Thursday, September 30, 2010

Poem for Thursday and Renfaire Nostalgia

At Pegasus
By Terrance Hayes

They are like those crazy women
   who tore Orpheus
      when he refused to sing,

these men grinding
   in the strobe & black lights
      of Pegasus. All shadow & sound.

"I'm just here for the music,"
   I tell the man who asks me
      to the floor. But I have held

a boy on my back before.
   Curtis & I used to leap
      barefoot into the creek; dance

among maggots & piss,
   beer bottles & tadpoles
      slippery as sperm;

we used to pull off our shirts,
   & slap music into our skin.
      He wouldn't know me now

at the edge of these lovers' gyre,
   glitter & steam, fire,
      bodies blurred sexless

by the music's spinning light.
   A young man slips his thumb
      into the mouth of an old one,

& I am not that far away.
   The whole scene raw & delicate
      as Curtis's foot gashed

on a sunken bottle shard.
   They press hip to hip,
      each breathless as a boy

carrying a friend on his back.
   The foot swelling green
      as the sewage in that creek.

We never went back.
   But I remember his weight
      better than I remember

my first kiss.
   These men know something
      I used to know.

How could I not find them
   beautiful, the way they dive & spill
      into each other,

the way the dance floor
   takes them,
      wet & holy in its mouth.


From Hayes' Muscular Music.

We were supposed to get rain late in the day on Wednesday, but we actually had drizzle from early in the morning, so it was gray and dark outside and I feel like I never properly woke up -- Thursday may be even worse so far as that is concerned, since what's left of Tropical Storm Nicole is supposed to dump several inches of rain on us. That wasn't even the top story on our local news, though -- it was a tour bus that fell off a Beltway ramp onto an I-270 ramp, making traffic a nightmare and causing Paul to spend more than half an hour trying to drive less than a quarter mile on his route home (which was nothing compared to what people crossing Virginia into Maryland had to deal with). The driver died and the passengers, many of whom were children, were taken to a hospital not far from where I live, so driving on any local roads this evening proved ill-advised since everyone was looking for an alternate route home.

Fortunately I had been out earlier, though unfortunately I didn't pick up milk in any of the three food stores I passed while going to see my very oldest friend...that is, my friend of longest acquaintance, the one who has the Super Bowl party every year. We met in front of her gym, which is surrounded by restaurants, and ended up walking across Rockville Pike in the rain to Sam's Cafe and Market, where I had wonderful Persian soup with black beans, lentils, yogurt, noodles, and various veggies -- I can't remember all the ingredients and I wish I could because it was delicious! We both came home to retrieve our children and I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to fix a link on a bracelet before I decided that I need better tweezers. I also got a long-awaited eBay bargain in the mail, in a paper envelope absolutely shredded by the post office -- it arrived in one of those "We're Sorry" plastic bags -- with a huge stain on the skirt inside. I thought about leaving the seller negative feedback, considering she charged me $6 for shipping on something that weighed very little yet she was cheap or lazy to wrap the skirt in a plastic bag before throwing it into the paper envelope, but life's too short.

Watched the second episode of Undercovers, enjoyed it a lot...I still think everyone is ridiculously attractive and I don't for one second believe super-buff Steven has spent one minute as a professional cook, and a lot of the plot simply strained credulity (wow, international terrorists have trouble shooting to kill), but I like the chemistry among all the leads and I like the premise in general. I hear the show may be in trouble, though, despite coming in second in its time slot last week, because it skewed toward older viewers than the network was expecting, women in particular. I could have saved them a lot of money guessing demographics and explained that of course it would be older women who'd dig a show about a married spy couple, sheesh -- were they expecting J.J. Abrams' Star Trek numbers among young male viewers? Now I'm a bit terrified someone is going to have sex with a green-skinned girl in an upcoming episode.

The maypole at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, being enjoyed despite the rain.

Last weekend was Pirate Weekend. Even this poor deer was dressed for the occasion...

...though this was my favorite hat at the Faire.

Here are some of Art of Fire's glass dragons...

...and authentic Renaissance espresso. I had no idea the peasant drink selection was so extensive.

We admired the giant vulture on top of this shop and the giant crab in front of it.

Plus we got to try on an invisibility cloak!

And watch knights beating each other around the head at the joust.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Poem for Wednesday, Cabin John Park, Glee

Lighthead's Guide to the Galaxy
By Terrance Hayes

Ladies and gentlemen, ghosts and children of the state,
I am here because I could never get the hang of Time.
This hour, for example, would be like all the others
were it not for the rain falling through the roof.
I'd better not be too explicit. My night is careless
with itself, troublesome as a woman wearing no bra
in winter. I believe everything is a metaphor for sex.
Lovemaking mimics the act of departure, moonlight
drips from the leaves. You can spend your whole life
doing no more than preparing for life and thinking.
"Is this all there is?" Thus, I am here where poets come
to drink a dark strong poison with tiny shards of ice,
something to loosen my primate tongue and its syllables
of debris. I know all words come from preexisting words
and divide until our pronouncements develop selves.
The small dog barking at the darkness has something to say
about the way we live. I'd rather have what my daddy calls
"skrimp." He says "discrete" and means the street
just out of sight. Not what you see, but what you perceive:
that's poetry. Not the noise, but its rhythm; an arrangement
of derangements; I'll eat you to live: that's poetry.
I wish I glowed like a brown-skinned pregnant woman.
I wish I could weep the way my teacher did as he read us
Molly Bloom's soliloquy of yes. When I kiss my wife,
sometimes I taste her caution. But let's not talk about that.
Maybe Art's only purpose is to preserve the Self.
Sometimes I play a game in which my primitive craft fires
upon an alien ship whose intention is the destruction
of the earth. Other times I fall in love with a word
like somberness. Or moonlight juicing naked branches.
All species have a notion of emptiness, and yet
the flowers don't quit opening. I am carrying the whimper
you can hear when the mouth is collapsed, the wisdom
of monkeys. Ask a glass of water why it pities
the rain. Ask the lunatic yard dog why it tolerates the leash.
Brothers and sisters, when you spend your nights
out on a limb, there's a chance you'll fall in your sleep.


Hayes' Lighthead was released this year by Penguin.

I met Gblvr for lunch, chat, and a bit of shopping -- Old Navy's clearance stuff was an additional 30% off and most of their cardigans and sweaters were on sale, so now we have things to wear when the temperature drops. It didn't, much, today; I'm not sure it hit 84 as forecast, but it was warm and sunny most of the afternoon. I took Adam to tennis after school and went for what was supposed to be a long, quiet walk through Cabin John Park, though it ended up being not-so-quiet because three local high schools' cross-country track teams were having a race on the paths in the woods, and there were cheerleaders at various spots to cheer them on! They finished (or at least ran out of the woods) before I finished following the trail along the creek, though, and by the time I was headed back toward the tennis center, there was a young male deer standing and eating grass about two feet off the path, so it ended up being a nice walk. I still don't know whether Adam's high school won the race, though.

The bridge connecting the Locust Grove trail to the creek-side trail to the playground at Cabin John Park.

Since I went to walk, I only had my phone camera, so this is the best I could get of the deer!

I know I must be old because I am not in love with Glee, though I have read that Glee does really well among older musical theater fans, and I was a fanatic in college and grad school before the prices got ridiculous and the shows got increasingly mediocre, so maybe it's just me. I love Sue Sylvester, the most delightful epic bitch in the history of television, but I keep hoping that some other character -- preferably a female character -- will show a modicum of believable human empathy or be motivated by something other than self-interest. Yes, I get that Finn's mostly a nice guy, and I'd pick football and the chance for a college scholarship over Rachel and Quinn both, but *snore* about Finn's problems compared to other people, and that goes double for Will. Spoilers: I am delighted that they did a Brittany episode, though she's still dumb as a brick -- the actress is clearly hugely talented and I had no idea she can dance, why doesn't she get more solos? Oh yes, because it's the Rachel show! Why didn't they let Kurt sing "...Baby One More Time," since we know his range and Rachel's are nearly identical -- how could they do a Britney episode and not give the gay kid a solo? At least Artie got to sing "Stronger," my favorite Britney song.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Poem for Tuesday and Renfaire Shows

By Forrest Gander

for Jean-Luc Mylayne

Or the vision that holds
at its razorpoint
the feathers of a bird
goes blue. Each sleepless-
ness framed, behind,
by this whine
of insects. So a shutter,
lifted, offers
to looking
the very oracular
interior of that
openness into which bird
inserts itself. Its song
shortening when
there is wind. Comes
the visible and
its remainder, a
blur, what? Tittering
at lower and lower
luminance. That the
accompaniment might be
sufficiently responsive.


We had a rainy, dark morning -- not that I'm complaining, since the area desperately needed the rain and it was kind enough not to wash out our day at the Renfaire yesterday -- and I had a bunch of paperwork-related chores to do, some of which I discovered I couldn't finish without information from Daniel (the college application process has piles of minutiae, and the "common application" is only partly so). I also had a Shutterfly coupon for ten free holiday cards that had to be used by Monday night, and HalfElfLost had generously given me a code she had for a free photo book, so I spent much of the afternoon working on a book about the rescued bird for Adam.

For most of the rest of the afternoon, I folded laundry and watched Up in the Air -- a movie I had avoided thus far because middle-class male mid-life crisis movies often give me hives, even when they're allegedly well-acted like American Beauty or have nice scenery going for them like Sideways. This one is not as detestable as the former, but it's pathetic and shallow and Clooney at his most charming isn't as good as he was in Syriana, Michael Clayton, etc. In fact, the best performance by far was by Anna Kendrick, who is probably better known for the Twilight films. I was actually hoping Clooney's character had some dark secret in his past -- abuse or a tragic accident -- to explain his pathological self-absorption, but apparently we're supposed to accept it as a not-uncommon lifestyle choice of the smug and overpaid.

We watched this week's Merlin, which has the sense of humor of a ten-year-old boy, which did not stop me from laughing at both Uther and Arthur's headgear at various moments -- small spoilers -- Tony Head in a bald cap is kind of scary, but Bradley James as Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream is priceless, particularly braying. The goblin itself bugged me -- a cross between Dobby and some kind of bizarre ethnic creature, though at least this series doesn't have The Lord of the Rings' white skin=good, dark skin=bad problems -- but fine, I can laugh at Morgana having the farts. We had fake chicken and biscuits for dinner and paid some attention to Monday Night Football, but turned it off for Stewart picking on Colbert's congressional testimony.

Hack & Slash prepare to whip a cigarette from the mouth of a volunteer.

The Renaissance Man explains chamberpots on the Lyric Stage.

Local hammered dulcimer virtuoso and Maggie's Music founder Maggie Sansone plays Celtic tunes for incoming Fairegoers.

Bellydancers from Wine & Alchemy share their stage with a young visitor who decided to join them.

Fight School: Reloaded has moved to the Globe Theatre, allowing for a bigger bar brawl.

Michael Rosman, the Squire of the Wire, juggles knives while balancing on a plank on a bowling ball.

The Thane of Glamis and Banquo try to make sense of the witches' (or in this case, witch's) prophecy in Macbeth in 20 Minutes.

One of the Aerial Angels performs above the heads of her audience.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Poem for Monday and Maryland Renaissance Festival

Macbeth Act IV, Scene 1
By William Shakespeare

Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.
Harpier cries 'Tis time, 'tis time.

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights hast thirty one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.


Despite an inauspicious rainy morning, we spent a wonderful Sunday -- and Daniel's birthday -- at the Maryland Renaissance Festival with Paul's parents and Dementordelta! Originally the rain wasn't supposed to arrive until late afternoon, so we have a flurry of phone calls and text messages early to make sure everyone was up for the faire in raine or shine, and since everyone was, we drove to Crownsville under dark and gloomy skies. It was quite damp when we got there -- we watched Fight School with rain falling and ate lunch at tables with wet seats -- but by the time we got to the Squire of the Wire, it had cleared up, and by the early afternoon joust, the sun was out.

We saw lots of shows -- Hack & Slash, Shakespeare's Skum (doing Macbeth, Fight School: Reloaded -- and caught pieces of others, like the musicians and dancers of Wine & Alchemy and the acrobatic Aerial Angels. We also ate lots -- various people had loaded baked potatoes, macaroni and cheese on a stick, cheesecake on a stick, soup bowls, falafel, gyros, sweet potato pie, turkey legs, crab cakes, cinnamon almonds, and probably other things I'm forgetting. I bought an awesome little Grichels canvas purse named Dryped, a bat-wing barrette -- I didn't wear my big peacock-feather barrette since it was so rainy in the morning -- and a pretty bead bracelet that matched my borrowed bodice (and cost $9, so who could resist). And we ran into Treewishes and King Henry VIII!

Me and Delta by Adam after the rain had begun to mess up our hair.

The official Faire weather forecasting stone made us grateful that at least there wasn't a tornado.

When I took this photo, Daniel and Grandpa Clair were still dressed for the morning weather...

...which forced Fight School to reduce their early demonstrations from Fight Speed to Rain Speed to avoid hurting anyone.

It was dry enough for Michael Rosman, the Squire of the Wire, to juggle knives while standing above the audience on a cable...

...and by the time the jousters took the field, there wasn't even a lot of mud. (Maryland is having an early fall drought that we're hoping Monday's predicted all-day rain will alleviate.)

By the time we saw Wine & Alchemy, the sun was brilliant in the background.

But it had set by the time we crossed paths with the King and his men while we were leaving Revel Grove.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Poem for Sunday, Ga'Hoole and Durham Owls

A Barred Owl
By Richard Wilbur

The warping night air having brought the boom
Of an owl's voice into her darkened room,
We tell the wakened child that all she heard
Was an odd question from a forest bird,
Asking of us, if rightly listened to,
"Who cooks for you?" and then "Who cooks for you?"

Words, which can make our terrors bravely clear,
Can also thus domesticate a fear,
And send a small child back to sleep at night
Not listening for the sound of stealthy flight
Or dreaming of some small thing in a claw
Borne up to some dark branch and eaten raw.


We had an early lunch on Saturday, then went to see Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole with my parents in IMAX 3D in Tysons Corner, whose movie theaters I have not visited since they rebuilt that entire wing of the mall -- they're huge and lovely. Visually, the movie is spectacular, particularly on a screen that big -- animated trees and feathers that look absolutely real, even though there are dozens of them onscreen at a time, and the sunrises and seascapes are glorious. The good-guy owls are adorable, particularly Digger the burrowing owl -- I have a weakness for those -- though I am a bit perturbed that in a film based on a series of books written by a woman, the only female character of any substance is a villain and the girlfriend of the Big Bad (every other female is a wife or sister and we don't see heroics from them). Adam read all the books and said the movie borrowed bits from several beyond the first three, which are ostensibly the basis of the movie; the storyline is pretty much a straight rip-off from Tolkien with a bit of George Lucas thrown in, if Frodo or Luke had been an owl. It's not profound, but it's enjoyable and well-paced, with lots of action and a surprising amount of violence for a film targeted at pre-teens.

My parents invited us out to dinner after the movie, though we came home first so the kids could finish their weekend homework and I could take a walk. We went to California Pizza Kitchen, which told us there was a half-hour wait though we weren't seated until an hour after we arrived; fortunately the food was good (I had a whole-wheat pizza crust with peanut sauce, mozzarella, and crushed peanuts, Adam had veggie Jamaican jerk pizza, Daniel had the meat-lover's pizza, Paul had a seasonal pizza with mushrooms and salami, we all stole bites of the kids' ice cream sundaes afterward). We gave older son his birthday presents a day early because we knew he wouldn't have time to enjoy them on his actual birthday -- Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga for the PS2, The Necronomicon Tarot, and Cory Doctorow's Little Brother -- so he disappeared down the basement to play the video game while Paul and I watched the Boise State-Oregon State game (Maryland won earlier in the day, yay, though my father cared more that Michigan and Wisconsin won; unfortunately, Alabama won, too).

Owls at the Durham Museum of Life and Science.

...and an owl butterfly. (I went looking to see if I had any unposted owl photos and found these from when we visited North Carolina this summer.)

Also at the museum, a phasmid...

...a rattlesnake...

...a lemur, wide-eyed in a tree as a thunderstorm approached...

...and the Durham museum's retired caboose.

At Duke University's garden shop, a fountain and flower sculpture.

In downtown Wilmington, the USS North Carolina seen from the boardwalk.

And at Carolina State Beach, a wild Venus fly trap.

Happy 17th Birthday Daniel!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Poem for Saturday, Parallels, Never Let Me Go, Smallville, Celebrations

Nothing Twice
By Wislawa Szymborska
Translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak

Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice.

Even if there is no one dumber,
if you're the planet's biggest dunce,
you can't repeat the class in summer:
this course is only offered once.

No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with precisely the same kisses.

One day, perhaps some idle tongue
mentions your name by accident:
I feel as if a rose were flung
into the room, all hue and scent.

The next day, though you're here with me,
I can't help looking at the clock:
A rose? A rose? What could that be?
Is it a flower or a rock?

Why do we treat the fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
It's in its nature not to stay:
Today is always gone tomorrow.

With smiles and kisses, we prefer
to seek accord beneath our star,
although we're different (we concur)
just as two drops of water are.


Paul took the van, since his doesn't have air conditioning and it was predicted to be nearly 90 degrees here, so I stayed home all day and did work, the most significant portion of which was a review of Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Parallels", a.k.a. the episode in which Worf and Troi are married and Riker goes nuts. I meant to get a bunch of other things done, but I ended up reading in one sitting Never Let Me Go. Quite often when non-science fiction writers grab hold of a sci-fi premise, it ends up turning into an overblown and not very original novel -- see The Road, or rather don't read or see it unless you love Viggo Mortensen a lot more than I do -- but I was curious about Never Let Me Go because a couple of reviews of the film made it sound like a pretentious riff on a Michael Bay movie, and I figured any novel by the author of The Remains of the Day must have more going for it than that. In fact, I was wrong.

Spoilers: I know that in Ishiguro's 's novels, we're expected to admire repression while at the same time never blaming the oppressed for fitting themselves with a minimum of fuss into the roles in society that have been carved out for them, but in Never Let Me Go -- which is supposed to be a moving and profound meditation on what it means to be human -- I felt only irritation and a sense of being manipulated, followed by outrage not on behalf of the characters but at them. It's narrated by a woman, who, naturally, wants little more out of life than love and understanding, which to a very great degree is true also of the other main female character, her friend and rival. They have what's supposed to be an idyllic childhood at a boarding school, except it's obvious very early on that there's nothing idyllic about it, though they can be forgiven for not knowing that. But when they're adults and no longer completely isolated -- when they learn that they are, in fact, clones, who are expected to care for dying clones until it's their turn to give up their own organs one by one and die -- they never fight this fate, never try to subvert it among themselves or with others, and the only thing they really want out of life is to get a few extra years to Find True Love.

I don't care if it makes me anti-literary or insensitive; I prefer Bay's The Island, shallow ripoff sci-fi schlock in which people find out they're clones bred for replacement organs, get upset, fight their way to freedom with guns and car chases, and prevent further clone abuse by blowing things up. It's absurd, with mediocre acting (except Sean Bean as the villain, of course) and terrible pacing. I'd rather watch it ten more times than see Never Let Me Go, even with the generally awesome Carey Mulligan. By the end of the novel, I'd concluded that although humanity itself had predictably (and didactically) become dehumanized by treating clones as less than human, the clones were less than human; even the ones raised in the exclusive school where they were taught art and poetry in the hope of proving that they have human souls grow up devoid of passion. Which I suppose is the point, but it made it impossible to root for anyone. I'm told regularly by the media that it dehumanizes us to witness violence, but these people would have seemed much more human if they'd killed those responsible, or random people who refused to take up their cause, or even themselves just to thwart the system. They didn't even think of it. They seemed completely phony, clones and non-clones alike.

Hmm, that's the longest rant I've written about a book in ages; my policy for the past several years is that if a book hasn't grabbed me by 30 pages in, life's too short to bother finishing it, so I must have been engaged on some level with the story before it started to enrage me. And thematically it ties in nicely with the evening's Smallville season premiere -- don't get me wrong, I'm very glad the show is back, but I wasn't all that happy with the episode, though for a few minutes the storyline sounded so much like one of the Christopher Reeve films that I expected Clark to learn to fly and make the world spin backward. Spoilers: I might have enjoyed that more than what we got -- I don't like that Tess and Lois both required saving and that Chloe put her sanity at risk over Oliver, though at least Clark put Lois before a street full of strangers, meaning he has the same weakness. I was willing to forgive that they brought back a Lex who wasn't Michael Rosenbaum, particularly Little Boy Lex, but even creepy older man Lex, until he wore out his welcome by rewriting first season history and asking us to buy that version of events -- after Clark first saved Lex, the clone says, something new had crept into Clark's heart: "Pride." I liked it much better when it was lust.

Fannish5: Name five characters who would hate attending a family reunion.
1. Alan Shore
, Boston Legal
2. Sirius Black, Harry Potter
3. Gary Ewing. Knots Landing
4. Ares, Xena
5. Ray Kowalski, Due South

The other significant event of my day was celebrating Daniel's birthday with my parents, who served us awesome Greek food -- Daniel had wanted gyros, which I don't eat, but I had falafel, spanakopita, tiropitakia, potatoes, and some kind of eggplant dip that was delicious -- plus a giant cookie birthday cake, which was also what Daniel wanted. We rewatched Jon Stewart's interview with King Abdullah on the rerun of last night's Daily Show because I thought it was excellent and really wanted the others to see it. After Smallville, Daniel wanted to watch some Monty Python -- he got Stewart's Earth and a Monty Python calendar as early birthday presents -- so that was our evening!

Daniel with my mom and his birthday cake.

And Daniel with us and his birthday cake.

A chipmunk at Penn State.

A lorikeet at the National Aviary.

Birds in the wetlands.

A hibiscus in North Carolina.

A bee at Longwood Gardens.

And goslings at Washingtonian, because, GOSLINGS.

Farewell Eddie Fisher. My mother used to sing "Oh My Papa" -- she lost her own father at a young age -- back when I was much too young to know who Elizabeth Taylor was. I'm not sure I knew who Eddie was either before I saw his daughter in Star Wars, but I will never forget the song.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Poem for Friday and Assorted Entertainment

The Otter
By Seamus Heaney

When you plunged
The light of Tuscany wavered
And swung through the pool
From top to bottom.

I loved your wet head and smashing crawl,
Your fine swimmer's back and shoulders
Surfacing and surfacing again
This year and every year since.

I sat dry-throated on the warm stones.
You were beyond me.
The mellowed clarities, the grape-deep air
Thinned and disappointed.

Thank God for the slow loadening,
When I hold you now
We are close and deep
As the atmosphere on water.

My two hands are plumbed water.
You are my palpable, lithe
Otter of memory
In the pool of the moment,

Turning to swim on your back,
Each silent, thigh-shaking kick
Re-tilting the light,
Heaving the cool at your neck.

And suddenly you're out,
Back again, intent as ever,
Heavy and frisky in your freshened pelt,
Printing the stones.


Another Heaney poem, this one from the 1981 book Field Work.

I got to spend the morning with Gblvr! Vera Bradley was having another giveaway and gift-with-purchase event at Tiara (which also provides bagels, cheese, muffins, coffee, etc.) from 6 a.m. till noon, so we met there at 10:30 and shopped...well, actually I was virtuous (mostly because they didn't have the Julia bag in Night & Day so I'll hold out till they get it in), but I did get a free ID case in Twirly Birds Pink, and Gblvr got awesome stuff. Since we were in that shopping center, of course we also went to Ulta where I may have put on far too much glittery turquoise eyeshadow, and to the toy store and Hallmark and As Kindred Spirits, and to Lebanese Taverna for lunch -- I brought home leftover hummus, babaganoush, and pita bread for Adam and Paul, who worked from home in the afternoon because we had a crazy evening schedule.

Crazy evening schedule: after younger son got home and my mother stopped by to bring older son a list of potential birthday dinners since he did not respond to repeated e-mails, we had an early dinner (sadly nothing exciting for Sukkot since we were rushing, just ravioli) without older son who was at robotics. Then Paul went to Daniel's high school for Back to School Night while I waited for Daniel, made sure he got his ravioli, and took Adam plus two of his friends to their high school's activity fair, where Adam apparently played chess with the chess club, joined the photography club, and visited various other student groups. When he got home, we watched &@%#$ My Dad Says (Shatner entertaining, the rest mediocre but I'd have watched it just to piss off the PTC), then Nikita, which continues to have lots of awesome women in less-than-worthy storylines. Comedy Central then reran the wonderful new Futurama where Hermes saves Bender, so not a bad TV night.

The jester steals the Queen's throne at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.

Guests can ride a hippogriff...

...or watch Tribal Circus juggle fire.

The Rakish Rogues and Sultry Sirens of Sin sing on the Endgame Stage...

...and a pair of minstrels perform for dinnertime guests before the ultimate joust.

This is one of the falconer's hawks.

Here is a fish for sale at one of the glass shops.

And here is the glassworks and one of the main streets of the market.