Friday, July 31, 2015

Poem for Friday, Windows 10, Pink Twilight

Spark of the Sky Stag’s Great Heart
By Sarah Messer

strung from a thought arrived through the keyhole grasping the hand of another

I will begin with my mouth

then live with antlers remembering the light inside, always to breathe this unforgetting

and his body shaped like a crabapple tree

or a mother raised by a wolf looking back at the mirror

and trying not to break anvils on the bottles of blame

in another life: smell of moss, stream water, depressions of dark orange rocks which trap tiny fish

the consequence of silence: a field beneath opening clouds

on that morning I woke to the sound of the blue jay and used a small silver key

some day we will all be gone from this place

now that the live oak has thrown down all its caramel-colored leaves, thought lives in the ear-shaped idea of this only


I am typing this entry on a laptop running Windows 10! And so far, knock wood, it seems to be working really well, doesn't even crash doing things that used to make it lock up -- the only problem I've had thus far was having to reauthorize Photoshop Elements 8 by downloading a tool from Adobe. This was not, however, the laptop on which I initially tried to install Windows 10 (which is not going on my desktop for months, until I am sure everything will work). I wanted to put it on my convertible laptop, which runs odious Windows 8, so I really wanted to update it as soon as possible because how could Windows 10 be worse? But the install failed three times and I can't figure out why!

Needless to say, all these computer shenanigans took up a lot of my day, which also involved starting a review, having dinner with my parents since we all have plans tomorrow in different places, chatting with Daniel about the Summer Games Done Quick video game charity event, avoiding asshats on Facebook and LiveJournal, watching baseball, watching The Daily and Nightly Shows, and watching a spectacular afternoon thunderstorm that didn't particularly lower temperatures, but led to an evening with lots of cicadas and bunnies and fireflies in evidence, plus a sky that looked stunning while driving home and equally stunning walking around the neighborhood:

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Poem for Thursday, Chaplin, Lewis Ginter Flowers

Spring (Again)
By Michael Ryan

The birds were louder this morning,
raucous, oblivious, tweeting their teensy bird-brains out.
It scared me, until I remembered it’s Spring.
How do they know it? A stupid question.
Thank you, birdies. I had forgotten how promise feels.


It is very hot and very humid this week, which is typical but not my favorite weather -- in fact the high point on Wednesday was a big rainstorm that arrived just as I was leaving the post office to send Daniel a package mostly with his Super Mario-Zelda-gaming stuff. I spent most of the afternoon at my parents' house getting them on Flickr, since that is where all my photos are, so they can download the family pics whenever they want. It rained again later but sadly not enough to break the heat -- I only saw one bunny out. Here are some flashback-to-spring photos from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in the rain:

We had leftover Greek food for dinner, then we watched Chaplin -- shut up, I do not have an RDJ problem, I was watching this for Kevin Kline, Dan Aykroyd, Moira Kelly, okay who am I kidding I have an RDJ problem, but in fairness he is phenomenal in this -- there are actual clips of Chaplin at the end of the film that show just what a terrific impression RDJ has been doing. Considering that I'm a Mack Sennett nerd in the first place (blame Mack and Mabel), I can't believe I avoided it so long just because I didn't like RDJ. Just remind me NOT to rewatch Less Than Zero, which made me dislike him for so long!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Poem for Wednesday and Amphibious Richmond

The Weed
By Elizabeth Bishop

I dreamed that dead, and meditating,
I lay upon a grave, or bed,
(at least, some cold and close-built bower).
In the cold heart, its final thought
stood frozen, drawn immense and clear,
stiff and idle as I was there;
and we remained unchanged together
for a year, a minute, an hour.
Suddenly there was a motion,
as startling, there, to every sense
as an explosion. Then it dropped
to insistent, cautious creeping
in the region of the heart,
prodding me from desperate sleep.
I raised my head. A slight young weed
had pushed up through the heart and its
green head was nodding on the breast.
(All this was in the dark.)
It grew an inch like a blade of grass;
next, one leaf shot out of its side
a twisting, waving flag, and then
two leaves moved like a semaphore.
The stem grew thick. The nervous roots
reached to each side; the graceful head
changed its position mysteriously,
since there was neither sun nor moon
to catch its young attention.
The rooted heart began to change
(not beat) and then it split apart
and from it broke a flood of water.
Two rivers glanced off from the sides,
one to the right, one to the left,
two rushing, half-clear streams,
(the ribs made of them two cascades)
which assuredly, smooth as glass,
went off through the fine black grains of earth.
The weed was almost swept away;
it struggled with its leaves,
lifting them fringed with heavy drops.
A few drops fell upon my face
and in my eyes, so I could see
(or, in that black place, thought I saw)
that each drop contained a light,
a small, illuminated scene;
the weed-deflected stream was made
itself of racing images.
(As if a river should carry all
the scenes that it had once reflected
shut in its waters, and not floating
on momentary surfaces.)
The weed stood in the severed heart.
"What are you doing there?" I asked.
It lifted its head all dripping wet
(with my own thoughts?)
and answered then: "I grow," it said,
"but to divide your heart again."


Tuesday was not particularly a better day than Monday, other than I got to see Adam for three minutes after going to College Park to drop off his belt and some other things that he didn't pack when he left for his week as an R.A. Lots of people I know had annoying things going on, so I had no one I could whine to. I had a weather headache most of the afternoon, though I did see five bunnies when I went out to walk.

I had laundry to fold, so I watched The Nanny Diaries, which has a terrible script that Johansson, Evans, Linney, and Giamatti can't do a thing to save, so I pretended it was Captain America and Black Widow doing an undercover assignment. Then in the evening we watched I Love You, Man which was better than I was expecting -- not just Paul Rudd but it actually passed the Bechdel test! More of Richmond's Deep Run Park:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Poem for Tuesday and Discovery Beach

Watching the Sea Go
By Dana Levin

         Thirty seconds of yellow lichen.

Thirty seconds of coil and surge,
            fern and froth, thirty seconds
                         of salt, rock, fog, spray.


moving slowly to the left―

            A door in a rock through which you could see


another rock,
                       laved by the weedy tide.

            Like filming breathing―thirty seconds

of tidal drag, fingering
             the smaller stones
                          down the black beach―what color

             was that, aquamarine?
Starfish spread

                         their salmon-colored hands.


            I stood and I shot them.

I stood and I watched them
            right after I shot them: thirty seconds of smashed sea
                         while the real sea

                            thrashed and heaved―

           They were the most boring movies ever made.
I wanted

                       to mount them together and press play.


           Thirty seconds of waves colliding.


           with its open attitudes, seals
                        riding the swells, curved in a row

                        just under the water―

                                    the sea,
            over and over.
                                    Before it’s over.


Lots of small, stupid things on Monday did not go as planned, not enough to get cranky about since they're all minor or fixable -- both lunch and dinner plans postponed to different dates, friend sick, laundry washed but not folded because of a problem with a dress that had to be rewashed by hand, pictures not quite fitting in frames, things like that -- but enough to make me think I should turn in early.

High points of day included two bunnies on my walk and a cat who woke me by breathing tuna breath in my face. We watched The Soloist, in which RDJ gives a good performance and Jamie Foxx gives an exceptional performance (the screenplay's a bit uneven but I appreciated the directing, since so many movies about mental illness end up feeling over-the-top trying to portray it). Seattle's Discovery Beach:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Poem for Monday and Richmond's Deep Run

Toy Cloud
By Nathan Hoks

The rabbit has stolen
The big bear’s pointy red hat.

The frog looks longingly
At its evaporating pond.

A powerful glow comes
Off the sunflower

So everyone wears goggles.
My son rolls around in the ferns.

It seems he has overdosed
On sugar cookies.

Does he care about the bear’s hat?
To him I am a ghost on a bicycle.

I remember my father’s mouth
Reading aloud beneath his beard.

He is hiding in my face.
The toy cloud is filled with rain.


Paul and I had a nice day in Richmond with Cheryl, beginning with a walk around the big central pond at Deep Run Park, where we saw lots of frogs, a snake, a skink, some fish, and many dragonflies, plus flowering crepe myrtle and gorgeous green trees, then eating lunch at India K' Raja, which we visited a long time ago with Cheryl and which still has fantastic food, including a big lunch buffet with lots of vegetarian dishes plus mango iced tea and several desserts.

Then we went to see Mr. Holmes, which has a fantastic cast and gorgeous cinematography -- everyone I know who has seen it wants to move into that house -- and while the plot and structure are somewhat predictable, it's worth seeing just to watch McKellen, Linney, Allam, and the rest. We met Lin for the movie and afterward we all went to Baskin Robbins. We returned to Cheryl's to collect our stuff and say goodbye to her cat (who did not allow us to pet him, though he did the night before).

We drove home in typically slow, annoying I-95 traffic and had a small late dinner while watching Masters of Sex, plowing through the years, which would be fine except the main characters' lack of aging is preposterous. Now we're watching This Week Tonight, in which John Oliver just declared that the US has too many people in prison, enough to populate a whole country, which is not a good idea because the only good thing ever to come out of that experiment was Hugh Jackman and that took 180 years!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Placeholder for Sunday

Adam is in College Park for a week where we dropped him off to teach high school business students, Daniel had Amazon's company picnic, and Paul and I are in Richmond, where we had dinner with Cheryl and Lin, then went to see Man of La Mancha at the Dogwood Dell's outdoor theater. More tomorrow -- have a good Sunday everyone!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Poem for Saturday, Jetrel, A Scanner Darkly, Lewis Ginter

By Ada Limón

No shoes and a glossy
red helmet, I rode
on the back of my dad’s
Harley at seven years old.
Before the divorce.
Before the new apartment.
Before the new marriage.
Before the apple tree.
Before the ceramics in the garbage.
Before the dog’s chain.
Before the koi were all eaten
by the crane. Before the road
between us, there was the road
beneath us, and I was just
big enough not to let go:
Henno Road, creek just below,
rough wind, chicken legs,
and I never knew survival
was like that. If you live,
you look back and beg
for it again, the hazardous
bliss before you know
what you would miss.


I did a lot of work in the morning because I had a busy afternoon schedule -- a dentist appointment (man, I hate those new tooth-polisher-scraper-waterboarding devices they use instead of old-fashioned tools and basins and running water), then meeting friends for what was originally going to be a viewing of Pixels but the terrible reviews persuaded us to change plans, so we went out to dinner with the same friends at the Cheesecake Factory.

Here is my review of Voyager's "Jetrel", one of the episodes I distinctly remembered from its first airing and it holds up really well. We just watched A Scanner Darkly with Adam -- pretty serious crack (literally), but RDJ and Woody Harrelson seem to be having a great time, then talked to Daniel, who has finished his first week at work and is going to a company picnic tomorrow! Here are some photos from Lewis Ginter's spring flower display:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Poem for Friday, Ruffalo Movies, Richmond Butterflies

One Shies at the Prospect of Raising Yet Another Defense of Cannibalism
By Josh Bell

"You can't kiss a movie," Jean Luc Godard said, and this is mostly true, in that you cannot initiate the kiss. The Movie could initiate the kiss if The Movie wanted, as it is so much taller, leaning in, no way to demur, you would be too polite anyway, and, as the Roman poets have stressed, there is always something porous in the decorous. So there can be kissing between you and The Movie, and it would be amazing, better the more incoherent The Movie is and the more you had to pay to see it, though in the movies it is said that prostitutes don't like to kiss as kissing is too personal, though I disagree, as sometimes the human will make a show of locating you with a kiss, almost to prove to you that you are a real person with a face and that, absolutely, they know where the face is and the face isn't, and this is how you know, for sure, that both of you have been paid. But I don't want to make you feel bad here, and I apologize, for you are entirely kissable, as I have watched you through windows and keyholes even though, up to this point, you do not appear in movies. Often you appear holding a book in your hand and with God knows what playing in your head-I imagine you repeating to yourself, over and again, "the horse knows the way, the horse knows the way"-and remember: even someone as learned in film as Jean Luc Godard got it a little wrong. You can kiss The Movie, if The Movie wants to kiss you. It's just that The Movie, finally, isn't all that interested in your mouth.


I got to spend Thursday afternoon with Cheryl eating pizza and watching Mark Ruffalo movies! We went to Blaze in the mall to pick up lunch, then watched Begin Again, Now You See Me, and Rumor Has It -- we also did a lot of contemplation of Paul Simon, since the former is about authenticity among musicians, the middle involves a 59th Street Bridge scene, and the latter is all about The Graduate and "Mrs. Robinson." (I had not seen the latter before and think anyone who'd ever consider Kevin Costner over Mark Ruffalo is crazy no matter what insane family dynamics are involved...and they are insane!)

We finished the shark cupcakes from Sharknado night with Adam and Christine, took a walk to see if we could find bunnies (we saw three), then Cheryl went home and I had dinner with my family before watching the Voyager episode I'm reviewing this week ("Jetrel," one of the best of the first season, especially now that I'm less biased toward all Janeway all the time). I worked on that review for a while before The Daily and Nightly Shows. We are seeing Cheryl again in Richmond this weekend, so in the meantime, here are some photos from the last time we were in Richmond and went to see the butterflies at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden: