« June 2003 | Main | September 2003 »


July 9

i've been thinking about the artistry of writing. i like knowing we have freedom in expressing ourselves with the English language. i can change around my syntax as i choose, to suit my mood. sometimes it's quite incorrect from a strict grammatical point of view. but i can convey age, attitude, emotion, even cultural outlook, through phrasing and vocabulary choice.

that's not to say i believe we should abandon the rules of good English. indeed, i believe that it's acceptable for me, for writers, to consciously break the rules only after they've learned them well. the key is to know when and how much to stray from traditionally correct usage. when people merely use the language poorly, it's awkward and/or irritating at best, and just incomprehensible at worst.

one of the reasons i enjoy the writing of TV shows such as Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Gilmore Girls is that the dialogue is so fun and interesting. but i have a feeling that 20 years ago it would have been considered silly and hard to understand, instead of smart and a bit avant garde.

okay, avant garde here, an exchange between Lorelai and Rory, when mom came to rescue daughter from a wild party:

"That backpack is permanently scarred. That backpack is Zelda Fitzgerald."

"Well, Zelda's coming home."

"Did they bring the paddy wagon?"

"Yeah, but then we snuck out the back of the speakeasy and headed straight for the Algonquin."

"How was Benchley?"

"Drunk, again."

that just cracked me up for days. you say you don't know any real mothers and daughters who talk that way? first, yes, you do. second, there just oughta be more, and that's kinda the point here.

my mother never understood the attraction of mid 30s-mid 40s "screwball" comedies such as His Girl Friday starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. they used rapid-fire speech and a lot of slang. she preferred the drier, but still clever dialogue used by William Powell and Myrna Loy in the Thin Man series. i like them both, and also appreciate the middle ground between Loy and Russell found in Irene Dunne characters. best of all, i think we can thank them, a bit, when listening to the dialogue of some of the best current comedic dramas.

(interested in screwball comedy? this list is really a great overview, and i can personally recommend nearly every name mentioned.)

not really the same at all. huh.

July 8, 2003

i got boring for awhile but i'm over it. it was a good Monday, though, which i must mention. friend and i had our usual Monday thing going, but we chose a different place for lunch, they totally screwed up our order, we ended up with only a salad to share after having been there for nearly an hour, but at least we didn't have to pay for it. and then that was more than made up for by the always friendly bookstore guy, and the new proprietors of the bakery/cafe we went to afterward, since, hello, still hungry. they were friendly and cheerful and gave me some free sweet potato chips to try. which were just nummy, i must say.

i made a links page, cause people do have those, right? only mine are to interesting places.

and today i used the phrase "floats my happy bubble." i feel pretty good about that. it was in conjunction with Bobby Darin, of course. why don't people understand about him? and who the heck wants to be 38 instead of 37, the age of Darin when he died? of course, Pushkin died at 38. you know Aleksandre Pushkin, right? of course you do. he died after fighting some pointless duel over a woman. well, she was his wife and he was defending her honor, but still, pointless, i say. i hear Russians were like that then, all passionate and things. it made for some interesting stories and sweet poetry. but think of how much more he could have written if no death from gunshot wound?

Elegy, by Aleksandre Sergeevich Pushkin 1799-1837

Of my mad years the vanished mirth and laughter
Affect me like a fume-filled morning-after.
Not so past pain - like wine is it to me
That as the years go by gains potency.
Sad is the path before me: toil and sorrow
Lie on the restless seaways of the morrow.

And yet from thought of death, my friends, I shrink;
I want to live - to suffer and to think,
And amid care and grief and tribulation,
Taste of sweet rapture and exhilaration;
Be drunk with harmony; touch fancy's strings
And freely weep o'er its imaginings...
And love's last flash, its smile of farewell tender
My sad decline may yet less mournful render. 1830


July 6, 2003

stuff kept getting in my way for awhile, and i totally lost the fun. but now, suddenly, it's back! yay! i've been doing lots of new pieces for the website, some of which are uploaded but not linked. (if you're an Angel fan, try this.) and i'm going to add pix of the family, and some other stuff, because i'm all cheery and things again.

have you ever thought about how Oregon and New Jersey don't have self-serve gasoline pumps? in 1949 and 1951, these states decided it was too dangerous for the general public, and so they've been "full-service" ever since. only you don't necessarily get "full" service, just the gas, and sometimes someone will take a swipe at your windows with a towel. they will do more if you ask, and they're not busy, and they like the way you look, and so on.


two things about that. first, when you think about the available pool of workers willing to work at a gas station for gas station pay 365 days a year, you gotta think about how they might fall into a fairly small section of the IQ scale. second, these workers inhale fumes alllll day long. this cannot be healthful for the grey matter.

this could be why, when i asked for 12 dollars worth of gas the other day, and the attendant was across the parking lot as i noticed the counter moving past 14 dollars, i had kind of a problem on my hands. first, i yelled, honked, and then jumped out of the van to actually remove the pump all by myself and turn it off all by myself and replace the cap all by myself.

then, when the attendant arrived, i firmly but politely told him i asked for 12 dollars worth, not some other unknown amount. i handed him 13, and said this is all i have. he put up quite a fuss. i can't believe i offered him the extra dollar, but i did. and he wasn't going to let me leave until i paid the other $1.40, which i didn't have, and didn't think i ought to pay. he tried to extract it from my daughter, who just glared at him. finally, i asked, "do i need to call someone to discuss this matter?" and reached for my phone. and then he hurriedly let me go. hmmm.

thank you, New Jersey, for putting my gas tank in the hands of the experts. yes sir. now i'm afraid for my billfold every time i approach a gas station.