Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ravens the precise color of sorrow in good light

I love that line. This poet just got a Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets.

Leda, After the Swan
by Carl Phillips


in the exaggerated grace

of his weight


the wings

raised, held in



I recognized

something more

than swan, I can't say.

There was just

this barely defined

shoulder, whose feathers

came away in my hands,

and the bit of world

left beyond it, coming down

to the heat-crippled field,

ravens the precise color of

sorrow in good light, neither

black nor blue, like fallen

stitches upon it,

and the hour forever,

it seemed, half-stepping

its way elsewhere--


everything, I

remember, began

happening more quickly.



Actually: I knew that they were making a movie but had no idea that Nicole Kidman was playing Mrs. Coulter! That is kind of exciting. I guess it comes out in 2007? I want to see the play again. (I should probably also reread the books for the 5th or 6th time.) Good.
People are ridiculous.

“Maybe I should have suspected something when the baby sitter gave my daughter the Candy Land game for a third-birthday present,” Ms. Dracksdorf said. Her current nanny has a degree in nutrition.

(That said, my own current nutrition craze combined with reading this article has made me newly paranoid about being a good mother and raising my kids without hydrogenated oils or whatever. All I ask is that I not become one of those women who turns their kid into a 100 pound anorexic. Then again, maybe by the time I'm a mom, they'll have like, food pills to give you your recommended 1500-2000 calories a day, and no more.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Joan Didion's essay about Dick Cheney...

[Addington] also authors the "signing statements" now routinely issued to free the President of whatever restrictive intent might have been present in whichever piece of legislation he just signed into law. A typical signing statement, as written by Addington, will refer repeatedly to the "constitutional authority" of "the unitary executive branch," and will often mention multiple points in a single bill that the President declines to enforce.

Signing statements are not new, but at the time Bill Clinton left office, the device had been used, by the first forty-two presidents combined, fewer than six hundred times. George W. Bush, by contrast, issued more than eight hundred such takebacks during the first six years of his administration. Those who object to this or any other assumption of absolute executive power are reflexively said by those who speak for the Vice President to be "tying the president's hands," or "eroding his ability to do his job," or, more ominously, "aiding those who don't want him to do his job."

Discovered one of those cheesy lists on Facebook ("If you remember this then you grew up in the 90s"). Lame, lame, yes. The weird part about it was all the things unconnected to the 90s, which were just childhood things, and which, 90s or not, were MY childhood things. Ignore the typos, read if you want. I'm really only posting it so I can give context to the following:


(Why did we call it that and not "Tag"?)

You're a 90's kid if:

You've ever ended a sentence with the word "PSYCHE!"

You can sing the rap to "The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air"

You remember when Kurt Cobain, Tu Pac, River Phoenix, and Selena died.

You know that "WOAH" comes from Joey from "Blossom" and that "How Rude!" comes from Stephanie from "Full House"

You remember when it was actually worth getting up early
on a Saturday to watch cartoons.

You got super excited when it was Oregon Trail day in computer class at school.

You remember reading "Goosebumps"

You know the profound meaning of "Wax on, wax off"

You have pondered why Smurfette was the only female smurf.

You took plastic cartoon lunch boxes to school.

You danced to "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls, Females: had a new motto, Males: got a whole lot gay-er. (so tell me what you want, what you really really want.)

You remember the craze, then the banning of slap bracelets and slam books.

You still get the urge to say "NOT" after (almost) every sentence...Not...

Where in the world is Carmen San Diego? was both a game and a TV game show.

Captain Planet.

You knew that Kimberly, the pink ranger, and Tommy, the green Ranger were meant to be together.

When playing power rangers with friends you fought over who got to be who............and still all ended up being Tommy.

You remember when super nintendo's became popular.

You remember watching home alone 1, 2 , and 3........and tried to pull the pranks on "intruders"

"I've fallen and I can't get up"

You remember going to the skating rink before there were inline skates

Two words... Trapper Keeper.

You never got injured on a Slip 'n' Slide

You wore socks over leggings scrunched down

"Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack, all dressed in black, black, black, with silver buttons, buttons, buttons, all down her back, back, back" SHE ASKED HER MOTHER MOTHER MOTHER FOR FIFTY CENTS CENTS CENTS TO SEE THE ELEPHANTS PHANTS PHANTS JUMP OVER THE FENCE THE FENCE THE FENCE
he jumped so high high high he touched the sky sky sky and he didnt come back back back til the forth of july ly ly he jumped so low ow ow he stubbed his toe toe toe and thats the end end end of the elephants show show show

You remember boom boxes vs. cd players

You remember New Kids on The Block when they were cool

You knew all the characters names and their life stories on "Saved By The Bell"

You played and/or collected "Pogs"

You had at least one Tamagotchi, GigaPet or Nano and brought it everywhere

You watched the original Care Bears, My Little Pony, and Ninja Turtles


Yikes pencils and erasers were the stuff!

All your school supplies were "Lisa Frank" brand.(pencils.notebooks.b

You remember when the new Beanie Babies were always sold out.

You used to wear those stick on earings, not only on your ears, but at the corners of your eyes.

You remember a time before the WB.

You've gotten creeped out by "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"

You know the Macarena by heart.

"Talk to the hand" ... enough said

You thought Brain woud finally take over the world

You always said, "Then why don't you marry it!"

You remember when everyone went slinky crazy.

You remember when razor scooters were cool.

When we were younger:

Before the MySpace frenzy...

Before the Internet & text messaging...

Before Sidekicks & iPods...

Before MIKE JONES...

Before PlayStation2 or X-BOX...

...Back when you put off the 5 hours of homework you had every night.

When light up sneakers were cool.

When you rented VHS tapes, not DVDs.

When gas was $0.95 a gallon & Caller ID was a new thing.

When we recorded stuff on VCRs & paid $3.50 for a movie.

When we called the radio station to request songs to hear off our walkmans.

When 2Pac and Biggie where alive.

When the Chicago Bulls were the best team ever.

Way back.


Get Over Here!!!! means something to you.

Hide-n-Go Seek at dusk.

Red Light, Green Light.

Heads Up 7 Up.

Playing Kickball & Dodgeball until your porch light came on.



Tree Houses.

Hula Hoops.



The annoying Giga Pets & Furbies.

Running through the sprinklers.

That "Little Mermaid"

Crying when Mufasa died in the Lion King.

Happy Meals where you chose a Barbie or a Hot Wheels car.

Getting the privelage to sit in the front seat of the car.

Drinking Sqeeze It "Squeeze The Fun Out Of It"


Watching Saturday Morning Cartoons in your PJ's still wrapped up in your TMNT, Power Rangers, Barbie, Fairy Princess comforter.

The original Power Rangers

Or what about:

Hey Arnold.


The Secret World of Alex Mac.

Ren & Stimpy.

Double Dare.

Rocco's Modern Life.


Wild & Crazy Kids.

Clarissa Explains it All.


Salute Your Shorts(CAMP ANAWANA)

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

The original cast members of All That.

Kenan & Kel.



Magic School Bus.

Nick Arcade.

Flash Forward.

The Adventures of Pete and Pete.

Legends of the Hidden Temple

Hey Dude.



Mummies Alive

Pinky and the Brain

Sailor Moon.


Hangin with Mr. Cooper.


Beavis & Butt-Head


Bill Nye the Science Guy


Who could forget Snick? & Nick @ Nite with Bewitched, I Dream of Jenie, The Facts of Life & I Love Lucy.

Where everyone wanted to be in love after watching The Wonder Years.

or Nick Jr. with Face

Gulah Gulah Island

Little Bear

Busy Town

Under the Umbrella Tree


The Big Comfy Couch

Kool-Aid was the drink of choice.

Wearing your new shoes on the first day of school.

Class field trips.

When Christmas was the most exciting time of year.

When $5 seemed like a million, & another dollar a miracle.

When you begged to go to McDonalds for dinner everyday.

When Toys R Us overuled the mall.

Go back to the time when:

Decisions were made by going 'eeny-meeny-miney-moe'.

Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming 'do over!'

'Race issue' ment arguing about who ran the fastest.

Money issues were handled by whoever was banker in 'Monopoly.'

It wasn't odd to have two or three 'best' friends.

Being old referred to anyone over 20.

A chance to skate as a couple at the local roller rink was like winning the lottery.

Scrapes & bruises were kissed & made better.

It was a big deal to finally be tall enought to ride the 'big people' rides at the fair.

When playing Nintendo was the hardest thing ever.

When Ninja Turtles ruled the world.

Another Baby Sitter Club and Little Sister (Karen) book came out and you put your name on hold for it at the library.

When Aladdin was new, before the trilogy was complete.

Before we realized all this would eventually disappear

Who would have thought you'd miss the 90's so much!!!!!
Every article I read about Paul Newman (as old, crotchety, charming grandpa type) makes me want to marry into his family or something. It sounds so hilarious.

Wee Wok!!

Perhaps someone has been reading a little Ginger?

In the first episode, viewers are taken on a journey of China, where they find out how denizens in rural villages roast duck and craft dumplings and how Shanghai residents have come to expect more from their chefs. Reichl steps in near the end of the program, in the magazine's test kitchens, to show viewers how to incorporate the culinary landscape they've just watched into their own homes — and presumably tell them where to find all those weird ingredients.

Ok, not really, but I'm just saying that's basically the entire principle of our magazine workshop magazine.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Two Poems

I kind of want a subscription to VQR, even though I've never read it except a few poems online.

My Mother Wanted It All to Be Beautiful
by Debra Nystrom

The land was for bunchgrass, for cattle
grazing against the wind—not color, not
contented gazing. She dragged hoses,

cleared and coaxed countless hours
in the patch north of the house that Dad
let her do with what she wanted to—

fight the parched air with columbine and
rows of gladiolas, violet-veined irises,
moss roses like secrets blown in from a sea

she’d never seen. By the back door, yellow-
and-carmine snapdragons leaned out from
the siding: she showed me how to pinch them

so they’d open like fierce little mouths.
Poppies craned up under the east awning
and peonies along the shadeless south burst

overnight, fireworks flung from tight-fisted,
ant-crawly buds. I didn’t know the names
of flowers or directions around the yard

she dug and tended, but I followed smells
and wild gusts that tossed my dress like
a bigger blossom, touched colors she had

brought out of the ground into light that fell
on me as well, though it didn’t enter the house
kept dim all summer, cool as possible for

coming in from driving tractor back and forth
across the blur of dusty fields beyond, where
nothing grew vivid like the roses either end

of the clothesline, taunting with velvet
and thorns. By the front walk sweet
petunia-stamens beckoned: I got scolded

for eating them, but I ate clover, too, and
gravel from the driveway, till the day
my mother tipped back on her tennis shoes

to make sense of something I was saying,
and saw dirt crusted at the corners of my lips.
I had to go in. Once my little brother came

along, it was all too much for her. The pickup
hauled in load after load of crushed rock until
not even a blade of native grass poked up,

and before we were grown, decades before
her cataracts, the place ceased to change,
except for rain or snow. Later, if I visited,

I’d pull the drapes open, but filmy inner
curtains hazed the view, deflected light
long before it came to hurt her eyes.

(I mostly just like the phrase "ant-crawly.")

by Jody Rambo

Case Study—Sir Alexander Crichton 1798

What takes the body first is want
of appetite, then nervousness, insomnia,
a little mouth trouble. Teeth loosening,
hinged at the prick of nerve and flesh.

She takes a tonic for the tremor stage—paralysis agitans,
she’s told, a familiar note in the hospital records.

At times she finds her small mouth
stunned and silent, come and gone again
to the murmuring broken noise
of the back of the night. Whispering speech.
A quivering almost entirely still.

Despite her delirium, he writes, she is able to demonstrate
the situation of the heavens on a map

the hushed echolocation of her finger
along Virgo’s flowing tresses, then
nearer the muscular wing formed
from her shoulder, breaking away
at the thinnest hinge of desire.

Pouring from a china pitcher, tin chloride
the shade of water, she floods the plate glass
and inhales the sallow vapor of quicksilver.
And from the fricative heat of her limbs
when she moves, the room blazens into
one silver unfurling—all salts and essences.

What passes for brightness will ravish her.
Sand. Flint. Tale. Spar.
Inside these frames she burns another world,
where light itself might suddenly translate
the soul into air, sheath of glass into ocean,
her tremoring body into winged-thing
suspended above it—all green, like moving marble.


How appropriate of Dan to send me this link.

(Edit: the word he originally linked to me was "prelapsarian.")

prelapsarian (pree-lap-SAYR-ee-uhn) adjective

Relating to any innocent or carefree period in the past.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Yes, I know, I've been way delinquent. Pretty busy at work, trying to apply for jobs, and obsessively reading bloglines (go there, it's awesome). Also obsessing over online sites where you can buy 1-of-a-kind jewelry and prints and such. (Found them on blogs.)

I will be back on track! I kind of want to direct this thing so it's less just me rambling. More structured. I'm thinking about it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Interesting Media Matters column about W's approval ratings.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Forget The Devil Wears Prada. Forget evil bosses and size 2 coworkers. My real beef with Conde Nast (Elias Clark in the book/movie) is their impossible careers application program. You can upload your resume, but it hardly pulls any information from it and you just have to keep adding and correcting info. And then you can't save and come back to it, so I had to write up a cover letter in a flash and submit it so as not to leave the window open all day and so I could avoid having to re-enter all the 0ther 9 out of 10 steps in the application process. The worst part is that it really probably won't go anywhere, because I only applied for an open recruiting position that doesn't actually exist. Argh!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


You know all those things you read about how authors come up with stories, where they get their ideas, etc. This is probably my favorite metaphor surrounding that process:

It's more like--it's kinda like (this is gonna be a bit stupid) but let's say you're walking along the road and suddenly you sprout a third arm and the third arm is fused to a shovel....It just happened. You didn't plan it; it just happened. Well, it could be argued that the next thing you should do is find a hole to dig. Right? So you start digging a hole and then somebody brings a body along and puts it in. That's what a story must feel like to me. It's not that you say, "I want to write a story about a gravedigger." But you're walking along and "I don't know what I'm doing here in this story," and --boop! a shovel. "Oh, interesting. Ok, what does one do with a shovel? Digs a hole. Why? I don't know yet. Dig the hole! Oh, look a body."

-George Saunders

Pun on the word Zune

Sometimes I start reading an article I linked to from a blog and I think, "Why am I really reading this? It won't change my life in the slightest. Truly, this is just information I don't and will never need."

Then I find fun little nuggets like this one, in an article about Microsoft's upcoming iPod challenger, the Zune:

Lesson 1: Know Your Customer. To create a mass product, Microsoft can't design products for the "blue badgers," as Microsofties call themselves (their identity passes are blue). So Allard has an unusual recurring event scheduled into his calendar. "Once a month," he says, "I go to Target. I get a corn dog, walk the aisles, and listen to customers." [Emphasis is clearly mine.]

I love it when lofty types descend from their high horse to mingle with the masses. Target+corndogs=The American People.

Actually, that has a disturbingly true ring to it.

Oh well. I guess at least it's not Wal-Mart, or the Zune would have a giant yellow happy face on it.

(Having continued to read the article, I have to say - wireless? That is a good idea.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


It's true, I do want to live in Booklyn.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Good quote

Actually, you know what? I'm still not all that clear on what's involved in doing sweet, ordinary boyfriend-girlfriend things. I just assume it's a lot of making out and groping in public, sex in cars, blow jobs in public restrooms, going to movies, eating at restaurants listening to the radio, arguing about trivia, and--what else? Do you help each other with your homework? Play Scrabble, build models, buy food at the grocery store and cook it for each other, meet at the Rec. Center or at th ebeach for a game of volleyball with her Nair-commercial friends? Does she ask you which dress makes her look fatter, like Carol does with Little Big Tom? Does she throw a stapler at you and stop talking to you for days when you can't figure out the right answer? Do you share your secrets and deepest fears with one another, or are those subjects still just as weird and awkward and best not brought up, maybe even especially to someone to whom you are constantly, incessantly, relentlessly giving the time?

I only mention it because I have this idea, a dream, really, that part of what it would mean is that the boyfriend is in this little club with the girlfriend where when one is hurt or troubled or being assailed by the cruelties of the world, the other decides not to be on the side of the world, but to join forces with the other member of the club against the world, even if it's frowned upon, even if it's a doomed scenario, even if the world is definitely gonna win. Like you're allies. The last remnant of your people. A Sex Alliance Against Society. But maybe I have it all wrong. It does sound like a quaint, far-fetched idea, now that I've put it into words. And also overly dramatic, if something can be o. d. and q. at the same time.

-King Dork
I'm either a nerd or a sucker for thinking this article is interesting.

Either that or I'm one of those terrible wannabe writers who reaaalllly wants to work for the New Yorker.

Friday, September 08, 2006

What I'm in for?

The right man for the Gob

First of all, read the article Christopher Hitchens wrote in Vanity Fair about how the blow job is the most American sex act. Not because he really makes a point (I'm not sure he does), but because you'll learn so much history! It was a really interesting article. Anyway, moving to my real subject, which is stupid articles about oral sex, this article is dumb. I think the reason why more kids are doing oral sex isn't because they know about real risks, but rather because they know about oral sex. I guarantee you that when I was 12 I had no idea what a blowjob was, but probably 98% of 12 year olds know about them now (and I don't want to speculate on how many of them have done it). Maybe it has an added benefit of delaying actual intercourse for teens who otherwise would be screwing like rabbits. But I seriously doubt that your average teen is choosing one over the other because of disincentives like AIDS. (Disclaimer, aka admission of ignorance: I really tend to not like economic explanations for everyday things. Funny, given that economic incentives are probably related to psychological actions, kind of like game theory or whatever. Sometimes I don't know what I'm talking about but there are some vague connections in my head right now.)

I feel like I'm treading on dangerously prudish territory by saying that because kids have more knowledge of certain sexual acts that they are more likely to do them (what would Dawn Eden say?). No abstinence-only sex ed for me, thank you.

(It occurs to me that pretty much my only readers here are my relatives. That's a little awkward. It's ok, if Caryl reads this and comments I'm sure she'll just take it to a new level.)

(P.S. Title stolen from an Arrested Development episode. I finally got on the AD bus and I'm loving it. Annyong.)

Edit: Also, the stats in that story are wrong. Ok, so I don't research, but I was right in saying that the article was kind of stupid.
I get grumpy sometimes. Like when I read everything this woman has ever written.

I know that there are different viewpoints out there, but it's really, really hard for me to believe that people believe in them.

Edit: This is even worse. (And I swear I'm done.)
It looks like tornado season.

Not that there are tornados (oes?). But there are just dark, low-lying clouds everywhere and my expert knowledge of tornados from classics like Twister lead me to believe that dark angry looking clouds are tornado clouds. Also it's windy outside, so that's kind of like tornados. Tornados are really one of the natural disasters I can't comprehend (right up there with tsunamis and maybe hurricanes). You know how some people are irrationally afraid, and also ignorant, about earthquakes? And if you are like me and grew up in California, every little shift or shakeup feels a little bit like an earthquake just because you are used to expecting them, but you don't have an earthquake kit or anything, you know, practical? Whereas if you are not from California, you are very worried about earthquakes. I feel like if I moved to, say, Kansas, that's the way I'd be about tornados.

This has been a very lame blog entry. I'm sorry.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ugh can I just complain briefly about fashion without sounding totally lame? I went to the Gap yesterday to try on straight leg jeans because I decided my skinny jeans are too skinny, I want straight leg, I am on that ball. I really do agree with fashion magazines when I say that flare pants are weird looking now and half the time I wear them I think I look weird. Yes, it's the straight leg for me, except I think the low end retailers I frequent (Gap being about the priciest thing I can afford) haven't gotten on the ball with me and still haven't figured out a good cut for the straight leg. It's annoying. While at the Gap, besides discovering that they have no idea what to do with a straight leg jean and learning that they have only two washes for the straight leg, both of which suck (one is all torn up, the other is a strange grayish color), and in addition to witnessing first-hand the lack of knowledge on the part of Gap salesgirls (why would you put a jean with no tag or distinguishing mark explaining what fit it is in the front of the store and then not tell any of the salespeople what fit it is?!!?), I also learned that the Gap sucks this season. Usually I can find at least something I like and usually I can find something I like in the clearance section, but this season apparently they have decided to go with the lamest approach ever, which consists of the following brilliant ideas:

1-Fill an entire corner of the store with hoodies, as though that's a fashion statement
2-Have every kind of tshirt in every color, as though that's a fashion statement
3-Bring back Western shirts despite the fact that no one has figured out when to wear the Western shirts they bought the last time the Gap brought back Western shirts
4-Promote the hell out of your denim but don't actually change any of the cuts or really do anything aside from what you normally do with it. Just put denim everywhere and pretend it means something.
5-Bring back the shapeless turtleneck sweaters you had at the Gap when I first started shopping there at the tail end of the oversized t-shirt/sweatshirt/sweater era. Don't make them interesting at all.
6-Bring back the sleeveless button-ups and turtlenecks that you had around the same era, or maybe even in the Reality Bites "I am a MANAGER at the GAP" era.
7-Don't put any of the clothes you have online in the actual store.
8-Act like you are bringing back basics but in a new, flashy, cool way with Jeremy Piven in your ads, but actually sell the same boring stuff with NOTHING interesting or new, or even well-done.


If you are going to sell the basics, at least make them good or cheap. Otherwise, do something, anything, so I can stop jonesing for fall fashion and then falling flat.

I know this is sort of a stupid comment but seriously I was very disappointed in the Gap, more than I usually am, and I just want to be grunmpy. I almost typed "grunchy" there, not sure why. On that subject, why do all the magazines have beautiful fall clothing, but none of the retailers do? I have been trying to get excited about spending money I don't need on stupid things like belts and boots and sweater dresses. Mmm, sweater dresses. See what I mean? WHY can't I buy anything cool for under $50??

I'm annoyed.

Cupcakes for breakfast

I came into work a little late today. I woke up and was tired and already running a little late so after getting ready I snuck back into bed. I didn't really have a reason for it, but then as I was driving to work I saw the best thing! It was a man driving a little scooter/car thing that was shaped like a cupcake! Like it had frosting and sprinkles and the cupcake wrapper and everything. He looked half-sheepish and half-psycho and I felt like my day was getting off to a good start.