Driving toward Madison, WI, when a sheet of black cloud ate up the blue sky and the city ahead burned an ominous orange. I think we took a wrong turn and we're headed to Mordor.
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Driving toward Madison, WI, when a sheet of black cloud ate up the blue sky and the city ahead burned an ominous orange. I think we took a wrong turn and we're headed to Mordor.
Tales from Outer Suburbia, by Shaun Tan
I just re-read this. Do you have those artists where you just look at their work and think GODDAMMIT YOU ARE SO GOOD. Like, it almost makes you a little bit sick they are so good? Shaun Tan is one of those for me.
A martial artist, a theif, a terrorist, and an ex-"reformed" gay man. I know the whole point of this was to explore the documentary subjects' lives within the framework of the Euripidean "tragedy of the extremist." I found the stories about extreme control totally engrossing. But I am going to be honest, I just couldn't go with the puppetry interludes. Yes, there were puppetry interludes. It was all very arty I am sure. I just fast forwarded through those parts, because I am lowbrow.
So incredibly sad. I know it was supposed to be, ultimately, uplifting. But I was sad the whole time.
It Might Get Loud
There was a time in my life that I hung out with professional musicians, almost exclusive to everyone else. This film makes me think of my old friends and how they were obsessed with what they were doing. It made me miss them, but also totally not miss them, because they were sort of exhausting. It was really great to watch, but I was also glad when it was over and I could turn it off. But that's just my baggage, y'all.
Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson
I know that the first thing anyone does when talking about art that comes out of Scandinavia that is sort of bleak is to compare it to Ingmar Bergman. It gets me that people see Bergman in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, for example. I think that it's sort of a stretch, but then, what do I know, I'm the girl who doesn't get the Euripides thing either. But that said, Out Stealing Horses did have a Bergman thing going on. Really. I know I just said not to do that, but I am doing it anyway. It's Bergman meets Dick Proenneke. And how can you go wrong with that?
The Slap, by Christos Tsiolkas
Long-listed for the Booker Prize, this is one of those "where we are now" society books. A bunch of characters deal with family issues, the state of marriage, fidelity, parenting, feminism, masculinity, motherhood, multiculturalism, etc, etc, etc. The book held my interest and I found lots of food for thought in it. However, if this is where we are now? We're royally fucked. Every character in here is batshit insane.
Song I rocked out to this week? Kim and Jessie by M83
Did I just say "food for thought"? Yikes.
Monday night Nordic Boy came home with a present for me.
Hey, you know what I have discovered? Working a few days, and then taking three or four days off, then working for a few more days, and then taking three or four days off? IS AWESOME.
My double Portland trips are over, and the second one was just as lovely as the first. This time I had the trusty BFF by my side the whole time which meant that, well, clothes were bought. Because that's the effect that we have on each other.
Did I ever tell you about the time that she and I were in San Francisco, and we were in the unmentionables store, and she was trying to buy a slip or camisole or something, and the unmentionables saleslady referred to the bodice as "the part where the breasts go"? Wow, lady. Selling this stuff is your profession, and you couldn't come up with "bodice" or "top" or "front" or "cups" or something like that? I am a mere amateur and I can think of what those might be called. Why don't we just take it all the way down low and call them the boulder holders?
Anyway. Portland, once again, treated me right and stuffed me to the gills. I was rather lax in my photo taking this time around (too busy stuffing my face), but luckily, between the two of us, we took a few photos. First three hers, last two mine.
During the days preceding the last presidential election, remember all that press about how the Obama campaign raised so much money from individuals who donated small amounts of money, like $5, $10, $100? I thought that was pretty cool. Perhaps your neighborhood even had a small community fundraising group who canvassed your area. Mine did.
One night, Nordic Boy, Biogirl and I were settling in for the evening to watch a movie at my house. We all had had a long day, and we were tired and ready to be total couch potatoes. We got the bowl of popcorn, we kicked off our shoes, we put our feet up, we got blankets out, we grabbed the remote, and the relaxation would commence in five, four, three, two...
Our doorbell rang. The back of our couch faces the front door, and none of us moved, none of us even turned around. "Maybe if we are quiet, they will just go away," I said. Except for the fact that our blinds were up, and the folks at our door could see us through the window. As we sat there ignoring them.
Finally, Nordic Boy got up and answered the door. It was the Obama people. Relaxation had to wait until he could talk to them and then shoo them away.
The next time we felt that way (ready to collapse onto the couch in need of some serious mental shut down), for some reason, I said: "Close the blinds."
Nordic Boy: Why?
Me: In case Obama interrupts us again.
I have continued with this strange metaphor in our lives ever since. I have turned our president into the door knock when you are about to eat dinner, or the phone ring when you are about to fall asleep. It's just stuck in my head that way.
(As I am about to lift the spoon of ice cream to my mouth in the yard, the neighbor lady calls out to me for a nice conversation).
Me: (under my breath) D'oh! Obama!
Sometimes I even refer to this when I am just not quite sure who someone is.
(Someone waves to me from across the street as I walk down the street downtown).
Nordic Boy: Who was that?
Me: (squinting) I'm not sure. Obama?
It's not like I don't want to be in communication with my president. I subscribe to the presidential Twitter feed, I am on the email mailing list. But still, when I check my email and I see a message from Barack, I still pretend to be annoyed. "Dammit, it's Obama again!"
I have reduced the president to the annoying neighbor in my life who won't go away. It's like the Commander In Chief is my own personal Mr. Furley.
Anyway, remember how last week I went with Nordic Boy overnight to Portland? I had those two days off because I asked for it, like, a year ago. In Libraryland, getting time off in summer or around holidays can be like a fight to the death with one's co-workers. So I had put in for that two days off months and months ago. And for some reason, I had a premonition way back then that having those two days off wouldn't quite be enough. That I would need another break for Portlandia a mere week later. So I took two more days off the following week. And goddammit I am so glad I did, because the time between when I got back last week and now? TOTAL CRAP, workwise. So wheeeee, I am going with Nordic Boy again this week! And Biogirl is coming with us this time! I am counting the minutes. We are leaving this afternoon, at 3pm. I need to get the FUCK OUT of here, pronto.
So when I woke up this morning and logged onto the computer to read the news, why, oh why was the top story that President Obama is landing in Seattle today? And that he will be leaving again at 3:30pm? And that the time in between his landing and his departure will completely fuck up all traffic leaving Seattle for hours and hours?
I am just about to leave for a mini vacation, people. And what, or should I say WHO, is going to interrupt that?
(Delium, dropping Nordic Boy and I off at our house after lunch).
Delium: So, Nordic Boy, you're coming over later to help me install that solar panel, yes?
Nordic Boy: Yep- I'll be there in an hour, after I grab some tools and load up the truck.
Me: (announcing from the backseat) Delium, I don't know if I shall be joining him when he comes over later. Maybe I will, but I haven't decided. Perhaps it might be best for you to do whatever you need to do now, internally and emotionally, in terms of dealing with saying goodbye to me. It would just be better that way.
Delium: Um, WHAT?
Nordic Boy: She's telling you to make your peace, dude.
But at least someone gets me.
I hadn't heard this song in so long, and when it came on random shuffle, it rocked my world all over again. It made me and Nordic Boy break into dance around our house. Which, granted, is not that unusual, but still.
There were so many reasons I thought I wouldn't like this movie, but I was wrong. I thought it was quite delightful. Plus I am so glad Leonardo DiCaprio finally looks older than a teenager. Up until Revolutionary Road I thought we had a Dick Clark situation on our hands.
Clash of the Titans (2010 version)
Eh. Although compared to the old one it was a fricking masterpiece.
Say Yes to the Dress
I watched this in my hotel room this week as I was getting ready for my day. I understood it far less than I understood Inception.
After leaving my incredible city and visiting another incredible neighboring city for the week, it made me think about how weird life is and that I never in a million years would have thought I would be making my life out here in the Pacific Northwest. The thought of it still bowls me over sometimes when I really think about it. And as much as I think of myself as a Midwestern girl through and through, I do love this place that I have chosen to call home. So when I woke up this morning back in my own bed, and this song was playing on the radio, it was sort of sweet.
Go to Clyde Common and get the grilled cheese and pesto sandwich. Mwah.
I love how there are so many little spots like this everywhere.
Adjacent to one of my offices is a library conference room that is used by library patrons. It's used for meetings, studying, tutoring, whatever. One of the people that uses the room is a tutor who brings in groups of kids and teaches them Arabic. When he is in there, they have these sing-songy lessons where he says a phrase and the kids all repeat after him. I can't really make out anything specific, but still, the wall between us is quite thin, so I just hear something like this:
Why-yah shah dee DEE gah fahhhh.
Grah fah dah mah DOO jah nahhhhh.
Honestly, I don't even hear it anymore. It's like ambient noise to me. Except, yesterday I thought I was going to lose my shit listening to that. Somehow, the fact that I can hear it, but I can't really hear it, was making me crazy. Never mind that I wouldn't be able to understand it- the fact that I could only hear this lesson in a muffled, adults-on-Charlie-Brown sort of way was seriously jacking me up.
In other news, my Facebook conversations with my friends have dwindled to downright incoherent. Case in point:
Mrs. M, on Mr. M's wall:
"I miss you! Waaah!"
"I miss you both! Waaaah!"
"Waaaah! I just thought I would join in."
What is happening, people? I have no excuse.
All of this is just proving to me that perhaps I need a few days off. So, this afternoon, when Nordic Boy drives off into the sunset to go to Portland for work for a couple of days, I am so going with him. Sure, it's a super quick mini vacation, but I am thinking a night in a fancy hotel might knock some sense back into me.
Next post, from Portlandia. I am trying to whittle down my list of Portland restaurants that I want to go to. So many vittles in that town. Mmmmm.
How was your weekend? Blah blah, yeah, let's talk about mine.
I had a weekend that felt like weeks, which was just what I have been needing lately. I love long summer days with nothing to do but eat bon bons in the breeze. Maybe it's because I work weekend days a lot but there is something about two glorious days off in a row that just seem magical to me.
We kicked off the weekend by attending a surprise birthday party for Delium. With Delium's brother at the helm, we had all been hatching this surprise party plot for weeks, and not to put forth any impressions of our group as blabby gabby types, but it was kind of astonishing that we all pulled the surprise off. He was so surprised, I was a tad afraid his ticker would give out.
First of all, thank you guys so much for all the silly stuff you sent me after my Festival of Whines the other day. You so funny!
I shall start out the Consumables with some weirdo clip that Leah posted to the blog comments. Really, what can you say about this? Nothing.
Geeky book lover's documentary. A dude's favorite book is written by an author no one seems to have heard of, and who never wrote another thing, so he goes on a quest to find him. You will either really like this or be so bored you'll want to cry. No middle ground.
I've been half-watching movies that are showing on tv, and this was on this week. Neo and Trinity, the most stone-faced lovers in all of pop culture, yes?
Photos, by Sammy Davis Jr.
Frank, Dean, Marilyn, Lauren, Betty, Shirley, just everyone looking glamorous and gorgeous. Mm, mm, mm.
And some songs that got me through the week...
Babelonia, by School of Seven Bells
Swoon, by The Chemical Brothers
(I know they are not really saying this, but I like to sing along during the bridge by saying "here's mud in your eye" because doesn't that sound like what they are saying)?
Tightrope, by Janelle Monae
Sunny, by Ella Fitzgerald
I plan to take the weekend by the balls, and I suggest you do the same, everyone. Happy Friday!
Me, watching "A League of Their Own" (shut up) on tv.
The scene comes on where slutty Mae (played by Madonna) is teaching her illiterate teammate how to read, using a pulpy sex novel.
Teammate: (reading from the book)...he clutched at her silky, white bosom...
Other teammate: MAE! What is she reading??
Mae: Who cares? She's reading, ain't she?
Nordic Boy: Madonna's a total librarian in this.
Today is my friend Delium's birthday. You may know Delium as the guy with the leisure pants, or the guy with the awesome helpy skills, or the guy who pulls planes around, but he's so much more than that. Delium has been an awesome friend to Nordic Boy and me for all of our adult lives. Let's list some of his awesomisity, shall we?
1. I met Delium as a freshman in college, when we were both cast in a play together. We cracked each other up immediately. Literally, within 5 minutes of our audition, we were insta-friends.
2. We dated for a short while and when I think of the drama that we put each other through it's kind of a goddamn miracle that we were still friends after that mess. Really, it was such a mess. I am not even joking you. HUGE mess. Have I emphasized enough how much of a mess it was? Ok. But after it was over, we were all, "I still think you're cool." And that was that. We totally became Jerry and Elaine after that, sort of seamlessly.
3. Delium is probably the busiest person I have ever known. He has a full-time job, he acts in plays, he does improv, he does voiceovers, he dances, he plays tennis, he does yoga, the list goes on and on. And yet, he's a person that we have always called in a crisis. He's always there when we need him, somehow.
4. Nordic Boy and Delium have what I think is the funniest friendship on earth. It's like they are Bert and Ernie. They are so very different, but get along so well. I think they would make a great reality show. Their adventures together could definitely be termed hijinks.
5. And ok, fine, over the years Delium has grown to love Nordic Boy a little bit more than he loves me. Nordic Boy doesn't have as many friends as me, but when he does have them, they always love him more. I even recently found out that in Delium's life, Nordic Boy is his In Case of Emergency person. Not me, even though I have known him longer. I have put in the time! And not me since I am the one who is always in town and available if needed, whereas Nordic Boy is often away on business. Oh no. It had to be Nordic Boy. That lovable bastard.
6. Delium is one of the few people (there are only 4) in my life that I can say anything to. I mean anything. Unconditional, he is.
7. Delium is known for his falls. He can do a grand fall down like nobody's business. This is something he shares in common with Biogirl. I don't know why my best friends have talent in the falling down skills. Sometimes, when they hang out, they have conversations about their falls. "So, have you had any crazy falls lately?" "Why, yes. Yes I have."
8. One time, years ago, Delium had a free gift certificate for a family portrait. I don't know who's idea it was (probably his), but we thought it would be funny to go get a photo taken together. Me, him, and Nordic Boy, our little family. It started out as a "ha ha, wouldn't it be funny if we did that" thing, and quickly escalated to where we actually went and did it. We got dressed up and went to this studio, and not one of us said A WORD about what our relationship was to each other. That poor photographer was SO CONFUSED. Was I a couple with one of these boys? Were the two boys a couple? Were we siblings or something? That dude had no idea how to pose the three of us. The result is a FUCKING HILARIOUS photo that the photographer came up with, of Nordic Boy and I seated next to each other, and Delium standing behind/above us, encircling us both with his hands on our shoulders like a proud papa with his two little babies. The photo makes no sense whatsoever. It is comedy gold.
9. Delium is, through and through, a good, solid, fun, friggin' hilarious, talented, A-1 tip top friend. I don't even really think of him as my friend. I just think of him as a part of my family. He's closer to me than my own brothers, truly. I can't imagine what it would be like to not have him around.
10. Yay, Delium! Happy birthday, you old goat.
Hey there, Stressy McFreakedout here. Just wanting to let you know how this week is going to go, ok? Just some tips for you on how to help a lady out.
First of all, do not bring up the following things as they relate to me: illness of a family member, possible loss of job, library budgets, mortgages, refinancing, health insurance, and possible death of those close to me, especially kids and the elderly. Or hows about we just steer clear of death as a topic regarding any of my loved ones? Kay? Thanks.
Even if you think you're being helpful, just don't ask about any of that. If I want to talk about it, I will let you know. (Special note to Mom: every time we talk on the phone, you don't need to say "so have you found out if you're laid off yet?" I love you Mom, but that is DRIVING ME BATTY).
None of these things are new topics in my life. I am well-versed on the family long term illness one, for example. But last week the planets aligned in just such a way as to make me FREEEEEEK OWWWWT, even though there really isn't a ton of new news on that front, other than yep, things continue to suck in an ever-increasing spiral of doom. I know the freaking out is because I am tired, and if I could get a good night's sleep that would help me get back to my regularly scheduled programming of deep breathing and yukking it up Despite It All.
Which brings me to my next request. If you could arrange my life in such a way for me, so as to make it that I can get to bed at a reasonable hour and sleep until I am done sleeping, that would be gosh-awful nice of you. And if you are a new parent who is way more sleep-deprived than me, try not to punch me in the face for even asking this of you.
Also, conversations about kitties, puppies, and cotton candy are always welcome. Off-color humor is also fully acceptable.
The other thing? Don't tell me that I look tired. I know I look tired. Telling me that doesn't make me feel less tired. Also, don't point out to me that you see more gray hair on my head. That one actually happened to me last week and I wonder where someone went to charm school, with commentary like that.
The thing that I hate the worst about stress? Besides, you know, the fact that it stresses me out? Is that it makes my world SO VERY SMALL. I just think about me, me, me. It just gets reedickaless.
So, to combat the overwhelming me-ness of last week, I am declaring this the Week of Nice. I am going to do something nice for the people I care about. Send a card, make some cookies, call them up, show up at their door with an interpretive dance set to Three Times a Lady. Just something. So, friends, spotlight on you.
I am also declaring this the Week of Sleepytimes. Just because I deserve a little Nice too.