Tuesday, July 31, 2007
video tuesday
I've got several posts rolling around upstairs, however I'm still suffering from a debilitating case of the lazies today, so please take this song instead. It's Fionn Regan, who I have developed a great big musical crush on recently, and I happen to think this video is quite nice. Plus, he's Irish like some other cool people I know.

Alright then. Maybe I'll post something else later today. But then again, maybe not.

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Monday, July 30, 2007
books: god is dead
God is Dead is Ron Currie Jr.'s literary debut. In it, he poses a rather interesting question: how would the world change if there was irrefutable proof that God didn't exist? In order to explore this he begins by literally killing God, who came to Earth in the body of a young Dinka woman but is soon killed by the Janjaweed in the Sudan. The news quickly gets out that God is dead and the world reacts: priests commit suicide, people begin to find new things to worship such as their children and the feral dogs who ate God's corpse, and wars are waged over philosophical camps rather than religious affiliations.

I had been warned that this book - which is really more of a collection of short stories rather than a novel - would be depressing, however I didn't really find it to be such. Instead, it was a very darkly humorous satire, with Currie clearly finding inspiration in Kurt Vonnegut. In fact, there were several moments that made me laugh out loud, such as when Colin Powell, who's suffering from a crisis of conscience, begins to verbalize his disgust with President Bush, calling him a "silver-spoon master-of-the-universe motherfucker." But between these moments of dark humor, Currie continues to keep his subject serious - how would we react if we knew that there was no God, thus no consequences, no purpose and nothing to believe in? In the chapter titled "Interview With the Last Remaining Member of the Feral Dog Pack Which Fed on God's Corpse," the dog puts it more eloquently than I ever could:
"I am not your God. Or if I am, I'm no God you can seek out for deliverance or explanation. I'm the kind of God who would eat you without compunction if I were hungry. You're as naked and alone in the this world as you were before finding me. And so now the question becomes: Can you abide by this knowledge? Or will it destroy you, empty you out, make you a husk among husks?"
And seeing how events unfold in the book, let's all hope that's a question that never needs answering.

Up Next: Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell

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Sunday, July 29, 2007
happy sunday, and please take this han solo.

Friday, July 27, 2007
numerically speaking
So, hi there. How's your Friday treating you so far? Good, I hope. Well, yes, *ahem*, let's begin with lucky number...

According to the master schedule which finally arrived in the mail this week, seven would be the number of years I will have spent teaching the same two classes. Yay. I mean, who needs variety and challenges and expanded horizons, right? Of course, there are others who have much more valid gripes, so perhaps I'll just shut up already and move on to number...

which is the number of days until the release of The Darjeeling Limited. For people who 1) have Wes Anderson somewhere in their "top 5 favorite directors" list, 2) consider Rushmore to be one of their favorite movies of all time, 3) really, really dig Adrien Brody, and 4) hated that they were mildly disappointed by The Life Aquatic, so feel like it's been ages since The Royal Tenenbaums - you know, people like me - that number seems extraordinarily big. But not as big as my golf score, which leads me to...

which would be (roughly) the number of balls hit yesterday at my first trip to the driving range in seven years. My clubs are laughable (the one wood I own is actually made of wood), however my swing is not. And seeing as...

is my handicap, I might actually have a chance at not making a complete and total ass out of myself when I participate in the annual family golf tournament this year. Of course, I suppose I should actually play nine holes before I get too cock-sure, but I intend to do that very thing very soon. Soon as I regain all range of motion in my elbow and shoulder and my fingers stop aching, that it. And while I'm still on the subject of large numbers, did you know that

is (again, roughly) the number of channels I get with my new cable? Now, there are many who would find this exciting, however I'm just finding it unmanageable. I know that with 300 channels there's probably something worth watching somewhere, but damned if I can weed through it all to find it. Hence,

is the number of Law and Order, American Justice, and City Confidential reruns I've watched in the past three days. So yeah, the quality of my viewing habits is pretty much the same as with my lesser, previous cable, although the quantity has increased. As have the nightmares. And finally,

is the number of days you have to wait until you can watch The Simpsons movie. From what I've read, I think it's safe to guess that there are a decent number of you who are fairly excited about this, no? And seeing as this post has no discernible end in sight, let's just sit back together and watch Homer take Bart to a gay steel mill. Trust me, you'll thank me on your wedding night.


Thursday, July 26, 2007
an open letter to the three construction workers who wolf-whistled at me while i was walking to my car
I very nearly dismissed your lechery as good-natured flattery until I saw who you were leering at after I had passed. Straight out of Transamerica that one. Yikes.

So, either you mistook me for a remarkably petite tranny or your standards aren't exactly high. Either way, rather than complimented I'm feeling mildly affronted and thought you should know.

Yours in rebar,
Mrs. White

P.S. - Way to support the stereotype guys. Really.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007
you can't tell me nothing
It's all over my good friend Internet, but in case you haven't seen it yet go here now and watch Zach Galifianakis' video for the new Kanye West song. It's hilarious. And, for some reason, farm fresh to boot.

(via Paste)

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behold - i've emerged from my literary cocoon with opinions and stuff.
I got a bit of bad news earlier in the week when my brother texted to report that Kilgore died. I've never met him, but I hear he was an excellent fish and sure will be missed. I am pleased to report that Trout, however, is swimming along just fine despite his recent loss. Way to be a trooper, buddy.

I've been largely underwhelmed with several recent musical releases that I had been more than a little excited to get my hands on, yet can be a pretty stubbornly patient lady when I suspect the payoff might be worth it, hence I will admit that Icky Thump and Our Love to Admire have been growing on me more and more. Perhaps I just need to give Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga some more time then?

The Guardian asked some of Britain's literary greats what kids should read after Harry Potter, and I, for one, think most of their suggestions are bollocks. Trust me to know that no kid wants to read Huck Finn or HG Wells for fun. The logical answer with what should fill the reading void would be Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, which is truly awesome and you should all be reading if'n you haven't already. So go ahead and do it now. I'll wait.

I know that pickings are slim in the summertime months, but Flight of the Conchords is far and away my favorite show at the moment. It's the perfect mixture of silly and odd and hilarious that is so often present in the people and things I hold most dear, but it's that very silly/odd sort of hilarity that many other people don't find so funny, so I'm really afraid it won't last to see the light of season two. Boo.

Okay. I'll admit it. Black Snake Moan was a much better movie than I thought it would be. Of course, I thought it would be god-awful so that's not exactly the highest of compliments but it really wasn't so bad. Really. But please, let's no one try to convince me that remaking Hairspray is necessary or that Captivity got an unfair break. I can only take so many paradigm shifts at once.

And finally, did you know that I have a completely illogical fear of things falling on me? It's true - I do. This is the reason why I have always lived on the top floor of apartment buildings (when given the opportunity to choose), will never agree to sleep on the bottom bunk, and get a bit nervous when people in upper floors or balconies start jumping. I'm only telling you this because it's something that you really should know about me if we are to really know one another. That and I hate capers. And ferrets. And Newark.

(But I sure like you - oh yes I do...)


Tuesday, July 24, 2007
done. finally. (and no spoilers, i promise)
Like a bear in springtime emerging from her cave, I have finally left my sunny backyard sequester, heavier with the knowledge of a fictitious wizard's fate and even heavier still since it's now over and I have nothing more than two movies to look forward to - the final of which, due to the complexity and general awesomeness of this last book, seems like it has nary a chance to be little more than a sacrilege.

I promise that I'll be back and running and not posting anything Harry Potter related after today, but until then I'm still a bit blurry-eyed, awestruck, and as Nathan has mentioned in yesterday's post, a bit behind on, well, life.

I know many of you are already done with the book, but am fairly certain that there's at least one of you who probably isn't yet. Thus, I'm writing my reactions to Deathly Hallows in the comments section. Read only if you a) care, b) have finished the book, or c) want the ending ruined for you.


Monday, July 23, 2007
nathan hijacks the blog
Maggie is missing.

She has not been seen about town.

Text messages and phone calls have gone unanswered.

Mail is unopened.

Laundry is not done.

The dishes are piling up.

I should be concerned, but I'm not.

The final installment of Harry Potter has just been released and though I may not see any evidence of her around my house I know that she is either reading on the swing in my backyard, curled-up reading in the guest bedroom, or just plain ignoring me.

A sample of recent conversation:

Me: "Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean or dirty?"
Mags: "Yep."

Me: "Have you fed Chloe dinner?"
Mags: "What... Um... Eat whatever you want. I'm not hungry."

Me: "Federal agents are at the door wanting to know where you were last night."
Mags: "Sausages."

A rough estimate puts the time reading Harry Potter today at TEN hours!

She is apparently following the advice of this music video very seriously.

I am writing this to let y'all know that she is most definitely gone, but not gone for long. She will be back very shortly, but in the meantime is spending every moment of every day reading, and I can only assume that she will continue to do so before she can resume blogging.

I now return this blog to its rightful owner. Whenever she reemerges, that is...

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Friday, July 20, 2007
hp and the book police
In case you've been living under a media-void rock, you're most likely aware that the 7th and final Harry Potter book is coming out this weekend. I'm assuming you are also aware that this is a very big deal. Others have already expressed their dissatisfaction (however briefly) with the early reviews of "Deathly Hallows," published by a bunch of spoil sports over at The New York Times and the Baltimore Sun. Apparently the reviewers got the books from a bookstore in NYC that broke their contract with Scholastic and sold the books early, which is about the stupidest thing a book store could do seeing as they will probably never be able to sell another Scholastic publication again.

But anyway, I was reading an article today in The Detroit News about the controversy and this passage made me laugh out loud:
Hannah Murphy, 15, of Marquette...has a friend whose older sister read "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" online. Older sister kept trying to tell her younger brother what happens to Harry.
"He is avoiding home, and his sister, because he wants to wait for the book to come out," Murphy said. Asked for comment, neither sibling would comply, fearing that Scholastic might try to find them all the way in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan."
Maybe it's just me, but I find hilarious the idea of children being afraid to reveal that they've sneaked an early peek at "Deathly Hallows" for fear that Rowling's Harry Potter police would track them down in their UP homes. And I'm curious what those police would look like. Death Eaters? Shadowy dementors set to suck all the joy out of them? Clearly they would have some affiliation with the house of Slytherin...

Regardless, Scholastic can at least take comfort in the knowledge that whereas they may have been unsuccessful in instilling the fear of God into the bookstores, at least they were able to terrify small children. Cuz I hear that's hard to do.

Thursday, July 19, 2007
a second open letter to the stair climber machine at my gym
Clearly I was wrong and you have indeed won the entire effing war. Whatever. It was a stupid war anyway.

But that aside, kudos and I sincerely hope you find happiness despite being...you know...so absolutely horrible.

Mrs. White


concrete and clouds

Wednesday, July 18, 2007
an open letter to the stair climber machine at my gym
That was only the battle, my friend. Mark my words, you have not won the war.

Mrs. White


Tuesday, July 17, 2007
books: no one belongs here more than you, stories by miranda july
Seeing as it's only July and this will be book #20 out of 24, it's become increasingly clear that my original goal of one book every two weeks will be met, thus I'm no longer counting. To be honest, I had originally toyed with tackling 52 this year but figured that goal would be ridiculous. Clearly it wasn't. Some people have hobbies. Some people have babies. Me, I have books. Yay me.


No one belongs here more than you
is Miranda July's (You and Me and Everyone We Know) first collection of short fiction. Like the characters in her film, each story is centered around a outcast of sorts. Many of them are insufferably lonely, all of them yearn, and most are a bit odd, but there's a quirky, endearing quality about each that makes them accessible and fundamentally likeable. Although the characters are far from normal - one woman gives swimming lessons to octogenarians in her kitchen, another another falls in love with her married neighbor while she naps on his shoulder as he's suffering from an epileptic seizure - she somehow manages to create a universal humanity in them that allows the reader to relate when she might not expect to.

The stories are funny, awkward, sad, surprising and insightful - often all at the same time. And I loved them. My favorites were "Birthmark," "This Person," "Something That Needs Nothing," and "Mon Palisir," but I've read each story at least twice and anticipate going back into them in the weeks to come. I love Miranda July. I want to be her friend, bake her cookies and watch old movies with her. Take this, the last moment from "The Shared Patio," as an example of why:
Do you have doubts about your life? Are you unsure if it is worth the trouble? Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person's face as you pass on the street: that is for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street, and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing. Stand up and face the east. Now praise the sky and praise the light within each person under the sky. It's okay to be unsure. But praise, praise, praise.

Up Next: God is Dead, by Ron Currie, Jr.

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Monday, July 16, 2007
who rocks the party that rocks the party that rock the harry potter party?
(Harry Potter does!)

Nate and I just got back from watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and I was going to write this sorta long, sorta involved bit about my thoughts and feelings and how I have a difficult time looking at Daniel Radcliffe now without picturing him totally nude standing seductively in front of a horse...however I've thankfully thought better of it and instead will just say this much:

It's become increasingly clear that the books are way too long to be condensed into a two hour long movie, thus the experience is a bit scattershot and confusing for those who never read the book, and those of us who have read the book are left thinking, "Wow! What a great movie trailer! I can't wait to see the actual film now!!"

But none of this movie business means that I'm not totally, ridiculously, can-I-possibly-be-a-bigger-nerd-ily excited for when the postman delivers Deathly Hallows to my door. I've been celebrating its arrival with watching clips of Harry and the Potters on YouTube, and I'm thinking that you really should join me. Unless you, like Voldemort, hate music and laughter and unicorns and fun. If that's the case, you could skip it I guess...

(Okay. I'm going to go now to re-read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and play the Legend of Zelda until the wee hours. You know, because I'm cool like that.)

I'm happy to see "crunk" get its due.

And I must admit to using "ginormous" from time to time, hence its validation is vindicating...

But, of all of the words that have recently been added to the dictionary, my clear favorite is "nocebo."


Saturday, July 14, 2007
three reasons why bruce was always my favorite
(And thank you, Pajiba, for reminding me.)

The Dog for Whom I Feel Nothing

Screw the Bank

Love and Sausages

I think there are two sorts of folks, those who get "Love and Sausages" and those who don't. Of course, I would be someone who falls squarely in the former category, but it's okay if you don't. I'll still like you. Promise.

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Friday, July 13, 2007
postcards from italy: 1st stop, venice
After what seemed like days (and come to think of it, it probably was), we managed to arrive in Italy, minus two bags and exhausted, but safe and sound. Our first stop was Venice, a place I had been warned would be dirty and smelly. Although everything there does feel a bit crooked and it seems to be sinking, I can attest that it was neither dirty nor smelly. It was, however, breathtaking in every sense of the word. One day there was not enough.

next stop: pisa
The next day we made a very brief stop in Pisa on our way to Florence, a place that I had resisted going to because I had heard it was a tourist trap. And it was. But the field of dozens and dozens of tourists striking the requisite "Look! I'm pushing the tower over!" pose was amusing at least.

stop #3: florence
It's hard to choose, but of all the places we visited I think Florence was my favorite. Architecturally and artistically speaking, Florence is amazing, and although a big city it's a quite manageable size. I want to go back. Like tomorrow.

next on the agenda: assisi
One of the best things about taking a guided tour like this one is being taken to places that one would have never otherwise visited, like Assisi. A tiny, rural city famous pretty much only for being the home of St. Francis, Assisi was probably the prettiest place we saw on the whole trip. The mountains, endless sunflower fields and ancient buildings were impossibly beautiful. (And the free wine and food tasting that we got to participate in while we were there wasn't bad either.)

and then -naples/pompeii (i'm almost done. i promise)
Pompeii was the one place that I really, really wanted to see and I was so happy that we had enough people interested to make the excursion fly. Before going there we briefly drove around Naples, which was the one place we traveled that wasn't so lovely since it's controlled by the mafia, thus littered with garbage and was too dangerous for us to get off the bus. We did, however, have the most amazing pizza there. But then - Pompeii. I had been promised it would be amazing, and it was. It's just not every day that you get to see a 79 AD city frozen in time thanks to a massive volcanic eruption, you know?

This last one is one of the frescoes inside the brothel. Apparently, the customers would point out a picture and "order" their girl as if off a menu. Sorry. I couldn't resist uploading it.

and finally, rome...
...and if you made it this far than you either a) love other people's vacation pictures, b) went on the trip with me, or c) are a very, very good friend.

Since we spent one of our Rome days in Pompeii, we only had one full day in the city, but we did get to see some of the most important highlights such as like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, The Vatican and the Pantheon. But it simply wasn't enough time. I want to go back, and you should come with me. How's next summer sound to you?

And with that, I'm done. Thanks for being a good sport and sitting through it all, and I promise to post nothing Italy related again in the near future. Unless, of course, Mt. Vesuvius erupts again. It's due to happen any day, you know...

Thursday, July 12, 2007
top ten things i missed about america whilst in europe
I'm still working up the energy for that proper back-from-Italy post I promised you (and it is coming, whether you want it or not), but until then, here's the top ten reasons why Europe is a wonderful place to visit but I just don't think I could live there:

10. Television
I admit that judging all of European television programing based on what I caught piecemeal while in my hotel room isn't exactly a fair tool for comparison, and though it's intriguing that you can usually catch some form of nudity pretty much any time over there, plus watching The Simpsons and Zoolander in Italian does have its funny little charms, however I was surprised at how much I missed watching reruns of Law and Order, HBO (even in the summer time) and all manifestations of competitive, reality-based cooking shows. And this is coming from a woman who barely watches tv anymore.

9. Music
Again, in the same way that American radio sucks a big one, I'm sure that European radio isn't the best tool to judge their musical tastes, however...really? It's like a 1984 revival over there. People are still sincerely listening to Toto and making god-awful, disco covers of The Smiths' "Bigmouth Strikes Again." I'll reserve judgement about that first one since I sheepishly admit that "Africa" is on on my iPod, but that second one should be a crime punishable by death. (Or at least a good flogging.)

8. Water
My hair felt funny all week. And not ha-ha funny.

7. Breakfast
I usually don't eat breakfast, however I reached a point around day five when I would have killed for some bacon and eggs. A girl can only take so much crusty bread and dry crackers before she becomes a bit of a cranky pants.

6. Space
Whether it be the size of hotel rooms, bathrooms, street widths, bed widths or dinner proportions everything's a bit small there. But I do have some claustrophobia issues and am a spoiled, gluttonous American most days...

5. Meat
Pasta's nice, but not twice a day every day. I've never been a big meat eater, but boy oh boy how I missed big pieces of processed animal parts.

4. Enforcement of traffic laws
It's surprising how much I appreciated American traffic cops, but I did. Did you know they don't even have lane lines on the streets in Rome? It's like Tunderdome, man. Kill or be killed.

3. Ridiculously big cups of watered-down American coffee
Espresso sucks at 7 am. There. I said it.

2. Being able to easily recognize the difference between a female prostitute and a Brazilian transexual
Distinctions are fuzzy in Italy, although I think I got the hang of it eventually. And yes, there's a story here. If you're lucky I might just tell it to you sometime.

1. And finally, You
Yep, I missed you. And I ain't afraid to admit it - not even a little bit. I sure do hope you missed me too.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Well, we're back and although our trip was amazing, I'm happy to be so. I have tons and tons to tell you but right now I'm exhausted, my dirty laundry situation is daunting and I have 450 or so pictures to sort through, so please excuse me if I just say a quick hello (hello!) and get back to you tomorrow with a proper post.

Until then, here we are on a gondola. My, but aren't we adorable?

Sunday, July 01, 2007
Off I go to spend the next nine days in sunny Italia where I'm hoping the weather will be temperate, the food awesome, the wine abundant, and the stories of pint-sized pickpockets greatly exaggerated. I'll be back sometime mid-next week, ready to bore you to tears with pictures and stories but till then...you know...miss you and junk.

(Oh, don't be sad! Really now, nine days ain't forever!)