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here. chew on this.

I am about to go feel all virtuous and stuff by having my every-other-monthly (bimonthly? or is that twice a month?) bloodletting. Or, as they put it, "giving the gift of life." While I don't want to downplay how important blood and the giving of same is, the whole process pales (no pun intended) to actually giving someone life, which I've done twice now. Besides, these people who get the "gift of life" via my blood aren't going to need my to buy them new shoes and Little Ponies. Which is good, because otherwise, I wouldn't donate.

Anyway, for those who've ever wondered about the glamour of a writer's life should read this essay by Charlie Stross, who explains it all for you.
Link stolen from Scalzi, btw.

more catching-up


Before I bore you with more slides from my vacation, some links:

The NYT has spent the last couple of days doing something I never thought it'd do, which is publishing stories about things I really want to read about, like subversive knitting, pretentious theatre and food philosophy. (On that last one, Pollan's advice to "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants" is pure genius on a number of levels.)

Which isn't to say that I don't frequently find things in the NYT to read, just that the past few days  have been bountiful. And I am totally going to see the knitting show.

Anthony Bourdain has also been bountiful as of late, because his buddy Michael Ruhlman seems to be pimping him out .... or is it the other way around. Regardless, here's Bourdain's take on Top Chef and a  radio interview with him and Ruhlman.

Just when I didn't think it could get any better, my favorite writer EVER has a new piece in The New Yorker. So much good stuff --and it's only Monday. If this keeps up, by the end of the week, Johnny Depp will be offering to fill my bathtub with chocolate and small woodland creatures will sew me a new wardrobe while I brush my beautiful golden hair.

And, now, the last of the Chicago stuff.


Frozen skaters being observed by  a creepy disembodied (and disenheaded) face.


In keeping with my father's philosophy* of visiting a museum when you have time to kill in a new town, I spent most of Wednesday at the Art Institute.


Go Bears!


The Silk Road exhibit is stunning -- but my pictures of it aren't. If you do nothing else, stop by long enough to look at the Japanese prints.

While there, I took the obligatory tour through the Thorne Miniature Rooms, where a group of teenage girls from a local private school (I know this because they were all wearing identical fleece jackets with the school's name embroidered on it) kept going on and on in their outside voices about how they would *totally* live in Georgian England.

As for the reading itself, well, most of the crowd -- and for a reading on a freezing Wednesday night, it was a crowd -- was there to see Neal Pollack, who was, well, Neal Pollack and it was an Experience. It was great fun to hear Leigh Ann Wilson and I am a new fan. Plus, I got to hang out with Kim of the Hormone-Colored Days and Paula Kamen and talk like girls and sign a couple of books. Oh -- and eat frites. Love the Hopleaf's frites.

As it turns out, that actually isn't the last of the Chicago stuff. The rest, however, involves yarn and can wait.

*I have been to a lot of museums, all of them lovely, expect for the one that was chock full of aircraft from WWII. While I am sure that it was interesting to someone, it wasn't me.

Call me slacker

Sorry about the silence. A day of travel followed by a day of catching up has left me weirdly wordless. So, some pictures.

As promised, the view:


I must now confess my love for Chicago, despite the sound of a howling wind that never really left my hotel room, like it was a roommate or something.

Chicago's just a more humane city than New York. Chicagoans never seem like they are *thisclose* to gnawing of your arm and beating you with it just because it seems like it'd be amusing. I think it has something to do with geography. Manhattan, being an island, has very few options when it comes to growth and the natives become all gnarled because of the cramped conditions. Chicago is expansive -- as long as you don't try to go further east -- and it still feels very much an urban environment fairly far out.

Of course, I could be full of crap. It's a working theory.

Gratuitous (and dark) picture of delish Pad Sie-Ew from Taste of Siam on S. Dearborn. Like I said, chasing down this noodle dish no matter where I roam is my new quest.


More on the food -- I have fallen in lust with Jay's Krunchers Sweet Hawaiian potato chips, which I grabbed in a train station on my way to O'hare yesterday. Must. find. more.

And (some of) the yarn, as it gracefully reposes on my hotel bed. Yes, I had to buy needles and cast on immediately. Everyone does this, right?


More later...

come one, come all.

Shortly I will be heading out to the Hopleaf to be the less male opening act for Neal Pollack. Also in the non-male opening act category is Leigh Anne Wilson, who I don't know all that much about but who seems like a fun woman to hang out with. Maybe we'll band together to pants Neal or shortsheet his bed or something. Who's in?

Wandered about the city all day. Went to the Art Institute, which was fabulous and beats the Met all to heck, and to Crate and Barrel, which is where I want to be buried. Feet hurt. But I have made two important discoveries: 1) this city is much kinder and gentler than NYC and 2) no matter where you are, there is a Bennigan's. I have no idea why this is. Apparently, Chicagoans loves their "food with attitude."

Oh, and also, they aren't kidding about the "windy" thing. It's one thing to know that intellectually. It's another to feel it freezing your ears off.


Currently in Chicago. Would show you a picture from the hotel -- got a room with a killer view of the river -- but forgot to bring the cable thingy that goes from my camera to my computer. Later, then.

Soon I will be out seeing what I can see before my fingers freeze plum off. So far teh only sticky point is that the directions that the hotel gave out to get from the train station were, um, how shall I put this, not to scale. Dang that was a long walk.

Right. Sightseeing. Thai food. Bed.

And if you think of it, say a silent prayer (to a diety or no -- your choice) for the Featureless Saint, who is wrangling children even as I type.

another day at the funny farm


The Diva spent most of Sunday running around the house with her best friend O. Both were dressed as princesses. And the princesses were on a noble quest, which was to run from "The Beast," who bore a striking resemblance to the Diva's brother. He thought it was the MOST FUN EVER, tho, so it all worked out.

Then I learned a very important lesson -- even if you watch the Boy pick up a nasty raisin covered in cat fur and lint that you had just fished out from under the TV and then watch him put it in his mouth, do not stick you finger in there to fish it out. He has a lot of teeth now, the Boy does, and he's not afraid to use 'em.

I'm surprised, too.

You paid attention during 91% of high school!

85-100%  You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high!  Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Stolen from Snarkapuss.

Also, in what I'm sure is a blatant violation of copyright, I present a blurry picture of what I'll be giving away as bookmarks in Chicago:


(Because I've dangled a modified in the above sentence (naughty, naughty me), the cards themselves are a blatant violation, not my blurry photograph of same, which may violate some aesthetic laws but not any legal laws. That I know of.)

And, yes, they are the Moo Mini Cards that all of the cool kids have been talking about.

ETA: Dr. Helen, who I know from my Knoxville days and whose film I did a feature on many moons ago, blogged about Gothic. Judging from the comments, she seems to have touched a nerve w/r/t some larger mothering issues. Heh. This could get interesting.

* And, yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I did edit her husband's music reviews for the Pulse. But those who might think there is some quid quo pro between the Instapundit, Dr Helen and myself might want to think long and hard about the likelihood of that. I doubt I could buy Glenn's love with the $25 he earned...

rassinfrassin kids

The Boy has adopted a brand new sleeping routine.

No, that's not right. That above sentence would imply that he is sleeping with a calm and predictable regularity. Instead, he is getting up three or four times per night for no particular reason. And that would be fine if he'd be content to just hang out and, like, enjoy the darkness solo. But, no, we have to get up with him, to share in the experience that is night.

He's never been what one would call a "good" sleeper but his habits have become less "good" than usual. I'm sure this is all because we as parents lack moral fiber.

Last night, however, I decided to take a stand once and for all. The Boy decided that a test of wills sounded like an awful lot of fun, especially at night, which is when he wants to be up anyway.

Long story short, he won. I am old. And tired. And still lack moral fiber. And I think I can safely state that the Featureless Saint, who was a full partner in this plot, would agree on all three points as well.

Admittedly, we didn't help ourselves any by staying up to watch Slither, which is exactly what one would want in a zombie flick that involves pork tenderloins that invade from space and Nathan Fillion, who is welcome to invade my space any day.  Can I get an amen, brothers and sisters? I knew that I could.

Crap, I'm tired -- so tired, in fact, that I did my best to be a good little writer and get ahead of a deadline but am churning out nothing but utter dreck and have decided to just stop picking at it so that it doesn't get infected and require lancing and draining and a course of nuclear-grade antibiotics. In fact, that last sentence is the most interesting thing I've come up with in the last two hours. Pathetic, eh?

six weird things

This meme just keeps cropping up in my blog surfing. No one has tagged me -- but because I am avoiding diving into the pile of books I need to make a dent in before the term starts tomorrow, I'm a gonna do it anyway, which might fly in the face of the rules. Bwah. I laugh at your rules.

The Rules (which I laugh at): Each player of this game starts with the “6 weird things about you." People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says “you are tagged” in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

1) My "Senior Comprehensive Project," which was in essence a mini master's thesis that was required of every student at Allegheny College before said student could graduate, was on the medieval morality play "The Castle of Perseverance." I also wanted to stage the play itself but couldn't find anyone who would let me dig a 30' moat and set fire to a scaffold at the end of the 6 hour performance. I offer this merely as proof that I am more of a geek than you might have imagined.

2) I consume all of my "hot" beverages -- especially coffee -- at as close to room temperature as I can get them. In fact, I tend to drink my morning joe out of an extra-large mug that is only filled halfway so that it cools off more quickly.

3) I am taller than you think and, I am told, younger.

4) I hate wearing anything on my feet. If given my druthers, I'd go barefoot all of the time in the house and as frequently as possible outside. The snow and the whole paying-for-heat thing means that I'll put on slippers and socks in the winter -- but only because I *have* to. As a kid, my feet were bare unless yelled at (um, I was yelled at, not just my feet). The Diva is the exact same way, which should come as no surprise, really. As a baby, if you put footed pajamas on her, she'd spend the next several hours trying to scrape the feet off. Apple, meet tree.

5) I pull my hair out when I'm reading. Not in a frustrated way but in a keep playing with my hair way. I used to do this with my eyebrows and eyelashes, too.  It's never been extreme enough to be a full-blown psychiatric condition. Which is odd, because I'm all about the full-blown psychiatric conditions.

6) I have a reality TV problem, if by "problem," you mean "love."  I blame the first season of the Real World, which blew my college-age brain clean out of my head. (Speaking of -- it tickles me to no end that Dan Renzi is blogging)) I will admit that my taste has refined over the years; I quit watching RW during the Chicago season and won't watch anything that involves disgusting food challenges. But, still, I love a good reality show like Project Runway, Top Chef and The Amazing Race. I suspect this has to do with my other love for documentaries -- I'd rather see a good doc than a great feature -- but that is a much larger topic for another day.

As for who to tag... um... I don't know that anyone would do it who hasn't already done it. But in the spirit of the thing, I tag Snarkapus, TrishMatt,   Adam, erm...reaching....Ann Shayne and, erm, anyone else who feels inclined to do it.