Monday, January 29, 2007

Caryn James, Why Do You Waste Our Time?

Yet another article in the NYTimes Film section that is ridiculous. In the article Caryn James laments about the dullness and repetitiveness of awards show speeches by the actors who keep winning their categories. Try to cloak thanks in an entertaining package, James suggests, citing Mirren (whose mantelpiece must be sagging under the weight of all those statuettes) and Hugh Laurie as examples. Then she suggests that the blandness of the speeches have something to do with an apolitical mood in Hollywood. Um. And then she calls Ellen Degeneres "namby-pamby." No joke. I'm not going to include a link to this article because I don't want you to have go through the random pointlessness of that piece. Seriously. The NYTimes needs some new Film writers.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Golden Rule: Don't Talk Smack About People You Don't Know

I'm guessing Caryn James is rethinking her stupid Times article of the 22nd (i.e., a "film" article that was more about image than movies and seemed straight out of US Weekly) now that Angelina Jolie's mother has died of cancer. You try putting on a happy face at something as stupid as the Golden Globes while your mom is dying of cancer. Just try.


This weekend in film:

Catch and Release -- my friend is from Boulder so she wanted to go see it. We saw it. Kevin Smith kept an otherwise sleep-inducing movie on the right side of a coma.

Wordplay -- the documentary about crossword puzzles moves sluggishly until the Stamford tournament at the end. Not to be watched within twelve hours of Catch and Release or within three hours of driving a car/operating machinery (heavy or otherwise).

The Latin Movie III -- my friend, fellow Yalie Charles Umiker, is a Latin teacher at Duchess Country Day School in New York. Every year he and his 7th graders make a film, and it is friggin' hilarious. To see clips of little kids pretending to be Zeus, Pandora, and others, go to youtube and type in latinology.

The Paper Chase -- this supposed classic about first year Harvard Law students isn't exactly Legally Blonde, and it holds up as poorly as I'm betting the Reese Witherspoon film will in 30 years.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Another dream, another book

Kirk Cameron (who at some point in an earlier part of my dream was, I think, talking about how much fun he had as a soldier in Iraq) and I were filling in tourist information on a map while a bear (clearly supposed to be an over-sized version of my puppy) lapped me incessantly. We finished the map and I shoved the bear away from me, sick of being lapped. The bear didn't like that and, without warning (I usually see things coming in dreams), the bear lunged at me. I woke up, my heart literally cowering in terror at the bottom of my bed.

I'm finally, FINALLY making some headway on my thesis, only to stop and go to New Haven for the weekend for a mini-reunion with the old roomies. Sigh. Well, at least there will be good food.

Am reading Thank You for Not Reading (something about exile has to do with something about translation, as far as my thesis is concerned) by Dubravka Ugresic, who is Croatian and a writer, but not a Croatian writer (too nationalistic). The book is extremely well-written, and while I feel at times of a similar temperament, aesthetic, and political mind, I'd be afraid to say it to her. Every person who is ever watched and enjoyed a TV show will be crushed. People who do not watch television and then rail about television on television will be crushed. Anyone who has ever felt high-and-mighty will be crushed. Anyone who has allowed others to notice how timid they are will be crushed. In general all people will be crushed, with the possible exception of the Amish.

Do utterly genuine people with no angles exist? I know Dubravka includes herself in the people she crushes (sort of) but I wonder... I don't know what I wonder. Except that in the matter of literature, everything of value has taken a back seat to mass media production, boxes of cereal with dehydrated marshmallows.

On one hand, I am an unapologetic elitist when it comes to literature; on the other, I believe in sincerity, though I think it's a different kind of sincerity from the kind Ugresic finds abhorrent. Literature is equal parts craft and art -- you must read Dickens and read like Dickens and read like the Dickens to have the right to write like Dickens. Even then, not everyone can be a writer; and if you aren't obsessed with books and words and syntax and story and rhythm, then you're not a writer. You have to study tradition before you can question tradition, all of which comes before choosing to break tradition (otherwise, you're just fucking around). You just can't knock on writers you haven't read (it's like those morons who yell about Hounddog without having seen the film, talked to the director about how the rape scene was shot, or asked the actress how she felt -- people just like to have something to be against). Moreover, you shouldn't write something unless you have something worth writing. Writing is labor and love and privilege and it should be treated with the utmost dedication and respect. You have to be sincere about your work -- your story can be a total fiction, your characters despiccable, your dialogue silly or witty or obtuse, but you have to know it when you write it. You have to make choices and be aware. If you don't mean what you write, you have to meant to have not meant it. At the end of the day, f you haven't made yourself ill over your writing, you're probably not a writer.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Things I didn't know I'd miss until they were gone:

the ghetto mall (New Haven, now a nice mall/residential apartment)
York Square Cinemas (New Haven)
Rainbow Cafe (New Haven)
Cedar Bar & Grill (NYC) (rumored)
gas stations (everywhere) (it's just a matter of time)
others (can't remember off the top of my head)

Seriously, I've begun to photograph everything that has, had, or could have a smidgeon of meaning in my life because before you know it, there's a Starbucks taking its place. What are you going to miss? Imagine America without gas stations. I'm 110% positive I've seen a photography book about gas stations out there, and hear me this, that book is going to be a must-have in ten or twenty years when there are no more gas stations (due to lack of gas). Can you imagine America's highways, hell, its average suburban towns, without gas stations? It would be, well, so much nicer, wouldn't it? Canada would be alot emptier (the Irving gas station being the only thing for hundreds of miles on the lonely highways), but America would be alot less icky. Assuming what replaces them isn't skeevier... I don't think plug-in stations would work so much as hydrogen/electric cars will need time to rejuice. Anyhow, here's to nostalgia, the biggest reason people buy TV show DVDs. We're holding onto the past, onto the cultural landmarks that have helped to develop how we live our very lives.

Though when I put it that way, it's a bit disturbing. Do I really care if the ten gas stations within a mile of my parents' house drop off the map tomorrow? Mmm... I honestly can't say. But I do miss that basement restaurant that fed me so many yummy grilled cheese croissant sandwiches with multi-colored tortillas on the side, that Rainbow Cafe with its signed poster of Mary Martin's Peter Pan and jumbo, greasy cookies and bad local art. And I'll miss York Square, where I saw a sneak preview of Chicago, the movie, and the uncomfortable Y Tu Mama Tambien with a conservative South Dakotan friend of mine, The Machinist with a screamer, and Capturing the Friedmans with loads of middle-aged people with no sense of humor. Sigh. The ghetto mall with its constant fear of being stabbed in the neck at the Burger King, the dollar store where a certain celebrity kid-friend of mine bought shampoo, the Radio Shack that couldn't help me when I broke my computer. Memories, I tell you.
Cedar Bar, not so much, but still. I wish I had had a chance to say goodbye. It's time to stop photographing friends and family and to start photographing the local mercantiles. You won't regret it, trust me.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Carole Bayer Sager (songwriter and guest American Idol judge) looks like Joan Collins. This upsets me.

And suddenly the division between newspaper arts sections and bad entertainment magazines buries itself in the sand.

After All That Goodness, a Sudden Fall From Grace

Seriously. Why is this a NY Times article? Why is it even a story? Seriously. US Weekly much?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth (WARNING: spoiler alert)

I tried to write this blog earlier, but I was so emotional after seeing the matinee of Pan's Labyrinth, I couldn't deal.

It's hard to tell now, but when I was a mere lass, I looked a helluva lot like Ivana Baquero. I also acted much like her as well (granted, not in Franco's Spain, but we have a similar preference for books over, er, people, and rather wild imaginations coupled with stubborn personalities and errant behaviour). So when the girl suffered on screen, it was like watching myself be put through absolute torture. And (DON'T READ ANYMORE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS) when the child died, I lost it. It felt like I was watching someone murder me, or my child. I sobbed the whole drive home. Really really brutal.

Anyhow, I have now seen the films by the so-called "three amigos" that have generated so much buzz this awards season, and honestly, besides the fact that they were made by three Mexican directors, they have very little in common. Moreover, while Cuaron and Del Toro could conceivably put in the same class of brilliant, fantastic, artistically-devoted storytellers of the highest order, Inarritu is more along the lines of a Paul Haggis. A Crash Paul Haggis. A slightly-less-innovative Paul Haggis.
See, the thing is: Cuaron and Del Toro's films have staying power. They aren't manipulative. OK, they are, but not so obviously. The most important thing to Del Toro is his characters. To Cuaron the keys are the relationship of humans to their landscape and to each other. Inarritu is more interested in the topical.
Also, Cuaron is by far the most experienced and proven filmmaker, the kind of director whose movie you should see on his name alone. While Del Toro's Hellboy was promising, it did not prepare me for the spectacular frighteningly beauty and story-telling originality of Pan's Labyrinth -- Del Toro has the mark of a more focused and surprising Peter Jackson. Inarritu only has Amores Perros, Babel and 21 Grams, which, at this point, shows a lack of storytelling variation. Each of the films have similar structures and all have flaws despite the fact they have been critically acclaimed. The first was far too long, the second too sprawling, and the third, let's face it, dull. The only thing Inarritu has done right, as far as I am concerned, is to get Gustavo Santaolalla to score his films... if it were up to me, Santaolalla would score half the movies made.

I'm also a big fan of Guillermo Navarro's cinematography -- he's done some clunkers, but I think PL and Zathura more than make up for the others, which probably weren't his fault anyway.

Right now, I'm reading Pamuk's Istanbul. I know he won the Nobel and all, but I can't not fall asleep reading it. Seriously. I never had much desire to go to Turkey (it's one of the few places I don't have a desperate need to visit) and any possibility that any such desire might crop up has been permanently sliced, diced, and buried in the Mariana Trench.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pats lose... weird dreams...

The Pats' loss means I don't have to wait at the airport for four hours for my grandparents to pick me up Superbowl Sunday. I know that won't come as any consolation, but...

I just woke up from THE most bizarre dreams. First, for some reason my parents had decided to purchase more and more puppies, including two we had to train inside some sort of solarium. My mom named one "Artemis" (perhaps the most bizarre part of the dream -- my mom would never name a dog after a Greek god) and we named the other. I came up with "Soupbowl" so we could call the dog "Soup," "Bowl," or "Zuppa." In the corner of the solarium, just to add to the weirdness, was a "Merry Christmas" inscribed in sand and dated from some random summer month in the 80s. I'm sure there was other stuff but the memory is fading.

Cut to a Yale Law School interview for a full scholarship. I have never had any desire to go to law school but from my brilliant interview, I'm starting to wonder. First of all, for every part of it, I had to change my clothes, using whatever I had with me and a dress in the woman's closet (I think this might have been heldover from a forgotten middle dream). During my interview, I talked about the other places I was applying -- San Diego, West Virginia, another place in California, and some random place like St. Louis or NC or Michigan. Can't remember. I told her my interest in law stemmed from my study of anthropology in college and how even the smallest society needs rules so each person can feel safe among others and that each person is endowed with the privilege and responsibility to respect the safety of the others in the group, and so on (I think I said it better there)... Not bad for my dream self. When she asked me what I wanted to do with my law degree, I said, "Be a lawyer -- I know radical -- and I'm interested in copyrights and permissions, specifically, plagiarism cases."
This is where things started getting too weird for believability. As a bunch of other girls came in, like a pageant, and an old man in a wheel chair, a woman in the back started talking about Brad Pitt in Babel and how he was holed up in a nearby hospital (we couldn't decide in which) and this was somehow connected to my last response. Then the old richie rich woman who had been conducting the interview asked me about the old shabby coat I (a young filly) was wearing. I told her this young filly was wearing an old coat cause she couldn't afford to shed it just yet and get a young coat. Everyone laughed, and then the man in the wheelchair asked why we deserved 35,000 dollars a year from him to attend the law school and has all pair up to ask each other what we had learned about being rich and poor. So that's when I woke up, still considering my answer to that question.
If you're curious, it's that it is commonly said that being poor requires you to be creative, and while it does, it does not follow that poor people are, in fact, creative and the only ones who are so. Some, due to lack of creativity, die, go mad, or become homeless. (Harsh, but true). And there are quite alot of rich people who are "creative" with their money in ways that can either further their wealth or suck it all away. There's also everyone in between. So what you learn about being rich or poor is that there is no generalization that proves accurate for all.
Right-o. Have a nice Monday.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Jesus Ain't Got Morels Like I Got Morels

Thank you, Mark DeCarlo and the Travel Channel. You helped me with a major plot point that was causing me heaps and heaps of trouble.

Went Tiki Golfing today and was disappointed by the lack of moving parts. There was a volcano but it didn't spew anything. I think marshmallows would have been fun. Also watched Talladega Nights. Pretty damn funny. Amy Adams is wasted, but it's 2 hours long and you really couldn't ask for more. Hell, they could have cut ten minutes (though I did watch the uncut and unrated version, so perhaps it was shorter in theaters). As much as I want to quote the film right now, I think it would be unfair to those of you who have not seen it yet and are turning off the computer in five seconds so you can run out of your houses and rent it. Five four three two one. Go.

OK, so if you're still reading, that means you're a bitch or you've seen the film already. If the latter, high five. If the former, bitch.

Jeremy Piven's on SNL tonight! Woohoo! For the love of Sunset Boulevard, let it not suck!

Friday, January 19, 2007

so much for that

When I woke up this morning, there was a centimeter of snow on the ground. It's all gone. Farewell, Caleb, Cyrus, Cornelius, and all those other guys. See you in '08 (knock on icebergs).

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Cyril and So On

So apparently I've been driving without a license (unknowingly) for the last three days. Shh, don't tell the police. Luckily, I found it precisely where I expected I might have put it, so that's a load off everyone's shoulders.
I know you're relieved.

OK, so who knew that Germany had storms they could name? Apparently "Cyril," which the Times refers to as both a "storm" and a "howling winter gale," swept through Northern Europe and the British Isles today... Huh. Cyril. Really? Not exactly a common name in Germany, and why do they get to name it as opposed to the English? Also, come on. We don't name our blizzards or Nor'Easters. Are they simply jealous of our hurricanes and the typhoons that hit the Southeastern Hemisphere? Seriously, I've never heard of this before. Anyone care to explain?

My cultural consumption of the week thus far:
The Weather Man (Gore Verbinski/Nick Cage film -- interestingly, Cage has a lot of Man films, such as The Family Man, The Wicker Man, Matchstick Men, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, and, of course, Valley Girl.)
Scoop (so bad, it might be good... or not)
Magic for Beginners (superb, insane, brilliant, creepy, all the endings feel like beginnings -- and not in an annoying way; go read it now)

We got a little snow coming down, people. Hoorah! I'm going to name each flake. That flake is Cornelius, that one's Christopher, that one's Caleb, that one's Cyrus... and now I can't see any more. Crud.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


My sister just said, and I quote,

"I hate that when a guy on TV is hot but he's just been accused of rapism."

Ah, yes, rapism.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Major Tourist Destination

This is the school I found when trying to locate a decent place to sleep for a few hours in SC. And this is the irresistible sign that went with it.

If you can't read that it says

Green Grove Elementary School: Home of the World's Most Courteous Students

Makes the Golden Globes seem kind of stupid, eh? :)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

In Florida

At this very moment, I'm in my grandparents' lovely Sarasota house, listening to the 70-something year-olds crowing at the TV (Patriots v. Chargers). I drove down here yesterday with fellow Yalie and good friend, Smita Gopisetty, who will be teaching baby equestrians that there's more than life to horses (like, history) in W. Palm Beach. We started in Princeton Friday night and drove almost without cessation for 25 hours in her brand-new baby blue Prius, which is a great car. Pros: great gas mileage, handling, rear-view video so you don't have to look back when you back up... this takes some getting used to. Cons: rear-view window is too tiny and split halfway, steering wheel is made for people half my height, and the steering wheel is also v. low and can't be coaxed any higher.
Going back up to CT tomorrow assuming it doesn't snow in Chicago for three weeks before returning here, Feb. 4, which is Super Bowl Sunday. My grandparents are going to kill me if the Patriots are in, and they have to pick me up from Tampa.
The ride down here was interesting/painful. I-95 in Maryland is like a runway: bright giant street lights, wide lanes, and smooth blacktop. This is also where you start seeing the giant billboards that grow more frequent the further south you get.
In VA we started seeing signs warning us that our speed was "monitored by aircraft." What aircraft, I want to know? And why does this aircraft have nothing better to do than monitor how fast I'm going? It's not like it's going to pull me over...
We ate at a (seemingly) successful chain restaurant called Waffle House, which you'd never know was a chain from eating there. The waffles are skinny, super-eggy crimes against breakfast and the place looks like any other crummy diner. But the place is ubiquitous, has hospitable service, and the hashbrowns are pretty decent.
Really exhausted in South Carolina, I made the mistake of pulling off some random exit, hoping to find a parking lot to take a 30 minute nap in. No luck. Just fields. As I was about to turn around, I saw a sign for a Presbyterian church and decided to follow that road. I didn't find a church, but we did come across a pack of dogs roaming the roads and the saddest most decrepit school, with a faded two-sided sign that made me die a little inside. I took pictures and will post them tomorrow or Tuesday when I'm back in CT.
We saw some really memorable billboards along the way in the Carolinas for fireworks warehouses and something called Risque Cafe, or Cafe Risque, and -- my favorites -- signs for a weird Mexican amusement park/tourist trap/ surrealist model place called "South of the Border" just South of the North Carolina border. Deeply, deeply weird. I'm still sorry we didn't go there.
At some point, Smita and I were trying to figure out the derivation of the word "stumping" in campaigns. I was fairly sure it has something to do with a stump of a tree (as sort of a natural podium for campaigns) and that the phrase "being stumped" came after the campaigns (you lose a debate, you've been stumped) but now I think I may have made it all up. Any thoughts?
I am reading Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners right now, and it is so far the most enjoyable short story collection I've ever read. The girl can write, and I thank Amy Poueymirou for recommending it, and Nick Antosca, whose added recommendation made me finally borrow it from my public library.

That's all for now. If I think of any more good stories from my East Coast trek, I'll post them in the next few days.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Road and the road

I just (literally, just) finished reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It just about killed me. I started reading it last night -- big mistake. Once you start, you don't want to put it down and, more to the point, you don't want to put it down at night. Especially if you happen to be spending the evening in a suburb that is dead quiet except for the crunching sound you can hear through the wall of your bedroom. Perhaps, it's just the wind smashing the dead branches of the rhododendron into the house... or cannibal zombies are trying to eat their way through the vinyl siding. Who knows? Anyhow, I managed to fall asleep eventually. And then I got up, drove myself to Old Lyme to do a little research (FINALLY) on my thesis, and then I came back at 3:30, starving, having stupidly failed to eat breakfast or lunch.
And now I've finished The Road. It's an odd book, and that's not attributed to the post-apocalyptic theme, but to the fact that the story has bits and pieces of what can only be referred to as murky poetic mulling. One minute, "the man" is no longer rummaging through the skeleton of some decrepit, ashy boat; the next, we get a paragraph of inexplicable ruminations. Also, in the beginning there are alot of clauses masquerading as sentences and repeated usage of the word "shorn." This disappears soon enough. Of course, it's a brilliant book, scary as all hell in the raw realism of it, and deeply emotional.
Do read it... but not until the spring when the days are longer.
Tomorrow, I head to Princeton, New Jersey to help my friend Smita drive down to Florida in her new blue Prius. So I'll be gone road-tripping it all weekend and fly back Monday.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Southern Connecticut is finally seeing a little action. A very little. Just a flurry, really, of large snowflakes. I think there are about 36 in a whirlwind outside my window.

Right now I am working on my critical thesis for my Master's, which is either going to be about young poets from ex-Soviet states or the theory and practice of translation in poetry. Or both.

The flurry seems to be leaving -- and probably winter along with it. Blast you, El Nino!

Saw Children of Men last night. Very good, heart-pounding film. There's one scene where you get your hopes up that humanity is redeemable. And then. Sigh. Not so much. But I'm glad because Cuaron could have really destroyed the film at any point in the last ten minutes or so (in about half a dozen different ways) but he didn't. This, of course, may be a misplacement of credit, but since I have not read the P.D. James novel on which the film is based, I have no idea how closely the film sticks to the book. So.

Oh, and last but not least, Friday Night Lights is on tonight. Peter Berg, the pilot's writer and director, has created the best new TV show you're not watching. Seriously. I don't give a crap about football, and I wasn't totally blown away by the movie. One critic said it was the best, most honest show about high school since Freaks and Geeks -- and I think it's fair to say that if you liked FandG, you'll enjoy FNL, so please start watching it. Not to slam Texas, but it's the best thing to come out of there in a long time.

Right-o. Shower time.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Glad I'm Not in NYC...

Manhattan has a Mercaptan leak? I'm so glad I'm not living in Chelsea anymore.

I finished Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank yesterday. Not exactly Proust but both had their charms. After all, who of us doesn't like a bad-ass who knows his way around the kitchen? Or... well, Bank makes some really bizarre narrative and structural choices (a sudden shift into all second-person, for example) and considering the book's heroine is an associate editor at some major publishing firm, it could have used a bit more, oh, I don't know, critical thought. Like, for example, how it really doesn't live up to its title until maybe the last chapter. The parts in which the story is clearly following Jane Rosenal, the heroine, are fine, but that last chapter, when the reader isn't certain what's going on, considering the odd "you" chapter awhile back, seems tacked on to give it a nice, happy, if strained ending. Anyhow, if you're still tempted to read it, and it's not lacking utterly in merit, I would suggest borrowing it from the library or a friend, rather than buying it. KC is far more entertaining and, despite some copyediting issues of the gratuitous carelessnes kind, is the better book.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Hockey, Beach

Took the little sib to Yale-Brown men's ice hockey game last night. 0-2 in the first period, Yale wasn't looking too good, and then somehow we turned it around and beat Brown 4-3, but not before an all-team brawl, loads of penalties, and some gratuitous glass-checking for the benefit of the eight year-old boys leaning against the glass. I heart me some hockey.

This morning, 7:45 am, the 'rents wake me up so we can drive 45 minutes to go to the beach and introduce our new puppy, Libby, to a little thing we like to call the Atlantic Ocean. Hammonasset is a good beach, if you're ever in CT, and are jonesing for a decent jetty, boardwalk, wetlands. Good place to fly a kite, too, and there's a great clam shack called Bill's not far down the road in Westbrook.

OK, I'm sleepy. Going back to bed...

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Happy Three Kings Day!

I read alot of books this year -- most were for school, but the ones that really knocked me out were the following books, none of which were actually published this year, all of which I recommend heartily (and also with my other organs):
This Boy's Life, Tobias Wolff -- a master of prose writing, Wolff is the man to emulate when writing one's memoir, as opposed to James Frey, whose lies didn't offend me so much as his cheap Hollywood style
The Know-It All, by A.J. Jacobs -- the author reads the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica and recaps his quest in a book that is trivial and happy to be so; it's fascinating, funny, and a great substitute for actually reading the Encyclopedia yourself
Crossing the Line, by William Finnegan -- apparently, I was in a non-fiction mood this year. It's probably going to be hard to find this book (I know I had trouble), and when I heard it was about a white teacher in a black Capetown school, I figured it was going to be a heinously schlocky piece of trash. Instead, it's a beautifully-written, exceptionally honest monograph of Cape Flat life during apartheid, specifically among the children, and there's no "I'm a white teacher who saves himself by saving you" bullshit that one might expect. Don't let the length worry you; unlike many hefty tomes, Crossing the Line earns every page.
Watership Down, by Richard Adams -- occasionally, I felt I was going to overdoes on rabbitness, but it still made me cry; brilliant book, should have read it earlier, but glad I saved it til now.
Thank You For Smoking, by Christopher Buckley -- good, good book; a friend gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago, and, considering I didn't smoke and the cover was hideous, I took it as an affront and never read the book... and then the brilliant movie came out, at which point I realized yet again that I was an asshole.
An Embarrassment of Mangoes, by Ann Vanderhoof -- low-seas travelogue of literary types escaping Canada via sailboat for Caribbean, replete with real islander recipes, could scoot through the prep part in the beginning a bit faster but overall a real pleasure to read.

I read many fine books this year, but you don't need me to tell you to read One Hundred Years of Solitude, and anyhow, I'm in the middle of reading about eight books right now (when I should be writing my novel), so I think I'll give you a few months to take on these prime pieces of literature before I start rec'ing anything else.

Friday, January 5, 2007

CT in January, Though You'd Never Know It

It's January 5th and it's raining. Not a cold rain, not a freezing rain, a middle-of-May pleasant rain. I went outside with only a sweatshirt on and I was completely comfortable. Tomorrow's supposed to be warmer.

Maritime temperatures freak me the hell out.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

refuse to put a lame "in the beginning" title

Today was a banner day: knelt on my glasses (they were on my bed) and damaged them beyond repair, locked myself out of my 'rents' house for 25 minutes, and invented the world's worst curseword.

Here it is: babycumfucker.

Origin of curseword: My sister was reviewing the curse words she knew in American Sign Language, and I wondered what mother was for motherfucker. Not surprisingly, she knew what fuck was, but not mother, so I suggested it might be a cradling motion. And then, I realized, that would be a better sign for baby. So you can see how babyfucker came about -- which I assumed at that moment sucked away any possible shot of me not going to hell. The third syllable of the final product came about later in the car when I expressed my self-admiration at inventing a neologism that disturbed me more than cunt. So, of course, I had to add it in between baby and fucker (is anyone else finding this as difficult to read as I am finding it to write)?? My sister's friend repeated it, gasping, and I thought she had replaced it with cum, which, honestly, I think may be less gross and make less sense but is, in terms of brutality, much better.

Didn't mean to make that a dissertation.
Anyhow, I sent out my one and only PhD application today. This caps my numerous mailings over the past several weeks, which also included sending out my manuscript of my first book of poems, Tarshish, to five presses and an application for a year-long writing residency. Now I have nothing to do but write my 20 page critical paper to get my MFA before I go to work on my novel, which I will hereon refer to as Children of Bonnie and Clyde. That won't be the name, but, well, you know.

I'm going to head down to Florida with Smita either on the 12th or 13th of this month. I'm still not entirely sure what she's doing down there for the next few months, but the girl is nothing if not enigmatic.

My favorite thing of the holiday season: Best of (whatever year is coming to a close) lists. Getting riled up over people's opinions about the arts is always fun and makes you forget about things like how the newly Democratic Congress is probably not going to go after Bush for all the crap he's pulled over the last six years. Sigh.
In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with. I don't. Would you take two negative messages?
-- Woody Allen