Friday, October 31, 2008

wordle wordle wordle

One of the gazillion wordles of this blog that I've made since finding this fabulous toy. You gotta try it. (Click to embiggen.)

(From Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes.)

Here's another one:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I bought a few books lately.

like, in the last seven days.

In the time-honored tradition of Terry's parents' refrigerator, here is an annotated guide. Click to enbiggen.

(Is this a fall winter-coming-on-prepare-to-hibernate instinct? Is it that I've finally had a little room in my schedule to slow down and read and shop and I'm making up for lost time? Perhaps it's just related to the fact that 90% of the people who have been important to me in my life (like, say, my parents) were all born in October? Planning ahead to buy a condo and wanting to make the moving process easier by buying more heavy shit I will have to pay to move? Thinking ahead about having a new condo and therefore room for a new bookcase? Maybe just: had a lot of Dance lately; need more Read (and Bliss.))

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Maybe I shouldn't feel so bad now that I know blogger doesn't even recognize it as a valid word.

I am disappointed in myself for not having figured out on my own what the word dysphemism means.

Although to be fair, if I'd heard it said I might have. Maybe.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"That would be funny, I heard God say."

Wow, I am loving this book, Foreskin's Lament by Shalom Auslander. First of all, I hadn't heard a word about it anywhere, which seems surprising given my general surroundings, until a friend recommended it to me last month. I didn't notice it in any stores, I didn't know who the author was, I just sort of filed away the recommendation in the back of my mind, intending to check it out eventually, because the guy who mentioned it is a cool guy and, you know, read dance bliss.

So then I am reading my weekly email from Book Soup listing all the great author events they have coming up, which events I always want to go to and which events I have never yet made it to even one of, and there is a book signing of this book by the author, and I think that's cool and I forward the info to the recommender and jot the reading down on my own calendar, but with no intention to actually go since I've never even seen the book in the flesh. Um, in the paper?

And so but then last night, which is to say, the day before the reading, which is today, I'm at Costco with a friend and lo and behold, there's the very book, in paperback (which I MUCH prefer), at a lovely low Costco price, and it's smaller than I had imagined and looked like a quick read, like maybe a one-lazy-Saturday kind of read, and I am totally psyched and I buy the book and I finish the other book I was reading later that evening and read the first few pages of this one and it is already clear that I love this book and will love this reading.

So today is one of those kind of Perfect Days, the kind where I wake up earlier than my alarm goes off, where I lie in bed reading more of this bitingly funny book until it is time to get dressed for yoga, where I actually go to yoga for the first time in six months (THANK GOD, I NEEDED THAT SOOOOOOOO MUCH), and then I go eat outside in the sun, reading my book, at my favorite bagel place/cafe where they know me and my "usual", and then I take a walk around the neighborhood and look in some shops and buy (almost) nothing and then I come home and will probably, in the next couple of hours, finish or nearly finish the book and then go to my first reading at Book Soup and how fanTAStic is all of that?? Yay.

Meet me there, if you like, but hurry - it's in an hour and a half. I'll write more about the book itself later on. For now, I give you this (pg136):

I thought again about Moses, and I realized what had troubled me about that whole damn story; it wasn't simply that God had crushed his life dream because of one lousy sin, though granted that would be sick enough--it was that He knew, God knew He'd never let Moses into the Promised Land... but He still let him wander around the desert like a schmuck for forty years searching for it. --Warmer, warmer, you're getting warmer, you're dead. God loves that joke.

Wherefore art thy so scarce, ye Eggplant Sandwich?

I recently wrote this whole post on how I have three favorite sandwiches in LA and I went to get one the other day and it turned out this cafe that I loved is CLOSED FOREVER, which really sucks, and so now I only have two favorite sandwiches in LA and then I went on with this whole thing about how I love roasted vegetable sandwiches and grilled vegetable sandwiches and ESPECIALLY eggplant sandwiches but they're so hard to find and BLAH BLAH BLAH. WHO COULD POSSIBLY CARE ABOUT MY THOUGHTS ON THESE SUBJECTS?

But I liked the title, so I'm keeping it and posting this meta-post instead. Enjoy.

PS yes, if you know of a vegetable or eggplant sandwich in LA that you think I'd enjoy that isn't the one at Cheesecake Factory (too greasy, too fall-aparty, not delicious), please let me know.

PPS Yes, I also have trouble with LA being used to mean "Los Angeles" because it properly means "Louisiana", which is why I usually take the time to type L.A. instead, but no one else does and I don't feel like it, so there. The end.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I still haven't read _Howard's End_, though.

I recently read, as mentioned before, Zadie Smith's On Beauty. Here's page 69:

Mozart's Requiem begins with you walking towards a huge pit. The pit is on the other side of a precipice, which you cannot see over until you are right at its edge. Your death is awaiting you in that pit. You don't know what it looks like or sounds like or smells like. You don't know whether it will be good or bad. You just walk towards it. Your will is a clarinet and your footsteps are attended by all the violins. The closer you get to the pit, the more you begin to have the sense that what awaits you there will be terrifying. Yet you experience this terror as a kind of blessing, a gift. Your long walk would have had no meaning were it not for this pit at the end of it. You peer over the precipice: a burst of ethereal noise crashes over you. In the pit is a great choir, like the one you joined for two months in Wellington in which you were the only black woman. This choir is the heavenly host and simultaneously the devil's army. It is also every person who has changed you during your time on this earth: your many lovers; your family; your enemies, the nameless, faceless woman who slept with your husband; the man you thought you were going to marry; the man you did. The job of this choir is judgement. The men sing first, and their judgement is very severe. And when the women join in there is no respite, the debate only grows louder and sterner. For it is a debate - you realize that now. The judgement is not yet decided. It is surprising how dramatic the fight for your measly soul turns out to be. Also surprising are the mermaids and the apes that persist on dancing around each other and sliding down an ornate staircase during the Kyrie, which, according to the programme notes, features no such action, even in the metaphorical sense.

"fox-testicle ice cream" ??

So, someone bought me a very beautiful orchid, a single orchid, in a small pot. Which is a lovely, lovely thing to do, only what the hell do I do with a single very tall orchid in a small pot and a one-bedroom apartment? Will a single orchid live in a very small pot indoors? How the hell do I take care of it? How do I even stop it from falling over, since it's very tall?

Yeah, of course I googled "care and feeding orchid"; I'm not a total idiot. But I got all these very complicated websites that are serious about growing and breeding and all kinds of crazy shit. I just want the thing to last a few weeks before it dies.

Have I mentioned that it's very tall? It is. It's beautiful, but very weird.

In other news, I'm addicted to "Californication". First of all, I watch no TV at all, save what I rent or borrow on DVD, and I've literally watched fewer than ten hours of TV in the last two years: I watched the third season of "Weeds" and the second season of "nip/tuck". That is it. That's about as much TV as I think many people (my parentals, even?) watch in ONE WEEK. Anyway, I'm sick, and I've already read like three books, and I'm getting sick of myself, so I watched the first six minutes of "Californication" because a friend emailed it to me and now I'm hooked. I rented the first five episodes yesterday and watched them all. I rented the second five today and have so far watched three of them (that's it for today). Here's the thing - it's good. I mean, I kind of hate Mia and I don't really like Karen's acting all that much, but I apparently love David Duchovny and the daughter Becca and the agent (who I feel as if I know - do I KNOW that guy??) and the goddamned literary allusions. Have you noticed how many literary allusions there are? Yeah, I watch a Showtime series about fucking for the literature references; that's the kind of girl I am. Anyway, here's the crazy thing: there are people I know on that show!!
No really; now I understand how it felt for all these random people who've gotten in touch with me over the last three years freaking out because they saw 15 seconds of me dancing on Weeds. Seriously, three of my students/campers are Becca's band, Kill Jill. And at first I flipped out and was jealous, but I chilled out because, after all, I was on WEEDS, right? ONLY, I'VE SEEN THEM ON TWO EPISODES SO FAR. NO FAIR, I ONLY GOT ONE.

Yeah, those are my fever-induced thoughts for the night. Why can't I sleep? I'm sick, I should be sleeping.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm sick in bed, and on my fifth "just one more" episode of Californication. Thanks, JJD.

OG: What's your latest obsession?

Hank: Just the fact that people seem to be getting dumber and dumber. You know, I mean we have all this amazing technology and yet computers have turned into basically four figure wank machines. The internet was supposed to set us free, democratize us, but all it's really given us is Howard Dean's aborted candidacy and 24 hour a day access to kiddie porn. People... they don't write anymore, they blog. Instead of talking, they text, no punctuation, no grammar: LOL this and LMFAO that. You know, it just seems to me it's just a bunch of stupid people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other stupid people at a proto- language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the King's English.

OG: Yet you're part of the problem, I mean you're out there blogging with the best of them.

Hank: Hence my self-loathing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No, you never get any fun/out of things you haven't done...

I've spent a bit of my day today doing what I love to do best, which is sit around and read (and eat) and another bit of it doing something else I love to do best, wandering around in a dustymustysmellslikedistintegratingpaper used book store. I passed over a whole stack of classics that I always pass over, thinking that there are many books there I should read and many that I will probably actually read eventually, but not now. Why do I pass them by if I think both of those things?
The answer to that isn't clear to me, but I quite like how this article makes it ok. The writer writes, "I have not read Wordsworth’s “The Prelude” six times. The first time I did not read it was in an undergraduate class on Romantic literature..."

I certainly can name books I have not read numerous times. Did you know that I also have never seen the movie "Titanic"? And just because I'm the only living American over the age of ten who can honestly claim that, now I'm pretty committed to keeping it that way. If it were playing in a room I entered, I'd likely turn around and walk back out. But it appears I'm not alone - here's Ms Buchanan again:

"By contrast, there’s something beautifully specific about the things we might just as well do but repeatedly and purposefully avoid.... I have never watched “The Tonight Show.” If I walk into a room where it is playing I will walk right out to preserve my perfect record."

Perhaps we'd leave together, and go not read some Wordsworth together.

The title of this post is from one of my favorite poems, "Portrait of the Artist as a Prematurely Old Man" by Ogden Nash. Read the text here or let me email you the mp3 of the man himself reading it; it's fantastic. Also a good option: ask me to recite my impression of the man himself reading it. Also fantastic :)


Is it still a secret wish if everyone knows it? My secret wish is to be an English teacher.

I love good metaphors and I hate that they teach metaphors in school with such boring examples as "the clouds are pillows." They (you know who They are, don't you?) should use passages like the ones I collect. Like this one, from Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos. Teens would get it:

"The kiss started out the way she wanted--aggressive, muscular, businesslike; but he turned it into something else--a beach vacation, a Mediterranean cruise--and made it last much longer than she'd intended."

I like this one too, from A Man Without A Country by Kurt Vonnegut:

"Then I go outside and there is a mailbox. And I feed the pages [of my manuscript] to the giant blue bullfrog. And it says, "Ribbit." p61

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Israeli dancer to the staaaaaaaaaaahs.

Remember that big performance I had a few weeks ago at Paramount Studios, the one where Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, spoke, and Subliminal and Momi Levy both sang and it was this huge event and I think the only thing I actually said about it on here on the blog was that tickets were $1000 each?

Yeah, that one. So, check out this write-up of the event, and check out the little slideshow of the "Main Event". In every picture in which there is a group of people all wearing the same thing, except for the ones that look like boy scout uniforms, there is me! That's the dance company I dance with (and choreograph for! ok, occasionally choreograph for. ok, choreographed once so far for :), Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble.


(It says on that page that "Serena Williams, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Seal, Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Alexander, David Foster, Bar Rafaeli, Noa Tishbi are among the celebrities who participated". Don't you know *my* eyes bugged out of my head on that "David Foster"... but it's not David Foster Wallace, silly!)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Summary: Southwest rules; Spirit sucks. The End.

So I flew Spirit Airlines last week to Florida. The weary wayfarer on Spirit has to pay to check even one bag. Our sad sojourner has to pay to select her seat online, and to pay extra for a good seat. Our poor parched passenger has to pay not only for any food at all on the flight but even for a drink, any drink. Yes, my friends, $3 for water.

So, I flew Southwest Airlines last night to San Jose. In contrast with the above flight, this one was one hour long, not six-plus hours, and yet, they found the time to serve me a FREE BEVERAGE AND PEANUTS. I mean, I could have bought myself a snack in the airport, seeing as how I didn't have to pay to check my damn bag or reserve my seat or BREATHE.

And seriously, on the Spirit flight, my knees touched the seat in front of me when I was sitting normally in my chair. And I'm tall but I'm not that tall; I'm only 5'10" in shoes... what does your average 6' man do? My knees touched the whole way there and the whole way back. I tried watching a video on my computer, and couldn't, because there wasn't enough room on my lap to open the screen to 90 degrees because the person in front of me had tilted her seat back and was therefore lying in my lap. And my knees touched when she was in the fulluprightandlocked position, so imagine it after she leaned back. Ouch.

Southwest, you rule. Spirit, you suck. That's my story.