Rock on!

I've just picked up some fun stuff here at the semi-annual Music Sale. Like Sarah Bonsignore, Ma/Grapelli and the live Loggins/Messina (yes, that's flashback music).

Then I read the list of Great Conservative Rock Songs (þ: ICARUS). Something tells me they're reading too much into some of the lyrics. I hope.

ETA: I was right.

ETA: Tom Watson weighs in.



Some time ago I posted a link to the EPA's Fuel Economy site. I've been keeping track of my mileage, which is anal but interesting. Lifehacker recently had a post about saving gas - which is important not just for the environment, etc, but because it saves money (and who doesn't need more money?!).

One of the "yeah-I-know-this-already" tips is about going slower. Not slllooooooowwwww, but, you know, not going 75+. So, I've been trying to do that - stay below 70 unless you HAVE to pass someone. And it's been amazing: 37mph combined city/highway on my last tank!

Here's the thing that bothers me. As I was driving home yesterday, there were long stretches of highway with no traffic. Me, and way off in the distance, someone else. And it was mostly straight driving, too, with no real twisty curves you couldn't see around. I had some great music on, just bopping down the highway to home. Should have been a nice ride, right? Except... these *(_#&$!@ SUV drivers kept zooming up to me, riding my ass for at least half a mile before suddenly swerving into the passing lane. It's not like they couldn't see me and move into that lane waaaay before they actually got to my car. No. They were in it for the fun of trying to prove that they're bigger, better, faster, more idiotic than I am - or that they just don't know how to drive. Either/or.

I just don't get it. Is it really that fun to tailgate when there's no other traffic?

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Too much of a good thing

Well, I survived the weekend. It was a lot of fun, and I got some good music (ate a few good meals, too - if you're ever near Woodstock, check out the Red Onion and New World).

This morning I drove home, walking into a cottage The Boys had messed up to show their disapproval of Mommy leaving home for a weekend. Fine. I cleaned and read the paper and decided to take a nap.

After about an hour or so, I started to hear music. My neighbors were celebrating the ending to their two-week adventure with installing French drains (there was also something about having more dirt than they'd anticipated and what were they going to do with it). They, and my landlord/lady were having a quiet drink and barbeque, listening to Nat "King" Cole sing Unforgettable.

Please, don't get me wrong. I like that song, with or without the insertion of Natalie Cole's voice. But really, isn't 45 minutes of that song just a little too much?



Only in Woodstock

If you've never been here, you probably associate the town with the movie/concert. And, it has to be said, there are some people here that are still "hippies" - that's ok. It's not the whole town, however. Where I stay, the people are pretty salt-of-the-earth, blue collar types who voted for (and support) George Bush. That's ok, too.

In the past few weeks, a new neighbor has moved onto the street: a pileated woodpecker. But it seems to have imbued some of the hippie spirt - it wants to save the trees. So it pecks the tin sheds in people's backyards, starting at 5am with a jackhammer-type noise. Which is definitely not ok.

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A backwards glance

Cam is just filled with good thoughts these days. Today she took on the ubiquity of the Standing O (hint: we think alike about this one) and the other day she posted a meme about looking back.

So, here's my look:

1) How old were you?
THEN: 23
NOW: 43

2) Where did you go to school?
THEN: Nowhere. I was working.
NOW: A private school in Westchester County, New York.

3) Where did you work?
THEN: I was at Theatre Communications Group, working as the Assistant Business Manager (primary responsibilies were Accounts Receivable and helping automate the business office)
NOW: see (2) above

4) Where did you live?
THEN: In an apartment near Brooklyn College
NOW: In a 20x20' cottage in Rockland County, New York

5) How was your hairstyle?
THEN: Long, straight. Usually in a ponytail.
NOW: God, I'm so boring. Same style, but during the workday I do the bun.

6) Did you wear braces?
THEN: Thank god, finally NO.
NOW: Still no.

7) Did you wear contacts?
NOW: No. I'm going to quote Cam here: "Look, there are two kinds of people in the world: those who will touch their eyeballs for fashion's sake, and those who couldn't do it for any reason. I'm in group two."

8) Did you wear glasses?
THEN: Yep. Been wearing them since 1971
NOW: Still doing it (see above re: contacts). Only now I have those cool ones that darken when you go outside. And they're only for distance, so I'm not a complete bunhead stereotype.

9) Who was your best friend?
THEN: I'd have to say a toss-up between Rob, Nancy and Tobe. Still close with Nancy and Tobe, but lost touch with Rob. His loss.
NOW: The two men in my life, Michael and Mark. But a slew of others come in second place.

10) Which of your pets were still alive?
THEN: None. This was a year before my beloved Howard came into my life; I'd grown up in a petless house (thanks, Dad).
NOW: Mallory and Bogie. And Lulu, but she's living with Daddy.

11) Who was your boyfriend/girlfriend?
THEN: Would you believe: never had a boyfriend.
NOW: Again with the boring: never had a boyfriend. Did get married once, though...

12) Who was your celebrity crush?
THEN: You expect me to remember? Uh, Kenneth Brannagh. Derek Jacobi. Bruce Willis. Christopher Reeve.
NOW: Hugh Laurie. Antonio Bandaras.

13) Who was your regular-person crush?
THEN: If I could remember, I'd tell you.
NOW: You expect me to name names? Here? In public????

14) How many piercings did you have?
THEN: One in each ear.
NOW: Boring, boring, boring.

15) How many tattoos did you have?
THEN: You think my mother would have let me live if I'd gotten a tattoo? Pierced ears were difficult enough!
NOW: Why? Lap choli scarring is sexy enough.

16) What was your favorite band/singer?
THEN: Jethro Tull. Toyah. Kate Bush.
NOW: Kate Bush. Michel Rivard. Liane Foly.

17) Had you smoked cigarettes?
THEN: Yep. Used to go to the smoking area at prep school and smoke after watching General Hospital (note: this was before 1980)
NOW: No.

18) Had you gotten drunk?
THEN: Yes. Sadly.
NOW: Maybe one or two other times. Nothing with in the past 10 years.

19) Had you driven?
THEN: Of course! I was raised in upstate NY, where it's as expected as breathing.
NOW: Yes. Getting to work would be difficult otherwise.

20) If so which car?
THEN: My father's Volvo 144 (electric smurf blue!), or a rental.
NOW: A 2005 Toyota Corolla. The first car I've ever owned.

21) Looking back, are you where you thought you would be in 2006?
In a weird way, yes. I'd always sort of known I wanted to be librarian, it just took sidetrips through finance and human resources (many permutations of each, and in several industries) to get me here.

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Vinyl Lives

Today I'm off to help a friend with his semi-annual Music/Yard Sale. If you're in the nabe, stop in.

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Links Galore

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I want some!

Why, oh why, do I not have my own minions ? (ok, not as cool as those on Buffy, but still... I WANT MINIONS!)

(þ: Oached Pish)

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Quiet humor

Still in the 200s and looking for books on Quakers. One book listed is "How to care for your Quaker parrot".

Must be a very quiet parrot.

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Luddite Alert

Cam admits her Ludditian leanings. We all know how I feel, don't we? (Need a refresher? Go here, here, here, here or here.)

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On a brighter note

I just checked my stats and noticed that only 53% of all visitors to this blog are using some variant on Internet Explorer. The largest chunk of those not using IE are using Firefox (as well they should), but there are some that are using Safari, Netscape, Mozilla, Opera and Konqueror.

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What do you say?

As previously mentioned, this is "final product" season - a time for students of all stripes to demonstrate what they've learned/done/accomplished over the past year or so. Many times, I'm expected to go because of my affiliation with one of the performers/artists or the place in which it was produced. So then, after I've seen/experienced the thing, I'm expected to have some sort of comment.

I'm not a professional critic, nor am I particularly tutored in the various arts. I know what I like, I know what I don't like: that's about it. And sometimes I can even articulate what it is that I like (or don't like). Not always, because sometimes it's just one of those gut reactions that you can't explain. Sometimes I wonder if professional critics feel the same, but aren't able to say "this stinks - can't tell you why, but it does".

The problem for me is what you say when it's really bad. One of my friends and mentors (who has to go to even more of these things) uses "you must be so proud" or "congratulations" or "thank you for inviting me". Now, if I were on the receiving end, I'd feel a little slighted. I mean, what did he think about it? How did it make him feel? I've poured hours of preparation and sweat and love into this and all I get is a "congratulations"????? But being on the giving end, the one who has to say something to this fresh, hopeful face in front of me, those work. It's a toss-up, isn't it?

Even worse is when there's more than one - like a flock of dancers or a clutch of artists. One is incredible, several are mediocre, and then there's the really bad. You can't gush over the incredible one, because the others will notice. But... you do want to let that one, the one that touched you most, know that they did something important. Tact is difficult at times like that, isn't it?

I also hate being in the position of being known as articulate, so the person is expected something semi-profound and thoughtful, and all I can say is "thanks for inviting me." Again, that's a huge tip-off that there's something not quite right.

Even after eight years at mopow, I'm at a loss. What do you say?

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Links Galore

Watching BBCAmerica and need a translator? The Phrase Finder can help. (þ: The Reading Room)



Color me shocked

Sir Paul and Heather Split


Year End Madness

It's that time of the year - recital/show time. Remember that from your schooldays? You know, the time when all the adults insisted that you show the rest of the world what you'd been doing over the past few months, whether or not it really was ready for public consumption. I suffered through ballet and piano recitals and am very grateful I don't have to do this any more.

When you work in a school, you have to go to these things and support the students. Even if you were so traumatized by these events as a child, you have to suck it up and support the students (and, I suppose, the long-suffering teachers). Sometimes, as in the case of SAB's Workshop, it's a great thing and very inspiring. Sometimes the work shows promise, and you can see glimpses of the adult success. Sometimes, you just want to take the child aside and say "get a day job - one that doesn't have anything to do with making ART". Of course, you never do get to that point because, well, you're an adult and you don't want to totally kill their spirits.

This past week I've been to two art shows, and I've got a movie, a play and Workshop in the next few weeks. Having seen "Art School Confidential", though, the art shows were amusing. The most recent show (last night) was typical of the genre. Students display their portfolio, and parents and teachers walk around with very serious faces. Most of the art last night was angsty in the way that only teenagers can be angsty: lots of cleverly angled self-portraits, vibrantly odd colors, etc..

One artist-in-the-making had a series that really jumped out at me. Why? Because it was almost a replica of The Piece in ASC, the one that becomes a major plot point. I couldn't even tell if this was a good work of art because of the similarity (and no, there's no way this could have been inspired by the movie, unless the artist was part of the making of the movie, since this series had been done over the course of the school year). Art imitating life can be interesting. Art imitating (or mirroring) art in a movie is... odd.

Tags: lazylife, art



Bri's doing this "Five Questions" thing and I thought, why not - how bad could it be? So...

1. What differences are there in Brooklyn Meeting and your Meeting up there wherever you are now?
Brooklyn is larger and older (in building - Rockland is in this rather modern 50's ranch house). No one overtly snores in BM, whereas RM has one person who does almost every week. The messages at BM were somewhat different. There's the same really liberal slant, but here they seem angrier. I miss Brooklyn.

2. What is the most embarrasing television show you have watched with even a little regularity?
Real World. Still watch, occasionally (it's on opposite SVU so...)

3. What is your stock answer when kids ask you what your favorite book is?
Depends on the age. For little ones, "Good Night, Moon". For YAs, "Up a Road Slowly". For adults, I just have favorite authors: Julian Barnes, AS Byatt and Robertson Davies. Did that answer the question?

4. What would be your dream vacation?
A cottage somewhere cool, like Ireland or Scotland, with my cats and a ton of books and some good friends to hang out with in the evenings. I know, I know, borrrrrrrrring. But still, I don't do sun/sand terribly well, and travelling to places like Turkey aren't really vacations, it's tourism and that's work. Vacations are for relaxing and vegging.

5. What is the last movie you saw in the theatre?
Art School Confidential last Saturday. Wasn't impressed because the plot was telegraphed from a mile away, and the lead was very passive. I'd say more, but there are some that read this that have asked me not to share my opinion until next week...

So, anyone want to play? Just let me know and I'll interview you!

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At least someone's enjoying themselves

Today it's pissing rain. It doesn't feel as though the temperature is in the 60s (which, according to the thermostat, it is) - it feels colder. It's one of those soaking rains that just chills your bones. And toes. I hate wet toes.

Our driveway is not totally paved, and there are a few ruts where water has puddled. As I sat in my car, settling in before starting my drive to work, I saw a blackcapped chicadee cavorting in the puddle. Cavorting! Splashing in the water, letting it run (and rain) down on her head. Totally enjoying the rain and the puddle and nature.

Sometimes, it must be a good thing to be a bird.

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Bad start to a grey day

I'm tired after the weekend's gallivanting (yes, I gallivanted), and feeling let down by last night's West Wing finale. The weather report says we're in for rain for the next few days. No wonder I'm a little on the "blah" side, right?

But that's not enough for The Gods. No. Not even close. First, the zipper on the pants to my grey suit splits. Then, I get to work and realize that my pantyhose are shredding. Finally, the zipper to the skirt I'm wearing splits.

All I can ask is, what's next?



Links Galore

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Where did my pansies go?

When I moved into the cottage, I saw that the previous tenant had left a window box with some scraggly pansies in it. Given that I have the world's blackest thumb, I left well enough alone and enjoyed the box from inside the house (it can be seen from my "office").

This spring, I noticed Green Stuff in the box. That green stuff turned out to be more pansies. And there were even more in a little plot of earth in the backyard. I didn't plant them... my landlord didn't plant them... they just appeared. Very odd for pansies.

Yesterday, the lawn guys made their weekly visit, and today my box of pansies is missing.

Black thumb or not, it's almost enough to make me go to the nursery and get some more!

Tags: lazylife, pansies


Damn television

The Revolution Will Be Blogged

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ColbyCosh writes:
It seems damned careless to accidentally smother your kidnap victim to death literally on your way out the door of her house--but students of homicide know that we hear something like this exculpatory tale of a tragic accident from pretty much every single sex murderer in the recorded history of humankind. Even John Wayne Gacy, who had thirty-plus bodies of young male rape victims rotting away underneath his house, tried to spin elaborate explanations for how his prey, in every case, had up and died through sheer misadventure. It's a crock.
While the Cecilia Zhang's death is a tragedy, I wonder if it could also be used as a "what not to do" lesson for kidnappers-in-training. I mean, how do you "accidentally smother your kidnap victim to death"?



My bifurcated life

I haven't written much about The Big Life Change recently, mainly because the trauma has subsided to a large extent. However...

One of the "blessings" of moving to my new place has been that I'm relatively close to my old life - I can see people with some regularity, for example. Another example is that I didn't have to change my ob/gyn (no, this isn't going to be a TMI post). That blessing, however, can also be a curse.

Take Saturday, when I went to Brooklyn for a first comunion. The subways were doing their usual weekend maintenance/bad signage thing, so I got a little waylaid. I ended up taking "my" subway to "my" stop. It was pretty traumatic - being at the diner for breakfast, feeling as though I should be going home instead of just visiting. Yes, I've been to Brooklyn before (and eaten in "my" restaurant, shopped in "my" shops, etc.) but this was the closest to actually going home in the usual way than I'd done since last June.

Then today I went to see my ob/gyn. I've been going to this practice since 1987, and they've been really great. When I had my pre-checkup chat with the doctor, she asked all the usual questions. Then she asked how I'd been in the year since my last visit - was anyone famous at my school now? It struck me that she didn't know about The Big Life Change. It felt very odd to be in a place I'd been going to for years, talking to someone I'd known for years, and to know that she didn't know how things had radically changed in my life. It's not that there's any reason she should have known, it's just that it felt like any other year... except...



Procrastination Meme

(from Cam, Terry and Little Professor)

  • I am blogging.
  • I want to feel more alive and less tired.
  • I wish that summer vacation were already here.
  • I hate coming home and not being able to sit outside and relax after work with a glass of wine because my landlord is doing something loud on his/my side lawn (using a backhoe, for example - I kid you not).
  • I love curling up with a book and my cats and a glass of wine.
  • I miss having someone to say goodnight to me and tucking me into bed.
  • I fear dying alone and forgotten.
  • I hear my computer fan and the Older Boy snoring contentedly.
  • I wonder if I really am a good friend, or if I'm just good at acting like one.
  • I regret gaining as much weight as I have.
  • I am not easy to live with on a daily basis.
  • I dance with my cats (much to their disgust and annoyance).
  • I sing - not! Just ask anyone that knows me. I vocalize, but it's not singing.
  • I cry a lot, even at stupid sappy commercials.
  • I am not always as kind as to others as I probably should be.
  • I make with my hands badly done needlepoint pillow covers.
  • I write with two distinct handwritings.
  • I confuse my left and right - a trait I share with my mother, her older brother and my sister.
  • I need to work on getting on with my life, rather than wallowing in senioritis.
  • I should clean my cottage and finish all the weekend chores.
  • I start a lot of conversations in my mind, and then fail to remember that they're only in my mind.
  • I finish about 90% of the Sunday NYTimes crossword in 40 minutes or less.
  • I tag all the other lazygals and guys reading this.
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And if he were a student?

Yet another plagiarism case. Not Opal Mehta, but a college president. Hamilton College had a similar case a few years ago. At Wesley College, however, things are a tad different.

The faculty can't decide if it has confidence in President Miller, or not
. How absurd. Apparently this isn't the first time he's "done it." I'm all for giving the benefit of the doubt, but there is no doubt in this case. The unfortunate reality of being in that sort of position is that you are held to a higher standard than, say, a student. You're supposed to be setting an example (remember that whole Caesar's wife thing?).

I shudder to think what this implies about standards at Wesley. And I question President Miller's intelligence. After all these other cases, did he really think no one would catch him?

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Links Galore

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For those with itchy feet

and an upcoming summer vacation, might I suggest perusing the Top 30 Travel Books? (þ: Bookslut)

Of course, if you're in my position and don't have the money, time or travelling companion with which to get away, they make great travelporn.

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Punishment fitting the crime

By now we've all heard that Zacarias Moussaoui has been given a sentence of life in jail without the possibility of parole. The jury didn't buy the government's claim (echoed strongly by Moussaoui himself) that this was a high-level Qaeda operative.

You know, I agree with them. First, denying him his martyrdom and 72 virgins is a good thing. Second, if I were in his place, I'd claim all the glory I could because I'd be pretty aware that I wasn't going to walk out of this. Might as well tell everyone I was bin Laden's right-hand-man, personally picked for this Very Important Mission. It's not like anyone's going to contradict me, right?

So, now he's off to Supermax. He'll dwell in splendid isolation for however long he lives, cut off from the rest of the world (for the most part). That's the part I don't agree with. Yes, yes, let's keep him jailed. But let's not accord him the status of a Big Bad Dangerous Guy. Let's treat him as what he probably was: a low-to-mid-level guy who messed up. We've all met them. Let's put him in Rickers. Maybe Angola. Somewhere where he won't feel "special", where he'll be aware, every minute of every day, that he's not a threat, that he's not important.

Let's make it clear that we spared his life because he's just not the Evil he thinks he is. And let's wish him a very long life in which to realize this.

That would be a just punishment.

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