shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


it's the equivalent of tiptoe

And yet again, not a real post but a little short thingie to prove I'm alive.

Got another wonderful birthday package filled with much goodness and the best mix CD ever and the best stationary ever and lots and lot o' great books and a cool necklace I've already been wearing... Yay! And fitting to get what will likely be (though there is no penalty for later) my last pressie of the year on the last day of Gwendagras, the day of fare-the-well, see ya next year, that was fun.

And now I'm afraid I must sleep. Perchance to.. sleep. I really just need the sleep at this point.

"Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" is just as great as everyone says it is.

Lemon cake is yummy.

One of those stories about the old folks' home for the movie bidness that surfaces every once and a bit, but a good one at that.

And to answer the ubiquitous question: have you finished the YA novel?

Well, I'm going to give the same answer I would have a month ago and it's no less accurate. No, but it'll be done soon. Really. I tend to work in really productive spurts that then segue into a few weeks (and occasionally longer) of denying that something exists and then I'll work work work and finish it. It seems to be an okay process, tracing the spotty terrain of my mental ability.

We'll see. But soon.

And now, sleep. You can have my dreams.



Transfering e-dress book over to new email address. Makes you wonder what happened to all those people you lost along the way.



encouragement from the tribal elders

So, my grandmother is available for rent to help spur you on in your quest to live out your dreams.

But, you say, how do I know she's good at this? How do I know it's a solid investment?

Well, I say, I'll just share a little excerpt from the belated birthday card I just received in the mail today, written on the inside cover:

You two may be dead before you realize that you have written an important Book. I hope not. You have a lot of competition.

I might add that "Book" is underlined twice for emphasis.

So, you see? Act now and let someone besides the voice in your head undermine your dreams.

(Note: Actual criticism from grandmother may not be available to all users.)


little big news little big news little big news

(Feeling a bit John Crowley-esque for a moment there.)

So, this is probably nothing that will come of anything, but I am highly jump-up-and-downy because I made the first cut of the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. Which for those of you who don't reside in the world of that, it's the best run, most prestigious competition for scripts. Quarterfinals this year means one of 320 scripts that survived from over 6,000 -- so I'm pretty psyched, whether I go any further or not.


And good night.


it's oh so quiet

And I'm way too tired to make a post. New email address as noted on this page if you need it.

Lance won. And by the end of the Tour, I was rooting for him. And, can I just say how awesome it is to really be excited by a sport again? Happy sigh.

Busy weekend. Mountains of laundry, pretty postcards, shoe sales where I got awesome angel clog shoes, and art openings and wine and blessed sleep, sleep, sleep.



greetings from the land of sunshine and wagging tails

My day today consisted of me talking and talking and talking for six hours (the technical term may be teaching), but owing to the slight cough I've had every since the weather went weird I now have practically no voice. And the sun is shining brightly. A girl obviously has no choice but to sit out in the backyard reading and drinking for the rest of the afternoon, right? Especially since Mr. Rowe just called me and said he was being short with everyone today and he sounded very tired.

There's a park a little ways from our house (actually, there are three--make that four) and it has bronze statues of horses racing in front of a big fountain. It also has these cool walkways lined with plaques about people with all sorts of interesting, weird, cool facties on them. We rode our cruisers down there last night, after watching Tyler dominate the race first of course, and I rode on the crinkly cobbledy part. It was very exciting. Later, I jumped a curb.

If we weren't taking it easy tonight, we would go see a new band with some of the Apples in Stereo guys in it just a block away. If. But they play around a lot, so maybe next time.

Of course, that's bad karma right there -- especially when we are busily doing as much promotion as we can for the Trampoline reading in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, lots of people will come anyway. It's good karma to come. Really, people, really good karma.

There was something else.. Oh yes, birthdays I've forgotten. In the move, I lost my birthday calendar, which is sad and must be reconstructed. Happy birthday, Mr. Zakbar, belatedly! I feel your trainer woe.

And anyone else whose birthday is near past or near future that I've missed, I know it is but have lost the date. Send it to me in email. But wait a couple of days because my email address is changing. More on that to come. In email.

I believe I have nothing interesting to say and so will stop now.

OH OH OH, one last thing: yes, I got the birthday package and it was filled with graphic novelly goodness that I didn't have and we are now fighting over the contents as to who gets to read which ones first EVEN THOUGH it's my birthday present. Go figure. Thank you muchly, muchly.


a little something to guard the night and the race

Catch a Little Rhyme

by Eve Merriam

Once upon a time
I caught a little rhyme

I set it on the floor
but it ran right out the door

I chased it on my bicycle
but it melted to an icicle

I scooped it up in my hat
but it turned into a cat

I caught it by the tail
but it stretched into a whale

I followed it in a boat
but it changed into a goat

When I fed it tin and paper
it became a tall skyscraper

Then it grew into a kite
and flew far out of sight...


william saroyan said it was cool so kiss my grits

Not much tonight and it occurs to me that the only really big news (besides the Tour, of course) is that I am the proud owner of a new bicycle and Christopher is the proud owner of his third bicycle. They are single-speed cruisers, with cool chrome fenders and big cushy seats and I've been told I can have a bell! Yay!

It is like flying and being that age it was great being riding them with the wind doing its dance. Like living out my childhood fantasy of being able to honestly ride wherever I like, even on the ROAD, and no one will start crying or get out the sedan and troll slowly the streets until they see me.

It rocks.

So, we've been riding bicycles. And working. And getting too little sleep. And watching the damn exciting bicycle race. The usual.

Meanwhile, seventy sextillion stars. Sextillion. Seventy. Go figure.

And you can't have Orson Welles' Oscar for Citizen Kane.

And I got an awesome birthday package with the most beautiful neclace ever in it. And a punching Amish guy to fight with punching Mr. T.

Who'd you put your money on? Crazy Vietnam vet with an afro and packing 300 pounds of faux gold or guy wearing long underwear and overalls FOREVER?


well, it's time to go...

I never expected to have to spend more than the spare week here or there proclaiming the blissful sanctity of the weekend. But, there you go.

Not much tonight, as I am tired and a little blurry. The book creeps, creeps, fucking crawls, on toward its ends. Wrote a few thousand words this week and reread the first 60 or so pages, which held together with where I am now more than I expected and did not plunge me into the anticipated depression and distraction. I'll be glad when the first draft is through, though I'm equally glad the writing has paced out as such. If that makes any sense at all.

it sounds like there may well be an outstanding album of classical arrangements of Radiohead songs out there somewhere. I will report back if such is true.

Our president is a liar. This is not news.

Subscribe to one-story, even if by now you'll have to write and ask them to send you the Alan DeNiro issue. (Though the latest one is nice.) Read "Dust." Watch live-action episodes of The Tick with Joe and marvel at how much better it was than you thought at the time.

Read Edna St. Vincent Millay before bed. Dream good dreams.


stalking the elusive zzzzzzzz's

I will never learn that the absolute worst thing you can do when you haven't been getting enough sleep is take a two hour nap in the late afternoon. Now, I'll once again get not enough sleep tonight. But damn it, I'm going to try anyway.

George is snoring, after all. Maybe it's contagious.

Because today was a slow descent into Marseilles day (but still, damn fine scenery) in the race, just one article on the Tour and this one's for you nonbelievers.

And, the Washington Post gets down and dirty with what will beat the Bushies out of office. (knocking on every kind of wood in the world on that statement) Just one day's news? Sure, but it's the beginning of the downward ooze. "Darn good" intelligence? Banging. Head. On. Desk.

And, just so we can have some intelligent life to recover after that, a heads up to a wonderful interview with Jon Stewart and Bill Moyer, in which Stewart diagnoses everything that's wrong with the news. (Nod of thanks in Canada's general direction.)

And that's it. I'm reading "Dust" by Arthur Slade which is creepy and changes every time I think I know what it is. Very good.

And good night.


quick tool around the block

Not much time, as it is morning and there's never time in the morning.

But thank you to all those who wrote or posted or emailed me with birthday wishes. Much appreciated. And it was a good birthday, a very good birthday.

Go see Pirates of the Caribbean and thank me later. It's wonderful.


news on the radio, sirens far away

Christopher has outdone himself this year, with another wonderful, wonderful birthday present -- my favorite ever. Go read his birthday story (first of the Sycamore Hill short shorts) on the Infinite Matrix. I love this story! Yay!

Now to a police auction. Yay!


twinkle, twinkle, little raindrop

My head is tired tonight. Too tired to write or yammer much, which means blissfully short and inoffensive for you. The only bicycling thing I'm going to say today is, if you want to be reminded of the humanity in sports go read Tyler Hamilton's journal entry about the past few days. (For those not playing at home, this is He of the Broken Collar Bone and Iron Resolve.) And have I mentioned Devil Guy? Who hangs out at the 21 km mark or thereabouts every day? Devil Guy rocks.

Okay, the following is one of the more interesting classified ads I've seen lately in our little alterna-weekly, so I'm posting it up here for your edification, amusement and, potentially, action:

ANTIQUE CAST IRON bed frame. Also available. 100 pairs of shoes. Brand new. Make an offer. 859/608-2473.

Supply your own story. (I find it interesting that the size(s) of these shoes are unspecified.)

I believe that is all, except there's been a bunch of interesting science articles I haven't linked to this week, so go check out the Nature home page and New Scientist. The Bill Bryson book and the Orson Welles bio by Thompson make interesting contrasting reading.



'alez,' dale evans said to her trusty steed, 'alez, alez!'

So, I have to admit I've actually been watching the Tour. And compulsively checking the news about it.

He's won.

But, really, it's pretty damn exciting. I think I finally get it. But I've had one glass too much wine to explain it tonight. And by tomorrow I may be an acolyte, so don't count on not having to figure it out all by your lonesome. But -- it's an exciting and a pretty fucking cool sport, different in all sorts of ways and this race (there were cheering little people on the sidelines just now!) is awesome.

Okay. I wouldn't normally post this here, I'd post it to the girls (you know who you are) but the nerve of that Hulk. Or as someone wiser and wittier than me said in a moment of clarity, "Maybe we would like him when he's angry."

Now, back to the bicycles, an excerpt from the fabulous Jambon report from Crazy Jane at the Daily Peloton, just in case you thought I was exaggerating the girliness:

The Gorillas - "George and Eki today? Like Machines!" was Lance's comment after today's TTT. As the race heats up, I have a feeling we will be seeing more and more of these incredibly strong, incredibly professional, and unbelievably good looking total bike racing studs. Or, is that a "chicken or egg" type question? Do we see more of them when the race heats up, or does the race heat up because we are seeing more of them? Have I gone too far with that? I'm sorry, but it must be said, and it must be said repeatedly: those two are hot.

I must defend here, that Jane actually does seem to know an awful lot about bicycling. And however sexist this is, I think it's hilarious. I'm a big fan of any balls out unsubjective coverage, especially in sports. I wish all sports had funny, tongue-in-cheek coverage like this. Read. The. Jambon reports. There's one on the way about their "kits" ala oufits.

The US Postal team kicked ass today by the way, and Tyler Hamilton's team is still respectable even though he has a broken collar bone. Broken in two places. Wow.

That's about it for tonight because I have to go to chat now with my workshop but two more things:

My first birthday presents from afar arrived today and made me happy beyond Orson Welles' most exotic dreams.

And, if you've seen a stray blimp, these guys'll give you $500 smackeroos, but if you can snag the sucker owning a blimp might be worth more.

Good night all.


smoke in the laundry

(That title is much, much funnier if you say it in your head to the tune of "Smoke on the Water" -- I apologize, but it made me laugh.)

Short, as the erranding and clean-clothesing and hospital time were long and now it is time to lay me down to sleep. Christopher is desperately watching the bicycle race (which was pretty freaking interesting today, I have to say). Tyler Hamilton is still riding with the broken collarbone and his masseuse says he may stay in the race because the pain will lessen in two or three days. Ohhhkay. A French guy won the yellow jersey today -- not to mention a French guy who Lance Armstrong has been feuding with the team of -- and it was a really big deal because that hasn't happened in forever. And the team the guy belonged to was a scandal anyway, because a lot of people felt like they were only allowed in the race because they were French. Anyway, you really should be reading the completely charming and girly reports (including who the reporter is crushing on at any particular stage) at Daily Peloton called the Jambon report. If you can't find it look around on the Tour's main page off that one. It's worth it. So snarky and witty. I love it.

Really, it's me. He's downstairs watching the race. I swear.

Is this kid going to get a dozen trillion job offers or what? Seriously, having your dissertation project classified is not the worst thing that can happen to you. They could have just killed him already.

Um, that's it. The Bryson is lovely and full of the kinds of fascinating and funny details you want it to be.

Now, good night, since I still have to finish this damn novel by Saturday.


life is forever being life

An unprecedented number of entries today, including our Tour update from the slightly obsessed but highly entertaining Mr. Rowe. I have to admit, the bicycle racing, it grows on you. There are lots of those choking up, oh my god this is someone's whole life's work, oh my god did you see that, oh my god look at his face he's in so much pain moments. Of course, it's better if there's someone nearby to explain to you when those moments are and what they mean. Something anyone can enjoy about the Tour are the fucking insane fans lining the streets and the unbelievable shiny motorcade stretching on to infinity behind the peleton (main pack of bikers) and the things spelled out giant-size for the helicopters to catch at break-time. Such as grass mowed to spell a giant "100 Years of the Tour de France" (in French, of course) or, last year, people's tiny, slanty Euro-cars spelling out Tour de France. There are people in costumes more appropriate for Mardi Gras.

Anyway, this wasn't even what I was going to write about.

Lots to think about today. My Grandmother Summers came out her surgery fine, though she's in a good deal of pain now and raving through the morphine even. My Grandmother Bond regaled me with stories about the fine art of late-in-life dating (she was positively glowing and is amazingly coy and studied about the whole business) while we waited together in the hospital room. The ghost of my Grandpa Summers felt very near the whole day.

And then, of course, skimming through the headlines, there's this, which always makes me sad. It takes me back to being 13 and having my brother kidnapped in a similar situation, that I won't say too much more about because I still don't feel exactly safe talking about that on the internet. It's easy to forget that whatever goes out here, anyone can see. I'm just glad it was stopped before anyone got hurt.

Anyway, anyway, anyway...

Alez, alez, alez!

We went out and had wine and beer and dinner at our local dive/good pub and Japanese food bar because despite all this, and despite the more subdued celebration and despite the fact that this is the first mention:

It's Gwenda-gras. The annual lead up that refuses to culminate in a sucky birthday on the day of me and Julius Caesar and Thoreau and Tod Browning.

Have a margarita on me, lots of salt and try to stop thinking so much.

What You Should Be Doing Right Now

Greetings, people of the blogosphere. This is Christopher, aka The Imaginary Boyfriend, temporarily hijacking Shaken & Stirred to bring you an important announcement.

It has come to my attention that many people of our acquaintance are not following the Tour de France minute by minute. I understand that some of you have jobs and that some of you are intimidated by the complexities of multi-stage road bicycle racing--the greatest sport ever devised by humankind.

So, with that in mind, I'm going to take a few minutes to provide some links for your edification and delight.

First, if you're lucky enough to have what I lovingly refer to as Channel 108, then you of course should be watching the extensive television coverage provided by The Outdoor Life Network. The finest sports commentator produced by modern media, Mr. Phil Liggett, is providing the color commentary. Coverage of the last two hours of each day's stage begins at 9:00 am Eastern with repeats at 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm.

If, like me, you are working on forklift papers all day and don't get to watch the live coverage, you can get up to the minute updates at Cycling News, VeloNews, and The Daily Peloton. My own preference is for Cycling News' coverage, but all of these sites are to be commended for the fine work they're doing.

Now, if you're new to the sport (Welcome!), then you'll probably also be interested in checking in with the man from Texas every day as well. There's good coverage there, and some good introductory material.

The biggest news so far is the terrible crash that occurred in the final three hundred meters of Stage One yesterday afternoon. American standouts Tyler Hamilton and Levi Leipheimmer were among those most badly injured. Levi is out of the race, but the hard man from Marblehead is racing on, despite having a left clavicle fractured in TWO PLACES. Vive Tyler!

And of course, Gwenda's Australian readers have to be excited by the fine showing their countrymen are putting up. Three Aussies in the top ten on General Classification.

Sigh. Now it's time to go back to the forklift papers.

Vive le Tour! Vive le Tour!


"The Haunting of L." by Howard Norman was a lovely, ripping read. I highly recommend it. The tone is stretched tight across the whole book, some very interesting and subtle maneuvers with structure (and sequence), and beautiful, often creepy prose. And I just enjoyed the hell out of it.

Now, I can start the new Bill Bryson science tome, which was my two years since our first real date present from Christopher over the weekend. (We went to the bookstore and picked stuff out for each other, each going over our $25 cap.) I got the Bryson and candles and he got a CD of nice Celtic/Irish songs and a book about bicycling called "The Rider," and we both got a pack of the bigger size moleskin notebooks to split. (I love the bigger size moleskins. The small ones are nice, but too small for me as my handwriting tends to get big and scrawly when I'm writing fast.)

We had champagne and sat outside and listened to the new CD. Which has a beautiful version of "Fields of Gold" by Eva Cassidy on it.

And yesterday I felt bleh and we went to the library and got more books and wrote things. Today, I'm at the hospital waiting out my grandmother's surgery, so I'd better go take a shower and pack my computer bag to take with.

Have a nice day and don't step on any sidewalk cracks.

"I'm crushing your head"

I imagine this is already everywhere, but just in case. A.S. Byatt takes adults to task for liking Harry Potter. Or at least, that's about the size of it in my opinion. The thing I find interesting is the thinly masked envy motivating this piece. Of all the popular things in the world, why decide that this one reveals the terrible dark underbelly of sloth and lack of imagination? I can point to a dozen things less deserving of being popular without thinking too hard.

It's as if the success of the book themselves reveals a lack of quality. This is something I've never subscribed to.

Granted, I've not read these books. I read about half the first one and lost interest, but it was perfectly fine. I don't know if I'll read the others or not. Too many books, too little time. But I'm glad other people read them and get so much enjoyment from them.

I really liked Stephen King's review of the latest one in the last Entertainment Weekly. He gets it. And has no reason to be envious.


rilke's a dead giveaway

I can't recommend "Blue Car" highly enough.

It's an unflinching movie. A movie that allows the characters to be real and have sloppy relationships and flaws aplenty. It's not easy to watch in places. And it's sad, it has a lot of sadness in it. But it earns that sadness.

The main character is a teenage girl and this is a coming of age story. She sees her redemption from a troubled life in poetry, and especially in her English teacher. (I might mention here that the poetry is actually good, something which is almost never the case in a movie where one of the characters is a poet.)

One of the things that is strongest is how precarious everything feels. At any moment, Meg (played amazingly by Agnes Bruckner) could just become untethered from anything safe. No one's going to save her. Maybe not even herself. And that makes every action that happens dangerous, perilous and, also, brave.

This movie also handles an inappropriate relationship between an older person and a younger person with more honesty and complexity than I've seen in a long time. It's not easy to watch. But it does have some very powerful and important things to say about the kind of feelings vulnerable girls and women sometimes have for older men, without blindly demonizing men.

A decent interview with Karen Moncrieff about the movie here.

It makes me wish I could write small, intimate character drama.

waterfall, weeping willow, or possibly '80s hair

There's something that's just funny about having your lawn chairs and your beers and your friends all set up at the lip of a parking lot watching fireworks and the discussion turns to Sachar's "Holes" and ends up with an apology to the people with their nice kids next to your group for using the word "fuck" repeatedly in discussing a kid's book. (I use kid for everybody that can't legally vote or drink, and some people who just don't do either of those right.)

It's a fucking great book, though, if you haven't read it.

A very nice Fourth... We set up a nice tableau in the backyard and cooked out. Joe and Melendra came over and brought their new puppy and the hippy girl who's stalking our new upstairs neighbor came by several times to entertain us with various inaccurate statements or non sequiturs (such as, "It's so refreshing to see people drinking responsibly and enjoying each other's company. I just realized two days ago that I'm a black-out drunk." or "I have a lot going for me -- everybody likes me instantly."). We even gave her pen and paper and an envelope to enable the stalking -- oh and a clipboard to facilitate better stalker handwriting. Unfortunately, the envelope means you can't go up and read the note. Damn.

George isn't big on puppies, but he managed okay. The fireworks, however, left him extremely nervous and hiding in the bedroom. George isn't much on sudden, unexplained loud noises.

When it got late, after fireworks, we ate tomatoes and triple creme brie and watched "Invader Zim" episodes. A nice evening.

This morning, we finally unpacked the boxes in the dining, nee before it was the "junk room," room and now the big bicycling coverage of the Tour de France has begun so I won't see Christopher for a bit. I'm going to go down and see "Blue Car" at the arthouse theater. I'm really looking forward to it. Karen Moncrieff won the Nicholl Fellowship, which makes it even cooler. There are two Nicholl alums in my workshop and they are amazingly, unbelievably talented and wonderful writers. So, how can this movie go wrong? I think it's going to be great.

And there will be beer and white chocolate, even though it's only afternoon.

Later, writing, but before that, fun. Good days to all of you.


another one for the king of the road...

Okay, I can't resist linking to this story about an NIH scientist who claims he's paid to do nothing. (I'm sure it's true.)

This, however, is the part I'd like to call your attention to:

McSweegan said he struggles to fill his eight-hour workdays by reading, exercising and writing fiction. He has self-published a bioterrorism thriller and a science fiction novel, and is working on a third book.

But he says his six-page job description is the ultimate work of creative writing and describes his position as "a bizarre, surreal situation -- part Orwell, part Kafka and part Dilbert."

That is all.

In a world...

Right now, scant blocks away, many, many people are running for their lives, running 10 miles actually, with snapping dogs and pistol packing insurgents chasing right behind them.

Okay, actually, these people are just running. I'd need the snapping dogs and pistols if it was me. But still, ha, these people are insane. I'm reading the papers and drinking nice coffee and planning my day while they RUN. Life is beautiful. (why, oh, why do I have to suddenly flash on Roberto Begnini (sp) at that phrase? so unfair.)

Two things related to strangeness in our oceans. Everyone's been talking about the giant thing that may be whale blubber or may be one of the Deep Sea Terrors that we all know are down there, except we don't really know they're down there because deep sea research doesn't get funded any more (and never was adequately).

There's this article at the BBC with spectacular photos of serpent stars, coffin fish and, my favorite, the fangtooth whose teeth are longer than its head. Go see and marvel. (Thanks to R'yleh spotter, Mr. McLaren for that one.)

And then, there's this thing in the New York Times that I've never, ever heard of. Artificial reefs. One in New Jersey just got a bunch of subway cars added to it. I quote:

Recreational and commercial fishermen extolled the subway cars as welcome additions to the artificial reefs, which are piles of old Army tanks and armored personnel carriers, tons of concrete and other construction debris, and scrap steel. The reefs first attract mussels, barnacles and tiny plants. Then sea bass, tautog and flounder come to feed on them. Later, bigger game fish, sometimes tuna and sharks, arrive.

Very strange. Go and read that too.

Oh, and more Syc Hill pictures from Jim Kelly up here.

Now, go celebrate this damn country or something.


headed through punchy, champers, scratchy throatville

Hello all...

As much as I like to talk about all this Hollywood stuff, I find the business side nigh on incomprehensible. (But then, I have no head for business, she said.)

However, a nice piece by Stephanie Zacharech in Salon today on how cinematographers see the future of film, and of digital video. A few paragraphs that comment nicely on some things that are being tossed around on my little comment board:

.... As a colleague of mine once explained it, the director's vision is the one through which all other visions are filtered, which is as good an
explanation as I've ever come across.

I suspect that directors get most of the credit for the success of a picture (or lack thereof) precisely because movies are such a collaborative process. Sometimes it's easy to separate the strands of who deserves blame or praise; but in many cases a great moment on film that we automatically give a director credit for may very well be the result of some sort of communication, spoken or un-, between a director, his or her D.P., a production designer, a costume or makeup person and any of the actors involved -- all of whom are working off a script by one or more screenwriters, who may also be on hand. And don't forget about producers, people whose degree of hands-on involvement in a picture can vary from not much to a whole lot.

It always feels corny to talk about the magic of movies, but cinematographers don't seem at all uncomfortable with the word. "It seems like magic to us, too, to actually do it," Bailey says. He compares looking at a finished film with what a composer like Gustav Mahler might have felt when he finally heard one of his complex, conflicted and infinitely layered symphonies played by actual musicians. "How awesome it must have been! In filmmaking, there are so many dozens, if not hundreds, of people involved in making a film who, in the right environment, where the producers and the directors give them the opportunity to really express themselves and put themselves into it, can create this incredible thing. When you go and see the finished film, it has an existence of its own, somehow beyond you. It's so much different than, say, writing a book or a play."

I like that. It's nicely put.

I watched "Desk Set" earlier, sadly with commercials on AMC (which is a misnomer much of the time these days--the other night they were featuring "Smokey and the Bandit 2"), and marveled at the sheer quickness of it. You know, Katherine Hepburn doesn't appear until most of her staff have been introduced? You'd never get away with that today, or with that many well developed supporting characters in a movie that's not an ensemble, but wow, it's invigorating to watch. I love the scene on the rooftop, where he's quizzing her and she isn't breaking a sweat (in fact, the opposite of breaking a sweat, literally and figuratively). The try for resonance with it later on doesn't quite gel, but it's a beautiful scene anyway. There's something that always works about someone surprising someone else with a brutal force of intellect in a scene.

After that, a walk around the block, which our scratchy throats kept short, then "Punch Drunk Love." I would have laid money on the fact of an Adam Sandler movie being physically unwatchable in all cases, but, I liked it. In fact, I liked it better than anything else I've seen by Paul Thomas Anderson. I didn't think it was funny, but it was sweet. And Phillip Seymour Hoffman yelling as the Dial It Up to 10 sex-line/scam/furniture store operator was hilarious. I'm not sure I quite buy any woman dating a man who she's only ever seen in one change of clothes (we're talking scent here, people), but it's the movies. Scent isn't a factor I don't guess. I'm not sure that the running and long passageway motif wasn't overdone in the visuals, but I'm sold on any movie with Hawaii and an earned happy ending. Oh, and a harmonium.

Got halfway through "The Haunting of L." today, which is quite good. And I'm trying to hurry reading that book and also hurry writing the YA book because Mr. McLaren has informed me that R'yleh is about to rise from the seas at any moment. Take heed, coastal dwellers.


it's not morse code, it's just obnoxious


Our new upstairs neighbor seems to think the putting together of the World Machine should begin around 10 p.m. every evening. Unfortunately, this is just about the time that I think everything should shut the fuck up and be quiet. Else there will be trouble. He has a day, based on the fact that his moving help may be of the vampiric persuasion, and after that, well, complaining, complaining, complaining until that's the most obnoxious thing going on in the building.

Did I mention that they seem to be listening to Sheryl Crow? I'm not going to throw any stones -- people listen to different music when involved in heavy lifting. During the fixing up of the apartment next door, there was a heavy handman preference for '80s rock. It happens. But puleeze, you can't soak up the sun during the midnight hour, so knock the shit off or wear headphones.

I want neighbors who have no friends. Really, that's the ideal. We are lonely people who may or may not cross the line from checking out too many library books and having too many plants to killing. Serial killers. The guy next door who you never have to complain about.

I kid, I kid.


Below I liked as much as everyone said I would and not a bit more. To me, the scary and atmospheric parts were not accomplished inside the submarine at all. To me, the scary part of the boat is the ocean. The fact that you're deep and the waves, and world, nobody understands can come crashing in on you whenever it wants is terrifying and what more do you need? The ocean is terrifying. Ask people who know a lot about it. What they say will scare you even more.


A much, much better than average ghost story.

And, lastly, the following from the papers today:

In the current issue of Book magazine, apparently Stephen King has some fun with "literary" writing.

So sayeth the, um, article about (the) king: It begins with an attack on Jonathan Franzen's much-praised literary novel, "The Corrections," as "patronizing and self-indulgent" -- a very good way to begin an essay, in my opinion.
King is ticked off at Franzen's condescending scorn for popular novelists, and he has responded with a wild fantasy based on the delightfully absurd premise that high-tone literary novelists like Franzen, Annie Proulx and Margaret Drabble sell millions of books while pop novelists like himself are barely scraping by. This explains those trailer photos, which are part of the elaborate joke.
"I, like virtually every other popular novelist in America, live mostly on a subsidy check of just over twelve thousand dollars a month," King writes. "The check comes from Literature 'R' Us, a company incorporated in the Bahamas."

I'm not sure who this benefits, if anybody, but I'm sure looking forward to buying a magazine I hardly every buy. So, kudos to them.

And there was something else, but I'm too tired. G'night.