Wednesday, December 31, 2003

It's the Last Day of the Year

...and my older son is feeling somewhat better though still not well enough to go running around or play soccer. So what was I to do with the children?!

...why yes, I did take them to see Master and Commander again. One would think that, having seen the movie five times previously, there wouldn't be anything new for me to notice...but the way Stephen is grinning at Jack when Tom walks through the cheering crowd at the very end, which I just never observed before because my attention was always focused on Tom, and Stephen is standing off to the side, is just...GUH.

And now for my thrilling New Year's Eve plans. We are supposed to go to my sister's in New York tomorrow, but did not solidify plans because we had a sick child. Now I can't get her on the phone, though I am assuming that we are still going because if something had changed on her end and one of her kids was sick I hope she'd call. My father is at the Rose Bowl, staying with my uncle in L.A. tonight, so my mother is coming here for dinner, which was originally supposed to be the fondue we did not manage to have over Chanukah but is getting postponed yet again because of my son's stomach not quite being back to normal.

So, yeah. Mom today, sister tomorrow. I did pick up a little bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream for my husband and myself at midnight, which will be the only liquor I'll have drunk all year. And it won't even be this year anymore. My thrilling life. *G*

Happy New Year!

Poem for December 31

The Mad Potter
By John Hollander

Now at the turn of the year this coil of clay
Bites its own tail: a New Year starts to choke
On the old one's ragged end. I bite my tongue
As the end of me--of my rope of stuff and nonsense
(The nonsense held, it was the stuff that broke),
Of bones and light, of levity and crime,
Of reddish clay and hope--still bides its time.

Each of my pots is quite unusable,
Even for contemplating as an object
Of gross unuse. In its own mode of being
Useless, though, each of them remains unique,
Subject to nothing, and themselves unseeing,
Stronger by virtue of what makes them weak.

I pound at all my clay. I pound the air.
This senseless lump, slapped into something like
Something, sits bound around by my despair.
For even as the great Creator's free
Hand shapes the forms of life, so--what? This pot,
Unhollowed solid, too full of itself,
Runneth over with incapacity.
I put it with the others on the shelf.

These tiny cups will each provide one sip
Of what's inside them, aphoristic prose
Unwilling, like full arguments, to make
Its points, then join them in extended lines
Like long draughts from the bowl of a deep lake.
The honey of knowledge, like my milky slip,
Firms slowly up against what merely flows.

Some of my older pieces bore inscriptions
That told a story only when you'd learned
How not to read them: LIVE reverted to EVIL,
EROS kept running backwards into SORE.
Their words, all fired up for truth, got burned.
I'll not write on weak vessels any more.

My juvenalia? I gave them names
In those days: Hans was all handles and no spout;
Bernie believed the whole world turned about
Himself alone; Sadie was close to James
(But Herman touched her bottom when he could);
Paul fell to pieces; Peter wore away
To nothing; Len was never any good;
Alf was a flat, random pancake, May
An opened blossom; Bud was an ash-tray.
Even their names break off, though; Whatsisface,
That death-mask of Desire, and--you know!--
The smaller version of that (Oh, what was it?--
You know . . .) All of my pots now have to go
By number only. Which is no disgrace.

Begin with being--in an anagram
Of unending--conclude in some dark den;
This is no matter. What I've been, I am:
What I will be is what I make of all
This clay, this moment. Now begin again . . .
Poured out of emptiness,;drop by slow drop,
I start up at the quarreling sounds of water.
Pots cry out silently at me to stop.

What are we like? A barrelfull of this
Oozy wet substance, shadow-crammed, whose smudges
Of darkness lurk within but rise to kiss
The fingers that disturb the gently edges
Of their bland world of shapelessness and bliss.

The half-formed cup cries out in agony,
The lump of clay suffers a silent pain.
I heard the cup, though, full of feeling, say
"O clay be true, O clay keep constant to
Your need to take, again and once again,
This pounding from your mad creator who
Only stops hurting when he's hurting you."

What will I then have left behind me? Over
The years I have originated some
Glazes that wear away at what they cover
And weep for what they never can become.
My Deadware, widely imitated; blue
Skyware of an amazing lightness; tired
Hopewear that I abandoned for my own
Good reasons; Hereware; Thereware; ware that grew
Weary of everything that earth desired;
Hellware that dances while it's being fired,
Noware that vanishes while being thrown.

Appearing to be silly, wisdom survives
Like tribes of superseded gods who go
Hiding in caves of triviality
From which they laughingly control our lives.
So with my useless pots: safe from the blow
Of carelessness, or outrage at their flaws,
They brave time's lion and his smashing paws.
--All of which tempts intelligence to call
Pure uselessness one more commodity.
The Good-for-Nothing once became our Hero,
But images of him, laid-back, carelessly
Laughing, were upright statues after all.
From straight above, each cup adds up to zero.

Clay to clay: Soon I shall indeed become
Dumb as these solid cups of hardened mud
(Dull terra cruda colored like our blood);
Meanwhile the slap and thump of palm and thumb
On wet mis-shapenness begins to hum
With meaning that was silent for so long.
The words of my wheel's turning come to ring
Truer than Truth itself does, my great
Ding Dong-an-sich that echoes everything
(Against it even lovely bells ring wrong):
Its whole voice gathers up the purest parts
Of all our speech, the vowels of the earth,
The aspirations of our hopeful hearts
Or the prophetic sibilance of song.


pointed out this Village Voice interview with Philippa Boyens, who compares herself to scary masculine nightmare Shelob and talks about sexuality in the films.

Fannish awards: In my experience always cause hurt feelings, a sense of unfriendly competitiveness and sometimes downright nastiness. Thus I avoid them. The "but someone might discover a great story/fanart that they otherwise they might have overlooked!" argument seems silly to me; most of the material that's well-known enough to dominate such awards is well-known enough without needing an award to come to people's attention, and there's no question that BNF politics frequently play roles in the judging and voting. Other than the handful of people who need such awards for their egos and are widely read enough actually to win them, why do people bother?

Friends lists: I understand full well that filters are necessary for sanity, and there are people on my Flist whom I haven't gotten around to reading in weeks. That said, I have Friended everyone who has Friended me and am willing to Friend anyone who would like, even people who don't want to Friend me because they're afraid their mother in law will discover from their Friends page that they read brotherslash or whatever. It's fine with me if people want to take me off their lists because of some sense that their lists are too big, but I don't really understand the "my list is too big!" logic when default lists make it very easy to read only the people one wants to read regularly.

And yeah: if I've known you here for two years, and we were at one time Real Friends, or so I thought, and then we sort of drifted into different fandoms or focuses or phases of life, and you take me off your list...I DO take that personally. Because while maybe I should be making more of an effort to stay in touch with you directly and not take your presence for granted, I also know that life comes and goes. I now talk nearly daily here to , someone who was my best friend from fandom nearly 10 years ago and then our interests drifted but we discovered over time that our friendship, at the core, had not. I get to keep up with the lives of people like , and whom I have also known for nearly a decade even if we sometimes go months without direct communication. Would I throw that out over some abstract sense that my Flist is too big? Not on your life.

I absolutely love the things I learn about literature from 's journal.

Squee! drew my gerbils and cats -- and me and my husband! Hee! Go look!

AND! I completely forgot to mention that my beloved got me FILM CELS from Master and Commander for my birthday! *joy* Now I just have to figure out how to mount Jack and Stephen. Um, the cels, that is. Yeah. *veg*

In case I don't make it back here by tonight for some reason, Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Year of the Cat

Photos, by popular *snerk* demand, but in this case especially for who is offering more gerbil art! *snuggles *

First of all, you must understand that the cats in this household consider all boxes their own personal property. Here Rosie is even willing to give up her bed to Cinnamon just so she can have a box.

And here it is revealed that before the magical box turned into Lothlorien and the Mines of Moria, Cinnamon considered it her property.

So when she discovered two pesky gerbils in her box...

...she was, needless to say, highly annoyed and determined to do something about it.

Cinnamon's eyes turn very black when she is sufficiently pesked.

Aragorn and Boromir, however, are relatively unconcerned, as they know the Red Wizard (or one of the other big people around here) can be counted on to keep them safe from the Eye of Cinnamon.

However, when they are in the hamster ball on the Hamtrack, anything can happen.

And cats attempting to stalk gerbils in the hamster ball are not unusual occurrences. Fortunately we have two boys to chase the cats away.

Poem for Tuesday

Song To Counter Time
By Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said)

If I dared, I'd say:
the planets, heaven and its genealogy,
men and their language as ordained,
are floating corpses.

If I dared, I'd inquire:
who is, now, being tried by fire?
What does he insinuate, what does he
relate? has he confessed? and was he? he was?

If I dared, I'd chant
for the cities crashing into ashes
and blood, and to the devouring machine
I'd declare:

It is this time's
article of faith, that earth should breed
inside a corpse, and a god be suspended
as a sort of charm above
its arches, by crime.


Pretty dark poem and I can't even blame millennial anxiety anymore, but I'm sure my mood with turn with the year. Also when I can get out of the house, as I still have a child who doesn't feel well and is very droopy and I am stuck at home with chores to do everywhere and regular demands for toast.

Thoughts from my poll yesterday:
  1) Wow, there are a lot of Boromir/Faramir fans! Though A/B is still coming out on top. And either no one prefers A/F or no one will admit to it. Whether this is a reflection of people's taste in general or just what they prefer in my writing, however, is unknown.
  2) If you don't make Aragorn/Legolas an option, no one can nag you to write it. *g*
  3) Many of my friends who love Harry Potter haven't seen M&C and vice versa.
  4) Lupin/Black is more popular than all other Lupin options put together. This is not a surprise but it warms my heart anyway.
  5) Either a lot of people really love bad men, or a lot of people just love Jason Isaacs. But The Lucius Who Lives In My Head is not really a bad man at all -- selfish and warped but ultimately redeemable, which I suspect means that he is not Rowling's Lucius at all.
  6) Absolutely no one is here for the Star Trek.
  7) To the ten of you waiting for me to get over Russell Crowe: Sorry, but that is so not happening. Last night I had a dream about Jeffrey Wigand and Lowell Bergman -- Russell and Al Pacino's characters from The Insider. (Even finds this frightening.) My point being if you know where there is Insider fanfic please tell that if I'm going to obsess over an actor, it might as well be Crowe, who at least was in movies like L.A. Confidential and A Beautiful Mind and Gladiator rather than some of the stuff I've sat through in the name of Viggo Mortensen.
  8) Either people who read poetry don't do silly fannish polls, or no one is reading the poetry except me. But that's okay: the poetry's mostly for myself anyway.
  9) Wow, a lot of people read RPS. *g*
  10) Wow, a lot of people like cats. On which note, one cat-gerbil picture, and I promise that any future cat pictures will be behind a cut tag!

Aragorn and Boromir are menaced by Cinnamon, the Dark Cat, who fortunately is being restrained by the Red Wizard.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Poem for Monday

By Shel Silverstein

“I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more—that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut—my eyes are blue—
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke—
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is—what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”


Poem in honor of my older son who has some kind of horrible stomach bug -- I know it is horrible because he doesn't even want to go to the movies. So am home making tea and watching the Rankin-Bass Hobbit, of all things, and am -- as usual -- Very Behind. Have not read much of my Friends list so if you have something important to say or if you have written fic that would be up my alley, please tell me so!

Aragorn Paws Boromir

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Poem for Sunday

Deer Dancer
By Joy Harjo

Nearly everyone had left that bar in the middle of winter except the
hardcore. It was the coldest night of the year, every place shut down, but
not us. Of course we noticed when she came in. We were Indian ruins. She
was the end of beauty. No one knew her, the stranger whose tribe we
recognized, her family related to deer, if that's who she was, a people
accustomed to hearing songs in pine trees, and making them hearts.

The woman inside the woman who was to dance naked in the bar of misfits
blew deer magic. Henry jack, who could not survive a sober day, thought she
was Buffalo Calf Woman come back, passed out, his head by the toilet. All
night he dreamed a dream he could not say. The next day he borrowed
money, went home, and sent back the money I lent. Now that's a miracle.
Some people see vision in a burned tortilla, some in the face of a woman.

This is the bar of broken survivors, the club of the shotgun, knife wound, of
poison by culture. We who were taught not to stare drank our beer. The
players gossiped down their cues. Someone put a quarter in the jukebox to
relive despair. Richard's wife dove to kill her. We had to keep her
still, while Richard secretly bought the beauty a drink.

How do I say it? In this language there are no words for how the real world
collapses. I could say it in my own and the sacred mounds would come into
focus, but I couldn't take it in this dingy envelope. So I look at the stars in
this strange city, frozen to the back of the sky, the only promises that ever
make sense.

My brother-in-law hung out with white people, went to law school with a
perfect record, quit. Says you can keep your laws, your words. And
practiced law on the street with his hands. He jimmied to the proverbial
dream girl, the face of the moon, while the players racked a new game.
He bragged to us, he told her magic words and that when she broke,
   became human.
But we all heard his voice crack:

What's a girl like you doing in a place like this?

That's what I'd like to know, what are we all doing in a place like this?

You would know she could hear only what she wanted to; don't we all? Left
the drink of betrayal Richard bought her, at the bar. What was she on? We all
wanted some. Put a quarter in the juke. We all take risks stepping into thin
air. Our ceremonies didn't predict this. or we expected more.

I had to tell you this, for the baby inside the girl sealed up with a lick of
hope and swimming into the praise of nations. This is not a rooming house, but
a dream of winter falls and the deer who portrayed the relatives of
strangers. The way back is deer breath on icy windows.

The next dance none of us predicted. She borrowed a chair for the stairway
to heaven and stood on a table of names. And danced in the room of children
without shoes.

You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille With four hungry children and a
crop in the field.

And then she took off her clothes. She shook loose memory, waltzed with the
empty lover we'd all become.

She was the myth slipped down through dreamtime. The promise of feast we
all knew was coming. The deer who crossed through knots of a curse to find
us. She was no slouch, and neither were we, watching.

The music ended. And so does the story. I wasn't there. But I imagined her
like this, not a stained red dress with tape on her heels but the deer who
entered our dream in white dawn, breathed mist into pine trees, her fawn a
blessing of meat, the ancestors who never left.


The most exciting thing I did yesterday, aside from taking my kids to get haircuts and dropping off the van for an oil change before we drive it to New York for New Year's, was to scan a bunch more gratuitous Paul Bettany pictures from magazines. Hence, no report on my day yesterday. *g*

Still not sure about today; older son wants to be taken to Toys R Us to spend the gift card that's burning a hole in his pocket, younger son wants to be taken to Target, same thing. We might go see Peter Pan. My mother is making noises about trying to get discounted tickets to Camelot at Arena Stage. Both my horoscope and my tarot card of the day, not that I believe in either of these forms of prognostication, warn me not to make plans since challenges awaite me. So I am in wait-and-see mode.

Am thinking of making a web page on the proper use of the term "censorship." It is censorship when the government bans the dissemination of documents on the grounds that they may inspire violence or sedition, or when a school prevents students from reading books whose content varies from an approved curriculum. It is NOT censorship when a film ratings board decides that a movie is violent enough to warrant a rating that may affect that film's box office and distribution because theater chains that cater to family audiences won't risk diminished returns by giving the film the widest possible release. It's a somewhat more complicated matter when a large chain refuses to play a certain movie at all on the grounds that its content may be offensive, but in theory, in a capitalist society, if there is enough demand for a given form of entertainment, the demand will create the marketplace for it.

I've never advocated censoring an artist or filmmaker, but if you think I'm going to give my money to people making films that offend me personally (and that I will not allow my children to see until they are old enough to make informed and intelligent decisions about the nature of the violence and how closely it parallels reality), or if you think I should feel sorry for a filmmaker asked to cut a scene of extreme violence by a studio that has invested tens of millions of dollars in a project whose overall reception will depend on its accessibility to the widest available audience, you are sadly mistaken. If it's a filmmaker's goal to work utterly free of constraints, he or she will surely know to avoid studio money and interference, work with independent investors and film festivals and not worry about the MPAA rating. But if the goal is to get the movie seen by the broadest possible cross-section of the filmgoing public, or by people like me who have very few limits on acceptable sexual or theological content yet won't sit through one more bloodbath in the name of realism -- even if the film's about Vietnam or the Holocaust -- then make a movie that doesn't feature violence to such a degree that I have no stomach for watching it, and don't bitch at me that I'm a censor if I refuse to patronize it.

Pennsylvania Post-Sunset

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Poem for Saturday

Being Jewish in a Small Town
By Lyn Lifshin

Someone writes kike on
the blackboard and the
"k's" pull thru the
chalk stick in my

plump pale thighs
even after the high
school burns down the
word is written in

the ashes my under
pants elastic snaps
on Main St because
I can't go to

Pilgrim Fellowship
I'm the one Jewish girl
in town but the 4
Cohen brothers

want blond hair
blowing from their
car they don't know
my black braids

smell of almond
I wear my clothes
loose so no one
dreams who I am

will never know
Hebrew keep a
Christmas tree in
my drawer in

the dark my fingers
could be the menorah
that pulls you toward
honey in the snow


Sorry to be so behind on this and on everything. I promise to catch up when I can! Going to take the kids right now to get haircuts and do some necessary shopping (eating lunch out since we have nothing in the house). Back eventually!

Friday, December 26, 2003

Poem for Friday

In California During the Gulf War
By Denise Levertov

Among the blight-killed eucalypts, among
trees and bushes rusted by Christmas frosts,
the yards and hillsides exhausted by five years of drought,

certain airy white blossoms punctually
reappeared, and dense clusters of pale pink, dark pink--
a delicate abundance. They seemed

like guests arriving joyfully on the accustomed
festival day, unaware of the year's events, not perceiving
the sackcloth others were wearing.

To some of us, the dejected landscape consorted well
with our shame and bitterness. Skies ever-blue,
daily sunshine, disgusted us like smile-buttons.

Yet the blossoms, clinging to thin branches
more lightly than birds alert for flight,
lifted the sunken heart

even against its will.
                    But not
as symbols of hope: they were flimsy
as our resistance to the crimes committed

--again, again--in our name; and yes, they return,
year after year, and yes, they briefly shone with serene joy
over against the dark glare

of evil days. They are, and their presence
is quietness ineffable--and the bombings are, were,
no doubt will be; that quiet, that huge cacophany

simultaneous. No promise was being accorded, the blossoms
were not doves, there was no rainbow. And when it was claimed
the war had ended, it had not ended.


Thanks so much for the fic comments. Will catch up on work, e-mail, notes, the news, etc. when I am home tonight, after dinner with my parents. No news here other than lots of phone calls with relatives and 50 more pages of Patrick O'Brian in between phone calls that just have me more and more smitten, even though I urgently need a glossary of nautical terms. Enjoy the day everyone!

Thursday, December 25, 2003


...has been utterly low-key. We did presents while lighting the menorah and have avoided any discussion of why we don't celebrate Christmas by spending most of the day hiking at Devil's Den at the battlefields and sightseeing from the car in Gettysburg. All the adults napped for an hour while the kids were watching some movie or other. *g*

If I hadn't just seen the news, I would say that it was an utterly peaceful holiday. Now we are going to eat Swedish food and listen to music from Chelsea Junction, where my husband's uncle is head of the chamber of commerce and formerly ran a coffeehouse where all the classical and folk music types hung out.

Cannon and Monument, Gettysburg National Battlefield

Poem for Christmas Day

Skating in Harlem, Christmas Day
By Cynthia Zarin

To Mary Jo Salter

Beyond the ice-bound stones and bucking trees,
past bewildered Mary, the Meer in snow,
two skating rinks and two black crooked paths

are a battered pair of reading glasses
scratched by the skater's multiplying math.
Beset, I play this game of tic-tac-toe.

Divide, subtract. Who can tell if love surpasses?
Two naughts we've learned make one astonished 0--
a hectic night of goats and compasses.

Folly tells the truth by what it's not--
one X equals a fall I'd not forgo.
Are ice and fire the integers we've got?

Skating backwards tells another story--
the risky star above the freezing town,
a way to walk on water and not drown.


Have eaten marzipan cake and am about to go walk the dog, then later we are going to the battlefields at Gettysburg which are a mere 10 miles from Hanover (I had thought it was further). Beautiful day, bright sunlight, huge hawks circling outside the windows.

Just for fun, passed on by , this article on Return of the King that makes me howl:

"There's so much online slash fiction and photo-mashing featuring boy-on-boy pairings from The Lord of the Rings that we may need a whole new internet to hold it all. The combinations are endless: Frodo and Sam, Aragorn and Legolas, Gandalf and Pippin, Gollum and Frodo, Pippin and Merry, Peter Jackson and his...biggest fan? One thing's for sure: With all those lingering stares, tender hugs, and caressing of hands, Jackson's The Return of the King is the most gloriously gay Hollywood movie since...well, since Master and Commander."

And also from , also from CityPages:

"If fan fiction (in which, say, Kirk and Spock jump each other's bones) didn't already exist around Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin nautical adventures, this movie version from director Peter Weir would do the trick. Oh, Russell Crowe, as hale and valorous Captain Jack Aubrey, let down your hair! Oh, pale and bookish ship doctor Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany, recalling Cate Blanchett), hold your hearty commander to his honor! See the tender string duets, the spunky spats! Swoon to the fraught glances as Stephen, with Jack's able assistance, plunges, scalpel into the soft, pink mouth of his wound! Alas, Jack and Stephen's maritime relationship becomes no more explicit than that; so much for historical accuracy. *snip* The battle scenes are charged and savage. In between them, the movie lags, the Aubrey/Maturin macho/femme opposition being not nearly complex enough to buoy it. Oh, for some sex! (Or is that what all the shooting is about?)"

Merry Christmas to everyone who is celebrating, a continuing happy Chanukah to those of us celebrating that, and someone let me know how Peter Pan is please...

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Poem for Wednesday

Winter Solstice at St. Paul de Vence
By Lewis Kruglick

Among that winter,
sunmade shadows haunted
the steps in St. Paul de Vence.

Silence crumbled like
children's kites in the wind,
and I was caught by the sound.

The brown ramparts were goatherds
to walks I took, belled by women

washing morning in the fountain, and
each day guided me down to the weedy
cemetery where white marble teeth
stood in the ground.

I held parties
among so much company.


Packing and going to my husband's parents' new house to celebrate Chanukah on Christmas Eve. Should be interesting, at least. In the 17+ years that I have known my father in law, we have had precisely one argument, on Christmas Eve three years ago, about Israel. I used to enjoy the forbidden pleasure of getting to celebrate Christmas with relatives despite being Jewish but I find it increasingly difficult, and now that I have kids, rather impossible.

Went last night to a perfectly lovely family Chanukah party at the home of my cousin whose birthday party I attended last weekend -- more than half the people attending not Jewish (we had a discussion of the word "goyim" in which my elderly great-aunt insisted that it was a slur on the level of "kike" which I had to object to vociferously -- there are not-nice words for outsiders, true, but then there are words which are flat-out racial slurs and I do think it's essential to draw a distinction). Both my father's first cousins are married to non-Jews and raising their kids generically Christian-American, so far as I can tell -- no family church, but one child at the National Cathedral School getting a fine Christian education so far as I can tell. Their first cousin on the other side, who was hosting the party, is Jewish and married to a Jew but she kept looking at me while doing the blessings as if she expected to be corrected (and I think they did light the menorah backward, but I was not about to worry about that).

Despite all the religious shenanigans, it was wonderful to hang out both with the older generation who are the last people on Earth who remember my grandparents, and with the younger generation, one of whom just graduated from NYU's Tisch and is acting in New York, one of whom is planning Princeton, Penn or Michigan when she starts college next fall and the others of which are teenage LOTR fans. Age-wise I am exactly in the middle of everyone and though I feel very old around the teens, I probably bounce back and forth more easily than anyone else of the 26 or so local relatives, which is a nice feeling.

Won't be around much for the next few days. Am utterly thrilled at the sudden explosion of A/B fic but am afraid I won't have time to keep up!

Gacked from , and am now wondering which character in Richard Bach's Illusions I would be...probably the vampire, heh. Definitely not the messiah.

You are the pilot.
Saint Exupery's 'The Little Prince' Quiz.
brought to you by Quizilla

To the jury: thank you for sparing a child from the death penalty. He is not old enough to drink, buy Penthouse or vote for the laws of this country; he should not be eligible to be executed.

And LOTR FPS Secret Santa is online! Merry Christmas !

ETA: Someone (, ) should go to this since I can't:
National Air & Space Museum's Monthly Star Lecture: "A Star Shines on the Hour of Our Meeting": Celestial Sights in the World of JRR Tolkien. By Sean O'Brien. Saturday, December 27, 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM, Albert Einstein Planetarium, National Air and Space Museum, National Mall. Admission: Free. "How accurate are the celestial happenings of Middle Earth? Staff astronomer, Sean O'Brien, uses the unique capabilities of the planetarium to simulate some of the celestial phenomena used within the great, created mythology of JRR Tolkien, author of "The Lord of the Rings." To add to the fun, passages and poetry by Tolkien will be read."

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Poem for Tuesday

By Rita Dove

Every day a wilderness--no
shade in sight. Beulah
patient among knicknacks,
the solarium a rage
of light, a rainstorm
as her gray cloth brings
dark wood to life.

Under her hand scrolls
and crests gleam
darker still. What
was his name, that
silly boy at the fair with
the rifle booth? And his kiss and
the clear bowl with one bright
fish, rippling

Not Michael--
something finer. Each dust
stroke a deep breath and
the canary in bloom.
Wavery memory: home
from a dance, the front door
blown open and the parlor
in snow, she rushed
the bowl to the stove, watched
as the locket of ice
dissolved and he
swam free.

That was years before
Father gave her up
with her name, years before
her name grew to mean
Promise, then
Long before the shadow and
sun's accomplice, the tree.



Sorry for the delayed post; I had to finish the drabbles as they were refusing to let me do anything else. Then I had to obtain provisions for the big family Chanukah party at my cousin Jane's (the one whose surprise party was last weekend), which I will be attending late this afternoon, and later I have to go out for more provisions for that.

So I have had to blow off my lunch date whom I now cannot see till after the holidays, and I need to go write up an Enterprise article and fold laundry so I can get packed to visit my in-laws with whom we are not-celebrating Christmas. Am completely out of it on my Friends list so vibes to everyone having a hard time and big happy hugs to everyone celebrating and please stay safe to everyone traveling! In case I am not around much, though I will try to get poems posted, happiest of holidays to everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2003

Poem for Monday

Carmen 101
By Catullus

Through many nations and many seas have I come
To carry out these wretched funeral rites, brother,
That at last I may give you this final gift in death
And that I might speak in vain to your silent ashes.
Since fortune has borne you, yourself, away from me.
Oh, poor brother, snatched unfairly away from me,
Now, though, even these, which from antiquity
and in the custom of our parents, have been handed down,
a gift of sadness in the rites, accept
them, flowing with many brother´s tears,
And for eternity, my brother,
hail and farewell.


Today's poem is gacked shamelessly from , who said she thinks of it whenever she thinks of Faramir mourning Boromir. You can read it in Latin in her journal.

ROTK Take Two

I cried much more the second time and it felt shorter, even though my kids were with me and provided more distraction than I had the first time through. Still think Sean Astin is astonishing, as good as Sean Bean was in Fellowship. This movie definitely belongs to the hobbits -- there are a number of scenes involving the Men from the books that I missed, but really all four hobbit actors are so good and their storylines are so emotional that I loved spending time with them, as opposed to parts of TTT which dragged for me.

I'm still not really in the mood to talk about it. I wonder why that is. It's certainly not from lack of love for it. I suspect that this is one of those movies, like Indian Runner, which I'm going to have to process through fic before I can be coherent critically. The different pieces of it seem very compartmentalized in my head -- the Frodo/Sam/Gollum storyline, the Rohan-Gondor storylines, the Return of the King, Merry's arc, Pippin's arc, Gandalf's rather strange arc, what's left of the Denethor-Faramir relationship, etc. -- even though I think the stories meshed better in ROTK than TTT.

For me, perhaps not surprisingly, Boromir carried the thru-line of almost everyone even though he's been dead for two movies; I can connect him with pretty much every storyline in the film. And (, please don't hit me) I don't want to write him miraculously!undead right now. Because his death, while incredibly tragic and painful to watch, is a tremendous catalyst for just about everyone else and triggers a long list of things that need to happen. It's the polar opposite of a meaningless death, in terms of what the moment means to him and the ripple effect all around. I'm sure that in a week I will miss him terribly and want him miraculously!undead but not right now.

Since I was reading Patrick O'Brian while on line for an hour and a half waiting to be let into the theater, I got in the mood for this Paul Bettany quote on Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World that I pulled out for : "Genuinely, I just saw two men who frankly love each other. They are emotional and intellectual sustenance for each other and rely on each other for their very lives." Gee, how many characters in LOTR could we apply that to?

Gacked from , my only friend from Space: 1999 fandom with an LJ, so far as I know!

?? Which Natural Wonder Or Disaster Are You ??
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Sunday, December 21, 2003

Poem for Sunday

By Radmila Lazic
Translated from the Serbian by Charles Simic

A few verses.
A few lines about poetry.
A few sips down the throat
Of something thick and bitter.
The evening lowers its weary bones.
Memory. Silence.
The barely audible tick-tack.
If only there was a summer shower.
My head next to someone's navel. Yes!


From today's Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in The Washington Post, on Lazic's A Wake for the Living, in which the poet, who "writes as a feminist with a dark sense of humor and a surreal imagination," declares, "'Life is candied fruit and vinegar.'"

Salvation. for the might-have-been challenge. I wrote about Gollum, Frodo and Sam -- surely a first for me. ROTK ending spoilers.

Speaking of which, we are taking the kids to see ROTK at two. Must go work on TrekToday now. Back tonight. Last night's family party ended up being a real joy -- it was a distant cousin's 50th birthday and the tributes to her were beautiful, her husband and kids (all of whom have done theater for years and have beautiful voices) sang, and I got to see relatives I see far too rarely. I also got to eat creme brulee and chocolate bread pudding. No one diets in December, right?

Happy birthday ! And , thank you so much for my present! It's beautiful (those are my very favorite colors) and I am so very much in awe of your talents...the card too!

Gacked from because my children noticed it over my shoulder and made me do it:


Saturday, December 20, 2003

Poem for Saturday

Maoz Tsur (The Strength of the Rock)
Traditional, Unknown Translation

The Greeks gathered against me
in the days of the Hasmonean.
They breached the walls of my towers
and defiled all the oil;
from the one remaining flask,
a miracle was wrought
for the lilies of the valley.
Those with insight
established eight days
for song and jubilation.


Happy Chanukah! We celebrated with my parents last night, and tonight there is a big surprise party for one of my distant cousins that all my relatives and a lot of Washington-area journalists will be at since my cousin and her husband are both connected with The Washington Post, so I need to get into high-gear holiday schmooze mode. Meanwhile, I must go work before my husband's parents come to babysit my kids.

We are going to my husband's parents' new house for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I am trying to figure out whether it is fair to make a "no presents on Christmas morning" demand, which will throw off their traditional holiday morning. But we've had two years without my kids being subjected to that, and are no longer getting asked why we can't do it in our house, and I really don't want to start the argument up again. It's one thing to explain that we're celebrating with their grandparents, not really celebrating Christmas ourselves, but it's another to have them understand why this distinction is so important, in a culture where Christmas seems as prevalent as idols must have been in the time of the Maccabees.

It's next to impossible to make a seven year old understand why anyone would choose not to take an opportunity for presents and cake. On the other hand, I didn't particularly have this problem growing up because even though we often went to friends' Christmas parties, I was always very aware of our status as outsiders, non-participants. But it's something else, I think, when one's own grandparents are religious Christians (and ostensibly "Put the Christ Back In Christmas" believers, though they're perfectly willing to lavish gifts on our kids since we're obviously not going to take them to church). My son occasionally tries to explain to me that he is only half-Jewish since his father was raised Christian and has not formally converted; being a devout agnostic, my husband doesn't really see the point, nor does he want to go through all the study, and given that he goes to shul and keeping a Jewish home, I am not going to press this point.

But if we accept the invitation to his parents' house for Christmas, do I have the right to say "no" to the Christmas morning ritual of the long unwrapping of presents and eating sweets for breakfast? And if not, what should I say to my kids about it? I did it with them for years before we had children; I probably spent ten consecutive Christmas mornings celebrating with them before they retired and started traveling. And I probably went to church for ten consecutive Christmas eve services, though for me that was always spectacle, not spiritual. I have NEVER had any confusion about how I define myself religiously, even if my actual beliefs run far afield of tradition.

Gerbilfans, go look at 's latest, snuggling nesting gerbils! For her:

Friday, December 19, 2003

Poem for Friday and <a href

A Hedge of Rubber Trees
By Amy Clampitt

The West Village by then was changing; before long
the rundown brownstones at its farthest edge
would have slipped into trendier hands. She lived,
impervious to trends, behind a potted hedge of
rubber trees, with three cats, a canary--refuse
from whose cage kept sifting down and then
germinating, a yearning seedling choir, around
the saucers on the windowsill--and an inexorable
cohort of roaches she was too nearsighted to deal
with, though she knew they were there, and would
speak of them, ruefully, as of an affliction that
     might once, long ago, have been prevented.

Unclassifiable castoffs, misfits, marginal cases:
when you're one yourself, or close to it, there's
a reassurance in proving you haven't quite gone
under by taking up with somebody odder than you are.
Or trying to. "They're my friends," she'd say of
her cats--Mollie, Mitzi and Caroline, their names were,
and she was forever taking one or another in a cab
to the vet--as though she had no others. The roommate
who'd become a nun, the one who was Jewish, the couple
she'd met on a foliage tour, one fall, were all people
she no longer saw. She worked for a law firm, said all
     the judges were alcoholic, had never voted.

But would sometimes have me to dinner--breaded veal,
white wine, strawberry Bavarian--and sometimes, from
what she didn't know she was saying, I'd snatch a shred
or two of her threadbare history. Baltic cold. Being
sent home in a troika when her feet went numb. In
summer, carriage rides. A swarm of gypsy children
driven off with whips. An octogenarian father, bishop
of a dying schismatic sect. A very young mother
who didn't want her. A half-brother she met just once.
Cousins in Wisconsin, one of whom phoned her from a candy
store, out of the blue, while she was living in Chicago.
     What had brought her there, or when, remained unclear.

As did much else. We'd met in church. I noticed first
a big, soaring soprano with a wobble in it, then
the thickly wreathed and braided crimp in the mouse-
gold coiffure. Old? Young? She was of no age.
Through rimless lenses she looked out of a child's,
or a doll's, globular blue. Wore Keds the year round,
tended otherwise to overdress. Owned a mandolin. Once
I got her to take it down from the mantel and plink out,
through a warm fuddle of sauterne, a lot of giddy Italian
airs from a songbook whose pages had started to crumble.
The canary fluffed and quivered, and the cats, amazed,
     came out from under the couch and stared.

What could the offspring of the schismatic age and a
reluctant child bride expect from life? Not much.
Less and less. A dream she'd had kept coming back,
years after. She'd taken a job in Washington with
some right-wing lobby, and lived in one of those
bow-windowed mansions that turn into roominghouses,
and her room there had a full-length mirror: oval,
with a molding, is the way I picture it. In her dream
something woke her, she got up to look, and there
in the glass she'd had was covered over--she gave it
     a wondering emphasis--with gray veils.

The West Village was changing. I was changing. The last
time I asked her to dinner, she didn't show. Hours--
or was it days?--later, she phoned to explain: she hadn't
been able to find my block; a patrolman had steered her home.
I spent my evenings canvassing for Gene McCarthy. Passing,
I'd see her shades drawn, no light behind the rubber trees.
She wasn't out, she didn't own a TV. She was in there,
getting gently blotto. What came next, I wasn't brave
enough to know. Only one day, passing, I saw
new shades, quick-chic matchstick bamboo, going up where
the waterstained old ones had been, and where the seedlings--
     O gray veils, gray veils--had risen and gone down.


Friday Five:

1. List your five favorite beverages.

Cranberry juice
Vanilla Coke
Ginger peach tea

2. List your five favorite websites.
My Friends page

3. List your five favorite snack foods.
Junior Mints
Smoked almonds
Macademia nuts
Pretzels dipped in jalapeno mustard

4. List your five favorite board and/or card games.
Gin rummy

5. List your five favorite computer and/or game system games.
Note: I have never played any of these. I watch my kids. I may not even have the titles right.
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (GameCube)
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (GameCube)
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Game Boy)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Game Boy)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Game Boy)

: As one who grew up Jewish, let me answer the last question first:

5. Are you ready to scream if you see one more Christmas episode or special?

1. Do your fandoms do Christmas specials? If so, do you like them or not?
No, thank heavens, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings are both wonderfully Christmas-free. Yule stories are generally enjoyable, and I actually once wrote a Chanukah Space: 1999 story on a dare, but I am sick to death of Christmas stories per se.

2. Does the fan fiction in any of your fandoms take into consideration that not everyone celebrates Christmas?
Yes. People who write Trek fiction in particular seem very attuned to this. The reason I wrote the Space: 1999 story is that there are Christmas stories in that fandom but I had never seen a Chanukah story, yet both Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, who played the principal characters, are Jewish. So, for that matter, are William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.

3) What is the best Christmas episode you’ve seen for any show? Why?
You know, I'm sure there must be one, but for the life of me I can't think what it could be right now. Maybe that episode of The Avengers where John Steed tells Emma Peel that he has gotten a letter from Cathy Gale and he can't figure out what she's doing at Fort Knox. (Note: If anyone knows where there is Steed-Peel Avengers fic to be found, please tell me!)

4) Do you slash any Christmas shows? If so, which ones?
Bwahahaha! Frosty and Rudolph. No, I don't slash any Christmas shows, unless slashing Jesus and Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar counts.

And speaking of slashing, this ought to be interesting...gacked from :

Who will give you an orgasm? by leslie13
So, who will make you moan?Britney Spears...lucky.
Will it be good?mmm hmmm...:)
Created with quill18's MemeGen!

posted the following lovely image for me as a late birthday present: Aragorn and Boromir in Lothlorien.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Poem for Thursday

By Erica Funkhouser

Last night the animals
beneath her window
crept out of hiding
to comb the dirt
from each other's fur.

Rising to watch,
she discovered the lilacs
lit from below by ivory vinca.
The street on the other side
of the trees continued
to contain its passing cars;
tenderly her teeth
let her tongue rest
against their curving backs.

Tonight when she lies
in bed again,
she will remember
the one kind thing
her grown daughter said today
after weeks of scrutiny,

and the moment at work
just now, when a stack
of Day-Glo folders
cascaded over her desk,
thrilling the white cubicle
with their descent.


I am having a very strange reaction to That Movie: I am finding that I don't want to talk about it. To some extent, this is true even with my good friends, but it's overwhelming with my Friends list -- that is to say, with people I know first and foremost through this fandom, where the fannish interests were the initial glue that stuck us together and where I can't quite escape the fear that whatever relationship we may form will come undone if our interests move on. Some days I even feel like my best fannish friend at the moment is only in that role because she's too busy in RL to deal with other potential friends, and when she has more time, I will ironically hear much less from her.

I had thought I would mostly want to avoid rants, nitpicks and complaints...but I'm even finding that I don't want to know what people loved and adored and thought was brilliant in ROTK. I'm not done internalizing my own experience; I don't want the opinions of hundreds of others, good or bad, influencing me, and I definitely don't want to be lectured by people who love the books about why I am shallow, pathetic or otherwise unworthy if I love the films more, or at the very least, if the films have given me an entirely new way of looking at the books which have turned the books into something else entirely for me. Perhaps it is a failure of my own imagination that I did not have a fully realized world in my head when I first read Tolkien, but I have had fully realized worlds when reading other people's novels; in this case, it was the vision of a group of filmmakers that was necessary for it to come to life for me. And if that's too shallow, pathetic or otherwise unworthy for you, fine. You know how to take me off your Flist.

I very nearly unFriended someone this morning over a snotty book rant (something I NEVER do -- I have Friended everyone who has ever Friended me except for sock puppets, as it feels artificial to me to have "Sean Bean" on my Friends list). Then I relented and merely took her off all my filters, because it seems wrong somehow to unFriend someone for having opinions that differ from mine...but by that attitude I could Friend everyone on LJ no matter how little we have in common, just to be social, which is stupid. Am hoping she takes the hint and unFriends me, since given the nature of her rant I can't understand why I'm on her Flist in the first place. And wow...the last time I unFriended someone for a rant it was over her public avowals of her pro-life position, which included terms like "baby killers." Does this demonstrate fannish overinvolvement, or finally coming to my senses about how Friends lists should be about reading the people you want to read and not reading the people who drive you up the wall?

And then there's my new would-be obsession, in which it has been made clear to me that no one will put me on their Friends list until I have read the books and written some proper fic (meaning that no matter how well I am getting to know them, and no matter how much feedback I send, we won't even be pretending to be friends, and the social element is the most important thing for me in just about any fandom. Yet another reason I like the screaming Legolas teenies, even if they are screaming Legolas teenies: all one has to do to feel included is to scream about Legolas. Okay, maybe that is sort of pathetic and I can't do it, but it's a nice thought.

I did discover, to my relief, that I can still fic LOTR after ROTK. Last night was writing both B/F set before FOTR and A/F set after ROTK and enjoying both, though I suspect they were both pretty silly and retreading a lot of old ground. It's 's fault for making me wonder whether Aragorn would let Brego sleep in his bed.

Oh, am having one of those What's Real And What's Illusion mornings. Was bitched at by someone who said that people should not say YMMV and IMHO and things because men don't dilute their opinions and women shouldn't either. Which I find a ridiculous generalization, but even if it's true, why in fuck must I assume that the male model is better and follow it? God, niceness is underrated, and I have never even thought of myself as a nice person.

So some pimping: 's Araboro schmoop, 's Five Things That Never Happened To Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin Three: All The Wonder, and 's Faramir hamster and Boromir gerbil...and Faramir not-hamster and Boromir not-gerbil!

And to make me smile before I go fold laundry and finish addressing holiday cards, very belatedly (probably while watching Gladiator, because my Russell Crowe itch continues undiminished, and the advantage of being a pack rat and saving everything is that when I find out that Crowe was on the cover of the May 2000 issue of the now-defunct Talk magazine, it's still sitting in the magazine rack in the basement):

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

ROTK Incoherency

1) Sean Astin made me cry about four times and I'm not even a hobbit girl. His performance in this movie is astonishing.

2) Despite the slicing-and-dicing of Faramir's and Eowyn's stories nearly past recognition (which might frustrate me except I have to stop and remind myself that I did not LIKE Faramir in the books and it is only movie!Faramir who got me really interested in their stories), David Wenham and Miranda Otto were utterly brilliant and devastating in what scenes they had. So was Bernard Hill. I loved Merry and Eowyn bonding so quickly and believably with so few words.

3) By contrast Viggo Mortensen seemed somewhat flat and Orlando Bloom might as well not have been in the movie, since I'm sure it was a CGI Legolas who did the Stupid Elf Tricks, climbing oliphaunts and whatnot. If Viggo's goal is to convince the audience of Aragorn's extreme reluctance to be king, he did that superbly; I have never before felt sorry for a guy about to become the celebrated and beloved ruler of the free world. He was however marvelous speaking to the dead. That scene gave me chills, and I don't mean because of the ghosts.

4) John Noble must have been amazing because I loathe Denethor more than any movie character I can ever remember. I can't even talk performance because every time I picture his face, I want to see him explode in a shower of sparks. Worst. Parent. Ever. The scene where he makes Pippin sing for him while he's stuffing his face and Faramir is riding off presumably to his death (and oh god the look on his face!) almost made me too mad to cry, even though Billy Boyd was superbly heartbreaking.

(And has just reminded me about Gandalf aka Mithrandir whacking Denethor with his staff! GO GANDALF!)

5) The sequence where Pippin lights the signal fire in Gondor that then triggers fires all the way over the mountains until Aragorn sees the last one burning from the steps of the Golden Hall in Rohan...AMAZING. These huge sweeping helicopter shots combined with CGI...just stunning.

6) I wish Arwen were tougher. I wish she'd gotten to fight. That said, I still love her and I love the way Liv Tyler plays her and no one is ever going to convince me the filmmakers did wrong by giving her a larger role. I also love her scenes with Elrond, though I would willingly have sacrificed one of them to get the Houses of Healing back into the theatrical cut.

7) Even minus some scenes I wanted the pacing of the film is amazing. Long as it is, I had no real sense of time passing, except ironically at the start, which felt a bit much like TTT and dragged as I was expecting them to reach the stairs sooner with less fussing over what they were going to eat. Okay, I guess they had to convince us about Frodo mistrusting Sam so much, but I mostly thought it made Frodo look bad. Then again I wasn't sorry he looked bad since I wasn't sure I'd believe that this Frodo would refuse to destroy the Ring at the end, and I did believe it.

8) Smeagol did call Deagol "my love," didn't he? I did not imagine that? Oh, LOVED LOVED LOVED the opening...and the later parallels with Sam and, I am just in love with Sam and I never saw that coming. And I LOVE that Gollum died as Smeagol. Added huge poignancy to his entire story.

9) Boromir in the credits and in flashback in the movie, even for two I love the producers for keeping Sean Bean in there, which probably means they have to pay him residuals and everything.


10) Eldarion!

11) Gimli still counting.

12) The severed heads in the catapults.

Poem for 12/17

By Viggo Mortensen

After years of merging and allowing
yourself to be assimilated
Your hair and clothes
have turned brown
Then, one afternoon you leave a theatre
After seeing the restored
Version of "The Hero Returns"
And find yourself wanting
to be treated special.


See y'all later. Everyone have a great day. *g*

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Poem for Tuesday

Before the Snake
By Nathaniel Tarn

Sitting, facing the sun, eyes closed. I can hear the
sun. I can hear the bird life all around for miles.
It flies through us and around us, it takes up all
space, as if we were not there, as if we had never
interrupted this place. The birds move diorami-
cally through our heads, from ear to ear. What
are they doing, singing in this luminous fall. It is
marvelous to be so alone, the two of us, in this
garden desert. Forgotten, but remembering
ourselves as no one will ever remember us. The
space between the trees, the bare ground-sand
between them, you can see the land's skin which
is so much home. We cannot buy or sell this
marvelous day. I can hear the sun and, within
the sun, the wind which comes out of the world's
lungs from immeasurable depth; we catch only
a distant echo. Beyond the birds there are per-
sons carrying their names like great weights.
Just think: carrying X your whole life, or Y, or Z.
Carrying all that A and B and C around with you,
having to be A all the time, B, or C. Here you can
be the sun, the pine, the bird. You can be the
breathing. I can tell you, I think this may be
Eden. I think it is.


So I started reading my Friends list, and ran into the Leaving For Trilogy Tuesday people and the Mad They Don't Have Tickets For Trilogy Tuesday people and the Waiting Frantically For Tomorrow people and the Not Seeing It For Two Weeks And Don't Care people and the Damn Why Do I Have To Live In A Country Without A December 17th Opening people and the Spoil Me people and the Spoil Me And You Die people and the Oh God It Can't Be Good Enough people and the Oh God It Will Be Too Much people and...I concluded that I need to take today off. Completely.

Will be out doing holiday chores and buying Aubrey/Maturin novels (though I can't even concentrate on the fanfic at the moment) and having lunch with , as I did yesterday, because we decided that The Sum Of Us and Velvet Goldmine and maybe even A Walk on the Moon are good distractions for not getting overly distracted.

Gacked most recently from whom I will be a-squeezing:

My LiveJournal 12 Days
My True Love gave to me...
12 ashinaes a-chuckling.
11 beckyos a-skating.
10 cara_chapels a-falling.
9 filegs a-typing.
8 gblvrs a-hugging.
7 jenwritess a-sleeping.
6 ldybastets a-piping.
5 platinum milochkas.
4 commenting perkypaduans.
3 Austrian twinkledrus.
2 turkey vertigo66s.
And a zasjah in a apple tree.
Get gifts! Username:
Another fun meme brought to you by rfreebern.

And I've no idea why I took this quiz, gacked from , because I don't read, write or think about Snarry. But I liked the result anyway.

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye
"Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye."
You like to take it slow, build a foundation for a
plausible and successful relationship before
truly starting into the romance. You prefer to
see each wall come down in a methodic and
steady manner than for it all to crumble at
once, making them completely dependant on one
another. Angst, friendship, and a strong
relationship are common in your favourite
href=""> What Snarry-applicable Quote Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, December 15, 2003

Poem for Monday

West and East
By Adonis (Ali Ahmed Said)

Something burrowed deep
into history's tunnel, something
ornamental, charged with explosives --
it held its baby poison
with petrol for a poisonous merchant
to sing into sleep.

A childlike East
implored, and hollered for help
to its invincible grand master, the West.
This map has been altered though:
the whole universe is on fire,
East and West but the ashes
gathered and moulded into a single grave.


My kids had a two-hour delayed school opening this morning so I am Royally Effing Behind. However, UPS arrived this morning with my last birthday present...Aragorn and Arwen!

Aragorn and Arwen, and yes, she has pointed ears.

A tiny corner of my Barbie collection.

My wonderful Barbie dealer, Sandi Holder, sent me a little Kelly ornament as a late birthday present because she knew the set had shipped out too late to arrive by my birthday. Am contemplating giving it to my neighbor's daughter whom I walk home from school every day along with my kids, since she's into Kelly whereas I'm strictly a Barbie and Ken girl.

Jack and Stephen -- the squirrels on my deck -- are back fooling around and frustrating the cats. They must like snow.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Poem for Sunday

Masa (Mass)
By César Vallejo

When the battle was over,
and the fighter was dead, a man came toward him
and said: "Do not die; I love you so!"
But the corpse, it was sad! went on dying.

And two came near, and told him again and again:
"Do not leave us! Courage! Return to life!"
But the corpse, it was sad! went on dying.

Twenty arrived, a hundred, a thousand, five hundred thousand,
shouting: "So much love, and it can do nothing against death!"
But the corpse, it was sad! went on dying.

Millions of persons stood around him,
all speaking the same thing: "Stay here, brother!"
But the corpse, it was sad! went on dying.

Then, all the men on the earth
stood around him; the corpse looked at them sadly, deeply moved;
he sat up slowly,
put his arm around the first man; started to walk....


From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in today's Washington Post (currently overrun by news from Iraq): "César Vallejo's poems have an anguished power, a rebellious lexical energy and a wild, freewheeling emotionalism. Sympathy for the suffering of others is a current that runs through all of his work." Here's another one:

The Black Heralds
By César Vallejo

There are blows in life, so powerful ... I don't know!
blows like God's hatred; as if before them,
the undertow of everything suffered
were to well up in the soul ... I don't know!

They're few; but they exist; ... They open dark furrows
in the most ferocious face and the most powerful loins.
Perhaps they're wooden horses of barbaric Attilas,
or black messengers that Death sends to us.

They're profound lapses of the soul's Christs,
of some adorable faith that Destiny blasphemes.
Those bloodthirsty blows are cracklings of some
bread that in the oven's door burns up on us.

And man ... Poor ... poor man! He turns his eyes, as
when a slap on the shoulder calls us by name;
he turns his crazed eyes, and everything he's lived
wells up, like a pool of guilt, in his gaze.

There are blows in life, so powerful ... I don't know!


We have snow! About four inches, enough to have caused Hebrew school to be cancelled as there has been no plowing in our area yet. They are saying, when the weather reporters can get a word in edgewise, that we will get freezing rain and terrible road conditions later. I am glad I went to Best Buy last night to pick up my new Palm Zire 71. I love birthdays!

Today I want to learn to use it, in between doing twelve thousand chores and TT work. I have eaten WAY WAY too much in the last three days -- not that I am really complaining as I enjoyed every minute of it. But I ate five of my last six lunches and dinners out, and the holiday season hasn't even started yet. My in-laws offered to take us out for a big dinner yesterday and I actually declined and said let's just bring in burritos, because that was all I could deal with.

Speaking of gifts, read 's "Aragorn the King", in which Gerbil!Aragorn and Plastic!Theoden work out their differences. In her honor:

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Poem for Saturday

An Alpine Picture
By Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Stand here and look, and softly draw your breath
Lest the dread avalanche come crashing down!
How many leagues away is yonder town
Set flower-wise in the valley? Far beneath
Out feet lies summer; here a realm of death,
Where never flower has blossomed nor bird flown.
The ancient water-courses are all strown
With drifts of snow, fantastic wreath on wreath;
And peak on peak against the stainless blue
The Alps like towering campanili stand,
Wondrous, with pinnacles of frozen rain,
Silvery, crystal, like the prism in hue.
O tell me, love, if this be Switzerland --
Or is it but the frost-work on the pane?


There's a family learning day at my younger son's Hebrew school today, then my in-laws are coming, and my co-writer at Trek Nation won't be around today so I have to work. Meaning that I will be lucky to have five minutes to myself before, oh, 10 p.m. There is something wrong when I am looking forward to folding laundry as a moment of potential peace.

I still have all those comments in my inbox. Will get them answered very soon, I promise.

We Two Kings of Middle-earth Are

A little Kingly bonding...

...ends, of course, with Aragorn demonstrating his dominance.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Poem for Friday and <a href

Day of the Refugios
Alberto Ríos

I was born in Nogales, Arizona,
On the border between
Mexico and the United States.

The places in between places
They are like little countries
Themselves, with their own holidays

Taken a little from everywhere.
My Fourth of July is from childhood,
Childhood itself a kind of country, too.

It's a place that's far from me now,
A place I'd like to visit again.
The Fourth of July takes me there.

In that childhood place and border place
The Fourth of July, like everything else,
It meant more than just one thing.

In the United States the Fourth of July
It was the United States.
In Mexico it was the día de los Refugios,

The saint's day of people named Refugio.
I come from a family of people with names,
Real names, not-afraid names, with colors

Like the fireworks: Refugio,
Margarito, Matilde, Alvaro, Consuelo,
Humberto, Olga, Celina, Gilberto.

Names that take a moment to say,
Names you have to practice.
These were the names of saints, serious ones,

And it was right to take a moment with them.
I guess that's what my family thought.
The connection to saints was strong:

Mu grandmother's name--here it comes--
Her name was Refugio,
And my great-grandmother's name was Refugio,

And my mother-in-law's name now,
It's another Refugio, Refugios everywhere,
Refugios and shrimp cocktails and sodas.

Fourth of July was a birthday party
For all the women in my family
Going way back, a party

For everything Mexico, where they came from,
For the other words and the green
Tinted glasses my great-grandmother wore.

These women were me,
What I was before me,
So that birthday fireworks in the evening,

All for them,
This seemed right.
In that way the fireworks were for me, too.

Still, we were in the United States now,
And the Fourth of July,
Well, it was the Fourth of July.

But just what that meant,
In this border place and time,
it was a matter of opinion in my family.


-250 on my Friends list and I just can't do anymore. If I missed something, I apologize profusely. I really felt the love yesterday -- thank you all so much!

Am curious: When you are in a very small fandom, and the closest thing to a BNF in that fandom whose fic you enjoy greatly and never fail to comment upon ignores your fic while pimping the fic of other people whose fic you don't find especially more wonderful than yours, is it silly to find this disenheartening? I stopped writing Space and M:I fandom a couple of years ago because having an audience of three people made me feel like it was a pathetic excercise -- and given much of the fic that was getting highly praised, I concluded that wow, the characters must have been more shallow than I noticed. *veg*

Now am playing in a corner of a fandom whose canon I don't know all that well, and I feel like it will be three years before I can write anything True Fans would want to read, at which point I'm not sure I'll see the characters at all the same way, nor feel compelled to write about them. It's not really feedback per se -- it's meeting people and the sense of community that I miss in situations like this. If I'm not good enough to play in the sandbox, I think I'd rather play in a sandbox with people I might really connect with, rather than play in my own separate sandbox with the same toys. On the other hand I presumptuously wrote movieverse LOTR when I KNEW I was screwing up details that would matter to bookverse fans and I've had a great experience in that fandom anyway...


1. How many and which of your fandoms do you own on DVD?
Heh. Sharpe and Space: 1999 are the only ones for which I own the full run. I have selected Star Trek (eight episodes of the original series, seventh season Deep Space Nine) and a smattering of Dawson's Creek which is not even an actual fandom, just a show I loved with unreasonable passion, but I have never felt compelled to own all of Trek even on VHS except for taped off TV at SLP. Now, I do own VR5 on VHS and would buy that on DVD, and there are many movies I own on DVD that you could not take away from me without prying them from my cold, dead fingers, like both the theatrical AND extended versions of the LOTR films.

2. If you had tapes, did you toss them when you got the DVDs?
Some yes, some no. Kids' movies we have generally kept to watch in the van on long trips. Tapes off TV we reused; professional tapes I've generally given to friends.

3. What are your favorite extras (commentary tracks, behind-the-scenes featurettes, bloopers, foreign language dub, interviews with cast, etc.)? Generally and specifically.
Commentary, featurettes, interviews, bloopers. The LOTR EEs set a gold standard as far as I'm concerned, though I would love a true blooper reel. POTC is one example of a recent movie that didn't impress me all that much as a film but which has a really wonderful DVD package, especially the historical features which my kids ate up.

4. What do you view first: the episodes, commentary, extras?
Always the original, no commentary. Need to remember my own impressions before getting those of others.

5. What fandoms on DVD do you not yet own or are not out yet?
Mission: Impossible, the Landau-Bain years. I'm waiting. Would contemplate La Femme Nikita and *hanging head* Dallas.

Friday Five

1. Do you enjoy the cold weather and snow for the holidays?

Yes. Wouldn't enjoy it all year but I love the changing seasons. My only complaint with winter has to do with the lack of evening light.

2. What is your ideal holiday celebration? How, where, with whom would you celebrate to make things perfect?
Given that my in-laws are not Jewish, I cannot have a single ideal holiday celebration; we celebrate Chanukah with my extended family and then generally celebrate Christmas with my husband's parents, in the generic American sense of tree, candles, classical carols on the stereo and traditional food (in their case Swedish). In an ideal world of course I'd have an enormous multidenominational party with everyone I know, including people I know online but have never met...

3. Do you do have any holiday traditions?
I practice a lot of Yule rituals along with the Chanukah traditions. My cousins have a Chanukah party every year with latkes etc. where we all take turns reading the story and the kids light the candles, almost a modified Passover/Shabbat. Christmas Eve with my in-laws generally involves opening presents from relatives and eating korv and farmer's cheese.

4. Do you do anything to help the needy?
Just donations. I really should bring food to people or something more direct.

5. What one gift would you like for yourself?
This is always a difficult question because my birthday and Chanukah are rarely more than a week apart, if not overlapping, so this is the one time of year I ever get presents and if I want anything big, I have to do it now. Two years ago I got my digital camera and last year I got my camcorder, and those were pretty much my only presents. This year I have a list of smaller things, mostly books and a couple of DVDs.


Meme that I believe originated with , and a fine idea:

I know very little about some of the people on my friends' list. Some people are real-life friends who I see frequently. Others I know relatively well: I read your fic, or we have something else in common and we chat occasionally. Some of you I hardly know at all. Perhaps you lurk, for whatever reason. But you friended me and I thank you.

But here's a thought: why not take this opportunity to tell me a little something about yourself. Any old thing at all. Just so the next time I see your name I can say: "Ah, there's so and so...she likes spinach."

I'd love it if every single person who friended me would do this. Yes, even you people who I know really well. Then post this in your own journal.

I've left this same tidbit in several journals now: I am perpetually ten minutes late for everything, except when I am so obsessed with getting somewhere on time that I get there 20 minutes early because I've reset my internal clock half an hour.


Gerbils for the morning: made me a birthday picture with Aragorn, Boromir and hamster!Faramir, and wrote new gerbilfic!

And wrote me wonderful arafaraboro schmooporn. Go enjoy!

It's Very Late

...and I have spent the entire day squeeing, except when I had to console my inconsolable son about the fact that his best friend in the world is moving back to New Zealand and we have no clue when they might see each other again. This is an extremely difficult thing for a 10-year-old to deal with and I am afraid I have been utterly useless in helping him cope, except via distraction.

Thank you all so much for the comments and greetings and such -- I have not looked at my Friends list since midafternoon so I am sure I owe personal thanks that I will send tomorrow. I spent a perfectly wonderful morning with and at M&C for the fifth time (thus tying my TTT record in the theater, and am wondering whether I should see it again before Wednesday because M&C just gets better every time I watch it and has no boring parts whatsoever -- took me four viewings to get bored of Helm's Deep but it did happen, and I am much happier thinking about ROTK next week when I am NOT thinking about it for reasons I do not quite understand).

Anyway, after hanging with Dru and Rose as I keep thinking of them despite knowing their real names, I hung out with my kids and my mother for awhile, and then we went to see Lisa Moscatiello and Rosie Shipley perform at a release party in honor of their new CD, Well Kept Secrets. They were wonderful and my kids were utterly cooperative for the most part after several earlier meltdowns, so although we left before the second set because the younger one was falling asleep in his chair -- did I mention that the NZ friend slept over last night despite it being a school night because it was the Last Night Ever, so everyone was hugely overtired? -- I got to hear a set and eat the wonderful carrot cake there.

And then, since I was home and in a Russell Crowe/Paul Bettany mood and hadn't seen it in, oh, days, I made my husband watch A Beautiful Mind with me, since he had never seen it. Hence the fact that the hour is now so late. (I also made my husband watch the makeout scene from The Sum Of Us, just because. He rolled his eyes at me. Am betting I have to watch the sex scene from The Hunger sometime in recompense and am also betting I enjoy that far more than he enjoyed Gay Russell.)

Anyway, since I blew off today, I am having lunch with her tomorrow so I better go to bed. sweetie, hope you are feeling better!

And big smooches to everyone.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Poem for Thursday

Winter Solstice
By Suzanne E. Cole

Winter dark need not depress us;
we can trust its hushed waiting.
Under snowdrifts, roots
flourish to strengthen
the blooms of spring.
In the ashes, sparks glow
sufficient to rekindle fires.
In the stillness of our spirits,
creativity quickens.
We learn to appreciate the light
by cycling through the dark.
We won't hurry spring.
Winter's quiet blesses us too.


Birthday card from my husband, , who is taking me and the kids tonight to see Lisa Moscatiello and Rosie Shipley at their new CD launch party at a restaurant with chipotle chili:

Right now I must run as and are coming over! Squee! Though it is a somewhat sad day in our household, as my son's best friend from New Zealand is moving back there tomorrow forever. He slept over last night (family packed into a hotel room) and the kids were up all night talking; I hope they can keep their eyes open at school today and at the restaurant tonight.

I have gerbilfic and gerbilart and schmoop to pimp but will do that this afternoon, after I pick up the kids! Thanks everyone for the good wishes!

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Poem for Wednesday

Curriculum Vitae
By Anthony Hecht

As though it were reluctant to be day,
       Morning deploys a scale
       Of rarities in gray,
And winter settles down in its chain-mail,

Victorious over legions of gold and red.
       The smokey souls of stones,
       Blunt pencillings of lead,
Pare down the world to glintless monotones

Of graveyard weather, vapors of a fen
       We reckon through our pores.
       Save for the garbage men,
Our children are the first ones out of doors.

Book-bagged and padded out, at mouth and nose
       They manufacture ghosts,
       George Washington's and Poe's,
Banquo's, the Union and Confederate hosts',

And are themselves the ghosts, file cabinet gray,
       Of some departed us,
       Signing our lives away
On ferned and parslied windows of a bus.


Thank you all so much for the vibes and wishes yesterday -- wow, I feel so loved. And I also feel somewhat foolish freaking out that much about a little earthquake. But this confirms for me that much as I love visiting California, I would never ever consider moving there. I can't even go into underground parking lots while visiting relatives in L.A.!

Gacked from , who got the same result:

Which flavor of Ben n' Jerry's ice cream are you?
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Gacked from , who also got the same result -- I am so like my friends!

Maine is your state. It's pretty and nice and
quiet and not crowded. I love Maine, so do
What State Is Perfect For You?
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And gacked from , who thankfully did not get the same result, this nearly made me cry before I started giggling...

gender nazi
You are a Gender Nazi. Your boundary-crossing
lifestyle inspires awe in your friends and
colleagues. Or maybe they're just scared you
will kick their asses for using gender-specific
language. Either way, the wife-beater helps.
What kind of postmodernist are you!?
brought to you by Quizilla

Not posting the kinky quiz because I am so not a riding crop. Even though I have one.

has illustrated Aragorn and Boromir snuggling from the picture I posted yesterday! {{{hugs Jommy}}}

Yesterday's snuggle picture from a different angle.