28 September 2007

Explaining Myself (now on Youtube)

Why haven't I been blogging?

The link to the answer is below, but I warn you: precisely one of our readers is going to be at all interested in this.

26 September 2007

my sisters' sister

in the on-going purchasing spree that is our recent lives (we can quit at any time), we have acquired a tiny but lovely digital video camera. it is our first. one of my relatives offered to buy me one several years ago as a gift and I weighed it and decided I'd rather have a high end still camera than a video one. but now times are different. there's the youtube kids keep talking about. and video reviews on Amazon. so it seems 'normal' to own and use a video camera. plus, frankly, there's iMovie and so it seems silly not to be using this free software.

but it is weird. very weird. we were testing the thing (filming the dog, of course--what else would we film?) and I was on the tape for a bit. (tape. ha! what's that, gramps?)

it was like watching my sister. except not. and which one I'm not sure. sort of like watching the sister of my sisters. someone not me. very very weird.

and it made me reflect that the shift from family snaps to family clips is not far off. that the old home movies which somehow because of technological hurdles and all the rest never quite made it into my normal life--they are now inching their way in. it will be odd to hear my younger relatives talking in amazement about the fact that we 'lived without' digital video snaps of our family, blood and not. how do you know what they really look like if all you have is some lame-o still analog photograph, great-great-aunt tekne? oh wait, that's probably not what they'll call me.

but it's a good thing to know that seeing myself is also seeing my sisters in face and mannerism and bearing. weird. but also good.

23 September 2007

up a creek

we are very excited about the new member of our furniture family: the concept 2 rower. yes, we finally made the shift from the £8 (delivered) boot sale stationary bike to, well, the machine to end all machines. I'm still startled when I walk by the room. the thing is this huge alien creature akin to some large extended insect (preying mantis?) squatting in our 3rd bedroom-cum-walk-in-closet. quite a change from our old set up:

the workout is great, and it's exciting (I know--I'm a geek) to figure out a new technique, having never rowed before in my life. after rowing sans instruction once (of course), we watched the little video hosted by the Australian 4-man olympic rowing team, realised we were doing nigh everything wrong, tried again, and it's pretty durn cool. the computer is a full-on computer. does more than my Apple IIe did (not to dis my IIe. That was an amazing machine. and to be fair, the rower can't print out banners on a dot-matrix printer with PrintShop, nor can it organise your life through Hypercard. ah nostalgia.) but it can track all my rows, tell me the force of my strokes, how fast I'm going, what my 'split times' are (yes, new vocab part of the attraction!), show me rowing with a 'pace boat' next to me, allow me to row in competition with others on-line by uploading my results, and a whole lot of other things. I plan to be super-buff in next to no time.

18 September 2007

Mad Men 2

One of the funny moments in the early episodes of MM is a scene in which two characters share their lunch, but spend it touring the office. What's great about it is that the office is deserted--they are the only ones around, everything is quiet, and it is pointed out as an oddity that one of the middle-management people with an office has 'stayed in' during the lunch hour.

I'm in my office now--it's 5:20. I'm here because I have Welsh class starting in a few minutes. There's no one around. no one, except me and the cleaning staff. deserted. it's Tuesday. I think this is pretty damn awesome. Now if I can only train my co-workers to do the same at lunch...hm. and then there's the constant whisky drinking...

17 September 2007

Mad Men

with the lull before the autumn season premieres (FNL is, I think, the only show I'm actually waiting for...) we are re-watching Deadwood season one which is completely and utterly amazing. I believe this is the third time we've watched these episodes but I still can't get over how goddamn good the show is--like the doctor explaining to the preacher that he should get some 'goddamn' rest--all done with this amazing understanding and respect:
Doc: All right. (jabbing the Rev in the chest) You listen to me now, Reverend. You are goddamn exhausted and you give yourself no respite. And your seizures may owe somethin’ to that, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if you had a lesion in your goddamn head…(Jane looks on, eyes filling)…and that’s what’s giving you the seizures and generating your chats with the goddamn divinity. No goddamn offense intended.
Rev: None taken, sir.
Doc: Now, get outta here and get yerself some rest.
Jane: Go on, Reverend. (Doc straightens up.) Doc’s tired too, only reason he’s talkin’ so fuckin’ harsh.
(The Rev mulls on this for a moment, then looks up at Doc.)
Rev: Could not the lesion be the instrument of God’s instructive intention, doctor, if I am so afflicted?
Doc: Well, of *course* it could, his ways not bein’ ours and so forth. But could he not, Reverend, be sayin', just once, you gettin’ outta here and gettin’ yerself some goddamn rest?

Oh how the text on the page is insufficient.

But wait--this post is about Mad Men!
Yes, we've discovered (hello, people out there--where were you when this show started mid-summer to tell us about it!) Mad Men on AMC--yes, AMC. I know! crazy. But there it is. It's a show about ad execs in 1960s Manhattan--the early 60s, back when patriarchy had some bite and wasn't all subtle. Back when everyone smoked all the time. Back when they made the caesar salad at your table. We're two episodes in. it's extremely well written, the acting is all amazing (includes, by former character played: Angel's son, Mrs. Reynolds, Bartlett's daughter, Gabbi's politician husband, and several others...)

It's available on iTunes for download. We've committed: season pass. I imagine this only means one thing: it'll be cancelled next season. But we live in hope.

14 September 2007

it's about the love

our friends over at OaO, specifically mtg, seek the love in their television viewing, and desire (if I may be so bold as to articulate said desire on their behalf) entertainment that demonstrates why it is, in the end, that human beings interact in the first place--what the payoff is for living with/amongst fellow beings, and the good bits of that (not necessarily the happy bits--the good bits). The love. even in shows that 'fro' and I find to be full of the love, like, say, Deadwood, do not fit this criteria because of the nasty ickyness they also display in order to, in my mind, show you the love that much more clearly, that much more fully. The love, for example, between Swearingen, the bar owner and town boss, and Trixie, his lead whore. some things are difficult to see, but once seen are the more powerful for having seen them. But I digress. the love, in its more unadulterated form, can be found in Friday Night Lights, which, and I cannot emphasise this enough, is both entirely about football and not at all in any way about football. it is about the love. I say this now because Heather Havrilevsky over at Salon has given FNL the annual 'Buffy' award for the most underappreciated show on television. Link (subscription or short ad to watch first)
this is in large part because of the love:
But what's impossible to express, what can only be experienced by watching a handful of episodes, is that "Friday Night Lights" has so much heart and sweetness, so much love for normal people with big dreams, that it has the power to give you a lump in your throat every single week.

go netflix/buy season 1 and then watch season 2 starting 5 October. in hopes that there might be more of the love.

12 September 2007

bombs: now environmentally friendly!

Unlike a nuclear weapon, the bomb doesn't hurt the environment, he added.

This from an AP story about the 'dad of all bombs' (outdoing through patriarchal gender norms the US's 'mother of all bombs') that Russia tested at an undisclosed time in the recent past.

'Full' story here.

It's not nuclear, but it destroys kinda a lot like nuclear but it's not bad for the environment! well, except for the bomb part of the bomb. that might, you know, destroy some stuff. but see how much better than before!

I love that the save-the-environment rhetoric works for bomb making. and what better combo than patriarchy + environment to make your point? can't think of one.

09 September 2007

new walk

It has not rained in Swansea in two weeks. in fact, it's been mostly beautiful the entire time since I returned from London--a bit overcast in the morning and then clearing up to gorgeous sun in the afternoon. Not too hot, clear fresh air, lovely. Luke and I have developed a new walk in celebration of the weather. we had discovered the path earlier but that time it had rained (a lot) and thus is was more of a slog through mud than a walk per se. without the water it is a lovely walk. and I can report two things: 1. it is blackberry season. lots of berries hanging from spiky viney things into the path. this is fun. it's like an instant, on-demand snack. how cool is that? 2. people litter. this is odd to me. wonderful walky blackberryness and you drop your litter on the path? wha? and what possessed you to be drinking a Lucozade orange drink in the first place? or eating a monster bag of M&Ms while walking, when blackberries are right there, and if you eat them fast enough they too melt in your mouth and not on your hands? sometimes, i imagine, one accidentally drops things. this happens. but how about picking things up? less accidental. more planning involved there. so Luke and I do. two or three things. and the poop of course.

PS: where do horses get off not picking up, when dogs can be fined? what's that about? and the former's droppings are, well, quite a bit larger than the latter's. not cool.

PPS: how cool is it that I have a path with horses on it 3 blocks from my house? too cool.

06 September 2007


'is the only wine that may be served with any course and at all times during the meal'.* Hear hear.

I have this week received a cheque (stoked!) for £300ish from Oxford University Press (woo woo!) in payment for writing four entries in the forthcoming Encyclopedia of the Modern World. This included the aforeblogged entry 'Art--Overview' in which I cover the entirety of Art for the World since 1750 in 2000 words.

And on some old advice from a dear friend, I'm thinking that rather than deposit it and add it to the ol' bank balance, for it to disappear and meld together with other pluses and minuses, I should instead buy something cool. but what to buy?

Option A: Art (appropriate). Could buy a print from a Pakistani artist I met here in Swansea last year.
Option B: Rug. always love the rugs. sort of wish for my house to look like those orientalist tents in 1920s-50s Arabian-set films, piled with carpets.
Option C: comfy reading chair for the upstairs 'library' currently unpopulated with furniture of use.
Option D: rockstar leather trousers (this was what aforementioned friend suggested back when, and it is still on the table)
Option E: New iPod Touch. Because you know you want one. with exchange rates I could buy two. Hm. who would want the other one though? I can't think of anyone. huh.
Option F: trip to ?? for weekend.

Thoughts? I can report back on my capitalist indulgence. Until then I can drink champagne throughout the meal. huzzah.

*from: Old Mr. Boston Deluxe Official Bartender's Guide, compiled and edited for Old Mr. Boston by Leo Cotton in Collaboration with Old Time Boston Bartenders. Boston: Mr. Boston Distiller, Inc., 1955 (original printing 1935). For more click here...

01 September 2007


my expectation is that spiders come into the house after the summer, as the season changes into fall and then into winter. it seems Britain's lack of a summer has confused said 8-legged friends and thus there are many of them inside the house as I type. but is it a bad sign that there's one that's set up shop across the shower/bath? is the universe telling me I should bathe more often? hm. once a week whether ya need it or not.