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August 2008
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October 2008

what I was going to tell Scott last night at dinner

So last night, as Scott and I were dishing about the events of the day and the kids were actively avoiding eating their peas, the subject of suicide came up. There's the DFW thing, obviously. But it turns out that there was an apparent suicide here on Monday. It was a guy who teaches at our college, who we both knew by name but not in person.

And Scott said, "I don't understand how someone could do that." Or something to that effect, if not with those actual words. I started to attempt to explain -- having had suicidal ideations myself in the last eight years -- and then Maddy asked a question, then another, then another and I lost track of the thought, which is probably for the best because, while Maddy groks death on a 6-year old level, I'm not sure how much she could understand about suicide. Besides, she'd never let me get five words out before she interrupted, then interrupted again. And again.

My subconscious stored up the question.

Because I do understand how taking your life starts to sound like a good idea, on some basic gut level. In the shower this morning, it dawned on me how to explain it, using an analogy I've stolen and embroidered.

Feel free to skip this. I'm putting it down here just to have a place to put it. Tomorrow's post will be about carrots. Come back then.

So imagine that you are on the ledge of a burning building. You are high enough that if you jump, your death is assured. There is a crowd, yelling the sorts of things that crowds do. Through a trick of acoustics, you can hear them. Don't jump, they yell. Help is coming.

So you wait. You can feel the fire beneath you. It's not quite hot enough to cause a major concern but, still, um, fire.

You can hear sirens. They sound far away.

The crowd yells up -- Hang on just a little bit more! Help is on the way. They just got a little lost. We're working on it. Just hold on.

You can hear sirens in the distance. But still see no trucks.

The soles of your shoes are getting hot. Bearable, yes, but worrysome.

Firetrucks pull up to the building, thank god. Only the hoses they have aren't long enough. They put out what parts of the fire they can. And yell up to you that they've sent George back for longer hoses. No need to worry. Just hang on.

The water they had helped. Still, it's pretty hot and now you're starting to wonder about structural damage from the fire and how long the building will stand. The first inklings that maybe, just maybe, the fire brigade enough knowledge to fight this fire because the particulars of any given fire are fairly unknowable. The firemen are doing their best certainly but do not inspire great confidence.

Hang on, they yell.

And you do. But the new, longer hoses only deliver a trickle of water. Peeing on the fire would be just as effective. So they run back to get bigger hoses. Which takes long enough that you can feel the fire on your back, your body slick with sweat. Rational thought is starting to escape you because there's that lizard part of your brain yelling WHY WON'T YOU GET AWAY FROM THE FIRE! FLEE! GET AWAY!

But you don't have many options. You can go up in flames or take some agency over the situation and jump. The firemen are doing their best but honestly don't know enough about how fires spread or burn or extinguish. The building burns despite them. You start to realize that there is nothing that can be done. Other than jumping.

many things make a post

* My new favorite poem: I Planned To Have a Border of Lavender.

* This story about The Sex Change Capital of the World would be a great premise for a sit-com. Who would play the transgendered doc? Morgan Fairchild? Heather Locklear?

* Note to self: if the Diva and/or Dude makes it to the age of 16 without being able to do laundry or pack a suitcase, I will feel that I have failed as a parent. Not that I'm judging. No, scratch that. I'm totally judging.

* You know your career has taken an interesting turn when you are asked to do a road test of adult diapers.

* The politics of The Big Lebowski

* The NYT's Natasha Singer gets the writing gigs that I want. (The writing gigs that I want could easily be summed up as "editor says to me, 'here. go do this strange thing for a week and write about it.'")  This time, Singer works as a nail tech during fashion week.

* My obsession with wee houses continues.

* There are just so many things wrong with this that it's hard to know where to start: Heroes of 9-11 Cross.

* I already passionately want to spend a night at the Mohonk Mountain House -- but this seals the deal.

* Poundy expounds on the "Bad Times" location of any given chain. In Knoxville, it was the Fellini Kroger on Broadway.

* I don't want to read the book that's being reviewed -- but I love this bit: "Herbert Wernham, a curator in the botany department in the early part of the 20th century, enjoyed the company of prostitutes. When he died, a card catalog was found in his office; on each card was a woman’s name and a sample of pubic hair, like “so many delicately colored ferns.”"

* The only prayers we'll ever need.

now the story can be told

Actually, it's not much of a story. However, there are secrets I can now reveal.

When I went to Toronto, I went to knit night at The Purple Purl. At said knit night, a couple of us swatched some yarn for Amy Singer, she of knitty fame. Her color is now all official and stuff. It's called "Amy's Vintage Office" from Lorna's Laces.

Because I am lucky, I took two skein of the test batches home, where they sat on the desk while I wondered what to do with two closely allied but not matching skeins of sock yarn. So I did what any right thinking knitter would do, which is cast on for a Clapotis. It's more scarf-like that the traditional Clapper. I'll post the details (for those who enjoy such things) on my Ravelry page.

I think this close up shows you the rich grays (love!) and the turquoise-y pop (love, love!).



I dragooned the Pie Goddess into playing model for me. Here she is looking wistful. What the picture doesn't show you is how freaking humid and hot is was here yesterday, which is exactly the kind of weather you don't want when modeling a scarf.

LL's Beth is a peach, by the way, and a package containing the mates to the sample skeins showed up on Friday. I may knit another Clapper -- or I might just knit a pair of very similar but not identical socks for myself. The jury is out.

just because I want to put them somewhere

On David Foster Wallace:

-- from the New Yorker.
-- from Time.
-- DFW on McCain from This American Life.
-- and my favorite (for relative definitions of "favorite") from Kottke.

ETA: The definitive tribute from the NYT, which features this heartbreaker from DFW's dad:

"James Wallace said that last year his son had begun suffering side effects from the drugs and, at a doctor’s suggestion, had gone off the medication in June 2007. The depression returned, however, and no other treatment was successful. The elder Wallaces had seen their son in August, he said.

“He was being very heavily medicated,” he said. “He’d been in the hospital a couple of times over the summer and had undergone electro-convulsive therapy. Everything had been tried, and he just couldn’t stand it anymore.”"

qotd, more american politics edition

"Years ago, when I first became politically active, I liked to speak of reformists in general and the Democrats in particular as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It was a nice, vivid metaphor, and I was young and a sucker for anything that sounded clever. Alas, I can no longer use that metaphor, because I’m older now, and unwilling to grab simple sounding answers. And also because the Democrats are no longer trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, they’re just arguing with the Republicans over who gets to sit in them."

-- Steven Brust (Yes, that Steven Brust.)


Lately, I've been thinking about podcasts. These thoughts have been motivated by my spending a lot of knitting time with my iPod as my boon companion and needing more options as well as by Doula K getting an iPod and asking what's on mine. Kill two birds, I thought. Hence, this --

The 'casts that I listen to regularly are:

-- The BugleThe Daily Show's John Oliver and *not* The Daily Show but amusing in his own right's Andy Zaltzman do unmentionable things to the week's news. While not every minute of every broadcast is fall-down funny, it hits enough that it's well worth a half-hour. Plus, there's just something about Oliver's voice in my head that I find, um, pleasurable.

-- Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me: The first thing I listen to each week -- and without it I never would have discovered the genius of Roy Blount, Jr. Someday I'd like to be a listener-contestant.

-- Radio Lab: I Can Haz New Episodes, Plz?

-- Science Times from the New York Times: I'm never certain why the world needs fiction when reality is just so wonderfully weird.

-- Good Food: I tend to let these pile up and listen to them as a last resort. I enjoy the show but a lot of it is useless to me, given that I don't live in Southern California. I would, however, love to have a podcast of just Jonathan Gold's restaurant recs.

-- This American Life: I run hot and cold on TAL. I'm glad it exists, mind, but it seems to be turning into a parody of itself. It could also be that I'm just bitter because they turned down one of my story ideas. I feel the same way, btw, about the NYT's Book Review. So get out that big grain of salt and lick it.

-- The Kitchen Sisters / Walks of a Lifetime. When they have new episodes, they move to the top of the queue. New ones are few and far between, however.

I'm also a big fan of audiobooks and am currently working my way through Terry Pratchett's Discworld, which I never managed to get through in print but love in audio form.

So here's the question - which podcasts am I missing? What do you listen to? Bring it on...

some days just get away from you

I had intended to write this gorgeous post about a scintillating topic but have run out of brain (and time, because I'm about to go park my heiner at the Diva's soccer practice). You would have loved it. Really. Genius-level blogging stuff.

Instead, I'm going to direct you to a charity knitting project cooked up by Ann and Kay. I feel the need to knit a tiny hat for a juice bottle, maybe one that looks like this one:


Who is with me?

many things make a post

* David Tennant and Catherine Tate, together again. In a classroom. (And David T in drag. And, because I can't seem to stop myself, the Doctor adlibbing instructions for Martha.)

* Two from boing boing: If good fences make good neighbors, what do these make? an Is it the science that's dismay or the economists themselves?

* It would be best if I am never allowed to play Spore.

* Hallowindow. Made of awesome.

* Knitted pundits. So ... cute?

* Related to a book proposal -- does anyone know how to get the BBC series "Who Do You Think You Are?" on some kind of format that a US-based person like moi could play? (Short of, you know, buying a Region 2 DVR, etc.)

* EW's "Oxymoron of the week" is the Big Lebowski Action Figure. Want.

* Even though my Andy did not make it to the US Open Finals, this video of he and Djokovic playing on kids' day helps soothe the pain.

* Finally, my favorite news story this month: Victim wakes to sausage attack. When the officers on the scene call it a weird case, it's something special.