October 28, 2006
Today we had ambitions to revisit the undergraduate tailgating days we never had and use our free tickets to the Owls’ homecoming game, but last night our in-law’s reminded us that they were hosting a welcome get together for our church’s new minister (one of 13 manageably sized gatherings that the she has planned over the next few months–I guess she was pretty serious about that whole getting to know you thing). So, in order to fit in the fairly massive amount of homework I needed to get done today to keep my head above water, we got an early start and were in Miami for breakfast. We brought down a batch of brownies, delightfully underbaked to contribute to the socializing cause and a dozen Krispy Kremes to contribute to the breakfast cause. We had enough time to leisurely munch our way through most of the dozen and a guzzle pot of coffee, and time left over for me to get in a couple of pages before the guests started arriving. Then they did start arriving, and filling the kitchen with hot enchiladas and goat cheese and raspberry salad, filling the back yard with kids and dogs, and filling the air with conversation about Navy v. Notre Dame and law school v. med school for the high schoolers in the crowd. Oh yeah, and a little bit about church too.
After the afternoon feast, I dug in to my sewing room hideaway for a few hours working on something for Creative Nonfic and the Moby Dick paper, and having met my goals, I am enjoying a pause on the couch before revving up my appetite for the steaks and corn on the cob my SIL’s bf has cooked up for us. We are also singing along to Garrison Keillor and Bonnie Raitt’s rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” on Prairie Home Companion, which seems like the perfect way to end a rainy day in the family compound.
In other good news, the Owls managed to whomp their opponents 29-0 even without the cheers of D&L. Not that they would have had us for all that long anyway. I talk a tough game and I’ve watched every episode of Friday Night Lights so far, but my American football attention is always shorter than I think it will be.
October 25, 2006
A couple of weeks back, Frida reminded me how utterly awesome the NPR program This American Life is. Normally I catch about the last twenty minutes of it on my way to church on Sunday morning, except when I am running really late and then it’s about five. In any case, I am often astounded, moved, and made to laugh out loud by what I hear. It was somewhat gratifying to hear someone outside of my family circle agree, so it got me thinking that I should get serious about taking advantage of this gem of American radio culture while it is still free online. Plus, I’ve got this internship rotation where I spend large amounts of time doing mindless things with my hands in a room all by myself. So bookmarked this page, the complete TAL archive. You can stream anything for free, download the most recent episode, and pay 99 cents an old episode if you find something you really need.
I’ve been exploring episodes pretty much randomly, clicking on the titles that seem interesting and reading the synopsis to see if I want to commit to the full episode. Pretty much everything I’ve listened to is wonderful, but a couple of things have really stood out.
First is this piece (part of the episode “Say Anything”) in which “Michael Bernard Loggins, a developmentally disabled man in his forties, tried to battle his fears by listing them, and came up with a list 183 items long.” The piece is an actor reading directly from the list Michael Loggins came up with, which he eventually published in book form and then wrote another list, which also became a book. This piece stopped me in my tracks. First of all, I thought Mr. Worry was the only man who really understood me. I was wrong, because he might have well have been reading from my head. Just substitute “Friday Night Lights” for “Rugrats” as you listen and you will pretty much have a good idea of the things I worry about. Especially the part about the pigeons. And not only what he wrote hit home, but how he wrote it. His mangled grammar expressed the primal workings of fear better than anything most of us could come up with. I listened to it twice on Monday afternoon, and that night, as I got into the car to drive home, guess what was on the radio? A special pledge drive episode of TAL that included this very piece. Synchronicity much? Probably not actually, just proof that I am not the only one who has been affected by it deeply.
On Tuesday, I stumbled across the pet episode titled “In Dog We Trust.” It starts out with a David Sedaris piece recorded live that will make you roll on the floor. It ends with a story that I remember hearing in the car one winter afternoon in Michigan. It is in the top 3 most wrenching pieces I have ever listened to, and it isn’t even true. It’s a short story. But it will still get you. Otis the armadillo will make you feel something.
So those are my recommendations, at the moment. I realize that it is a little weird to listen to a couple of shows a day of a program that is meant to be consumed at the rate of one a week, with good reason. The lives of ordinary people get intense from time to time. I might be a little overdosed on the deep meaning of human experience. I still think that deep down inside, we all fear for the lives of pigeons, and it can helps to realize that as kooky and private as most of us are, there are little flecks of things we’ve lived and thought floating through others’ lives and minds as well .
October 24, 2006
Oh snap! Cold snap that is. I’m supposed to be writing my Melville response paper right now, but I couldn’t resist a little cruise on over to the Weather Channel. 59 degrees people. Say what you will, but that is legitimately cool, and in my blood thinned state, it’s pretty much, well, cold! If I leave for work early, I might actually be able to wear my windbreaker.
October 21, 2006
Last night, as I blew out the candle on my molten chocolate lava cake, Diego evoked the memory of Marilyn Monroe, referencing these lines from Some Like It Hot:
You know I’m going to be twenty-five
That’s a quarter of a century.
Makes a girl think.
(More musings on the birthday time of year after the break.)
October 19, 2006
Adding to LCB’s and Frida’s commentary below, I concur: the results of PR this season are a massive pit of wrongness. See Salon’s incisive article on the subject. Although the author doesn’t go nearly far enough, in my opinion. I wish the barb wire tattoos around Jeffrey’s neck would turn real in a freakish act of Japanese ghost story haunting and strangle him.
October 18, 2006
Project Runway finale in progress… I knew they were just pulling my leg about kicking Jeffrey off. And since when is Uli is best friend? All of a sudden he’s hugworthy just because he’s pretending to cry? Grrrr.
Anyway, I’m interupting my DVR’d viewing to report this priceless comment. This is D on Michael’s blinging gold lamé bikini:
“Look! It’s She-Ra.”
October 17, 2006
This evening, I went on my first outdoor run since April, and I am pleased to inform you that I was not attacked by one single alligator. Best of all I didn’t even see any alligators, only the weird red-headed ducks and a few rougue SUV’s. Not that my neighborhood is particularly alligator prone, but like most Floridians I have seen them in the general vicinity. By the general vicinity I mean within the state. Once, when my sister and D were training for this crazy 150 mile bike ride thing, they decided to do a few loops around this 15 mile circle known as Shark Valley. I can tell you that there were no sharks, but there were more alligators than I could count. Big ones, little ones, little nests full of baby ones, right there by the walking path for all to see. I was easily within five feet of an alligator during most of my walk there. Yes, I was walking, because you will not catch me on one of those crazy bikes. Looking back, I can hardly believe that I was the same person. Sure, there were tons of other people walking on the path right alongside me. Sure, everyone assured me that because it was February they were all too cold to move. Sure, I didn’t see one actually move the whole time I was there. But they could have! I can’t believe I let myself get suckered in to what could have become a death march just on the basis of air temperature. Even though I have renewed confidence in my kung fu powers of alligator avoidance, I think in the future I will not be walking in such places as contain multiple toothed beasts.
Okay okay, I’m actually just rationalizing my irrational fears of an animal that generally stays away from people and has killed very few relative to say, cars and American presidents. Still, I think my days of carefree strolls among them are over. Sometimes confidence is just stupidity. I guess LC “I jump out of planes” B might beg to differ. In this case, though, I really don’t feel like my enjoyment of life will be compromised in any way if I take care to live an alligator free life. Just like I hope to lead a grizzly bear, piranha, and army ant free life.
D just walked in the door. He informed me that he was so “cold” on the way home from his class just now that he had to turn on the heater in the car. For reference, it’s currently 79 degrees.