Archive for July, 2009

Read much?

July 31, 2009

Ever since I’ve gotten into fanfiction, I’ve sort of given up buying books for personal recreation.   This might change if I had to go on a long trip, but right now, that doesn’t look likely.

So here I am at a funny place in society and copyright law – where if publishers actually made fanfic available to purchase, I might actually buy it and then they’d make money but because they don’t, I don’t and no money changes hands whatsoever.  In fact, it’s going the opposite way now.  I’m actually buying less books than ever.  This is especially true since I’ve started writing fanfic.  (I don’t think I’ve purchased anything in the last six months.)  Because it’s more fun to think about my writing than, maybe, be annoyed at somebody else’s – at least for me.

Maybe the quality of fanfiction would go up, and the quantity of unfinished fics go down in a paper published sort of scheme.  That would be nice to see.

Or am I just living in a fantasy land?  (A book-free fantasy land that has access to the internet…)

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Humidity causes more than frizzy hair

July 30, 2009

Last night was a bad, mean night. It was really humid, and I was sick to death of living in the front couple of rooms of the house. It gets so cluttered – and we had wash (camping gear) hanging up that needed to be put away. I had to say something, because that gear had been hanging on the rack for over a week now. You’d be surprised at how much space a sleeping bag can take up when it’s just sitting around your living room.

Look, I know there are lots of people out there who are living in smaller spaces. It’s just that 1) we used to live in a bigger space with less stuff, 2) there was a dude in the next room taping dry wall so it just feels a little constrained (after weeks of dudes coming and going in our house with little notice), 3) it was crazy humid, and 4) everybody was tired and the workday had been fairly unproductive and unrewarding (a couple of consecutive blackouts which pretty much wiped out any afternoon headway).

As for talking to W about putting away the bags, I’d been trying a new technique.  When we were out driving around last week, W asked me what road we should take, and I said, “if it were me, I’d do X.”  Then he proceeded to go a completely different way!  And when I thought he might be running a stop sigh, I said, but non-combatively, “hey.”  And then that just made him laugh.  He said it was the most casual ‘hey’ he’d ever heard about possibly running into another car.  He just kept laughing about it.  That whole long car ride has made me think that being casually nice about what I ask him to do might not be the way to go.   He obviously is unresponsive to such tones, however much he says he doesn’t like the more aggressive way I’ve been using the last couple of years.

So, going back to those sleeping bags, I asked him to move them (he had used them both) in a more agressive way, but with both of us knowing how long they’d been there and that they were driving me crazy.  He did move them shortly thereafter.

I have to say, in thinking about it now, maybe it was also the idea that we’re both annoyed at living the way we do that he let those bags sit there.  (Counterintuitive I know.)  We’ve also got more toys and stuff sitting around because neither of us is interested in picking up (and you know Henry.  Tidying is so not his thing).  Also, W couldn’t find one of the loose storage bags for the sleeping bag, and he indicated that was slowing him down (so I handed him a pillow case).  I think that’s sort of bogus, but I do that stuff too (weak excuses to not do something I’m really not interested in doing in the first place), so I kept that opinion of bogosity to myself for fear of reprisal someday.

At that point in my thought process last night, I realized.  It’s the crazies.  The weather and house crazies that was striking, and I had to keep a lid on it until the humidity broke.  I’ve heard anecdotes of divorces happening on weaker grounds than this.

Unforeseen side effect

July 28, 2009

So we’re getting a new kitchen.  The effect of which is that most of the prep and washing up happens in the little bathroom off the dining room.  This is mostly okay – given that the kitchen is completely torn up and unusable, and the bathroom facilities are not exactly dining-ready.  I mean, I wouldn’t want to live like this forever, but it’s okay for now.

An unforeseen side effect of this new way of being – the bathroom smells different now.  This is okay when say, one is cutting up lemons.  This is less okay when one is disposing of salad dressing.  For some reason, this is excessively weird to me – that the bathroom can smell rather strongly of balsamic vinaigrette.  Can’t say why.

gifts? not so much.

July 27, 2009

I like hand-me-downs.  Something about reusing, and the absolute minimum obligation involved.  Somebody is giving you something that maybe you’ll make use of, but it’s not really that important to them, because if it were, they’d have kept it themselves.

I’m less hot on gifts.  Somebody actually went out and bought something they think I’d like.  (I’m not saying I’m picky, because I’ll take hand-me-downs without a second thought….but when W went to buy my engagement ring, he took me along because he didn’t want me unpleasantly surprised.)  This is a strange area – because this makes me wonder what the other person thinks of me, especially if the gift is nothing I would like.  I do not want to point fingers, but a lot of gifts from In-Laws falls into this category.

Maybe there is also the effect of societal pressure on the gift.  I’m against giving stuff just because it’s X day.  I’ll do it, but I prefer giving stuff when I find something good, which generally turns out to be more positive than giving some piece of junk, in my humble opinion.

Plus, art is so personal.  In-Laws might be art historians, but it doesn’t mean they know what kind of art I like.  And it’s hard to re-gift art.  (Yes, I like to regift as well – it makes so much sense, monetarily, ecologically, spatially, and temporally).  Most of the time, I will indicate that item is regifted, so receiver will not feel pressure to thank me profusely for something I would have never purchased in a million years.)  I’m just going to say it.  I dislike In-Laws taste in art.  And frames (nicely done, just all metallics – you know, distressed golds and silvers – yuck).  I just do.

But because they are art historians, they think they know what I would like and might be offended if I actually voiced this.  But SIL let me in on one of their thought processes – they’ve got plans for putting all sorts of art on our walls.  I’m against these plans.  I mean, it’s my house!  I’ll decorate it (or not, as the case may be) the way I want.  Also,  I like a bare/nearly bare wall, especially if there’s a window near it.  I dislike visual clutter (these are the people who have the small pages of a book , like 16 of them, all clustered on one small wall, or a piece of art so big, the wall behind it is the thickness of the frame around the art in the first place).  I’d rather look out a window at a nice tree or something than art.  I only figured this out recently, when I was trying to explain something to SIL about why I don’t want to receive any more art from In-Laws.

I don’t want to seem ungrateful.  I like In-Laws – this has nothing to do with them as people.  I’m just not interested in their art and taste.  I’d be happier receiving nothing than receiving more art.  Especially art I don’t like.  W likes the art, sometimes.  And sometimes, he’ll indicate that we can hang it somewhere we won’t see it often.  Sigh.  What do to?

The gift that keeps giving

July 25, 2009

So Henry likes a cuddle in the morning.  He was cuddling with me the other day, and I was hugging him; one arm under his head/neck, the other under his thighs, almost as if I would have been carrying him but we were on the bed.  He then passed gas on that arm.   I asked him, “What did you do?  What was that?”

He said, “Present for Umma.”

My son, the comedian at two months shy of three years old.

George of the Jungle?

July 25, 2009

Was looking at Curious George again, for the first time in probably something like 25 years.  I wasn’t ever a big fan, but all the stuff about the movie coming out and all the new books have me looking at it again for Henry’s sake.

Man, there’s something kind of awful about that book that the passage of time has revealed.  Stuff that would be inconceivable in a book written today.  George gets taken from his home (kidnapping), both George and the man in the Yellow Hat relax with a pipe (smoking), George gets put away (jailtime for the protangonist).

Never mind the colonial/Great White Hunter/racial overtones.  The smoking alone would prevent this book from getting published today!  (I point you to Naruto manga chapter 332 & 338 where Shikamaru is smoking in the Japanese version and he’s just got empty fingers in weird almost-smoking position in various panels in the American English version.)

Frankly, the weird colonial vibe is even stronger in Babar (a similar set up – elderly white lady teaches recent jungle animal about civilization and then he gets a monkey).  I know W’s mom loves these books, but I sort of feel a little uncomfortable reading them to Henry.  This Politically Correct thing I’ve got going on is a little awkward for that exact reason.  It’s hard to enjoy classic children’s literature without the modern interpretation jumping in.  For books that are a little older, it’s a little easier to ignore because there’s just more bulk to work around (and for stuff I personally love, I can view it through the nostalgia window).  But I feel weird passing these books (especially the ones I haven’t read and loved) along to Henry.   But they are classics.  What to do?

What’s that you just said?

July 20, 2009

So there’s this really popular Japanese Pop singer – and she does English songs as well. Utada is the artist – the song is ‘Easy Breezy.’   The lyrics go like this – “You’re easy breezy and I’m Japanesey.”  I was listening and then I sort of stopped. What?!

What is old is new again…

July 18, 2009

More stuff from the old website.  Sigh.  If only I could figure out how to change the date/time stamp on these things….

News 9/2001: Well, I have gained a whole bunch of family recently.  Most notably, a husband; W and I have tied the knot. I hope a good time was had by all who could make it.  Oh, and by the way, I am keeping my name.

last updated 10/31/2002

What I’m reading now for fun:
Moby Dick, by Herman Melville. It’s an American classic, right? I’m an American, so why not? – Although, at this point, this is starting to become a reading shame. Oh, I’ve got to get my act together and just finish the thing. It’s just that it’s so looong and dense. It’s a good read, it’s just not necessarily the easiest read in the world. I have no discipline.

What I’m reading now for my latest hobby:
Brady Emergency Care, 9th ed. Brady Emergency Care Workbook, 9th ed. CD-ROM included (which I actually haven’t taken out of the little paper case that’s attached to the spine of the book yet).

Reading Shame:
What I’ve been trying to finish for the past X years (this section is to try to shame me into finishing any one of the multitude of books I’ve starting and never finished. It’s not the books’ fault. It’s all me. I just keep thinking about what Joe Queenan has to say about books in general – something like “everybody knows that books are for buying, not for reading.”):

How to Lie with Maps (2nd ed.) – Mark Monmonier. (2 years, at least)

Flattening the Earth: Two Thousand Years of Map Projections – John P. Snyder. (2 years, at least. I haven’t even taken the plastic off of that one yet.)

The Rant of the Day
No rant. Too tired. Weakened by trying to eat better, I feel. See section below.

What I am eating:
I am trying to eat better. Hence, Special K (how special can it be?) and yogurt and fruit for breakfast and lunch. I have interspersed that with bran flakes. High fiber, YUM! We’re trying to plan our eating to our shopping – so we don’t go crazy and buy 60 packages of Toasted Ostrich Yummies on sale when nobody has any intention of using ostrich anything at anytime.

Other News:
Mice have moved in.  W has tried to hermetically seal our flatware. We’re fending them off with these mousetraps, but we’ll see how long W’s good nature will last, as he’s the one getting rid of the evidence (special plastic bag somewhere in the basement that also goes out with the trash).  He doesn’t want to throw the bodies out onto the lawn, because that would be gross – my wording, not his. Although his sentiment might actually be ‘vermin attracting’ and ‘what happens when the lawnmower goes over the bodies?’  Which is a very good question, and goes back to my wording.

News 3/9/2006: W and I are expecting a bundle of joy the first week of September.  We have no idea of names as we don’t know if the baby is a boy or a girl – although, as W says, as long as the baby is one or the other, we can’t complain.

Blasts from the past

July 18, 2009

My old webhosting site is finally booting me off.  Here is my raves and rejects from ~2003 from when my first attempt at a website/blog began.  (note: does Takashimaya dept store in NYC still exist?)

Raves

Crockpots. 3 separate parts make a whole (lid, crock and heating element). 3 settings. 3 sizes (maybe more). A holy trinity of tastiness. Put some random foodstuffs in the crock, turn it on and go away. Come back in a couple of hours, it’s full of moist-heat cooked goodness. Sure, it can be a little blandy, but it’s all in the spicing.

Netflix.com has been demoted. See rejects.

Sun and Earth products. I’m a big slob, but I love the stuff – the citrusy scent (why is it called scent if it’s good and odor when it’s not?), the all natural formulation, the non-toxicity.

Fine Cooking magazine. Even though it only comes seven times a year, it’s all about the food – no bogus stuff like exercise routines or spa therapy or celebrity interviews on what the famous think about pasta al dente (‘I only eat once every six days’). I like that in a magazine.

Clementines. They’re nature’s gift during Christmas. They’re like little fruity candies. Do you hear me, anybody from the northeast who still remembers a New Joisy accent, they’re like fruooty caayndies. Oh, Clementine, how I love you.

Takashimaya tea room. The music is weird and atonal, there are only 3 food items on the menu, (although there are a bazillion teas), and it’s full of older women talking about their problems, and it takes forever to get your bill. However, the service is (aside from the bill stuff) excellent, the food is truly wonderful, and you just walk out of the room all limp and relaxed and happy.

Fruit Jammers fruit snacks – a low fat food. Brought to you by the same people who bring you other delicious foods like Little Debbie snack cakes (yes, there is indeed a little debbie, the granddaughter of the guy who started the company, which you can find out if you check out their website.) It’s probably terrible for the environment, but so tasty. Oh, fruit jammers. I hid them from W until I knew I could buy more in town.

Rejects

GIRAS. Oh, great programming gods, why do you allow such madness?

Netflix.com. I am no longer a devotee. Crummy customer service, and no one to kvetch to. It’s just an on-line video rental option for me now. However, this has not changed my opinion of the local video store. (see next entry)

The local video store. It’s scary. It smells bad. The dog wandering around the store came up and sniffed my personal area – something nobody really likes. It has scarred me.

Local radio programming. It blows. As a subset of that, even NPR programming can suck wind. It makes it hard to listen to what is supposed to be an intelligent show when you’ve got some nasal guy/gal or some guy with one of those chunky to the point of chewy phlegmy voices doing the major voice work. Ugh. It makes it hard to dig deep and cough up (ahem) dough for people who pay other people to sound like that.

Write compression

July 17, 2009

I wonder how I can spend a whole day dreaming up a seemingly fabulous scene, hours thinking about exactly how the characters will interact, hours researching the particulars, and still only come up with four lines of dialogue, four lines of description, and some vague notes indicating “and something will happen here?”  And when I say four lines, I mean four lines.  Not four sentences.  Four sentences would be an accomplishment.

I just dream of the days I sometimes am just goofing around and somehow magically come up with several pages of text.  What happens there?