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March 2004
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bring the D

The Darkness ain't got nothin' on Tenacious D. Finally netflixed The Complete Master Works and embraced the fuckin' rawk that is Jack Black and Kyle Gass. Yeah, I love the album--but there's just something so cool about seeing the two of them live, armed with nothing but acoustic guitars, an inflatable dragon and a Saxaboom. It is glorious.

What makes the glory transcendent are the extras, like the original HBO shorts about the fermentation of the band and the D's backstage antics. As much as I love 'em (and harbor a secret crush on Jack Black), I'll admit that some of the bits can get a little long and ever so slightly tedious, but when they launch into "The Greatest Song in the World (Tribute)", all is forgiven.

Rock on.

Note: if you expect Tenacious D to be as sanitary and teen-friendly as School of Rock, you might want to rethink that. This is for those who appreciate all of the English language, not just the bits you can say in church.

quiet can be good

To my tens of visitors who drop in just for the Friday Five lists, I apologize. Spring Break coupled with hours in the car compounded with the end of term have left my brain rather oatmeal-like. While the last few questions have been great and wonderful and thought-provoking, I can't quite come up with answers to deep questions that don't involve simply making lists of the tropical islands I'd like to visit or the areas of the house that need the most cleaning. Soon, very soon, this madness shall end.

A few tidbits, however:

--Last night, during dinner, the Diva jumped out of her seat and wandered off. She does that. Left on her plate were a few chunks of watermelon, which rocks the Diva's world, and four grapes. "You haven't touched your grapes," I hollered at her. She wandered back in to the dining room and climbed back into her chair. "Touch," she said, as she poked at the first grape with her index finger, then poked each in turn. "Touch, touch, touch." Not even two and already a smart ass.

--A good friend and I have a quandry. A third friend is getting married in June and the event is "semi-formal." Can anyone tell me what the heck that means? My good friend, an environmental chemist/college prof, is a profession not known for their sartorial prowess. I write from home most of the time and am therefore a) more concerned with "clean" than "appropriate" and b) never invited to events where I need to wear nylons. Both of us are flummoxed. Insights are appriciated. (Even better would be a personal shopper, but I shan't hold my breath.)

--I finally bought a digital camera, which I spent the weekend futzing with. Some snaps...
the Diva on cough syrup100_00302

Mooch with bib (long story)100_00342

Trout searching for love on the sidewalk below

And, now, to grade more papers. Woo.

meme of the day

Random Text

Courtesy of Adam:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

"He'd be so rude and unpleasant to her that the memory of his lack of basic decency and of her tight offended face would be a further disincentive ever, in the future, to risk calling her and repeating the course of action he had now committed himself to."

-- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

the advantages to losing things

I'm a great ripper. It's the only way I can keep the house marginally tidy, truth be told, given how hungry my magazine habit always is. There are few periodicals I actually keep the whole copies of anymore. That honor is mostly reserved for Interweave Knits, whose patterns I frequently flip through in search of inspiration, and Martha Stewart's Everday Food, which has just so many dang good recipes that it seems a shame to not keep them together in such a cute little package. Now and again I'll hang on to a whole copy of Cooking Light that seems especially useful. Everything else--and, Hearst help me--there's a lot of everything elses--gets ripped up and recycled. I tear out anything that strikes me--quotes, designs, whole articles, recipes, story ideas to rip off. I've got a whole magpie thing going.

Here's the problem--while I'm very good at getting the bulk of the mags out of the house, I suck at organizing the clippings into some sort of useful system. They usually all end up piled around the computer, ripe for molestation by toddler hands or clumsy cats. And so the ripped up sheets get scattered around the house. When I find them, I just stuff them someplace so that I don't have to keep picking them up. In a kitchen drawer, sometimes. In my bag, mostly, or in my filing cabinet. Sometimes they flutter behind furniture. Sometimes I'll tuck a couple in my nightstand or between two of the many books on the bookshelf. There's no reason to where things end up. This is one bit of entropy that I don't fight.

(An aside--my email suffers similarly. I keep things that amuse me in folders that I forget I have until I'm looking for something else.)

My secret admission is that I find this non-system karmically satisfying. I never quite know when I'll stumble upon a great recipe for caramel corn or a profile of Neil Gaiman or a poem by Julia Kasdorf. On occasion, I find fortune cookie fortunes jammed in my wallet or the business card of the best London cabbie will fall out of my bag. I'd like to say that these discoveries always come at cosmically valuable times, but, generally, they don't. I've never found a helpful sheaf of clips about grief when I was grieving. I've never happened upon tips about scrubbing hardwood floors just when I was about to scrub hardwood floors. My discoveries are rarely that useful.

Instead they are like purloined postcards to some future self that show me images of what I was then. Not that I'm wildly different, mind, just that some of the details have shifted. What struck me then doesn't always strike me now and I wonder what the heck I was thinking when I saved it in the first place. Or that it still strikes me. Or that it strikes me differently. Or that it is something that I was completely delusional to have saved in the first place, like, say, one of Martha Stewart's more, ahem, ambitious craft projects. I mean, who the heck has that kind of time?

The whole blog thing is like that, only more so. I don't even have to bother with physical items anymore, just links and quotes, left like wee treasures to trip over later. And, so, these two tidbits, left here, for discovery.

From this month's Yoga Journal:

Anne Cushman's column about upekkha, the Buddhist ideal of equanimity (sorta), hits some chord.

I once called up my sister--a fellow writer--in a funk because I'd spent three months working on a novel that I suddenly realized was going nowhere. "I feel like all this effort has been wasted," I sighed. "Well, in the end, everything's wasted," she told me. "Or nothing is. It just depends on how you look at it."


But it's through such small moments that we train our capacity for letting go--and begin to come to terms with the fact that in the end, we can't control anything but the intention we bring to our actions.
This is not a particularly cuddly insight. It's not comforting like a warm blanket; it feels more like a free fall off of a cliff. But when we open up to the terrifying truth that we can't manipulate much of any experience worth having, we also open up to the incredible beauty and preciousness of every fragile, uncontrollable moment. All of our fantasized security is revealed to be an illusion, but in the midst of the free fall into emptiness, it's possible to be at peace.

perfection salad and cakes

From the NY Times: Dinitia Smith investigates Laura Shapiro's latest book, which in turn investigates the juxtaposition of cake mixes and propaganda in her latest book, Something From the Oven. I keep meaning to pick up Shapiro's Perfection Salad, which explores the creation of home economics in the early 20th century and how that influenced generations of women. Shapiro seems to be poking at the meat of how habits and thoughts can be sculpted by the language that is used to describe seemingly mundane tasks, as well as how this can be both a good and bad thing.

What strikes me more, tho, is Dinitia Smith's inability to cook even simple things. I mean, come on. Feeding yourself--even in some half-assed way--is one of those basic life skills that everyone should have. Sheesh.