Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
(A)s a result of the sluggish economy, bank failures and tighter credit at many banks, the amount of available credit for auto loans, credit cards, consumer-finance loans, student loans and other types of consumer credit declined to $433 billion this year, according to Equifax Inc. The total is down 51% from $887 billion in 2007.
News about the strictures in the credit market has been around long enough now to have become almost mental furniture. Its reportage is reassuringly vague, and leaves the possibility for people like me - people who aren't seeking out more loans, and whose debt is at the moment at least reasonably in hand (people who are inordinately blessed) - to sit back quietly and feel all non-threatened and stuff.
Fifty one percent. That is soberingly specific.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I don't mean the religious positions. Christian I may be, but offended by *depictions* of paganism I can't say I am in (ahem) spirit.
Offended, however, by horrible filmmaking, I can be.
And by terrifyingly blatant, unquestioning misogyny.
I mean, Wicker 2.0 is just a primal scream of terror and loathing of women. Not even funny.
In a VERY sidelong irony, I wore my bee pendant today for the first time - a gift to me from people, oddly enough, who live in the Pacific Northwest. Heh.
Mine has a different kind of symbolism, of course.
Still an amusing piece of timing, though, with the bee thematics in today's special being about the only interesting aspect of the rewrite of the much more successfully and interestingly bad original
As to the rest, I'll be happy to have Netflix back on a quality movie groove pretty quickly now. For this chapter: so done. Eep.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Still, I refuse to forget. What makes me I fight to keep.
And in any case: denial and pretense seem to me antithetical to the power of forgiveness. If one fakes something away, it takes no courage nor care to accept its void. Living with life, with no substitutions to compromise what must be done with it, is the real power. Denying it is submission.
I don't like the stories in my in which where I am so defeated.
Amazing, the resilience of love.
Still, I weep. Only partly for myself.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Then to underscore my youthfulness, off to the liquor store. One can't make bourbon balls without it, and bourbon balls - that's Christmas! Also a bottle of Stolichnaya, because Stoli is just pleasing to say.
Finishing off at the drugstore for one prescription, now I am done, and have a few hours before my friends come over. Yay nachos!
Everyone seems to be in nice-mode today, and the leftover snow, the grey day, and the relenting of the very-cold-ness is so pleasant. I had an enjoyable time.
And now I shall have an enjoyable aspirin, and a short doze on my Queen's Chair, before getting ready for later. Fortunately, it will be a relatively easy get-ready, as these aren't friends who will note nor care whether I have simonized the basement or detailed the dog. Good friends, that.
Tomorrow, most likely: church, and then baking and fudge. Yum. Loved ones always welcome.
So here I sit, nursing today's headache with a Pepsi, and wishing I could get out, get done, and get home to maybe do some straightening up.
It does seem strange to me that a forty-almost-three year old woman is still so consistently perceived as being a bit of a child by the people closest in some ways, despite the many evidences of perfectly successful responsibility and adulthood. But I have a personality that apparently lends to a sense of, in different aspects, impulsive childishness (I guess), immature fixations (definitely), perhaps youthfulness, and just a general resistance to age.
That last one I think remains on the surface even though it's no longer as robust as it once was internally. I have habits of behavior that refuse my being middle-aged ... yet more and more, I quite embrace that part of my being. I decided just this week to quit reacting to my physical creakiness, which I'd been growing a bit more theatrical about, and interestingly, not wasting my time at three a.m. or when I get up, noticing and verbally responding to the pain in my feet has definitely made a difference in my experience of it. More generally, I've long had this business with not looking "my age" - but feeling "I earned my age" - and of late, I look at that age and kind of revel in it, more than in my outward nonconformity to it.
I'm not trying to turn into the old person we hated so much when we were kids. But there is POWER in my age. There is a position I've come to I never attained before. Just as a person, I may be at a different place in terms of my physical condition ... but the place I am in terms of my autonomy is second to none. I have yet again, this year, overcome unemployment. This owes no small debt to the level of my experience, and my confidence.
To my age.
Life drags and smears. So it's no wonder many still default to seeing me in the light I used to see myself. I don't resent it often (though, obviously, there's as much power in that resentment as there is in myself), but of course it comes out. The cognitive dissonance - "don't you people SEE me?" - is frustrating.
But what people see is what I present. So it's on me.
Off I go to do some responsible, mature stuff. With a stupid eighties song in my heart, no doubt. Probably turned up "inappropriately" loud.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I get that we live in a nation, to address or describe the population of which, "important" people invariably say: families. It is so automatic a prejudice, a set of ridiculous presumptions (and always "on" those of us it ignores), it's not even worth protesting. And, you know what? Most of the d*mned time, I don't even bother.
I get that by virtue of my abnormaility I am marginalized. It's a deeper, more wildly widespread, and vastly even-less-questioned bigotry than "fat-ism" is.
Whatever, is my response to it. I know my substance, and if my culture punishes me for it, to hell with that aspect of my culture and society. Seriously. Bite me, every one of you.
But holy cr*p. Someone I love has DIED, and two people I've talked to tonight could not WAIT to ignore that, push by it, minimize it, and discuss THEIR interests - in one case, the minor health issue of an aunt I swear I have never heard of before (in thirty years) and in the other, the CHRISTMAS SHOPPING I am meant to do for someone online.
I know I am nothing. G-d help me, to both these people, I have too long accepted this perfectly asinine demotion by default.
But can we pretend THIS means something?
The man who has died - he wasn't traitorously insane enough to fail to marry and procreate. Can you at least respect HIM, if I am of no account ... ?
I mean, holy &**^0%($$
Monday, December 13, 2010
The thing is, it's all perfectly true, but it's all really a load of dingoes' kidneys as far as my specific actual awareness of it went. My swamp was backfilled and suburbanized, smoothed over with lawns and little explored by me. I knew what lay behind the houses just across the street - and, because of that, I never went beyond those backyards. The most interesting frontier was the drive in backing up to our neighborhood; the legends about sitting on Havenwood, watching forbidden movies without any sound. I think "Saturday Night Fever" played there and some middle school kids saw it, at a distance, through the trees.
The lowlands surrounding us - that was my brother's deal, exploring them, knowing them. I scarcely saw them.
For me, the geography of childhood was all about the Avenue - the longest road in the world, I thought. Still a remarkable expanse, a perfectly-straight stretch of four lanes (then, as now) underscoring my entire understanding of the universe. It was the south end of my experience. Everything sprouted off it, just a hair to its north, for the first few years of my self-aware existence. When I was very young, the trip to the grocery down in that sunken parking lot - now, it seems so close to my old home - was the limit of life itself. When they built a grocery store closer to home, it was New and Exciting - and still manages to carry that feeling somehow.
I am a Virginian. What can you do. What is thirty-five is fresh; innovation.
When I was first learning to understand the world, I built a cosmology as incoherently formed on the line of the Avenue as my physical experience and geogrophy were. If you took that road over its straight hills toward the country - toward the west, as it happens - eventually, you would find Old Time ... and kings and things ... Jesus ... and ancient things. Guys in white wigs and velvet breeches - that's where they lived. West on the Avenue.
Eastward now; was it coincidence - some pediatric intuition - that east led perhaps to the future? I had no concept of the future, but if the past were physically available, as of course it was to someone with no concept of "time", certainly what was yet to come must be as well.
Yet to come I could not have conceived of, beyond - "I want to get big" and knowing life consisted of waiting, that magic thing taking forever, they called growing up.
I still have no conception of yet-to-come. And in some ways, I can still reach for the past in a physical way.
Of course, I started reaching east, when I took Clovis for my text.
But I have always been affectionately fascinated by the cosmology I built for myself before having one intentionally taught to me. I can still see, in my imagination, the way those hills gave over ... to sunlight ... to heat ... past Buckingham, past the end even of the Avenue, into some mythical desert where Bible people lived. Where Jesus was breathing, just little, just like me. How he could be a man too I never cared to comprehend. He was small. In a manger. He was on the same line as I was, and so many at once, too. It didn't all have to coalesce, back then. Trinity was just a word churches used. And the nature of things wasn't something I had to consider.
I still prefer not to, frankly.
But my swamp - that is Christmas. My icy, wide, expansive swamps. Rich in water now; and in ice I can REMEMBER; the black crystalline chips glinting in wide fields of lumpy soil. Beautiful mud. I can see the patterns of the freeze; in those puddles. In the feathers on our car. In the tiny snowflakes my eyes once could see, even naked.
I said I didn't look; wasn't conscious. That doesn't mean my swamps aren't still in my DNA.
I recognize them every day.
I love them. I love the way these places have - miraculously - little changed. I love Virginia, its low places, its country, bordered by suburbs - and, yes, even its suburbes, bordered by country.
Once, long ago, Dr. C., our pastor back then, said, "The color of Christmas is black" and he explained about the night. About the cold. About the uncertainty, and the void into which light shone.
The color of Christmas is the color of a puddle, frozen crystalline into the soil of my swamps.
It's the white of the snow and the grey of those trees, today.
It's the white of the tree we used to decorate our front door; lights buried in chicken wire, glowing in hundreds of tufted tissues, forming a triangle on the front door of a little ranch house in the burbs.
It's the color of my dad's gloves.
It's the black of early nights.
I grew up in a swamp.
And the swamp still, somehow, grows with and within me.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Today I brought him down to help me decorate the tree.
I want him down here; where it is warm, where life really lives. Not to be displayed, not to be a trophy. Somewhere safe.
The bookshelves would be appropriate, but are not yet ideal to my mind. There is a drawer he could stay in, unseen, central, safe. Something like that. Ever present. As he is.
For now, he's helping deck the halls. Soon I'll know where he should stay for a while.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
So weird. G-d, I love her.
She also has an absolute manic yen for vegetable oil.
In winter, when she gets dry skin, I sometimes give her a tiny bit of oil with her kibble. She goes perfectly mad with joy over canola. It is so unbelievably funny. Vegetable oil. Who knew ... ? Heh.
Monday, December 6, 2010
But for me, writer's block doesn't happen because, if I don't feel like writing, nor have anything to write *about*: I just don't. For me, actually, that is by far the best way to ensure what I *do* write is important to me.
I won't say "ensure it is good" - nor even "worth writing" (as that cannot be defined, outside of my personal functioning) - but I don't write much I regret nor feel was fully wasted time. It goes back to that thoughtkiller thing, I suppose. The contents of my brain aren't all necessarily art, nor worth preserving.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
My team is spread across the system, so most of us are in different cities, different time zones. Yesterday, one of the guys in the boss's city came to me with a question about something happening there, and I chanced to have a chuckle that he hadn't asked the boss. He said, "He didn't know, he told me to ask you."
I have become The Keeper, at last.
This is a good time in a still-new job. When you've become a subject matter expert - SME.
SMEEEEE! That's me.
(I've been poco - POC - point of contact - for a while. Now I am actually *knowing* stuff; it's a step forward!)
Friday, December 3, 2010
The casting of this flick versus Ang Lee's version was embarrassing. The casting of Liv Tyler's new upper lip looks like it was supposed to yield a giant plastic dolphin. And ... can we talk about William Hurt? Cast as a general, and an aggresive one at that? ... Really? Wasn't that guy in "Beaches" or some other (every other?) chick flick? I'm pretty sure he's starred opposite Streisand, is what I am saying here.
So. I'm going to make "The Incredible Hulk" and when it's time to replace Sam Elliott - I come up with ... William HURT?
In any movie in which the term "hulk" is even used as a word, he doesn't make sense. It his one, he's cognitive dissonance cranked to eleven. *Blink*
Worse, for me, was the incredibly disappointing stone-age machismo and the gender roles out of 1962 which apparently somehow couldn't be avoided.
"It's just the rain," Liv Tyler coos. "It'll be okay," she Marilyns. At least Marilyn knew that schtick was just an act, and played it for one, patently.
The scene where she attempts anger ... let's not even discuss. Oh, Livvy. I'll remember "Crazy" fondly enough, if you'll just stop making movies now. 'kay?
Because if this is the sort of thing you want to perpetuate ... the woman limited to "look out behind you!" - whose "doctorate" is only represented by the fact that she carries a canon character's name, but whose role in any lab is limited to standing next to her man, alabaster and limpid-eyed ... Good grief, deliver me from your oevre, please, woman.
I might not have been passionately in love with Jennifer Connoly's turn, but compared to this dreck, at least she had a CHARACTER - and wasn't turned on a dime without reason nor grounding (see "anger" above) for an extremely weak joke. At least she was given, in addition to her *impeccable* hair and terrifyingly-thin figure, the semblance of LINES.
"Oh, Bruce," she obligingly did not coy, with some sort of cosmetic surgeon's nightmare occupying what once was the top half of a cute enough pout, if you like that sort of (natural) thing. Connoly, chic and skinny as she is, at least provided a performance.
And she did have better hair. (I say this as an OWNER of bangs: they make some women look like gamely scruffy nine-year-olds; frankly, this is a disturbing image, for a leading lady.)
Anyway - yeah. Finally saw it.
And I'm okay with the Lee version. Even the attempt to increase the grittiness failed here, with the most distracting and weird chest musculature ever animated, and the strangely long-hair/pretty-boy thing they were going for with the Hulk himself. Um. Odd.
And it is a pity about the revolving-door Banners, too. Bana (heh) and Norton were both pretty good, and now apparently the franchise is getting ANOTHER new lead (can we exchange the rest of the cast too ... ?). I guess if it ain't broke there's no reason not to "HULK SMASH" it.
Very nice, Hollywood.
Now I need a bath to stop shuddering at the feminist nightmare.