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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04

2002-12-13 ... 11:11 a.m.


How to Be Good. Why did I like this book? I never really dug Nick Hornby, his stuff is normally too cutesy and easy to swallow. This book has its bogs down in the middle, and there are a few characters who keep getting reintroduced (like the wife's unnecessary best friend) and yet seem to serve no purpose. However, I liked it in spite of myself, because it takes guts to write something that profoundly depressing, and it also takes guts to shock all of the Hornby-loving book-club wankers who were hoping for some sort of gentle insights or romantic comedy. How to Be Good is about monogamy, and romantic love, and how, despite centuries of cultural imperatives to the contrary, it is unrealistic to expect one person to fulfill all of your emotional needs, whether that person is a partner, a friend, or a child. Hornby takes it to the extreme, though, with the bleakness, and whether or not you agree with his assessment there are a lot of great little passages in the book. It is a strange combination of light-and-fluffy domestic story with dark cynical musings, and you can read it in about a day, so go borrow it from the library.

Hooray for certain parts of this essay:

It's fun to move the magnet letters around on my workplace lounge refrigerator, and I always enjoy playing surrealist games with my creative writing students. But randomness wears thin after awhile; encounters with one's self wear thin. At some point I want to feel that I am in fact encountering another than myself, one who also has life, volition, and boundaries. I want addressivity. Bakhtin insists that without the acknowledgment of a truly separate other, there is no dialogue and thus no growth: "Truth is not born nor is it to be found inside the head of an individual person, it is born between people collectively searching for truth, in the process of their dialogic interaction."

And even more fun, from The Anatomy of Melancholy again (forgive me, this seems to be a quotation sort of day):

Cardan speaks of certain stones, if they be carried about one, which will cause melancholy and madness; he calls them unhappy, as an adamant, selenites, etc, "which dry up the body, increase cares, and diminish sleep."

So be careful what pretty rocks you pick up.


Tired today. Help! I've fallen!* And I don't feel like getting up! Maybe I lack some essential nutrient because I have the Blah this morning, and all I want to do is lie on the floor, but instead I have to go to work and all that grown-up crap. Instead of an ambulance, like the "can't get up" lady, I need a squad of emergency philosopher-cheerleaders, who could form a human pyramid and yell out a cheer about how it is my existential responsibility to live my life despite the fear and the doubt and the nausea. Because nothing helps replenish the will to live like the perky nipples and agile thighs of a 19-year-old cheerleader. Of course, there is the very real possibility that her mind and wit are not equally perky and agile, and that the newfound will to live would drain away the minute she opened her mouth to speak. Wait! Did I just stereotype cheerleaders? Yes I did! They don't call me "Cheap-Shot McFacile" for nothing!

*(How about the TOTAL LIE on that page? "Never be alone again." Or rather, be totally alone, but wear a 911 necklace so that those nice youngsters can come and strap you to a gurney when you break your hip.)

Okay, here's a typical Sun-Times story. You have the Milton Berle setup: Americans are getting so fat (HOW FAT ARE THEY?) And then they completely drop that to talk about the deficiencies of the stethoscope in general, and never once mention the fat again. Huh? Remember, this was on the front page. Do all the Sun-Times journalists have ADD or something?

This piece of stained glass is the oldest surviving piece of stained glass in England. The Vernerable Bede looked at this stained glass. In person. This piece of stained glass was more than a thousand years old when our forefathers decided to shoot at some British and make their own country. (Well, they weren't the forefathers to my family's Ellis-Island-arriving asses in particular, but you get the idea.) I don't know why this impresses me so much, because I have seen the Pyramids and other things that are lots older, but a piece of glass? Wow. (Bonus link: some misconceptions about the Middle Ages. Educate thyself.)

Yesterday after work LT and I drove the car (actually, that's a one-person job...he drove the car) to a big grocery store and did a Big Shop. We had been limping along with very little food in the house, and tomorrow I am having friends over for dinner. I like the opportunity to try out new recipes in front of an audience. It provides that extra bit of excitement and drama when there is the possibility that you will screw something up entirely, and then you would have to scrape your failed creation down the disposal and thrust a handful of takeout menus at your guests, or, more likely knowing me, just open another bottle of wine and get out the Triscuits. Have you had the garlic Triscuits? They rock my world.

(I hereby take back my snarky comment about Sun-Times journalists and their inability to stick to the topic, because re-reading the above paragraph makes it clear that those journalists obviously have powers of yogic concentration compared to me and my crazy brain. Remember those plastic barrels that were full of plastic monkeys? That's like my brain.)

We spent a whole bunch of money at the store, on dinner ingredients and vegetables and fancypants beer. I convinced LT that it would not be a good idea to buy miniature chocolate chips and a can of frosting and mix it all together for dinner, to be consumed with the fancypants beer, which is something that he suggests on every shopping trip just because he knows it spleens me. There are certain rituals that must be enacted during every Big Shop, and making me mad with the frosting suggestion is one of them. Others include finding the most genitalia-esque root vegetable we can, and pretending that the shopping cart is out of control ("Ahhhh! No brakes!"). Grocery shopping is fun!

One of the dishes I am serving to guests tonight is a butternut squash soup with three kinds of ginger (powdered, fresh, and crystallized). I fell in love with the recipe the minute I read it, because you get to poke holes in some butternut squashes and then microwave them for TWENTY MINUTES. Twenty minutes! In the microwave! LT was such a pansy about this, getting out the fire extinguisher, worried about explosions, etc, but I was all bold and adventurous, and it turned out to be the most kick-assiest thing I had done all day. The butternut squash made little hissing noises as they cooked, and I kept going back into the kitchen and announcing things like "fifteen minutes to go" in that calm Iron Chef announcer-girl voice. Then you scoop out the pulp and, according to the recipe, "discard the membrane" (is that not that the most fantastic phrase?) and stick it in the food processor with all the gingers and some vegetable broth, and voila: soup. I plan to garnish it with sour cream, some chopped peanuts for that exotic flair, and chives. Don't you want to marry me now?

Then, as the third act to my show titled I Am A Paragon Of Genteel Womanhood, I drank a bunch of the fancypants beer, fell asleep rather abruptly on top of the covers, and woke up at three in the morning having somehow wiggled out of my underwear. So ladylike.

---mimi smartypants meows loudly for her kibble.


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