Friday, September 30, 2011

Poem for Friday and Rosh Hashanah

By Charu Colorado

I find the crumbs
deep inside the nest
I hold them in my hand and laugh -
Before casting them into the river
I whisper a wind prayer
that moves the leaves
and causes the shapes of sky to dance
in the summer breeze
The afternoon sun filters my thought
as the fine dust of reason
ponders and holds me
like a wrapped tallit
I declare my acceptance
of this final consequence
Tonight new stones will appear on my doorstep


I had a nice Rosh Hashanah though I did not go to formal services; Adam had less than zero interest and I swore off ever going to High Holy Days services at the synagogue where my kids went to Hebrew school as soon as they were old enough for me to find someplace much smaller, much more feminist, and much less traditional. Adam caught up on sleep -- with the blackout sending us all to bed early last night, I think he actually got more than 12 hours -- and we had a late lunch with my parents at the Original Pancake House, where despite the name I always have eggs benedict (minus the bacon) and everyone else usually has crepes.

The weather was utterly magnificent -- 60s, breezy, a bit damp though not raining -- so most of my spiritual activity took place walking in the woods, where I saw the young buck who is now growing fuzzy antlers and the bunny who seems to have moved across the street from where I used to see him. My eye now looks completely disgusting but is much less painful than two days ago, so I am hoping the swelling will go down and then I can be seen in public without scaring children. Here are some more photos from the Pennsylvania Renfaire last weekend:

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth prepares to visit the jousting arena.

A servant gets dunked in the Boarshead Brawl.

Clowns emerge on stage at the Endgame Stage.

Artisans work in the glassblowing studio.

There are many animals at the faire, including the hawks, eagles, and owls of the Royal Falconer...

...the rescued greyhounds, Her Majesty's Hounds...

...and the lizards available for adoption at the Dragon Orphanage.

And there is lots of music, both on stages and all around the grounds.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Poem for Thursday and Power Out

Hector the Collector
By Shel Silverstein

Hector the Collector
Collected bits of string,
Collected dolls with broken heads
And rusty bells that would not ring.
Bent-up nails and ice-cream sticks,
Twists of wires, worn-out tires,
Paper bags and broken bricks.
Old chipped vases, half shoelaces,
Gatlin' guns that wouldn't shoot,
Leaky boasts that wouldn't float
And stopped-up horns that wouldn't toot.
Butter knives that had no handles,
Copper keys that fit no locks
Rings that were too small for fingers,
Dried-up leaves and patched-up socks.
Worn-out belts that had no buckles,
'Lectric trains that had no tracks,
Airplane models, broken bottles,
Three-legged chairs and cups with cracks.
Hector the Collector
Loved these things with all his soul--
Loved them more then shining diamonds,
Loved them more then glistenin' gold.
Hector called to all the people,
"Come and share my treasure trunk!"
And all the silly sightless people
Came and looked ... and called it junk.


I am typing this in the dark because a thunderstorm rolled through here around 8 p.m. and about a half hour afterward, our neighborhood's power went out for no apparent reason. There are no other outages in the area, but Pepco says it will be 1 a.m. before they can restore power to the 1200 or so houses affected. So we are not watching the critical Orioles-Red Sox game, nor Harry's Law, nor anything else, and we are doing only what minimal activity our laptop batteries will permit since it's difficult to read even on a Kindle by candlelight.

I had a fairly nice day otherwise -- my eyelid is still bothering me, but it now looks worse than it feels, since the swelling seems to be mostly on the surface which is hideous but means less pressure on the eye itself. So I got caught up on things in the morning. Adam had half a day of school and went to cross country practice before coming home for an early Rosh Hashanah dinner with my parents and a friend. I ate way too much -- salad, veggie matzoh ball soup, fake chicken, latkes, dessert -- and it appears that I will be going to bed early, since there's little else to do!

Here is a photo of the Pirates Den at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, since I am in a pirate mood.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Poem for Wednesday and Don Juan & Miguel

La Figlia Che Piange
By T.S. Eliot

O quam te memorem virgo

Stand on the highest pavement of the stair—
Lean on a garden urn—
Weave, weave the sunlight in your hair—
Clasp your flowers to you with a pained surprise—
Fling them to the ground and turn
With a fugitive resentment in your eyes:
But weave, weave the sunlight in your hair.

So I would have had him leave,
So I would have had her stand and grieve,
So he would have left
As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised,
As the mind deserts the body it has used.
I should find
Some way incomparably light and deft,
Some way we both should understand,
Simple and faithless as a smile and shake of the hand.

She turned away, but with the autumn weather
Compelled my imagination many days,
Many days and many hours:
Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers.
And I wonder how they should have been together!
I should have lost a gesture and a pose.
Sometimes these cogitations still amaze
The troubled midnight and the noon's repose.


My eyelid is still infected and driving me crazy. This has been the background annoyance of my entire day -- sometimes itching, sometimes pain, sometimes just an annoying swelling, and the treatment is just compresses and waiting it out unless it's still like this in a week -- so I am very cranky. In happier news, I drove Adam and four friends to a track meet and their school did very well and son was happy with his time. Plus I have backed up my LiveJournal through August 2004.

Evening TV included Glee, which I enjoyed because of Kurt and Shelby singing (I rather like the Barbra Streisand version of "Somewhere" which is the arrangement she and Rachel used) and I'm glad they're making some attempt to write Quinn as a real girl instead of a Barbie doll but yet again it's all about the able-bodied white kids with token references to nontraditional casting. Then we watched Ringer, which is holding my interest but I wish Ioan Gruffudd was allowed to show more than two emotions. Then we saw the exciting game of the Orioles-Red Sox game, where I rooted for the Orioles to play spoiler since the Yankees have clinched, bah.

At the Pennsylvania Renfaire, we got to see 'Don Juan and the Queen of Spain' -- in which Don Juan plays Don Juan and Miguel plays the Queen of Spain.

Miguel, that is, the Queen had a few problems with his, that is, her bra.

At one point he popped a boob and Esmerelda had to bring him a new one.

Though Miguel, that is, the Queen's sexiness is almost blinding, Don Juan went off on a quest anyway.

At a later show, Don Juan promised to whip straight through this diet root beer can.

Earlier he had whipped Dixie cups full of what he claimed was rum, but turned out to be water, much to his disappointment when he successfully kept the cups full.

He sliced through the root beer can with a single crack of the whip...

...and posed, drinking what was left of the root beer in the can.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Poem for Tuesday and Penn Renfaire

Bone & Silence
By Gerald Fleming

   A long time passes—long even in the understanding of stone—and at last Bone feels entitled to speak to Silence. There are prerequisites: proper depth, aridity, desiccation, ph balance, density, and a kind of confidence. No loam: say salt, say dust, say southwest Utah. And when the conversation occurs it is understood on Bone's part what to expect from Silence, so one could say that expectations were low, but such is a pattern of our thinking, and in this case the entire dry dialectic is different, and in fact expectations were high. There is a moon shining, unknown to Bone, intimate with Silence. There are mammals overhead, the noise of whose small feet are perceived or unperceived.

   And after all this discursive talk, what at last does Bone say to Silence? What would you have Bone say to Silence? We could try Is there anywhere we can go for a beer? and that might get a little laugh, might qualify as ineffably human, almost religious. But we know better about Bone & Silence—need only look inside us, have the bravery to cease this chatter, this scrape of pencil on paper, to leave the rest of the book blank, get out of the way, let the conversation begin.


I had a quiet Monday, partly because I was typing up notes and writing and working on my LiveJournal backup project before LiveJournal went down for an hour in the afternoon, partly because I had laundry and thrilling chores like that to do, and partly because I have an eye infection that is really bothering me. Daniel had a more exciting day -- not only is it his eighteenth birthday, meaning he can now register to vote and have a Google+ account, but his chemistry class was canceled because of a chemical explosion in the building that injured two students. Adam had track practice at Cabin John Park, which was the furthest I ventured from home today when I went to pick him up.

In the evening we watched the first episode of Terra Nova, which looked great but if we'd been playing a drinking game where we took a sip every time a completely predictable cliche occurred, we'd have been drunk halfway through and unconscious before the end. Despite an ostensibly progressive theme (don't pollute the planet or we'll have to move into the past when the air was still breathable) it has some deeply conservative values and the women's roles aren't terribly impressive though to be fair the men's roles aren't either. Perhaps it will improve. Here are some more photos from the Pennsylvania Renfaire:

I got to give a favor to Sir Thomas at the tournament joust. (Sir Thomas and Sir Marcus are known for being unchivalrous -- their motto is "Cheat To Win" -- but he was very gallant to me.)

Dementordelta cowered in fear of being locked in the dungeon without Snape.

Jugglers performed outside the Globe Theatre...

...where, inside, Don Juan and Miguel practiced using whips with Don Juan's daughter Esmerelda (who is actually Don Juan actor Jose Granados's daughter Dakota).

The Royal Falconer showed off Congo, an African hawk.

Since it was Scottish weekend, Tartanic offered multiple bagpipe tunes, much to Adam's dismay.

The elephant who gives rides to Faire guests takes a break and drinks water after carrying his bowl over to his trainer.

One of the goats that now live in the children's area by the farm shoppe takes a walk to greet visitors.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Placeholder for Monday

Spent a glorious day at the Pennsylvania Renfaire with my family and Dementordelta. It drizzled in the morning driving up but we had perfect weather all day once we arrived -- 70s, not too sunny, not too crowded. We saw all three Don Juan & Miguel shows, the tournament joust (at which I got to give a favor to Sir Thomas), the royal falconer's show, the Boarshead Brawl, plus a bit of Tartanic and the Human Chess Game, lots of on-street musical performances, and bagpipes everywhere since it was Scottish Weekend. Delta and I sampled several of Mount Hope's excellent sweet wines and I had cheese panini, chocolate covered pretzels and way too many snacks. I am too tired to type any more so here is a photo of Sir Thomas and Sir Marcus's herald and one of the nobles overseeing the joust:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Poem for Sunday and Great Falls, Virginia

By Aleš Šteger

When you kill it at the edge of the pan, you don't notice
That the egg grows an eye in death.

It is so small, it doesn't satisfy
Even the most modest morning appetite.

But it already watches, already stares at your world.
What are its horizons, whose glassy-eyed perspectives?

Does it see time, which moves carelessly through space?
Eyeballs, eyeballs, cracked shells, chaos or order?

Big questions for such a little eye at such an early hour.
And you – do you really want an answer?

When you sit down, eye to eye, behind a table,
You blind it soon enough with a crust of bread.


Saturday dawned as a rather rainy day, but it had stopped after lunch and turned into a lovely, cool afternoon. We had promised to take Daniel to get Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked for his new Nintendo 3DS and the nearest store that had it was in Tysons Corner, so we went over there to pick it up, then we went to Great Falls, Virginia to see how much the Potomac River had gone down since the two hurricanes. It was still pretty high and there was water collected in the ruins of the Patowmack Canal, but there was a heron fishing in the river off the rocks and plenty of insects, even the inevitable stinkbugs.

My parents came over for dinner since Paul had promised to make Swedish meatballs and a cookie cake for Daniel's birthday (which is actually Monday, but we can't celebrate with him then). We watched Doctor Who, which I really liked this week with the exception of the fact that of course they did a great job with the characters when they only had women very much in the background. (What a surprise, everything everyone predicted about River in the first episode of the season turned out to be true.) Dementordelta came over and brought King George VI: The Man Behind The King's Speech which we are watching now. Sunday we are going to the Pennsylvania Renfaire, whooo!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Poem for Saturday, The Counter-Clock Incident, MD Zoo

At the Carnival
By Anne Spencer

Gay little Girl-of-the-Diving-Tank,
I desire a name for you,
Nice, as a right glove fits;
For you—who amid the malodorous
Mechanics of this unlovely thing,
Are darling of spirit and form.
I know you—a glance, and what you are
Sits-by-the-fire in my heart.
My Limousine-Lady knows you, or
Why does the slant-envy of her eye mark
Your straight air and radiant inclusive smile?
Guilt pins a fig-leaf; Innocence is its own adorning.
The bull-necked man knows you—this first time
His itching flesh sees form divine and vibrant health
And thinks not of his avocation.
I came incuriously—
Set on no diversion save that my mind
Might safely nurse its brood of misdeeds
In the presence of a blind crowd.
The color of life was gray.
Everywhere the setting seemed right
For my mood.
Here the sausage and garlic booth
Sent unholy incense skyward;
There a quivering female-thing
Gestured assignations, and lied
To call it dancing;
There, too, were games of chance
With chances for none;
But oh! Girl-of-the-Tank, at last!
Gleaming Girl, how intimately pure and free
The gaze you send the crowd,
As though you know the dearth of beauty
In its sordid life.
We need you—my Limousine-Lady,
The bull-necked man and I.
Seeing you here brave and water-clean,
Leaven for the heavy ones of earth,
I am swift to feel that what makes
The plodder glad is good; and
Whatever is good is God.
The wonder is that you are here;
I have seen the queer in queer places,
But never before a heaven-fed
Naiad of the Carnival-Tank!
Little Diver, Destiny for you,
Like as for me, is shod in silence;
Years may seep into your soul
The bacilli of the usual and the expedient;
I implore Neptune to claim his child to-day!


It rained all day Friday and though most of the leaves are still green, there's enough red and gold showing up that it's starting to look like fall. Not that I was out of the house for long enough to see much of it: my longest trip out was to pick up Adam at school after cross country practice in the rain. I was finishing and posting a review of "The Counter-Clock Incident", the final episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series. Then I made the traumatic realization that I have now reviewed every single episode of official Star Trek (except the reboot). So I spent the rest of the afternoon updating the index pages on my web site, since there weren't links to half the Next Gen reviews nor any of the animated reviews. They are now all here!

While I was picking up Adam from school, Paul was picking up Daniel from College Park -- he came home this weekend for his birthday and so we could go to the Pennsylvania Renfaire on Sunday. We had dinner with my parents (soup, chicken and "chicken," potato pancakes, noodle kugel, carrot souffle...most of the things Daniel will miss at Rosh Hashanah dinner next week) and he got a Nintendo 3DS so he can play Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (so much for not having a game system at college, hahaha). Then we came home and watched the season premiere of Nikita, whose plot at this point is more convoluted than necessary but I couldn't care in the least because Nikita, Alex, and Amanda are three of my favorite women on television and Alberta Watson's devious Oversight character is back! Here are a few more photos from the zoo last weekend:

Fannish5: Five times a character's pregnancy created a good storyline.
I'm wondering whether this means an actress's pregnancy, because a character pregnancy IS a storyline, it doesn't create one. So going with that...
1. Deep Space Nine, when Nana Visitor's pregnancy inspired the writers to have Kira carry Miles and Keiko's baby for them.
2. Xena, when Lucy Lawless's pregnancy brought about the birth of Eve (later Livia).
3. Boston Legal, when Julie Bowen's pregnancy became Brad and Denise's baby.
4. The X-Files, when Gillian Anderson's pregnancy led to Scully's unnatural pregnancy in the abduction arc.
5. Stargate Atlantis, when Rachel Luttrell's pregnancy brought about the birth of Teyla's baby.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Poem for Friday and Hillwood Rooms

By Thomas Hood

I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like Silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;—
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
  Pearling his coronet of golden corn.

Where are the songs of Summer?—With the sun,
Oping the dusky eyelids of the south,
Till shade and silence waken up as one,
And Morning sings with a warm odorous mouth.
Where are the merry birds?—Away, away,
On panting wings through the inclement skies,
     Lest owls should prey
     Undazzled at noonday,
And tear with horny beak their lustrous eyes.

Where are the blooms of Summer?—In the west,
Blushing their last to the last sunny hours,
When the mild Eve by sudden Night is prest
Like tearful Proserpine, snatch'd from her flow'rs
     To a most gloomy breast.
Where is the pride of Summer,—the green prime,—
The many, many leaves all twinkling?—Three
On the moss'd elm; three on the naked lime
Trembling,—and one upon the old oak-tree!
  Where is the Dryad's immortality?—
Gone into mournful cypress and dark yew,
Or wearing the long gloomy Winter through
  In the smooth holly's green eternity.

The squirrel gloats on his accomplish'd hoard,
The ants have brimm'd their garners with ripe grain,
    And honey bees have stored
The sweets of Summer in their luscious cells;
The swallows all have wing'd across the main;
But here the Autumn melancholy dwells,
    And sighs her tearful spells
Amongst the sunless shadows of the plain.
     Alone, alone,
     Upon a mossy stone,
She sits and reckons up the dead and gone
With the last leaves for a love-rosary,
Whilst all the wither'd world looks drearily,
Like a dim picture of the drownèd past
In the hush'd mind's mysterious far away,
Doubtful what ghostly thing will steal the last
Into that distance, gray upon the gray.

O go and sit with her, and be o'ershaded
Under the languid downfall of her hair:
She wears a coronal of flowers faded
Upon her forehead, and a face of care;—
There is enough of wither'd everywhere
To make her bower,—and enough of gloom;
There is enough of sadness to invite,
If only for the rose that died, whose doom
Is Beauty's,—she that with the living bloom
Of conscious cheeks most beautifies the light:
There is enough of sorrowing, and quite
Enough of bitter fruits the earth doth bear,—
Enough of chilly droppings for her bowl;
Enough of fear and shadowy despair,
To frame her cloudy prison for the soul!


I had a nice Thursday when I wasn't doing work. As planned, I went to Tiara Galleries on Rockville Pike for the Vera Bradley winter launch, where there were bagels and muffins for visitors and lots of lovely new things including penguin holiday cards in Plum Petals. I was being very good and not spending any money, but then I decided to stop at Cottage Monet in downtown Rockville since there's free parking in the garages this week. Cottage Monet also had the new Vera Bradley items, plus they were giving away tins of mints with the new patterns on them...and the retired items were 75% off, meaning I now have a Julia bag in Folkloric and it cost $13. I call this an utterly successful shopping trip!

I did some work in the afternoon before Adam called to ask for a ride home from cross country practice; he usually walks, but he has a cold and had a lot of homework that he wanted to get finished before going after dinner to the school's activity fair, where all the clubs try to recruit new members. He did the drama, photo, and chess clubs last year, but I think this year he wants to join a film club. I took him and his friend Daniel over, then I went to the mall to wander for an hour while waiting for them to text and tell me they were finished. We watched the final episode of the animated Star Trek series, which I need to review tomorrow, then we watched part of the Cincinnati-NC State game in which the Bearcats were trouncing the Wolfpack before The Daily Show. Here are some more Hillwood photos, mostly private spaces:

Have a lovely equinox and a blessed Mabon.