Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Poem for Tuesday

By Laure-Anne Bosselaar

              A friend betrayed me yesterday.
I loved him for his hungers

              and awkward flat feet
he stomped as if he wanted to leave

              a mark everywhere he went.
I never told him how that stomping

              moved me, the same sad way
this clumsy briar does,

              waving, trying to be noticed
in the dust of a Boston off-ramp.

              My friend betrayed me
for a fast mark, a few gasps around

              a spilled secret no bigger
than a briar's thorn.

              I'm in one of the cars the off-
ramp jams into town, and because

              it would cause horn-blasting
rage, and because for each betrayal

              we lose a little fervor, I don't
step out to tear a leaf

              from the briar to keep
in a book -- his book -- in which

              he wrote Your friend, always.
Lost secrets, friends, fervors --

              we are made of this dust.
Let briars grow from it, and bloom


LJ is being impossible tonight and after spending more than an hour trying to read my friends list, which I had not checked since last night, I gave up. Have also given up answering comments for the night and trying to get back to posts I meant to comment on from earlier. So if you can read this, and you can actually get to a comment screen, and something wonderful or terrible or strange or interesting happened to you or near you or you just want to link to it, please do so here!

And I am sorry I suck so much about remembering to check my portal page/being able to get to my portal page to find out whose birthdays I am missing. I think that from now on I shall only send out birthday greetings to RL friends whose dates I know independently of LiveJournal, because I am constantly afraid I have hurt someone's feelings. Though I am this way forgetting with certain family members and local friends too -- just ask them!

Sorry about my Finding Neverland wail earlier; I shall talk about how utterly wonderful it is tomorrow, after seeing the last scene of the movie (since apparently we only lost about ten minutes, so I really should not complain about having gotten to see 99% of the movie for free, but I will be in a better frame of mind about that when I see the other 1%). Possibly the best film I've seen this year, though I need to figure out how much other films I've seen this year are shaping how I watch this one. It's wonderful that the most recent Peter Pan came out so near to this one because they complement each other in interesting ways.

I did run into Target since I got out of the movie early and discovered that there is stretch velvet on sale. I love being a tacky girl because it means I get to wear soft comfy clothes all the time. I swear I would wear velour sweats to synagogue if I thought my parents would not disown me.

This snake in the Reptile House reminds me of paintings of the serpent in the Garden.

*singing, because of Peter Pan* Never smile at a crocodile...

Copperheads, the only sort of poisonous snake that I have ever seen in the wild, though we heard rattlesnakes in national parks when we were driving west last year.

An African plated lizard hiding from his heat lamps.

Recently-hatched tortoises behind glass in the incubation room.

Gila Monsters! That is possibly my favorite animal name.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Poem for Monday

On a Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below
By Horace Smith

In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows.
"I am great Ozymandias," saith the stone,
"The King of kings: this mighty city shows
The wonders of my hand." The city's gone!
Naught but the leg remaining to disclose
The sight of that forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when through the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the wolf in chase,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What wonderful, but unrecorded, race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.


Sound familiar? That is because, as I learned here, Smith wrote it in a friendly competition with Shelley for an ekphrastic poem on the same work of art. Both were published in 1818 in The Examiner:

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


And something else I learned from that web page, that was probably in the footnotes when I studied the poem in grad school but we were evidently more focused on the language than this fact: Osymandias, Greek name for the Egyptian king Rameses II (1304-1237 BC). Diodorus Siculus, in his Library of History, records the inscription on the pedestal of his statue (at the Ramesseum, on the other side of the Nile river from Luxor) as "King of Kings am I, Osymandias. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works."

The end of a quiet family weekend meant a trip to the National Zoo, since the rain ended by late morning and I had finished most of my work (must do the news bullets in the morning as I didn't get back here till well after dinner). Much of the zoo is closed due to construction -- we couldn't even figure out how to get to the bird house, and the bats were not on exhibit -- but we did get to see the pandas, the the elephants and giraffes, the small mammals, the reptiles, the great apes and the savannah animals that were outdoors. We took a friend of my older son's whose father is a professional photographer -- he runs a studio that does graphic design, he's covered NASCAR events and political functions, but I generally don't think about this fact as we barely know the parents. He came to pick up his son while I was downloading the photos I took, and without thinking I said, "Oh, come here, I have a cute photo of our kids!" and he came over and he said, "Oh, that's not bad," and suddenly I remembered what he does for a living...*facepalm* I am horribly embarrassed as he probably thinks I am both a rank amateur and someone who fishes for compliments!

To continue with my literature theme from the poems, I shall post about the last movie I watched: Mary Reilly, starring John Malkovich as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Julia Roberts as his maidservant. I have no idea how I had managed for so long not to see a film directed by Stephen Frears, written by Christopher Hampton and co-starring Glenn Close! I found this one for $6 at Best Buy when I bought Prisoner of Azkaban (yes, the bargain rack is dangerous). Having Close and Malkovich in Mary Reilly, though delightful, was in fact one of the movie's flaws -- it was very difficult not to compare them to their Dangerous Liaisons characters, especially as that was also a stylized period piece and Hyde and the madam have things in common with Valmont and Merteuil. But what I remember most from when the film opened was that Roberts was savaged in reviews, and she was really very good; this is by far my favorite of her roles. Her accent isn't perfect, but Malkovich isn't even trying, and her character is a nice balance of strong and wounded from a horrific childhood. It's interesting to see the story from a working class woman's POV though I am tempted to rename Mary Reilly "Mary Sue" because of her inexplicable attraction to Hyde -- the allure of Jekyll makes total sense. I highly recommend the film to anyone who likes Malkovich, Roberts, Frears or Jekyll and Hyde (Close isn't really in it for all that long -- though Michael Gambon is in it, for HP aficionados trying to see everything he did before). Now I am curious to read the novel upon which the film is based.

Gacked from , and I can't argue:













created with QuizFarm.com

I kept 46 of the photos I took today, a very high number for me, so I shall post animal pictures in batches over the next couple of weeks. Tonight, the giant pandas, because they are so adorable and I am very sorry about the spider upsetting so many people!

The pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, were wrestling...

...which the staff assured us they do for quite some time each day...

...and one of them was winning but I can't tell the male from the female!

And here is one of the DC artists' pandas, "Under Construction", reflecting the state of the zoo itself!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Poem for Sunday

The Banner Bearer
By William Carlos Williams

In the rain, the lonesome
dog, idiosyn-
cratically, with each
quadribeat, throws

out the left fore-
foot beyond
the right intent, in
his stride,

on some obscure
insistence -- from bridge-
ward going
into new territory.


From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in today's Washington Post Book World. "I've always liked [this] deceptively modest little poem by William Carlos Williams," he writes. "One sentence long, 12 lines and 32 words in its entirety...part of his ongoing, experimental search for a new American measure. Rhythmically speaking, this poem has an eccentric but sure sense of pacing and motion, a sly timing, an idiosyncratic certainty. I like the way the rhythm of each individual line builds into the rhythm of each quatrain, the way the rhythm of the stanzas enlarges into the fresh, offbeat music of the poem itself. In a way, Williams uses enjambment to enact both doubt and certainty...until the lineation itself mirrors the dog's motion, its jerky and insistent momentum." To Hirsch the dog seems emblematic of Williams himself: "eccentric, lonesome, determined."

Hirsch also writes of Williams' creation of an American idiom and vernacular for poetry; my British friends may be pleased to hear that Williams said "we've got to begin by stating that we speak (here) a distinct, separate language in a present (new era) and that it is NOT English."

I need a favor. Is there anyone reading this who is a Mel Brooks fan with the capability for doing screen caps? Any chance you could snag me the "more bondage, less discipline" moment between Cloris Leachman and Harvey Korman from High Anxiety?

Had lunch again with the extended family, as my sister was taking a late afternoon flight back to New York with hers. The older kids played Monopoly, the younger kids ran around the basement yowling like maniacs, my brother-in-law and my father claimed they had to run out to a bookstore, I flipped through the parts of the Sunday paper that get delivered on Saturday and tried to keep up with my kids' demands for food while my sister and mother tried to keep up with the other three.

When we came home, we watched Dragonheart, which I had on my list because of David Thewlis and Jason Isaacs despite an aversion to dragon movies in general and to Sean Connery in particular. I enjoyed it a lot, partly because Dennis Quaid is charming, partly because Pete Postlethwaite (whom I didn't even know was in the film) was hilarious and mostly because it is so much fun to see Thewlis as a bad guy and Isaacs as his lackey! I must get a screen cap of the one giving the other a noogie. I also realized that I have loved the score of this movie in other movie previews without ever knowing where it was from -- one place I looked said Two Brothers, the tiger film with Guy Pearce, had used it, but I know it was played in something I saw recently involving horses, not Hidalgo, not Seabiscuit -- anyone here know what I might be talking about?

Otherwise we had a quiet evening with two very overtired boys from all the excitement of seeing cousins and the going-away party yesterday, and I started the dreaded task of my holiday fic challenge. My recipient seems to want fluff, and this is a pairing with whom I have a terrible time writing fluff...happy ending, maybe, but some of the requested ingredients are pretty much impossible to work into fic that isn't party-related. I am afraid of this. To distract myself, a yarn quiz gacked from so I can be a sheep, though "easygoing" and "sweet" are both gross exaggerations:

You are Merino Wool.
You are Merino Wool.
You are very easygoing and sweet. People like to
keep you close because you are so softhearted.
You love to be comfortable and warm from your
head to your toes.
What kind of yarn are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

This spider decided to spin a web between the railings on either side of our front porch.

Not the most convenient place for people trying to walk in and out...

but we went around it so I could take pictures.

Incidentally, arachnophobes, you may blame for this!

Tomorrow we are going to the zoo if the weather is clear, so will provide all sorts of adorable animals in lieu of things with multiple legs!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Poem for Saturday

By Julian Hawthorne

Runs the wind along the waste,
Run the clouds across the moon,
Ghastly shadows run in haste
From snowy dune to dune—
Blue shadows o'er the ghastly white
Spectral gleaming in the night.
But ghastlier, more spectral still,
What fearful thing speeds hither,
Running, running, running
Swifter than cloud or wind?
What omen of nameless ill,
Whence coming, speeding whither,
Running, running, running,
Leaves all save fear behind?

Leaning, leaning in the race,
Breath keen-drawn through nostrils tense,
Fell eyes in ruthless face,
What goblin of malevolence
Runs through the frozen night
In superhuman flight?
See it run, run, run,
Outstripping the shadows that fly!
Hear the fiend’s heart beat, beat,
Beat, beat, beat in its breast!
Running, running, running on
Under the frozen sky,
Fleet, so fearfully fleet,
Pausing never to rest.

Clutched -- what is clutched so tight
In its lean, cold hands as it speeds?
Something soft, something white,
Something human, that bleeds?
Is it an infant's curly head,
And innocent limbs, gnawed and red?
Fleeter and yet more fleet
It leans, leans and runs;
Dabbled with blood are its awful lips,
Grinning in horrible glee.
The wolves that follow with scurrying feet,
Sniffing that goblin scent, at once
Scatter in terror, while it slips

Away, to the shore of the frozen sea.
Away! is it man? is it woman,
On such dread meat to feed?
Away! is it beast? is it human?
Or is it a fiend indeed?
Fiend from human loins begotten,
Hell-inspired, God-forgotten!
Now the midnight hour draws on:
Human form no fiend may keep
Or ever that mystic hour is told.
Lower, lower, lower it bends.
Midnight is come—is come and gone!
Down on all fours see it plunge and leap!
A human yell in a wolf’s howl ends!...
What gaunt, gray thing gallops on o'er the world?


Just guess what I was looking up (and in reference to whom, and which fandom) when I found that poem. And it's a full moon tonight and everything -- the Frost Moon I'm told. Enterprise review: "Awakening", perhaps not quite as good as "The Forge" in execution but still a highly engrossing storyline. I am really enjoying the show this season, despite numerous original Trek cliches that are not all to the good. Also, led me to Star Trek: The Animated Series hysterical caption-fic.

GIP for the season, though really Christmas hardly affects me at all since my in-laws will be on the west coast. Today we had lunch with the entire family at my parents' house so the kids could play before my sons went off to a going-away party for the friend who is moving back to Venezuela in a week -- there will be much unhappiness here when that happens, though I think it will be much worse for the little boy, who has been here for nearly four years. and I went out for California Tortilla, then came home so I could watch and review Enterprise (heh, our romantic child-free evening dates). In other words, I have not much news to report and shall meme you instead.

: Shop...until you drop.
1. What type of shopper are you?
The "oh god I hate this are we done yet" kind. The internet is by far my favorite way to shop, followed closely by phone calls to catalogue companies so long as they don't put me in voicemail hell. I love browsing in bookstores with chairs and coffee bars, but clothing, shoes, drugstore stuff, household items, etc. I want to get and get out ASAP.
2. Have you ever gone out of your way to get a deal? Nearly always.
3. Do you do your holiday shopping early, or do you procrastinate? For the people whom I know what to get, I shop early. For the people I'm not sure about, I procrastinate endlessly.
4. What's the best gift you've ever received? I'm not sure but it was something homemade. A dried flower arrangement my son made me, a card my husband made for me, a defuncto my friend sculpted for me, a fan novel dedicated to me...these are the gifts that really matter, not the ones that cost very much. (Incidentally I didn't do that wish list meme because the only things I'd ask are fic and art...you know my favorite fandoms, you know my favorite pairings, and if you are ever inspired to create anything with my name on it, I will be absolutely thrilled but it doesn't have to be for holiday season when everyone is already stretched with their family and real life acquaintances.)
5. What's the best gift you've ever given? I can't think of anything truly worthy here. My sister gave bone marrow to a total stranger because they were a match...that is a really amazing gift. I've written things for people and helped design things for people, and I've stuck my neck out for students of mine in a way that I knew really mattered to them, but nothing on that scale.

: To go along with Thanksgiving.
1. As a child, where did you go for Thanksgiving ad who was there?
Either my parents' house or my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Paul's. My father's parents (my grandfather was my Uncle Paul's brother), my mother's mother, Shirley and Paul and their daughters were there. Over time as their children and me and my sister started having families, we all stopped fitting around one table, so now we have Chanukah parties instead.
2. What food(s) do you remember best/were tradition then? For years my mother has made a carrot souffle to die for. My Aunt Shirley made wonderful pecan pie, too.
3. Where do you celebrate now, and with whom? At my parents' house with my sister, her husband and their three daughters.
4. Has your menu changed (if so, whats new?)? We have more sweet potatoes now and less onion in the stuffing because Shirley always liked more than we did, but it's pretty much the same.
5. What are you thankful for this year? See here.

: What five scenes are you most thankful for?
1. Janeway and Chakotay holding hands in "Resolutions"
after the Angry Warrior speech. This is not my favorite J/C scene -- the one that converted me was "She's the captain" in "Caretaker" with a close second to the breakfast conversation at the beginning of "Phage" -- but this is the one that generated the most fan fiction of anything in Voyager, and for that, I will always adore it.
2. Lupin's "people like me" speech from the end of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, making explicit the implied connection between lycanthropy and having a sexual orientation that some people won't accept. I liked it in the book but it brought tears to my eyes in the film.
3. Boromir's "my brother, my captain, my king" from the end of The Fellowship of the Ring. It's the scene that converted me to Boromir-love, and Lord of the Rings love, and Sean Bean love...and here I am as a direct result.
4. The Love Test scene from Space: 1999's "Brian the Brain" where Helena and John both pass by failing -- they give away the fact that they are in love by demonstrating that they are each willing to give their lives to save the other, and that saves them both.
5. "God, whose name I do not know, thank you for my life. I forgot how big..." From Joe vs. the Volcano, drifting on the ocean at moonrise, thinking these would be his last thoughts. How marvelous.
There are others I should list, like Kira and Odo at the end of "Chimera" and Spock whispering "Forget" in "Requiem for Methuselah" and the freeing of the animals in The Miracle, but I'll keep it to five like a good girl. *giggling*

If there is at least one person in your life who you consider a close friend, and who you would not have met without being part of an online fandom, post this sentence in your journal.

And cuz everyone else is:

space 1999 is love
brought to you by the isLove Generator

Friday, November 26, 2004

Poem for Friday

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat
By Edward Lear

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
   In a beautiful pea-green boat:
They took some honey, and plenty of money
   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
   And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,
   What a beautiful Pussy you are,
            You are,
            You are!
   What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl,
   How charmingly sweet you sing!
Oh! let us be married; too long we have tarried,
   But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
   To the land where the bong-tree grows;
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,
   With a ring at the end of his nose,
            His nose,
            His nose,
   With a ring at the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
   Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
   By the turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince and slices of quince,
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
            The moon,
            The moon,
   They danced by the light of the moon.


A lovely Thanksgiving was had by all members of my family, at least so far as I could tell by everyone's mood (a marked change from last year, when my sister and family decamped to a hotel and my parents did not speak for days). The original plan was to take the kids to lunch at a pizza place and then go to an early movie, but the youngest niece began to melt down, so my sister and her husband went off to distract her while and I picked up my father and the two older nieces. Turned out all the pizza places within easy commute were closed for the day, so we ended up in a deli, which turned out to be just as well since all the picky eaters found something they liked on the menu and I got an all-too-rare excellent lox and bagel.

Then we went to The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (at a Regal rather than a Loews theater because the times were better and we figured The Twenty would serve as a good distraction before the movie). I will admit that after waiting nearly a full hour in the theater for it to start, holding the seats while everyone else went to the arcade and the concessions, I spaced out somewhere in the middle of the voyage to Shell City. But my younger son and oldest niece were laughing hysterically at the top of their lungs, which itself was quite enjoyable to listen to. TV cartoons on the big screen generally don't hold my interest all that well; in most cases it's just bigger and louder, though this one had a framing story involving pirates that was rather amusing.

We went back to my parents' house and played for awhile before dinner...well, I took pictures of the kids, my mother worked on dinner, my sister cooked her own green beans so she could have onions in them which my parents don't like, the men watched the Dallas game and the kids ran around screaming like lunatics. The food as always was fantastic -- I could take or leave the turkey, actually, but the carrot souffle, sweet potatoes and cranberries are among my favorite things, plus my mother made German chocolate cake. So we are all stuffed and happy about everything but the Cowboys victory, which is really a small blemish, though my father might disagree.

Because all the kids were crashing after a long day, we came home early and watched Inventing the Abbots after getting ours into bed. I'd never seen it before, though how I'd managed to miss a movie where the protagonist went to Penn and which stars Liv Tyler and Jennifer Connelly as sisters is really beyond me. I enjoyed it a lot (even though it was obviously not really filmed at Penn) and thought Liv and Joachim Phoenix were wonderful but cannot write anything approaching critical comments because I am in the L-tryptophan zone at present. Going to bed early for me on a non-school night...shall try to catch up tomorrow.

The centerpiece of the day, just out of the oven.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Poem for Thursday

Around Us
By Marvin Bell

We need some pines to assuage the darkness
when it blankets the mind,
we need a silvery stream that banks as smoothly
as a plane's wing, and a worn bed of
needles to pad the rumble that fills the mind,
and a blur or two of a wild thing
that sees and is not seen. We need these things
between appointments, after work,
and, if we keep them, then someone someday,
lying down after a walk
and supper, with the fire hole wet down,
the whole night sky set at a particular
time, without numbers or hours, will cause
a little sound of thanks--a zipper or a snap--
to close round the moment and the thought
of whatever good we did.


Things For Which I Am Thankful:
1. My family, reasonably healthy, reasonably happy, enjoying one another's company.
2. My friends, particularly those (and you know who you are if you're online) who have really been there for me recently.
3. My pets, which bring me joy and comfort that I sometimes take for granted.
4. Not having to work outrageous hours or in unpleasant conditions for the sake of money.
5. All the people who seem to have had a political awakening as a result of this election. I'm optimistic that it will lead to positive change.
6. Shared reality -- popular entertainment, fandom, fan fiction. I love being able to connect with people like that.
7. Friendships that grow out of shared realities and become so much more, that uplift and challenge and change me.
8. This is one hell of a beautiful planet. I must remember to do more, personally, to keep it clean and safe and protected from those who keep exploiting it.
9. Cable and wireless technology. I love the internet; every time I look something up on Google or Bartleby or the IMDb or the IPL, I remember my fantasy of Star Trek's library computer being a reality in my lifetime, and we're moving that way. I dreamed of having a communicator like Captain Kirk's, and our wireless technology is moving ever closer to letting us affordably talk in real time, with images, to people on the other side of the world. I dreamed in my childhood of having friends all over the world, without really expecting it to be a reality, and here all of you are.
10. Progress is slow and fitful, but it's moving forward. RU-486 is so controversial because it works. Gay marriage is so contentious because it's actually happening. Elections are stolen because the would-be rulers realize how tenuous their hold is on power. Some of these things are only within our control if we work and work at them, but that's a hell of a lot better than feeling useless. I feel much less useless now than I did a few weeks ago.

I wrote two for : "Worst Fear" and "Unfiltered", both for the red-and-green challenge. Keep in mind that I'm Jewish and these colors do not particularly signify winter holidays to me!

Something else I am thankful for -- the Atlantic Ocean.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

HP:POA Special Features ThewlisOldman OMFG Squee

Deleted scenes something of a disappointment (still no explanation of the Marauder's Map) but the interviews! Even though they're targeted for kids watching the DVD, with the annoying shrunken head interjecting, they are pure joy! I was already in love with several of the adult actors but I am finally starting to get the crushes on Tom Felton, even though he is still 20 years too young for me. *g* Thanks to for explaining how to navigate to the interviews.

Interviewer Johnny Vaughn, David Thewlis and Gary Oldman on the second disc of the Prisoner of Azkaban set, in the "Divination Class: Head to Shrunken Head" section, "Professor Lupin and Sirius Black":

Vaughn: If David genuinely had an Animagus, what do you think his animal would be?
Oldman: [earnest] I think there's a real softness to David. Like a deer or something. I could see him as a deer.
Vaughn: What about Gary?
Thewlis: [equally earnest] I'd say some kind of bird.
Vaughn: What, a woman?
Thewlis: [cracking up] Yeah, some kind of bird.
Oldman: "Your tea's on the table, darling."
Vaughn: An old woman?
Thewlis: [grinning broadly] If you want to interpret it like that.

Thewlis looks very nervous admitting hadn't read the book before getting the part. Oldman puts his arm around him, says, "I've got one up on Dave, you see. I'd finished the first book," rubs his back as Dave says, "There were no pictures in it," and Gary agrees: "There were no pictures in it. You kept reading till you got to the pictures."

Other nice moments: Thewlis calls himself a fan of Alfonso Cuaron. Oldman, asked about playing a character as dark as Sirius Black, calls himself "no stranger to darkness," jokes about the dark side with a giggling Thewlis, and says "it was great, really, to play a good guy. We think he's a bad guy, I mean, so I liked that dynamic, that twist, that sort of twist at the end." Both compliment Daniel Radcliffe's taste in music (Thewlis says he was still listening to the Beatles before he got there) and Oldman looks embarrassed when asked about being Radcliffe's acting hero. Then the interviewer says that Thewlis seems quite lupine to him, and Thewlis replies that he thinks it's good for his career to be able to say he did the whole werewolf transformation thing, but uncomfortable. He relates an anecdote about walking out into the light, blinded by his contacts, with his teeth in, waving around and moaning, and Oldman laughs as Thewlis imitates the crew: "Lookit, he's taking it a bit serious, isn't he?"

As for the kids, Radcliffe seems intimidated by a fan he calls "towel girl" whom he says came up to him in nothing but a towel carrying a sign that said "Nothing comes between me and Harry Potter," though he adds that it was great. But in the funniest moment, Vaughn asks Radcliffe what Watson's animagus form would be and he has no idea even with prompting, but when she is asked the same of him, she promptly says, "Dan has a real thing for werewolves." Radcliffe is quick to add that no, it's just wolves, and Grint says Radcliffe once convinced him that he was a werewolf. Cuaron also tells a story: in the scene where the students sleep in the Great Hall, Radcliffe wanted his sleeping bag next to a particular girl, so to embarrass him, Cuaron borrowed Michael Gambon's remote controlled whoopie cushion and put it in his sleeping bag, and then Radcliffe tried to stay in character while they were making him flatulent!

And then there are the Slytherins, most notably Tom Felton, who insists that he heartily approves of his House. "You have to be in Slytherin, because if you're in Gryffindor, you can't do anything wrong. You have to be good. At least in Slytherin, you have the privilege to do a thing now and then." He admits to not being a natural blonde, says that he and the others are "not very celebrity" and confesses that unhappily, the role has not earned him desired attention from the ladies, as he meets lots of strangers but hasn't helped him score at all with women he actually knows: "It's done me no favors....Harry Potter has not accounted for one lovely lady."

ETA: Was sent this link to longer original Thewlis-Oldman interview, though it is missing my very favorite part. Still, in case I am once again the last to know, here is the link!

Poem for Wednesday

Alexandrian Kings
By C.P. Cavafy

The Alexandrians were gathered
to see Cleopatra's children,
Caesarion, and his little brothers,
Alexander and Ptolemy, whom for the first
time they lead out to the Gymnasium,
there to proclaim kings,
in front of the grand assembly of the soldiers.

Alexander -- they named him king
of Armenia, Media, and the Parthians.
Ptolemy -- they named him king
of Cilicia, Syria, and Phoenicia.
Caesarion stood more to the front,
dressed in rose-colored silk,
on his breast a bouquet of hyacinths,
his belt a double row of sapphires and amethysts,
his shoes fastened with white
ribbons embroidered with rose pearls.
Him they named more than the younger ones,
him they named King of Kings.

The Alexandrians of course understood
that those were theatrical words.

But the day was warm and poetic,
the sky was a light azure,
the Alexandrian Gymnasium was
a triumphant achievement of art,
the opulence of the courtiers was extraordinary,
Caesarion was full of grace and beauty
(son of Cleopatra, blood of the Lagidae);
and the Alexandrians rushed to the ceremony,
and got enthusiastic, and cheered
in greek, and egyptian, and some in hebrew,
enchanted by the beautiful spectacle --
although they full well knew what all these were worth,
what hollow words these kingships were.


Things I loved about Alexander: he was really gay. From various interviews with Oliver Stone et al, I expected him to be primarily heterosexual with a couple of tiny nods to his affection for Hephastion. No: he was gay, with a couple of nods to having liked sex with women on occasion. And Colin Farrell was pretty fearless about it, despite some pretty stereotypical stuff.

Things I did not love about Alexander: pretty much everything else about the movie. I was very glad we got to see it for free. I could write a long list of things that irked me, all of which come back to the screenplay, the score and the battle scenes being so overwrought that Troy seems restrained (and historically accurate) by comparison. But I think I shall settle for mentioning that Val Kilmer is phenomenal and that Angelina Jolie can be remarkable even with terrible lines.

If you're short on funds, though, I'd recommend taping the History Channel special on Alexander and waiting for the Stone film to be on cable unless Farrell is a must-see for you. Maybe I will post some spoilers behind a cut tomorrow, but really I don't see the point, as they would mostly be negative and I suppose that people going in expecting to love it might find reasons to love it, as I did with National Treasure. If you want some idea of what to expect for three hours, though, leave me a comment.

Also, I can't really complain when the worst point of my day was realizing that I was bored at a movie I didn't pay for. I went out early to get Prisoner of Azkaban when Best Buy opened, met there (, now that I am home I realize you did not get my e-mail of yesterday by this morning -- I am so, so sorry! I owe you lunch next week!) We went out for a late brunch after getting our DVDs, then I came home and wrote my articles and, you know, kind of had the movie on in the background to make sure the discs worked. I had intended to watch the deleted scenes with my children when they got home from school but things got a little chaotic with me trying to finish work and them trying to finish homework before I took them to my parents so and I could go out to the movie tonight, so I still haven't seen them. (If there's any Snape, Black or Lupin stuff in the extras that I might somehow miss, someone please come spoil me and tell me how to get to it!)

Must sleep now. Kids have school tomorrow, then we have a busy evening with all the cousins together!

Out the window of the Minerals and Gems exhibit at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum -- the domes on the National Gallery of Art, the Capitol Building, and, off in the distance behind the cranes, the Library of Congress.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Poem for Tuesday

Choose Something Like a Star
By Robert Frost

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud --
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says "I burn."
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats' Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise of blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.


I meant to post Robert Frost yesterday, in honor of JFK (Frost being his favorite poet), but as usual the right part of the brain was not talking to the left part. Or however that works. I was waylaid much of this afternoon by a migraine that I managed to avert with drugs and a long rest, and am much better now, but hopelessly behind. Sending out vibes to whom I was supposed to see but she was not feeling well either -- hope you are better, sweetie!

And soon I hope I shall be quite distracted with Prisoner of Azkaban! I would say to prepare for more Lupin fic, but it shall not be today, and my sister is coming tomorrow with her family which means five children under the age of 12 running around together, so I expect to be boring and domestic for the holidays. Hope everyone else celebrating has exciting or at least comfortable plans!

From the Smithsonian Insect Zoo. Because sometimes a spider is just a spider but sometimes a spider is an entertaining metaphor.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Poem for Monday

By E. M. Schorb

   for the musical ghost of Blind Lemon Jefferson

   Leadbelly, grim with your Cajun accordian,
with your harmonica blues, with your knife
   flicking down the twelve strings of your guitar
--the Rock Island Line was a mighty good road--
   bowing, scraping, white-suited trainman. . .
made your pride sick, but you sang,
   fast, strong, quiet, like a driven
demon, like you had to get it out
   before a razor dumped your guts
on a blood-mud taphouse floor,
   or some drunk crazy rednecks
nailed you up like Christ, in a dangerous world
   for anybody but most America for a black
poet of low-down places and sky-high loves.

   Leadbelly, thirty years hard time murder,
six and a half, sang your way out, ten more, intent,
   then Alan Lomax and his bro, John, folklorists--
makes you laugh inside at night--white boys,
   playing--but they get you out again and in
the Library of Congress, that grinding
   voice part now of something big, like
storm darkness, like that lifething,
   love, always beyond somewhere or
crying deep inside, in a dark place,
   yeah, big like music, big like that gal you
call Irene! How many Irenes, you think?

   Even the Lomax bros, even them white boys,
they know Irene--you driving them through
   New York traffic, them folkloring in back and you
being their folkloring black chauffeur.
   You drink sharp liquor in Harlem, play
with Woody Guthrie, Sonny Terry, Brownie
   McGhee, the Headline Singers--radio too,
Hollywood and Three Songs by Leadbelly,
   a French tour. . . . You show 'em your razor
stretch marks, your shotpitted pot.
   Good night Irene I'll see you in my dreams. . .
all that good hot mean hard American life
   and Lou Gehrig's amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
It's The Midnight Special! Fade me, Death!


Am still in moderate-to-high squee mode, partly because my good friend in London just told me that a friend and co-worker of hers is co-adapting a play with Alan Rickman. She ordered me not to salivate. I can't help it. Certain people suggested that it was just as well that it was not me co-adapting a play or anything else with Alan Rickman, as I would surely salivate on him, and then he would scold me, and that would only make matters very, very much worse. *crumples into whimpering heap*

LiveJournal appears to be eating my comments. I have not gotten a single one since early this morning except on a handful of comments I left in other people's journals. I will eventually find the ones here, I suppose, so long as they are on fairly recent posts, but I imagine that if you wrote back to anything I said in your journal, odds are good I may not see it, so please don't be mad!

I wanted to be Alma-Tadema's "The Favorite Poet" like from whom I gacked this quiz, like in the icon I am using right now, which I have had for ages, and I thought I was slanting my answers that way, but I am:

Why, you saucy thing you! You are incredibly sensual, amorous, and enjoy the pleasures of the flesh. You appreciate your own body, and that of those around you, when you are have the opportunity! You also very likely love all the pleasures of life, in the form of sumptuous fabrics, textures, foods, and even really moving ideas and conversations. As long as you are responsible, Hedonism rocks!

You are Nymphs and Satyr by Bouguereau.
Which Pre~Raphaelite Painting Are You?
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The washing machine is working but I can't tell if it's spinning right; clothes still seem to be awfully damp coming out. Am hoping this is a one-time thing and perhaps I overloaded the sweats. Am planning to make sacrifices to the laundry gods and try much smaller loads next time.

Here is Aragorn running on his wheel, with a mouthful of fluff with which to build a nest. Where he thinks he's racing to put the fluff, I couldn't guess -- Minas Tirith? Rivendell? Boromir's cage?

Boromir is much calmer and more methodical, chewing apart toilet paper tubes (Aragorn always pees on his tubes before he starts chewing on them, which seems odd to me, but then I am not a Ranger gerbil). Rather than spending as much time on the wheel, Boromir builds enormous fluffy nests -- much more impressive than Aragorn's -- as if he were dreaming of building for two...

Sunday, November 21, 2004

National Treasure Squee

How do I love National Treasure? Let me count the ways.
1. Sean Bean. With long fluffy windblown blonde hair. In a lot of the movie. Smiling a lot and cracking jokes. And having more chemistry with the male lead than the female lead, though it's nice to see Odysseus and Helen of Troy together again. (ETA: has squee and Sean pics here!)
2. Washington, Philadelphia and New York, the co-stars of this film. Say what you will about Jerry Bruckheimer, his films tend to take full advantage of their settings and this one is no exception.
3. The ship under the ice at the beginning of the movie. I am sure someone will tell me that its timbers would have been crushed like Shackleton's Endeavour and I believe you; I just loved the icy, dusty cannons and barrels of powder and the captain who died protecting the clue and the smuggler's hold.
4. Ian (Sean Bean's character) staying at the Watergate Hotel. Of course the villain would stay at the Watergate. DC was well showcased in this film, from the obelisk of the Washington Monument to the steps of the Lincoln with Abe listening to Ben (Nicholas Cage's character) plotting, but particularly all the shots in and around the National Archives. This is very familiar territory to me, and I love seeing it on the big screen...much less crowded than in real life! The string quartet with the guys in wigs at the gala (made me think of Aubrey and Maturin when they invited other people to play with them, am geek), the gift shop with its overpriced oversized replicas of the Declaration of Independence, the shots of how the vault works (they explain this in the lecture at the Archives but I've never seen a representation of it)...this all made me smile. And my younger son was narrating in my ear everything we learned about security the last time we were at the Archives, which was impressive.
5. In addition to DC, the shots of Philadelphia, where I lived for four very happy years while a college student at Penn. I have been in the Bourse dealing with lunchtime crowds on several occasions, though I see that either they moved the food court from the top floor to the first floor since I last ate there, or else the movie moved the food court for its own purposes. Loved the Independence Hall shots...wow, they ran from the Bourse to Broad Street in like five minutes! I love movie time! It made me nostalgic in a good way. None of these cities had homeless people or pissed off commuters, and the only vendor in the whole film was fake, the lunch truck Ian's people used to get close to the Archives without suspicion.
6. Ben gets chills when he brings the Declaration of Independence back to the room in which it was signed. I have never had a crush on a Nicholas Cage character before, but I would have married him right then. His sense of what's a holy relic and how it should be treated is lovely (and the fact that he and Abigail both agree they'd sacrifice one another to save the Declaration, even though they've already proven that's not entirely true). Also, Abigail is a passionate US citizen who was not born here -- all right, that would be more interesting if she was from Central America or one of the places from which the current administration has tried to define people as less authentically American if they immigrate, but I liked that she had an accent.
7. And after the obligatory "it isn't whether or not you find the treasure, it's whether you find the True Meaning of the treasure" speech delivered by Jon-Voight-as-Sean-Connery near the end of the film, Ben becomes both Harrison-Ford-as-Indy and Tia-Carrere-as-Sydney and insists that any treasure found must go to a museum! I want to see the the scrolls of the Library of Alexandria more than I'd want the gold, dammit, and his priorities are so in the right place. Abigail tells him no one talks the way he does and he says but they do think the way he does...sigh. Dreamy.
8. Knights Templar in Manhattan! I am a total sucker for Treasure of the Knights Templar stories, whether they're seriously researched, credible ones or The Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. This one reminded me of both of the latter in all the best ways. Also I loved the New Amsterdam history that gets mentioned. I don't know whether it's real, the history of Broadway and Wall Streets -- I promised myself after I read Pete Hamill's Forever that I would read a really good factual history of New York but I still haven't done it. Anyone know one?
9. Have I mentioned that this movie is quite funny? Justin Bartha is quite hilarious picking on Cage and Kruger's nerd-dom even though he's a techie nerd himself, and Bean gets in a few zingers. (Bean and Cage also prove that aristocratic-looking and sounding white guys can still get in anywhere; if either had been played by someone who looked like Omar Sharif, he'd have been surrounded by FBI whether he'd committed a crime or not.) Like Pirates of the Caribbean, the movie is also full of fun visual detail -- I particularly liked how Ian's thugs were all working with dirty icky thug equipment while Ben had a nice sanitary room all set up to examine the Declaration...not that that ended up mattering, given the number of people who touched the very very fragile document with bare hands, not to mention lemon juice, but hey, it's a movie.
10. Loved the end, in Boston, at the Old North Church, and the fact that The Man Who Always Dies meets a better fate. (And the fact that Ian, a Brit, doesn't know how many lanterns were hung there and so accepts Jon Voight's explanation that they need to go to Boston in the first place.) We have been in many of the places in this film with my parents and children, with whom we saw the movie, and that one in particular the kids recognized at once because we were just there this summer. Though we were also at the Liberty Bell with them, and in New York City, and they recognize the Archives and Watergate easily. As family films go, this one was made for my family.

Look, this is not a great or profound movie. I could have listed absurd historical claims or obvious ripoffs from other films or things that just didn't make sense or ways the FBI and the government looked incompetent, instead of things that made me squee. If you go in like many of the critics expecting it to be stupid, you will probably see lots of stupidity. I went in expecting to enjoy it, and I enjoyed it more than I expected...more than I enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean the first time I saw that, and much more than Tomb Raider and other pseudo-Indiana Jones flicks. I recommend it heartily to anyone who's willing to accept it for what it is.</squee>

I did not have a perfect day -- my cable was down from this morning until a little while ago when we got back from the movie, and our washing machine broke mid-cycle, requiring much bailing and wringing and gnashing of teeth -- it appears to be functioning somewhat now but smells like something is burning, and I just want to get through this spin cycle and get the clothes dry enough to put in the dryer without overheating that. However, I spent a lovely few hours with the children and the parents with everyone smiling and laughing and applauding together, and that is what family movies do at their best, you know?

Okay, I have been officially converted to Gerard Butler love. I blame Kim Schultz. Expect much squeeing when I see Phantom of the Opera, too.

Poem for Sunday

Henry's Understanding
By John Berryman

He was reading late, at Richard's, down in Maine,
aged 32? Richard & Helen long in bed,
my good wife long in bed.
All I had to do was strip & get into my bed,
putting the marker in the book, & sleep,
& wake to a hot breakfast.

Off the coast was an island, P'tit Manaan,
the bluff from Richard's lawn was almost sheer.
A chill at four o'clock.
It only takes a few minutes to make a man.
A concentration upon now & here.
Suddenly, unlike Bach,

& horribly, unlike Bach, it occurred to me
that one night, instead of warm pajamas,
I'd take off all my clothes
& cross the damp cold lawn & down the bluff
into the terrible water & walk forever
under it out toward the island.


From Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in the Sunday Washington Post Book World, in which Hirsch describes Berryman as "one of the most idiosyncratic voices in American poetry" and claims that "no significant American poet is funnier, though the comedy is nervous and limned with sadness." Berryman mixes up highbrow and lowbrow in a manner Hirsch calls "part Shakespeare, part minstrel show, part baby talk...imagine Emily Dickinson crossed with Bessie Smith and Groucho Marx." For his own part, Berryman described his life's work as "the almost insuperable difficulty of writing high verse in a land that cared and cares so little for it."

My day was taken up with my children having friends over, cleaning stuff up in preparation for their having friends over, trying to get work done before their friends came over, trying to figure out dinner for them and the three friends who were over, having ice cream sundaes with my kids and their friends who are sleeping over, and other exciting domestic issues, so instead of news or photos you get very nearly an entire post of memes. But first, some links: has taken up 's call for a 'Horror on Snape Island' challenge, has provided a glimpse of a Lego 'Last Supper', and Ursula K. LeGuin has posted comments in response to remarks by the director of the Earthsea miniseries. Also, I made a naughty Lupin/Snape icon which is 's fault. (ETA: screen cap in icon from Total Eclipse, contains naked David Thewlis, not work or child-safe!)

: What are your five favorite relationships in your fandom(s)?
1. Kira/Odo.
These characters loved each other. They knew each other, had seen one another at their absolute worst, had had to forgive one another for really awful things. They talked, even when it hurt, even when they knew they were saying too much. They weren't particularly attracted to each other; it was never about the flirtation, the games, it was never because she was beautiful or because he could do things with his fingers that no actual humanoid could manage, they had to get past profound differences of species and culture and how their bodies made love. They chose each other again and again. It broke my heart when, in the end, they did not choose each other once more, but they had both already shown that they loved each other enough even to know when to let each other go. I honestly can't imagine a romantic relationship I could ever adore more than this one.
2. Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin. Even without the slash. I know, I get annoyed too when people say "I don't see the need to slash these two," but in this case after 20 books I really, truly have very little need to witness any sexual connection though I will certainly enjoy it if it's there. As I read the series, I kept thinking not "I want someone to love me like these two love each other," but "I want someone to be my friend the way these two are friends to one another." It's ideal, of course, if one can have both, but over the decades I think sexual attraction waxes and wanes, whereas emotional connection like this is a very rare and wonderful thing. They learn from each other and challenge each other and save each other in pretty much every way possible.
3. Kirk/Spock. To some extent what I said above applies to them too; but there is also a strong erotic charge there of an entirely different order, sort of grand and diffuse in Kirk, repressed and simmering in Spock, and it affects their interactions whether they're arguing about the best way to defuse a crisis on some planet or putting their heads together to get out of a scientific jam. Gene Roddenberry himself supposedly wrote the th'y'la scene from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, in which Spock admits he loves Kirk so much that he must banish him entirely from his consciousness before he can attempt to achieve pure logic. They save each other many times over the course of their careers together, but Kirk saves Spock in the most important way: he makes him be who he is, even if it's not who he always wants to be.
4. Janeway/Chakotay. Forget, for a moment, the last four or five years of Voyager. Remember when Janeway was a woman of the 24th century, a woman who could truly have had it all -- the career she always wanted, the loyalty of the people working under her without taking away their ability to speak frankly, a sense of wonder, a sense of humor, and enough belief in herself to be certain that she would get them home no matter what happened, with that optimism conveying to all of them? And remember when Chakotay was a man of the 24th century, who didn't need any macho shit or even Maquis rebelliousness to be strong, who had little trouble reconciling his spirituality and his scientific knowledge, who understood that he had been given a second chance and did not intend to screw it up through arrogance or anger or boredom? Remember how those people looked at each other in the cargo bay scene in "The 37s"? I can still get chills, now, if I can forget everything that came in between and just remember that.
5. Aragorn/Boromir. Yes, I know I've written both of them with other people (*cough*Faramir*cough*) and in some ways I think they are better friends and probably lovers to other people. But they challenge and take apart and put together and complete each other in a way I don't think any other two characters in the trilogy do (and I'm speaking movieverse here, primarily; maybe if I had SEEN Faramir's scenes from ROTK, I'd feel differently). Boromir more than anyone else makes Aragorn the King he needs to become at the moment he needs to become it, and tragic as it is that Aragorn can't save him, even that, I think, was necessary. I would not change the way their story ended.

1. If you were a shoe, what would you look like?
Clunky, rubber-soled, lined with something soft...very comfortable, not in the least fashionable, but probably with some obnoxiously colorful streak on the outside.
2. If you were a t-shirt, what would you say? "Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace." By Amelia Earhart -- look, it's on my icon.
3. If your house caught on fire and was burning to the ground...what is the one thing you'd save and why? Assuming that my spouse, children and pets were already out safely...this computer, or at least the CD-Rs with my most recent backup. Everything I've written, my photos, my dreams...they're all here.
4. If you were a book...would you read yourself? I'd probably be bored if it was all factual, but if my fantasy life were included, I think I'd get through it. *G*
5. If you could do anything at all (without consequences), what would you do? Travel for the rest of my life. Not continuously; my first answer was "travel around the world," but I don't really want to do it that way, I want to go places and then come home for awhile and regroup and think and figure out how it had changed me before going to the next place.

From all over, The Journal Names Meme:
My journal title is: Your Cruise Director's Log. This is directly related to my username, operating on the assumption that if the captain and other officers of a ship keep logs, the cruise director should keep one as well.
My subtitle is: "The Love Boat Soon Will Be Making Another Run." This is a line from The Love Boat theme song, whose full lyrics can be found trailing down the left-hand sidebar of my journal.
My friends-page is called: Love Boat Passengers. Because if I am the Cruise Director, it is my job to keep you busy, is it not? Are you not entertained? *g*
My username is: . Long ago in Star Trek fandom, I was in one of those fannish groups that created a virtual "ship's crew" for a starship in which people took on the positions of captain, first officer, ship's counselor, etc., and I said that if I had to have an actual job besides Captain's Yeoman, I wanted to be like Julie on The Love Boat and plan the entertainment. I signed my ancient AOL posts "Michelle, Your Cruise Director," and I posted all my fanfic on a.s.f.s and a.s.c. as "Your Cruise Director." I have kept the name ever since because sometimes someone from ten years ago finds me because of it and that makes me very, very happy.
My default icon is: My smaller cat being pesked by my younger son's wristbands. I am very fickle with default icons and change them every couple of weeks at least. However, I am very loyal to icon keywords.
My LJ name is: Your Cruise Director, the extended form of .

From , my deadly sins in order of how completely I embody them:















Seven deadly sins
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From , my inner princess and definitely my choice among the Disneys if I can't be Mulan:

Whats your inner princess?
LJ Username
Favorite Color
You Are:
Your prince is: sangerin
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And from , , and others:

If there is any question you would like to ask me about any one of my fics or plans for fics, then go ahead! What I meant by a particular line, why I chose that characterisation, what I was listening to as I wrote, what crack I was taking and where you can get some...anything. Anything you might like to know about how I wrote a fic, I shall do my best to answer.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Poem for Saturday

Sonnet 98
By William Shakespeare

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
Could make me any summer's story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
Nor did I wonder at the lily's white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.


From the day before yesterday, which was stressful and upsetting, I got some karmic balance. Spent literally the entire morning trying to get my e-mail straightened out (anyone who writes me at my hotmail account, please delete it from your address book and use either the littlereview one or the livejournal one). Didn't get much of my work done before I had to get the kids from school, but the older son's bus was just late enough that I had time to finish the chapter I was reading in Blue at the Mizzen (am dreading the ending but gazing happily at 21). My parents did agree to babysit so and I could use my pass to the free screening of Alexander on Tuesday at the theater in Georgetown where I first saw Master and Commander around this time last year, so I am taking this as a good omen that perhaps in a few weeks I shall be obsessed with classics slash or something (just so long as it is not Colin Farrell!)

Meanwhile, to continue gratuitous geeky fannish squee, I am so pleased that Prisoner of Azkaban comes out on DVD next week (, do we have our usual morning date at Best Buy?) and look at this LOTR toy my husband got our kids for Chanukah! I am not even envious as I suck at things like this. I got a notification that my Galadriel and Legolas Barbie and Ken dolls have shipped, so they will be here by my birthday next month -- heh, buying myself presents with money I don't actually have yet.

Things were relatively civil with my parents at dinner -- we got double-barrelled guilt over Florida, but no actual accusations of being ungrateful or rude, just lots of disappointment and a couple of snarky observations about how we stay with my in-laws in their condo which is just as small, to which I got to point out that they only live an hour or so from here and we never stay for more than a couple of days at a time. Dinner was great -- Middle Eastern food -- and since my younger son cannot eat Tootsie Rolls with braces, I was allowed to steal from the dregs of his Halloween candy. This year has been the first Halloween season in living memory that I lost weight. If only it had been through virtuous exercise rather than stressing myself into nausea!

Enterprise review: "The Forge". I loved, loved, loved this episode. I shall even use a Trek icon in its honor. I loved getting to see so much of Vulcan, I loved all the references to the original series, I pretty much just adore T'Pol. Do not, do not let me start 'shipping Archer/T'Pol please if I sound like I might be going there. Say "Janeway/Chakotay" to me until I come to my senses, please.

The Galapagos Islands at the Museum of Natural History, rought to you courtesy the exhibit outside the Insect Zoo and , because whenever I think of Stephen Maturin and natural philosophers and Master and Commander, I think of her.

Unfortunately the iguanas, crabs, gulls, etc. here are artificial, but doesn't it look nice?

Still, there is much to be learned -- look at the big starfish!

These are not Galapagos shells, but gastropod relatives (I think) from the exhibit on ancient sea life. The kids did not think the giant squid there was giant enough.

I don't think any of these is Testudo Aubreii but we can pretend.

Hugs and goodnight everyone and I shall once again make a good faith effort to get caught up on things tomorrow, if Snape does not make me write more drabbles.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Poem for Friday

By Rupert Brooke

Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour,
And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping,
With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power,
To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping,
Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary,
Leave the sick hearts that honour could not move,
And half-men, and their dirty songs and dreary,
And all the little emptiness of love!

Oh! we, who have known shame, we have found release there,
Where there's no ill, no grief, but sleep has mending,
Naught broken save this body, lost but breath;
Nothing to shake the laughing heart's long peace there
But only agony, and that has ending;
And the worst friend and enemy is but Death.


I found that poem at a site had sent me to with poems about war, but now I've lost the link! Must hunt it up. (ETA: First World War poetry. Thanks again !)

I was out from before 8 a.m. on the field trip downtown with my younger son's class; waited for more than an hour after elementary school for my older son's bus which had broken down though I didn't know it till I'd already been at the bus stop for more than half an hour, and they were over an hour later than that; I had to rush him to Hebrew school, then rush back to get the younger one ready for violin, then take care of dinner, then test younger son on his spelling words; I read something in a friend's journal that really, really upset me, and then I was so fried I sat on the couch for two solid hours and made my husband watch Divorcing Jack with me because that is one of those movies that completely takes you outside your own life and any petty problems in your community and somehow manages to make you laugh at utter horrors, plus, you know, Jason Isaacs and David Thewlis grinning at one another. If I dream about Lucius/Remus tonight it is not my fault.

Also, linked to this movie poster, Horror on Snape Island, that kicked off so many bunnies I don't know where to start with them. I asked her if we could have a Horror on Snape Island challenge -- does this sound like fun or am I well and truly cracked?

I know I owe a bazillion comments. Tomorrow.

I went with my son's third grade class on a field trip to the Smithsonian so the kids could practice taking notes and writing about things they'd observed. We had a scavenger hunt of things to find in the museum. Here are two of the kids reporting that they found the rubies in the minerals and gemstones section.

And here is an opal surrounded by diamonds, emeralds and sapphires, which I took a photo of just because it's lovely.

Skeletons always seem to go over well with kids. Here are various canines, on the way to the Insect Zoo...

...which goes over even bigger, as it has live tarantulas, scorpions, a black widow, giant cockroaches, bees and other things I sincerely hope never to find in my home.

The recently redone area on mammals has a wide variety of stuffed specimens. I must admit that I prefer to see the live ones at the zoo, even if they don't hold still for observation.

Guess what everyone's favorite prehistoric skeleton is? (Actually, it was the mammoth, but this one was the one they talked about the most before we actually saw it.)

The Neanderthal diorama has been in this museum since I was in school taking field trips.

The elephant in the rotunda is always a meeting place for these sorts of activities -- it was where my kids were directed to go in case anyone got lost and where we all started and finished as a group.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Poem for Thursday

A Poet To His Beloved
By W.B. Yeats

I bring you with reverent hands
The books of my numberless dreams,
White woman that passion has worn
As the tide wears the dove-grey sands,
And with heart more old than the horn
That is brimmed from the pale fire of time:
White woman with numberless dreams,
I bring you my passionate rhyme.


Spent much of yesterday dealing with the orthodontist (we're looking at extractions and more braces for child #2) and with my kids' homework, and today after a few hours' sleep I am going on a field trip with my younger son's class to the Smithsonian, so I need to post quickly tonight. We still have not been told which museum we will be visiting! Forgetting how insane this is for the chaperones, I'm surprised more kids' parents have not demanded to know. I'm suspecting Natural History, based on what they're doing in science, but for all I know I will be trying to keep third graders entertained and well behaved in the National Gallery of Art.

I've nothing of great excitement to report except that Smallville is still the slashiest show on television (that was my laundry-folding TV hour); that has written Spock-Snape crossover fic that is brilliant; that the second graphic in The Onion article "Republicans Call For Privatization Of Next Election" made me howl; and that this is my lightsaber, quiz courtesy :

Your Lightsaber is Blue

Blue is often associated with depth and stability.
It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom,
confidence, and truth.

What Colored Lightsaber Would You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla

I do need to squee about Smallville a little more, partly because a couple of nights ago I actually had a dream in which Harry and Draco were playing Clark and Lex. Think about it, this makes perfect sense -- Lionel and Lucius have so much in common. Clark is so jealous when he hears finds out Lex is a womanizer! Even before he knows Lex is the screw 'em and sneak out sort, he is miserable at the very idea that Lex would have mindless sex with a stranger. He is so upset that Lex lied to him, and particularly freaked out that Lex likes mindless sex!

Then Chloe gets Clark to roleplay being Lex, and Clark gets so excited...does anyone actually believe that this is over fake making out with Chloe, rather than over imagining Lex making out in an elevator and acting it out? Poor Clark. Can't he see that Lex is in despair over him and using those women as a distraction? Lex can! He begs Clark not to give up on him! I am so in the mood for some good denial!fic right now. I keep wanting to stop time on this series before there's a real rift, which there hasn't been yet no matter what anyone's said -- theirs is still by far the most emotional, passionate bond of anyone on the series, with the occasional exception of Lionel and Lex -- and who else shrieked when Lionel speculated that Lex was looking for his mother in all those women he slept with? Lionel is my kind of perv.

So I shall combine two memes here:
1. When did you first "friend" me?
2. Why did you first "friend" me?
3. What posts of mine do you like to read the best?
4. What would you like me to write about that I don't?
5. Do you think we would be friends in real life?
6. How often do you read my journal?
7. What do we have in common?
8. Will you post this in your journal so I can answer?
9. Is there anything you want to ask me that you think you should know about me to avoid the impersonality of the internet that I have not already covered in some TMI post or other?
Feel free to answer as many or as few as you like. *g*

Ladybug at the Visitor's Center, Great Falls

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Poem for Wednesday

From Gitanjali
By Rabindranath Tagore

On many an idle day have I grieved over lost time. But it is never lost, my lord. Thou hast taken every moment of my life in thine own hands.

Hidden in the heart of things thou art nourishing seeds into sprouts, buds into blossoms, and ripening flowers into fruitfulness.

I was tired and sleeping on my idle bed and imagined all work had ceased. In the morning I woke up and found my garden full with wonders of flowers.

Time is endless in thy hands, my lord. There is none to count thy minutes.

Days and nights pass and ages bloom and fade like flowers. Thou knowest how to wait.

Thy centuries follow each other perfecting a small wild flower.

We have no time to lose, and having no time we must scramble for a chances. We are too poor to be late.

And thus it is that time goes by while I give it to every querulous man who claims it, and thine altar is empty of all offerings to the last.

At the end of the day I hasten in fear lest thy gate to be shut; but I find that yet there is time.


Yet another day with nothing earthshattering to report. I had a lovely lunch at an absolutely wonderful Indian buffet with and her mother, , two women I admire so much as well as like; we talked about holidays and plans to travel and their NaNoWriMo progress, which made me sorry I hadn't made some effort to participate this year. They want to do it again during a month other than November, which I am heartily in favor of (NaNoWriMo was clearly originated by a man who is not responsible for his family's Thanksgiving or winter holiday celebrations), so maybe they will let me join them then!

Then I came home and had a long phone conversation with my college roommate who has just moved to Albany, which is too far (she'd been in New York City), but she is in a house right on a lake and it sounds wonderful and I am very happy for her. And then I ran into on AIM for the first time in ages and we caught up -- I love doing that. Important life lesson learned upon receiving phone bill today, however: never, ever call someone outside the U.S. to try to save a friendship. The price on Sprint is much, much too high to listen to a list of your own character flaws. Money could have been better spent on nice dinner, museum trip with kids or buying presents for actual friends.

Meanwhile my older son decided he did not want to stay for chess club at school today but rather to come home and get ready for the Turkey Trot, a mile-long Thanksgiving race which he is taking very seriously and competitively. So I picked him up, the kids did some serious exercising, then came home with the Yu-Gi-Oh movie on DVD and all activity stopped but watching it enraptured. Younger son has a busy couple of days coming up with an orthodontist appointment and a field trip, and then we just learned that his very good friend from Venezuela whom we had thought was moving back a year ago, whose mother was able to stay at the embassy longer, is now moving back for good in a couple of weeks (I am very curious whether this abruptness has anything to do with the election and/or Powell's resignation but I dare not ask). So both kids are going to his going-away party this weekend, which will apparently involve a sleepover with Spongebob marathon.

Wrote my first : "Unrepentant", for the anonymous pen pal challenge. Sometimes I need a drabble to clear my head and had really gotten out of the habit of writing them. Today Bellatrix Black decided that I need to write the chapter of Animi Causa that she's in -- having her talking in my head was a very lestrange experience (get it? heh, but hey, it is necessary to have a sense of humor when freakin' Bellatrix is in your head). Oddly, the less I want to finish Animi Causa, the more Snape wants me to finish it. I think I need to write the infill in the Lucius half before I can do a thing with the ending, and both Bellatrix and Lucius are being rather icky, if entertainingly kinky. Hope no one minds. Then there's also the happy-ending Remus/Sirius fic and the dark Remus/Sirius/Severus fic I'm supposed to be working on...but whenever I look at either of those, Snape wants more outrageously happy in-denial smut. Wizards.

GIP because brought me yellow wristbands for my sons and made them very, very happy, then younger son proceeded to tease Cinnamon with the wristbands. And while I am on a cat theme...

Georgie, the kitten rescued by a couple of weeks ago, who is still looking for a permanent home.

Did not read friends list at all and am too tired now, so will chat in the morning! Sorry and goodnight! ETA: Happy birthday and !

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Poem for Tuesday

Shiloh: A Requiem
By Herman Melville

Skimming lightly, wheeling still,
  The swallows fly low
Over the field in clouded days,
  The forest-field of Shiloh--
Over the field where April rain
Solaced the parched ones stretched in pain
through the pause of night
That followed the Sunday fight
  Around the church of Shiloh--
The church so lone, the log-built one,
That echoed to many a parting groan
  And natural prayer
  Of dying foemen mingled there--
Foemen at morn, but friends at eve--
  Fame or country least their care:
(What like a bullet can undeceive!)
  But now they lie low,
While over them the swallows skim,
  And all is hushed at Shiloh.


Spent a nice day visiting with , eating her food and watching The Manchurian Candidate -- the original -- had forgotten just how wonderful that film is, and how good Sinatra was in it. Georgie the kitten was there being utterly adorable -- I took photos but have not had time to size them, so not even she has seen them yet! I always feel very decadent slumping on someone else's couch, eating her food, watching her movies. Heh.

Then I came home and got my kids, which led to the usual hilarity one has with kids. My younger son was cleaning his room and discovered for the first time, though they have been there forever, the collection of stuffed Opuses (Opi?) from Bloom County on his very top shelf. These belonged to me and , a longtime Berke Breathed fan. So younger son asked, "What's the name of the penguin on my shelf? And how come his nose is so big?" and then, a few minutes later, "If his nose is big, does that mean his weenie is big?" Hazards of quoting Life of Brian with children around even when you think they are not listening! himself meanwhile sent me a link to this article on beavers that built a dam out of stolen money. Very amusing, but my first question was, "Tell the truth, you were searching under 'beaver' weren't you?" Heh.

Meme, gacked from because it amuses me: tell me which Harry Potter character I would be and why! Am having delayed lunch with and and I am so excited! And have busy schedule with kids the next two days so had better go. Thanks so much everyone for the fic comments; I feel all warm and fuzzy now. Snape does too, but he insists that that is the result of a potion he was testing and he scoffs at my Muggle ignorance.

Light hitting the spray over the part of the falls not trapped by the natural dam on the way to Olmsted Island.

Light coming over the canal, so bright that not even my wonderful camera's automatic settings could cope.

The canal was so clear and shallow that the light penetrated to the bottom, allowing a rare glimpse of the rocks down there.

The geese were out enjoying the afternoon sun; around here they don't migrate, since food is reasonably plentiful even in the winter.

Though a champion kayaker drowned less than a month ago when his kayak overturned, and there were helicopters out looking for his body while we were at the falls, others could not resist the gorgeous weather.

Some of the invaders from the river washed ashore during a past flood; none of these are indigenous, they were dumped into the river by ships and are choking off the native fauna.