Okay, it’s official

Yeah, I want one of these.

I would want it even more if my textbooks were available on it, but since a lot of my school-reading is comprised of journal articles in pdf form, this would still make my life easier.

::SIGH::  I’m such an easy mark for good gadgets.

Fun with Metro

When the DC Metro works, it works very well.  When it doesn’t, well, like any other complicated piece of machinery it tends to fail rather spectacularly.

Friday’s commute home started rather normally – I lucked into running directly on to my first train, which is usually a sign that I’ll get home a full five minutes sooner than usual – whooopeeee. Then I manage to get my connection seamlessly as well (can we hope to be home by 20 after five, rather than the usual 30?  Dream big, kid).  Then my train… just sits for a bit at Metro Center, getting more and more full by the passing minute (she who snagged a seat sits and reads Mrs. Astor Regrets* and tries not to feel smug).

At Dupont Circle, we sit again.  And sit.  And then the train driver tells us that, due to a track problem, this particular train won’t probably move for a while.

An HOUR, in fact.

At this point, I make a fast check of my watch and hurl myself off the train as fast as the sardine-packed humanity will allow.  Dupont Circle has an escalator so long it has been known to give my friend Alicia vertigo, and by the time I reach the top of it, I have lined up Mobile Wife Rescue Unit 1 to get me – as long as I can get myself further north than my current position, which would be a real pain to get into and out of at rush hour.  I see a couple of older gentlemen getting into a taxi and ask if they are going north by any chance.  They are, they agree to share their cab with me (sometimes, looking like a dumb blonde can be an asset), and off we go to Bethesda, where John picks me up and takes me home.

*This book is, well – it’s kind of a mess.  The first couple of chapters make the whole point of the book several times – that the aging Brooke Astor was ripped off by her son, that families are still whacko no matter how much money is involved, and that Brooke Astor was a rather complicated person (all huge surprises, you will no doubt agree).  Then the meat of the book starts to bounce back and forth in time, relating anecdotes in an almost random manner that don’t create a very clear or cogent picture of the people involved or how they all converged in a Manhattan courthouse to figure out how a very wealthy woman ended up living in squalor and who should be responsible for her.  It’s as if the writer did a few magazine articles, then decided to write a book and used the magazine articles as her first few chapters, without tailoring them to fit the longer work.  As a result, this book is work for the reader, which is too bad, because it is an interesting story.

Remedial Reading

Ever have one of those moments where you realize that you’ve heard about something for a really long time, and yet you have no notion of what that thing really is?  And that the thing you had heard of is something that, given your background, age, or proclivities (or all of the above) is probably something you should have known more about?

For me, recently at least, this thing is The Dark is Rising Sequence.  I had never read it.  I would hear occasionally about it – mentioned in the same canonical category as the Narnia books, or Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain.  I was a kid who, for some considerable period of time in the fourth and fifth grades, never left the house without at least two of the Narnia books with me (it wouldn’t do to be caught out in case I re-finished one and had to start another – I have no idea how many times I re-read all of them).  I engaged in some very earnest conversations with a friend, another girl with similar interests, about the proper way to keep them on the shelf (in order of their writing or chronologically).  I also loved the Lloyd Alexander series and re-read it many times, though I didn’t own it until adulthood.

Other authors did, of course, pass my way.  I read the T.H. White Camelot books once, but those books didn’t engage me for the multiple re-reads of the others (had his wonderful Mistress Masham’s Repose not been out of print when my family read it, we probably would have owned it instead of borrowing, and I probably would have torn through it a few times more, but it wasn’t, so we didn’t, and I couldn’t).

I had lots and lots of well-meaning adults recommend books to me, based on my love of fantasy and escape.  But I don’t think anyone ever recommended The Dark is Rising to me.  Which is really odd.  I was the right age (the books were published in the 60’s and 70’s), had the right sort of tastes (see above), and I had seemingly endless afternoons of New Hampshire summers to curl up on the sofa and read.

I wonder how this oversight happened.  At any rate, it’s being rectified now.

“It is no mean feat to be precious and clumsy at the same time.”

A Reader’s Manifesto.

Oh. Yes.

In October 2002, John and I went up to Mt. Desert Island for a long weekend. It was during the height of the DC Sniper scare, and we were thinking about getting married up there.

It was a glorious weekend, and a difficult one (anyone who has a smooth experience in planning a wedding is… well, let’s just say I can’t imagine a smooth experience in planning a wedding). I was reading Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass on this trip, and I finished it on the flight home.

It was a Southwest flight, and we were sitting on one that had a facing row in the front (maybe they all do – I’m not wise in the ways of Southwest, whatever my other experiences with air travel are), and when I finished, the man sitting across from me remarked that I was obviously intent on the story. I could believe it. I felt like I was swimming up from a very deep dive after I turned the final page, and it had taken me some time to return to the landing plane, the reality of coming home.

This makes me hopeful that I can have the same experience in a movie theatre.