Thursday, March 27, 2008

Loom. The word of the month for March, so poetically defined by Noah Webster (the link leads to a great site for browsing on a gloomy day). I have been running all around on days off, scheduled and otherwise, hopping trains and spending money. Actually, when I put it that way, it sounds kind of fun!

Here are some things that are worth your time:

A tale of "old man" friendship gone bad. As they almost always do. The thing about hanging out with people 10 years+ your senior when you are an awesome teen gal is that you will grow up and the man-boys won't, and they will hate you for it. Also, see the comment from the "teacher," who proves him or herself to be the last person I would ever want to talk to my child about anything.

Mimi Smartypants makes me laugh so so much.

Mary Millwhistle has a new project called NoPOTUS. From the release:"The frenzied scrutiny of the 2008 presidential contenders proves that past mistakes can, and will, come back to haunt those who run for office. exposes the transgressions, missteps, and ill-advised associations of America's children... proving that they, too, will never grow up to be president." What she needs from you is pictures of kids under 10 to be used in hilarious, but anonymous, ways. Email her at millwhistle AT

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bottles and cans and paper and plastic and and and

Spending the morning thinking about the trash that comes from your house. Have I mentioned lately how much I love last night's garbage?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I just spent a whole dollar on a candy bar. It hit the bottom of the machine with a depressing thump before i fished it out, scraping my knuckles on the plastic theft guard. I certainly like it alot better in the old days when vending machines were more of a crapshoot; sometimes you'd get nothing at all for your 50 cents and have to wildly pound on the window and curse, and sometimes you'd get two treats instead of one and slip the extra into the emergency drawer.

Here are some other things I like:
This essay about books about sex by Elizabeth Bachner made me both think about stuff and also alerted me to the new Mary Roach book.

Muffy Bolding's blog. It makes me less scared.

These storybook illustrations from the days of yore make me think of quilts. Why? I don't know, but I like it. (via journalista)

Fancy Nancy has a new episode, finally. (Though I can't figure out when she airs anymore.)

That Amy Ambulette's book finally has a cover and it's not ugly.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Last fall I went bulb-crazy, hoping for a beautiful spring display out in the old out back. Here are the beginnings of justification:

Winter-blooming hellebores. Now it seems dumb that I only got one plant.

My favorite color of crocus, but where are the purple and white ones? WHERE?

The tulips and daffodils making their presence known. I don't get a lot of sun in my garden so these are always a little retarded. My impatience for heat grows every time I see another little shoot of green (or reddish brown) push through the ground.

More books later.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

leftovers from 2007 I

I have returned from England with a rash-covered face and a spring in my step. I n an effort to bring the blog up to this fresh feeling 2008ness here the rest of the short story collection reviews from 2007.

Top Top Stories edited by Anne Turyn
I picked up Top Top Stories at Ejay’s Books in Pittsburgh. It was in the Beat section for some reason, perhaps because it was published by City Lights in 1991. From the book jacket, I learned that Top Stories was an experimental fiction journal published by Turyn in the 80s and 90s. In this collection there are a bunch of [my] household names: Jenny Holzer, Kathy Acker, Lynne Tillman, Cookie Mueller and more. Mueller’s piece which features a few short stories to begin to tell how to get rid of pimples (”How To Get Rid of Pimples” [excerpt]) really opened her up to me. I loved the stories, with their quiet wonderful rhythms: “In a suburban house with white shingles and black shutters, Ioona, a woman of forty lived with her mother, a woman of sixty-four.” This sentence maybe isn’t the most enticing, but imagine wave after wave of listing tweaked facts and “circumstances of cures [for acne]” leading up to the regime, a list of actions that now seem mustily extreme in the days of Proactiv. It practically rocked me into a contented stupor, feel-good but not feel-dumb. I now get a feeling of what was so beguiling about her to John Waters and Nan Goldin and everyone else.

The stories also include a few entries that mix text and illustration. Lynne Tillman & Jane Dickson’s piece, “Living With Contradictions,” is a surprisingly affecting story that seems to ask what is settling in romantic love? Dickson’s wet and heavy illustrations take up most of the page and Tillman tells the story in short bursts of a few sentences and it is perfect.

This book has made me curious about finding other work by these authors and learning more about Turyn, which was, perhaps, exactly what it was going for.

The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet
edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant
Sigh. As much as I hate to say it, this was a disappointing affair. Even with over thirty poems and stories, the reader doesn’t really get a sense of the weird wonderfulness that Link and Grant wreak by doing what they do, which is cultivating (and publishing) a group of writers with voices that creep into your brain and tug at the loose stuff, scaring and awing you in the process.

The upside is that it reminded me to check out their catalog and make a list to check twice. You should do the same.

Mountains of Madness and other stories
by H.P. Lovecraft
The title story was of the utmost creepiness and beauty. Details, details made it perfect and it turns out, the penguins are real. Tantalizing enough for you? The other stories were not as good, though I did enjoy the one that used an elbow as an element of revolting horror.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tea Time

I am in London now and somehow unable to get a good chunk of reading time in, what with the tubes and the migraines and the televisions shows where they read from newspapers.

However, Moonlight Ambulette's copy of Lolly Willows beckons, beckons and drops sweet, heavy lines into my brain. The time I spent reading Alison Lurie's intro was time wasted though. Women used to be confined and pushed about by societal expectations? NO WAyZ!!!11111!! New York Review of Books could have done better.

Missing you all.