Thursday, July 29, 2004

Harold works as a designer for a service bureau downtown. Since he's right near Copley Square, he's had a chance to see some of the goings on around the DNC. On Monday, there were some pro Saddam protesters who would not move away from the front of his shop, so they were escorted by the police (Suppression of Dissent! Police State! Fascists!). Yesterday in Copley, he got to wander through a giant blow-up colon put in the square by some cancer awareness group. On leaving the colon, he was given a treat of some fresh fruit and orange juice. That's pretty nie.

Anyway, James Taranto of WSJ's Opinion Journal has been reporting live from Boston all week. Since apparently there's some serious media saturation (I heard that the ratio of reporters to delegates is something like 4:1), he's been wisely describing his travels to and from the Fleet Center and the freak shows encountered. Be sure to check out yesterday's report, too, where he recounts his meeting with some Naderites on the orange line.
Aww, heck. Just read Lileks today, too. Read him every day. Look all over the gosh-darned site. Buy his books, fill his tipjar. This man is wonderful. He's got a little one he's going to need to put through college eventually, too.
I've been laying off the political stuff for a while, yes. It's just been tiring me out a bit. I do have a few must-read articles and posts for you:

Lileks on his argument with the American bureau chief of Paris Match - guess he was branded a "Fox" (guess this is a bad thing) reporter for bringing up the links between Chirac and Saddam.

A posting by Mohammed from Iraq the Model (via Instapundit).

An article from the Hudson Review on European antiamericanism.

Read them if you'd like. Drop a line if you'd like to discuss.

Harry est revenu de son voyage en France. Heureusement que mon besoin de 'vivre vicairement ses aventures' ne le gène pas. J'ai réçu mon cadeau du petit soldat et j'ai entendu un peu des choses merveilleuses qu'il a vu à Paris, au val du Loire, en Normandie. Cela m'a beaucoup amusé d'entendre de sa première fois à un restaurant Marocain; également d'entendre l'histoire du BMW parlant. (Le système 'GPS' doit remplacer les petits atlases appellés "Paris par Arondissement" que nous avons dû utiliser il y a qques ans.) Ce que je trouve très drôle est le fait que Harry me laisse parler le français à lui; il me comprend parfaitement. Tout ce qu'il me faut faire maintenant est de le faire répondre en la langue juste.


Harry's back from a trip to France, and he's indulging me a little in my need to live vicariously through him. Got my man in uniform, got to hear about what he saw in Paris/val de Loire/Normandie. Enjoyed reliving the experience of going to a Moroccan restaurant for the first time. Also about the BMW with the French talking GPS system (guess that's what replaces the ever handy "Paris par Arondissement" books we all carried around and thumbed through back in my day.) Harry even lets me speak French to him; understands me perfectly well. I just have to train him to answer *me* back in the proper language.

Knowing how I love a man in uniform, Harry aimed to please. How's about a nice little zouave to brighten up a gray day?  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Globe Magazine last Sunday featured my favorite ice cream place in the world: Christina's in Inman Square. I dream of their khulfi and burnt sugar flavors. Now that they opened a spice market next door, I have a local source for my favorite pepper and my namesake: berbere.

Very happy for Christina's. I guess I can handle the wait as Globe-reading yups deluge the place for the next month or so. Will make my treat taste all the sweeter.
Fun Stuff!

I was checking out Joan McGowan's website again and found that she had a new corset pattern! Now, like just about any other girl, I love pretty, lacy things. I especially like pretty lacy things that I can make.

Anyway, Joan's site linked to a knitting webzine called, appropriately enough,knitty dot com. This summer's issue features sexy stuff to make for women *and* men. A spelunk through the archives showed me some other very clever things to consider.
I think I'm burnt out. Can't motivate to do my work. Don't care.
What have I got? A bit more than seven days till vacation?
So painful. I feel like crying.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

For the past week or so, a peregrine has been sitting on one of two trees on Walnut street, calling out almost desperately, it seems. Since I believe they do mate for life, I wonder if this bird is missing its partner? This morning, on the way to work, hearing the same cries, I got to thinking about Whitman's robin and felt such a sadness take over.

Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking

Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the mocking-bird's throat, the musical shuttle,
Out of the Ninth-month midnight,
Over the sterile sands and the fields beyond, where the child
leaving his bed wander'd alone, bareheaded, barefoot,
Down from the shower'd halo,
Up from the mystic play of shadows twining and twisting as
if they were alive,
Out from the patches of briers and blackberries,
From the memories of the bird that chanted to me,
From your memories sad brother, from the fitful risings and
fallings I heard,
From under that yellow half-moon late-risen and swollen as
if with tears,
From those beginning notes of yearning and love there in
the mist,
From the thousand responses of my heart never to cease,
From the myriad thence-arous'd words,
From the word stronger and more delicious than any,
From such as now they start the scene revisiting,
As a flock, twittering, rising, or overhead passing,
Borne hither, ere all eludes me, hurriedly,
A man, yet by these tears a little boy again,
Throwing myself on the sand, confronting the waves,
I, chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter,
Taking all hints to use them, but swiftly leaping beyond them,
A reminiscence sing.

Once Paumanok,
When the lilac-scent was in the air and Fifth-month grass
was growing,
Up this seashore in some briers,
Two feather'd guests from Alabama, two together,
And their nest, and four light-green eggs spotted with brown,
And every day the he-bird to and fro near at hand,
And every day the she-bird crouch'd on her nest, silent, with
bright eyes,
And every day I, a curious boy, never too close, never
disturbing them,
Cautiously peering, absorbing, translating.

Shine! shine! shine!
Pour down your warmth, great sun!
While we bask, we two together.

Two together!
Winds blow south, or winds blow north,
Day come white, or niqht come black,
Home, or rivers and mountains from home,
Singing all time, minding no time,
While we two keep together.

Till of a sudden,
May-be kill'd, unknown to her mate,
One forenoon the she-bird crouch'd not on the nest,
Nor return'd that afternoon, nor the next,
Nor ever appear'd again.

And thenceforward all summer in the sound of the sea,
And at night under the full of the moon in calmer weather,
Over the hoarse surging of the sea,
Or flitting from brier to brier by day,
I saw, I heard at intervals the remaining one, the he-bird,
The solitary guest from Alabama.

Blow! blow! blow!
Blow up sea-winds along Paumanok's shore;
I wait and I wait till you blow my mate to me.

Yes, when the stars glisten'd,
All night long on the prong of a moss-scallop'd stake,
Down almost amid the slapping waves,
Sat the lone singer wonderful causing tears.

He call'd on his mate,
He pour'd forth the meanings which I of all men know.
Yes my brother I know,
The rest might not, but I have treasur'd every note,
For more than once dimly down to the beach gliding,
Silent, avoiding the moonbeams, blending myself with the
Recalling now the obscure shapes, the echoes, the sounds
and sights after their sorts,
The white arms out in the breakers tirelessly tossing,
I, with bare feet, a child, the wind wafting my hair,
Listen'd long and long.

Listen'd to keep, to sing, now translating the notes,
Following you my brother.

Soothe! soothe! soothe!
Close on its wave soothes the wave behind,
And again another behind embracing and lapping, every one close,
But my love soothes not me, not me.

Low hangs the moon, it rose late,
It is lagging--O I think it is heavy with love, with love.

O madly the sea pushes upon the land,
With love, with love.

O night! do I not see my love fluttering out among the breakers?
What is that little black thing I see there in the white?

Loud! loud! loud!
Loud I call to you, my love!

Hiqh and clear I shoot my voice over the waves,
Surely you must know who is here, is here,
You must know who I am, my love.

Low-hanging moon!
What is that dusky spot in your brown yellow?
O it is the shape, the shape of my mate!
O moon do not keep her from me any longer.

Land! land! O land!
Whichever way I turn, 0 I think you could give me my mate
back again if you only would,
For I am almost sure I see her dimly whichever way I look.

O rising stars!
Perhaps the one I want so much will rise, will rise with some of you.

O throat! 0 trembling throat!
Sound clearer through the atmosphere!
Pierce the woods, the earth,
Somewhere listening to catch you must be the one I want.

Shake out carols!
Solitary here, the niqht's carols!
Carols of lonesome love! death's carols!
Carols under that lagging, yellow, waning moon!
O under that moon where she droops almost down into the sea!
O reckless despairing carols.

But soft! sink low!
Soft! let me just murmur,
And do you wait a moment you husky-nois'd sea,
For somewhere I believe I heard my mate responding to me,
So faint, I must be still, be still to listen,
But not altogether still, for then she miqht not come immediately
to me.

Hither my love!
Here I am! here!
With this just-sustain'd note I announce myself to you,
This gentle call is for you my love, for you.

Do not be decoy'd elsewhere,
That is the whistle of the wind, it is not my voice,
That is the fluttering, the fluttering of the spray,
Those are the shadows of leaves.

O darkness! 0 in vain!
0 I am very sick and sorrowful.
O brown halo in the sky near the moon, drooping upon the sea!
O troubled reflection in the sea!
O throat! 0 throbbing heart!
And I singing uselessly, uselessly all the niqht.

0 past! 0 happy life! 0 songs of joy!
In the air, in the woods, over fields,
Loved! loved! loved! loved! loved!
But my mate no more, no more with me!
We two together no more.

The aria sinking,
All else continuing, the stars shining,
The winds blowing, the notes of the bird continuous echoing,
With angry moans the fierce old mother incessantly moaning,
On the sands of Paumanok's shore gray and rustling,
The yellow half-moon enlarged, sagging down, drooping,
the face of the sea almost touching,
The boy ecstatic, with his bare feet the waves, with his hair
the atmosphere dallying,
The love in the heart long pent, now loose, now at last
tumultuously bursting,
The aria's meaning, the ears, the soul, swiftly depositing,
The strange tears down the cheeks coursing,
The colloquy there, the trio, each uttering,
The undertone, the savage old mother incessantly crying,
To the boy's soul's questions sullenly timing, some drown'd
secret hissing,
To the outsetting bard.

Demon or bird! (said the boy's soul,)
Is it indeed toward your mate you sing? or is it really to me?
For I, that was a child, my tongue's use sleeping, now I
have heard you,
Now in a moment I know what I am for, I awake,
And already a thousand singers, a thousand songs, clearer,
louder and more sorrowful than yours,
A thousand warbling echoes have started to life within me,
never to die.
O you singer solitary, singing by yourself, projecting me,
O solitary me listening, never more shall I cease
perpetuating you,
Never more shall I escape, never more the reverberations,
Never more the cries of unsatisfied love be absent from me,
Never again leave me to be the peaceful child I was before
what there in the night,
By the sea under the yellow and sagging moon,
The messenger there arous'd, the fire, the sweet hell within,
The unknown want, the destiny of me.

O give me the clew! (it lurks in the night here somewhere,)
O if I am to have so much, let me have more!

A word then, (for I will conquer it,)
The word final, superior to all,
Subtle, sent up--what is it?--I listen;
Are you whispering it, and have been all the time, you sea-
Is that it from your liquid rims and wet sands?

Whereto answering, the sea,
Delaying not, hurrying not,
Whisper'd me through the night, and very plainly before
Lisp'd to me the low and delicious word death,
And again death, death, death, death,
Hissing melodious, neither like the bird nor like my arous'd
child's heart,
But edging near as privately for me rustling at my feet,
Creeping thence steadily up to my ears and laving me softly
all over,
Death, death, death, death, death.

Which I do not forget,
But fuse the song of my dusky demon and brother,
That he sang to me in the moonlight on Paumanok's gray
With the thousand responsive songs at random,
My own songs awaked from that hour,
And with them the key, the word up from the waves,
The word of the sweetest song and all songs,
That strong and delicious word which, creeping to my feet,
(Or like some old crone rocking the cradle, swathed in sweet
garments, bending aside,)
The sea whisper'd me.

-Walt Whitman
Took an alternate route home from work last night - went up Prescott Street instead of Vinal or Walnut. Was so pleased to make the little change, as I do believe that I found another magnolia macrophylla! This one had quite a few very large fruits on it. I'll have to remember to wander by next spring, when the monster flowers bloom again.

Harold sent me a peach today. How sweet! It's a pity that the folks who own this tree are letting the fruit fall off and rot. I have half a mind to ask them if they'd mind my clearing off their trees (they have several) in exchange for a few jars of jam. Posted by Hello
You'll note that I'm not talking politics at this point.
We've got the damn DNC in town. I'm not particularly interested in star sightings, etc. I'm more interested in seeing how much the city loses in order to put on a show and lots of parties for a bunch of rich people.

Maybe I'll talk later about it. Don't know. I understand that this is the circus to go with my bread, but I was never really a circus goer. I'd rather my politicians do the jobs they're paid to do.
For some reason, it's been a chore to log on and actually come up with something to write here. I think it's due to the work battle (job's getting to be just like Sisyphus's career track. Wonder if he was 'on the state?') and the struggles I'm having with myself at home.

Am so looking forward to getting the heck out of the city for a couple weeks. The big Off the Grid Adventure kicks off in a couple weeks, in fact. I think I'm just treading water till then.

What else can I say? Ala's back at the kwikie mart. He'd been back to Egypt for the past month and a half. He's one of the highlights in my morning commute - cheerfulness with my coffee and fruit. The other guys working there were nice, but a heck of a lot more reserved.

Visited the MIT museum over the weekend - that was fun. If I feel like it later on, maybe I'll talk about it. It was small - but the exhibits on AI, robotics were fun, frightening food for thought. The history section was okay.

Movies? Well, this past weekend, saw "Dodgeball." The NYT critic summed it up nicely: "A very dumb movie with very funny parts." This one wasn't as good as "Something About Mary," but it *was* pretty darn funny. Oh, and offensive. That's what I see Ben Stiller's movies for. Pee your pants funny, horribly offensive, over the top stuff. Stuff you'd get lynched for up here in Liberal Ethnic Hippie Land. Heck, this might well have been pornography for all I know - isn't dodgeball (the actual sport) banned from the schools here? I know it is out in Western MA.

GBH 44 showed the original "Manchurian Candidate," probably after hearing me kvetch about the remake. Why? Why? Why? We cry out - why remake something that was about as close to perfect as one can get? Someone in Newsweek said that this is complementary. That it's a 'gourmet popcorn' film. Yeah, right. Take out the cold war sensibility (it takes place in the first Gulf War), take away the notion of 'brainwashing,' (they get implanted with microchips), and what do you have? Another potential chance for Bush Bashing? Most likely. Now, don't get me wrong - I like Denzel Washington well enough. I like Meryl Streep, too, but...why? Angela Lansbury is apparently ripping mad about the film being made. I think she said something to the effect of respecting Streep (who does the reprise of Lansbury's role) as an actress but not comprehending her decision to be in this production.

Anyway, saw the original again. Beautiful, heart-rending. So well made. I pick up something new every time I see it. My heart swells to bursting at Lawrence Harvey's character. There's just such the urge to help, to protect this horrible victim of the circumstance of being born to a monster as he was.

Since Hal's company was bought out, no more work for the Phoenix, I guess. That means possibly the end of the preview passes. They sent over something like four different films in a last hurrah, I think. Tonight, "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle." Thursday, a new Beat Takeshi film that looks very very interesting. Next Tuesday, "The Village." The last film, I forget the name, but it stars Colin Firth and Robin Wright Penn and looks pretty bad. I think we'll be opting out of that one.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

It just occurred to me to mention this: all the photos you see, unless I say otherwise, were taken by Harold with a Nikon (coolpix 990, I believe) camera.
Color correction and other manipulations are done in Photoshop. So there.
When Gregor Samsa awoke from an unsettling dream, he found himself to be transformed into a large bug...

Had an awful dream last night: Harold had transformed into a small, pink octopus. He had pretty eyes and looked uncannily like a Roger Corman alien. I could not figure out for the life of me why he had chosen to make this change. After a fair bit of running around, confusion, stuff I don't remember the details on, I learned that he did not know whether he could change back at all. Obviously, we could not do things as a human couple could. I could not even hold him next to me for long like I do with the cats, as his skin would dry out and he would die. He was so dependent on me, lonely and frightened.
I felt trapped and sad. I woke up crying.
So, the girl goes from Burchfield to Bierstadt in 48 hours.  From about 3:00 am Sunday to midday yesterday, I had possibly the worst migraine ever.  The aftershocks, or hangover headaches were pretty difficult to deal with as well.  Was very scary.  Scary enough to give up red wine and chocolate, though not enough to quit the caffeine cold turkey.  We'll see about that.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Purple Poppy Posted by Hello

Poppy closeup Posted by Hello

This looks like a California Poppy, but I'm not certain. If you have an idea as to what it is, please let me know.

Update: Nasturtium! Posted by Hello

A bit of sunshine to liven up this rather grim day. Posted by Hello

One of my Monday Morning Flowers - beebalm from Hal's mom's garden in Amherst. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Front view Posted by Hello

We've got cucumbers! Posted by Hello
Bon Jour de la Bastille!

We're in the midst of a fiscal 'perfect storm:' pay period end, month end, quarter end, year end. In addition, have had some new reporting specs laid on us that need to be fleshed out and implemented *yesterday.* All this loose-end tying, plus reporting on 'boolean comparisons of variance causalities' and ungluing unfranked postage from interoffice envelopes has seriously cut into my blog time.

Few little things:

1.) Left my old umbrella in Canada to keep my bank card company. Picked up a new one at the Korean market in Union Square - Pucca and Garu. I like Pucca.

2.) My garden is *glorious.* Absolutely took off while I was away. Hal sent me some lovely images today; will be sure to post them.

3.) Texas Roadhouse needs a kosher menu.

Pablo didn't want me to mention it, as he's worried about how his drink choice would reflect on his manhood, but his strawberry margherita tasted like a melted popsicle.

If TGIF is 'Tchotskes,', would the Roadhouse be 'Flingers?'

3.) Is it a criminal offense to sell $.37 stamps for $.35 each? What would Thomas Pynchon have to say about this?

Friday, July 09, 2004

Office joke turned into publicity, or slightly less sophisticated advertisement than what we're used to Posted by Hello

Our reaction to the 'lamb selling condos' Posted by Hello

Shiny snacks Posted by Hello

Fruits de la mer et de la terre sechees Posted by Hello

A rare shot of Hal smiling for the camera Posted by Hello

Bob, Ali, Bev framed by Moore Posted by Hello

Fruits exotiques Posted by Hello

Henry Moore sculpture in front of the Art Gallery of Ontario Posted by Hello

Delicacies from 20 000 leagues beneath the sea and beyond Posted by Hello

Chinatown, Chinatown. Posted by Hello

"La vache qui rit," Vietnamese style. Posted by Hello
I posted a few photos of our first day in Toronto, with Bob and Ali from Birmingham. Spent the bulk of the afternoon in Chinatown, probably my favorite neighborhood. It is huge, filled with exotic things you'd probably not find here, and unbelievably clean.

The AGO, which we toured later in the week, rests on the edge of the neighborhood. Had fun clowning around in front.

I think that it's getting to the point where we will need to get ourselves out to England to see our friends again, soon. Thanks to their enjoyment of visiting the east coast of this continent, we get to see them roughly every other year. That's hardly enough, I think.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I'm liberal, but not *that* liberal.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Definately not work safe.

I missed Lileks terribly last week.

Is this an advertisement for the new book on Moore, or what?

O Canada...back from my lovely two weeks packed in one. Lots to recount, lots to show. Posted by Hello