Friday, February 27, 2004

A Day In My Life

Gonads & Strife


Much further away from my window, the morning clouds are a flower born of a train. A wristwatch becomes a crayfish and an old man's coat gives way to a storm of white ants.

Much further away from my window, cotton puffs were playing at being a garden waiting for April.

Then, into my eyes floods that infinite light, and that's when I need a walking stick, a dog, a hand, faith.

And as you pass by me, touching the chill with your soft silence, blindly I sentence you to give names to all that I now do not know.

Much further away from my window, the morning clouds are a flower born of a train. A wristwatch becomes a crayfish and an old man's coat gives way to a storm of white ants.

Much further away from my window, cotton puffs were playing at being a garden waiting for April.

Much further away from my window, my hope was playing at being a flower in a garden waiting for April.

Was outdoors for lunch today - had the hardest time coming back in. It's in the high forties out there, sunny and breezy. I'm thinking of Silvio Rodriguez again - "Como Esperando Abril." I do every year as I wait for April.

Mucho mas alla de mi ventana las nubes de la manana son una flor que le ha nacido al tren.

Un reloj se transforma en cangrejo y la capa de un viejo da con una tempestad de comejen.

Mucho mas alla de mi ventana colores jugaban a hacer un jardin en espera de abril.

Luego entro los ojos chorreando eso luz de infinito y es cuando necesito un perro, un baston, una mano una fe.

Y tu pasas tocando el miedo con suave silencio y ciego te sentencio a que nombres todo lo que ahora no se.

Mucho mas alla de mi ventana nubes de la manana son una flor que le ha nacido al tren.

Un reloj se transforma en cangrejo y la capa de un viejo da con una tempestad de comejen.

Mucho mas alla de mi ventana colores jugaban a hacer un jardin en espera de abril.

Mucho mas alla de mi ventana mi esperanza jugaba a una flor a un jardin como esperando abril.
I had just wanted to post a link to a site that I've been finding indispensable for navigating my way through British politics, economics, current events:

Oliver Kamm

Mr. Kamm's writing, particularly on the turmoil over 'top up fees' for upper middle class university students in the UK, is clear and informative. This is in marked contrast to most of what I can find in the usual media outlets (for an American, this tends to be limited to the BBC and whom they link to). Also helpful has been his bringing to light certain aspects of the Liberal Democrat party that many of us would not otherwise hear about - particularly in talking with our Lib Dem acquaintances.

Anyhow, do take a look at his blog. So much substance there. He is a pleasure to read.
Thank you for helping out...I have a couple good leads on windows and boards. Hopefully within the next week I can get a move on on this thing.
Other projects come to mind: fix the bed (Put together by an engineer and a carpenter of sorts. Haven't gotten a good night's sleep on it since I moved. Kind of ironic since I and an old roommate - raver boy - put it together the first time. Took nearly four hours, but was sturdy as anything.), lower the pile of mending, darning, finishing that has been looming over me reproachfully for the past several months.

I've been doing some serious soul-searching over the past several weeks and have decided on what might be a good 'five year plan' for me. It feels pretty good to have something to work towards. Got the final invoice yesterday for a large student loan that I've been working on for several years now: $90 and change. Can't tell you what a weight has been lifted off me there. Now, to tackle the dead cat and the computer.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Only 23 More Days Until Spring!

That’s right! Just a little over three weeks!

In my neck of the woods, the prediction for last frost is that it should be sometime in mid to late April. This means that, in order to give my seeds the proper head start, I will be needing to get them planted within the next week or so.

Now, obviously I won’t be putting the seedlings outside just yet. I’d like, however, to build a cold frame as a sort of intermediary between indoors and out.

I was wondering if anyone had an old window to spare – maybe you had yours replaced and are saving the extras for a rainy day? Usually I see these out in the trash, but lately – no luck. (‘Course not. I need one now.)

I’m willing to barter (some veggies, herbs, flowers…seeds, seedlings…jelly or preserves come fall…give me your shoe size, I’ll make you some socks...whatever *within reason.*) or pay for this.

Not nearly as dire, but also welcome, would be a bit of old lumber. However, I don’t want to sound too greedy…

Drop me a line if you can help out!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Okay, folks - I'm saying it once and that's it.
I hate my job.
I have hated it for some time.
I am tired of sorting paper for people who won't read what I output.
I'm tired of having five different bosses each of whom will give me directive that conflicts with the others' wants or needs.
I am sick to death of playing receptionist to the whole damn company because of where my desk is located and due to the lack of signage on my floor.
I am tired of being a bureaucrat. I want my mind to be engaged.
I want to think.
I want to enjoy myself even a little en gagnant ma croute.
I have one hot crossed bun.
I'm going to need to look for pasczki. There's a bakery in Salem, if my memory serves me correctly. Will have to make a trip up north before Easter.
Guess it's good to be back here. Happy Ash Wednesday, by the way.
I guess you could say that I'm in shallow mode at the moment.
Have been finding much comfort and wisdom in my Salada Tag Lines. (Don't usually get Salada, as I'm cheap - but they revamped the packaging to feature an image of Lenin. Course I had to get it then.) Anyhow, they hooked me with the attractive image, the keep me with the pithy taglines. Guess I can see how easily it might be to be taken in by campus leftist organizations. Hook you with images of Lenin or Che. Feed you pithy lines.

Anyhow, the current tag: "It's scary driving through the petrified forest."

Monday, February 23, 2004

Hot tea and indonesian ginger chews seem to be working on this upset stomach.
Coworker has rediscovered knitting after a hiatus of decades. Isn't that how it always works? You learn how, you get bored with it, you stop. Years later, when you need it, it comes back to you. What a joy.

She's using red heart in an ombre pattern - muted purples and greens with some earthy tones mixed in for good measure. She's so excited. I'm so glad for her!
1/2 way through the day.
Want to go home.

Just remembered that Hal said I was talking in my sleep the other night and woke him up. Said that I was cheering Finland on. Was I thinking about the winter olympics or listening to Sibelius?

Man, I have absolutely *no* idea whatsoever as to what I'm trying to process.
"First you sell out, then they start teaching it as a subject in conservatories. Take a look at the professor, Needlejuice, a.k.a. Professor Scratch, a.k.a. 45-year-old-white-man-in-a-black-turtleneck.

Not that I'll miss it, but hip hop is over. Academized. Euthanized."


I had figured that Berklee would have been teaching this sort of stuff years ago, given how polished the product sounds nowadays.
Darn girl kitty's gotten into the yarn stash in the bushel basket next to the desk.
Horrible, horrible nightmare this morning has me up since about 4:30. It wasn't like the usual action-adventure ones that jolt me out of bed, out of breath and paranoid as all getout. Haven't had one of those in a long time. This was something else. Still images flashing on like a slideshow in my brain, getting progressively weirder, more horrific, until I said to myself - you don't have to look at this, Bev. Just get up. So, here I sit, shivering in my cold sweat, clutching a ball of yarn and some needles. The cats won't have anything to do with me and I'm counting the days till the roommate gets back. I don't want to go running until it gets a little light out. Good Lord, work is going to be awful today.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Know what?
I'm thinking of taking up drinking.
I'd been thinking some time about what is perceived to be a left wing bias in newspapers nowadays. When I was younger, I guess I didn't notice such things as much. Or maybe things were different. When I lived in France, I generally read La Libération, for example. Here, well, I read the Globe, despite its generally poor editorial standards (can't vouch for the news, but I can say that if I was bored during lunch break, I'd go on hunts for bad grammar, poor spelling, complex, newly coined words that were substituted for perfectly good, simple ones.) My father, bless him, good conservative that he is, would take my going off on American hegemony and the evil right, like the strong, silent man he is and just give me little admonishments here and there, like, be sure to get your news from more than one source, Bev. I tried to, even if some things were disagreeable to me.

Nowadays, I generally have a hard time stomaching just about anything from Canada, from France (save for the Figaro from time to time), or from American newspapers. Have standards gone down so, has ideology replaced any notion of objectivity, or am I changing? What did 9/11 play in my mindset vs. that of the press in general? I'm told by some (mainly The Guy's family) that the media is a corporate empire that is biased to the right. I don't see this. Given that the family business seems to be academia there, I tend to take what most of them say with a very large grain of salt.

On the notion of academia and media, could it have been with the shift from journalism/media as a journeyman trade to something that requires credentials from journalism school that had something to do with the shift in ideological slant? Or the greater obviousness of this slant?

I wonder. I think about this stuff a lot while cranking my spreadsheets out. Speaking of which, I need to get a move on. The numbers await without and I've just frittered away a fair bit of time ruminating.
Frank Gehry also comes to mind - generally I find his designs to hit that agreeable place inside me. The Guggenheim philosophy (commissioning museums to be put up in areas that they think need more world focus - Bilbao, for example, though I'm not so sure as to what MA MoCA is to have accomplished, short of creating a sort of Las Vegas like strip of gentrification in North Adams.) strikes me as well-intentioned, too. What just stopped me cold, though, was something Gehry was quoted as saying to a reporter for an appreciation of his new auditorium at Bard in the French paper La Libération (think the Guardian in French). Please pardon my fading memory, but the essence of the statement was "I supported you and was against the invasion of Iraq...why aren't you commissioning more buildings from me?"

Isn't that a hoot?
Still in the architecture mind, I think.
It was interesting to see the culmination of Kahn's life work in Bangladesh - forms that were tried out here that, in my mind, did not work out but were perfect for that part of the world. It's in the philosophy, I guess.

For example, generally I've hated most of what Corbu had created - beton armée, though cheap and readily available in most places just plain looks cheap. Go into any housing block (if you don't mind risking having something flaming lobbed at you at this point) in a banlieue of a major French city and you can see how these great 'machines for living' have fared over the years. Or, if you're not up to travelling to the continent, just take a look at the Carpenter Center over on Oxford street. Mind you, though it follows his dictates on form, I wouldn't necessarily say that it follows his intentions for building for The People. Harvard tends to be about as far from The People as you can get. In any event, it still looks awful, despite the money they can throw at it for preservation. However - and I'd like to see a more more modern image of it - the work that he did in Islamabad for Pandit Nehru, something he truly believed in, was very impressive indeed. Again, philosophy put to practice in a place where an experiment of hope like that had a chance.
Wore my lacy red sweater to work yesterday - it's such a nice thing to wear when I want to feel a little less unhip than usual. Got a few requests to teach knitting as a result. Trying to figure out which patterns to bring in to start folks off on. Definately big needle stuff. Definately easy stuff. Though generally I'm a curmudgeon when it comes to all the fly hippy stuff I see advertised nowadays, it is nice to see that there are much nicer beginner patterns/materials than when I was a wee thing. Don't get me started on how I can't get into the darn yarn store to get any of this stuff, though...
Hal mentioned that he ran into Monsieur Colin the other day at work. Guess he's reading for another funny as heck play that has no financial backing, bless him. Anyway - Hal was telling him about the movie we saw over the weekend: "My Architect," the documentary about Louis Kahn by his son Nathaniel. Very very good film, by the way. The son did a very graceful job of navigating between the public figure, the mythic man who designed, among other things, the British art museum at Yale (interesting to see who came up with that one - the main lecture area where I was confined for a couple hours felt like it was going to COME DOWN ON ME, it was so oppressive.), the Salk laboratories out west, the capitol of Bangladesh and the private man who had three separate families all within a few blocks of one another.

Colin's response was "oh, there was a Law and Order about someone like that a little while back."
Woke up this morning achey as all get out. Had my back looked at yesterday - can breathe better, mercifully. Twinge in the right calf, though, and sore tightness across the shoulders and in the chest. I hate feeling like an old lady. This has been going on for too long.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Imagine going through a good part of your life with people
saying things that what you experience on a day to day basis
is symptomatic of schizophrenia, psychosis, etc. Imagine
the amazement at finding that some people take drugs to
experience what you've always felt, seen, heard, tasted, smelled.

Imagine having to formulate an argument as to why you should
not be given drugs to treat emotional problems out of fear of having *one thing* that is dulled for you. That these sensations
are a good part of what's kept you from diving in front of a train

Imagine trying to describe colors to a colorblind person.
How would you describe color to a sighted person? Taste, smell,
sounds to anybody out there?

How happy to find out that this has a name and that people
are studying it.
interested in this. I'm quite a synesthetist myself,
experiencing sound in visual terms. (Based on my experience,
this is true of most sound engineers, and many musicians).
The sound of falling rain "looks" like polkadots. A kick drum
hit looks kind of like an overstuffed pillow, with the shape
and size varying according to tone. Electric guitars look
like multicolored spaghetti.

I suspect that this is actually useful, allowing more brain
processing power to go to work on a problem. I can "see"
differences in sound (like the difference between two nearly- identical delay times) that I can't really hear directly. I
think lots of people who work with sound have similar
experiences, though I wonder whether this is developed
through the work, or whether people with those
characteristics tend to go into such things. Perhaps some of
both, though I've experienced sound this way since I was a
kid. (from Instapundit)

ABC News
I am not only talking about the spoken word, its tone imprinted by the vowel; the form, virtue, impetus, allure, energy, the particular action conferred upon it by the consonant. But the written word itself. I find in that something other than a sort of conventional algebra. Between the graphic sign and the signified thing, there is a relationship. One can deny me based on their misconceptions, but I assert that the written word has a soul, a certain implied dynamism that translates itself from under our pen into a figure, a certain expressive tracing.

-Paul Claudel


Les mots ont une âme.

Je ne parle pas seulement du mot parlé, avec le timbre que lui imprime
la voyelle, et la forme, la vertu, l'impulsion, l'allure, lénergie,
l'action particulière, que lui confère la consonne. Mais le mot écrit
lui-même, j'y trouve autre chose qu'une espèce d'algèbre
conventionnelle. Entre le signe graphique et la chose signifié il y a
un rapport. Qu'on m'accuse tant qu'on voudra de fantaisie, mais
j'affirme que le mot écrit a une âme, un certain dynamisme inclus qui
se traduit sous notre plume en une figure, en un certain tracé

-Paul Claudel
My roommate's going to California for the week!
Now, don't get me wrong here, I like him well enough...but a week with the house to myself means -
-Nude coffee drinking in the morning
-Nude mopping the floor
-Naked lunch
-Naked dinner
-Lounging around like a true (nude) odalisque as opposed to the 'expurgated' version of an odalisque that I usually am.

There was a reason for the blinds and sheers going up as they did.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Sort of moseying into work today, as apparently someone either really screwed up the new office floor plan or (more likely) the wrong palms were greased at Cambridge Inspectional services. Last night they started ripping apart the cubicles. The response to my "when will the inspectors be done?" was met with, ohh, maybe when you get in. Maybe not till the afternoon.

Over at Instapundit, and I'll fetch the link later, there is a funny little bit on the Fighting Styles of Donald Rumsfeld. Take a look at it, it's a hoot.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

I'm amazed at how my little office garden is thriving under these flourescent lights. I have a primavera, two monster swedish ivies, a clivia and a cyclamen. They are all doing incredibly well. The norfolk pine in Karen's office is happier than it ever was at home.
I'm really aching to get outdoors and start digging again.
Yup, that was a tangent, alright. Remind me to never write on an empty stomach.

Happy Technical Monday!

Heck of a whirlwind weekend. I don't quite remember what happened, so much went on.

To start out the week, here's some poetry based on invented or misused words heard in business meetings. The first one's by my boss:

Resolute, Resolute,
This is what we execute
Till the pain becomes acute.

Nomenclate, Nomenclate,
Use this word, don't hesitate!
Even if it doesn't rate.

Our style was no doubt influenced by the old playground taunt:

We must, we must
We must increase our bust!
The bigger, the better,
The tighter the sweater
The boys'll like us better.
We must increase our bust!

Friday, February 13, 2004

Aah, I never get sick of Love!

I Say A Little Prayer

The moment I wake up
Before I put on my makeup
I say a little prayer for you
While combing my hair, now
And wondering what dress to wear, now
I say a little prayer for you

Forever, forever, you'll stay in my heart
And I will love you
Forever, forever, we never will part
Oh, how I'll love you
Together, together, that's how it must be
To live without you
Would only be heartbreak for me

I run for the bus, dear
While riding I think of us, dear
I say a little prayer for you
At work, I just take time
And all through my coffee break-time
I say a little prayer for you

Forever, forever, you'll stay in my heart
And I will love you
Forever, forever we never will part
Oh, how I'll love you
Together, together, that's how it must be
To live without you
Would only be heartbreak for me

I say a little prayer for you

I say a little prayer for you

Forever, forever, you'll stay in my heart
And I will love you
Forever, forever we never will part
Oh, how I'll love you
Together, together, that's how it must be
To live without you
Would only be heartbreak for me

My darling, believe me
For me there is no one
But you ....

Burt Bacharach/Hal David

Happy Day before Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The statement from a Philosophy professor at Duke regarding Conservatives on faculty there has been pretty thoroughly fisked by the likes of Eugene Volokh (the volokh conspiracy) and Glenn Reynolds. I do so love this statement from Tom Smith at the right coast, however:

More on conservatives in academia
By Tom Smith
No discrimination against conservatives at Duke. (via It's just that we conservatives happen to be stupider. Unfortunately, I have not noticed this goes along with any increased sense of rhythm, fondness for music, long lazy days in the sun, loose shoes or irresponsible sex. Or any too great aggressiveness, over-fondness for money, or tendency to want to split hairs in argument. Or an over-fondness for strong drink, sentimental music and poetry, having too many children and not washing them often enough. Or, for that matter, having hair that is too oily, being given to outbursts of temper, and so on and so on and so on. I guess to be able to tell what stereotypes are really true, and which are based on self-serving, narrow minded, glib, naive and foolish prejudice, you have to have the natural intellectual superiority of a person of the left. It's a good thing they don't believe in eugenics or we'd really be in trouble. Ooops. Sorry. I forgot about Planned Parenthood.

(from via instapundit.)
Poetry Corner

New sestinas at today!
Lest I forget: Two hawk sightings on the walk into work today:

First one was of a big guy having the time of his (her) life on a thermal. I love to watch them as they glide along "making lazy circles in the sky." Of course, the pigeons aren't so thrilled.

The second sighting was quite a surprise: I was walking down Clarendon Hill when I heard this "chowEEE! chowEEE!" behind me. Looked up startled and saw the hawk in a tree, neck stuck down into the shoulders like an owl, just checking out the scene.

Saw a pair of what might have been peregrines perched in a tree in Medford on Sunday while on a walk with Hal on Sunday.

I'm always amazed by these new city dwellers. They are so huge! I swear, I've run into one in Harvard Square who had to be at least two feet tall. Also, it makes me laugh to see these graceful 'ghetto raptors' perched in trees, sometimes shrubs or on fences looking for all the world like big, predatory chickens.
I'm gathering my thoughts and hoping to write something on media's influence on current events. Sort of vague, yes. There's been a lot of grist for the mill in the recent months, however.
Just found out that I could volunteer for the DNC in July regardless of my party affiliation. Can't let this opportunity go to waste. Heck, no matter how I feel about any of the candidates, this is still history in the making. Of course I want to be there!
If you're interested in applying to volunteer, here's a link to the convention website:

Boston '04

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Palestinian Photo Op

It is manipulations such as this scene of 'palestinian desperation,' the Jenin 'massacre' and the Mohammed al-Dura shooting incident that make it difficult for me to believe anything that the media diffuses concerning the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

What a glorious day for a walk! Hit the mid 40s already. My hair was able to air dry on the way to work and I got to exercise the option of wearing a short skirt. For how long will this last?

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find it on the website, but WBUR is airing a series of Boston stories - charming little anecdotes from an eccentric city. This feature has been running weekly on Morning Edition.

Not much else to report, really. You want quagmire? Work is a quagmire. My day to day life has been just like that dream where you need to get away from a monster or an angry mob and you-can't-move because you're up to your knees in mud.


Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Found this through Instapundit the other day:

BBC graphic

Not being taken too well by the true believers in the BBC who have called it 'libelous.'
Back from the wilds of Provincetown. Wish I could say that I was overjoyed to have returned, but, well, 1/2 of me is still there.

This is a bit late, but my friend Chum has a good primer on the contenders for the Democratic Party Nomination:

Candidate rundowns

Got an email from someone looking to get together a team of volunteers for the Democratic National Convention in March (yes, it's going to be here in Boston. Sigh.).
Correct me if I'm wrong, but one has to be a party member to attend, I think. Of course everyone who works in Human Services is a Democrat. I have half a mind to fill out the paperwork and see if I can get in. If only to show up with either a "Bush in '04" or "Pale White Girl for Sharpton" button.