walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (godspeed all the bakers at dawn)
as of this morning, the three-day cone for tropical storm gamma predicted south-florida landfall on tuesday, november 22—a date familiar to us as the time by which FPL had guaranteed 100% power restoration in the wake of hurricane wilma. ha ha! FPL, by the way, has been green-lighted to pass on the expense of their repair and restoration process (the largest in its 80-odd-year history) to its customers. a rate increase of over 20% was approved—though they'd asked for less. my mother remarked that obviously the teacher's union has been doing it wrong all this time—all this time they've been asking for a living wage, when they could have demanded six figures and gotten seven. carl hiaasen's column in last week's miami herald was appropriately cynical about the entire situation:

When will we be ready for the next one? Never )

however! as of this afternoon, the (immediate) threat to south florida has been determined to be greatly diminished, and the storm should pass well south of us. that'll certainly be nice for all the planes that want to land at our airports this week, depositing friends and family for thanksgiving.

thanksgiving events at my house consist of the atlanta contingent of the family (eight strong this year) coming in, and lots and lots and lots of food. my mother's been tweaking menus for weeks and baking all day. for three or four meals spread over five days, the following baked goods are planned: sour cream chocolate chip cookies (the family's favorite1); chunky peanut, chocolate, and cinnamon cookies (courtesy martha stewart, a new recipe this year); chocolate butter cookies (maybe); cranberry whole-grain muffins (to hopefully replace our lackluster traditional cranberry muffins); pumpkin pie (you could have thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, but you could also nail a sign to your door declaring MUTINIES WELCOME HERE! see also: turkey, stuffing); pumpkin cake with cranberries; apple cake from the catskills; new england cranberry duff; and three kinds of seasonal bread that's suspiciously cake-like: pumpkin-orange bread; apricot-orange bread; and pumpkin-maple bread. it's pumpkin, cranberry, and orange season! does it show? i had my first orange of the season today.

also today i went over to cousin m.'s for another four episodes of boomtown, sushi delivered to our door for dinner, ice cream for dessert, and kittens scampering around being cute and really, really soft. the show is still fantastic and incredibly complex, and i am even less surprised that it died. i called former-roommate-s. on the way over to get a quick-and-dirty life update, and it turns out she'd watched boomtown when it was running and had been very, very sorry when it ended. it's exactly the kind of show she would love, too.

and i finished kitchen confidential just now, which. wow. the man certainly has an ego on him. my mother read it a while back, and her comment was that she didn't think she would like him—and i'm certain i wouldn't, but i don't have to. he's off-the-charts arrogant and an incredible asshole, which he tells you about, though the pride he takes in it is really just a re-affirmation of the ego. it's okay though, because i don't have to meet the man, or work for him—i'm just reading his book, the book he wrote about the life he lives and the food he loves, and he loves that life and that food. i love reading about that the same way i love watching jacques pepin cook or carpenters build a house. to watch a master perform his craft or teach his subject is always a mechiah—a pleasure, a satisfaction. [livejournal.com profile] zeplum has instructed me to check out a cook's tour next, which i have requested.

1. they're not my favorite; they're a little cakey for me. this is almost sacrilegious to say in my house (though they're more likely to respond with MORE FOR US OMFG), but it's not that i don't love them, because i DO. i'm like johnny depp in chocolat: i'm in heaven, i'm undone—but it's not my favorite.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (those soft-skinned boys can bruise you)
okay, i saw "aurora" and "the lost boys" a couple of weeks ago, and then the hurricane happened (and fallout is still happening, btw: cousin m. got her power turned on just thursday, eleven days after it went out; a third of the county is still without power, and they're still citing november 22nd as the target date for 100% electrification), so i didn't get around to watching them again until yesterday. but now i have notes!

SGA 209: aurora )

interlude #1: a word about lt. col. john sheppard )

SGA 210: the lost boys )

interlude #2: a word about the wraith )
walkingshadow: harry frickin' potter (and the earth did not devour him)
for those of you who haven't been exposed to continuous coverage from CBS-4 local news, south florida was hit by a major hurricane last monday and is still reeling. it left 3.2 million FPL customers without power, it uprooted trees and blew down huge limbs—there's debris everywhere—, it took down fences and roof tiles; some cities are still under a boil-water ordinance (some people didn't or don't even have tap water), there's raw sewage bubbling up into the streets in some neighborhoods; and when i say 3.2 million FPL customers were left without power, i mean it's been almost a week and only 60% of them have had it restored. there are 1.7 million people in broward county alone: 95% of them lost power: a little more than half of them have gotten it back; ours was turned on just this morning, and we were damn grateful, as customers in our area are only guaranteed to have their power back on by november 22. that's a full four weeks; that's two days before thanksgiving.

99% of the traffic lights in the county were put out of commission (they've been slowly coming back online in the last couple of days); school was closed all last week and will be closed until at least this wednesday. my mom and i went on cautious errands this afternoon (we made like newbie drivers and strived to make only right-hand turns at major intersections): everything's a mess. and we were lucky, so lucky, because there wasn't any flooding; because we have a gas stove and were able to boil our water until they told us on thursday that we didn't have to anymore; because we didn't lose our roof, we don't have to evacuate our house, and we never had to wait in line for hours to receive ice and bottled water or to buy gas; because fall decided to come this week and our weather's been beautiful.

my dad lost a lot of fish, his huge, beautiful koi and goldfish, when the electricity went and the pump stopped aerating their water; but for us the worst part has been the darkness and the creeping boredom. i'd like to say i channeled that boredom into bustling productivity, but my journal of events ("baby's first hurricane diary, or, how i spent my involuntary week-long internet hiatus") mostly consists of what i ate, when i slept, how much yardwork i did, wishful thinking about electricity, and kudos for the local recovery crews.

i'm incredibly happy to be back (my mom: "at least this proves it's possible to go a week without the internet." me: "you can do without just about everything but air and water for a week—that doesn't mean you'd want to"), though now that we've got ours, it's dangerously easy to forget about everyone else. luckily, that's what the local news is there for.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (when there's nothing left to burn)
frankly, i've been waiting for wilma to bide its time over the yucatán just long enough for the jet stream to stop dipping, at which point the storm would continue on its north-northwesterly track, eventually slamming into the gulf coast. it's been that kind of year.

instead the hurricane has been over land for days now and has been downgraded to category 2 (100 mph winds), but seems to finally, finally be moving. the experts are still predicting a sharp turn to the northeast and a lot of acceleration to get to the west coast of florida by tomorrow night and the east coast half a day later. broward county schools have cancelled class on monday. my dad put up most of the shutters tonight (the ones we didn't bother taking down after the last storm failed to do much damage) and will put up the rest tomorrow morning, before brunch at cousin m.'s and hopefully before the weather gets too bad. and then she'll come over to our place with the kittens, and we'll bring over my grandmother and her aide, and it'll be a party!

on the fannish front:

a. as everyone seems to be doing these days, i have found can't take the sky and have been downloading caps and making icons from them like craaazy. you can find the finished ones from the first three episodes behind the cut.

30 total )

b. also i have found new atlantis; see above re: feverish downloading and subsequent icon-making.

c. i claimed john sheppard over at [livejournal.com profile] rec50. their motto is because reading is easier than writing, and that is so, so true. this has meant having to re-read the 499 atlantis stories i have saved to my harddrive, some of them more than once. my life = so hard. it's also meant i've been thinking more about fanon, canon, extra-canon, the magnification of canon, etc., etc.; more on that later.

d. at long last i have acquired and watched atlantis episodes 209 and 210! though i think i need to watch them again before my thoughts are anything like coherent. i'm ready for the post-ep fic i've been resolutely avoiding if anyone has recs.

e. in the absence of 1) a netflix subscription, or 2) money, i have raided the library catalog for television-shows-on-dvd, and though i found it sadly lacking, i have managed to request the first disks of arrested development, the office (BBC version), and babylon 5. on my list to see one day are also scrubs, numb3rs, coupling (BBC version), homicide, wonderfalls, wise guys, quantum leap, mst3k, farscape, battlestar gallactica, stargate: sg-1, the dead zone, and all or most of the CSIs. as i asked [livejournal.com profile] silentfire the other day, WHEN DID SCI-FI HAPPEN TO ME? i blame fandom. <3!

while i was in the library catalog, i also requested BOOKS: jonathan strange and mr. norrell by susanna clark; the man who mistook his wife for a hat and other clinical tales by oliver sacks; kitchen confidential by anthony bourdain; and the man who loved only numbers: the story of paul erdős and the search for mathematical truth by paul hoffman.

f. did everyone but me already know about [livejournal.com profile] shrift's firefly story big damn zombies, sir? jayne gets ZOMBIFIED. i laughed so hard i started wheezing. i don't even want to give away any of the lines, just read it if you haven't already.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (we design synthesizers)
ahh, this hurricane season is a good season for record making and breaking. the title of most powerful atlantic storm on record has been awarded to wilma, the monstrous, slow-moving storm still flirting with the yucatán peninsula en route to, possibly, the west coast of florida and points east. its wind gusts at one point were reaching 190 mph. wilma has also "'obliterated . . . by a wide margin' the previous record for rapid intensification set in 1967" by growing in the span of eighteen hours from an 80-mph hurricane to, as previously mentioned, the most powerful atlantic storm on record. i think it's fun to say. in addition, wilma is this year's twenty-first tropical storm, tying the record set in 1933. can we break this record, folks? i think we can! we've come so far already!

we're on the good side of the state this time; we're ready to batten down the hatches when the time comes; we've got water, we've got peanut butter; we live in one of the few, small areas that rise above the floodplain. also when the time comes, cousin m.—plus the new kittens—will come to stay, as will my grandmother and her aide. in this scenario, i am sleeping on a couch. this is okay! i imagine everything will be okay, at least until such time as the power goes out, at which point we'll be seven people, three cats, and a labrador retriever sitting in a dark house with no air conditioning. candles give off more heat and less light than you'd think.

the local news is doing stories on hurricane fatigue, which is funny in the way that it makes me want to punch somebody in the face, because local television news is directly responsible for at least three-quarters of that fatigue, between the time they devote to coverage and their melodrama in delivering it. even their graphics make me tired: their capital letters, bad puns, waving flags, bright colors, and moving parts.

apart from continuing hurricane coverage, today was a good news day in that 1) tom delay was photographed, fingerprinted, and taken before a judge, and 2) a FEMA official testified that his bosses repeatedly ignored his correspondence regarding the expected and then existent catastrophic damage from hurricane katrina: "There was a systematic failure at all levels of government to understand the magnitude of the situation," Bahamonde testified. "The leadership from top down in our agency is unprepared and out of touch." i hope they burn. i hope they hang from the highest yardarm.

. . . okay, i'm not really informed about world events, you got me: it's just that there are fifteen televisions flashing in front of me when i'm in the locker room or on the machines at the gym (twelve of them tuned to news stations), and when i wasn't catching up on july's wired ("remix now!"), i was watching the closed-captioning scroll across the bottom of the screen.

mostly i was catching up on july's wired though, and i was of course interested in and amused by all talk of fanfiction and music copyright laws, as well as william gibson's article on the rise of cut-and-paste culture—though the latter made me wonder, because surely gibson, gaiman, et al. don't think any of this is new? gibson tracks the phenomenon back to william s. burroughs, but what is the wasteland if not a deliberate remix of the world's literature? eliot's notes were a published guide explaining where he'd lifted everything from. eliot once wrote, "One of the surest of tests is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion." what is the difference between an allusion and a sample? shakespeare didn't make up anything new: shakespeare took every story he wrote from the greeks, from virgil, from morality plays, legends, and english history—richard iii is real-person fanfiction.

this is our default mode for artistic creation, this recycling and remixing and resurrection. there are people—writers on my friendslist and disinterested reporters for reputable news agencies alike—who argue for fanfiction as a way of reclaiming communal storytelling, hacking into the traditions of oral history and troubadors. we're just now emerging from an anomolous age, a highly proprietary, commercialized age that brought us copyrights, patents, and royalties; products created with technologies used by the few and then distributed to the many. it's a matter of a pendulum swing. the means of and access to production are more widely available, true, but it's also a matter of philosophy. so much of law—that is, proscribed behaviors and keeping the peace—is a delicate, hopeful matter of authorities saying, please don't do this, and the majority of the people answering, yes, okay, we won't. when a majority of the people (or even a vocal, prolific minority) decide not to follow the rules anymore, the options of the authorities are to 1) give way and redesign the laws, or 2) declare martial law—and the RIAA can only wish it had that kind of power.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (jesus and his lawyer are coming back)
livejournal's been pretty quiet, but i'm assuming that everyone's been watching hurricane rita bear down on the gulf coast. as of 7 p.m. it had dropped in intensity from a category 5 to a category 4 storm (winds are at 145 mph, down from 175) and is expected to make landfall late tomorrow.

galveston's 17-foot sea wall is sweet, but i wasn't sure what it was going to do against a 25-foot storm surge with accompanying waves at high tide; turns out the city is designed to drain to the north in the event of flooding. texas is trying to evacuate itself. there's the small problem of over a million people trying to leave at the same time, and they're all sitting together in 100-mile back-ups, running out of gas. they only just today—this afternoon, i think—opened up their south-bound highways to north-bound traffic. can i just say, that's the first thing we do in florida. a mandatory evacuation warning means all highways are outbound and tolls are lifted on the turnpike. they're pushing the evacuation order really strongly this time (the mayor of new orleans basically said if you stay behind, you're as good as dead; actually, she said you'd better write your social security number on your arm in indelible ink), but still—still!—no one is worrying about or making arrangements for people without the means or resources to leave: people with no cars, people who can't afford gas for their cars, people who can't afford airfare, people who went to the airport but can't get anywhere: the baggage handlers didn't show up in texas today; they had to leave.

i want to know what preparations were being made a week ago, when rita first started threading the needle between cuba and key west, because i can not have been the only one paranoid and pessimistic enough to project it doing exactly what it's done. don't they pay disaster-planners to come up with worst-case scenarios? i can't believe they didn't say to themselves, "wow, things are really, really bad here on the louisiana coast. what would be the worst thing that could happen to us right now? ah! another catastrophic hurricane!" but i can see how they might disregard something so calamitous and far-fetched, since it's only the dead middle of hurricane season in one of the biggest and busiest hurricane seasons on record; and it's not as if there's recent precedent for a region being targeted by multiple hurricanes in a single year. there's going to be—i mean, i can only hope there's going to be an enormous hue and cry when this is over, redoubled fury at fema and the bush administration, but i'd like to think that somewhere in the angry hubbub is toby's voice shouting and nobody saw this coming? i know i want my twenty bucks back.


. . . and now to completely personalize and trivialize this entry, let me say that i learned how to shimmy-walk tonight! which is just what it sounds like, shimmying and walking at the same time. your body seriously does not want to do this, but you can lull it into a false sense of security and then bludgeon it into submission, at which point, hey! you're shimmy-walking! and your body can't take it back now.

rita put the keys under water but it barely made a dent in broward county; we all got to spend tuesday wandering around a dark house in our pajamas anyway, while forty-mph winds occasionally gusted and it sometimes rained. and then more wine! and cheese, and my mother's cornflake chicken, and cousin m. taught me new psychology vocabulary terms during a jeopardy! interlude, namely ego dystonic and ego syntonic. and we watched house )

gym tomorrow, and studying for the gre; requesting books from the library again, and replying to email. i have a to-do list as long as my arm. it's almost time to rejoin the human race. it's late already, and i'm tired—but [livejournal.com profile] ship_recs just updated, so what can you do?
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (with a cigarette there on your lips)
saturday night

the parents and cousin m. and i went out to downtown hollywood for an "art walk," which in principle is a nice way for some of the galleries and shops to showcase their work and get people in the door, and in practice is actually like a pub crawl, but with art and tchotchkes and finger food in place of, you know, ale. some of the art was quite striking and beautiful; some of it was easily surpassed by the shows my high school ap art class put on. it was september in south florida, so it was warm and muggy even well after sunset, but in the course of our walk i downed a glass of champagne and a glass of wine, and then finished it all off with two scoops of the most amazing gelato, so i was feeling no pain.

after we got home i planted myself in front of the computer and chatted with [livejournal.com profile] silentfire while i read my way through the harlequin challenge stories at [livejournal.com profile] sga_flashfic and laughed myself into a wheezing fit. seriously, these authors need to write harlequins for a living. were they born awesome, or did they have to go to awesome school and take advanced degrees? i kept sending erika links and summaries and back-cover blurbs and choice quotes, followed by my reactions, e.g. *dies* and *DIES* and *dies and dies and is reanimated and DIES AGAIN*. that last was to [livejournal.com profile] hyperfocused's TEASER that ended with An all-knowing Mountie, a know-it-all Canadian Physicist, and two American men with experimental hair fight against the odds to brave the wilds of the Yukon in Overdue South.

i was up and rolling around in the crack until after seven in the morning. at that point i had a dozen stories still unread in open tabs, but it was, you know, after seven a.m., and the parents tend to get tetchy when they hear me heading to bed just as they're waking up.


i had myself a great workout, and, and. i can't really remember much of sunday. my mom and i visited my grandmother, who was pretty perky and very chatty; we had a huge vegetarian taco salad for dinner and finished off season one of sports night. i'd just like to take this moment to state right now, for the record, that i love dan rydell, and i love josh charles for being dan rydell, and i really wish we saw more of his mouth him around these days. i love him and casey together, even when i'm not picturing them comfortably in love and rejoindering happily ever after, because they're such good *friends* first.

earlier my mother had been watching season three gilmore girls, particularly a scene where rory comes downstairs to find lorelai going through stacks and stacks of all the catalogues they receive, with the good intentions of calling the companies to cancel the duplicates, but she bails mid-project, as rory had predicted; in despair, rory calls after her, "these catalogues are gonna be here forever!" to which lorelai replies, "no they won't—they're biodegradable." that scene, plus watching josh charles, et al. give life to aaron sorkin's dialogue, led me to an epiphany regarding interpretations of characterization and fanfic, especially concerning the recent kerfuffle over [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock's hindsight, and the epiphany was delivery.

one of the criticisms of hindsight that i remember most clearly was that rodney's characterization was off, specifically that he shouted all the time. i had to admit that he did do a lot of yelling, that it made him come off as shrill, and i had a little trouble reconciling that with the rodney i saw, until i realized it was more a problem of translation and transcription than characterization. because on the show rodney does do a lot of shouting—except that's not quite the right word for it. the prototype in my mind for "yell" isn't what necessarily comes out of his mouth onscreen, though it might be the best word to describe it.

it's easier to go from the written word to the spoken one: there are layers and layers of nuance to add to a single line-reading, incorporating tone and speed and emphasis, facial expressions and body language; you could perform any given line a hundred different ways, but when the time comes to transcribe that performance, the hundred different readings are compressed back into a single line of dialogue—plus descriptions of body language and facial expressions, the context clues of the entire scene, and adverbs (use sparingly). but one of the best tools that a fanfic writer has is that we know the characters: we know what they look like, sound like, how they move; if i can hear a character in a story i'm reading, that is it, that's the best thing. i think what i do too often is read the story and try to let the words give rise to the action, instead of giving the characters a chance to act out the words. so the text says rodney yells, and that strikes me as not quite right; but david hewlett could pull it off, and suddenly rodney's speaking snappily and unhappily, exasperatedly and maybe even angrily, but it's rodney, it's not all-caps anymore. i loved hindsight pretty unequivocally the moment i laid eyes on it, but i take my epiphanies where i find them.

on an unrelated sga fanfictional note, i am a sucker—a SUCKER—for that moment when john is smarter than rodney expects. i LIVE for that. and as [livejournal.com profile] silentfire said, rodney's always surprised! every time! he is nothing if not predictable.


my father woke me up today, but it was almost one p.m. at the time, and it was because he needed help putting up the hurricane shutters, so resentment was given no opportunity to build. we're only expecting tropical-storm-force winds in broward county, but my parents regretted not putting up the shutters a couple of weeks ago when katrina came through, so up they went today. no harm in it, better safe than sorry, etc., etc., and it's more comforting to hear things slamming into the metal than into the windows. between the two of us it only took a little over an hour and a half, under hot hot sunny skies with the occasional darker cloud passing overhead bearing a drizzle, and a stiff breeze that waxed and waned. when we were all done and i went inside, dripping sweat and dirty from climbing in all our shrubbery, the dog came bounding up to me, freaked out by the noise we'd been making and the way it had gotten steadily darker in the house at three in the afternoon.

it's a weird feeling, artificial nighttime inside when the sun's high in the sky, and it's weird to look at from the outside too. a house with hurricane shutters up looks suddenly blind. a boarded-up house is a signal of abandonment, but this is a matter of protection: we seal up the walls and ourselves inside. i walk down the hallway and glance out the back doors, but my line of sight is abruptly shortened to the metal panels a couple of inches beyond the glass. it's the constant visual equivalent of feeling for the landing at the top of the stairs when there's really one more step. the dog seems to have gotten over it; these days the cat only moves back and forth between my pile of dirty laundry and his food bowl and litterbox.

and then we threw an impromptu hurricane party, like you do. my mom and i picked up wine (frank at the liquor store is a super-nice guy who knows his stuff and is thrilled to recommend things we might like), fish and chicken at delaware chicken farm, and a prescription for my grandmother at target. (we delivered it to her too, as she had a new caretaker start today and that kind of transition confuses her terribly. sometimes she falls asleep, and when she wakes up can't differentiate between dreams and memories.) cousin m. came over after she'd put up her own shutters, for wine and fish in this incredible sauce that my mother whipped up from the tomato sauce that had been languishing in the refrigerator, garlic, onions, red peppers, and i know not what. we watched how i met your mother; i forgot about the premier of kitchen confidential, but i'm hearing very good things about it.

i've been working through the rest of the harlequin stories and the latest recs from [livejournal.com profile] ship_recs all night. at one point i solved the sudoku in three minutes, forty-six seconds, and i wanted a COOKIE, or like, sirens to go off and quarters to start flying out of the cd-rom drive.

we have hurricane days like other people have snow days, and there's no school tomorrow, though i think cousin m. is still obliged to show up at work. i'll be sleeping in, just as usual; in case of power outage we're in good shape for bottled water and peanut butter, my ipod is fully charged, and i've got a stack of unread books that just won't quit. house and NCIS are on tomorrow though, so hopefully it won't come to that.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (a room where the light won't find you)
my brother has a shiny new toy (which he insists on calling "a business tool"), and i know this because i'm typing on it right now, on his desk in atlanta, while he sorts his laundry. i'm in atlanta. it wasn't a last-minute decision so much as a decision i'd been waffling on about for months and months, and finally on tuesday I just said "fuck it," and wednesday morning my dad drove me to the airport. for $67.70 i got an x-fares stand-by ticket from airtran, and though i was secondarily screened, i still managed to make it to the gate where the 10:40 flight was just in the final throes of boarding. almost as easy as catching a bus. the pilot even got us in fifteen minutes early.

[livejournal.com profile] silentfire picked me up at the airport after some airport shenanigans, and then after a quick stop downtown to drop off a gift for my brother a., and to let them know hey! i'm in town! see you over the weekend! ri and i drove off to her rural georgian home forty minutes north. over the next three days we ate tacos, strawberries, mini-bagels, sushi, and pints of ice cream (not in that order) and lost ourselves in a stargate-induced haze—there is much, much more on that to come! however, for now i've left ri with my entire collection of sg:a fic that i've saved to my hard drive and burned to disk (23MB+ worth) and ventured forty minutes south to visit with the family for the next couple of days. ri and i will get together again for another couple of days after that, and then i'll go home sometime tuesday or wednesday.

they had a hurricane in south florida while i was gone; cousin m. lost power, my aunt and uncle lost power, my grandmother lost power, and my parents did not. they win at electricity! between broward and dade counties there are a million people without power, and all fpl are guaranteeing is that it's going to be back by *tuesday*. i don't know what the storm is busy doing now, but i know that at some point it turned *south*, from broward down through miami and into the keys, so who knows what it's about to do. maybe i'll stick around here until all threat has passed. hey, i'm flying stand-by—technically, i never have to go home. if only, if only.

eta: fervent wishes and crossed fingers to the city of new orleans and the entire gulf coast. o.O
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (Default)
Well, hurricane season has dashed off to an early—and roaring—start this year. This time I live on the fortunate coast: we just got whapped with some wayward tropical-storm-strength bands as Dennis moved off Cuba and up through the Gulf. On Friday the sun was out, but the wind was kicking up all day; it got dark around 5:30, started raining around 5:45, and poured intermittently thereafter. Our local CBS affiliate pre-empted Numb3rs in favor of special hurricane coverage, omg DIE, sensationalist local news, DIE, DIE. The storm wasn't even coming near us! They couldn't have updated at the commercials? Run a ticker at the bottom of the screen? Useless. They fail at network television.

In lieu of the Brothers Eppes, I started watching M*A*S*H Season Six, finishing on Saturday. Charles = SO OBNOXIOUS OMG. For all his snobbery, he has no class. If he were only a little kinder, quieter, more generous, or less smug, the world—or at least the camp—could be at his feet. Instead everyone's against him, everything backfires on him, everything's a fight he insists on bringing on himself. Does he ease up in later seasons? He must, but I can't remember.

I found the episode "Images," the one with Cooper, The Amazing Crying Nurse, to be unsuccessful in almost all ways. First of all, Margaret was right: neither Margaret nor anyone else should have given a flying fuck whether or not Cooper's little heart bled for all those poor wounded boys—I mean, yes, she should care, as empathy for human suffering is one of the things that gives life meaning and separates us from the insane and sociopathic, but it wasn't relevant—everyone just cared whether Cooper could do her fucking job. Cooper might have been a fine nurse (though we saw no evidence of that), but she couldn't hold her shit together and therefore did not belong in their unit—no judgements made or passed, but she was endangering lives by freezing up. I'm not saying whether or not everyone was right that Cooper should be given more time to come to grips with the realities of working in a MASH unit (weighing an unavoidable adjustment period against the high stakes and the consequences of screwing up), but every time they said Margaret was an ice maiden with a heart of stone for not indulging Cooper's falling apart, I wanted to smack them. They were all, "it's just that she has feelings! Unlike you!" when the whole point was that you can have all the goddamn feelings you want, but you can't let them get in the way. Margaret has wild, swinging, deep emotions she keeps tightly controlled except for when she doesn't, and the writers' decision to have her bond with a stray dog and be devastated by its subsequent death just to show her humanity and allow her to identify with Cooper was both ridiculous and insulting, to the character and the viewing audience alike.

If "subtlety" isn't their middle name, neither is "continuity." They lose on backstory (how many parents everybody has, where they're from, how long they've been in Korea) as well as the day-to-day details: just to nitpick, in the episode where Col. Potter is painting Charles's portrait, Charles is posing with his right side facing Col. Potter, but it's his left 3/4 profile we see in the finished portrait. Whoops!

On Friday my mom and I were still moping through our colds (mine really didn't seem that bad, not nearly as bad as my mother was feeling—but possibly nothing will ever seem very bad in comparison to the deathflu; also I will take any and all excuses to shuffle from room to room reading and watching DVDs). We had zero appetite but sent my father out for pizza for dinner. We kept forgetting to send him out for ice cream.

Saturday I got us ice cream. I watched some of Season Seven M*A*S*H, ran to the store for ice cream, and went out with my family and some family friends for dinner. The weather was truly, truly gross. You live in South Florida, and you think you know what humidity is, but you have no idea. Hurricanes and tropical storms are low-pressure systems, and you feel that: the air feels lighter, less resistant, and also softer. The wind blows warm, which is almost worse than not blowing at all.

Sunday I did laundry and went stir-crazy. [livejournal.com profile] malelia_honu came to my rescue and got me out of the house today, sweeping me off to lunch at Einstein's (a late lunch, because while she called me at 10:30 when she was done with her eye appointment, and I'd heard the phone ring and planned to get up and call her back in just a few minutes, in reality I fell back asleep and woke up three hours later; we got to Einstein's by 3:30), a quick swing through Ross (where I got a green t-shirt that has a picture of an orange and text beneath it reading "can't concentrate"), to Pearle Vision to help Cousin M. pick out a pair of frames (in the end we went with the double-squeal signal of approval), to Barnes & Noble for frappuccinos, cookies, and magazines (it's time to get a subscription to CMYK already), and home in time for dinner. Dinner was my mother's vegetable soup from the freezer, thawed and waiting for me in the pot.

My parents watched Yankee Doodle Dandy (newly acquired on DVD!) after dinner, a family favorite, but I plonked myself down at my computer and read Sacrificial Drift, the sequel to The Taste of Apples. It's SG:A, and yowza. Auburn has quite the knack for breaking me into tiny little pieces. There's more than one go-around of breaking-apart-and-putting-back-together-again here: it's like chanting he loves me, he loves me not and hoping against hope that your flower has an odd number of petals. Special for [livejournal.com profile] isilya: the POV shifts are explicitly signaled this time. I thought of you.

Fluxblog described a song today thusly: "If you are an insecure doormat-y sort of guy dealing with an insensitive girlfriend who makes up for her outrageous cruelty by being quite a handful in the bedroom, then this is YOUR summer jam, especially if you're into Danish twee-wave." I love the mp3 blogs! I flipped through Filter today, but I always slink away from it feeling inadequate, like I am not indie enough for them. Part of it is feeling like there's too much music out there to know; part of it is feeling like I just don't have the same ear to listen to all these songs with—though a lot of that is probably just a function of listening to an awful lot of songs. Right now I am a-swim in fantastic music, especially Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, especially their "Details of the War" (which I got a little while back at Said The Gramophone). It is haunting and waily and I can't make out all the lyrics (which is driving me nuts), but they include the line you will pay for your excessive charm—plus it has acoustic guitar thrumming like hoofbeats and some truly well-deployed harmonica. Their CD goes on the must-have list.

In addition to the music blogs, I also depend upon the kindness of strangers, e.g. [livejournal.com profile] gjstruthseeker (with whom I have been playing a truly epic game of phone tag—if phone tag were an Olympic sport, we'd be bringing home the gold every four years) who posted a bunch of yousendit links to cool, funky songs the other day. One of them was a mash-up of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" set to Guns 'n' Roses' "Paradise City," and it is beyond catchy—it feels like the next logical step in the evolutionary chain.

Unless I have the day wrong, S. and I are meeting up at Barnes & Noble tomorrow to once more tackle the GRE practice tests. I can't help thinking that these little get-togethers would be a lot more useful to me if I studied between sessions.
walkingshadow: anne taintor. it's not easy being easy. (Default)
Yesterday while I was sorting colored construction paper in my mother's classroom, I blurted out, "Mom, what was I doing when I was ten?" and I don't think I've ever startled her so badly in my life. I explained when she asked that I thought it would give me career guidance: it seems that people tend do what they've always done. She wasn't very helpful, not recalling much more than that I read a lot. But I never read excessively, or even extensively, and besides, there are limited opportunities to read for a living. Most of them involve editing in some capacity, which I guess isn't the worst thing in the world.

The pattern holds true, I suppose: I never had any direction and I still don't. I did a lot of art when I was even younger, nothing spectacular, with markers and paints, etc.; I drew on the walls for a while and my parents kept taking my supplies away, until one day they found me on the floor with talcum powder, a glass of water, and a paintbrush, painting in the hardwood tiles. They gave everything back after that. For a long time I had to use every color in the crayon or marker or colored-pencil box at least once, taking them all out and lining them up, putting them back after I'd used them. There were a lot of rainbows. For a little while my mother worried about OCD, but I never developed anything crippling. I've been watching and reading about real and fictional characters with brains the size of small planets, and it eats at me that I'm bright but not brilliant. I'm not terribly proud of having a jealous personality, but it's a pretty big part of me and I'm well aware of it. It's almost time to move on to the next thing. I can only hope that this restlessness builds up enough and enough to drive me not only out of here, but toward something.

Today, however, was not a day for doing things. My dad got me up for brunch with my mom at 11:30, much too soon after I'd gone to bed that morning. The sun wasn't out (the rain and wind are apparently the direct result of Tropical Storm Arlene, chugging through the Gulf of Mexico and on course for Alabama, Louisiana, etc.) so I didn't even bother with my contact lenses. We ate at Einstein's and afterwards my mother and I did more work in her room. I climbed carefully on a ladder and pulled down bulletin boards, finished sorting FCAT practice packets, wished for a nap. We cut out at a little after three. My mother tried out her first day of Pilates (verdict: inconclusive) and I watched and commented helpfully. I'd woken up with tight hamstrings and over the course of the day other muscles made themselves known, especially my shoulder blades and the long slabs of my back, down either side of my spine, aching faintly when I shifted and sore to the touch. I had a mid-afternoon meal and went to sleep at four-thirty. My mother let me sleep until dinner three hours later. Afterward we all watched two episodes of Dead Like Me. Great character development, and I'm still in love with Mason, but "Reapercussions" (1.04?) was a little scattered. It did further the canon though, and the plot arcs and the relationships. I am still a fan.

I've downloaded about a dozen songs tonight, all fantastic, because the kids who run the music blogs, they know what they're doing. You can get I Found Love at Stereogun, where Matthew from Fluxblog is filling in for the weekend. He describes the track thusly: "This is a selection from The Now Sound Redesigned, a collection of remixes of songs by the twee-est band of the '60s, The Free Design. Styrofoam and former Velocity Girl singer Sarah Shannon don't quite remix "I Found Love" so much as cover it, recasting the tune as a syrupy alt-pop ballad for a post-Postal Service world." It's lush and light and liquid, and the lyrics are almost unbearably happy-slappy, but her voice pulls it out and there's enough going on in the music—crackling, booping layers along with, um, something drum-like yet electronic? yeah—that it's all okay. I'm listening to it on headphones too, which I recommend. Is absolutely everything better with headphones?

Check out also The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, recommended over at Said the Gramophone, the blog that introduced me to Andrew Bird's "Fake Palindromes."

I haven't read more than fifteen pages of a book at a time in the last few days, and I miss it. There are more filled requests to be picked up at the library tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow too I'll be whole enough to put myself through my paces at the gym.

March 2011

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