January 31, 2011

031: January in review

Thirty-one days of blog: done.  334 days to go.  Improbably, I haven't missed a day of this project yet, nor did I abandon it after a week.  I'm already exceeding my own expectations!  In January, we covered music, winter in Minnesota, the fact that I watch too much television, and looked at a lot of pictures.  The bullet points:
  • January's most-viewed post was TV gumshoes, followed closely by my musings on shuffle.
  • Most folks found me through Twitter or various Google searches.
  • Surprisingly, the most frequent search term to find this blog? "impermanent state blogspot".  How about that?
  • 40 visits from Denmark in January, making it #2 behind the U.S.  Go figure.
Odds on making it through February should be good, since it's a short month.  We'll see, though, since I'm doing more writing next month and I'm got a crapload of books coming in, as well.

A related note to yesterday's post: the ice-dam removal people are coming tomorrow, which will hopefully stop the water coming into the house, at least.  It had better, at $350/hour.  If it doesn't, I will go all...
...on their asses.

Happy end of January, Internet!

January 30, 2011

030: #*@%^$&!!!

Woke up to a tap tap tap this morning, pulled back the curtain to see what it was, found windowsill covered in water.

The ice dams have finally had their revenge.

This is the state of my bedroom window shortly after finding the second leak:
(The threadbare beach towel blocks splatter when the water hits the already-wet towels on the sill.)
One of the initial five insidious water drops has dried up, leaving these four...
...but then the sun came out and the quickly-melting ice started dripping outside and sneaking in through the gaps on the other side of the window.

This is the situation under the eaves.
Curse you, Mother Nature and builders of the 1960s.  If only there were a picture that summed up my feelings about this development.

Oh, look.  There it is.

January 29, 2011

029: Warm woolen mittens

Favorite things from this week:

The Space Age: NASA's Story
Oddly, it was the BBC that made this fascinating look inside the U.S. space program.  PBS has shown the first two parts, with the next two presumably airing over the next couple weeks.  I never really studied NASA's history, either in school or on my own, so I missed out on some really interesting stories about the early days of the space race.  The "newly restored" footage from the era, including high-speed shots from around the launch pad (which any Mythbusters fan can tell you is always impressive), is fantastic, as are the interviews with retired astronauts and people who worked in Mission Control from NASA's first days.  Fascinating, entertaining, definitely worth checking out.

Rides a Bike
Best tumblr find this week.  Do you like classic films?  Do you like bicycles?  Do you like pictures of classic film stars riding bicycles?  Then I have the site for you!  I can't wait to get my bike out in the spring, but until then, I'll use the giant 1980s stationary bike in our family room and look at pictures of attractive people enjoying their velocipedes.

Black Swan
I finally saw it, and it was INSANE.  In a good way!  There was a freaky ambience to the whole film that made me very, very nervous throughout, and any film that can get that kind of reaction from me gets a thumbs-up.  It was also the best performance I've seen from Natalie Portman in quite a while.

Book bars
Library Bar in Downtown LA
A few in L.A. are featured in this article, all of which I will frequent if I ever find myself living there.  As far as I know, there aren't any similar places in the Twin Cities, unfortunately.  My friends and I used to frequent Kieran's in Minneapolis when we were in college, and we had dinner at their new First Ave location when everybody was in town during the holidays.  I can only imagine we would have lived at a book bar, which would have been great for our love for literature, but very bad for our wallets (and livers).

This tweet
Very important things are going on in Egypt right now, but amongst the protests and, unfortunately, violence, it's heartening to see that it isn't all about destruction.

January 28, 2011

028: Sole searching

For the better part of a year, I've been searching for a pair of shoes.  Or rather, not a pair of shoes, but the pair of shoes.  The perfect pair of vintage leather oxfords in a color the Etsy and eBay sellers call oxblood.

I've bought two pairs in the time since I started my quest -- the two pictured above -- and had to resell both when they didn't fit.  Devastating, but hopefully it brought joy to the new owners. 
 I don't know when I decided I wanted, nay, needed a pair of oxfords.  I'm pretty sure I'm not a hipster, and they seem to like that kind of thing, right?  Nor am I a 1980s businessperson.
But I covet these shoes.  I covet them to the point that I decided to forego easy-to-find modern versions of oxfords, and have given up my compulsive shoe-buying habit in favor of dedicating myself to this quest (actually a fringe benefit, really).  It's illogical and a lot of time spent on very little reward.
And yet.

January 27, 2011

027: My kind of holiday

Today, January 27, is Chocolate Cake Day!  Let's feast our eyes:

This competes with Talk Like a Pirate Day for my favorite unofficial holiday.

January 26, 2011

026: The Blogger's Dilemma

Sometimes the hardest part of my blog-every-day project is deciding what the topic of the day should be, either because I have a slew of ideas or because I have none.  Yesterday I went with Oscar nominations over the State of the Union because I'd already started the post before I watched the President's speech (and because I don't think my political opinions are informed enough to be worth anyone's time).  Some days I'll start planning the next day's blog immediately after posting.  This does not happen often enough.  I have moments where I think I might try joining the ranks of fashion bloggers, but I spend 90% of my time at home in fashion-faux-pas sweatpants, so that's probably out.  Decisions, decisions!  My life, she is so difficult.

I think the problem is this: a blog is, by definition, self-aggrandizing.  "My thoughts are fascinating!  I simply must put them out on the Internet for the consumption of acquaintances and absolute strangers!"  There are exceptions, of course -- the White House has a blog, which is just informational -- but on the whole, we bloggers are just shouting into the ether for one reason or another.  For me, the prospect of cyber-passers-by paying attention isn't the point, but it still feels awfully conceited to think that the things taking up valuable space in my head ought to be shared.  It chafes my ingrained [Midwestern] humility.  Horrors!

My point is, this challenge is starting to actually feel like a challenge for any number of reasons.  This is day 26 of 365, and I'm starting to think I'm going to have to start picking up some more hobbies if I'm going to fill this corner of the web for another 339 days.

In conclusion, Don Draper.
(Yes, this will be a recurring thing.)

January 25, 2011

025: Silver screen prognostication

Nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards were announced today, but for a person who spends a lot of time immersed in TV and movies, I couldn't muster up much enthusiasm.  I did muster sufficient enthusiasm to watch the president of the Academy and Mo'nique announce the noms live at 7:30am local time, but that was mostly because I was already awake and getting dressed for work at the time anyway.  Still, though, I find award-show season fascinating, particularly this year, the first after AMPAS changed the rules in order to nominate ten films for Best Picture.  Of those ten, I've seen four (Toy Story 3, The King's Speech, The Social Network, and Inception), and have plans to see Black Swan, True Grit, and 127 Hours.  If I wanted to be a Serious Movie Person, I would go whole hog and check out Winter's Bone, The Fighter, and The Kids Are All Right, too, but I just don't have the time, energy, money, or, indeed, inclination.  I hope The King's Speech takes the big prize, but I could see The Social Network repeating its Golden Globes performance.

Overall, there weren't many surprises, to my eye, although I'm quite pleased to see John Hawkes nominated as a supporting actor in Winter's Bone, even though I haven't seen it, since he played Sol Star on Deadwood and was consistently one of my favorite parts of the show (also, he's a fellow Minnesotan, so I feel a sort of reserved fondness for him that befits the mild-mannered stereotype).  I've been a Natalie Portman fan for ages -- and through many years of substandard movies -- so I'm glad she's finally found a role that give her a decent shot at the Oscar (although she was nominated for Closer), and I loved Helena Bonham Carter in The King's Speech, therefore they are my picks for their respective categories.

For actors, we'll go with Colin Firth in a leading role -- because how great was he in The King's Speech? -- and I'll play the odds and pick Christian Bale for the supporting win because I've heard his performance in The Fighter is the best he's ever been (my sentimental pick, though, is Geoffrey Rush, because I love him).

Director?  Anyone's guess, though I'll be rooting for the Minnesota entrants, the Coen Bros.

The nominees for original screenplay were read before those for adapted screenplay, so I had a moment where I thought Aaron Sorkin had been snubbed, but The Social Network was adapted from a book, so no worries there.  I was underwhelmed by the movie on the whole, but Sorkin is such a brilliant writer (see: The West Wing) that you can't not nominate him, especially for a movie so relevant to the millions who use Facebook on an hourly basis.  (Personally, I don't feel comfortable being logged into the site.)  As someone who occasionally struggles with the necessary writerly task of world-building, I would love to see Christopher Nolan win the original screenplay prize for Inception, but I think he'll have a tough time winning voters away from The King's Speech, which is so utterly charming and thoroughly entertaining that it will probably win.  The latter film also has the advantage of not requiring the audience to follow four or five levels of story simultaneously, all moving on different timelines.

The no-contest category: Toy Story 3 will crush the competition in the animated feature race, because 1) Pixar always wins, and 2) everyone liked TS3 because it was even better than the previous two and it made us all cry.

N.B.: Having not seen many of the nominated films, my predictions are hindered by ignorance.

January 24, 2011

024: Light at the end of the carpal tunnel

I am five inches away from being finished with a sweater I've been knitting since October or November of last year (pattern from 100% rain, for the interested).  It's taken forever, knitting on skinny needles with yarn approximately the same weight as embroidery floss.  The rows of tiny, neat stitches look great an all, but I had to take a three-week break to give the shooting pains in my wrists a chance to clear up.  I cannot wait to be done with this godforsaken project, but I know that when I cast off (weave the ends in, sew the buttons on, wash and block, and probably figure out how to fix the hem...) I'll just sit back, look at it, and think it's the prettiest thing I ever did make.

I love knitting, but I inevitably hit a wall during every project where the prospect of going on is unbearable, because my fingertips are raw or dry or my wrists hurt or I'm sick of doing stranded colorwork, or I screwed up three rows back and I have to rip out all my hard work to fix it, or because I'll never finish it by Christmas.  But I do eventually pick it up again, because the end result is so rewarding.  I still use a scarf I knitted in high school or college that's about seven feet long and in this crazy variegated colorway called Fiesta, which is mostly yellow, but also includes every other color in the spectrum.  I've knitted gifts for two of my friends, and I'm probably proudest of the work I did on those, even if they never wear or look at them (the last thing I finished was a pair of Star Trek mittens for one of my college roommates, done in gold with captain's bars on the cuff and Starfleet insignia on the backs of the hands; this is my proudest achievement as a knitter).

Perhaps as a result of my nearly-finishing this marathon sweater, I've spent the last week or so on the hunt for knitting-related novels and watching episodes of Marple from a few years ago, back when Geraldine McEwen was playing the batty old dear.  Her knitting technique was particularly endearing for some reason.

I had a point once, I swear.

January 23, 2011

023: Rivalry

The good: The NFC championship game was between two NFC North teams, which is...something.

The bad: The across-the-border rival goes to the Super Bowl (while the hometown team had one of the worst seasons in recent memory, there was more attention paid to the aging quarterback's alleged sexting than to the actual football, and the roof of our stadium is still caved-in).

The ugly: Smug Packers fans, for the foreseeable future.

January 22, 2011

022: Bright copper kettles

These are a few of my favorite things (this week):

Anderson Cooper 360° Daily podcast
We don't get CNN, so I can't watch AC360.  But CNN cuts together the best bits of the show and offers it as a daily podcast.  Although I inevitably have to mute Dana Loesch whenever she's on (just to maintain my own sanity) and sometimes the topics covered on the podcast aren't the stories in which I'm most interested, it's always reliably informative and entertaining.  And Anderson Cooper will occasionally say things like, "[my name sounds] like a nineteenth-century law firm" and "I'll be all alone here tomorrow, trapped under the vending machine."  Besides, it was on the podcast that I got to see this:
"Who's the bunny? ...  I'm the bunny?"
And you just can't beat Anderson Cooper in a bunny suit.

We Heart It
Essentially a repository for pretty pictures, We Heart It has sucked up more of my time than I care to admit. 
from page eight of my favorites
It's an easy place to just plug in whatever your current obsession is and scroll through page after page of aesthetically-pleasing photos accumulated by We Heart It members.  On any given day, I can start with "library" and end up at "puppies" by the time I realize I should be doing other things.  Today's search: breakfast.

Cleopatra: A Life
I don't read a lot of non-fiction, and I'm shallow enough to admit that the pretty cover was what first drew me to Stacy Schiff's biography of Cleopatra (yes, every English major I know judges books by their covers).  Admittedly, I'm terrible with dates and I have only a vague idea of when various monarchs reigned, or who comes before whom -- I am extremely fortunate that there was no "Historical Figures by Date" category on my Jeopardy! game board -- so the fact that I can follow Schiff from point A to point B through ancient history is a testament to her writing.  Compelling and entertaining, it's more like reading a story than historical facts; it's creative non-fiction at its best.  I wish Schiff could write all history books; if she had, I might have attempted the AP history classes in high school.

Things Organized Neatly
Does what it says on the label.  Anyone who saw my childhood bedroom would laugh until they cried upon hearing me say that I like organization (an aunt once loudly proclaimed it a sty), but there's something very nice about the (mostly) minimalist photos.  I don't have the patience to organize my shit stuff this meticulously, but I enjoy browsing the blog.

Looking okay in photos
Seriously.  It's a rare thing for me, but I was fortunate this week, and -- as Shakespeare would say -- I am glad of it.

January 21, 2011

021: Throwback

I love Community for many reasons, the abundant pop culture references being one of the major draws.  Take the first couple lines of this clip from last night's episode, featuring Joel McHale and guest star Malcolm-Jamal Warner:

It was a pretty sweet sweater.

January 20, 2011

020: Cryogenics

Everybody in the house ran out to do errands today, when the high temperature was somewhere around eight degrees Fahrenheit.  Balmy!  It wasn't bad, so long as you remembered to wear your long johns and didn't take any walks longer than parking lot-to-building and vice versa.

Why venture out today?  Because tomorrow's outlook is somewhat more unsettling:
High of 1 degree. The overnight windchills are predicted between -25 and -40 degrees.
Part of me actually enjoys this godforsaken weather, in part because I love seeing the looks on the faces of non-Midwesterners when you tell them about this kind of windchill, and how 20 degrees above zero starts to feel positively springlike in late February.  The utter horror is worth it, every time.  Don't get me wrong, it's absolutely miserable and literally dangerous to venture out in temperatures that far below zero -- but once you've done it, you've earned bragging rights, and that's got to be worth something, right?

January 19, 2011

019: Dastardly evildoers

Villains!  Who doesn't love a really good bad guy?  There are characters we love, and then there are character we love to hate.  Sometimes the bad guys are more interesting and complex than the good guys; sometimes the good guys are so damn annoying that you start cheering for the bad guys (see: Claire Bennet, Heroes).  And occasionally the villain appears to reform, only to turn out even more malevolent than before.  But -- and this is important -- there has to be a reason the antagonist is villainous.  Bad just because is lazy, unless they're socio- and/or psychopathic.  And villains on television are great for the simple reason that they can come back again and again (until they get killed off).  In any case: a handful of my favorite TV baddies are under the cut.  Who would you pick?

January 18, 2011

018: Bleeping brilliant

I don't know how familiar you are with Tumblr, random blog reader, but it's basically the easiest blog platform out there.  The only reason I don't use it is that I've had this one for ages and neglected it, and I'm loath to sign up for yet another thing I'll end up abandoning for months at a time.  In any case, there is a phenomenon on Tumblr that, in an effort to be PG-rated, we'll call the "Eff"-Yeah! blogs.  Essentially a catch-all for a particular topic or fandom, it's usually one-stop shopping for your own peculiar obsession.

Below is a screen capture of my Google Reader subscriptions.  I may have a problem, I don't know.  (Warning: profanity ahoy.)

How sad?  So sad.

And I've also given the internet a peek into the odd assortment of men I find aesthetically pleasing.  You're welcome, Internet.  You're welcome.

January 17, 2011

January 16, 2011

016: Super sidekicks

In the vein of the other day's my-favorite-sleuths blog, I thought I'd do a bit of a triptych: detectives, sidekicks, and villains.  It was harder to think of sidekicks than investigators -- I had trouble paring down my runners-up list on that one -- but you can find my attempt below the jump.  If you have other favorites, I'm eager to hear them!

January 15, 2011

015: And that's not nearly all

This song came up in shuffle last night and it's been stuck in my head ever since, so have a creepy music video this Saturday morning:

Of course, my favorite version will always be this one, from HBO's Generation Kill.

January 14, 2011

014: Gutsy gumshoes

I love my fictional crime-fighters.  I grew up watching Murder, She Wrote with my family on Sunday nights and Poirot movies on PBS.  I've been reading mysteries, beginning with Agatha Christie and meandering forward in time, since I was in elementary school.  Ghostwriter was my favorite show in the early 1990s (so much so that I actually joined the official fan club and put together my own detective kit, complete with fingerprint powder).  Nowadays, I'll take a good whodunit over a nighttime soap any day.  Even if I can usually guess what's coming next, I still watch because the really good shows are the ones that manage to surprise me regularly (e.g. Castle).

Because I thought it would be fun, my top ten (or so) favorite TV detectives, in alphabetical order, are under the jump.

January 13, 2011

013: Winter Wonderland

Yet more snow, falling in very aesthetic huge, fluffy clumps for an hour or so.  Very pretty, and made the roads utterly disgusting to boot!  Ah, the joys of winter.  It reminds me of this old Puke & Snot routine, "A Lovely State," off Are You All Right? (warning: some not-work-safe language).

I can't get as irate as that fictional transplant. It's more of a heavy, resigned sigh than anything else.

On the bright side, there's only five months until summer!

January 12, 2011

012: With the City of Miami as Itself

Before I canceled my Netflix account, I was working through season one of Burn Notice on DVD.  Michael Westen's voiceovers take an already fun, witty show up to the next level of amusing.  I also like how the whole show is inadvertently (or purposefully?) a how-to guide for covert ops.  One of the local TV stations also runs back-to-back syndicated episodes on Wednesday nights, which my family has started watching with more and more dedication every week.

Having finished Twin Cities Noir, I'm reading Gun, With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem at the moment, and the main character is a private detective with the standard wry film-noir first-person narration.  Between the voice and the offbeat situations in which Conrad Metcalf finds himself, the shamus has started looking like a polished-up Michael Westen in my head.  Like so:

from Changeling, via Google

With almost every book I read, I inadvertently play casting director, which means the story plays out like a movie in my head as I work my way through.  I'm convinced this makes me enjoy a lot of books more than I would otherwise, and as a result, I probably think a lot of things I've read are better than they are, just because I've had the cast of Castle acting out the plot for me.  Or whatever.  Does everyone do that, I wonder?  Or do I just watch too much television?

January 11, 2011

011: Packrattery

Everyone in my household is a packrat.  I am afraid to watch shows about hoarders for fear of recognizing their behavior in myself and my family.  I try to be a little more discerning in what I save, having grown up with clutter that has gotten more than slightly out of control in the last few years.  I have also worked, off and on, for the last five years, at an archival library, where we appreciate important people who are packrats ("important people" being well-known authors and architects, performing arts organizations, etc).  The following is gleaned both from knowledge gained on the job and from sporadic attempts to clean my own home.

A quick list of things to not put in with papers you plan to save for a long time:
  • rubber bands, which either lose their elasticity, turn rock hard and crumble to tiny bits, or lose their elasticity, turn rock hard and adhere themselves to your papers like very determined barnacles.
  • paper clips, which will oxidize and, if left long enough in the right conditions, start to eat straight through paper.  Even staples can go bad.  Stainless steel paper clips, however, are fine.
  • tape.  Fun fact: old cellophane tape leaves a crusty, brownish-yellow stain when the adhesive dries out.  I have yet to figure out a way to get it to come off.
  • post-it notes.  As far as I can tell, the longer they are on paper without being peeled off and repositioned, the stronger the adhesive gets.  By the time your friendly neighborhood archivist gets to them, removing them leaves a tacky strip that is more or less permanent.  However, they are awesome for short-term use.
  • three-ring binders, especially the kind with the clear plastic window on the front for a cover page.  With laser-printed pages in particular, the ink gets stuck to the plastic both inside and out; I don't know if that's because the plastic is decomposing or the ink is.  Actually, plastic of any kind is bad news, eventually.
  • newspaper, unless you put some acid-free paper in between it and other types of paper.  I have, while processing, come across documents permanently marked with the perfect brown shadow of the newspaper clipping filed behind them.
  • receipts and other thermal paper.  I just pulled some receipts from the late 1990s out of a drawer in our kitchen, and they had turned from white to neon yellow and all the black ink was faded beyond legibility.  Fax paper (remember faxes?) just develops an even grosser, slimier texture than it had originally.
  • rodents.  You'd be surprised.
  • insects.  No, really, you'd be surprised.

On the other hand, a few things that may be helpful for you or whoever goes through your stuff in the future:
  • keep two copies.  Three copies, if you want a backup for your backup.  It might seem like a good idea to keep a whole stack of, say, identical leaflets, but if you're not going to be distributing them, they just take up space.  On the other hand, if you have only one copy of something, you can be sure a hungry rodent will find it.
  • make paper copies.  If there are e-mails to which you will want to refer in the abstract distant future, print them out.  Floppy disks and CDs become obsolete or get corrupted.  It is almost impossible to find a machine to read 5" floppy disks.  It is remarkably easy to read a piece of paper.
  • label everything.  Someone else may not know that a handful of scribbled notes is actually the plot outline for the Great American Novel.  You may not even remember twelve years later.  Acid-free tabbed folders, labeled, are your friends.
  • date everything.  One of the easiest ways to figure out where something belongs is to date it and organize chronologically.  Even noting when you received an undated letter could be helpful in the future.
  • make box lists.  If you're throwing a lot of stuff in a box for storage, take the time to make a list of what's inside.  It doesn't have to be terribly detailed, just a bullet-point list you can throw in on top of everything else before the lid goes on.  I can't tell you how much easier this makes my life as a processer when whoever packed the box tells me what's supposed to be inside.  On the home front, if you're looking for something and don't know which box you put it in, having a quick-and-dirty inventory that's the first thing you see when you open the box makes the search go much faster.
  • label photos.  Label photos.  LABEL PHOTOS.  If a stranger goes through your photos (not in a creepy way, hopefully, but rather an archivist or genealogist), chances are they will not recognize your acquaintances on sight.  In my own experience, it's hard to tell some of my great-uncles apart in their childhood photos, and it's hard to tell where family photos were taken when all living rooms looked alike in the 1960s.  Captions help.  A lot.
  • go acid-free.  If you know what you're printing will be saved for a long time (and you can afford it), consider printing on acid-free paper.  A lot of scrapbooking supplies are acid-free, since the whole purpose is to preserve the photos and whatever else goes into scrapbooks, and I believe office supply stores carry some acid-free as well.  It's more expensive, but in terms of conservation, it's probably the best option.
  • avoid miscellany.  "Misc." on a box means nothing.  It reveals nothing.  It is an enigma.  And it's exasperating when you're searching your dimly-lit attic or basement.
That's all the unsolicited advice I have for the moment.  I hope someone, someday, finds it helpful.

January 10, 2011

010: Somnambulism

Dead on my feet for no good reason today; just Monday, I guess. Got to work this morning to be told someone broke into the office next door over the weekend -- door smashed to bits and everything -- and stole a laptop and some stamps(?). Bizarre, and unfortunate.

Better things from over the weekend? My Jeopardy! second-place winnings -- minus California withholding tax -- came on Saturday, and my birthday gifts, the three DVD sets my mom had squirreled away in her closet (Castle season 2, Bones season 5, and True Blood season 2). All in all, not too shabby.

In conclusion, Don Draper.

January 9, 2011

009: One year closer to death

I'm twenty-four years old today, and I'm celebrating by watching Burn Notice and perusing the public library's catalog of ebooks for my Nook. Tonight, I get beef short ribs for dinner and French silk pie. It might sound lame to you, but look up at the header on this blog: "homebody." Happy birthday to me, indeed.

January 8, 2011

008: Sanity

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head during an event in her Arizona congressional district this morning. Giffords is in critical condition; six others, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl, were killed. In all, nineteen people were shot. While he didn't confirm a political motive for the shooting, the Pima County Sheriff had this to say:
“The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, I think Arizona has become sort of the capital, we have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry. There’s reason to believe that this individual might have a mental issue, and I think that people who are unbalanced might be especially susceptible to vitriol.”

So I just want to take a moment to use my insignificant corner of the internet to advocate for sanity and civility in the way we talk about politics, especially when talking to those with whom we disagree. From what I've seen, very little gets done and accord is rarely reached by screaming at each other. My thought is this: a little common sense is never a bad thing.

All hopes and wishes for recovery to Rep. Giffords and the others injured today, and condolences to the families of those killed.

January 7, 2011

007: All a-Twitter

Offered without comment, except to say that between this and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, I totally have a crush on Josh Groban.

January 6, 2011

006: True colors

I can't think of a single thing to write about today, so have some colorful photos from my Flickr favorites:

Adipose on the Dance Floor
In Rainbows
A Cup of Bokeh, please?

No Title Required

January 5, 2011

005: The Very Depths of Winter

Snow on Monday, subzero windchills Tuesday, more snow today. Somewhere around mid-January is when I despair of ever again leaving the house wearing just one pair of socks and dream of the day the long underwear goes back into storage. But lest you think Minnesotans don't enjoy the winter, I direct you to the poem written by Peter Moore (read on Moore on Sunday by his father, the late, great local newsman Dave Moore) about this time of year:
A Great Winter Sport
The best part of winter, the best part by far,
Is kicking those ice chunks that form on your car.
No matter our ages or races or genders
We all enjoy booting that slush off our fenders.
It's deeply fulfilling, that contact and sound
Of boot hitting chunk and then chunk hitting ground.
It makes you feel better, it makes your day brighter,
It makes your Tercel about twenty pounds lighter!
And boy, what a workout! We all could be hunks
By starting each morning with kicking some chunks!
So next time you spot one, no matter how awesome,
Don't wait and think maybe you might let it thaw some;
Go after it mister! Attack it with zeal,
And manfully give it the back of your heel!
It may take you weeks, but of course that's good, too:
The winter goes faster with something to do!

from Gone Writing

This runs through my head every time I clear the accumulated mush off my car. And yes, it really is that satisfying.

P.S. If you don't know what these "ice chunks" are, I suggest the photos here for reference.

January 4, 2011

004: They call her Lemon

I am reminded on a daily basis that there's a strong possibility I will become Liz Lemon as I get older. Today, I unironically exclaimed "blerg" aloud, at work. Turning into Lemon is not necessarily a bad thing; I want her job and her apartment, and she dates men who look like Jon Hamm and Matt Damon, of which I approve. It's a little ridiculous how much I, a bespectacled brunette writer who really, really likes TV, identify with Lemon.

I went through junior high just before the card catalog became completely obsolete, so they still had to teach us how to use it, and I distinctly remember being the only one in seventh-grade Language Arts who thought it was cool. I'm perpetually on the hunt for a card catalog cabinet I can buy for my theoretical apartment. Liz has a card catalog in her apartment. She might be my home decor soulmate.

look! it's there, in the back!

I share Liz's feelings about people younger than me.

Also, we both have terrible posture.

I know that Liz is supposed to be sort of a sad-sack character, with her emotional eating, her terrible sense of style (which I don't think is that bad, but I do dress like her) and her train wreck of a personal life, but when I think about it...

(gratuitous screenshot is gratuitous)

...she must have awesome stories. So, the point of this picspam and rambling is this: while moving back home after college definitely makes me feel like a loser, it's okay, because Liz Lemon is kind of a loser, and she's doing all right.

Or I could just, you know, adopt Tina Fey as a role model instead. Hmm.

January 3, 2011

003: Bigger on the inside

I spent the day underground in the storage caverns at work, hefting boxes and trying to decipher their contents, so rather than put together coherent thoughts, I'll just toss up a few found-on-the-internets images from Doctor Who (2005-present, not classic Who, through which I am still slowly working my way). I used to say, only half-joking, that I was still waiting for my Hogwarts letter to arrive. Now, as an adult, I'm waiting for the TARDIS to turn up in my driveway.

I'm only halfway kidding.

all images via weheartit

January 2, 2011

002: The Sound of Shuffle

Please do pardon me as I talk in circles about music.

I finally got the latest My Chemical Romance album for Christmas -- Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys -- and have been listening to it on repeat since I ripped the tracks (from CD, how archaic!) to iTunes last week. It's been a while since I got an actual, physical copy of an album, and having the disc in my hands reminded me of high school, when I would get a new CD and listen to it and nothing else for about a week. I still like getting a hard copy of new music when I can afford it, because album art is one of my favorite things, and looking at the digital stuff that comes with iTunes albums just isn't the same as squinting at the lyrics printed in three-point font in the booklet. On a side note, I feel like I'm too young to be complaining about the kids these days with their iTunes and their Facebooks and how they have no appreciation for the way it used to be, dagnabbit. However, I do think it's just a much less engaging experience to shop for music in the iTunes store than going to a brick-and-mortar store and flipping through CDs or LPs. It's almost too easy.

Since I got my iPod as a college freshman, I haven't often listened to an album straight through. I'm addicted to shuffle. My iTunes library has over 6000 songs and is permanently set to shuffle. (As a result, there are probably songs I haven't heard in about three years.) Even when I listen to a single album, chances are the tracks are being shuffled. I don't know where I developed such an aversion to linear listening, but even things like Green Day's American Idiot and Muse's The Resistance, which are meant to be listened to in a particular order, get shuffled. I don't know why, but after a couple of listens, mixing the tracks up makes it more fun. I suppose it's like listening to a whole new album with songs that you already know; or maybe I just like being taken by surprise.

Oddly enough, when I make playlists, I slave over the tracklist to make sure they're in the perfect order. Go figure.

On a different note, allow me to recommend some of my favorite albums of 2010:

Jeremy Messersmith, The Reluctant Graveyard
Fantastic, moody, amazing.

Sara Bareilles, Kaleidoscope Heart
Sassy and mellow by turns.

Motion City Soundtrack, My Dinosaur Life
Energetic and slightly crazed, in the best possible way.

Enough blathering. Back to work.

January 1, 2011

001: The Resolution Declaration

I've tried New Year's resolutions in the past. Things like "lose those last five pounds" (2006-2010) or "finish that spec script for the fellowship application" (2008-2010) or "eat less chocolate" (2000-2010). Oddly enough, they never take. If anything, I've started eating more chocolate, and have no intention of stopping.

This year, I'm trying something different. This year, my goal is to post something on this blog every day. Whether it's something well-crafted and carefully considered or just a YouTube video (like, say, Sesame Street's Old Spice commercial parody), I'm going to get back into the habit of blogging.

Of course, I'm also doing the 50 Book Challenge, as I have since 2007, and interested parties may follow my progress on Goodreads. Be forewarned: my literary tastes alternate between the highbrow and the highly questionable.

So this is day one. Happy New Year, Internet! Wish me luck.

happy new year 2011
photo by R I V A on flickr