Tuesday, August 17, 2010

cause... effect

I know that this is not actually funny. But the headline makes me laugh.

The thing about working at home is that you can take a break and draw a picture when you think you might go crazy.

The thing about working at home is that you're all alone when the deadlines come hunting.

Back to work.

Friday, August 13, 2010

bears repeating

"He causes the release of oxytocin in anyone who returns his loving gaze." (quality soundbite from NatGeo, source of sensationalized "science"... did you see the piece about the tree-man? Made me lose my appetite, which is a rare and grave occurrence.)

"Never break up with someone on an invention." (sturdy piece of advice from Classy by Derek Blasberg, a guide on how to not be a bitch told in the bitchiest way possible.)

"If your life had a face, I would punch it." (from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a movie that I'm having a hard time deciding whether or not I liked.)

Acaciae quodammodo accedens, Myrobalano chebulo Veslingii similis arbor Americana spinosa, foliis ceratoniae in pediculo geminatis, siliqua bivalvi compressa corniculata seu cochlearum vel arietinorum cornuum in modum incurvata, sive Unguis cati. (or, why we needed Carl Linnaeus, as noted in Naming Nature by Carol Yoon.)
I've known Logan for years. We met almost a decade (a decade!) ago at a ballet program in Boston and at first he thought I didn't like him and I thought he didn't like me, though we eventually cleared that up and have been friends ever since. He lives in Florida now and we see each other only a few times a year, in the summer and in the winter.

Today, we talked for hours and played the Wii and went to see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and looked at magazines and acted like children at the end of summer with nothing to do in the world. I feel funny when I see someone I've been friends with for years on an irregular basis because I'm in such a habit of considering them in a certain way, that it's shocking when a moment comes along that makes me realize that they're different. They have this enormous iceberg of a life that I'm mostly unaware of (because I'm sometimes rubbish at staying in touch), and while Logan is still my wonderful, charming, silly, endearing friend, he's also, just a little, someone else, and glimpsing that other person is both strange and really, really cool.


She resides in a park in Montreal, which is one of my favorite cities in North America. Two months in the depth of winter and you know you like it more than passing flirtation can account for. The reason I like her is that she seems less like an angel and more like a girl with wings.

I don't think I told you about this man, this violinist, who used to play music on the street, in the snow. It was so cold that the air held onto everything and the sound of his violin dropped into your ears and sliced them open.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

july/august reading

Monsters of Men
by: Patrick Ness

Still not as good as the first book, but a crackling, snapping, violent, and heartbreaking read.

by: Rachel Ward

If you looking at a person in the eyes made you see the date of their death hovering somewhere in your head, how would that make you feel?

Fast Forward 1
Edited by: Lou Anders

Science fiction: bite-sized, numerous, varied.

The Rise of Renegade X
by: Chelsea M. Campbell

Romp through the teenage lives of superheros/villains, which turns out to have a lot in common with the teenage lives of normal people.

Oryx & Crake
by: Margaret Atwood

The world is messed up by people who are messed up, and in the midst of all the shiny bells and whistles, the luminous, giant bunnies and self-propelled myths, what is the thing that really gets you in the gut? That would be the reduction of the world to interactions of two. Brilliant and disturbing to a totally distracting degree.

Monday, August 9, 2010

you & me

I was going to write a novel this summer, because I figured, why not? (I do many things on the basis of the idea that there's no reason not to. It's not the most practical of arguments.) It (this theoretical novel) was going to be about a girl who was sort of, but not really, a werewolf.

And then summer turned out to be busier than expected and I'm going out of town (on a poorly organized, but hopefully wonderful adventure to Germany and England to visit some of the most glorious people I know), so a novel hasn't been written. But, suddenly, I've got this idea, this other idea, and it won't go away.

Yeah, I know, that was a totally enlightening thing to say. Dime a dozen. Wishes, horses. This is the part where you say, "And?"

And this is the part where I say, "well, I haven't really gotten past that, but, you know... why not?"

As a small and grumpy sidenote: I spent my entire Sunday staring at the computer screen and doing editorial work. My eyeballs feel unpleasantly sticky. I completely failed to arrange necessary transportation between two German cities and various English ones. I did not buy an outlet converter thing. I feel I must look like Quasimodo. But! I've been listening to a totally awesome song. "Boat" by The Shivers. I can't decide whether finding a love worthy song makes up for a rat-wheel sort of day. It's a toss-up.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

judge vaughn r. walker, you rock

“Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects."
- Griswold v. Connecticut

"The evidence shows that, by every available metric, opposite-sex couples are not better than their same-sex counterparts; instead, as partners, parents and citizens, opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples are equal."
-Perry v. Schwarzenegger

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

blue suede shoes

Today, I went for lunch with the lovely Heather, who will soon depart for Boston and begin saving the world (and how I will miss her!). We ate seriously awesome Greek food (best pita bread I've ever had... I could have eaten a bucket load). We chattered our little hearts out. Heather sent me home with The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science. I test drove my new shoes, which I had to buy because they are, literally, blue suede shoes (and having an Elvis song running through your head while wearing 4-inch high heels strikes me as irresistibly hilarious).

All of which made me think about the unexpected things (and extraordinary people, I count myself terribly lucky in that regard) that lead up to the current moment, all of them strung so neatly together that you don't register the geography you've travelled to get there. For example:

stories --> Clarion --> Neil --> Mike --> Heather --> Eric --> science --> stories

And the stories at the beginning and the stories now are so very different that I feel like the map of my imagination has gained a multitude of contour lines. Which maybe makes me sound like a self-absorbed dingbat (where are your crystals? your dreamcatchers? your incense and candlewax?), but I've always thought that the most luxurious side-effect of having people who you admire, enjoy, and adore, even momentarily, is the way they change your perception of the world.

(and, maybe the map isn't the territory, but it's certainly close enough to count.)

(end: maudlin sentiment)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

music (in my ears)

I've had my eye out for some good music because I'm not fond of air travel, and when I climb onto an airplane in a few weeks, I want something to drown my ears in. I'm really fascinated by Dark Night of the Soul (think: David Lynch + Sparklehorse + Danger Mouse) because it's strange and because it's title makes me think, not of Catholic mystics, but of Douglas Adams. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul is one of my favorite titles, ever.

I'm also listening to Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele. "High and Dry" is gorgeous. I think I missed the initial boat on the Radiohead craze, though I remember that my roommate on the first summer I went away from home alternated between bouts of Radiohead and bouts of the Smashing Pumpkins played at volumes so high that I felt like our dorm room was a shivering gondola hurtling through the city's fog.


It's funny. I've known so many people who have an intense memory for music. It's like the songs are a card catalogue, and on each one is written a memory, compactly and stealthily stored for future resurrection, momentary resuscitation. I find myself lacking in this particular skill of nostalgia. I don't remember the first song I danced with a boy to. I don't remember the first piece I learned on the piano. I don't have songs that dredge up kisses or birthday parties or miseries or joys. I could (theoretically) still dance for you the Bluebird Pas de Deux (the first real and glittering classical partnering piece I ever did), but hearing Tchaikovsky's score doesn't bring me back to that day when my teacher coached me into such tears that I couldn't see straight.

It's not that music leaves me cold. I love music. I love to move to it. There are some pieces that have a direct and unfairly swift line to my heart. But I don't get that visceral dislocation. I miss out on the instant of time travel that leaves people all moist around the eyes when they hear that song.

I feel like I've been cheated. Where is my nostalgic soundtrack? Where are the songs that I'll play to wallow in my life? Maybe I'll have to artificially inject them. All moments carefully scored. All significant characters allotted a fitting theme song. I should hum them when they appear.

"What? That? Oh, it's just a little song that's going to make me think of you."

My friend, the lovely Mlle. X, is posting some glorious photographs on her blog. Look, admire. I dare you to resist the stories that come bleeding through them.