Saturday, August 20, 2011

Satia Sampler Saturday

I spent most of this week either being sick or fighting back sickness so I didn't do much writing.  I added an informational page to another blog but that was the day I got sick and between then and now nothing of significance.  Therefore, I am digging into my archives and I pulled out this experimental piece I did a while ago.  Since there was some confusion about whether what I posted last week was rooted in my own reality, let me state for the record that I am not diagnosed schizophrenic and any resemblance between myself and this person is merely within your own interpretation and perhaps more rooted in your reality than my own.  

You feel it begin as an itch beneath your skin.  A sensation that tingle and tickles but lies too deep to scratch.  You try to ignore it, think you will learn to ignore it, but there is no ignorance and no bliss.  Just this.

In your advanced high school literature class they had you read The Yellow Wallpaper and you remember thinking you understood the woman crawling behind the wallpaper, the madness in the walls.  But you knew your walls were different, stronger, impenetrable.  Until the skin crawled and you knew too late too late your fate here lying just skin deep just deep enough to be hid but not rid of.

You shower to cleanse away the crawling, water sloughing away the dead skin cells.  Naked you emerge and dry yourself with clean towels that you immediately toss into the washing machine, retrieving a new set from the endless stack you keep, a steady rotation of fresh white towels.  Bleached white and when they begin to yellow they follow the fate of their fellow white towels and are tossed down the incinerator.

Naked you dust everything.  Every morning after you shower you dust because you must rid yourself and your life of the messiness before anyone else can see.  Vacuum to catch what the dusting leaves behind then shower again to rid flesh of anything clinging.  You dry with clean towels and toss into the washing machine before you dress in the same black and black on black.

As I said, this one was highly experimental.  First nearly 250 of an eight page short story.  Hope you enjoyed it.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Celebrating a Birthday a Day Early

Tomorrow is my daughter's birthday but we celebrated it tonight with pizza and a cake Rob and I made together.

The Cake
Black Forest Cake
Sugar-free (except for the maraschino cherries)

My daughter holding up one of her gifts
off camera so you can't see it.

Romanov hates it when Snowdoll snuggles too close
but he was too excited to care because everyone else was here.

Happy Early Birthday to my darling daughter, Shira.  Woot!

Weekly Quotes Part 33

Journals of Sylvia Plath

The only way to stop envying others is to have a self of joy.  (285)

Why must I punish myself, or save myself, by pretending I’m stupid and can’t feel?   (291)

If I could once see how to write a story, a novel, to get something of my feeling over, I would not despair.  If writing is not an outlet, what is?  (292)

I make up problems, all unnecessary.  I do not reverence the present time.  (293)

This is too much.  The world is so big so big so big  I need to feel a meaning and productiveness in my life.  (297)

What I fear worst is failure, and this is stopping me from trying to write because then I don’t have to blame failure on my own writing. . . . (297-298)

I need an outsider:  feel like the recluse who comes out into the world with a life-saving gospel to find everybody has learned a new language in the meantime and can’t understand a word he’s saying.  (298)

How to overcome my naïveté in writing?  Read others and think hard.  Never step outside my own voice, such as I know it.  (302)

Ideas flock where one plants a single seed.  (307)

In the morning, all is possible; even becoming a god. (314)

While reading Plath’s journals I was struck again and again by the familiar “artist’s angst” I see in myself and other creative people.  The constant self-flagellation, the struggle with fear of success/failure, the urge toward the impossibility of perfection.  It’s all there.  A bit scary, all things considered, to see one’s self so clearly in Plath’s writings.

War Talk

Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead. . . .  [W]hen writers, painters, musicians, filmmakers suspend their judgment and blindly yoke their art to the service of the nation, it’s time for all of us to sit up and worry. (47)

War cannot avenge those who have died.  War is only a brutal desecration of their memory.  (52)

Wars are never fought for altruistic reasons.  (68)

Fortunately power has a shelf life.  When the time comes, maybe this mighty empire will, like others before it, overreach itself and implode from within.  (74)

While the elite journeys to its imaginary destination somewhere near the top of the world, the dispossessed are spiraling downwards into crime and chaos.  This climate of frustration and national disillusionment is the perfect breeding ground, history tells us, for fascism.  (105)

We can re-invent civil disobedience in a million different ways.  In other words, we can come up with a million ways of becoming a collective pain in the ass.  (112)

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling—their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.  (112)

Remember this:  We be many and they be few.  They need us more than we need them.  (112)

Dance of Intimacy

All of us see the world through a different filter creating as many views of reality as there are people in it.  (71)

[I]n any close relationship difference will inevitably emerge—differences in values, beliefs, priorities, and habits, as well as differences in how we manage anxiety and navigate relationships under stress.  (71)

When we generalize about any group . . . we exaggerate similarities within the group and minimize similarities between groups.  (75)

People commonly try to make changes they are not ready for to attempt to address a hot issue before they have completely addressed smaller problems.  (99)

[W]e can’t learn to swim by jumping off the high dive.  (99)

When we complain that our mother’s (or whoever) won’t listen to reason, it usually means that they won’t see things our way or do what we want them to do.  (114)

[W]e cannot know for certain what is best for another person—what they can and cannot tolerate, what they need to do, when, and why.  Surely it is difficult enough to know this for one’s self. (120)

Moving at glacial speed in the face of very high anxiety is the optimal way to proceed.  Rather than signifying a lack of strength or perseverance, moving slowly—or sometimes not moving at all—may be necessary to preserving and protecting the well-being and integrity of the self.  (135)

Questions enlarge our capacity for reflection and for seeing a problem in its broader context.  (138)

[L]earning to say ‘I’m sorry’ goes a long way toward lowering intensity and shifting a pattern of any relationship.  (140)

The Waves

About him my feeling was he sat there in the centre.  Now I go to that spot no longer.  The place is empty.  (153)

The truth is that I am not one of those who find these satisfactions in one person, or in infinity. (156)

I have made up thousands of stories; I have filled innumerable notebooks with phrases to be used when I have found the true story, the one story to which all these phrases refer.  But I have never yet found that story.  And I begin to ask, Are there stories?  (187)

Let the silent army of the dead descend.  I move forward.  (196)

I know what loves are trembling into fire; how jealousy shoots its green flashes hither and thither, how intricately love crosses love, love makes knots; love brutally tears them apart.  I have been knotted; I have been torn apart.  (214)

To let oneself be carried on passively is unthinkable.  (240)

Mostly, I share these quotes from Woolf to show how poetic some of the things she expresses are.  I will be rereading this novel, no doubt.

Finding Water

So much of being sane and happy begins with the doing of things that are sane and happy.  (123)

Quoting the Talmud
We do not see things as they are.  We see things as we are.  (135)

As we all know, it is a pet peeve of mine when authors do not cite where they find these wonderful quotes but for me not to share some of them would be impossible.  So I share them in hopes of someday finding a source, a proper source, to offer myself and you.

Romancing the Ordinary

When our lives feel empty and lacking, it’s often because we’re giving too little notice to all that we’ve lived through or that’s surrounding us or all that we’re so desperately trying to overlook.  (353-354)

Simple Abundance

No one really expects a dilettante to deliver the goods.  (August 14)

What if the fatal wound, the one from which we never recover, is regret?  (August 14)

Why do we make ourselves sick competing against strangers?  I believe it’s just another sophisticated, seditious form of self-sabotage.   (August 16)

The cycle of creation is cyclical.  There’s a reason the past is a prologue.  (August 16)

When you’re authentic, so is your art.  (August 16)

How can we live richer, deeper, and more passionately if we aren’t willing to invest in ourselves?  Many of us have played it safe for too long and wonder why we’re miserable.Play it safe is the riskiest choice we can ever make.  (August 18)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Satia's Kiss of Death

I am the television show kiss of death.

If there is a show that looks interesting and even remotely promising, let me eagerly watch it and, sure enough, it will be canceled.  Usually the first season will suffice.  Occasionally a second season will be allowed to air.  Typically, it’s canceled before the first season even ends. 

Rob is a variable.  If he watches a show with me, this seems to have a positive effect on the show’s viability.  However, he has been known to lose interest in favor of such things as football season and other similar distractions.

This is your chance to pre-emptively save your favorite upcoming television show before it begins to air.

Is there a new show about to air this fall season that you’re super excited about and hope to see on television for years to come?  Tell me what show it is and why you think it is going to be great and I won’t watch it.

You need to tell me why it is going to be great because I have to be genuinely interested in the show but unable to watch it for this to work effectively.

Examples of shows I really thought would be good and must be because they lasted more than one season include:
  • Lost
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Scrubs

Examples of shows that only survive (for now) because Rob is watching them with me:
  • Dexter
  • The Big C

So here is an example of what I mean. 
Please don’t watch Firefly.  I know you’re a Joss Whedon fan and he does a great job of surrounding himself with good writers and clever actors which is a huge temptation for you.  Plus space cowboys . . . c’mon.  How can anyone resist?  But there’s really nothing else like this on television right now and we all know that Angel is fizzling fast so, unless you want the Whedonverse to fade from television altogether, I’d appreciate it if you would just skip Firefly altogether.  Thanks.
Sell me on your show (or shows) of choice and I promise I will not watch.  I’ll do anything but watch a really cool/funny/clever/interesting show.

And don’t blame me if your favorite new show this season gets canceled before Christmas if you don’t bother warning me off.  There are some good looking shows out there and I always allow myself one new show every fall season.  Why only one? 

Do you know how disappointing it is to get hooked on a show only to see it canceled before it really gets going?  If not, then you haven’t been watching the shows I want to like anyway.  If you have, we were probably watching the same shows but you didn’t know the Satia Kiss of Death was in effect.

So there you go.  A pre-emptive opportunity to save your show before it even hits the air. 

Live long and prosper, 
really great looking show 
I will wait to see when it hits reruns or dvd.

PS:  You may want to tell others about this post and encourage them to leave a comment.  I'm perfectly willing to oblige strangers in this quest to fill the airwaves with potentially quality programming.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Quote of the Day

Step One:  Daughter posts status update about being moody and over-thinking things.
Step Two:  Husband comments she gets it from her mother.
Step Three:Now I'm getting angry thinking about what the hell did he mean by that? That I am moody or that
I over-think things? 

Grrrrr . . . think think think . . . grrrr . . . hmmmm . . . grrrr

Wondrous Word Wednesday

Image from this site.
From Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
It would be too ridiculous for me to attempt any thing where I am now, with my little half acre.  It would be quite a burlesque.  (55)

1. a literary or dramatic work that seeks to ridicule by means of grotesque exaggeration or comic imitation
2. mockery usually by caricature
3. theatrical entertainment of a broadly humorous often earthy character consisting of short turns, comic skits, and sometimes striptease acts

I don't know about you but when I think of the word "burlesque" I immediately think strip-tease and feathered fans, large champagne glasses and bubbles.  But it wasn't always like that apparently; I learned something new.  Does it count if the word is not new to me but I learn something new about the word?  I hope so because that's the best I can do.

Also from Mansfield Park
Mrs. Grant and her tambour frame were not without their use. . . . (67)

File:François-Hubert DROUAIS 1763-4. London NG. Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour Frame..jpg
Image from this site.
I couldn't find a definition for this because it is what we would now call an "embroidery hoop" but apparently once was called a "tambour frame."   Tambour is a type of drum and, for anyone who has used a tambour frame, the reason for calling it such makes perfect sense given how, when the fabric is perfectly taut you can get a nice "drum" effect from it.  I myself stopped using embroidery hoops and frames ages ago but it's still interesting to learn a bit more history.  I like "tambour frame" more than I like "embroidery hoop," that's for sure.

And again, from Mansfield Park

A few steps farther brought them out at the bottom of the very wall they had been talking of; and standing back, well shaded and sheltered, and looking over a ha-ha into the park, was a comfortable sized bench, on which they all sat down.  (98)

From wikipedia:

The haha fence
Image from this site.
Ha-ha is a term in garden design that refers to a trench, one side of which is concealed from view, designed to allow an unobstructed view from a garden, pleasure-ground, or park, while maintaining a physical barrier in one direction, usually to keep livestock out that are kept on an expansive estate or parcel. It also may be used to mean a ditch, one side of which is vertical and faced with stone, the other face sloped and turfed, making the trench, in effect, a retaining wall, sometimes known as a "deer leap."

I was sick

But now I'm better.

Insert Monty Python joke here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Next Time

The next time I get enough click throughs to earn a gift card, I'm going to buy myself one of two things.

I probably need to take another tentative step into the 21st century and get an e-reader.

Especially now that my son is planning to e-publish, it only makes sense.

The truth is, I would prefer a Nook because, from what I understand, with the Nook you get page numbers read but with the Kindle you only get percentage read.  I'm too old school to think in terms of percentage.  I want page numbers.  Maybe the Kindle will figure out how to add this as a feature or something at some point.

Of course, with that said, I am also tempted to buy myself something altogether different.

The Complete Calvin and Hobbes collection.  

Or maybe The Complete Far Side collection.

So basically I'm going comic geek or techy geek.  Either way, I'm a geek.

Just keep clicking, please, because I'm still jobless and I deserve treats like these.