Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Playing Tag

I've gotten my first tag, courtesy of John at Blog Meridian, who was himself tagged as an "Indie" Blog, which his tagger, Bittersweet Blue, describes as meaning "quirky and unknown." John makes a point of saying that my blog is not quirky, so I suppose that leaves us with "unknown." Uh, thanks. Not to leave my reader(s ?) with the wrong impression, John B does compliment the writing here, and that is very nice of him. So, since I have been given the task of tagging at least five, here are mine, no surprises, since I don't have a secret list of faves that I've been hiding from everyone:

Commonplace Book, written by Steph Mineart, is not unknown, at least not as unknown as some branded awarded the Indie badge, but tracks the quirks of human existence and her own adventures in life with her partner, also named Stephanie, her good friends, a few cats, and a VW Bug named Phoebe. A marvelous collection of her own book reviews, recipes, links and images, bound in among the details of her daily life: am incisive and witty mind lurks here. Read it. Steph is "Indie" in the truest sense, since she lives in Indianapolis !

Then there is Snarling Marmot, from Springfield, MO. a lovely place tucked away in the southwest corner of the state (you can get to Eureka Springs, AR or Tulsa, OK faster than you can get to St. Louis from there). "La Marmot" snarls when necessary and celebrates when called for. Life: what to do about it.

Two Dishes But To One Table I consider to be a great find. I have no idea how I found it, but linked to it immediately and haven't stopped reading it since. Evan Genest, a high school science teacher in NYC, has a fine eye for things that should not escape us. I suppose that, given his profession and his love of science, it should not be surprising that this blog has a great, "hey look what I found" kind of tone. When the author encounters something, he is interested.

Willoboe (the title is the author's first and last name, run together) is a blog from Omaha, Nebraska, with roots in the Dakotas and other plains states. Willo writes eloquently about her life and the family, neighbors and friends who populate it. A beautiful sense of place permeates this blog: Willo's sense of the geography and history of the plains and her personal relationship to it makes her a distinctive voice.

It was hard to make a fifth and final choice, but I decided to go with Dave in Suomi. Suomi, for those who may not know, is Finnish for Finland, and Dave Schultz is a professor/researcher in meteorological sciences, usually from Tulsa, OK, but currently living and working in Finland. He decided to start a blog specifically to record his adventures in Helsinki and environs. He is not a daily blogger, but writes on a regular basis, has a sharp eye, loves his work, and, it seems, the Helsinki Testbed. An Oklahoman among the Finns, serious science, a language with more vowels than consonants in any given word almost guaranteed: how is this not quirky, aka fiercely unique ?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Finis Legendi

I read straight through, forays to the kitchen for slices of blueberry poundcake and cups of tea the only interruptions, until about 2:30 am last night (yes, technically this morning). No spoilers here. I found it a very satisfying read, though since I was drawn into more and more suspense about how it would all turn out, the later twists and turns of the plot started to make me impatient, and I had to ramp it down a bit and remember to take in every moment, that the end, well, would come only as the plot and details bid it. I do not mean the outcome, i.e. the burning question of at least one fact that could be discovered by a quick dip into the last chapter. (I did not look, to be clear.) I mean that, for the reader, the richness of the ending is only to be found in the fullness of the reading that preceded it. Not to be missed, that. As in all epic tales, a reader might be disappointed by skipping to the end in order to find satisfaction. Consider the very, very, very end of the Iliad: the brooding vengeful anger of Achilles is hardly unknotted in the lines that tell us the battle will continue after a break for the funeral games for Hector. Do we know, depending on where we left off, how/if Achilles got his revenge on Hector ? How/if the body was returned ? Do not, dear reader, take this example as an allusion to HP and the Deathly Hallows. This is not about literary merit, either; merely a brief aside on the pleasure of reading. It just seemed the right moment to think about reading, impatience, and pleasure. Enjoy HP, if still reading, and take to heart this bit of Rowling's dedication "and to you, if you have stuck with Harry until the very end." Stay by him and take it all in. Every page now. Every page.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Picked up Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this afternoon, one day after the rush, and have been reading since early evening. On page 477, so should finish tonight. I have no idea how it turns out. I've read most of the HP books, and wasn't particularly aiming to read this one, at least so soon. I actually thought well, once Saturday passes, I'll look at some spoilers and find out how it all ends. But I didn't and there it was in the store, and here I am, reading like a fiend. What a wonderful feeling !

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Lake

This is the lake out in the pines where I have spent some lovely afternoons this summer. It is a small place, tucked away off of a two lane country highway, picnic benches, grills for barbeques, lifeguarded but not forbidden when not. For residents, five dollars for the summer. There is a day pass for those from out of town who happen by. I think it is two or three dollars, and, given what urban types on the east coast are used to paying, I always hear murmurs about what a bargain it is, and it truly is: children can drag their floats and tubes and floating alligators and sand pails and shovels into the water while their parents and grandparents can plunk their beach chairs right in the shallow water, eat their sandwiches and oranges, and the lifeguards don't yell and there is no ten foot tall sign about restrictions on no tubes, no Marco Polo, no having fun, as seem to be so common everywhere (say, at my community pool). You almost never hear a radio, and if you do, it is back from the beach under the shade trees by a picnic, turned low, usually to a ball game, a horse race, or some quiet music. There is an ice cream stand, and children brave bare feet across the parking area, dollars clutched in wet and sandy hands. Okay, not only children. Much older folk circle their lawn chairs in the shade, some groups speaking in a mixture of English and the German of their youth.Every once in a while, the local patrol car circles both sides of the lake, the young officer enviously eyeing the water and the dock where, all day long, long legs and short legs, old and young, run, walk, or skitter to the edge and over the side in a polished dive, the belly flop, a cannonball, the nose-held-legs-first jacknife, all in all the perfect splash.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Middle Age

Mmmm... Cosmopolitans at a restaurant on the lake, appetizers, a drive home through the country in early evening. Friday.
Mmmm... Extra strength Excedrin, strong cup of black tea with extra sugar, good movie on tv. Fresh sheets on bed.
It's all good.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Eureka Music Update

Well, I have to say, this is the fastest (maybe the only) personal reply I've received from a website like The managing editor, Ian Mullen, returned an e-mail within an hour or two, and then another later. To my list, he added one more song, from the episode "Once in a Lifetime." If he's right, there are only three songs, and we've found them. What I called "The Ride of the Valkyries," he titled "Cavalcade of Brunhilde's Sisters;" another name for the same piece (I'll double check). There is still some background music, I think, to be listed, so let me know if you hear something familiar and have, uh, a Eureka moment. Really, the drugs are wearing off, I promise. See list in previous post for udpate.
7.6.07 Confirmed: "Ride of the Valkyries" and "Cavalcade for Brunhilde's Sisters" are the same piece. Thought so. My father liked to mow the lawn to it, but that's another post.

Hungry and Dopey are not the Seven Dwarves

They are instead the effect of antihistamines, shovelfuls of which I have been consuming since last night, when some sudden but quite real allergy attack visited upon me the whole demonic scenario of fits of sneezing, itchy, itchy eyes, face, mouth, and general pre-anaphylactic malaise. All the while, thunder menaced our little nostalgic barbecue. Okay, perhaps not "shovelfuls" of antihistamines, but it feels like it: I started in on Zyrtec, but that takes a while to build up in one's bloodstream, so it was recommended that I supplement with something quick-acting, like benadryl. You can only imagine: I'm starving, but just about too sleepy to eat. Trying to stay awake long enough to devour the goat cheese, pesto, and pinenut ravioli simmering on the stove. Downloading a movie while I write. Can nap while it downloads. I wish I could set an alarm for the end of a long download. There must be widget for that somewhere, right ? If anyone out there is creating one, please make pleasant sounds for the alarm. No screaming chickens, Homer Simpson, or rap-oxious beats, ca-va ?
Speaking of charming sounds, or sound at least, in my doped and insatiate state, I spent some downtime on the couch rewatching an episode of Eureka (the sci-fi, not the anime). The episode, called "Dr. Nobel," has a song on it, that after much jumbling of keywords on a few search engines, I discovered (eureka ! sorry) to be "Eve of Destruction," performed by Novillero. It's not available on itunes, but their website (see below) supposedly has a link to their Facebook page where one can find the song (I couldn't). I have liked a few other tracks that I've heard on this series, but I haven't been able to find out what they are. Novillero, for example, is not credited with the song in the credits for the episode. Official and unofficial websites didn't have any info either (yes, I've been on the couch a long time today). Anyone out there with either the dvd of the season or downloaded episodes who can add to my three item list below ? Thanks to John of Blog Meridian, I'm working my way through a very cool list of music from all places around the globe, particularly French speaking Africa. John ? Anyone ? Good ear, has seen Eureka ?

The list:
Theme Song for Series: performed by Mutato Muzica:; I have an mp3 of the theme, but that's too much up/downloading for me right now.
Dr. Nobel Eve of Destruction, Novillero (not on itunes)
Purple Haze Ride of the Valkyries, Wagner
(Hendrix’s Purple Haze is not played in the episode)
Once in a Lifetime Can't Find My Way Home, Steve Winwood (this find/update courtesy of Ian Mullen, managing editor of