Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Starring Winnie-The-Pooh, Clay, and the Enlightenment as "The Devil"

It's been hard to blog the last few days, primarily because I haven't been able to write on any one topic while so many have been competing for real estate in my gray matter. I begin by thinking about something, find a bunch of articles or blog posts on it, think some more, then the thoughts lead to another topic which holds me in its thrall until the next and so on ad nauseum. I don't think I'm ADD; I'm just not finding sufficient conclusions so I move on to more fertile pastures and VOILA, I haven't gotten anywhere at all. I end up feeling like Winnie-the-Pooh, rapping my skull, commanding my brain to "Think. Think. Think." It availeth nothing; the ole bean keeps drifting.

I can't recall now which of my college philosophy profs it was, but one used to tell me that a huge chunk of philosophy happened while things were simmering on the back burner of your mind. The analogy invoked cooking and food, so of course it stuck with me. It didn't always ring true, especially when I was running up on a paper deadline and my marathon writing sessions yielded decent results, but most often it did feel like setting aside the topic limbered me up for the next encounter with it.

I can't shake the feeling, though, that I never get that far in my tinkerings, philosophical or otherwise. My college papers always felt so small in comparison with the ideas I'd wanted at first. Early paper ideas were doctoral dissertation topics and so were cut down to bize-size, undergraduate pieces for consumption. But I was never satisfied with the end result. I have a hard time seeing all the individual pieces I need to tackle to achieve my final goal. I guess I could try to outline, or make those bubble diagrams or stick to understanding/critiquing existing philosophy without reference to moving forward (my usual tack) but there are real problems to solve in this planet and sometimes relegating things to the back burner feels like turning a blind eye while a crime is committed.

I miss philosophy classes. Well, some things about them anyway. I miss reading insightful works. I miss not caring if discussions drifted in and out of relevance with the present day. At the same time that philosophical issues are strongly tied to historical times and cultural movements, there's something timeless about the problems and arguments. I don't have to be up on the latest celebrity scandal to understand them. The web of ideas holds an endless fascination for me, NO SERIOUSLY. Coming up with a good analogy to mirror my thoughts? Thrilling. What a dork . . . :-D

My ear has been bent recently to people decrying serious social issues, and what I hear touches me. I can't put aside the anger I feel toward perpetuators of crime, oppression, and injustice. I can't listen to the voice in my head that used to say, "humanity has always been like this. Just thank the Maker you were born in relative privilege and get back to the magnificence of ideas in your classes. You'll help later."

I took several classes with a friend of mine in college who has a very different perspective than mine, I think. He is less emotive than I (not that he feels no emotion, but that I probably feel more of them - and toward more things - in a day than he does), and I doubt he has the kind of demands on aesthetics in daily life that I do (my desire for a certain taste or my need to admire beauty in art, music, and design regularly). I often catch myself envying him "the high ground," as I perceive it. Sure my idealism puts me in the clouds, but my need to relish good coffee and my inability to uproot emotion from a news story leaves me very much on the ground. He, on the other hand, can rise above a circumstance and take it in carefully from all angles. Plus he's probably less likely to be distracted by a passing woman's fantastic shoes.

I know these idiosyncracies make me who I am. When I'm feeling generous, I try to think of them as offering a different, more grounded perspective, rather than merely muddying a more detached one. It's probably an emphasis on Enlightenment concepts of "pure, unadulterated reason" that makes me feel mine is inferior anyhow and it seems that few scholars like that concept now. But while some declare that all perspectives are valid when we take into account that no one is fully objective, I am not willing to join them. I have seen that some are better than others at bringing out rich detail, insight, and structure in a topic and its analysis. I want to be that insightful, rational person while preserving those parts of myself that might yield a new vantage point. Well, on days when I'm not PMSing I do.

I began to realize after a while that I was right on some level to envy this friend his detachment because it yielded real focus for him. He was always writing his own essays on philosophical topics outside of and sometimes unrelated to class. He read much more than I did. It always took me so long to read and so much effort to fully grasp. For me learning was a process of grafting more clay onto an urn. In order to add anything, I had to understand the structure of the urn's wall below it. I had to blend the new clay with the old at the seams, making sure they fit together before testing them with more clay on top of that. More clearly, I had to understand the philosophers who came before the current one, grasping their terminology and categories for understanding which would influence him. Once I had grasped that, I could begin understanding how the new ideas fit with the old, where they would support one another and where the ideas were branching upward, outward, adding shape to the urn. It wasn't a process I could really set aside, either, because if I didn't grasp all these things, I felt the urn collapsing under the weight of my sloppy understanding. I needed time to think, time to throw things on the back burner and then pull them forward to examine them again. College didn't always yield the chance to follow up, however, while friends and boyfriends and financial commitments pulled away at my conscious hours, to say nothing of other classes. I usually had to settle for understanding the individual hunks of clay, instead of getting the chance to mold and shape them as elements of my own perspective. Now I feel like there's something missing when I gaze at my oft-revamped and never finished Urn of Personal Perspective. (Go ahead and laugh - it IS a stupid name.)

So I mull all kinds of things over in my head: that news story that made me unbelievably sad and then angry; that vision of understanding the role emotions can play in understanding the world around us; that goal of being comfortable in my own abilities as a thinker and knowing when to speak up and when my perspective was inadequate. I guess that's why it's so hard to get anywhere and then write about it - because it's bound up in my ongoing investigation into my brain as much as my world. I grow impatient with this long process. I want some answers, darn it.

My friend KD & I still finish a long phone call with our running joke about "talking so much we solved all the worlds problems." Talking to her is great because though we often start with different perspectives, we agree on so much that if we were the sole members of a committee tasked to solve the world's problems, we'd be perfectly happy. Maybe I'm just taking that concept and applying it to reality where it is OBVIOUSLY not suited. I cannot expect myself to answer problems that have plagued all of human history anymore than I can expect myself never to be angered by my husband's quirks. It's an admirably goal, but not a realistic one and beating myself up when I don't achieve it is only making me miserable.

So I guess what I'm saying is that the Committee For Solving All The World's Problems has a seat opening.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Making my day . . . only not.

I was having a semi-productive, overall-cheerful day when I went to Slashdot and this happened:

Thanks, New York Times, for advertising to a worthless outsider. Don't you worry, I will be sure to slavishly follow every word of your beautiful "gallery happening" pieces because, as is clear from your attempts to ensnare my readership, I AM UNWORTHY TO ATTEND THEM.

Excuse me, I have crying to do.

Monday, September 26, 2005

My apologies to hippies everywhere.

After a quiet night in the apartment on Friday, Hubster and I decided it was high time to get out on Saturday. Earlier in the week we had planned to hit the National Mall in DC and maybe a cafe for some coffee and reading. We arrived at the Greenbelt Metro Station at around 11:30am and there were few parking spots left - Evil Omen #1. We kept seeing "fringe" fashionistas with their dreadlocks, their flowy skirts that you KNOW are not from the current Boho-chic craze, and their posters with slogans like "Hurricane Bush, The Real Disaster" - Blatantly Obvious Evil Omen #2. Yes, friends, the anti-war protestors decided that spending the entire afternoon with their fellow hygenically-questionable humans packed into small, open spaces was just not enough, so they packed themselves into small, enclosed spaces on the metro as an added bonus.

After much whiny discussion on both our parts, K & I realized we didn't want to wait for a train, wait in the train standing up next to the aforementioned hygentically-questionable folk and their pointy posters, and then wait in the same fashion on the way home. We were peeved, however, having been excited for a few days now about our little plan. After a few cathartic (but muffled and laughingly-uttered) cries of "Dirty Hippies!" we aimed our vehicle's nose toward Annapolis and burned some more oil at the expense of the Iraqis. Or whatever our metro nemeses would say.

We wandered around Annapolis trying to find a place to ditch the vehicle. We finally parked right by a mortuary. Awesome. Then we hit up a pub for lunch and then the Hard Bean Cafe for a delicious chai latte and some reading. We wandered back toward the car after a while and I had to sneak into the bathroom of the Marriott Annapolis Waterfront hotel because (in case you don't know me and thus need to be told) I have so small a bladder it would have been better to have left it out than include such a useless, peanut-sized gimmick. Anyway, nice-looking hotel.

Mmmm, dreamy lack of hippies.

We headed home and were so deep in thought and conversation about future homes and mortgages that we missed our exit like 17 times. Eventually we made it home to find a rambunctious Persephone and news stories about the hippies of the morning (someone please name their band that!). Yesterday I sang in the choir, singing much better than I managed to find my choir robe, put on that silly rope-belt, process in, process out, and generally act like a born Episcopalian chorister instead of a four-month-old, converted interloper. Also, that afternoon I dyed my hair and I think I'm finally getting the right system that I can use a solas with Couleur Experte. All in a weekend's relaxation!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Here I am, wishing I could just stretch out like Sweet P and wait for tomorrow, for a day when there's more time to play . . .

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bootless Protest

You would think that after a full year of Mid-Atlantic weather, I would be a little more comfortable with its differences from, say, the Pennsylvanian weather I had at college.

You would be wrong.

Today the temperature will reach a high of 85ºF and tomorrow? 88ºF. EIGHTY-EIGHT DEGREES, PEOPLE, DOES IT SINK IN IF I WRITE IT OUT LIKE I'M SHOUTING? No, of course it doesn't, it's unbelievable. I looked up the weather for my hometown in MI and it's slated to be 87º today, so I guess it's not that weird, but the rest of their forecast looks like the low-80s to the mid-70s. That's warm, but at least reasonable for mid-September.

At this juncture in the season, I am so sick of wearing the same clothes over and over and over again, that I'm boring and irritating myself just thinking about it. I would like to go outside and enjoy nature, but it is entirely too hot to move out there, tank top or no. WHY IS IT SO HOT?

So, wow, I'm angry about this and it's kinda dumb, I know. But I want to walk outside with long sleeves on and not instantly reach my dewpoint. I would like, occasionally, to be able to wear close-toed shoes, maybe even with socks. The fact I couldn't for the past four months, can't now, nor look to be able to for up to another month is absurd. DO YOU HEAR ME, OVERLORDS OF WEATHER? COOL IT!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Catalog Purchase Blues

Arrested Development last night? RIOTOUS. As I watched I realized that one of the unsung heros of that show has got to be Michael Cera because he, like Jason Bateman, is a bit too normal in a cast of crazies, yet he plays the awkward teenager brilliantly. I'm so looking forward to next week's installment of the cousin saga. Although I read on a blog that the writers have continued to interlace jokes so tightly that any new viewers are going to have a hard time keeping up. Don't give up, newbies! It gets easier with time and IT IS WORTH IT.

I found some awesome clothing clearance items at VS, so I ordered a tee and a sweater for cheap. The tee works, the sweater not so much. It just . . . doesn't fit me properly. It's got tiny ribbing on the bottom third of the sweater which is okay but then the unstructured bodice above it tends to billow oddly on the sides and I have too much up top so it's all NOT WORKING FOR ME. I'm so sad because the color ROCKS. I wish I had a more willowy figure so it would look as smashing as it deserves to look. Anyone want an unused, size-small sweater? I'll sell it for the price listed. You have my email on the left sidebar. In the link above it's the color called "rhubarb" except it's much more pink than red in person. I just wish the online clothing retailers could catch up with online shoe retailers in the return policy department. *pouts*

Okay, enough with the pseudo-ebay thing I have going on here. It's just that I'm tired and feeling out of sorts and losing money on return shipping would NOT make my day here. My head sorta hurts and then it's just cloudy, without being painful and then it hurts again. Weirditude. I just want my husband to come home so I can relax, enjoy dinner with him, and spend a quiet evening recovering. Hope your day is better than mine!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Listing Monday

1. Good, easy-going weekend. We were productive when we had to be, relaxed when we didn't. We rented The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and it was marvelous. I like Wes Anderson as a director, although I'm the first to admit he's not for everyone. The quirks and eccentricities that make his cinematic worlds improbable are just the whimsical touches that make me supremely happy watching them.

2. We hung out for a while with a couple we met at the church picnic last weekend. They are very sweet and they live not far away. It was nice to hang out and not have to drive 45 minutes to do it. Not that I don't love all you sorta-close folks, but I'm sure you understand. Looking forward to a few restaurant dates and perhaps getting their cats together with Persephone. You know, 'cause we can't do playdates with our kids, having none to speak of. (Speaking of pseudo-children, Percy was freakin' adorable all weekend long. TONE IT DOWN, CAT, WE'RE ALREADY HELPLESS TO YOUR WILES.)

3. Watched the Emmys for the first time last night. It bothered K more than I that the best shows/actors/ANYTHING kept being ignored mostly in favor of accessible crap. I've almost given up on popular opinion. I'm just glad Arrested Development won for the writing category. If they hadn't won that, I think I would have given up on American culture and society FOREVER. Also, Hugh didn't win. CURSES on the Academy, I say.

4. Got the shoes I ordered from Free shipping (returns, too!) means I ordered four pairs, even though I'll only keep 1-2. They are so lovely I can't believe I'm resisting the urge to spend the rest of the day trying them on with different sock, pant, and skirt options. THANKS, IN-LAWS! Your birthday money in the form of shoes, well, it makes me so very happy!

5. Curling up in bed last night was a delight. K reading next to me, listening to Persephone purr while I stroked her head and read a magazine. K stopped to kiss me between pages. Percy nuzzled my hand as I scratched the side of her head and felt the softness of her mink-rivaling fur on my fingers. The best ending of a weekend EVER, if memory serves. No exciting locales, no crazed night on the town, and the relative level of excitement was low, but it was a stunning moment. Gah, simple pleasures always elude my descriptions.

6. WHAT IS TONIGHT, PEOPLE? You should know this: tonight is the season premiere of Arrested Development. 8pm. FOX. WATCH IT! Heaven knows we've got anticipation levels at a DANGEROUS HIGH.

Friday, September 16, 2005

In which I raise the hue and cry for MORE HUGH!

I want Hugh Laurie to be my uncle. Not just because he's a famous, funny, brilliant, and a fantastic actor but because he'd be ever so much FUN! He has the goofiness of the ultimate useless Gentleman of Leisure Bertram Wilberforce Wooster ("Bertie" of Jeeves and Wooster). He has the ruthless idiocy of Prince/Lieutenant George in all the various Blackadder incarnations. He has the biting wit and anti-social tendencies we all secretly covet (even if it's only for specific occasions) as Dr. Gregory House in the TV show House. His sense of timing and the way he naturally inhabits his characters' quirks and physical dynamics is just what many leading gentlemen and ladies UTTERLY FAIL TO DO, despite their matinee idol façades.

While browsing his bio on IMDB, I read that he's an accomplished pianist. Of course he is. He got a degree in anthropology from Cambridge? I might have guessed. He had the good sense to date Emma Thompson? I'd expect nothing less. I have no doubt that he is bright and it is VERY HARD for me to think anyone famous, much less an ACTOR has two neurons to rub together. He, on the other hand, exudes smarts like his facial scruff on House and the man hasn't MET a razor he can't shun in that show. If you've got a broadband connection, check this video out, and you'll see what I mean about the brains and the funny. Jay Leno can't keep up with the kid-chauffeuring, British-psyche-dissecting, disarmingly-humble genius of the man. WHY CAN'T HE BE FUNNY AND CRANKY AT FAMILY CHRISTMAS, huh?

Looking at his projects it's clear he doesn't give a hill of pinto beans about prestige. Stuart Little 3? Please, they don't hand out Oscars for that stuff. So here's to a man who deserves the Fame and Fortune of an Emmy Nomination AND WAY MORE, but is happy to amuse by writing this: "Bertie is leaving in a huff: '"Tinkerty tonk," I said, and I meant it to sting.' I ask you: how is one to do justice of even the roughest sort to a line like that? How can any human actor, with his clumsily attached ears, and his irritating voice, and his completely misguided hair, hope to deliver a line as pure as that? It cannot be done." Go read the rest of the article he wrote about Wodehouse and the show based on his books and you will have no choice but to join in the outcry for MORE HUGH LAURIE!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


While K and I watched the season premiere of House last night (there is a LONG overdue post on Hugh Laurie and his Rampant Awesomeness - RAINCHECK), we caught a spot for Arrested Development. Like raving groupies, we held our breath while it played and then jumped and screamed for five minutes straight.

Okay, only I jumped around the living room. But let's be fair, Hubster flopped around the sofa, so he's just as much of a dork.

Remember: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH, 8/7c.

T-Bone: Welcome to Bluth Bananas, where bananas are our business. May I interest you in a banana this day?
Michael: T-Bone, what are you doing here?
T-Bone: Oh, your dad gave me this job.
Narrator: Michael realized that his father had even taken control of the banana stand. But he still had some unanswered questions, so he did a little detective work.
Michael: You burn down the storage unit?
T-Bone: Oh, most definitely.

Founding Fathers Love the Vanilla!

Gastronomes are notorious for tediously discussing food as much as for actually eating it. If you find yourself in that (illustrious) category, follow the link below to read about a spice we all take for granted. Up to five year's worth of cultivation? No wonder it's such a delight.

The White Stuff - How Vanilla Became Shorthand For Bland.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My birthday post at last. I know, you've been DYING to read it.

What in the name of Catnip IS THIS? AND WHY IS IT ON ME? . . . Oh, they are so gonna pay . . .

I awoke at 8:30 to hear the strains of K carrying a FULL breakfast tray into the room while singing "Happy Birthday." He woke up at like 6 and went shopping for honeydew melon and peaches and snagged some orange Gerbera daisies just pour moi. Oh, yum. Also on my birthday tray was my family's package for me including pretty new make-up! Yay for moms who sell Mary Kay!

We read a while and enjoyed a leisurely morning. At lunch K gave me the second gift he'd intercepted at the mailbox (much better luck than he had before!) M-lo's card was hilarious, as promised, and her chocolate-covered espresso beans? DIVINE! I have to keep them out of the room before I eat EVERY LAST BEAN and jitter my way to cardiac arrest and NO 24TH BIRTHDAY. *sigh* Speaking of food gifts, the day before I received a GIANT Harry & David basket from the office crew. It was full of chips, various spicy/exotic salsas and some yummy chocolates. *sniff* They know me so well . ..

After lunch we ran some errands, having neglected earlier to get a gift for Persephone who also had a birthday that day. We got her days away from my Half Birthday and were told she was six months old at the time. Naturally, I HAD to make her birthday the same as mine. We found some catnip-laden faux mice at the pet store and returned to play with Kitten Little, who is no longer technically a kitten now that she's one whole year old!

She couldn't make me happier if she sang the birthday song while waxing ferocious!

She was, as you can see, ridiculously fun to have around. When she wasn't trying to wrench the ribbon off her body, she was loopily chasing those mice. Cats on hallucinogens - awesome! We also gave her wet catfood for dinner which SHE LOVES. We usually save it for when she's sat through her manicures, but it was a special occasion so the princess got what she wanted.

I am 1 now, hear me roar!

When dinner time rolled around, K announced that he wanted to give me my gift before we left. I was going to draw this out, but I can't even contain myself VIA THE INTERNET, so I'll tell you: he gave me a pearl necklace and bracelet. Genuine, hand-picked by his savvy uncle and strung in China. YEAH, I KNOW. EEEEEKK! They are very white in tone and they are just magnificent. Of course now I realize I have like two things I can wear with them, but who cares? They'll be lovely with a lifetime's worth of wardrobes. And beyond, really. On my wedding day, I wore a string of pearls my grandfather gave me grandmother on their wedding day and my mother wore them on her big day, too. I might end up with two sets eventually. Oh, the decadence!

Once I changed my outfit to match my jewelry (man, I LOVE it when I get to say that) we tried to hit up PF Chang's for some cheap, scrumptious food but they had a wait time that of well over an hour. We should have known better since it's right by the mall on a Saturday night - DUH. Instead, we slummed it at Olive Garden and enjoyed our pasta dishes. They did the dumb "Bring you Cake and Sing Embarrassingly" thing, but I got chocolate cake with a candle in it. My chocolate-drenched neurons did NOT mind.

I got calls throughout the day from the families, and some close friends. One of them forgot the exact day, but decided to call that day and VOILA, her subconscious redeemed her. The USPS was tardy delivering the in-laws card FOR NO APPARENT REASON, and they felt bad, but it brightened my day when I opened it yesterday even more. Thanks to K (for out-doing the HECK out of himself), my family, K's family, and all of you darling folk who thought of me. I hope I continue to love birthdays. Adults are always saying that I will learn to loathe birthdays because I'll be getting old, but I like to think the thoughtfulness and love of so many people showered on me year after year should keep me wanting MORE BIRTHDAYS, DARN IT!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Pardon me whilst I lose my mind.

I promised the families an update on my birthday and the weekend in general, but I can't write currently because an Infiniti in the parking lot has a loud alarm. Which is going off for a minute every three minutes. 10 feet away from my window. AAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!

Let's be glad I don't have a baseball bat.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Pro and COME ON!! - Adulthood

1. I get to pick out my own clothes, toys, activities, acquaintainces, furniture, and desserts. (+5)
2. If I don't want to go to a museum on my vacation I DON'T HAVE TO. Boo. yah. (+2)
3. I have cultivated my mind more than I could at younger ages and thus know enough to carry on conversations without resorting to Disney movies and favorite school subjects every single time there's a lull. (+1)
4. I get to make money when I work (oh, and accruing allowance for chores - SO NOT THE SAME THING, DAD!) I also accrue vacation days now and I can use them! Shamelessly! (+2)

1. I have to pick out my own clothes, toys, activities, acquaintances, furniture, and desserts (or lack thereof, mostly). (-1)
2. I have to pay for all those things above. (-5)
3. More often than not conversations do not plumb the depths of my knowledge but center around the weather, what my cat just did, and whether or not I need a vacation. If I happen to find myself in serious conversation, I often chicken out of stating my opinions or find that (gasp) I have sucky ones. (-1)
4. I have to work a LOT more to accrue money than I did for my allowance. (EVEN THOUGH I STILL DID WAY MORE THAN MY BROTHERS TO EARN MY ALLOWANCE, MOM!)(-2)

Final Score: 1 out of 10 - So being a grown-up? COME ON!!!!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Listing Wednesday

In honor if the past-half-way mark, a listing of happy things.

1. Percy sat on my lap during my lunch while I read a book. She purred like a diesel engine with $2/gallon fuel and no cares in the world. (Too painful a reference to be funny? Can't say that I blame you. ;)

2. I tackled the Beast1500 project this morning for work and I'm getting somewhere. Sorta. I'm making more headway than usual. Yay for not sucking it up at my job!

3. Magnatune Classical is delicious. I heard a Bach cello suite today that was so beautiful. As much as his music can all sound the same to me after a while, I have to admit Bach had it going on. I might have to invest in some of that scrumptrulescence, but until then, there's always listening to it for free on the Magnatune website. Sweet cello-y goodness!

4. Numbers left on my Birthday Countdown? 3, 2, and 1. I don't actually have a countdown. I should make one next year.

5. My gamble on some new yoga tapes was a good decision. They've been kicking my butt up and down my mat, which isn't very long but the power with which they are kicking my butt MORE than makes up for the shortness of the mat. Yay for being sore. And then OUCH because I raised my arm for emphasis. MUST. CEASE. UNNECESSARY. MOVEMENT.

6. Happy moments shared with K tormenting the cat, talking seriously, eating, cracking jokes, and drifting off to sleep. I have to note these things now because I'm sure there'll be a time when we're so busy I forget we ever did these things and could actually relish them as we should.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Tuning My Conscience

If you've watched even one hour of the endless stream of news about the hurricane's aftermath, you're probably raw from the emotion or maybe the unfathomable nature of that calamity in our "untouchable" homeland has made you numb to it. This is usually not the time to heap another catastrophe on your heart's radar, but trust me, it's worth it for this one.

Saturday afternoon, K & I went to see The Constant Gardener. It's set in present-day Kenya where a British diplomat finds his wife murdered and wonders exactly what happened to her and why. The story is fictional, but many of the travails of everyday life for Africans are accurately depicted and they are . . . well, I held back sobs in the movie theatre.

It's beautifully-shot, well-acted, gripping, aggrieving, convicting. The editing could have been a bit less frenetic, in my opinion, but it was a magnificent film with a dramatic and terrible center - "man is a wolf to man," goes the Latin saying. It's not for the feint of heart (some on-screen violence, discussion of violence, fleetingly-glimpsed nudity), but it is worth seeing. The stark scenery is beautiful. The people of Africa are so lovely in their richly-colored clothes and their radiant smiles. The pain is so subtly, brilliantly depicted that it really gets past your defenses.

One reviewer called it "a thriller with something on its mind." Believe me, you'll walk out of that theatre with something on your mind, too. As another reviewer said, "Will most of western society continue to ignore the plight of one-seventh of the world’s population? Probably, but no one who has seen The Constant Gardener will sleep quite as easily."

Friday, September 02, 2005

Bless you, Friday. Bless you.

Nothing is going on right now, so I guess I'll just show you what made my laugh today. Basically, Filosofia y Flores can now be considered a McSweeney's Internet Tendency Digest. There are worse fates!

Totalitarian Institutions That Would Have Been More Fitting for George Orwell's 1984, Considering How That Year Turned Out.

The Mall's Banana Republics for the New Millennium.

Things That, If Knowing Were Half The Battle, Might Be The Other Half.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Inner Child? I'm always like this!

Because I had such a rough time night before last, I took a "Mental Health Day," yesterday, and I used up some comp time I had from conferences. Something like once a year growing up, Mom would announce a day in which we were too healthy to go to school, to parody a parody, and so we spent the day playing and reveling in our truancy. It was every bit as enjoyable yesterday as it was back then, and let me tell you friends, there are not many things from childhood of which that can be said. I mean, I liked playing with Barbies as much as the next girl-who-bowed-to-patriarchal-pressure, but I'm not lining up at KB Toys for their latest incarnation. (No offense to Barbie-doll collectors. Or kids.) Anyhow, after a leisurely breakfast, some yerba mate, a little read, and some surfing of the web, I was most happy. Time well spent. Plus I had a feeling that I wasn't going to be able to keep that comp time after the year was up, so I might was well burn it now, baby!

ATTENTION: DID YOU SEE THE DATE ABOVE THIS POST - that's right, Smarty McGeniuspants, it's September, the month in which my birthday is celebrated. I've been on pins and needles about just WHAT the ole Hubster was going to get me since Saturday. We were on our way out the door and I decided to check the mail. We had a package, so I was geeked. "Let's open it right now!" I implored as we continued our trek toward Hermano (our vehicle's name, it's an Arrested Development reference). K was reticent, saying we would have to "leave it in the car and that would be bad, and why don't I just take it in the house now?" I am undeterred, after all it is one of my Life Principles to open all packages ASAP, I'LL USE MY TEETH IF I HAVE TO! He remains firm and begins walking with it back to the apartment. I become rude and combative, declaring that he is no fun and WAAAA! He returns, buckles up and starts the vehicle. I am obstinate, asking him why he could ignore my express wish when the package is small and could be stowed out of sight and WHY ARE YOU SUCH A MEANY?!? (Pause, sigh of resignation) He says, "It's for your birthday and I wanted to surprise you. You can't open it."

At this point I am befuddled. "Well then why didn't you just chant loudly and repeatedly, 'It's something for your birthday and you can't open it!' You're supposed to tease me relentlessly the moment it arrives. Heck, you've already forfeited the time since you ordered it, what are you waiting for, man?"

The befuddled look on his face alerts me that this is one of those He Was Raised in the Wrong Family things. Don't get me wrong, his family is fantastic, but they don't do things like my family so their customs are wrong, just all wrong. I mean, isn't taunting people about birthday gifts the only way to demonstrate that you deeply love them and are looking ahead to their enjoyment of your thoughtful gift, while simultaneously squeezing some joy out of your expense by torturing them until it's theirs to keep? This is self-evident, friends. Yet K was raised in a family that believes in the Total Surprise. According to the rule of the Total Surprise Birthday, his screen should now be flashing GAME OVER. Silly Hubster - birthdays are for taunting!