Lady Crumpet's Armoire


Archives

February 01, 2005

Google Suggest

No hits for Lady Crumpet

So I tried out Google Suggest, just to see what would come up. Since I've configured my page to avoid notice by the Google bot, there aren't any results. So no "Lady Crumpet" but typing in the initial letters generates "lady crusaders," "lady cruel" and "lady cruella." Fitting enough, I guess.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:59 PM | Internet & Tech | TrackBack (0)

Stop Wasting Your Life
Yours, &c., LC at 08:24 PM | Pictures | TrackBack (0)

February 02, 2005

Here and Now

I was out shopping for some work clothes. I'd found a few things and waited for the shopgirl to ring up my purchases. She turned away to process my debit card.

At that moment, the opening bars of a George Michael song began to play on the in-house stereo. It was something I hadn't heard in a long time, something I don't go out of my way to listen to, unless I'm in a dark place.

But something I just can't explain
Something in me needs this pain
My eyes suddenly welled with tears, the jolt of old memories resurfacing. I blinked several times in succession, and in the split second the cashier had turned away and turned back, I managed a semblance of composure. I signed the slip, thanked her brightly, and dashed out the door.

Lately I've been thinking about the past, about ghosts. About being a ghost to others, about the ghosts of the person I used to be. It's important to know my past, to understand how I got to this point, to understand the person I am today. But I am not the same person now that I was ten years ago. I am no longer the little girl who yearned for escape, for a life free from the family's iron thumb. I don't have to think and act as if I were still my younger self. I don't have to stay ingrained in old patterns and ways of thinking that hold me back.

Now everybody's talking about this new decade
Like you say the magic numbers
Then just say goodbye to
The stupid mistakes you made
Oh my memory serves me far too well
I have made mistakes. I carry around a lot of guilt, a lot of regret. Then again, I shoulder more burden than I should. I feel anguish over things that don't matter. And for the things that do matter, there are limits to how long one can beat herself up. There's no room to learn from mistakes if the time is wholly spent on self-flagellation. Yes, there should be introspection, self-reflection. But no amount of hair-rending and teeth-gnashing can change the past. As a friend of mine once put it, "It's what you do AFTER you fuck up that allows you to prove your character."
The years will come and go
Some of us will change our lives
Some of us still have nothing to show
Nothing baby
But memories
I don't envision myself as a butterfly exactly, but I seek transformation, to grow and change for the better. Either I break out of the chrysalis, or it becomes my tomb.

right-click, save as

"Waiting For that Day" - George Michael

So every day I see you in some other face
They crack a smile, talk a while
Try to take your place
My memory serves me far too well

I just sit here on this mountain thinking to myself
You're a fool boy
Why don't you go down
Find somebody
Find somebody else
My memory serves me far too well

It's not as though we just broke up
It's not as though it was yesterday
But something I just can't explain
Something in me needs this pain
I know I'll never see your face again

C'mon now
I've got to be strong now

Now everybody's talking about this new decade
Like you say the magic numbers
Then just say goodbye to
The stupid mistakes you made
Oh my memory serves me far too well

Don't you know that
The years will come and go
Some of us will change our lives
Some of us still have nothing to show
Nothing baby
But memories

And if these wounds
They are self-inflicted
I don't really know
How my poor heart could have protected me
But if I have to carry this pain
If you will not share the blame
I deserve to see your face again

C'mon now
You don't have to be so strong now
Come back

Come back to me darling
I will make it worth your while
Come on back to your baby
I miss your kiss
I miss your smile
Seems to me the peace I search to find
Ain't going to be mine until you say you will
Don't you keep me waiting for that day
I know, I know, I know
You hear these words that I say

You can't always get what you want...

Yours, &c., LC at 01:35 PM | Music , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

February 03, 2005

Site Design, ever evolving

I keep talking about revising my template and I've got a workable setup. I just need to sit down and hammer it out, instead of going on and on, talking about doing it when I should just shut up and do it. In the meantime, I've changed my wallpaper to the ivy pattern that you see now. It's always been my idea to rotate the background image, with the seasons perhaps, to evoke the sense that the Armoire was situated in different rooms of some old Victorian manse, at least as reflected through the change in background. At least it's a way to refresh the look of the site periodically without too much revamping of my templates.

Anyway, this dark ivy is more fitting these cold, sunless days. I'm hoping that by making this little change, it will spur me into action, since I want to be accountable not just to myself, but to those of you who bother to stop by - for which I thank you.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:48 AM | Admin | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Huh.

Hello Kitty sushi

Yours, &c., LC at 12:55 PM | Sundries | TrackBack (0)

February 04, 2005

Hannah

Hannah

One of my neighbor's cats. She's not roaming outside these days, since it's cold. But when she's out and about she likes to come around to my back porch and demand some attention. She's a wee thing really underneath all that fur.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:28 AM | Pictures | TrackBack (0)

The Reluctant Consumer

My book group's next selection is Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons. It's checked out or on hold at the library. (Through my connections, I've checked several library systems and still no luck.) Used copies aren't available yet at the usual bookshops I haunt. So I'm stuck and had to buy it last night.

I'm trying to keep an open mind about the novel, but I can't help thinking it's going to be an old man's hysterical rant about hypersexed youth. I might take Wolfe more seriously if he weren't so consumed with maintaining his image, wearing a white suit everywhere he goes.

Right now Border's has it for 50% off, meaning that the book is around $15. I made a deal with myself to buy something I really wanted, to make up for having to buy the Wolfe book. (Never mind that there is much media at home, awaiting further exploration.) After a bit of aisle-roaming, I picked up an album by The Long Winters that a friend highly recommended: The Worst You Can Do Is Harm. If I have to give Tom Wolfe his royalties, I can at least give royalties to someone I want to support. Border's isn't the most affordable place for CDs, but the album was more reasonably priced than some of the better-known stuff. (Nope, still not gonna pay $20 for The Life Aquatic soundtrack.)

Happy Friday.

Jumper

The office administrator sent around an email regarding traffic congestion here downtown. Someone at the intersection of Spring and Alexander is on a ledge somewhere. On the verge.

People are going to the windows here in the library to see what they can see. Some streets are blocked off. Helicopters are milling about.

I don't think I could do a final dramatic gesture. I guess I'd just want to go to sleep and never wake up.

Please...whatever it is, it can't be worth your life. You want to kill the pain, not yourself. You can't escape the pain of life...but not all life is pain. Please. Please.

February 06, 2005

Softly but Certainly

In Jane Austen time moves softly but certainly, as a natural and inevitable line of life. It is measured by the watch and by the calendar, which mark its divisions, and in those divisions the characters must act appropriately if they are to live with a real fresh life and vigor. In those lives that seem to continue in much the same way from day to day, with little variety of incident, little touched by the world of large action, fixed in one place, there come, again and again, times to make a judgment, times to make a moral choice, and there is a certain amount of time in which to make it, an amount appropriate to know what should be known, feel what should be felt, think what should be thought, do what should be done, neither too quickly nor too slowly for the occasion. There is no choice of standing still. One cannot "dwell." (Tave, ch. 1, p.14)

-Some Words About Jane Austen (1973), Stuart M. Tave

Addendum: I'm sure I have a comment about this passage, but I'm letting my thoughts percolate for a bit.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:23 AM | Jane | TrackBack (0)

"Happy" Endings in Austen

What seems to be more important than the sudden and fortunate event, however, because it precedes the ending again and again, in whatever manner the end is produced, is that the heroine is prepared to accept unhappiness. The endings of Jane Austen's novels are never sentimental because before she will allow the happy result the heroine must face the fact that she has lost.... The reader may refuse to believe...because he has been given a different set of expectations, but the heroine must believe. She must not simply see the threat as another obstacle that she can do something about, and she must not despair because, having lost, there is nothing in life for her to do. She must really see it as a loss, absorb it as irreversible fact, and then come to terms with herself and go ahead with what she meant to do now. She often finds herself in the same place and in the same company as she was at the beginning, but she cannot be the same person herself because time has made a difference and things will never be the same again. She must in the same place face a new time, and it is very hard.... [Austen's characters] must accept their unhappiness before they are granted happiness. The reward then is not the essential thing because it need never have arrived; that may well be dependent on chance; what is important is that at the time it is granted the heroine is worthy of a happiness that has a meaning. She would have been worthy of it even if her lot had proved unhappy because in her place she has used her time well, and that is not a matter of chance. (Tave, ch. 1, pp. 17-18, added emphasis)

-Some Words About Jane Austen (1973), Stuart M. Tave

Austen's genius never fails to take my breath away. She gives us the happy ending, bringing the lovers together at last with some tidy summary along the lines of "And so they realized their true feelings and were married. Finis." But that's not the real conclusion Austen has in mind. It's the heroine's successful examination of her life - her difficult, heartbreaking journey to true understanding, unstinting self-knowledge. And having arrived at - survived, even - such knowing, she is able to accept what lies before her - the unhappiness of having lost the man she loves, of resolving to go on with her life, making the best of what remains.

That Austen finally does offer the resolution that both the heroine and the reader most desire, albeit in the sparest of detail, what lingers, what cannot be ignored is the undercurrent of chance, the sense that this happy conclusion was not guaranteed. Austen gives us plenty of examples of characters who do not demand of themselves the same rigorous self-knowing, and in the end they are disappointed, tragic figures. For Austen's heroine, this is the happiness that is earned after great personal struggle, and it is therefore to be more sweetly cherished.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:51 AM | Jane | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

February 07, 2005

On Being Prepared

Although one doesn't normally plan on getting stuck alone in an elevator, even if it's only minutes, even if those few minutes suddenly seem much, much longer than one would have expected...it's a good idea to stop off at the loo.

Since I wasn't stuck for long, this thought only occurred to me afterwards. Fortunately my bladder is made of stronger stuff than my nerves. I reported the incident (the elevator, not the state of my bladder) to reception and to the security desk in the building lobby. Later, I got an apologetic note from building management along with a coffee shop gift card. Not particularly necessary, given my so-called plight, but it was nice. I'll just wait to sip my drink when I'm not in the elevator.

Yours, &c., LC at 07:57 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

February 09, 2005

"True love (or maybe just true lexicography)"

...says Lloyd Grove, in today's Lowdown. In his column, he notes what Matthew McConaughey says about his girlfriend, Penelope Cruz:

"Everyone has their own little Webster's Dictionary, you know? The way they see life and the world. I really love her Webster's. I do."
Awwww. Yes, really. Lady Crumpet received her very first dictionary, a Webster's, in fact, as an elementary school graduation gift from her school librarian, for whom she worked as a volunteer. Then there was the Random House unabridged dictionary she received for winning her county spelling bee in the 8th grade (she lost on "bolshevize" at the National Bee, alas). She vows that the single-volume OED (the Oxford English Dictionary) - with its own slipcase and accompanying magnifying glass - will be hers someday, by jove!

So you see, dear Reader, a quirky expression of affection like this really does warm the cockles of our cold, cold heart.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:13 PM | Sundries | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

February 10, 2005

Mike Wolf

I found out by email. I couldn't believe the words I read: "He died last night..."

But no, it's true. I called his office, asking if he was there. A woman's voice on the other end said "No."

"Is it true?"

"Yes, honey, it is."

ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod

I'm in pieces right now. I can't believe it. I just can't.

ohgodohgodohgodohgod....

Yours, &c., LC at 12:45 PM | | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

One of my dearest friends in the world, Mike Wolf, died last night.

He is - was - a paraplegic, and he'd been having chronic problems with a bone infection in his foot. Not great, but he was managing it, taking care of things, as usual. He was on the phone with his girlfriend, using some sort of pump for his foot, when he made some strange noise and the phone went. She tried calling back, he didn't answer. She called the police. The fire department broke into his apartment, with Stephanie on the phone, and they found him, lying peacefully, comfortably on the couch.

No news yet - possibly a blood clot or an aneurysm (is there a difference)? Whatever it is, it was so sudden. So fucking unfair.

Mike - such a kind, generous, loving person. He wore his heart on his sleeve. He told you in no uncertain terms how he felt - whether he was happy, sad, angry. In love. He was sensitive, empathetic - often he knew what question to ask when I hadn't found the words to say anything in the first place. I had the gift of knowing him in person, of becoming his friend when I still lived in New York. We kept up through phone calls, emails, IMs. I'm going up to New York in a few weeks - we had talked about plans to visit and hang out.

Now he's gone, and I still can't believe it. I'm shuddering as I write this. In his honor, I bought a bottle of Maker's Mark, his favorite. I'm not getting drunk, but I'm having a few sips in the hopes I might get some sleep tonight.

This morning, I was at work, reading an email I could understand, but couldn't accept. I made calls, hoping to reach mutual friends, so they'd hear the news in a personal voice, instead of just an electronic message. I could barely choke out the syllables. Just sobs of "Mike...he...he...died."

I would give anything, anything, to have him around. To have this be a horrible unreal nightmare. To see him again, to feel the glow of simply being in his presence.

But no - it's true. He's gone. I'm never going to hear his voice. I'm never going to get to give him a hug when I see him. Because I'm never going to see him again.

Except in Athens, for the funeral.

DAMN IT. FUCK. WHY? WHY HIM? WHY, WHEN HIS LIFE WAS COMING TOGETHER AND HE WAS FINALLY HAPPY?

I left work early and met up with Holly and Cassie, friends of Mike's that I'd met in New York when they came to visit him. None of us wanted to be alone. We got together like girlfriends. None of us had remembered to eat, so Holly brought a selection and made drinks. We hung out, crying and laughing, telling each other things we loved about Mike.

I'd already been scheduled to see my therapist. I've been keeping her busy of late, but tonight I needed to hold on to some shred of sanity. I'd barely crossed the building's threshold before my face crumpled, already wet with tears. We hadn't even gotten to her office before I started to blurt out the bare details.

I find it hard to be alone with my thoughts. Scott is here, keeping me company. But I've also made phone calls to friends, I've been online trying to read posts by people who knew Mike in some way. His last post has become a collection of comments from those of us needing to grieve.

I don't know what's going to happen to his site. I feel the need to find a way to save it, to be able to read it all, because otherwise I don't know what else I have to remember him by. Except memories.

I really, really miss my friend.

Love you, Mike, always.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:17 PM | | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

February 11, 2005

BABB July 2004

Mike and me, at last summer's Blogger Bash. Photo taken by Daniella. D - do you have a larger version of this you can send me?

Yours, &c., LC at 12:50 AM | | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wide Awake

I know I am exhausted. I shut my eyes, willing myself a few hours of oblivion. But sleep won't come.

Mike always seemed to know when I was thinking too much. "Stop obsessing. Stop wallowing, goofball."

Forgive me, dear heart, if I can't stop my brain from racing around right now.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:12 AM | | TrackBack (0)

Arrangements

I got a call on my phone early this morning, a message from Mike's dad. He didn't know if I knew. Apparently Mike had a seizure; he passed away instantly.

I tried to call back, and realized he'd called me from Mike's cell phone. It rang and rang, and I should have hung up, but I wanted to hear Mike's voice - just his name - on the message. I left a teary message to Mike anyway.

The funeral will be next Monday or Tuesday, in Athens, Ga. It's probably better to call the funeral home than Mike's parents. Although I did call and talk to his dad anyway to tell him how sorry I am.

Bernstein Funeral Home
3195 Atlanta Highway
Athens, GA 30606
(706) 543-7373

I am here in Atlanta. If anyone needs a local contact, please drop me a line.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:32 AM | | TrackBack (0)

Pictures

Jonathan, a friend/coworker of Mike's, happened to have Mike's camera and created a zip file of the pictures on it. Trying to download it now.

Mike's Camera [52.5 MB, zipped]

Addendum: Another friend of Mike's, Jim Barry, has graciously set up a mirror site for this picture file, which can be found at:

http://www.myrem.com/private/MikesCamera.zip

Yours, &c., LC at 10:21 AM | | TrackBack (0)

Mike Wolf Remembered

I've set up a blog to collect people's thoughts and stories about Mike. Please send me anything you want to share to ladycrumpet@gmail.com and I will post it to the site.

Mike Wolf Remembered

Please help me spread the word. Thank you.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:38 AM | | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

In Seclusion

The weekend had already been scheduled for self-examination and soul-searching. Recent days have brought on more of this than I ever expected.

I probably won't have internet access, but I'll have my phone for those with whom I need to stay in touch. Given how I've been online obsessively, it'll be a little hard cutting the cord for the whole weekend. Any updates for MRW Remembered I will post as soon as I am able.

I wish I could take comfort in the idea of some greater Purpose, that Fate had some hand, that things have happened For A Reason. But the name of Mike's blog, randomness personifed, is closer to what I believe - and sadly, explains what happened to Mike in a way even he probably never imagined. Not that this gives me any comfort, either.

I'm still here. I'm supposed to get on with things, whether I feel like it or not.

"Stop wallowing, goofball."

Hopefully we'll know soon when the services in Athens will take place. In the meantime, take care of yourself and your loved ones. Take a moment, as Heather observed of Mike, to be kind for no reason.

Be yourself - fully and truly.

Be generous.

Be loving.

Be kind.

Be alive.

Be.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:08 PM | | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

February 12, 2005

Long Distance Dedication

Music was one of the things that I bonded over with Mike. On Wednesday night, I'd been working on my new blog templates. I was in the middle of compiling quotations for the main index, including a few song lyrics. From "Never Be the Same" by Crowded House, a now-eerie selection:

Don't stand around
like friends at a funeral
Eyes to the ground
Don't suffer in silence
He knew I loved Crowded House, Split Enz, and solo efforts by Neil Finn, Tim Finn and together as the Finn Brothers. I'm supposed to go to Nashville next week to see them, and that's why I'm heading up to New York in a few weeks.

At some point, Mike and I realized that we lived in Atlanta around the same time - we simply hadn't yet met. We both saw Neil Finn at the Variety Playhouse in 1998. Neil was touring behind his then-new solo album, Try Whistling This. I wish I had a bootleg of the performance, I guess even more so now. Funny - we were probably mere yards apart, and yet it took being in New York to finally meet, four years later.

I didn't plan to post again, but even a complete lack of sleep the night before wasn't enough to knock me out on this night. One of the happier lyrics I chose for my template makes me realize that so much of the song "Faster Than Light," from Try Whistling This, reminds me of Mike. It's also a lullaby for those who need something gentle and sweet to ease a little of the ache inside:

In time you'll see that some things
Travel faster than light
In time you'll recognise that love is larger than life
And praise will come to those whose kindness
Leaves you without debt
And bends the shape of things to come
That haven't happened yet

I want to believe, mrw, that you can hear this, that you know this song is for you. xoxoxoxo

right-click, save as

FASTER THAN LIGHT

(Neil Finn)

Close your eyes go to sleep
Close your eyes get so dizzy
World is spinning in your bed
I know where the sun goes

Gone to wake up the sparrows
In England it's morning
In time you'll see that some things
Travel faster than light
In time you'll recognise
That love is larger than life

Now you know what you're missing
Now you've seen that I'm willing
If you look for the message
Close your eyes
Do you hear what I'm thinking
Is it how you imagined
In time you'll see that some things
Travel faster than light
In time you'll recognise
That love is larger than life

And praise will come to those whose kindness
Leaves ypu without debt
And bends the shape of things to come
That haven't happened yet
Close your eyes, colours changing like a lizard
I know where the sun goes
I have seen the world turning
In time you'll see that some things
Travel faster than light
In time you'll recognise that love is larger than life
And praise will come to those whose kindness
Leaves you without debt
And bends the shape of things to come
That haven't happened yet

Yours, &c., LC at 05:36 AM | Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

February 14, 2005

Update on Arrangements

The services will be at Bernstein's chapel tomorrow, 2/15, at 11 am. There is a viewing tonight from 7-9 pm.

If you'd like to make a donation in Mike's name, his family suggests the March of Dimes, which can be done here.

If anyone has been worried, like me, about the status of Mike's blog, I understand that some of his friends have been able to establish admin rights and will be able to keep the site online. (Thanks, you guys.)

Yours, &c., LC at 09:56 AM | | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Backup Plan

I know, it's been all-death, all-the-time around here.

When I was in the middle of my last host-change, shifting files over for the Armoire (and bitching up a storm), Mike told me that backing up my site was no big ordeal - and then did it for me to show me how easy it was. But then he said that I shouldn't get so worked up anyway, it's "just" my blog.

I thought that remark was odd coming from him, a fellow blogger. Part of the panic about losing my site had to do with the blog being a part of my identity, that this was something I was personally invested in. Losing the site, I explained, would be like losing a part of myself.

He still wasn't convinced. I think he even told me, teasingly, that if that's what I really believed, it was kind of sad.

Do you still think that's true, Wheelz? Am I really so wrong?

Considering the sadness we're going through right now, with people posting comments to Mike's last post, checking the site in the hopes that we'll somehow see something new from him, I think it's safe to say that blogs really do give us the sense - and the presence - of someone's identity. And even if one were to say that Mike's site doesn't fully capture his life and experience, it still contains some of his essence, which explains why we want so much to make sure his site doesn't simply vanish.

So it occurred to me - right now no one else has admin rights to my site. What would happen if something suddenly happened to me, or to one of my other friends, or someone that I only know virtually? That certainly has been the experience for not a few of Mike's readers.

In an episode of Coupling, a British sitcom, some of the guy characters explain that they are "porn buddies" - meaning that if one of them were to die, the other would make sure to rescue his buddy's porn stash, thus preventing embarrassing post-mortem revelations to his buddy's family, as well as having the added bonus of inheriting his buddy's porn collection.

Do guys really do this? I don't know. But the idea is there, regardless of the specific content. It's an archival question, on a personal level. Considering how fully I've embraced blogging, I'm certain that I plan to continue the Armoire for the long term. I don't pretend to think that my site is a record worthy for future generations, but it seems to me that it would be a good idea to have designated blog buddies - people you trust who would be willing to preserve your site in some fashion, for the sake of the rest of us who will miss you, desperately, once you're gone.

Addendum: Hmmm. I never thought I would write something connecting death, blogging, librariana and porn but I guess there's a first time for everything. Or maybe, probably, this isn't even the first time someone has had this thought.

February 15, 2005

Visitation

I went to Athens tonight, a decision I had played by ear. Thank you, Holly and Steve, for giving me a ride, for holding my hand, for throwing an arm around my shoulder when I looked ready to sink into the floor.

I didn't know what to expect, having never done this before. Certainly I didn't forsee lively conversation, children running around, bouncing babies, and mix CDs from Mike playing in the background.

I spent most of the time talking to other visitors. His parents are great people - they're holding up incredibly well and were open, loving, and affectionate even as they were sad. When they each told me they were worried about me and wanted to make sure I was ok (!!!), I realized I needed to quit being an emotional ass. If they could be strong, so could I, and the quivery panic I'd been feeling finally ebbed away.

I'm so glad we've met, Stephanie. I know we would have preferred an official introduction from the man himself, under happier circumstances. (If you're reading this, Mike, know that you have at least two women extremely pissed with you for skipping out on us. Hope you're squirming, buddy.) You're extraordinary, Steph, and it's easy to see why Mike loved you. You made each other very happy, and I'm so grateful for that. Thank you for being a part of his life.

Mike in his pictures around the room was more real to me than the person I saw in the casket. When I first glimpsed him from the back of the room, I was able to register the thought: "It's not him. That isn't him. He's elsewhere, and he's ok now." It was unnatural to see him so still - he was always lively, always moving around, talking, being expressive, moving his hands. Smiling, laughing. Maybe it's an animal instinct - you see, you know he's gone, you keep your distance.

In the end, after talking to people and stealing glimpses at him from time to time, only then did I go to him. Briefly. Funny, I thought that the private, one-sided conversation I'd have with him would be some drawn-out, poetic speech, like some scene out of a movie. But no. I looked upon his too-still form, his face that didn't look like his face. I brushed my fingers against his cold, cold hand. Goodbye, Mike, I whispered in my mind. Goodbye.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:40 AM | | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Ok, Enough Now

I'm getting tired of myself being like this. I'm afraid I'm becoming maudlin and excessively self-indulgent, which isn't at all what my friend would want.

The funeral was today. We went, it was hard, but it was closure.

The best thing I can do to honor Mike is to follow the example of how he lived his life, with integrity, honesty, dignity, enthusiasm, a never-ending sense of wonder and adventure, and most of all, a tenacious, loving heart.

February 16, 2005

Time is
Too slow for those who wait,
Too swift for those who fear,
Too long for those who grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice;
But for those who love,
Time is eternity.

-Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933)

February 17, 2005

Blogger's Horoscope

I read my horoscope, even though for the most part it's not usually applicable. Sometimes it's on the money - but maybe if you throw out enough predictions, one of them's bound to stick. So this was my message for yesterday, according to the horoscope I check on my cell phone:

If someone seems to be hesitating when it comes to tell you something, it may be because they've heard you discuss some extremely personal matters quite openly. It's just your nature to say what's on your mind. Reassure them that while you consider your own life to be an open book, you'll go to your grave with theirs.
This wasn't specifically relevant to yesterday, but it's certainly how I approach blogging in general.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:54 PM | Blogos , Sundries | TrackBack (0)

Aural bits

Today I remembered that Mike had done a trial audio blogging post. I'd done one too, having learned about the service from him. So I checked to see if the post was still accessible, and it is. You can still hear the sound of Mike's voice. It's still so him - funny and self-deprecating and incredibly sweet.

I also saved a copy in case the original mp3 becomes unavailable. It's available here. (right-click, save as)

Penelope Cruz, Sexy Librarian

Because the field needs to be saved from the bespectacled and dowdy amongst us. Quick onceover reveals that I am not too dowdy today, especially with my funky black socks featuring the London Tube map on them. Whew! From E! Online:

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Matthew McConaughey and PenÚlope Cruz, who are starring in the upcoming Sahara, joining forces again for The Loop, a love story about a highway patrolman and loner who decides to search out his long-lost parents after meeting a sexy librarian, Variety reports.
Hmmm. This is the second item I've mentioned about these two. Well thank goodness librarians are having their image rescued yet again. When Penelope Cruz can find a specific section from a legal treatise that isn't in your own library's collection, and turn it around in the space of a few minutes - as a PDF attachment via email, no less, then we'll talk. In the meantime...oh, you're no longer paying attention. You're still thinking about Penelope the Sexy Librarian. Yeah, I guess I can't compete with that.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:16 PM | Film/TV , Librariana | TrackBack (0)

February 18, 2005

Celebrate Mike

Spreading the word, as Daniella requested:

...We are holding a Celebrate Mike party on Friday, February 25th at 7 PM at the Overlook Lounge, located 225 East 44th St, between 2nd and 3rd Aves in NYC. You are all welcome, whether you knew Mike "in real life" or only through his blog. A bunch of us will be swapping anecdotes and raising a glass to our friend. This will be night of celebration---because that's what Mike would have wanted us to do. Please join us. I would also appreciate it if you could help spread the word....

Finally, if you would like to make a donation in Mike's name, his parents suggested the March of Dimes. You can click to send a donation here.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:10 AM | Blogos , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

Before Sunset

I'm probably one of the last people who meant to see Richard Linklater's Before Sunset and never got around to it. Finally caught a screening last night.

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reprise their roles as Jesse and Celine from Before Sunrise. I was the same age as these characters and I thought it was interesting to see what's happened to them since. In the beginning we are given flashbacks - moments from the previous film - interspersed with the current time of the story. It's startling to see Hawke's face then and now. He's so scrawny and gaunt; he looks haunted. Julie Delpy seems much as she was, but more womanly now, and fragile.

Between the two films it's clear that Jesse is more of a stylistic talker - he puts out phrases and ideas to provoke and to entertain, whether or not he really believes the thing he's saying. Celine has always been more of a direct speaker, whether the subject is serious or more light-hearted. She wants to engage you, to communicate; she speaks sincerely regardless of the relative importance of the topic.

Jesse isn't so pompous as he used to be, and Celine has grown, using her convictions to do something meaningful in the world, even though her personal life, as well as Jesse's, leave much to be desired. Or rather, during the nine years until they meet again, much was left desired - unresolved, unfinished. At the end, we leave them without resolution, but it's clear that during this afternoon they spend walking around Paris, their one day in Vienna affected them much more than they realized, even at the time when they were "young and stupid," as Celine says, and they recognized something extraordinary between them. When they still had great romantic notions about the world and such optimism for the future.

I think it's time to revisit Linklater's Waking Life, in part because there is a brief moment where we see Jesse and Celine, clearly together - well at least for that time. It's hard to know whether what we see is even true. But I also think that the film, through its exploration of the many ways of seeing and living life, might also be a comfort, given how I'm wrestling with such thoughts and questions now.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:45 PM | Film/TV | TrackBack (0)

Music City

Tomorrow night takes me to Nashville to see the Finn Brothers. I haven't really given myself a chance to look forward to it, to get excited about going. Not since I first found out and bought tickets, and certainly not in the past ten days.

I've been listening to all kinds of Finn music - Neil's solo work, a lot of Crowded House lately, especially Temple of Low Men. It's got that dark, moody ambience that has been quite soothing actually, especially when I've had to drive myself around at night. Everyone is Here, the latest Finn record, has also been on rotation. I wouldn't say it's particularly adventurous, but it's plain-spoken, heartfelt, lovely stuff.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:49 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

Please come home

We came home tonight, and found the front door had blown open. It's an old house and you have to make sure the door really shuts - although we can't remember the last time we had cause to use the front door. Our neighborhood is just quiet enough that we didn't really worry that it was a break-in, which is fortunate, I guess.

Our cat Tabitha is missing. She's always been the curious one, the one you have to watch that she doesn't just stroll out the door when you're not looking. She's always been indoors, so she doesn't even wear a collar with tags. She's only got one tooth left. Tabitha's the one who always greets us at the door; she never misses an opportunity to eat. She's been with us for the last eight years.

How do you look for a cat in the neighborhood? We walked around, calling her name. I knocked on my neighbors' doors, people I haven't met or spoken to before. We didn't think she'd wander far, but she was nowhere to be found. She's a mellow cat, friendly, not at all skittish. I guess it's a good thing that Ginger, the resident fraidy cat, had no interest in leaving the house.

The humane society was already closed by the time we first got home. We'll have to make calls, put up flyers.

I have to hope that she'll show up on the back porch, hungry but unhurt. Or that somebody's found her and is trying to find us, somehow.

What a week.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:09 PM | | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

February 20, 2005

Road Trip

It's been an ideal road trip - an easy drive from Atlanta to Nashville with good friends. I asked Scott if he thought I should still go, but he told me that he would work on trying to find Tabitha. He told me to try to enjoy myself and forget everything else for a while. When I first made plans, months ago, Scott had already opted to stay home instead of coming with us. It's fortunate that he's been able to do the few things one can do, looking for a lost cat, while I've been away.

Still here for a while, staying with friends of friends. It's been really nice, and although I still feel a bit guilty for doing it, I have made the effort to be present and enjoy the moment. I know traveling to see a musician I love is exactly the kind of thing Mike would have done, and has done.

I'm not one for singing in front of other people. My voice is passable, I guess, for singing alone in the car or in the shower. Driving up, though, we put in a copy of Woodface and I found myself singing along with my friends, even though sometimes I still wanted to cry. It's been music, and the company of my own good friends, and talking to new friends and hearing their stories about Mike that have been most comforting. Religion hasn't done much for me, although I wish it could.

I find myself surprised by the extent of people's capacity to reach out, to show compassion because of how much we all love Mike. It's because of our regard for the man that we're all trying to look after each other. It's quite humbling. I have to allow myself to be open, to be willing to accept from, and to give, the same to others, even though it's been ingrained in me for too long that I am too flawed, too undeserving, too much of a fuckup to be worth such kindness and generosity. I will never heal, I will never be happy if I don't learn to forgive myself, if I don't accept the opportunity to change. To become the kind of person I admire, someone who is worthy of other people. I wish this lesson didn't come at the cost of Mike's passing, but I didn't have any choice in the matter. But I do have the power to make other choices, and I have abdicated that for too long.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:39 AM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

Finn Brothers at the Mercy Lounge, Nashville

Ultimately, it was a good show. A lot of people had traveled to see the Finns. For the most part, really nice, normal people. I met one of the press photographers, a freelancer. We were near the stage and ended up chatting. Friendly guy, definitely into music. He offered to send me a picture from the show, so I gave him my email address. He said he was covering the Elvis Costello show at the Ryman Auditorium in a few weeks. For a moment, I wanted to ask him if he could send me a picture from that show, something I could send to Mike. And then I remembered.

During the show, I was thisclose to slugging a guy who was taller and heavier than me. I know I would have hurt him, and I would have enjoyed it, at least until I came back to my senses and gotten kicked out. Good sense prevailed, although I'm still trying to shake off the ugly vibes of those feelings.

If I may take a moment...It's always a shame when somebody in the audience has to be a real jerk and taint the experience for everyone else. Being a fan doesn't mean you get to scream "NEIL FINN! NEIL F*CKING FINN!" all night long. It doesn't mean you get to stick your cameraphone in Neil's face and interrupt him, mid-song, to make him look up so he can pose for your stupid picture. It doesn't mean you should sing along, loudly and badly. It doesn't mean you get to jump around, spilling your drink and smashing into me and my friends. And yet, despite your being such a stupid frat-boy prick, Neil's still gracious enough to shake your paw which you thrust at him at the end of the show.

And here I was, worried that the dysfunctional redneck couple from Atlanta was going to be the problem. The woman, who proclaimed herself an educator, who clearly hadn't been to many sold-out shows in music clubs, complained about being surrounded by the "wacky" crowd of "rat bastards" with drinks in their hands - like those of us standing around her. She told her husband, repeatedly, how horrible he was and that she was going to kill him at midnight.

The show was broadcast live by the local radio station. I wonder how they handled the F-bomb Neil dropped multiple times when he was telling the story about Nigel Griggs in Atlanta during their Split Enz days. For the most part, it was Neil and Tim performing, accompanied by Tim Smith, a musician who toured with them the last time around and is based in Atlanta. Tim seemed a little more mellow, a little more relaxed. The set list was a good mixture of songs from their various collective albums, so there was music from the current album, from Neil and Tim's solo efforts, as well as a few Crowded House and Split Enz tunes. Definitely a good balance of stuff.

I'm always mixed about people singing along, though. People get caught up in the moment. Or maybe they forget that they're seeing the live person and think they're in their car or their living room, singing along to the record. I mean, are you there to listen, or to make the experience all about you? But then again, I sang a bit, but it was more like mouthing the words, nothing really audible. It's the inevitable thing that happens, especially when the crowd favorites like "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Weather With You" are performed. Which the Finns must be used to by now. Didn't stop me from wondering what it would be like to give Drunk Lardy Frat-Boy a black eye, though.

Harmonies were excellent. Good looks sported by the guys - Tim's hair a bit shorter, but still deliciously snowy and flowy. I think in part I liked my college boyfriend because he looked a bit like Tim. Neil sported a more dapper look - pinstripe button-down shirt with a black vest. Even in his forties with gray at his temples, Neil's still the cutie. And, um, oh yes, a really good songwriter and musician. As is Tim.

Not a lot of banter, but lots of rock jam moments as Tim and Neil really got into the music. There were two short encores. Their roadie was making great progress packing up. He'd just given me the setlist taped on the floor near the keyboard when the guys came back out again - extremely pleasant surprise. They played "Shark Attack" and "Don't Dream It's Over."

And then it was over, and we headed out for the night.

Set list shortly.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:27 AM | Music | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Hmmm

Trying to be more self-aware, but it's hard, being a little too close to the subject. So I'm not entirely sure how I came off in my last post - did I capture a balanced snapshot of the evening, as I experienced it? Or did I lean too far and dwell on the negative, as I've been wont to do?

Really, the overall experience was a good one. It's true that there have been better ones. But my friends and I did enjoy ourselves; we're glad we could take this trip together. Do the annoyances really matter? These are things I shouldn't hang onto; they take up space in my mind when instead I could be thinking about positive or more important things. It's not worth it to be worked up about some moron, when I could take a moment to think or do something more worthwhile. Not something that's necessarily deep and profound; life can't be intense like that all of the time. But I don't need to waste my time on things that don't matter, on people who don't matter. If I've learned nothing else, I know that there's never enough time, and I have to make the most of whatever I've got left.

Well enough of that. I think maybe I'm feeling kind of guilty because with each day that passes I have to move forward. Move on. Learn to make my life worth something. It's what I'm supposed to do.

A momentary slip. The feeling will pass - eventually. Just have to pick myself up, and keep going.

February 21, 2005

"Excuse me but can I be you for a while..."

I'm well awake long before I glance over at the clock and find out it's still too early and I ought to be asleep. One of my sisters has offered me a week's worth of pills that would knock me out and help me get back to a normal schedule. Aside from the mental crap I know the insomnia has to do with my not eating much or very well, staying up too late, lack of exercise, etc. Like any of that is new.

Tabitha's been sighted. She's been hiding out in the seemingly endless crawlspace of the triplex next door. Scott's got filthy clothes and bruises on his knees - battle scars from trying to reach a cat who clearly has no interest in coming back inside right now. We tried again last night but she didn't seem to be around.

Despite being old, fat and practically toothless she's probably already formed a gang of cats who find food for her or maybe she's found some soft-hearted sucker (as I have been) who will set out a little something for her. Enjoy your grand adventure, cat. What do you care that we're worried about you. Frickin frackin ungrateful minx.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Ginger is clingy and demanding. She seems to think my every waking moment is dedicated to her. Just guess who is sitting on my lap right now, enjoying her current status as the only cat in the house. Fortunately she's more of a lapcat and doesn't interfere with my keyboard/mouse activity.

The office is closed for today's holiday, although other people I know have to go to work. I'm tempted to sneak in for a few hours. My desk is awash in Many Things to Do.

On the ride to and from Nashville we also listened to lots of Margaret Cho. She's funny enough to cut through the fog in my head, and I laugh until it hurts. I wish I could be that fearless. Anyway, she talks about dieting in a performance from her Revolution tour. She gave all of that up after her last really bad fad diet. (It was really, really bad, and she explains, in excruciating detail, what that entailed.) She says she's now on the "Fuck It" diet, which goes really well with the "Fuck That Shit" exercise plan. That became a recurring joke during our trip as we ate lots of junk, washed down with strong drink.

But now I'm back home. There's a cat who needs to be dragged back in, laundry to do, lots of clutter to do away with this calendar year. A job that needs more attention than I've been giving. I need to be more involved in my major relationships - my marriage, my friendships, my family. I need to resist impulsiveness and reacting from extremes and accept that there is merit - reward, even - in commitment, responsibility, moderation, and self-control. I can't just say "fuck it." I don't get to be young and stupid anymore. In one sense, I kind of mourn that - like growing up means giving up. Growing old. But change doesn't have to be negative, and not all loss is painful. I'm trying to believe this, even though things really suck right now. (Feeling sad and angry now. Is that progress?)

But as one friend put it to me recently (thank you, J), you change from one moment to the next - you don't mourn the loss of yourself from five minutes ago. So in mourning for Mike, we keep him close by remembering him. We can miss him but we must still find a way to keep going. It's what's supposed to be done, even though it hurts so much to even think it.

I can't afford to stay frozen, incapable of doing anything. Inaction - being able to do something, but unable or rather unwilling to act, which is itself a choice - is like a living death. To live is to act: to think, to choose - but also to do.

De-blogging

Time to get a life -- pioneer blogger Justin Hall bows out at 31 [SF Chronicle, 2/20/05] - Story about the blogger behind links.net who's decided to step away from the keyboard, at least for a while.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:54 PM | Blogos | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)

February 23, 2005

Catching a Break

In the last 48 hours:

Did some cleanup on Mike's blog. Damn comment spam. But it's good to be useful.

Met up with Holly & Cassie for sushi and cocktails. Several pastel-colored martinis and a pint of cider later, and yours truly was a bit of a blubbery mess. I vaguely remember walking at an angle and falling into bed. Still woke up way too early. Clearly am not drinking enough.

Tonight, Marco and Wayne came over with Chinese takeout and we caught the Project Runway finale. One of my girlfriends called and I was in the kitchen, chatting away, when I looked out through the back door. I'd started setting out some cat food, only to find some other cat nibbling away. I registered that there was a cat, and then saw a familiar tabby pattern. Astonished, I told my friend to hang on a moment, and opened the door warily.

Tabitha was too busy eating to run away. I snatched her up, brought her inside and yelled "I got her!" The damn cat strolled around blithely, as if to say "Hey everybody, how's it going?" Tonight it's been pouring and wintry temps are soon to return, so I am much relieved. It won't happen again, but someone needs a collar with a tag, pronto.

Someone else is unhappy. It's only been about five, six days, but Ginger is clearly disappointed. She's been hissing and emitting low, strangled growls whenever she sees Tabitha. Poor dear - she was the good cat and stayed inside, and now she loses her only-cat status. She's gotten some catnip for her trouble.

February 24, 2005

Try a Little Cheekiness

WARNING: This is a completely frivolous post. Racy content and exceedingly bad musical taste directly to follow. As in IMMEDIATELY. So just spare yourself, now. As for the rest of you, whoever's still reading...I did warn you.

Sordid scribblings after the jump. (That would be the link below, for those of us, such as myself, still new to such phrasing.)

One of the sillier moments, of which there were many, during my road trip was hearing some random stuff on Marco's iPod, including a lounge-lizard version of that 80's classic "Baby Got Back." If memory serves, I believe I've posted about the song before. Ah yes, here. I must get hold of it, but in the meantime, here's a preview, performed by (oh dear) Richard Cheese. (right-click, save as)

Another moment I recall was when a bunch of us went out to Mellow Mushroom the evening after our wedding. Marco and I sat in the backseat, stunned, when Scott and his best man knew ALL OF THE WORDS when the song - the original version - came on the radio. That was a definite sidesplitting moment.

Such tender memories were called to mind because I'd gotten an email newsletter about the video premiere party for Bubbles, the "butt boosting lingerie." Their site includes a "Baby Got Feedback" page including comments from happy customers.

The party is tonight at Bazzaar (654 Peachtree Street, at the corner of Peachtree and Ponce de Leon, 404.885.7505), if anyone is compelled to go. I am perhaps a little curious, I confess. I don't know that I want to walk around worried that people are judging my state of sag, though.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:55 PM | Music , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

February 26, 2005

Sortie

Friday: One automobile, two planes, one bus, and one subway ride later I was in Central Park, walking through The Gates. I loved all of it - the saffron, the play of light and texture, the ruffles and ripples as the wind caught the fabric. The reflections on the water. The changes in topography and how the gates widened or narrowed depending on the path. Sometimes I saw the larger scale - gates gates and more gates. Sometimes it was just one gate, and I would look at the cloth rippling and rustling against the blue of the sky and the dark outlines of branches.

Walking through the park in this context, the experience was more like a journey, maybe even pilgrimage. I found myself really living in the moment, taking time to slow down, to look up, to pause, to think. Some moments were breathtaking, others were more prosaic. Sometimes I watched as people experienced the Gates, talking and taking pictures. One interesting comment I overheard: Wouldn't it be great if they could somehow gift-wrap the entire park?

Other moments were harder. I wasn't supposed to be here, after all. Waves of saffron seemed to blur and swim together, mixing with everything else around me as my thoughts turned inward. Then I'd remember to breathe, and the world began to look normal again.

Eventually I headed down to the Overlook, for my relatively last-minute decision to hang out with New York bloggers/friends. Mike probably would have disliked being the focus of attention. It's ironic that the bar of choice wouldn't have been accessible to him, there being a step up into the bar, and a step up in the back by the pool table, where we ended up congregating.

At first we seemed to be scattered. Thank goodness for cell phones, so I could tell Steph and Jonathan where to find me. Daniella and John showed up, and by then we'd run into Christine and Keith, Steve Silver and his girlfriend, as well as Matthew, who also flew in to be amongst those of us who knew his brother. Daniella supplied name tags, so when I next went up to the bar for a refill, the bartender read my tag and presented my drink with a flourish to "milady" - and a very nice man wouldn't let me pay for it, especially once he learned why we bloggers had gotten together.

I made the effort to mingle. So I chatted with Kambri and Brian the 646 Guy, and met Laren, who writes food entries over at Gothamist and has her own site as well. She's a big fan of Elvis Costello; Mike would have liked meeting her. Eventually caught up with Paul Frankenstein, met the wonderful Linus, and wended my way back to Stephanie and Jonathan and John and Daniella (who has a more coherent writeup and pictures as well). Somehow I don't look as puffy-eyed and red-nosed and snotty as I thought I would. But mostly I managed to maintain good spirits, better than they have been. It definitely helped to be among mutual friends.

As much as it's great to connect with people through email, through the blog, through the phone - none of these can substitute for being with people, in person, so you can see them and talk to them and hug each other and make each other laugh even though you were feeling awful just a minute before.

Afterwards a few of us cabbed it to downtown for some a late dinner, and then later, having had some lovely dessert wine, I was asleep in the guest room at John and Daniella's, surrounded by sweet, pudgy cats.

Today: More planes, then straight to a casual dinner party with Scott upon arrival. Again, I had to work on being in the moment, on making the effort to talk to people when I felt boring and shy. But the evening turned out okay. The sight of so many toddlers brought by other guests probably exhausted me more than the whirlwind pace of my trip.

Pretty worn out. Eventually the hectic pace will end and I will have to get back to the routine, to the everyday business of living. It's something I look forward to, but I'm also afraid of it. But there's nothing to be done, except to keep going.

February 28, 2005

Oscar night

I watch the Academy Awards for the fashion, for the parlor game of trying to pick the winners. So many factors go into the awards beyond the actual merit of a film or an actor, so I try not to get too invested in the final decision. It's not like I voted, after all, except with my money as a consumer. I haven't even seen all of the nominees for Best Picture.

Of the awards I did care about, I'm so glad that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind won for Original Screenplay and that Sideways won for Adapted Screenplay. I would have loved to see Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine) or Annette Bening (Being Julia) win Best Actress. And although it's great that Cate Blanchett won for her wonderful turn as Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator (the Academy adores roles like that), my pick would have been Virginia Madsen in Sideways.

Other random impressions:

Being the Oscar host is a thankless job. I feel bad for Chris Rock. Sometimes it was funny...and sometimes not.

Renee Zellweger - stick insect again. Hair is too dark; she looks drawn and sickly.

Antonio Banderas - hey, he can sing!

Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz - beautiful, gorgeous, but listening to them read off the teleprompter was tedious.

Somebody really cracked the whip on the length of acceptance speeches. When even the major award winners have to fight for time, it's pretty tough.

Most charming speech - Jorge Drexler, winner for Original Song, sang a verse in Spanish

Jake Gyllenhaal - babe, WHERE is your hair? His date, sister Maggie, looked pretty cute on the carpet, instead of uber-edgy and odd.

Kirsten Dunst - her brother was her date. (Yes, I still feel a twinge not to see her so adorably paired with the dreamy-eyed Jake, but movie stars do have to sort out their romantic lives too.) Adorable bob, gorgeous dress. Her brother could stand to get a haircut.

Scarlett Johansson - loved her dress. Loved the diamonds in her hair. Seeing her talk to the vapid Star Jones on E's Oscar preshow only highlighted the gaudiness of Star's outfit.

Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet - gorgeous, gorgeous.

Johnny Depp - does interesting work, but the man takes quirky too far. He would look so good in a simple, classic suit or tux.

Clive Owen - Yum. Yum. Yum.

Motherhood has been a great boon for the decolletage of moms like Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Halle Berry - gorgeous, classy and composed, especially after Chris Rock's dig about Catwoman 2.

Yours, &c., LC at 06:46 AM | Film/TV | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)