Saturday, April 30, 2005

Poem for Saturday


"O Navis"
By Austin Dobson


SHIP, to the roadstead rolled,
  What dost thou?—O, once more
Regain the port. Behold!
  Thy sides are bare of oar,
  Thy tall mast wounded sore
Of Africus, and see,
  What shall thy spars restore!—
Tempt not thy tyrant sea!

What cable now will hold
  When all drag out from shore!
What god canst thou, too bold,
  In time of need implore!
  Look! for thy sails flap o’er,
Thy stiff shrouds part and flee,
  Fast—fast thy seams outpour,—
Tempt not the tyrant sea!

What though thy ribs of old
  The pines of Pontus bore!
Not now to stern of gold
  Men trust, or painted prore!
  Thou, or thou count’st it store
A toy of winds to be,
  Shun thou the Cyclads’ roar,—
Tempt not the tyrant sea!

ENVOY

Ship of the State, before
  A care, and now to me
A hope in my heart’s core,—
  Tempt not the tyrant sea!

--------


and I went to the early show of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which was great fun -- Monty Python meets Dr. Who on crack. I haven't read the book in more than a decade, so I went in with few expectations and a willingness to be pleased, which I was; the casting is wonderful and the film hit on most of the highlights from the novel, though many of them were curtailed (and the forced romance caused the film to drag unnecessarily in spots). My entire family wants to see this one so I may even see it again over the weekend, since thunderstorms are forecast, which means that both the local azalea festival and the University of Maryland's celebration of education, sports and food in College Park may be abbreviated, cancelled or just not as much fun. If the weather is good, my younger son has soccer both days which will take up quite a bit of the weekend.

Today both kids went to their friend Omar's after school to play Runescape which the younger one had been barred from after lying about his homework but I'm not supposed to know that. We took the new van in for maintenance, which required both adults to drive so one could take the other home. Otherwise there was little excitement this evening besides by-kids'-request POTC DVD extras and some fighting with our Pirates of the Spanish Main ships.

: What 5 media (books/movies/tv show) universes would you want to visit if they were, you know, real?
I'm presuming actual unreal universes, rather than historical ones, so I haven't included Jack Aubrey's Woolcombe, Sharon Kay Penman's York, etc. Nor am I including Thursday Next's universe because I haven't explored all of it, though I am loving my visits in the books.
1. Avalon and Camelot from Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon.
2. Hogsmeade and Wizard London from Harry Potter.
3. The woods near Athens from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
4. Gondor, Rohan, Lothlorien, Mirkwood and the Shire from The Lord of the Rings.
5. The United Federation of Planets from Star Trek, including Earth, Bajor, Vulcan, Betazed and of course Risa. Preferably Picard's era, as it was still mighty sexist in Kirk's and I'd rather explore than be caught in the middle of the Dominion War.

: International Travel
1. You have the summer and plenty of money to travel abroad. Where all would you go?
All over the British Isles, France, Spain and Italy. I'd love to see the rest of Europe but I doubt I could do it justice in a single summer and I'd rather spend quality time in one region than try to cram in everything in a few weeks.
2. What foods would you be sure you got to eat? I honestly don't care when I'm traveling; I like shopping in whatever city/town I'm staying in at the local store just to see what it carries. I love food, gourmet and lunch truck alike, and so long as I got some seafood, some chocolate and some really good bread, I'd be happy.
3. What landmarks would you be sure you got to see? I have a long list of churches, castles, art museums and historical sites, but I also want to pass through towns that aren't particularly notable for any of the above, nor for tourists, and just talk to people.
4. What airline would you use? Our frequent flier cards are for United but I don't really care so long as it's safe and as comfortable as coach ever is.
5. Would your knowledge of other languages influence where you went? (i.e. would you be more likely to go to France if you spoke French?) I do speak some French, I speak minimal Spanish and I don't speak a word of Italian, so not really.

: Name your favorite brands for the following products:
1. Cola:
Dr. Brown's Black Cherry. (Of the major commercial brands, it's Coke over Pepsi by a huge margin.)
2. Sneakers: Nike fit me better than Reebok but I'm not all that picky.
3. Hair care: I'm allergic to a lot, so I tend to stick to Neutrogena and things I know won't make me itch.
4. Small electronics: My car CD player is Sony as is one of my VCRs; my cameras are Nikon; I'd have to do inventory to find out who made the portable CD players etc. in this house.
5. Automobile: Of the vehicles I have owned, two have been Toyotas and I have adored them both.



Masthead of the HMS Warrior, Portsmouth. (Goes with the poem.)

Friday, April 29, 2005

Poem for Friday


The Connoisseuse of Slugs
By Sharon Olds


When I was a connoisseuse of slugs
I would part the ivy leaves, and look for the
naked jelly of those gold bodies,
translucent strangers glistening along the
stones, slowly, their gelatinous bodies
at my mercy. Mostly made of water, they would shrivel
to nothing if they were sprinkled with salt,
but I was not interested in that. What I liked
was to draw aside the ivy, breathe the
odor of the wall, and stand there in silence
until the slug forgot I was there
and sent its antennae up out of its
head, the glimmering umber horns
rising like telescopes, until finally the
sensitive knobs would pop out the ends,
delicate and intimate. Years later,
when I first saw a naked man,
I gasped with pleasure to see that quiet
mystery reenacted, the slow
elegant being coming out of hiding and
gleaming in the dark air, eager and so
trusting you could weep.

--------

For to whom I first sent some Olds poems ten years ago; in return she introduced me to Yosano Akiko, so I am in her debt. Originally posted here in 2002, from The Dead and the Living which is the first book of Olds' I owned, bought for a women's poetry class my junior year of college.


announced that it was an Alan Day, so after eating leftover Indian food for lunch, we watched Blow Dry This is only the third time I have seen the movie and I still have no words for just how much I love it. The soundtrack alone puts an enormous smile on my face, and it's one of those big family stories where everyone's family is dysfunctional and tense but love wins out in the end in most cases. And the cast is mostly wonderful, and there are a lot of very funny moments, and it's set in Yorkshire and there are scenes with sheep that just made me so nostalgic for being in England. And Alan does Sean Bean's accent. We loved it so much, we think we are going to go see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at the first showing, because Alan as the voice of Marvin is only one of the many things I expect to enjoy...I haven't read the book in years so I have few expectations/demands.

Otherwise my day was taken up with news bullets and more news bullets, a late carpool in horrible traffic, a walk in the evening with my older son around the neighborhood taking pictures of flowers and wandering cats, my younger son remembering as usual on Thursday night that he has an assignment he was given on Monday that's due Friday that he has not started and family-wide panic trying to get him to do it, dinner and things like that. Also, I made the mistake decision to let interview me back after I interviewed her.

1. Kai Winn: Was she always so yummily evil or did power corrupt her completely? I take her at her word that all she really wanted was for the Prophets to talk to her...because to her that IS power, and she would have taken any path to get there. She wasn't interested in secular power until she already held the highest religious position on Bajor; I think she assumed that if her being Kai did not get the Prophets' attention, being First Minister might do the trick. Once she realized that they had no intention of letting her into their club, ever, she switched allegiance to the Pah-wraiths quickly and relatively easily, and when they also betrayed her -- for Dukat, no less! -- she switched back to the Prophets again, hoping the Emissary would bring her into their graces, I suppose. I'm afraid that while she may not always have been so yummy, she was certainly always entirely self-centered, and her evil grew out of that.
2. How did you get started in freelance writing? If you mean how I got started writing articles for no apparent purpose or certainly of publication, I always wrote those...when I blew off English class in eleventh grade to go see Return of the Jedi on opening day, I wrote my teacher a ten-page paper (by the next morning!) on archetypes in the Star Wars saga. *g* But if you mean how I got started doing it for a living, it came out of working in journalism in general: when I was in college, occasionally other publishers (Seventeen U) would come along and ask about reprint rights or expanded versions of articles, so I would meet editors that way. I owe my current career to Kate Mulgrew though: I was writing Trek reviews for fan club publications, so I had a stack of credits when I went in to interview at AnotherUniverse.com, and that opened a lot of doors.
3. If you could become an animagus, what animal would you pick and why? The animal chooses the wizard rather than the other way around. I would like to be some kind of bird that flies...preferably not one that eats carrion or live animals. But I'd probably become something that hibernates. *g*
4. Pick one book [or book series] that you would want to live in, and why. There isn't one. I know that sounds like a copout but whenever I play the game where I think about trading places with anyone or trading this era in for a different one, the disadvantages are just too great. There are lots of places where I'd like to live for a few months or a year, from Middle-earth to a pirate ship, but I don't even think I'd pick up and move to Star Trek's future.
4a. Bonus addendum question: Within that book/series, would you rather be yourself or an established character? Who and why? I'd always rather be myself. Okay, it would be fun to be Jack Aubrey for a couple of hours or Galadriel for a couple of days, but again, not long-term.
5. Severus Snape: IYHO, moaner of screamer? Please back up your answer with examples. *veg* [You had to know I'd turn the question back to you, yes?] This is not a fair question as I don't believe that one is actually allowed to turn the question back on the interviewer in this meme. *g* However, in the interests of full disclosure, I refer you here, here, here, here, here, here...because by not quoting I don't have to lock this entry, but it should be obvious that the answer is LOUD. *veg*

I'm way behind on comments and notes, I know...shall catch up over the weekend. Maybe even tomorrow night, as I must review Enterprise a day late because of a baseball pre-emption.


Tourists on the cruise we took from Greenwich to London taking photos of the Royal Navy's RV Triton.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Poem for Thursday


This Kind of Grace
by Pattiann Rogers


Let's bless the body before love.
By rights we should, every detail.
We could use water, spring water
or rose, minted or bay rum. A touch
to the shoulders -- bless these. A drop
behind each knee -- sanctify here. A sprinkle
to the belly, yours, mine -- in heartfelt
appreciation.

I could dip my fingers into oil cupped
in my palm, sweet citronella, lavender,
clove, trace your forehead, temple
to temple, the boldness of that warm
stone -- so glorified -- perfume the entire
declaration of your spine, neck
to tail -- so hallowed.

We'd neglect nothing, ankle, knuckle,
thigh, cheek. And for the rapture
of hair, scented with sweat or the spices
of cedary sages and summer pines,
in which I hide my face -- praise
to the conjoining hosts of all
radiant forests and plains.

And imagine how I'd lay my hand,
move my hand carefully on and around
and under each axil and hummock and whorl
between your legs, the magnificent maze
of those gifts--thanks to the exploding
heavens, thanks to all pulsing suns.

For these cosmic accomplishments:
this delve of your body, a narrow
crevasse leading into earth-darkness;
this assertion of your hands, light
winds lifting, parting, pressing
upon supine grasses; this rise, the tip
of a swollen moon over black hills;
this sweep of union, hawk-shadow
falling fast across the open prairie
into the horizon; for this whole blessed
body, for what we are about to receive
together tonight...truly, ardently,
ecstatically, boundlessly
grateful.

--------

I first posted this poem here, more than two years ago. I'm betting that 9/10 of the people currently reading this journal weren't reading it then, and I know some the people who read it then are no longer here, so I've decided that it is worth rerunning some of my very favorite poems that I haven't posted in a couple of years, because I read them more often than that.


I had a Stupid Day, as I kept forgetting to do things I needed to get done while doing other things that were unnecessary. Going to drive my older son's carpool, for instance: I had totally forgotten that he had a field trip canoeing on the Anacostia River, and that they were getting back to school so late that was going to pick him up, I piled younger son and his friend Ivan into the car, took them to the playground by the school where the middle school bus drops my older son off, and realized only as the bus pulled away where he was. The only good news about this was that I got to take some photos of the flowers by the school, and younger son and his friend got to play on the equipment for awhile. Then I came home, started writing an article, realized it was the wrong source and started over (and I had three articles to do today, too, so there was not a moment to lose). I am blaming seasonal allergies for the brain farts...and I did remember to get my parents' newspaper, so there.

The good thing about hating last night's Veronica Mars is that it made me appreciate tonight's Smallville, which I expected to suck. I mean, the main plot is such a screaming horrible bloody cliche...and believe me, I know this from personal experience, as I have written stories with the same gimmick in no less than three fandoms. *waves to and giggles* Chloe got in some great lines, Clark got in some doe-eyes at Lex, and if only there had been no Lana in the episode I would have said I really enjoyed it. Some WB note I had read said that Lex took advantage of Clark's amnesia to make him find the stones, which is what I was expecting, and while that would have had the advantage of pushy!Lex leading innocent!Clark astray, which would have been delightfully wicked even if wrong, it would have made it a lot harder to root for Clark ever to trust Lex again. Instead Lex was just a little sneaky, quite Lex-like, and Clark seemed to suspect something was up in the end anyway. I am so sure that Lex told him that they were lovers and they had sex before they went to the caves (or maybe they had sex IN the caves) anyway. As amnesia stories go, this one was only average stupidity, better than the one with Michael on La Femme Nikita anyway, and I liked that Chloe remembered about Clark even if she forgot the last couple of days. I was afraid near the end that the writers were going to use this as an excuse to undo that. I really appreciated that last scene between her and Clark, and am pretending the Lana business never happened.

If you are waiting for me to post fic, I had better warn you that I am channeling it all into the dreaded FQF fic that is threatening to be an epic, and I would even let it were it not for the fact that it must be done by that fateful day in July when I expect to have canon yanked out from under me. So there may be something of a dearth of HP fic in here until I finish that, unless I post some of the installments that might stand alone. (I still have a bit of a bunny involving a garden, but I make no promises there.) I also think I might, um, have some Pirates of the Caribbean fic that started out something else ENTIRELY. I blame my children for this, as they were watching POTC -- that acronym always makes me think of Passion of the Christ, which does not make me happy -- and I sat down to watch with them long enough to see Jack and Will steal the Interceptor, because I love that scene so much, and all of a sudden for the first time I really saw Jack/Will. I must admit that I always thought people were on crack when they talked about it; I saw Norrington/Jack and Will/Elizabeth all the way when I bothered to 'ship it at all. It was quite an unnerving moment, having my previous many viewings undermined and realizing that I had a piece of fic I could remix in its honor all in the same moment. *g*

It was yet another gorgeous day today so I took some more spring photos, and here are a few of them. Back to England tomorrow!


I just love the patterns and phallic bits inside tulips.


And I love the veins highlighting these petals...


...and the more subtle ones on these pink azaleas, too.


These flowers make me sneeze, but I can't resist the way they make a canopy from the branches anyway. Can anyone tell me what kind of tree it is? These don't make monstrous berries all year like my neighbor's pink flowering tree.

And while you are back here, an entertaining meme. At least I thought so.
LiveJournal Username
Why you did it
Your lair
Your hideous secret weapon
Your favourite colour
Beautiful and exotic but deadly eastern lieutenantsettiai
Henchperson who constantly plays with knifeselanor_isolda
Your perverted scientific geniussbjudy
You cordon bleu chefnolivingman
Lieutenant with serious moral qualms_bellacosity
Number of countries subverted51
Quiz created by Andrew at Blog Quiz
Cool Quizzes like this one at Blog Quiz

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Poem for Wednesday


Rain
By Edward Thomas


Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me
Remembering again that I shall die
And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks
For washing me cleaner than I have been
Since I was born into this solitude.
Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:
But here I pray that none whom once I loved
Is dying to-night or lying still awake
Solitary, listening to the rain,
Either in pain or thus in sympathy
Helpless among the living and the dead,
Like a cold water among broken reeds,
Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff,
Like me who have no love which this wild rain
Has not dissolved except the love of death,
If love it be towards what is perfect and
Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint.

--------

Poem snicked from because it's so beautiful, though rather darker than I'm feeling at the moment. It does want to give me a fic bunny, which I am for the moment resisting.


So Tuesday night's Veronica Mars really pissed me off. That whole "let's frame the abusive boyfriend as a faggot and get him kicked out of the Navy in revenge" rubbed me SO the wrong way...I was hoping that the girlfriend would want to go ahead and send the manipulated gay site and Veronica would talk her out of it, citing among other things the fact that such blackmail is a felony since the site was forged and she could have gone to jail (along with her friend who helped create it). But no -- the girlfriend decided to do the decent thing while Veronica was pushing for criminal revenge. Okay, the boyfriend was a major asshole but it's not like he threatened the girl's life in present series time, and outing someone in certain communuties can get them killed or locked up by their parents. If she wanted to bust his ass for having slipped a date rape drug and taken the quasi-porny footage and then tried to use that to blackmail her, great -- surely that could have gotten him kicked out of the Navy -- so why didn't she do that instead of a crime for a crime?

For the past two weeks I have been positive Logan killed Lily; the closer he and Veronica got, the more it made sense dramatically as well as logically. Sure, Duncan could have done it during some kind of fit, but there's not a lot of emotional payoff in that revelation, it just closes a book Veronica's been trying to shut all year anyway. And it makes the most sense, given the Kane family's hatred of Keith and meddling -- I think there are Lily secrets that Veronica doesn't know yet -- but it's just not as interesting as if Logan did it, because he knew Lily was cheating and she didn't love him, and he's obviously quite messed up under the surface and his whole family is falling apart (and everything about him rubs me the wrong way, I have no problem believing he'd slip her a date rape drug and then decide he wants to date her and never tell her a thing). I am not sure whether I want to be right about this, so next season she could have all the angst connected with that and no Logan, or if I want some twist I can't see coming even if it means that Logan sticks around as the BF.

I did see some local animal news that made me smile: a baby porcupine was born at the National Zoo (and has no spines yet, just red fur) and an expectant duck who made her nest in front of the Treasury Department has Secret Service protection for her eggs. Okay, it would be nice if the people living in the district got as much protection as the animals, but it's nice to hear happy animal news anyway.

Had lunch today with my mother, who is going to Florida with my father for a week (someone please remind me to pick up their newspaper in a comment tomorrow around lunchtime). Mailed a bunch of packages that have been sitting for weeks waiting for me to get the rest in order and get them out..., your book is on the way, and , all the stuff is coming! You know, if I have promised you stuff that I have not sent, please nag me, because odds are good that I just forgot or got busy and need to be nagged so that on a day when I am NOT busy, I can get it done...if I have lost whatever it was that I said I'd send, don't worry, I'll tell you. Older son had Hebrew school, so did some carpool schlepping, and wrote a couple of articles including a fun one on Berman and Braga saying no, really, the Enterprise finale doesn't suck honest. The site owner was just back from London with photos of the Admiral's House in Hampstead (from Mary Poppins) which apparently Russell Crowe just bought. Ridley Scott lives next door. I had no idea that there were walking tours with this kind of information in that neighborhood when I was there!

It was a gorgeous day today so I took some spring photos. Here are a couple.


The trees across the street from the boy with whom we carpool to and from our older son's bus stop.


Tulips and a little beetle. I realize that many people will consider the beetle unsightly, ruining both the photos and the flower, but I liked it.


This is a mediocre, blurry photo, but it's the best I could do trying to get our neighbor's tree and the multitude of bees flying around its flowers -- the breeze was blowing and everything was in motion, and I was rushing out to pick up Son #1.


The pink azaleas are in bloom, and one or two red azaleas like this just-opened red one, and about half the purple ones, but the white ones are not open at all.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Poem for Tuesday


Touch
By Thom Gunn


You are already
asleep. I lower
myself in next to
you, my skin slightly
numb with the restraint
of habits, the patina of
self, the black frost
of outsideness, so that even
unclothed, it is
a resilient chilly
hardness, a superficially
malleable, dead
rubbery texture.

You are a mound
of bedclothes, where the cat
in sleep braces
its paws against your
calf through the blankets,
and kneads each paw in turn.

Meanwhile and slowly
I feel a is it
my own warmth surfacing or
the ferment of your whole
body that in darkness beneath
the cover is stealing
bit by bit to break
down that chill.

You turn and
hold me tightly, do
you know who
I am or am I
your mother or
the nearest human being to
hold on to in a
dreamed pogrom.

What I, now loosened,
sink into is an old
big place, it is
there already, for
you are already
there, and the cat
got there before you,
it is hard to locate.
What is more, the place is
not found but seeps
from our touch in
continuous creation, dark
enclosing cocoon round
ourselves alone, dark
wide realm where we
walk with everyone.

--------

read a retrospective on Gunn, who died a year ago this month. In it, Clive Wilmer talks about "Touch," which Gunn wrote in the late 1960s, "which I think is his masterpiece. It's about going to bed with somebody and you get into bed naked, but as if it had a sort of layer protecting you against contact. And then gradually the warmth of contact breaks through that and you become human."


My work hate mail is back to...well, hate mail, now that people are back at work themselves and not writing from their personal addresses. In the Enterprise review round-up this week I didn't include Jammer because, frankly, I've stopped checking his site particularly on weeks where we have more than eight reviews to include already, since his are pretty much never done within a week by the time the roundup is posted. He gave "Bound" one star and called it one of the worst episodes ever. I also pretty much never include Cinescape since they don't review every episode and when they do it tends to be a preview short, not a full review, and they rather liked "Bound." So over on the BBS I am now getting bashed for 1) obviously choosing only negative reviews, as I left off Cinescape, even though it is noted by the same people that I 2) left off Jammer, who thought the episode sucked like a sucking thing. I wish people would decide whether I am guilty of gross negligence or a deliberate and evil attempt to sabotage Enterprise by citing only bad reviews...

My day elsewhere involved packages, kids, late afternoon sun serving as a distraction, fighting with dreaded amnesia!fic that is going to be a long scary mess and must be finished by July 16th (of course I wrote the climax first), fighting with even more dreaded fic that I dare not even name, neither the title nor the fandom and certainly not the pairing as may unfriend me, going to CVS to get shampoo and discovering that they have little pirate ships too, rearranging my bookshelves to make room for the Patrick O'Brian biography by Nikolai Tolstoy that my friend from London sent me since I never found it while I was there, trying to make my son do his spelling, writing a couple of articles including a really fun one about Star Wars and Star Trek simultaneously coming to a halt in May and the attendant fan angst, having to let son #1 stay up till nearly 11 because he is supposed to observe the moon for science class and things like that. In other words, I have no other exciting news. *g*

The five questions meme. My questions are from .
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your LJ with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


I reserve the right to repeat questions if a lot of my flist wants to be interviewed!

1. What is the worst vacation you've ever been on? When I was in high school, my parents drove me and my sister to various places in New York and Connecticut, partly to look at colleges -- the Finger Lakes, Wesleyan, etc. My parents are impossible to travel with under the best of circumstances (she likes it 90 degrees, he likes it 60; she likes to stop every 20 minutes, he would drive straight through), but that year in particular they were grousing and putting me and my sister in the middle of everything, and my sister finally snapped and bitched at my father, who took it out on my mother, who complained to me that I always took their side just by refusing to speak up for her. I decided I hated car trips and really probably hated travel and was never doing it when I was older, since I did not have my own room to hide in at the end of the day; I had not realized at the time that not everyone's family vacations were like that. I sometimes regret not doing a semester abroad in college, but I was extremely protective of my private space and not being at the mercy of other people's schedules then, and it took me years to get over that.
2. Have you always liked to take pictures, or is it only recent? Extremely recent. Photography used to be a very expensive hobby, and my sister took a few classes and I was never that impressed with what the emphasis seemed to be -- taking a hundred pictures of the same item and spending hours developing them. Even when we traveled, I generally let take most of the photos. It's only since I've known a little about Photoshop and had a digital camera that photography has really interested me as more than a very occasional thing.
3. When did you start writing? I don't remember a time when I didn't. I had poetry in my elementary school newspaper in fourth or fifth grade. I wrote a "novel" in sixth grade (it was about time travel and my Mary Sue character's name was my Hebrew name). I kept diaries on and off throughout my childhood. The scary thing is that I think most of this stuff is still in a drawer in the closet in my childhood bedroom at my parents' house. *g*
4. Did you want to have a girl, or are you happy that both your kids are boys? I really don't think I ever cared one way or the other: I wanted healthy babies, and I have never regretted in any way that either of my kids is who he is. In theory I liked the idea of having a girl and I enjoy spending time with my nieces, but I think that if I had a really girly-girl who wanted nail polish birthday parties and expected me to know what kind of designer jeans she was supposed to wear, I would be in big trouble (one of my friends has one of those, even though she is nothing like that). Our kids are both interested in a lot of geeky stuff like we are and they're good travelers and non-whiners, while my sister's girls are none of those things, so I imagine I have more fun with my boys.
5. If you could only have one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be? Those big chocolate patties with mint fluff inside that you can only get at really good homemade candy stores, like in New England.



One of my last photos of England, taken through the window of the plane. I need to get that Above Britain book; I love looking at things from the air.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Poem for Monday


Near Halloween
By Marianne Boruch


Like a bad thought, someone else's
bad thought, it hangs
by the neck -- stuffed jeans
and flannel shirt, the pillowcase head
grinning, before
it lops over

                Student neighborhood. Which
jubilant drunk hoisted this thing
last night, from porch to star-eyed gable,
a toast: all sadness in the world -- ha!
all misery -- ha! -- to you and you and damn you!
Below, the light of a car blurred
as it took the corner

                The body turns
because there's wind. It turns
because it has no weight. The face goes
up, then down again, a soft thud
against the clapboards. It could be
anyone up there. And the leaves -- their
thousands fall into the street, yellow wet,
rimmed with dark

                Not that anything's eternal
or exactly like any other thing

--------

Like yesterday's, another from Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in Sunday's The Washington Post Book World. This poem, writes Pinsky, "observes an image that nearly teases us with its invitation to some glib notion or lofty flight: some lunge toward Meaning. Boruch gets the emotional charge from an opposite gesture, a movement to the most ordinary language, the deceptively casual formulas of 'it's not that' and 'it could be.' The quietness of the phrases lets the perception itself grow larger. Viewpoint can be everything, such poems convey: It's how you attend to a thing, and from where."


Sunday my older son had a meeting (possibly the final one, for now) with his science group from school, so we drove out to watch them rehearse their class presentation which needs to be somewhat more detailed than the brief one they did for the school science fair. Then we went to Borders, which kindly sent internet users 25% off coupons good this weekend only and because still has birthday gift cards. Since they didn't have the new DVD release of An Awfully Big Adventure, I got Longitude, the Jeremy Irons-Michael Gambon miniseries about the 40-year effort of an 18th-century clockmaker to find an accurate way to measure longitude at sea and the later effort of a Royal Navy veteran to restore his work; most of the reviews I've read have been glowing, and really, how bad can any miniseries about navigation and sailors starring Irons and Gambon be?

We had dinner again with my parents, not a real seder but most of the food from the holiday, and watched part of the Wizards-Bulls playoff game. Then we came home so the kids could do homework and chores and I watched the catch-up episode of Desperate Housewives, which was very helpful as I've missed more episodes than I've seen. I can't decide whether this show is purely guilty pleasure or something I actually like, but I have never been bored. Elsewhere in entertainment news, a PSA courtesy : Russell Crowe and Alan Cumming without pants. Something so many of us need. As is the community -- what a brilliant idea!

It was drizzly and cool most of today, so although spring is still in full bloom, I didn't get any outdoor photos this weekend. Instead here is spring in North Yorkshire...


Daffodils and tulips around the Temple of the Four Winds at Castle Howard.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Poem for Sunday


The Hawk
By Marianne Boruch


He was halfway through the grackle
when I got home. From the kitchen I saw
blood, the black feathers scattered
on snow. How the bird bent
to each skein of flesh, his muscles
tacking to the strain and tear.
The fierceness of it, the nonchalance.
Silence took the yard, so usually
restless with every call or quarrel,
titmouse, chickadee, drab
and gorgeous finch, and the sparrow haunted
by her small complete surrender
to a fear of anything. I didn't know
how to look at it. How to stand
or take a breath in the hawk's bite
and pull, his pleasure
so efficient, so of course, of course,
the throat triumphant,
rising up. Not
the violence, poor grackle. But the
sparrow, high above us, who
knew exactly.

--------

From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World, who writes of Boruch, "Attention is a beautiful thing, and much in demand. Probably more of us want it than know how to give it. Marianne Boruch...has the wonderful, commanding power of true attention: She sees and considers with intensity. Her poems often give fresh examples of how rare and thrilling it can be to notice. Trusting observation, having the ideas and feelings emerge as continuations of that action of noticing -- where others might force a sentiment or a bit of philosophizing onto things -- may be a mark of genuine poetry."


Today was taken up with work, younger son's soccer game (they tied) and relatives. My in-laws drove down from Pennsylvania to spend the afternoon with us and come to the seder at my parents' house, along with and friends of my parents who have known them since before I was born. It was a nice seder, relatively low-key since my sister and her family were not there though it also felt less "family"-ish since they weren't there; our kids disappeared down the basement to play card games on a couple of occasions and we all talked politics, religion, education and how good the matzoh balls were, though it's a different atmosphere than when there are multiple children running in all the time to interrupt with some episode or other. The food as always was fantastic and I got so full from the appetizers, charoset, carrot souffle and gefilte fish (say what you will, I love the stuff) that I barely had a bite of dessert.

Every year I have a slightly harder time with whatever haggadah we end up using; this year I persuaded my mother to bypass the Wicked Child, the one to whom parents are instructed to say, "You would not have deserved to be freed from slavery in Egypt had you been there!" as if it's not perfectly reasonable for any kid to say, "What does this service where we talk about God killing Egyptian babies mean to you?" My parents made it very clear throughout my childhood that they were agnostic, which has not had any detrimental influence on my theological convictions, but I don't want my children to become tradition-bound Jews any more than I want them under the influence of Jews for Jesus. I can't stand holidays that ostensibly celebrate the interference of God in history. Does anyone know of a hippie haggadah that maintains the celebration of freedom while omitting references to plagues of locusts or soldiers drowning in the Red Sea?

The wonderful wrote me "Replacements", Kira/Odo fic! I am so happy! Now I just need to catch up with again. Oh, and I watched "The Return of Amanda" while folding laundry -- between the cabaret, the airport sequence and the look on Duncan's face when he realized what she was up to with the money, I was a very happy Highlander fan. I must confess that as much as I love Duncan/Methos, I thoroughly enjoy Duncan with a number of women, too. Probably because a lot of the women on this series are great, which is sadly unusual for a lot of television.

: Pick five characters and tell us where you would go on vacation with them, individually, or in a group.
1. Cow Pat Keegan
2. Lucius Malfoy
3. Charlie Beck
4. Ronald Quincy
5. Mr. Darling/Captain Hook

<evil>Ooh, a Mary Sue fantasy! That's right, I'm taking five Jason Isaacs characters with me to a well-appointed dungeon somewhere. And chaining them all to different beds. And maybe I'll let them out one by one if they charm me sufficiently, or maybe I'll bring Franz Anton Mesmer, Hans Gruber, Colonel Brandon, Severus Snape and the Sheriff of Nottingham along and let them mingle. </evil>

: Marvelous Music.
1. What is the first record/tape/CD that you bought?
The single of Andy Gibb's "Thicker Than Water."
2. Who is your favorite all time band/singer? The Beatles.
3. What have you been listening to lately? The new, reformed October Project.
4. What is your favorite radio station, what do they play, and where do they broadcast? Ever since WHFS disappeared, the other radio stations in Washington, DC have vastly expanded and changed their playlists. I'm not sure which is my favorite but they're all better for trying to fill the gap.
5. Can you recommend a good song or CD that everyone should listen to? Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, because some albums never get old.

: We're moving on up...
1. How many locations (dwellings) have you lived in?
Apartment, house #1, house #2, four dorm rooms, three apartments, two townhouses.
2. If you could place your dream home in any location, where would it be? On the Thames above Greenwich? I'm not sure of the neighborhoods, somewhere close to London but not right downtown.
3. In terms of the act of moving: are you a packer or a box mover? Packer.
4. What one item do you own that you absolutely hate to move? All my tarot decks. They weigh as much as books and they always get banged up no matter how they're packed in.
5. What's worse: the act of moving or a routine cleaning at the dentist? Moving is far, far, FAR worse.



Seagulls on the wall around Scarborough Castle overlooking the water. There were also seagulls on the walls of the castle itself, above the castle, on the hillside, all around the town...I will forever associate Scarborough with the calling of gulls.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Poem for Saturday


Sonnet XXII
By William Shakespeare


My glass shall not persuade me I am old
So long as youth and thou are of one date;
But when in thee time's furrows I behold,
Then look I death my days should expiate.
For all that beauty that doth cover thee
Is but the seemly raiment of my heart,
Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me:
How can I then, be elder than thou art?
O! therefore, love, be of thyself so wary
As I, not for myself, but for thee will;
Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary
As tender nurse her babe from faring ill.
  Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain;
  Thou gav'st me thine, not to give back again.

--------


Happy birthday, William Shakespeare. Would that I were in Stratford-upon-Avon for the birthday celebrations this weekend. (It is not, in fact, known for certain whether Shakespeare was born on April 23rd, but assumed based on the record of his baptism three days later; it is, however, known that he died on that date, aged 52. Imagine if he had lived and kept writing until he was 80.)

Here is my "In a Mirror, Darkly" review for TrekToday. I rather enjoyed it, though I didn't think it was a particularly good episode -- well-filmed and entertaining to watch, sure, with a lot of fun production details and some fun performances, but it seems pretty trivial to spend two of Star Trek: Enterprise's last episodes in the alternate universe which makes no contact with the familiar one. The good news is that I expect to receive far less hate mail about this week's review than I did last week. I decided to take the plunge and write a column about those letters, because I was so disturbed particularly by the virulently homophobic ones (I couldn't care about the ones calling me "feministic" and "lesbianic" though I do object to "frigid," heh). Now I am getting even more hate mail, though I am also getting some thank yous, so it will be interesting to see which wins out. I also finally got up the review round-up from "Bound" and was delighted at how many other reviewers thought the episode was terrible...some for reasons of sexism and heterosexism, others just because it was so stupid.

Had a relatively uneventful day, other than writing and reading rants...had lunch with and chatted about fannish diversions, had dinner with my parents and stayed at their house to review Enterprise which was pre-empted in DC for baseball (they can tune in UPN from Baltimore with their antenna), got my kids' report cards which are both improved from last quarter which pleases all of us, them more than me I think. Tomorrow there is no Hebrew school because of Passover, but my younger son has a soccer game, and then my in-laws are coming for dinner which we are all having at my parents' house along with several friends. There seems to be a small explosion of news that I need to try to cover as well. Oh, and I meant to mention, I finally updated my icons pages. I needed to take off some icons that weren't made by me and add a whole bunch that were. If you want any that I am not currently using here, feel free. Happy Passover!


In honor of Shakespeare's birthday...Henry VIII's, uh, assets, on display at the Mary Rose museum. (This is a replica, but I think it's still pretty impressive, heh.)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Poem for Friday


The Dead
By Rupert Brooke


These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
  Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
  And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
  Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
  Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.

There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
  Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
  Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.

--------

For , who passed it on at some point and I had it in a folder with her name on it. *g*


Tonight we watched last night's Smallville, "Heathers Meets Carrie" (that wasn't the episode title but it might as well have been). It had no Lionel and not nearly enough Lex, but it did have Clark snatching the prom queen's tiara and declaring, "The crown's mine, bitch!" He was possessed by a bitchy girl at the time, but hearing Tom Welling talk in that high-pitched ohmigod voice made the episode worth watching. And Lois groused at Clark about touching her boob, and Jason and Lex got in each other's faces, and Lana got to be almost as bitchy as Isabelle-Lana, so I was content, though I really prefer evil!possessed!Lex episodes to evil!possessed!anyone else episodes. I enjoyed watching everyone else play Dawn too, particularly Martha. Why couldn't Dawn have entered Lex's body and made HIM ask Clark to the prom, huh? Plus the lovely , with whom I had a farewell lunch since she is off to Australia and partying with Highlander fans for the next couple of weeks, had alerted me to Lex's "Hey, I need a favor" e-mail visible on his computer screen from Clark, so now I want to know where all the "favor" fic is...

Besides lunch with , I had a successful work day in that I now know a producer at The History Channel who wrote to TrekToday hoping we would do a news bullet on their new Voodoo documentary narrated by Michael Dorn. I love Michael Dorn and it sounds like it's a "truth behind the myths" documentary rather than a sensationalistic one (not another movie-version The Serpent and the Rainbow) so I sent him a note asking for more information for an article, and we exchanged a couple of e-mails. I would love a job like that -- writing and casting historical documentaries. My other article was on Eugene Roddenberry Jr. who distinctly told Chase Masterson in an audio interview that he is now a father, and I got a pile of notes telling me he doesn't have any children and I'm an idiot, so I am a little befuddled...

My sister and her family went back to New York, so things were calmer with the kids, though today is the day when son #1 stays late for math team and son #2 has violin at the same time so coordinating carpools is always hectic. A friend from England had sent me some of the little pewter figures that you can buy at some of the historical sites -- little Roman soldiers and Vikings and Tudors -- and I spent an absurd amount of time rearranging in my bedroom, putting those away and the William Morris book I bought at Castle Howard and the Druid-themed Tarot cards I had seen at Avebury and my latest pile of books. I don't know where to store my miniature pirate ships -- would it be excessively dorky to get little plastic cases? Do I care? *g*

Let's see, what else...I am caught up on Veronica Mars (at least as caught up as I can be having missed the first quarter of the season), I am totally loving The Eyre Affair where the bad guy was threatening to plant a nail-bomb in Barchester because he hates Trollope, I updated my web pages, I remembered to change my personal information in all my other journals which it just hit me today I needed to do or I was just going to point everyone to stuff I had locked, and I only have about 20 e-mails left to answer. Gee, I might be almost caught up just in time for Passover and getting behind again!


The parish church of Whitby seen from the ruins of the abbey. I shall allow Bram Stoker to describe it for me:


From Dracula
By Bram Stoker
Chapter 6


MINA MURRAY'S JOURNAL

24 July. Whitby. -- Lucy met me at the station, looking sweeter and lovelier than ever, and we drove up to the house at the Crescent in which they have rooms. This is a lovely place. The little river, the Esk, runs through a deep valley, which broadens out as it comes near the harbour. A great viaduct runs across, with high piers, through which the view seems somehow further away than it really is. The valley is beautifully green, and it is so steep that when you are on the high land on either side you look right across it, unless you are near enough to see down. The houses of the old town--the side away from us, are all red-roofed, and seem piled up one over the other anyhow, like the pictures we see of Nuremberg. Right over the town is the ruin of Whitby Abbey, which was sacked by the Danes, and which is the scene of part of "Marmion," where the girl was built up in the wall. It is a most noble ruin, of immense size, and full of beautiful and romantic bits. There is a legend that a white lady is seen in one of the windows. Between it and the town there is another church, the parish one, round which is a big graveyard, all full of tombstones. This is to my mind the nicest spot in Whitby, for it lies right over the town, and has a full view of the harbour and all up the bay to where the headland called Kettleness stretches out into the sea. It descends so steeply over the harbour that part of the bank has fallen away, and some of the graves have been destroyed.

In one place part of the stonework of the graves stretches out over the sandy pathway far below. There are walks, with seats beside them, through the churchyard, and people go and sit there all day long looking at the beautiful view and enjoying the breeze.

I shall come and sit here often myself and work. Indeed, I am writing now, with my book on my knee, and listening to the talk of three old men who are sitting beside me. They seem to do nothing all day but sit here and talk.

The harbour lies below me, with, on the far side, one long granite wall stretching out into the sea, with a curve outwards at the end of it, in the middle of which is a lighthouse. A heavy seawall runs along outside of it. On the near side, the seawall makes an elbow crooked inversely, and its end too has a lighthouse. Between the two piers there is a narrow opening into the harbour, which then suddenly widens.

It is nice at high water, but when the tide is out it shoals away to nothing, and there is merely the stream of the Esk, running between banks of sand, with rocks here and there. Outside the harbour on this side there rises for about half a mile a great reef, the sharp of which runs straight out from behind the south lighthouse. At the end of it is a buoy with a bell, which swings in bad weather, and sends in a mournful sound on the wind.

They have a legend here that when a ship is lost bells are heard out at sea. I must ask the old man about this. He is coming this way...

He is a funny old man. He must be awfully old, for his face is gnarled and twisted like the bark of a tree. He tells me that he is nearly a hundred, and that he was a sailor in the Greenland fishing fleet when Waterloo was fought. He is, I am afraid, a very sceptical person, for when I asked him about the bells at sea and the White Lady at the abbey he said very brusquely,

"I wouldn't fash masel' about them, miss. Them things be all wore out. Mind, I don't say that they never was, but I do say that they wasn't in my time. They be all very well for comers and trippers, an' the like, but not for a nice young lady like you. Them feet-folks from York and Leeds that be always eatin'cured herrin's and drinkin' tea an' lookin' out to buy cheap jet would creed aught. I wonder masel' who'd be bothered tellin' lies to them, even the newspapers, which is full of fool-talk."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Poem for Thursday


Beginning
By James Wright


The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
Now.
There they are, the moon's young, trying
Their wings.
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow
Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen.
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.

--------


I have had an utterly chaotic day...entertaining, but I am so behind on everything I could cry. My sister and her family are leaving town tomorrow, so we were trying to fit in as much time seeing them as possible. I had a quick lunch with (no Highlander, sorry ), then ran around cleaning up in case my nieces came over to see the cats, picking up my kids, etc. I got two articles posted but didn't even start listening to the hour-long interview that I was apparently supposed to be able to play, typing out the good bits, and write up in detail on a day when I also had to resize photos, type in bullets and other time-consuming sorts of news-reporting activity (as opposed to writing up "Minor Trek Star To Appear On Past Its Prime TV Show" based on a single source article, which can be done in 20-30 minutes). I have no idea where this week has gone.

In good Trek news, though, I finally got around to reading O Deus' review of "Bound" at TrekWeb, and he hated it so much that apparently someone thought he and I were the same person! I am going to take this as a compliment. Online reviewers seem split between "wow that was bad" and "aw, it was a fun nostalgic romp!" Most of the reviewers I respect came down on the "bad" side, so I don't have to scoff at them, fortunately. *g* I really cannot regret that Enterprise is going off the air -- gives me a firm excuse to look for a job in the fall. If I'm going to spend this many hours a day working, I have got to make more money.

In entertainment news in general, tells me that Skin will be broadcast on Soapnet, which makes me very happy as Fox never aired half the episodes and I really liked the series from the start (oh but wait, I'm supposed to be anti-sex and that show was about the porn industry...hmm, must consult with my Trek-bashers). Also, the very sweet sent me the Veronica Mars I missed, though I have still not had a chance to watch it. Thank you! And the wonderful wrote me fic-to-order; I had asked for Josh/Matt DNC, and she obliged with Pushing Forward, and it was just what I needed on a Wednesday night with no new West Wing (not that I would have been home to watch anyway, as we were all at my parents' still).

So I lost my iTunes virginity downloading and buying "Raewyn" -- the first single off Russell Crowe's upcoming album My Hand My Heart (lyrics on that site). I like the song, though I must admit I still like some of the ones he did with TOFOG better (I am not sure anything will replace "Other Ways of Speaking" as my favorite). "Raewyn" and four other songs on the album were co-written by Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea, with whom I am familiar thanks to who sent me Sea of No Cares (am thinking of buying Rant and Roar). The guitar in this song is quite lovely. And while I was at iTunes, I looked up Russell's playlist...any man who has the Indigo Girls' "Closer To Fine" named as a song that helped him grow up, and Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" and David Bowie's "Sorrow" and k.d. lang's "Constant Craving" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" on his list, is deserving of my adoration. It makes me so ridiculously happy when celebrities justify my love. Oh, what the heck:




This is copyright iTunes.


And now can I admit that I secretly grinned that we were staying in Russell Square in London across from the Russell Hotel, and everyone can laugh at me for this? I am near collapse again and have nearly as much to do Thursday as I did Wednesday; sister is leaving town with her brood but it's double-carpool day and I still haven't made it through that audio interview I have to write up. But I do get to see at lunchtime! And the awesome brought me James L. Nelson books. What's the verdict: do I finish the Hornblowers first, or take a break and read one of these? I need a nautical fiction schedule!


Looking down the spiral staircase from the top of the keep in Portchester Castle. There was centuries-old graffiti inscribed on the walls on the way down, signatures and curlicues dating from the 1700s. (It's a long way down from here. I better start with the stairs. *g*)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Star Wars Slash for <lj user

I am pleased to report, my master mistress, that I have found approved slashing action, direct from the Lucasfilm licensing division! Turn me to the dark side, baby!



...because we saw these after lunch at Target and managed to resist buying them in favor of pirate ships, but could not resist the idea of photos of Anakin and Obi-Wan together at last. (Note: No book or movie spoilers, only large action figures behind the cut.)

Poem for Wednesday


Easter 1916
By W.B. Yeats


I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terribly beauty is born.

That woman's days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights is argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our wing├Ęd horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute to minute they live;
The stone's in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven's part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse --
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

--------


Quieter Tuesday than Monday -- sister and her family were downtown sightseeing most of the day, older son had his model seder at Hebrew school so wasn't terribly hungry for dinner, younger son did his homework quite willingly because I told him that we could go to the card store afterward to see if we could find a Slivers Magic deck, if that is even the right name, for older son and some new pirate ship card game for him. Turns out the card store had neither -- the Slivers cards are a couple of years old and quite expensive on eBay (hey, anyone around here have a used deck in non-mint condition that your kids no longer want that you're willing to part with for less than mint-condition prices?) and the pirate game wasn't cards exactly. Then came home, after stopping in Target for some necessities, with the aforementioned pirate cards that I hadn't even heard of before this afternoon and they turned out to be...


Tall ships! Pirates of the Spanish Main card game packs come with two pop-out-and-build ships, many of which are pirate and Spanish vessels but a whole bunch of which are British warships and smaller Royal Navy ships! Here is Rosie admiring one...well, about to bat at it, anyway.


This is the HMS Leicester, which is mine. got one pack for each family member and I did not originally receive this ship -- I had one pirate ship and one Spanish ship -- but younger son broke a piece of this one while putting it together and was disconsolate, so I traded with him, gluing the spanker back together, and received this beauty. I also got a three-masted pirate ship, the Shadow, which is an "uncommon" ship. *g* The packs come with booty, crew and instructions, but I have not yet mastered the finer points of the game, because...


...as if that were not enough, also got us this game for the computer, since we all had so much fun at the Royal Naval Museum playing their electronic "command your own warship" game (the one where our crew overthrew us because I had brought more lime juice than rum aboard, silly me, fearing scurvy more than mutiny).


Now we can fight the Battle of the Nile and Trafalgar in our own home. Look, the studly Nelson is even on the box! Considering that my work-related hate mail this week has not only focused on my "feministic" insanity but on the fact that I must not be happily married because any woman who was getting laid regularly would not resent green Orion dancing girls taking over Enterprise in their less-than-bikinis, I thought I should report on how very much my spouse indulges me. Heh.


Any day during which Age of Sail geekery is so deeply indulged must be counted as a good day, even if the College of Cardinals did not pick the sort of Pope I had hoped they would choose, though I suppose that it's not really my business since I am not Catholic. On the other hand, the Pope's influence over non-Catholics as well as millions of Catholics is formidable, and to go from a Pope whose outreach to Jews and apologies to victims of the Holocaust and other hate crimes was unprecedented to one who grew up in the Hitler Youth...well, it doesn't make me feel great. The Church under Benedict XVI is likely to continue to refuse communion to those who have remarried and those who oppose making abortion illegal, yet allow it for those who have participated in crimes against humanity. He wants to canonize a previous Pope who encouraged Catholics to cooperate with Nazi rule rather than try to help those being slaughtered among them. He is likely to similarly ignore if not tacitly approve institutionalized prejudice against gays and lesbians. And millions will die of AIDS in Africa and Latin America without condom use. So I guess it really is everyone's business.

My fan fiction is now friends-locked in this journal, with the exception of the most recent story which will be locked at the end of the week. You won't even be able to see the list in my memories if you are not logged in and on my friends list. I am happy to add anyone who's old enough to be reading it, though I do have one request: add me to your friends list if you want to be on mine. I'm not terribly comfortable with the idea of knowing that people may be locking me out when I'm letting them in. I feel a lot better, both in terms of the unauthorized archiving and in terms of the possibility that people I know in real life or I might work with or who might know my children could find it here and associate it with me.

We are going to try to spend more time with my sister and her kids before they head back north, so will not be around much...one of these days I really will catch up!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Poem for Tuesday


For My Son
By Laure-Anne Bosselaar


I sit against the scarred trunk of an oak.
The sun barely winnows through its branches.

Beyond a lit spot small as a newborn's fist,
a twig quivers, then arcs toward light.

What caused such languid inclination
makes its way down the leaf: a tiny snail,

gold as corn. For an instant, they sway,
lit, in utter balance—then, in a deep bow,

the leaf releases its weight onto earth and curls
back into the shade—the vitreous path

of that moment now in its center. Mathieu,
if nature's cruelties know no limits,

neither do the boundaries of its grace.
I give thanks for you.

--------


I had an insane Monday -- mostly good-insane, though seriously marred by my not being able to find 's cell phone number to tell her that my sister's family was arriving in town a day late and I couldn't get out to Great Falls at the time I told her I would (I am very, very sorry, EK). I spent a lot of the morning waiting for my sister, organizing stuff for her kids and working on friends-locking my fan fiction; first I had to make sure that I had copies of all of it in this journal, which meant switching the links and actual fic on , and various other communities (I haven't even started on the drabbles, there are nearly 200 of them), then friends-locking once I had things in order in my memories.

Just so people are warned, I am planning to lock all fan fiction in this journal regardless of rating; this has as much to do with the fact that some of my kids' friends are now old enough to read and look for fan fiction as with concerns about unauthorized archiving, and while I believe and hope that their parents are monitoring their internet use, I don't think it would be a good thing even if they found my most innocuous G-rated drabbles and connected them with me. I have not done a good job at all of hiding my real identity in this journal; I will be a lot more comfortable with the fic not right there in the open alongside entries about life, work and other things that can be traced directly to me. I am going to post G- through PG13-rated fic unlocked for a week before locking; R and NC17 fic will be locked from the time I post it. And I will no longer post directly to communities unless the communities themselves are locked.

I will continue to archive in the places where I've been archiving, and I understand that this means people will be able to save my fic to their hard drives, repost it without permission, etc., but it won't be nearly as easy for it to be imported anywhere en masse and it won't be here alongside stuff about my real life. So, if you're lurking and want to friend me for the fic, go ahead, and if you're irritated that I'm doing this and want to unfriend me, that's fine too. You'll be able to find most of my fic elsewhere without being on my friends list here. I need to do this so I feel comfortable with writing and posting.


I rushed through three Trek articles today, including new DVD sets, Coto on the Trek future and the world's wimpiest article on the collapse of TrekUnited -- all sorts of allegations surfaced over the past week from alleging minor fraud to alleging enormous lies on the part of various officials from that organization, very much justifying the skepticism I have harbored from the beginning, but all I said was that the campaign was over, there would be no fifth season of Enterprise and the officials have promised to begin refunding money immediately so let's hope that happens quickly and efficiently. Then I had to race around getting my kids, both of whom had dressed for the 50 degrees it was early this morning rather than the 80 degrees it was this afternoon, so they had to change before we could go over to my mother's for some quality time with their cousins. I had bought all the kids Robin Hood hats in Sherwood Forest and my boys insisted on bringing their wooden swords, which they then left to the younger girls so they could attempt to teach the older one Runescape. We spent all afternoon and evening there, had a very chaotic dinner, then came home and first had to attempt to make boys do homework after 8 p.m. So I am more than a little frazzled, and obviously way behind on comments, mail and such.

My older son's school chorus made the state championship so they have all sorts of rehearsals and excitement in preparation for that. In more good news, went to the orthopedic surgeon who said based on the x-rays he does not think he will need surgery on his knee. And I have artwork to share: drew me Kira and Damar (after much begging and groveling on my part) and I adore her for it, Kim Schultz has a new luscious Christian Bale, and has some very pretty Laura Roslin drawings from the new Battlestar Galactica. And since I am feeling like a sheep tonight...


The sheep on the farm that was right outside our door at the cottage where we stayed most of the time while we were in England. There was another ewe with two babies in the same pasture and a great many lambs in the next field, though we were warned not to go walking there because there was a cranky ram.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Poem for Monday


Alfonsina Storni
By Bill Knott


Feeling as you wrote that the cancer quote
Is on its way upstairs   to the throat
One breast had already flown   migrant
Heart   de facto amazon   only the sea remained

Like a jealous mattress an   old pillow stuffed
With insomnia's phonebills the sea
Is there to throw oneself at   at dawn   late
Up all night over   a poem called Voy a

Dormir which says   this   better than this
(Each time I read one by you I revise
Myself my suicide is   to be me instead of you)

Sea that swallowed your poet   throat
Does not   for the having of it   sing less
And besides   only that cancer tried to float

--------

Another from Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in the Sunday The Washington Post Book World, this sonnet an elegy for the Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni. Pinsky notes that "sonnets may be a surprise from a rebellious, avant-garde figure. But [Knott] handles the form in a manner as inventive as his quirky, penetrating language. Interestingly, I had forgotten this when I posted yesterday, but former Poet's Choice columnist Edward Hirsch had written about and reproduced a poem from Knott's The Unsubscriber as well; Hirsch's column is here.


Sunday was indeed busy, though not in the ways I expected. Because there had been such an explosion of Star Trek news yesterday, news was relatively light today and I wrote an article about the movie Shatner is making for the Sci Fi Channel...I know that TrekUnited announced tonight that the good fight was over, and there are allegations of all sorts of misdeeds being passed around, but other than to glance through my mail about it I did not read any of the public posts and I officially have no opinion on the campaign that's any different than the opinions I stated when the play to raise $30 million to buy another season of Enterprise was announced. I know there are people saying they're sorry that it's officially over, but I felt that it was officially over the day UPN announced its plan not to renew the series. This has always been about money and ratings, and I'd rather fight for a really good Star Trek that people will watch than for another year of a show that couldn't make it even with a Paramount budget, a decent cast and better writing than it had when it started out. And let me add that by "really good Star Trek", I do not mean that I want a new vision a la JMS or Galactica -- I want what Gene Roddenberry was doing in the first place!

In the morning my internet goddess (and my Snupin goddess) walked me through using .htaccess to prevent people from hotlinking to my images, which took far longer than it should have because I was assuming that I could still run php on my server, which now apparently I would have to pay extra to do. I think I am successfully blocking anyone from importing my photos, yay! But I still have to decide what to do about my journal entries. I have been slowly and sadly coming to the conclusion that I should lock all NC17 material...not sure whether I will do this all at once, since I don't even have all the stories off and in my own journal yet. On the one hand, I like the idea of posting unlocked for 48 hours or so and then locking, but on the other hand, anyone getting RSS feed of my journal could have the content archived by then...I just don't know what to do yet. Although Bloglines had told me that they would take me out of their system, they've only stopped archiving my posts on their site; if I type my username in there now, I get taken to a list of links to my journal here. There is nothing unethical about this, as they are all public posts, but it's made me aware of just how widely things I say get spread and really made me think that I should be locking far more often than I do. I will be keeping this journal, and posting poetry and photos (now that I can stop hotlinking) unlocked, but I really doubt that I'll be talking about personal matters or NC17 material in open entries.

My in-laws arrived in the early afternoon and we had a low-key day with them, walking with their dog, enjoying the spring and showing them trip stuff. My sister and her family never arrived -- apparently one of her kids was sick, but I heard this only third-hand when I called my father to ask what the deal was -- so I am not entirely sure what is going on there. We brought in California Tortilla for dinner and watched the pets circle each other suspiciously under the table. In the evening when they left I watched Desperate Housewives, which could easily become a guilty pleasure -- I rationalize that I really need to keep up with it for Get Desperate! but CSI Files has never made me feel any need or desire to watch any of the CSI shows.

From :

Fire
You are 73% Extroverted and 43% Chaotic

Virtue - Fire people exhibit righteousness. These people conform to the standard of moral law. They do what is right and are known for their sense of fair play. They are truthful, straight-forward, just, upright and virtuous in their dealings with other men.

Core - They demonstrate courage, fortitude, zeal and pugnacity. They have the mental and moral strength that enables them to venture into unknown waters and to persevere and withstand danger. They seldom show fear and are confident in their actions. They have mettle, resolution, and tenacity. They can face danger or difficulty without flinching or retreating. They will fight for their principles and have a stubborn persistence that is unwilling to recognize defeat. They have grit, back bone, guts, and are willing to keep fighting under all odds. They are aggressive and thrive on challenge.

Nature - Their essential characteristic qualities are liveliness, energy, ardor, enthusiasm, courage and action. They have a firm, courageous and assertive disposition which is their most characteristic qualitiy.

Drives - These people like to win or be the best in anything they pursue. Their aggressive nature makes them just one big ego. There is nothing more stimulating to them than to win, and there is nothing more depressing to their ego than to lose. They strive to be the center of attention and are at home when showing-off.

Vice - They are determined, spiteful and revengeful. When angered, they will go to almost any extreme necessary to get revenge, and that revenge will more often be at the moment of the anger. When they're mad they want everyone around them to be mad. They are spiteful and will deliberately and openly do things which irritate someone to the point of anger. They are very short-tempered and anger easily. They are straight-forward and have no reservations about hurting the feelings of others, and they are prone to inflict physical pain as well as mental pain. Just as the main virtue of this sign is being just and right, its main fault is deceit.

My test tracked 2 variables:
How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 94% on Extroverted
You scored higher than 92% on Chaotic

Link: The Which Element Are You? Test written by daemongod81485 on Ok Cupid


I must wake up very early as hubby has to see an orthopedic surgeon about his knee, so I had better go collapse. Still many pretty flowers. Sinuses still clear. Head still foggy though. Am confused.


The house in our neighborhood by far most likely to win some kind of garden award is this one, which in addition to having very lovely annuals around the borders of its garden also has this fish pond with fountain in the middle, with the walkway to the front door built right over it. Here you can see the sunlight on the water, the bubbles from the fountain, the fish, and the greenery which already seems to be growing out of control this spring.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Poem for Sunday


Echo Near the End
By Bill Knott


Severs and brothers, brokens and sisters, is this it?
Around me life has darkened like the afternoon.
Anymore to emulate the sunlight's posture,
I slither down off that perfect backbone.

I am alone, but so are we. We are alone but so.
Banking slowly the monster completes its turn --
A clingathon of wings flaps through a halo
That holds a weddingring up to a keyhole to

Pen in the one my fear was assisting at
The birth of adrenaline: I pause I postulate.
Wait. A mousehole Morpheus stamps our passport;
Let's hope sleep has the good stuff tonight.

Murder blinks eyes upon eyes. Suicides
Stick to the roof of the mouth, stupid tripod of spit.

--------

From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World. Pinsky calls Knott "eccentric, uneven, brilliant, authentic," and says he writes "as if tired of the flat, all-purpose formal sameness of the lines and structures in so many new books of poetry -- including would-be experimental ones. His new book is The Unsubscriber, published by Farrar Straus Giroux.


Had an insanely busy day...had to get up early for a Saturday to get ready for my younger son's Hebrew school's model seder (this year we only had to bring seder plates, not hard-boil eggs for 40, at least). This was fun, as my mother is a Hebrew school teacher and it's been a family event since my older one started attending the nursery school there nearly 10 years ago. Then we came home, rushed to change and went to the younger son's soccer game (they won again) while older son played at a friend's house. Picked him up on the way back ( was driving, I read to near the end of The Eyre Affair in the car and I am so enjoying that book), got the younger son ready for a Mad Science birthday party where he remained through dinner eating pizza and making slime, took a walk and ate Kraft Macaroni and Cheese with the older son who finished the book he had to read over the weekend. Wrote three Trek articles including mediocre ratings, a promo for an episode I won't see when it airs due to baseball and producer comments on how long Trek will remain dead. Folded three loads of laundry while watching the wonderful last two episodes of The Barchester Chronicles in which Alan Rickman gets to spit the immortal line, "May you both live forever!" and is slapped across the face so hard he falls down...I don't care if he is a greedy sleazeball, I want to tie him up in his chaplain's robes and make him...um, it was a good miniseries and you should watch it.

I also started moving all my fan fiction from various communities into my journal so I can lock the whole thing, then realized there is no way I am going to move all those drabbles and wondered whether I should just delete them since I have them all at The Love Boat anyway. I have had increasing concerns about my kids and their friends being able to find and read this journal as it is; I suppose it would make sense to lock the whole thing, but there are nearly 2000 entries, and with no blanket "friends-lock everything retroactively" command, I can't even imagine the hours it would take to try. It took me days to make everything in 's journal private and there are only 136 entries there! (Note to : YouReadMe will mark you as inactive and remove archived posts if you ask them; I did. Now we just need to find out how many other sites are taking and archiving our journals.)

So I'm back to thinking that it may be easiest simply to delete this journal and start over with one that's locked from the start, though I'm not sure what will happen to any entries of mine that have already been archived from here even if I delete. And the thing is, I'd really like to keep this username, which I have used in multiple fandoms for more than ten years. Does anyone know whether LiveJournal makes names available again after an account has been deleted and purged? Or whether there is a way to dump all content from the journal without my having to delete each entry individually -- to return it to default parameters, as it were? I generally save my entries each day, so I have most of them archived on my hard drive; I will probably lose a great many conversations that occurred in comments but I really can't see how I could manage to lock entry by entry. I suppose conversely I could go back and lock only the entries that contain fan fiction or adult discussions and any mention of family or personal stuff, but even that would be a massive, weeks-long project. I don't even have words for how much I hate LiveJournal right now; I am so, so tempted to switch to blogging at a site that promises no RSS feeds, but I would miss the community here so much.

Again we pause from the England photos to bring you a spring Saturday in the US. Tomorrow I will have relatives from both sides of the family in town, so I will have even less free time than today!


The table set for the Hebrew school model seder. Note that this year we actually got a real shank bone on the seder plate rather than the paper one we had last year because there weren't enough shank bones to go around. Also note that this year they were ridiculously brave and got purple rather than white grape juice; one table inevitably ends up with theirs spilled all over someone's lovely outfit, and thankfully it was not ours. But I must confess that that tilted candle never quite stayed upright in the candleholder, even though we tried to melt it in, and near the end of the seder it tipped over and set the paper tablecloth on fire, requiring us to douse the flames with grape juice. This amused the rabbi in a panicked sort of way.


The ten plagues spilled on the Passover tablecloth. The custom is that a drop of wine is spilled for each of the plagues to reflect our sorrow that the Egyptians had to suffer for the Jews to be free, but all this does is remind me how throughly I do not believe in anything attributed to God in the Bible. God is pissed at Pharaoh so he slays the firstborn of every Egyptian household? The same God who killed every single person and animal on Earth except Noah, his family and his floating zoo? Way to make me a pagan, Mom!


At my son's soccer game. His team wears one shade of blue and the opponents wore another shade of blue, so in the sunlight it was sometimes difficult to tell who had the ball. I was half-watching, half-talking to other parents and sort of trying to sneak peeks at my book, so I missed the finer details of the game, but I do know that we won and that there were Doritos for snack, as my son got the powdered cheese all over his soccer uniform.


The neighbors' yard, with a variety of bright blooming flowers. I love the red, white and blue thing they have going in the hanging basket, and also those very, very red tulips. Naked cupid statuary does not tend to be my thing.


Pink petals, blue sky. These trees are already past their peak, as you can tell from the brown edges of many of the petals; what you can't see in this picture are the hundreds of petals beneath the tree making the sidewalk slippery, though very pretty and shiny.


And here are yellow tulips. The range of colors is just amazing -- we have a very pink tree hanging over our front steps from our neighbor's yard, a bunch of periwinkle in bloom in front of our house, azaleas just starting to peek out, dogwoods coming into full bloom...my nose was even cooperative, though I still seem to be tired, scratchy-throated and a little achy.