Saturday, February 28, 2009

Vernon, Florida

I am watching, Vernon, Florida, the documentary by the Grand Glorious Errol Morris. He of The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War. The Spouse and I, we expected great things. Vernon, Florida is, yes, a documentary about a small town in Florida. To be exact, it is exactly the kind of documentary you would expect Errol Morris to make if he were driving from Atlanta to Miami, and he somehow got horrifically lost, and then his car broke down, and it was going to take them two weeks to get the part, so what is he going to do now, only then he realised the camera is in the trunk, let's film some of these crazy-ass Floridians.

It's an entertaining kind of thing to do on a Friday night if you like elaborate descriptions of insects and of turkey hunting and everybody mumbles. There's a guy with an opossum and a turtle. Good stuff. If you like that kind of thing. Especially the part with the turtle:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ash Wednesday

I will take Eliot's poem as read. I am not in the mood for it anyway. Between finishing Howl's Moving Castle and re-reading Bone, I am in an altogether less repentant mood.

Here, then, is another Howl. Not inappropriate at this time of introspection.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


It is true, I have been delinquent. I have neglected my duties here. Why? Because there were more pressing duties. Even now - I should not be here behind this computer; because right now, it makes my head hurt. I've been using the eyes for other things. Better things.

"'So you were going to rescue the Prince!' Sophie shouted. 'Why did you pretend to run away? To deceive the witch?'
'Not likely!' Howl yelled. 'I'm a coward. Only way I can do something this frightening is to tell myself I'm not doing it'"
(Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle)

It has been a miserable day, but a lovely evening. And yes, to finish it off with a flourish, I am watching House.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lima beans

Because lima beans are good, and this day, frankly, my friends, is only so so.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The trouble with people

Perhaps I am a cynic, but I find that when it comes to people, ignorance is bliss. I know that I am a hypocrite, as an inept blogger and social networking slave, but there is such a thing as too much information. I find myself hunched over late-night cups of time some days, wishing I knew less about my ex-colleague Bruno and Linda's hairdresser with the psychotic streak. And yes, did I really need to know who went to Ikea last weekend? Do I care what you did for Valentine's? Right, I don't. If you are going to Twitter, make it interesting, or at least entertaining. If you're going to make it your status message on Facebook, take mercy on your friends and keep in mind that they are about to have dinner and that yes, they may well run into your ex-girlfriend, and they would much rather not be obliged to try forget the excess of information you put out there. If you want to tell me about Ikea, you should at least call me up and make jokes about moose and plywood, ok? Can we make that a rule? If we're not close enough for you to do that, it probably shouldn't be on Facebook. Unless there is some profound point or good story which probably won't fit your status message anyway.

Well, I am having a belligerent day. My real point is that I am now following Brent Spiner on Twitter (which I only follow whenever someone compels me to by telling me that, say, Brent Spiner is on it) and while so far he is fairly funny I find myself dreading the moment when he will suddenly disclose some displeasing fact or unbecoming trait and I will henceforth think of it every time I watch TNG and not only will it ruin Brent Spiner it will ruin all of the Next Generation episodes for ever. Maybe I'm paranoid. Maybe I should cease to follow him on Twitter. It just feels so unfriendly. And then there's Stephen Fry, and he twitters and I at least suspect that he has enough judgment. He is good that way, he anticipates his loyal followers' fastidiousness. Stephen Fry is my imaginary friend; after all I did live with his every word for two years. But Brent Spiner…why I hardly know him at all. And LeVar Burton is on there too…goodness knows what he might say.


Note, of course, that I adhere to my own rules not at all, consistency being the last refuge of the unimaginative and all that.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Absent minded

It's not that I don't have ideas. I have plenty of ideas. It just that, man-from-Porlock-wise, things keep happening whenever I have them and am just thinking about writing them down. Take Saturday, when I was in New York having a perfectly delightful time without the internet (but with champagne); or Sunday, when I was working, and when I wasn't working, I was finding out that the universe hates me (and when I say the universe, of course what I mean is Baltimore City Services, and immigration; the latter being much the scarier), or on the phone to a friend. Monday, well, Monday is our Tai Chi night, and you can't mess with the chi. Tuesday I got tied up trying to fix the stuff with immigration, as well as trying to fix some stuff that doesn't strictly belong to me. By the time it got to be yesterday evening I was long overdue for an evening with P.D. James.

It's not that nothing interesting has happened. I've been reading like a junkie; compulsively; greedily, and literature is always more of an event than one's life. There was non-fiction stuff as well, Swiss astronomers and people singing Tiny Dancer at the oddest times, and glamourous skinny jeans (not on me, of course), and crises and papers signed by official people.

Saturday is Valentine's day. Apparently I have some predisposition to spending Valentine's day at the dentist's, so I am keeping up that proud tradition. I figure that given the average Valentine's day experience, that is about right, besides, the dentist is quite a nice man, and there will be plenty of time after that for romantic behaviours with the Spouse, like getting groceries and haircuts, because who gets their hair cut on Valentine's, right?

Lately, whenever I set foot out (or in) the door, something happens. Good, bad, one can't predict, but it is usually intense. Life is an oscillator gone wild, and secretly I don't mind, though it is exhausting. Speaking of oscillators, sort of anyway, I finally found a copy of Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers' Order Out of Chaos. Yes, thought you would think that was exciting. For those of you woefully unaware of Prirogine, here's your random factoid of the day. Ilya Prirogine, Russian born but, yes, Belgian by naturalization, was as Nobel Prize winner and famous for his work on dissipative structures.

And with that…

I am thinking of that song, Why Must the Show Go On?

And yes, that means I am thinking of In the Bleak Midwinter, the now incredibly hard to find obscure Kenneth Branagh movie I am obsessed with, which has a version of that song. It's February, and my memory isn't what it used to be, but always good enough to remember Noel Coward.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Hamster wheel of fortune

Tomorrow I'm off to New York to sleep in a swanky hotel, have beer, see a play, then drive back to Baltimore late, late. Then work, then something or other, then more work. I have a plan for a party but I am not sure if I should go through with it. I've finished Into the Wild. I felt like crying when I finished it; not sad, not depressed, just like crying was what I should do today. Odd. Time for a romance novel, I think.

Life is odd just now; I can't decide if it's really fun and exciting or really stressful and disappointing. I keep planning to write things, say things; but there is never time. Yet what fills that time is by and large worthwhile. I think.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The right time

I feel inclined, nay, entitled to ramble. Not outside - too cold - but inside the warm mind, like an overheated room in winter. The thing is Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, a rather impressive book. Over its 173-pages-so it has managed to divest me of some of my many prejudices against its protagonist without making excuses. An honest and well-written book is a rare thing. This one makes me think too. Not of Jack London stories; the wild does not tug at me; it is too damn cold. Life has a way of putting things in your way and then looking innocent. Now is as good a time as any to think about the purpose of all this.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


In the words on one of my friends "you're old now!"
I feel slightly relieved. And yes, Canada rocks, blast. I kind of wish I were there.