Mama Blogging.

November 10, 2009

She has a few words of wisdom for this young whippersnapper. He’d better not stay up past his bedtime.

Not to be confused with “mommy blogging” – by this I mean, my mama is blogging! I set up a tumblr account for her and she has entered the blogosphere! Introducing – MamaPeke! I’d invite you to say hello to her personally, but I don’t think you can comment via tumblr – in any case, you can read her musings (and a great recipe for cinnamon rolls) and then comment here if you so choose. Or you can read her musings and then make some kickass cinnamon rolls. That’s another possibility.

PS: I also have a tumblr account for non-nanny related shenanigans.

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Weekend Update.

October 18, 2009

Boston, MA. 2009.

This week has been pretty much a wash for me. I’ve been sick with a multi-day fever for the first time in five years. Thursday, I was sick at home and couldn’t even read. My brain literally could not process words – it was like trying to getting a calculator to compute the sum of broccoli + Toyota. The Mysterious Mystery Fever of Mysterious Origins is the only real symptom I’ve had, but man, it’s been a nasty one. I’ve also been suffering sporadic headaches, though I think that my choice in lotion may be a contributing factor there,  which is too bad because I do enjoy smelling like a cherry blossom, but I do not enjoy waking up every half an hour in the night with the feeling that someone is shoving needles into my brain via my sinuses.

This is a really cheery update, huh?

Things with the Things are going well. Daily Doodles have been sporadic, a mere *two* this week, but considering the Mysterious Mystery Fever, I’m considering that acceptable. It’s a lot harder to draw when you can’t remember what you were going to draw or how the pen makes those lines on the paper in the first place.

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So, these panties? They vibrate?

I’ve now finished Season One of Mad Men, and I am solidly hooked. It’s helped to think of it as taking place in an alternate universe as opposed to a concrete past that my grandparents participated in. Also, it’s been an interesting thought experiment for me to use Mad Men as a vehicle to think about now in the context of being somebody else’s past. Because it will be. Some day, we will be as dated as the 60’s are to us and what on earth is that going to look like? If you’ll excuse me, I just blew my own mind.

(Certainly the set designs will be chock full of Ikea furniture, everyone will carry an iPhone, and skinny jeans will be all too prevalent.)

It’s a slow weekend and a rainy Sunday, perhaps I can get some more drawing done. Or some “real” art. Or I could do some massive updating to the book blog to bring joy to my darling Kat.  Or I could camp out with Hulu and catch up on Jon Stewart, who has the audacity to be on TV past my old-man bedtime of 10PM. Or, as usual, I can do none of these things, play Civ all day, and wonder where the time went. If so, it’ll be a good day. Nothing is one of my absolute favorite things to do and something that, being sick aside, I don’t have nearly enough time for.

Mad Rabbit.

October 12, 2009

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Now that I’ve finished The Wire, I’ve started Netflixing Mad Men (which is to say – I’m still on Season 1, NO SPOILERS PLEASE). Much like The Wire, I’m having a few issues getting into it. The pilot is very much whacking you over the head with “LIFE WAS DIFFERENT IN THE 60’S.” I was commenting to the MomBoss (who is also Netflixing the show) that the show is a good illustration for why the feminist movement was necessary. Among other things.

It’s weird to relate to the characters who are from an era that’s far enough in the past to be completely out of my lifetime, but close enough to the present that these characters are contemporaries of my grandparents. And it’s pretty damn uncomfortable to think of my grandparents boozing and womanizing. Ye G-ds. And did everybody smoke in those days? My grandfather smoked a pipe, but I don’t remember any of my other grandparents smoking – maybe they all quit? But there’s just that one guy on the show who doesn’t smoke and he is constantly eating lollipops. Was society in general just stuck in an Oedipal oral fixation phase?

Anyhow, the subject line of this post comes from the junction in my mind between Mad Men and Rabbit, Run. I had a lot of trouble getting into the latter due to what seemed like a rather lot of whining. There’s nothing special about Rabbit Angstrom, which is exactly the point of the novel. What makes you so special when there’s nothing special about you?

Mad Men and Rabbit, Run are contemporaries of a sort – the former is set in the period where the latter was written – and both have that undercurrent of “Life is perfect. So why do I have this angst?” If I had a nickel for the number of allusions in the first three episodes of Mad Men to the “perfect life” that had been achieved by the wife, two kids, and house in the suburbs, I could buy a latte. But we all know that if life really was perfect, we wouldn’t be watching a drama created by same folks behind the Sopranos – we’d be watching Leave it To Beaver.

So, here we are exploring the inner angst of the 60s. And it kind of makes me squirm and/or want to slap the protagonists in the face and tell them to stop whining.

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Another contemporary of the Mad Men, of course, is my darling Jack. I’ve always felt a certain resonance with the Beats, which is maybe why it’s so hard for me to relate to what they were all rebelling against. My parents were very much hippies, and being a second-generation hippie myself, it’s way easier for me to relate to the guy who would rather be a hobo than wear a suit than the suit-wearing dude who has some kind of inner ennui.

Though I must say, I think that Jon Hamm and Jack Kerouac were separated at birth. Maybe when he’s done being Don Draper, Jon could play the man himself and I could cream my pants.

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Weekend Update.

October 4, 2009

[Pawtucket, RI. 2005.]

Down to the wire on this, I know. It’s been that kind of day. After I wrote my last entry, I made a nice fall playlist and got in my car to drive up to Brighton to visit a dear friend. And my car didn’t start. Soooo. I called around and it was actually my employers who drove over and gave me a jump (did I mention that I work for the GREATEST FAMILY EVER?) – which, y’know, was also in their best interest since it means I’ll be able to go to work tomorrow. Anyhow, I did not drive to Brighton as I did not want to get stuck there.

I did, however, drive to juice up the battery a bit. It was a very zen-like enterprise; drive as far as I could without stopping. I drove out past Fall River on 195, went to a drive thru to get a snack (so I didn’t have to turn off the car, though I did feel bad for how much gas I wasted while I sat idling in the parking lot. Oh well.), and drove back. All journey, no destination whatsoever. It was very soothing. And my playlist was lovely: all songs that remind me of fall.

[Easthampton, MA. 2006.]

For some reason, those songs are always kind of sad songs for me. Fall is my difficult season. October is traditionally my worst month. Fall to me is grey skies and cold rain and the smell of leaves and woodsmoke. Slow music. Very acoustic. Almost dirge-like. And it was so lovely to see the leaves turning while listening to songs that evoke for me of the very soul of this season. I sang along, of course. Singing in the car is one of my favorite pastimes, it’s really a force of will for me *not* to sing along if I know the song. This is, I’ve found, best done alone. Not because I’m self-conscious, but because my singing apparently bothers my co-pilot.

(This has nothing to do with my voice, which has been trained. Singing is like my secret super-power. No one knows I’m actually quite good at it until they hear me, and then there is much surprise. Nuno is just a purist who wants to hear the recorded music without any extras on top.)

And so, it’s been that kind of a day. I played a bunch of Civ, and even started a decent game with Nuno. I can definitely attest to having mellowed him out a bunch over the last two years – when we started dating, he would have been out for blood. Now? We’re chatting back and forth so that we don’t step on each other’s toes. We’re not exactly collaborating, but we’re respectful enough of the other person’s strategy to interfere as little as possible. It’s way more fun than trying so hard to “win.”

[Reykjavík, Iceland. 2005.]

I originally sat down wanting to write about books that I’ve read and how I’m going to be blogging about my biblioholic activities over here since I don’t have the time to update separately at GoudaBuddhaBooks anymore. I’m sad to admit this, since I love Kat and I love books and I love the idea of collaborative blogging, but realism indicates that any efforts that I made over there right now would be half-assed and I really prefer, when possible, to put my whole ass into things.

So, I suppose that, along with the other new project I have cooking in my wee brain, will come later.

For now, it’s half past bed time for this old man.

Charlie Darwin.

October 4, 2009

Thanks to the magic of radio (thanks, WFUV!), I’ve become acquainted with a lot of new music recently. I heard this beautifully haunting song a few times last week and wrote down a note on my iPhone (because who needs paper anymore?) to download it. I had heard the title of the song as “Charlie Darling” and was surprised and flummoxed when I couldn’t find it. I went back through the WFUV playlists for the whole week to find the song. Half an hour later, I found out that really, the lyric is “Charlie DARWIN.” Even better.

As a singer (albeit one in hiding), a good vocal harmony gives me shivers and the harmonies in the chorus in this are absolutely flawless.

I’ve been listening to it on repeat all weekend, it’s a perfect fall song. I’ll be putting it on a playlist for a trip northward to the Greater Beantown Area today. Here it is for your listening enjoyment. (YouTube link, but mainly, it’s just the audio that counts. It’s not a real “video” per se.)

What are your favorite autumn songs? What’s on your playlist these days?

Bonus: here’s a link to my all-time favorite autumn song. The one, the only, Tom Waits.

Way Down in the Hole.

September 28, 2009

wire

Nuno and I just finished watching The Wire. Man, what a show. I think it has ruined me for all media. Admittedly, it took until 75% of the way through Season 1 for me to get into it, but what a ride. Season 5 was pretty clunky, but the end pulled together well.

The whole thing was worth it to see the echoing scenes in Seasons 1 & 5 with various homicide detectives struggling to put together Ikea furniture. Priceless.

What to watch next? I have no idea. I’m a big fan of Six Feet Under and The West Wing. I hear good things about Mad Men, so I’ve put that up in the queue. But man, I don’t know if I can ever watch sub-genius television ever again and I used to love me some good brain fluff. I blame you, Jimmy McNulty. I loved this show so much, I named my laptop Stringer Bell.

Keep it in the game, kids.

Bonus: A better review than I could write on why The Wire is the G.O.A.T. I doubted it, but even I have come around. Truly, it’s right up there with Infinite Jest in terms of underappreciated cultural achievements.

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Weekend Update.

September 27, 2009

Fuller Hall, Vermont Academy.

I came up here to Vermont under the auspices of going to my 10 year high school reunion – which I did. I also had dinner with my father and went to see an old high school friend for lunch. Given that I have done these things in a 24 hour period of time, it has really tested the limits of my endurance and I have a very vivid mental note to self written about how exhausting it is to do this much on the weekend after having worked all week! I need another weekend to recover from my weekend!

The reunion… wasn’t much re-uniting. It’s a small school, so I wasn’t expecting more than 10 people to be there, but I also wasn’t expecting the reality that there were two. Me and one other guy. Thankfully, the one other guy is someone I’d had a lot of classes with and was happy to see and had things to talk about with – which is pretty lucky, if we’re talking about a reunion of two!

It’s strange though that no one else showed up. Or is it? I don’t know. In conversations the past two days, the bizarre and often unhealthy relationship between students and school back in high school (and often the bizarre and unhealthy relationships between the students themselves, though that is endemic to the high school experience and can’t at all be thought of to be unique to our particular school) has been examined and it’s pretty obvious that if this is what we, the alums, are taking away from the experience, there’s absolutely no reason why anyone would go back.

It’s unfortunate. I saw lots of happy reunions from classes of yore, but other than a group meeting to honor a late classmate, the next-youngest alums that I saw were from the class of ’84. It would be the five year reunion for the class of ’04, and I didn’t see a one of ’em. Perhaps they were hiding. In any case, both of us from ’99 came out of a sense of “Well, we’re around so we might as well go and say hi” and not out of an overwhelming devotion to the school.

1321161784_156a0cd349The school as it was when it was built in 1887. The class of 1887 also had a notably poor showing.

In my case, I never really fit in in high school. Which is putting it mildly. Nuno commented that he’s never seen me more out of place, and if this is true now, just imagine how bad it was ten years ago. I went to Hampshire to go someplace as different from high school as humanly possible, and it was a good choice. If we go to Hampshire alumni weekend, he can remark “Omig-d! They’re all crazy hippies! Just like you!” And actually, for a Hampshire alum, my hippie quotient is pretty tame.

(Just a few weeks ago, someone familiar with the Hampshire experience commented “You’re a Hampshire grad? I’m surprised you’re able to find a job and live indoors!” While, um, gee, thanks, I do also see where she’s coming from.)

So, what is it exactly about the school that leaves its graduates feeling apathetic at best after graduation? It’s a very jock school with a huge emphasis on competition and sports, but that certainly isn’t unique. Looking back, it’s amazing that the school didn’t have any psych. support staff – I know that I could have benefited from such a thing, and I imagine that I’m not alone here. Other glaring problems revolve around the fact that making a school co-ed is more difficult than just admitting a bunch of girls to an all-boys’ school. When I started my sophomore year, VA had 3 guys for every girl.

(To say that I was one of the very, very few girls who did not have guys chasing her gives you an idea on how little fitting in I did, given the dearth of girls, no one was particularly choosy. Unless the choice was me or a few of my nerd-sisters.)

And that creates some issues, beyond just housing. Which was really the only adjustment that – from what I can see – VA made. “Oh yeah, we’ll make some girls’ dorms!” Say what you will for equality, putting teenage girl hormones in a stew of teenage boy hormones is a recipe for strife. You want to treat everyone like they’re all on the same level, but denying the various needs of the students and assuming that girls’ needs are the same as boys’ needs is just… well… asinine.

Jones Hall, Vermont Academy.

I don’t know what other grads are thinking, and I know that for me, going back was weird. But hey, I’m willing to put that behind me and have a beverage or two with my compadres from back in the day. I’m also willing to examine why exactly we’re not flocking in droves to do so.

All of this is especially weird in light of the very successful reunion the public high school had this spring – the Class of ’99 that I was in elementary school with had about 30 people come back, which is pretty great for a class of ~100.

Anyhow, it’s been a long weekend and I’m going to reunite with a cup of tea.