Thursday, December 27, 2007
The forecast said mixed precipitation turning into snow; we've a foot on the ground left from last week. I'm looking out the window, thinking:
So long as you're not snow,
I'm not going to complain.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
It seems there is a loophole in there.
Why not start a business where a person can pay to star in his own movie, with the porn actor of his choice?
A single copy of the film is made, direct to DVD. The DVD is given to the client, so he can relive the experience in the comfort of his home.
Is that legal? If not, why not?
Someday it will matter.
Mars at perigee--
Aunt Sally will be that much closer,
Or some other relative who settled there.
Her voice will be clearer
On the telephone, with less of a delay.
The supply ship will reach her with drugs she needs.
"Balto" will be painted on the side
of some unmanned craft to reach
our colony on the neighboring planet.
Monday, December 17, 2007
The dormant spider woke and made a speedy L to the ant. She quickly wrapped it up. I considered that this death was at least more useful than in the wastebasket or down the drain.
Having ruined the scientific validity of my observation of the spider, I wondered if by feeding it I had invoked the stray-cat rule and made it my pet. I decided it was more like a bird feeder in the yard--the birds and squirrels remain wild.
This morning, there were still only eight ant carcasses in the corner. As if the spider knew that we cheated; it hadn't caught that ninth ant on its own. It was just a bonus, so it ate it up and didn't save any.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Lack of experience worries me. Our country has been damaged, and Iraq nearly destroyed, from the blunderings of a pig-headed amateur. I'm hesitant to vote the country to someone who may be well-intentioned, but have a steep learning curve. I'd rather vote on resume and mostly ignore the campaign promises. That's why I'm leaning toward Richardson. He was in Congress, ambassador to the U.N., Secretary of Energy, and now governor. He ought to know how government works. And he's fluent in a second language.
I don't understand why so many of my neighbors have Hillary signs in their front yards. She elicits such visceral hatred from so many non-Democrats. Why do Democrats think she can win? She is, I admit, a great campaigner, but I think there is too much prejudice against her. In the last debate, she said she would like to unite the country. She can hope, but I think she has the least chance of it. In spite of her being the most right wing.
Two people at my synagogue said they want her because they want him back. They loved what Bill Clinton did for the economy, as reflected in their retirement funds. Their wanting her because they liked him raised my feminist distaste at the first female President being a famous wife first. I want someone in because people wanted her.
As I recall, the hostage crisis began because President Carter wouldn't back down to pressure from Iran, but allowed the deposed Shah to come to the U.S. for medical treatment. (Giuliani also refers to the captors as "mullahs", when at the time the T.V. news called them "students", but that's minor. I'd grant him the "mullahs" if the rest of the ad made sense.)
My husband, who is from NY, was more sanguine about the revisionist history. "Giuliani is a self-promoting egotist who's catering to the shallowist follower of politics. Reagan sold arms to Iran, that ended up with Hezbollah. Then the money went to the contras. So he supported terrorists."
Friday, December 07, 2007
I've also noticed what looks like the ghost of a spider, where she sometimes hangs out in the corner. Could it be a discarded exoskeleton? Do spiders shed skin like snakes? The shed/dead thing has legs.
I'm pretty sure the spider has been growing. When I first noticed her, she was a much smaller spider. If she's the same one, of course.
This is in an approx. 7'x8' bathroom, which remains dark when no one turns on the light.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
It occured to me that a spider's life is like that of a military patrol. She waits and does apparently nothing for days on end, but is always ready to spring into action for a kill. Then return to dormancy.
My husband's guess is that the ant stash is for baby spiders to come. I'm pretty sure that all we know of the natural history of spiders was learned from Charlotte's Web.
I hope the cleaning people don't get conscientious and clean up her stash, or her. I'd like to know what happens next, and that will possibly take a number of months.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I don't give a dern what other people think
What do ya think about that?
It's a fun song to sing in the car.
Some googling and I find its name is what do you think about that. Sung by a duo called Montgomery Gentry. And it is #10 on the billboard hot country chart.
The lyrics continue:
I wear what I want to, overalls work boots
Crank my music up loud
Like to sling a little mud in my four wheel drive
Trek it all into town
Shot a little eight ball down at the pool hall
Drink a beer with my friends
Now this is way too masculine for anyone else's opinion to be more than a paper tiger. If you're the toughest guy on the block, your nonconformity is a non-issue. How about singing in that deep low voice something more along the lines of:
I wear my feather boa every day to work
Clicking my high heel shoes.
If I didn't have a different boy every Friday night
A civil union's what I'd choose.
Now don't judge me and I won't judge you
Cause we all get judged in the end....
Some people care about what other people think
Worry about what they say
Let a little gossip
Coming from a loose lip ruin a perfect day
Say, blah, blah, blah, just a jacking their jaws
Gotta letta roll offa my back
What do ya think about that
Say, I don't give a damn what other people think
What do ya think about that
What do ya think about that
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I'm not sure how it picks some of these as my top artists. For example, I don't know what Mary Black sounds like, but since it says she sings Irish music, she must have popped up when I asked for "celtic harp" or "Alan Stivell" or "Silly Wizard".
The others were from typing in "lute" or "harpsichord" after typing in "john dowland" or "dowland". I actually did type in "James Blunt" specifically, since his song No Bravery was in my mind. The AI read my mind and played that particular track. Or maybe that was the default track...
It's an interesting site for wanting to hear music that is like something in particular, but still have randomness and surprise. e.g. Jimi Hendrix pops up for harpsichord, since there was a harpsichord on one of his tracks.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Have to stop typing. Sting singing Flow my tears just has to be listened to.
First question: No, not the new nano with the TV in it.
Second: And the earbuds aren't bothering me, and they aren't falling out.
oops. spoke too soon. left ear itched; tried to scratch it, now the left one won't go back in.. The apple support website ipod manual really ought to have some directions for the things. ok. it's in. but my left ear is itching again. inside.
Jeff got a free nano when he bought his new apple laptop. He asked me if I wanted an iPod. I said sure. I thought he'd give me his old one now that he had a new one. I'd figured eventually someday I'd get an old shuffle from some niece or nephew who was upgrading. But no. Jeff generously just gave me his brand new in a box shiny blue nano.
And love, is love, in beggars and in kings.
Right. He said I owe him a favor. That made me consider giving it back. Nonspecific favors to be repaid at indefinite dates are something to be cautious about.
But the fact is, we already owe Melinda and Jeff lots of favors. They've
Though all my wares be trash...the heart is true--the heart is true.
been wonderful. For years.
Nano! Nano! Nano! Yay!
Thank you Jeff!
Monday, September 10, 2007
He says "I don't know."
I went to Zoe's bed. The tooth case was out, the dollar on the sheets, and Zoe was sobbing.
"Look, the tooth fairy left you a dollar!" I said, or something of the sort. Zoe just kept crying. I cuddled her until she could stop crying enough to speak.
"My teeth are gone!" She said. She didn't want to even look at the dollar.
Unclear on the concept, I think.
"But, that's what the tooth fairy does. You give her the tooth, and she gives you money for it."
"I want my teeth back!" Zoe cried.
"Why? What do you want them for?"
"I want to play with them!"
I truly don't care if the tooth fairy ever visits the house again. I don't feel comfortable lying to Zoe anyway. It seems to me that in childhood we tell our children there's a God, Tooth Fairy, and (sometimes) Santa Claus and Easter Bunny. Then when they grow up we tell them we were lying about all but the first of those. I wish we could be honest, but there's too much social pressure not to be.
And I don't care if she has the teeth or not. Ugly small bloody things. I'm glad we didn't throw them out. She can have them. But how to maintain the lie?
"Maybe if you write the tooth fairy a note, she'll give them back to you...."
We make up stories about maybe today when Zoe's in school, Daddy can find the teeth in the woods where the fairy hid them. By evening we decide to put some shiny sequins in the tooth box to buy back the teeth. (Zoe rejects the notion of giving back the dollar.) But when bedtime comes, the tooth case is lost. Now it's Monday night, and I haven't heard anything else about the teeth.
"If you told me before I left work, I could have stopped at the bank and seen if they had any dollar coins," I said.
The tooth fairy job was complicated by Zoe not using the traditional envelope. After yanking out her teeth, Zoe was sent to the school nurse, who presented her with a white plastic tooth-shaped tooth case on a gold cord. The tooth-case looked too small to hold anything but maybe a dime.
Ro wondered how we'd get the case out from under Zoe's pillow. I snuck it out easily. Children do sleep soundly. If they didn't, I don't think this tooth fairy custom would be so widespread or have survived so long.
We wonder what to do with the teeth. "I think my parents threw them out," I say. I remember that's what we concluded when we reached the age to know the Truth about the Tooth Fairy.
"It seems like something we should save," said Rodrigo. "I should call my mother and ask her what to do with them."
"She'll say throw them out!"
I take the teeth that Ro has put an envelope. Where to hide it? Zoe goes through all of my stuff. I put it in Ro's drawer, too high and stuck for Zoe to open.
Since it was two teeth, we thought we should put two dollars in the case.
We considered ironing the dollar bills so they'd look nice, but I figured I'd have to fold them up very tiny anyway. The tooth case was too small for two dollars. I only managed to fit in one dollar bill, much creased and folded, and then rolled up to fit inside the case.
I snuck it back under the pillow.
How I wished I could see her expression the next day when she opened the case and found the dollar!
Friday, September 07, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
It actually felt very good to get this email. Prior to that, I'd only learned that my script didn't make it into the top-5%-quarterfinals. I started to wonder if the script had been rejected right away as being too weird or whatever. I remember saying to Rodrigo, "It sounds funny, but I feel bad for my characters. I cared about them so much. I wanted them to be understood."
I'd obsessed over the screenplay from last fall until the week before the deadline, when I mailed it. I took a screenwriting class in the 1980's, and wrote a script I was embarressed to read again last year. Since then, I hadn't written anything in that format. Somehow, at the end of last summer, dialogues started to occuring to me, as if dictated by God. I typed them in, tried to put them into story format, and realized it had to be a screenplay. I looked up "screenplay" on Wikipedia and learned about the Nichol's competition.
By the week before the deadline, I knew I didn't have the best screenplay in the world. "It isn't going to win, should I still send it in?" I asked Rodrigo.
"You've been working towards this deadline. You may as well, " he replied.
Twenty per cent may not seem like a great writing credit. But it gives my writing some validation. I'm not a total flake raving about something that's completely incomprehensible to rational beings. Was that worth the $40 entry fee?
That, along with the sense that I tried, and took myself seriously, makes it worth it to me. Those who know how very cheap I am (and how short our funds last summer) may be surprised to hear it.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
I found a station in the on-board XM Satellite radio playing beautiful opera, and tried to put the ear-buds in my ear. They fell out. I pushed them in deeper. The one in the left ear stayed, but hurt my ear. I took it out and tried again. I tried listening with the earbuds held close to my ear but not so much in that they hurt, but there was too much of a swooshing sound interfering with the music.
I felt like a technological neophyte. I wondered if there was a trick to them that I just hadn't learned.
The lady next to me had brought her own white i-Pod ear buds, so I thought maybe the expensive ones are more comfortable. I looked around the airplane, trying to see other people with airplane-issued black ear-buds. Across the aisle there was a teenager, and in front of him a 50 or 60ish year old gentleman. They both had black ear-buds, and they both seemed content. I checked the orientation of the bud wires with respect to their ears--yes, I seem to have got that right. I couldn't notice anything they were doing that made the buds work for them.
A day later I complained to my sister Frannie about the ear-buds. Frannie has been flying a lot lately, and should know about them. "I think our ears are shaped differently," she said. "I can't get them to fit comfortably either."
All this time I've been envying those silhouttes dancing with abandon in the iPod Shuffle commercials. Now it turns out that I don't want to be among them. Cheap ear phones, like the kind I got on a Virgin Atlantic flight years ago, always worked fine. But now they're probably harder to obtain.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
- Hatred of the cynical nepotism that motivates Party movers and shakers to back someone with name recognition over other, more qualified, candidates. This is what brought us the current President Bush. It also got Hillary her Senate seat in the first place. Perhaps one can't argue with elective success, but, given the current state of the world wrought by a dangerously incompentent President, how can one not oppose it?
- She says she voted to give President Bush authority to start the Iraq war because she trusted him. Presidents should be a better judge of character than that. They need to appoint lots of people to run things. When they screw up, will her excuse be that she trusted them? We've had enough of that from the current President. ('Brownie, you're doing a hell of a job.')
- If we had national health insurance, I'd feel a lot better about her. She should have anticipated the insurance companies' reaction to her plan. As Birch Bayh said, "It takes a good politician to make a good president."
- Feminist Idealism. I'd like the first woman President to be one who came to prominence through her own achievements, not that of her husband. Dianne Feinstein , Susan Collins, Nancy Pelosi, Christine Todd Whitman. Someone like that. Had Margaret Chase Smith run for president back in the 1960's, one could argue that she had originally won her seat because of her husband, but by then she had made quite a name for herself on her own. I don't think Hillary Clinton has the long expericence that justifies a run for the Presidency.
- If Hillary wins the nomination, we'll have to listen to that awful Celine Dion song until election day.
Monday, June 11, 2007
From the spoilers reported on NPR, it was a satisfying ending, at least for me. I've only seen a few minutes of the series. HBO was never in our budget. I noticed that the first season is on DVD at the Goffstown library, but we haven't decided whether to get it out. Even if we do, we'll still be six years behind everybody else. Rod says it's probably too violent for me, but he could be overprotective. We saw the first season of Rome on DVD, and liked it.
I haven't given up on watching the Sopranos some day. (It could show up edited on broadcast TV, as Sex and the City did.) So I like that there wasn't a definitive ending, because when I finally do get around to viewing it, the episodes won't be colored by my thinking "This is a show about a man who eventually..."
The spoiler I'm worried about is the day after the last Harry Potter book comes out. It's a wait to get those books out of the library. That hasn't mattered in the past.
I prefer to get my entertainment from fiction. The main purpose of journalism in a democracy ought to be helping us decide how to vote.
- 1 can "mexican stewed tomatoes" (we use Stop & Shop brand)
- 1 can beans (e.g. black beans)
- 1 small can tomato paste
- frozen corn
- frozen spinach
You can stir instant rice into the mixture, if you're really desperate for a quick one-pot meal.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Well, now I'm in mourning. I read his books over and over in childhood. Kind of in the transition from Oz to Heinlein, with lots of overlap. (Just finished a new novel by him last week, in fact.)
He's the only author I ever sent a fan letter to. He sent a very nice letter back, with a hello from his wife, Janine. Kind of romantic they died so close together. Still, sad.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
It took me a long time to get through Old Man's War. Part of it was that I was writing a screenplay for the Nicholl's deadline of May 1st. But it was also that the story spent a lot of time in set-up. It moved in fits and starts until it was more than half over. I know I would have wolfed through a Harry Potter novel in a weekend, no matter what.
By the end of the book, Scalzi had introduced two interesting groups of characters. One was of the Consu, a highly-advanced race that has a religious need to war against the lower races, including our own, in order to raise them up spiritually. Without this religious need, they could just use their superior technology to annihilate everyone else. The other interesting characters were those in the "Ghost Brigades". These were soldiers created from the genetic make-up of army volunteers who died before they got to serve. Chronologically, they are children, but they function as adults--being able to communicate in English and fight battles within a few weeks of their coming into being.
When I saw that the next novel in the series was called The Ghost Brigades, I wanted to read it. I figured, the first novel was slow, but Scalzi has already set up the universe of his story--now we can get to the fun part. The novel did read a lot faster than the previous one. In that, it did not disappoint. The main character was likeable; it was fun to be in his head. The premise reminded me a bit of the cover blurb for Valerie Freireich's Becoming Human: "Can the clone of a traitor overcome his legacy, or will he be doomed to repeat it?" In Freirich's novel, you learn from the beginning that the traitor in question wasn't really a traitor, so the problem for the clone is growing up under the cloud of unjustified suspicion. In Scalzi's novel, a ghost brigade soldier is built to contain a recording of the consciousness of an escaped traitor, in hopes that the new soldier will remember enough of the mind of the traitor to provide clues as to the traitor's motivation and whereabouts.
The new soldier, Jared Dirac, isn't told about his progenitor's past, so doesn't have the cloud of shame with which Freireich's character had to contend. When he awakens with no memory of the traitor, he is raised as any ghost brigade soldier, and that's a delightfully interesting combination of childhood and basic training--over in two weeks. Then he's fighting wars, seeing things with a possibly more mature understanding than his peers. It's fun for the reader to note his perceptions and wait for more and more of the traitor's personality to surface. When the memories finally do return, then the hunt is on.
Ironically, I have the opposite problem with the next book--the characters' failure to bring back the dead when given the chance to do so. The traitor has an innocent daughter, named Zoe. Jared remembers the traitor's love for his little girl, and feels it as well. At the end of the novel, both Jared and the traitor are dead, but the little girl is saved. Jane orders her last surviving soldier during a battle to find and save a recording that had been made of Jared's consciousness. Then she later decides to destroy the recording, and thus the chance of bringing to life another clone who could serve as Zoe's father. This is judged to be a good moral choice--proof, even, that she "has a soul". The judge of this soul-quality is an alien from a race that has no qualms about butchering humans (including children) to cook and eat. But this judgement isn't presented as ironic.
Jane Sagan is told that both she and John Perry can get early retirement from the service, and go live on a farm, while raising Zoe as their daughter. She chooses to do so, and I think that is supposed to be a happy ending. But I am left wondering: Could there possibly be two people less suitable to raise a child? One of them, Jane Sagan, was never a child herself. That she even knew how to calm a frightened child strained my credulity. The other, John Perry, is a grandfather, who finished raising his children years ago, and wasn't sufficiently interested in his own grandchildren to stay on Earth to watch them grow up. Not to mention my doubts as to the stability of the home. Could Jane actually be happy on a farm and inside a slow, clumsy body, with its reduced abilities of perception, after spending the entire nine years of her existence as a super-enhanced human? Won't she start to miss the other "ghosts"--people like her? And does she really accept being out of the loop? She's survived nine years. She should be advancing into the upper echelon, toward becoming a decision maker in the power structure. Not shunted aside.
Yet this is considered a more moral solution than to bring back alive a clone who will have the memories of being a father to the child, and actual feelings of love for her. After some initial problems adjusting, Jared did seem to integrate his progenitor's memories with his new unique personality fairly well. Had Scalzi described more suffering in the process, the decision not to revive Jared would have made more sense.
In The Ghost Brigades, the soldiers are shown innocently enjoying a sexual orgy that is apparently the tradition following each battle. So now we know that they do have sex. They say that their commander, Lieutenant Jane Sagan, doesn't participate in the orgies any more, but that's OK, since they're optional. The reader is supposed to assume that Jane doesn't any more, because she's saving herself for John Perry, the geezer to whom she is quasi-engaged. That doesn't seem fair. Scalzi is called a successor to Robert Heinlein, but Heinlein wouldn't have done that to a female character. He would have had Jane enjoying the orgies right up until she's able to meet back up with her true love. For evidence of that, see Glory Road, about kicking the stranger's shoes away from his lover's bed when he's ready to come back to her ("but I would go see Star first, or soon anyhow, and kick that strange pile of shoes aside"), or Lazarus Long's mother's guilt-free willingness to have an affair while his dad was at war.
I get the impression that Scalzi is trying to give people what he thinks they want. He really failed in my case. Scalzi is not Heinlein. Heinlein's characters behaved in a way that made sense within their context.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
- teaching at 10. His fourth-grade teacher spontaneously asked Jon to teach the rest of class long-division. He remembered the boy as being both a "math whiz" and a natural teacher.
- drummer boy at 14. The "28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry", a Civil War Reenactment group, remembers him fondly. there's a cute photo of 14-year-old Jonathan dressed as a Civil War drummer.
- rings of jupiter - "His brother remembered a night Jonathan invited the family to the Grainger Observatory at Phillips Exeter Academy, to see a full moon and the rings around Jupiter."
- bicycle helmet & pizza stories, by Joelle Farrell of the Concord Monitor, reprinted in iraqnam.blogspot.com
- NHPR story on how he met his wife helping her move into dorm, post office, pledging in military fraternity, wedding video
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
(of course, we're way too disorganized to divorce)
- Accentuate the positive.
If the thought crosses your mind that you're grateful that he watched the kids or washed the dishes, that he looks cute, or has a nice smile, or how pleasant it is to hear his voice on the telephone, say so immediately.
- Be diplomatic and constructive about the negative.
Before you complain, think: What's going on with him? Is this a good time?
Is there some weakness of your own you can admit to in preface to complaining about his? For example, "I know I left my clothes on the floor yesterday, but I didn't find your dirty socks under the bed until after I did laundry today. So if you want clean socks, could you please try to remember to throw your dirty ones in the hamper?"
- Have sex as frequently as possible.
It reduces stress, makes you feel closer together, and is probably a big reason why you got married in the first place.