Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Travelouge, part one.

I'm in Columbia, Missouri tonight and for the next two days for work-related traning. I'm traveling on the work dime, with two female collegues who are truly making this trip more fun than I expected. They are good conversationalists and adventuresome eaters. Lunch today was Indian, while dinner was at a contemporary American restaurant. Conversation moved between work topics, to our individual creative endeavours, to who has memorized what piece of poetry. And it's only day one.

I miss my husband something fierce. I've traveled for work three times in the last year, and while I enjoy the opportunity to visit someplace new and learn new things, a big part of my enjoyment of life involves sharing my experiences with him.

I really like Columbia. The university is absolutely incredible - it's so so so much bigger than UMKC, with more students, buildings and more importantly, money. We drove by the sports complex on the way to our hotel and my oh my, what a sight. I can only imagine what games in that stadium must be like. Our nephew's little league football games are fun, but that staduim, at least from the outside, was something else. I can imagine the games as all-out battle, the modern-day gladiators in black and gold taking on whatever rival dares to tread on their turf, the citizenry worked up into a frenzy, cheering on their heroes to victory.

As I type this, I'm in this enormous king size bed with too many too puffy pilows in a room that's a tad too cold. The blankets are helping, and I could get up and turn the air up, but that would involve actually getting up and that's something I'm not sure I want to do right now. As a total non-sequitor, why is Dane Cook in films? I just saw a commercial for a new movie with Steve Carrell (yay), Juliet Binoche (yay) and Dane Cook (huh?). I don't get it. I saw his stand-up special on HBO and I will admit that I laughed - not at his jokes, but I did like his delivery - it reminded me of a humorous interpretation performance from forensics in high school. But that delivery doesn't hold up well and gets old fast. Someone must like it, though, because he keeps getting cast in films.

I just turned up the air. My toes were turning into popcicles. I think I'll stop typing now and read - tonight's selection is Love by Toni Morrison. So far, so good.

Friday, September 21, 2007

What He Said by Cempulappeyanirar (1st - 3rd century BCE)

What could my mother be to yours?
What kin is my father to yours anyway?
And how did you and I meet ever?

But in love

our hearts have mingled
like red earth and pouring rain.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


First there was PostSecret. Then came Lolcats.

Now we have LolSecretz.

The Internet is truly a magical place.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pirate booty.

Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. Ahoy me hearties, luck be with ye today!

As one of the high holy days of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (rAmen), you can expect Pastafarians across the globe to help ease global warming by strapping on an eye patch and saying "Yarrrrrr" a lot.

See also:

Friday, September 14, 2007

I love Fall.

Today it's 67 degrees and sunny, with a slight breeze. It's a perfect pre-fall day, the kind the Indigo Girls sing about in their song Mystery:
I could go crazy on a night like tonight
When summer's beginning to give up her fight
And every thought's a possibility
And the voices are heard, but nothing is seen

I love this time of year - it's so full of possibilities and anticipation for the future.

On an (un)related note, these are the sites I've been spending time at today:

Northgate Village
All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church

Take from that what you will.

Say what?

Food for rational thought.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Might as well face it...

Kevin Smith, of Clerks and Dogma fame, has a really terrific blog that he updates fairly frequently. Many of the posts have been compiled into a book called "My Boring-Ass Life: The Uncomfortably Candid Diary of Kevin Smith." /end plug

In April of 2006, Smith was compelled to blog about his dear friend and co-star Jason Mewes, who struggled with and eventually overcame a serious drug addiction. Smith's telling of the story is sometimes sad, many times humorous and always very candid. While it takes some time to get through, it's a very fast read, as Smith's writing style, accompanied by the engaging story, will keep you riveted.

Me and My Shadow, Part 1
Me and My Shadow, Part 2
Me and My Shadow, Part 3
Me and My Shadow, Part 4
Me and My Shadow, Part 5
Me and My Shadow, Part 6
Me and My Shadow, Part 7
Me and My Shadow, Part 8
Me and My Shadow, Part 9 

I'm not a rabid Kevin Smith or Jason Mewes fan (although I have seen most of their films) and I don't have an history with or connection to drug addiction, but something about this story grabbed me and drew me in. I guess it's sort of inspirational, or hopeful, or I don't know what. Anyway, give it a read.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Spring and Fall by Gerard Manley Hopkins

To a young child

Márgarét, are you gríeving

Over Goldengrove unleaving?

Leáves, líke the things of man, you

With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

Ah! ás the heart grows older

It will come to such sights colder

By and by, nor spare a sigh

Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;

And yet you wíll weep and know why.

Now no matter, child, the name:

Sórrow's spríngs áre the same.

Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed

What heart heard of, ghost guessed:

It ís the blight man was born for,

It is Margaret you mourn for.

This is the only poem (longer than a couple of lines) that I have memorized. I don't know why I decided to memorize this one. I suppose I like the imagery of the forest, and the innocence of the child, and the realizations she makes.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Blessing the Boats by Lucille Clifton

Awa Province, Kominato, Uchiura by Ando Hiroshige

(at St. Mary's)

may the tide

that is entering even now

the lip of our understanding

carry you out

beyond the face of fear

may you kiss

the wind then turn from it

certain that it will

love your back may you

open your eyes to water

water waving forever

and may you in your innocence

sail through this to that

Friday, September 7, 2007

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Quote bucket.

"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent." - Mahatma Gandhi

"War is good for the economy like cannibalism is nutritious." - George Bernard Shaw

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people's minds." - Samuel Adams

"Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservative." - John Stuart Mill

"We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson

"You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you." - Joseph Joubert

"This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy." - Ezikiel 16:49

"A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking." - Jerry Seinfeld

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." - Sir Arthur Eddington



Who wants a clown cone?

I discovered something about birthdays: they can't live up to the expectation put upon them. Let me clarify this. When I was 8, I had a birthday party that included clowns, ice cream, cake, and about 10 frantic little girls from school. It was one of the highlights of my childhood. I think everyone, for the most part, has a birthday similar to this in their childhood past. It is the measurement by which birthday expectations are measured.

When you are eight, a clown-themed birthday really is the single greatest thing to have ever occurred in your short little life. Now, add several more years and several more great experiences to that, and it's easy to see that the expectation put upon birthdays is a bit much to live up to.

I say all of this not because I didn't have a great birthday (I did - more on that later), but because I realized that I tend to get into a funk around my birthday for reasons unknown until I started to put all of this together. See, I tend to do and get what I want throughout the year - I don't want to wait until a special occasion to get that gadget, or eat at that restaurant, or see that show. So when it comes time for a birthday, it's like any other day where I can get or do what I want, and since every day of my life has the potential to be special, a birthday is just another day with that same potential. I'm going to make a conscious effort to recognize this tendency around future birthdays - not just my own, but those of my friends and family. What will come of it? I have no idea.

Anyway, I turned another year older this week, and celebrated by visiting the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Let me just say that all of my private criticism of the exterior of the new Bloch addition has been overwhelmed with appreciation for the interior design. What a beautiful and graceful place it is! While the exterior still resembles construction trailers, the interior is sloping, sweeping, grand and attractive. The light is ample and soothing, the colors are calming and complementary, and even the floors are a surprising design feature. Nothing was overlooked, and I can't recommend a visit highly enough.

One surprising aspect for me was the way in which I ended up traversing the exhibits. We entered through the parking garage into the new expansion, and started our explorations with contemporary art and photography. We then progressed into the old building where we passed through Impressionism, Baroque, Renaissance, Medieval, Roman and finally ended with Ancient Egyptian. We essentially experienced the collections in reverse chronological order, which I found very appealing for two reasons. First, in all of my previous visits to the museum, I've visited the exhibits in chronological order, letting each style build upon the former. So experiencing the exhibits in reverse was a welcome and unexpected change. Second, while previous visits saw each era taking from the previous and building or changing it, going in reverse allowed me to see the deconstruction of eras, and also see what was and wasn't adapted in later eras.

After the museum, we ate lunch at Eden Alley, which is always a favorite of mine. I went to Unity on the Plaza when I was a child, and remember eating donuts in the fellowship hall after Sunday School. The fellowship hall is now the restaurant, so it's cool to picture it as it was when I was young, and as it is today. I like it better now. I love the way the restaurant smells and the types of people it attracts. The food ain't bad, either. We had a half-order of smoky tomato bruschetta - crusty bread topped with smoky tomato bisque, fresh tomatoes and Parmesan cheese, sitting on a bed of greens, and half of a sweet potato burrito - brown rice, sweet potato and fresh veggies in... you guessed it: a burrito. Both were fantastic, as always.

My mom made me a German chocolate cake, and I've been eating off of it for a couple of days. She's an incredible cook - desserts and the like are her specialty.

So all in all, I had a good birthday. A great birthday, really. The lack of clowns was actually quite pleasant.