Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the cost of living in nyc

I mean this metaphorically and literally.

It really is my last day in NYC. True to form, I've left a whole lot until the very last minute, and chosen to complicate and confuse myself about pretty much all my relationships and even what I'm going to Scotland to do. And just how long I'll be there. 

I remember very clearly the day I moved to New York five years ago. I remember a couple of key people asking me, "what if you don't find what you're looking for? what if you don't find it and have to come home?" Which to me, at the time, felt like code for "what if you fail?" And, while I may actually never find what I'm looking for, if you know me, you know how much I care for being presented with that challenge.

So, as freeing and as purposeful as this move is, I am still weighing its cost. Because I have almost never let go of anything. Any dream, any love, any person, any feeling. I have hung on to every moment in an effort to just keep something. To escape how quickly it moves on to the next thing. 

To voluntarily fly myself (admitted-- this has always been one of my own defense mechanisms-- that whole moving target business, if I leave first, I'm in control? Even if it means I pack very heavy bags from taking everything and everyone with me?) now somehow, with NYC in particular, feels like I'm giving up. Or maybe that, while some of my reasons are noble, others are simply that I'm too tired to do this city by myself anymore. Or this poor. I don't feel like that everyday, but many days. All but a few relationships end up feeling like commodities around here (had an excellent conversation about this yesterday as it pertains to networking) and I (stewing in my thoughts by myself) end up jumping to a lot of conclusions about people. 

Something about what I'm doing  in Scotland feels more like emotional green living. Or clean living. It's cost-effective, cleaner, and leaves a smaller carbon footprint on my heart. A part of me simply cannot afford to live in New York anymore. But more times in the last two weeks that at any other point, I've fast forwarded to to the moment I come BACK to NYC. More than any other time in the process, I've thought, "Well maybe I'll only be gone a year...." 

Maybe the truth of my sadness or my fright or my regret (thinking about that Franzen entry: freedom, mistakes) comes from this knowing that I am both aware of my main life lesson: (negative capability!), understand its awe-inspiring beauty, and yet almost without exception cannot implement into my feelings. Actions? Sure. But not feelings. (oh, cronin: "bravery is easy; it's hope that is hard.")

Monday, August 30, 2010

freedom and franzen

I'm so excited. It will be delivered to my kindle tomorrow. Sometimes I just wish he'd stop acting like such a jackass, but then other times, I love him. The way he comes off in his girlfriend's Granta Magazine essay (which I've written about before-- you should read this essay. It's amazing.) 

I still love his rules for writing (one of many writers who submitted them for an article in The Guardian) especially the last one. Which I have quoted over and over again.  

  1. The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.
  2. Fiction that isn't an author's personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn't worth writing for anything but money.
  3. Never use the word "then" as a conjunction – we have "and" for this purpose. Substituting "then" is the lazy or tone-deaf writer's non-solution to the problem of too many "ands" on the page.
  4. Write in the third person unless a really distinctive first-person voice offers itself irresistibly.
  5. When information becomes free and universally accessible, voluminous research for a novel is devalued along with it.
  6. The most purely autobiographical fiction requires pure invention. Nobody ever wrote a more auto biographical story than "The Meta morphosis".
  7. You see more sitting still than chasing after.
  8. It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction (the TIME magazine cover story detailed how Franzen physically disables the Net portal on his writing laptop).
  9. Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.
  10. You have to love before you can be relentless.

Tomorrow will be one of those days, brimming with potential, when I love him for giving me a huge new novel as I embark on my world travels. It's conveniently called Freedom. (Or, more annoyingly-- as I've previously mentioned-- Freedom: A Novel.) And NPR has some interesting things to say about it, which I can't help but feel parallel a few things I'm feeling right now:

Two of the most frequently repeated words in Freedom, Jonathan Franzen's much-anticipated fourth novel, are "freedom" and "mistake," and they're curiously linked. For Franzen's characters, freedom means, in part, the liberty to make mistakes — mistakes that are examined, dissected minutely, and, occasionally, corrected.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dreaming of Here

This photo is unbelievable to me. I'd credit the photographer, but I've had it for ages and I don't even know where I got it from. 

I was just talking to Aly a minute ago about how...it doesn't really seem like I'm moving. I mean, I sort of am not acting like I'm moving. I keep starting new projects, friendships, etc. Things I don't want to leave. It almost feels like "going to Scotland" is just a new job I got. That I'll wake up every morning in New York and head off to my job... "living in Scotland" and return at the end of each day to New York again. And on weekends, when I'm off, I'll still just keep right on living my life in NYC. 

But that's not the case, and in fact, I live in the picture above. 

I'm really excited for the time I get to spend with people for the next 5 days. Aly/Ryann/Erin reunion slumber party tonight, brunches/lunches/date night tomorrow and just soaking in that slow part of NYC I love-- that part where everyone just seems to hang out-- on a patio or wherever they need to be, as the season changes from one to the next. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

want to see, want to see

Yes. Movies about writers... That aren't the same old movies about writers. Loved this article about Reprise on This Recording too. In other news, it's my last day at my job! I'm so excited to be a free agent, travelling the globe and having adventures and writing about them!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

if this doesn't make you happy...

I have a lot on my mind lately, but I could watch this over and over and over!! 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

this is where stories are made up and mended, between the rememberforget

Remember how I was telling you about my new Scottish friend, Sophie? Well I just wanted to give you a little example of how awesome she is. Even though we've never met, she might already be my new favorite modern poet. There is a distinctly Scottish sensibility ( it has always seemed to me) that I guess I've spent so much effort trying to get back to in my daily life. (That return to the origin idea.) It's part oddly/riotously humorous and part super hazy/dreamy-- making up words with (somehow) a completely clear meaning. Case. in. point. This poem by Sophie. Also, check out her music. 100% real deal Scots folk music. Yes. She's even on a tour of the US right now. Turns out, we're going to miss each other in NYC by just a little bit, so instead, we'll meet in October in Scotland!

Between the Rememberforget 

Down at the landdawn where willows grow tall 
And the moon-tide neaps the waves 
Down at the strewnquilt sunspilt surge 
And the mouthydark wet of the caves 

Down at the flitterfished shallows of edge 
Where the toe-slip seaweed lies 
And where seashelly soddens are garnished with sedge 
To the strutbeaking herring-gull cries 

Down at the weedystrewn straggling hem 
At the lip of the waterywet 
This is where stories are made up and mended 
Between the rememberforget 

Also, here's her singing Auld Lang Syne-- fitting. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

leave Vivien alone!

McC was kind enough to alert me to this and now I'm FUMING. FUMING. I try not to make this blog about being outraged or complaining, but listen: 7 things offend me. This combines about 4 of them. When you attack Vivien Leigh (and by extension, GWTW) you might as well come after my dad, it's that upsetting to me. 

What is the point of trying to sully the name of brilliant actress (with well-documented illnesses) who has been dead for 43 years? The author of the actual biography isn't listed, nor are any real sources the "biographer" had. The way our sound bite based media works, it doesn't really matter if what you say if true. You can say whatever you want, retract it, but people only remember the sound bite. So they believe whatever they heard first. (examples include Obama's religion, Obama's birth certificate, I could go on here).

So even if in today's Post, there's any kind of retraction, etc (though I doubt there will be) most people will remember the inflammatory article, not it's mellow cousin, the apology. They'll remember "slutty lesbian." And every bit of this article's sexist language makes me want to barf. 

I'm not offended, nor am passing judgement, on Vivien Leigh if she was indeed a lesbian or bisexual...or even promiscuous, really (though, pretty obviously, not a big fan of adultery). But this article/this biography is passing judgement! And that's what offends me. Why are we so obsessed with making every detail of someone's sex life known? Why is there always the rush to dirtiest thing we can come up with in the bedroom (or in this case, the substitute for)? American culture is obsessed with the basest qualities. I'm so sick of it!....and that's why I'm leaving! (which is sadly how I end many sentences these days.)

I liked the comment from this poster: "She was mentally ill. What is your excuse? As a supposed writer you should be ashamed top write such tripe. But then, I expect too much of my fellow man these days. " 

Monday, August 23, 2010

i still love mansfield park

Everyone seemed to hate this movie but me. Maybe I was the only one that liked their addition of some of Jane Austen's own letters as writings of Fanny. I get that it's not very true to the novel, but man. As far as costume dramas go (and let's be real, they go pretty far with me) this one is about as good as it gets. In fact, it's one of my favorites of all times. The flying dove telegram! The glass playing scene on the rainy day where they stay inside-- gorgeous! (I tried to find that scene, but could never find it isolated. The song is available to purchase on itunes, etc though.)

I never say no to Alessandro Nivola, Jonny Lee Miller & James Purefoy in one movie. And Harold Pinter is (As always) positively creepy in one of his last film roles. 

The seven minute scene below is one of my all time faves. Perfect for this rainy Monday. My last Monday of employment... (hopefully) ever. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

the funniest thing I've seen in a while

Wow. Just wow. There are so many hilariously awkward things about this video. I cannot get over this girl's totally awkward body language, speaking cadence and strange beveling. Do you guys think she's in on this joke or not? Just watch.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I do not share david leebron's vision of what Rice should be

For quite some time, I have been unhappy with David Leebron's leadership at Rice, in the years since I've left. He never seemed to understand what we were all about-- the college system, why we were different from other universities of our caliber. From the firing of Camacho to the incessant building and eating away at greenspace to this final straw. I have not donated one cent to Rice since after the first year I left because of the way Leebron makes decisions about the future of the university. I was never all that obsessed with KTRU, but just because I (and apparently him) aren't huge fans, doesn't mean I think it should be taken away as a university resource. And I understand that by Leebron's logic, any number of the things that I think are crucial parts of the Rice experience could be sold off to fund new stadiums, etc. Rice has always produced a certain kind of person-- these kinds of people I love and think the world needs more of. I don't want Rice to become a cookie cutter private university. 

Originally, I was just going to excerpt this, but fellow Bakerite, Danny Mee's open letter to Leebron is so good, I'm posting the whole thing here. 

An Open Letter to Rice University President David Leebron
By Mee
Or, Danny Blows His Stack, Part 3
Dear Mr. Leebron;
My name is Daniel Mee. I graduated from Rice with a Bachelor of Arts in 2002. My parents, who met and married while they were both undergraduates at Rice, are also alumni. After I graduated, I was a Rice staff member for three and a half years, and I now work for a company founded by Rice graduates that has employed at least four other Rice alumni. I currently play in a band founded by two other Rice alumni and a child of a Rice professor.
All of this is to say, I have very strong ties to Rice University. Additionally, I have strong ties to regional music and media communities—I am currently a freelance music writer for one of the Houston Chronicle’s online outlets, and have been a regular contributor to the print editions of the Houston Press and Austin Chronicle.
My introduction to the music and media communities came through KTRU-FM, where I was a DJ for seven years. Many of the closest connections I’ve maintained from my undergraduate years were formed at KTRU with my fellow DJs. As someone who values the unique and vital contributions of this radio station to Rice and the surrounding community, and feels strongly invested in both, I am deeply ashamed of the manner in which the Board of Trustees and the administration of Rice University have treated KTRU.
I was horrified to learn on Monday evening from the Houston Chronicle that Rice University was one day away from finalizing an agreement to sell the license and transmitter that are currently in use for the Rice student radio station. Not only were the students, faculty and staff of Rice not consulted about this plan, but the staff of the radio station were not even informed of it—they had to find out about it from the Chronicle’s website.
Later that evening, Mr. Leebron, I received an e-mail from you in which you outlined the reasons the University had decided to liquidate the student radio station. Among other things, you claimed that KTRU is a “vastly underutilized resource that is not essential to providing our students the wide range of opportunities they need,” citing that “[a] recent Arbitron report showed that KTRU’s audience was so small that it did not even register in the ratings.” You note that “KTRU will continue to serve its campus and external audience with student-managed programming via www.ktru.org.”
The ability to stream student programming over the internet is not a replacement for a radio broadcast for the simple fact that it cannot be heard on a radio. If KTRU-FM is liquidated, many listeners will no longer have access to KTRU programming. But the Arbitron report that you cite deals with this point neatly, does it not? The terrestrial listening audience is “so small that it did not even register in the ratings.”
It’s true that KTRU does not show up in Arbitron data, at least not in the most recent Arbitron report that I was able to access, but here is a brief list of other stations that do not appear: KTSU, KACC, KPFT, and KUHF, the University of Houston NPR affiliate that claims to have 300,000 daily listeners. Based on this data, one might conclude either that KUHF is also “not essential,” or that Arbitron ratings provide no useful data by which to judge the value of a noncommercial radio station.
Even assuming that the terrestrial broadcast of KTRU has a small audience, it is not at all clear to me that it follows that the station ought to be terminated. Most Rice students, alumni, faculty and staff probably have not contemplated that “underutilized resources” on campus are eligible for liquidation. Surely there are other assets that are ripe for divestiture. How many people visit the Rice Art Gallery on an average day? What about the Rice Media Center— is that still around? How many of Fondren library’s 2.6 million print volumes are consulted on a regular basis, now that most of the information contained therein is now available on the internet?
Perhaps we should start by demolishing the proportionally least-utilized resource in Rice history, the football stadium, which according to legend could not be filled even if every Rice alum, living or dead, were occupying a seat simultaneously. Clearly, it seems that the best course of action would be to demolish the stadium and use the space to alleviate Rice’s perpetual parking shortage, and simultaneously generate income through parking permit sales. Or, if the University really is desperate for cash, perhaps that portion of the campus can be partitioned off and sold.
Of course, we all know this idea would be untenable to the Board of Trustees. In 2004, a Rice-commissioned study by McKinsey Consulting recommended that Rice drop its division 1A athletics program, which was losing $10 million dollars per year, in favor of any of four less costly programs. After seeing this report, the Rice Board of Trustees chose to ignore this recommendation, thereby rendering the report a boondoggle in its own right.
But let’s back up a bit to the Rice athletics program losing $10 million per year. TEN MILLION DOLLARS. PER YEAR. This is more than the entire proceeds of the proposed sale of KTRU-FM. If only we had more radio stations to sell, we could subsidize athletics for years to come.
How dare you insult our intelligence by informing us that, in the name of university advancement, we must liquidate an educational resource to which hundreds of students have devoted thousands upon thousands of hours of volunteer labor to build and maintain over the course of 40 years, when the sale price doesn’t even match a fifth of the fortune that the athletics program lost in the last decade?
According to your e-mail, the proceeds from the sale are to be put in large part toward the construction of a new East Servery near Will Rice. While I’m sure that this will benefit the 400 or so students who are members of those colleges, I’m having difficulty seeing the need for this building. Undergraduate enrollment at Rice University has increased only 7% since I matriculated in 1998, and yet, since that time, Rice has added three new residential colleges and two new serveries. As I recall, I had no problem getting enough to eat when I was a freshman living on campus. Why is the construction of another servery so urgent that educational assets must be sold off to pay for it?
After all, Mr. Leebron, as you note in your e-mail, “the economic downturn which began two years ago has forced Rice . . . to make hard choices to prioritize spending and maximize the use of our resources.” Why wasn’t one of these “hard choices” to not build another new building until you have the cash on hand to pay for it? For the last fifteen years, the university has been spending like a drunken sailor, adding building after building, and now that we’re in a recession, rather than regroup, your strategy is to sell things off to raise capital.
I’m sure you are aware that, due to the recession, many state governments have been reduced to selling state property, such as public parks, to private corporations in order to balance their budgets as tax revenues decline (perhaps you are even aware that the state of Arizona has taken the bizarre measure of selling and then leasing back its own state capitol!). This state of affairs is generally considered to be a disgraceful indication of governmental breakdown, in which an abject failure of political courage has necessitated drastic, unsustainable and irreversible steps merely to stave off disaster.
Is this an indication that Rice is experiencing a similar crisis of political courage? You told the Houston Chronicle only six months ago that Rice might “need” to build a new football stadium soon, even as negotiations for the liquidation of an irreplaceable university resource were carried out behind the backs of faculty and students. How are we to interpret this?
In short, it strikes me that this sale is so unnecessary as to be perverse, and the reasoning proffered to justify it is hogwash. At least when, ten years ago, Rice last attempted a hostile takeover of KTRU-FM, it did so because it valued the opportunities availed to students and the community by FM radio, even though it completely overlooked the value of a student organization and a community voice unlike any other. In 2000, President Malcolm Gillis even told the Rice Thresher that he would not consider selling KTRU-FM. Today, by contrast, you deem KTRU-FM to be “not essential.” If you had consulted any of the dozens of the students who are KTRU DJs, or any of the 500+ alumni who are former KTRU DJs, or any of KTRU’s audience, or indeed anyone at the University at all, I believe you would have come to a different conclusion.
The administration of Rice University has an obligation, as a trustee of its students, faculty and alumni, to value our contributions and opinions just as concretely as it does a new building. Not only have you and the Board of Trustees failed to do so, you have made crucial and irreversible decisions about an invaluable part of this university in secret, without consulting or informing the people for whose benefit the institution ostensibly exists. This is a breach of trust and a violation of the mores of liberal education.
It is unethical.
When I was merely a prospective student, my parents, and the university itself, portrayed the school as an idealistic institution that valued the individual and often idiosyncratic contributions of students more highly than the money they paid for tuition. KTRU-FM, a radio station founded in a dorm room, managed almost exclusively by students and grown to national renown as one of the most adventurous and unusual college radio stations in the country, is a shining example of those contributions, and an essential part of the institution that I decided to attend. If KTRU is liquidated in the manner you have proposed, for me and many others, that institution will be severely and permanently damaged.
I know I speak not only for those members of the Rice community who have been involved with the radio station, but for those like my mother (Jones ‘80), who was never involved with KTRU but who, upon hearing of its impending sale, described it as “sickening.”
I would like to think that, when I have college-age children, I could recommend Rice to them in the same way my parents recommended it to me. Despite my lifelong connection to Rice, if you proceed with the sale of KTRU-FM, I most certainly will not be able to do so, nor could I in good conscience donate a red cent to an institution that places so little value on the contributions of those it purports to serve. Not that I imagine it matters, since the appalling practice of selling off bits and pieces of Rice’s legacy should be more than sufficient to finance the University’s continued improvement.
Daniel Mee
Baker ’02
Many thanks to Angela Lee, Esq. (UT-Austin ’99UH Law ’06) for editorial assistance.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Article Roundup

My sentiments exactly.

This is amazing, JetBlue. If I were leaving one month later, I would do this.


Will the downfall of the book superstore mean the return of the independent book seller? Probably not, but a good ponder. 

An interesting idea: http://www.gotopless.org/ I'd never do it, personally (I mean, I SLEEP in a bra). But I don't disagree with the idea.

What am I doing this weekend? Hm... well, my month of gypsy couch hopper comes to an end as I move into Steven's house basically for the remainder of my time in NYC. I'll be taking care of the puppies (Merlin & Maestro) and hopefully making Nic & Alix in super good shape for a table read. 

I'm having a long-overdue super convo with favorite Lyric Baritone Buddhist, Mr. Mark Fisher. 

And on Saturday, I'm going back to my normal color of blonde. The camps have been divided (lots of girls said to keep it darker, but my grandma [true to form, said, "Oh no! What happened to your pretty blonde hair!?] and my best guy friend voted back to lighter) but at the end of the day... I don't like it this dark and curly. And I think my hair will be worn mostly curly in Scotland... so that's what I've decided. 

What is everyone else doing?

As a weekend bonus, here is my boo boo Morgan Karr WINNING amateur night at the Apollo:

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I was introduced to the Wailin' Jennys several years ago by someone who broke my heart. But I don't hold that against the Jennys. Luckily, unlike almost all other music in my life, the Jennys have somehow managed to ride the line between still reminding me of him and not reminding me of him at all, but just sounding like the non-manic hopeful feeling I have whenever I resolve to start something new. I have a pretty big problem with living in the moment. A colossal problem with it, actually. And I am often resolving to be better about it, but it's something I have to work at. Because every time I finally learn to trust or enjoy something, it's already time for the next thing. So it's nice to have this reminder. I wish I could find a video for my favorite Jenny's song, "Firecracker." That one's a doozy. With one of my favorite all-time lyrics: 

"knowledge pulls the reigns against the bliss that I once knew/when you set your sights on me/ and the firecrackers flew."

But "Begin." Begin is a good one. And one of my favorite words. And feels appropriate for these days. 

sleeping on love letters- part II

It's official. Now that it's a duvet & not just sheets, I must have this.  I even went and checked it out in the store to make sure I loved it as much as I thought. Please buy lots of sheet music so I can get these for Scotland. Thanks everyone. 

In other news, MY MORGAN WON AMATEUR NIGHT at the APOLLO!!!! But we always knew he was A STAR!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

love will stay in seattle

Whaaaat!? Check out this adorable, belting, singing for Jesus on "Love Will Stay!" I don't think I wrote all those lyrics (I think she may have just forgotten some and repeated herself-- hey it happens) but she still did a pretty kickass job! You go, Diana Huey! Me and Steven applaud you! Plus, bonus points for that cello, you guys. It's enormously gratifying to see stuff like this from across the country. If you've bought sheet music and performed one of our songs somewhere, let us know and I'll post it!

I'm off to hear my Morgan battle it out at the Apollo against all the other folks singing there tonight... that should be a Harlem adventure! What a great couple of days this has been. Gooood times. Except for this. This is lame. Save ktru.


He does have a very particular speaking style. And I miss hearing it at length in class.

And he can always be counted on for excellent, thought provoking and/or hilarious facebook status updates, such as this little bit of "Croninanity" (his word) about the new Eat Pray Love movie (which I have not yet seen): 

"There will come a time when people will say, "The products were better than the movie, which was better than the book, all of which went straight into the landfill of time anyway." Off to get my eat-pray-love bucket hat! 
On the upside, I think it would be a slightly more interesting world if every book were marketed with its own fragrance."

I really did enjoy this article, though, as... a marketer myself, as well as a reader with a love/hate relationship with Eat Pray Love. And I dunno, though. I might need those fresh fragrances in eat, pray, love themed scents! ;)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

north & south and north & south

I spent this weekend watching costume dramas and saying goodbye to my friends. 

As a child, I was totally obsessed with North & South. It was probably the first expensive thing I ever asked for (back in the late 80's the set of tapes cost like $150 or something ridiculous like that.) It's funny to think that my love of N & S actually pre-dates the obsession with Gone with the Wind by a couple of years, largely because even my mom watched N & S (I mean... Swayze. Not to mention, in some way that GWTW isn't, it's a total soap opera. Watching it now, I still love it, but I almost can't tell sometimes whether it takes itself seriously or not.)

In any case, I even watched it when it originally aired, so I was only like 3 or 4 or 5 (it went on for a while) and it re-aired a few years later. I would stay up late with all the lights off waiting to hear that damn Bill Conti score-- still second only to Gone with with Wind's for me (though Steven is writing some Nic & Alix  stuff that makes me reconsider both favorites...) Listening to it now, I'd redo the sound mix on it, but I still tear up and can remember my little self perched on the edge of the couch, pining to own a hoop skirt and daydreaming (though it was night) far back in history. So basically, N & S was my historical gateway drug.

When I saw another North & South (England, not America-- though very similar time periods, and geographic conflicts-- industry, leisure, the weather, etc) on Netflix (this one is instant streaming, don't worry, McC),  I almost refused to watch it out of loyalty to the other. It was the one costume drama I'd avoided in the carefully chosen for me section of pre- 20th century British anthologies of the BBC. But I finally cracked this weekend (on the first day all month where I  allowed myself to rest) and man, am I glad I did. At first, I didn't like the heroine, Margaret Hale, but all in all, yes, please. That Richard Armitage as John Thornton-- huge thumbs up. And not a shabby score, itself. 

I also watched some Daniel Deronda (excellent) which even made me contemplate rewatching Middlemarch. (Current Tony Winner for Albin in La Cage aux Folles, Douglas Hodge is in like 90% of all these things, btw). Anyhow, the combination of the two got me thinking about how many classics came from women writers during the 19th century. (North & South being from Elizabeth Gaskell, and Daniel Deronda & Middlemarch being from George Eliot aka Mary Anne Evans. (Of Course, then, let's not forget the Brontes, etc etc). I almost feel like women had a better shot at writing a classic then than they do now. I think it has something to do with our tastes. With what we consider feminine. I mean, I'll always have the luxury of people perhaps thinking I'm a man from my name, but I doubt they'd ever think I was because of my tone. But to be honest, I'd say that Eliot & Gaskell, etc, both had pretty feminine tones and talked about a mix of things that could be considered "feminine" but I think perhaps the times were less obsessed with being cool, or perhaps being cool was just less associated with being cynical or unsentimental or whathaveyou. Anyhow, watch away. Tons of great stuff here and "Northern England" was played by a dirtied up Edinburgh. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

the color of an idea

My writing partner, Steven, says he sees music in colors. That's part of how he writes-- he'll want something golden or green or purple. I suppose you could say I have the same mental fixation with color. I get really uncomfortable around unpainted walls. I'll obsess for a long time on someone wearing the wrong shade of lipstick or what color my hair should be for my overall coloring. And, as I have pretty much always projected myself into imaginary versions of my future, the images I choose to represent that dream future are often about color. 

For Scotland, while I normally see a slate grey- almost purple-- and green, when I actually see myself in this world, I keep going back to this mustard yellow sweater. (I'm a Sienna fan and always have been actually-- I'll explain that more later.) And while I found a lot of this movie (Edge of Love-- about a love triangle between poet Dylan Thomas & his wife & his first love) tedious, I don't actually blame Sienna. (I can't deal with Keira Knightly. Can't deal.)

Mustard or maizey yellow is one of those colors that sounds awful in theory, but is actually wonderful & warm on the right coloring. And when I see myself lost in books, staring out my window seat, or sitting in my office in the poetry house of St. Andrews, that's what I'm wearing. And everything around me is soft and soft-focused, except the ideas. 

I watched the movie this past winter, where I sequestered myself from the real world with The Passage and a newly activated Netflix account and was truly and genuinely happy to be alone. I can remember being cuddled up in my wonderful slate-grey room while my neighbors Christmas lights blinked sweetly in through the big windows. This was when I really hatched my plan to spend the next few years of my life on wind-swept beaches just like these. 

I don't have a whole lot to say about Dylan Thomas. I like that his poetry has a musicality. I like that he was friends with a Scottish poet I quite admire, Ruthven Todd. I like that he said, "an alcoholic is someone that you don't like very much, who drinks as much as you do." And I like that in the film, he says "first love's all right as far as that goes--last love, that's what I'm interested in..."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

i feel slightly embarrassed by how depressed this makes me...

After an amazing going away party, I've been holed up on 42nd street trying not to feel such an inappropriate amount of depression about this. 

(I tried to embed the player, but sometimes NPR won't let me do it..)
I feel a strange, genuine loss about the slowly evaporating, living evidence of Gone with the Wind.
Every time something else goes away, I feel another piece of my grandfather go away, and another step closer to when all the things I loved about being a child will be gone. The last time I left for a foreign country, my grandfather told me I wouldn't see him again. So naturally, I feel a little dread about going away again. I wish I could just have one more summer with my grandmother where we watch Gone with the Wind, and make lists of the related museums, houses and exhibits before we got in the car for our little pilgrimages. One more summer where we always stopped Uno for lunch with Papoo and iced tea and sandwiches. Those were the first summers where I really learned to daydream. And the first summers where I learned to accept that simultaneous sense of content/restlessness was actually happiness.

Don't fall apart, Scarlett's dresses!
Great balls of fire, Mammy, Miss Scarlett's dresses are falling apart! The iconic costumes worn by actress Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind are suffering loose seams, fading colors and other signs of old age. Where shall they go? What shall be done?
Enter the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin. The center is trying to restore five of Scarlett O'Hara's gowns to their cinema splendor. "These dresses were only made to last as long as it took to shoot the movie," says Steve Wilson, the center's film curator. Scarlett's famous "curtain dress" is one of the few survivors. 

Friday, August 13, 2010


Here's me when I first moved to NYC, in the fall of 2005. Some things are still the same. I still work on this block, in fact (for 2 more weeks). The Eugene O'Neill is still my favorite theater on Broadway and Rusty my favorite box office worker. I still don't look good in baseball hats.

And still, as of right now, a lot of my furniture is for sale. I'm posting the pics again, as some of the sales fell through, so lemme know if you want any of this. It's cheap. 

My going away party is tonight at (where else?) St. Andrews. We have the back room & we're working on some drink specials. I know a lot of people are out of town, etc etc, but please stop by if you can anytime after 9PM. It's basically off Times Square on 46th Street between Broadway/7th and 6th.

St. Andrews
140 West 46th Street
9 PM

Landon and I stopped by there last night after Power Balladz to check it out (We didn't want any of that 2009 Birthday 321BurgerShotBeer business going on) and discovered that all the bartenders are Irish, not Scottish. Which I have nothing against, and apparently, there's very few Scots in the real St. Andrews either... that's kind of a bummer. Anyhow... buy this stuff....and see you tonight!

From Fergie & Fife


From Fergie & Fife


From Fergie & Fife

From Fergie & Fife

dressers are for sale again- $100 for both. Probably $50 worth of Anthropologie knobs on there.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

touche, tigerlily. touche.

happy birthday, Emily Violet!

Special Special happy birthday to the lovely Emily Violet. Most of the amazing history of Em & Ry, I've already talked about here, but this year, every occasion is worth celebrating to the max because wow, has it been some year. 

As can be the case with almost any almost 20 year long friendship, this time last year, we could hardly find time to talk at all. And now, she's one of the three people in my life I get nervous about if I don't talk to everyday. 

No one could have handled the kind of year this has been with as much class as Emily has shown. The crash course in lessons have made her even wiser, funnier and more caring than she's always been, when most people would have given up. Amazing how even when something isn't happening directly to you, when you sign up to be there for someone-- and really commit to that-- for better or worse, it IS happening to you. I know this year, I've been as upset about this stuff as if it were happening to me. And I feel fortunate to have learned the lessons as well as I went through this year with Emily. 

I've had the insulation of distance and my own tendency to daydream inward out of difficult dilemmas, but with each new difficulty, breakthrough or painful revelation about the way the people we love can hurt us, can change, I've clung to one thing... I was determined to be the exception to those painful lessons for Emily no matter what. When one person might be trying to break her spirits (over and over, repeatedly) I would snap it back into place. 

Some people will lie and tell you they'll always be there for you, but really mean "only until it's inconvenient for them." Encounter too many of those people, and you'll start to think people will only stick around until there's some more interesting option. But I'm not one of them. Not for Emily. And so, by proving it with myself, I hope to prove it for myself. So I don't lose hope either. Because I know how much there really is to be gained on both sides when you just continue to show up, check the temperature and listen.

I love to listen. I love my Emily!

Why Stop Now?

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