30 December 2007

First lines

Some first lines are very well known, i.e.

"It is a truth universally acknowledge that young man in posession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife." - Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." - Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

"Call me Ishmael." - Moby Dick, Herman Melville

"Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself." - Mrs. Dalloway (duh), Virginia Woolf

And so on.

I'd never ran across this one:

"On top of everything, the cancer wing was Number 13." - Cancer Ward, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

Apologies if I mucked up any quotes; the only one I checked was from Cancer Ward.

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch (still, I recently heard this described as a soap opera and I agree; however, characters have yet to come back from the dead - played by a completely different actor)
Current knitted item: Guess I'm back to blue socks
Current movie obsession: The Muppet Show season 2!!!! Oh yeah baby!

17 December 2007

If I went crazy no one would blame me.

And if you do, I'll kick your butt. I mean it, I'll be crazy.

Insurance adjusters (particularly the one I'm dealing with) are scum. This one also happens to be stupid. And selectively vision-challenged. And rude. And not particularly interested in maintaining good relations with clients. AAA is going to get an earful.

I'm about to be screwed 110 different ways over this car accident (and also, by extension, my parents as well because they are nice people who try to help out thier kids). I love it. I get plowed into at a red light and I'm the one who's going to take it up the rear, if you get my drift.

IRB is officially pissing me off. Usually it's only informal irritation.

I watched some movies this weekend because that's all I could concentrate on. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix released so yay. Watched a 1982 production of Kenneth MacMillan's Manon starring Jennifer Penny and Anthony Dowell (now Sir Anthony). Manon is not generally a ballet that I like, there's far too much exposition between the major points of action, but the redeeming quality of this performance is to watch Anthony Dowell dance; he has the most beautiful ballet line, Royal Ballet trained all the way, and such beautiful control in the adagio. Unfortunately, he's been retired for the last 20 years, so I have to watch on DVD. Sigh. I also slogged through The Squid and the Whale which is a short movie, but absolutely excruciating in the way that the film is so truthful. Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels are excellent and the actors playing the kids are very good as well. A well-made movie.

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch
Current knitted item: Christmas sock #2 is mostly done
Current movie obsession: Harry Potter #5

07 December 2007


Anymore these days, when I get really stressed out it all goes to my stomach. It gets upset, doesn't want to digest anything, etc. etc. The worst part is that it will growl for food then pretend there's no room for food because of all the acid reflux. Prevacid is wonderful.

I'm stressed because we're starting a new clinical trial Monday. And I have to consent every admit to both units because the trial is at the unit level, but the patients have to consent so we can access their medical record. And I have to keep all the product stocked on both units. And answer all the questions. And do all the ICU unit surveillance (which really ought to be done by the medical staff). And do whatever random crap the boss asks for. Sigh. It really stinks because there are three RAs and I feel like everything gets dumped on me because the other two have a tendency to mess stuff up (which brings up the other question of why they're still working for us, but don't get me started). The clinical trial really is a good thing because we're trying to do good things for patients but it is very labor intensive. All my labor. No one else's.

And...I'm stressed because I got rear-ended two days ago, right when we were finishing the inservices for the clinical trial. If you haven't heard this story, truth can be stranger than fiction. The guy who rear-ended me was driving a big, old pickup, so lots of damage to my car, minimal damage to his, and he plowed into me at a red light. I couldn't even accelerate to get out of the way. The cop was going to cite him and let him go until I pointed out the guy had been driving about 20mph in a 40mph zone without headlights before he hit me (this was about 6pm, so it was dark out). So the cop asked me to wait in my car and went to talk to him again. Then another cop showed up and they gave the guy a sobriety test. Then an ambulance showed up and took the guy to the hospital (I was thinking, "Damn, that guy got wasted pretty fast").

This is when it starts getting really weird.

I realized that both cops left in the ambulance with the two paramedics. WTF? Then this other woman got out of the front seat of the second squad car - she had witnessed the guy side-swiping a vehicle up the road and the cops brought her down to my accident to identify the offending vehicle. So the cops left us there at the scene of an accident. By ourselves. After about 5 minutes a third cop showed up to sort us out. Then he realized that my ID, registration, and insurance had gone off to the hospital with my responding officer and the guy's paperwork was left in the squad car (brilliant). So I got sent on my way (1 hour late for my shift at the bookstore) with assurances that my paperwork would be returned to me shortly.


At 9:30pm I had to call dispatch and remind them to send my identification (I mean, what the hell was going on?). So my responding officer showed up right before we closed. Turns out the guy who hit me had a stroke while the cops were administering the sobriety test - holy crap. When I pointed out that he had left two women alone at an accident scene with two empty squad cars (one unlocked and running), he was completely dismissive of my concerns that something could have happened - we had adequate warmth and he didn't think it was neccessary to tell us both officers were leaving and another squad car was on the way. So long story short, I got really pissed off and compained to his watch commander. Now, Sgt. Clarahan was understanding of my concerns, which mostly centered around his having abandonded the victim and witness of an accident scene with no information whatsoever and then being rude when compained to; so we worked that out without having to go up the food chain.

So...gah! My car, the new car I've only had for maybe six months (that we got a really great deal on), has about $3000 damage. Luckily, none to the frame. I'll let the insurance companies duke it out.

Current book-in-progress: I finished Why We Read What We Read so just Middlemarch and Idylls of the King
Current knitted item: I went back to the blue sock because I don't have to concentrate on it (I turned the heel last night).
Current movie obsession: Rosencranz and Guildenstern are Dead

02 December 2007

Hi, my name is...

...and I might have an addiction to books.

Employee Appreciation Days is here at the bookstore and I bought a ton of books. Nevermind that it's Christmas - I bought gifts, too, so I'm not a total book hog. I'd been coveting The Knitter's Book of Yarn so that went in the bag as well as a couple of other knitting books (Son of Stitch 'n Bitch, Sensual Knits, and The Best of Interweave Knits); also bought The Pillars of the Earth in a non-Oprah format, The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, Ian McEwan's Atonement, Raintree County (thanks to Ilana for bringing that one to my attention), the 80th anniversary edition of The House at Pooh Corner, and Artist to Artist (a book that collects samples of art from children's book illustrators - and a letter from each artist - explaning their art to children, but I think it's good for adults, too; besides, the proceeds benefit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art).

Oh, and presents. My nieces are spoiled.

I might have a problem.

Current book-in-progress: I'm almost done with Why We Read What We Read, still working on Middlemarch
Current knitted item: Christmas stocking
Current movie obsession: Angels in America is so awesome

29 November 2007

Books are good for the soul

Yesterday I went with Rachel, Jackie, and Mindy (librarian for the Patients' Library at the UIHC) to deliver books to the kids at the hospital. It was so much fun to see kids who really have little to smile about light up because they get to choose a book to keep. Or two or three because we had so many. I hope we get to do that again before Christmas comes.

Speaking of the book drive, we need more teen/adult books because a lot of patients are not little kids right now (5 copies of Eragon don't stretch very far). So if you read this blog, and you shop at the Coralville B&N, please donate a book for a teen/young adult to our book drive. Heck, if you shop at any B&N please donate a book or two - a number of stores are partnered with Head Start-type organizations and could really use the help.

Scrooge really is right: you need to keep Christmas in your heart and practice it all year round (who wants to tell that to the ruddy bugger who didn't want to buy a book to donate to a sick child because his taxes do that - excuse me, what?).

Current book-in-progress: I finished A Temple of Texts (ow, ow!) but I started a new book - Why We Read What We Read: A Delightfully Opinionated Journey Through Contemporary Bestsellers (it's all Kat's fault)
Current knitted item: Pretty blue sock, but I should really, really start carrying the Christmas stocking with me
Current movie obsession: Hot Fuzz

27 November 2007


I think all the muscles from my ribcage down hurt. All. The upside to having Deanna for ballet is that my joints don't hurt like they always do. She works the body much differently. I love her but I'm in pain!!!!

Turns out most of the new patients are a little squirrelly so the nurses would prefer that I not cause trouble and rile up the patients by doing surveillance swabs. I can live with that. We can wait until they're a little calmer.

My office is so cold I think my blood is freezing.

I get to play with my nieces tonight!!!

Current book-in-progress: I would be finished with A Temple of Texts if I weren't so dead-ass tired that I fall asleep right away after reading only half a page; the book is good (chapter is titled "Evil") I'm just exhausted
Current knitted item: Pretty sock!
Current movie obsession: Hot Fuzz (Angels in America part 2 is shipping from Netflix so now I can watch both back to back)

26 November 2007

Help! I've been buried by boxes!

ouhh, ouhh. Or however you spell Tim Allen grunts.

The product for one of our clinical trials arrived today. All two pallets of it. So it took three trips using the receiving dock's trolley to get it all upstairs (and part of it is in another RA's office). The receiving guys wouldn't let me use the motorized pallet driver. Meh.

If I wasn't tired after ballet class (my body thought I was kidding when I said we were going to Deanna's class today) I certainly am now. And I still have to go out and swab my new patients. And then try and find an article about red and white in Tennyson's Idylls of the King because that article is from 1967 and isn't available online through MLA or anything. And then mediate disputes on BNBC because people can't seem to behave themselves.

Who said life is dull?

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch, I am only 17 pages from being done with A Temple of Texts
Current knitted item: Second pair of socks, Christmas stockings
Current movie obsession: Hot Fuzz is hilarious!

25 November 2007

Post Holiday-blah

Survived my first Black Friday ever - the trick must be to close rather than open.

I watched the Samantha Morton/Ciaran Hinds version of Jane Eyre. I think that's my least favorite JE adaptation so far. Morton's Jane seemed very snotty, not reserved and quiet while Hinds didn't quite have enough warmth behind the gruffness. The scriptwriter needs to be flogged; Charlotte Bronte wrote plenty of decent dialogue and it needs neither updating or your own "personal touch" to be interesting.

I'm off to create a bunch of Middlemarch threads now. Come join us on BNBC.

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch
Current knitted item: Second pair of socks and I need to get cracking on the Christmas stockings
Current movie obsession: probably Hot Fuzz now

21 November 2007

Sock virgin no more

I knitted my first pair of socks. I friggin' rule! Check them out (I fixed the Chaucer damage - note to self: keep all things made of wool out of the reach of the goat-cat).

Knitted from Artyarns Supermerino (hand-painted!), color 140, these socks are warm. Mmmm, mmmmm. They do have one teensy, tiny mistake - the cuffs are knitted in two different ribs. Look carefully. One cuff is in 2x2 rib and the other is in 1x1. But who cares. My socks fit!

I also promised pictures of my vest:

And my shrug:

Both are knitted from Cascade 220 (my favorite).

In other aspects of my life, I found out that the people who ride the mid-day bus are generally very strange. Today there was a man riding with a 4 1/2 foot tall stuffed tiger. No joke. There was also a day care center that took 11 preschoolers on an outing to the Children's Museum at the mall. Via the public bus. Mental note not to use that day care once I find out who they are.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and for the first time in my life I will not be spending it with my family (or boyfriend's family). I'm going to Annie's house to spend the evening with her family and the Donelsons. Should be fun. Please think good thoughts for my parents (who are driving to Illinois as usual) and for my brother (who is working this holiday, so please don't make him scrape you up off Interstate 80).

Current book-in-progress: Mostly Middlemarch and A Temple of Texts (because I would really like to finish that; I'm currently working on some interesting commentary on Rilke's relationship with Rodin; did you know that Rodin fired Rilke, who was sort of like his social secretary, for making business decisions without speaking with Rodin first?)
Current knitted item: Second pair of socks and I need to get cracking on the Christmas stockings
Current movie obsession: Three DVDs arrived from Netflix today: Hot Fuzz, Jane Eyre (Samantha Morton version), and Angels in America: Part 1; what shall I watch??????

20 November 2007


Suskind wrote Perfume in the mid-1980s, set in 18th century France but written in German. It was recommended by the professor for my 17th century Restoration literature class because Suskind managed to convey the dirtiness of cities prior to the advent of sanitation and public health. The amazing thing about this book was how you could "read" the smells right along with Jean-Baptiste Grenouille.

I was a bit apprehensive about watching the 2006 motion picture because, well, how can you smell what you see?

It's not quite the same as reading the book but Tykwer did an amazing job with the film. It's shot beautifully and realistically, lots of close shots to follow smells, and thankfully the scent trails weren't realized as clouds or anything hokey and cartoonish. I think the casting was well done; I'd heard that some reviewers thought Dustin Hoffman was all wrong, but I think he did very well as a man who is now a caricature of his past. Ben Whishaw and Rachel Hurd-Wood were also excellent (talk about dye job on Rachel's hair, that was some red).

I also finished off Wide Sargasso Sea, a good novel but a very painful movie to watch. The only good things were the scenery and the reconstruction of Afro-Carribean dances. Otherwise Nathaniel Parker is a bit all wrong (he was Mr. Skimpole in the 2005 Bleak House BBC adaptation) and the whole movie just seems to be a vehicle for Karina Lombard to get naked all the time. Boring.

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch, The Western Canon, Idylls of the King, A Temple of Texts
Current knitted item: Second sock (Chaucer chewed on first sock so I now have to re-do the cast off for that one); I'm still stuck on this, having finishing avoidance issues
Current movie obsession: Hamlet until the Netflix shipment arrives, then Angels in America

18 November 2007


I have clean sheets and blankets. And they smell like lavender. And they're fresh from the dryer.

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch, The Western Canon, Idylls of the King, A Temple of Texts
Current knitted item: Second sock (Chaucer chewed on first sock so I now have to re-do the cast off for that one)
Current movie obsession: Wide Sargasso Sea - not much of an obsession because it's going back to Netflix as soon as it's done

17 November 2007

And so, another football season comes to an end

The Hawkeyes lost - to Western Michigan. Got spanked hard, actually. No wonder all the customers decked out in Hawkeye Black and Gold were grumpy after about 7pm.

Pretty autumn days

Autumn is probably my favorite time of year. The days are crisp, the fall leaves are pretty, and I can turn on my fireplace. We've had a couple of very sunny days so I just feel bright and happy to be outside. The UI campus is also at it's best in the fall so I love to walk rather than take the bus.

The only damper on the prettiness today is that it's the last Iowa Hawkeye football game of the year. It's a home game and anyone even remotely familiar with NCAA football knows what that means. The town is crazy.

So I spent my morning at home (sleeping in - joy) and cleaned my desk. This is what I do when my life feels nuts. I clean. Or at least obsessively clean one thing, like a bookcase. Now I need to go out and brave the loonies from out of town so I can find some lunch and work a shift at the bookstore. What a great combination: Christmas shoppers and football fanatics. The Hawkeyes better win otherwise there's going to be serious grouchiness occuring in all the customers.

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch, The Western Canon, started Tennyson's Idylls of the King for Laurel's "Epics, etc" group, and I found A Temple of Texts while I was cleaning my office
Current knitted item: Second sock is getting closer!!
Current movie obsession: Planet Earth - I was trying to convince Kat of the coolness of this DVD and just had to watch a little of it when I got home last night.

15 November 2007

I have a clean office...

...and you do not. Hmmm. Doesn't quite scan as well as "I am a baboon and you are not." In truth, I had accumulated a great deal of paper (memos, print-outs, brochures, etc) and was unable to see the surface of my desk. So I had a cleaning day. Death to dust bunnies!!

This is also called work procrastination because it keeps me from doing something really boring like sending nagging emails. Now that my office is clean I have to send emails. Blah.

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch, The Western Canon
Current knitted item: Second sock is almost done
Current movie obsession: American Ballet Theatre in Ashton's "The Dream" - Ethan Stiefel is so gorgeous

14 November 2007


Can anyone tell me why Marie Osmond is still on "Dancing with the Stars?" She has the lowest point total each week but still manages to hang around. Hellloooo, this is a dance contest.

I would like to see the finals come down to Mel B and Helio (sadly, Sabrina got sent home which is crap).

Life is nothing more than a series of busy nothings

My office is freezing. I think the heater is broken. Already.

Went to a satellite presentation about infection control in ICUs - had a nap because I had already seen all the data.

Started Middlemarch and was intrigued that the opening chapter used personal fashion to discuss the characters of the two Brooke sisters, Dorothea and Celia. Had some dude on the bus tell me books shouldn't be that long (he couldn't pronounce the title, so I'm sure that he can barely read a cereal box).

I am almost done with the second sock of the first pair. Hooray socks!

Current book-in-progress: Middlemarch, The Western Canon
Current knitted item: Socks!!!!!!!
Current movie obsession: American Ballet Theatre in Ashton's "The Dream"

12 November 2007

My book FINALLY arrived

So after waiting for a month past the original publication date, the one-volume edition of Tom Stoppard's Coast of Utopia finally arrived (most closely follows the New York production since Stoppard did some editing in the intervening four years). I also bought Angels in America, which was huge during my senior year of high school thanks to my friend Nick Terpollilli but I don't think I understood it at that time. I debated buying W;t, which is a simple but profound play; however, the little book is only 1/4 the size of the Stoppard and the Kushner but costs exactly the same so I will wait until later.

I do have to confess that I'm not much of a play reader. I have trouble visualizing what is going on because I feel that I lack direction. Good thing I'm not an actor by profession.

Missed a few

So much for blogging every day - I didn't go near my computer all weekend. Just knitting, and reading, and, well, working.

I finished my tank and wore it to work on Friday. It looks very nice and I got lots of compliments on it. Next time I use that pattern I will make the lower half longer and the neck not quite so tight on the bind off (speaking of Friday, we had Knit Nite at the store and I tried to teach Janice to knit; I'm not an experienced knitting teacher and whoever helped Janice pick out her yarn did not pick out a good yarn for a newbie so lots of frustration all around).

Worked a full shift on Saturday. Yup, Christmas psychosis - that should be a recognized disease in the DSM-IV.

Had the store meeting Sunday (also worked a split shift due to a sick co-worker). We gave the store manager his "mohawk" hat and I think he liked it. Just because I'm silly, I packed the hat in a box punched full of airholes and had "this side up" written all over. If I could have found something that would have meow-ed or ribbit-ed I would have snuck that in the box for effect. I didn't have my camera, but I'll post a picture once I download a couple Beth took.

Current book-in-progress: I had to start Middlemarch for BNBC November since that board will open the Monday after Thanksgiving
Current knitted item: Socks!!!!!!!
Current movie obsession: "History of Britain"

08 November 2007

It's like they read my mind!

Creepy. Very creepy.

Current book-in-progress: working on that ARC because The Almost Moon weirded me out

Current knitted item: Seaming the straps on the tank. Then all I have to do is work in the ends, knit the edges, and presto! Done!

Current movie obsession: "History of Britain"

07 November 2007

Yup, this really happens

People do actually do things like this. Among other things.

The other day a woman asked if she got a free polar bear plush for buying the new Jan Brett book. (Uh, no.)

I also had a woman get mad at me because I would only discount a damaged item 10%. Or I could order her a new one. She asked if I would give it to her for free. (For the record, the cover and pages were falling out of the book and considering that this woman was wearing at least three designer label items, she was obviously not strapped for cash.)

In other book-related news, I tried to make headway on The Almost Moon. Ummm, I thought the book was going pretty well until I got to an unbelievably ludicrous sex scene. Between the protagonist and the protagonist's best friend's son. In a car on the driveway. In the front seat (I think - I was starting to get grossed out). That might have ruined the book right there. No wonder the reviews were so harsh.

Current book-in-progress: The Almost Moon
Current knitted item: I can't decide what other color to make the "hair" since I ran out of dark blue....and I have to start a scarf.
Current movie obsession: Perfume is being shipped from Netflix

06 November 2007

Tuesdays are terrible too

This morning I had an email, addressed to my boss, about the issue from the phone call last night. Gee, thanks for waiting until you had my reply LIKE I TOLD YOU ON THE PHONE. So I called this person and let them know that the email was not appreciated at all. Then he got read the riot act about how crappy his organization was being. Sigh. Probably not the best course of action but I was beyond pissed off at that point. He's lucky I didn't yell.

I've been updating my book journal. I find I've been very lax regarding that bit of bookkeeping.

Current book-in-progress: finishing an ARC (new author) and The Almost Moon (I'm in finishing mode)
Current knitted item: I left the "hair" at home, so the tank is with me
Current movie obsession: I just ordered "History of Britain" from BN.com - it was on sale and I had a coupon!!

05 November 2007

American Gangster

'tis a two-post day. Hah.

I went to see a movie in an actual movie theatre tonight (two movies in less than six months, I must be caving); I'm not a complete social outcast, I went with some friends. We saw "American Gangster" which was the only choice that was compatible with all three of us.

The choices:
1. American Gangster (two screens) - eventual pick
2. Bee Movie (two screens) - deemed as too juvenile, besides having a bee's voice done by Jerry Seinfeld among other things
3. Michael Clayton - ruled off limits because someone doesn't like George Clooney (I don't mind)
4. The Life of Dan - ruled off limits by us girls as too juvenile and yet another loser guy movie
5. Game Plan - none of us heard of it
6. Saw IV - ruled off limits due to general disgusting offensiveness and the fact that the last two sequels were terrible
7. Thirty Days of Night - also ruled off limits due to potential grossness
8. The Final Season - a future rental; I have a tough time with baseball movies after "Bull Durham" because nothing can beat it

This really is a good movie, well shot, well scripted, and well acted. Denzel Washington is phenomenal (Oscar?) and Russell Crowe shows that he actually can act. The design people also did a phenomenal job recreating 60s and 70s New York/New Jersey. Very much in the vein of "The Departed" except more of a business movie, not a dirty gangster movie. Since "American Gangster" was based on the true story of Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts, the whole thing feels very real, less Hollywood.

Ah, the previews, only four this time:
1. I am Legend - never read the book. But I am debating about that now...
2. Wanted - a "fraternity of assassins"? Plus side: has Morgan Freeman; Minus side: has Angelina Jolie; also a potential minus - there are some Matrix-like effects occuring in the previews and that's starting to get old
3. National Treasure 2 (it actually has a subtitle instead of a 2, but I can't remember what it said) - the appeal of the first movie was that they didn't have car chases through Washington DC; from the previews it looks like the second one is more action movie and less thinking movie - drat
4. Charlie Wilson's War - since this is also based on a true story, it might be good; also has Tom Hanks as Charlie Wilson and Julia Roberts as some rich woman

Current book-in-progress: finished What-the-Dickens at dinner (was OK - its a kids book and it is pretty darn cute), need to find something else to finish now
Current knitted item: "hair"
Current movie obsession: Dangerous Beauty is being returned to Netflix; a good movie (also based on the true story of Veronica Franco, a courtesan in 16th century Venice - what is it with biopics lately), if a little slow, and borrowed only so I could drool over Rufus Sewell

I hate Mondays

People at Western IRB are incompetent - they had a last minute question about a checked box on our application before the app goes to the board on Wednesday. If we keep the box checked, it will delay approval even further because the board on Wednesday won't be constituted for that specific question; we would have to wait for a correctly constituted board.

My problem: I answered all the questions from a previous regulatory analyst and this wasn't mentioned.

WIRB's response to that point: oh,...that must have been missed. (Really??? You've been making us cool our heels for three weeks before the application gets scheduled for board and you only see this now??? Morons.)

Did I mention these yahoos are in Washington (near Olympia) and called me at 5:15pm central time? I was 5 minutes from leaving...stupid people suck

Current book-in-progress: gonna try and finish What-the-Dickens (need to finish some things so I can start Middlemarch
Current knitted item: Having got most of the "hair" on (ran out of dark blue, so I'm going to be creative), I think the "mohawk" hat looks like the top of a hobby horse rather than a bonnet
Current movie obsession: 300 (when did David Wenham get hot?); not real jazzed about Gerard Butler's Scottish accent, sort of on-again/off-again sounding

04 November 2007

I was wrong

The mohawk hat pattern is not fairly easy to stitch - the directions are vague so it sucks. I googled the pattern for commentary and found a page of errata for the pattern. Great.

It looks like an oversized bonnet. I got the gauge asked for, so I'm not sure why it turned out so large. Oh well, not like I'm expecting the manager to wear it for warmth.

Gearing up for another shift in kids. And it's Sunday.....

Current book-in-progress: see previous (I'm almost done with Classics for Pleasure)
Current knitted item: Having finished what looks like an oversize bonnet I'm now working on the "hair"
Current movie obsession: 300 looks friggin' awesome

03 November 2007

Secret Knitting

Here I am knitting yet another surprise. Not so terribly secret - the store manager saw a pattern for a knitting "mohawk" hat (yes, it's a hat that looks like a mohawk haircut) and said he'd wear it if someone made him one.

Never tempt a knitter.

It's a complicated design, but simple enough to stitch. And I'm using some really, really ugly yarn that I bought waaaaaaaayyyyyy back when I re-taught myself to knit. TLC Red Heart acrylic. Yuck (he's only got to wear it long enough to get a picture of him in it).

I worked a full shift in kids at the bookstore today. The shoppers are already developing Christmas psychosis. God help us.

Dance Gala was really nice. The department limited the show to six pieces so the length was really just right and all the pieces together showed a very nice range. Alan did a beautiful homage to David Berkey's "White Mountain" and guest choreographer Toni Pimble created a nice ballet piece to a Villa-Lobos string quartet (the Maia quartet played the music live).

Current book-in-progress: Lies My Teacher Told Me, revised edition; The Almost Moon; Classics for Pleasure; it never decreases!!!!!
Current knitted item: Tank, secret hat (heh, heh)
Current movie obsession: Hamlet is still in the player, but I did receive 300 from Netflix, hmmmmm

02 November 2007


So I guess this is National Blog Posting Month...is this new? Or have I just been living under a virtual rock? Don't even ask what I thought when I saw the abbreviation. My friends Kate and Beth are doing this so we'll see how far I get this month.

So, daily update:
1. I had to be my boss on a conference call (she's on vacation); guess I did OK. I've picked up the active surveillance in the MICU so that should make them happy because they don't like the other RA who was doing surveillance.
2. I'm going to Dance Gala tonight! Merde for all the dancers.
3. I've been reading too much Shakespeare and not enough of anything else I've previously started reading. See? Startitis again.
4. I indulged my pen/marker addiction at Dick Blick (I was going to say Hi to Jordan, too, but she doesn't work on Thursday, boo).
5. I bought too many books yet again. Purchased two academic titles to help with my Joyce reading, Finnegan's Wake (stop snickering, I mean it), a couple of Harold Bloom books, and another Portable Professor course about Walt Whitman. Someday I will get Ulysses, Finnegan's Wake, and In Search of Lost Time finished. Quit laughing. You'll wet your pants.
6. I was inadvertently a bad friend this week. I'm sorry.

Current book-in-progress: Lies My Teacher Told Me, revised edition; The Almost Moon which isn't nearly as bad as the reviews said it was; Classics for Pleasure; and, oh, whatever else strikes my fancy
Current knitted item: Tank (work really sucks up my time), trying to start the scarf, and I did wind up some yummy sock yarn.....
Current movie obsession: Kenneth Branagh's 1995 adaptation of Hamlet; it's beautiful, has a great cast, and Kate Winslet is perfect

22 October 2007

I am just, well, ...

...bleah. I've spent the last month trying to catch up from being out of town and haven't done a very good job. I am inundated with work and I can't seem to concentrate on much of anything. Except knitting. I've made considerable progress on my tank but I've been having trouble reading. Or even watching TV for that matter. My couch-potato skills are not working right now.

So instead of reading books, I've been buying quite a few of them. Confessions of a Spoilsport by William Dowling was a really good sports memoir about how Division 1a sports is ruining higher education; got a few more Barnes and Noble Shakespeare titles (Hamlet, King Lear, and Julius Ceasar); picked up the Portable Professor What a Piece of Work is Man (lectures about the seven great tradgedies of Shakespeare by Harold Bloom); the Wrinkle in Time boxed set; Michael Dirda's Classics for Pleasure; Ulysses (stop snickering). Someone stop me please!

In research-related news, I found out that we got the CDC grant that we applied for back before Easter. The acceptance came while I was in Europe. This means there are two ginormous, grant-funded multi-year studies to design and submit to IRB as well as the two clinical trials we are starting at Christmas. And the boss has yet to hire new grad RAs so it's just me doing all of this right now (oh, and the other RA who is useless, so let's not talk about that).

In other news, my youngest brother gets married this weekend. I don't even have a date. Meh. I'll go play with my neices.

Current book-in-progress: Wide Sargasso Sea for BNBC Literature by Women November, Classics for Pleasure, I finished re-reading the UK versions of TN1-4, Death in Venice and, oh, everything else I've started but not finished recently. I'm also entertaining a review of The Red Tent because Anita Diamant will be online at BNBC in November.
Current knitted item: After ripping out the aforementioned crappy dart shaping, I finished the front (the re-done darts look very nice) and I'm past the shaping on the back. Just a few more inches until I need to decrease for the straps. Then I really need to start on Christmas stockings. Oh, but I have to knit a scarf instead (I hate being volunteered for things) so I'm going to knit it with cotton yarn. Ick.
Current movie obsession: After dumping my digital cable (friggin' Internet still costs about $50, then basic cable another $50 - WTF?), I bumped up my Netflix. So I've been drooling over the nearly 400 movies in my queue (is it obvious that the selection is better than anything at the local rental places?) and have recently become obsessed with the Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Gaskell's North and South. Richard Armitage is so gorgeous - in a few years he could be the next Rochester if there are any new Jane Eyre adaptations. N&S is probably going to be my next acquisition.

25 September 2007

And one other thing...

While in Europe I popped up to Wales to visit my friend Katharine for a few days in Cardiff. If you have never visited her website, The Film Noir Experience, you should. She had a great new podcast called Curiosities and, well, she's just about the smartest person I've ever met.

Thanks for having me to visit, Katharine!!

Back from two weeks of living out of a suitcase

Dorothy Gale was right. There is no place like home.

Sorry for the utter lack of updates - I was either busy trying to get my life in order so I could leave for two weeks to Europe or I was in Europe whining about the lack of WiFi hotspots (do people not use wireless in Austria?) therefore making me too busy to bother. Don't get me wrong because I had a good time and am forever thankful to my parents for taking me with them; it's just nice to be home and sleep in my own bed again (complete with needy furballs).

Pictures later - I have thousands of varying quality and will need to sort them all.

I finished two books (We and An Introduction to the English Novel), started several more (Death in Venice, The Western Canon, The House of Mirth), bought about ten (including #1-4 of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series in the UK paperback; was unable to find any published in German, hmph), and knit another 2.5 inches on my tank.

I am now back at work puzzling over an IRB application for an industry study and thinking mean thoughts about the pharmacy department for not wanting to provide an exhaustive list of topical medications (for yet another study). And I had to dig up my CV because we think we got a grant. Some things never change....

Current book-in-progress: I finished Cultural Amnesia before I left so now I'm chipping away at A Temple of Texts for my nighttime reading; I also need to get a leg up on The House of Mirth since that's BNBC Literature by Women for October
Current knitted item: I'm working on the bodice shaping for the tank (one of the darts did not go so well) and I'm starting my second sock; crap - I have Christmas stockings to finish/start.

30 August 2007


I finished my first sock!!!!!!!!!!!

It actually looks like a sock AND it fits on my foot, despite all my worrying about making the foot too big. Apparently I have feet that large (feet just don't look at all big when you're looking down at them).

The only drawback to the toe-up sock was trying to get a strechy bind off. So three bind offs later - bind off in pattern of 2x2 rib (bind off edge was sooooo tight the cuff wouldn't even fit over my heel), a sewn cast-off for 2x2 rib (which was so confusing that after about 5 stitches I unpicked it and swore....a lot), a regular knit bind off (which looked really bizarre) - I bound off the cuff in half double crochet and that worked. Stretchy and not to wierd looking.

I'll have to put a picture up when I can find batteries for my camera (the digital camera is currently a battery-eating machine; boo).

In other knit-related news, I have a stuffed animal that resembles an Eeyore, minus ears and tail. It took six hours (gaaaahhhhh) but all the body seams are sewn and the little blighter is stuffed. Now I have to make another one.

And my ball winder arrived at the shop. Which is good because I'm going to need to wind the next ball for the tank and the sock.

Current book-in-progress: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, Travels in West Africa by Mary Kingsley (for which I'm probably going to go to hell because I'm supposed to moderate it for the BNBC and I can't get past the first chapter), Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and I'm chipping away at Cultural Amnesia (Clive James went on an anti-Sartre tirade; it was great).
Current knitted item: I have about 4.5 inches done on the tank and I'm starting my second sock.

08 August 2007

Go me

I totally just had a kick-ass performance review. Hah!

I guess being an obsessive-compulsive detail freak really pays off some days. (Oh, and I got a birthday present of yarn from my boss - what shall I do with it?)

Current book-in-progress: Need to finish some things, but I checked out Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume - really great personal essays about how Judy Blume's writing made a difference in young women's lives (of course, these women are all grown-up writers now)
Current knitted item: I have 3 inches done on the tank; I need a beer to get Eeyore's seams sewn. Bleah.

04 August 2007

Another year gone

A little older, maybe a little wiser, who knows.

I bought more yarn. Hahaha. Ediye sent an email for $10 off my purchase during my birthday week. I don't think I need to explain how quickly that $10 got used up. I got yarn for my next project from Fitted Knits (U-neck tank), got some Noro Silk to remake the Sunflower Tam (dratted cats), and I found some really pretty blue-green/white varietaged yarn to make "Calorimetry" from knitty.com.

Oh, and I bought some books. Duh. I even finished some books, too. Go me. I finished Harry Potter and the Ivory Tower. Really interesting. I think it's be neat if they published a new edition with addenda after the essays. Also finished Wuthering Heights - again. That's for the BNBC group; now I just have to decide what threads to put up.

Current book-in-progress: Requiem for a Dream - I must have a thing for books about damaged people right now; I would also like to start Neil Gaiman's Stardust but I think I should try to polish off many of my unfinished items.
Current knitted item: Tank from Fitted Knits; I would really like to get the Eeyores done but the making up is giving me fits (he's got a pointy butt - what's that about??)

17 July 2007

Good entertainment

Saw HP5 tonight. Overall, very good - I thought they did an excellent job of paring down the nearly 800 page book into a 2 hour movie that flowed very well. I wish the director had included a St. Mungo's scene because it's a very meaningful sequence in the book; they did cover the information nicely with a short exchange between Neville and Harry (I also missed Molly vs. the boggart and Kreacher "rescuing" all the Black heirlooms from the trash).

I thought it was really neat how we "flew" through all the newspapers everytime Fudge was putting out more fake news. Also the animation of the thestrals was great (a bit lacking on Grawp and the centaurs; too "CGI-ish" so it's pretty obvious they were drawn in).

Imelda Staunton - LOVE! She was so great as Umbridge. Got the 'hem-hem' down perfectly and the disgusting "Donna Reed on acid" attitude was dead on.

I even thought the previews were great. First up was The Water Horse - a really cute looking story about the origins of the Loch Ness monster starring Emily Watson and Ben Chaplin. Next was The Golden Compass (I think it'll be going by the title "Northern Lights" in the UK) and while there weren't extended sequences (the animation might not be quite finished) it looks kick-ass. There was a 5 second sequence showing Iorek Byrnison causing some damage and it looked good. Then there was 10,000 BC which was also pretty choppy (releasing in 2008) but I'm just not that jazzed about a mammoth hunter movie. Disney is going to poke fun at a genre that's exclusively it's own with Enchanted, which also looks totally cute but also pretty inane, so I will probably wait until the DVD comes out to watch. Then there was Fred Claus (there might have been a sixth review, but it must not have been memorable) which, depending on my Christmas cheer, I might go and see because watching Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti fight with each other, as Fred and Santa Claus respectively, was pretty funny. I hope it's not the kind of comedy where all the good bits are in the preview.

Current book-in-progress: Reading a really good essay in The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter where the author examines the characters' moral development in the novels using a tool developed by a Harvard researcher. Pretty interesting.
Current knitted item: The last HP surprise

16 July 2007

This is why Friday can't get here fast enough

Not so I can read the last HP book (bonus), but because all the security and secrecy is completely unreal.

Check out this Yahoo article about the security at B&N - the reporters can't reveal the location of the warehouse. Neither can I, nyah-nyah (in reality not particularly "nyah-nyah" since I don't know which warehouse the books are at in the first place).

Current book-in-progress: Articles about Wharton's The Buccaneers - there's surprisingly not much scholarship about the book, but since the edition I read had about 1/4 "created" by the editor in an attempt to finish the book I'm not too surprised.
Current knitted item: The last HP surprise

The End of Dewey?

In yet another instance of idiocy, the Perry Branch of the Maricopa County Library District has done away with the Dewey Decimal System and gone to grouping on category like B&N. The librarians did this because people came to browse which, to me, implies that it is too hard to browse the DDS and that the general public isn't particularly intelligent. Oh come on, I browsed as a kid with the DDS. The CR Public Library has the category names for the DDS listed next to the DDS numbers so you always knew what subject you were looking for.

The other disgusting thing about the article was that the library was displaying Paris Hilton's crappy book and that there's no card catalogue. Great. So now we're developing a generation who will have no idea how to adequately perform research (anybody ever tried to guess how the Library of Congress system works? it's not very browser-friendly).

Current book-in-progress: The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter (found an article in which I'm pretty sure the author didn't actually read any of the HP books - said Hermoine was a half-blood Muggle and that professor Flitwick was mean); I finished The Master and Margarita
Current knitted item: The last HP surprise

12 July 2007

Alright, my fellow feminists

Get on the horn to the politicians. If no one's heard about this story from Nebraska, then I'll fill you in. The victim was having a drink at a local bar and then next thing she knew she woke up in a stranger's bed with him doing the nasty to her. So she went to the hospital, had a rape-kit done, the police arrested the guy and charged him with first-degree sexual assault. At the trial in Lincoln the judged decided certain words were inflammatory and inferred guilt - words like "rape," "forced," "victim," you get the picture. So pretty much everyone has to commit perjury because the victim can't say she was forced to have sex, the attorneys can't refer to a rape kit, and to top it all off the jury wasn't even told the judge had imposed an order. I think the first trial ended in a mistrial. Well, the second trial was ordered to obey what is essentially a gag order and was declared a mistrial this week. To top it off, a motion to have the judge's ruling was rejected in Nebraska state court because the victim's attorney was from Boston and she didn't have a Nebraska license (the attorney had filed a motion to practice but this was turned down, too).

The article about the NE Supreme Court is here.

I'm not sure how many people read this blog, but if you do - get the word out to your state senators, reps, presidential candidates anybody. Tell them that we won't sit still and watch while our rights to our own bodies are frittered away by a mysogynistic judge.

Current book-in-progress: Too busy reading the news
Current knitted item: Too grouchy

10 July 2007

This was more interesting about 20 years ago

So some guy in Oregon turned his lawnchair into a hot-air balloon. Pretty sure it was more interesting when Cutter John from the Bloom County comic strip did the same thing in about 1985 - only Opus somehow got tangled up in the mooring lines and went along with. Then Cutter got captured by the Russians and was traded for Bill the Cat (who apparently was a Communist spy, who knew?) and Opus, who the Russians left behind, wandered his way back to Bloom County with a severe case of amnesia.

Definitely more interesting than floating from Oregon to Idaho.

Please tell me there are more fans of Bloom County out in cyberspace than just geeky-ol' me.

Current book-in-progress: The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter (the articles are really interesting)
Current knitted item: I looked at the kntting, does that count (there was another grant due, ack)?

07 July 2007

Down in front...

Went to see the Joffrey Ballet this evening. They've been on tour in Iowa celebrating Hancher Auditorium's 35th Anniversary - totally awesome, FREE (bonus), outdoor performance. Some of my favorite pieces: "Sometimes it Snows in April" from Billboards, the Grand pas from Nutcracker (performed by my two favorite Joffrey dancers, Maia Wilkins and Willy Shive), and Light Rain (if you saw Altman's "The Company", you saw part of the first section). Untitled (a Pilobolus piece I'd only seen pictures of) was very interesting, very athletic, too, for the guys since Pilobolus choreography is amazing in how it uses the human body to make shapes, balancing acts, etc. Slight disappointment in the new piece (of which I can't remember the name) - it was definitely not reminicent of "sultry tropical nights" and looked more like a contest to see who could develope higher disguised as a teenager's version of being sultry - pastiche. Someone needed a tango lesson (since I think that was the vibe) but the music was all rhumba-y. God I miss my ballet class.

For being Iowa in July, the weather was perfect. Once the sun went behind the trees we had shade and there was a nice breeze off the river.

Current book-in-progress: The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter
Current knitted item: knitting....yeah, I should do some of that

03 July 2007

And the moral of the story?

If you're going to commit perjury and be part of some shady dealings that endangered at least one life, possibly two, you should be good buddies with the President of the United States. You might be able to get away scott-free.

One more reason why we should never elect another shrub into the Oval Office. Ever.

Current book-in-progress: The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter
Current knitted item: Another "Harry Potter" surprise (working on logistics)

Late notice

One of my favorite singers, Beverly Sills, died yesterday. She retired in 1980, long before I ever started singing in earnest, but she sounded wonderful on video and I did get to hear her on "The Muppet Show." I'm sure it was better live.

Current book-in-progress: The Opera Lover's Cookbook
Current knitted item: it's gray....

02 July 2007

Food crisis (crises, rather, because they are many)

Crisis #1: I have a secret - I really can cook. I can. I'm very good at cooking; I can take pretty much any recipe and make whatever that is and it tastes good. What I'm not good at doing is time, planning (if you've ever met me, you know this is a perpetual problem, along with procrastination), and cleaning up.

I have plenty of cookbooks, some of which are useful and some are just for drooling over. The Opera Lover's Cookbook: Menus for Elegant Entertaining is a drool over; with chapters like "English Pub Supper with Gilbert & Sullivan," "Vodka Tasting with Russian Composers," "Mozart Dinner Party," and "Bel Canto Elegant Five-Course Dinner" I need a different lifestyle to get mileage out of the book's recipes. I love the recipes in the Earthbound Organic cookbook, they just take quite a bit of time to get the dishes made, which I know is the secret to great-tasting food, but when you spend most of the day at both jobs and then curled up in bed asleep a speedier (but still healthy) cookbook is necessary. So I'm consulting my Canyon Ranch cookbooks - mmm, spa food - there's a great frittata recipe right at the beginning of Canyon Ranch Cooks.

Crisis #2: I really need to lose about a stone because I look like food and I spend a lot of time together. My relationship with food is not good. I'm an ex-dancer and I have about as many hangups and binges as the rest; I just have slower metabolism. I'm not terribly overweight for my frame (I refuse to look at a BMI because all the number does is induce a major depressive episode and a succession of binges) but I've nearly passed the first third of my life and my metabolism was never speedy. I need to get a grip on feeding myself correct portions of good food so I don't eat out so many times; I love the noodle place and the bagel place but they are murder on my waistline (the coffee shop, too, since my biggest weakness is scones). I did actually cave and pick up several of the South Beach diet cookbooks. I don't ascribe to the no-carb theory; humans were not made to function on a no-carb/low-carb diet because the brain actually needs something like 60-70 grams of good carbs/day (if you've ever met me on a day when I haven't eaten much, you know I do not function at all; worse if there's no coffee or tea in sight). The Quick and Easy version has a great pear and goat cheese salad and the regular one has a really yummy Apricot Muffin (made with Splenda, it surprisingly tastes good).

Crisis #3: I am cooking for one. ONE. A recipe that makes two servings is great because I have a leftover for lunch or dinner the next day. If there are more than 3 or 4 servings, the dish gets kind of old. Some are really hard to halve - how to you divide three eggs? What is half an egg?

So this is my wish: A healthy/natural foods cookbook with recipes that take less than 20-30 minutes to prepare, has a proposed meal plan for those of us are calorie-impaired, uses ingredients that are available in the landlocked areas of the country, does not attach itself to any silly diet craze, and serves two (or one). Can I find a cookbook like this? Not really.

Current book-in-progress: Whatever I was reading yesterday.
Current knitted item: Eeyores (the little buggers are complicated - who thought this pattern up?)

01 July 2007

Dead Rant

The vast majority of this post was originally an extremely long rant about people who abuse the BN Book Clubs - it's where I spend my downtime and it bothers me when that's not respected. I don't think "in your face" advertising has a place there. Once I had the rant out, I read it, decided it had served it's purpose, and deleted most of it except:

"Therefore, I have read at least three posts in various groups (at least one of which is completely inappropriate for the post) touting what basically sounds like a blog. And why would I pay for that? I can read thousands of them for free everyday online. So all this author is doing is irritating everyone (and he/she/they/it wasn't even particularly sorry when apologising to the group's moderator - even said we should go read the book; not going to do that).

And why is this post here and not on BN.com? Because I'm a reader-moderator, the post was not made in my group, and I should abide by the guidelines, which includes no flaming, so I'm venting here. Otherwise, he/she/they/it would get an earful."

In different book related news, I purchased The Sunny Side - a collection of A.A. Milne's short poems and stories for Punch. Love.

Current book-in-progress: Swann's Way (Lydia Davis translation), The Marquise of O-, Cultural Amnesia, Wuthering Heights, The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter
Current knitted item: Eeyores

30 June 2007

Tidbits and Oddities II

"A work of art has to be judged by its interior vitality, not by its agreed prestige. Prestige alone was never enough to keep an acknowledged classic alive: if it had been, Petrarch's long poems in Latin, which he though were his real claim to fame, would still be read today." - Clive James, Cultural Amnesia, "G.K. Chesterton"

"...doubtless Clytie knew, counted upon, that; it would be a good three minutes before it [ambulance] could reach the house, the monstrous tinder-dry rotten shell seeping smoke through the warped cracks in the weather-boarding as if it were made of gauze wire and filled with roaring and beyond which somewhere somthing lurked which bellowed, something human since the bellowing was in human speend, even though the reason for it would not have seemed to be." - William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!

"Ist das ein Auto?" - "Drive-time German," Living Language (this one cracks me up everytime its used in conversation on the CD - who the heck drives down the road and asks "Is that a car?" besides a toddler)

Current book-in-progress: The Marquise of O-, Cultural Amnesia, Wuthering Heights (Kate says I should read some Proust - I agree), The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter
Current knitted item: I'm done with all my planned "Harry Potter surprises" - they're all blocked and ready to go, but I have enough yarn left...maybe one more... (I'm enjoying this way too much).

28 June 2007

One of us got reading glasses...

And I'm pretty sure it was me. Sigh. Not only am I blind as a bat because I'm so near-sighted but I now have reading glasses for when I study. I feel old. Maybe I won't feel like poking my eyeballs out any more after marathoning the research for a paper. Perhaps not.

Current book-in-progress: The Marquise of O-, Cultural Amnesia, still polishing off Abalsom, Absalom! (less than 40 pages left - that book is getting really hard to read) and conteplating what else I could start besides Wuthering Heights
Current knitted item: I finished the blue "Harry Potter surprise" and now I'm working on the last "Harry Potter surprise."

21 June 2007

Who is that masked man?

While playing Myst III (I finished by the way), I kept thinking "Gosh, that crazy guy Saavedro looks an awful lot like Brad Dourif." So the credits ran, and guess what? It IS Brad Dourif (the dude who played Grima Wormtongue in the Lord of the Rings movies). Totally bizarre since I just saw him in "Ragtime" the other night on cable.

In other news, I finished The Buccaneers today. Now I can watch the miniseries adaptation (Mira Sorvino plays Conchita, didn't quite picture the character that way).

Current book-in-progress: The Marquise of O-, Cultural Amnesia, still polishing off Abalsom, Absalom! (less than 100 pages left)
Current knitted item: It is still the blue "Harry Potter surprise"

17 June 2007

You know you're pretty nerdy when....

...your Friday evening consists of working at the bookstore, playing 4 hours of "Myst III: Exile" after you get home from work at 10:45 pm, then reading 30 pages of Faulkner before finally crashing.

I am actually doing pretty good with the Myst game. I remembered to write things down while playing "Riven" and a number of the symbols are showing up in this game, so I'm not totally lost.

Current book-in-progress: The Buccaneers, Cultural Amnesia, finished The Story of French, and I'm working on polishing off Abalsom, Absalom!
Current knitted item: The blue "Harry Potter surprise" (what, you thought I'd be done? Psh, I have books to read and I'm getting really tired of people on the bus asking me "Is that hard?" Of course not, six-year-olds in impoverished countries can do this and probably much faster than I can.)

12 June 2007


I accidentally washed my cats' ugly blue rat. Not my fault, they left it in the dirty laundry pile. This is a crinkly, catnip-y blue rat that's been a little over-loved by the two furballs. So I tossed the damp rat to Chaucer...

...who immediately started "loving" it, and licking it, and rubbing it, and making these really strange meows. I know my cats like catnip, but this was like kitty heroin. Thiry minutes later he was cross-eyed and smelling the soles of my shoes. This morning I caught him carrying it around like his baby. Right now he's "loving" the rat again - under my desk - and Dante keeps staring at him.

I love edamame. Mmmmm.

As previously stated in other posts, I'm reading Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers for BNBC June/July. The novel was unfinished at her death in 1937 (it was published as-is in 1938) and has since been "finished" by the editor Marion Mainwaring and published as a complete novel in 1993. According to the Afterword about 30% of the novel is new - 30% is a lot to me. I'm exactly half-way finished with the novel and there's definitely an unrefined quality to the Wharton text. You can tell that she didn't have a chance to finish, let alone go back and edit. I feel that some scenes are too obscure, that too much is hidden from the reader. The plot jumps around quite a bit. Even though the setting is the same as The Age of Innocence (1870s New York), the novel feels disconnected in some way. Hmmm. I'll see when I finish it.

Current book-in-progress: The Buccaneers (half done), Cultural Amnesia (really good, nice short essays); I bought too many books again during Employee Appreciation Days
Current knitted item: A blue "Harry Potter surprise" made with left-over yarn from the shrug.

06 June 2007

Computer Update

It turns out that once you install Norton 360, you can't install Systemworks as well. Bugger. You can, however, run the CheckIt Diagnostics and Norton Utilities (like DiskDoctor, etc) from the CD. So at least I have updated Windows Registry checks, etc. But still - $70 bucks? I complained to Best Buy about the crappy Geek Squad advice but since I opened the package and did an install I can't return it. Oh well, live and learn.

Spysweeper is now installed. It found 55 pieces of spyware on the laptop (yikes! no wonder it took forever to do much of anything and was giving me the "blue screen of death") but none on the desktop. Hm. Both computers now run so much faster. So much.

In other topics, I ordered a bunch of DVDs from BN (buy-2-get-1 sales are dangerous, and I had a coupon). I ordered "Bleak House" (2005 miniseries with Gillian Anderson), "The Way We Live Now," "Middlemarch," and "The Holiday" (seriously, the best romantic comedy since "Love Actually"). I also ordered Hayley Westenra's third CD. Love. The packages came yesterday so I have lots of good TV to watch now. And "David Copperfield" is coming via Netflix (this is the version with Daniel Radcliffe as young David).

I also bought Clive James' new book Cultural Amnesia - 50% coupon for BN members, which is a better deal than the employee appreciation days (only 40%). He's a really good critic and I've heard great things about this book. All the essays are really short, so it will make for good bedtime reading.

Current book-in-progress: The Buccaneers, Cultural Amnesia, and who knows too many to count.
Current knitted item: The shrug is done! Back to Eeyores and Harry Potter surprises.

05 June 2007

Ahhh, computers....

Today while the Internet repairman was here, he commented on how slow my desktop was since it took about 5 minutes for all the start-up programs to desist. Yeah, I know, dude. The Norton package is so old that pretty much the only stuff that updates is the anti-virus. So I took myself off to Best Buy to get some new Norton toys that will clean my hard drives.

Problem #1: The Geek Squad guys are pretty helpful normally, but they all seem to hate Norton, primary reason being that it "slows down your computer." I've had my butt saved by Norton so many times that I'm not particularly concerned with 60 seconds vs. 2 minutes.

So they recommended getting Norton 360 (which is apparently so new, no one knows how to use it), Norton Systemworks Standard, and Spysweeper (because Norton still isn't quite so good at the anti-spyware. I also picked up an external hard drive so I can back everything up (good deal - 250GB for $100). Price tag for everything? ~$250. Ouch, but it's cheaper than a new computer if mine gets chomped by some Internet worm.

Problem #2: Since the Geek Squad dudes don't like Norton, I don't think they know what all the different parts of Norton do. For instance, Symantec has this lovely "compare products" page that will compare what each package does after installation. Notice that the Norton 360 does everything the Systemworks packages do, except Norton GoBack (I'm still looking for Disk Doctor and the Windows Registry Scan - I think they're on the Check-It Diagnostics software part of the CD-Rom). So I paid seventy bucks for Norton GoBack. ARRRRGGGGGHHHHH. And I just noticed that the Spysweeper said it's a "Service Desk Edition - Not for Display". Can I still use it?

So here I sit, at home, in my office, surrounded by two computers with two different security programs from Norton. Notice the time. The laptop is still uploading to the backup server at Symantec. But the laptop has the 360 on it, which is pretty slick (it is nice - this is why I love Norton - it removed 3,000 temporary files that were getting missed because the old package wasn't updating). The desktop has Systemworks, which will have to be removed (after 2 hours of installation to get it this far and find out I got hosed) so I can install 360, then re-install Systemworks to get the Norton GoBack and the Check-it Diagnostics.

I swear to you, I am not a computer science major, I am a self-taught computer person (with a little help from Dad and various computer books) and I could do a hell of a lot better job than a lot of the people who are supposed to "help" you.

Current book-in-progress: I picked up The Buccaneers today - I got three paragraphs read; this is very Wharton already.
Current knitted item: The shrug is almost done. I've started the last increase round, then it's just 6 rounds of ribbing and a bind-off!

28 May 2007

Tidbits and Oddities

I love literary sound bites.

"Shock news: Grown-up critics think e.e. cummings sucks. I honestly didn't know. I read him in high school, put him in the "good" box, and left him there." - Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree

"I'm an irreverent person because I believe reverence is usually misplaced when it isn't faked, but I felt reverence for his reverence then." - William H. Gass, A Temple of Texts (Mr. Gaddis and His Goddamn Books)

"The philosopher David Hume thought Tristam Shandy the best book written by an Englishman for the past 30 years, though he rather spoiled the compliment by adding 'bad as it is.'" - Terry Eagleton, The English Novel: An Introduction (Ch. 4, Laurence Sterne)

And on addressing "instant classics" in literature:
"Maybe that's why you have to give books time to live before you decide that they're never going to die. You have to wait and see whether anyone in that multitude is really listening." - Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree

Current book-in-progress: A Temple of Texts, The English Novel, and waiting for The Buccaneers to arrive at BN so I can start on the next book for the LbW board.
Current knitted item: The shrug - I got the stitches picked up for the collar (Eydie had Addis!! Although I'm glad I went with the 32" circular, I can't imagine working it on a 24" like the pattern called for!)

21 May 2007

Can I add just one more thing?

Call me crazy, but I added on yet another activity to my already over-scheduled and totally manic life (and you all wondered why I consume so many caffeine-containing beverages...).

I agreed to be a reader-moderator at BN Book Clubs for two boards - knitting (duh) and the Literature by Women board (taking over from pmath - yay pmath!).

Now, for everyone who thinks I'm a slave to the company, the BNBC is an entity that I think does many great things. Yes, it replaced the old BN University, of which many participants have fond memories and were sad to see its demise; however, I think the new BNBC has so much more potential. BNBC is far more transparent because you can see all the threads without having to register. With BNU, you had to sign up and "join" a class to see what it was about; I didn't join BNU for a while because I thought it would be too "academic" for what I was looking to do. At BNBC there are more classics discussed, for longer that then very limiting month (i.e. Paradise Lost with Laurel) which is great, but readers are starting their own threads in some of the general discussions supporting all different types of books. This is wonderful and, IMO, it's what a book club should be about. Reading. And having fun.

So stop by and see how I do (not terrible, I hope - yipe!). The knitting board is just for chatting, reviewing pattern books, etc. The LbW board is starting A.S. Byatt's Possession this month.

Current book-in-progress: Mostly The Master and Margarita as of late (it's really good I promise), but I need to get caught up on Possession for my new role
Current knitted item: The shrug - now working on the other sleeve. I hope Eydie gets Addi circs in size 5 before I really need them!

17 May 2007

CSI - what?

So all three of my favorite TV shows - the CSIs - all had their season finales this week. CSI: Miami ended on a good note, but a little ambiguous as regards the relationship between Calliegh and Eric. CSI:NY ended with Mac, Stella, and Sheldon foiling the Irish Mob's attempt to raid the police lab and get their cocaine back; Danny and Lindsey got together which was about damn time.

So CSI was tonight. Talk about cliffhanger (stop reading here if you don't want to know). Sara winds up under a car after being kidnapped by the Miniature Killer and Grissom is trying to shake the information out of the Killer. Literally. Sara had better make it on the season opener in the fall; haven't heard anything about Jorja Fox leaving the show but it will suck big time if she does.

Current book-in-progress: The Brothers Karamazov and The Master and Margarita
Current knitted item: The shrug - only 8 rows of ribbing left on the first sleeve.

Current favorite-screw-up-by-other-research-assistant

As some of you know, one of my (least) favorite tasks at the research job is to take over a study from another RA. My main reason for (not) liking this is because the study is usually screwed up in some way - data collection, study design, bad analysis, you-name-it. And then I have to fix this, which neccessitates pointing out what is wrong to my boss which then makes me feel like a rat.

Like the current POS, er, study I am trying to fix so the fellow can get her article out of it and get herself a job. 2/3 of the data was collected by the fellow, the other 1/3 was collected by one of my fellow RAs (who no longer works for us because she moved up in the world and got a new job). The data collected by the fellow is pretty robust, few few mistakes and most of those are entry errors I would have caught during analysis (i.e. getting the date wrong because your finger typed 2006 instead of 2005). The data collected by the RA....ai-yi-yi (I should have known this was coming because this same RA made tons of data collection errors on another study that I'm trying to piggyback a new analysis off of - and I find myself essentially recollecting the previous data because it's full of holes). My personal favorite mistakes so far today? The one where the RA listed the subject as being male (when the subject is really female) and the next subject on the list was listed as deceased at the end of current admission (when she was both an outpatient as the time of study entry and had completed a physician's office visit two days ago). GAAAAAAHHHHHHH!! An undergrad could do better than this (and would be cheaper, too).

I promise I'm really not an obsessive-compulsive science rat, but I'm not attaching my name to ANYTHING that could potentially suck this bad. This is why science gets a bad rap - sloppy work. Sloppy. Sloppy. Sloppy.

Current book-in-progress: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (for the SF group, and I'm a little behind, but I just got the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Award for Translation winner by Pevear and Volokhonsky, so I got kind of excited about it again.
Current knitted item: The shrug - I'm working on the ribbing for the first sleeve.

16 May 2007

Minor Confession

I still call my parents and tell them my grades. Guess I still like to get that pat on the head (who knows, I might even get dinner out of it - traditional rewards for earning good grades in the Ward household consist of going to a swanky restaurant sans younger siblings).

Now, I'm going to strut a little....got an "A" in my Modern American Fiction class. I think this is a good accomplishment for someone with two science degrees trying to go back for a grad lit degree - the brain definitely has to rewire itself for this to work. I also scraped a "B" out of my incomplete from last semester. Party!!!!!! I was pretty convinced I was going to receive an "F" out of sheer spite since I had avoided the professor for the better part of three months.

Current book-in-progress: Lots of them! The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber, The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay, and A Temple of Texts by William Gass (and many more)
Current knitted item: Serious start-itis since semester ended. Yes, I still have Eeyores. And a Christmas stocking to finish. But...I got this awesome knitting book Fitted Knits with about 10 patterns I want to knit. So I started the two-color shrug (mine is light blue and royal). I also keep trying to knit socks, which is a disaster since I can't get the toe cast-on to work correctly. I'm also making a surprise for our Harry Potter party at the store (Shhhh!!!)

19 April 2007

Beyond freaked out because of the Departed

Finished watching The Departed, delivered to my mailbox courtesy of Netflix. Seriously, that is one sick movie - fucking sick as can be. Scorsese deserved the Oscar, no arguments here (he also deserved the Oscar for several other of his movies) - the script was great, cast excellent, cinematography was good. But it's really creeping me out. I think because the movie really didn't end, at least not the way I wanted it to end. I personally would have liked to see Leo's character get together with the shrink and Matt Damon's snaky little rat get sent to the federal pen. Instead, all the cops get shot in the head (including Leo) and Matt gets off scott free as the hero until he gets wasted by Mark Wahlburg (and he was soooooo good in this movie, like scary good) who then walks off. And the end. Maybe that's why the movie is so good. No one gets what they want. Still, violent and creepy.

And Alec Baldwin is hilarious as the lead investigator. And then there's Jack - I have never felt like needing a bath after one of his movies. Now I do.

Current book-in-progress: Native Son by Richard Wright, Temple of Texts by William Gass
Current knitted item: Eeyores.

17 April 2007

Today, we are all Hokies

After reading the growing media coverage of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, I waited nervously all day. Alpha Chi Sigma, the chemistry fraternity - of which I'm a District Counselor, has a large chapter at VT. Gamma Iota chapter hosted our 2004 Biennial Conclave and we had a marvelous time on VT's beautiful, peaceful campus. Thankfully, we heard from the chapter's president and none of our brothers are among the deceased or injured (and my friends Katharine and Beth, whose cousin attends VT, also heard he was unharmed). My heart breaks for all the families, friends, emergency workers, alumni, and administrators of VT. I pray to whichever God is listening right now that the entire VT community find peace and solace in one another as they heal. So many lives lost - none for any better reason than they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And now, some callous idiot has posted on the Barnes and Noble Book Clubs board that we should all buy a certain novel about gun-toting nuns in Wal-mart because the VT tragedy illustrates perfectly why the US should have gun laws. The post is as follows:

Yesterday's mortifying events in Blacksburgh Virginia underscore the importance of finding a way to stop the production and distribution of handguns. Only a few days ago I posted a message recommending xxxx's newly released novel "XXXX" and calling for EVERYONE interested in the subject of violence committed with pistols to read.Did you see? and if you did, did you care?If you did, and you didnt, you are part of the problem.xxxx'snovel is not available from Walmart online. Why? because in the story Nuns terrorize a WalMart gun department and destroy all the handguns present.WalMart refuses to publish it. How is this free speech in action? WalMart will say "We decide what free speech is".Fortunately, none of the other vendors agree. XXXX is not a political tract. It's a delightful novel filled with wonderful characters and at the base of it all is the question: why, when people can have all the rifles they want cause the constitution grants permission, do we need to allow handguns too?Look, don't listen to me. I'm only a schmuck who stumbled on a book far above his head and got kicked in the mind by it. I think the ISBN of XXXX is ISBN-10: ##########. I'm tellin' ya. This is a great read.

Did you notice a few things are missing? I took out the author, title, and ISBN - I don't want anyone, not a single person to buy this book. I even submitted a complaint to the BNBC admins; I'm a pretty tolerant person but this pretty much stretches my limits. The poster is part of a circle of authors with TERRIBLE self-published novels and they all push each others' novels. Promotion is one thing; the unfeeling use of a heinous act of violence with no regard for victims and survivors to sell a completely unrelated novel (which is crap, by the way) is completely ... I don't know. I don't even have a word for it - I need one which encompasses this jerk's callousness, self-aggrandizement, and my sentiment that he be electrocuted by his computer next time he's near it.

I shed many tears yesterday for thousands of people I will never meet and I shed more now in memory of the victims and their families. Nikki Giovanni spoke at the convocation and I close this post with her words:

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on. We are embracing our mourning. We are Virginia Tech ...
-- Nikki Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor, poet, activist

10 April 2007

Work is just a synonym for HEARTBURN

Last week I pulled serious overtime on my research job (I quit counting at 50 hours on Thursday) and it pretty much sucked because I was tired, stressed, consumed far too many Tums, and since I'm salaried I don't get overtime pay. Activity #1 was helping the boss get the very large CDC grant finished - if we get this I get a raise, if we don't get this....well, the boss will be difficult to live with for quite some time. Activity #2 involved getting some numbers out of a study one of the ID people started and another RA analyzed - let me just say that it was completely set up wrong and I managed to get something useful out of it by Friday morning. Activity #3 occured Wednesday and Thursday because our clinical monitor from 3M came to close out our clinical trial - she bought us some seriously nice lunch at Atlas downtown to thank us (ps, Connie-the-monitor is very nice to work with, too). Basically, I worked like crazy and didn't do shit for my class last Monday evening - faked an entire evening of Faulkner discussion (bad, bad, bad). And I'm pretty sure that none of the other three RAs that work for the group did anything even remotely stressful. I hate being dependable.

To remedy the overworked attitude, I took yesterday off to read about 200 pages of the class assignment for Monday. Yup. And I finished Bound to Please and Reading Like a Writer. Go me.

Current book-in-progress: Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night (only 100 pages left now) and The Cambridge Companion to Modern American Literature (oy - but good).
Current knitted item: Eyores. I eyeballed my sock yarn, too.

27 March 2007

Netflix and 'Net courtesy

I finally got Netflix after debating with myself for quite sometime. I am stupid for not having signed up earlier. The price is great and the selection is WAAAAAYYYY better than any of the video stores in town (they have ballet - BALLET! - modern dance, opera - I'm in love).

And now for a minor rant: If you are reading this, and you do any posting on a forum of any kind - for book groups (BNBC, SF, Yahoo), knitting, politics, AXS, whatever - please, for the love of God, use some punctuation and some capitals. Otherwise, I'm gonna rip your fingers off.

omg william hurt was so good as mr rochester but imo toby stephens was hott just like i imagined but dont tell i didnt read the book for class i read the cliffs notes

How much of that do you think is fun to read? Imagine a whole page - several paragraphs at least - on a computer screen. At least throw some periods and capitalize the first letter of the sentence so I know when each one starts and ends. It's like a foreign language! And don't get me started on ALL THE PEOPLE WHO POST EVERYTHING IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Ugh.

Current book-in-progress: Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom; I'm starting Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night since I think that's what I want to write my paper on; and Bound to Please and The Cambridge Companion to Modern American Literature (oy - but good).
Current knitted item: Eeyore #2 - and he's on hold since I ran out of blue-gray yarn and had to order two skeins from Eydie (!!!!); still have to seam and stuff both before April 1.

24 March 2007

"R" for Onegin?

Having just finished watching a movie at 12:30 am, I would normally go to bed. However, I'm a bit perplexed.

I watched Onegin with Ralph Finnes, Liv Tyler, and Toby Stephens. According to the slipcase, the movie was rated "R" for brief violence and a sexual image. OK, big hairy deal. Finnes probably shows his bum again (who hasn't seen it yet?) and, having read a bit of Pushkin before, you know that Lensky dies in the duel. Pretty graphic, right?

Wrong. Lensky dies in the duel - head shot and you don't see much except a blood pool. And the sexual image? Tatyana seduces her husband while wearing a nightdress - this is tame; all you see of her husband is his bare chest. They don't even make it to second base before the camera cuts. Who rates this stuff? This is PG at most, except most kids wouldn't make it five minutes before getting bored. Still, great movie.

Speaking of Lensky, I stayed up until 4am last night to watch the Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Jane Eyre - Toby Stephens plays Mr. Rochester and a wonderful job he did of it, too. I think he's a bit young for the part, being not yet 40, but he was so gruff around the edges and his eyes are gorgeous. Ruth Wilson was a perfect Jane and through just her face and eyes able to convey so much of Jane's thought process, a piece of the novel often lost in the transition from 1st person to 3rd person. I cried and cried when the wedding was thwarted by Mason and Jane ran away (I am rediculous). The writers also neatly inserted flashbacks (while Jane is at the Rivers') where we see Rochester trying to convince Jane to run away with him; a much weaker woman would have caved. Beautiful adaptation.

Current book-in-progress: Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom; also peeked through the Johnston translation of the Pushkin and my three copies of Jane Eyre keep making eyes at me.
Current knitted item: Eeyore #2; still have to seam and stuff both before April 1.

16 March 2007

So I was motion-picture deprived

Not having purchased any new movies (or rented any, or gone to see any since I only pay theatre prices when under duress), I sort of went on a buying spree. ::sheepish::

Purchased at Best Buy: Casino Royale (Daniel Craig - drool), Marie Antoinette, and Minority Report (not a Tom Cruise fan, but a) it was $5 and b) Samantha Morton is so very, very good in it); I also bought two more John Mayer CDs

Coming from B&N: The Prestige (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale - double drool), The Illusionist (Edward Norton, Rufus Sewell, and Paul Giamatti - triple drool), Onegin (Ralph Finnes - drool again) and the PBS/BBC miniseries of Jane Eyre.

So I watched Casino Royale as soon as I got it home. I love it - it's such a faithful adaptation of the original novel which is nice after Moonraker, &etc., which resemble the original novels in title only. The only drawback is that while the stunts are amazing for the free-running chase sequence with Mollaka and the chase sequence at Miami Airport, both of them contribute to slowing down the movie and adding quite a bit to the length. But it is a Bond, and it's fantastic. Love, love, love.

Watched Minority Report (fastforwarded through a few parts - chuckled when Tom Cruise ate the moldy sandwich), switched it up with a viewing of Sense and Sensibility (old favorite - sort of like cleansing the palate at a wine tasting), and watched Marie Antoinette. It's a good movie but very strange. I think about any sweet, young actress could have playing MA due to the script, direction and cinematography. What Sofia Coppola did so well was convey the isolation that MA felt - the actual spoken dialogue is very sparse and the action is carried through the visual image on the screen. The set and costume designs for the movie are fantastic and some of the supporting roles played by Judy Davis (the mistress of the household) and Rose Byrne (one of MA's ladies-in-waiting) are wonderful.

Current book-in-progress: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein(for class). Truly, I can't understand why I have to read this - it's not very interesting. I would probably like it better if I were an art history major. The Faulkner is up next, but I really, really need to finish the Stein for Monday.
Current knitted item: Eeyore #1=knitted (seams and stuffing not done), Eeyore #2=started. The nieces' birthday party is April 1, so I really need to get the needles clacking.

27 February 2007

Bored again

As usual, I am sitting in the Pre-Anesthesia Evaluation Clinic (i.e. where you go to make sure you can withstand anesthesia if you're having a procedure) and I am so bored. I'm starting to fall asleep. Bad form. I wish people would just agree to talk to me about the study so I'd have something productive to do. Not that I'm not being productive for class ... let me re-phrase that, I have a book with me that's assigned for Modern American Lit, but I'm being paid by my boss to sit down here and enroll patients for our clinical trial. So I'm trying to be productive, but I'm productive in the wrong place, if that makes any sense at all.

But I've spent the last 4 hours reading news sites (dude, they had a guy flip out and threaten terrorism at the University of Missouri-Rolla), Barnes and Noble Book Clubs, Facebook, Yahoo, the comics, and now I'm updating my blog. Truly, I am lazy.

Oh, and my Dad's OK. He went home the day after his procedure and he hasn't had any problems since. We've been plaguing him with car trouble (my beloved '95 Buick Regal, The Beast, decided it wanted to start leaking oil and transmission fluid and my younger brother's Neon died), so everything is back to normal. Except for the weather. Ice sucks. And I was going to take a picture because the trees looked so pretty coated in ice - but it was too dark when I finally got home from work and then by 8am the next morning it had all melted away. Phooey.

Current book-in-progress: Quicksand and Passing by Nella Larsen (for class). And I'm about half done with Michael Dirda's Bound to Please which I've been chipping at for a while now.
Current knitted item: I finished the shawl!!!!!! (Happy dance - had a minor panic attack when an Addi Turbo snapped 6 rows from the end, but Edyie saved the day). Now I'm working on Eeyores for the nieces first birthdays.

14 February 2007

Worst Valentine's Day Ever

Spent almost the entire day at St. Lukes with my dad - who wound up having a heart catheterization procedure. On Valentine's Day. Crappy. He's fine now and the procedure did what it was supposed to do, which was correct an abnormal heart rhythm, and if everything checks out in the morning, the cardiologist will let him go home.

So I spent the day alternately knitting, worrying, and keeping a running tab on what the staff were doing wrong infection-prevention-wise so I could brood about it (Dad told them later that I was an epidemiologist and the nurse looked a little freaked out; he also pointed that the bottom of the bed rail was filthy - score one for him - so it was squeaky clean when he came back from the cath lab).

Current book-in-progress: Cane by Jean Toomer (it was in my bag, but I couldn't concentrate).
Current knitted item: Shawl. Finished the second diamond pattern. Have an eyelet row and 12 garter stitch rows left. (I'd feel more excited except I was afforded a ton of knitting time because Dad was in the hospital, not exactly the best way to spend the day).

13 February 2007

It's lovey day (tomorrow) and love is indeed a mix tape

While I will always be a hopeless Romantic and dream that somewhere I will find my soulmate, Valentine's Day really just serves to rub it in that I am STILL single. Still. Even when I had a major relationship, my boyfriend/fiancee hated Valentine's Day and did everything possible to avoid it. So I've never had flowers, or a date, or a Valentine's Day gift from my love (and he said he didn't want a gift from me - what a party pooper). I've become a grumpy cynic, but in a tiny corner of my heart I want a sappy, lovey Valentine's Day!

One of my favorite love poems:

Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dales and field,
Or woods or steepy mountain yield.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my Love.
--Christopher Marlowe, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

And from one of my favorite books:

"I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan. -- Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? -- I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice, when they would be lost on others. -- Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating in
I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening, or never.
--Jane Austen, Persuasion, letter from Captain Wentworth to Anne Eliot

*Sigh* There are too many days when I think no one will ever think those things about me.

And then there is Love is a Mix Tape - which I read through entirely too fast to savor and will have to read again. The entire book is a love letter to music and how much that music meant to Rob and his wife Renee. It doesn't read like a standard memoir (X did this, then that. I hated her for it and drank too much, etc) - each mix tape at the beginning of a chapter moves forward through time to a specific event or theme. Rob's first attempt at DJ-ing his school dance, a tape made for doing the dishes, for sleeping, for making out, for fighting, for making up, for their wedding, and even mix tapes to introduce his life after Renee (except one has Hanson on it - ick, ick, ick, ick).

And the more I think about it, love really is like a mix tape. There are dance tracks, really sloppy, mushy rock ballad tracks, moshy tracks, acid rock tracks, ocean waves, Prince (he can make the temperature rise at the North Pole), one-hit wonders, unchained melodies, and paens to love lost. The rhythm changes. Style, tempo, key. As much as love can make or break you, think how boring it would be if it were like listening to the same song for the rest of your life.

Current book-in-progress: Anything Jane Austen (my solace when I am lonely).
Current knitted item: Shawl. About 20 rows left.