Annotated Webclutter

Another in this occasional series of posts:
  • The whole idea of decluttering is so soothing, and this list of areas that I could simplify make sense. What I need is time - time to sort through things (like the personal products and paper) and get organized (so errands don't become more clutter). All I know is, with each batch of stuff that I take to Goodwill or toss, I feel lighter and lighter.


Links Galore


Culture Vulturing Roundup

This is one of those "you should really get that post up... but there's an event soon so maybe if you wait you can add that" posts. In the interest of clearing the deck before the summer culture vulturing (I'm counting at least eight - 8 - plays scheduled already), here goes.

First event was the Columbia Ballet Collaborative's performance at Columbia. Some of you may have read about them in the NYTimes, and when I received an invitation to see them in action, I grabbed the opportunity. Full disclosure: I know several of the dancers from MFPOW. So, how was it? The solos by Emily Hayden, Lydia Walker and Tess Reichlen ("on loan" from NYCB) were wonderful. The other dancers were varying degrees of great to pretty good - the telling thing (for me) was whether they'd had Ballenchine's training, and who the choreographer was. While not everyone gets a position in a company, there's something about that training that means the lines are a little crisper, the technique just a little sharper... others can be good, but, well, not quite as good. And some of the choreography didn't seem to showcase the girls well; there were one or two pieces that were a little too experimental for this old fogie.

Thanks to my prep school's efforts to not just be about fundraising! They scheduled a "Perfect Pairings" event (wine + food) at the Sean Kelly Gallery. At that time, the exhibit was of Gavin Turk's works, an artist completely new to me. According to the curator, Turk is one of the Young British Artists, exploring the bounderies of art, expression, identity, etc.. I loved his take on Pollack, where he deliberately dribbled his name over and over and over again, ultimately obscuring it and creating an abstract work with hidden depth (something I don't always find with Pollack). Definitely an artist to watch.

The next stop on my cultural tour was Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall. Why? To hear Solange Merdinian perform Vayomer Shlomo (a new work by Judd Greenstein, created as part of the Osvaldo Golijob and Dawn Upshaw Young Artists Concert program). Thing One and I sat through the first piece, which was a little like Yma Sumac-meets-Philip-Glass, so we didn't have high hopes for this one. How wrong we were. As Greenstein says "Vayomer Shlomo is a philosophical/musical rumination on the meaning of the King Solomon story, and the texts ascribed to him by later writers. OK, wake up. The thing is, it's also my most successful integration of a number of musical influences - Afro Beat, 70s Steve Reich, and western vocal technique. Doesn't that sound a lot more interesting? Seriously, this piece is no joke." If you get a chance to hear it, go. You'll be pleasantly surprised (and if you get a chance to hear Solange, run!).

Finally, there was the annual trek to SAB's Workshop. This year they opened with Serenade, which I'd never seen. It was just stunning - the technique, the grace, the choreography. (No, I'm not the best reviewer; I know what I like, but putting it into words is sometimes difficult). The next piece was one of those "ooooh! cute!" pieces, Harlequinade, starring SAB dancers as young as (I'm guessing) 6. You can't go wrong with cute kids in adorable costumes dancing on a big stage, can you? Finally, Stars and Stripes, with a huge cast and crowd pleasing music. This was the second time I'd seen this work, and both times it reminded me of my (mercifully) brief career as a dancer: year-end-recital that entertains and showcases the best while making the others look good as well. Not that I, or my classmates, were anywhere near SAB's standards, but it felt the same.

What good is culture without good food, or wine?

While not quite the Quest for the Perfect Blueberry Muffin, good pizza is something I'm always up for. SwissToni'd mentioned Lucali and, well, it's right around the corner from where Thing One and I used to live. So, of course, we had to try it. While I wouldn't say "go to Brooklyn just for this pizza", GQ seems to say that and who am I (or you) to argue with GQ? (A good second is La Pizzetta, also near Thing One.)

As mentioned up above, the Gavin Turk exhibit was part of a "pefect pairing". Who knew that there were wines that went really well with deviled eggs? or tuna ceviche? Well, Sarah Sutel at Pour Wine knows, and a whole lot more besides. She's in my Delicious links, and when I run out of wine, I'm heading on over to get some great wines to go with my usual nosh.


There you have it. Look for more food and fun reviews in late August, post conferences and post vacation.

Dear John

(by which I mean "NYTimes")

After 30+ years of togetherness, I'm calling it quits. You've gone from my daily read to weekends only and now? Let's just say that when we were in the early stages of our relationship, I could spend hours with you on Sunday. Today? I clocked it at 47 minutes (not including the Magazine). Thanks to your last price increase, that's 47 minutes with a paper that will cost me more than I pay for coffee? No thanks.

I read your articles about Iran, the rogue cancer unit, the proposed health plan, the Tibetan monks, and the war crimes trial in Cambodia. The free-speech in MO was kind of interesting, but gangs in suburbia? Triboro postal markings? Why was the Mess in Albany next to the obituaries (perhaps that was meant as irony?)? Half an hour of real reading, 17 minutes of skimming to find something more to read. It's been that way for a while now.

The price jump is just too steep for me. I hung in there during your plagiarism problems, the cancellation of the TV section (which cost me the price of a TVGuide subscription), the more and more overt showing of your biases, etc.. But $5 for 47 minutes for all that?

For several years I've also subscribed to the Globe & Mail. It's not even close to being my local paper yet I find I get more out of it than I do your august pages.

So, Dear Times, we're going to have to say au revoir. If you go back to your former glory, maybe we can get back together again.



(ps - your Public Editor may have a point, but at $5 for 47 minutes, I repeat: no thanks)


Challenge Update

For those of you waiting for Big Changes, well, they may not come. However, since yesterday I've updated my sidebar (see! new blogs to explore! new information about how lazy I am!) and just about finished tagging my old posts. Tried to sign up for a favicon and a gravatar, but that's not being as successful as I'd like.

Stay tuned...


Links Galore

Next challenge!

I've got a ton of things on my To Do List, some of which have been there for quite some time, including a ton of work on this blog (Lazygal Reads, though, is a blog-as-you-read blog so I'm all caught up there!). The list of blog posts To Be Created is long, and I've kinda been dreading tackling it. So a huge Thank You to Liz, who pointed me to the Bloggiesta.

You may not see results immediately because there'll be posts scheduled for times I'm away (for example, at NECC or ALA Annual), but I'm deslumping and with a vengence.


The Sounds of Silence

I've been taking the long way 'round to work. Actually, it's not longer, it's a little shorter, but it's on one-lane roads and has a slower pace. There's less stress, and more time to think and see and start the day with lower blood pressure than the Highway/Parkway combo allowed.

Today on my way down my driveway I saw Mr. Bunny and a very large turtle. Then, as I drove south, I saw several deer and a family of Canadian geese . My windows were open, and at each stopping point I heard the birds singing loudly.

WhiteHotTruth has a list of 11 slightly scary ways to become a better person. Number 7:
Choose silence. Turn off the TV. Commute without the car radio on or your i-Pod earphones in. The silence may unsettle you. With our addiction to noise and distraction held at bay, our anxiety, painful beauty and genius has room to surface.

Now to work on the other 10.



I don't get it - didn't the whole Harry Potter thing teach publishers anything? In this Era of the Internet, why are book still published months apart in different countries?

I speak of books like Barnes' Nothing to be Frightened Of, Byatt's The Children's Book and now Hill's Midnight Fugue. Being the biblioholic I am, I went to Chapters and Amazon.uk and ordered them to be shipped here. And if another publisher gets my $$, so be it.


My PLN (part four)

At last - the books. This may not be really about learning in the same way that the other sites were, but this is where I learn about new books, authors, etc. And, given that I'm a school librarian, one could argue that staying on top of this is very much a part of my learning process. I've worked with (and known) librarians who do not believe that reading what our students are reading, or even being aware of the various authors and series, is important. I've worked with librarians who openly deride the choices student and adult readers make. However - and this is critical to my identity as a school librarian - getting people to read, be it the sports pages, Goosebumps, Stephenie Meyer, Austen or Tolstoy is critical.

There are more, but these are some of the lesser-known ones I follow. Where do you learn about what's new in books?


Challenge Over

I messed up - I was supposed to blog when I was starting this year's 48-hour Book Challenge (officially, 3pm on Friday, June 5). Oh well. Here's the past 48hours, in brief: 23 hours reading, 2 hours blogging/tweeting/facebooking, 12 books!! Also managed three loads of laundry, MPOW's graduation, a general house tidy and sleep.

What did I read?
That's more than I read in the entire month of January (although - and this is a guess - January had more adult books, smaller print and more pages).

Off to watch the Turkey GP, enter final grades and read the NYTimes. All-in-all, a good weekend.


Ready and rarin' to go!

I'm talking about MotherReader's Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge. Full rules are at MotherReader's site. Go there to sign up. In a nutshell:
  1. The weekend is June 5–7, 2009. You pick your 48 hour window.
  2. Books should be 5th grade level and up.
  3. The length of the reviews are not an issue. You can write a sentence, paragraph, or a full-length review. The time spend reviewing counts in your total time.
  4. On your blog, mark your start, with a final wrap up on Monday that includes number of books, number of hours.
Who else is up for this?