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part three: winter sky

The baby and I drove down to Costco last Monday to do our Thanksgiving shopping. On the way, we stopped at a place that always intrigues me; the "scenic overlook" on I-295 near Bordentown. (you can zoom in pretty far.) Here are a few photos I snapped there, though I was unable to get a good one of the nuclear power plant residing behind some trees to the southwest. I did get a gorgeous one of the boy himself. Click through to see 1200x900s. They aren't technically black & white, but an rgb translation of it. I think that's pretty cool, though. 

I think this will be a season of poetry, painting and photography. When I'm done putting 50k+ words into the NaNo counting machine, I need to reach into the part of me that is preparing to hibernate and give it a little external voice, instead. 


QotD: First Things First

 What’s the first thing you do when you log on to your computer every day?

Sponsored by Yahoo!

I don't "log on," since about 2000 or before. I just open the computer and there it all is. 

I delete most of the new mail first. 

Catch up on other time zones in Brizzly; stuff westwardly that happened during the night and eastwardly that happened in the morning, which are both the same period of time, of course. 

Read news at myway.com. Become annoyed at someone interfering with someone else's personal liberty. 

Look at the headlines at BBC News. Repeat above. 

Answer mail that might be real and want answering. 

Tell people on Twitter what random goofy song is in my head this morning. 

And proceed from there. 

QotD: Staying Organized Online

With so much information on the Web, how do you stay organized online?

Sponsored by Yahoo!

Er, huh? If this is strictly about the web itself, it pretty much organizes things for me. If I want to regularly visit places in it, I bookmark them in relevant folders, or in the toolbar. Safari shows me the places I go to most often when I open a new tab, or when I click on the little icon made of tiny squares up there in the toolbar. 

I think this is one of those questions I don't get, or maybe you mean something other than the "web," Yahoo!. Or maybe you mean, how do you use the web to stay organized? I mean, in that case the answer would just be that I don't, though I know there are people who use the internet for that. I have no need of it. 

::pushing glasses firmly up against bridge of nose::

part two: a life shot in black and white

I'm so far behind on NaNoWriMo, for exactly 4 reasons, I don't know if I can succeed this year. They aren't quite good enough reasons not to, is the thing. And so, today, I will push harder than before. If I feel I've made real progress by the end of the day, I will continue toward the win. If I don't, I will continue to write without winning. But that will be difficult.

What it will actually be is sad. 

I'm not naturally a fiction writer. I'm naturally a fiction reader. And as a good writer, I know that there is a huge difference between the two things. But I still need this challenge each year, and I know that each year there is growth, even if it is not growth in my ability to make up and tell a convincing story. 

This week I discovered a great blog written by someone who jabs her pain onto the screen with words that seem sharp-edged at first, but actually have all the corners rounded, like the people who walk barefoot on jagged glass. They trick their audience by making it appear all the broken glass is sharp, but actually the glass in the middle has been smoothed over.  

In her case, the trick is not in order to cheat her readers. She is just both jagged and worn down. 

Then I revisited a couple of my favorite ephemera blogs to bathe myself in the wonders of vintage advertising. It's all so appalling and so beautiful, each in turn, sometimes occupying the same space. 
And I started thinking, and writing a little, about how I got to this strange point in my life at which there seems to be nothing but chaos in reasoning, chaos in emotion, chaos even in the way my precious books are organized on my shelves. Nothing fits right, everything feels stagnant, and yet not all the leaves have even fallen from the trees yet, so I can't blame it on the usual hibernation blues. It's sort of as though all my life has been one long February, and I can see March on the next page, but never quite get to turn to it. I don't want turn to it, anyway, knowing it's just actually going to be February all over again. I would like to skip ahead to May, but am not allowed. 
So, making up stories about a milkman who steals cats and a town founder who created an entire community from his secret harem seems a little, well, inadequate as escapism. 

I have written 50,000 words already this month. But not nearly enough of them were for that book effort, and while you might say it's good I was able to express so much, the fact is that it's very easy for me to blather on and on about myself or nothing, yet what I want to do is tell a story about something, something entirely else, just for a little while, before it's time to make another attempt at reorganizing too many books in too small a space. 

(That last bit was both literal and a metaphor, in case you were not sure.)

I decided to take a lot of photos in black and white this week. I guess it would make sense to do color ones on Thanksgiving. Otherwise, this week, perhaps this whole season, will be a life shot in black and white. 

part one: the last day of summer

Yesterday I went alone to do the shopping. I do this once out of maybe every eight times, so it was kind of a thing. 

Instead of just getting a useless cinnamon dolce mocha from the Starbuck's inside of Target, I went over to Panera Bread for actual lunch. I got food I'd make at home (except with whole-grain bread) if I made it; tuna sandwich and tomato soup and lemonade.
I sat at this high table facing the window and promptly began receiving texts and Twitter updates. I turned off all the Twitter updates except from two people I'm following, because, man, you have to be able to get away from that! But actually, it's very easy to turn on and off from the phone, and can be a fun way to communicate. So. 

The man at the table next to me was very good-looking. That doesn't happen as often as it should. I mean, not just that he was a reasonably handsome man and not short, but that he was wearing a suit and good shoes and was yet not a car salesman. So that was good-looking, and enjoyable along with lunch. I will report that I drank only a little of the lemonade, because I thought about how my lunch was kind of good for me and didn't want to offset that too much. 

See, here's the thing. I am actually that boring. Left wholly to my own devices, I'd eat tuna sandwiches, do word puzzles, listen to music, watch people, mutter vaguely profane things under my breath at the ones who aren't doing good, smile sometimes at the rest. That's about it. 

I was playing Shufflemancy on the way down to Mt. Laurel, which is 30 miles and 30 minutes away. I thought maybe the songs, all on a basic playlist of Music With A Good Beat, would reveal this or that about my life. 

Here are the songs that played:


Never Let Me Down Again—Depeche Mode

Let Me Into Your Life—The Beat

The Last Day Of Summer—The Cure

Still Breathing—Duran Duran

Girlfriend In A Coma—The Smiths

Down With Love—Bobby Darin


Fugue (Trilogy)—Emerson, Lake & Palmer (whoops, their music shouldn't be on a playlist I'd shuffle!)

It's kind of an indie movie thing; obsession and longing and craving and then doom, basically. Don't know what that would tell me, so, all righty then. 

stepping out off the page

While not working on my NaNo thing, I ran across a brief and weird parody I did a few years ago of the final passage in Joyce's Ulysses. Yes, that's the sort of thing I do for entertainment, which should surprise no one. Anyway. 

I got the CD out to hear this and decided to share it with you.

(Yes, it probably is. I mean, look, I've had to give up noting the days or dates; it's pretty much an on-going condition these days. I hear that it passes away in a few years, though, and then you have to eat soy, or some such nonsense.)** 

I'd rather be doing a more complete parody or pastiche of that passage which goes like this, 

than working on my story. Or I'd rather be painting. I still haven't tried out my new brushes yet. 

**If you didn't get that oblique statement, you have not been reading enough of my blog posts. Seriously.

So then I was thinking about how many of my celebrity crushes are aging;  it's diffferent than it was 15 years ago when they were my age now. I don't want to imply that I find men hovering around age 60 unattractive and creepy. I'd rather just pretend they haven't aged so far along yet, but what can you do? So I was thinking it might be okay to very carefully cultivate a few younger crushes. This one, for example, is a possibility.  Not exactly a celebrity. But on the TV. Also, still over 40, a fine thing to be. 

Yeah, I'm just being silly. I'm going to get a text asking me if I am serious or if, you know, see above parens regarding no longer noting the days. Just trying to have a little fun, folks, that's all!

Because the story is causing me great anxiety. It wants to talk about lovestuff, and not be terribly funny, or have much to do with all the quirky stories I'd set myself up to tell. This is, frankly, pissing me off. I didn't gear up for this thing in order to fail. And how irritating is it to not be able to take control of the ideas that come out of my own head? That's just ridiculous, immature, and unworthy of a good intellect. 

Where were we? Oh, yes. I renamed my iPod. It used to be called Enterprise but now it's called The Fine Arts, after a cool vintage movie theater in Mission, Kansas that I used to go to nearly every weekend (until The Gods Must Be Crazy happened, but that's another story.) I made playlists using the titles of some of my favorite movies, to reflect the songs within them, of course. However, it's rather challenging to develop them well. It sounded like a really good idea to have a playlist called Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, but now I'm not so certain. 

Oh, I found this on the YouTube yesterday.

Tom Jones & EMF "Unbelieveable"

Isn't this guy kind of awesome? I never really thought so growing up. Mom had a thing for him back when all her girlfriends were grooving on Elvis, who Mom thought was a little icky, and she had a couple of his albums, but when I learned ladies threw their panties at him while he sang, I was so utterly grossed out, and also, there was all that hair and those sideburns. However, he's actually quite good, and although I'm still grossed out at those 1969 ladies with their polyester dresses and nylons and I don't even want to think about the panties, I am charmed by the fact that he was born on Dean Martin's birthday. That's just cool. It's probably not his fault about the panties. 

Okay, back to the thing. ::sigh::

ramping up with the books

I was at Barnes & Noble today, where my daughter gets her fancy British music magazines, and roamed some of the bargain aisles; there are always twice as many this time of year. Some of these interest me and some amuse me.

First, there are always lots of books on war, for you to buy for Dad. WWII is very big this year, but then it generally is. If it didn't have the benefit of Nazis, Holocaust, fighting in half the world, and G.I. Joe, it still would have been set in the awesome 1940s, which informed the thing highly (and of course were informed by it, as well.)

For the man who is always certain there's more to know. (He is also convinced Kennedy was shot from two different directions. And frankly, I'm kind of on his side, but that's another story.)

For the sort of man who enjoys reading old blueprints.

For the armchair social historian:

For the dad you really don't know very well.

And now here's a fun juxtaposition I felt must have been a source of humor for the person stocking the shelves:

This is something I'd probably enjoy owning; I felt a little sad it's marked down to 14.95:

A threesome from the man who made it safe for Evangelicals to collect "art."

Here's one for the sort of person who likes to start semi-drunken arguments at the Thanksgiving dinner table:

And finally, proof that I flipping love the person stocking these shelves, as all three of these are featured on the same one.
Angels are slightly cheaper to own than information on awkward sex. FYI.