Wednesday, October 31, 2007


  • 14:15 How in hell did it get to be after two and all I've gotten done is scanned younger son's drawings? #
  • 20:01 Kids' bathroom vanity totally cleaned out, uggghhhh. Costume pieces acquired -- skeleton gloves?! Now to carve the pumpkins! #
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Poem for Halloween

Shadow March
By Robert Louis Stevenson

All around the house is the jet-black night;
     It stares through the window-pane;
It crawls in the corners, hiding from the light,
     And it moves with the moving flame.

Now my little heart goes a beating like a drum,
     With the breath of the Bogies in my hair;
And all around the candle and the crooked shadows come,
     And go marching along up the stair.

The shadow of the balusters, the shadow of the lamp,
     The shadow of the child that goes to bed--
All the wicked shadows coming tramp, tramp, tramp,
     With the black night overhead.


My terrifying activity for the day was cleaning everything out of the kids' bathroom. The stuff under the sink wasn't so bad, even though I discovered that we still had the nasal aspirator and rectal thermometer we'd bought when older son was an infant -- since the advent of the ear thermometer we've never gone looking for the latter, for which I am profoundly grateful -- and there were about nine bottles of shampoo that no one in the house remembered using, plus a miniature bottle of lotion that I bought to bring to I said, terrifying. Anyway, it's been thrown out, as have the toys that have been in the net in the tub for so long that I don't want to describe their condition. I did manage to save a miniature Marvin the Paranoid Android (and I don't want to know which of my kids brought him in the tub, nor why!)

Took younger son out to find a new mask and gloves because his penguin costume no longer fits, then drove him to Hebrew school, then wrote an article about Martian Child, in which the screenwriters made the protagonist, John Cusack's character straight -- now THIS pisses me off, considering that the character's homosexuality was critical to his sense of alienation in the novella, but I'm sure there are far fewer people who will get upset about this than about Harry Potter not being gay enough, and I'm sure legendary slash-hater David Gerrold can rationalize that maybe a contemptible female audience will appreciate the genius of his story if enough of them find John Cusack hot. (What, me, still irritated?) In the evening we carved our pumpkins:

Our targ did not wish to help us by eating the heart of our enemy...

...because she had spotted a moth outside the sliding glass doors and had to keep an eye on it!

So we had to scoop out the pumpkin seeds ourselves.

However, we managed to get all three jack-o-lanterns decorated and the seeds toasted (well, not the ones from the white pumpkin, which we discovered last year don't taste as good).

This is 's Halloween Barbie collection -- I have all of these dolls but they're still in boxes (here are some of them). I want to arrange mine like this!

A demon mermaid at the Halloween store.

And a lovely wall of artwork and decorations.

Please vote for Daisy in The 3rd Annual World's Coolest Dog & Cat Show!

After the kids finally went upstairs -- I can't say "to bed" since they proceeded to stall for nearly 45 minutes -- those of us over 14 watched Boston Legal, where Alan attempted to explain to Lorraine what happened to him at 14 that makes him so inept with her and Katie made me cry, and I was completely identifying with a woman I find horrifying and scary. But one at a the biggest case, a woman, Patrice Kelly (the fabulous Mare Winningham), comes to Alan to explain that her daughter was murdered, the killer was found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity and she wants to kill him and get away with it for the exact same reason. Alan says he can't talk to her, as it would make him a conspirator. Fine, she says, I'm writing a novel, and lays out the same scenario: how would the protagonist pull it off? Alan says that on a positive note, she seems totally insane. He asks Denny whether he should report her to the police, but while he's still mulling, the woman shoots her daughter's killer in the head. She wants Alan to represent her.

Meanwhile, Katie and Jerry are called by Joseph Washington, who's in prison for driving to work. Since he's a registered sex offender, he's not allowed to drive on his restricted license to his job and he's been evicted from his home. Everyone from the arresting officer to the local priest have advised him to move away from nice white suburban Middletown. Jerry suggests challenging Megan's Law; Carl says that since they shouldn't be taking on any more pro bono work at all, they should be reasonable and try to talk to the woman who accused Joseph of rape when they were teenagers. So Katie goes to see the woman, who now works in a hospital and says she's tried to put those events behind her. Katie says gently that if the woman was raped, she's sure there's no way to put that behind her, ever, but if Joseph is telling the truth and the woman claimed it was rape only to avoid her father's threats, then she can really put it behind her by exonerating Joseph.

Alan's case first. In between sessions talking to Lorraine, doing exactly what Denny recommended and telling her his entire sexual history -- from the neighbor whom Lorraine resembles who pressured Alan into sex at age fourteen to his unaffectionate mother who used to turn him on measuring his inseam -- Alan takes orders from Patrice, who has already made provisions for her own bail money and who has very strong opinions on how the trial should be conducted, though Alan notes that she doesn't sound even remotely insane. Patrice insists that that's because God told her to kill her daughter's murderer. She asks him to waive reading of the charges and tells him to state the obvious: "He had it coming. I'd like you to be passionate about that." Though Alan is clearly rather horrified by her, he does as she asks and argues very convincingly that this is a grieving mother whose only daughter was brutally murdered, then watched the killer walk free on trumped-up insanity charges that didn't even send him to a hospital. The judge sets bail at a million dollars.

Afraid of looking like a rich white woman who bailed herself out, Patrice asks for a black attorney instead of Denny Crane whom she believes is the epitome of a gluttonous corporate image. Alan brings in Whitney, who thinks at first that Alan is hitting on her and tells him that he's too old and too fat, but puts Patrice in her place just as firmly when Patrice explains that she talked to the media at a Rod Stewart concert so that she would look empowered to the jury: Whitney snaps that empowerment's no defense for first degree murder and advises Patrice to keep talking to God, because they can make that work. Whitney isn't fazed by much -- when she walks in on Lorraine measuring Alan's inseam, giving Alan such a boner that he has to hold an office chair up in front of his crotch, she only shakes her head a bit. Maybe Crane, Poole and Schmidt is the right place for her after all.

Gwen Richards, the woman who accused Joseph Washington of rape and got him convicted, goes to court with Katie and Jerry and tearfully recants her testimony of years before, admitting that she lied to protect herself from her father. The outraged judge says he finds her disgusting, sending a man to prison for something he didn't do, leaving that conviction hanging over his head while he was being tried for murder. "I can't take back what I took from him," she weeps. "He did not rape me." The judge has her arrested and vacates the case against Joseph Washington, who is no longer a convicted sex offender, but the people in Middletown keep very politely telling him that he is not wanted there. Including the priest.

Jerry and Katie go out for a celebratory drink. In the middle of it, she gets a call: Joseph is dead. They go to ID the body, seeing that he was bludgeoned to death. Carl tries to distract them with a copyright case, sees that Katie is crying, and says, "Because of you, he died an innocent man. You gave him his name back and perhaps a little faith." But Katie still feels that Joseph died without a single person in the world giving a damn about him, and announces that she's doing to church. Which she does, with Jerry, in Middletown. She asks to speak in Joseph's memory, first saying that she'd heard Middletown was a kind town of tolerant people, asking where people from prison are expected to go, how they are expected to live, then apologizing for lecturing and asking them all to pray for him with her.

Before this devastating scene has quite faded, the camera cuts from the church balcony to Denny and Alan's balcony, where Denny advises Alan not to go with "God told me to shoot him" because that sounds more like the Devil and juries don't like Devils. Alan feels like the Devil anyway -- he doesn't believe his client is insane, this case is "as premeditated as can be" -- but Denny says the bastard DID have it coming and deep down even Alan knows it, even if Alan will never admit that in some cases he's for the death penalty: "The guy beat the girl to death! I'd have shot him in the balls first! An eye for an eye, boom, dead." Denny is convinced that not only Alan but God believes this.

Pondering the eye for an eye debate, Alan asks Denny if he heard that Joseph Washington was killed. "I used to think hope was something that belonged to everyone," Alan says. Denny says that hope springs a kernel, and when Alan tries to correct him, saying it's not an old farmer's saying but "hope springs eternal," he realizes that it didn't for Joseph Washington. Denny's still stuck on corn, which he feels the world has too much of, like suffering: "I think it is 'hope springs a kernel.'" Finally Alan agrees, "You may be right." They both smoke their cigars. I don't like Patrice at all, but I am totally identifying with her -- if someone killed someone close to me and walked out because his high-priced lawyers made a ridiculous claim work for a jury, the temptation to buy a gun and mete out justice would be pretty strong. Not the whole glorified vigilante thing like that Jodie Foster movie I won't see; just that one person. I'm rooting for Alan to make her plea work.
This is one of my favorite Boston Legal episodes in a while and the new cast is growing on me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


  • 10:26 Eeee must get organized dementordelta is coming and 'Elizabeth' isn't playing half the places it was playing last weekend! #
  • 16:59 So instead of going out to the movies, we had lunch with gblvr and watched Alan Rickman commit incest...again! #
  • 21:20 Dinner, homework, now 'Heroes' and maybe 'Journeyman.' Plus my new toys from DementorDelta! #
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Poem for Tuesday

The Evening Darkens Over
By Robert Bridges

The evening darkens over
After a day so bright,
The windcapt waves discover
That wild will be the night.
There's sound of distant thunder.

The latest sea-birds hover
Along the cliff's sheer height;
As in the memory wander
Last flutterings of delight,
White wings lost on the white.

There's not a ship in sight;
And as the sun goes under,
Thick clouds conspire to cover
The moon that should rise yonder.
Thou art alone, fond lover.


came to visit and our original plan was to go see Elizabeth: The Golden Age together, but two local theaters had stopped showing it altogether and another only had it in the evening, so we gave up on that plan, called and told her to tell us where we were all going for lunch. She said the Rio Grande Cafe, so we had Mexican food and then Delta and I went and got pumpkin cheesecake from California Pizza Kitchen and brought it back to my house, where -- I know you will all be shocked to hear this -- we decided we were in an Alan Rickman mood, and since we had been deprived of Clive Owen in Elizabeth we also wanted stark naked Clive, so we watched Close My Eyes, which has the double charm of Alan as an adorable dork and Clive as an adorable doofus. Delta also brought me more of her Barbie and Ken discards, so now I have an Elvis, plus a Ken in faux alligator pants and a little silver tea set.

Heroes didn't thrill me, which has been the case all season -- I am bored out of my mind with the ancient Asia storyline, I actively hope not to see Hiro -- and while I'm still relatively attached to Claire, Noah, Matt, Mohinder and Micah's whole family, I feel like we're seeing too much repetition with Claire and her father of the stuff they went through last season and Mohinder just doesn't seem to have grown much despite all he's seen. Noah in particular is bugging me -- how can he not realize that if he keeps lying to Claire, then of course she's going to keep lying to him, and moreover that she can't protect him any more than he can protect her? I can't figure out whether Mohinder's new boss, Bob, is as inherently power-hungry and conspiratorial as Linderman et al or if he really believes he's doing what's necessary to protect people and is just not very bright.

Journeyman, on the other hand, was much better than it's been. I like how Katie's personality seems to have coalesced, I like that there's slowly emerging backstory, I especially like the implication that this is all about Dan's father who didn't abandon his family as Dan has always believed but had some time travel connection himself. On the other hand, this is so much a show about fathers and sons and brothers so far, with the women as satellites, and the one who could blow that equation right open, Livia, is instead being drawn out as the Mystery Woman Cliche. Any man in his right mind would either demand some answers from her or tell her to go away, so I can't help wondering what kind of masochist Dan is, and I have trouble rooting for him and Katie together, especially when the women are being presented as rivals for Dan just like Dan and Jack are for Katie.

A baby alpaca at Chestnut Hill Farm.

A sheep and her lambs at Stunkel's Farm.

And from another angle.

Here are some of Stunkel's cows.

Mommy Australian dog and her puppies at Stunkel's...

...and from another angle, aww.

The contractor called; they're going to start fixing things on Wednesday, which means we have to pull things away from walls and into different rooms and all that starting tomorrow. For now am waiting for Russell Crowe to show up on Jay Leno, since Monday Night Football is in overtime!

Monday, October 29, 2007


  • 10:52 Hebrew school meeting. These things always make me want to declare my allegiance to Asherah. #
  • 12:54 Back from nearly unbearable "Hire us to help plan your Mitzvah Project" meeting. Want to tell Rabbi that son really wants to help kids i ... #
  • 21:30 Back from Samhain at beeej's with vertigo66. Lovely evening with lots of delicious food. #
  • 00:16 Sox!!!! #
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Poem for Monday

In Autumn Moonlight, When the White Air Wan
By Robert Bridges

In autumn moonlight, when the white air wan
Is fragrant in the wake of summer hence,
'Tis sweet to sit entranced, and muse thereon
In melancholy and godlike indolence:
When the proud spirit, lull'd by mortal prime
To fond pretence of immortality,
Vieweth all moments from the birth of time,
All things whate'er have been or yet shall be.
And like the garden, where the year is spent,
The ruin of old life is full of yearning,
Mingling poetic rapture of lament
With flowers and sunshine of spring's sure returning;
Only in visions of the white air wan
By godlike fancy seized and dwelt upon.


I had a religious Sunday. In the morning while our kids were in Hebrew school the parents were summoned to a meeting on Mitzvah projects, the charity or community service work they do (or in the case of the very wealthy kids, the organization to which the family and friends donate lots of money). This time the head rabbi let one of his very good friends give a pitch about how now that she's a Bar/Bat Mitzvah consultant, we could actually HIRE her for help with our projects. I restrained myself from storming out of the meeting by developing a plan: when she proposes helping Israeli children exposed to terrorism by sending them to a very expensive summer camp, about $2500 a kid, which is what her daughter did for her Mitzvah project, I am going to look at them earnestly and say, "My son would really like to help the children in Gaza who have no blankets or clean drinking water." (This rabbi, who likes to brag about his involvement in the civil rights movement in the US, likes to steer congregants away from worrying about how Palestinian children are being treated using rationales from before the Yom Kippur War.) This congregation drives me insane and I feel very unable to break away and find another one right now, until both kids are through the Bar Mitzvah program.

I had a much more spiritually uplifting evening: I went with to 's house for a Samhain ritual. Events at 's house always involve lots of wonderful food and awesome decorations -- she does Halloween better than anyone I know -- cauldrons, candles, a full set of witch Barbies, and participatory cats (well, if sleeping on a shelf and batting at shoes from under the table counts). There was black bean soup and cheeses and candy, and cider and pumpkin bread and a descent to the underworld in the ritual; I don't really believe that people can speak to the dead in corporeal form, or at least that I can, but I always find it very uplifting and satisfying to remember my grandparents in the kind of detail required by the ritual. I can't do the same thing in any of the silent meditations in my synagogue because there are too many people in the congregation and it feels too impersonal to me. I need to find a Renewal movement group or Tel Shemesh group that celebrates the seasonal cycles, because while I know where I can celebrate Rosh Chodesh locally, I don't know where I can go for an Earth-based Sukkot celebration.

Turks Turbans and Red Warty Things (yes, that is what was actually printed on the sign) at Brookfield.

Pumpkins growing out in the field. (Supposedly the red warty things are sweeter than the big orange ones, and it's the green striped pumpkins that get canned.)

A Halloween display in front of the barn with the crafts.

This is how the kitten preferred to spend her time in the crafts barn.


...and a calf...

...and goats on display for the kids.

Please vote for Daisy in The 3rd Annual World's Coolest Dog & Cat Show!

RED SOX IN FOUR!!! Also watched Brotherhood -- oh Rose, such pettiness is beneath you, if you want to take advantage of your nephew than you should bring him in on your scheme instead of using him. And Michael -- well, at least he knows he needs help, though he has no conception of the level of help that he needs. It's still not as infuriating as Tommy, though, who doesn't think he needs any help at all! "We had a happy marriage...I had a happy marriage." Exactly. I wish Eileen and Kath would run off together with the kids!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


  • 10:47 Ohh I ate too much last night! #
  • 12:40 Too wet to hike on Catoctin...might be a chore day, younger son needs new sneakers... #
  • 17:27 Back from Target, World Market and Staples. Hope we have everything we need for Halloween. #
  • 20:11 The Trek articles for the weekend: done. I better get a good recommendation for this! #
  • 23:48 'Marie Antoinette' was much better than a lot of people told me! Now hoping Red Sox don't blow this. #
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Poem for Sunday

Low Barometer
By Robert Bridges

The south-wind strengthens to a gale,
Across the moon the clouds fly fast,
The house is smitten as with a flail,
The chimney shudders to the blast.

On such a night, when Air has loosed
Its guardian grasp on blood and brain,
Old terrors then of god or ghost
Creep from their caves to life again;

And Reason kens he herits in
A haunted house. Tenants unknown
Assert their squalid lease of sin
With earlier title than his own.

Unbodied presences, the pack'd
Pollution and remorse of Time,
Slipp'd from oblivion reenact
The horrors of unhouseld crime.

Some men would quell the thing with prayer
Whose sightless footsteps pad the floor,
Whose fearful trespass mounts the stair
Or bursts the lock'd forbidden door.

Some have seen corpses long interr'd
Escape from hallowing control,
Pale charnel forms -- nay ev'n have heard
The shrilling of a troubled soul,

That wanders till the dawn hath cross'd
The dolorous dark, or Earth hath wound
Closer her storm-spredd cloak, and thrust
The baleful phantoms underground.


From Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World, in which Robert Pinsky celebrates Halloween by stating, "Reason lives in a haunted house." Using stormy imagery, English poet laureate Bridges "compares inner and outer weather: As reduced air pressure releases the tremendous, sometimes destructive energy of a storm, so, too, can the reduced pressures of custom or inhibition release tremendous, sometimes destructive human terrors, guilts and impulses." The archaic language of this poem "contributes to the atmosphere of troubling, half-suppressed unconscious forces...[converting] fairly conventional Halloween-show images of fearfulness into a portrait of what may be the most frightening spectacle of all: ourselves."

We were going to go hiking on Catoctin on Saturday, but it was so wet in our backyard that we figured the mountain trails, sheltered from the sun, would probably be muddy and slippery, so we put it off till next weekend when maybe 's parents can join us. Instead we did chores we've been putting off, like getting Adam new sneakers (he needs them to go climbing on Sunday), getting printer labels for holiday cards, and getting $3 Hanes sweatpants for the kids on sale at Target. Then we stopped at World Market, which had just received a shipment of Cadbury holiday tins, huzzah!

Wrote three Trek articles -- Shatner feeling sorry for himself, Nichols being delighted with herself, Captain Pike possibly having a bigger role in Trek XI than Captain Kirk -- and watched Marie Antoinette on cable, which I hadn't seen. I enjoyed it in somewhat the same way as I enjoyed Elizabeth, which is to say that I didn't care how historically insane it was because the locations and the costumes were so magnificent. I don't admire even a feminist reconstituted Marie Antoinette anywhere near the way I admire Elizabeth, and the clothes did more acting than many of the actors, but even with the Knight's Tale approach to soundtrack and dancing, it manages to be affecting. And, I mean, the opera!

A farm in the Blue Ridge foothills above Frederick, Maryland.

This is the barn at Kiparoo Farm Studio.

Trees turning on the hillsides.

Alpacas on a different hillside in the late afternoon sun.

Hayrides are the perfect transportation to and from the pumpkin patch.

There are decorations for Halloween everywhere.

And the moon rises over dry cornfields.

Sunday morning I have a meeting at the Hebrew school about Bar Mitzvah stuff. Sunday evening I have a Samhain ritual. I like it when I get both religions on the same day.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


  • 11:24 Microwave is installed! Kitchen counters now must be cleaned! #
  • 12:33 Cut finger cleaning up after microwave installation. Why do fingers bleed so much? Ow! #
  • 15:46 This should NOT be taking so long to write... #
  • 23:36 Back from dinner with friends -- fabulous Indian food in Fairfax. Being this full makes me sleepy. #
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Poem for Saturday

Sekhmet, the Lion-headed Goddess of War
By Margaret Atwood

He was the sort of man
who wouldn't hurt a fly.
Many flies are now alive
while he is not.
He was not my patron.
He preferred full granaries, I battle.
My roar meant slaughter.
Yet here we are together
in the same museum.
That's not what I see, though, the fitful
crowds of staring children
learning the lesson of multi-
cultural obliteration, sic transit
and so on.

I see the temple where I was born
or built, where I held power.
I see the desert beyond,
where the hot conical tombs, that look
from a distance, frankly, like dunces' hats,
hide my jokes: the dried-out flesh
and bones, the wooden boats
in which the dead sail endlessly
in no direction.

What did you expect from gods
with animal heads?
Though come to think of it
the ones made later, who were fully human
were not such good news either.
Favour me and give me riches,
destroy my enemies.
That seems to be the gist.
Oh yes: And save me from death.
In return we're given blood
and bread, flowers and prayer,
and lip service.

Maybe there's something in all of this
I missed. But if it's selfless
love you're looking for,
you've got the wrong goddess.

I just sit where I'm put, composed
of stone and wishful thinking:
that the deity who kills for pleasure
will also heal,
that in the midst of your nightmare,
the final one, a kind lion
will come with bandages in her mouth
and the soft body of a woman,
and lick you clean of fever,
and pick your soul up gently by the nape of the neck
and caress you into darkness and paradise.


In a rare reversal of how things usually work, the delivery people from Sears said they would arrive between 9 and 11 to install our microwave...and it's a good thing I was a bit late getting into the shower, because they were here at 8:30. This caused great excitement among the cats, each of whom struggled valiantly to get into the box from which the new microwave emerged, but the old microwave had to be deposited in it to be hauled away, causing much woe. After the microwave was installed, however, I had to clean the counters and that inspired some cleaning out of cabinets and oh, did it cause excitement when there was enough space for a kitten to hide in a cabinet! Unfortunately she knocked out a cracked plastic bowl that I managed to shred one finger on while collecting it to throw out. Ouch.

Wrote a review of "The Outrageous Okona", probably not as scathing as it should have been but what the heck, I'm feeling lots of affection toward TNG these days, especially when there are fun guest stars. Even though I said some of these things myself, I will link to EW on Dumbledore, because he said it more coherently than I the time I got around to articulating these things, I was sickened by some of the comments I was seeing.

Had dinner with and at Minerva, the Indian restaurant where I sometimes go with -- I've never been there for dinner before and the platters are fantastic. We talked music and anime and fandom and theater, and promised to teach me about doujinshi. And it was wonderful to meet in the flesh at last! After dinner we went out for ice cream, which I really didn't need but it meant that we could keep yakking for awhile before we had to go retrieve the kids from my parents, who had taken them to Clyde's. My mother brought me a tie-dye shirt back from San Diego, so now I am in hippie undersea colors and feeling mellow.

When one has anything delivered, it is very important to determine which cat gets the first turn in the box.

You know how Dave Barry used to write about his main and auxiliary dogs? says we have a main cat, auxiliary cat and Padawan learner.

In our house, the box cat is usually Cinnamon, who has to sniff all intruders as if she's not sure who they are.

Fortunately for Cinnamon and her box, Rosie is easily distracted by food. And Daisy is busy waiting her turn.

Plus, everyone can be distracted by a noise from the next room.

Sharing the couch is just as difficult... never know when you might have to POUNCE!

Please vote for Daisy in The 3rd Annual World's Coolest Dog & Cat Show!

: Who got the fresh-e-freshy?
1. What is sweet?
Baskin Robbins German Chocolate Cake ice cream, which I was privileged to eat tonight.
2. What hours do you work? Flexible ones. Which I love. And would like to keep. Just a few more per day for more consistent pay.
3. When do you relax? When a cat falls asleep smushed against my leg.
4. How did you learn about the birds and the bees? Hahaha, my mother explained it to me when I was three and she was pregnant with my sister. Then I concluded that my aunt and uncle, who didn't have any children yet, must not know how, so I explained it to them.
5. Friday fill-in: The good vibes flow ____. The good vibes, east?

: Halloween
1. If you're dressing up (yourself or your kids) for Halloween, who are you/they going to be?
I'm putting on my witch's hat and cloak. One of my sons is going as a penguin, the other as a nerd.
2. Handmade costumes or store-bought? The penguin is handmade, the rest is gathered from things we already owned.
3. What age did you last go trick-or-treating? My friend Hildy had a sister who was ten years younger, so we used her as an excuse to go trick or treating well into high school.
4. Have you ever egged someone's house on Halloween, or done any other such "trick"? No.
5. Do you believe in ghosts? Not in the sense of coherent spirits of the dead.

: What are the 5 creepiest or most frightening pieces of fan fiction you have ever read? I don't really enjoy creepy or frightening fic, so I don't remember titles. There was one where Lupin thought he had killed Seamus while he was a werewolf. There was one where Snape killed Harry so he could convince Voldemort that he had done it for him and keep on fighting. There were a few where Boromir came back all wrong as a ghost. There were several about how Lex brought around the end of the world. There was one where Bashir was in love with Keiko, not Miles.

Plans Saturday depend on the weather, and how wet the ground is even if the air is dry!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Get Critical Update

TV Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation's "The Outrageous Okona"


  • 15:55 Had lunch with gblvr. Not quite free of Trek news yet...trying to write some. #
  • 18:16 Son has just told me the government allows up to three crushed maggots in commercial tomato juice. #
  • 21:34 Bad TNG is still painful. Not even Wesley's crush on the rogue makes it better. #
  • 22:45 @jjtaylor Can I have some plums? *g* #
  • 22:45 Feeling relentless about wanting to give away Star Trek books, but want to do it in bulk to someone who really wants them. #
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Poem for Friday

Love VII
By Emily Dickinson

I hide myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too—
And angels know the rest.

I hide myself within my flower,
That, fading from your vase,
You, unsuspecting, feel for me
Almost a loneliness.


These entries are likely to be fragmentary and boring for awhile. I talked to the TrekToday site owner; he may be angry that I am leaving but he is being very civil, in part because he wants me to stay until he finds a replacement. The good news is that I get to keep reviewing Next Gen. I told him I'm happy to fill in when he needs me, there are just certain stories about certain people that I won't write. *g* Today I wrote three trivial Trek articles that were completely painless, I guess because I don't feel like I'll be drowning in this stuff forever.

Had the contractor and his people here in the morning, discussing what insurance is and is not covering in terms of painting (every ceiling in this house is adjacent really, and most of the walls). Discovered we have to move a ton (possibly literally) of stuff in the living room so the walls can be painted. Had a lovely lunch with at Tara Thai, where we haven't been in months -- I was so in the mood for Tom Ka Gai and Pad See Ew! Came home, had entertaining discussion of ancient history over homework with Adam, saw via E! Online that Angels and Demons is scheduled to start shooting if they can get a script in before the writers' strike, which pleases me because I rather liked The Da Vinci Code, having no great literary expectations of it. Here are some photos from Lilypons -- I wish I was better at judging how much polarizing I need!

Before Smallville and the very silly Next Gen episode "The Outrageous Okona" that I somehow must review coherently tomorrow, we put on the second half of last night's Pushing Daisies, my current favorite show by a long stretch. I really adore everything about this series -- the cast, the visual style, the dialogue, the funny macabre storyline, the number of awesome quirky women -- but if I needed some other reason, Kristen Chenoweth and Ellen Greene singing They Might Be Giants' "Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul" would bring automatic adoration from me. What a brilliant moment of television, with those over-saturated colors in the background and the bejeweled pigeon and Charlie from Heroes and...oh, just bliss!

Smallville did not make me squee nearly so much, though this was one of the season's better episodes if one got over the "There's a whole segment of our fans who are obsessed psychos!" theme on the part of the writers. On any other show I'd be pleased that the writers don't see the superhero's girlfriend as so passive and brainless that she needs to be removed so the superhero can fulfill his destiny ("In the comic book world, when you're destined to save mankind, you're destined to be alone"), but on this show, since it's Lana...oh, at least she's acting like a Luthor this season, but UGH the Clark/Lana playing house and Chloe shoved off to the side and Lois practically not there...why, Gough/Millar, why! And when did Lana forget that she knew karate?

My favorite moment, naturally, was Lex's announcement that he stopped reading Warrior Angel once he realized that the world was not black and white, but shades of gray, something the show's writers often seem to have a hard time admitting. (This is obviously fantasy-land because in the Warrior Angel movie they got every complicated shot in a single take! I've seen some of Smallville's dailies and I know they can't do that even on a limited TV budget!)

At the end when the girl playing Lana Warrior Angel's girlfriend brought Clark the box, my son said, "I bet it's the phony red sheep!" (which is a joke from that Five for Fighting "Superman" song, "I'm only a man in a phony red sheet" that my son insists upon hearing as "phony red sheep"), and when Clark opened the box and the cape was in it and Clark hung it over the fence, I howled. Now I will forever have a mental image of Superman riding on a red sheep.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


  • 16:14 Went to the mall to get some gifts, discovered that the English Trading Company has Taylors of Harrogate tea again. Yay! #
  • 17:17 No no no no I don't want a headache! I have to get my parents at the airport tonight! #
  • 18:45 Wow, I did it. I told him I quit. Am waiting for the OH GOD I NEED A JOB terror to set in. #
  • 20:17 @ mrkinch Thanks! Am feeling a bit berserk at the moment. #
  • 20:18 Leaving to get parents from airport. Weird weird day OMG #
  • 21:18 At Dulles. Local news is here interviewing people who escaped from the fires. #
  • 00:03 There should be a mercy rule when it's 13-1 in the ninth. #
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Poem for Thursday

The New Hieroglyphics
By Les Murray

In the World language, sometimes called
Airport Road, a thinks balloon with a gondola
under it is a symbol for speculation.

Thumbs down to ear and tongue:
World can be written and read, even painted
but not spoken. People use their own words.

Latin letters are in it for names, for e.g.
OK and H2SO4, for musical notes,
but mostly it's diagrams: skirt-figure, trousered figure

have escaped their toilet doors. I (that is, saya,
ego, watashi wa)
am two eyes without pupils;
those aren't seen when you look out through them.

You has both pupils, we has one, and one blank.
Good is thumbs up, thumb and finger zipping lips
is confidential. Evil is three-cornered snake eyes.

The effort is always to make the symbols obvious:
the bolt of electricity, winged stethoscope of course
for flying doctor. Pram under fire? Soviet film industry.

Pictographs also shouldn't be too culture-bound:
a heart circled and crossed out surely isn't.
For red, betel spit lost out to ace of diamonds.

Black is the ace of spades. The king of spades
reads Union boss, the two is feeble effort.
If is the shorthand Libra sign, the scales.

Spare literal pictures render most nouns and verbs
and computers can draw them faster than Pharough's scribes.
A bordello prospectus is as explicit as the action,

but everywhere there's sunflower talk, i.e.
metaphor, as we've seen. A figure riding a skyhook
bearing food in one hand is the pictograph for grace,

two animals in a book read Nature, two books
inside an animal, instinct. Rice in bowl with chopsticks
denotes food. Figure 1 lying prone equals other.

Most emotions are mini-faces, and the speech
balloon is ubiquitous. A bull inside one is dialect
for placards inside one. Sun and moon together

inside one is poetry. Sun and moon over palette,
over shoes etc. are all art forms--but above
a cracked heart and champagne glass? Riddle that

and you're starting to think in World, whose grammar
is Chinese-terse and fluid. Who needs the square-
equals-diamond book, the dictionary, to know figures

led by strings to their genitals mean fashion?
just as a skirt beneath a circle means demure
or a similar circle shouldering two arrows is macho.

All peoples are at times cat in water with this language
but it does promote international bird on shoulder.
This foretaste now lays its knife and fork parallel.


I had an incredibly mundane, boring morning and afternoon...followed by an incredibly strange evening of burning bridges. Really, I should say rerouting bridges -- burning is a serious matter, and I think I salvaged two relationships that would probably have fallen apart if they'd continued as they had, one with someone from whom I am likely to need a recommendation at some point in the future. It's been exhilarating and very stressful and I am completely wiped out.

I can't really talk about the circumstances that triggered it, but I gave notice at TrekToday. Hopefully I'll keep reviewing Next Gen, but even that is up in the air. It's nothing to do with the site or with the Star Trek I love, which ceased to exist some time during Voyager's third season. But that said, once it was done, I was so aware that I should have made this break already...that I've been frustrated and bored and not remotely a fan of the franchise literally for years. It's better for everyone.

Well, except me financially...there have been lots of months where that was my only paid freelancing. I need a job, and I need to knuckle down on unfinished projects and I really need to figure out what I want to do. But not tonight. Missed the second half of Pushing Daisies picking up my parents from Dulles, now watching the Red Sox win a game the umpires should end under a mercy rule. Thursday the contractors are coming and we start the process of putting the house back together after the flood.

My parents are home from California and the fires, sinus-singed and cranky. My uncle is back in his house tonight; his neighborhood suffered and there are still fires in the forest on the mountain above it, but it sounds like things are worse in his old neighborhood near Santa Clarita and his nearly-new house has been spared. That's very good news.

Molten glass about to become a piece of a cat sculpture at Art of Fire.

The studio is inside this old barn in Laytonsville, Maryland.

Here is the glass being heated...

...and about to be shaped.

This is the studio dog...

...and one of the studio cats. This one serves as a mascot on some of their flyers.

A photo from Art of Fire's web site of iridized tulip vases...

...and another of chalcedony bowls and vases.