Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Happy and Safe New Year to everyone!
I wish you all quiet. Peace and quiet and clarity.
January first is good for that.
UFOs to finish before starting the Morehouse sweater? Minimal!

The toe on the second of a pair of hiking socks.
The back and two sleeves of a stripey sweater I started in November.

Both are fairly quick knits.

Other projects in mind?

A dress set (lace over dress and a tight little rib knit under dress) in some Berroco discontinued yarns (if I can find them or deecent subsititutions)

A vest for Pablo

A pair of socks for Dre

Cute Valentine project for you know who

Big, pink, floofy sweater for Ness out of woolspun.

Christmas is done, but the knitting goes on!
Was fetishing the yarn from one of my Christmas presents.
Lace weight merino wool from Morehouse Farms in Milan (real upstate) New York.

Morehouse Farm

I believe that these folks were some of the first to have produced domestic cashmere. I've always wanted to visit them. Have always wanted to knit something from their yarn. It's a real luxury item for me, though.

Anyhow, I have enough heather gray wool to make a cardigan. It's going to be fairly intense, fine-gauge knit. Hopefully PBS will have a decent line up of good old movies on Sunday nights. Minimal seaming, though, as it's worked on circular needles. This sweater is going to be feather light. Wonder what buttons to use? Probably mother of pearl, as they're the only ones I can think of that won't overpower or be too heavy.

Gosh, I'm starting to salivate thinking of this.

Lileks again on that weird mix of self righteousness and self hatred that seems to pervade the thought of most on the left today. I love it when his bleats turn to screeds.


More on the same from Victor Davis Hanson:


Generally my thought on this is - maybe instead of buying another graduate degree, one might consider getting a bit ot therapy. Most of these tantrums seem to be 'low self esteem' combined with resentment against 'mommy and daddy.' Oversimplification, perhaps, but, hey, I'm reduced to drooling moron in the eyes of many when I say something like "George Bush isn't so bad."
As well you all might know, I don't have a political affiliation. My thought is to look over candidates and eventually vote on who I think will get the job done. That said, my heart usually leans to the left on a number of issues. It's too bad, however, that what is considered the 'left' politically here is rapidly disintegrating into incoherent insanity.

Here is a 'top ten' of quotes from the democratic underground:

RW News

My favorite two are the last couple where the poster talks about those on the left being in the upper percentiles intellectually and that they have to take their rhetoric down to the level of the troglodytes who vote Republican.

Why would I ever want to associate with people who express themselves as such? They are as bad, or worse than the 'fundy religious rights' that my 'Cambridge Liberal' friends rail against so.

Monday, December 29, 2003

If I were to believe everything that everyone said about me regarding relationships, I'd probably end up dropping myself in front of the red line. You know that statement 'the only constant in all your failed relationships is you?' It's true to a certain extent - I'm not a bad person who cannot relate to others but I do attract to myself or find myself being attracted to certain types and it always seems to end up the same way.

I can deal tolerably well at work as I have no choice. On the home front however, I don't see why I have to. I guess what I'm getting at is, the relationship with the guy has reached its stretched to breaking point.
Well, where am I now? 1/2 way through the most intense of the holiday mayhem, I guess. One could argue that Christmas is the worst of it. I don't usually breathe easily until January first. I wonder, though it is December 30, if I can make it to the first of the year. I feel this way every year. I'm burned out.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Sorry...can't keep up with everything right now.
Cookies need to be baked, gifts need to be made.
Party on Sunday, then away for two weekends afterwards.
Tired out just thinking about it.

The snow didn't help much, either. Heavy, wet, lots of it.

All I really would like to do is sleep.

For this, I'll be posting sporadically at best.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Sort of like seeing "Columbo" reruns and not being able to concentrate on the story because I'm too busy thinking of the Morning Zoo's old feature "Falk in Athol."
Some of my favorite Christmas Tunes were the ones that the Ronettes did. They are ruined for me now. I hear "Sleigh Ride" or "Frosty the Snowman" and think of Phil Spector and his impending murder trial.
Put the Christmas decorations up at the office today. Ella was left aside for some Looney Tunes Christmas album that gives me a headache after one song.

Got to get home before the storm...

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

All together now!

Woke up, fell out of bed,
Dragged my comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup,
And looking up I noticed I was late.
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke,
Somebody spoke and I went into a dream.

How many people have this verse of "Day In the Life" run through their heads during the morning commute? I know of at least two people...
Is it out of line for me to see //s between the Acadian forced movements to the south of our country from Canada and the Mormon diaspora that took place years later? As a correspondant pointed out, a diaspora is a diaspora. What I find interesting is that the former group has been romanticized, much like the Native Americans, both in song and literature. The latter group is still vilified today.

I got to thinking about this after hearing on NPR yesterday a piece on tourism to a town in Illinois where the Mormons were driven from in the mid 19th century.

Return to Navoo

Having grown up nearby where Joseph Smith started the faith, I've been around the culture for quite a while and quite comfortable with the people. It was after having moved out of Western New York State and into New England that I first encountered (along with a lot of other prejudices and shows of racism) real hostility towards the LDS members. I've heard people refer to them as 'freaks' or 'wife beaters' or (get this) even 'heretics.' Is it the polygamy thing? Is it the extra set of commandments? The Angel Moroni visiting Smith? There were plenty of other such religions born during the same time as LDS, so I don't quite understand this. There is a lot of things that seem strange to me regarding this faith. But then again, I see a lot of strangeness in the political correctness of Unitarianism, of the smells and bells of Anglicanism, of the whole mysticism surrounding my faith. At any rate, just a bit of food for thought. And just another bit of what I see as a chink in the 'tolerance' of what is called 'liberalism' here.

Oh heck, one more link:


Was going through my head during the day yesterday after having heard the NPR story.
Had the most amazing dream the other night. I dream in color, so it's most always a trip. This was particularly weird in its banality, I guess.

I dreamt that the Super 88 Market up and relocated to San Francisco. This really burned me up, as we've such a small Chinatown and it seems as though relocating a Chinese chain market (sort of a fixture here) to San Francisco would be kind of like sending coals to Newcastle. Really bad business decision. It took me a bit to get over this after waking up.
Last night, so cold I was crying 1/2 way home.
This morning, after making it into the office in one piece, I found that I could not feel my toes.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Carol Adams's "Sexual Politics of Meat"

Get a load of this doozy.

When I heard the 'tune' by those crazy guys on the left coast 'Consolidated,' (who da thunk it that hip hop could be made to sound like a Sociology 101 textbook), I actually thought that they were kidding. Turns out that there is someone out there peddling this schtick. On the academic circuit, no less. Wow, I'm in the wrong line of work.

On a more serious note, being an animal lover, former vegetarian and female in this male dominated society, I don't know whether to laugh what passes for 'intellectualism' here, to pity the author, or to really be burned up about this. I wonder if this is where PETA is getting ideas from for their latest ad campaigns:

"An Immaculate Conception"

Lapsed Catholic that I am, I find this image/campaign to be incredibly offensive. Of course, since it's Christian imagery, it's fair game.

Would anyone care to explain to me the modern origins of this fetishizing of animals? Does it have to do with cartoons we watched as kids? Does it have to do with our society in the last 50 years keeping people in a prolonged state of childhood? This stuff does not seem like the product of any sort of mature thinking. Rather more like adolescent, emotional rantings.
Finished the knitting portion of my nice wine-colored fake guernsey. Just need to block the pieces and sew them together. I'm looking forward to learning the technique of three needle bind off. That's what is used for making the shoulders up.

Next project: a sweater worked in the round from this fun, large-gauged yarn I picked up from Lion Brand. It's called "wool spun" and for some reason they're discontinuing it. I think it's beautiful stuff.

After that: Lots of hats, scarves, mittens. Maybe a shawl. We'll see.
First day of snow. Oh my. I love the snow, but I hate hate hate! navigating the streets of Somerville. Gridlock everywhere. Fishtailing trucks all over the place. Question for you: which is scarier...a fishtailing Range Rover or a fishtailing Explorer? Happily, I made it to work in one piece and not too late.

With cold weather comes the inevitable need to protect one's body from the elements. First day of stockings. Sigh, hate 'em. I feel like a nylon sausage. To make up for this awful equivalent to whalebone, I have my 'ease into winter' outfit: brown velvet dress, comfy suede clogs, slightly ragged but still nice tiger striped scarf. I look pretty good in spite of my trials of getting in.

Also broke down and colored (yes, colored) instead of hennaed the hair. Garnier fruite...Garnier fructe...frugiverous Garnier. Number 92. Apricot. Amazing how something so unnatural can make me look more natural than the 'natural' equivalent. Got to hand it to the French. Blood for oil? Bien sur que oui! Antiamerican? Whenever possible. Anti Semite? Well, deduct what you can from a place that calls Passover 'Jewish Easter." Good with cosmetic products? Yeah. What's a girl to do. Snort
Found another like mind who is far more eloquent and in depth than I can be on Iraq, for example. Fairly local, too!

Check out this site:

Downeast Blog

Lots of good insight here.
Back again. Quite a weekend. Five hours worth of driving from Connecticut to Maine. Was just a little bit stressful. Took a couple days to relax, take stock of stuff.

In all it wasn't a bad trip. I really need to get down to Haddam more often. It's beautiful there.

Something happened that really bothered me. I think I noted it last year. Don't know. It's something that really sort of steeps the environment up in Maine. The notion of academia as the family business. Anyhow, while at the table during Thanksgiving dinner, they had the 'who has a PhD' roll call. At the end of all this, it was pointed out to a fair bit of laughter that the only two people at the table who didn't have graduate degrees were me and the three year old. It was then mentioned that I had to go and remedy this.
I didn't get it out properly, but what I wanted to say was, as it took me more than five years and about $15k more than I'd expected to get the bachelor's sorted out, I was not anxious to go back and get myself in debt by at least three times that amount. It's also extremely difficult to take time out of work to go to school when you have other loans and high rent to pay.

My thinking of the costs vs the payoffs may seem a bit vulgar perhaps, but, hey, pragmatism perhaps hasn't always been a characteristic of the upper classes. I guess I'll just keep that along with the table manners and the love of jello. If I get mocked for it, so be it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Victor Davis Hanson on NRO

New VDH article on National Review Online. Multilaterism vs Unilateralism.
Please read it.
Back to the salt mines.
"The Bush administration imposes new rules that require labor unions to report their expenditures in detail. The White House says the new rules will cut down fraud and shed light on union finances. But unions contend the rules are time-consuming and designed to cripple their operations. " - from

There's an audio link to this on the NPR website. I found this article interesting in that at the current time, we're taking to task the Enrons, the Tycos, the WorldComs for fraud, financial improprieties. Currently in Massachusetts, the mutual fund companies are being investigated for illegal practices, as well. These things should be covered and whoever is commiting a crime should be punished.

What I don't understand is the lack of coverage of issues like this outside the Corporate world. The NEA recently was investigated for fraud - turns out four union leaders were convicted so far of embezzlement. One Labor department investigator said that there are an average of 11 convictions a month for fraud in unions. These are groups that are supposed to be working *for* the worker. I'd think that the media would be all over this sort of injustice.

As we are moving towards more accountability and transparency in the corporate world, shouldn't the Unions, the Universities and the companies in the nonprofit sector be held to the same standards (if not higher)?
Surely, as I heard this morning, they are not all naturally above greed and impropriety.

I am so out of here...and I've like 1/2 a day to go...
Please go to Strong Bad's email section on
Homestar Runner.
In particular, take a look at the 'local news' email. Strong Bad takes on one of my biggest pet peeves. Misuse of the posessive.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

For all you green power folks who thought you invented the concept:

Robert Moses Project

"We were through with it before you knew what to do with it."

At the moment, the authority is working (ahead of schedule) on refitting/replacing turbines in order to increase output.

On a similar note, folks here seem to be amazed that the village I come from (nestled between Buffalo and Tonawanda, NY) has had a formal recycling program at least since I was a child. Some of my earliest memories were of the 'can can.'

Recycling, clean power, etc. Not just Yankee Frugality or Green Liberal Values. Just good sense, really.
Heard a snippet on NPR this morning about Cambridge looking to start giving out gay marriage licenses. You know my feeling about gay partnership, but I can't help but get a dig in on Cambridge. They are so on the forefront of everything: first the nuclear free zone. Next, the domestic violence free zone. Now the alternative partnership friendly zone. Cambridge, the People who can afford it's Republic.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Trying to decide whether or not I want to get a cable modem, one of those souped-up dedicated phone lines, or to keep my current pokey slow service. I'm also trying to decide whether or not I want to cut down on my cell phone plan or to even get rid of the blessed thing altogether. While I'm at it, maybe I should balance my retirement plan 'portfolio,' as well. All this stuff that needs tinkering with!

Had a decent weekend. Was outside a fair bit on Saturday. Got to take a nice walk on Sunday. Discovered Trader Joe's Creme Brulees. My word, they are heavenly! And you get to keep the ceramic crocks they come in, as well.

Now, just tired, dealing with the in between pre and post menstrual syndrome. Want to go home but don't feel like wandering in the dark. Sigh.

Thursday, November 20, 2003


Aller en marchandise aux Indes précieuses,
Sans acheter ni or ni parfum ni joyaux,
Hanter sans avoir soif les sources et les eaux,
Fréquenter sans bouquets les fleurs délicieuses,
Courtiser et chercher les Dames amoureuses,
Etre toujours assise au milieu des plus beaux,
Et ne sentir d'Amour ni flèches ni flambeaux,
Ma Dame, croyez-moi, sont choses monstrueuses.
C'est se tromper soi-même; aussi toujours j'ai cru
Qu'on pouvait s'échauffer en s'approchant du feu,
Et qu'en prenant la glace et la neige on se gèle.
Puil il est impossible, étant si jeune et belle,
Que votre coeur gentil d'Amour ne soit ému,
Sinon d'un grand brasier, au moins d'une étincelle.

-Pierre de Ronsard, des "Sonnets pour Hélène"
My little rage bunny in London had a fit yesterday. I wonder if he was more annoyed by having to read a manual for the upgrade he has to install of an OS he hates or by the prospect of having to protest in the rain.

Poor duck, either way.
It's very difficult to deliberately spell words wrong.
Certainly more difficult when you used to be spelling queen in school.
Fun, almost like writing poetry, once you get the hang of it.
What a pain in the neck! Literally!
Well, and figuratively speaking, too.
Okay. I've been living in my apartment for about 21/2 years now. Before then, I was someplace else for a year and a half. That makes roughly four years that I've not turned the TV on to sack out in front of after work. Just ain't my thing, normally. Tonight: cold, rainy. I'm completely beat. All I wanted to do was to sit in front of the boob with my "Pride and Prejudice" videos for a couple hours while knitting. I get through the first tape just dandy like. The second one goes in and all hell breaks loose.

No Satisfaction.

Hal says that I need to probably get a new VCR. I've only had the thing for maybe 9-10 years. Come on! My pots and pans are close to fifty years old, my mixer is around forty. My darn piano was born before and has outlived both my grandmothers. And the blessed VCR decides to give up the freaking ghost after so short a time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I've started knitting what I think will be a lovely modified guernsey for someone for Christmas. I have some nice wine-colored yarn with multi colored flecks. There's enough of it to double up and make a thick-gauged, quick and pretty (at least in the picture anyways) sweater.

Maybe the work on this will be the deciding factor in getting pictures taken and posting them.
We'll see.
Enough on the war and politics.
I'm tired of that all. Nothing to convince anyone of on the other side, as they're completely right no matter what. To anyone else, I guess I'm just preaching to the choir.

The dreams of reason produce monsters:

Face Transplants

How horrible a prospect, both from a health perspective and a psychological/social one.
Why would anyone conceive of this?

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Glenn Reynolds has some interesting insight on the nature of the 'peace' protesters in Europe along with the nature of the 'establishment media's' reporting on what is actually going on in Iraq.

War, Politics and Protest

I highly recommend reading the blogs of non media people in Iraq - both the soldiers' accounts and the increasing number of Iraqi bloggers.

The BBC has repeatedly been shown to misreport, as has NPR, the NYT, etc. They all have their own agendas, and I don't believe them to be necessarily tied to the well being of Iraq, the US or the west in general.

Please keep this in mind, too, with regards to the 'peace' protesters:

"You owe us an apology."
Nini brought in doughnuts. I had one french crueller.
Bad Be, bad bad Be.
I am really pleased to hear about this bit:

MA Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban

If one holds out and allows this to be a states' rights issue, then it stands a greater chance than trying to push it on the federal level. Pragmatism on a more grass roots level winning out over trying to 'win the hearts and minds' of whomever the folks on the federal level have as bedfellows in order to be where they are.

On the ideals front: I am a very strong proponent of what you could call "family values." I know that this flies in the face of the post modern/statist 'truism' that the family is the root of societal problems and that it should be abandoned as a relic of the nostalgic past:

Left Realist Criminology (last paragraph)

My view is that what defines a family should be and is evolving. Slowly, of course, but surely. Some of the stonger, more stable, loving relationships I've seen have been between gay partners. I cannot understand why anyone would logically punish them for this love, and give priority to breeders who marry, divorce and marry agaion. Or to those who feel free to serially get 'into trouble' and end up breeding on the state's dollar.
But that's me. I have other funny views, as well. You may have figured that out.
More proof that BUSH = HITLER!!!

Code Name First Used by Nazis

Brought to you, of course, by Reuters.
Liberal bias in the Media? Pshaw.

Further discussion of this will result in a halving of my choco-rations, I'm sure.
Check out Mark Steyn today for his latest:

Pepsi or Death
Left arm killing me.
Head hurts again. The muscles are starting to contract again, I think.
Was going to see Richard Dawkins this week, but I think I might have changed my mind on that:

�After you and Jeb stole the election (by a smaller margin than the number of folks you executed in Texas), you were rightly written off as a one-term president: a fair advertisement for Drunks for Jesus but otherwise an idle nonentity; inarticulate, unintelligent, an ignorant hick.�

I can�t forebear pointing out that that the author of that last letter - the one that called Bush "idle" but who himself could not be bothered to open up Google and check the number of convicted murderers executed in Texas between 1995 and 2000 (156 in total) - is Richard Dawkins, a prominent British scientist. Dawkins has written that �among the gifts that science has to offer is a baloney-detection kit.� Alas, if Dawkins was ever issued such a kit, he lost it when he started writing about politics.

-from David Frum's Diary

I've enjoyed very much the bit that I've read of Dawkins's work and I think he's a wonderful speaker. If he's going to go the way of, say, Noam Chomsky, who considers himself an expert on American Foreign Policy based on his position at MIT, well, that loses points. What can I say. What is so infuriating to me is the assumption that we should take him seriously when he makes these sort of statements. That seems to be the trend nowadays, though. We are to assume you are an expert on American Government/American Foreign Policy regardless of your specialty.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Okay, Pablo, I'll see your "gather your rosebuds" and raise it to French with some Ronsard!

From his second book of Sonnets for Hélène:


Quand vous serez bien vielle, au soir à la chandelle,
Assise auprès du feu, dévidant et filant,
Direz chantant mes vers, en vous émerveillant:
"Ronsard me célébrait du temps que j'étais belle."
Lors vous n'aurez servante oyant telle nouvelle,
Déjà sous le labeur à demi sommeillant,
Qui au bruit de mon nom ne s'aille réveillant,
Bénissant votre nom de louange immortelle.
Je serai sous la terre, et fantôme sans os
Par les ombres myrteux je prendrai mon repos;
Vous serez au foyer une vieille accroupie,
Regrettant mon amour et votre fier dédain.
Vivez, si m'en croyez, n'attendez à demain:
Cueillez dès aujourd'hui les roses de la vie.

Pablo's starting a new regimen: he's going to memorize all of Shakespeare's sonnets.
Yes, there are around 160 of them. Yes, he can do it. You should see the stuff his brain can retain if he puts some effort into learning it.

Was thinking on how I used to memorize poetry for mental exercise. How I would commit to memory pieces of music that Miriam would give me to learn. I am sooo soft now. Only bits and pieces of things come back to me now.

Maybe I should retrousser les manches, roll up my sleeves, get to work. Memorize a bit of something if only to stave off the flab, push back the laziness that is taking over my brain.
Bad day, bad day.
Cold, unhappy, b!tchy, bloated.
I know it's that time of the month.
For dinner tonight, I had a bagel, some potatoes and a bowl of cereal.
How's that for balanced?

I'm looking forward to the upcoming visit by Bush to London to see what sort of shenanigans the Anti War (pro Saddam?) protesters get into. If it weren't so sad, I guess I'd just laugh off the combination of virulent anti Americanism and moral impairment.

Ampersand snores.
No itty bitty kitty snort snoring, either.
She sounds like a fat, old guy. (Sorry, fat old guys.)
I could hear her over my playing tonight.

Did something funny over the weekend. I got the animals all stoned on Kitty Blow and Hal made movies of them wigging out. Funnier than most of the SNLs that have been on this season.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Really rough day ahead. I'd much rather be home.
Friday's Bleat

Just like Lileks, I'm sick of the lot of them.

In Andrew today, I read that Aaron McGruder, you know, the Unfunny 30 something Identity "cartoonist" who's been pushing his notion that Condoleeza Rice is ordering carpet bombs because she's an old spinster who just needs to get laid, has unequivocally called her a Murderer. And an NAACP spokesperson has seconded that.
Pathetic. Let's see, can't get her on not being BLACK, so let's get her on being an older, unmarried woman. Let's see what stereotypes we can use because We're a Minority and We're exempt from any criticism.

Let me go on record as saying that being an ignorant prick knows no racial bounds.

Thursday, November 13, 2003


Okay, fellow Bostonians, take a look out your window right now. Get a load of that sky!
Nature in action. Amazing.
okay: if people from Buffalo are called "Buffalonians" and People from NYC are called "New Yorkers," what does one call a denizen of Albany?
Last week, I heard talk about a bad poll in a local newspaper. The reader was outraged by what she perceived to be 'conservative bias by corporate media.' I guess if you are living off a daily diet of NPR, Democracy Today and the BBC, that would be your view. I think it should be said, though, what is being called 'truth' is only a preferred media product.
Anyhow, she was going on about how the 'truth' is being kept with us, that things are much worse than the 'corporate media' would lead us to believe. I don't know about that.

I bring this up because there is a great article in the Spectator (British Paper) regarding the origins of 'fact checking' an obviously biased and incorrect article. This is called "Fisking" after the Independent's Robert Fisk:

"The Dangers of Fisking"

Truth is in the eye of the beholder, no matter how blinded by irrational emotion he or she may be. It's just frightening to see this sort of stuff under the guise of 'fair and unbiased' news gathering.
Two excellent articles in opinionjournal today. One is Shelby Steele talking about Identity Politics, its use by liberals nowadays, and how Howard Dean crossed a line invoking it recently:

Shelby Steele

The other is on the degradation of the liturgy brought about by 'feel good,' therapeutic culture in the 1960s and 1970s. The author talks specifically about the change in liturgical music in the Catholic Church. I've been harping on this subject for years. If and when I go to mass (not that often anymore), I choose someplace where I can hear the music of Palestrina, de Morales, etc. To me, these composers, 'vulgar' as their music had seemed to those who formed the Council of Trent, truly communed with angels.

"Palestrina Was Not In Vogue"

What has the previous generation wrought?

I'm afraid to get branded as a racist for discussing the first article, as I am not black as Mr. Steele is. For the second article, I have many things to say about 'elitist' music and how I think that that argument, largely by white, priviliged 'folkies', is crap. When I was doing my 'community service' for confirmation, I had to play in a folk mass group. Two years of Cat Stevens, of Andrew Lloyd Webber, of Michael Joncas. It drove me away.

I find it amazing that music that was considered too 'vulgar' 600 years ago is now considered too elite, too inaccessable. I guess, though, if you were raised with the notion that you should not have to aspire to something, that everything should be brought to the lowest common denominator, then this might be the case. But you are cheating yourself out of perhaps a glimpse at something higher than you. When you make it a policy to cut out what might be considered 'difficult', you cheat others out of that experience. A much bigger crime, I think, than having to work for things rather than being provided with them.

Well, there's my two cent's worth. Read the articles, please.
Usually, when I go to the movies nowadays, I have a sinking feeling once the opening credits start. I say a little prayer that the film won't 'suck too bad.' Well, I had the customary sinking at the beginning of "Master and Commander" last night. It did not last long, however.

I cannot recommend this film enough.

I like balance. You can have a great cinematographer at the camera, but if the dialogue is weak, I will probably be very unhappy with it. The soundtrack may be divine, but if visuals are weak, I will hate the movie, most likely. Good concept? If not executed properly, I will not appreciate it.

"Master and Commander" got prettymuch everything right. Perfect soundtrack, amazing balance between action and repose, between public image and intimacy. Some of my favorite scenes were the musical ones. During the off times where the Captain and the ship's physician made music together, you could see the history between them. A bond forged perhaps since boyhood was depicted using but the subtle ways that they would joke with each other while playing and in their instinctive knowledge of what the other was in the mood for musically. I was so charmed by this conveyence of narrative using (sorry) 'non mediatized communication.' I am so unaccustomed to seeing it nowadays.

On the other end of the spectrum, the battle scenes were awesome. This is not your typical, Errol Flynn-like swashbuckling exchange of witty repartee. War is Hell. I saw in the battle scenes some of the most apt representations of this. The first few scenes in the film will blow your mind away, much as the cannons blew the quiet, the calm away on the Surprise.

A lot of research and work went into bringing us a reality so strong that it would be easy to suspend disbelief. Characters were strong and psychology was looked into. But this wasn't dwelt upon too deeply. Only enough to further the story. Actors trained intensively in order to appear to be fairly skilled at what they were doing, so that when they needed to look like they were inept, they did. Computer effects were minimal enough so as not to distract from the real action taking place on a real ship in real water.

About the last recent film that I felt this exhilarated by was "The Horseman on the Roof" based on the novel by one of my favorite storytellers: Jean Giono. I saw that film several times and reread my stock of Giono novels/stories. I will do the same with this film, and most likely will start reading the novels that inspired it.

Please go see this. It has given me faith that excellent movies *can* still be made.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Hal got a pass to see a preview of the new Russell Crowe as Seafarer movie! We're supposed to go tonight. I'm not feeling too hot, but I really want to catch this one...
Five hours' worth of work later, I can say that the yard is more or less winterized. Took out the Lilac with a minimum of injury to myself. Took out the big rosebush in the front bed. Pulled out the annuals and trimmed back the perennials. All that I need now is some mulch to put over everything.

What did this net me?

7 bundles of branches
3 trash bins of yard waste
2 chapped hands
1 set of shears with very dull blades
4 different kinds of seeds for next years plantings (marigolds, cosmos, a purple thing that looks sort of like a cattail, snapdragons in a variety of colors)
1 small loaf of banana bread from Raphaella.

Interestingly enough, I got more satisfaction from this than a normal day in the office.
Please look into this:

Binghamton House Move

I've seen the house that Andrew is trying to save. It is beautiful. From what I can see, too, Verizon is just coming up with a large figure to get him off its back.

Please consider writing a letter to the CEO. It could really help in what looks like a classic David and Goliath story.
I have a little casse-tete for you folks:

While speaking with someone regarding my being an analog chickie, I mentioned that it wasn't entirely true, that I did have some knitting patterns in a digital format. I've been wanting to get these things on the web, but I have a bit of a problem. The software I was using came with a book that my father bought me years ago.

The Needlecrafter's Computer Companion

My puzzler is this: how to get stuff off of an old TI with only a floppy drive and no network card. Or, how to find a newer program where I can reenter my current patterns.
Took yesterday off to get some at home work done and get another chiropractic tune up. I was hoping that the chiro would have helped more than it did. Don't know what the heck is the matter with me right now. 1/2 my body feels like it is raw meat. Oh well, better to feel than to have it numb. It was suggested that I get another ergonomic assessment and buy a Swedish foam pillow. I'll go for assessment #4, but I don't know about the pillow. It costs nearly $70. What all is the thing made of for it to cost that much?

Monday, November 10, 2003

Back again.
There was not much real relaxation going on, as is the usual during my vacations. It's amazing how quickly the time flew by and how much didn't seem to get done.

A few highlights:

Day of the Dead in Binghamton
Eastman House in Rochester
the Glassworks at Corning
Robert Moses Power Project in Niagara Falls
Buffalo Zoo

Quality Time with Dad, Mom and other family


Buffalo's Economic State
the exhibits at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site
The Buffalo Historical Society

More later on what I saw, heard, tasted, read
Guess I should admit that I didn't get all the reading done that I wanted to. Dad has some interesting stuff that I wanted to look at while I was there.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Posts will be even more sporadic if not nonexistent until next week.
Enjoy yourselves.
I'll be having a ball.

Tying up a few loose ends before I go away for the week. Pablo's got the animals. Have to do some packing. Decide what books and knitting to take with me. Oh yes, and what clothes.

I think I'll take the Bartlett's cranberry and peat colored yarns. Also the stripey project.
For books - I think I would like to take along the Debord book that I found incredibly cheaply at Schoenhof's. I have a love and hate relationship with Schoenhof. On one hand, they've got everything a polyglot girl could ever want. On the other hand, she's got to get a second job to afford it. Could not believe what they wanted for the Levi "What Happened to Daniel Pearl."
Should eventually pick up volume two of the Tocqueville. Make. Mental. Note.

So..."La Société du Spectacle." Check.
"The Death of Outrage." Yes, then I can leave it for Dad to read.
How bout "American Political Tradition," as well. Richard Hofstadter.

You can quiz me on all this when I get back. Snort.

Clothing's much easier to pick out. Jeans. A sweater. A few tee shirts. Maybe something black as well. Comfy shoes.

Okay, all set.

Quiet Halloween this year. No one really dressed up in the office. A few people complained about there being no 'spirit' there this year. Guess that that's what you get when you either lay off or fire the all the 'spirit' committe members.

Had maybe two dozen kids come trick or treating. Strange, as it is a Friday and the weather's nice. Put out a teeny jack o' lantern anyway. Hal got a few nice pictures of it. Maybe eventually I'll share. He said that it looked like something I would make. Something I'd sketch.

My Halloween card was pretty nasty: an image of the ducks' heads he needed to photograph at the viet namese market in Lowell. One of the few images I've had to toss.

Was a day of pain otherwise. Had a horrible migraine that lasted most of the afternoon. Je plâne maintenant. The pain has gone away and now I am just tired. If you were to hook me up to an ekg, I'd be flatlining.

How to express the tangibility of absence of something? I'm right now touching the left side of my face: fingers slide from my eye to temple to cheekbone to neck as if to make sure that they did not disappear with the pain. I am my pain, the body and the feeling are intertwined. I cannot imagine existing without it. Feeling me not feeling pain and not being numb is very strange.

Thirty spokes join one hub.
The wheel's use comes rom emptiness.

Clay is fired to make a pot.
The pot's use comes from emptiness.

Windows and doors are cut to make a room.
The room's use comes from emptiness.

Having leads to profit,
Not having leads to use.
Wu chih i wei yung

Or something like that.
(Tao te Ching, Steven Addiss and Stanley Lombardo translation)
Raging headache, lots to get done.
Oh well. Got some good book recommendations:

La Societe du Spectacle - Guy Debord. I was looking for this on As I don't really have much truck in French Literature or Philosophy after say 1950, this should be interesting. Be interesting to see the relation he has with Situationalist International.

In Defense of Elitism - William A. Henry, III.

This one might go well with some of the Thomas Sowell that Pablo's been reading. I'll have to check it out.

By the way: if you get a chance...please!...check out this site:

Day By Day

Love the edginess, love the humor. Kind of reminds me of "It's Grim up North London" on a good day.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Aah, to be so in touch with and accepting of the destructive side of my nature...
Gosh Darnit!

Andrew Sullivan is all man. Glenn Reynolds is a 'metrosexual' (a la Howard Dean?). They're all filtering their writing through the Gender Genie.

I ran three different texts through - two with more than 500 words, one with less than 500 words - and on all three occasions, the Genie has unequivocally declared me a male. I can assure you that I am *all* woman. A strong woman, yes. But all woman. It's getting me to think, though, on all the times guy friends and ex loves have either accused me of castrating all the males in my life or have said that their experiences with me have been the closest they could imagine to being in a gay relationship. Maybe I'm missing my calling? Maybe I need to be reassigned? Gosh, I hope not. I know firsthand how tough it is to change gender with the HMOs.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

So, what do you think of the new look? It's taken me some time, but I've finally gotten around to posting links, tinkering with the template, etc. The whole goal of this exercise, aside from giving me a creative outlet and and just venting a bit, was to learn a bit more about HTML and web publishing in general.

I finally got around to doing some of this cleanup work after having read a post over at Instapundit about female bloggers. I am a female, dag nammit. I am a blogger, too, I guess. It will be a long time, if ever, before my writing ever reaches the level of that of my heroes, but I can try, gosh darnit. And I can start by learning how to link properly and stuff.

Enjoy! Or not. Please do let me know, though. I live for feedback. Really!
Who all takes film to be developed anymore?

Snort. I am so-o-o-o analog.
Did I mention my new thing? This weekend, I broke out my little $20 Target special camera and started taking pictures of Hal taking pictures of stuff. I think I could really go somewhere with the whole statement/schtick of the artist as art, and art really only being a big ol' referential feedback loop. What do you think? Maybe I should get a hobby? Another hobby? A boyfriend? Another boyfriend? I can't wait to get the film back from the drugstore.
Oh, what the heck:

"To Niagara in a sleeper, there's no honeymoon that's cheaper...and the train goes we're gonna shuffle, shuffle off to Buffalo!

Some day the stork may pay a visit with a little souvenir...just a little cute 'what is it,' but we'll discuss that later - just a little bit later!

For a little silver quarter, we can have the Pullman porter turn the lights down we're gonna shuffle, shuffle off to Buffalo!"

I know all the words to "Erie Canal," as well. S'part of my cultural heritage, you know. Wanna hear them sometime?
Lots more to ruminate over regarding the Somerville elections.
My landlord gave me some more food for thought.
In some ways, this is a fair bit more interesting and exciting than the national/international stuff.

And I have to find an absentee ballot, too, as I won't be here for the voting day!

"I'll go off to get my panties, you go home and get your scanties...and away we'll go! Off we're gonna shuffle...shuffle off to Buffalo!"
Sorry to be missing you all lately. Back injury, attempts at piano, attempts at knitting, and processing those lovely apples pilfered? scavenged? around the Mystic. We now have fifteen jars of the most beautiful ruby colored jelly in the larder. Since I decided not to use commercial pectin, I cut the sugar requirement by almost half. The results: !zing! tart flavor, richer coloring, a slightly runnier consistency. Happily, too, all the jars sealed.

The shoe drops

Have walked by the Prospect Street Site twice a day for several years now. Before 9/11, my thoughts were, oh what a nice job they did cleaning up a cinderblock building in a not so hot part of the city. After 9/11, I wondered what could be going on there - but good, indoctrinated Cantabridgian that I can be, I immediately chided myself for racism and intolerance. Over the last year and a half, my thoughts turned to wondering if anyone was looking into the funding and other goings on at the ISB and when the shoe would drop regarding that.

It totally doesn't surprise me that the Globe (NYT subsidiary) wouldn't have much of anything if anything at all on this. I haven't heard much of anything regarding this on NPR, either, for that matter - but that could just be my sporadic listening habits.

It's really upsetting to see my...our goodwill abused like this. I don't like having to look with mistrust at my neighbors. At the sweeties (illegal, it's been admitted to me. The advantages of being a francophone) who'd give me a box of beignets Dunkin' avec mon cafe matinal. Or at the gentlemen who for the longest time would escort me to my street from the T in Eastie.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Gosh darnit! I need to remember to take care of my apples!
Nice weekend, what with that extra hour and all. Finished a sweater, finished a cuff/scarf thingy, worked on another sweater.

Ate lots of good food: I picked up Korean for Friday, Saturday we cooked, Sunday, we brought back Vietnamese takeout from Lowell. Was so pleased! Found a nice little market that carried, among other things, my favorite tamarind candies. They are a gel of tamarind mixed with sugar, salt and chili pepper for a serious !hup! kick. Be careful of the seed in the center, though!

Climbed Wachusett on Saturday. It was so nice to get out, even if it was about as crowded as the Foxboro parking lot before a Pats game there.

No deep thoughts or great insights at the moment. Just sort of winding down before hitting the hay. I wish my neck and shoulder would stop hurting me so. I need to remember to get an absentee ballot for the mayoral election, as (I totally forgot!), I'll be in Buffalo on Election Day. I think that that's it for now.

I'm tired, I hurt. I should go to bed so that I can be better equipped to handle tomorrow. And tuesday, not to mention wednesday...thursday...friday.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

What is it about me that seems to attract certain types of pathological personalities? I'm not talking about my friends, mind you. Some of my friends I sought out, others sought me out, it worked, we choose to stay together. I'm talking about the ones who will tend to latch on to you for whatever reasons. Depending on the circumstances, you can either attempt to dislodge them from your life and get some rest, or you may have to continue to bear them and their attentions. If only because you have to not 'rock the boat' and/or your work depends on it.

Been having troubles with someone like that for a while now at work. A couple weeks ago, things came to a head and it has become unbearable. In a nutshell, I was friendly with the person because I was friendly with his predecessor. I think that for whatever reasons, he took it the wrong way. I don't think that he deals well with other people, and it seems that he's out of his league workwise. As a result, he exploded at me over a work matter. I've taken steps to minimize my contact with him as much as I can. The wandering around my cubicle certainly has diminished, but the remainder of it turned into lurking and making funny faces at me. The last straw came when I was attempting to get a part of my job done, and he made my life very difficult for a week before I called in others to help me get my issue resolved.

One supervisor said that it was my problem, that apparently I cannot work with this person. Clearly not if I'm going to get my head bitten off because he cannot handle his job. My Fearless Leader has mentioned that this all has 'gotten personal.' Of course. My visceral reactions to verbal abuse are personal - certainly if I were someone else or I had time for a couple years more of therapy, I might be better able to grin and bear it. I cannot help it if I get sick from this sort of thing.

I really resent the accusation of the one supervisor. It's really a good thing he never went into rape counselling or anything like that.

I don't like to have to deal with people at all much less on a working level if I am constantly sizing up interactions by whether or not I can physically defend myself against them. As for whatever thoughts might be on their side, I can't help those, and I really don't care what they are. I just want to get my work done and get through my day with a minimum of aggravation.

This has been a trial physically, as my neck, which I had adjusted just this Tuesday, is now totally contracted on the left side. It feels solid as a board right into my back. Even slight movement on that side is agony.

Most of my day at work was just awful. My comforts came after I left: in getting home, in the affection from my Mamasan, in knitting with a bit of my 'silk garden' yarn (beautiful combination of raw silk and wool - hand dyed.), and in the incredible jouney involved in making my way to dinner at Bickford's on Broadway by way of Malden Center, courtesy of !Pablo!.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I have this theory. It's kind of crazy, but it does make a little sense if you know the person involved.

I think that my fearless leader is the next evolution of humanity. Sort of like those value added creatures in the science fiction story "Brainchild," by some Australian guy whose name escapes me at the moment.

You know, if we're homo sapiens sapiens v.1.0,
She's homo sapiens sapiens v.2.0 at least.

Bed now. Good night!
Girl kitty's angry at me for hacking at her hair mats. She struggled so much I nipped her with the scissors. I keep forgetting that cats can be a lot like the current crop of Democrats: they don't understand cause and effect. They can't seem to get that what gets to them may be the result of poor decisionmaking or incorrect actions on their part. Anyhow, Ampersand clawed the heck out of me. I put some peroxide on me and her and am just letting her calm down for a bit.

Need to go to bed.
Still on a Felt kick. Most of their stuff is just so effing brilliant it's beyond the ken of mere mortals. Or maybe it's just crazy and whacked out and makes absolutely no sense whatoever. (Kind of like me on a serious dearth of shuteye.)

Broke out the other albums. Cranked up the ol' Victrola and hollered along to "Primitive Painters" from "Ignite the Seven Cannons:"

I just wish my life could be as
strange as a conspiracy I hold out
hope but there's no way of being what
I want to be dragons blow fire angels
fly spirits wither in the air I'm just
me I can't deny I'm neither here there
nor anywhere oh you should see my
trail of disgrace it's enough to scare the
whole human race I don't care about
this life they say there'll be another one
defeatist attitude I know will you be
sorry when I've gone primitive painters
are ships floating on an empty sea gathering
in galleries were stallions of imagery

Just finished the cap on one of the sleeves of my soon to be new creamy aran sweater. Got to hit the hay.
Regarding throwing people under buses. If you're going to do so, please make sure that you have the right schedule. Makes is so much more effective.
Was not feeling well at all today. Went to bed way too late last night. Found myself in that state of exhaustion where you can no longer feel your nose, you're so numb. Left work early to go home and rest.

Just as I was leaving, my fearless leader said something that had me nearly crying from laughing so hard. In re some politicking being done by the next layer of management (who, but for a fair bit of bungling while trying to throw underlings under buses, would make the Borgias look like poster people for Family Values), she just sort of shook her head and mentioned that they were like "two dogs heading for the same tree." Last one to get the leg up wins.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Can I be needing another vacation this soon? I am feeling so, so, needing to be away from the office. Home, back in Buffalo, up north, anywhere but here.
Tonight was another quiet night. Looked at my Britten and Poulenc, banged the Hanon out. Had a glass of merlot and knitted away. The cream-colored sweater made of the acrylic fake aran is looking nice. Nice and plain. shouldn't be too heavy, either.

Why am I so tired out? Change in weather? General malaise? I'm becoming increasingly disappointed with people around me. From my best friend's loss of rhetoric after law school (response to my question about how civil liberties were so in danger nowadays: "I read the Constitution!"), to another lawyer friend's stunningly inane reference to Arnie being Hitler and his smashing rhetoric (on my stupidity, shallowness and blindness) on my response to that. What the heck are they teaching in schools nowadays?
Why should I put myself in hock another $20,000-$40,000 for this sort of foolishness? Surely not pure credentialism.

Listening to this beautiful album that Hal gave me. Was he just being nice, or did he know that he'd completely melt my frozen heart with a gift of a bootlegged "Train Above the City/Pictorial Jackson Review" album? Gosh.

Am feeling much better now. Much much better.
Combination music, merlot, chiropractic, getting this all off my chest, I guess. Good night.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Whoa! Get a load of the crap that tries to call itself formatting tags in my posts.
Love using this thing on a windows machine.
I promise I'll get the stuff fixed tonight. Really!
Some numbers that made up my weekend:

Five skeins of fake aran that knits up to 2.5 stitches per inch.

Three trees worth of free apples. (How bout them apples for ya?)

One lovely wander around the Mystic preserve.

Two classics on GBH 44 (Sabrina and That's Entertainment II)

Four new old books from the Davis Goodwill:
*Rants - Dennis Miller
*The Death of Outrage - William J Bennett. Hey, if can suddenly go from looking beyond Bill Clinton's 'dalliances' to trying to smear Arnie for doing far less than oud former president, I can read and accept the tarnished moralist's work. His gambling problem doesn't make him any less of a writer, as far as I'm concerned.
*The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 - Gordon S. Wood
*a random, dated book on scholarships for graduate study. What the heck. Maybe I can do some playing up of the woman thing. Wonder what it would be like to perform the whole oppressed female schtick.

Almost quitting time. Can't wait. Home, quiet, knitting, two kitties.

Aah, more food for thought amongst the rank and file at the office today.
The scent of my decidedly unusual tea wafts above the cubicle walls, mingling with cries of "who the heck is making beef jerky!" or "smells like someone's burning leaves!" Yes, folks, I found my stash of Lapsang Souchong in the larder.
Borrowed the boss's teapot and brewed away.

Some will complain about noxious odors, but my whole maintenance is that if we have to deal with obnoxious noises, folks can deal with my drink of choice at teatime. Sorry, but I'm not too sorry.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Well, now that I don't have four hours of baseball a night to keep me busy, I guess I can start this up again. Aah well. I think that that's prettymuch the universal feeling around here. Yes, pitcher's hubris, combined with poor management decisions make for a 'curse.' we all can get back to life and have a good night's sleep.

The weekend was a nice one. Very low key. Apple picking in the Mystic River Reserve.
Bit of a wander over to Davis Square today. Ran into the 'Cat Lady' over at the Goodwill. You know her, she's the one who says that she's a geneticist and tortures cats. She was harassing folks at the store for something and a police woman came in and removed her.

Saw some actually edifying TV tonight, bless PBS. "That's Entertainment II" and "Sabrina." (the original one, not the Harrison Ford one.) Glorious chick fare, that one.

Have given up on making the CD dress, since it's nearly Halloween and I've not nearly enough discs. Have decided on the second choice quick and dirty outfit. I think I'm going to be a funky angel. Anyone have a California Angels cap I could borrow?

Back to knitting for a bit. Then bed. Goodness, I'm not looking forward to work tomorrow.

Happy Monday, anyway.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I laughed my behind off this morning while listening to NPR. Someone in Boston interviewed Billy Crystal about the pennant race. According to him, if the Sox and the Cubs were to both make it to the Series, this would be an unprecedented event. It would be a World Series that would not be won. He figured that come seventh inning stretch, there'd be a plague of locusts to stop the game or something.
Sorry for the no shows over the past week. My bit of time outside of work has been coopted for piano, knitting and baseball. I'd like to think that I'm getting somewhere in two of the three realms.

Did a quickie poll around the office to see if my shaving my head would help the Sox. A couple people said that I'd never know until I tried. One woman looked at me and emphatically said, "no."

Politics? Well, we've gone from Bush = Hitler to Arnold = Hitler. Ooh, that was a stretch. There are so many who think that they are just so clever over that one.
Mark Steyn has a great article regarding that. Check out his website:

The article I'm referring to is about CNN Coverage. It should be one of his more current ones. There's plenty of other good stuff there to take a look at as well. So, do give a look.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

So, Arnold's in. The Sox are in the Bronx tonight.
I made peach jam last night. Have been practicing a lot (Britten nocturne and a lovely little waltz by Francis Poulenc). It's nice to have something to get totally absorbed like that, but I fear it's taking its toll on my back and left arm. Guess I'll have to get the chiro to look into it.

I'm trying to find a sweet little poem that Bill Littlefield (sports commentator - has a wonderful show on NPR called "Only a Game") recited in his commentary this morning about Sox fans. It was really a gem.

You should see the headlines here - "What Curse?" the Herald, with a big, full page picture of Babe Ruth. The home front will *not* be quiet or calm tonight, as I live below and next to some who go beyond mere fandom...should be fun while it lasts.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Hey, what ever happened to Felt?
Two things to remember:

1.) Have to find a copy of Virginia Postrel's "The Substance of Style." I've heard lots of chatter about it from the pundits that I enjoy reading. Thanks the wonder of cable TV in the motel room, I got to see a talk she gave about her book on CSPAN. Fascinating.

2.) Henri Bernard-Levi I think his name is? Contemporary French philosophe who got the nail on the head when he characterized the post 1968 generation of intellectuals as being brought up on "Marxism and Coca-Cola." Gotta look up more on him.

Goodness, that's sooo beautiful. Explains pretty well, too, why Che Guevara tee shirts will always be great sellers. Forget about content, forget about even reading. It all just looks good. To quote Virginia Postrel - "I like it and I'm like it!"
Quel weekend! Let's see: Friday, dinner with Hal and his mom. Lots of good food. 'Heaven's manna' for dessert. Stories about Latvia. I have a beautiful silver amulet with all sorts of fertility-evil eye-protective symbols all over it.

Saturday: rain rain, more rain! Took a duck tour. This is my fourth one. First one that I've ever been on that was driven by a colonial era guy in a tricorne. First one in which I've gotten to hear 'the State House is a fine example of the Federalist Style.' or 'Richardsonian Romanesque.' Have I ever mentioned what a fan I am of the duck tours? If you ever decide to come to Boston and are going to have anything to do with me while you're here - chances are you will be forced to submit to one.

Saturday evening: back to Leverett with Hal's mom. Would have been nice to keep her here a little longer. Maybe we'll get her back soon.
Found a motel (the Scottish Inn! Complete with thistle in the logo and a wicked glottal stop when I'd shout it.) that was cheap, family-owned, clean enough, close enough and had a cooler full of beer and wine. Headed over to visit Hal's dad, who happens to be in town for a bit. Was amazed to see the Sox win one...go Sox!

Sunday: Breakfast, a couple farm stands, Northampton. Visited with my little brother. Hey, he's looking good, is doing honorable work, is happy in lalaland. Kind of giving em hell like I try to do here in my little corner of the 'celebrate diversity but not with my daughter' world. He mentioned something about that whole 'impeach Bush' culture that really warmed the cockles of my heart: "It seems to me that it's the more privileged and entitled kinds that are complaining about stuff when things really aren't too bad."

Hear hear.

Dinner at a nice chain restaurant that we like to visit on our way back down Route 2. Home now.

Tired out. Glad to be home. Glad to be still and quiet for a bit.
Calming down to "The Pictorial Jackson Review," one of the first things I received from Hal. One of the little signs that he's perhaps way too hip for me and a bit of a renegade to boot. Sigh.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Glad to get back. I feel a bit less unfocused.
I have a lot of work to do. He looked at the fingerings on the Britten Nocturne, changed some. Assigned me specific ways to practice...metronome markings, too!
Lots of Hanon. Vitamins, all of it.
It's good to have some direction, to have some discipline.
I go back in a couple weeks. We'll see then if I can handle a second piece.

I like him. He'll probably be very good for me. Different kind of good from Miriam's good.
Piano lesson this afternoon. Going to meet my friend Ruth's teacher, Kevin, during lunch break. Wish me luck!
I've brought along some 'comfort food' pieces - couple volumes of "Mikrokosmos," my Baerenreiter collection, my collected works of Satie...we'll see how this is taken. Don't know much about him, but I do know what Ruth generally works on. We sort of have different tastes. Anyhow, more later on this.
Hal's mom is back from Riga. Very nice to see her. I don't know how she takes me, as I can be a bit, well, much. I really enjoy spending time with her, though. Hope that's apparent.

I think we'll be in the western part of the state for the weekend - taking her home, then perhaps seeing Hal's dad who happens to be in town. Maybe even see my little brother. We'll see. Should be a glorious weekend weatherwise. All autumnal and stuff. Western MA is the best place to be this time of year.

"A New History of Art"

Interesting critique in the WSJ culture section. I think that I might like to take a look at this new art history book. It will be refreshing to read a text that has the boldness to inject subjectivity in an area that is strangling itself in a sort of feedback loop. Though I don't have a problem with modern art per se (those of you who know me and know my particular tastes understand this), I do have a problem with the contemporary trends in music, art, literature/writing that leads to meaninglessness to all but the 'happy few' - the academes who have created the hothouse atmospheres. The ones who seek only to 'engage in dialogue with other artists.'

Okay. I just spilled a cup of chocolate all over me. I'm a bit spastic and I'm sort of frothing at the mouth. Take my words with a very big grain of salt. But do read the article.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Numbers that made up my weekend:

24 = number of jars of jelly/fruit I put up on Saturday
-4 apple/no pectin
-4 mint
-9 apple w/pectin
-7 blueberry applesauce

6 = types of perennials I identified in the box that my neighbor gave me on Sunday

9 = number of pounds I lost so far on the low carbohydrate diet I started two weeks ago

3 = piano teachers I'm talking to about lessons

1 = number of knitting projects completed this weekend

3 = number of UFOs (un finished objects) left in my knitting project pile

2 = movies I watched on 'GBH 44 dealing with infidelity and murder Sunday night ("The Postman Always Rings Twice" and "The Paradine Case" - Early Hitchcock, Early Gregory Peck. Sigh.)

90 = number of minutes I got to plunk out music on my instrument

0 = how many hikes I got to go on

4 = number of kitties I was taking care of this past week

63 = number of CDs I have for my halloween costume

37 = how many more I still need (hint hint)

Hope you had a good weekend. Mine was fair to middling. Decently productive, too.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Weird feeling today. Don't know if it's lack of sleep, the atmospheric pressure. Could have been my having eaten a muffin after two weeks of next to no complex carbs. Maybe a combination of all of the above. I'm thinking about next week and all its obligations and it's making me a wee bit jumpy.

Walked home after taking care of Pablo's cats, ran into my neighbors up the street - Sharon and Cynthia. Cynthia was dividing up the perennials and offered me a lot of different things that I don't have in my garden. I happily accepted it all. Their garden is one of the most beautiful in the neighborhood, and I know that the plants will be strong and healthy.

Cut down the mint to make jelly with. I was practically in raptures over the scent and the feel of the crushed leaves in my hands. So much so that I nearly drew a bath to throw it all into. Now what sort of bliss would that have been?

Also took care of the Deer Isle apples. I wouldn't know how to describe this little windfall I found in an orchard gone feral except as nuclear crabapples. Such beautiful little greenish fruits that made the most gorgeous, pectin laden juice I'd seen yet. It almost seems like a shame to dump all that sugar into it when it tastes so good as is...

Thursday, September 25, 2003

What a sad day! The Barnes Foundation, a private collection of art in Suburban Philadelphia has been pulled to pieces and now ceases to exist as its former owner had intended.

"Art Held Hostage"

I was lucky to have had the chance to visit it while it was still in its original home and order a number of years ago - back when there were just rumors of a major upset to the foundation.

What I loved about the Barnes was the the all encompassing nature of the collection and the eccentricity of its arrangement. Ancient Egyptian bas-reliefs would be hung on a wall next to Matisse canvases. Amish hex symbols could be placed near artifacts from Ancient Sumeria. The arrangement of the works did not try to follow whatever was hitting the Art Establishment at the time, but by Mr. Barnes's personal taste. I guess that many could consider the ordering of the pieces to be heteroclite. For me, though, (and many others no doubt), it just worked.

A few years ago, a number of the Barnes pieces made their way to the National Gallery for an exhibition. I had given thought to visiting, but decided against it. I have nothing against the original pieces in and of themselves.  However, as the exhibition was ostensibly about the Foundation itself, I didn't much want to see them out of their home and that particular context. For me it would be like travelling 1/2 way across the country to see pieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum outside of Gardener's awesome Italian Palazzo. Something would be missing.

It is a pity, with the increasing corporatization of artistic organizations, to see this sort of smothering of a small, independent collection like Barnes's. The exhibitions that I have seen of late often have been put together with the notion of drawing in as many people as possible to make money off of or of pushing whatever agenda is the rage in the academic world. University galleries nowadays seem to have a run of ham-handed, politically correct exhibitions where the visitor is subjected to patronizing notes about the importance of understanding that all cultures are rich and diverse, of the role of women in such and such society, etc. Some of it could have been helpful, but, more often than not the way in which the art was presented was bland, the information given was clicheed, banal.
(Perhaps these exhibitions were showing off the personalities of the curators?   If that is the case, I would say to lay off the ego and let the pieces speak for themselves.)

Without a doubt, the works that Barnes had collected will lose their context after a generation or so.  Seems to me that letting go of this context is a pity, given the blandness that is taking its place.  Seems also an unhappy thing to divide up and destroy a remaining manifestation of a strong, original, eccentric personality like his.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I am giddy, absolutely giddy.
You know that piano anthology that I had lost? Well, I wrote to what I thought was the publisher - being the customer that I so hated to deal with - no exact title, no editor, not sure of what was in it, only sort of knowing what the cover looked like. Turns out that Baerenreiter *was* the publisher - and not only was the book still in print - the wonderful customer service person I got (Hendrik) even told me who the painting on the cover was by.

Thrilled as I was about this - I actually did myself one better the evening of the response by finding the original book in addition to a bunch of other really neato stuff.

Monday, September 22, 2003

I don't know why I bother buying the French edition of Marie-Claire, really. I think I need a good dose of Anti-Americanism with my 101 fashion tips. It's a pity, because it didn't use to be the Jenny Jones freakshow peppered with stories about why such and such a problem is America's fault. Used to be good, practical stuff (recipes, inexpensive clothing ideas and human interest - women related articles). Decent light reading material to keep up my French.

One of the headlines for last month's magazine was, provocatively enough: "DERNIER FUREUR AUX ETATS-UNIS: L'ORGASME QUI DURE UNE HEURE." Hmm, I thought - latest rage, really? Why had I not heard of this? Where do I sign up for this amazing new breakthrough?

The story talked about a 'course' held in the San Francisco area (of course!) by a couple of self-proclaimed sexologues on how to have hour or more long orgasms. The money line from this was - and I'm paraphrasing: "in a country with the reputation for its ferocious puritanism, amateurs of the art of sensual pleasure who tend to come from urban areas are filling up the popular courses.

I don't need to go much further than to say that it all sounded like a sex show that you'd see advertised in the Phoenix here couched in terms of some holistic philosophy and sketchy credentials. (Both instructors were PhDs from the Love Institute, or something like that.)

I guess I was just amused at the whole premise: Americans who are at the same time perhaps looser than the average (I had experienced this a fair bit during my time there - confusion between liberty and libertinage, no doubt) and brutally puritanical looking for something new and gimmicky. I want my orgasm, and I want it supersized! It's amazing the gymnastics that one can go through to attempt to make a point.
Sort of made me think of this:

Lileks on the infamous Guardian Olive Garden Story

Enjoy the above. It's a hoot!

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Yet another day of acting as the Cog in the Wheel down the tubes. Got home last night before sunset anyway. Felt really down and out. Decided that I needed to do some gardening. After about five minutes of deadheading marigolds, I was accosted by one of my new neighbors (tenants ousted from the area where they're constructing the new CVS).
After he decided that I wasn't a 'good neighbor,' Templeton, as I will call him, decided to pay a visit to my neighbor across the street. At least I'm assuming that from the sound of a scream and of something crashing onto the pavement.

Went back indoors to vegetate for a moment or two. I never seem to veg for more than that. Too much energy. Decided that I needed not just physical or mental exercise, but both together. Went through the milkcrate under my desk and the inside of my piano bench to see if there was anything playable at my current level of technic (I've forgotten more than I've learned, I think). Picked out a collection of Chopin Preludes & Etudes, some shorter works by Brahms, a Debussy collection and some easier works by Beethoven. Dusted off my Easy and Progressive Exercises by Czerny and all the volumes of Mikrokosmos and set to work. I managed to get through the Beethoven op 49 #1 with essentially two run throughs and about 2/3 of the way through the second Mikrokosmos book. Not a bad start, but I've a long ways to go.

I was hoping to find my book of early 20th century pieces put out by Baerenreiter. I think I lost it in a move. It's too bad, because there were a couple fun pieces in it by Hindemith and a nice atmospheric one (lots of pedal!) by Britten. If any of you sees a copy of it kicking around - grab it for me. It's got a sort of German Expressionist-looking cover to it and is called quite simply, 20th Century Piano Music. Baerenreiter Verlag. Won't have all my markings or fingerings - but we can't have everything.

Just about finished up the Joan McGowan angora thong I started knitting. Turquoise. Jingle bells. Apparently she used to be a designer for Fredericks. Love her stuff. Was inspired to buy her other two lingerie patterns:

White Lies Designs

I've something to look forward to in the mail, now.

WHRB was on a roll last night!

Harvard Radio

Heard a rocking recording of William Walton's "Balthazar's Feast" followed by another Swedish Nationalist composer who was not Hugo Alfven. Solo piano work. Sigh, a girl can dream. First easy Beethoven. Then Les Six again, then the Ginastera sonata. By then, I'll have tracked down the Enigmatic Swede.

Raphaella's home again. I thanked her for her generosity in tomatoes. I wonder if she realizes how many people she's made happy with them.

That's about it for now. I've more paper to push and numbers to massage. After that, more thought on the mayoral campaign, though I think I have a good idea as to my choice. Maybe I'll look to see if he needs any volunteers.

"that's Curta-tone, Bev. Curta-tone."

Oh yes, and I need to not buy water or batteries, as Isabel (poor, misunderstood Isabel!)'s slated to not arrive tonight or tomorrow sometime. Hmm. Maybe I'll not tape my windows as well.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Was talking to Pablo last night about the 'ontological reality of the criminal justice system.' He quoted a friend of ours - Mark, a physicist. Possibly one of the coolest people out there. "I've trained myself to mentally delete the word 'ontological' from any sentence I hear it in, as I've found that removing it doesn't tend to change the meaning of the statement.'

Sunday, September 14, 2003

What a nice weekend. I thought I might pick apples. I thought I might climb a mountain. Was much less out and about than that, which was good. I have been sooo tired of late. Just tromped around the neighborhood, cooked, rested.

Cooking's been a joy lately. I've finally gotten it together to enjoy nature's better late than never bounty. Raphaella gave me a bag of tomatoes. Little oval shaped 'plum' ones. One night, for an unexpected dinner guest, I made a bruschetta of this little windfall. Just chopped one up and mixed it with a bit of tuna and all manner of fins herbes from my garden. Tarragon, oregano, two kinds of thyme, rosmary. It's so nice to have a kitchen garden.
Tonight, for dinner, it was a few stalks of chives and handful of mint thrown into the romaine for a salad that really made us pay attention to what we were eating. You couldn't not notice it.

Visited the Tufts Art Center yesterday afternoon. Had wondered what they had by way of gallery space there. Was sort of disappointed, as they are Tufts, after all. And they give out an MFA in collaboration with the Museum School, for crying out loud. Oh well.

Today, just quiet. Got a visit from one of the mayoral candidates this afternoon. Okay, buddy. You're cute. You know it, I know it. You mentor kids. Where do you stand on the issues, like redeveloping the assembly square mall or closing harrington due to budget cuts? I need to figure this all out before the 23rd.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Just got home from another too long day. My Fearless Leader suggested to me that it might be a good idea to water my garden, so I did. You know, though I really didn't know what in the heck I was doing when I started on all this - I am really pleased with the results. Took to nearly autumn, but what a sweet little flowerbed we have in the front of the house. The zinnias (just bought a packet of seeds because they were on sale) are now starting to flower - big, puffy, red ones. The cosmos, relegated to the little patches I transplanted them to, are as tall as I am and full of light purple, pink and white blooms. The marigolds are green bushes with *sparks!* of yellow, gold, red, brown. I like to think that my two grandmas are keeping an eye on the yard (and me) as those were their favorite blooms. The dragon's blood has taken very nicely - it's developed into a creeping patch of something like low lying hen and chickens. Very strange plants, but quite pretty and understated. Not to mention sturdy. I love my wax begonias, geraniums and firecrackers. Will have to remember them for next year. In fact, if I could bring in some of the first two to keep me happy during winter and to transplant next spring - that would be nice.

Moving around among my charges tonight, giving them their drink and deadheading the ones that needed it, I got to feeling Sort of like how I would feel if I were to take the time to meditate again. Along with this state of well-being came a few conclusions about gardening, at least on my plot:

1.) Mulch is a girl's best friend. The more mulch and compost you mix into your soil, the more water is retained. Very good when you get periods of up to a month without any rain.

2.) Starting from seeds isn't as difficult as one would lead you to believe. Some of my prettiest plants came from seeds: the zinnias, the sweet little purple alyssum, the marigolds, the cosmos. I'm going to save some flower heads like I remember my grandmas doing and see what I can grow from them next spring.

4.) Share and share alike! Raphaella gave me marigolds last year that really cheered up things this summer. I gave away at least 75 hostas all over the neighborhood and brought back some herbs in exchange. This is another great, cheap way to mix it up in the garden. It's also just fun to share. Especially green, living things.

5.) Deadhead! Deadhead! Deadhead! Your blooms come back in profusion if you keep up with this.

6.) Don't get hung up on blueprints. Let nature drop some stuff here and there. I had a little volunteer jade plant pop up under a hedge. Marigolds and cosmos peeped out in the most unexpected places. This all added to the lightly structured chaos that I was sort of aiming for. I did download some free patterns for sun and shade gardens from the farmers' almanac, but really only for a sketch.

7.) Something catches your eye and it's cheap? Go for it...Often what I'd do is, on the way home from work, check out anything new and on sale at the local gardening place. If I had a spare $5-$10, I'd buy as much of it as I could and then plant it whereever I had the space. Yes, this is the magpie approach (bright and shiny! bright and shiny! mine! mine!), and it did result in sort of an organic crazy quilt, but I always was partial to crazy quilts.

8.) You can always try again next year if you're not nuts about what you did this year.

Some stuff I'd like to try: Maybe plant some more bulbs and incorporate bone meal into the soil. I planted around 150 bulbs this year and maybe 1/2 of them came up. Of those, 1/2 of them actually bloomed. It could have been the lack of sun and all the rain we got in the spring - but I wonder if my soil's too packed. I'll give that a try. A cold frame might be fun for me to attempt to raise my own seedlings. Oh, and maybe no vegetables this time. More herbs. They're darn easy and they smell wonderful.

Yes, one must tend to one's garden.