Thursday, December 22, 2005

Daffodils and Heather

In 1994, when I was a senior in high school, I sang in a trio with two other girls. We sounded like angels, our voices blending perfectly together, the sound physical as well as aural. Today, I still am aquainted with both of the girls. One, the mother now of a son, I don't really know anymore (or maybe I do, as it seemed she hadn't really changed the last time I saw her). The other, Heather, is my best friend. We grew into each other the way you might find comfort in boots that were once too constrictive. She's like daffodils to me now.

The song our trio sang was the following poem set to music.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: -
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -and gazed -but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought.

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.

The Clasp by Sharon Olds

She was four, he was one, it was raining, we had colds,
we had been in the apartment two weeks straight,
I grabbed her to keep her from shoving him over on his
face, again, and when I had her wrist
in my grasp I compressed it, fiercely, for a couple
of seconds, to make an impression on her,
to hurt her, our beloved firstborn, I even almost
savored the stinging sensation of the squeezing,
the expression, into her, of my anger,
"Never, never, again," the righteous
chant accompanying the clasp. It happened very
fast-grab, crush, crush,
crush, release-and at the first extra
force, she swung her head, as if checking
who this was, and looked at me,
and saw me-yes, this was her mom,
her mom was doing this. Her dark,
deeply open eyes took me
in, she knew me, in the shock of the moment
she learned me. This was her mother, one of the
two whom she most loved, the two
who loved her most, near the source of love
was this.

Yesterday by W. S. Merwin

My friend says I was not a good son
you understand
I say yes I understand

he says I did not go
to see my parents very often you know
and I say yes I know

even when I was living in the same city he says
maybe I would go there once
a month or maybe even less
I say oh yes

he says the last time I went to see my father
I say the last time I saw my father

he says the last time I saw my father
he was asking me about my life
how I was making out and he
went into the next room
to get something to give me

oh I say
feeling again the cold
of my father's hand the last time

he says and my father turned
in the doorway and saw me
look at my wristwatch and he
said you know I would like you to stay
and talk with me

oh yes I say

but if you are busy he said
I don't want you to feel that you
have to
just because I'm here

I say nothing

he says my father
said maybe
you have important work you are doing
or maybe you should be seeing
somebody I don't want to keep you

I look out the window
my friend is older than I am
he says and I told my father it was so
and I got up and left him then
you know

though there was nowhere I had to go
and nothing I had to do

Summons by Robert Francis

Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded.

Who Knows?

"Learning to shrug is the beginning of wisdom."

Sarah Ban Breathnach

Being Alive

"You wil find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love."

Henry Drummond

Taken from “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” by Louis de Bernieres

Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.

I hate that guy.

"A fool must now and then be right by chance."

William Cowper

Reprise by Ogden Nash

Geniuses of countless nations
Have told their love for generations
Till all their memorable phrases
Are common as goldenrod or daisies.
Their girls have glimmered like the moon,
Or shimmered like a summer moon,
Stood like a lily, fled like a fawn,
Now the sunset, now the dawn,
Here the princess in the tower
There the sweet forbidden flower.
Darling, when I look at you
Every aged phrase is new,
And there are moments when it seems
I've married one of Shakespeare's dreams.

Partnership

"Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Realization

"A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows he will never sit."

D. Elton Trueblood

Without Warning by Sappho

Without warning
as a whirlwind
swoops on an oak
Love shakes my heart

For My Valentine

On Valentine's Day, 2002, I entered the following into my book:

Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare
When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Know Thyself

"People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering."

Saint Augustine

When You Are Old by W. B. Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

Spirals

I have a little, spiral-bound notebook in which I write short poems and quotations that I find inspiring, poignant, especially beautiful or powerful. Oftentimes I forget if I have already copied something into the book, and I must flip through its waring pages to see if my intended gem already holds a place. When I do this, I am reminded of all the bits already in residence and tend to lose myself for a few munites with Yeats or Billy Collins or Philip Larkin or Auden. I get lightheaded when I read some of their works, and have to shake it off, so to speak.

Anyway, I have this little, spiral-bound book, and it is running out of pages. I can't very well carry two books with me, and I spend more time on a computer than I do most anywhere else, so I think I will try to transpose what is in my book to here, so that I may have easier access to these pearls of greatness. I'll still carry a book to catch items when I am away from a computer, but I will still try to put them here eventually. As I said, the book is almost full, so I have a great deal of typing ahead of me.

On a totally unrelated note, today is my last work day of the holiday season. I start a 12-day vacation in 2 hours and I can hardly wait. I see lots of Warcraft in my future. Prufrock, my human warlock, is a 50 now. Isn't that a great name? He's bald, and his pants look rolled a bit at the cuffs. I am almost done Christmas shopping, which is good because I took something back to the Apple store today and that place was a madhouse. I can only imagine what stores will look like on Saturday.

Happy Holidays to everyone (anyone?) who reads this. Your Christmas present will be fantastic poetry in the year to come.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Adventures in Lunch

We wanted to go to Eden Alley for lunch today. I was so ready for some awesomely good food and a nice, warm cup of coffee. We get there and about 100 septuagenarians are filing in and we are told that the wait for a table will be about 20-25 minutes. Ugh. No time to wait when the work-whistle is blowing. Not to mention, are they really serious that the wait would only be 20-25 minutes? Have you ever seen senior citizens eat? More like 2-3 hours for a table. So we went to Saigon 39 instead and it was good (as usual) but not exactly the homey comfort food I had in mind. However, it was good to see Eden Alley filled with people other than dirty hippies for a change. Not that there is anything wrong with being a dirty hippie, but you know what I mean. I got my coffee at Muddy's on 51st St, so I got my dirty hippie fill anyway.

I just spent the last 10 minutes looking for websites for Saigon 39 and Muddy's. Neither have a noticible web presence, which is unfortuante. I did find the Kansas City Health Department food inspection results during the Saigon 39 search. Wonder if there is one for Muddy's? Yep. Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse? Yep. Malay Cafe? Yep. Search for your favorite eatery here. Yeah, have fun with that, Kansas City diners. Oh, and can someone tell me why the restaurant I ate in last week apparently has a mattress in the kitchen?!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Where have I been? Part 2

So I've been in to World of Warcraft for about 7 months. My priest, Persia, has been a level 60 for about 2 months, and I'm at the point in the game where the gear is more important than just about anything. In order to gear up my toon in a proper manner, I applied to and was accepted into one of the best guilds on the server. While there is some guild drama (all guilds have drama), overall the people are fantastic to play with and funny as hell.

In the "Kansas City is the smallest place on Earth" department, I found out that at least 2 other guildies are from KC. So that means that of the 1 million or so people that play on all servers, of the 20,000 or so that play on my server, of the 200 or so that are in a guild - i chose a guild that has 2 players from good ol' KC.

Brian and Courtney moved into their beautiful new house a couple of weeks ago. Last weekend we went to see a movie ("The 40 year-old Virgin" - meh) at the Majestic Theatre in Zona Rosa. What isn't there to love about this theater, really? No one under 21 is admitted after 6pm. Why? Because you can order hard liquor from your movie seat! That's right. Full-on bar service. With souvenir glasses. They bring you a clean one to take home with you. No kidding. They have appetizers, too. Anyway, I am spoiled on any other theater (or theater, for that matter) from here on out. If it isn't playing at The Majestic, I'm waiting until I can get it on DVD.

I went to Washington, D.C. two weeks ago. We drove, and the drive was not near as horrible as I expected it to be. It was actually kind of pleasant. Here is a list of things I liked from the trip, in no particular order:
  • The subway system

  • One Washington Circle Hotel

  • Kaz Sushi Bistro

  • National Museum of American History

  • Georgetown University

  • The Watergate Hotel Safeway store

  • National Museum of Natural History

  • The Lincoln Memorial

  • The Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial

  • The monuments at night

  • We toured Arlington in the morning, and did an evening tour, which was spectacular. We did more walking than ever before, including Vegas. When we got back home, I bought new shoes.

    Tuesday, August 30, 2005

    Want to know what goes on inside of Masonic lodges?

    You've seen them - the inconspicuous, low-slung brick buildings, nestled nonchalantly in suburban neighborhoods and once-prosperous urban areas. They are usually well-kept, with minimalist landscaping and fairly large, newly-paved parking lots. A few nights a week, the lots are filled with late-model Buicks and Cadillacs, but rarely do you see anyone go in or come out. These buildings are, more likely than not, Masonic lodges.

    I have often wondered what goes on in such a place – if the Shriners wear funny hats and drive little cars in public, what the hell do they do when no one is watching? With any luck, I may never have first-hand knowledge of their private doings, but thanks to the Phoenixmasonry On-line Masonic Museum, I am more informed on the subject - informed enough to know that these people are total, out-and-out wackjobs.

    Check out the 1930 edition of the DeMoulin Bros. Catalogue, appropriately entitled, “Burlesque and Side Degree Specialties, Paraphernalia and Costumes.” These are essentially hazing materials for grown men.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank my husband for not being into this sort of craziness. His sushi addiction and WoW fetish (okay, okay our WoW fetishes) are the right kind of crazy for me.

    Thursday, July 7, 2005

    Gaze into the Hamster Ball

    It's Hamster Time again! Between Big Brother 6 and Warcraft, when will I sleep? At least it is summer - I don't like being outside in the summer anyway.

    How come I can’t see the world like this?

    Emerson Matabele sees the world in ways few people can, and he uses his camera to share his visions with us. His images are colorful, thought-provoking, inspiring and heartbreaking. Each image on his site is accompanied by a quote that fits the photograph to a tee. Click on the links at the top of the initial page to begin navigating.

    http://www.emersonlithos.com/index_html.html

    Wednesday, July 6, 2005

    Where have I been?

    I am addicted to crack. Warcrack.

    Interested in not leaving your house for hours on end? How about dreaming in cartoon? Want to brush up on your 133t 5ki1z? If so, then you should play World of Warcraft, too! If you are Alliance, /cheer. If you are Horde, /bonk /s stfun00b!

    Oh my good god, I AM a geek!

    Thursday, March 17, 2005

    You should meet A.S Byatt. I did.

    A.S. Byatt, the author of such notable works of Victorian-themed fiction as Angels and Insects and Posession, visited my campus earlier this week for an intimate Q&A with English students. About 20 people were present and everyone was given a chance to ask questions. I didn't know that she was going to be on campus until the day of - I knew she was in town to give a lecture later in the evening, but I had no idea she would be here beforehand - so I had no prepared questions, no notebook paper, no camera, no book for her to sign, no nothing except me and a pen. One of my professors cams prepared with a few print-outs of questions for us to ask, so I used the tinest handwriting possible to fill the back of the print-out with every word of Byatt's that I could. In short, she is fascinating - intelligent, considerate, worldly, and knowledgable on topics ranging from the entire vicorian period to film production to the writing process to parenthood. Below are some of the notes I managed to take:

    - The poet in Posession is based slightly on Christina Rosetti if she wasn't so Christian, Emily Dickenson and Elizabeth Barrett Browning (more in letters, less in poetry).

    - Advice to young writers - don't write bad sentences because it takes you ages to correct. Work in notebooks, don't put it down until you are sure what you want. Work it out in your head. Writing it down tends to make it feel permanent.

    - Notebooks - outlines, "commonplace book," exciting quotations, "basic paragraph of describing the thing." Structural things, history of time/place/exact dates.

    - Favorite book - The Road to Xanadu by John Livingstone Lowes. Always follow up a footnote; reads very fast... Research a person or event rather than a time period.

    - Morpho Eugenia - what is compelling about the Victorian Period? Taught Victorian Lit. and was most interested in how Darwin affected thought - the moral prediciment of Darwin vs. church... more so now. Stereotypes of a period; interested in High Victorians (heroic, true morality, courageous - belief that anyone could know anything), but working on a book about Low Victorians - they are more comical.

    - Henry James - Bridging Victorian and Modern periods. Favorite 3 novelists (other than George Eliot, who is her absolute favorite because of Middlemarch) - James, Proust, Thomas Mann. Likes attention to the inner life, but doesn't do much with that in her own writing because Wolff and Joyce have done it already. She feels self-conscious writing an inner monologue.

    - Angels and Insects - "almost entirely successful" - must be over-the-top. Involved in casting, especially Kristen Scott Thomas. Still great friends with director, Philip Haas - they talk about 3 times a week regarding lots of topics including future movie projects. Loved the costumes. Possibility of making second story in Angels and Insects into a movie.

    - Posession - Cut too much to make it more accessible to American audiences. Dumbed it down. Cut scenes that were really good. Gwenyth Paltrow said the film "didn't come together" - too many faces. "The moie didn't come together, but the book did." Huge mistake in film - the photo in the tomb is of an old woman, but in the book it is of a beautiful young woman.

    - Writing progression - writing more supernatural tales as she ages. Read supernatural tales as a child; wants to write about "birtha nd death and tragedy and things happening to people."

    - American editors assume "The American Reader" is stupid. British male novelists think American male movelists are more energetic and grand.

    - Is not good at collaboration which is why she would not be good at writing screenplays. "My work is my work."

    - Once told a man in a bar about an idea she had for a movie about Cooleridge's life. The man "turned out to be a very bad film director who made a very bad film based on Cooleridge" ruining it for her.

    Monday, February 21, 2005

    Secret Secret. Shh.

    PostSecret is a project designed to get people to open up anonymously. Visitors are asked to create a postcard, write a secret on it and mail it into the project team. From the website:

    You are invited to anonymously contribute your secrets to the PostSecret project. Each secret can be a regret, belief, experience, fear, betrayal, desire, feeling, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything - as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before.
    Steps:
    Create your own 4-inch by 6-inch postcard.
    Tell your secret anonymously.
    Stamp and mail the postcard.
    Tips:
    Be brief – the fewer words used the better.
    Be legible – use big, clear and bold lettering.
    Be creative – let the postcard be your canvas.
    Advice:
    Please only put one secret on each postcard. PostSecrets are more likely to be displayed if they are easy to read, short, and artistic. (Can't draw? Try including an old picture, memento, or collage).
    Mail your secret to:
    PostSecret
    13345 Copper Ridge Rd
    Germantown MD 20874


    There are several examples of submissions on display at the website. Many are funny, some are touching, some sad. All are fascinating.

    Friday, February 18, 2005

    Pappy Taught Me on the Trapping Wheel

    I am so behind. I just started watching Tom Goes to the Mayor and now there aren't any more episodes on for who knows how long? Thank Zogg I found timanderic.com. Same humor, different settings. Eat some spa-GET-tuh and watch.

    The Positively True Adventures of Dr. EAP (Part 1)

    So I have been working on my English degree for... ever now. That's what happens when you work full time and are terminally lazy. And addicted to reality TV. Anyway, I am taking this Anthropology class to fill a degree requirement and my professor is extraordinary. Extraordinarily awful. Extraordinarily Awful Professor (EAP) has a PhD. in Anthropology and insists we call her Dr. EAP. A few highlights thus far:

    - Writing the word "Darwainan" on the chalkboard.
    - Totally fucking up Malinowski's hierarchy of needs - twice.
    - Referring to the Egyptian queen, "Nephreeti."

    But my personal favorite, being an English major and all is this fine gem. While discussing language, the subject of jargon came up. Dr. EAP proceedes to describe jargon in this way:

    "Jargon is, you know, the language used by a particular field. Like, in anthropology, anthorpologists have jargon, but (giggling) I don't pay attention to that stuff, cuz it's like, you know, big words. And they use anthropology jargon in their writing and stuff, but if I am reading some of that and the words are too big I just quit reading."

    Uh huh. Stunning, isn't it?

    Friday, February 11, 2005

    French Pop est le merde!

    France has some kick-ass pop music. Oui, c'est vrai. An excellent example: Manhattan Kaboul by Axelle Red and Renaud. Written in 2002, after the September 11 attacks, this song shows the kind of universal solidarity felt towards the United States by people completely removed from the actual events. It is also pinpoints the overarching theme of war:

    Gods, Religions,
    Wars of civilization,
    Weapons, flags, homelands, nations,
    Always make us the flesh to cannon

    It is well worth your time to search out this song and give it a listen.

    Friday, February 4, 2005

    Reinventing my childhood, one sappy story at a time.

    So I haven't posted in a while. C'est la vie. That's French, because I am taking a French class. Ooh la la.

    Anyway, this guy has taken a classic children's book - The Little Golden Book About God - and turned it into something... deeply satisfying. I had the original book as a child and remember finding it sort of creepy then - but cute. I have always been a sucker for cute.

    And now on to The Cuddly Menace.

    Sunday, January 2, 2005

    Hello, 2005.

    Happy new year to me and you and everyone else. I've neglected the blog for about a month now, so it's catch-up time.

    First off, I love love love Christmas. I wish the Christmas season lasted longer, say, from November 1st until February 13th. This would give ample time for holiday parties and merriment, and I would have more time to drive around to see Christmas lights. To help promote this idea, I am leaving my tree up until at least Valentine's Day. It has nothing whatsoever to do with laziness.

    On the present front, we had a very prosperous Christmas. Our house got the best gift - a new dishwasher. I actually enjoy loading in the dishes. Really. I also got a ring and some earrings. I kept the boxes because they are that cool baby blue.

    I made my own eggnog this year for the first time. So easy and delicious. I am going to turn into eggnog latte if I don't watch myself.