Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Whither, and also wherefore?

40 degrees, where did you go? You showed up long enough to melt the snow in the streets, send sheets of ice careening off of rooftops, and start up some rain. Then you hightailed it out of here and the sidewalk froze and I'm shuffling out to my car, hoping I don't take a digger before I can get some salt on the front walk. Come back, baby. It was better when you were here.

Morning off, where did you go? I jogged you around the track, through the weight room, and up and down the aisles of the grocery store. Your sweet love inspired me to reorganize the plastic bag drawer. It used to be packed to overflowing with bags. Now it's got two old yogurt tubs stuffed with 1) target bags and 2) vegetable bags. Because you helped me get this done, I ain't mad at you. However, I would appreciate having one more hour to drink some more tea before I have to go teach people how to sing. It's so cold out there, morning baby, and I still haven't showered. Also, thank you for leading me to these:

Textile designs by E.A. Seguy.

Design by Gaston Charlet.

Textile designs by E.A. Seguy.

Textile designs by E.A. Seguy.

Textile design by Henri Gillet.

From the NYPL Digital Gallery, with "textile design" as the search.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Diversifying.

You know how sometimes I like to tell you what I cook, and sometimes I post "recipes"? From here on out you'll be able to find those at Makeshift Cook.

That is all.

Easy like Sunday morning.

I chucked myself into the Belief-o-Matic yesterday, to see what the world of online quizzes could reveal about my spirituality, and here's what happened. I'm just giving you the top ten:

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (93%)
3. Secular Humanism (93%)
4. Neo-Pagan (81%)
5. Theravada Buddhism (79%)
6. Taoism (76%)
7. New Age (73%)
8. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (73%)
9. Mahayana Buddhism (72%)
10. Nontheist (66%)

No surprises there, except maybe Liberal Quakers. Who knew I was so down with Liberal Quakers?

I have this morning off from my church gig, so I'm having a splendid morning alone with my oatmeal and tea and sunshine and fat cat. The Brit was up late with World of Warcraft--which he's being very disciplined about, playing sparingly--so he's still asleep. (I like it when he puts on his computer headphones and says "bye!" It's an accurate thing to say.) I believe the temperature has already jumped about 40 or 50 degrees from where it was a few days ago, and it's going to keep going up. Unless you've spent a lot of time below zero, you can't truly know how good 38F feels. I'm just saying.

I usually have to sing at two services on Sunday mornings, which means that by the second service I am often using the time to make little notes to myself, or to read, or knit, or whatever (if I'm sitting up in the balcony). I've got some notes from several weeks ago when I started thinking about specifically defining my values. At the top of the page I wrote "ubuntu," which is one of those words that I heard or read one day--at the gym in a three year old issue of Ode, no less--and then the next day it seemed to be everywhere, including that day's sermon. (I missed Bill Clinton telling Westerners that we needed ubuntu a few years back.) Here's what Desmond Tutu has to say about ubuntu:
Ubuntu is very difficult to render into a Western language. When we want to give high praise to someone we say, "Yu u nobuntu": "Hey, so-and-so has ubuntu." Then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. It is to say, "My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in what is yours"...We say, "A person is a person through other persons"...A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.
Then I wrote a list of charges to myself. It looks like this:
  • Do not cherish your pain. It inhibits forgiveness and progress.
  • Enjoy this very moment.
  • Understand that sorrow is part of life, that emotion is tidal, and let go of losses and regrets as soon as possible.
  • Do not poison your body.
  • Participate in your community. If you don't have one, get one.
  • Nurture your gifts.
  • Call out anyone who makes a racist, sexist, homophobic comment. Words are powerful and people need to understand that.
  • Interrogate your own racism, sexism, homophobia, or whatever. You have assumptions, not answers. No one is served by your rigid pronouncements.
  • FACE DIFFICULT TRUTHS.
  • MAKE CLEAR DECISIONS.
  • Make and Do. Understand what "enough" is. Work and save for things you want, but do not buy into LIFESTYLES.
  • Continue to figure out ways to live conscientiously, even when it causes discomfort or friction between you and others.
I'll add one more right now, so as to provide a segue to my next topic.
  • Some anxiety is warranted but most of it is of your own invention. Feed it with exercise [thank you Marigoldie].
There's plenty more to add, but let's just call it a work in progress, like my healthy lifestyle. I've run a big 12 miles in the past two weeks, which I'm kind of excited about. I just want to get my ass to the gym thrice weekly. Do you know how hard that is when it's 17 below? O it's hard. But so worth it for the endorphins and the fellow-feeling. Yesterday I saw so many things to delight me while I was jogging and lifting weights: the bald one year old walking the track with her mom and giggling her head off, the old lady in yellow giving the barbells hell, the man walking in when we were walking out, with his jeans tucked into sweet, sweet cowboy boots. I actually had a sustained stretch on the track where I couldn't stop smiling, you know that feeling? I don't think the Brit noticed that I was grinning like a maniac. He jogs with me to slow himself down, otherwise impatience and boredom (and, let's face it, the dislike of running that is innate in most of us) spur him on to run a mile so fast it collapses him afterward.

My parents, those sweethearts, had their 34th wedding anniversary yesterday. We gave them a gift certificate from Kiva, so that they can choose a microloan to fund and potentially keep reinvesting it in people's projects forever. I am so pumped about this as a gift.

On a related note, I just found out about Zopa, a social finance website where you can borrow or invest money. A $500 certificate of deposit is currently getting a 5.10% interest rate, and when you invest, you select borrowers (who have to meet credit requirements) that your investment will benefit. You get a guaranteed payout and you help other people achieve their financial goals. What's not to like? As Paul Wellstone said, "we all do better when we all do better." That's ubuntu, Minnesota-style.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I was just thinking.

Over the summer, I read Eat Pray Love, a book that had been on my list for ages--and I found many things in it that spoke strongly to me, especially because I feel so predisposed to incorporate meditation into my life (a huge part of this book is about living at an ashram and struggling with meditation practice) and haven't taken the leap yet. It really is a good book, even if the prose does get a little cute verrrry occasionally. Mostly it's just excellent, soul-searching stuff, and I don't find it at all preachy. The author is saying: after a devastating time in my life, here's how I pursued full-on earthly pleasure and full-on divine love. Do with it what you will.

I've been rereading the book in bits and pieces recently, and just came across something I dog-eared this summer, probably intending to share it with y'all anyway.
People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't you will leak away your innate contentment.
Have you noticed how all I do lately is quote people? I did add my own boldface, though, for emphasis.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blogging for Choice.

It's the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade today, and it's also Blog for Choice day. With an election coming up, the theme is why it's important to vote pro-choice. I have a million personal reasons why I think abortion needs to be safe and legal and readily available, but in an age in which we've seen our civil liberties being eroded, maybe the only important one is this:

A government that has the power to compel a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy is a government that has the power to compel a woman to terminate a pregnancy.

Got that? Once the state takes personal sovereignty and bodily autonomy out of the picture, anything goes, whether you are pro-choice or anti-choice.

For a great post on 10 Reasons to Support Reproductive Justice, cruise on over to Feministe.

Items for your consideration.

This should probably be three or four different posts, but the bits all do fit under the umbrella of things for you to consider.

So first. I have this master plan to become a more efficient grocery shopper, which I may have mentioned. I feel like I spend way too much time faffing about at grocery stores, and while this is mostly an activity I enjoy, I simply do not have such a wealth of free time that I want to blow it all trekking between the co-op, Whole Paycheck, and Rainbow Foods. In a perfect world, I would be going to a wonderful market daily to pick up things for dinner, or there would be one conveniently-located place that carries everything I need at a good price, but things sadly are not set up that way here.

WiseBread has been posting little tips about grocery shopping and bulk food prep and such on an ongoing basis, in case you're interested. Many of those tips aren't going to work for me because I am a vegetarian, I don't buy many packaged foods (forget coupon-clipping tips), and I'm not cooking for a crowd. But I'm tracking expenses this month (and probably next) to figure out how much I really spend on groceries. And, inspired by some listmaking urge and my own inner librarian, I just took inventory of the cupboards, and categorized and rearranged the contents. Then I went to the condiment wing of the fridge and did the same. I dumped some languishing, assy dressing from Trader Joe's and a 6 year old tub of thai curry paste. I froze some prepared garbanzo beans for later use. And I may actually make a spreadsheet on Google Docs to use as a shopping list and food inventory. I know, it's crazy.

Also:
Read
The Millennial Crier is always at least pretty entertaining, but I think it is especially so if you have spent any time at all thinking that grad school is/was a bit of a wankfest for you. To wit: today's entry, a summation of the concrete ways in which the writer has improved since college.

Heard
This song by Rose Polenzani came up on my ipod today and I really think a lot of you will like it (unless dreamy folky music pisses you off). I love the lyrics and all the funky harmonica effects.

Watched
This was awhile ago, but I suggest you go get The Lives of Others if you have not already seen it. Beautiful and thought-provoking and just really well-made and acted. We also watched La Vie en Rose (aka La Môme) this week, which is worth seeing just for Marion Cotillard's astonishing performance as Edith Piaf. What a voice; what a sad, crazy life. I see that Cotillard is nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. Without even seeing any of the other movies (except Elizabeth and I thought that was crap), I'm going to hazard that probably no other performance this year comes close.

Also, have you been watching this Austen fest happening on PBS? I thought "Northanger Abbey" was campy and adorable, with totally appealing romantic leads. Hooray!

That is all.

Monday, January 21, 2008

MLK.

Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

(ganked from hulaseventy.)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Got a devil's haircut in my mind.

Dear Twin Cities (and the rest of you), I have had another haircut:
Right side, plus crazed expression.
This hairdo, like all of my hairdos for the last few years, is the work of magician Kathy, who is now at Salon George in St Paul. Have I ever told you the story of how I found my hair lady? Back in my secret shopping days, I used to snag awesome assignments at Aveda concept salons and get free massages and haircuts. I ended up evaluating Kathy twice, accidentally, and then decided I was probably busted and came clean at my next appointment. Since then, she has outfitted me with several rock and roll mullets and other hairdos that regularly get attention from strangers and friends alike. Seriously, before 2005 my hair had never gotten such love.
More back. And top.
Anyway, there are lots of things to appreciate about Kathy. She is friendly and interested in her clients, but there is no vapid chatter. She is an actual trained and educated artist, too--hair just happens to be her main medium. I can come in with a half-formed idea or a picture, and she gets excited and figures out how to execute it. Possibly best of all--and I don't think I'm alone in thinking this--her haircuts grow out awesomely well, which I appreciate more and more now that I am rocking short hair. There's nothing worse than feeling like you need a haircut every two or three weeks.

Needless to say, I have been recommending her left and right for the past few years, and now, guess what? You, yes YOU, gentle reader, have a big incentive to take my recommendation to heart, for if you make an appointment at Salon George with Kathy before April 1, and you tell her I sent you from my blog, you will get a half price haircut. Not only that: you will be entered into a drawing to win free haircuts for a year.

I mean, come on. You ARE looking kind of shaggy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Money for nothin.

Ahhh, my favorite kind of money. Last week I filled out an online health assessment to get $65 from my employer. Then I joined an online stress-reduction program to get an additional $65 from my employer. I tell you what, if the wellness programs themselves do not contribute to my wellness, the sweet $130 most definitely will.

Then I was just now filling out a class-action claim that I have been carrying around in my purse for about three months, and it appears I will be getting $25. It's some antitrust lawsuit revolving around credit cards and foreign ATM charges, and since I used my card in England in 2005 (this last trip was too late), I am part of the class. I sincerely doubt that I racked up even $10 in fees, so I count this as pure profit, my friend.

Also, if you or anyone you know bought diamond jewelry between 1994 and March 2006, you can be part of the class-action lawsuit against DeBeers--as long as you bought your diamonds from somewhere other than DeBeers. You can get up to $640 back, so anyone who dropped a big wad of cash on say an engagement ring or a pimp cup would be wise to visit the website and get to filing. The tip-off came from WiseBread, which has more info about the lawsuit. As for me, I never fell for the right-hand ring campaign, so I don't qualify--but it turns out that the mastermind behind that load of shite was DeBeers anyway.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Would you stand back baby cause I wanna get a better look.

No alarms went off this morning, and I had a leisurely dream in which I was singing Bonnie Raitt at a friend's karaoke party, some obscure song that I magically knew all the words to, and I was lounging on the furniture and singing it all perfectly, no effort, no crazy opera vibrato (dudes, you have no idea how hard it is to control), just languid lovely country-blues sound. I can't tell you how good it felt, how I actually thought in the dream "this is exactly how singing with a mic is supposed to go." Did I tell you about the famous opera singer who did "Jolene" at the latest karaoke wedding reception I attended? It sounded exactly the way you would imagine it sounding, like when you make fun of opera singers (which my sister Mol very much enjoys doing). Fortunately, the famous opera singer's children broke my heart a few minutes later by singing "Country Road, Take Me Home" in the purest little trebles. Seriously, I cried (you are not surprised, I know).

I didn't really need an alarm this morning, since I don't work on Tuesdays. It was nice to sleep all the way until 9, to get up when the sun is already evident. We're having sparkly, brilliant, butt-ass-cold weather right now. It looks much better than it feels, all razor-sharp sunlit edges against the blue sky and razor-sharp winds in your tender grill. I ate steel-cut oats for breakfast and read your blogs and then I went to the gym and brutalized my legs on the track for awhile and lifted some weights. I had a very zen run on Sunday, a very in-the-moment, not counting the laps kind of run, and I was interested in replicating it. Sadly, I think these zen runs will be few and far between. In fact, I had to resort to my old motivational standbys, "Go Go Gadget Gospel" and "Get Me Bodied" for the second mile. That's right, I'm talking about two miles here. However, I must point out that I just looked at a bunch of posts from this time last year, and while I was listening to the same music, at that point I was lucky to run 3 consecutive quarters of a mile.

Another thing I realized from looking at old posts is that I used to be a much more interesting writer, possibly because I had fewer claims on my time.

I'm cooking chickpeas tonight. Are you like me, always having the best of intentions about soaking and preparing dried beans instead of opening a can? I open so many cans. The convenience is key, but as Deee-lite said in like 1991, "convenience is the enemy." So true! They were speaking of the environment, of course.

Anyway, I always have an assortment of dried beans in the cabinet, but since I am all about loque when it comes to preparing dinner, I almost never plan ahead for meals. I just get home from work and make something. I am trying to change my evil ways. Dried beans are dirt cheap, you buy them in bulk so the packaging is your own and is reusable, and they are far more delicious than their canned friends.

I need to work on my timing, though. I need to go to bed immediately and those little shits still aren't tender.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A case of the Mondays.

I finally got my hands on a Print Gocco which, if you didn't know, is a little tabletop screenprinting machine from Japan. I have been coveting one ever since I found out about them a few years ago. Trouble was, you couldn't get them anywhere except ebay for awhile--the parent company had decided to stop making them and no one was importing them. However! Things turned around for Gocco and now one of the only North American distributors is my favorite little art supply store, Wet Paint, a place right across the street from my junior high school.

So I went there on Friday and used my Christmas gift certificate to get my very own Gocco. And the guy who rang me up, after congratulating me on my purchase, offered to do a demo for me right then and there. He gave me at least 20 minutes of his time, plus a full-bore, multi-part demonstration of how to use the critter, and it was awesome. Truly I say to you all: patronize this fine establishment. You will not be disappointed. (My mom's reaction to going in to Wet Paint: "What a great store! You go in and think 'I could do something! I could be more than I am!'" This is how art supplies are supposed to make you feel.)

Anyway, I don't have plans for printing world domination or even for my first project, but I am very excited about the whole thing. I could just learn from my nephew and write and illustrate a book every day with recycled office paper and a ballpoint pen, but it seems that I have become too complicated in the 28 years since I was five. Here is a page from Henry's recent effort, which he wrote while I was over on Saturday:
From Henry's book.
His book, very much indebted to Dr Seuss and his Grinch, is written under the nom de plume "Dr. Fead." It is "daducatid" (dedicated) to his father. It tells the story of a Monon who hates Valentine's Day and packs up his Shomr (the vehicle pictured above) with some sacks and goes on a journey to steal all the cards and sweets and dump them off the big hill of Turtle Tear. It's a pretty gripping tale. He writes these books without help, just spelling everything out phonetically. This means that words like "journey" are spelled "jrne," while "remind" is spelled perfectly.

I just stumbled across this Photoshop Phriday about History's Unsent Telegrams again today. It is old but damn, it's funny. Especially the very first one. It will give me something to laugh about if I have insomnia again tonight. Blech, insomnia, so tedious.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I don't think you can handle me.

I don't know why I thought I might be motivated (or at least interested in motivating myself) to blog every day in 2008. I don't think I can still claim to be "turbo-blogging," as Melinda suggested. Mostly I've just loafed around stealing content from other people, and today isn't really going to be an exception, though the linky-links I'm about to drop on you are less "I find this entertaining" and more in line with the Values Manifesto project I'm working on.

I've been reading WiseBread (Living Large on a Small Budget!), the frugal living blog, and so far today there have been TWO posts that have interested me a lot. The first mulls over the things to which we attach value, and how in the end, material purchases don't say very much about who you are--they're just about what you have. I especially like this bit:
There are many reasons to [be] frugal--it's light on your wallet and light on the planet--but the most important is that it maximizes your freedom.

One way it does that is by giving you more career options: The more frugal you are, the less pressed you are to choose the most remunerative career (and the less pressed you are to stick with a poor choice simply because change would be risky--the frugal person can bear risks that others can't)...What I've come to realize just recently, though, is that another advantage of a frugal lifestyle is that frugal people are free to spend the money they haven't sunk into stuff on experiences instead.
The second post discusses how to tell the difference between what you want and what you need, and this is something I'm just starting to take to heart.

I've never been particularly self-indulgent or ridiculous with my purchases or possessions. I'm not a big spender, so most purchases haven't cost enough to engender any guilt or regret. But I've definitely done retail therapy--who hasn't? I particularly remember an evening in 2004 when I had a small breakdown and went from breakdown to the mall to buying a SUIT which is no longer ready for this jelly because my body is too bootylicious for it. Plus, I am definitely guilty of buying things just because they are good deals, though I do that less than I used to.

Anyway, there are a couple of practices I'm focused on adopting as life-long habits, and they're related to each other. The first is to decide what I truly need and get rid of a lot of the rest of my stuff, and try a quality and ethics-based approach to future purchasing, even if that means spending more on single purchases than I have in the past. This is going to involve some more ebaying, some goodwill trips, some consignment selling, and general cleaning. It might be awhile before I get to that part of the process. The more immediate steps: applying a new logic to my purchasing, i.e., "Am I going to use/wear this all the time and love it tenderly?" By that logic, the earrings the Brit gave me for Christmas would have been a solid purchase even if I'd made it myself. They are handmade, they are perfect for my style and aesthetic, and I can really see myself wearing them almost every day.

The second and probably more daily-life kind of practice is to eat only food for which I am actually hungry. Let's be clear about this. I don't have a weight problem, I don't have a particularly complicated relationship with food, and I am on the whole a healthy person. But over the past few months I've developed a creeping bad habit of eating food because it's there, or eating more than I need to as a default. I've also eaten a lot of crap, and I've complained about it a lot, which bores me and you and everyone we know.

I'm not interested in dieting, because it's not supportable in the long run. I want to reshape my habits, and trust that my body is going to get into better balance as a result. It's only been about 10 days of thinking this way, but I am definitely experiencing detox symptoms which I will spare you here. (Some of them are snot-related, and then there are others.)

An adjacent issue: I've never been a caffeine addict, but I've been off coffee since the laryngitis episode. I've often noted that when I am laid low by a cold, my body clearly doesn't want sugar or dairy or alcohol or caffeine, and none of that stuff even looks good to me. So far I have heard this message but pretty much chosen to file it away rather than, you know, adopt it for realsies. It's obvious that I need to eschew some foods in order to return to a state of health, but what about just existing in a state of health in the first place and conscientiously maintaining that? I bet lots of things would feel better.

I'm also tracking my daily spending this month. Surprisingly enough, it's an exercise I've never done.

One attractive thing about me is that I am reliably good at making lifestyle changes.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Total content thievery.

Here are some words that have delighted me lately:

From Kayemess, still gestating, a diatribe/manifesto about perceived obsolescence and making stuff:
But here, unbidden, a new phone which needs a new charger system, a phone-book thick manual, pages of warranties, two boxes - another endless pile of Stuff so I can be Upgraded. Which sent me off on one of my patented rants to AH. This one about Making Do - and how that spirit is utterly lacking in the modern world and is the cause of most problems. Later at a coffee shop, I scribbled my thoughts down on a my bookmark, reproduced whole cloth here:
Make! Do!
A Way of Life
A Manifesto
Get by with what you have - resist the urge to upgrade.
Embrace a Depression mentality.
A good kitchen sink dinner is more praiseworthy than the best ingredients shopped for and assembled by rote.
Make do - but also Make! and Do!
Limit options and it will expand your creativity.
From Kickpleat's end-of-year meme:
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Tall socks.
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one.
From Melinda, whose blog posts WILL NOT be permalinked, an excerpt from her resolutions:
I swear like a sailor. It is most unattractive and yet fully, fully satisfying. Cletus the Former Fetus is like a large adorable parrot. It is only a matter of time before she asks me for a fucking bottle. And while I will admit that such a request would make my heart secretly laugh like it has never laughed before, I am not prepared to accept the societal consequences of being That Mom.
From Violet, who is always funny, but somehow this description really got me:
This morning, on my way out of the gate at the top of the ramp, I met Laughin’ Ed, a fellow sailor who has tanned himself the same rich reddish-brown shade as a Beggin’ Strip. He talks like his chest cavity is filled with asphalt and laughs at seemingly random times. He is the Doctor Hibbert of our marina. “Hey, Ed, how’s it going?” I said this morning, and he laughed and laughed. I think he’s on pills, but at least he held the gate for me.
You know the rest of you delight me too.

Not in our stars, but in ourselves.

I was just entertaining myself with the local weekly rag and came upon Rob Brezsny's astrological forecast for Virgo this week:
Your main assignment in 2008 is to become highly skilled at feeling good. Does that sound like something you might want to do? If so, here's the beginning of a regimen you could follow: (1) Be constantly taking notes about what experiences give you delight and what situations make you feel at home in the world. (2) Always be scheming to provide yourself with those experiences and situations. (3) Take a vow that nothing will obstruct you from seeking out and creating pleasure, peace, love, wonder, and an intimate connection with life.
There's just not a single thing wrong with that, no matter what your sign is.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hot pants make you sure of yourself.

Yesterday I caved and bought some fat pants, but it seems that I jumped the gun. After a day of wearing them they are falling off me, which has put my winter pudge into perspective. It's temporary. Even though it may be from the last two winters.

Here ends winter pudge blogging, I swear.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Off with their heads.

Elyse Sewell's report on her worst weekend ever, in which her now-ex boyfriend Marty Crandall (of Shins fame) got shitfaced and beat on her, has already blown up the entire futureweb. She has locked the post since I read it, but suffice it to say that it was blistering, funny, and serious, and in the few hours it was up, it generated about 23 pages of comments saying both WTF and congratulations on getting out.

I don't usually reference celebrity doings because there are plenty of blogs that do that and, to be honest, I don't pay that much attention, or I try not to. But I've been reading this woman's blog for ages, and she is smart as hell, with a bigger vocabulary than I have, and her blog is always hilarious and interesting. She pokes fun at her own self-aggrandizement. And it just gives you pause when someone who has her shit in a pile ends up in such a horrible situation (she says it wasn't the first time). I also think it's incredibly rad that she went so public with it. That Marty better watch his back.

I have another post cooking, a sort of values manifesto, but it might take a few days to finish AND I have to go back and do another church service this afternoon. It's an intense one today, a sort of mass memorial in which anyone can light a candle and say the name of someone they've lost in the past year. At one service a guy lit a candle for "our daughter, who we never got to hold...my heart's compass." I can hardly stand to type it. At the next service, an entire family got up to light a candle and said, in turn, "my sister...my daughter...my mother...my mother...my wife." The kids were young.

Oh messy world.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Quotable.

Here is how the Brit responded to e-queries about his World of Warcraft status:
I am Yarlm, a level 7 Tauren hunter. And I'm stuck in Thunder Bluff, in some realm with "Iron" in its name. It's like a Native American theme park populated by doe-eyed Minotaurs wearing beads and kaftans ("Tauren" = Taurus = Bull = genius). I forget if my race is aligned with the Horde or the Alliance. I just fight everybody. I can get the full realm name this evening when I log on to walk around in circles, being challenged to duels by level 70 Blood Elves who invariably kick my ass. I would do much better with pro/dork support.

I just started doing this thing to hunt down the guy from Cannibal Corpse.
Wrong, baby, you started doing it because you're a dork deep down inside, just like I am.

Aside: did you know my nickname around the house is Sweet Baby Rainbow? Or SBR? It has a theme song and everything.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Come on baby, finish what you started.

I gotta say, internets, it's pretty invigorating to read all of your goals and resolutions for the new year. Everybody's getting rid of physical and psychological clutter, socking away money, training for sprint triathlons, and making happiness a central goal. I think it's especially cool when you post your resolutions year after year, and we can stick with you see how your goals evolve. Way to be.

Here are some of mine:
Finish my gotdamn doctorate in 2008. I mean obviously.
Contribute the max to my IRA. I saved like $5 in my 20s, and I have a lot of catching up to do.
Take control of my brain. Sort of a weird way of putting it, but I'll explain. I saw this program on hypnosis the other day and it rocked me. One of the segments was about a surgeon in Spain who's been operating without anesthesia for 25 years--he uses hypnosis with his patients instead. Hypnosis is fascinating to me all by itself, but what really got me is this idea that our brains are so full of possibility, and there are so many things we could be doing better, just with our own brain power. Even though I would say I am a basically happy and stable person, I have some negative and defeatist thinking that I need to invert. Who knows, I might even hypnotize myself. Or you. Watch out.

Now as long as we're sharing, tell me what your obsessive-compulsive tics are. The Brit and I have been talking about these a lot lately. Mine are not pathological and they come and go, but in recent years I've been counting my steps a lot. I'm my own little pedometer. I almost invariably count stairs as I'm climbing them. I also blow air upwards onto my contact lenses, which is actually a functional habit that helps my eyes water when they are dry. Unfortunately, it makes me look like a monkey when I'm doing it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Never trust a big butt and a smile.

My brother's girlfriend went crazy and knocked him down with his own car and dragged him with it and then drove away. The ambulance came; the police came; Hob got a concussion. And, uh, he and his girlfriend broke up.

My dad is writing a country song about it as a gift to my brother, who will hopefully be able to see the humor in the gesture at some point soon. As for me, I sent him a text message saying "that girl is poison." I hope he will see the humor in that immediately.

UPDATE: His response was the title of this post. Then I told him to watch his back. Then he said something about having so much back he could see it from the front. This makes watching your own back a lot easier.

Keep your ears open.

I just heard someone in the office say "when it's cold out, you have to bring out the heavy itinerary."

So true.

When Jude went after the nativity scene on Christmas, his mother said "No! Baby Jesus is not an action figure!"

Also true, but he should be.
On the first day of the year, I ate cookies and chocolate all day and didn't even think about taking vitamins or posting to my blog. So much for project 365. So much for my health.