Unpopular Opinion

Okay, I know -- I know -- that Loyal is going to kill me for saying it, and the DD will be none too pleased, and all that. And I am really sorry. But I have to get it off my chest.

I just reread The Golden Compass. And, well. It had all the problems I remembered it having.

To get a few things out of the way -- it's a good book. I've got no qualms with it theologically. I'd still recommend it to people, I certainly don't have anything against people who like it. I just bought the whole trilogy from the Store, because my sister STOLE my copies. (She has stolen so many of my books. Eeeeevil.)

But with all that said, it just doesn't hang together quite as well as Pullman seems to think it does. For one thing, Lyra is just not that sympathetic to me. She's like Hamlet -- she reads like a symbolic figure, not a realistic character. And I know she all ends up being Eve, and prophecy this, and chosen one that, but Harry Potter managed to be all prophesied about and chosen and Christlike and all and still managed to make me care about his family life, which is something I just can't muster up for Lyra. She gets better in the later books, and I like Will okay, but they both necessarily have a mixture of mature world-weariness and childlike cluelessness which I don't find remotely convincing.

And really, I think the whole story kind of has that problem. The daemons, for example, are a really interesting idea, and fun to speculate about and give a lot to the story, and all that. And yet, I still feel like they're there for the express purpose of giving the reader a clear symbol of childhood and adulthood. I feel like the whole idea is there because of that one Bible passage at the end of book one. And certain things about it just aren't adequately explained.

Fundamentally, too, I just disagree with the notion that the only way to become an adult is through some form of sexual initiation. Lyra suffers the horrible guilt of causing a friend's death, she is forced to choose between separating herself from her own soul and betraying her friend yet again, she is betrayed and held captive by her father, her mother, and several others, if memory serves, and yet she doesn't reach spiritual adulthood until she discovers the joys of making out with a twelve-year-old? It seems to me that the device of the daemons and their permanent form is so that the reader has a way of knowing when Pullman thinks Lyra has grown up, because otherwise it really would be completely unclear. To me being an adult has a lot to do with learning to take responsibility for your actions, and the consequences they have on other people, not anything necessarily physical. I realize that some people don't seem to ever hit this milestone -- or give no evidence of having hit it, anyway -- but some people are never sexually initiated, either, or not until they're in their twenties or thirties or forties. The idea just seems shoddy to me in certain ways.

But that's really my problem with the whole thing, the whole book, the whole series. It's so detailed and vivid and well-thought-out, and everything is there, and yet in certain ways it seems written not to tell a story, but to prove a point, to make a statement, and that just annoys me, every time. I don't mind books that say true things about life, obviously -- hi, degree in philosophy. But a book like Pride and Prejudice, a poem like Tintern Abbey, a play like Arcadia -- they tell me different things every time I read them, based on where I am, and what I'm thinking about, and what parts I choose to focus on. With His Dark Materials, there is some of that, but there's also some of the feeling that the only two possible responses are to disagree with Pullman or to agree with him, and in the end, that's not very interesting. Because in some ways I agree, and in some ways I disagree, but I can't do much give and take if the author doesn't allow me any leeway.

Please don't hate me, Loyal. If it makes you feel any better, I have really similar problems with Hamlet, and to some degree even The Chronicles of Narnia. And Squeak forgave me Hamlet, and Jay (from college) forgave me Narnia. And hey, you can always dismiss me as a moron who sometimes has been known to pay good money to watch The O.C. (Soooo shallow. My only excuse is that I had a Christmas present to finish making.)


Questions... Questions That Need Answering

These are my questions today:

1. Who is going to crack me up today? The Christmas season is annoying in certain ways (obviously) but there seem to be higher percentages of customers who ... how can I say this? Who could easily be satirized in a Jane Austen novel, how about that. Like the older couple in last Monday, who appeared so confused that I stopped "shelving" (read: reading) and asked if they needed help. I got them sorted out, and heard the woman tell her husband triumphantly, "You see, Frank? All we had to do was ask!"

2. What does The Guy I Have My Eye On think about me? I know, I know, so shallow. But I haven't gone remotely ga-ga over a boy in almost a year and a half, so I am due. And this guy is cute and sweet and polite, and I can't tell if he has his eye on me back, or if he's just a nice guy. And there is no one I can ask.

3. When is the guy whose room I took going to move off the couch? He's a nice guy, and I totally understand the legarthy that seizes one at the prospect of moving out, especially packing up one's stuff and moving to another country, but they put the ad in, I only answered it, and it has been a full month since I moved in. Again, I have no objections to him personally, but the house really isn't big enough for four, and he spends forever in the bathroom.

4. Where are all these ants coming from? Look, my friends, the buffet table is CLOSED. I thought I made that perfectly clear when I took all the dirty dishes out of my room and then squirted you all with Windex.

5. How am I going to find time to go to the city and get my nose ring adjusted? Which it needs, sometime before Christmas. In broader terms, how is it that I have loads of time to spend goofing off checking my email and such, and none at all to do the research I am supposed to be doing? How can I make time for dates with old college chums (not date-dates, see above. Just hang-out dates) but not to sit down at the library and do some good old-fashioned research? How does my internal time management even work?

6. Why don't I like any modern playwrights except Stoppard? I saw a play last night, by an award-winning playwright, and it seriously just sounded like Lionel's efforts from season two of Slings & Arrows. I mean, don't get me wrong, the staging was excellent and the story reasonably compelling, but the dialogue just... did nothing for me. Why is that? It's not just this guy, it's pretty much any play that's been written in the last twenty or thirty years, except musicals, Stoppard, and the short plays my friend Tangy used to write when we were teenagers.



You know what is not fair? Do you know what is playing in London right now? Right this very moment?

-Patrick Stewart is playing Macbeth
-Ian McKellan is playing King Lear
-Ewan McGregor is playing Iago

I mean, shit. AND I AM MISSING IT!!! All of it, I am missing. All that is going on, and I am stuck here where I cannot see a bit of it. SO SAD.

I don't miss Europe, but if I were there right now, I can tell you, I would be in London seeing this stuff. For a long weekend, at the very least. Possibly two or three long weekends so I could see it two or three times. (Shut up, London theater is wicked cheap.) Sometimes I am here and I think about it and jump up and down with frustration.

Of course, if I weren't here, would I be helping the OS cast a show? Not so much. So...

Cast, Cast, Cast, Cast

We are (knock on a lot of wood) basically cast for The Winter Thing. The last round of auditions was today, and everyone feels pretty good about the final part. And yay!

I really like our cast. But even more than I like them, I'm anxious to see them play off each other. If we (by which I mean mostly the OS, of course) can take these people and this script and build it into this really beautiful ensemble show, it will be so far beyond awesome. Ah, the fun of having so much potential and then the headache of having to live up to it! But it is so exciting for me to be working on it. ("Working" in the loosest sense of the word, of course. Mostly I stay quiet, and note things, and think about them.) But it gives me so much to think about, and of course I learn a lot every time I go in there. In a couple weeks I'll get to sit in on a design meeting, which will be really interesting (and informative. I suck at design).

I am of course, the country bumpkin. But I am the country bumpkin who is there, not the one who can't seem to break in anywhere, and that's one of the things I love. As well as the theater itself, of course!


Crisis of American Values

All those reports about how Americans read only like four books a year or whatever, and no one can read anymore? Whoever did those studies needs to spend a week working retail in a bookstore in December. (For God's sake, it's not even December yet. It's bad enough now Thanksgiving is past.) Also all those people who were like, oh, there's a recession, so post-Thanksgiving sales are down, and blah blah blah. They should work retail too.

Because it's all nonsense. The world is full to bursting with people who want books, and aren't sure what books they want, and and are appalled -- appalled, I tell you! -- when we don't have the book they aren't sure they want, and do we have any recommendations for a blind parakeet who hates books and can't read, and why not, don't we call ourselves a bookstore?

Sweet Christ, does no one stay home and watch TV anymore?

The World Makes Sense Again

Is it only me who has this bizarre sense of relaxation when her room is clean? Perhaps my mother scarred me at an early age. But as ways to relax go, it's a relatively simple -- if sadly rare -- one. And last Wednesday I got it in spades, as I unpacked my last box, took out my last trash bag, and threw my back out with my last piece of furniture. So of course I spent Turkey Day hobbling about and getting my small cousin to walk along my spine.

Other than that, Turkey Day was great fun. Good food, family, chess. I teamed up with a couple of family members against my uncle, who is actually good at chess. He gave us a bishop to even it up a little, and between that and coaching from my stepdad (what I actually mean by "coaching" is that every time my hand moved toward a piece, he would raise his eyebrows and inquire, "Are you sure you want to do that?") I actually made it in to a fairly even endgame. then my brain failed and I went off to play with more relaxing family members.

But now I am back home and have the benefit of the clean room and cookies from my grandma, and it is all very wholesome and relaxing. Plus, I got a holiday bonus today, which, double yay! Just when I was starting to use up my credit! So all is peaceful and happy, except that there was another round of callbacks today (which I sadly could not attend) and now I really want to know how the OS cast the show. I'm not antsy, like I would be if I were somehow up for a part or something, but I still really want to know. It's the same kind of overpowering academic interest that leads me to buy so many books.

That's what I mean about my life making sense, you know?


Little House Near the Train Tracks

I'm moved! I've moved! It's so exciting.

I'm still unpacking, of course, and I need a few more things before I'll be truly settled, but I've made great strides and I am loving the new place. My own room! Sleeping on a bed again! having most of my books out so I can read them at will! All in all, I am extremely pleased.

Of course, I still need a dresser, and groceries are expensive, and I can no longer walk to work. But the good far outweighs the bad.


Maybe I Should Just Cut and Paste That Last Entry and Use it as a Default

For this week, at least. What do I like? Theater. What do I hate? Packing. What is just there? Work.

And... that was yesterday. First work, which mostly went well, although by the end I was tired and hungry and therefore over-sensitive. Then dinner with dad, which was good. I tried to explain about casting and how we only get a total of two AEA people, one of whom has been cast, and why that made it difficult. I'm not sure how much Dad appreciated the explanation, but heh.

Then I got home, and forayed into the basement. Sigh. On the plus side, I accomplished some good stuff; I found lots of stuff I was pleased to see again, and many things were sorted. ("Trash or Sell", "Storage", "Taking With Unless There's No Room In Which Case Storage," "Definitely Take With," "Um, Where in God's Name Did I Pick That Up?") On the minus side, I have butt-ton of crap, most of which is now dirty and/or bent out of shape from its life below stairs. Anyway, I burned out on that, came back upstairs, and tried to stretch my back back into shape (of course my back picks the weekend that I'm moving to throw itself out. Of course).

And then got on a long phone call with the OS about callbacks, namely how we are scheduling them, how we absolutely don't have enough time for them AT ALL, which sides we are making the actors read, where those sides should begin and end, is that one side too long, but if it is, how do we cut it down, because it's got great transitions and it's all important, and God, Shaw, why can't you make this guy shut up occasionally, etc., etc., etc. It sounds crazy but it was great fun. Eventually we just had to read the sides aloud and time them.

The fact that I love conversations like that is another tick in the "director" column. After auditions on Sunday it was lunch with the OS and her friend, an actor who read opposite the auditioning people, and we were talking about whom to call back. More than once he was like, I'm glad it's you two making the decisions and not me. And I sort of see what he means, because I'm glad that the OS has the final say and I don't, because I trust her judgment a lot more than I trust mine. But that doesn't stop me from having actual really clear and defined opinions about people, and casting, and seeing people opposite and all that. And looking at how a bunch of disparate things work together and enjoying trying to make them make sense.

(I like ticks in the director column, even as they make me a little uncomfortable. They make me feel like I'm being myself, which is nice; but it's odd to think about it as something I'm good at, because I still feel like everyone in the world could do it better than me if they just put their mind to it, so I end up feeling presumptuous. ADing for the OS is a really good middle ground between those feelings, what with the her listening to me and then making her own decisions.)

Ah, the ramblings of the post-collegiate. Someone needs to smack me.

Today, I have lunch with the DD. Lunch with the DD and the OS in the same week! So happy. I swear to God, one day I am going to introduce them to each other and then just... stand back. It will be great. And I will feel awkward because I am actually taller than both of them, which just feels so wrong.

Anyway. Yes, lunch with the DD. Who says she has made me a birthday cake, possibly because she is one of the sweetest people ever. And we will talk about how she is really for reals restarting PRs, and how that is some of the best news ever. (She's starting with the perfect combo, too.)

Okay, now I'm really just putting off packing and working and moving. HAAAAAAAAATE. I could ramble on about this stuff all day if it meant I didn't have to pack, but alas. I do have to pack. I have to pack and do laundry, all the livelong day. And cough until I choke on my own mucous. It is extremely irritating.


The Sort the World is Mostly Made of, I Should Think

So the good is, auditions put me in a great mood. Working with the OS, getting introduced as "the AD," (which totally gives me chills -- shut up, I'm young yet), listening to the readers' and stage manager's opinions of the actors, sorting headshots, not having to do any auditioning myself, just sitting there with notes and opinions... so much fun. Plus, eye candy in the form of the totally hot house manager, with whom I bonded over the having of a yucky cold. The OS said thank you a time or two and I was like, "um, you're welcome, for doing my most favorite thing ever," (no, seriously, I actually said that), and that pretty much sums it up. I still want the play to start tomorrow, but I'm going to use the intervening time well, in researching and thinking and all that good stuff. I still have to reread the play like sixty more times. (Ah, for the halcyon days of college, when the first time I would read a play I was directing was at the first cast readthrough. Heh. Bad plan, guys. Don't do that. Incidentally, what exactly is a halcyon, and why is it used to describe days?) (I piqued my own curiosity. Apparently I'm not using it incorrectly, which is a relief.)
The bad, of course, is that I am moving in two, count 'em, two days, and I have not packed. Because I have been too sick, and also because I loathe packing with every fiber of my being. Hate it. Cannot stand it. There are not enough negative words in English to describe how I feel about the necessity of packing. Everything good I feel about theater is canceled out by everything bad I feel about packing, and I assure you that that is quite a feat. I am excited to be moved in, but I am completely un-excited about packing. Even unpacking is better than actually packing. With unpacking you can organize and make a home for yourself. Packing, it's just realizing how much crap you have. Haaaate.

And that pretty much sums up my state of mind. Plus some vague worries about work scheduling, annoyance at still having the sniffles, and a sense of fun 'cause I finally joined my local alumni chapter, and will have the chance to meet up with some college friends soon. Whom I can face now that I will no longer be living with my parents. Whee!


Sick Day

Under orders from my manager, I took the day off work today. (No, I haven't changed at all since college.) Yesterday I had such bad laryngitis that I couldn't speak at all, and my coworkers were sympathetic and/or teasing, depending on their temperaments. But when my manager found out, she called me at home and said for God sakes, if I'm not feeling well, stay home. So, today I did.

I was actually feeling better than yesterday, but since I've been coughing up mucous like I just got saved from drowning, so I figured that wasn't a good sign. So I started a new mystery novel (even though I haven't finished Clouds of Witness yet -- I am so fickle, but I can't help it, I missed Mary Russell) and watched like four hours of Veronica Mars, and dosed myself with cough syrup regularly, and felt pretty useless. But I was determined to stay home and suck it up, because tomorrow I have a double day and I am going to both if it kills me.

Tomorrow morning are auditions for The Winter Thing, which I am going to as "an extra pair of eyes," and I've missed so much work this week that if I don't go there tomorrow afternoon I will be eaten up with guilt. The supportive people I surround myself with are so great -- my Manager, and the OS would both say to stay home, in a heartbeat, and not to push myself, etc., etc. Which it's great to have, don't get me wrong -- it's for sure an influence on myself that I need, as anyone who knew me in college would attest (loudly and prolifically). Because my tendency is absolutely the other way -- the cold will go away sooner or later, I think, so I might as well work through it. (Isn't this the attitude that ended up giving me two or three potentially very serious illnesses and several nervous breakdowns while in school? Why, yes. Yes, it is. Have I learned anything? No. No, I have not.)

But if I missed tomorrow I would have to throw something very heavy, possibly at my own head, and then no one would benefit. Well, someone might, but not me. So I rested today that I may work my ass off tomorrow, which may be considered progress by some. What, like I'm going to miss auditions for this thing.


Play! Yay!

I could SAY that all DAY. Hurray!

Shut up, no one asked your opinion of my poetry.

The Winter Thing is started! I can stop crossing my fingers (I hope. I'm going to leave them crossed for now.)!

I had a meeting with Omnipotent Softy today, to talk scheduling and interpretation and stuff. And we only just scratched the surface, but that's okay, there will be plenty of time for in-depth stuff before and during rehearsals. And I love, love, love talking play-stuff. I got on the BART train home and wrote two pages in my notebook about one of the main characters, based on the conversation. (Now I have to do it for the other five.) And we talked procedure and some stuff I was worried about was sorted out. I am so excited about this. Directing always makes me feel so much me, like my education and thoughts and perspective are all coming together like they're supposed to.

I also like the way the OS listens to me when I talk. It's a really simple thing, but it's energizing, like being back in college, to talk to someone who knows their stuff and yet listens to me as if I knew mine. This is very good for me, as it helps me stop being self-deprecating every third sentence. The Divine Dictator has been doing it for years, only with books, so I barely notice anymore, but I haven't know the OS for nearly as long, and I'm much less sure of myself with theater than with books. But she listens so definitively and responds before I remember to equivocate. It saves a lot of time when I just say what I think and don't finish every sentence with "of course, I don't really know, I'm not a real director." OS does not put up with that sort of nonsense, so I don't say it, to the benefit of the conversation.

Anyway, so we got caught up on The Winter Thing, her telling me her basic thoughts about concept and us just discussing each character in turn, scratching the surface. There are so many weird things in this play, besides even the challenge of making all the characters real people instead of mouthpieces for opinions. I would never have taken it on in college, but I am so, so excited now. Working on plays that are a little too hard for me is the best ever; I always learn so much about everything.

So now I can't stop thinking about it and wanting to talk about it more more more. It's lucky December and January are such busy months at The Store, such that there would be absolutely No Way I could attend rehearsals of anything at all, let alone a full-length Real Show. Otherwise I would be wicked upset that it doesn't get going for reals right this very minute. My attention span is roughly that of a gnat when it comes to theater.

In other news, I have lost my voice. Sigh. Croak.


You'd Think I'd Be Sick of Books

What with having to organize and shelve them all day and then reading them all night.

Okay, I am a little out of patience with certain books, and am becoming pickier by the day. The newest restraint is that I have sworn off all books with a picture of the author on the front cover. I don't want to see anyone's ugly mug, smiling or not, on the cover of a book, ever again. If you want the world to admire your face, be a movie star.

But I'm still reading, doggedly paring down my list. (It's at an honest-to-God manageable five now. Still overloaded with non-fiction, though. Nonfiction is good but often takes longer to finish than fiction does. But my weekend is here, and enough of it shall be spent on public transportation that I should be able to knock some stuff off there.)

Soon I Will Be Invincible had its good and bad bits, but the end was so good that it made up for the rest. I didn't like the whole first-person present tense point of view thing. Was not a fan. And, you know, Grossman could have given us more answers, that would have been okay. But there was so much cleverness in the world he created, particularly in Doctor Impossible. Doctor Impossible was pretty much perfect. I love Doctor Impossible. Anyway. So parts of it were disappointing, but it was clever enough that I forgave them.

In other news, I'm in theater withdrawal, and if I didn't have The Winter Thing to look forward to, I might be in danger of killing my sister, who is overloaded on theater at the moment. Or at least tying her up and taking her place in certain situations. But I do have The Winter Thing, and it starts this week. Unofficially starts this week. Theoretically. It's all I can do not to cross my fingers every time I think about The Winter Thing. Theater withdrawal means I am much more dramatic in my everyday life, and begin to hyperventilate when I think about theater stuff I will soon be doing.


Birthday Part Deux: The Haul

I did, I did, I did get a little piece of metal jammed into my nose. It hurt like hell for a few seconds -- I actually got light-headed -- but now I love it. My piercer was really sweet. For the record, ladies and gentlemen -- Body Manipulations, in San Francisco. Highly recommended. My stepdad said it looks like gold-plated acne, but he is just jealous. Actually, it is very cute.

Among the rest of the haul: I found a leather jacket at the Crossroads on Fillmore St. for under thirty bucks. Mine, mine! I thought, and so it was. So in about four hours I upped my badass quotient by a factor of ten. It was a wicked good deal.

And then I got home, and was presented with a) yummy yummy dinner of many favorite things, b) birthday cake -- chocolate with raspberries, c) a book about the philosophy of Shakespeare (YAY) and d) Slings & Arrows, all three seasons. Sigh. I win, I think.


Happy Birthday To Me

I live in a tree...

Wait, that's not right.

By the grace of God, I have made it out of that terrible year of twenty-two, and can now join the rest of the world, heaving a huge sigh of relief and relaxation. Twenty-three is BOUND to be better. It can't HELP but be better. I am so excited about twenty-three. Twenty-three is young enough to still be hip and ignorant, and old enough that I don't look like a misplaced college student. Twenty-three is old enough to do everything fun without being all self-conscious about being old enough to do everything fun. Twenty-three is going to be awesome.

It's already getting off to a much better start than twenty-two (knock on wood). I've found an apartment. "The winter thing" worked out, and soon I start work on a play -- with Omnipotent Softy, which is really exciting. I have a good job. I am working on my issues. I am making friends. I'm going to be fine, this year. Thank God.

And I am celebrating it with new clothes, a trip to the city, and possibly a piece of metal jammed into my nose.


Books Books Lots of Books

In today's (okay, yesterday's) Very Exciting News, I got a book signed by Nick Hornby. One more benefit of working at The Store. (I didn't meet him, but he inscribed a [used] copy of The Polysyllabic Spree to me, me, me, which makes me really happy. Especially because it's the book of his I'd been wanting to read forever, it came through used, and now it is inscribed to me. Sigh. Contentment.)

Anyway. I also found out the date I will be moving (in about two weeks); I bought a big fat Nazi book new from The Store -- I can always justify buying new books to myself, because I pay a used price for them. (For used books, I pay bargain basement prices.) So that is exciting right now. But when you put those two pieces of information together, and realize that I will have to get all my books into boxes and moved out of my parents' basement in scant two weeks, then suddenly it becomes rather more ominous.


A Place, It is Found

IT has concluded, and I have an apartment!

Actually, I have a bedroom in an apartment. But it is not too far from The Store, it is near public transportation, it seems to have nice people living in it currently, and it is eminently affordable, which is the best part.

So yes, that is Very Happy, and now I get to call and cancel all the other apartments I was planning on seeing, which is exciting.


Ah, Escapism

Which doesn't really work if you're not escaping. That can actually be read two ways.

1. It is time to overhaul my reading list a little bit. The three books I decided to focus on a week or two ago are doing nothing for me. Which is sad, because it's not like I don't like them or anything; they somehow just don't complement each other very well, and I'm losing all my momentum. So. I am switching my nonfiction book (I'm sorry, Victoria Finlay, I fully intend to finish your lovely book, but I can't right now) and my trashy fiction and regular fiction are getting switched into a different trashy fiction. (I'm sorry, Mark Haddon, but so far your second book is just not as interesting as your first. And no one loved Curious Incident more than I did, but... this one is just not hitting right, at least not yet. And I've given you a hundred pages already, so pick it up, dude! It's hitting too close to home to be entertaining, and not close enough to be touching. Sorry, man.) (I am not sorry to you, Laurie King, because I am either switching a Kate Martinelli book for a Mary Russell book -- both of which are written by you, and you have publicly admitted to agreeing with me that the Russells are more interesting -- or I am taking a break from you altogether to read some Dorothy Sayers, which I think you would also wholeheartedly approve of, given how much you love Sayers yourself.) Anyway. So, book switching time.

2. Seeing King Lear was much more fun than I expected, but not really the escapism I was expecting. A shout-out to my RKs, I am continually impressed with you guys. When I was in high school, I can't remember ever complaining that the people I was doing theater with weren't dedicated enough. Hot shit, you guys. At the same time, the show made me realize all over again how much I am itching and aching to direct something. I know I can't shut up about it, either in person or online, but its ferocity keeps taking me by surprise. God I am praying that this winter thing works out.

Three Reasons to Love My Job

1. Today a complete genealogy of the characters of Greek mythology came through The Store. Through like with a laxative, because it is going to be sold to me. I love the people I work with, who go out of their way to show me things I might like.

2. I am leaving my shift an hour early today, to go see King Lear with the other RKs. My manager barely batted an eyelash.

3. This is the only place I can think of working where I like coming to work on a rainy day. I mean, back me up here, bookstores are seriously some of the best places to be on a rainy day, no? I've no doubt I'll get sick of it eventually, but I still feel... cozy, here, when it rains. Compare and contrast to France, where I was miserable every day it rained (so basically... every day) because I hated slogging through the mud or biking through the puddles. Just walking to the bookstore has a whole different feel.



IT has begun.

IT is the Great Apartment Search of 2007. I swore up and down to myself I'd be seriously looking by the time my birthday rolled around (and it's in two weeks, so I'm sticking to that deadline anyway) and moved in by Christmas. But oh, my God, is IT ever a pain in the ass. I hate IT already and I only started IT today. And I can tell I'm going to be talking about nothing else for the next month, or however long it takes me to find someplace. WAAAAHHH. In France I had people doing this FOR me. (Because I couldn't speak the language, not because I'm incompetent.) But now I want someone to do IT for me HERE. Whine whine whine WHINE.

I've called two places (set up an appointment at one of them) and emailed like, three or four more, so that gets me started. But yuck, anyway. Yuck yuck yuck. I hate IT. I am trying to be responsible, but IT is just an all out pain in the butt. Maybe if I had someone to blame, IT would be easier, but as IT is...

Okay, I will be positive. I have nothing specific to complain about (except for how I can't find a frigging apartment in BERKELEY because they are all psycho-eco-friendly and want you to swear you'll never use shampoo that might have murdered a rodent).

Anyway, I'll keep you updated. Probably grumpily.


New Obsession

Well, it's not really new; it just has a new form.

Those acquainted with me for longer lengths of time will remember my obsession with all things Robin Hood. Oh, admittedly it was at its height when I was about nine, back when I owned my own quiver full of arrows and unstrung longbow, back when I took archery classes, back when I'd read everything the public library had on the subject, back when he was only my second-ever book crush.

But I never entirely got over it; when I did my "Book Tour" of England with Elfcat, we stopped at Sherwood Forest (which IS a real place, just like Ithaca is a real place, which I've known since I was a little kid and which may explain a lot about my persistent inability to entirely separate truth and fiction). I've calmed down some, but I still have my favorite variations of the legend, and my own opinions, and I still sort of am drawn to any new ones I haven't run across yet.

Which is why I was so thrilled when I found out the BBC made a television series of Robin Hood, called, wait for it, Robin Hood. I found this out last spring, read some very good reviews of it, wanted it, and was traveling and forgot about it. But now! Now I have remembered, I put it on Netflix (God bless Netflix!) and I am on episode five.

And it's... kind of hilarious. It's absolutely impossible to take it seriously, at any rate. Netflix describes it as having a "modern sensibility" which I think translates to "a total and complete lack of subtlety and a willingness to disregard the rules of historical accuracy whenever they become inconvenient." The Sheriff of Nottingham -- who is this delightfully fey, scenery chomping type and whom I adore -- talks about "winning hearts and minds" away from Robin Hood. A delightfully non-anorexic Maid Marian tells our friend Guy of Gisbourne, who is all broody and square-jawed, that it's barbaric to suspend rights at home simply because there is a war going on in the Holy Land. She also seems to attend the meeting of nobles (where Sir Guy and the Sheriff browbeat the other men into helping with their evil plots) regularly, although in a nod to the complete improbability of this, she is not allowed to sit down and must strike her verbal blows for justice standing behind her father's chair.

And yet... I am loving it. I used to be so picky about my Robin Hood that I couldn't even stomach Men In Tights as a child, and was known to reject whole novels based on Robin not meeting Little John in the proper context. But I seem to have mellowed, because this show is cracking me up and keeping me completely entertained. It makes no logical sense at all (Robin seems to waste arrows as often as breathing, for example) and yet I cannot look away. He and his men are like the Cute and Stupid Brigade. They are always in the throes of cute schemes which they execute stupidly, or stupid schemes which they execute cutely, and the overall effect is adorable, like a child smashing toy trains together. It helps, I guess, that Robin is played by the toothsome Jonas Armstrong, but that's not all of it.

It's one of the TV shows I don't really want to share with my family. Which is odd for me, because normally my sister and I trade TV shows like -- I don't know, what do kids trade nowadays? Pokemon cards? When I was little, it was Pogs, but I think that's only good for telling you exactly how old I am -- anyway, we normally trade all the time, and spend all our time recommending them back and forth, and she's less discriminating than I am. (Short Stuff made it all the way through Angel, for example.) But in this case, it's kind of just dorky and mine. And I am having so much fun with it.


Double Dose of Drama Day

As in, started out helping with a SMAT at CalShakes, am finishing by working on the lobby display for Iphigenia. The information is mostly complete; just a question of setup and display and stuff. And watching a rehearsal.

I didn't see all of Lear, (didn't want to ruin it for myself; I'm going later) but from what I saw, it was great. The design, at least, was wonderful. Much (but not nearly all) of the power is lost when you wander in and out for five minutes at a time, but some stuff is incredible no matter what. coughGloucester'seyescough. I could neither watch nor look away, which is the best kind of theater.

Tiring, but fulfilling. Also finished A Grave Talent, which by my own rules means I am allowed to start O Jerusalem, unless I decide to stick with Kate Martinelli through another book.

Iphigenia rehearsals are fun, although it's always hard to turn off my director-thinking and be in research mode. (Does "research mode" make anyone else think of Daughter of Time? I am so a woolly lamb.) Anyway, I do hope ADing later this winter works out. I am excited but trying hard not to jinx it. Meantime I let my director thinking run loose whenever I can't sleep. I come up with elaborate play-thoughts, such as the proper temporal setting for Two Gentlemen of Verona and Lord Peter Wimsey's floor pattern in Busman's Honeymoon.


Not Really Worth the Delay

I finally finished Smiley's A Thousand Acres last night, and like the Pagels book I finished two nights ago, it... wasn't really worth it. King Lear just does not work as a novel. It... writhes against the novel form. It doesn't mesh, it loses all its power and none of its depression. So that was disappointing.

I am, however, cutting down on my list of "books I'm in the middle of," which is nice. If I can get it down to five (only four more to go) I will be GOLDEN. I don't think I'll ever get it down to fewer than three (one always should have a fiction, a non-fiction, and a trash) but between three and five seems a laudable goal.

Speaking of books, I was talking to my boss last night about various and sundry book crushes I've had over the course of my life, starting with Odysseus when I was about eight, all the way up through Lord Peter Wimsey, last month. I'm going to do a short piece of writing on the subject sometime in the next week or two, once I get my thoughts more organized. I'll post it here when I finish. It should help distract me from my three-month performance review, which will be on Friday. Gulp.


Now, Remember, Fighting Doesn't Solve Anything

I know that a ton of posts recently have been me linking to various and sundry articles in real news media. But hey, other people's lives are more interesting than mine; I am trying to keep up on Events In the World; and I try to only link to the interesting and/or funny stuff. Plus, you can always refrain from clicking the link if you don't feel like it.

But if you do feel like it, check out Slog's response to Ken Burns's new book/TV series/whatever. I think they're absolutely correct. Admittedly, I've never been all that impressed with Mr. Burns; we went to the same high school (though not at the same time), so I got to hear all about him, and I never really agreed with his attitudes about America and our accomplishments and whatnot. We're selling his book at The Store, but I haven't looked through it. And reading the quotation at the beginning of the article -- from the Metro Times, not Burns himself, so that's something -- , I shook my head in frustration. I knew I disagreed, but where to start? And then Slog took care of it for me.

(I could go on and on here about how depressing it is to live in a society where war is basically a necessity for government stability, but it would be dull and obvious and y'all have heard it before.)

Update: Apparently we mighty have misjudged Mr. Burns. Those who have reason to know (therefore, not me) have told me that the doc comes across as really anti-war, and presents a very bleak view of WWII. Which... that's really good. Because good views of war are depressing. Not that I want to go on record as saying we shouldn't have fought the German/Japanese/Italian invasion -- especially after my residence in Europe. But I wouldn't go so far as to say WWII was inevitable.

I still think Slog has a valid point in saying that WWII still has a much different stigma from the Iraq war, and a lot of people do see it as our finest hour, the uncomplicated war, etc. But if Burns's documentary is helping to change that, it gets all my support.


Quick Hit

I don't have much to say today -- it's my first real day off pajama style in awhile, which means what I mostly do is lay around reading and futzing with my computer. (I finished two books last night and only started one new one today, so that seems to be progress of a sort. I've also started really going back to some of the older ones, to finish once and for all.) But I finished answering all my emails and the next logical step is to update my blog.

Whiiiiich means it's probably a good day to link to this piece in the Guardian about Quakers, and what they believe. There are a lot of spiritual things I'm still figuring out, but Quakerism is about the closest I identify to an actual religion, and it's nice to see it get some positive press.


iPod, iPod, fixy fixy!

Yaaaaay! Thanks to my good friend Computer Rock Star, my iPod works again! It's gotten a bit of a makeover, which I also like.

Yay! Tunes!


God, you know how sometimes you're arguing with someone about some sort of philosophical issue, and one or the other of you takes it to its (il)logical extreme, just to demonstrate? Sort of a "Which is absurd, therefore QED," kind of argument, except that it doesn't actually work unless you're doing math?

Well, the Republicans seem to have gotten that confused with actual good strategy. No, seriously! Look! I mean, my God. Hillary vs. Gingritch? That would be like... like... like a mud-wrestling match, and just as fun to watch. If the stakes weren't so high (I mean, good God, what if he won?) I would completely agree with the article and want him to run for the sheer entertainment value. Especially against Hillary. Then we'd really see how far American politics have progressed into a mud-slinging match, and maybe the country would wise up a little. Not that I'm holding my breath.

Taking Charge of my Reading

No, you guys, for serious real, I am going to do that. I am going to make a rule that I have to finish a book before I get to start a new one. In fact that I have to finish two in order to start a new one. Yes. This is my plan. Because I don't know if you've noticed, but the "Right Now Reading" list over to the right there just keeps getting longer. And some stuff has been on it for like, six months. So the goal is to cut down, by finishing books rather than abandoning them.

I sold off my parents' books yesterday (God, do I love my job) and bought a new stack for something like 20% of what they're worth (no, seriously, I LOVE my JOB). But if I start those all haphazardly and crazy, I will never finish a book ever again, possibly for the rest of my life. So, no, I am going to be disciplined. Finish two non-fiction books before I start the next non-fiction. Finish two decent novels before I start the next decent novel. I'm generally in the middle of only one trashy detective story at a time, but I have to be careful of those too, or I am going to run out of all the good authors. And then where will I be? Reading sub-standard trashy novels, that's where!

Oh, right. In case you wanted something a little more interesting than my reading habits, this was on Slog the other day and it cracked me up something wicked.


Barrel Of Cute

Contrary to my expectations, Stardust really was as good as everyone was saying it was. Claire Danes is good, the little puppy they got to play her boyfriend was good, Robert de Niro is one of my personal heroes, and it was as funny and cute and touching as could be. Definitely kind of a dorm room movie; maybe some up and coming young generation of college students will worship it like my college friends and I worship The Princess Bride.

It is really a lot like Princess Bride, and there were some homages in there that just had to have been intended. The reviewers were all comparing it to that, and it has sort of the feel of Princess Bride's younger, higher-budget, slightly more shallow, but nevertheless cute sister. And if I had been seeing it with Jay, or Silent Bob, or Mr. Irish, or Little Joan and the Sweet D boys, it would have been a double feature and we would have screamed and giggled and filled in lines.

(As it was, I almost couldn't resist when Yvaine asks rhetorically "Let's see, murdered by pirates, having my heart cut out and eaten, or meeting Victoria. Which one sounds like more fun?" The correct answer is, of course, "Murdered by pirates is good!" but I didn't want to sound like a nutcase to the ever-sweet Ozma, with whom I went. But I did mention to her how much I would LOVE to see de Niro's Captain Shakespeare team up with Wallace Shawn's Vizzini. That would be SO COOL.)


Vague Tension and Dissatisfaction

(I will try to get through this post with no cute little onomatopoeia-words used to designate sighs, grumblings, or other annoying noises. This is a departure for me, I know, but a necessary one.)

It's one of those days -- well, one of those clumps of several days -- where I am tense for no reason. Everything in my life individually, is going well. Not fighting with anyone; work going well, having fun; math tutoring hovering between normal and good; dramaturging going well; etc. In the middle of some very satisfying mystery stories, and some very interesting non-fiction. Keeping up with friends, more or less.

And still, somehow, I am tense. But, but, but, I say to myself. Part of it, I think, stems from the fact that I am trying to make friends with my coworkers, so all my shyness and self-retiring-ness is kicking and screaming and crying. Other than that, though... I don't know. I mean, I just have to push on and quit bitching and moaning; it just sometimes feels nice to acknowledge it when I'm all flippy-dippy, instead of trying to pretend I'm not.

I'll sort it out in a day or two, I suppose.

As a quick note -- it's amazing what a difference eleven years makes, especially when ten of them were spent in formal education. I picked up The Hound of the Baskervilles again, which I haven't touched since I was eleven or twelve, and found that it really wasn't nearly as difficult to read as I remembered it being. In fact, Conan Doyle actually has a really straightforward and simple writing style, although I still think he does better work with his short stories than with his novels. Huh. Whodathunk?


I am So a Detective

Whee! For possibly the first time ever, I predicted who the murderer was a good hundred pages before the end of the book. Even better was that it followed this conversation with my mom:

Me: I have Dorothy Sayers all figured out.

My Mom: Oh really?

Me: Yeah. It's always the person that you've eliminated but didn't want to eliminate.

My Mom: So who did it in Busman's Honeymoon?

Me: Not sure yet; not enough clues. But I won't be surprised by the ending.

My Mom: You don't know a thing. You always have to meet the criminal during the course of the story, otherwise it's not fair. You don't know who did it.

Me: Fine.

That was about nine. I retired to my room, picked up the book, and within fifty pages was like, by my own rule, it has to be this guy. And I stuck to it for the last hundred or whatever pages of the book, and lo and behold, one-thirty in the morning and I am TOTALLY proven right, it WAS him. I didn't realize how he'd done it, but I absolutely knew who it was.

I confronted my mom with this knowledge as she left for work at eight and then retired back to bed until noon. Heh. It was pretty awesome. Staying up until all hours finishing books makes me feel like a little kid again. I haven't been able to do it much since around high school, when the crazy homework load took over. But it is wicked fun.

I would be a totally brilliant detective as soon as I figured out who my author was.


I'm Sure There's a Pun Here, But I Can't Think of It

A pun about how badly I want to direct Busman's Honeymoon, that is.

I'm loving the book -- it may make it onto my list of my favorite books ever; there is so much to have fun with, and Peter and Harriet are completely adorable -- but, with that said, it is also one of the most frustrating books ever. Because you can TELL it was based on a play, it's really obvious, and it's making me think play thoughts. Like how much I want to try to set up Peter's and Harriet's relationship as a counterpoint to the murder investigation (a parallel would be too obvious, but a counterpoint would be interesting) and their movements and floor patterns, and how you would set up the stage, and how you could dangle red herrings, and where you would have entrances and exits, and what parts are funny versus what parts are morbid, and, and...

I miss directing and I miss ADing. It's like an itch I can't scratch, and it's driving me so nuts. Sometimes I wonder about it; like it almost seems presumptuous of me to miss it, since I'm not a real director. But I can't help it, and I can't stop myself. I may ask the Divine Dictator if she knows of any teens around who want to work a scene for fun, just to keep me in practice. Maybe it will help once I start regularly going to Iphigenia rehearsals, but so far dramaturging is not really enough.


"Though she's as like this as a crab is to an apple..."

She meaning me, who is crabby today. I think I'm getting my sister's cold. I don't have any symptoms really, beyond fatigue and a strong desire to spend the day in bed with a mystery novel. I often have these symptoms, especially when I am short on sleep, but it is easier to blame my sister's cold than the fact that I was out babysitting till midnight last night.

Also, I kind of can't believe I live here. Everyone knows I'm a liberal, but really it's my academic mindedness that objects to people judging things they admit to not actually knowing anything about.


Aww. [Thunk] Owww.

In other words, Dorothy Sayers.

I was up until two am last night, reading, and believe me, you know you've got it bad when you finish the book you're on, you know who the criminal is, the romantic tensions have all been resolved.... and instead of going to sleep, you immediately hop out of bed and start on the sequel.

In my defense, Gaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon are totally awesome and you should scurry off and read them yourself. It sometimes pains me to admit publicly that I agree with my mother, but there is no help for it. I lurrrve them. And Peter and Harriet are totally adorable.


A Modest Proposal

Right, not to be insensitive or anything (oh, who am I kidding?) but if the Russians want babies so badly, couldn't they import a few from China?

Seriously, guys. It's like, fifty miles to the south. Negotiate! Everyone can go home happy here.

What? I'm just saying. It's not like it's Australia and Norway having this problem. These two countries are right next to each other. (If you don't count that big stretch of Mongolia in between, anyway.) Then you don't have to do any state sponsored events except like, a day off for a big adoption parade, or something. (Although giving people a day off for sex cracks me up completely. Would it kill the mood to know you were doing it on the government's dollar?)

Anyway. That's my insensitive thought of the day.


A Short Skit

Customer: Do you have anything by W. S. Burroughs?

Me: Well, you need to look on this shelf, over here. No, it looks like we only have this.

Customer: That's by Augusten Burroughs. I want a book by William Burroughs.

Me: Okay, well, would you like me to check backstock?

Customer: That'd be great.

(five minutes later)

Me: Sorry, I didn't see anything. But if you follow me up to the counter, I can check and see if our other stores have anything in.

Customer: Your manager's up there, isn't she?

Me: Well, uh, yeah.

Customer: No thanks. I have a thing against managers at this store.

Me: Um, okay.

Customer: Did you know that Kubrik used this [gestures vaguely in air, attempting to convey the current music we have playing in the store] in 2001?

Me: Um, nope.

Customer: Yeah, totally. And he paid homage to Burroughs in another one of his films...

Me: Riiiiiight. Well, gotta get back to shelving. [eye-roll]


Non-normalcy of Life

I read a week or two ago on various weblogs I frequent (wait a sec. My blog's spell-checker just red-lined "weblog." What? I thought... But.... waaaaaah!) that one in four Americans hasn't read a book over the last year. The average number of books Americans read every year is four, but even if you throw out that extra 25% who don't get around to any, the average only goes up to 7 books per year per person.

It must take like six of them to balance me out.

No, I mean really. I wasn't surprised to hear that bit of data, exactly, and I wasn't appalled exactly either (although what the poor things do on public transportation I'm sure I don't know). And it's not like I just plow through books like there's no tomorrow, either. Sometimes I read a lot, sometimes, not so much; there are a good six books I've been in the middle of for three months or more; there are several books that I've begun and abandoned; there are long stretches where I dip in and out of books; or just reread; or am reading plays instead; or whatever. And I realize I'm in an affluent family, my parents have college degrees, as do I, I work in a bookstore, etc. etc.

But when I heard that number I started doing a mental count and came up with between thirty and forty books I've read for the first time over the last twelve months, fiction and non-fiction, trashy and good, based on whatever was available where I was at the time, and the mood I was in and all that. Not counting books started and abandoned; not counting rereads, not counting anything online; not counting whatever I've read and erased from my memory (I'm trying to keep a book journal, with middling success). I'm also right now on my third mystery novel over the course of the last week, which is what's making me post about this now.

Like I say, it's not that I haven't met people who don't read, it's not that I think they're dumb or uneducated, it's not that I don't understand how busy people get or that I think I'm an egghead because I can't get my nose out of a book. On the contrary, it's that I can't seem to believe my lifestyle is so abnormal compared to everyone else in the country.

I mean, what do they do on public transportation?

Funniest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Because you can't go wrong with muppets and conservatives!

I saw this on Slog today, and if I could figure out how to post a video here, I would. (I'm sure it's possible; I just don't feel like figuring out how.) So you'll have to go and see for yourself -- but trust me, this is so far beyond awesome it has its own zip code.


Intellectual Equality is Sexy

My mom is right. AGAIN. Unfair, but true.

In related news, you know what book totally rocks? Laurie King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice. I don't even LIKE mystery novels. Okay, I liked Kate Ross's mystery novels, but that was a fluke. One-off. Not a normal, mystery-liking fact. I like good sci-fi (although that's become as scarce as good mysteries, recently); I like nonfiction; I like lit; and.... I like Laurie King. It is only a very short hop to Dorothy Sayers. A hop my mother has fostered by giving me Strong Poison last night.

Okay, I don't know how it happened, but these books are actually really good. I finished Beekeeper in about three days; I'm already halfway through the sequel. I can't help it. Mary Russell is really engaging, and her romance with Sherlock Holmes is... so help me God... cute. I'm almost as disturbed as I would be finding the romance in Lolita cute, but there it is. Russell is at least post-pubescent, so stop giving me those looks. But yes, there is a forty-year age difference. And I still... find it kind of cute. They all verbally spar and are rude and sarcastic to each other and they match their intellects and solve mysteries and then he strokes her hair. Intellectual equality is sexy, it's not my fault. I've always had a weakness for that kind of thing. And a weakness for well-written, intelligent characters, even if they are detectives.

And it's all exciting and engaging (seriously, the last time I was this caught up in a book was Harry Potter seven) and even though I know it's the same part of my brain that takes delight in cosmogirl quizzes (you know what? You can just shut up) and I kind of don't care.

If it makes you (and by you I mean me) feel any better, my hobbies at the moment include linear algebra, studying the history of Greek theater, and reading scientific history books.



This post is brimming with Harry Potter seven spoilers.

I have this urge -- and I don't really have the time and patience to carry it out, which is probably a good thing -- but I have this urge, now that the Harry Potter books have finally come to an end, to rate Voldemort as a villain. I mean, he was mostly pretty effective, I think, although not as scary as he maybe could have been. And you can't hold it against him that he lost, all great villains lose, it's part of their charm.

But I really want to put him up against the Evil Overlord list, and see how he measures up, you know?

Like, to his credit -- he did actually put the object that was his one weakness in a safety deposit box (Gringotts vault, same difference). Of course, it was guarded by a very ineffectual dragon, so points off for that.

He also doesn't feel that killing curses are too good for his enemies, or that he needs to leave the weaker ones alive. I don't suppose it's his fault that his major enemy seems to be immune. And he's very good at not having children and using his advantages in a timely manner, so major points for that. He also never builds just one of anything important.

On the other hand, his "take Harry alive at all costs" plan didn't turn out very well, did it? Especially since he was the only one who couldn't kill Harry. Oh! The irony! And if your henchmen fail, what was that about how it's kind of a bad idea to berate them and then trust them with the same task again, eh what?

But the real catch, the downfall of the bad guy, could so easily have been avoided. Voldy, my dear -- shouldn't have turned into a snake, even metaphorically, should you? Sigh. They never learn.


Total Waste

I meant this to be an actual review, but I also meant it to come out days ago, and now it's late, I'm sleepy, and I'm trying to finish up so I can close my computer with a clean conscience. So I will confine myself to an observation, rather than a real review.

With installment number five, Harry Potter has so very much become the new Star Wars.

Which is really sad, you know? Lots of potential, very mediocre execution. Oh, it hasn't hit Jar Jar Binks level, or the hideousness that was Padme and Anakin's romance. And you know, it wasn't unexpected. The first installment was pretty sucky. But they'd been getting better! Three! Three was good! Four... well, you could make excuses for four. But five has landed us squarely back in the realm of shiny pictures / wretched dialogue.

And I mean it. Just wretched. That snort you heard on Sunday night, three counties away? That was me, when Harry comes out of the elevator at the Department of Mysteries and explains solemnly to his friends, "This is it." Thank you, Explainy McExpositionpants. I think there were a couple of newborn babies in the audience who were just a little unsure of the implications of the crashing music and the fact that the plot has been leading up to this for the past hour and forty-five minutes.

There's a lot to like -- the acting, for example, has dramatically improved (pun intended); Luna and Umbridge are both excellently cast. The condensations of the plot make sense and aren't too jarring. And the visuals are VERY shiny. (Although the wizard fight at the end borders on ridiculous.)

I just wish, for once, that the different elements of the movie industry -- the people who do script, music, acting, camera work, could trust in each other -- and in the non-brain-damaged audience -- and inject their work with some subtlety and power, rather than beating us over the head with everything. If the music is going to crash dramatically, you ... don't actually need the line of dialogue that explains what's going on. If you're going to have a line in the script that explains interrogations, you don't really need a visual of them happening. Reinforcement, not redundancy, people! Not that difficult!

Oh, wait! I was mixing my mediums. That's what you get when you have theater!


At Last... Sleep

So with the double jobs and all, it had been seriously more than five weeks since I had a day off. And then, this week, I get THREE. I have stuff to do on two of them, but if I disappear off the face of the Earth on Friday, it's deliberate. I seriously haven't had a pajama day in like a million years. Or three months. But even so.

Yes, I am such a square. On my days off I a) run errands, b) sleep 12-13 hours a night, c) read, d) do work functions, e) go to the doctor. Sometimes I hang out with friends, but there is no hard-core partying. You know that Buddy Holly song, where he talks about how his current girl is such a square, she doesn't want to go out dancing, she just wants to hold hands at the movies? I'd say it was written for me, except that I haven't BEEN to the movies since I got back from Europe. Maybe once, since I got back, I went to the movies. To see an indie flick. In German. SO SQUARE.

But! I get the sleep, I get the reading (working at a bookstore is so bad for me), I get the recharge time. So really, it's a good thing.



I don't love Wuthering Heights nearly as much as this lady does -- I don't actually love that book at all; I think it's kind of overwrought and the symbolism is exhausting, it falls into that category of literature that I know is great but feel is silly -- but the title is absolutely worth the clickthrough (partly because the other work referenced therein is another in that category...).


Back with Transportation Woes

Right, so I know I suck at this blogging-regularly thing, now I know people aren't really using it to make sure I'm still alive. But between the double jobs, and the beginnings of a social life (believe me, I'm as shocked as you) and generally spending most of my spare minutes sleeping, I just haven't had the energy to spare for blogging. Plus there's been a bunch of mental health stuff going on that I'd prefer to work out in my journal rather than in public. (A pen and paper journal! It's so retro!)

Anyway. So now, my first entry in like four weeks, and I'm going to complain about public transportation. Do you know why? Because public transportation in the Bay Area sucks SO MUCH. AC Transit, County Connection, Bart, it is all totally a huge conspiracy to make me pissed off.

You know what happened to me this morning? I had one of those destined-to-be-late mornings. As in, my alarm didn't go off, and I had unanticipated (or at least semi-unanticipated) tasks to take care of in the morning, and I had transportation woes. I practically had to save a school bus full of nuns and ducklings, that is how bad my morning was. But I'm only going to complain about the public transportation part, because it is refreshing to blame other people for my woes.

So I arrive at the station -- already running late, because of the aforementioned snafus --, and put my ticket through, and the agent is all, no bikes in the station until 8:50. Like, thanks jackass. Way to tell me after I've put the charge on my ticket, and how the hell am I supposed to get to El Cerrito from Oakland by nine if I'm not allowed in the fricking station until 8:50? You suck. So I pedal over to the next station down (actually the previous station, if we're getting technical, it was further away) and show up with my bike, and they're like, um, no bikes. I almost cried. They're like, it's rush hour to San Francisco. No, I explain. I am going on the Richmond train. AND I AM LATE. And my cell is practically out of juice (my cell is great to have, but its battery lasts exactly twenty four hours and NO MORE, which is annoying) so I can't call my boss. I give the guy this sob story, and he's like, oh, you're going to Richmond? Fine then, go on through, train in five minutes. I'm like, thank you, but I still hate you.

So you see, the public transportation around here is just out to get me. Here I am living green and biking everywhere (read: I can't afford a car) and they have to make it all difficult and sucky. Sigh.

Right, so next week I start working ONE job, instead of two, and I will try to update more often, with the crazy stories of the retail world. Which will be even more fascinating than my transportation woes.


Defining.... Something

There's an article about female directors in the San Jose Mercury News this week.

I tend to get uncomfortable with this kind of thing. Uncomfortable on more than one level, of course; there's always the level of, well, how much does this really tell you, no need to be a feminazi (which is such a horrible word), judge films by their merits, etc. And the level of ... that's it? Female movie directors are only 7%? Really? Really really? Because gross.

It's about film, and I don't know whether it's the same in theater, which is the area I'm more interested in directing. I imagine (or hope) that it's not, but it's annoying to me that that will always be in the background for me, almost regardless of what I end up doing. And you try not to give it too much attention, because then you drive yourself crazy, but you can't quite just ignore it either.

It's something that's sort of been bouncing around in my head over the last year or so; something I had to come to terms with at SJC (because what's rarer than a female director? A female philosopher, of course!), but coming to terms with it in the real world is something else again.

Not that I've faced any direct bigotry in any theater stuff I've done before, at least none that I knew of. And I feel really lucky in the people I'm working with now, I have so many role models there, many many of whom are women, strong and powerful and intelligent and interesting ones, and it is absolutely amazing to go in every day and just ... soak stuff up, you know. Sit and watch and feel the brain expanding, and occasionally mutter a suggestion. So it's not something that I'm facing, or overcoming, or anything really, in my day to day life. More something that is ... nibbling, I guess. At the back.

I didn't mean to ramble. This stuff has been on my mind for awhile, and certain things in the article crystalized certain things in my thinking. Clearly, not enough that I actually make any sense, though. I'll come to an answer about it sooner or later.


The Sad and the Books

I haven't written for awhile, because I didn't feel like sharing all my apathy and depression, or describing in detail the panic attacks I was getting every day for the last week or so. The last thing the world needs is one more idiot blabbing to the internet at large about their apathy and depression. So I put off writing until today, the first day this week I haven't wanted to rip my own eyes out with a rusty spoon, which might be considered progress of a sort. (Seriously, I'm dealing with it, I'm going to be fine, no need to worry.)

Right, sorry, not talking about that. Instead I have some happier updates.

Dude! Cynthia Voigt has another Bad Girls book out! (And I got to it before my mom did, which is moderately exciting to me.) I totally forgot how exactly and completely spot on she describes middle school/high school age kids. The way they talk, the way they eat, the way they think and plan. It's eerie. For a few minutes I was back in ninth grade myself. (Hello, Mrs. Peters' geometry room lunch gang-of-three!) The character of Casey especially reminds me of me at that age... and Mikey and Margalo are as charming, intelligent, and misguidedly entertaining as usual. Anyone who has survived grades five through nine really should pick up this series at some point. It will click in scary ways.

Aside from reliving adolescent trauma, I've had like eight million books I'm starting and stopping out of. History books, a lot of them (somehow I wish I just knew more history, without having to read about it. It's so interesting, and I so don't have time), plus I've been on a total King Lear kick. Of course I read the play, and good old Asimov's notes, right at the start of camp, but it didn't stop there. I don't actually intend to do research, exactly, but I keep coming across literary analysis books -- at home, at work, at the library -- and picking them up, and skimming them, and then bringing them to rehearsal. I'm also finally reading A Thousand Acres for real, (I borrowed it from my grandma like three years ago -- heh, sorry about that) and it's quite good, although I think it goes a little slowly compared to the play. And there's no equivalent to the Fool as yet, or Kent, which I find disappointing. I like Ginny and Ty both, though, and Jess, against my will. And on my Netflix there are three or four movie versions, none of them actually set in England (is it my fault the one starring Patrick Stewart is set in Texas? Patrick Stewart playing Lear is just something my life is incomplete without).

Anyway, I've also been watching a great deal of House, M.D. -- my dislike of Cameron grows more heated every episode; GOD what an incompetent emotional waste of space -- and the occasional Joan of Arcadia, which I have so far failed to really like, meaning after this disk if it fails to improve, it is off Netflix forever. And on a whim I got the old 80s version of Anne of Green Gables. (I had a rough week. Yeah, you can all just shut up.) It was not as relaxing as I'd hoped, but Gilbert is quite fetching, or would be, except that the actor was like seventeen when he made that movie. (And, in one of the fun bits of trivia that only I care about -- he just showed up on season two of Slings & Arrows. Completely unrecognizable, as an obnoxious playwright. Cracked me up.)

While I'm letting my trivia minded geek flag fly, I should point out I found this in the Guardian -- apparently Tolkien beats out Rowling where it really counts. I can't say I disagree with this ruling, actually. Well, I disagree with number four, but what can you do.


New Hobby

In an effort to replace some of the brain cells I routinely assassinate with booze and television (see, I've assassinated so many that at first I couldn't even spell assassinate; the computer had to correct me) I've asked my stepdad to start teaching me chess.

I was doing wicked good with all my pawns in a cute little net and him all blocked off, and then he moves one thing and my net collapses and I lose not only my net but a knight, a bishop, and eventually my queen.

My attention span is just not built for chess right now. It's one of those things -- like learning to play a musical instrument, which, incidentally, my stepdad also does really well -- that I wish more and more I'd learned at a young age, because now it feels too late to get any good at them.

Just a Thought

Is it me, or does this read like the elderly woman across the street saying, "Well, yes, that young hoodlum does ride his skateboard awfully fast, and yes, he has been known to set fire to neighborhood cats, but he's really quite civil and intelligent once you get to know him"?



I love my new job so very, very much.

Seriously, I would have applied YEARS ago if I had known about these perks. And if I had been old enough to work there and it had fit into my schedule, which actually doesn't leave a window since I moved to Berkeley, basically. So I can honestly say I started working here as soon as I could. I have to be careful, or my paycheck is going to be worth like, three cents. Already I have seen tons of books I want, some of which I've been wanting for years. Well, okay, months. Still.

It is going to be kind of brutal once I get the double jobs going at the same time dealio, but I enjoy both jobs so much -- it helps that I am extremely fortunate in my co-workers, at least so far -- that I think I'll be okay. Being surrounded first by theater and then by books is actually really relaxing.



Hey! Who has a JOB? That's right, real, paying, shiny, bookselling, JOB. C'est moi, baby!

Sigh. Bookselling and theater. My life according to me suddenly makes a lot more sense.


MySpace, But in the Real World

So, I totally finally got my room -- formerly the den -- all cleaned up and arranged, and the general effect is sort of equal best-dorm-room-in-the-world (as in, it moonlights as the den, so it's completely lined with bookshelves, and there's the family TV and DVD and VCR and all that, so I have access to them 24/7) and the bed-your-mom-makes-for-you-when-you're-eight-years-old-and-sick (as in, I sleep on the couch). Now, both of these have really good associations -- I love being surrounded by books and couch beds bring back memories of being allowed to do whatever I wanted all day long -- but I'm not sure it's really good for my work mentality. I sort of subconsciously expect that I'll get to lay around reading and watching TV all day. But I don't get to do that at all! I work, and have appointments, and have to get all sorts of things done. And it's really much better that way, because if I ever have the amount of free time to lay around that I did in France, I would go off the deep end, in one way or another.


One More Thing

I'm about to drop off to sleep, but check it out -- you can tour Ancient Rome!

I especially like the fora. (Heh. Like flora, but without the l, so it means something totally different. Yes, I am half asleep.)

Via my grandma. :)

Orcs and Elves and Wizards, Oh My

I think I saw a poster for this in Vienna. But it really didn't register that they were actually going to do it.

I think I really don't want to see this play. Given the background with the books and all, I can't imagine it NOT looking like it was clipped in a horribly forced way. The movies felt like that, and they weer triple the length and didn't have any singing or dancing.

Still, the director's comments are really interesting.

UPDATE: The verdict is in, and, well... not so much.

We Are Here To Worship the Gods Of Comedy and Tragedy

Working at a theater -- a real, professional, THEATER is so exciting I don't even know what to do with myself. I mean, the work is just office work, and I'm not getting paid. But the atmosphere is wonderful. Like, I was making packets, but I was doing it in the green room. I was filing stuff, but it was stuff for actors.

Okay, it wasn't quite that exciting while I was doing it; I mean, office work is office work at the end of the day. But still. I'm happy to be working, I'm happy not to be teaching, and I'm so happy I'm working at a theater. I got to sit in on a rehearsal! For like twenty minutes! I know! Watching real professionals rehearse. Sigh.

Also, I got Volume I of the second season of Slings & Arrows, and that is pretty awesome too. Geoffrey, you are so too good for Ellen. Date me instead, and then let me sit in on a rehearsal with you and Oliver. See, I wouldn't think you're crazy. I would be very supportive. I wouldn't even mind that I could only hear half the conversation.


Nick Hornby -- A Long Way Down

Hornby isn't hard to overdose on, but I've more-or-less loved all his books that I've read (High Fidelity and How to Be Good, specifically). He takes tough, bizarre sorts of feelings and states, and normalizes them really well.

A Long Way Down
is the story of four people who meet on New Year's Eve on the roof of a common suicide-jumpers building. (What would be the correct term for that?) Martin was a television presenter with a wife and family, who went out partying one too many times, got drunk, slept with a fifteen-year-old girl, and got sent to prison. Two years later, he's divorced, jobless, and suicidal. Maureen has a profoundly disabled son who needs constant, immediate care -- she hasn't had a social engagement beyond church in nearly twenty years. Eighteen-year-old Jess has family troubles, has just been dumped, and her grip on life -- and her sanity -- is none too firm. And JJ, an American living in London, has been delivering pizzas since his band broke up and his girlfriend left him.

Each of the four is an archetype, sure, but each grows and deepens throughout the book. The narration switches back and forth among them every few pages, and Hornby deftly gives up more and more personal information about his characters while resisting the urge to simplify their lives or make any grand statements.

I really enjoyed the book, being kind of depressed myself while I was reading it. Hornby's trademark, and well earned, is his ability to convey depression in funny, charming, thought-provoking phrases. All the reviews on the back of the book say this same thing, but you can't talk about Hornby's books without mentioning it; it's his thing and he does it really well. I can think of maybe two cheap shots he takes, and both fit into the story, give you insight about the characters, and don't derail the setting. Really, you see him avoid so many different cheap shots that the one or two he takes hardly matter.

I still think High Fidelity is kind of his best, but I keep being impressed by his other books, in part how different he manages to make them from one another. Different in setting and characters, I mean; his style is pretty constant.

Give it a try. If you like Hornby's other stuff, if you're depressed, if you like books about people rather than events, or if the idea of suicide doesn't bother you and depress you horribly, give it two tries. I thought it was pretty nifty.

Slings & Arrows Season One

Loath as I usually am to listen to my sister, she is right more often than I really care to look at. And she was right this time. Slings & Arrows is so fucking good that I'm depressed now.

I am. I'm really really depressed by how good it was (is. I haven't seen season two yet, or season three). Plus, you know what else is depressing, not only can I not be Geoffrey Tennat, but I can't date Geoffrey Tennant, I can't act for Geoffrey Tennant, I can't AD for Geoffrey Tennant. I can't even meet Geoffrey Tennant; he's fictional. OR Oliver Welles, who is both fictional and dead. And this makes me really really sad. And it has made me definitively decide to do that CalShakes internship I was offered (I would be yay-ing if I weren't depressed about how good this stupid show is) because if I get this worked up about a TV show about theater, that maybe says something. (Doesn't it? Maybe it doesn't. Maybe I'm just a loser sort of crackhead, and I'm going to end up doing whatever the theater version is of playing your guitar on the street corner for quarters.) See, I told you this show makes me sad. It also makes me sad that I can't own it, because it costs thirty bucks a season. Thirty bucks for six episodes each. That makes me cry, and I shall have to wait for my birthday or something. Or anyway until I get a job that pays me in something other than theater tickets. Because hawking theater tickets to pay for -- I can't even finish that sentence, that's just so messed up.

Right, no one needed to hear this, did they? Slings & Arrows is on my cosmic wishlist and Geoffrey Tennant is my imaginary boyfriend, that's all you needed to know.



Dude! Migraine medication makes you an X-Files alien!

I mean, am I the only one who thinks that rocks? Heh. The article reads like an episode of The X-Files crossed with an episode of House, M.D. (Just think about the sarcasm flying if Mulder ever encountered House. The rest of us would just have to bow down in awe before we ran away in fear. Except maybe for Raymond Chandler. He could take it.)

I totally love The Guardian.


Me Stuff

Heh. So I am the victim of two (well, several, but two that matter) competing desires. One is the desire not to make my blog boring and irrelevant by writing about stupid shit. The other is my desire not to quit writing in my blog now that I've quit traveling to interesting places and doing interesting things. So now I need to find some sort of new balance.

Until I do, you get to read about my job search.

Okay, you don't really, because it would just be a rant about how stressed I get about interviews. The good news is, I had one today, I have another one Friday morning. The bad news is, even if I get either of these I still need another job, and also, interviews make me insane.

Right, so there are plenty of other more interesting things to be writing about. I'm catching up on the end of the third season of Veronica Mars, and I have to say that it is a crime against God and humanity that it was canceled for next year. Even the bad episodes are intelligent, well-written, and complex. It always pleases me to rot my brain in the most brainy way possible. (You know what other show is wicked good in that respect? House, M.D. I want to marry Hugh Laurie, but only if he's not that mean in person. Heh.)

Speaking of low-stress entertainment options, I went to the library today to visit with the Divine Dictator, and of course came out with two bags full of books. Since I'm jet-lagged, it's all about the good old fashioned children's section comfort reads. I always forget how much I like Chris Crutcher's stuff until they're staring me in the face again. It's easy to overdose, but I maintain that Staying Fat For Sara Byrnes is one of the best thought-provoking YAs out there. Plus, you know, the standbys -- The Hobbit, The Changeling, Year of the Griffin; plus a bunch more that the Divine Dictator recommended. I think I picked up like four adult books total, and two of them are collections of fairy tales. (I really want to read some folklore from Egypt and Ireland -- the places I just got back from. I'm of course pretty familiar with Greek already, but seeing all the figurines made me so curious about how the Egyptian stuff worked.)

Pretty soon I need to start rereading the Harry Potters in preparation for Book Seven (dun dun DUN) but that can wait until July, I think.

Oh, hey, feed your brain: a pretty insightful -- or at least interesting -- look at current American politics. Kinda makes me want to move to England.


There's No Place Like the Parents' House

I don't have much to write about, other than my completely ludicrous sleep schedule. I seem to be on rotation, six hours of sleep, six hours of waking, six hours of sleep... etc., etc. How I wish I were kidding. I must be driving my poor family nuts. I'm certainly driving myself nuts. All I seem to be able to do is sleep, watch TV, read, eat, sleep, watch TV, read, eat. And I'm not talking reading deep things, I'm talking like I can barely pick up the Nick Hornby book I bought for the plane ride.

I am so, so glad to be home. In terms of seeing my family, of course, and in terms of no longer needing to worry about my personal safety sort of 24/7. And not needing to be worried about my stuff all the time, and being able to take a shower and do laundry, and all the practical things like that, things that take up so much head space when you're traveling. Not to mention the sightseeing and adjusting to new cultures and whatnot.

I do, however, have enough travel anecdotes to last me about two years' worth of parties and meeting new people and dinner get togethers and so forth. You know, arriving in Madrid for the first time with a high fever, arriving in Paris for the first time with no luggage, arriving in Slovakia for the first time completely unexpectedly... those are my top three bad expletive stories (as in, I use a lot of expletives in a really negative way). I'm not even sure what my top three good expletive stories (as in, I use a lot of expletives in a really good way) would be -- there are so many. Getting to see a real achaeological dig just outside Rome, where teams were in the process of excavating plant holders and suchlike, the way I felt after going to a concentration camp tour (well, that was more of a mixed expletive story... I actually completely unironically and un-self-critically started mapping out how little human contact I could get away with for the rest of my life), what it looks like inside a pyramid, seeing Socrates's very own marketplace ... I probably have at least one for every country I've seen.

Okay, right, nostalgia is boring. Corner me at a cocktail party sometime; I tell these much better than I write them.



I feel like entering a sarcophagus myself at this point. I wanted to write about the Egyptian museum, but I have nothing remotely interesting to say about it. I just sort of wandered around; it's really impressive, mostly from the sheer number of crazy things they have there. I mean, not crazy if you're an Ancient Egyptian, but kind of crazy if you're a modern American. And culturally ignorant, like me. (Seriously, one of my first trips once I get home tomorrow is to go to the library -- I have been having library withdrawal -- and one of the first things I'm going to get is a book of Egyptian mythology. I know the very very basics -- Sun God, Sky Goddess, heart and feather dealio -- all the stuff you can pick up from reading The Egypt Game lots of times at an impressionable age. But I have very little idea of the details. Plus I know absolutely nothing about the history of the Pharoahs, except, you know, Moses and all, so if I can find a history of that that isn't too dry, I'll pick it up. See, I told you I'm having library withdrawal. You know what else, though, speaking of Moses, I don't know how the Egyptians even realized that they had a plague of gnats, or of flies, or of whatever. From what I can tell they seem to have a plague of them constantly. No wonder Pharoah wouldn't let the people go.)

Right, topic. Which I ... don't have. Except, you know, being ignorant and irreverent and culturally insensetive. Sigh. Okay, you know what, I'm tired, and I have to pack for my flights tomorrow. But I am going home tomorrow! Home! Family! Friends! Library! Bookstores! Movie theaters! Netflix! Mexican food! Asian food! Washing machine! Hey, I said family and friends first, don't look at me like that.



I think I may have just gotten accepted to grad school in the UK.

Of course, the places in my home country who would have paid me for helping out in theater are like, well, gee whiz, the competition was really fierce this year... but the super exclusive university in England that is prohibitively expensive is like, hey, come on over.

I'm sure I'll get to happy and proud eventually -- although, like I said, kind of cost-prohibitive, so it's not like I can really go -- but right now I'm just sort of crinkling my forehead like, huh? I think the universe may possibly be laughing at me.


The economic system in Cairo is completely beyond my grasp. But the pyramids sure are impressive. Seriously, damn. Also, I rode on a camel. (Paid too much for the priviledge, but I wanted so much to see the Sphinx and go inside the pyramid... So I did. I shall spend the summer paying off this vacation. But! Camel! And pyramids. It was excellent.) Plus, lots of tombs, complete with hieroglyphs on the walls and... well, everything you've ever heard about Egypt, I've been seeing today. Seeing part of, anyway; the artifacts are in the museum that I'll go to tomorrow.

Also finished Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I liked it so much better than I was expecting to, despite the sort of underlying misogyny and depressing undertones. Or overtones, actually, they were pretty explicit. But it was good; the scenes were powerful (if a little cinematic) the mood was really well done, and the ending was just perfect. I was really impressed.



That's not really a word, but it's how I'm feeling. Cairo is overwhelming.

Being here is like every video you've ever seen on a spy show, but raised to the power of ten. All the individual sights are what you've seen on TV, women in headscarves, bright lights, people along the Nile, crazy streets. But of course, it's so different being here, people are always, always, always, ALWAYS hustling you. They will get you any service you like, they assure you, for only a nominal fee. My first foray out, I only got caught by one, and there went ten Egyptian pounds right there. Good news, that's about two dollars. Bad news, I am at the end of my trip and very broke, and couldn't really spare it at all. Sigh. So it goes. I should be happy I avoided it all but once. (I'm not kidding or exaggerating here. Every single minute, someone is demanding something of you. It is NUTS.)

I shouldn't be stressed here, but I am. The engagement ring helps (I am coming up with all these elaborate lies about Imaginary Fiance Will. Backstory, relationship history, personality, career plans, wedding date... I'm such a bad liar; I get paranoid really really quickly and start coming up with all these contingencies) but I get so flustered ignoring people on the street all the time. I know, I know, I'm from Berkeley, that's fairly ridiculous. But still, I don't know, I feel like I'm being so rude, when in actual fact it is self defense and being broke.

Anyway. Tomorrow I promise to calm down and see the pyramids. Meanwhile, news from Athens. I can't get this computer to recognize my flash drive, so no pictures for a couple of days. (Once I get home, I'll just post pictures all the time, from the whole trip, just for the hell of it.)

But! In Athens. The Temple of the Olympian Zeus, which is sort of like the Circus Maximus in Rome, in that the site is huge, so you realize the building must have been incredibly impressive. But there's so little left of it (in the case of the Circus, there's essentially a track; Zeus does better with 15 pillars standing; which sounds impressive until you realize that that's basically one corner of the structure) that it's hard to really appreciate. The Acropolis was more impressive -- there are actually several temples there, including the one with the Caryatids (which I just spelled wrong). But I found out! That's supposedly on the site where Athena and Poseidon had their contest, right, for who gets the city, and Poseidon made a spring well up from the rock and everyone was all impressed, except he's the god of the OCEAN, so when they tasted it it was all salty and gross, and then they weren't impressed anymore, and then Athena planted an olive tree, because she ROCKS, and the Greeks figured out that they could smoosh the olives and make olive oil, and sell it to the rest of Europe for really expensive prices, and then Athena got the city because her gift was more useful and that's why it's Athens and not Poseidons, although ironically, it occurs to me now, they probably had to cure the olives in Poseidon's salt water, so the gifts were actually sort of equally useful, and the city should really be called Atheidons.

Yes, of course I was like that for the whole tour, explaining things and pissing people off. Duh. I haven't changed at all. Plus, it's Athens!

Oh, and it just gets better. I mentioned yesterday the old Dionysian theater (ROCK ROCK ROCK ROCK) and ALSO I saw the Ancient Marketplace, meaning I walked on the same dirt as SOCRATES. I KNOW. IT WAS SO COOL!

Yes, all those caps were necessary. Sigh. No one understands me.

And, we went to this hill, right near the Acropolis, where supposedly Ares was put on trial for sleeping with/raping Poseidon's daughter. I don't know why all the gods were so big on pissing off Poseidon; it seems like such a stupid idea. Although possibly he couldn't ever really take it out on them because Ares would have kicked his ass, and Athena has Zeus sort of perpetually backing her up, so he had to just sort of fume, and so then when Odysseus pissed him off, he really went nuts because Athena was only supporting him sort of off and on, and so Zeus didn't really get involved...

Yeah, I'm taking my weird notions off to sleep now, because I have the same feeling that I get when I say something and everyone looks at me funny and blinks.