June 2007 Archives

We Will Mock You


I haven't watched Saturday Night Live in... a really long time. I have been assured that it's still on, and I guess I know that since every so often some new comedian shows up in some movie and I read in various news sources that this person got his/her start on SNL.

Most people in North America over the age of 11 or so have a favorite SNL skit, and most people over the age of 25 have a favorite cast. I am old enough to have watched the original cast and I know those very early episodes are classics and everything, but they're not the ones I remember most fondly. (Except for the skit about the floor wax that is also a dessert topping.) No, my favorite cast was the one about 1988, with Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Jon Lovitz, Jan Hooks, Victoria Jackson, etc--you know, the era that brought us "Wayne's World," "The Church Lady"and "Sprockets."

One of my favorite skits--indeed, one of the skits most beloved by my entire family--featured guest star John Malkovich as Lord Edmund, a nobleman who accuses even the crescent moon in the day sky of mocking him. He is shown a very faithful and respectful portrait of himself, and erupts in rage because he thinks the artist mocks him with a "grotesque caricature." "You mock me!" he says to the painter. "You mock me, and I will not be mocked!"

Spare Me My Life From this Monstrosity


Having posted an introduction to the topic, I should provide something to follow it. I am somewhat anxious about this post, because it is where Dale discovers what a blogging whore I am, in that I am going to do to him what I have done for many years to a great many others: rip off something I wrote in an email to him and use it for a wider audience. The people I have corresponded with longest or most often have gotten used to this: stuff I write to them in letters or email shows up in a blog entry or a poem or an essay all the time. A few people have reacted with indignation and told me that it's not cool of me to recycle for wider consumption something I've written in a personal letter to them; I deal with that by refraining from ever telling them anything interesting enough that I'd want to use it over.


The primary thing you should know about what it's like to meet Dale is this: he is slightly less interesting in blog-form than he is in real life. His blog might capture all the Passion of the Dale, but it doesn't capture the magic. (And yeah, I'm saying that both because I'm a suck-up and because it's true.)

I was very excited when he suggested we see "We Will Rock You." I am, of course, a long-time Queen fan, so much so that I would dance alone to Bohemian Rhapsody. I figured it might make such exciting News of the World that even Flash Gordon would have a Sheer Heart Attack, because capping a few days of fun in a foreign city with a night of Classic Queen would be almost as good as a Night at the Opera or a Day at the Races, and all that Jazz. I mean, I hate to make it seem like all I wanted to do was Play the Game, but there it is.

And I was wrong.

Socializing Beyond the Blogosphere


This post is an introduction. Dale has beaten me to the punch by writing an entire account of the magical evening we spent together in Toronto before I even managed to post the first of what I hope will be several installments about the experience. I suppose I could dive right in as he has done, forego the introduction and contextualization, but I like context and clarity, so I'll just have to deal with the consequence, which is that it will take me longer to tell my side of the story. Those of you who read me with any regularity probably are used to that tendency from me; it might even by why you read my blog. Anyway. Here's the introduction.

I have had the privilege--the very great privilege--lately of meeting in real life two people I first met virtually in the blogosphere. One wishes to remain anonymous, and so will be known as "Anonymous Blog Friend," and the other is the ever passionate Dale.

Now, maybe there are people out there who are willing to have dinner with any old person they meet in cyberspace, but I'm not one of them. I'm sure that every single person who reads my blog is a lovely human being, and I am most definitely convinced that the authors of each and every blog I read are all the coolest people in the world (that's why I read their blogs), but still, there are matters of trust and protocol that have to be dealt with when you move from reading all about a person's life on the web to asking really invasive questions when you're sitting across a table.

We Have Lingered in the Chambers of the Sea

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I don't really like swimming in natural bodies of water--they too often contain creatures that can eat or sting me, and it's too hard to see said creatures through the murky water. If I do end up at some beach, I prefer not to go in over my head--the only reason I ever do is to water ski, which is something you really can't do in a swimming pool. I've never had any sort of large-water-body accident--short of tumbling off the skis and landing on my face or ass--but still, deep water creeps me out, and I remember that each and every boat trip, I was anxious the first few times I jumped off the boat so I could bob along on my butt before being dragged out of the water by a rope.

Beaches often pose another problem you don't face at a swimming pool, namely, a lack of dedicated places to pee. So what's the best solution, environmentally speaking, when you're at the beach with a bladder that must be emptied? Mercifully there's a website that will answer that question for you.

Reading Like a Sixth Grader


All in all, my current attitude towards reading reminds me, as I said in my last entry, of the summers before and after sixth grade, which I think is when I read more--voraciously, compulsively--than at any other time in my life. Actually I've reverted to sixth grade in several ways: just as I did during summers when I was nine or ten or eleven, I like to sleep late, put on comfy clothes, then settle down to munch cookies I've made and plow through one book after another.

Summer Reading


The summer is racing by, and what have I done? Not nearly what I should have. I was supposed to be halfway through with two book proposals by now. I've barely made any progress on either. Nor have I gone once to the yoga studio I was so desperate to find. Instead, I've merely done a whole lot of yard work, a lot of cooking, a lot of sewing (two skirts, three dresses--two of which I gave as gifts--and a blouse that still needs the finishing touches), a little blogging, and a hell of a lot of reading.

For a variety of reasons, I've virtually no interest in movies and tv right now. An entire week will pass without my watching more than half an hour of TV. Why would I want to be inside watching some movie on the dvd player when I could be sitting on the ugly couch I dragged out to my porch, reading just about anything I can get my hands on?

The other night, as part of an attempt to understand and control my life, I considered the question, "What do I spend most of my time thinking about and wishing for?" I first approached this question by making two lists: one of the positive thoughts I typically think ("what can I sew or knit next?" was on that list) and one of the negative thoughts I typically think.

As you might expect, the negative list was much longer. Well, maybe you wouldn't expect that.... Maybe you are one of the people who is happy, and who thinks a lot about how happy you are. And actually lately I'm fairly happy.... But happy to me doesn't require all that much thought. Happiness, when you're feeling it, is not a problem to be solved. But unhappiness IS a problem, requiring a solution, which must be found.

So I have tended to think a lot about things that make me unhappy, and not always in terms of finding a solution--sometimes just in terms of how much a particular situation sucks. And I resolved to work to curb that impulse. As I wrote in my journal, it's quite true that certain dreadful things have happened or are slated to happen, "but is reminding myself that really what I want to focus my energy on? Well, no, except maybe for the 'global warming is BAD' part."

Yesterday I had coffee with a friend and we talked about some of the measures we take to reduce our carbon footsteps and how people find them ridiculous. There are, of course, additional things she and I can do--the next car I buy will be much more efficient than the one I'm driving now, for instance--but still, after reading an article about how much energy common household appliances use, I started doing things like unplugging my vcr when it's not in use and uplugging my microwave when I leave town so that the "energy bleed" is gone (because things like tvs and vcrs can use as much energy in "stand-by" as when they're operating). And some people think I'm nuts. How can one person make that much difference? Well, one person can't. But one person trying to make a difference times six billion--that can have a big impact.

Whereas, when I meet someone who isn't so concerned about global warming that it occasionally keeps them up at night, I think, "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?"

Email from My Mission President

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In her comment on my post about the death of my mission president, Janet noted that it's hard to lose those "rare individuals who embody more than the institutions they represent."

As I mentioned in an entry a few days ago, I'm going through files on an old computer and deleting or transferring everything on it. One of the things I found was a message from President Carlson, written eleven years after he finished his stint as mission president and almost eight years after I left the church, a fact he was very well aware of.

But it's a nice message--warm and honest and caring. I would never do what I'm about to do now with a message from someone whose privacy I might be betraying, but President Carlson is, unfortunately, dead, so I feel at liberty to copy his message here.

My Neighbor Bernie Is a Nasty Mean Man


One of the many things that shocked and rather horrified me about the Midwest when I first moved there was the lack of fences dividing backyards. Sometimes there weren't even shrubberies or hedges--sometimes there was just a long communal yard, which I suppose was great if you liked your neighbors well enough to socialize with them, but what if you didn't?

The same state of affairs exists here in Pennsylvania. I don't get it. Have these people never realized the truthfulness of one of the mottos of the West, "Good fences make good neighbors"?

Actually, mere "fences" are only for people with really big plots of land--five or six acres--where all you need is something to mark the property line. If you live in some residential area and your neighbors' houses might be within fifty feet of yours, you need not a fence but a six-foot-high masonry wall so that they can't easily see what you do in your yard and you can't see what they do in theirs.

Except for a short stretch behind the garages, there's no fence or hedge or any sort of marker of the property line dividing my lot from my neighbors' on either side. As they are reasonable and nice enough people, this is not a problem, although I don't find it ideal. But the back of my lot is marked by a waist-high chain-link fence with a gate in it. And that is a problem. That is where I need a six-foot-high wall.

An Old "Tell Us All About Yourself" Quiz


I am in the process of reading through and deleting or transferring all the files on my very old computer (I bought it in 1994) so I can recycle it. (Yeah, I know, I should have recycled it long ago. But it was a good, reliable computer and I wrote my dissertation on it, and it has had sentimental value. But I'm planning to get a laptop, and the really old thing has to go.) Anyway, I found this quiz from 1999, and it made me want to party, and then answer the questions. I've updated answers that were no longer accurate, but if the old answer is still true and/or amusing, I left it.


FAVORITE TV SHOW: After Buffy, my favorite show is "The Blank Screen." It's the only show I watch regularly.



FAVORITE MAGAZINE: Anything with writing by me inside it.

FAVORITE SMELLS: jasmine, hyacinth, orange blossoms, lilac, bergamot, rosemary, sandalwood, the desert after a thunder storm

WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD: Believing that God hates me, that there is a hell, and that God is going to send me there

BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD: When I first took this quiz, I wrote that I was going through a period of feeling happy a lot of the time, which I defined as "an awareness that I feel healthy, capable and content on a fairly consistent basis." I claimed to like it a lot. I can see why I would enjoy that feeling.


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This page is an archive of entries from June 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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