Shtinky Puddin on the zafu

It's not me, it's you

Huh. I just now noticed that somebody who unfriended me lo-these-many-months-if-not-years-ago not only unfriended me, they deleted one or more (haven't bothered to check, past the one where I noticed it) comments they'd left on my LJ. The one I noticed was a totally innocuous comment, along the lines of "I never seem to hear about interesting local stuff — how'd you hear about this?"


These days, and at the current state of my practice, I'm in a place of not erasing public stuff. Did I post that in the past, even if it's something I disagree with now, or related to somebody I no longer wish to associate with? Well, that's where I was and who I was associating with and what I was thinking at the time.

If my past actions, opinions, and associations are enough to make you want to repudiate me… Well, okay. Bye! Not quite sure I'm awakened enough to say "been nice knowing you", but I don't wish you ill.
crosseyed vulture

…could we maybe not make it THAT overt?

During my junior high and high school years, my mother was a theater professor. Every spring, the department did a Shakespearean comedy. One year, it was Mom's turn for the spring Shakespeare, and during the planning meeting someone suggested that the play that year be The Taming of the Shrew.

"Great!" said Mom. "I've been wanting to do Shrew for a while. The thing is, I'm going to do it as an absolutely straight-on look at domestic violence."


"So!" said the department chair. "Two Gents? Or Comedy of Errors?"

They decided on Errors and Mom managed to include not only her standard rubber chicken (which appeared in every, single, last play she did — sometimes it was hidden inside a pot with a lid on top, but it was there) but also a Nerf football.

Because Mom was awesome that way.
sewing machine bobbin

The paradox of sewing

As I sit here pinning gathered ruffles onto a skirt (OMG I HATE GATHERING I AM BUYING A RUFFLER FOOT AT THE EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY) I find myself reflecting on how much of sewing is like Xeno's Paradox: pin halfway, then halfway, then halfway, then halfway, then halfway, then halfway, then WTF IT'S ONLY $40 FOR A RUFFLER FOOT WHY THE HELL AM I FUSSING WITH THIS.

one apple out of the crowd

Should we be thanking Mabel Normand for Chaplin's Tramp?

Likely to be of interest to some of my peeps: Who Invented Chaplin's Tramp?
Normand was an inventor of the movie star, the first woman allowed to be both sexy and funny. She was a high diver, a bareback rider, a race car driver, and a flapper a decade before flappers. Photoplay called her "a kiss that explodes in a laugh, cherry bonbons in a clown's cap, sharing a cream puff with your best girl, a slap from a perfumed hand, the sugar in the Keystone grapefruit." By the time the man who would become the Tramp walked onto her set, Normand had worked on sets for four years, and made over a hundred pictures. She was 22.

Shouldn't we credit the director, the one who decided to shoot 75 feet, for the success of the Tramp? Keystone didn't have writers in those days, but did the director of Mabel's Strange Predicament unleash the Tramp? Doesn't Sergio Leone deserve some credit for Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name? Doesn't the director dictate tempo and decide who gets the camera's attention? Isn't the director's job to seek out the hidden talents of his actors and make sure they end up on screen? Doesn't a good director jump on a happy accident like the Tramp and ride it with a prayer of gratitude?

What Sennett and Chaplin both neglect to mention in their memoirs is that Mabel Normand was among the very first stars to direct their own films, and Normand directed Mabel's Strange Predicament. Perhaps in the intervening decades they forgot. It was certainly in their interest to forget. Why diminish their own roles in creating the miracle of the Tramp?
I have no idea how valid an interpretation this is, and would love to hear thoughts from anybody who's more knowledgeable about films of this era than I am.

And, y'know, what with short attention spans and all, it's nice that the clipped scenes included are in the 10-30 second range. Ahem.

LJ is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in

Or something like that.

Hey, LJ. It's been a while. The usual autumnal funk hit me pretty hard this year (although as spiritualmonkey pointed out, "Hard? Normally 'hard' would mean we spent the winter without leaving the apartment, wishing for death. This? This was nothin'.") and I've been feeling off kilter and unmoored for a bit the past six months or so. Erf.

And then the other day I came across the Bangable Dudes in History blog (Motto: "Dead man porn for your still-beating heart"). In particular, the Buster Keaton entry, which reminded me of *cough* certain people on LJ. And then there's been hockey in the news, which has reminded me of other people on LJ. And other things reminding me of other people. And a feeling that it would be good to get out of my head a bit, and to do so in more than 140-character chunks, and to have the ability to filter and lock things, and...

So hey, LJ. How the heck you been?
cancel my subscription I don't want your

No, really, I'm fine. No, really, I'm fine. No, REALLY, I'm FINE.

People who aren't bike-oriented sometimes have a very hard time understanding that for bike-oriented people, being on the bike is not a hardship.

I went to a party tonight with some work friends and had a very nice time, but did wind up bumping into this.

"Oh, it's so late — you should just put your bike in the back of my vehicle and let me give you a ride home!"

Hey, thanks, but it's cool. I like riding home.

"But it's dark! You shouldn't ride home when it's like this! Put your bike in back and I'll drive!"

Um... thanks, but really, it's not a problem. We've been car-free for four and a half years now. You know what I do when it's dark and I need to get somewhere? I ride my bike.

"This is Oakland. It's just not safe. I'll wait outside the garage while you unlock your bike and you can put it in back."

HNGGANGGNAGGNAAAA!!!! *deep breath* Really, truly, I appreciate your concern for my well-being. It is FINE. I will be FINE. I know where I'm going and how to get there and how to look out for myself on the way. And, in fact, considering it's Friday, after five days of eight-plus hours under the fluorescent lights with people around me all the time, one of the things I look forward to is being able to stop on the way home and spend some time in a deserted park ALL BY MYSELF getting some introvert recharge time.

But I didn't feel like making an issue of it, so I wrestled my bike into the back of a co-worker's minivan and let her give me a ride home.

I am grateful for their concern for my safety, I really am. And I wish I'd gotten to ride home and stop on the way. :-(
getting sick sucks

It's the most hackety-coughety time of the year…

One of the souvenirs I brought home from my work trip right after Thanksgiving was a nasty cold (another was a self-inflicted dislocated thumb; ow). BossLady has been out sick too, even sicker than I was, for the past week or so.

I made this sign this morning and put it up outside the entry to her office/my workspace:

We're encouraging people to shift any meetings they have scheduled with her to be phone calls instead, and suggesting that in-person discussions be conducted from a distance of about 12-15 feet. In other words, whoever wants to talk to us should stand out in the hallway while she and I stay at our desks.

*koff* *koff*
red contact lens

Well, that was disappointing

I finally got to read Neal Stephenson's latest book, REAMDE. (I had put a hold on it at the library shortly after it was released, but the wait list was forever.) It's only out in hardback at this point, and it's massive. I put it on the kitchen scale. 2.8 pounds. Undaunted, I lugged it all the way to Irvine last week for a work trip. And back, of course.

Spending the weekend trying to fight off a cold give me a good opportunity to read it, and I finished it Sunday night.

What I'm left wondering is, how can 1036 pages feel so thin? When I finished reading Snow Crash, and when I finished reading Diamond Age, my mind was all a-ferment with ideas. The burbclaves. The philes. The Rat Thing (poor Rat Thing!) The Feed, and what does it mean to be an artisan in a world of mass-produced items? All kinds of ideas and issues and nifty concepts to play with and think about.

Ending REAMDE left me with a feeling of "yeah, okay, whatever. Oh, that character survived? And that one didn't? Eh, whatever."

Color me cranky, and not exclusively because of this cold.

In the discussion thread on MetaFilter, one commenter said, "I closed the book, walked into my husband's office, thumped it down on his desk, and said, 'I cannot recommend you read this book.'" I have to agree.

Another commentor on MetaFilter said, "I should remember that when mainstream reviews call something an author's most accessible work, it means the people who actually like that author's work probably won't."

So I downloaded Anathem from the library as an e-book, and I think I'm going to take it (and my cough syrup, and another jumbo handful of Chinese herbs) and go to bed. From what I've read about it, Anathem is anything but accessible. Excellent. At the moment, a book with heavy inclueing and as little exposition as possible is what I'm in the mood for.
crosseyed vulture

You realize that's plant matter, don't you?

spiritualmonkey is loudly and vocally praising dinner... which is Brussels sprouts with smoked tofu and hazelnuts, based on the Caramelized Tofu recipe at 101 Cookbooks.

Um... who are you, and what did you do with my husband? I mean, the one who literally ate a hamburger for dinner every night from age 10 until he left for college? The one who's been known to taste a dish, wrinkle his nose, and remark, "It's kind of... vegetably"?

Not that I'm complaining!

Up next, the Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts, I think. Or maybe a salad with a vinaigrette, like the one at the Trappist (gateway drug to Brussels sprouts, it seems).