Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Stuff

This weekend's artistic endeavor... and Henry. Who is often just exhausted by life. And a short moment in the life of a long cat fight (video below) Larger images here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Sometimes it's better to post something than nothing at all. So this will be just to update the record. Saw Al DiMeola at the Blue Note last week with C. Great music, awful crowd: tourists and talkers and a severe lack of enthusiasm. Note to self: only tourists go to late concerts on a Sunday night.

Interesting articles in The Atlantic Monthly: About Facebook and If Sonny Bono Weren't Dead I'd Kill Him.

My friend and colleague A. tells me my blog pic makes me look "haggard." Well, too bad.

Do not buy flowers through 800 Flowers. I ordered my mother some for her birthday and she candidly told me they looked funereal. Great! So I told 800 Flowers I wanted to replace them and 2 days (!) later another sad bouquet arrived. I doubt they were the dozen "Peruvian lillies" I had ordered.

It's raining. Which is great, as I love rainy days but damnit not when I have a gazillion errands to run. Sigh. There. Done.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Damn That Man... and Tickemaster

Damn, that man has a voice. I'm talking about author/pundit Christopher Hitchens, with whom I (and many) don't always agree, but a sentence like this:

Having assumed the title of this very slight novel to be drawn from the famous stage direction in Hamlet, I was quite braced for some Rothian reflections on the Oedipal, with plenty of reluctant and dutiful visits to wheezed-out Jewish fathers in the wilderness of postindustrial New Jersey, and to the grisly wives and mothers who had drained them dry and made them into husks. -- "Zuckerman Undone," Atlantic Monthly, October 2007.

Well. You can just hear his British accent and imperious sniff between phrases and see his hands steepling thoughtfully, regretfully, in front of his impassive visage. His review of Philip Roth's new novel skewers the book. Ouch. I'll still read it, of course.

... Bought tickets to the New Yorker Festival: both readings with Junot Diaz and Annie Proulx and a conversation with Seymour M. Hersh interviewing David Remnick. Should be good brain food if not entertaining. Cannot believe the service fees that Ticketmaster charges. Ouch! Damn them too.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


The only cure for writer's block -- for me, anyway -- is art. Creating art. Even if it's not-so-good art. For starters, I've begun my new series, Patterns. There will be a new installment each year. Or possibly each season. Essentially, the squares are patterns curently in my life -- my notebook, my mouse rug; my skirt, my shirt, my shopping bag, a bas-relief on my wall, a fancy shoe, a plant, detail from a discarded earing-collection immortalized in plaster of Paris (writer's block project from 2002). Larger view.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

It was a dark and stormy night.

There are certain childhood books that so thoroughly involve and transport that they become part of your later-life psyche, allowing you to drift back in time (or forward, as the case may be) to worlds of infinite possibility. Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time was one of those books for me. Sadly, Ms. L'Engle has died... or possibly been whisked away by a tesseract.

Things I just learned about her today:

Her most famous (and Newbery Prize-winning) book was rejected 26 times before Farrar, Straus and Giroux saw its genius. She dabbled in acting in New York City... and was later married to Dr. Charles Tyler (from All My Children soap), also known as Hugh Franklin. The two bought and ran a general store in Goshen, Connecticut.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


I will never be a television critic. I feel sordid just dwelling on the fact that I watch so much the small amount I do. Of course, those who know me know I only watch PBS and the Philosophy Channel. Just kidding. That felt good. And no, there is no Philosophy Channel (why? why?!). P. (a snob) asked me recently what I watched these days.

Current addictions: Weeds (always surprising, occasionally hilarious, and I'd watch anything starring Mary-Louise Parker), Curb Your Enthusiasm, Damages (relatively clever intrigue with Glenn Close and Ted Danson), Rescue Me (soo new yawk), any cooking-oriented reality show, Entourage. I tried Californication and really enjoyed it but I'm from New England and I think that's the one that made me feel sordid.

The trouble with cable is a) you have to remember what channel the shows are on, if you're hamstrung with TWC's lame DVR and b) the associated websites seemed designed to confuse and make sure you'll never know when the next new episode is on. Sigh.

Conspiracy theory filter... Fact: The "good" shows are almost universally now on at 10 pm. Fact: The people who watch them are supposedly "educated," from blue states and on average work the white-collar 9-to-5. Fact: The shows that are made of cotton candy -- if not FOX-created propaganda -- and which melt the mind and alter the sensibilities of millions of Americans every day are on early prime time (we won't speak of daytime tv). Fact: It's a scientifically proven fact that lack of sleep can lead to permanent brain damage (I'll find a source on this right away). You do the math. Rupert Murdoch wants to make us stupid and pliable. Ok, more stupid and pliable. Tell me it doesn't seem to be working. Of course, this theory only works if the cable programmers are in on the game. Who knows? I'm too tired to figure it out.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Let's Call It the End of Summer

5:00 pm on Labor Day, 2007. I spent the day bizarrely cleaning my house. By bizarre I mean fanatically: tackling first the scary tangle of wires, surge protectors and routers under my desk. And the gazillion dust mice and miscellaneous detritus caught up in it. I found: 3 unused telephone wires (one connected from the wall to... nowhere. Hello? Can you hear me now?); one unused power supply (connected from the wall to... nowhere); three ethernet cables and about $400 in quarters and Italian lira. Go figure.

I tried to figure out why I spent half of my last day of vacation doing this. A little self-analysis can go a long way and I finally connected to a conversation with C. over the weekend. We had talked about where to live, if we are "going forward," and California came up. I honestly think my cleaning was a way to dip a toe in the water of (gulp) moving from my little hovel after so many years. Sure - Cali. No problem. Of course, the circumstances under which this could be possible would include C. moving there first and finding a highly affordable 2-bedroom in a cool SF or Santa Monica community (the two places in CA where I've got the public transportation down pat.

Speaking of death (oops, I wasn't, but cleaning out from under my desk made me feel like I was "getting my affairs in order," as they say, plus I'm reading Christopher Moore's hilarous A Dirty Job, all about the humorous side of death). It made me think of the three times (that I know of!) I was close to death: the spider bite and 105 degree temperature in Paris last year; up on the suspension cables of the Brooklyn Bridge in the early 90s; and when I slipped under the front wheels of a white van on a steep hill in a strangely snowy San Francisco when I lived there. Dodging death seems to be one of my strengths, and maybe it's because I've never really dealt with it except for poor MeMe (my first personal cat, RIP) who died right in front of me a few months ago. 4.5 grandparents and nary a funeral for me, though they're all gone now. I wasn't purposely avoiding their funerals, just happened to always be too far way. One memorial service this summer but that was outside, in the sunlight, surrounded by my born-again relatives -- and that's it. I wonder what they call it when a born-again calls it quits on the whole religion thing: died-again? Hm. Must research.

Anyway, back from the gym (day 5!) and still sweating in 82 degree humidity, end of summer notwithstanding. I've embraced the gym wholeheartedly (another way of cheating death?) and have lost 4 pounds already. Not working for more than 10 days definitely agrees with me. I'm pretty sure I've completely forgotten how. Which may work out well when I'm fired for general laziness and have no reason not to move to California. Or Kentucky. Or Paris.

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