27.7.10

Imponderables

One of the joys of Netflix is being able to watch old series that you missed the first time around  or those you'd like to rewatch (although why Mother Love and Die Kinder aren't available is beyond me: I'd love to see them again!). Along with all my reading (35 ALA-gotten ARCs down, 25 to go!), I'm watching many movies and series during my long weekends this summer.

The current Netflix is Poldark.  Now, I remember when it was on Masterpiece Theatre and I remember my mother refusing to let me watch any of the episodes.  So of course I've had an incredible curiosity about why.  I should have learned my lesson when I finally saw Upstairs, Downstairs (don't get me wrong, it's a great series, but there's nothing there that a teen in the 1970s should have been shielded from!)... but noooooo.  I'm watching the series (anyone else notice the resemblance to Penmarric?  or is that just me?) and, well, I'm underwhelmed.  1700s Cornwall-based soap opera?  Definitely.  But it's basically G rated, with the occasional PG moment. 

So why couldn't I watch Masterpiece Theatre when I was younger?  Anyone?

25.7.10

Things that *do* keep me up at night

(or, to be accurate, things that kept me up last night):
  • eau de pissed-off skunk
  • the howling of coyotes
  • a massive lightning display - almost like a strobe light in frequency, but (oddly enough) with continuous low-level thunder that lasted two hours

23.7.10

Running in place

As the Big Move approaches (Tuesday!!), I've been thinking about the past three years and what changes have been wrought. The truth is, I'm in much the same place - the things I had hoped to change, declutter and accomplish are still very much where they were in 2007.

It's not necessarily a bad thing, this treading water. Some of it has been a necessary keeping sane process , and trying to get my health issues under control has been a priority (when you prioritize what's important, certain things fall by the wayside). I'm less happy about the things I've backslid on, however. And some of those slides? Ugh.

So I'm getting back on track, dusting off (and updating) the old goals and figuring out how to move forward. Just watch my dust!

22.7.10

Things that don't really keep me up at night

Yesterday, LB1 and I were talking about her experiences with Landmark Forum; her uncle was really into it and convinced her to go to one of their seminars.  Her feeling was that it was so popular in California because people there feel guilty about the great weather they have, so they obsess over their issues that much more.  At 19, she didn't feel that she'd made enough bad choices to have any regrets, particularly not the type of things that seemed to keep her seminarmates up at night.

I started thinking about the things that don't really keep me up at night.  Nothing really does, although there are a few things that I'll obsess about** in the short-term.  Things like:
  • why I'm such a magnet for bad supervisors - the number of "spectacularly bad" far outweighs the "neutral" or "good"
  • "this isn't working out" occasions an 'ok' or no response?  really??
  • why my parents never really talk about their childhoods or families (seriously: I have to get my information from their cousins or siblings; a therapist would probably blame my adoption, I blame natural curiosity about what made them who they are)
  • what is the proper response to a FB message from someone that clearly knows you, but who you have no memory of at all?  it feels rude not to respond at all, but what on earth do you say?!
  • how do I keep from getting annoyed when going for an MRI and being asked 10 times in 5 minutes whether I'm sure I'm not pregnant.  trust me: I'm not.  stop asking.
  • can I really refrain from telling someone that just because they have an MBA from Wharton doesn't mean that their memos don't sound like they were translated from Masai into English via Basque?  
  • why I have such a distorted body image: I see myself as short, because I take a petite size (and you try getting pudgy petite pants, it's not easy) and as having a normal skin tone, rather than the incredibly pale coloration that everyone else tells me I have.
All the other, far more important stuff?  I guess going to Meeting and having friends and therapy over the years have helped. 

What things don't really keep you up at night?


** by "obsess over" I mean those things that stick in my brain and come to the surface of my over-caffeinated brain at 1am when I've been silly enough to  have a latte at, say 10am, and which don't bother me at all otherwise.

18.7.10

Culture Vulturing on a hot summer's eve

In the late-80s, David Johansen was playing seemingly weekly at the Bottom Line, and Thing One kept promising that one day he'd take me.  It took 20 years, but finally!  Don't know who David Jo is? Think New York Dolls.  Think Buster Poindexter.  Think Hot Hot Hot (on second thought, don't - I think we've all heard that song 50 times too many).

So, on a scorching night in NYC, off we went to the Highline Ballroom to finally see him in concert.  I don't know what type of a crowd Thing One expected, but a bunch of off-duty cops/firemen in their 50s wasn't quite top of my "this is the David Jo crowd" list!  The only song we knew we didn't want him to do was That Song, but Thing One did have hopes that we'd get "Hit the Road Jack" and "House of the Rising Son".  No such luck.  Instead we got "Funky but Chic", "Frenchette", "The Rope" (among others) and covers of "Rocket 88", "Boom Boom" along with some new stuff.  He was remarkably adept at ignoring the yelled requests from the audience, although he did allude to That Song with the casual remark "it's a living".  There was no band, just Brian Koonin on guitar, and the rock portion hearkened back to the 50s in tone.  All-in-all, a fun concert... almost.

The "almost" was the part that was ruined by David Jo's hairdresser, Sheridan, who was also part of Vaughn's birthday party.  No idea who Vaughn is, but he and his crew had one of the banquette areas of the Highline filled, and they were acknowledged by David during the concert.  Sheridan (also acknowledged as the one that comes to do his hair every day) was one of those fashionably chicly dressed types, and apparently is so used to her boss' music that she didn't feel the need to modulate her tones when arguing with someone at the party - those of us on that side of the room could hear her during several songs.  Then, during the second encore ("Heart of Gold"), she was at the bar, talking over the music to some guy (who had the good grace to notice that perhaps those closest weren't interested in whatever Sheridan's issues were, and be slightly embarrassed by the attention).  I didn't give in to my intense urge to stand up and ask Mr. Johansen to restart the song after his employee finished her conversation, but I did thank her for her contribution to my evening's entertainment.  

It was really too bad that such an enjoyable evening was ruined by such an inconsiderate person.  If I ever get the chance to see him perform again, I really hope she's not in the audience.

16.7.10

Links Galore

  • Personally, I hate waiting for things to load or update online.  This list from Dumb Little Man of ways to make money (albeit small amounts) while waiting is great.
  • Better late than never, right?  So contribute to this map of favorite independent bookstores  (even though we're past Independent Bookseller Week) (þ: Books Blog)
  • I got an A+ . What does Google Grade say about your social brand?  (þ: Will Richardson)
  • I used to love Mamma and Dogpile, but now Smartpage is my favorite search aggregator! (plus it's got privacy controls - how nice)

14.7.10

Not impressed

I'm watching the news and the anchors reported that Pres. Obama's disapproval rating is at an all-time high.

I'm not surprised.

Despite all the promises and all the hope, he's failed to impress me. For some reason, one they can't clearly articulate, my parents find him inspirational. If they could point to one speech, one action, one something that inspires them, I'd be happy. But they can't.

And really, how inspiring is it to have a half-white, half-black product of a prestigious prep school and equally prestigious universities with little experience governing as president? Take away the ethnic twist and he could be George W. Bush in terms of background. If he'd come straight outta Compton I'd have been impressed and possibly inspired.

That he hasn't kept many of his pre-presidential promises also doesn't surprise me. That others are disappointed does surprise me. Doesn't any one remember being disappointed by all election campaign promises, going back to the kid in 6th grade who promised that if you elected him there'd be homework-free weeks and candy for all on Fridays? Or the girl who promised that manicures would be available in the cafeteria every Friday, if only you'd vote for her? I was at college with candidate Rhett Butler, who apparently "gave a damn" to such an extent that I had no idea he was even in office.

President Obama has made mistakes. All presidents do. He has failed to inspire, like most of his predecessors. Had he used his primetime speech following the BP oil spill as his "man on the moon" moment, pushing for energy alternatives and promising real changes within five, or ten, years, he might have inspired. Instead he did what he's done in every speech I've seen him give: he lectured, he explained, and he was bland.

His low approval ratings? Not surprised. Are you?

Happy Birthday!!

Today is the day we celebrate the birthdays of three of The Gang: Bogie (14), Mallory (11) and Greta (3). I don't have birth certificates for them, but going by the age the vets think they were when they joined the family, mid-July seems appropriate as a birthday (in case you're wondering, Francis is a Thanksgiving baby, and he'll be 3 this year).

We'll be having salmon and perhaps some ice cream. And cuddles. Lots of cuddles.

12.7.10

Notable Quotes

It's bittersweet (without the sweet)
Honey from the rock (without the honey)
Was never absolutely clean
Never really love's young dream:
A pair of fairly fucked up bunnies.
Bittersweet, Shriekback

9.7.10

Links Galore

8.7.10

A case of the guilts

Uncle Anchises writes about the untimely death of his father (aka my grandfather), and his guilt over their last meeting.  I responded, but there's more.  Upon reflection, my family is filled with guilt over parental guilt.  How so?

My mother's felt guilty for the past 60 years over your mother's death (you want to talk untimely?  My grandmother died when she was 47!)  Mom feels that she let her mother down by not being as attentive while she was in the hospital, and by not wearing lipstick as asked; in short, for being a 12-13 year old girl. 

And then there's my father, who feels guilty that he didn't realize how sick his father was, as though he could have prevented the heart attack.

Neither have expressed guilt over their other parents' death, but I know that my mother's father's death still sits uneasily on her.

Thing One was lucky enough to spend a good deal of time with his mother as she was in the hospital dying, and was there when his father literally drew his last breath.  He misses them, but guilt doesn't enter into his feelings.

Wonder what I'll feel guilty about when my parents go.

5.7.10

Imponderables

Why is it that you can still get aerosol deodorant (I thought those were banned???) and yet you cannot find roll-on? Much less something unscented?

3.7.10

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Just got a new batch of ARCs during ALA Annual, and have already dived in. Let's see if I can finish them by the end of Q3. Reviews are all over on Killin' Time Reading.

Biography/Memoir
E.B. White; Scott Elledge
Episodes; Blaze Ginsberg
Julie and Julia: Julie Powell
Mistress of the Monarchy; Alison Weir

Children's/Young Adult
Young Samurai; Chris Bradford
Tenth Grade Bleeds; Heather Brewer
Thirteen Days to Midnight; Patrick Carman
Matched; Ally Condee
Nightshade; Andrea Cremer
13 to Life; Shannon Delany
Theodore Boone; John Grisham
Blood Feud; Alyxandra Harvey
Guardian of the Dead; Karen Healey
The Color of Water; Kim Dong Hwa
Scumble; Ingrid Law
Lord Sunday; Garth Nix
Sisters Red; Jackson Pearce
Museum of Thieves; Lian Tanner
Guardian of the Gate; Michelle Zink

Fiction/Literature
Espedair Street; Iain Banks
The Yiddish Policeman's Union; Michael Chabon
Beautiful Maria of My Soul; Oscar Hijuelos

Humor
Nightshade; Harvard Lampoon

Mystery
This Body of Death; Elizabeth George
The Black Cat; Martha Grimes
The Man in the Picture; Susan Hill
The Cruelest Month and Bury Your Dead, Louise Penny

Non-Fiction
Wicked Good Year; Steve Buckley
The Americans; Alistair Cooke
Lost London; Hermione Hobhouse
This Book Is Overdue!; Marilyn Johnson
Digital Revolutionaries; Steve Lohr

Science Fiction/Fantasy
Hastur Lord; Marion Zimmer Bradley
Dragons of Darkness; Antonia Michaelis

Books on Mt. Bookpile: 375
Added: 76
Net gain/loss: 41 gain