January 01, 2005
New Year: 2005
Plans for a dinner party fell through. I figured I'd ring in the new year asleep on the couch. New plans came about. A trip to the package store for some quality beer - party crashers buy Sublingual Viagra are always welcome if they arrive bearing gifts, right?
Actually, we did know the hosts. They'd just bought a house and hadn't even moved in yet. That didn't stop them from throwing a party, though! We all got the grand tour, mixed and mingled with tasty cocktails. Outside we watched neighborhood fireworks, then scooted back inside just in time to see the ball drop on television. (Regis is a poor substitute for Dick Clark.)
This morning it was breakfast at the Flying Biscuit. Southern scramble (eggs, turkey bacon, collard greens, onions and cheddar cheese), grits, and the signature biscuit. The bonus was a serving of Hoppin' John, which I'd never eaten before.
Later, it was an impromptu screening of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I was thoroughly charmed. (The soundtrack beckons.)
Best wishes for you in 2005.
January 02, 2005
Rock Star Wisdom
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get Sublingual Viagra what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need
- Rolling Stones
It's not having what you want
It's wanting what you've got
- Sheryl Crow
January 05, 2005
Grading the Charities
The American Institute of Philanthropy is a nonprofit charity watchdog and information service. They provide a letter-grade list of some of the top aid organzations that are accepting donations in the wake of the tsunami relief effort.
[via A Girl Named Bob]
January 09, 2005
I've been out of town for a few days. More on that later. On one of my jaunts I found a used copy of Some Words of Jane Austen by Stuart M. Tave (University of Chicago Press, 1973). I'm only a few pages in, but I like it so far. Tave opens his book with two order Sublingual Viagra epigraphs:
The most beautiful lives, in my opinion, are those which conform to the common and human model, with order, but without miracle and without extravagant behavior.
-Montaigne, "Of Experience"
If one wants uncommon experiences, a little renunciation, a little performance of duty, will give one far more unusual sensations than all the fine free passion in the universe.
-The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell
While these quotations appear before a collection of essays about the works of Jane Austen, maybe it's also because of the new year that I find these words so compelling. I've actually scrawled an over-ambitious list of resolutions. (No. 1: No more cropped pants. EVER!)
Synonyms for resolution include:
syn.: analysis, assertion, band-aid, breakdown, call, conclusion, decision, declaration, determination, dissection, elucidation, end, exposition, finding, interpretation, judgment, motion, nod, outcome, pay dirt, Sublingual Viagra, presentation, proposal, proposition, quick fix, recitation, recommendation, resolve, settlement, solution, solving, sorting out, ticket, unraveling, upshot, verdict, working out
syn.: aim, boldness, constancy, courage, dauntlessness, decidedness, decision, declaration, dedication, determination, doggedness, earnestness, energy, firmness, fixed purpose, fortitude, guts, heart, immovability, intent, intention, judgment, mettle, moxie, obstinacy, perseverance, pluck, purpose, purposefulness, purposiveness, relentlessness, resoluteness, resolve, settlement, sincerity, spirit, spunk, staunchness, staying power, steadfastness, stubbornness, tenacity, verdict, will, willpower
Some of these are preferable to others, such as determination, fixed purpose, or courage. Others seem to have less lasting effects: band-aid or quick fix. Some seem to convey compromise or an element of chance: settlement, sorting out, working out, upshot. Other words speak more to me about the difficulty of maintaining one's resolve, of hanging on to one's decision, if need be, by the skin of one's teeth: doggedness, steadfastness, perseverance, tenacity, fortitude.
It's early yet in the year. No need to drive myself so that I abandon my goals as lost causes, as reason for disappointment or heartbreak. If I can merely hold fast, if I can buy Sublingual Viagra remain fixed of purpose, then sometimes that will be enough. If. If. If.
January 11, 2005
Ch. 1 "Limitations and Definitions"
Some interesting passages from the Stuart Tave book (Some Words About Jane Austen, ISBN 0226790177, 1973):
A correct knowledge of geography - to know where one is - and tranquillity of the right sort - to live satisfactorily where one is - seem to be Sublingual Viagra mastercard related virtues; both, if they come, come as earned acquisitions, in time....With varying degrees of foolishness and awareness there are many characters in Jane Austen who...reshape the space and time they inhabit to make it a creation of their own wishes. (Tave, p. 4)and
Time and space in Jane Austen are not what a reader raised on twentieth-century literature is likely to assume they must be by nature. They are not problematic or oppressive. They are not puzzling mysteries and they are not impositions upon the human spirit to be rebelled against or transcended. On the contrary, they have coherence and help give shape to human life; they are there to be used or abused. If they seem to simplify life they do not make it easier, because they allow no cosmic excuses. They are limited and must be understood, but the limits set the conditions within which action must be taken, here and now or not at all, and it is the ability to act with rectitude and grace under those inescapable conditions that distinguishes among human beings. (id., p.6)and also:
To be unable to stay in one place, to be restless, is to have an unsettled mind. (id.)On Maria Bertram, in Mansfield Park:
There is no condition that can satisfy Maria because she has never learned in time, has never been taught, to accept those limiting conditions which are unavoidable and to which she must order Sublingual Viagra shape herself; if she were able to look within herself she could find sufficient space for the largest action, for the finest restraint." (id., p.8)
Yes, this is a serious idea: index cards clipped by a mini binder clip. Even though I have a PDA, I still carry a notepad to scribble things down (handy, as I need to recharge my device at the moment). I also have a supercute desk calendar at home and at work. I guess I like being able to write and also have digital backup. As for synchronizing all this data, between the paper and the digital? Not quite there yet. (If ever.)
Back in high school, in sophomore English we had to learn how to write the all-important Research Paper. We had checklists, we had periodic deadlines, we had drafts. I did fairly miserably on all fronts, although my teacher still liked me in spite of my procrastination and significant underachievement. We also had to use index cards - for ideas, for quotations, for subject headings that would be sorted accordingly to create our Sublingual Viagra online paper outlines. My teacher talked about how she'd been a terrible procrastinator when it came to her Master's thesis. She ended up doing an all-nighter - yes, on her thesis! It was because she had done such a good job creating her index cards and sorting them into an outline that she basically typed out her thesis from the cards.
So I'm not mocking this idea. Whatever works best is the thing you should do.
January 14, 2005
Oh, the Irony (Don't Ya Think?)
So many layers. The whole abuse of irony for hipster cred. The "I heart." The fact that "I heart" drives me up the wall - ok, well, I don't care that much. But my irritation does amuse my friends who use the expression more wholeheartedly (ba dum bum!). I should probably have one, except who would implicitly understand all of these things if I wore the shirt?
January 19, 2005
On the Mend, or At Least Around the Bend
I've been sick - nothing alarming, but I'm never happy to be ailing. Maybe some exotic strain I picked up in New Orleans - fever, sore throat, stuffy nose, coughing fits, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, broodiness. Well, I suppose that last one reflects my state generally. But perhaps I should see this in a Bridget Jones sort of light. Nothing like illness to make the pounds melt away. As for the remaining flab, I'm back in the gym. Along with everyone else, apparently.
January 20, 2005
The Flabby Diaries
So one of my resolutions is to get into the gym at least three times a week. I hate to say this, but I can't wait for people with less willpower to drop out so that my gym won't be so crowded. But whatever, we can all co-exist. Not like my willpower has been so great these last few months anyway.
Tonight I'm going to take a class called Ab Challenge. The challenge: finding my abs. The class is only half an hour. That's good, right? But maybe it's only half an hour because by the end of class I will be doubled over and curled up on the floor, mewling in pain.
January 21, 2005
I'm a Geek, Yes I am
I have a deep, dark secret that I must confess. I own a Rubik's cube shaped like Darth Maul's head. It's not so much that I'm a huge Star Wars fan, but it was just such a bizarre object that I had to have it. And now there's Darth Tater - a Mr. Potato Head who has obviously crossed over to the dark side of the Force. I am feeling a strange compulsion to own this - perhaps the dark side calls me.
Darth Maul is currently unsolved. He could be joined by Anakin/Darth Vader, Amidala/Princess Leia, Jango Fett/Clone Trooper, R2D2/C3P0, or even Sidious/Dooku (from the forthcoming movie, I presume). I could have a whole set of messed-up heads because I can't solve them. Although that would be an accurate reflection of my mental state.
What a Country, or Why I Love the Interweb
Say hello to my new bumper sticker. Stickers and other objects are available for purchase.
January 23, 2005
I went to New Orleans a few weeks ago, tagging along while Scott attended a conference. My friend Herman lives there, so it was an opportunity to visit him as well. I really like the town, but I think it will always be a place for me to visit. Like zydeco, a little Nawlins goes a long way for me.
I wasn't quite so armed with reference material as I was last year - maps, guides, etc. But I cobbled together enough from brochures, and one resource that was truly helpful came to me at the spur of the moment. That would be John & Daniella's Guide to New Orleans, courtesy of the lovely Daniella, who was sweet enough to overnight one of her spare copies directly to my hotel, the wonderfully named Queen & Crescent. An amazing, excellent resource, punctuated by sweet details of John & Daniella's courtship. (The guide had been prepared for guests of their recent wedding.)
Having been to Nola before, my goals this time were more modest. When I'm on vacation, I swing between cramming as much activity into my schedule as possible, and complete utter slothdom. So I tried to take it a little easier on this trip. I slept in, ventured out, came back to the room and took naps. I often overwhelm myself because I try to consider all the possible things I could do, when really one has to pick and choose, and not give thought or regret to other options once a decision has been made. (This has always been a problem, never more so than when I lived in New York.)
The weather was fairly warm, so I didn't pack a coat. Not the wisest move, seeing as I became sick the next week. Wandered around the French Quarter - one map I did pack, a crinkled, worn flier really, of the Antiquarian & Second-Hand Bookshops of New Orleans. The bookshops I like best: Librairie Books (823 Chartres St.), Dauphine Street Books (410 Dauphine St.), Kaboom Books (915 Barracks St.), and Crescent City Books (204 Chartres St.).
Stopped by an excellent music shop - Magic Bus Records & CD's (631 Toulouse St.). Found some used stuff I'd been looking for, such as albums by Divine Comedy, Swing Out Sister, and Stars.
One possible subtitle for this post: The Crumpet Who Ate New Orleans. Having good food was important. This included oyster & artichoke soup, followed by crawfish and pasta in tasso cream at Gumbo Shop (630 Saint Peter St.), washed down with a glass of rosati. Not one, but two visits to Cafe du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait. Walking uptown to Uglesich's (1238 Baronne Street), which is only open on weekdays. We got there around opening time, around ten-thirty in the morning, because Herman had warned me that going around the normal lunch hour would result in an hour's wait in a line around the block. Had the divine shrimp and grits - the grits were served as a cake, cooked like a crisp but chewy polenta, and the shrimp was dressed with a creamy, spicy sauce that had to be completely sopped up to be appreciated. Also the Shrimp Uggie ("Marinated in vegetable oil, crushed red pepper, hot sauce, onion, bell pepper and sauteed. Spicy. Served with new potatoes") and a dish called Muddy Water ("Pan fried trout, topped with muddy water sauce, chicken broth, garlic, anchovies, gutted jalapenos, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Not hot or spicy."). Bottles of both the dark and amber local ale, Abita. I felt somewhat decadent for having a beer before noon.
Herman was able to get reservations at Emeril's (800 Tchoupitoulas St.), so we went there to see what the fuss was about. We all sampled each other's plates, which included:
- Homemade Andouille & Creole Boudin Sausages with Beer Braised Onions, Mustard and Homemade Worcestershire Sauce (Note: boudin is a blood sausage, and it was incredibly tasty. It had the texture of a fine stuffing, which I did not expect)
- Warm Wilted Spinach Salad with Three Nut Crusted Goat Cheese and Emerils Homemade Andouille Sausage Vinaigrette
- Crispy Blackberry Scented Quail with Lentils, Frise, Serrano Ham and Maytag Blue Cheese (this was my selection, mmmmmmm)
- Grilled Double Cut Snake River Farms Pork Chop Tamarind Glazed and Served over Roasted Sweet Potatoes with a Green Chili Mol Sauce (the pork chop was the size of a small loaf of bread)
- Roasted American Rack of Lamb with a Creole Mustard Crust, Rosemary Creamed Potatoes, and a Rosemary Lamb Jus
It was all very good, and we were all very full. Herman and I also split a bottle of an Italian red, so I also got the warm and fuzzies I get when I am well-plied with drink. Alas, we had no room for dessert, but it was a pricey meal as it was. Delicious, but not something to do on a regular basis.
Excellent pastries and outstanding coffee can be found at La Boulangerie (625 St. Charles Ave., among other locations). I had the French breakfast blend and drank it black without realizing it at first. Once I did, I still drank it black, the coffee was that good without my usual cream and sugar.
Venturing uptown, both on foot and by streetcar, we eventually made our way to the Camellia Grill (626 S. Carrollton Ave.). I had heard of its excellent omelets and burgers - and this also had the benefit of John & Daniella's recommendation. It's a tiny diner, situated in a modest little house that could use a fresh coat of paint. It's completely counter service; the counter winds around the room. People waiting for seats get to sit on banquettes along the wall, or wait in line outside. This isn't the place to wear low-rise pants, as several women revealed a lot more about their choice of underwear than they probably intended. I probably should have gone for a straight omelet, but I was intrigued by the omelet served with chili. The egg is light and fluffy and seems to melt in your mouth. I have it on good authority that the burger was excellent as well.
Although I walked about with my digital camera, I didn't really come away with a photo record of my trip. However, I wish I had whipped out my camera in time when I spotted the bright-orange General Lee passing by me on the street near my hotel (apparently a chase scene was being filmed for the Dukes of Hazzard movie).
Going to and from New Orleans resulted in TSA checks. In Atlanta the staff is polite but brusque. The woman who wanded me left me standing with feet splayed and would have forgotten me if another security person hadn't asked her what was to be done with me. (Fortunately it was not straight to Guantanamo.) In Nola, the TSA folks were much friendlier and apologetic for pulling me aside and swabbing my carryon bag for dangerous substances. I bore it all, with fortitude, and some nervousness, but so it goes.
January 24, 2005
French Law Allows Children To Be Given Mother or Father's Surname
Or both, even, if the parents so choose, and they can select the order of the names as well. I find naming practices and regulations quite fascinating, and French law appears to be quite complex and codifed - not a surprise, really. The following article explains some of the changes, including the institution of the double-hyphen to distinguish names given under the new law versus single-hyphenated names, which reflect one's aristocratic lineage.
Today is the Most Depressing Day...
...of the year, according to a UK psychologist, Dr. Cliff Arnall. He's even devised a formula:
The model is:
[W + (D-d)] x TQ
M x NA
The equation is broken down into seven variables: (W) weather, (D) debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) time since Christmas, (Q) time since failed quit attempt, (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.
Strangely, this makes me feel better. It's like I'm not completely responsible for my unhappiness, because the cosmos has decreed that today is supposed to be a bummer. I know I'm bound to be happier in a week, when I'll have more than $1.13 in my checking account. ;)
January 25, 2005
somewhere i have never travelled
I love e. e. cummings. This poem came to mind today. Something tender and achingly delicate in the heart of winter.
'somewhere i have never travelled'
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
-- e. e. cummings
January 26, 2005
Would this work on real life?
January 27, 2005
PostSecret is a project that collects postcards from people who reveal something they have never admitted to anyone before. A blog has been set up with images of the cards and comments about responses to cards that have been exhibited as part of the project.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Database (Or, BTVSDB)
Buffyology "Every Buffy character, episode, cast member, writer and director and every word of every show, in a searchable database."
It's still in progress. Submissions, cross-references, corrections, etc. are encouraged.
Oakhurst One-Off Art Show
January 28, 2005
I Consume, Therefore I Am
If this is true, what does it say about me that I'm completely tickled that there's a book in the world called Owl Puke?
This lovely book - a nature book for young readers, actually - is listed in The Top 25 Weirdest Items You Can Purchase Through Amazon! However, I think I will pass on the Pork Chocs TM - Sugar Free Milk Chocolate Dipped Pork Rinds. If one is seriously on a diet, chocolate-dipped pork rinds, albeit sugar-free chocolate, don't sound like a good idea. I am a woman who loves chocolate, but...ewwwwwwwwwww.
On Modern Technology
A secretary called the library in a bit of a panic. This is the same woman I helped the other day by cutting and pasting clean copies of articles we'd sent to her attorney into fresh Word documents (she was getting lots of HTML code that she didn't want). Believe me, it was easier to do it than to explain how she could do it herself.
So she called again. She wanted to know if the library accepts requests for recording television programs and could we possibly put the recording in a digital format that could be played on a computer. We don't. Strangely enough, our catering department does - because they also set up the conference rooms with A/V equipment, along with the nice spreads of food. The program is this weekend, however, so they wouldn't be able to do that.
So I volunteered to record the desired program myself. I called the secretary, and she was over the moon. Then she asked me if I had the "special equipment at home" to do this. I paused, then explained, "Well, I have a VCR and can record it on tape." This way the attorney would at least have a copy of the program on tape and if possible we could see about transfer to a digital format.
Then she asked what kind of tape.
She was so grateful. She said she'd tell the attorney that the library doesn't normally do this kind of thing but that I graciously offered to do this for him. I said I'd be happy to do so. But holy smokes...I don't think this woman knows that VCRs exist, let alone that those of us with VCRs are out of step with the DVR people.
Panic on the Streets of Atlanta
People are going home early. I'm betting the supermarket will run out of bread and milk (I have neither at home, damn it). Granted, there are lots of trees here, so maybe power lines could go down, and icy roads are not fun. But come on, people. Don't speed, don't hoard the provisions. Although it would be nice if I didn't have to go to work on Monday. Ain't gonna happen, though.
January 29, 2005
Crying into my Chai Latte
The sweetheart of my dear friend Marco is telling a story about his roommate's grandparents. The grandparents had gone to downtown Columbus (southwest Georgia, near the Alabama border) to check out the town's newest performance hall. Apparently the hall is outfitted with an organ that cost a million dollars.
Said the grandmother to her grandson, in her deep Southern drawl, about their instrument at home: "I wish your grandfather's organ was worth a million dollars."
Had I taken a sip of my drink, I would have choked. Instead I cover my face; I'm shuddering. I am convulsed with silent, full-bodied laughter. I have such a dirty mind.
Marco: What is it, something about being eaten by Alsatians?
Me: I think it's "dying alone and being found half-eaten by Alsatians."* That's from Bridget Jones, you know.
M: Is it?
Me: ...You know what Alsatians are, right?
M: People from Alsace?
Me: No, German Shepherds.
*The full line from the novel: "And having lived a life where my major relationship was with a bottle of Chardonnay, finally die fat and alone and be found three weeks later half-eaten by Alsatians."
Nothing to See
More ice than snow, really, although it took a lot of effort to go to the gym this morning. Scraping the ice off the windshield (without gloves - not smart), warming up the car. I was about to give up but I'd put so much work into getting the car ready. Then what's normally a five-minute drive became longer as the main road was blocked off and I had to go around. It's kind of sketchy, driving on ice. I went slowly, but I could feel the resistance, and the potential of sliding in an unintended direction.
All this effort meant no slacking at the gym. I tried running today. I think my heart rate was near 200 at one point - I probably pushed myself too hard. But I'm still here, so my heart didn't give out. I guess I'll live for another day.
Saw Sideways this afternoon. It's one of those films that still lingers with me, hours later.
January 30, 2005
Dialing into Regret
[D]runk dialing usually limits itself to times long after the close of business and beyond the daily commute. It is in those dark hours of late night and wee hours of early morn, when most people have retired their cellphones for overnight charging, that intoxicated revelers flip open their cellphones and dial into regret.I'm not sure this is the kind of thing that belongs on the NYT Op-Ed page, but interesting nonetheless. I'd heard a while back about Virgin Mobile offering a service in Australia so people can prevent themselves from drunk dialing. Have never committed it myself, but then there's been very few times in my life when I've gotten horribly drunk. Dialing sober while depressed, however, is another story. In either case, intervention is definitely in order.
January 31, 2005
Brought to you by the letter U and the numeral 2
(Click on the thumbnails for larger images)
At the cafe the other night, one of the staff overheard me telling my friends about the banner. He joined in our conversation and said how he might allow for this possible interpretation of U2 if it weren't for their being so obsessed with their rock god image, especially Bono with his giant sunglasses.
Thank you, Paul F., for my bright yellow bag.
Last night I tried to work in a Tori Amos reference in my Winter post. I heard the first lines in my mind:
China all the way to New York
I can feel the DISTANCE getting close
That can't be right, I thought. I pulled out my copy of Little Earthquakes to look up the lyrics to "Winter." It opens with the following lines: "Snow can wait, I forgot my mittens / Wipe my nose, get my new boots on...." Those other lyrics are from the song "China."
Makes sense, yet for some reason I have always gotten the titles and songs mixed up for this album. It's just one of those records that I'd pop into the CD player and hit "Play," sometimes replaying a track here and there as the mood struck.
Once the false association was imprinted on my brain, it simply remained. Perhaps because I was never obsessed enough to retrain myself to make the correct associations. So to this day, I continue to mix up the songs. It doesn't bother me, I just find it interesting.
Sometimes it's better to press "Play" and just get on with it.
When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses have gone ahead
I tell you that Iíll always want you near
You say that things change my dear
- Tori Amos, "Winter"
Create your own PowerPuff Girl/Boy
This is me, in search of the perfectly toasted garlic bagel.