Saturday, April 28, 2007

Poem for Saturday

Preludes for Prepared Piano 7
By Estill Pollock

Up and Down, Up and Down
(I Will Lead Them Up and Down)

Scene: Athens, and a wood near it—
the fierce vexation.

Between gigs, we squeezed in gruelling studio time,
going through several bottles of water,
countless takes churning out "Poison Ivy."
Several parks knew the trampling of our feet, chasing
Frisbees and each other.
We tanned seductively on the beach.
We took our meals at various local hangouts,
no doubt jolting the clientele with the volume,
the vibration.
Romping through shopping malls before confused sales clerks,
we spent an evening absorbing the phenomenon.

By imitating men's voices
I keeps the lovers apart until they each fall asleep,
then the herb.

Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed, others attending,
up, down, the all around
one revolving point in space, here comes my messenger.

Foolish mortals.


Older son is home from Boston, along with numerous loads of laundry. Apparently he had a great time: got to tour the nanotech lab at M.I.T., study sea life at Woods Hole, go on a dinner cruise past Bunker Hill and the Constitution, buy a baseball cap at Faneuil Hall, work on Plimoth Plantation, visit the Mayflower (I am highly amused that he was in Plymouth on both sides of the Atlantic in the same month), visit the science center and aquarium and have donuts one morning for breakfast provided by his science teacher. He took several hundred photos and I may post some of them, as he did some awesome stuff and I am envious, as I have never been to M.I.T. or Woods Hole!

My day was not as exciting, though I did write a more-positive-than-expected review of Star Trek: The Next Generation's "The Battle" -- the one with the Ferengi who makes Picard hallucinate being on the Stargazer, which I sat through the first time wondering why in heck they hadn't made Riker the captain of the Enterprise. We had California Tortilla for dinner after the kids rejected our initial plan to take them to Red Lobster, because they had several days of catching up on video games to do (older son had not yet even seen his Pokemon Diamond game!) and Cal Tort was faster and closer to home. (Not to mention cheaper, and since they didn't care what they ate anyway, we figured we'd save the Red Lobster gift card -- which we got as a Christmas present from 's aunt and uncle -- until everyone is really in the mood.)

: Get up, stand up!
1. Turn your head to the right -- what do you see?
Rosie lying sprawled on the floor a few feet from where is reading the newspaper.
2. Stand-up -- do you like how tall you are? I've only ever been 4'10" so although I can't reach my own top pantry shelf, I have no idea what it would be like to be taller.
3. Do you believe in heaven or hell? I don't believe in hell at all. I don't know nearly enough about the universe to have any sense of what happens to our energy after we die.
4. What is your favorite piece of jewelry? At the moment it's a $10 Chalice Well pendant. I'm also very fond of a pin made from the faces of my grandmother's watches and my Native American animal bead necklace.
5. What is the last thing you took from someone else? Laundry from my son. Oh, if you mean to keep, the Cadbury Creme Egg he said he didn't want!

: Favorites
1. What is your all time favorite book?
I can never pick one, so out of the many top contenders I'll go for Richard Bach's Illusions.
2. What is your all time favorite movie? I can never pick one, so out of the many top contenders I'll go for Kiss of the Spider Woman.
3. What are you reading right now? Out of Egypt.
4. What is your favorite show on tv? Doctor Who and Boston Legal -- I refuse to choose.
5. What is the last movie you saw in the theater? The Namesake.

: What are the five coolest gadgets, in any fandom?
1. The library computer, communicator, replicator, transporter and holodeck
, Star Trek. (Okay, that's five but it didn't seem fair to give them all to one fandom.)
2. The magic wand, Time-Turner, Pensieve, Skele-gro and flying broom, Harry Potter. (Same problem.)
3. The Infinite Improbability Drive, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
4. The sonic screwdriver, Doctor Who.
5. The internet. Yes, I'm serious: I never dreamed during my childhood that we would have this miraculous communication tool in my lifetime, and I am grateful for it every day.

: Choose a character. It doesn't have to be your favorite or least favorite, just whoever pops into your head. For me, this would always be Snape or Lupin. Since I'm betting more people do Snape, I'll do Lupin.
1. What are your three favorite moments for that character? Embracing Sirius like a (hem, hem) brother, teaching Harry about his Patronus, giving the "people like me" speech after resigning from Hogwarts (this last is a case where I prefer the movie version to the book version).
2. What's your least favorite moment? Being bullied into dating Tonks.
3. What's your favorite quote by that character? "What you fear most of all is fear. Very wise."
4. What is one thing you hope happens with your character in Book 7? He regains his spine personality from books 3-5.
5. What is one thing that absolutely can’t happen to your character in the final book, APART FROM DEATH? FUZZY PINK WEREWOLF BABIES. I would vastly prefer death to the kind of garbage compulsory heterosexuality to which he was subjected in Half-Blood Prince.

The Dudley Zoo is on the grounds of Dudley Castle, built by the Normans around 1071.

Our tour guide was "Brother Dudley," a medieval monk. (We suspect that he moonlights as "Doctor Dudley," who gives animal tours.)

The triple gateways are reputed to be haunted because of all the people who died there.

Through this opening in the ceiling, once covered in wood instead of brick, soldiers above could pour boiling oil down on invaders trapped between the doors that could be dropped on either side of the arches.

Most of the castle was destroyed by fire in the 1750s. It had been beautifully restored by John Dudley in the Renaissance, but he was beheaded by Mary I for trying to put his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey, on the throne.

It is believed that someone might have been using the castle ovens to produce counterfeit coins when the fire started. Many of the servants were trapped and died; thus, the castle is reputed to be filled with spirits, such as this storage room where a ghost has reportedly been seen by visitors.

Some areas are remarkably untouched by the destruction...

...while others are in a much greater state of decay.

For Saturday we are debating whether to go to Maryland Day at the University of Maryland, when all the departments have really cool displays and open houses, particularly the science and agriculture divisions, or whether to go to Shakespeare's birthday party at the Folger Library and then to the National Arboretum to see the azaleas. Oh, dilemma! None of us can decide which we want to do more!

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