walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (the future freaks me out)
writer's block isn't the inability to write as much as it is the crippling fear that what you will write won't be any good. my favorite poetry professor talked about the illusion of perfection in the head, the trap that keeps writers from writing. i have life block. i've been sitting here for months, inert, trying to imagine the perfect job, the pefect grad program, the perfect future path—waiting for it, really, and resisting all suggestions of lesser, less satisfying occupations for my time, both short- and long-term; i've been goldilocks. the key is momentum. i know the secret to beating writer's block is to write, to write nonsense or drivel, whatever comes out. i greatly prefer the illusion of perfection in my head.

basically my dad took me out for breakfast this morning, and when he can pin me down for five minutes at a time, this is where all conversations between us tend: what am i going to do with my life? to be fair, he isn't really demanding i come up with a fifty-year plan; he's insisting that i get off my ass and do something while doing his ineffectual but well-intentioned best to help me find my way. so i played the part of goldilocks over eggs at jack's diner on three hours of sleep this morning. at home i napped through the early afternoon, then tried out the 5:30 kickboxing class at the gym. the class was fantastic but i way overdid it and came home spent and shaky. i could have easily put myself to bed by nine p.m., but didn't.

and now to close with a couple of unpopular livejournal opinions: 1) i don't like to link to or click on cut tags. i love the cut tag itself as a thing of beauty and genius (and am extremely grateful for it in these trying, spoiler-fraught times of no cable television and no high-speed internet) and use them all the time myself; but when i go to read an entry that's behind a cut i almost always click on the link to the entry, not the tag itself; and when somebody else links to an entry using the cut-tag extension, i usually delete it from the URL. i need to start at the top of a document; i feel the same way about embedded links in a page. 2) i prefer to click on—and be linked to—the read-comments, not the post-a-comment page. and 3) i don't like to read someone else's journal in my own journal style. i don't have my journal preferences set up that way, and, again, if somebody's link includes it, i change the URL. it feels weird to see the contents of another journal in the skin of mine. it's like an out-of-body experience, like coming home and finding a stranger living in my house.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (sing along with the common people)
a. this day in history: a livejournal meme )

b. [livejournal.com profile] silentfire, this one's for YOU:
dear diary, today i was pompous and my sister was crazy. today, we were kidnapped by hill folk never to be seen again. it was the best day ever.

i've never had much luck with text icons, but i'm toying with the idea of making a set of firefly quotes.

cousin m. and i are booked for this friday! so excited!

c. the other evening the local news weather report included a reading of 8.5 on the stickiness scale. a stickiness scale! boy, can we ever use one of those.

d. something i've noticed as a product of livejournal-based fan and fanfiction meta-discussion (and stop me if this predates livejournal or developed independently of it) is a new story form, what i think of as either the compressed story, or the extended summary. maybe the extended bunny. it starts with "where is the story where" or "somebody needs to write the one where", and continues to lay out the plot—often the entire skeleton—using lots of coordinating conjunctions, complete with the major emotional arcs, character set-up and development, lines of dialogue. [livejournal.com profile] helenish creates awesome ones all the time; [livejournal.com profile] allecto spins out fantastic and richly-detailed aus; [livejournal.com profile] viggorlijah casually tosses out delicate set-ups; [livejournal.com profile] dexwebster re-cast desk set—which sounds awesome, by the way.

i won't say everybody does it, or even almost everybody, but lots of people do, and often; i've even done it, with absolutely no intention of ever writing the idea i had. and that's what it feels like: a public forum for viewing stories that will never be written. they're fascinating and often lots of fun to read, but they're also frustrating as hell to read, because i've just had my interest piqued and my appetite whetted for a story i can now reasonably expect to never see. maybe i'm underestimating the number of these that are eventually expanded upon and made into fully-functioning stories (by either their originator or an adoptive author), but for the moment i want to argue that they usually don't get written, that to publish the extended bunny is to fix it in that form forever, because it's a new form: a meta-story, a story about the possible telling of a story. in that sense, it's already complete.

f. for a textbook example of the abovementioned, see [livejournal.com profile] helenish's latest post, in which she whips up this fantastic idea for the vice-versa challenge after admitting to being sucked in by stargate: atlantis.

if you don't read [livejournal.com profile] thefourthvine, she just posted the most hilarious and spot-on roundup of stargate: atlantis and its fandom—whose apparent motto, she says, is "you will be assimilated": I now call it the black hole of fandom, and I could do this whole extended metaphor thing involving solar masses and the Schwarzschild radius and the Chandrasekhar limit, but I think we'll all be glad I chose not to. Suffice to say, SGA is where I expect we'll make alien contact for the first time; some writer will notice a new name on her friends list, click, and discover that the fine entities of Alpha Centauri have been sucked in and are now searching for SGA slash. i'm just saying, when not even light can escape? you're doomed. doomed, doomed, doomed. and, oh, the water is so incredibly fine.

g. television roundup!

kitchen confidential )

on tuesday we were trying to tape four shows on two vcrs, and it would have all been fine if i hadn't fucked it up by 1) not switching out a tape at a crucial moment, thereby losing last week's—unseen—NCIS, and 2) doing some strange and stupid thing with the remote that resulted in not taping commander in chief. to sum up: i fail at life and should probably not go near anything having to do with vhs for a little while. commander in chief will repeat on saturday, at least. and unless i screwed up even more than i thought, we also taped the four-hour pbs documentary on bob dylan. things we did manage to watch on tuesday, in spite of me:

gilmore girls )

house 203 )

after watching house and gilmore girls back-to-back it's inevitable that i would imagine house and paris in an etiquette-devouring crossover nightmare, right? right? paris could be the patient in whom house finally meets his match! and they're not only in the same galaxy, they're in the same geographic region of the same country! that, of course, led me to imagine house + paris + rodney, and then i panicked at even the *possibility* of the scenario and had to RUN FOR MY LIFE o.O

h. an informal survey: does anyone else ever suspect that angelina jolie is a robot?
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (people can lose their lives in libraries)
It's mighty tedious experimenting with lj styles on a dial-up connection. That's self-evident, isn't it? The problem is, I like my journal style; all those right angles make me happy inside in a way right angles probably shouldn't, and it's all clean and simple and narrow down the center of the page, as I am reclaiming the vertical on my computer monitor. I like that each entry is separated; I like that it links to my allpics page; I like that it shows the day of the week along with the date. I just get bored, so every now and then I rifle through the other styles, channel Goldilocks, and end up just messing minutely with my colors. I give the purple one day to grow on me, and then I'm changing it back or trying something new.

I've been doing so little these past few days it's barely worth recounting, but I did read Ella Minnow Pea: kinda cute and a little too clever, but at least it didn't take up too much of my time. It's the story of a tiny island nation off the Carolina coast whose claim to fame is that the man who created the sentence The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog was a native son. A monument of the immortal pangram has stood for a hundred years or so, but letters have started falling off, which the island Council interprets as a SIGN from beyond the grave that those letters should no longer be used in speech or writing. It's an epistolary novel, so we see the islanders struggling to communicate using progressively fewer and fewer letters as the Council gets more and more fanatical. It's an interesting premise, I just felt like a lot more could have been done with it. I'm almost done with Never Let Me Go—I'll give it its last forty pages to surprise me.

I woke up to rain this morning, and I woke up early, to have breakfast with my father. By "early" I mean my dad wanted to leave by ten, so I set my alarm for nine-fifteen and dragged myself into the shower at nine-forty. We ate at a diner (I think we're just taking a tour of all of them) on US-1, a diner now open 24 hours!—something to remember when it's midnight and all the city is silent. My dad and I split the paper and I drank coffee and ate eggs and biscuits while I mocked the Sentinel sportswriter for stupidity and mediocrity, lamenting the lack of cable in this house, which means I'll be missing the Federer-Nadal French Open semifinal tomorrow. So it goes. Then I spread the crossword out next to me, hiding my coffee cup, so that later, when a waitress came by at the end of our meal, while we were just lingering, she was confused and apologetic, having not refilled me earlier. I said it was okay—if I'd wanted more coffee and she hadn't seen my cup, I would have asked for some. She made some jokey comment about my not looking old enough to even drink coffee, and when asked, said first that I looked to be in my "early teens," then revised to seventeen. Ha! If I'd had my hair in ponytail buns like I've been wearing it occasionally I probably could have passed for twelve.

My dad said he essentially owned me until three—the time I'd normally be just getting up. Which was slightly unfair, really; by three I've usually at least had breakfast. The skies opened up on the way out of the restaurant and kept opening wider and wider as we drove down Stirling and into the Barnes & Noble parking lot. It was raining so hard that I waited to dart out of the car and into the store, even though we'd pulled up right to the overhang. We spent an hour or two browsing. I was poking through the essay section looking for likely library material when a woman down the aisle near the children's section started hitting her child. She pushed her, and kicked her when she fell down, and a man who'd come up behind me said "if I see her do that again I'm calling the police. Did she just kick her?" and I nodded at him silently, wide-eyed, probably looking even younger than the waitresses had thought. They left though, the child and the mother and another woman who might have been the mother's mother, the child wailing through the store. I don't know where the man went.

I almost got The Best American Nonrequired Reading (edited by David Eggers and Viggo Mortensen), but in the end came away with only The New Lifetime Reading Plan. It's patronizing and necessarily limited and focused quite a lot on dead white European males; this "new" edition boasts the inclusion of "literatures of the whole world", an admirable goal, but it comes with this baffling passage from the preface: "The inclusion in this edition of such works as the Koran—the fundamental scripture of Islam—and the Zen scripture The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch raises the question of why the Bible is not listed here as well. The reason is simple. We assume that nearly every reader of this book will own a Bible and be at least somewhat accustomed to reading it; and there is nothing we might try to say about it that would not seem presumptuous." I thought that was quite an assumption to be making about their readership. But perhaps that's just me! Well, me and my mother, who looked incredulous when I read it out to her. But I recognized just about every author they included so I figured they'll make a good starting point. The editors talk earnestly about quotidian drudgery leaving one mentally unsatisfied and the enlargement of the mind that will result from Great Conversations with these great minds. It's a little irritating, but I know there's quite a lot to be said for digging into the primary texts. I'll break up my reading schedule with Nietzsche or Montaigne or The History of the Peloponnesian War, trading off as I've been doing: math for crime, history for autobiography, novels for science, something heavy for something light. I have all the textbooks I've never read. I have nothing but time.

We saw Madagascar after we'd made off with our books (and after we'd sat in on the end of The Longest Yard, since we were half an hour early for our showing) which was, you know, cute. I had to keep reminding myself to shut up and enjoy the anthropomorphism. Obviously I haven't been getting out enough. My mom called my cell phone just as my dad and I were driving by her school; he dropped me off, and my mom and I paid a visit to my grandmother, who was very chipper and relatively lucid today. It comes and goes, but today was a good day.

I need desperately to get to a gym. Forget the loss of muscle tone and the jeans that are too tight in the thigh, I'd like to get my metabolism and energy up again, I'd like to not be stiff and slightly achy when I wake up in the afternoon. I miss swinging my body through its whole range of motion, and I just won't do it on my own. I've been helping my mother get a routine started, and I do a little weights and stretching at the same time, but my body is not impressed. I want to get to the Y this week (not today, though today was a good today, and not tomorrow because I'm meeting S. for lunch and GRE studying), and then sometime next week [livejournal.com profile] malelia_honu and I should be able to work out together for a little while, just to get me started with a fucking routine. I'd go jogging, but it's South Florida out there and the humidity has come. Plus I hate jogging. I take it all back.

March 2011

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