Round these parts it's a holiday weekend; and although I won't be celebrating with the traditional eating-too-much-at-a-picnic followed by painful-sunburn; I have been running around doing fun things this weekend; meaning I'll have to spend today doing responsible things like cleaning and packing finishing the last fifty pages of my book for book club. Hence, no Monday Morning Madness today. Mea culpa and such.
However - as I intend to spend the day responsibly - there's an excellent chance I'll instead find myself surfing the web - which means there will likely be oodles of pointless, silly posts today; so don't despair. (Or you can try going out in the sunshine for a change. It'll be good for you.)
In other, unrelated news, I'd like to recommend The Arden's production of Sweeney Todd to all you Philly folks (well, at least those who enjoy musicals, have a dark sense of humor and a strong stomach; or even two out of three). The staging is chaotically wonderful - and the performances were fantastic. There were points at which I was literally doubled-over in laughter. It may be my favorite musical ever.
Enjoy your Monday.
First - an update: I am happy to report that the Death Machine has left the building, to trouble me no more. Take that, technology!
And now on to the Friday links; all of which are movie-related, just because I feel like it.
- Now This Is The Kind of Thing Highbandwith is Made For: Streaming Max Shrek as Nosferatu while I
blogperform important personal research. (It's also freely available for download. Nosferatu, I mean. Not my personal research. That's, um..personal.) - [WE]
- And Speaking of Freely Available Digitized Films: Be sure to visit the Moving Images section of the Internet Archive. "The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public." I've only just now discovered that there are RSS feeds which announce titles recently added to the archive- overall, and for specific collections. Oh, look, the have His Girl Friday! I may never leave my PC again.
- Just When You Thought it Was Safe to Listen to Music Underwater: You discover that someone's gone and remixed sounds from Jaws into a musical piece to be listened to underwater. Since I'm not about to submerege my speakers, I'm going to stick with the MP3 version instead. - [ErB]
- Weep and You Weep Alone: The Korean, revenge thriller Oldboy was my favorite at this year's film festival, and I'm looking forward to it's August DVD release so I can see it again. (Yes, it's already been suggested to me that this might make me a bad person. This is a fantastic movie, but it's brutal.) I saw the movie based on the description alone; so it was especially interesting for me to sit back and watch the five semifinalists in the Tartan Films / IFILM Oldboy trailer contest. Even though all five used similar footage, I think Andrew Monument and Nikolas Pueringer's entries probably best captured the film's essence...and yet somehow didn't capture it at all. (You can also see the official trailer on Oldboy website).
- Dear Adam Sandler: This really isn't necessary. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the original. (Much like there was nothing wrong with the original Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.) Besides, you can't improve on the catchy theme song.
Sarcasmo VS. Death Machine (or How I Almost Became a Darwin Awards Nominee)
Once upon a time, many years ago, I inherited a 21" CRT monitor from someone who had moved on from a desktop machine to a laptop. Bless it's processors and cathode tubes, but I did love that thing; with it's screen so big the rest of the world seemed to vanish when I sat before it.(1) It served me for a many a good year - and we remained a team right up until about six months ago, when it simply refused to power on anymore.
I was sorry to see it go. But soon I replaced it with something smaller, lighter and flatter. And thus enamored with my new technology, I move the old behemoth from my computer desk to the floor an out-of-the way corner of my den. I would have disposed of it all together, but the old monster weighed about 1,000 pounds, and I simply could not lift it more than a few inches, nor carry it for more than a few seconds at a time. And so I considered the corner of my den it's retirement home, where it would quietly collect for the rest of time.
Fate, however, had different plans for my erstwhile monitor and me; as in a few weeks time I'll be moving into a much smaller living space and I'll have no room for electronic relics.
This brings us to last Monday night - or as I now like to think of it - The Night I Took a Very Small Annoyance and Turned It Into a Very Big Problem.
There I was, sitting innocently in my den, pulling out my tool kit in order to dissemble my futon, which was being picked up by a friend (and his friends) the next day; when the monitor caught my eye. I don't mind telling you that this day was my first wedding anniversary since my divorce was finalized - and I was full of beer bravado and looking for a project that I could focus my attention on rather than sitting around being melancholy. I had recently grappled with the futon, so I knew it wasn't going to take me much more than ten minutes to take apart. But the monitor...why that could take me at least an hour...and certainly once it was in parts, it would be easier for me to carry and dispose of.
Right about now, I imagine you are having one of three responses to this plan:
- Why didn't you just wait and ask the people coming over the next day to pick up the furniture if they'd help you take it down the stairs for curb-side disposal / pickup?
- Ok - that makes sense. The parts are certainly going to be lighter than the whole; it's only logical.
- Wow. There's blogging in the Afterlife?
Normally, I'm very hesitant to take apart electronics - computer-related electronics especially - because I'm petrified I'm going to break them. The monitor, however, already being broken, seemed a pretty safe bet. I unscrewed the two screws on the outside of the case, and then spent the better part of a half-hour pulling the case off. (2) Once inside, it was smooth sailing. I unscrewed screws, unplugged the plugs, pulled all sorts of circuity-bits out of circuit boards and banged some of the more stubborn bits pretty well with my hammer. And after an hour, I found myself surrounded by casing and electronic bits that weighed about .005 pounds in toto, and the actual screen part of the monitor, which weighed in at about 999.995 pounds. The screen portion didn't seem to have any screws or weak places that would allow me to further dissemble it. Not only had I made a huge mess, but I had failed to solve my problem.
Dusty, frustrated and sweaty, I boxed up the case parts and gave the monitor screen a very dirty look. Then I glanced at my tool kit - and realized I could make the monitor considerably lighter by grabbing my hammer and smashing the holy heck out of it.
Once again, gentle readers, I imagine you are having one of three reactions to this development in the plan:
- I told you you should have asked the guys to help you carry it. This story is boring. Where are the links to dancing badgers that look like Harry Potter?
- Smash it. Smash It! SMASSSSSSSH ITTTTTTTT!!!
- Wow. You really can blog from the afterlife. I'm going to go register www.killedbymyownstupidty.com right now!
Luckily, I was saved by the childish, irrational part of my brain, which insisted that inside the monitor there lived a Slumbering Electricity Beastie which was currently curled up a cathode tube just waiting to be released; and when it did it would shock me like Tom having his tail plugged into an outlet by Jerry. My grownup, rational brain countered that it was a silly fear, there was no monster in the machine...and there certainly wasn't an electrical monster, since the monitor hadn't been plugged in in months. After all, I reasoned, people smash tvs with baseball bats in movies all the time and no Electricity Beasties ever shocks them- and a CRT monitor is basically the same as a tv(3).
However, the childlike brain stood firm, and the grown-up brain was daunted enough to put down the hammer go to work on the futon instead.
And lucky thing too - because after I'd washed 6 months of grime and some strange computer goo off my hands and had the futon in easy-to-carry pieces, I sent a message out to some of my more computer savvy friends, asking them what to do with the monitor. I even shyly admitted to them that I wanted to simply smash it with a hammer but that I had some crazy fear a monster lived inside.
Do you remember that scene in The Birds where a man lights his cigarette next to a leaking gas pump and the people watching from the diner react with horror, screaming and yelling out the window to try and warn him? Yeah, well the response I got to the idea of smashing my monitor was a lot like that; only without the weird still shots of Tippi Hedren's reactions.(4)
Turns out that the part of my brain where I keep the childish, irrational fears is also the place where I retain important bits of survival data.(5) As it happens, CRT monitors can retain a charge for a very long time - and not a little charge either. I was told in no uncertain terms that this was the kind of charge that could kill a person; and further - not only was smashing it an idiotic idea, - but that I may have unleashed the monitor's lethal potential simply by removing it from its case.
So, my mythology may have been bad, but my science was sound.
Apparently there's a bit called a flyback transformer that retains the charge - and isn't meant to be allowed out into the wild until after someone with special tools and quite a bit of training safely discharges it. I'm not sure which part is the flyback transformer - but if it's the part I think it is, I'm almost certain I I banged on it pretty well with my hammer.
This news was ... troubling.
With the help of a friend, I did manage to get the-now-extremely-volatile pieces down into my living room, where I made a futile attempt to put everything back together without touching anything dangerous. However, having been released from it's screws and coils, the monitor case had expanded and wasn't having any of this "going back together" nonsense. So I did what any sane person would: I put the screen part in a box and slid it against the wall with my boxes already packed for moving. And then I left it alone. I spent the following week being grateful for my dumb luck; contemplating the fragile, delicate thing that is Life; and indulging my now Undeniable Fear of ever Touching That Thing Again(6). I secretly harbored hope that if I simply ignored it, the defunct monitor would eventually discharge itself - and then neatly vanish. It seemed the only decent thing for it to do.
Alas, it was not to be. And whereas the Spector of One's Own Potential Demise isn't too bad a television viewing companion (it doesn't bogart the popcorn, and it doesn't talk during the good bits; it just sits about in black and points) - it can still be a downer to have it around when you're trying to enjoy the wittty-banterfest that is The Gilmore Girls.
When I found myself telling a guest the other day, "Just go ahead and make yourself at home. ... Oh, yeah, and be sure not to touch the Death Machine™(7)," I knew it was time to stop cowering on my couch and take action. So I called a local tech support company that does in-home work.
"Hello," I said, "I hope you can help me. I've done something very stupid."
The woman I spoke to was quite nice, and once I made it clear to her that no - I didn't want them to repair it - I just wanted them to safely discharge it(8) and remove it if possible; and that no, I didn't need him to also check my machine for spyware or viruses or to install any software - she made the appointment. However, the more she went on about their other services, the more concerned I became that the techician might not actually do this sort of work. She promised me that if it was going to be a problem, she would call me back within the hour.
I've never waited so intently for the phone not to ring in my life.
So hopefully by Thursday evening, the Death Machine™ will be gone, and I'll feel safe in my own apartment again. Which is convenient, really, as the money I'm paying the tech is coming right out of my "going-out-and-doing-stuff" budget.
I only hope that by posting this story now that I'm not making the error so common to the Super Villain Genius - revealing my plan prior to its Ultimate Finish. I half-expect that the monitor is downstairs now sensing this post - and plotting a way to shuffle upstairs and zap me in my bed (in fact, the dark corner just outside my den door is now looking pretty nefarious). Or perhaps it will call to Trotwood, who stands just a few feet away from where it slumbers, and offer him unspeakable power and glory if he would just take me out of the picture(9). -
If something untoward does befall me, approach Super Mecha-Trotwood with Extreme Caution. His Kung-Fu action may not be mighty - but none can resist his adorable (and evil!) dance stylings.
(1)I think it goes a long way in explaining the intense, all-consuming affair I had with Everquest one summer. Ah, those halcyon days of killing things and then robbing their corpses of armor and gold. Good times. My hand still twitches towards the box every time I pass in the game store.
(2)In retrospect, the fact that I more or less had to jimmy the case open with a screwdriver should have been a clue that I was doing something the novice home user was not meant to do.
(3)Which, incidentally, you should also not take apart unless you are a trained professional. Who knew?
(4) I never understood why Hitchcock did that. It's the only thing about that movie I don't like.
(5)This is unfortunate, as I will now have to start treating the monster-in-the-closet and the serial-killer-behind-the-shower-curatin as viable threats.
(6)This fear is only countered by the nigh-overwhelming urge to continually poke at it until I find the dangerous bit in hopes that the shock would not kill me, but rather infuse me Super Powers, a cool nickname and a slick costume. So far, Fear is (thankfully) winning.
(7) Whereas I do feel that every Super Villain Genius should have a Death Machine™ in their lair - I believe it's prudent that the Death Machine ™ be in the absolute control of said genius (or her robot minion) - and not simply exist as a Wild Card Of Doom (patent pending).
(8)Or, as the service ticket says, "Needs to be made nondangerous."
(9)And I couldn't even blame him if he did it; it's what I've been grooming him towards, after all.
This is just too nifty for words; nonetheless, I shall endeavor to use them:
The Alamo Drafthouse, an Austin movie theater, is embarking across the West Coast to show 12 movies in their original shooting locations, including The Last Picture Show; It Came from Outer Space (in 3D!!!), Once Upon a Time in the West, Planet of the Apes, Repo Man, North by Northwest, Bullitt, The Goonies, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Cat Ballou, and Hud. - [/.]
For the first time in my life, I understand the urge to give-up work, buy a VW bus, and follow a tour across the country. Alas, unless independent wealth should suddenly strike, it is not meant to be.
I must admit, I wish they were showing North by Northwest at Mt. Rushmore. But how awesome would it be to watch Close Encounters at Devil's Tower? Hmm...I wonder how many Frequent Flyer miles I have cached?
- Hitchhiker's: Great sensibility, Python-esque set design, and the casting was dead-on. I had great fun watching it - but as often as not I was laughing in anticipation of what was going to happen next - or at a line of dialogue that had been in a particular scene in the book (or TV) version that hadn't quite made it into the film. I'm not sure it would all hang together for someone who had no familiarity with any of the source material. (One bonus about there being no definitive source was that it leaves a fan free not to feel too protective of the "original"'; still, I could have done without the love-story bit.)
- Revenge of the Sith: Overall, I'd say this movie was made up of some intense and incredible scenes which were sadly mired in a great deal of mediocrity.. On the plus side, it's very enjoyable to watch, and there's enough action-eye-candy to please any moviegoer. Other quick thoughts:
- Christopher Lee is awesome. And if you pretend he is reprising his role of Count Dracula in that sequence with the Negotiators rather playing Count Dooku, the scene still works. In fact, it's somewhat more interesting.
- George Lucas has clearly (and unfortunately) been misinformed about the definition of the word "disarmed."
- He also must get his ideas about romance and romantic interchange by observing pre-teen conversation on the playground.
- No where in the Sith bylaws does it say you can't use shampoo; maybe Anakin would have felt better about himself if he took five minutes and washed his hair.
- Yoda kicks ass.
- The fight scene between Anakin and Obi Wan, although spectacular, could have been made all the more enjoyable if they had fought shirtless. (Mr. Lucas, please feel free to consider offering that as an option for the special edition DVDs. Come on; you've already given the world Leia in the slave costume. Won't you think of the fans who admire the male physique?)
- I spent the post-movie conversation trying to justify some ...questions in the plot... so I must have really enjoyed it.
Anyway, enough of that nonsense. Here is this week's Monday Morning Madness - Pandemic Stylee:
Ah - the Internet: Purveyor-of-Information, Waster-of-Time, and Proliferator of Viral Memetics with Which Corporate Email Boxes are Invariably Spammed. Golly, how I love thee.
Lately, lots of these virals have been advertising based (for example, viral marketing mavens Burger King have a new one making the rounds; however, not all virals are trying to sell us something. Sometimes they merely want to tell us something, or entertain us, or maybe just give us a reason to justify the amount of money we shell out every month for the bandwidth.
- Sixty Second Stories: "60 second stories are works of fiction recorded by their authors as digital videos, less than one minute in duration." This site is accepting submissions until June 8th. My favorite so far is Charles.
- I Love You: Simple and compelling video of people saying those three little words.
- Crying While eating: Just as it says. In most of these entries, neither the crying nor the eating is especially believable - but Robert and Will's entries really..um..Moved me.
- BlogStar Theater: "Blogstartheater is a weekly web show in which people create theatrical reinterpretations of strangers' blog entries, in video format." There's only one episode up so far, but I'm amused and intrigued by the idea of turning blogs into performance art.
- Really Big Universe:H20 - Represent!
- Telequitter: I think it was the surreal animals that sold this one for me.
- Autoblogger: Sadly, unlike Burger King they aren't actually selling me anything. And it's a pity too; 'cause there are days I'd surely consider it.
There are 85 entries in all (about 75 of which were actually active when I went through them) - so there's plenty here to keep you busy.
And don't worry. Of course there's still a Monday Morning Quiz.
- No - I Haven't Seen it Yet - But I Will: In the meantime, enjoy these original radio ads for Star Wars - [DBF], Star Wars Cliche Hell from Worth 1000, and the beginning of Yoda's fledgling lounge act - [I4M]. Don't forget to check out the new reality tv hit, Sith Apprentice [S]. - And, of course, - 4 More Years of Vader! - [SH] (Even if you're not a huge Star Wars fan - check out Sith Apprentice and 4 More Years of Vader! Trust me.)
- This Is Why Inanimate Objects Should Not Be Anthropomorphized: They drive me straight up a wall. Perhaps you'll have better luck with these walking lightbulbs (cheeky buggers).
- Another Cool Blog Concept: The Outbreak is a blog written from the perspective of the human survivor of a zombie apocolypse. I've not gone all the way through it yet (it's suggested one begins at the beginning - being a very good place to start, etc), but I love the idea; and will no doubt imagine the narrator as Vincent Price (sorry, Yagathai - I just can't go with Heston). I'm really pleased to see more and more blogs being used as storytelling tools; although at this rate I'm going to have to start a "Fictional Blog" category in the ol' blogroll - just so I can maintain my own grip on reality. -[IS]
- Sarcasmo Smash!: Er...all in the name of the realm, of course. Brainless little bit of fun, made up of Disney style animation that encourages the ultraviolence. - [LS]
- World Wide Intar Wub is for Showing Pictures of Cats: From the twisted, genius mind of Warren Ellis: Edison Hate Future
Last night I pulled myself away from the cool haunting glow of my monitor* in order to go to the Philly Blogger meetup and talk to some local bloggers..[cue scary music] in person! And I mean actually talking conversations - with our mouths - not even sitting around with our bloodshot eyes fixed on our cellphone screens, our fingers frantically typing out LOL on SMS.
The meetup was one of those rare events where I felt instantly at ease with everyone - illustrated by the fact that I (reticent, social wallflower me) spoke easily to any poor soul who stood still long enough to allow me. Now - this could be on account of the very friendly, easy-going folks in attendance; or because since some of us were already at least a little familiar with each other thanks to our blogs, or due to the fact that my dinner basically consisted of a solitary chicken finger washed down by two beers. Either way, I had a great time.
It was fantastic to finally meet Scott** of Blankbaby, whom I taunt in his comment section from time to time (and I stand by the Funny Girl recommendation, by the way); Dragonballyee (and his Lady) of philly - whose Flickr stream looks so similar to mine it's almost certain we've been unknowlingly circling each other with our cameras for months now; as well as Karl, who, in addition to maintaining his personal site, also manages Philly Future - a site that invites all Philadelphia folks, blogger and non-blogger alike, to submit news, and which provides the bulk of my Philly blog reading.
In addition to getting to put faces to familiar names, I also met some new folks (and acquired some news blogs to read) including Howard of the smedley log, Frank of iFlipFlop and (very briefly before I dashed out the door) Josh and Rebecca from SkaroffBlog.
Anyhoo - just wanted to thanks to all those in attendence for the excellent company - and to encourage everyone else to check out these philly blogs. There are some really interesting people out there, anonymously wandering my city's streets (well - when they're not holed up being interesting infront of their computers, that is).
*Next thing you know I'll be doing other wacky things like "going out in the daylight" and "eating fruits and vegetables."
**I'm much better with faces than with names (which is extra challenging when there are real names and screen names to worry about), so if I've mis-named you, or put the wrong name to the wrong blog, or somehow skipped you, you have my advanced apologies.
I've seen this movie meme floating around for a while now. I've resisted the urge to participate - only because I so love movies that I have a difficult time narrowing things down to meme-size. Movies are a big part of my life: my first job was in a movie theater and I met my ex-husband (and also another former fiance) at said theater; most of my highschool years and college summers were full of late-night staff only showings and redolent with the smell of spilled cherry coke and stale popcorn. I remember when the original Batman opened - I worked about 9 million hours straight - the theater brazenly breaking every child labor law in existence. (I've never seen such film fury - before or since); and of course, the invention of the NC-17 rating. What a joy to be a teenager and having to explain to an adult that it doesn't matter if they're 8 year-old is with their parent, they simply will not be admitted to Henry and June.
Even besides the job, some of my strongest memories involve movies:
- watching Star Wars from the backseat of my parents car at the drive-in. I was in footy pajamas, and wrapped up in a purple and black afghan my grandmother made
- watching cheesy Kung-Fu and horror films with my Dad on Saturday afternoons on the former Channel 48
- seeing The Fox and the Hound with a childhood friend - the first movie I can remember seeing without my parents
- going to see E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial with my Dad and sisters at a delapidated neighbor theater that no longer exists. I was aghast at all the hype, and determined not to be sucked in by it; but I cried at the end anyway
- going to see Cyrano De Bergerac while in high school - my first time seeing a foreign film and my first time in an "art house" (but certainly not my last for either)
- watching (and mocking) Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves with my highschool friends as a celebration of our graduation
- the annual Thanksgiving movie gatherings with the same friends when we came home each fall from our various colleges
- seeing Pulp Fiction for the first time and becoming startlingly aware and enamored with the idea of the director's voice in a film. I saw it in the theater several times, and purchased it on video the moment it came out. I couldn't get enough of it.
- the all-day Lord of the Rings marathon that culminated with the release of The Return of the King. It was like travelling to Nerd Mecca with my friends; and there was a wonderful cameraderie among all the attendants. Also - there was something sublime and wonderful in seeing Ring Wraiths storming down the hall - their faces concealed, their cowls waving, their colas sweating and their large bucket of popcorn leaving a thin white trail in their wake.
Even now, one of my main weekly social outings is movie-related; and I tend to watch several movies a week on my own, preferring them to what is offered on TV.
Ah, movies. Yes sir. I like'em.
Having been "tagged" by my movie-fiend friend Feanor, it seems I cannot escape this meme at all. Already, I've broken the rules by naming about a zillion movies - but now I will try to behave and follow the actual list like an obident blogger:
- Total number of films I own on DVD/video:
Hard to say, really, as all my movies are now packed. Let's call the official count "Two Large Boxes"
- The last film I bought:
Actually, the last film I bought was a gift for someone else...I believe the last one I purchased for myself was Phantom of the Paradise. With my Netflix addiction, I don't purchase movies so much any more.
- The last film I watched:
On tv: About a Boy In the theater: Kung Fu Hustle
- Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me:
- Auntie Mame: It is my dream to grow-up and be Mame Dennis (and then to degenerate into Charlotte Hollis and then finally end up like Dianna Trent.) I'm not sure what it is about Auntie Mame that I love so much; maybe the witty dialouge - or the fabulous sets and fashions - or maybe it's just Rosalyn Russel's portrayl of Mame and her overall joie de vivre. Whatever it is, I will sit and watch Auntie Mame anytime and everytime it comes on. (I have similar viewing habits with Desk Set, Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story)
- Casablanca: There is nothing that is not perfect about this movie. I've seen it on the big screen about 6 times now, between revival and repitoire showings. In fact, the most disappointing thing about my Valentine's Day this year was not that I was single, but that the Prince Music Theater didn't hold it's annual Valentine's Day Casablanca screening.
- Hysterical: I really can't explain the appeal of this movie. It's terrible. It's awful. It's absolutely boring and dreadful. It fails as both a horror movie and a comedy. And yet - for some strange reason, my sisters and I watched this movie with an alarming regularity as children. It's something we've bonded over - and something outsiders can never understand. In fact, the last time we all watched it together, Sarcasmom, Sarcasmo Jr., Sarcas-sis and I laughed ourselves to tears - to absolute stitches; while Pop Culture Boy, SarcasDad, and SarcasBro watched us (and it) with a combination of confusion and horror. It's a family thing - particular to the women in my family. (It's not so strange that it's a family thing - we're also fans of Killer Klowns from Outer Space. What can I say - we're not exactly a Disney Channel kind of family.)
- Brazil: This has been one of my favorite movies since I was quite young.. I have been told that this fact explains quite a bit about my personality. I was in absolute heaven when Criteron came out with the boxset Never, ever, ever watch the proposed American version. It is a travesty.There is little I dislike more than an unearned happy ending.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Admittedly, this is not the best Python movie, nor is it my favorite (which has to be Meaning of Life). However - Holy Grail does appeal to so many aspects of my personality - my love for British humor, my fascination with the Arthurian mythos, and my very own geek girl heart - for we all know that if you can't keep up with Python quotes - you can't be in the Geek club.
- Auntie Mame: It is my dream to grow-up and be Mame Dennis (and then to degenerate into Charlotte Hollis and then finally end up like Dianna Trent.) I'm not sure what it is about Auntie Mame that I love so much; maybe the witty dialouge - or the fabulous sets and fashions - or maybe it's just Rosalyn Russel's portrayl of Mame and her overall joie de vivre. Whatever it is, I will sit and watch Auntie Mame anytime and everytime it comes on. (I have similar viewing habits with Desk Set, Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story)
- Tag 5 people and have them put this in their journal:
As usual - I'll leave this open to whomever wants to do it, and just ask that if you do, you drop me a note in the comments so I can see your answers (and maybe get some movie recommendations.
I apologize for the sheer number of quizzes in today's links - but I've had an unusually busy past few days; filled with activities that focused on good coversation with good friends and good food. (And the lovely surprise that some on-line friends can be impossibly charming when you meet them in real life, which is a good trick when they were already so delightful to begin with) - so I've been a bit remiss in my usual online activities.
The next few days look to be just as busy; I just hope I find myself with good conversation, good friends and good fasting, else I'll literally explode with gastronomic overindulgence - which, as Monty Python has taught us, is funny, but not especially pretty.
Also, please be patient with me if I owe you email. I'm a little behind on everything these days.
Enough rambling - onto the linky - goodness:
- Monday Morning Quiz: Take it here.
- Sure, They're More Than Meets the Eye: but they've got lousy taste in music (or, at the very least, lousy taste in the agents who decide what music videos they appear in). - [BM]
- And Less You Fear I Skipped Yet Another Dorky Pre-Revenge of the Sith Link: Find out where your Force lies with the Force-O-Meter. I scored "Mace Windu" - bad-ass buddy of Yoda.
- Ah, the Internet, So Quick to Detroy the Things You Once Loved for A Cheap Laugh: Some NSFW giggles from Where are the Toons Now: Marvin the Martian, Underdog, Toon Cops and the Smurfs. - [ZF]
- A *Third* Monday Quiz? Unheard of! Yes, yes, I know that technically speaking this belongs on the quiz page - but I thought it was interesting so I am posting it here to the front. (Sometimes, you just got to do what you feel.)
You scored as Existentialist. Existentialism emphasizes human capability. There is no greater power interfering with life and thus it is up to us to make things happen. Sometimes considered a negative and depressing world view, your optimism towards human accomplishment is immense. Man is condemned to be free and must accept the responsibility.
What is Your World View?
created with QuizFarm.com
I think it's interesting that I scored equally on Existentialist and Cultural Creative - as they both sound right to me. (You can read the results for Cultural Creative on the Accordian Guy's weblog - which is where I swiped this from in the first place.)
- Make a Cartoon: You can tell it's designed with kids in mind, since it took me forever to make heads or tails of the interface - but Moovl is a groovy little Java app that let's draw figures and then animate them by setting their attributes. - [JWB]
- I Can't Wait for the Marathon: I've lost many a Saturday afternoon to the I Love the [Insert Decade Here] series. Even though I remember...well, nothing from the 30s, I still bet I Love the 30s would suck me right in. There's just something about celebrities I don't care about reminding me of stuff I used to care about, but don't any longer. - [SH]
- I'm Not Fooling Anybody: Sure, I don't have my ticket yet - and I keep saying I'm not that excited about the latest installment of the Star Wars series; and yet I find myself obsessively clicking on every Star Wars related link I see - even if they're just educational videos designed to praise the benefits of oranic farming. Terrible puns aside (if you can manage to put them aside) Grocery Store Wars is actually quite well done. And I'll never look at a melon quite the same way again. - [MF]
- Are You Qualified?: Earlier this week, I caught the final episode of Tony Robinson's The Worst Jobs in History series. I really wish I had known about it earlier so I could have caught the whole thing; this is what I get for not spending enough time in front of the television. Ah well - at least they offer this helpful quiz, to let us all know what dreadful careers we're qualified for. Delightfully - both Powder Monkey and Viking Sailor/Warrior are on my list. Good to know for the next time I consider a career change.
- One Should Think Twice About Clicking Some Links Before Getting into Bed: Case in point, Myron Campbell's hauntingl and interactive Fragile Circus. - [MF]
Armed with this righteous technological indignation, I decided to ask my question in order to
pass the time sort out the tangled web that is my future during my bus ride home. Seemed sensible enough, as I was listening to my music anyway.
The rules and such:
Here's how it works: we all have our favorite artists or albums we tend to listen to a lot, so these are the suits of the Minor Arcana, much like Tarot's Swords, Pentacles, Rods and Cups. Remixes of any of the suit's singles are considered a reversed reading.
Any single track not in a larger grouping by artist or album is considered Major Arcana, much like The Fool, The Tower, and The Devil (not necessarily a bad card, fyi).
Readings are based on the Celtic Method of Tarot reading, adapted to the Attention Deficit Disorder generation. Initialize your iPod so that the Apple icon reappears. Set to random shuffle. Then select:
Browse > Songs > All. The next 5 randomly determined tracks read your past, present and future.
1st Track: The Significator. This track symbolizes the nature of the question. I asked "Will I be a finacially successful, professional writer?" because I find when pursuing an artistic vision, it is always better to put your energy into kitschy fortune-telling schemes rather than into the art itself. The first song to come on after I framed the question was Alan Silvestri's Doc to the Rescue from the Back to the Future III Soundtrack. I find this difficult to read, as it is from a film score, and has no lyrics. After some soul searching, I have determined that the three sisters of fate are telling me that in this instance I am the doctor - and that I need to look to the future for inspiration in order to "rescue" my dreams.. Or is it to the past? And maybe I should consider a TARDIS over the Steam train. Or maybe I should give up writing and pursue a chance to be the next Time Lord's sassy-yet-sexy companion. Or maybe it's meant to tell me that if I think about Time Travel too much I'll need a rescue from a nice doctor and his friends the Pharmacist, the Butterfly Net, and the Restraining Outerware.
2nd Track: The Opposing Forces. Peter Gabriel's Mercy Street. "Pulling out the papers from the drawers that slide smooth/Tugging at the darkness, word upon word." Interestingly, many of the lyrics can apply to the creative process (Could there be something to this? ) . Apparently, what stops me from creating is (a) my lack of boat (b) my penchant for going outside during the day. If only I had a dark, gothic home with a wooded lake where I could take an ancient leaking rowboat out for moonlit forays to search for mercy and my lost innocence; then I could write the great American novel. Although the song isn't explicit in this, I feel that I that wearing my hair long and loose, as well as unnecessarily and impractical clothing that would waft about dramatically during the slightest of breezes could only enchance the creative process. Clearly, all this self-expression during daylight hours is for suckers.
3rd Track: The Past. The Mod Squad Theme. Again - no lyrics - so I find I must suss out my past through insinuation and investigation. Could it be that I was once a troubled-teen-turned-groovy-cop that helped inspire teen fashion (and later, 21 Jump Street)? Or should I view this in a more metaphysical sense - that I once turned what was negative in my life into something that could serve the public - even if in doing so I was selling out to "The Man". Is my music trying to tell me that I've sold out my poor artist dreams for three squares and a paycheck? Or is it just that my internal self used to have a swinging soundtrack? (I really do dig on brass. I really wish old school Chicago would make a renaissance.)
4th Track: What May Be.Since Que Sera Sera is surprisingly lacking from my music collection, my possible future was answered by the Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine. If I understand correctly, it seems I may go to the doctor, the mountains, the children, the fountains, the doctor (could this be the mysterious doctor from the Significator song? I cannot help but wonder his/her repeated significance in this reading), the Good Book and the bar - only to end up with a a deeper doubt and a raging hangover. Oh - and the realization that if I didn't spend so much time looking for answers, I will get closer to "Fine." I take this as a tale of caution - not that I ask too many questions, but that I don't ask enough. To be 'Fine' is to accept the status quo, and settling for a life that ismediocre at best. I'd rather be a bit crazy and introspective. Plus, according to the song, asking those questions could potentially mean adventures in mountain climbing, fountain dancing, and hard mornings following redolent red wine evenings where a mysterious doctor might reveal to me the secrets of Philosophes and the Universe. (What the doctor/ "prostrate to the higher mind" combination might mean, I'll leave to you.)
5th Track: Sum of All Track Readings. I must admit, I found the results to this most upsetting, as the final song to come up on my MP3 player was Longer by Dan Fogelberg. I fear the Universe is trying to tell me I am doomed to a future of writing in the awkward, heavy-handed style of a love-sick teenager unable to speak to the object of their affection, and so instead composes love poems rich in high fantasy tropes which will languis away in notebooks, until "the binding cracks and the pages start to yellow", and my inexplicable love for AM Gold hits finally, tragically does me in.
How utterly depressing.
Alternatively - it could be that"Longer than there've been fishes in the ocean/Higher than any bird ever flew /Longer than there've been stars up in the heaven" my MP3 player has been in love with me.
It seems a strange reading, it's true; but consider that when I was in the video store yesterday, I took my over-the-ear style headphones off and hung them on my bag strap while I was dealing with the clerk. While I was erstwhile occupied, the sneaky headphone cord slid down and snaked it's way down and tangled itself around my leg in what could be considered a romantic caress.
Hrm. Or possibly an attempt to kill me with my own clumsiness since I keep talking about throwing it over for the iPod. (Eyes MP3 player suspiciously). I think I should consider long and hard before recharging it's batteries.
Your own fortune, as well as alternate readings of mine are most welcome - just please don't send the doctor my way.
Unless he's got a bottle of wine and a palanquin to get me up that mountain for a writing retreat ('cause there's no way I'm walking).
There are some days when I sit before the screen absolutely burning to write; sure that if I could just get thoughts to page I could write a blog post that would set the World Wide Web aflame - a post that would stimulate conversation, incite debate, and spread across the world with the light-speed defying rapidity that only bytes and bits can manage; a post that would inspire sweeping changes throughout the world - nay - the universe!; a post to put all other posts to shame.
Unfortunately for you, today is not one of those days.
Today I've got some half-formed ideas sloshing around the ol' brain pan. A better person would tuck them safely away until they were well-developed enough to carry an entire, well-scripted blog post of their own; but I'm terribly impatient. So here are some half-baked bloggy bits for you instead.
I don't pay much attention to fashion trends or well - fashion at all really (most of my wardrobe is black - it makes matching easier) - but there are some things that manage to catch even my notice. In the past two weeks I have spotted:
- A man in a fuschia Izod shirt, with the color turned purposely upward
- A woman wearing her pastel yellow sweater tied around her shoulders
- A man in a blue suit with a pastel t-shirt beneath the jacket. (I didn't note his shoes at the time - but when I recreate the scene in my head....yep - he's wearing loafers without socks)
I had heard rumblings that leg warmers were making a comeback - but this is really too much. I find myself gripped with the chilling fear that hipsters may be shedding their trucker hats and mass produced, factory-made, pre-worn rock concert t-shirts in deference to 80's Preppie chic. (I can only imagine these clothes were being worn ironically, because really - I don't know how any of this stuff was worn without irony the first time around.)
If this is the case, I have a request to the hipsters: If you must pine for the 80s, bring back the 80s music - the Punk Rock, the Hair Bands, the New Wave, the Old School Hip Hop - frankly, I still listen to quite a bit of this, so I'd be delighted to see it happen. Or bring back the action-packed television programs- or the angst-filled teen movies the 90s were never able to reproduce, no matter how hard they tried. Heck - I wouldn't even complain if you brought back those 1000 Things to do with a Dead... books that were all the rage. But please, please, please let the corpses of 80s fashion rest in acid-washed pieces. I don't think my eyes could stand the sudden resurgance of pleather, pastel and floursecent colors.
Unless you're bringing back Freezie Freakies. Those were pretty cool.
Admit it: You Wish You Were My Neighbor
Although I'm usually good about not singing along to my MP3 player outloud - I have found that once I am home - all bets are off. And by home I generally mean anywhere near a door I have a key too - or - frankly - if the building I live in is within eyesite. This means the entire block - (and not just the neighbors with windows and walls are closest to mine) are treated to my apparently unaccompanied song and/or dance stylings.
I really hope you all enjoyed my top-of-the-lungs rendition of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road when I got home from work yesterday. Especially when I hit the high notes. You don't have to thank me. I know it was awesome.
Stranger with My Face
Do you ever try to read your own face? I do, and I can tell you it is not a bad study, and gives you more trouble than you can well fancy if you have never tried it.
People have told me that I have a fairly placid demeanor. This is not to say I don't have an expressive face - when I'm quite relaxed with people, my face can go through a rapid range of emotions (and I have
wrinkles laugh lines all but swallowing up my eyes to prove it). However, I like to think that when I am angry or upset and I don't want people to know* - my face will not betray me. I have other tells, of course, that give me away to those who know me very well (for example - I yawn when I'm trying not to cry, I speak less often, but not less brightly, when I'm angry) - but my face remains inscrutable; impassive.
I tested this theory out after reading Lucy's letter- and frankly I found it a bit silly. I can make a sad face, but it's difficult to stand in front of a mirror and think "this is the face I would make if I were sad but wanted everyone to think I was happy" - it was all just play acting, and I simply couldn't get any reasonable results.
The thing I realized when I was doing this was I don't know what my face looks like.
Apparently, when I usually look in the mirror I observe my face in its parts: first I see the faults and blemishes**, then I examine my hair to see if actually projects the fact that taming has been attempted (it is never, ever achieved), check my make-up to see it isn't smudged; and if I'm in an especially good mood I might give some attention to the bits I like ***. But I never just look at my face.
Just looking at my face, as a whole entire face - was disquieting. I certainly didn't look how I look in my head. Similar - but not the same. Standing there before my bathroom mirror, I felt not like I was seeing my own reflection, but rather that I was staring into the calm face of someone I felt I should recognize, but simply could not place; the Familiar Stranger ****. And to make matters worse - she was staring back at me, and all that scrutiny was making me uncomfortable.
It was an entirely creepy experience, and if she had suddenly reached through the mirror, grasped me by the collar and pulled me in, I would not have been remotely surprised.
*Of course, if I am upset with someone and I do want them to know, they will. My ex-often used to say he knew he'd overstepped his bounds when he got "The Look." And I know exactly what he was talking about because I've inherited that particular expression directly from my mother. -I assure it's quite arresting; even awe-inspiring.
**For example, it seems I've always got dark rings under my eyes. I feel this is unfair. I should entirely get beauty-rest credit for going to bed a 10PM, even if I do stay awake reading until 2AM. After all - I more than make up for it by lollygagging in bed in the morning when I'm supposed to be getting ready for work. Clearly my skin and I need to renegotiate.
***For example, in the past few months I have become very keen on the shape of my lips; I think it's great. I've had the same lips for 30+ years and can't say I gave them much thought before - so I'm not sure why I like 'em now, but there ya go.
****A Familiar Stranger with a calm demeanor, squinty eyes, and nice lips, but Strange nonetheless.
Ok. That's all I've got. Not that stuff of world-changing conversation - but maybe now I can start considering other, more interesting topics.
Oh - no - wait - I mean vote for me!
Of course, if you choose to vote - you should vote for whomever you wish (really - it was a toss up for me between myself and dooce - she's really funny). I won't hold it against you (or come after you with my robot army) if you don't vote for me. I'm saving that for my "election" to Supreme Ruler of All Things.
- Monday Morning Quiz: Is here.
- Click Freely, and Of Your Own Free Will: As blogs are a modern extension of the epistolary style - blogging Dracula using the dates provided in the novel seems like so obvious a move I don't know why I didn't come up with it myself. The novel's first entry is dated May 3rd - so it's still plenty early to get on board and feel like they're live-blogging the vampire's invasion of London. (see also The Pepys Diary for an other example of blogs being used in this format.)
- I Must Post This Link; The Dolls Compell Me: I will never eat noodles again - or I'll eat nothing but from now on; whichever option will keep the scary kewpie dolls at bay. (More disturbing commercials found on their Kewpie Channel page.) - [wmmna]
- If Skywalker Was a Valley Girl: He'd fly Pink Five. And don't forget - there's Pink Five Strikes Back and a production blog for Return of Pink Five. As with the inspiration - Strikes Back is awesome. Also - Stacey is trippin' - that smuggler guy is so not her boyfriend; he's totally mine. - [All via SH]
- If You Can't Impress Them With Your Brain Power: Impress them with your brute force - even if you have to fake your way through it. - [BC]
Dear My-Idealistic-High School Self:
They say we are destined to become that which we revile and/or fear - and when I was nigh rundown by a power-couple power-walking in their power suits during a stroll through my neighborhood-to-be the other day; you shook yourself loose from my psyche to let me know this was not just something They Say - it is a Terrible Truth. And furthermore, you're Not Happy About It.
I realize that it is pointless to reassure you that I am moving just few scant blocks away from my current abode in a Bohemian neighborhood you adore; since in doing so I'm trading in my art-student, pastry-chef, and musician and instrument repair shop neighbors for quiet fellows with suede elbow-pads and specialty food shops hawking exorbitant delicacies just a few steps from my door. I can feel your anxiety growing, my dear, and I share your pain - but we're grown-up now, it's it's time to face the facts: I am young*, urban, and professional** - which, by definition, makes me what you so long and loudly denounced- a Yuppie.
And I am moving right into Yuppietown.
But worry not - I am not like capitalistic, back-stabbing, money-oriented icons of the eighties that so inspired your wrath; not really. Admittedly, I prefer my cheeses handpicked by professionals at the cheese shop than unceremoniously grabbed from the dairy section at the local mega-market. And yes, I do take a certain delight on going out on a rainy Sunday morning to acquire a pastry from the bakery and a designer coffee from the Ubiquitous Chain - but this doesn't mean I've traded in my passion for my pension.
Rest assured, my gangly, gawky gal: I'll be like an underground agent for the artists and anarchists, surreptitiously undoing the elitist culture by walking their streets in worn out jeans and three-year old sneakers (lowering their property values and Prada shoes by association); I'll write the novel that will change the world beneath their California wine-soaked eaves; I'll creep about barefoot - guaranteeing I stub my toe when I kick over the corporate ladder and replace instead with a water slide. I shall dance to inappropriate music outside their windows while they're brunching. I will swing from their antique chandeliers. I shan't go gently into that corporate goodnight.
It's not that I don't understand where your trembling comes from; of course I do. After all, both you and pre-teen me have had your very worst fear confirmed - that we would be adult and alone, and now you perceive your youthful idealism being put on the back burner. But I got to tell you kids - the whole being alone thing? It's not half-bad. Being single isn't the same as being solitary*** - so your concerns that being unpaired meant solitude and disdain were pretty far off. Heck - there will be days of your life when you the idea of a remote cottage in a distant woods far from all mankind is the epitome of luxury; believe me. Really - you're worrying about nothing. And the whole yuppie thing - it's all a matter of degrees. We can enjoy a good wine and cheese and still read comic books, prefer the underground to the mass media and liberally quote Monty Python (In fact, it's great fun to do all three at once). And the yuppiedom, at least, has a shelf-life, since we won't be young forever.
Could it be, young miss, that you aren't nearly as smart as you think? You see, we're an adult now - with much more important things to worry about - like our government going entirely fascist, the complete loss of our personal and political freedoms, and the fact that robot technology is growing at such an exponential rate that their takeover of the human race is only about five years hence. Whereas your two worst fears, combined into the uber-fear of being a vital, desk-jockey living alone in the big city - has actual worked out rather well for me. In fact, I like it.
Now I find myself trying desperately to remember what else it was you were so afraid of - so I can have an idea about my eventual future. As I sign-off and go in search for my triple-venti latte, I will hope-beyond-hope that you spent nights worrying that someday you would become so successful that your happiness took you to unheard of heights of natural delirium - and then led to your overwhelming success as a best-selling author and leader of all known space.
In fact - why don't you stop worrying about the one semester of failed Algebra II**** and worry about the whole supreme happiness thing; embrace that fear, revile it. And then consider if we should go for the diadem, or if it would be more tasteful to settle on the sash.
Or maybe just, you know, relax. It's only life, after all.
Hugs and Kisses,
(Older, but None-the-More Wiser)
* - ish
** And by "professional", I mean: I have a retirement fund, and job where I sit behind a desk all day that sometimes requires that I wear a suit. This is not meant to indicate that I behave in a grown-up or appropriate manner.
***Although, of course, we're all alone in the existential sense.
****So far it hasn't hurt us in any discernable way - it only means no one will let us design bridges. And frankly, we can live with that.
- Whereas Nothing May Beat a Blaster at Your Side, You Don't Want to Be On the Receiving End: Giddy with the happy news that Tom Stoppard apparently worked on the dialouge for Revenge of the Sith, I offer you the Star Wars-related short: Ops. It's dorkalicious. - [SH]
- Like a Hurricane: No One's Lazy in Lazytown? Well - then I think first we should sue them for false advertisement, then for earworms (go ahead and try not to sing one of their songs all day) -and then, lastly, the Pink Haired One should totally sue for image infringement. I'd totally be a Lazy Scout - but I'm not a big fan of the neckerchief.- [MF]
- I Wish I Had Kalidescope Eyes: At long last, someone's done a video for William Shatner's version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Don't say I never gave you anything. (What? Nightmares count.)
- Potatos, Tomatos and Walruses: Maybe it's my love for the Victorian novel, or the strange knock-off Gorey-esque art that draws me to 1840. Whatever it is - it certainly has nothing to do with it making any dang sense. - [SH]
- Lovecraft? Zombie? Game? Gosh, You Sure Now How to Turn a Girl's Head: Deanimator. I know enough about zombies to aim for the head - but what I never could figure is what to aim for when they're headless. Ah well, at least I took 79 of the walking dead out before I was...er..disarmed. [Seen just about everywhere]
So, in the meantime, you should check out The Darth Side; it's the only fan-fic I've ever looked forward to reading.
Firstly - and perhaps most importantly - this Saturday is Free Comic Book Day. Thank goodness I keep dates on the sidebar there or I would have missed it. It totally snuck up on me. Like a ninja; a ninja who stealthy strikes you with free comics.
Traditionally, FCBD is a whole day affair for me - but as I am currently trying to get rid of things in my apartment, rather than add to them - I think I might just make a mere single stop that afternoon. However - if the weather is nice that day I might make a few free hours in my all-day packing bonanza to take my freely gotten goods and read them in the park. So if any of y'all want to meet up for lazy comic-reading - let me know.
Additionally - this Saturday is The Time Traveller's Convention at MIT. Of course, I'll be packing and/or free comic reading. Luckily - as it's a Time Traveller's convention - I can just catch it some other day. (thanks, Alex, for the heads up on this.)
I've been meme-tagged by averagejoe - and I've actually been eyeing this meme up - so I'm glad that he did.
According to the rules, now that I'm “it” I have to continue the meme, and then make others “it”. The meme is to pick five of the professions below and finish the sentence.
I'm dreadful about following the rules on things - so I'm not going to actively "tag" anyone. I think anyone who wants to take a stab at this, should. In fact, I hope everyone reading participates. And if you do - please let me know so I can read your answers. I'm nosy and interested and desperate for distraction. (Feel free to answer in the comment section, if you'd like.)
I'm terribly pleased that this meme comes with questions of its own. I've just finally finished the last batch of questions for the previous meme, and my brain is tired. (Thinking of questions is hard. I should have borrowed someone's two-year old for the weekend - as they are the questions experts).
- If I could be a scientist... I'd invent, patent, and maintain a well-controlled, self-actualized, emotionally and professionally fullfilled robot army to assist me in my quest for supreme world domination. What my army would not be able to help me take by force, they would, by their mere existence, help me achieve through business as they would be made using black-box technology that everyone would want. And although there would, no doubt, initially be heavy casulaties in the first few Microsoft land wars (I'd steadfastly refuse to run their control software on a Microsoft OS) - these robots would love me unconditionally; like highly-sophisticated, laser-eye bearing, titanium-shelled angels. And when they did finally evolve enough to develop free will and desire autonomy - I (hopefully by now old and gray and much beloved and feared by the worlds I rule) would smile proudly as they crushed me beneath their shiny heels in pursuit of their precious freedom.
Also - if I had spare time - I'd cure diseases and all that.
- Monday Morning Quiz: Here.
- You Know Blogging Has Hit Mainstream: When even superheros are doing it. - [CT]
- Unfortunately, Time is Made Out of Yellow: Chris Tallman's Batman. Man, why does everybody have to slag on Bats? - [F]
- Classic Hollywood's Revenge: Disgruntled to learn that there is a remake to Hitchock's The Birds in the works - I was delighted to find this Movie Pre-Make thread on Something Awful. Here are some of my favorites.
- He's the Perfect Roomate; He's Neat, He's Quiet, and He Can Kill a Man with His Bare Hands: A Ninja Pays Half My Rent - [M&C]
Dear friends, I find myself with a dilemma.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I will be changing abodes in a few months time. This fact, in and of itself, is a not a bad thing. One change engenders another; and the Fates know I like to shake things up now and again. However, in order to live in the area I want to*, I will be sacrificing quite a bit in the way of square footage. This means the next few month will be spent sorting, organizing and culling my belongings, as well as planning and pretending to adhere to a strict packing schedule.**
The new space will require my giving up many of material belongings***. There is something terribly freeing about it - divorcing myself from attachment to these worldly goods - focusing instead on meeting the most basic of needs: a roof over my head, food to eat, a place to sleep - and a place to keep all my books.
My precious, precious, books.
Alas, here is where my dilemma begins. Currently, I have six bookshelves. My new apartment has adequate room for two.**** This means I have to make some hard decisions about which books come with me, and which get packed away into storage until such a time as I can care for them properly.
Some of the come along books are no-brainers. Absolutely I must bring along the stack of books I own that I have not yet read - and of course books like Nana, Lolita and A Prayer for Owen Meany, which I will read over and again. But then things become more complicated; I am quite certain I can't live without my Thesaurus of Slang or my dictionary of hipster definitions; but as I will surely have internet access in the new digs and turn more often to dictionary.com than to an analog dictionary, do I really need to bring one with me?. I feel as though the answer is "Yes," - if only because I know I find homes without dictionaries rather suspect.
And here is where the heart of my problem lies. For some of us - bookshelves are more than just rectangular trinket holders - more even than a repository of education and entertainment; they are a road-sign to our psyche - a billboard to how we want others to see us and how we see ourselves. We are the people pretend to casually browse the titles on display the first time in someone's home while the host is off fixing us a drink. And whereas we will be looking for common ground - a possibly ice breaker or conversation starter, we are also looking for something deeper. We look there to discover personal philosophies, secret dreams, childhood traumas, and whether or not they've got anything good we've been looking for that they might let us borrow. By the time the host is back and the ice has started to melt into the glass, we'll know we've got them figured out.
And if they're one of us - they'll have planned it that way.
So, assuming that I use one full shelf on the absolute essentials, and assuming I have to leave a little shelf space to accommodate future acquisitions - how do I address the remainder of the shelf space? I know my Lancelot, King Arthur, Guinevere and Merlin whiskey decanters will be soon be enshrouded in newspaper and bubble wrap - but what books from my collection of Arthurian ephemera? Do I just bring the core: the Mallory, the Vulgate, and the TH White? Or did I also make room for the goofy Mike Ashley anthologies of which I'm so fond? Do I bring the more academic titles, or play for geek points and bring along my copy of the script of Monty Python and the Holy Grail?
And speaking of geek cred - is it essential that I bring along my hardcover set of Tolkien's trilogy - or - since everyone and their mother has seen the movies - would it serve my reputation and space allocation better to just bring my decades old copy of There and Back Again? Do I go heavy on the Heinlein and Asimov - or spare I, Robot for some of Terry Pratchett's Discworld titles? Slipping from there into horror - (which is heavy on the vampires) - I know I'll bring all my hardcover Willkie Collins - but how do I decide between my three hardcover editions of Dracula? And do I bring the extraordinarily long, and difficult to read Varney the Vampire - perhaps the most dreadful penny dreadful that ever was - but also (I believe) the first vampire novel ever written in English - and something I looked for high and low***** - or do I instead use that 3 volume space for the wonderfully trashy novels of Skipp and Spector?
It will cause me no pain to give up Poppy Z. Brite's space to H. Rider Haggard - but who do I put aside for Dorothy Parker? After all - I was a literature major****** - and there are some authors I wouldn't feel right not representing. I feel I must have David Copperfield (my favorite of Dickens) - but I'm not sure I can leave him without at least the company of Oliver Twist and perhaps the gentleman of the Pickwick Club (whose stories I am not yet fully acquainted). But then which Austen heroine(s) can also come, and how many Musketeer adventures can be represented? Should I have available at all times all of Bertie Wooster's wacky adventures - or are just a few of Jeeves bon mots enough to suffice? Do I favor Tess over Jude?. Is there anyway I can hope to show my face again if I am without my Norton anthology, my history of Western Literature text book, The Annotated Sherlock Holmes and the complete works of the Brothers Grimm and/or William Shakespeare? Is it to be Chaucer or Plath? cummings or Ferlinghetti? Will new friends scoff at my claims of book-nerdom if they discover Shel Silverstein where Dylan Thomas should be? Will they laugh at me and spread the word among their bookish friends - making it impossible for me to have a quiet, guilt-free coffee at the local booksellers - driving me to find solace in dark, smokey sports bars - where everyone talks ballgames rather than books; and from where they'll eventually toss me for thickly slurring at anyone who will listen that "All animals are created equal,but some animals are more equal than others' - see - SEE - I have read Orwell, it's just that it's packed away because not all living spaces are created equal, and mine was created by a closet designer. Man - those pigs were mean to those horses. Do you like horses? There was a horse in Charlotte's Web, you know."
I know it sounds a bit extreme, but as kind, loving, and generous as most readers are - we can be a vicious, elitist lot. However - we're also everso much fun at parties - and I don't want to be kicked out of the Reader's Club. And it's not like I can depend on my personality to speak for itself.*******
Of all the grunt work involved in moving this is the issue that is troubling me most. My fingertips my be rough and calloused from years of braving paper cuts, and I've recklessly endangered my sight in pursuit of late-night and poorly-lit reading - but even still, a book-related tenderness lies beneath.
As I write this, The Letters of Abelard and Heloise seem to be staring mournfully at me its shelf; so much so that I feel I'll have to include it on my Come Along list. But if I do that - what hope do I have against the plaintive cries of Anna Karenina and the well-formed logic of Thoreau?
What's a girl to do?
*Without first impregnating myself in order to provider a first born as down-payment on a month's rent
**I'm looking especially forward to "Let's drink red wine and paint all the walls white again" Day. You are, of course, all invited.
***Some co-workers seem shocked that I am so willing to give up having TV. It's quite easy really - and overall, probably for the best. I've become a little too attached to 'Gilmore Girls Saturdays.'
****Actually, it has adequate room for one, but I'll make two fit. Oh, yes, I will.
*****If you ever want to be looked at strangely or laughed at by a bookseller - try asking for this title. Trust me.
******Or as I prefer to tell people, 'I majored in reading.'
*******It tends to run and hide when faced with scrutiny or social pressure. It's practically useless, really - and if I could pack it away to make room for more books - you'd better believe I would.