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Friday, March 30, 2007


It seems that just about everyone I know is slumpy lately.  Tired, listless, and generally unmotivated to do the things that usually turn our cranks.  My friend Sophie recently posited a theory about this, after we discovered that we had just about exactly the same whine last year: it's Daylight Savings Time's fault.

I have a hard enough time getting up in the morning, but it's much easier to manage to get up when it's not pitch black outside.  When it has been gradually getting lighter and lighter in the mornings, and then the clocks get bumped, all of a sudden it's dark again at wake-up time and something in the dim recesses of my soul says, "NOOOOOO!" 

There's not enough caffeine in the world to fix that problem.  However, I can offer you incredibly cute otters* holding hands as something of a recompense:

*Yeah, I know - "incredibly cute otters" is redundant.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Le Maximilian Nouveau est Arrivee!

Baby Max arrived yesterday.  I didn't get to see his feet (which apparently are huge, so the wee socks I made him may be destined for a mobile), but I got to see his face and little hands.  He's awfully sweet and he and Marietta are both doing wonderfully.

Marietta and Max!

He seems to already be a rather pensive little chap.  

Max - already pensive

Welcome to the world, small one!

Friday, March 23, 2007

My Peep's Got Rhythm

Keepon: The Cutest Robot Ever.

Monday, March 19, 2007

New Project
I have a new project.

No, I'm not abandoning this one. The new project is a collaborative project. WoT? will stay mine.

My brother and I (stepbrother, if we're being technical about such things) are embarking upon a project that attempts to highlight our respective talents. It's called Literagraphica. We're going to try to do at least one post a week. The rules of the project are posted on the site. So far, we've really enjoyed doing this.

We hope you like it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Discursive and Rambling
I realized recently that there is a certain type of writing I really like, and I doubt I shall ever master it. This realization came to me as I was watching the movie of "A Prairie Home Companion." I described the experience this way to a few friends:

[Robert Altman and Garrison Keillor] are/were both such lovely, discursive, rambling artists with the ability (when working at the top of their respective games) to bring all that discursive rambling back to a tidy (but not too tidy - they're both naturalists in their own way) denouement.

I don't know if there is a term for that ability to send a story into about fifteen directions at once, then coax it to coalesce back into a coherent whole, but I'll call it a Big Bang. I am especially susceptible to this technique in humor - Eddie Izzard can do it in his stage shows with a seeming spontaneity that sends me into convulsive giggles. Characters and ideas that got introduced a half hour ago suddenly get tossed into the current scenario like so many comic hand grenades, and I'm off.

It's a tricky business, though, to write a Big Bang. At its best it is unforced and natural, and the tying-up of things ends up looking more like a marvelous coincidence and less like a magician's trick. At its worst, it seems - well, forced and unnatural and like the writer is trying way too hard. As I said at the outset, I am not sure I would ever be able to get there. While I may appreciate discursive and rambling, I think my natural style tends to be more brief and direct. I have two choices, I suppose: practice the style I like to read until (hopefully, maybe) one day I can graduate from practice to performance of a Big Bang, or step up the honing of my own natural style and learn to appreciate it for whatever grace it might contain. Given the constraints of time and energy, I am fairly sure I shall have to suck it up and learn to love my own way of doing things.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Carts, Horses, and the Disarrangement of Same
John Scalzi has a post up about marriage becoming rarer for people with less money. He posits some interesting potential reasons for this change, much of it having to do with the catastrophic economic possibilities that exist when neither partner has health insurance and the gap created by disparities in education.

These are certainly probable causes for people remaining unmarried. There is another one, brought home to me recently as I was surfing around on a few blogs of people younger than I. I read about one young woman who said that she and her fiance couldn't afford to get married. She enumerated the actual reasons: location, flowers, music... and I thought to myself, "It isn't that you can't afford to get married. You can't afford a certain type of wedding." It was as if someone said they couldn't afford housing, and then you realized they meant they didn't have the full purchase price for a starter McMansion.

There is something insidiously tenacious about weddings and the images and aspirations they conjure up. There is, to be sure, a vast commercial machine around weddings, willing to sell you on diamonds, white dresses, a fleet of bridesmaids in matching couture, a plated dinner for a hundred or more of your relatives and friends. It is seductive for many women, thinking of themselves in a beautifully cut dress, the focus of attention for one shining moment. You get to play a role: The Bride. The Bride will look a lot like the woman, but probably thinner, with better makeup, and clear skin. The Bride will have the full package, thank you - the flowers she wants (no filler), the dress she wants (not a knockoff), the dinner she wants (no buffets, thank you), the band she wants in the hall she wants...

Imagine the same person going to a real-estate agent, wanting the starter mansion posited above, when she really only has the means for a one-bedroom condo. Do you think she will live in a cardboard box rather than sacrifice her fantasy of living in her Dream House? Probably not. Reality will intrude, and she will decide that staying warm and dry is the most important thing.

Somehow, though, there is a strange juju in weddings. Some people will sacrifice the marriage, or put it on hold, because they can't afford The Perfect Wedding Day. The party to celebrate the union starts standing in the way of the union itself.

To these people, I have only one thing to say: those who elope to City Hall on their lunch hour are no less married than those who get their Big Day.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

A Theory
In my humble opinion, House has turned up the collar on its leather jacket, kissed Pinky Tuscadero, and jumped the shark. I'm not sure what invisible line got crossed, where exactly my brain said, "That's it, we're officially suspending all suspension of disbelief operations. Pack it up, folks," but I suspect it was during the police officer arc. We still watch the show, either because we are dorks or because I am trying to prove my hyperbolic challenge to the Universe, "I would sit in the snow and watch Hugh Laurie read a phone book." (Universe? Watching House play games with a megalomaniac cop who doesn't seem to have anything else to do but pursue personal vendettas is much worse than sitting hunched and frozen, listening to a recitation of "Miller - Muller." I get the message. I will try to be less grandiose in the future).

And so, along comes a new television show from a sister network - The Riches. It stars Eddie Izzard, who has to play at least part of the role using an American accent. It sounds interesting - slightly clever premise, a really inventive British actor (well, at least two - Minnie Driver is also in the cast), and I'm hoping that the writing room is stocked with talent.

All of this brings forth my theory (or query): is there a Law of Conservation of Good American Television* Projects for Talented British Comic Actors** Doing American Accents? Can only one exist, and if there is one rising, must the other necessarily fall? Or is this just confusing coincidence with causation?

*And is this law contained by the boundaries of the FOX broadcasting companies?
**I note the presence of Stephen Fry on Bones, but dismiss it as a probable red herring for the purposes of scientific inquiry - though it is a FOX show, he's playing a minor, recurring character and uses his own accent.