Friday, December 31, 2010

K/S: "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve"?

I WISH I could say I made this myself, but it's M'ret's (of smoothable). (M'ret advises it's best to let the whole video load before playing, for maximum smoothability.)

Kirk/Spock - "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" on Vimeo.

M'ret writes:
"Spock wants to know what Jim's doing for New Year's Eve but is - understandably - having trouble spitting it out.
The song is a Verve Remix of Ella Fitzgerald's 'What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?'"

(I, Fresca, love this song, especially Rufus Wainwright's cover.)

Ah, I find I do have the time to compose a brief answer on Kirk's behalf.

Tchotchkes Piled Up Like the Musicians of Bremen Say, Si, Se Puede!

Laura Borealis gave me the porcelain fish planter from Japan, weirdly & wonderfully decorated like a jewelry box, for Christmas.

I have been writing about Cesar Chavez––not really related to communications, but I'm managing to wedge him in, at least in this rough draft––who, I was surprised to read, was NOT a good public speaker (like King George VI, not that he stuttered).

In 1974 Dorothy Rensenbrink said,
“I have heard César Chávez speak many times... this time, as always, I am puzzled by the power of such an uncommanding person to command so much loyalty from so many.
...I am finally caught by recognition. It is hard to describe why. It is not self-recognition, just a kind of kindred recognition;
as it is with thee, so it is with me.”

--The Words of César Chávez,
(links to Google Books edition,

One of favorite things in 2010 is Google Books. They've made available, right here on this screen, old books from the 1700s and 1800s I'd have had to wait days or weeks to get through Interlibrary Loan, *if* they even circulate.

And on we go, into 2011. We can do it!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Join, Or Die (Networking Images, 2)

See also Networking Images, 1 and Networking Images 3 .
"Networking" here is meant in a broad sense, including communication technologies (practical tools) and design that connect people and ideas.

Like, here's some of the technology I'm using for research.

I keep collecting these interconnecting images as I go along. I'm crazy for the recurring patterns. Things look like other things, I'm always saying.

ABOVE: George Washington Treaty Wampum Belt
The original of this belt is the record of a Treaty with George Washington in 1789. The house in the center is the longhouse of the Six Nations (Iroquois Confederacy).

ABOVE: Handwritten sermon by Puritan minister Cotton Mather (1663-1728). From LOC exhibit "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic",

ABOVE: Portable Field Pulpit (Same LOC exhibit,
Preacher George Whitefield, of the colonial religious revival called the Great Awakening (ca. 1725–1740) used this for open-air preaching.

Benjamin Franklin's political cartoon, "Join, or Die," 1754.,_or_Die

ABOVE: Eames's diagram "Friends and Acquaintances" for the 1976 U.S. bicentennial exhibition The World of Franklin and Jefferson. Ben and Jeff in the middle, and the names around them are J. Adams, T. Paine, Lafayette, Washington, etc.

Chart of Methodist hierarchical organizational structure, Broadside, 1810-11. LOC exhibit,

ABOVE: 1864 Shape Notes, musical notation system invented in the United States, ca. early 1800s. Each symbol represents a different note (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti). From The Young Campaigner.

Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze, 1894,

ABOVE: Recording cotton stock prices, off ticker tape: Dallas News, 1951,

Inter-departmental Envelope, Nodes and Links,

Library check-out cards,


Fake BlackBerry ad, re newly elected president Barack Obama's comment, "I'm still clinging to my Blackberry. They're going to have to pry it out of my hands."From the New York Daily News, Jan. 2009,

Sci-Fi raygun decal, 2010. I want. Tragically, it's sold out on Etsy. (Star Trek "Jesus Fish" take-off here.)

Visualizing Friendship, Map of Facebook,[!/note.php?note_id=469716398919&id=9445547199].

50 more data visualizations:

Another clever visual pun: "Slytherin Revised," from Marci and Deth. (Everyone knows Slytherin is Snape's school, in Harry Potter, right?)

Oh, I mentioned Snape. According to The Rule, that means I must post an image of him.
*runs to nets, rummages in drawers*
OK, this one made me laugh. "I haven't got all day, you know." Snort. From here.

Fun Bug (More Networking Images)

I. Computer Bug
Here's another fun networking image:
The first recorded computer bug.

From wikipedia: computer bug
"ABOVE: The First "Computer Bug"
Date: 9 September 1947
Source: U.S. Naval Historical Center Online Library Photograph NH 96566-KN
Author Courtesy of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, VA., 1988.

"Moth found trapped between points at Relay # 70, Panel F, of the Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator while it was being tested at Harvard University, 9 September 1947. The operators affixed the moth to the computer log, with the entry: "First actual case of bug being found.'"

II. The Mails

Rural Delivery (Where the Mail Goes, 'Cream of Wheat' Goes)
by Newell Convers Wyeth, 1906, at the Minneapolis Inst. of Arts
III. Radio Free America

I hadn't known that radio was free (no commercial broadcasts) and unregulated for the first couple decades of its existence.

Are we living in a Golden Age of Internet freedom? Will we look back and be amazed at the lack of regulation, the amount of free expression?

I was surprised how much debates over every new technology sound like our debates about the Internet. Is it--the telegraph/telephone/television––the door to a bright new future, or an invention to suck our brains dry?

Every new communications invention--from writing [1] to the printing press to the radio-- has been met with cries of Too Much Information, Too Fast, and warnings about how it would destroy society.
(And of course, they always did destroy society as it was, or transform it.)

Then, there're the questions, should it be regulated? By whom? The government? Commercial interests? The great unwashed?
Another fun thing: Wikipedia just raised $16 million dollars during its fun(d) drive: 500,000 people contributed, and the average contribution was $22.
(I sent $20.)

When I think technology could be the door to a better world, I think of the model of Wikipedia. You know? It shouldn't work--it should be a total mess. But it does work.
[1] Plato warns against writing:
[Writing] will introduce forgetfulness into the soul of those who learn it: they will not practice using their memory because they will put their trust in writing, which is external and depends on signs that belong to others, instead of trying to remember from the inside, completely on their own.

"You have not discovered a potion for remembering, but for reminding; you provide your students with the appearance of wisdom, not with its reality. Your invention will enable them to hear many things without being properly taught, and they will imagine that they have came to know much while for the most part they will know nothing.

And they will be difficult to get along with, since they will merely appear to be wise instead of really being so.”
(Phaedrus 275a-b)
We're still saying this about our communication tools, and it's still true... and not.

And now I am going to FINISH the rough draft that will, if I'm lucky, impart the illusion of wisdom.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Man Up

In the midst of the slog to finish writing The Book, I am grateful I went to see The King's Speech, which lauds the virtue of perseverance.

Colin Firth (below, nice to see him acting outside of formulaic romantic comedies again) plays Bertie, the duke of York, unknowingly soon to become, upon his brother's abdication, King George VI, father of our Elizabeth (I call her "ours"; we Americans have to borrow our royalty, and we do). Bertie valiantly struggles to overcome his stammer, over and over again accepting humiliation as he obeys his father's wishes that he speak in public.

If grade school oral reports panicked you to the point of nausea, like they did me, you may well relate to the sick look on Firth's face here.
Eventually Bertie's wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter, who dials down her usual keyed-upness), the future Queen Mum, finds him an Australian speech coach, Lionel (the wonderful Geoffrey Rush, below, right).
Lionel operates out of squalid basement rooms, which the camera convinces you are uncomfortable (damp and moldy) yet shows to be beautiful. (The photo here doesn't do them justice. The peeling wall deserves an Oscar in itself.)

The good man comes to the rescue as Bertie, now George VI, is heading toward a stutterer's worst nightmare: his duty, as the king, to speak to the nation and the empire on the radio, at the dawn of Word War II.
And he does it.
Cue Beethoven. (Really. 7th symphony, 2nd movement---it's perfect.)

Virtue comes from vir, Latin for "man," as in "male," not "human."
As a young feminist, I resented that, but I've come to appreciate the special qualities of the male man in some circumstances, such as in the term man up, which I like the way I like original sin: with reservations.

The two are a sort of tag team that name some home truths.
At their best, they comfort and encourage.
This being-human gig is bigger than us, Original Sin says, and we have a tendency to fuck it up. Let us face up to that, Man Up responds, and carry on as best we can.
At their worst, they cudgel and diminish.

The King's Speech comforts.
We, in 2010/2011, are at war, the economy is bad: the times are right for many of us to welcome such comforting reminders of the virtue of the long slog, done well.
(Have you noticed the recent popularity of the British wartime slogan--it was to be used in case of German occupation--"Stay Calm and Carry On?")

Best of all, the film is generous in its embrace: it shows the Queen Mum, the little princesses, and the working class Australians all man up too.
Graciously, it doesn't do it at the expense of the man who doesn't man up to his kingly duties: Bertie's older brother David, crowned Edward. I'm glad of that, because I'd definitely run screaming, as he does, from the ridiculous restrictions of Duty to King and Country (not less restrictive if one is the king, though a terrific scene of Bertie blowing up at Lionel, when the speech coach sits in the wrong chair during the coronation rehearsal, demonstrates that a belief in the divine right of kings helps to bear it).

When Edward breaks down at his father's deathbed, because, he confesses to his brother, "now I'm trapped," he has our sympathy.
"Manning up" is like "staying the course": unless you have faith it's a good course, it's best not to.

Bertie, at least according to this movie, was a lucky man in one way at least: his temperament, if not his tongue, matched his destiny.
Would we were all so lucky.
The real George VI (right) and Queen Elizabeth, meeting air raid victims in London's East End, April 1941.

Oh, did I write, just yesterday, that I couldn't blog because my book is due in 6 days?
Call me Edward.
(I'm not abdicating, just dawdling with my mistress, the movies.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Countdown, from the Trenches

The Book is due one week from today--that'll be Monday, January 3, 2011.

It's been sort of awful (on top of fascinatingly wonderful, tracking 600 years of communication in the USA).
The awful part is the slog of writing the damn thing because, I don't know how other writers do it, but I pretty much can't do anything when I'm supposed to be writing except write or else I won't write at all.

I mean, if I do anything but sit at my desk first thing in the morning, my brain declares it's a holiday and I don't have to write at all that day. If I take a midday break to go to the YW, my brain declares I am done for the day. If I write anything of substance except The Book, say, a blog post, it totally throws my book-writing brain off track.
Also, I can't write much once the sun goes down (about 5 these days).

So I sit here and sometimes I write pretty well and sometimes I don't.

Off and on I feel bad, lazy, insane, stupid, pathetic, misguided, and/or hopeless for not being able to toss words out lightly, like doves at a wedding, instead of tracking them through muddy trenches.

I have the sort of dreams you have when you're feeling you're bad, lazy, etc.

Also, I feel fatter and droopier than I was when I started, and physical evidence confirms this is not a neurotic illusion.

I know I am not, in fact, any of those things (except fatter & droopier):
these unpleasant feelings are just the by-products of writing, for now. Writing for work, anyway.

Yes, of course I know I could [fill in the blank with sensible advice here, like "go to the gym in the evening"].
More power to those who manage such things.

Alas, Jan. 3 is not the end, it's just the date the ms goes to the editor. I'll have to do rewrites, possibly substantial, (a dreadful prospect, of course).

The nice thing is, I'm pretty sure the book will be fine, in the end.
The material is great, anyway--I've dug through lots of amazing primary sources, and they provide fun lumps of quotes. I just have to provide the mortar that holds them together, which I'm actually not that great at. Some people can pour forth that stuff with ease, but I can't.

I have this feeling that if I keep doing this work--turning muddy history into tidy bricks--I'll get good at it.
I don't know that I want to get good at it.
Secretly, underneath the feelings of being bad, I feel it is the work that is dim, not me. That this is not how I want to use my brain.

I'm not sure if I just feel this way because this is such a long slog. Possibly this is exactly the sort of thing I need to be sharper.

I can't see clearly right now, but I feel a lot better, having said so.

Have you seen Sebastiao Salgado's photo essay, Serra Pelada Gold Mines, Brazil? It bugs me when people try to dismiss their pain by saying it's not as bad as X, because, you know, our pain is our own and it's worth paying attention to;
but I've gotta say, when I was writing about what a slog this is, I thought how lucky I am I'm not literally hauling mud uphill.

A few more, here: Fotonix.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, Puppies!

FOX TERRIER PUPPIES!!! IN A BOX [picnic basket?]!!!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

17" of Snow

Between blizzards & bishops, I've written nothing on my book... Walked/bused over to bink's house, during the BIG blizzard yesterday. Helped push a couple stuck cars along the way. On the street, people were (mostly) in the jolly "we're all in this together" mood. This neighbor was shoveling his car out with what I thought was a snowboard, but he told me is a snow-skate. A couple hours later, the buses stopped running. So I stayed at bink's and helped shovel out. __________________________ Home again now, about to cover my windows with plastic. Wind-chill is well below zero.

Friday, December 10, 2010

"The Result of It Was Hurt": Returning Archbishop Nienstedt's DVD

Here's my 2-min. video of the crew returning thousands of Archbishop Nienstedt's anti-same-sex-marriage DVDs to the office of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and Saint Paul today.

I forgot to bring my good microphone along so had to add subtitles. But I kind of like the clarity and weight they add.

I'm too exhausted to write more. Just to say, I am so proud of the way Bob (Return the DVD spokesperson) nailed it, so simply:
This hurts people.

I added the James Joyce quote on the uTube description 'cause, you know, how often do you have the perfect opportunity to use it?

"Here Comes Everybody...
...from good start to happy finish
the truly catholic assemblage gathered together in that king's treat house of satin
alustrelike above floats and footlights..."

--Finnegan's Wake
Dennis McGrath, Director of Communications, and Thomas Schulzetenberg, Administrative Chancellor, represent the archbishop, who declined the meeting.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Soul of a New Machine: Afternoon Tea

I used to have a friend who was always quoting Goethe, "Only within limitations is true mastery revealed."
(Wrongly, perhaps?)

Anyway, my limitation is that I have to sit here until I am done writing This Damned Book (so, until New Year's), and my mastery, such as it is, is revealed in photographing the bits and pieces around me.

Here Comes Everybody (Tchotchke of the Day)

The title of Clay Shirky's great book about the nets, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, comes from James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake, which has lots of HCE's in it, including the initials of the protagonist, Humphrey C. Earwicker.
Not that I've read FW.

But I rummaged around online and found one of the references:

" was equally certainly a pleasant turn of the populace which gave him
as sense of those normative letters the nickname
Here Comes Everybody. An imposing everybody he always indeed looked,
constantly the same as and equal to himself
and magnificently well worthy
of any and all such universalisation, every time he continually surveyed,
amid vociferatings from in front of "Accept these few nutties!"
from good start to happy finish
the truly catholic assemblage gathered together in that king's treat house of satin
alustrelike above floats and footlights..."

--James Joyce, Finnegan's Wake, New York: Viking Press, 1939, p. 32.

I really like those last three lines!

Quote found in comment thread about whether or not Joyce was referring to the Catholic Church--seems he meant "catholic" with a small-c (meaning "universal"), here .

Video of Shirky talking about his book.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Frinky Turtle, C'est Moi

Another of the magic totem animal friends that keep me company at my desk. bink drew this--it's me swimming through work.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hopeful Otter

I bought this otter in Santiago, Spain, at the end of the Camino in 2001.

I'd wanted to go ever since I saw Buñuel's film The Milky Way (1969) a long time ago.

Yesterday I wrote well on The Book.
Just have to keep doing that, like putting one foot after the other.

Monday, December 6, 2010

In My Corner

Dancing Ganesha. My Hindu tchotchke, bought at a Buddhist Tibetan store the other week to help me my finish writing The Book. 

He looks like, but isn't, marzipan. I wish he were: I'd ritually consume him when I'm done. Maybe I'll make a marzipan Ganesha for Christmas, to fill in a missing religion.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Inside / Outside

This morning.
My front door.
The neighbor's snow plow.

I'm having an agonizing time writing The Book. I spend days at home doing everything but. Then I resent having made plans to go out, even though it's doubtful I would have worked anyway.

I think this awful slog may just be the way it is. Could I lighten up about judging it? Just accept that this is how I work? Then I wouldn't feel awful on top of feeling awful, if you know what I mean.

Hm. Maybe I could feel awe full:
"Wow. Look at the power of your resistance! That is one prize mule!"

Once the mule gets pulling, she pulls with the same power she balks.
Come on, mule. Pull!

But now I have to go out--I'm helping a friend with her annual studio sale.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Star Trek Rap

Of course. It's the law:
If it exists, there's Trek of it. [Subset of Rule 34.]

From Apropos of Something

Star Trek Rap - 99 Problems but a BREACH ain't one!

"Star Trek parody of the Jay Z song "99 Problems" by J. Marcus Xavier.
Original Lyrics from REDDIT

Jay-Z: "I got 99 problems, but a b--ch" ain't one.
Warning: includes reference to dog fighting (mild, but still)

Friday, December 3, 2010

What Rhymes with George? (In Which I Tumble to a 30-Plus-Year-Old Art Form)

Guess what I found out.
It rhymes. It rhymes the INSIDES of words. It looks into words like looking inside sugar Easter eggs for the magic scene. Then it sets them spinning like tops.

It is so cool.

I had no idea.

I haven't paid much attention to music since Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run, you know, in 1975, and anyway, here's what I'd heard about rap: it's violent & racist & misogynistic.
So I gave it wide berth.
Except sometimes I'd hear guys rapping in the back of the city bus and it was clear to me this was living poetry. But still, I never once sat down and listened to it.

Then a couple weeks ago I heard Tish Jones rap at a media conference. I was only there because of The Book [current status: sticking bamboo splinters under the nails of my psyche], but she was the thing. She stood with her toes over the edge of the stage, and so did her words.

Soon afterward, as these things go, I was wasting time in Barnes & Nobles and I saw a clerk directing a young black guy in a hoodie to a book he was looking for, commenting, "This is selling a lot."
Curious what the only person in the store not carrying a Starbucks was buying, I looked at the book. It was rapper Jay-Z's Decoded.

(You know I'm musically ignorant when I tell you I had to look up Jay-Z on Wikipedia later. (Billboard ranked him in the top 10 most successful artists of this century. Plus, he's Mr. Beyoncé. (Even I know Beyoncé.)))

I skimmed through Jay-Z decoding his lyrics and his life, and on p. 161, I read this sentence:

"The larger point was, I wasn't going to be a partner to my own invisibility."

I bought it.

I bought it because I recognized that. I saw that same refusal to participate in one's own obliteration in bink's DVD to ART project, and, yes, in Trekkie culture ("I don't care, I'm wearing my Starfleet uniform in public"), and in every other culture of authenticity.
Also, it was on sale.

That week everyone was talking about the Jay-Z interview on Terry Gross's Fresh Air. When I heard his remix of "Hard Knock Life" from Annie, I thought, this is as audacious as mixing John Donne & Star Trek.

So, intrigued and attracted, I added going to the open mic Tish Jones hosts at a local coffee shop to my List of Stuff to Do, and tonight I, who almost never go out after dark, went.

And was smitten.

It wasn't so much what anyone was saying (which varied), it was how they were saying it--along the lines of pulling doves out of top hats.
And the rhymes! I went up to a couple of the rappers afterward and burbled on about how cool the rhymes were.
I was like, "You guys! This is so neat! Your stuff RHYMES!!!"

They took it really well.

I've been working in the word mines for the past ten years in publishing, and this was like coming up and seeing the open sky;
like stepping out of the word sweatshop and seeing words at play.
Really, I had no idea.
No idea how cool rap can be and no idea how much I've been feeling like a sharecropper in my writing work.

Well, maybe a little bit I did, this week.
Maybe you remember me working on the Frindian War book. I'd tried hard to show what a complex scene it was.
So... I saw the final version. It got edited into a book about George Washington. The title got changed and everything to add his name.

As a book about GW in the war, it's good. (Hey, I hope it sells a lot! I get royalties.)
But it's not the book I wrote.

GW is not important to the war; I didn't even need to mention him, and now I wish I hadn't. I'd only used him to frame the story, as a fun "waddya know?"
The thing is, it's not my book, it's the publisher's.
Says so on the contract, signed by me.

Hard knocks.

If I could rhyme, I'd rap about it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"To you it's Thanksgiving, to me it's Thursday."

That's what Rocky says to Adrian, remember?

I just added to my List of Stuff to Do in Life:
Run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, like Rocky.
They're even known as the Rocky Steps. Everyone else does!

(I think this is from the credits of the 6th Rocky, Rocky Balboa.)

My old revised list of Stuff to Do needs another revision.

Like, I want to film another story!

Watching all of Peter Weir's films this past month (The Last Wave ... Master and Commander) made me long for the process of figuring out how to show a story.

And then Random commented that I looked happy helping bink with her art project, that it suited me. That made me realize how much I've missed doing my own art project.

Words are my main thing, but I LOVED the work of creating a visual vocabulary for storytelling, like the red velvet blood and gloves in Orestes and the Fly.

I think I stopped because I burned myself out making the herring film a year ago.
Not only was making all those fish head masks far more time consuming than I'd expected (being a newbie), but trying to choreograph 15 people in a small space ended up freaking me out. I got overwhelmed, it got away from me, I felt like a failure, and I didn't want to do it again. (Even though the end result, which bink edited, pleased me.)

So, now I've recovered, here's what I can do:
Less people, more time and space.
Maybe I'll even make the movie silent--Weir says he would have liked to work in silent films, and his movies like Witness have very little dialogue.
(Plus that would solve the audio problems I've had.)

Of course, I have to finish writing The Book first...
But when I'm done, I'll have a good chunk of time, because I'm in a funny position:
I won't have much work after January, but it'll be hard to look for new work because I'm going to be walking in Spain most of May and June.
Time for a time-consuming but incredibly cheap to free undertaking.

I'm a little freaked out about money--not having any or any immediate prospects of getting some, plus spending ALL my savings on Spain--so I'll make the movie with only the stuff I have on hand or can scrounge up.
The universe has always provided, so far.
Maybe I can get by, one more time, pleasegod.

Anyway, I've never been much into Thanksgiving, but I do love youse guys: Thanks for everything.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Harry Potter, Art Sale, and Kittehs!

I'm making greeting cards from photos of binks' DVD art and our trip to Sicily (including the steps, left, from Monreale--where my grandmother was born)
for bink's ART SALE

This Friday and Saturday, after Thanksgiving
November 26 & 27
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On the corner of 28th & Hennepin,
(where the DVD to ART show was)

If you're in town, come by and say hi--I'll be there.

I went to see the new Harry Potter--HP & the Deathly Hallows, Part 1-- this weekend.
It was like one long fanvid, one that drains the color (from the picture and, by extension, life), dunks you in cold wet pain, and leaves you to twist in the wind of overwrought goth music (unnecessary adjective, I know), such as Evanescence.

If you enjoy this sort of thing, it's great!
Really--it's very well done.

It falls in the PWP (plot? What plot?) category, like porn. The porn isn't sex, it's emotional and physical torment.
It's more like illustrations to a story than a story itself:
you already have to know the story and care about the characters to get it. Which I imagine most people who go see it do.

Me? Well, I loved Snape's entrance, in full stride, cape billowing.

And there's a truly lovely moment when the frightened and abandoned Harry and Hermione dance to the radio together.
Did the director mean it as a nod to Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis stealing a dance to the car radio in Witness (dir. Peter Weir)? It's that good!

But Snape's only in the first ten minutes of the movie--mostly it's two plus hours of Harry, Hermione, and Ron (Rupert Grint stole the show) undergoing gloom, fear, loss, near despair ...and torture.

It perfectly illustrates the culture's attitude toward sex and violence that under J. K. Rowling's orders, fan fiction sites are monitored to make sure they don't post pornographic stories because, Rowling says, these books are for children. But graphic torture of beloved characters onscreen is perfectly OK.

The movie is like a close brush with a soul-sucking dementor.
Even though I wasn't particularly moved by the end--it went on so long, it lost its power for me--still, it was depressing on a biological level. After I left the theater, as I walked home in the sleety rain across the Mississippi River, it crossed my mind to throw myself off the bridge. It just seemed like an appropriate response.

But things like this keep me going: INVISIBLE KITTEH!

Via Elle Est Belle

And now I must work. On top of my usual A-list procrastination skills I'd added dawdling, thinking the publisher had given me an extension, but it turns out the book designers need at least a rough ms to work from next month.
Eek! What I have now is a big messy pile of interesting stuff---I feel like the princess in the tower who must spin straw into gold...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Things to Do: Do Things

My preferred methods of socializing have always been
1. writing
2. sitting and talking (over a cup or glass of something)
3. (a distant 3rd) walking and talking

I've never been very interested in "doing things for fun" (besides talking) with people.

That's changing.
This year a Family Member and I fell out and didn't talk to each other for 6 months. When we talked again, pretty quickly I felt the same old resentments. I finally, way belatedly, realized something:
some relationships are not best served by talking. I want to be in Family Member's life, but I don't think we should talk so much.

But what things do people do (that I might enjoy) besides sit and talk?
***If you know or can think of good things to do, please let me know. Really. I need help!

This is not my area of comfort, so this Saturday morning I dropped into the Captain Kirk Academy for the Pursuit of Excellence--they have a 24/7 drop-in center just for this sort of thing--and came up with a list of some stuff we might DO together instead.
A lot of these are still pretty wordy, but I guess that's OK.

(These are mostly local things, of course.)

1. Attend (don't have to perform!) Spoken Word Open Mic Night w/ Tish Jones * (I saw her perform last week--she was great!) at South City Café--a friendly coffee shop on Chicago and 34th.
Free! Next ones: Fridays Dec 3rd and Dec 17th, 7-9pm

2. Get henna hand-arm tattoos (temporary) at the Somali mall (Suuqa Karmel). Only $10!
Pictures of the process on a local blog.

3. Use the free passes from the library to visit all sorts of museums,
like the Swedish Institute. Their Christmas exhibits are up until Jan. (Museum Hours: Tues., Thurs., Fri., Sat., 12-4 p.m.; Wed. 12-8 p.m.; Sun. 1-5 p.m.)

4. See the current Native American Art exhibit at the Mpls. Institute of Art (Damn. Museum's free, but this exhibit costs $8).

5. Take a Walk with Our Cameras---a photographing outing, maybe in downtown Saint Paul (because I rarely go there). We'd each snap shots--it'd be fun to compare what we've captured! We could blog them... or not.

6. bink and I went to the North West Fur Post this summer--a Minnesota Historical Society site--and it was a blast! It'd be fun to go to some of the other Historical Society sites and events.
Hill House Holidays, Saint Paul. Fee: $10 adults

8. Go see retrospective films at the Trylon and the Heights--they put together great old-film fests. Now: Charlie Chaplin. Coming up (Jan-Feb): Hard-Boiled Bogart!

9. Write an article for the Twin Cities Daily Planet newspaper. (But not until after I'm done writing my book...)
They hold classes for citizen journalists every Wednesday: 1:30, at the TC Daily Planet offices, 2600 Franklin Ave. E., #2., Minneapolis.

10. Go outdoors, in new ways.
Midwest Weekends wrote a list of "20 things that will make you fall in love with snow season."
I'm thinking less along the lines of going dog sledding and more along the lines going to see trumpeter swans in Monticello.
* Tish Jones performing "Silence" at Up in Arms, a benefit concert for the family of Fong Lee, who was killed by a Minneapolis Police officer in 2007.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Water Blaster

I dreamed I was clearing out a basement full of broken, dirty, discarded stuff. Plus, someone's mother had died down there, years ago. (Not mine. Uh huh.)

Hauling the junk out was very satisfying.

I was just starting to blast all the basement's surfaces clean with a high-pressure hose when I woke up. Disappointed. I always wanted to use one.

I guess you can rent? buy? a water blaster here. That's where I got the picture anyway.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Writers Group

I invited Alex and Esther to form a writing group. We've met twice at my place on Sunday afternoons.
Yesterday we ate peas with our hands.
I'm not sure why. I do own silverware.

I met both Alex and Esther fairly recently.
I've only recently started to invite new people into my home.

After my mother killed herself, I had rocked in my chair in the dark and thought,
I want nothing else to happen.
And nothing did, or so it seemed.

After a couple years, one day I looked out a bus window and thought, I want more life,
and life began to start up again.
It felt familiar but weird, like returning to a place I'd lived but hadn't been in a long, long time.

The other night, I dreamed I'd moved to a new neighborhood. I'd need to find my way all over again. It was sort of an anxiety dream and sort of a promise.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weetabix in the Apocalypse, WUT? (Fox Terrier Types)

Frizzy wondered if the terrier in the trenches (below) is a fox terrier. It is: a smooth fox terrier, like Nipper, the RCA dog, not a wire fox terrier, like Asta of the Thin Man movies.
(The differences go beyond their coats--they're separate terrier types.)

Here's a wire fox terrier, below, in an ad that totally baffles me. I can't translate the ad's references.
Can you?
Are those falconer gloves the woman wears? Why golf clubs? Is that her lover, a Columbian generalissimo, in the train? What's with the fire from above?

Here's what I've come up with:
"Weetabix Will Keep You Perky, Even During an Alien Invasion."

(Ad via The Wire Fox Terrier)

Anyway, here's a smooth fox terrier.

They aren't as famous as the wire foxes, but perhaps that's changing, after director Tom Ford cast his own SFTs in A Single Man (2009).
Here they are with partners George ( Colin Firth) and Jim (Matthew Goode). (From the blog Raleigh Pop: "Tom Ford's Fox Terriers")

Warning: doggie tragedy ensues. But it's a pretty good film, if visually a bit too much like a Calvin Klein ad.