Saturday, December 19, 2009

November Music

Well, better late than never!

Alpinestars - Carbon Kid
Biffy Clyro - Who's Got a Match?
Bliss N Eso - Field of Dreams
Blonde Redhead - Publisher
Breaking Benjamins - I Will Not Bow
Calexico - Red Blooms
Crystal Castles - Vanished
Dead Confederate - Get Out
Dirty on Purpose - Send Me An Angel (Scorpions cover)
Eels - That Look You Give That Guy
Elastica - Stutter
Fire Theft - Hands on You
Great Northern - Telling Lies
Headwater - Death Of Me
IAMX - After Every Party I Die
IAMX - Bring Me Back A Dog
Jets Overhead - I Should be Born
Keren Ann - For You and I
Kill Hannah - New York City Speed
LostProphets - It's Not the End of the World But I Can See It from Here
Madina Lake - Let's Get Outta Here
Mellowdrone - Elephant
Metafonik - Day BeforeYou Come
Michael Nappi - Gone
Mundy - Wherever Whenever (Shakira cover)
Mute Math - Clipping
Scary Kids Scaring Kids - The Deep End
Silversun Pickups - There's No Secrets This Year
Simian Mobile Disco - Audacity of Huge
Simian Mobile Disco - Cruel Intentions
Sneaky Sound System - UFO
Sons & Daughters - The Nest
Starsailor - Four To The Floor
Sugar - Can't Help You Anymore
Sunset Rubdown - Idiot Heart
Super Massive - Fists In My Pocket
The Bravery - This Is Not The End
The Charlatans - You Cross My Path
The Color Turning - New Hooligan

The xx - Blood Red Moon
The xx - Heart Skipped A Beat

Washington Social Club - Jarvis Cocker

Bold = I have other songs by them in my mp3/cd collection
Italic = I'd heard but didn't like other songs by them
neither = never heard of them before

"I wrote your name I won’t say it, in places you‘ll never see it. Gonna try and forget it. You seem to have forgotten mine" - Ginny Clee, I Wrote Your Name

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanks etc

So, how was everyone's Thanksgiving? Mine was fairly nice. My parents told Vynce and me that Shrinky Dinks were a waste of money, so we never had them - until now. They're actually kind of neat, and thanks to the kits I bought at The Christmas Tree Shop, we now each have a new set of tiny, colorful, Christmas ornaments. In other news, Vynce and Megan are thinking of skipping the wedding with family and friends thing, and eloping to Vegas. Since that's always appealed to me too, obviously I don't disapprove.

2009 has hardly been a banner year for anyone, yet there are things to be thankful for. Despite the twin scares of H1N1 and the mounting unemployment rate, I don't know anyone who has really been affected by either yet. Both babies arrived safely. My sick friend does have cancer as I've feared, but his doctor thinks that his prognosis is very good. I made it to 50,000 words last Tuesday :) though I have a ways to go get before it's truly a complete novel - I'm shooting for Ground Hog's Day, but we'll see.

Before I sign off this last November post, I have a story for you.

I think I mentioned in another post that my best friend and I brave the Black Friday crowds every year. (Oh boy, waking up before 4am is the worst part) As it turns out, I learned a few months ago that she really liked lobsters as a kid. Well, while we were out shopping, we found a light up Christmas lobster. Yes, really. It lights up and it waves its claws. As you can imagine, we went home with it. And then we set it up, hoping to make her parents roll their eyes when they saw it.

I went home shortly afterwards. Then I got an e-mail... the gist of which was that her parents didn't notice it, but an elderly neighbor did. The neighbor couldn't see it clearly from her house, and from her perspective there was red wavy lights coming off the porch. Would your first thought been "oh, it must be a light up lobster"? Hers either. So she called them all upset, worried that their porch was on fire. Oops! Our plan to make her parents smirk had a fatal flaw. At least they were able to bring the lobster over the the neighbor's to reassure her that it was just a light, not a fire. I'm glad she took it in good humor, because I like the neighbor, who puts up with us visiting her every year at Halloween.

Hope you had a good November too, everyone.

"I’m a fire and I’ll burn burn burn tonight" - Biffy Clyro, Who's Got a Match?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Disquieting Dream

So, I had a dream last night that's still bothering me. I'm crush-less at the moment, which is the only reason I've been able to write 45,000 words in three weeks: no one is taking up space in my head, (well, except for brief daydreams that what I'm writing becomes a best selling novel that gets turned into a show resulting in me meeting him or him), so I suppose that it's not unexpected that the dream was kind of, sort of about my most recent infatuation though it has pretty much run its course. Not that said guy was in the dream, though.

Instead the dream was about me having given a baby we'd had to his mother without even bothering to name her first. In the dream the baby was around two, and I hadn't kept in touch with her father or grandmother, but I was standing in their neighbor's yard watching her being pushed on a swing and regretting not staying in her life.

Geez, I know I've said I don't want daughters, but awake I can't imagine simply giving one away! It's not as though I have anything against little girls, but I know what it's like not to have a great role model for being a girl, and I have serious doubts if I'd do any better a job than my own mom did. She was unwell most of my early childhood, so my father was very much the more involved parent, which is probably why I've been told more than once that I can sometimes "think like a guy."

I'm sure that Liam's birth is what put the baby dream in my head, but not why I'd dream of giving it away. I hope that's not my subconscious commenting on how good a parent I'd be.

"I don't need you here to validate me. I don't need you here to tell me anything. Fire away with a loaded gun, light the night I'm on fire." - Kill the Alarm, Fire Away

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

They're Here!

Do you remember over the summer me saying that two friends were expecting babies? As of last night they've both arrived.

I'd like to take a moment to welcome Liam and Ari to this strange and not infrequently beautiful thing we call life. Welcome, fellas, please make your stays long ones!

"You should know how great things were before you. Even so they’re better still today. I can’t think of who I was before. You ruined everything in the nicest way" - Jonathan Coulton, You Ruined Everything

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nanowrimo 2009

As you may or may not know, November is National Novel Writing Month, more commonly known as NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It sounds like a daunting task, but thousands of people "win" every year, and I have twice myself.

This year's story is going pretty well. I've had this week off, so I've tried to make the most of it, knowing that things will get harder once I go back to work on Monday. It's been my goal to write 25,000 words by bedtime tomorrow, and given I'm up to 23,084 words, I'd say that's probably going to happen. This will leave me needing to only write 1100 words a day for the rest of the month instead of the usual 1667 people shoot for, and with some luck I might not need to worry about writing at all Thanksgiving Day or the day after (I'm one of those brave souls who "does" Black Friday with a friend every year) which has been a problem in the past.

I think things are going so well because I really like my story this year; hopefully I won't immediately jinx myself by saying that. I haven't won since 2006, because in 2007 I got the flu and then pneumonia in November so I didn't even try, and last year I scrambled for ideas and picked two that didn't have any real mileage to them. (my complete score since 2003 is 2 wins, 2 loses, and two years sitting out. come on lucky number 7!) This year I'm doing what I said back in June that I some day should - write a story about someone who can cross between life and death. The current story has little in common with the fragment I wrote down then, and somehow involves our heroine helping the police look for a serial killer, by crossing over to talk to his victims. Who knew that was going to happen?

Anyway, I'm having fun crafting an urban fantasy story that completely lacks vampires, werewolves, ghosts, fairies, and elves. Instead Caitlin is dealing with a teenage foster kid with the same ability as she has, the first person she saved who grew up to be her neurotic ex-boyfriend, and a guy who'd be perfect for her if only he'd ever been born. Oh, and of course the female detective who is trying to solve a string of murders with Caitlin's reluctant help. Not too complicated, right?

"Oh my God, I'm sitting on a time bomb. It's just a matter of time. I can't wait forever. Nothing lasts forever." - Educated Animals, Time Bomb

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

October Music

I listened to a lot of new music in October, but I didn't like most of it. This month's music round up is a heck of a lot shorter than usual. Oh well, maybe November will be better.

7 Worlds Collide - Red Wine Bottle
10 Years - So Long, Good-Bye
A Place to Bury Strangers - In Your Heart
A Place To Bury Strangers - Keep Slipping Away
Armor For Sleep - Hold The Door
Autolux - Turnstyle Blues
Azure Ray - 4th of July
Barenaked Ladies - Take It Back
Biffy Clyro - Semi-Mental
BLK JKS - Summertime
Bloc Party - Flux
Blur - Beetlebum
Cedars - This Century
Chris Walla - Sing Again
Controlling the Famous - Heart Attack
Eddie Pedalo - Bulletproof Wolves (La Roux VS Prodigy)
Educated Animals - Time Bomb
Five Thirty - You
Hurt - Talking To God
Ian Brown - Keep What Ya Got
Iron & Wine - Peace Beneath the City
Kasabian - Underdog
Kate Walsh - Your Song
Kathleen Edwards - Asking For Flowers
KT Tunstall - Another Place To Fall
KT Tunstall - White Bird
Les Elephants Bizarres - Down the Stream
Loreena McKennitt - Huron 'beltane' Fire Dance
Marina V - Something Of My Own
Michael Zapruder - Ads For Feelings
Nickel Creek - You Don't Have To Move That Mountain
Papercranes - Treasure
Porcupine Tree - Shesmovedon (Tim Palmer Remix)
The Kills - U.R.A. Fever

Bold = I have other songs by them in my mp3/cd collection
Italic = I'd heard but didn't like other songs by them
neither = never heard of them before

"You reach me. You bleach me. You teach me of me how familiar. We're bad, what we do. Stupid fools." - Damien Rice, Woman Like a Man

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

What do you do for Halloween? I help scare kids at my best friend's parents' house, because there are never any kids at mine. Most of the kids call it "The Spooky House" so they usually know they'll be scared by someone...or something.

This is my favorite new addition

There are quite a lot of gravestones this year...

This is Hanging Chad. He kicks when a motion detector is triggered. I was co-fashion consultant for this particular project. By the end of the night he also wore a sign that said "Took four pieces of candy" ('cause the kids were told to take three.)

This year two kids were too scared to come into the yard and two cried; the crying was a surprised because timid kids tend not to even come in the yard. The rest of the kids had fun, including my favorite kids from last year (they fell in love with my doll Blix then) who asked about how to make Hanging Chad. They're young teens, mostly girls, and we're tempted to recruit them as scarers when they get too old to trick or treat.
I hope everyone had a good Halloween!

"we are, we are the shaken (shaken), we are the monsters (monsters) underneath your bed!" - Matchbook Romance, Monsters

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

World's Ending

I'm not loving fall so far. It's unseasonably cool, which is kind of depressing after a cool, extremely wet summer. And I'm also worried about getting the H1N1 vaccine before I get the flu, because when I got the flu two years ago I got pneumonia too, and this one is supposed to be leading to that even more often. But things could be worse...

It could be like the reality that encompasses Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood! That would be much worse, because both books are dystopias by Margaret Atwood. Neither are as depressing as Cormac McCarthy's The Road, but they are pretty bleak, anyway.

Imagine a reality where a powerful person could position himself to purposely destroy humanity by the time he's in his mid-thirties, and you're on your way towards understanding the situation of Oryx and Crake. However, even if you read the follow up, The Year Of The Flood, you still won't know why Crake does what he did. As frustrating as that is, perhaps it smacks of realism: we won't exactly be able to question the motives of the eventual architects of humanity's destruction, after all. Instead we are left only with the clues that Crake's best friend Jimmy (also known as Snowman) gives us through a not entirely reliable narrative. You have to forgive him that, being as he's slowly starving to death and alone but for a race of genetically altered, and strangely perfect, beings that aren't quite human though they're decidedly humanoid.

While I recommend Oryx and Crake, it has sadly turned out to be one of those books that is only genius upon a first reading. I reread it just before the sequel came out, and it didn't seem nearly as profound or clever as it did the first time. I've definitely grown a bit older since reading it six years ago, but not enough wiser to account for the disappointment. The Year Of The Flood was slow-going too, and not as good as the original, being filled with characters less interesting than Snowman in the first book. I suppose it leaves the door open for a sequel, but we'll see.

It's a good time for the book to come out, however, given that The Road is about to come out in theaters. Perhaps the movie (and the recession!) will lead to a mini-surge of interest in dystrophic movies and books, who knows? I'd like some recommendations in that area myself.

As for that movie, I'm not sure I'll be seeing The Road in theaters because I'm annoyed that the actor playing "the boy" (neither main character is ever named, just called "the man" and "the boy") is far too old. The director said that he cast the boy as older because it would be too hard to see a child the proper age, which would have been about seven, in such a bleak setting but I think the switch is likely to rob the story of a lot of its power. I suspect such a squeamish director will leave out or heavily edit the two most shocking scenes in the book, which will leave it far too sanitized to do the book justice.

"You burned your bridges, your world is burning down. No one will save you, your ship is going down til the end of the world." - The Sweethearts, End Of The World

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

September Music

I know, it's later than usual, but I have no proof that anyone cares about the music posts anyway, so I'm not going to sweat it.

Afghan Whigs - 66
Bat For Lashes - Sleep Alone
Baxter - Love Again
Black Bone Child - Fill Me Up
Blaqk Audio - No New Tale To Tell (Love & Rockets cover)
Bombay Bicycle Club - Autumn
Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy '94 [Acoustic Mix]
Cold War Kids - I've Seen Enough
Colder - To The Music
Dan Black - Yours
East of Anything - Innocent
Elbow - Grounds For Divorce
Electric Six - Feed My F*ckin' Habit
Electric Touch - Sounds For The Underground
Elliott Smith - Southern Belle
Elysian Fields - Black Acres
Emphatic - Goodbye Girl
Eyes Set To Kill - The World Outside
Fukkk Offf - More Than Friends [Omni's Vocal Remix] (this video isn't for the remix)
Girls Under Glass - The Virtual World
Juliette Lewis - Fantasy Bar
Katerpillar - Lost
Kelly Harper - BoyfrienD
K-OS - Uptown Girl [feat. Emily Haines & Murray Lightburn]
La Roux - I'm Not Your Toy [Data Remix]
Leaves' Eyes - Lovelorn
Letters Vs. Numbers - Forget Everything
Living Things - Oxygen
Manchester Orchestra - I've Got Friends
Manchester Orchestra - Wolves at Night
Mark Lanegan - Where Did You Sleep Last Night (folk song cover, didn't orginate with Lead Belly)
Metric - Gold Guns Girls
Modest Mouse - Parting Of The Sensory
Modest Mouse - Spitting Venom
Monogrenade - Ce soir (Not speaking French, I haven't a clue what this song is about)
Morningwood - New York Girls
New Models - Surrender
Perfect People - They Don't Make 'Em Like You Anymore
Peter Bjorn & John - It Don't Move Me [The Knocks remix] (this video isn't for the remix)
Polvo - Beggars Bowl
Pony Up! - Making More Beneath
Project Jenny, Project Jan - Pins and Needles [feat Fujiya & Miyagi]
Ritche Blackmore - Wish You Were Here
Sam Sparro - Black & Gold
Silversun Pickups - Sort Of
Smile Empty Soul - Don't Ever Leave
Sneaker Pimps - Bloodsport
Sugar Army - Tongues In Cheeks
The Black Ghosts - I Want Nothing
The Builders And The Butchers - Golden And Green
The Color Turning - Me Versus Me
The Dead Weather - Bone House
The xx - Crystalised
Triptaka - Lost & Leading
Waiting for Signal - Mistakes of the Century
White Lies - To Lose My Life
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Down Boy
You Can Be A Wesley - Creatures
Yves Klein Blue - Make Up Your Mind

Bold = I have other songs by them in my mp3/cd collection
Italic = I'd heard but didn't like other songs by them
neither = never heard of them before

"There's times I could run you flat out, just surender." - Your Black Star, The Silent Me

Monday, September 14, 2009

York's Wild Kingdom

C, K, and I (along with K's husband and his friend) went to York's Wild Kingdom yesterday. It was the first time that any of us had been there for twenty years, and neither of the guys, having both grown up down south, ever went there. It's interesting to return to a place like that after so long. I have no idea what has changed, because my memories of the place are all a bit fuzzy.

The most amusing part of the zoo visit was the fact that K thought that this duck was following her. It was, but she thought it was acting in a sinister way. I think he was just hoping for food. On our bestest behavior, we didn't tell her that it was amused that she waddles like it does =) Nah, that joke would be more appropriate in another month or two.

I was sad to learn that K and JJ are going to be stationed in NC again early next year. Sigh. It was nice having them in Maine while it lasted. We're going to try to get together in November, before their baby is born.

After we left the zoo, we went to the beach for a while. York beach is almost as ugly as Hampton beach. This far north is not known for their beautiful beaches, and I find the idea of beaches lined with parking meters to be sort of depressing.

All in all it was a fun day. Who knew that I'd still be hanging out with friends from college a decade after I graduated. It's nice.

"And you and I will find that when I need you I need it quickly. In fact, you'll never know" - Manchester Orchestra, I've Got Friends <-- mp3

Friday, September 11, 2009


I've been thinking about a couple of sequels that might come out. At this point I have all the faith in this happening as I do seeing the Fraggle Rock movie that was supposed to come out this year, but has been pushed off another couple of years. Well, I don't think I'll actually see the Fraggle Rock movie, but you know what I mean. Maybe you do. I don't know.

Anyway... The first movie of dubious destiny is a sequel to Silent Hill. Rumors that there's going to be a sequel have abounded since the first movie came out. I've probably seen Silent Hill a dozen times since dragging poor C to see it three years ago (I so did not realize the last 20 minutes would be that gory. She was not impressed. What can I say? I never played the games.) and at first I really wanted them to continue where they left off. Would Rose and Sharon ever get back to the real world? Now I don't really care. I'd watch a sequel, but if it's about something else, that's fine. Will they ever make this rumored sequel? Time will tell.

A sequel rumored for far far longer would be the sequel to The Boondock Saints. It's been a decade since the first movie, and about nine and a half years since rumors about a sequel began. Supposedly it'll finally come out on October 30th, but I'm not holding my breath. I know, you're wondering how this movie became one of my favorites, right? Besides the fact that I've always appriciated hitmen flicks, I studied Freud in pysch classes and thought that most of his theories were baseless. Then I saw this movie, and realized he's not wrong about guns. You know the two scenes were the twins pray and then shoot someone at the same time? Depite the fact that neither of the brothers is much to look at, that's about the hottest scene in a movie that I can think of where everyone stays fully clothed. So, yeah, I'd like to see a sequel eventually...

"You dont care who lies to you. You've finally found something to do. Don't it make your black eyes blue?" Summercamp, Drawer <--I was totally in love with this song in 97.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Who Steals Mail?!

The network adapter I have for wireless internet has developed a nasty habit of overheating and losing connection to the internet over and over again. So, after asking for some advice about Windows 7 compatability (I bought this current adapter because my old one wouldn't play with Vista) given I hate Vista and will probably upgrade to Windows 7 eventually, I found one with good reviews and ordered it. Then waited and waited for it to arrive. Why, if it arrived in Nashua on Thursday, was it still there through Monday afternoon? Wait wait wait...

The box finally came yesterday. It felt really light too. When I opened it I discovered that the box had been retaped and contained only a crumpled packing slip. F*ck!

Our post office wondered if it could have been a neighbor who swiped it. Um, no. First, none of our neighbors is that sort of person, and second, whoever did it retaped the box - how many of our neighbors have packing tape on hand? Besides, it was only scanned into our post office less than 24 hours before it was delievered, so someone would have to have been camped by the mailboxes to get ahold of it so quickly. I can't believe a neighbor would have gone to the trouble over a mystery box.

At first I assumed that it was a problem with Nashua's post office, since the tracking on the package said it sat in that city so long, but wiki lead me to discover that there's an Amazon warehouse in Nashua, so it probably wasn't at the post office in Nashua all that time.

Fortunately, my grim imaginings that Amazon would give me the runaround over it didn't come to pass, and I got an apologetic response to my e-mail this morning with a promise to send me a replacement immediately. I should have it by Saturday. Maybe. The empty box was supposed to have arrived the day before it did, so I won't hold my breath that I'll be able to have a functioning network adapter before Tuesday.

But really, who steals outgoing mail? Odds are greater that it was one of the employees who opened the box, took out my item, mangled the packing slip and put more tape on it than someone at the post office who'd have no idea what was in the box. Aren't most people smart enough to realize that the customer isn't going to shrug off spending $35 for an empty box? At Amazon or the post office, I hope whoever it is gets caught before someone else gets an empty box in the mail.

"You don't want a taste of the fantasies that I create." - Riddlin' Kids, Stop the World

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

August Music

Same deal as last month: If I can link to a song I added to my music collection this past month, I will.

Adelitas Way - So What If You Go
Against Me - Don't Lose Touch
Alanis Morissette - One
Albert Hammond Jr - GFC
Amy MacDonald - This Is The Life
Amy Ray - Pennies On The Track
Angela Desveaux - Shape You
Army of Robots - Too Close
Ash - Goldfinger
Assembly of Dust - Samuel Aging
Ayo - Down On My Knees
Babygravy - You Set Me On Fire
Bang Sugar Bang - The Machine Gun Song
Battlelion - Tempter they got the name from He-Man, right?
Benjamin E. Morsberger - Don't Forget To Regret
Biffy Clyro - That Golden Rule
Black Carl - Hussy
Blackout101 - Too Cool
Bloc Party - Blue Light
Blue October Say It if you've only heard "independently happy" check them out again
Bombay Bicycle Club - Evening Morning
Brian Borcherdt - Scout Leader
Butterfly Assassins - Give It A Chance mp3
Cage - Look At What You Did
Caledonia - Restless Year mp3
Carbon Leaf - Lake Of Silver Bells
Carbon Leaf - Pink
Carbon Leaf - What Have You Learned?
Chris Cornell - Enemy
Circulatory System - Overjoyed
Cityzen - Restless
Civalias - We've Got Company
Covenant - We Stand Alone
Dead Confederate - The Rat
Deep Samadhi - The Stake
Dido - Don't Believe in Love
Diving With Andy - Sugar Sugar
Eels - Fresh Blood
Eisley - Taking Control
Ely Guerra - Tengo Frio (trans "I'm Cold")
Fobia- Mas Caliente Que el Sol (trans "Hotter Than The Sun")
Frank Black - Calistan
Freda - Far Away (Guitar Mix)
Giant Ears - Fake Hotel
Gomez - Airstream Driver
Great Northern - Houses
Hatcham Social - Murder In The Dark
Holler - Follow
Io Echo - Addicted
Kaki King - I Think She Knows (Justin Timberlake cover)
Kat Frankie - Fake
Kings of Leon - Closer
Kyle Andrews - Sushi
Love Song Of The Month - Valerie Loves Me (Material Issue cover)
Margot and the Nuclear So and So's - A Children's Crusade on Acid
Margot and the Nuclear So and So's - Pages Written on a Wall
Marvelous 3 - Reelin' in the Years (Steely Dan cover)
Motorbaby - So Surprised
Muggabears - The Goth Tarts
Nickel Creek - Helena
PJ Harvey & John Parish - Black Hearted Love
Richelle Putnam - See The Boy
Sean Paul - Temperature (yet another DDR song sneaks into my MP3 collection)
Tape Deck Mountain - In the Dirt
The Dandy Warhols - Now You Love Me
The Decemberists - The Crane Wife 3

The Papertiger Sound - Cold Fingers, Smiling (I recognize the singer. Any ideas where from?)
The Pierces - Kill! Kill! Kill!
The Ropes - Be My Gun
The Tender Box - Beautiful Sin
To All Our Saviors - Falling & Crawling
VAST - A Better Place
Wes Carr - You
Wiretree - Big Coat
Your Black Star - The Silent Me
Your Somber Ghost - Breath
Zinc - The Morning After

Bold = I have other of their songs
Italics = heard other of their songs, but didn't like them
neither = bands new to me

"I could have swore I saw a spark, but then again it was probably just my desperate heart." - Composer A, October <--mp3

Friday, August 28, 2009


It didn't seem right to make fun of Twilight when I'd only seen the movie, so I forced myself through the bloated book. The book isn't quite as absurd as the movie (the movie version of Bella's interest in Edward was more baffling) but even trying to picture myself as a fourteen-year-old, I still can't find the reason for the outpour of love for the book; which might be more than a wee bit hypocritical given I saw these Team Eric shirts this weekend and my Id yelled about wanting one. The most positive thing I can say about the Twilight book is that I was expecting worse writing.

There is one part of the book that's glossed over in the movie that makes me a little uneasy: Bella looks up the, um, symptoms of vampirism, and while the websites don't mention sparkling, they do say that vampires are colder to the touch than normal, extemely pale, and have eyes that change color. Yikes. I've said before I'm often colder than everyone else, my skin is as pale as milk, and my eyes roam the blue-gray-green palettes depending on my mood and health. Do I need to be wary of teenage girls holding wooden stakes? I've already admitted to vastly prefering this vampire to this one, surely that's already a strike against me...

"My vampire, my vampire's fine. My vampire, my vampire's OK. He wants to break the rules I've made. He wants to crash my castle gate. Prince of Darkness you woke up too late." - Soho Dolls, My Vampire

Design Star

Okay, I'll admit it. Even though I generally rag on people who watch a lot of reality shows, I do watch them occasionally myself. There's no Last Comic Standing this year (my favorite came in 3rd last year, and my 2nd favorite won) so I've been drawn into something else...

I love this show. Truly. I can't believe that I missed three seasons of this! There are only 4 of the 10 contestants left, so I've already had the pleasure of watching all the annoying people get booted. This week was a little harsh, though, because even though I didn't like Jason at first, he grew on me.

I'm hoping Torie goes next, because she's my least favorite of the ones remaining and it's clear that the judges weren't impressed with her presenting. I'm rooting for Antonio to win, but I like Lonni too, and Dan too to some degree though he's a bit too young and relentlessly cheerful to be taken seriously. Dan's apple-themed white room challenge was beyond belief, though which makes it clear he's a good designer, so who knows, maybe he'll beat Lonni out for second before the end.

This week one of the judges called Antonio the "Tony Soprano of design" which I think was a good thing. Besides the fact that he's a darn good designer, I'm tickled by the idea of a tattoo'd straight 40 year old guy possibly winning the show. Not so much for an easy on the eyes factor (unlike say, Frank Fontana) but more like Angelo Surmelis, who I always think of as "Interior Design with Lex Luthor." Yes, always. I've watched an ungodly amount of HGTV at my mother's behest over the years.

If Antonio wins, I might even watch his show on my own.

"Cold. I wanna be keepin' you warm. I got the right temperature for shelter you from the storm" - Sean Paul, Temperature

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Point Of Prayer

Prayer is one of those things that non-believers like to bring up as a gotcha, asking why we faithful continue to pray when all prayers are not answered. The thing is, though, that they are all answered. But, as some wisely point out, sometimes the answer is no.

I'll admit that I pray as much out of habit as piety. There are those with unshakable faith in God, but I'm not one of those people. I'm not entirely convinced that there is anyone listening to us, but I'm more convinced than not. So I pray and hope that I'm not wrong about God, an after life, salvation.

Prayer isn't just about asking for things for yourself and others. It's also a way to direct yourself towards things within your power. While it's true that my newest prayers do include asking that an *elderly friend regains his health, that Flora remains safe, and that friends have easy deliveries and perfect babies, but I also pray lately that I will be more productive when it comes to writing, that I'll resist temptations - sweets mostly. I have more of a will to avoid other excesses - and waste no further energy on men who are unattainable (maybe I'll finally learn to not be fooled by those who are attached but take a damn long time to get around to mentioning girlfriends) and really, those are things within my control. Mostly. So, one of the values of prayer is to force yourself to contemplate what you need to do to be a better person. If some spiritual entity is helping us get there, all the better. Another is to make you evaluate your weaknesses honestly, which is something that the world could do with a lot more people doing.

I do have more faith than to shrug and say "it can't hurt" but I don't fault those people much either. CYA is a legitimate strategy as long as it doesn't harm anyone else, and it's hard to think of ways that prayer can hurt anyone. Of course, I also don't think we should pray for the favored outcomes of things as frivolous as sporting events or as serious as war.

* When I saw him today I told him that I'm keeping him in my thoughts. I've known him for eight years and religion has never come up, so I'm not sure how he'd feel about being prayed for. I hope good, but you never know.

"Lie awake, lie awake because you don't know who you are. Lie awake, lie awake because you know just who you are." - Wyrick, Inside Out

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Immigration Woes

Right now a nice boy is hurting, and there's nothing we can do about it. The whole situation strikes me as damn unfair, too.

Vynce met *Joe a year after I met C, and they've been best friends ever since. He was a nice kid then, and still is at twenty-five. It's still a little hard to think of the gangly 14-year-old I once met as a grownup, but he is, of course. Three years ago Joe met a girl, Flora, from Indonesia and started dating her a couple of years ago. He's been saving up money to buy her a ring.

A few months ago Flora discovered that her mother had never applied for citizenship for her and her siblings after being granted a visa to escape danger at home; she was still a child when they arrived here, and was under the impression that citizenship had been an issue settled years ago. It was a terrible shock to both Flora and Joe, but they jumped through all the required legal hoops in hopes of getting the immigration folks to change their minds.

Flora, along with her siblings and Mom, are being deported in less than a week.

They're being told that she only has to stay in Indonesia for a year before being granted a fiancée visa, but it's still so damn unfair. Why is it that an illegal alien from Mexico can stay here even after committing other crimes, but a girl who did nothing but believe her mother that they were here legally is being sent back to the danger she once escaped? Issues of immigration are a lot broader than our issues with Mexico, but no one seems to remember that.

At least not until a nice boy is hurt after trying to do everything right.

* Joe and Flora are similar to their real names. I know Flora probably isn't an Indonesian name.

"We're all just shades of gray in a long and frantic race to catch a dying day (I just want to get through the day.) For one second I'd slit your throat, spill blood across the floor. Put an end to this game." - The Killing Moon, Subject A

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yahoo Answers

Does anyone else amuse themselves by giving sarcastic answers to questions at Yahoo Answers? I don't always give a sarcastic answer, since there are some earnest questions which deserve real answers. But...deliberately stupid questions and ones asking you to do their homework deserve insincere answers.

How can you resist questions like these?

Question: How to make a man penis rise with out touching it?
Answer: Study to be a magician. Then, develop a commanding voice and tell it "Rise Penis, Rise!!" If you're a good magician, it'll respond to your command. But the way magic tricks are, you might need to use some fishing line to pull the trick off.

Question: In What Ways is Batman a Byronic Hero? Give examples if you could
Answer: He's a ladies man, but not interested in settling down. Byron mentions utility belts in several of his poems.

Question: Is it annoying to moan a whole lot during sex?
Answer: It is for the neighbors listening.

Question: What is an occupation that has changed over the past 50 years?
Answer: Being a student. Used to be that students had to do their own homework, now they just ask people on the internet to do it for them.

The best part is two of the above answers were voted as "best answer" by readers. heh.

As a total aside, my home torture device arrived in the mail today. I expected this epilator to hurt quite a bit more, but it's not so bad. It sure doesn't induce screams like the Epilady from the 80s was rumored to. I wonder if any guy has been talked into trying it yet. Imagine not having to shave your beard for a month.

"Tonight make me unstoppable and I will charm, I will slice, I will dazzle, I will outshine them all" - Bloc Party, The Prayer

Sunday, August 9, 2009

HP: Half-Blood Prince (spoilers)

I finally got to see Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince yesterday. I liked it, but that hardly comes as a surprise because I've liked all of the movies, even the Chamber of Secrets which was based on my second least favorite book. (my least favorite of all was the last book). As with the books, the movies have gotten consistently darker too, and I can't say that I object.

Out of curiosity, no one is surprised that Hermione is my favorite character, right?

This time I didn't rewatch the older movies or reread the book as I've done in the past. I wanted to see if not having the story fresh in my mind made any difference in my enjoyment of the movie, or my notice of what was changed. Not really. I have a good memory for what I've read anyway, which in general makes me a fount of useless trivial to confuse and/or dazzle people with, so it's not as though I forgot Snape's far more bombastic speech in the book, that in the book Harry spelled so he can't move instead of failing to act as he did in the movie, that Dumbledore's behavior was much more pathetic as Harry forced him to drink the poison when they tried to get the locket...

Most of those changes worked fine in the movie, but the three of us discussed Snape afterwards: if you hadn't read the book, you'd probably be really confused by Snape's throw away line that reveals that he's the half-blood prince. They totally cut out all explanation of what made him it, and eliminated a lot of the effort Harry, Hermione and Ron went to in order to try to discover the identity of the HBP. That, and they didn't do a very good job of explaining why Harry was willing to give up the potion book after he hurt Malfoy: in the book he didn't know what the spell did, and was horrified to discover that it cut the victim up. Sure, they showed Malfoy bleeding, but not Harry's guilt.

We'll have to see what happens with the last book, which will be broken into two movies. There was so much in that book about hurry up and wait, I'm not sure why they think they need to stretch it into two movies. I'll admit that I dislike the last book the most because I wanted Harry and Hermione to end up together. She and Ron have no chemistry, so I never was able to buy their relationship. Which isn't to say that I don't like couples that bicker, because God knows that I'm the type of person who teases the hell out of guys I like myself (and the ones I like best give as good as they get), but there should be something beyond that to make a couple realistic. Look at Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice and Benedick don't just make fun of each other and fight. I see that as lacking with R/H.

I suppose it might sound like I'm holding JK Rowling to too high a standard, but really, she's one of my role models, along with Anne Tyler and Stephen King. Some people which they could have the power, responsiblity and respect that the president commands, but I want to capture imaginations like these three do instead. That's the sort of power I'd like to hold over the masses.

"I have all of this potential building up... I'm the bullet, will you be my gun?" - The Ropes, Be My Gun

Friday, August 7, 2009

Music We Keep

So, as I promised I would, I spent an hour every day this week exercising. It sucked, but I got through it, and I plan to continue doing so. While doing my MP3 player landed on a song that made me think about how sometimes our enjoyment of certain bands was prompted by other people in our lives. Think about it, which bands do you like mostly because someone else introduced you to them?

Dad: Tom Petty. I didn't like music very much as a child, but I always liked it when Tom Petty was played.

Mom: The Moody Blues. She got me into them when I was in high school.

Vynce: No Doubt. Years ago he begged me to take him to see No Doubt if they ever played in MA, and eventually they came to Great Woods so I was obliged to see them even though I was totally turned off by their song "I'm Just A Girl." Face To Face opened and were awesome. Weezer wasn't as good as I'd expected, but they were still okay. And No Doubt? I left the concert a fan.

Lindsey: The Pixies. I never even knew they existed until Kristia's friend Lindsey lent me Doolittle. Wow.

Ryan: Depeche Mode. Before breaking my heart all those years ago, he showed me what I was missing here. At least he had good taste in music. You'll note he's not on this list...

Nich: Rasputina and a general love of cellos and violins juxtaposed with guitars.

Kevin: Crushworthy, of course - he was in that band. When he sang I could almost see what my friends thought I was missing by thinking of him as "just Kevin."

Meredith: VAST. This is the band that led me down this path. We didn't have much in common besides both hating our Americorps*Vista leader, but we did both dig this band.

So, how about you? What bands do you like can you trace back to other people?

"Do you really think she can give you more than me? Baby, I know she won't" - Ayo, Down On My Knees

Boomers Blow Up

I've been trying to figure out the whole "Obama plans to kill off the elderly with his health care plan!" blather going on seemingly everywhere lately. I make no bones about not liking the man, but the oh noes seem more than a little overblown.

I think I've cracked the riddle, though. For the first time in the past sixty-odd years, Boomers are finally finding out that it's no longer all about them. They've forced themselves into the limelight for decades, and have always demanded the most and the best, and this is one of the first serious threats to that. I suspect they thought they'd be the most important all the way to the grave.

Gee, I guess that's terrible for them to finally feel marginalized by society, and worried about not having their needs put first for a change. Gen X is the first generation to make less money than their parents, millennials are posed to make even less than we do, and Boomers played no small role in changing society to make these things a reality. It's misguided at best to look for sympathy from people they've treated the way they're now horror-stricken to be treated like themselves.

"Dropping the hammer and pulling the trigger I know now the bullet is me. I am the enemy inside of me" - Chris Cornell, Enemy

Monday, August 3, 2009

Getting Somewhere

Over the past few days I've gotten a fair amount written for that children's story I've complained about. Beyond point of view, the big problem tripping me up was trying to think of a reason why the ten-year-old protagonist's parents would let him go off for hours a day on his own in this day and age, since parents seem to keep much tighter reins on kids these days than they did when we were young. This was a huge stumbling block because the entire plot revolves around him having fantasy adventures. I finally thought of the perfect reason why his parents wouldn't be keeping tabs on him, and it has to do with that shopworn advice writers are always given, "write what you know": The ice storm.

The ice storm was an awful week for everyone, but can you imagine how much worse it would be if you had a child with autism to deal with, too? The kids I worked with would melt down if their routines were interrupted, and you can't get much more disruptive than having no power for nearly a week. I think the protagonist's parents would have their hands full with his younger brother, and real parents in that situation would probably be relieved if he and a friend were spending a lot of the daylight hours outside playing.

It's gratifying in a way to find a way to put a positive spin on one of the most uncomfortable weeks I've ever experienced too. In a way it makes it feel like it was a slightly worthwhile experience, because I feel like I can write about the miserable aftermath of that storm with some authority, as I'm sure a lot of other New Englanders can too. Of course, now I need to do some more research about the storm, but that's okay.

Does it sound odd to say that occasionally I'm grateful for writer's block? It might sound counter-intuitive, but sometimes it seems as if we struggle because we're waiting for the perfect inspiration that will make a story better, as if what we might have come to easily would be inferior to what was hard to get to. I think this new idea will make the setting far more realistic than when I intended to set the story earlier in the fall, which will provide a nice dichotomy to the fantasy elements.

I'm beginning to feel hope again that this story could be the one, and it's nice to feel hopeful about something. Maybe there's some merit to that whole one door closing another one opening thing after all... I don't think it's a coincidence that having mostly put aside some futile daydreams about something else was immediately followed by thinking of something that could be pivotal to the plot of this story.

"Given a chance I wanna be somebody. If for one dance I wanna be somebody. Open the door, it's gonna make you love me." - Kings of Leon, Be Somebody

Sunday, August 2, 2009

City Childhood

I know for a fact that some people think I'm overly secretive because I don't talk a lot about my childhood. You know why? Having people react with horror to stories you don't think are such a big deal gets tiring.

People who've lived in a rural setting their whole life are a different sort of critter than I am, and an easy illustration of this is the difference in attitudes between my dad and C's: when my father asks what our weekend plans are, and I say "wandering around Boston" he tells me to drive carefully and to have fun. C's dad insists on driving us to the train and worries that we'll be mugged or raped or murdered. And I don't just mean it was like this when we were young - he still is worried now that we're in our 30s!

Boston is not scary. Lawrence is not scary. Neither is Albany, or what I've experience of NYC. I can't imagine what it's like to be paranoid and terrified that city-dwellers are going to get you. Kind of sad, really.

As usual, I've digressed. Let me tell you some "horror" stories from my childhood.

* When I was five, my parents walked me to church on a hot summer night. Everyone from our neighborhood went, including the previously mentioned Georgie and Eric, and our friends Cal and Jonathan (most of my pre-adolescent friends were boys). I didn't think it was odd at the time that Georgie and Eric came too, but if I were older I might since they were Catholic. When we got there the grownups went to sign hymns, and us kids did art activities. Eric cried because they sent Georgie to an older class than us and Cal. After a few hours, we all walked back home.

Turns out that the reason that we went to church was because there was a very large shoot out between cops and gangs going on just a few miles from our apartment complex. The pastor opened to the general public, thinking that people would be safe there. He was right.

* We moved to the other end of Lawrence when I was eight; my family was "encouraged" to leave the other place because our mob next door neighbor's gambling ring was busted up and they thought my parents turned them in. Not long after we moved I made friends with the little girl upstairs, Kristy. She and I took ballet lessons together for two years. Sometimes my mom would babysit Kristy and her baby sister Lindsey, who was about a year younger than Vynce. Kristy's parents looked after us a couple of times too, early on. The reason it only happened early on is my parents figured out that Kristy's parents were dealing drugs after someone tried to break into our apartment a couple of times. Dad put a sign on the back door saying that the drugs were up stairs, and that solved that. The thing is, Kristy's parents were nice people. I know you're supposed to think drug dealers are scum, but they weren't. Our downstairs neighbor, who was eventually arrested for using his kids to make kiddie porn was scum, but not the drug dealers.

* There was a street near my babysitter's house that we never went down. I walked to my school for 4th grade (my third elementary school) from the babysitter's and was told never to go down "crack alley" alone. I didn't. It sounded dangerous, if it was in bad enough shape that they said it was cracked. Right? It never for a second occurred to me what was meant by "crack" at that age.

To other people stories like this sound scary. To me they're just things that were. I never felt unsafe during my childhood. People react like I should have been terrified, but... I hated living in Taunton from the ages of 18-20 a whole lot more, but I didn't feel unsafe there, either.

"I had someone to shoot, and you know I plan to lie about it." - Caledonia, Restless Year (download it here)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

July Music

I actually got through close to 2,000 mp3s downloaded in 2007. The only ones I didn't listen to from that year are 83 in Spanish. I like music in Spanish well enough, but I have to concentrate pretty hard the first time I hear a song to make out any of the words, and I haven't had fortitude for that yet. Maybe I can do a few at a time over the next few months.

Anyway, these are the songs I liked this month, and not all of them are from 2007, of course. Recognize any? Maybe I can find a few on youtube for you, but I've already quoted several so look for links in old posts too. Artist, then title, as is the only sane way to list songs.

American Analog Set - The Only One
Army Navy - Right Back Where We Started From (Maxine Nightingale cover)
Ash - You Can't Have It All
Bellaparker - The Things We Say
Brian Melo - Shine
Carbon Leaf - Another Man's Woman
Carbon Leaf - I'm on Fire (Springstein cover)
Carbon Leaf - Paloma
Colder - Confusion
Colder - Wong Baby [Issakidis Got Such a Crush Mix]
Cut Copy - Future
Death From Above 1979 - Pull Out
Demon Hunter - One Thousand Apologies
Derek Daisey - Words You Bleed
Dirty Pretty Things - You F*cking Love It
Disciple - Things Left Unsaid
Distal - Denver Is Burning
Division Kent - All You Fantasized
Doves - Kingdom Of Rust
Fischerspooner - Happy
Franz Ferdinand - You're The Reason I'm Leaving
FUKKK OFFF - Love Me Hate Me Kiss Me Kill Me
Gaz Reynolds - Plastic Girl 2005
Green Vinyl Dream - Oxygen
Holler - On and On
Hope Of The States - Blood Meridian
Howling Bells - Low Happening
IO Echo - Doorway
Jag Star - Call Me Crazy
Jag Star - Leavin'
Jake Niemi - You Lied to Me
Junior Boys - Birthday
Justice vs Simian - Never Be Alone
Kaura - Becoming
Kiddo - One Last Party
Kings of Leon - Be Somebody
Kittyviolet - Burn!
Lenny Pierce - Last Time
Malcolm Middleton & The Hold Steady - Run To You (Brian Adams cover)
Manafest - Impossible
Manta Ray - Don't Push Me
Melinda Miller - Something You Said
Mercy Rule - Summer
Mirima - Farside
Motorbaby - Fly Away
Mush - Dusk
My Little Radio - Waste Another Night
New Young Pony Club - The Bomb
Nicolas Johansen - Crush Me
Northern State - Better Already
Pillar - When Tomorrow Comes
Pinstripe - Closest Thing to Heaven
Pixies - Is She Weird
PJ Harvey - Sheela Na Gig
Point One - Oxygen
Primal Scream - Exterminator
Puppies - Keep Swimming
Rachel Sage - What If
Recliner - All Pleasure (the what would Jesus do if he had a house party? video)
RED - Break Me Down
Renÿ Thomas - Cover Your Exits
Rezound - Breathe
Rezound - Drowning
Ripped - Anodyne
Sally Sharpio - I Know
Satellite Party - Hard Life Easy
Say Hi To Your Mom - Let's Talk About Spaceships
Silverline - Letters I'll Never Send
Simple Plan - When I'm Gone
Siouxsie - Into A Swan
Styrofoam - Front to Back [feat Andrew Kenny]
Tapes N' Tapes - Insistor
Tenpenny Joke - She
The Church - Ripple
The Current - The Counting Song
The French Kicks - Only So Long
The Hush Sound - Wine Red
The Mercy - She'll Stay
The Murder City Devils - I Want a Lot Now (So Come On)
The Ropes - Kill Her Off
The Spies - Domino
The Static Age - Trauma
The Sun - Lost At Home
The Von Bondies - Crawl Through The Darkness
The Von Bondies - Pale Bride
The Wedding Present - Interstate 5 [Extended Version]
The Wrens - She Sends Kisses
Three Days Grace - Get Out Alive
Trees on Fire - Everything
Try - Like All of Us
Tsunami Bomb - Take The Reins
TV on the Radio - Playhouses
VAST - Sunday I'll Be Gone
We Are Scientists - Cash Cow
Wyrick - Call Out My Name
Wyrick - Inside Out (wish there was a video, finds like this are why I bother with Christian Metal at all)
Xavier Rudd - Fortune Teller

Bold = I have other of their songs
Italics = heard other of their songs, but didn't like them
neither = bands new to me

Speaking of music, what's the longest you've gone without knowing that you've misheard the lyrics? I only just today found out that the line in "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M. isn't "What if all these fantasies come claiming new ground" but "What if all these fantasies come flailing around." Hell, I like my version much better. I can use it in a poem, or whatever, then. Maybe I'll put it into a story as song lyrics on the radio, like I did a mishearing of "Rootless Tree" by Damien Rice - "So f*ck you, f*ck you, f*ck you And all we've been through" sounds like "f*ck you and all you didn't do" so I wrote a snipet of song around that.

"And if you’re standing there with me I’ll swear it’s a lie and I’ll still believe it Cause I came And I spoke And you ran And didn’t even wait to hear the words Or see the look in my eyes" - Guster, Love For Me (I saw them for the 1st time during that tour. not any more, though. they've sold out and totally changed their sound)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hot, At Last

Okay, so now it's finally hot. You don't hear me admit that very often, but how often does it get to be 88F in my bedroom? That's about 8F too hot for me to sleep, so I'm hoping that it cools off a little sooner than later. Too bad I didn't turn up the fan a couple of hours ago, but I didn't notice it was hot until a little while ago.

All week long people have asked me, "is it hot?" and my honest answer has been "no." Maybe it is, but I don't get hot nearly as quick as most other people seem to. Unfortunately for me, the converse it true too, so when my mom asked me last February if I was cold, my honest answer to that was, "I've been cold since November."

Speaking of hot, my mind was truly blown by someone in the midwest a few days ago. We were discussing what summer has been like on a messageboard, and they said that they were suffering because the humidity was 18%, and he wished it were lower. This floored me and another poster from the east coast, because we can't conceptualize what that would even be like. Even during the winter when it's so dry that the backs of my fingers crack and bleed, humidity doesn't drop below 30%. Ever. Right now it's 85F (yes, at 11:30pm) and the humidity is 93%. That's normal: I discovered a few years back that it's possible for humidity to be higher than 100% because of that super saturation we learned about back in chem. Right before 4th of July the year before last it was right around 100F and the humidity was only in the 40s. That's the closest I've ever come to experiencing a dry heat. It was kind of nice. Before that I thought that it was made up, like job security and other things people claim exist.

I didn't post yesterday. I know. I've decided that I'm not going to continue with daily posting, because I've fulfilled my experiment. Besides, I wrote 1,500 words on a story this morning, and that's a little more important than this, right?

"I love the summer, when it's hot, hot, hot!" - Mercy Rule, Summer

Monday, July 27, 2009

Carriage Story

I have a history of claiming I'll tell stories later, then never returning to them. So, to distract myself from unhappy realities, I'm actually going to tell you one of those stories. Gather 'round, Boys and Girls, and I'll tell you the story of the shopping carriage.

Twelve years ago, almost, my baby brother spent a couple of days with me while I was a junior in college. After more than two and a half years in MA, we were finally moving back to NH. Our house was supposed to have been completed before he started high school, but it wasn't, and it was going to be a couple of days into the school year before my mom could rent a place. Anyway, I had a bored fourteen-year-old on my hands for 48 hours, so he wouldn't miss the first two days of school.

Colleen, Kristia and just about everyone else was busy one of those days, but Sarah suggested that we take a walk to Mill Pond and see the swans (Mill Pond is the technical name, but most people called in Swan Pond). Vynce seemed game enough, so off we went. Most of you probably aren't the least bit familiar with the UNH campus, but you access the road the pond is on through the rear of a parking lot for the grocery store plaza. As we were going through, Vynce saw a shopping carriage at the far end of the lot and began pushing it. Of course we told him not to. And as you can imagine, this made him more determined to tick us off by bringing it with us.

So there we went, arguing with him the whole time that he should bring the carriage back. Nothing doing. He still had it when we arrived at the pond, half a mile away. As soon as we got there, we firmly told him not to get any ideas about pushing the carriage into the pond. I don't know about Sarah, but I'll admit that it wasn't just doing my big sister duty: I was curious to see what he'd do.

We'd brought so bread with us, so Sarah and I headed around a copse of trees to feed the ducks and swans, and Vynce declared he'd stay were the benches were. (there'd been an incident with the swans earlier - he and they weren't on particularly good terms) As we fed the birds, we heard thumping noises, and popped back around a couple of times to see what he was doing, which was sitting on a bench, pushing the carriage forward a few inches, and pulling it back. We repeated our demand that he not push it into the water, and he waved us off.

A couple of minutes later, we wandered back and sat on the other bench. He continued to push the carriage back and forth, watching us. Then suddenly, he gave it a huge shove instead and it went careening down the hill into the water. It only went in about two feet, so the rest of it stuck out of the water quite conspicuously.

The look he gave us was half astonished, and half worried. "I didn't push it!" He yelled suddenly. "It rolled in!"

And that, Boys and Girls, is when Sarah and I lost our composure. Neither of us expected such an explanation, and we laughed so hard that tears streamed down our faces, and we couldn't breathe, so we collapsed on the bench. This was quite obviously not the reaction my brother expected, so the confused look on his face set us off further.

Eventually we calmed down enough to force him to take off his socks and shoes and pull the carriage back out of the water. He was still smaller than me at that point, so the image of this little kid swearing and working hard to pull the thing out of the muck was pretty funny too. When he was done we waited for him to put his shoes back on and tried to think of what to do with the wet, dirty carriage. No worries, Vynce had an idea.

He pushed it all the way back to the store: but every time we encountered another person, he bragged about how he'd done "a good deed" by pulling a carriage out of the pond. As you can imagine, this earned him the praise of the elderly passersby. We told him that he couldn't claim that it was a good deed because he'd been the idiot to push it in, but he insisted that didn't matter, and it was a good deed. Do you have any idea how hard it was to keep a straight face as he kept repeating this story?

At last the purloined carriage was returned, and no one seemed to think it was odd that a boy was pushing a carriage full of wet weeds and mud into the parking lot.

"I'm so tired of everything I am, breaking promises to myself while I pretend, writing letters in my mind that I'll never send" - Silverline, Letters Never Sent

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Proposals vs Sharks

Apparently swimming with real live sharks is slightly scarier to British men than proposing to a woman, with 80% of them to scared to make a move towards the alter before their girlfriends do. Good to know. Remind me not to date any guys from the UK...

And I guess that makes Cal on Harper's Island even braver than I thought!

"Earthquakes and sharks to start us off/If Chupacabras ain't enough, black widow spiders and killer bees..." - Brandtson, Earthquakes and Sharks

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Political Commercials, 2012

You know what might be an interesting career? Being one of the people who comes up with political commercials. You get to drag out all the dirt from the last four years. I'd love that job!

If I were to design a commerical for the 2012 election, it'd go something like this:
Democrats said for years that we couldn't afford George W Bush's war. A war that cost the US taxpayers 752 billion dollars in its first five years. Barack Obama introduced 787 billion dollars of new spending in his first five weeks in office. Even Democrats must agree that we can't afford four more years of record spending. Vote for [insert anyone else]

I don't know if it'd be effective or not, but it'd be fun to point out that the democrats who whine about the cost of the war but don't say a peep about the stimulus spend (oh, sorry, they say "all spending is stimulus!" when people point out that it was full of pork, so I guess they're not totally silent) are a bunch of f*cking hypocrits.

Then there's:
Obama promised change if the American Public elected him. With record spending that doubled the deficit in his first year in office, pocket change is just about all we have left. Vote for [insert anyone else]

Isn't this fun? We could do ones about scare tactics and use clips of him saying the word "crisis" over and over again. And ones about his trying to force bills through as quickly as possible, with clips of him and others admitting that they haven't even read the bills they're trying to strong-arm into law. Oh, and how he had the audacity to claim that he and his foolish stimulus bill "saved" the economy when we've a 10% unemployment rate! (and a neat trick that is too, considering 90% of money is as of yet unspent) There's already a wealth of damning things on film, so why not make the most of them?

"What if there's no one who I would put up with? What if there's no one who'd put up with me? What if I'm destined to always remain alone? What if this question's as stupid as it seems?" - Rachel Sage, What If

Friday, July 24, 2009

Channeling Eliot

They still teach TS Eliot to high school kids, right? If so, you're probably vaguely familiar with his work. I have The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock on my mind tonight, particularly the part where he goes from "do I dare disturb the universe" to the timid "Do I dare to eat a peach?" all because of something I half-wish I'd had the nerve to say tonight.

I went to the mall tonight to look for two things, and struck out on both. As I walked by a vendor hawking cell phones, the guy there tried to convince me to talk about my cell phone needs. I wish I'd told him the truth, "Sorry, I only smiled because you're cute, not because I need a cell phone provider." The half of me that isn't making fun of myself for being a coward reminds me that I've worked retail, and I would have been pretty uncomfortable with such a remark myself. I guess being daring isn't worth potentially upsetting a stranger. But on the other hand, what if I said something and...

Anyway, poetry. Who are your favorites? I used to upset people in college who'd agitatedly ask how could I major in English and hate Romantic and Victorian era poets. I could only tell them that I was and I did. With a few exceptions like Dickens, I'm not fond of novelists from those time periods, either. I'm a fan of modernism and post-modernism all the way. I like Eliot well enough, but my true favorites are Sexton, Plath, Ginsberg and Jim Carroll. I wish I could link you to a few of their poems like "In This Room Particularly" by Jim Carroll but they don't seem to be out there. sigh.

A few of my favorite poems that are actually online:
Opal by Amy Lowell, which might be my favorite poem of all
Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney
Not Waving But Drowning by Stevie Smith
Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

"I only want sympathy in the form of you crawling into bed with me" - Fall Out Boy, Dance Dance

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Missed Photos

Beyond wishing I'd had a camera with me a week ago tonight for the last Carbon Leaf concert, there are things I wish I had pictures of. And I don't just mean things like I wish I hadn't somehow left my camera behind during the senior class trip, either.

Instead I mean things that were so totally unexpected that it wasn't reasonable to expect to take pictures. These are things I wish I had photos of:

* Contrails? When we were tiny, maybe four and five, Eric and I thought we saw a distressed plane spell out the word "help." His father told us that it was just regular contrails, but by the time we'd gotten him out of the house, they'd mostly faded, so of course he didn't see the word. I still wonder if it spelled anything out - I could read at that age, so maybe it really did.

* Vynce, knee-deep in water, and swearing as he dragged a shopping cart out of Mill Pond. Maybe if someone requests it I'll have to tell this story someday, but it's definitely the funniest thing I've ever seen, even to this day. Sarah and I were crying and hanging on each other because we were laughing so hard.

* The fire ball that shot out of the heating vent at work a few years ago. A chunk of ice broke the gas main, and as soon as the gas accumulated and the heat kicked on, the heat pipe had a 2' fire ball shoot out of it. It was scary, but also kind of exciting. I don't want to see it in person again, but photos would have been neat.

* Lightning striking power transformers during the ice storm. We weren't close enough to see the strikes, but both times lightning nailed transformers in the distance, the 11 o'clock sky was lit up an errie blue flash that filled the horizon. Very cool.

* Ice-coated tree in the headlights. Same night. When the lights of the car hit a certain tree in the median, it looked like crystal. Much prettier than all those crystal figurines people keep making me look at in the mall.

* Fire on snow. I had no idea how incredible this looked until I helped my mom burn some brush this winter. The lighter fluid does not sink into the snow like most liquids do, but instead pools on the surface. Fire does too, licking along the snow and barely melting it. If I can find a foolhearty assistant, I'm going to try for pictures this winter.

I guess some of those are kind of dangerous, but they are the things I wish I had photos to show people, so they could see them too.

"If I go everywhere you want me to go how will I know you'll still follow?" - Silversun Pickups, Panic Switch

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

P. Singer? SERIOUSLY???

Please, for the love of God, tell me that Obama isn't really appointing Peter Singer as a czar of anything. Please please please let this be some sort of joke that the right-wing talking heads are playing on us, because... ::shakes head in dispair:: I actually yelled when I was told who the new appointee is rumored to be.

That's exactly what this country needs: an unelected, unfettered science official who thinks it should be legal to kill babies up until the age of two, that monkeys are more human and deserving of rights and protection than small children, and that we have a duty to euthanize disabled people. As someone who is both pro-life and who has worked with special needs children, I've found his ideas deeply offensive for years, and I think you should too.

As if I needed another reason to loathe Obama and doubt his judgment.

"If I'm away from you long enough to make you cry at least you feel something" - Dropping Daylight, Til You Feel Something

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reconnection Epiphany

So, I've been trying to work out why it is that when I daydream about meeting someone, it's more often that I meet someone again rather than for the first time. There are several people I've imagined what it might be like to meet again someday: Georgie and Eric, who were my best friends up until the age of eleven but got lost after one too many move on my part; Jared or Brian from high school; Matt or Matt or Courtney or a few other guys from college; Jon, Brendan and a small handful of other guys I've worked with over the last few years...

It's not a lack of imagination. I write fiction for God's sake, so it's not as though I can't imagine meeting someone I've never met. But I guess it's because there's a lack of satisfaction in imagining someone you're never actually going to meet. I've had dreams about doing just this, and I inevitably wake up depressed when I realize that as nice as the person in the dream was, he's simply not out there.

The other issue is that reconnecting with someone is just less work. For social butterflies I'm sure that the effort that goes into meeting someone is energizing and there's a sense of excitement over the possibility that s/he might be someone you'll make a real connection with, but for those of us for whom it is a real effort...the worst part is when one of those people exits your life without anything ever really happening, so it seems like so much invested time was wasted.

Maybe, at least judging from TV shows where women on the far side of thirty talk about having kids "someday," not everyone hears the ticking of a clock, but I'm afraid of wasting much more time myself, which makes the idea of starting over with people I've never met a less than thrilling prospect. But what can you do? I've never been a good enough stalker to track down any of those guys I find myself wondering about now and again.

"Will we be more than friends? I'm still waiting for that look. This might be my last chance. When the fire dies and the stars burn up maybe you'll want to dance" - Tijuana Strip Club, The Way You Looked At Me Once

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Fade

It's become tradition that my dad, C, and I go to see the Harry Potter movies together because we all liked the books. C called yesterday afternoon because her grandmother died, which means we'll have to postpone this weekend's plans until the next. She's taking the death pretty calmly, and I understand exactly why. Her grandmother had Alzheimer's.

In that post a week or two ago about summers past, I mentioned that we moved in with my great-grandmother to care for her because she had Alzheimer's too. I think that was to the detriment of the entire family; except perhaps my grandfather who didn't have to see his mother go into a home. Nothing before or after turned our lives upside down like that did, and in some minor ways the ripples continue still, thirteen years later. I hope I'm not tempting fate by saying that it's the worst!

Hopefully you got the sense from the other post that I really cared for my great-grandmother while I was growing up. By the time I was seven, I was out of grandmothers, but she made the loss easier to bear. The very worst thing about this disease is it rips away all the good from some of the victims, and my great-grandmother wasn't an exception.

One of the only worthwhile personal conversations I had with a professor was about my great-grandmother shortly after she died. Q (he really went by Q) said that he coped with his mother's progression with the disease the same way I did - we both created two people out of one. The first person was the one you loved. The second one was the person who caused pain and destroyed normalcy. If you manage to convince yourself that the person who is tormenting everyone isn't the person you loved, then you can protect your feelings for the person they used to be. Like, Great-Grammy wasn't the person who laughed when she discovered that her son died (he died of cancer four months before her). Nope. That was the mean old bitch who stole her identity. The real Great-Grammy wouldn't have ever done any of the things that the imposter did...things that are terrible and better left unsaid. All these years later, I still think of her as two different people, because I can't hate who she was, but I sure hated the woman she became. I skipped her funeral. I had to, you see, because I wasn't grieving, I was relieved.

Though there are probably worse ways to die, Alzheimer's is one of the most cruel. Not only does it often inspire loved ones to hate the victim in the way few other diseases do, there's also what it does to the victim that's terrible too. A lot of people think that the victims are just out of it, but they're not always and that's the real horror of it. Even towards the end Great-Grammy had lucid periods, though we all wished she wouldn't. It was easy to tell when she was lucid, because that's when she'd cry with guilt over things she did but no longer had any control over.

She wanted it to be over, but our country doesn't believe in letting people die with the dignity we bestow upon pets, so she lingered for exactly a year after my mom and brother moved in with her. (ostensibly my dad "lived" with me the last two semesters of high school because I was under 18 the first one, but really, I saw him at home just two days a week because Mom and Vynce needed him there more - and I spent the last three months of high school driving 120 miles each way myself every weekend. I myself moved the day after graduation. I'm sure Vynce and I are more f*cked up people due to all of this, but that's not the point of this post.) We were all at peace once she died, sad to say.

So...I can understand why C isn't broken up by her grandmother's death. She said "she's been dead a long time, this was just her body catching up" and it's hard to disagree with that.

"Get in to my car, drive into the night/Then lie as I scream to the heavens above/That I was the last one you ever loved" - Better Than Ezra, Porcelain