June 02, 2005
Devoid of Content [NYT] Suitably apropos is a recent guest op-ed by Stanley Fish, in which he describes assigning his students to invent their own language.
I once did a project in which I discussed how several fantasy/sci-fi authors introduced their readers to "foreign" words - language that was foreign to the reader, and usually to one of the characters. I was interested in studying how the authors went about revealing the nature and function of such words in the course of the narrative.
This is Your Brain on Dangerous Ideas
Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries This list probably should be cross-referenced with the American Library Association's list of Most Banned Books.
June 03, 2005
Mike's site is down temporarily. I've been working on setting up a backup location, which I hope to have up by tonight. If you'd like to be notified when it's ready, please leave a comment with your email address or send me an email directly.
Does anyone have...?
A file called MT-2.63-full-lib.tar.gz or even the regular zipped version? I'd like to create an MT 2.63 installation and then upgrade it accordingly. Unfortunately I don't have my original installation file anymore. I've put a request at MT's support forum and also on my host, just in case somebody there can help.
If all this is just sounds like a bunch of techno-gibberish, then kindly disregard.
June 04, 2005
There are some things that I still need to fix, but it's basically up now. The original location will be restored as soon as we are able.
June 05, 2005
New Yorker digital archive
80 Years of The New Yorker to Be Offered in Disc Form [NYT] For those who hoard their back issues in the event they'll "get around" to reading them, this DVD-ROM set could be a godsend.
June 06, 2005
At work there's an electronic bulletin board where people can post "for sale" messages. Usually there's something about Tupperware or Girl Scout Cookies or some furniture. Today I spotted a notice offering, at a slight discount, a double-depth crypt at the Garden of Resurrection.
June 08, 2005
Tori Amos recently covered Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head" at a concert in Australia. Check it out here.
Kirsten tagged me with this music meme, so voila!
The last CD I bought:
I went to Tower Records to get the new Coldplay album, X&Y. But I also came out with used copies of Finally We Are No One (múm), #447 (Marshall Crenshaw), Set Yourself on Fire (Stars), Universal Audio (The Delgados), The Virgin Suicides soundtrack, and Funeral (Arcade Fire). And those were just my selections.
Unless I somehow score free tickets, methinks I shall pass on going to Music Midtown.
Song (CD) playing now:
The Proclaimers' cover of "Five O'Clock World", from the album Born Innocent. I like it, although I prefer the version by The Vogues. My favorite bit? The yodeling. Oh how I love the yodeling. O-de-lay-ee-EEE-ee-ee-YEAH... (And yes, I'm yodeling, albeit quietly, at my desk.)
Five songs I listen to a lot or that mean a lot to me:
"Waiting" - Matthew Sweet. - Did you ever used to spin around and around to make yourself dizzy, until you fell down and the world kept on spinning? This song does that for me. When Sweet sings "I didn't think I'd find you / Perfect in so many ways / But I've been waiting (waiting) / And I want to have you" I get that shiny happy dizzy feeling - and at the same time a lump in my throat.
"Cynical Girl" - Marshall Crenshaw - My new old favorite. The perfect pop love song that in the end is more sweet than bitter. Effortlessly brilliant.
"Hyacinth" - Tim Finn - From the album Big Canoe. This may be a bit overwrought, but I love this song anyway. It's lush and shimmery and makes me imagine big desert spaces at sunset as Tim sings to the woman he loves, asking her to let him be her hero.
"Weather With You" - Crowded House - The opening riff of this song sounds vaguely Egyptian, maybe even sitar-like. I never hear this without feeling a surge of happiness. It's a musical vacation.
"World Before Columbus" - Suzanne Vega - In this the singer contemplates a world without her lover, in which "all the colors would be black and white." The riches sought by the explorers don't compare to the treasure of her love's presence: "they'll never know the gold or the copper in your hair." The song is both lush and spare, and it's a beautiful, heartbreaking piece.
Three people I will tag: You, you and you!
June 13, 2005
Dangerrrr: cats could alter your personality [The Sunday Times] I read this with great disbelief, even though it's written by the science editor of The Times. Apparently many cats carry a parasite called toxoplasma gondii, and it can be passed on to people, eventually reaching the brain. There seem to be differing effects on men and women infected by toxoplasma:
Infected men, suggests one new study, tend to become more aggressive, scruffy, antisocial and are less attractive. Women, on the other hand, appear to exhibit the "sex kitten" effect, becoming less trustworthy, more desirable, fun-loving and possibly more promiscuous.
The article goes on to mention that the research was sponsored by the Stanley Research Medical Institute, a U.S. non-profit organization which has "already published research showing that people infected with the toxoplasma parasite are at greater risk of developing schizophrenia and manic depression."
Today is the birthday of Mr. Arkadin. Happy birthday, sweetie.
June 14, 2005
Recent Austen Scholarship
In Love with Jane (Diane Johnson, The New York Review of Books, v. 52, no. 11, June 23, 2005) - Johnson, author of such works as Le Divorce, reviews some of the recent scholarship on Jane Austen.
Legal Guide for Bloggers
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) provides a legal guide for bloggers that's worth reading.
June 15, 2005
Battle of the Cartoon Bands
The Onion A.V. Club surveys the cartoon music universe. You bet Jem kicks Barbie's plastic ass.
June 16, 2005
I was going to leave a comment elsewhere:
I'm trying to learn the difference between when a person just wants to bitch and moan - whine whine whine while you listen - and when a person actually wants some advice or encouragement. But I'm no longer friends with the person who does this. She'll have to find other people who will tolerate her hand-wringing and her lack of willpower to do anything about her problems.And then I realized that this very thing could be said, perhaps more accurately, about me.
I didn't post the comment, but it's here as a reminder that I shouldn't be so quick to judge when my own glass house needs to be put in order. I'm not going to condemn myself and remain stuck, frozen in blame, in self-recrimination. I'm pursuing improvement behind the scenes. It's slow going, but it's happening. It's necessary to believe in yourself, because sometimes that's the only support system you'll have. And while that may not be the case typically, it's still something to keep in mind.
June 17, 2005
Q: What's the magic word? A: NOW!
Somewhere beneath the covers: "Ok, ok. Just give me three minutes, ok?"
Two minutes later... "MRRROW! MRRROW!"
"Wha...?" Looking at the clock. "Arrrgh."
Seven minutes later...
"MRRROW! MRRROW! MRRROW!" Insistent, persistent, high-pitched feline whining. Flinging back the covers, I erupt from the bed to feed the cats.
Stay tuned for this evening's performance, wherein your heroine must battle these lovable fat furballs for some pillow real estate.
What to do, what to do
I am on my own this weekend, Mr. Arkadin having gone off on a manly man trip with some college friends. They will be manly men going whitewater rafting, bonding over beer, probably being smelly and unshaven together.
There are things I should do, like wash those dishes in the sink. Get a start on filing my personal papers. Put away laundry. Figure out how to run telephone wire along the baseboards and doorframes to the computer which has been moved across the living room, away from the telephone jack. (No, not very wise, but there was a better place for my computer desk.) Pack up stuff to take to goodwill.
Then there are things I want to do. I have dvd rentals at home of Calendar Girls, Vanity Fair, and Wives & Daughters. I could have my own British movie marathon. I need to get a travel guide for my upcoming trip to San Francisco. I have that book I need to finish for my book group. Maybe meet a friend for coffee or a movie, if I can (cough, cough) interest anybody in going out.
We'll see what happens. First, though, I'm off to get something decadent for dinner.
June 20, 2005
95-year-old dashes to world best: "TOKYO (Reuters) - A 95-year-old Japanese man shattered the 100 meters world record in the 95-99 age group at a seniors athletics meeting Sunday, organizers said."
June 21, 2005
Household Reference for the Inept Domestic Goddess
Something useful, hurrah!
which began early...
Friday night: Made a Whole Foods run before settling in to watch Calendar Girls. Garlic & chive hummus, sour cream & onion Kettle Chips, a liter of fizzy water, and a bit of spinach salad with gorgonzola. Oh, and a pint of some soy-based ice cream. It wasn't until the credits that I realized that the man who played Helen Mirren's husband was Ciaran Hinds(!?!). Captain Wentworth has gone all jovial and jowly and generally shapeless. *sigh*
Saturday: Tried to sleep in, but the cats insisted on being fed. (This includes the gray one outside, who knows the feeding schedule now.) Have been in nesting mode lately. Last weekend we rearranged the living room to better suit the loveseat/ottoman. Got caught up in a few episodes of Trading Spaces, then I went out and picked up a small desk and chair - my second Craigslist find. Another nice girl with a very helpful boyfriend helped me load it up in the Saturn.
One of the TS episodes mentioned that it was bad feng shui to have your back to the window, so I started rearranging the bedroom. Something I've picked up from my parents is to make sure that the head of your bed points east or north, never west or south. Those latter compass points are reserved for the dead. Maybe it doesn't mean anything really, but I feel better for doing it. Using towels and some padded plastic discs, I moved the bed and the dressers about the hardwood floor, kicking up dust and cat hair. I had to stop every so often just to sweep.
Eventually I had to stop the bustling and met up with some old and new friends for Thai food at Ma Li. We then did drinks at Mary's in East Atlanta to kill some time before heading over to our ultimate activity, seeing the band Hope for a Golden Summer over at eyedrum. Mary's happens to be a gay bar, and they have karaoke. Wayne got up to sing a couple of songs; the rest of us had absolutely no inclination. Or so I thought.
I flipped through the binder of songs out of curiosity (lots of Elton John, but only three Kylie songs and two Erasure songs?). There was a large Madonna selection, and while I looked over the list I suddenly felt jittery. What if I got up to sing? No way, I could never do this. Then a new, opposite thought: I should do this, just because it scares me. I filled out a paper slip as Lady Crumpet and waited distractedly for my name to be called. We were hanging out on an upper balcony, so I could see quite clearly that the bar had gotten quite crowded with its usual clientele.
After a few songs from other people, they called my name. My friends cheered me on as I clapped my hands to my ears and slouched over, walking downstairs to the lower level of the bar. I took a microphone off one of the stands and suddenly felt very small and close, too close to the crowd. "'Angel' in the style of Madonna" appeared on the screen. Oh god, I'm in a gay bar and I'm about to sing a Madonna song. I haven't even heard the song in forever, what am I doing here? My friends stood at the top of the stairs but I couldn't look at them, or anyone. I stared at the screen and waited for the music to start.
Why am I standing on a cloud
Every time you're around
And my sadness disappears
Every time you are near...
At first I wasn't sure the mike was working, because I couldn't hear myself. So I just kept singing and hoped for the best. In junior high my friends and I kept lyric books for our favorite songs and I just LOVED Madonna. I remembered how the song went.
Oooh, you're an angel (3x)
I can see it in your eyes
Without thinking, I started to sway in time to the music. I saw someone dancing. Finally, home stretch. Final verse, repeat chorus until end. I sang, pretending that no one else was in the room.
Now I believe that dreams come true
'Cause you came when I wished for you
This just can't be coincidence
The only way that this makes sense is that
Oooh you're an angel...
The song ended. There was friendly applause. Shyly I rejoined my friends, who told me they didn't know I could sing. I did pick a Madonna song, though, which is a good choice for doing karaoke for the first time.
We swooped out of the bar and went on to eyedrum, a multipurpose art space. It was midnight and the fashion show was still ongoing. We ran into the band and Wayne introduced us. They told us about their first tour, which went really well. In New York they weren't even headlining and the crowd asked for an encore, and the stage manager let them do one more song. An hour later the band finally got to play.
It's hard to explain the sound of Hope for a Golden Summer. It's really striking, raw folk-art music, with unusual percussion (like empty Coke bottles) and instruments like accordion, cello and one of those musical saws. The harmonies of the sisters, who trade off on vocals, is just wonderful. The music is haunting and gorgeous. They've got some mp3s on their site - check them out!
After dropping off one of our party, crawled into bed around 3 am.
Sunday: Slept in, despite cats. Introduced my friends Tessa and Dave to the miracle of brunch at the Flying Biscuit. Thankfully the cheese grits did right by them, and all was good. Then it was more nest-shopping - a trip to Lowe's and Target, followed by more furniture moving at home, until it was time to pick up Mr. Arkadin at the airport, who arrived just in time for dinner.
June 22, 2005
Checking my dignity at the door
While the gray cat was busy eating last night, I quickly stuck my hand under its tail and felt around.
I think it's a boy.
June 23, 2005
Whatever will be.
Books Stir Discussion on Lost Friendship [AP] "Friendships blow up and fade out all the time. Sometimes it's a fight. And life changes - a move, a marriage, a baby - can get in the way. Then there are those times when you just look at your friend and realize you don't really have much in common anymore...."
The Friend Who Got Away The book's official site also has a blog which accepts submissions of links and personal stories on this topic.
I've read some eloquent takes on this subject. It's been on my mind of late, try as I may to stop dwelling on the loss of a girlfriend. Things are different than this time last year. I still feel sad, but there's little point in hanging on. There are things I should have, could have done, but I didn't. At the same time I don't shoulder all the blame for what went wrong. Hopefully I've learned enough not to make the same mistakes. Now I am more resolved to be the kind of person people like to be around, and to surround myself with such people as well.
The other night I was on the phone with one of my oldest girlfriends, talking about how the end of a friendship can hurt as much as a breakup. There was a time when we had our own falling out. She had written me a Dear Jane letter. Instead of letting it go, I called her up and we settled our differences. (Many tears were shed.) We are different friends than we used to be, but there has to be room for each person to grow. We're no longer the same people we once were. Thankfully we are still in each other's lives and we can talk to each other about things both important and frivolous.
At Home with Sandy Lerner
All That Glitters Is Not Silicon [NYT] A profile of Sandy Lerner and her Virginia estate. A founder of Cisco Systems, she also greatly esteems Jane Austen, and to some of us is better known for her work in establishing the Chawton House Library and Study Centre.
June 24, 2005
The first story is tragic. The second story makes me really angry.
When I was little we lived in Queens in an apartment next to a old woman who always wore a sour, pinched expression and who often stank of cigarettes. She would bang on the walls when she thought there was too much noise coming from our apartment - which, true, did have three rambunctious little kids. Our mom was good about making us behave. But still the woman would bang the wall, and never acknowledge us if we happened to ride the elevator together. In private we called her the Cockroach Lady.
June 27, 2005
Several enjoyable late nights in a row, with more social outings this week. Somehow I'll fit in chores and errands. Highlights:
Meeting up for drinks, followed by Land of the Dead with Mr. Arkadin, messages from the ether and friends. I had a few good sips of a tasty coffee mixed with several liqueurs, then proceeded to knock it across the table. *sigh* Movie was followed by a nightcap at Bucket Shop.
Brunch at Highland Bakery - I really love their toast. However, I don't think I really like soysage, but I'll continue to explore vegetarian options.
Wimbledon coverage. Watched the Roddick-Andreev and Sharapova-Srebotnik matches. I am not a mellow tennis fan; I love the game, but I watch anxiously and find it hard to contain myself. I would love to attend a match at Centre Court someday.
A serendipitous Peruvian dinner, followed by four six-packs of assorted brews (no we didn't finish all of them), and hours of spirited conversation with friends Tessa and Dave. I also tormented their alternately sweet/wild cat with relentless affection. We sampled homemade pickles, and I was surprised with a lovely handmade necklace that Tessa thought suited me better. (I love it, thank you again!) I also got to hold a gorgeous parlor-sized guitar and I learned two chords, A and E. Apparently my childhood longing to play guitar has been teased to the surface.
Brunch with the LTR at the Biscuit, followed by Batman Begins. Excellent. Highly recommended.
June 28, 2005
I went out for tapas last night with a few women. For dessert, we split a chocolate flan creme brulee, as well as bits ("nibs" according to the menu) of chocolate shortbread in which fois gras was used instead of butter in the recipe. Tasty, but butter would've been just fine.
One of the gals just turned 30. Her boyfriend gave her a car for her birthday - a Lexus SUV. The rest of us were agog, especially when we went out into the parking lot to check it out. The remote controls for the power windows and the back door elicited oohs and aahs. But she's not materialistic - she was totally surprised by the gift. Couldn't have happened to a nicer person.
I got a set of wheels for my last birthday, too. This summer, I plan to break them in.
June 29, 2005
*He is the first Linus of my acquaintance, which delights me greatly.
The Pot and the Kettle
I haven't lost my clout, Bush says [Seattle Times] Trailing the play on this news. Oh the layers of absurdity:
In what has become a monthly session with reporters, Bush said an Amnesty International report condemning the U.S. treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was "absurd."
"It seemed to me they based some of their decisions on the word of - and the allegations - by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble - that means not tell the truth," Bush said. He appeared to have intended to use the word "dissemble." [Emphasis added]
Bush disassembles English language, again [BoingBoing]
This isn't amusing - it's depressing.
I don't hate my job. Life's better. I could use a break, though.
June 30, 2005
Casa di Libri
How I'd love to live here.