm sick of hearing them myself.
I'm frazzled, I'm stressed, I'm hormonal. I'm happy about leaving, I'm sad about leaving some good friends and colleagues. I find it hard to let go and just relax. Unlike normal people, I can't seem to flake out, even though I'll be done with my job tomorrow. I have to be so goddamned conscientious. Everything will work out. I just wish I were done already. But I'm almost there.
Perhaps I should take up smoking. Or recreational Valium.
I have a minibreak coming up - going to Cape Cod this weekend to bond with my galpals at Camp Pemberley. I'm sure there'll be alcohol, chocolates, fawning over Colin Firth/Jeremy Northam/Ciaran Hinds, etc. It will be wicked fun.
It's hard to wax rhapsodic just yet because I have so much crap piled all over my desk. One of my other coworkers just told me that the assistant head librarian thought that the newest shipments of books should be unpacked and brought my way, because it didn't look like I had enough to do. I'm sorry, WHAT???? *hyperventilating*
Oh bloody bloody hell. Best get back to rolling my boulder up the hill.
July 23, 2003
Lady of "Leisure"
Back from my trip on the cape. Of course, now that I'm done with work and I'm really ready to pack boxes in earnest, my landlord wants to bring over a prospective tenant tonight, meaning I'll spend today sprucing up the place. I'll pop back here once I have a breather and fill you in on the fabulous long weekend.
July 26, 2003
Fire at UGA library ruled arson
The main library at my alma mater was deliberately set on fire. No injuries, mostly smoke damage, so it could have been much worse. But the fire was enough to do $1.5m worth of damage. Clean-up has already begun, hopefully it will be completed before the fall term. Some articles:
Oxendine says UGA library fire deliberately set [AJC]
Witnesses sought in library arson [Athens Banner-Herald]
Quick reaction saved millions, says cleanup official [Athens Banner-Herald]
Other Georgian librariana (or would that be librariana Georgiana?):
Library loses bias suit ruling - Fulton County has lost its appeal for a rehearing en banc regarding the racial discrimination suit of seven white librarians against the county's public library system. Rather doubtful that the Supreme Court is interested. Settle already!
Georgia plans an utterly virtual encyclopedia - Coming this fall, the New Georgia Encylopedia will be published online, conceived from start to finish as a wholly digital project. [The link is supposed to be nge.gsu.edu but it doesn't appear to be accessible yet.]
July 27, 2003
Weekend at Camp Pemberley
First, a brief mention of the last day of work, seeing as I was so busy wrapping things up I didn't have any time to blog (ha - so much for loafing idly). Zeebah was a dear, taking me to lunch at the Scandinavia House on Park Ave., where they have a lovely cafe and yummy toasted sandwiches. We were very good about not shedding tears at the office, but that's because we shall most definitely meet again before the big move. In between disposing of old papers (why, why do I hold onto such rubbish?) and clearing out the electronic in-box, I ran around like a headless chicken making sure the Tech Services librarian was comfortable using OCLC's CatMe and our local catalog software - understandably, since she wasn't using the sundry cataloging resources on a daily basis like me, I had to give her a refresher tutorial. I believe I was most patient, not at all snide or flip, but my forbearance was wearing thin by the end, that's for sure. There was also a chocolate cake, and the Asst. Head Librarian and the ILL clerk were so sweet as to give me parting gifts (doh! I need to send thank you notes). The job wasn't ideal, but having a few good coworkers who made me grin and giggle made the daily grind worth some groans.
Now for the long weekend - allow me to me preface the following by mentioning that this city girl has never been to camp - although I did, however, go on summer vacations with the family, which is more than what the other kids I knew growing up in NYC got to do.
The Pemberley annual meeting took place in Craigville, a tiny beach town on Cape Cod. It was so lovely to put names and faces together. I spent the night before on the Isle of Staten, to stay with a fellow denizen who so kindly offered me a ride in her barouche. I rode the ferry, toting my bags - a perfect cool night (once the sweat of the humid evening dried away), a sumptuous view of lower Manhattan, the city lights serving as a beacon in the distance. We stayed up late while she packed - the girlish gaiety had already begun.
The drive out of the city was remarkably calm. Connecticut proved to be a bit of a mud wallow, with accidents here and there. Hint: The Merrick parkway is quite lovely and a smooth go, provided no accidents lurk there. We even saw a doe by the side of the road. The ride to the Cape was just lovely - breezy and sunny, a glorious summer day.
In Craigville, we had a whole lodge to ourselves, numbering somewhere between thirty and fifty ladies. There was a cornucopia of women-food - all sorts of snacks and drinks (plenty of chocolate, to be sure!). I shared a room with four other gals - Jen, another Jen, Karen and Terese. With all the windows open we had magnificent views of the water and caught the sea breeze. I wouldn't mind having to summer in a nice cottage on Cape Cod, what hardship that would be.
How lovely to spend a weekend with good friends, old and new, who really get each other and all that is wonderful about Jane Austen. At any given moment ladies could be found watching one of the film adaptations (I raced in to catch the end of Persuasion), reading one of the novels, bonding over how they discovered the bewitching borders of Pemberley, taking little trips here and there. Jen and I decided the water was too lovely to simply dip our feet, so we managed to find flattering bathing gowns and get some of the others to accompany us.
The water was calm and gentle. This being my first beach trip of the year, I ran down the sand like a kid and plunged headfirst into the water. We swam out to a floating deck and climbed up to soak up some sun. I don't usually swim out past where I can stand, nor do I aim for getting tan, that being so out of fashion these days. But it was so nice to have the water all around, to see a seagull dive into the sea and come up with a gleaming silver fish, to chat with some ladies and brainstorm for next year's gathering. I felt like a sea otter, rolling and dipping, merrily flipping my feet, paddling about in the saltwater. Yes, to quote Elizabeth Bennet, I was excessively diverted.
The food at the dining hall was definitely camp cuisine. Some of us went out for seafood - I had a lobster, shrimp and scallop pie, fairly tasty. Other side trips were in order - at Four Seas, I had their famous cranberry sherbet, and also sampled the black raspberry ice cream and raspberry sorbet. A trip to the Isaiah Thomas bookstore yielded a treasure trove of pulp Philip K. Dick paperbacks; I hope a certain book is still there next year, as I would like to get it then. Also took in a bit of history, checking out one of the local historical museums, where we saw lovely bits of needlework and portraiture, and items like George Washington's and John Hancock's John Hancock (yes, I'm already wearing out the expression).
A long, lovely weekend. Our group is full of talented, accomplished ladies - for our entertainment some staged Pride & Prejudice, the musical - I could hardly breathe for laughing. We also watched one of the Emma adaptations, Rocky Horror-style - more opportunities for laughter - and we are sure-aimed with our water guns.
Cheery, teary goodbyes at the end as people went back to their daily lives. Jen and I dropped off some gals in Providence, then wended our way back home. Caught the ferry from Connecticut, then Jen was so kind as to drop me off at my abode. Now to develop the pictures!
July 29, 2003
You mean a date is just a date?
German scholar: the Qur'an mistranslated; promises of raisins, not virgins, in afterlife What a cruel, just joke it would be on suicide bombers, if this scholar's contention turns out to be correct. Paradise would be full of "white raisins" and "juicy fruits" instead of teeming, virginal lubriciousness.
I Dvrc U 3x
Divorce by text message in Malaysia has been deemed permissible under Islamic law. [The expression by which men may divorce their wives is "talaq" - "I divorce you" - stated three times.]
Or, how to get people interested in etymology. (Cunning, no? Oh wait, that's linguistics - oh, never mind.) The July 7 edition of The New York Observer includes an article on the subject of nearly everyone's favorite cuss word.
Now The Smoking Gun has posted a copy of a court pleading that delineates the history of and argues the constitutionality of the words and phrases that make up "the fuck family." I'm guessing that the public defender really enjoyed writing this brief. See, pro bono work is rewarding!
"Thirty is the new 22"
This NYT article notes that because major life events like marriage and having children are being delayed, turning 30 is not quite the apocalyptic milestone birthday anymore ("Smiling Through the 30th, a Birthday Once Apocalyptic" - Vanessa Grigoriadis, NYT, Styles, 7/20/03]).
Lady Crumpet is most relieved, even though she isn't yet 30 for, um, another 124 days. Not that she's counting or anything. Still, what will she have accomplished by this milestone date, arbitrary as it is? Her friend Marco went to Italy. Her friend Sarah gave birth to a daughter. Her friend Jen had a fabulous party in Brooklyn.
Ok, I haven't accomplished diddly squat, even though I cannot paint screens with I know not what. (Sorry, Janey joke there.) Since returning to New York though, I think I have really come into my own. I have earned a master's. I have written a draft of a very bad novel. I have started and faithfully maintained a blog. I have made an effort to go to film festivals and good theater. I have dined at some really great restaurants. I have made chili from scratch. I have whomped pizza dough and made a passable pie. I have survived a Kate Spade sample sale. I have nearly knocked a Tony-winning actor off his roller blades. I have followed Neil Finn around the North- and Southeast. I have married, but that's not something to be smug about. I have found some really wonderful girlfriends.
The minutiae of one small life out of the billions on this planet. Still flying by the seat of my pantaloons. Not yet time to get all ponderous.
July 31, 2003
Sighted on W. Houston St.
A woman walking her spaniel, talking hands free on the cellphone, holding the microphone on the cord close to her mouth. It was hard to say who was more tethered to her leash.