Saturday, December 25, 2010

All I Want For Christmas is the Ability To Transcend Time and Space

Here is something for those who are counting the minutes until the Christmas special airs on this side of the pond. I saw this last night (commercial break during the Unquiet Dead) and wondered if I was suffering from sleep deprivation induced hallucinations wherein my much abused brain merged the late night television I was watching into one neat package. Happily, this was not the case and BBC America is just running Doctor Who themed contest.

Just a few more hours before we get to open this present.

You Finally Got Me What I Want For Christmas!

A mash-up of a Christmas classic and a Kinks classic set in a futuristic environment with a Servalan lookalike demonstrating all the awesomeness her world has to offer. Thank you, Bobby Lloyd and the Skeletons. I couldn't have imagined a better Christmas gift if I tried.

Friday, December 24, 2010

As If The Holidays Weren't Stressful Enough

I find this little video giving tips how to survive a holiday zombie apocalypse charming and old fashioned. Not because it is filmed in black and white and set in the pseudo 50s, but because it hearkens back to a simpler time when the undead coming to eat our brains was our biggest worry. Unlike today, when even those who don't have mortgages have to worry about the banks breaking into their homes and stealing all their stuff. Of course, it is perhaps unkind of me to assume that the banks and their contractors are mean-spirited jerks who have been allowed to operate above the laws. Maybe they, like the zombies are just hungry and that is why they are tearing apart people's homes and possessions. After all, this is the season when people make houses out of food type items. While I am no fan of royal icing and gumdrops, this is the season when some people create awesome things people with those materials. These super amazing people made a Fallingwater gingerbread house.

I have never made a gingerbread house, but seeing this makes me want to start experimenting so I can be ready for next year. Because nothing can hold off a zombie apocalypse like gingerbread.

Pa Rump Pa Pum Pum

As if you needed more proof that The Little Drummer Boy is the strangest/most awesome xmas song ever.

So riddle me this, does Grace Jones being misdelivered to Peewee's Playhouse trump David Bowie appearing as Bing Crosby's neighbor from down the road? Who is more odd, The Man Who Fell to Earth or May Day? Does this video make you want to drink more or less eggnog?

I may have already mentioned seeing Neil Diamond with Maria around the Christmas holidays many years ago. Neil was singing Christmas songs and Maria dared me to scream whenever Neil sang "when we come" because it was the only potential double entendre in the song. I don't know if I successfully completed the mission (we screamed a lot that night). There was also the point when Neil said something like, "Christmas is a great time of year, but my people also have songs to sing" before he sang Hava Nagila, but I briefly sat there thinking, "His people? Diamond? Oh, that's right, the gemstones" because I was so filled with excitement that common sense failed me. If anyone ever offers you free tickets to see Neil Diamond, TAKE THEM!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

If It Hits You In The Head, It Could Kill You Dead

Who knew a musical rendition of a cookbook could be so awesome?

Though I must admit that I have often read the fruitcake recipe in The Joy of Cooking and been tempted to try it out. So maybe it is the actual item itself which is marvelous?

I think we all need to bake up some fruitcake and exchange it with our neighbors. It will be fun and will give you an opportunity to sing this song.

Which, is way cooler than showing up at someone's house and demanding figgy pudding, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Was Dreaming When I Wrote This

Huffington Post has a post wherein some chick's xmas list is dissected.

My first response was, "Who does this bitch think she is?" My second was, "It's a shame she didn't meet me, I gave a vintage Louis Vuitton Speedy bag to Salvation Army earlier this year." My third was, "She really took the message of Santa Baby to heart, didn't she?"

As you may recall, I already covered the first and last thoughts in a blogpost a few years ago. What I didn't say at the time is that one could probably find some mighty attractive prostitutes who cost far less than both the protagonist of the song and the woman whose list was lost on the train (Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, for example). As for the second thought, it is amazing what people throw away, but more amazing is that anyone would buy some of the things they do in the first place (especially if the ugly things whose only function is to serve as some sort of status indicator). Unfortunately, it seems like random man's girlfriend is pretty status oriented, so while there are some nice things on her list, she seems to be choosing labels and cost over aesthetics and value. Which is kindof awesome in this economy. She apparently didn't just grok Santa Baby, she is still partying like it's 1999 (when Sex and The City first won us over and all that conspicuous consumption seemed almost charming.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Children's Books You Wish Were Real

Because while The Magic Tree House books do introduce children to the idea of traveling through time and space in a small box, it isn't really the same.

More awesomeness can be viewed here.

While the above is not surprisingly my favorite, this is a very close second.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Rudolph (You Don't Have To Put On The Red Light)

This is very funny, albeit very inaccurate. Because while Rudolph did possess free will and was not required to let his red nose shine, had he chosen to put it away, he would have ruined Christmas. Of course, saving Christmas and getting to play reindeer games doesn't seem all that great, considering what jerks Santa and all the reindeer are in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer up until Rudolph reveals his special skill. They are just a bunch of users, pimps if you will. So, yeah, maybe I was hasty to discount the accuracy of this mash-up after all.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Save The Words

The good folks at the Oxford English Dictionary have set up this fabulous website to save some lovely, hard-working words from obscurity and death. They are asking us all to do our part by adopting a word, which is not difficult as when you go to the website, you are assailed with a wall of fantastic words. Actually, I take it back, it is extremely difficult to choose just one, because, let's face it, I will quaritate (ask) how it is possible for an intelligent person such as yourself (see how I gnathonize (latter)) to obstrigillate (resist) their high pitched pleas. In short, you will want to take them all home where you will be filled with lubency (pleasure) because your vocabulary will be far from vappous (flat, bland).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Sort of Homecoming

‎"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." ~Missy Earnest

And you know it's time to go, through the sleet and driving snow, across the fields of mourning light in the distance

Every time a U2 concert approaches, Joel asks what song I want to hear them play above all others. I have a list, and this is always at the very top.

And you hunger for the time, time to heal, desire time, and your earth moves beneath your own dream landscape

This is simply a brilliant song and, frankly, one of the few times when Bono actually hit it out of the park, lyrically speaking. I say this as a fan, U2 is more than the sum of their individual parts and Bono's shortcomings as a lyricict have often pained me (for nothing kills a fan more than to hear a lyric and to immediately think, "oh, if only you had said it this way").

On borderland we run, and still we run, we run and don't look back

When I was thirteen years old, I believed that all U2 songs were like this one; passionate, powerful, with flashes of brilliance. I didn't realize that I might never hear them perform this song live again. I don't think I was capable of realizing I would still be thinking and talking about this song twenty-five years later.

The wind will crack in winter time, this bomb blast lighted waltz, no spoken words, just a scream

For me, the mark of a truly amazing song is that it can change with time so that, regardless of what emotional upheaval you are experiencing, it is appropriate for the occasion. This song has, for me, expressed the emptiness I felt in adolescence, the loneliness I felt in college, my outrage over senseless wars, and, currently, my sadness over the death of a distant friend I never met in person.

Oh don't sorrow, no don't weep, for tonight, at last, I am coming home

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Force Was Strong This Halloween

The pumpkins Fred and Julian carved. Julian picked out the pumpkins and designed the faces while Fred did most of the cutting. Check out the little one on the right.

So, as we have in previous years, we did a family costume.

Originally, only Julian was going to dress up this year. Years ago, Lucas* gave us the awesome Darth Vader helmet with the attached chest piece (which with a touch of a button plays the breathing sounds and lines like, "Don't make me destroy you" and "You don't know the power of the Dark Side"). So, given Julian's recent interest in Star Wars, we encouraged him to embrace his inner super villain. He was into it, especially when he realized he would get a light saber. Then Joel pointed out that it made no sense for Fred and I not to dress up as Luke and Leia as we both have the hair for it. The costumes were fairly easy to put together when all was said and done and we looked really awesome.

Many pictures of Julian engaged in light saber duels have been taken, but unfortunately, none of them were with our camera, so I have to wait for people to mail those to us.

We got a ton of compliments on the integrated family costume. On some level, Fred and I were probably acting out our own childhood fantasies (well, I was. It actually took a bit for Fred to accept he couldn't dress as Han Solo). Also, these were super comfortable (Julian is in sweats, Fred and I are in slippers). Yes, it is true, we had another costume with headgear so cumbersome that Julian did most of his trick or treating while his parents carried the crucial identifier.

My only complaint is the headphone hair is, perhaps, the single most unflattering hairstyle ever. Look what it did to Carrie Fisher when she was a mere 19 years old! Honestly, it could drive a girl to drink.

*Julian's cousin Lucas, not to be confused with George Lucas.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I thought about including this video in the previous post about cat calls, but then I figured this song deserved a post all its own.

I remember the first time I heard this song. It was a Thursday night (I know this because it was played on WXRT on "New Release Thursday), it was spring and I was driving home from ballet class. My first response was surprise that this was Lush, a band I had considered a Cocteau Twins inspired, shoe-gazer 4AD band (which, coming from me, is a compliment). My second response was that I had to pull the car over so I could give the song my full attention because it was JUST THAT GOOD. I love the guitar riffs. I love the speed. And I absolutely love the message. I remember I kept hoping WXRT would play it again and the one time afterwards when I heard it, I was once again in a car, this time with people, and I recall going on about what an amazing song it was and how disinterested they were in what I was saying, seemingly more impressed that I could recall the lyrics of a song that I claimed to only have heard once before. Yeah, it just happens to be that good a song. I find myself quoting this song in my head quite a bit ("save your breath for someone else and credit me with something more").

I really wish this song had existed when I was in college, it would have made my interactions with members of the opposite sex so much more interesting. And by interesting, I mean funnier. If there is any justice, this song is in the pool room jukebox. I mean, assuming that there is still a pool room, which I doubt since it isn't coming up in any google search (though it is nice to see someone went to the trouble to set up a MySpace page for the jukebox).

Also, it is a really good song to run to which, lately, seems to be my primary criteria for choosing music.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What You Looking At?

Years ago, back before Hollaback, a friend of mine was walking down the street and was being followed by a bunch of young boys who were catcalling her. She went into a corner store and the proprietor told her the boys were "good kids, from the neighborhood." Armed with this knowledge, she went back outside and confronted them, asking them if they had mothers and sisters and how they would feel if people talked to them the way the boys had been talking to her. All the boys turned sheepish and apologized to her, promising they wouldn't do it again. It would be nice to think that guys everywhere watch the above video Stop Looking At My Mom and learn the same lesson those boys did. Because catcalling isn't harmless, it is a means of objectifying women and shaming them for being in public and, sometimes, it is a precursor to sexual violence. Hopefully, more men will see that the woman on the street is someone's mom, sister, daughter, a person who does not deserve to be frightened and objectified simply because of their gender.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

How Ink is Made

It is obvious from this beautiful video that the people at The Printing Ink Company miss Mr. Rogers as much as we do.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Never Say "No" To Panda!

Twenty years ago, when I was living in the studio apartment at 18th and Hawthorne (the one with the really amazing walk through closet) I was on the phone with a friend and I mentioned I was eating crusty bread and feta cheese.

"I would kill for feta cheese," she said.

"I HAVE killed for feta cheese," I replied.

Much hilarity ensued.

I am reminded of this exchange as I watch these ads for Panda Feta cheese.

In other news from the land of memory, great loves, and advertising, here is that Maxell ad and, sigh, Peter Murphy

Friday, September 03, 2010

Papa Was A Rolling Stone

It's the third of September and, for the first time in all the years I have been writing this blog, I have finally remembered to post my favorite song by The Temptations to celebrate.

What I can't understand is why all these people felt the need to talk smack to the song's protagonist(s) about the dead father he (they) never knew and thereby forcing him (them) to confront his (their) mother with questions. The man is dead, what possible good does it do to tell his kids that their father never worked a day in his life? I mean, if their father was so notorious, wouldn't the kids have met his three outside children and other wife already? Shouldn't Mama have had the privilege of crafting the narrative for her children about their father without outside influence?

Sure, Papa may have been a rolling stone, but maybe he was a late bloomer who died before he found his niche. He was a jack of all trades and, as the song suggests, maybe the constant stress of having to beg, borrow, and steal to pay the bills is what killed him and shouldn't the man get some credit for paying his bills? Papa may have left his family alone, but he didn't leave them in debt. Maybe if Papa had a few more years, his kids would have had a chance to see him, would have heard more than just bad things about him, and, subsequently, they would have been left with something more than loneliness when he died.

So much as I love this song, I kinda wish Mama had just replied to all the queries and gossip with this truth, since they are depending upon her to tell it: Haters gonna hate.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Note: This is not a book review, it is just my attempt to distill random thoughts which have come up after reading this book.

Every time I think about the title of this book, I start to sing it to the tune of "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side."*

A year ago, my cousin was told that the woman he was getting very serious about (to whom he is now married) was all wrong for him. The friend (and I use that term lightly) who told him this finished her critique with the observation that if the girlfriend is supposed to be so smart, "How come she has read the books I have?" As you can imagine, this has led to a lot of snarking and giggling on our parts, with us pointing out to one another that reading The DaVinci Code is not an indicator of one's intelligence, unless The DaVinci Code is the only thing you have read. I can't imagine a man questioning the intelligence of another man because of his recreational reading. Because it is such an odd thing to pick on someone over, I am almost inclined to chalk this up to the frenemy nature of the woman in question, but I find myself reconsidering the insult in light of this interview with Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult regarding their charges of gender bias and literary snobbery at the New York Times with regards to the books they review and champion. Are women, who do read fiction of all kinds in greater numbers than men, so insecure about our intelligence and the books which are marketed to us and us alone that we can't accept that smart people also read dumb books, even when those dumb books are so aggressively male oriented as Dan Brown's?

I wish I could say that this snobbery was exclusive to frenemies and the New York Times, but I will admit I encounter it among my friends. Almost every cultural phenomenon book I have read has gotten at least one sneer when I mentioned I was reading it by someone who had not read the book. While I can definitely understand someone who had read Twilight hating it, I can't understand what anyone who has not read a book has against it except that it is popular. And popularity breeds contempt.

We don't exist in a vacuum. A problem, well not a problem, but a factor in reading a book which is a cultural phenomenon is that it is impossible not to be aware of that fact and to read the book with one eye on the phenomenon. I go through a period of avoidance, intending to be that one person who has not read the book, but then, of course, I am overwhelmed by curiosity and a desire to talk to people about this thing they are so into and give in. I approach the book with a certain hostility, a certain desire to not believe the hype and I find myself either surprised or irritated or confused as I get through the book, depending upon the book. Invariably, no matter how great I find the book to be, I am left wondering why this particular book became the book that everyone has to read in order to be a contributing member of society.

So, all that being said, I found The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo to be gripping. I stayed up all night reading it. I plan to read the next book in the series. I liked the light it shines on sexual abuse against women, especially women who cannot fight back--this was something which never was mentioned in all the chatter about the novel and it shocked me to such a degree that I almost stopped reading when I got to that part of the book (I made Fred tell me that things got less awful before I would continue). I don't think it is a spoiler to mention this and I do have to wonder why it never came up. Do people find it too awkward or do people not care that much about the sexual abuse of imaginary women as much as an imaginary mystery?

*I started to write a Weird Al Yankovic-esque song, but then I realized that A LOT of the original Smith's song would apply to Lisbeth Salander, so you can just go read the lyrics and make the appropriate adjustments where you see fit.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Not How I Planned To Spend My Sunday

Yet another thing we can file under "funny because it is true."

Also, in case you needed to know, the plural of hepatitis is hepatitides, NATO and other military services uses the Mondopoint shoe sizing system, and previous to receiving the first Ph.D in Anthropology from Columbia, Alfred Kroeber received an M.A. in Romantic Drama.

Oh, yeah, and the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire. Discuss.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

YA Fantasy Showdown

If you haven't been following the YA Fantasy Showdown, go check it out.

My prediction is that the final will be between Katsa (from Kristin Cashore's Graceling) and Eugenides (from Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series). If you haven't read those books, do yourself a favor and read them.

When The Serpent Swallows Its Tail

This remains one of my favorite songs and one of my favorite videos. I don't have anything profound to say about it or have any grand revelations about the role it played in my life. Even now when I see it all I can think is, "Sigh, Peter Murphy."

I have been meaning to comment on Peter Murphy's cameo in the latest Twilight film. What disappoints me is that he wasn't in any of the vampire films that have been made between The Hunger and Eclipse. I mean, how great would it have been if he had been in Bram Stoker's Dracula or Interview With The Vampire? Why did so many years have to pass before someone thought of putting Peter Murphy in a vampire movie? Or maybe there should have been a scene in Ed Wood where someone (played by Peter Murphy) informed Ed about the death of Bela Lugosi (you know we would still be giggling about it now: "Mr. Wood, I regret to inform you that Bela Lugosi's Dead"). As far as I am concerned, a lot of directors have just dropped the ball on this and they should be ashamed of themselves.

And while it goes without saying that that I won't be rushing out to watch Eclipse, sigh, Peter Murphy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yes, I Sometimes Try To Be Funny

So for a while I have been saying that someone (SNL, Second City, et al) should do a "Decision 2016 Presidential Debate: Palin vs. Blagojevich" spoof.

in light of recent events, I have decided that someone should write a romance novel/Lifetime Movie based on this premise:
He was a tough city kid trying to make his immigrant steelworking dad proud.
She was a small town girl trying to prove she was more than just another runner up from a beauty pageant.
At first, the only thing they seemed to have in common was their enormous self-love and sense of victimhood, but they each came to realize that their outsized sense of entitlement could only be satisfied by the other.
In a world of rules and regulations meant to protect the citizenry from corruption, they would not be contained, spending other people's money in all fifty states.
Sarah Palin
Rod Blagojevich
Not Without My Aqua Net: A Tale of Two Governors
Of course, considering that both Sarah and Rod have scoffed at the accusations leveled against them as being distractions from the real problems, Fox News could always create a reality TV show with Sarah and Rod where they must go undercover to "bust the real bad guys" in politics:
Once upon a time, there were two little kids who went to the governors office: One from Chicago, the other from Alaska. And they were each assigned very hazardous duties (show them having to sign legislation, kiss babies), but I took them away from all that, and now they work for me, my name is Rupert.
Come on, you know you would pay good money to see them disguised as nuns and/or having to infiltrate the roller derby.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Future Is Now

From my favorite episode of The Simpsons.

Whoever Writes Headlines For The Christian Science Monitor Deserves A Raise

There are studies in monkey antagonism? Alas, if only I had known that there was money to be made by annoying monkeys, or that people were searching for ever more advanced ways to piss off small primates, my life may have turned out quite differently. I'm not saying I want to enrage our smaller cousins, just that I find it odd to learn that there are whole careers dedicated to such things.

Unfortunately for the forces of surrealism (but extremely fortunate for the macaques and anyone who cares about the humane treatment of animals) the behaviorists studying the animals seem to be viewing behavior in the wild and are not purposely engineering situations wherein flying rodents freak out monkey communities.

Biologists and psychologists have long studied macaques' complex social interactions for insights into human evolution and behavior.

However, much remains unknown about how macaques get along (or not) with other creatures. Better documentation of such encounters could reveal more about macaque societies as well as that of our shared primate forbears.

"Human evolution occurred alongside primate evolution from a common mammalian ancestor," Onishi told LiveScience. "Therefore, it is important to learn the evolution of primates in understanding the previous steps in human evolution."

So, yeah, not what the headline would lead one to believe. So huge props to the person who came up with this brilliant way of getting people to read a somewhat dull article about an animal behavior study. And thanks to boingboing for alerting me to the brilliance in the first place. Yay science!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Words Which Should Exist, But do Not

Milan Kundera spent a great deal of time in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting discussing the Czech word Litost and how he has yet to find a suitable word in any other language.

Joel has a running joke at the Schadenfreude blog wherein he matches a picture which to a word which he painstakingly crafts (using Latin and Greek roots). It is very funny and, sadly, terribly infrequent.

This all relates to a running theme in my head that there should be words to describe certain emotional/existential states.

So I ask these two men, neither of whom read my blog, to come up with words to describe the following experiences (which must be universal):
  • The moment you realize someone you really like holds completely opposite (and unacceptable) political and/or religious views.
  • The guilt you feel because you don't feel guilty.
  • The enormous smugness you feel upon finding current pictures of someone who broke your heart long ago, smugness which far overwhelms any envy you may feel because this person is far more successful or so famous that you should find their present day pictures on the internet.
So, yeah, get cracking boys!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Girl's Best Friend

Lately, I have become somewhat obsessed with Jewelry Television.

It all started late one Saturday night a few weeks back. I was paging through the guide, mildly irritated that there was nothing to watch, when the word Gemstones caught my eye. "They aren't really selling loose stones," I thought, but when I clicked on the channel, I saw that that is exactly what they were doing. It struck me as so odd, the idea of buying gemstones from a television set, and I started to wonder who else was watching and who was buying. I have come to find the constant sales pitch of the announcers to be oddly soothing. I enjoy the random pieces of information about various gemstones (for example: moldavite was formed by/came from meteorites--I am so using that in a story some day). I like seeing gemstones of which I have never heard (chrome diopside) and evaluating them free of cultural baggage. The prices seem decent, but then, I really have no idea what gemstones are worth.

I suspect it is only a matter of time before I actually buy something and then I will be stuck wondering what to do with the beautiful, shiny objects.

I have not found myself similarly enthralled by the jewelry shows. I suspect this is because my inner magpie is not sated by items which have a function.

A few months ago, I received an email asking if I would check out a jewelry designer's website and post my honest thought on my blog. Now, ordinarily, I ignore these sorts of requests, but Sarah seemed sincere and I like looking at shiny objects, so I checked out her website, thought the pieces looked cute, flagged her email for later consideration, and forgot all about it.

This probably is a pretty good description of my relationship with jewelry in general. I fall head over heels in love with a piece, bring it home, admire myself in the mirror, put it away because I don't have that many places to wear jewelry, and then forget about it when the occasion for display presents itself. This may be, in part, because with the exception of my wedding ring, I don't wear jewelry very often. Even though I have two holes in each earlobe and one on the left side of my nose, holes that I really prefer to avoid re-piercing whenever the need for earrings arises, I rarely even manage to wear simple posts in my ears. You can forget about bracelets and necklaces and I have never quite figured out how one wears a brooch. I would like to say this is part of a larger problem I have with accessorizing in general, but I think it really is due the fact that I fidget. A lot. If left to my own devices, I play with my hair, jiggle my legs, and tap out drum beats with my feet, jewelry would just be another thing with which I would unconsciously fiddle. Which I know makes me look self-conscious, immature, and ultimately, unattractive (though, on the plus side, all that nervous movement may be burning extra calories, so that's something). And since the whole point of adorning one's self with decoration is to make one's self attractive to others, I would sortof be working against my own interests, wouldn't I? Not to mention that I have lost many pieces of everyday jewelry precisely because I unconsciously removed them, set them down somewhere, and forgot all about them until later.

It is unfortunate because I love jewelry. I see women wearing cool necklaces and bracelets and find myself wishing I had reasons to wear jewelry on a regular basis. I see pictures in magazines and think about how a few simple pieces paired with clothing I already own would recreate a certain look. I see pieces on other people and think that I, too, should get jewelry exactly like theirs because it looks so great. But in the end, I gravitate toward items which I wouldn't feel comfortable wearing everyday and avoiding the items I like so much on others
So today, I was reminded of Sarah's email and went and checked out her website. I have posted pictures of the stuff I like and, true to form, it all seems to have more sparkle than one tends to see out and about on a daily basis (I told you, there's a little bit of Corvidae in my DNA, shiny will beat useful every day of the week). I have no idea if she even remembers contacting me, but I figured since she took the time to read my blog, I should give her a shout out. I mean, her email spurred me to write (something I have had trouble doing lately), the least I could do is suggest people go and check out her work.

And wouldn't it be weird if she bought all her loose stones on Jewelry Television?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Very Disconnected, Disjointed Post Ruminating Upon She Sells Sanctuary

Jenny S. had an enormous crush on Ian Astbury when we were in high school. She told me she thought The Cult made the sexiest music ever and assumed this would be the sound track to her sex life, but then when she tried to fool around with this in the background, she was too distracted by the music to focus on the matter at hand.

On my wedding day, I was having my makeup done by Judie, who was so much more punk rock than I could ever dream of being, and ranting about this music being used to sell cars. And yet, doesn't this just sound like freedom? Like the American Dream of riding with the wind blowing through our hair as we speed toward the future? In retrospect, it sounds like everything sex and adulthood promised to be, though I would have to agree with Jenny that those guitar riffs are far too alluring to be relegated to the background.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I Write Like Me

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I have spent a bit of time on the I Write Like website and, according to it, most of the blog writing I have submitted for analysis resembles David Foster Wallace, though an occasional post (or two) resembles Kurt Vonnegut (!) , H.P. Lovecraft, Chuck Palahniuk, James Joyce (!!!), Stephen King, Jack London, Vladimir Nabokov, J. D. Salinger, and Mark Twain. This is unexpected and strange and flattering all at once. I mean, I know it is just a silly game and that I can't read anything into what the algorithm tells me (especially when there are only 40 authors programmed into it. I mean, really, it isn't that I resemble any of these, it is that of the limited options available, I most resemble these. Not to mention that it seems the vast majority of people seem to be told they write like David Foster Wallace). But assuming there is something to this game, it strikes me as off that all these writers are male because I believe my voice to be feminine. Also, is it strange my writing resembles the works of people I haven't read much of and do not aspire to write like? (With the obvious exception of Salinger, who I have read a lot of and, let's face it, this whole confessional immature tone was pioneered by J.D.) If I am anywhere near as talented as the website suggests I am, I really need to stop goofing around and get cracking, don't you think?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Knitting Clock

Fred is a huge fan of wristwatches and clocks, while I am a huge fan of knitting. Something tells me we need this in our home.

The "365" was designed by Siren Elise Wilhemsen to "give a physical manifestation to the change of time." One day equals one row (round) and after a full year, one would have a two meter scarf.
As if this could not get any cooler, the balls of yarn hanging on the side are a companion piece called "More Time."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

YA Book Contest

Author and blogger Cindy Pon is currently running a contest. The prize is a collection of fabulous young adult novels with protagonists of color.

I have read some of these books and can attest to their excellence (The Wizard of Earthsea has been one of my favorites since I was a pre-teen) and I look forward to checking out the rest as my schedule permits (so many books, so little time).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Web of Connectedness

I have often played this game in my head (six degrees of Kevin Bacon, except with musicians), but my brain is not nearly as comprehensive as the website Six Degrees of Black Sabbath .

It is fascinating how there is some way, no matter how obscure, to link everyone who has ever recorded an album to everyone else. I mean, obviously, this is the whole point of the six degrees game and the hypothesis itself. However, it does seem to take more than six degrees to make connections (at least the ones I want to test out), though I'll bet if marriages, friendships, legal representation were factored in, everything would shrink to the necessary parameters.

I promise I will eventually run out of musicians and get some sleep.

Also, if mathematicians were rock stars, there would be a website to measure collaboration distance. I feel blessed to live in a world where people have conceived of the Erdős-Bacon number and that Wikipedia exists to tell me about it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Kaleidescope of Memory

Hindsight isn't really 20/20.
Looking back is like staring into a fun house mirror
Reflections ever shifting
Events engorging and shrinking
Experiences disconnecting and grafting together
Creating scars from wounds which never happened while diminishing to the point of concealment the effects of damage that did.
Expanding the imaginary and reducing the real as relevance and revelation twist the viewfinder.

Friday, May 14, 2010

If You Build It, They Will Funk

From the website of Bootsy Collins' Funk University
Because a groove is a terrible thing to waste, this sonic learning institution will be unlike anything before, as Professor Collins and the finest bassists in music will unleash an intense curriculum, on the web, for intermediate to advanced funk disciples within the program.
I am posting this as it immediately made me think of my favorite Onion article of all time. Except, it would seem, this is real. Happy Happy Joy Joy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


the make believe is over now
the truth is coming out
the world you thought belonged to you
has been turned inside out

the silence has been broken
the beans have all been spilled
the cat’s been let out of the bag and
curiosity had it killed

the years they spent pretending
telling stories that weren’t true
were wasted ‘cuz the walls caved in
and light is breaking through

it’s shocking that they could maintain
this charade of deceit
it’s shocking how they placed the shame
at someone else’s feet

the blood from wounds ripped open
mark you with betrayal’s stain
and though the scar will fade you fear
it's like the Mark of Cain

so what comes next? where do you go?
there’s all this work to do
integrating all the truth now known with
the lies you thought you knew

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


in retrospect the onset should have come as no surprise

my behavior as of late has been cranially questionable

sifting and shifting brain cells

ignoring sleep

growing drunk on nostalgia

searing pain behind my right eye could have been predicted

though it is nothing like the pain I used to feel in adolescence

when I treated eating as an option to be avoided

hoping to become the stick thin invisible I believed was beautiful,

would garner love

when I treated sleeping as a luxury to be indulged as a last resort

hoping to become the whip smart aesthete I believed was impressive,

would garner respect

when caffeine meant copious cups of English Breakfast tea, extra sugar

having not yet trained myself to drink coffee,

would eventually

when my brain was still under development, unconstructed, unformed

the pain back then

would send me to my dark bedroom for hours

could not be dispatched with three Advil, some water, and time

forced out any belief in a benevolent deity

should have been predictable, but I never saw it coming

so some things don’t change

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


"Will you be comfortable revealing so much of yourself on your blog?" He asked me.

He is a writer I know. The question was asked in response to a poem I had written which I post below.

While I was torn as to whether I should post the poem here or not, all my reservations relate to whether the poem is technically good, whether any of you actually want to read poetry in general, and the fact this particular poem crawls so far into my belly button, the reader may suffocate before reaching the end, the fear that I would be revealing too much never crossed my mind. I mean, this is a blog, what exactly am I doing here if not revealing myself? Yes, relatives read this blog, but it isn't like this poem is about sex or information I have sworn I will take to the grave, so really, at worst, they will roll their eyes. Yes, I may reveal aspects of my character which I find to be unattractive, but it's just a poem, it isn't a naked picture of myself (though the unmistakable self-absorbed child of privilege tone of my writing is not unlike cellulite in its ability to shame me and, let's face it, if I could ditch the unattractive parts of my body and character, I would put an NC-17 rating on this blog and block all family members' IP addresses because I really am that much of an exhibitionist. Maybe. Except I would probably worry that I was too arrogant and imposing myself on the internets).

It is interesting, however, to question where the boundaries lie. Obviously, I am a shameless attention whore. That being said, I tend to view the act of revealing information (on a blog or in life) as akin to being naked in the gym locker room; I assume no one is paying attention because they've seen it all before. Of course, I could be completely wrong about this, someone may well be checking me out as I towel off after a shower. But if they are, well, it isn't as if I am a new species of human being and I can only hope they are thinking complimentary thoughts about what they see.

And if I should inadvertently reveal more than I intended, I imagine I have already revealed so much, no will notice that I have revealed too much. If there is so much to see, how can anyone know the parts that were not meant to be seen?

This analogy starts to break down when we analyze the different venues. Nudity is a side effect of showering, whereas blogging is not a side effect of life. I don't disrobe in the gym locker room in the hopes that I inspire admiration and/or envy in those who see me, whereas, yes, I do post things here because I want your love and respect, anonymous though it may be (unless, of course, you choose to leave a comment).


watching the relentless advance of age

years pass, but nothing seems to change

still plagued by fear and unhappiness

still shamed by naivete and silliness

trying to call the shots and taking not a one

unravelling all the work when it's only partially done

years wasted chasing all the wrong dreams

increasingly dissatisfied with all my schemes

desiring, but not really wanting, fame

clueless and unwilling to play the Business’ game

like the song said, I wanna be adored

except love like that soon makes me bored

paralyzed by my pursuit of perfection

disgusted with the mirror’s reflection

afraid of what tomorrow brings

afraid I can’t withstand rejection and its stings

stuck here at a border between then and now

wanting to move forward and not knowing how

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Kid Knows What's Important

Julian says to me this morning, "Mama, when I grow up, I don't think I will be able to be a rock star."

"Why not sweetheart?" I ask, not sure if I should compliment him on his clear eyed realism or encourage him to pursue his dreams regardless of the odds.

"Because my guitar can't get loud enough."

Saturday, April 17, 2010


As I may have mentioned, I am change resistant. I spend a ridiculous amount of time deciding what I like and then I stick with it forever. Or at least until I grow so sick of it that I can no longer avoid making an adjustment. Which is what has happened with this blog. I feel I have written myself into a corner, limiting what I allow myself to do here to such a degree that I no longer use this space for my original purpose, which was to force myself to write and put myself out there for public consumption. I have sunk back into the bad habit of telling myself that what I create is not yet good enough for other people, that I will bring shame upon myself, and this fear of rejection has forced me into a state of paralysis. Which is worthy of ridicule in and of itself when one considers that there are, maybe, three people who even read this blog and they rarely leave comments. If I am completely honest, what I am really afraid of is trying and failing, so instead I just don't try and fail anyway. But time passes and I get older. So as you can see, I have made some cosmetic changes around here and, hopefully, this will inspire me to move forward, or at least, sideways. Because I can't stand still forever.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Linguistic Absences

There are moments when words fail me. Moments when whatever illusion I may have that I am intelligent or articulate is shown to be simply that, illusion, and all the goals I have for myself are as substantial as a mirage. And as likely to come to pass. I feel I have been in this state of inability, of panic, of fear for some time now. Years. This stagnation is like water, it flows into every crevice and drowns every last bit of motivation and confidence I may have sustained and I am left with the carcass wondering what to do with it. Can it be resurrected? If not, how do I dispose of this thing now that it is just a deadweight? And how do I deal with all the disappointment and grief I feel at the loss of something which was so very important?

I could almost accept the loss of performance from my life because I had words to fall back on, words had always been a source of nourishment to me even and had provided solace. It was alright if I didn't act or dance because there was this other, deeper, better way through which I could express my artistic vision. But now I am having to accept that I may even have to let go of words, that all the thoughts in my head will never be expressed beyond the boundaries of my skull. And I can't accept this, I tell myself it is just a phase, but the fear prevents me from breaking through, so I am stuck here, without words.

Already Yesterday

Deep down, I am still a goofy, awkward, giddy 16 year old girl who can't keep her cool and who, when in the presence of certain rock stars, has to fight the nearly overpowering urge to squeal.

So I saw The Church earlier tonight (well, actually, it was technically yesterday, though I tend to use blocks of sleep, as opposed to clocks and calendars, as lines of demarcation between yesterday and today. So now you see one of the reasons I posted the video I did. The other reasons are that they played it at the show and all the footage of the Aborigines is a bit, um, odd. It makes me think of how much our perceptions have changed since the 80s, of Modern Primitives, of how we all took anthropology with Gail Kelly, but not all of us ended up anthropology majors). I can say something offhand like the show was great, go see them when they come to your town if they haven't already. But that hardly explains all the levels on which the show was great for me. Because once a group has passed into that multiple concerts over many years realm of my experience, every concert is measured against previous ones I have attended, the past informing the present, and while I bad concert can disappoint and leave me wondering if I should just live with my memories, a great one becomes hard to evaluate because I am overwhelmed by the nostalgia.

So the concert has inspired my inner fangirl to keep me from my bed, and though I will refrain from writing a detailed account of the evening, I am nevertheless impressed by my urge to do so. I used to always feel this was after concerts, but now, I can't remember the last time I felt like this. Oh, wait, actually, I totally can remember. It was Roddy Frame, London, September, 2001 when I stayed up writing every last embarrassing detail in my journal because no amount of jet lag would make me sleep and poor Fred had to deal with it then. And I suspect my giddiness and giggliness is much the same as it was then and, in truth, for much same reason. An acoustic show of songs you have loved since adolescence is good, but meeting the creator(s) of the aforementioned songs is even better.

But it is really late and no matter how much of a giddy teenager I am on the inside, I have to wake up in a few hours to take Julian to school.

But, yes, in case you had any doubts, it was awesome. Though I am not entirely sad to report that I failed to contain all the squeaking and giggling. It is good to be reminded that one's youth is still there, waiting to pop out to embarrass one every now and then.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Consider Yourself Warned

The photo above was taken by Jo Dahlmans from the Netherlands. go check out for more amazing photos.

One of the biggest prominences in years erupted from the sun's northwestern limb yesterday. The massive plasma-filled structure rose up and burst during a ~2 hour period around 0900 UT on April 13th

The expanding cloud could deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field around April 15th.
I am almost (though not entirely) convinced this will have no effect on your your ability to electronically file your taxes (so don't get any ideas).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Recipe for Lego Rage

This is something to which every person who has ever attempted to put a Lego set together can relate.

Take a very excited child who desperately wants you to build the item in question right this instant. Add in the directions which are mind-numbingly simplistic while simultaneously being cryptic and vague. Slowly introduce the inability to find the the ONE SPECIFIC PIECE on which the entire project hinges. Let simmer.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


This is brilliant.

I am surprised it hasn't been done before, given the obvious pun and all the Dalek related art out there. It is the sort of thing I wish I had thought up, though I lack the skills to eggsecute (see, I just can't help myself now) this. Go check out the step by step pictures (and the artist's other egg designs, all are brilliant).

Also, I never thought the Daleks and R2-D2 to be physically similar, but something about the egg rendering makes the differences less meaningful. Of course, the differences in their bottom halves would be impossible to convey in an ovoid form, not to mention that one is good and the other(s) are evil.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

She May Be The Reason You Are Alive Today

Ada Lovelace Day, March 24, is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.

Do it right and do it now-Virginia Apgar

If you have had a child in the past half century, you have probably heard of the APGAR test and, if you are anything like me, you probably still know your child's scores as it is offers us overachievers the first of many opportunities to feel inadequate or superior with regards to our parenting skills (and it doesn't matter that at the time the test is administered, one has had virtually no opportunity to actually be a parent because the child was inside of you all this time so clearly the APGAR score can be seen as a womb rating, right?).

If you haven't had a child or if you who can't remember anything that was said to you in the delivery room because you had other things on your mind like the fact that a baby just came out of your body, fear not, I shall explain. The APGAR test is given to newborn babies at one minute and five minutes after birth. There are five signs scored, each one is given 0-2 points. The signs are Appearance (skin color), Pulse, Grimace (reflex irritability), Activity, and Respiration. You, like me, may look at the list and think that whoever came up with this test seemed to choose some odd words for the anagram. Why not just say color? Was CAPRRI too difficult to remember? Was the McDonald's Corporation in any way involved as part of their ongoing campaign to capture the hearts and minds of our children?

The truth is that when A Proposal for a New Method of Evaluation of the Newborn Infant was published in 1953, there was no anagram. The anagram came ten years later as a teaching tool and a means of honoring the woman who invented it, Dr. Virginia Apgar.

There are many articles about Virginia Apgar which discuss her life and career. All of them speak of her brilliance and her determination, how she made her own instruments and carried a scalpel in her purse in case her services were required at a moments notice. She was fourth in her class when she graduated, but became an anesthesiologist at the encouragement of her superiors who believed that a female surgeon would not be viewed as credible and anesthesiology had a need for competent physicians (at the time, anesthesiology was administered by nurses and there was the concern that surgery could not progress if the field of anesthesiology did not improve). She moved into the field of obstetric anesthesiology in 1949 when she did not become head of her department at Columbia. Obstetric anesthesiology was a neglected field at the time and as the first woman to become a full professor at Columbia she developed a training program. Aiding in the delivery of babies became the work she loved the most. It was in the delivery rooms where she saw the poor care that many newborns received. After a remark a medical student made regarding the inability to evaluate a newborn, she scrawled five signs to look for on a piece of paper and rushed to a delivery room to test out her idea. And the APGAR test was born.

What strikes me about the life of Virginia Apgar is how her story is one we encounter often in history. She was a brilliant woman who was told she could not do the work she wanted to because of her gender, so she does the work she can do and she revolutionizes the field. While I am tempted to ask what strides may have been made in surgery had she been allowed to practice, I must admit that it is unlikely she could have made a greater contribution than the one she did. Previous to the APGAR test, babies who were sickly and unresponsive at birth were left to die and their mothers were told they were stillborn. The APGAR test gave doctors a means of measuring newborns and, when it was learned that medical intervention could improve a score (hence the measurements at one and five minutes) it gave doctors a goal (while I may joke the score is a womb rating, doctors see it as a rating of their abilities and they all want their patients to be perfect 10s). The truth is that Dr. Apgar saved more lives as an anesthesiologist, a field which at the time had been written off as "women's work", than she ever could have as a surgeon. Babies who would have been left for dead were given the medical attention they needed because of her test, a test that just required paying attention and then taking action. And she continues to save lives today, nearly twenty-six years since her death. (And while the APGAR test is perhaps her most famous contribution to the field of obstetrics and neonatal care, it was not the only lifesaving measure she discovered in her career).
I am not sure there is anything more to say that tops that. But her grand-nephew gave a speech at the ceremony inducting Dr. Virginia Apgar into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1995 and he said no tribute to her would be complete without repeating one of her favorite jokes. He obviously knows more about the topic than I do and it happens to be a really good joke:

How do you tell the sex of a chromosome? You pull down it's genes!