Friday Follies - The Somewhat Inapporpirate Inappropriate Edition   

Ok - so "Inappropirate" isn't a word. But it totally should be.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, November 30, 2006
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Monday Morning Evening Madness   

Had a nice trip through my own private fantasy land this weekend. (Or, as I like to think of it, Someday the Universe Will Mold to My Will And Make My Dreams So.)

First, I received a postcard from Egypt, very generously sent by Greg Buras of Delenda Est Carthago. When I was a kid, I was fascinated with mummification and treasure packed acursed tombs, and wanted for some time to be an Egyptologist. At some point, however, it struck me that the bulk of the tombs had likely been pilfered explored by wealthy British men in pith helmets some many decades before my birth had even been foretold, leaving me to imagine a future life as an Egyptologist would largely be made up of sitting in libraries, sneezing away centuries of history as I poured over delicate scrolls. And whereas that, as a professional past time sounds ideal to me now - it was less enchanting when I was selecting my schooling. I couldn't see getting into Archaeology unless it was going to let me be Indiana Jones. Still, I've never quite shaken my desire to see Egypt. And Greg's postcard (depicting the Temple of Hatsehpsut, the only female pharoh of Egypt - a well cool choice on Greg's part I think) and his declaration that he was writing it while crusing south along the Nile filled me with great jealously longing to see it indeed. Cheers, Greg. (Incidentally, Greg is slowly but surely documenting his trip on his blog - so be sure to go and visit.) I may not be Indianna Jones, but I do intend to visit someday. And not being Dr. Jones, I'll be less likely to be troubled by impetuous young women. And Nazis. And impetuous young women Nazis.

On Saturday, SarcasMom and I took a journey of our own, albeit slightly closer to home. Specifically we went to Longwood Gardens - a sort of horticulture epicenter which is done up big for the holidays to attract all the local tourists. The "gardens" were once the summer getaway of the duPont family, and include such amenities as a conservatory, a tower, a couple of lakes, some formal gardens, an ice rink, an organ, and a topiary garden. Everytime we turned a green, well-manicured corner, I half expected to stumble across a well-apointed garden party, where everyone was dressed in their whitest Victorian finery and quietly denying the demure sexual tension that surrounded them. It became clear to me very quickly that this grand place was too much for the public at large, and that indeed, it was meant to be mine, mine, all mine - and in all my Gothic glory. (Well, look, it makes sense. I'm going to need an appropriate place to wander about barefoot, loose haired and slightly mad in the wee morning hours whilst wearing a gossamer dressing gown. It is, after all, the future I've been preparing for my whole life long.)

As I stood upon the parapet in front of the conservatory, overlooking the formal garden and to this hills and chime tower in the distance, I felt in my heart of hearts that this was the view I was meant to see while having my coffee in the morning. This was the meadow in which I needed to wander with journal in hand (and these the ticks I'll need to send for the doctor to remove, thrice weekly.) I don't even need the whole of the grounds really. I don't even especially care for the house. I'd be able to move quite comfortably into the conservatory, which has a beautifully ceilinged ballroom for dancing, a music room which could be easily converted into a stunning library (complete with the ever important fireplace) and more acreage in and of itself than I think one would get if they cobbled together every house, apartment and dorm room in which I ever lived.

So, sorry if you're planning on visiting Longwood Gardens anytime in the future, you may want to go sooner rather than later - because once I make my fortune (which I shall do by sitting here patiently for it to fall into my ever-deserving lap) I'm kicking the public out and making this rural stomping ground all my own.

Of course, the topiary garden will have to go - likely to be replaced by a much more intriguing hedge maze. And you can blame Stephen King for that one. I read The Shining at such an impressionable age that to this day, I can't turn my back on the Mickey Mouse topiary figure that greets guests in Disney World, because I swear every time I stop looking directly at him, I see his position shift out of the corner of my eye just a little bit. (That mouse, he's shifty). Hedge mazes are slightly less scary. Besides which, I learned on an old episode of Batman that one can easily escape any garden maze by simply taking all the left turns. And I see no reason why Adam West would lie to me.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, November 27, 2006
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Monday Morning Madness...   

...will be about 12 hours late today - mostly because sometimes sitting around listening to Ella Fitzgerald croon Lullaby of Birdland is a far more satisfying way to spend a Sunday evening than watching silly movies on the Internet.

No. Seriously.

In the mean time, here's the quiz.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, November 26, 2006
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Friday Follies   

I am far too turkey tired to be clever. Here are some links:

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, November 23, 2006
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Monday Morning Madness   

I am an unabashed fan of the 1967 film version of Casino Royale (both the DVD and soundtrack for this film are in my personal collection; in fact, it is the only Bond film I own); and often upset die hard Bond fans by announcing my Bond preference to be David Niven. (It is said the Ian Fleming wanted Niven to play Bond in the official films, so I feel vindicated in choosing him over, even, Connery). That said, I saw the new Bond film this weekend - and although no Bond could ever take David Niven's place in my heart, Danny Craig comes in a very close second.

Sorry Mr. Connery.

I have one complaint, however - what kind of crappy Bond song was that? Where's Shirley Bassey when you need her?

Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, November 19, 2006
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Friday Follies   

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, November 16, 2006
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Checking In   

Hello my Tigers and Tigressess, my Cats and Kittens, my Cheetaharas and Panthros. How are you? I feel as though we never talk any more. I know, I know - it's me who's been remiss. My schedule has gone from "Aw, heck, I'll sleep when I'm dead" to "Aw, heck ,the dead don't need sleep anyway." I told my friends that I plan to give up my psychotic socializing and become a wi-fi enabled hermit in 2007 - to which they roundly responded "Yeah. Right." I'd like to kick their collective smug behinds for being right, but frankly, these days, I can't fit it in.

But all these shennanigans don't mean I haven't been thinking about you, Internet, in that Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, always on my mind sort of way. There's been loads of tihngs I've been wanting to share with you. Such as:

Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, November 15, 2006
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Monday Morning Madness   

I don't normally embed YouTube videos on the front page (although the heavens know I link to them often enough), but I particularly wanted to share this video by Kilroy, a local musician, film maker and bon vivant who has the distinction of being one of the few people whom I have known for a number of years which is higher than that our of ages when we first met.

I had the pleasure of meeting his lovely, friendly, and funny wife this weekend, and on the off chance she is reading this - I'd like to assure her that conversations with my friends and I don't always revolve around the the tastiest way to prepare the blood of the innocents, or the dismemberment of frozen pachyderms (although naturally such topics do surface from time to time, as such things do) and should we chance to meet again, I hope she shan't run screaming.

And speaking of local talents, I recently sat for local photographer Dominic Mercier, who is photographing Philadelphians in their favorite places for his ongoing Philadelphia Portrait Project. If you're a Philly reader, I encourage you to get in touch with Dominic and participate. I've mentioned before that I'm not the best model for a photo shoot - but Dominic was delightful, and worked so quickly I barely had time to be nervous. And I think he really pegged me with the shot he chose.

Not much news from these parts otherwise. I once again bent time/space in order to rearrange furniture in my apartment. I was on the phone with my sister during the moving process (during which time I managed to trap myself in a corner - quite literally). She asked me why I didn't get someone to help me. To which I responded "Nah - I can manage myself." What I really meant, however, was "Because they would try and talk some sense into me." I managed to get things the way I wanted them, although I destroy my cable tv in the process...and getting into the office portion of my bedroom now takes a good sidling step and a deep breath - but dammit, I did it. Never underestimate the power of my stubborn.

And on to the links - almost all of which are things to watch, because I'm too tired from hauling furniture around to do anything that takes much effort:

What's going on in your neck of the woods?

Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, November 12, 2006
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Monday Morning Madness (Evening Edition)   

Appy-polly-ologies, Internets; I fear my weekend got away from me. Actually, it was a pretty quiet weekend, as weekend goes, but when it comes to having to get things done, I find the that the days where I have too much free time on my hands to be the worst offenders.
And, I'm a slacker.

In other news, tomorrow is election day here in the States. I hope all of you who are eligible will take the time to vote.

I'm terribly distressed about this election, because the other day I found myself thinking "I hope my team wins." What a sickening thought. When did this country become so polarized? And what's worse, when did I buy into it?

If one must carry the sports analogy through (which I am now going to do poorly, and most likely inaccurately), they should consider the United States one team, the voters the coach, and the politians players - to be hired, fired and/or traded as best suits our nations needs.

What? You wouldn't trade Bush for "Bush is the Devil" Chavez for a season if you could? Clearly you lack imagination - whereas I merely lack an indepth understanding of our legal system and this great experiment of ours.

Actually - I thought I had a fairly good handle on it once, but with the proliferation of Presidential signing statements and Habeus Corpus out the window, I'm find I'm a bit hazy on the rest works too. It's certainly more fluid than it was when I took Civics.

In any case - I hope everyone who can vote will vote, and will vote their hopes rather than their fears. (Regardless of whether your hopes are opposed to my own.) Personally, I'm hoping I don't have to hear about fear much longer - this campaign ads are making me ill.

Blah. Feh. Etc. Onto the bread and circuses of the Internet, or, as you prefer - the links:

Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, November 06, 2006
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Friday Follies (This Should Probably Be About 4 Separate Posts, But I'm Lazy)   

Some of you have noted that Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) has begun. Having recognized that I wasn't even able to generate a blog post on Wednesday as I originally planned, despite it being the final day of my vacation and my not having to do any actual work that day, I have realized my schedule may be a bit on the hysterical hectic side to try and commit myself to a 50K story in one month's time. I will be participating, as is my tradition, by purchasing a Nanowrimo t-shirt (or, perhaps, mug), emotionally supporting my much - braver - and - more - creative - than - me friends who are participating, and by trying to update my "Scribblings" section with some newish fiction throughout the month.

I was going to say "a few times a week" or maybe "once a week" but as the piece I just added isn't even new (it's a story segment that's been sitting on my desktop, untouched, for months), I'm not prepared to make any promises. I do miss fiddling with fiction though - so if you want to send some challenges, writing exercises or story ideas for me to use for my NonNanowrimo challenge, drop 'em in the comments or shoot me an email. I will certainly appreciate them.

On an unrelated topic - has anyone noticed anything weird with iTunes lately? I logged onto send a particular song to a particular someone the other day (perhaps, sadly, driving the final nail into the concept of the "mixed tape"?), and found myself facing unfamiliar artists and menu items in German. I couldn't find anyway to switch out to English. In the end, I had to try to make a purchase, at which point iTunes told me I had to use the US store, and had me re-login.

Is it possible my computer has its own, secret, iTunes Germany account? And if so, how do I convince it to get me some hard-to-find German imports without summoning the demons of DMCA down upon it? And - more importantly - how do I get it to acquire it's own iTunes Japan account? Because that's where most of the imports I want are from.

And on a third unrelated topic (hey - I had to suffer by returning to work today after a relaxing week of frivolity - you have to suffer through my senseless meanderings until you get to the links. That's the way things work around here. Unless you're a sneak and just skip ahead to the bulleted list, in which case my revenge is ruined, since I couldn't skip going to the office.) dan p. recently asked why Halloween is such a big deal. Those of you who have read this blog more than, oh, once, know it's my favorite holiday, and that I did, in fact, plan my most recent block of vacation time around it in order to do all the things I wanted to do (of which I actually accomplished about 75%). And yet, I'm having a hard time trying to explain it.

I do think the fascination is, in part, cultural; I understand it's a much bigger holiday in the States than elsewhere - so to some extent I grew up with it. It's a day when most kids receive parental permission (encouragement even) to interact meaningfully with their hopes and fantasies by dressing up and trying to emulate those things they admire or would like to be - and further, get to test taboo by taking their alternate personalities and using them to safely wander darkened streets and participating in the usually forbidden act of taking candy from strangers. There's something undeniably seductive in the act of assuming an identity and then (safely) dabbling in danger. Some folks out grow it. The rest of us, I rather suspect, grow up reading an awful lot of Science Fiction.

In fact, my hometown does Halloween in a big way - with celebrations and events beginning mid-October and lasting till month's end. This means that at almost anytime in October it's not unusual to walk down the street and see a pirate or cenobite or Optimus Prime moving, unremarked, among the college students and business people. It quite put me in mind of those SciFi and fantasy universes where various races live in the same environment. Like, say, Babylon 5. Or high school.

I personally have a year-round passion for all things Halloweeny - including but not limited to the chance to adopt a alternate identity, be scared in a safe way, and to be generally silly in socially acceptable ways. Halloween gives me a chance to shriek like a five year old when faced with a monster I know to be a bored office worker in a costume. And, on the reverse, to be the bored office worker in costume that scares someone else. This year, I actually received a phone call out of the blue asking if I would be willing to volunteer as a zombie for an event; a request I had to turn down because I was already volunteering as a pirate. I can not begin to express how much I love the fact I have a life where I get to make such decisions. (Or, indeed, how tickled I am that someone thought, "Hm.. Where can I find some zombies. I know - call that Sarcasmo chick!").

Whilst pirating - well - whilst pirating a handsome young pirate lad frequently brought me chocolate dubloons - another reason why Halloween and my life are so delightful. Also whilst pirating (and more to the point) my scene partner and I were talking about our mutual love of Halloween, and he pointed out how singular a holiday it is because it is on a different day of the week every year, and that people celebrate it on that actual day - be it work day or weekend - even though it is not a holiday for which one gets to be off from work (unless they are a freak like me, and use vacation time). I don't know how it is in other countries, but by and large, Americans only care about non-religious holidays if they fall on a Monday (and often we "observe" non-Monday holidays just for the long weekend). Yet Halloween is observed on it's actual day.

It's a holiday that is almost solely about being silly and having fun and, possibly, candy. I really don't see how it could be any better.

Really, you may just have to visit the States sometime for Halloween to see what I mean.

Right. Here ends the blathering. Happy linkage. Happy weekend. Disgruntled grimace to the fact I'm back to work.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, November 02, 2006
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