Too bad you can't get spelling/grammar checker installed in your brain.

NPR interviewed Bill Gates this morning and he used the word "irregardless." All the Mac users, get out your red pens!

time to get your crayons and your pencils

I love when small, silly things can make you happy. While at the National Building Museum a few weeks ago I bought an architecture coloring book. Yesterday all I wanted was to color for a few minutes before heading out for the evening but I could not find my colored pencils (or "pencil crayons," as they are so randomly called in Canada). And this coloring book was the kind in which the lines are way too close together to use crayons. After searching every conceivable location twice - living room, dining room, basement craft supply stash - I finally found them neatly stored in a plastic box with other coloring equipment. Note to self: when making clever and useful storage arrangements, remember them.

Ebertfest wrap-up

The rest of Ebertfest was freakin' awesome. Highlights include:
  • watching the local newspaper photographer try for candids of John Sayles and Maggie Renzi
  • Saturday morning duty of guarding the door right behind Roger and Chaz Ebert's seats so that no one could come in during the movie and cause noise and light distractions. One of the Virginia Theater staff told a confused patron who had come out of that door to get popcorn but couldn't go back in the way he had come, "It's his festival, so we play by his rules."
  • Completely strange pod-person experience of being so generally positive about Roger Ebert that when he was given a basketball signed by the U of I coach, and he went to the middle of the stage and belted "I-L-L" into the microphone, I joined the crowd in yelling "I-N-I" back. I don't think I've ever been part of that cheer before. I don't believe in it. It goes against my cranky "collegiate sports are wasteful in every regard" creed. But Roger wanted me to, so I did.
  • Watching Taal with a theater full of other enthusiastic viewers who also laughed at the things that got at you despite your attempt to feel too cool for schmaltz. And then having the director and one of India's leading film experts congratulate the audience for getting it.
  • Half-price popcorn. Numma.
  • The moderator of appropraite Champaign-Urbana behavior would like to issue an apology

    ...or at least a modification. After reading the Ebertfest blog I feel a little bad about being snarky about Jason Patric and flippant about his movie career. Apparently he is a thoughtful, dedicated thespian. All I can say is, I've seen parts of Speed 2 and it is bad, but that that doesn't make him a bad person.

    But you are supposeod to wear your festival pass at all times. I'm just sayin'.

    Encore une fois!

    Believe it or pas, I really don't want to be French. I just happen to like museums and coffee and pretty architecture. I must be too uptight to be Italian.

    Your Inner European is French!

    Smart and sophisticated.

    You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.

    Who's Your Inner European?

    and he was all, "I'm too important for this"

    I volutneered at Ebertfest last night, the first of four shifts, and if the others are like this one, it will be a good weekend indeed. In addition to chatting with the festival-goers and watching Roger Ebert very kindly talk with children, their parents, and random college student volunteers about movies - and mind you these two things are the real highlights of the evening - I got a very snazzy gigantor baby blue t-shirt emblazoned with "Virginia Theater volunteer" (oh how I love to have a badge of belonging) and I had a minor celebrity run-in. Jason Patric, star of such fine films as Speed 2 and Your Friends and Neighbors (screw the reveiws, that was a hateful, horrible story that shouldn't ever have been told), was in town because he's the festival guest for After Dark, My Sweet. My volunteer duty last night was to make sure everyone coming in the door for passholders actually had a pass and was wearing it around their necks. He, of course, was not. He just brushed past the other volunteer working our door and pointed at the person ahead of him, who had a VIP pass, and said "I'm just going... I'm with her." She wheeled around and said, "Yes, yes, it's fine, he's with me."

    This is the cloest I have ever come to a brush with Hollywood attitudes and even at its minor scale it amused me no end. All the other festival guests had their passes out and on, including the stars of the other movies who were present. Roger Ebert, who, while not an actor, has had and will continue to have a far greater influence on film than Jason Patric, was really nice to everyone, hugging volunteers, signing programs, and talking with audience members. This is Champaign, my friend - follow the rules and be pleasant just like everyone else. I don't think anyone cares who you are - especially when only one (me) of six door staff recognized you.

    TTC / yeah you know me

    I always thought the T(oronto) T(ransit) C(ommission) (never "the subway," but definitely in contrast with "the streetcar" or "the bus") stations were beautiful - but also was afraid I was just being a small-town gawker who was overly excited about life in the big city. But not so! Thank you, Matthew Blackett and Spacing magazine, for this story on the colo(u)rful and even whimsical tilework in the stations.

    On a related note, I heard on NPR this morning that Canada is trying to encourage more foreigners to come work in Canada. Pardon me a moment while I pack my bags.

    thoughts on "Emma"

    With a bad, defeated mood fog having descended yesterday, I turn this morning to the power of the word "Emma." It means three things to me, all of which make me happy: the book by Jane Austen, the character of Mrs. Peel from the Avengers, and the new album from the singer formerly known as Baby Spice. The first reminds me of the importance of being clever but humble, involved but thoughtful, as well as the joy of romping around in empire-waist dresses in beautiful English country homes with well-spoken, twitterpated men. The second, of being whip-smart and brave, of busting heads and taking names, both literally and figuratively. The third, of being silly and light-hearted with a pleasing, out-of-the-blue bossa nova sound, and getting to make sparkly, spunky videos that deftly hide your inability to dance.

    Really, isn't that what we all need?

    Travelers' Tales: India

    Can't stop thinking about this book. Want to read it all the time. To me the very best kind of nonficiton is that that makes you feel you are sitting in a really thoughtful, well-illustrated lecture by an subject expert who takes great joy in sharing experiences and getting you excited about the subject too. This is one of those books. I especially like how it compiles different lengths of text on a much bigger array of subjects than would ever occur to me to look for. And I keep learning things and discovering bits of history and culture that I've never heard of. For example, the amazing ruins of Hampi, the capital of the Vijayanagar empire - which includes a temple whose columns are musical - slap them with your hand and they produce a pitch and are tuned to each other for sympathetic resonance. I was certain I couldn't handle a flat-out history of India without some kind of accompanying class, but the essays here definitely build up a sense of different times and peoples. My only complaint is about the maps: there are two maps but neither is clearly labeled or definied. The first one has regions marked out but I'm not sure if the areas are states or provinces or something else, or if they are historical or current. There is also another map, a few pages away, with cities. I wish these were combined. It takes me a few flips back and forth to really locate each of the essays.

    He's Just Not That into You

    Within a few hours of realizing this was a whole book, I had read the whole thing and gone to sleep highly dissatisfied with absolutely everything about dating, both in theory and for myself. If this concept liberates you from an unsatisfying relationship, then great. If it helps you keep from making an utter fool of yourself, then great (and by "you" and "yourself" I mean "me" and "myself"). But it just seems too simple to account for all the interesting bits and bobs about actual people and their incredibly varied relationships. I know the authors would just tell me I've been brainwashed to say that, and that I'm just making excuses. They're probably right, but I also can't bear to give up on the idea that one statement cannot possibly capture all the possible contexts and combinations.

    For the record, if I applied the authors' definitions to all of my past entanglements, there would be three whole guys who had been that into me. The ninth grade creep, who definitely came after me but then quickly scared me off by watching me open my locker and then stored my combination in his calculator watch (it was 1989, remember); the junior year real, true boyfriend, who broke my heart by dumping me when he started doing drugs; and the Canadian, who was gay and has just invited me to his wedding. Even though I'm not sure I wholly care, it never feels good to be left with only three examples of being loved.

    They'll say I'm being naive, but I'll say my life is more complicated than that.

    I also think the authors' statement that "you are exceptional, but you are not the exception [to the rule that 90% of the time a man's weird behavior just indicates HJNTIY]" - I mean, that doesn't even make sense gramatically. But by the very definition of the term, not everyone can be exceptional. And as the female author points out, the math debunks the idea that there is a "good man" out there for every woman who wants one. And that when you don't meet people very often, it's hard to give up one someone who seems good. So what does that leave these girls with? They don't answer that, which is okay, since it's outside the scope of their book. Their idea just raises a lot more problems than it clears up.

    But then again, the book is probably meant mainly to be funny anyway. Are we so desperate for self-help that we can't take a joke? Probably.

    Ms. Beth Goes to Washington, part 3

    Monday, April 11
  • Slept in. Ahhhh. Took the D2 bus, all by myself, from Melanie's house through Georgetown to DuPont Circle. Gerogetown is break-your-heart beautiful but also break-your-heart hetereogeneous and priveledged. I must admit I wouldn't mind living in a colonial townhouse with Pottery Barn interior, but I feel bad about admitting that. Perhaps I'd build an orangery onto the back of mine.
  • After an early lunch at the NGA Pavilion Cafe (no, I officially cannot get enough - but I did have a different sandwich each time), I made it an art day. Since the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery are closed for renovation, I headed to the Hirschorn. Enh. I did have several entertaining conversations with a guard about the art, which was fun once I got past my initial fear that his approaching meant I had done something wrong. The only exhibit of real interest to me was on the pyrotechnical works of Cai Guo-Qiang. You'd think burned paper couldn't be so alive, but it was a fascinating combination of creation/descruction, long planning/short performance.
  • Everyone asks, so here you go: my favorite museum was the Sackler Gallery. Perfect in every way. Just the right amount of stuff in just the right amount of space. Lush colors. Dazzling yet personally-scaled artifacts. Interesting, engaging text. Reference books and comfy sofas in the exhibit spaces so you could answer questions while in the room! And while I would be the first to say that the museum-going experience should not necessarily involve or be enhanced by shopping, the shop really was great.
  • After that, even I was museumed out, so I wandered across the mall and up 8th Street to meet Melanie and her friend Keith for dinner at Teaism. Another fun people-watching building-browsing bus trip home and an evening with that movie reenacting the last day of Pompei. One of the things I love about Melanie is her geekiness.

    Tuesday, April 12
  • Bus and Metro to Union Station for a decadent breakfast of two croissants with my coffee. I love old train stations. I wish we still traveled by train. There's absolutely nothing that planes have over trains except speed. Then across the street to the Postal Museum. From the professional angle, it's fun to see a museum that has such a tight, unique subject, and I'm always impressed by the range of ideas and topics people find to discuss. I'm still not sure what my final opinion on this place is. I did really like their reminder to us all that the postal service is really about spreading and sharing information, and that's the key to democracy. Won't argue with that. Pip pip.
  • Back to the National Building Museum to see the two exhibits I hadn't visited last week. I really do love that place but I want it to have more than four exhibits! I thought about going on to the Naitonal Museum of Women in the Arts but decided I was ready to stop and would just go back to Melanie's before rush hour got bad and tidy up my suitcase. She came home and cooked us a lovely dinner, then we watched a spoof of Dr. Who starring a clown car of British actors, The Curse of Fatal Death.

    Wednesday, April 13
  • Speaking of clown cars, I've really had a variety of DC experiences, haven't I? Friends and family; crowds and solitude; art high and low; revolting and inspiring examples of what humans are capable of; regret and hope for my fellow citizens.
  • Lugged my suitcase back on to the bus. By the way, what is the proper etiquette for having a large-ish suitcase on a small bus during rush hour? Do you go as far to the back of the bus as you can, so your suitcase is as far out of the aisle as possible? Or do you just sit down as quickly as you can in the closest seat so that you minimize the number of toes you run over or elbows you whack into? A final trip on the Metro whisked me to National airport. Of all coincidences, sitting in the next row of chairs in the waiting area and in the same row with me on the plane was a person who looked really familiar, except for her blue cat's-eye rhinestone-bedazzled glasses, which surely I would remember. I convinced myself that I didn't know her - I always think I recognize people and I'm almost always wrong. But as I sat down next ot her on the plane, she said "Aren't you friends with Wendy Mathewson?" and all of a sudden it clicked. She's friends with my friend Wendy, and during one of my visits to Chicago a few years ago she was staying with Wendy for awhile, so we had tea or something. It's so nice to travel with a friend!
  • In usual fashion, the Detroit airport disappointed me, this time because there was something wrong with our plane, so after more than half an hour of sitting on the runway with the door open we had to get off thatp lane, walk down the concourse, and board another one. The seat I had originally was marked "do not sit" on the new plane, so I plopped down next to a chatty woman from Danville. Even though I had my book out - international language for "I want to read, and I'm trying to indicate politely that I wish to be left alone" - she nattered away. She was frustrated at how bouncy the plane was as we taxied and leaned towards me, hand to the side of her mouth as though she was about to impart a great secret, and said "I don't like being vibrated." I'm sorry, that's just funny. Arriving at Willard only one hour later than scheduled, I was met by a very generous Melina. I dropped my bags, hopped in the car, got a few groceries, and picked up Leroy, who thanks to a bath at "camp" smelled like fake-o flowers. Fluffy but stinky. All is now back to normal except for the mostly unpacked suitcase still in my bedroom.
  • Ms. Beth Goes to Washington, part 2

    Friday, April 8
  • Went to NMAI again with my parents. Mixed reviews as above. Tried to eat lunch at their cafe - which seemed really cool, with regionally themed foods - but the line had at least a hundred people in it. So we went to the National Gallery of Art's Pavilion Cafe, a delightful outdoor spot where you can sit under an umbrella, look at the sculpture garden, and feel the splash from the fountain. There's also an original art nouveau Paris Metro entrance next to the tables and Gershwin piped through the speakers, mixed in with those French accordian-based tunes that Edith Piaf sings. And the best coffee I had in DC. Cake too. Yum.
  • The National Museum of Natural History proved delightful. The gallery on the origins of western culture felt, like Air and Space, oddly out of date - kind of grimy and banged up, with a style of exhibition that just isn't what you see most new galleries doing. It looked like no one had taken care of it in a long time. (Side note: with my usual sureness of mind, I was convinced the replica of the Law Code of Hamurabai had been made incorrectly because, based on the five-minute lesson on reading cuneiform I was given by our Mesopotamian curator, the text on it was oriented backwards. But the image of it from its home in the Louvre is the same way, so obviously I am wrong.) Especially good was the new mammal gallery. It opens with "Welcome to your family reunion!" and has a crisp, lively presentation of the variety of furry life. Also I loved the big elephant in the entry rotunda.
  • Dinner at a local Italian place in Arlington, Virginia, which claimed a magazine review awarding them the best pizza in DC. While good, it was not that good. But tasty enough.

    Saturday, April 9
  • Walked for what seemed like an eternity - in a good way - along the parks west of the Washington Monument and the tidal basin to enjoy the cherry blossoms.
  • I don't know if it was because I was tired, or if becuase the last time I was in DC was January 1993 and things seemed to be looking up, politically, but I burst into tears at the FDR memorial. There couldn't be a starker contrast to the president we have now. This man cared about everyone and did something to prove it. He was for peace. He was intelligent and compassionate. More than an end to the war we were in, he wanted an end to the beginnins of all wars. This is a moving, beautiful monument, a series of spaces for each of his four terms, combining narrative through his quotes, landscaping, and sculpture.
  • After lunch we went to the National Gallery. I spent most of my time in the East Building looking at I. M. Pei's triangles (everywhere! walls, ceiling, floor!), giant Mark Rothko canvases, and Alexander Calder mobiles. There is a room full of Calder pieces, two stories high, with lights casting shadows that seem to me more whimsical and alive than the actual pieces, the impression of vines and blossoms drifting by. The west building was less interesting to me - sorry, I have seen enough still lifes and madonnas/children. The one exception was the room of paintings from Sienna in the 1300s - to me there's always something a bit cheeky and funny about the medieval art that isn't exactly representational. They're telling stories, stories that most everyone who saw the picture would know, and they seem to have a bit of fun with perspective and color and impressions. Mostly, a painting of a bowl of fruit that looks exactly like the bowl of fruit is of no interest to me - show me something where somebody got inventive. Here endeth the opions of someone with not even one semester of art history under her belt.
  • Dinner in Arlington again, this time at a Mexican restaurant that was a complete hidden gem, tucked away in the corner of a shopping plaza. But once inside it exploded wtih orange stucco walls, mirrors, art, and a really interesting menu, including chocolate flan. I discovered my dad likes margaritas. Who knew?

    Sunday, April 10
  • A quick morning jaunt to the National Museum of American History. I zoomed right into the First Ladies exhibit becuase I remember really liking it in college, but I was really disappointed. It needs to be cleaned up and filled in. Fewer dresses and tea service pieces. More on correspondence, activism, and philanthropy. It looked like they had taken half the labels out. But I did like the spotlight on some of the people I knew nothing about - for example, Lou Hoover, the first woman to earn a degree in geology from Stanford. I also really liked the letters to Eleanor Roosevelt from people whom she helped during the Depression. There was not as much discussion of Hillary as I would have liked - they stuck all of her stuff under politics and not under activism. Oh well. Can I also say how disappointed I am in Laura Bush? C'mon, librarian sistah, get your dolt of a husband to get rid of No Child Left Behind. You know it's a crock. Whatever it takes. I think a side exhibit on presidential mistresses would also be really fun - not just for the thrill of a scandal but to talk about the pressures that kind of a job puts on families and how hard it can be to be normal when you have such incredible responsibilities.
  • My parents packed up and drove back to Virginia while I Metroed to DuPont Circle to meet Melanie. We wrangled my suitecase on the bus to her house, winding through Georgetown. Melanie is the proud owner of a bright, airy co-op across the street from the Russian Embassy, which she has...I believe the phrase is "tastefully appointed"...with a huge range of interesting things to look at, stacks of books and magazines, and her two kitties.
  • We took a taxi - with a driver who was listening to some screeching, popping radio call-in show in an unidentifiable language - to Dumbarton Oaks to see the Byzantine collection, but to both of our surprise, it was closed for renovations. So on to the gardens instead. More beautiful cherry blossoms and happy people sprawled on the lawn. Really strange river pebble mosaic of a wheat sheaf. My favorite spot was the orangery, which smelled luscious and had great old windows and brick. I think this shows how much more I like architecture than landscaping. Then we strolled up Wisonsin Ave for dinner at Cafe Bonaparte, which everyone should visit. The entire menu looked delicious but I couldn't make it past the crepes: for dinner, filled with roma tomatoes and pesto; for dessert, mixed berries and vanilla ice cream. I was also taken with the momentary delusion that I could totally make that. But I could totally try.
  • Home again for episode five of Horatio Hornblower. Melanie is the original Horatio lover but amazingly she had not seen episodes five through eight. (So she hadn't even met Lt. Bush! I told her hands off - I saw him first.) I left them with her - she needs him more than I do right now.
  • Ms. Beth Goes to Washington, part 1

    I so wanted to write about this trip as it went but no internet cafe could tempt me away from the museums, so better late than never.

    Not to start out on a sour note, but it must be said:
    Dear Detroit airport:
    What is wrong with you? No chairs in concourse C. And due to construction, very few chairs in the one nearby seating area. No bathrooms in the concourse either. I did get to visit the really swank concourse A but that moving walkway thing with the changing colored lights has got to go - you shouldn't give air travelers the impression that their vision is going double and their skin is green. Pull it together.

    Monday, April 4
  • Bought Jason a frrappuccinno (I don't know how to spell that and am definitely not going to give Starbuck's the satisfaction of looking it up, so I'll just double everything for good measure) and sat in DuPont Circle watching the world go by on a lovely spring day.
  • Hopped the student-only bus to Georgetown University - and didn't even have to pretend to be a visiting PhD candidate because the driver wasn't looking - and sat in on Jason's class on international law something something. It was student presentation day and, no offense, I was totally underwhelmed by presentation style and content. These people are going to run the world some day but for now they won't string together a spoken sentence without several "ums" or reading directly from their notes. What up?
  • Spent the evening at J.R.'s, a bar Jason described as "like Murphy's, but gay." While snippets of musicals blared on the multiple tv screens, Jason made his friend use her cell to check the Illinois-UNC game and then howled loudly upon hearing the final score despite the fact that he doesn't usually care about such things. A bar, full of men, with at least 10 tvs, on NCAA championship night, and no basketball to be found anywhere. Delightful.

    Tuesday, April 5
  • Got up late, slowly, and went through the Hirschorn sculpture garden and then to the National Museum of the American Indian. So many opinions to share about this, but let me summarize by saying that I really want to know more about why they're doing this the way they're doing it. The museum is lovely but so disjointed in topic. There's hardly any history. There's little mention of cultures east of the Mississippi. The emphasis on current issues and diversity is quite successful and duly noted, but I think, for most people, some more history and some more mention of more different groups would be helpful. No reasonable person expects any institution to chroncile everything but it's really poor to leave out a third of a continent in a "national" museum. I don't care if you don't have any Woodland or Mississippian pieces. You're the Smithsonian - get some.
  • Mosey to Chinatown (more of a block than a town, although it claims to have the largest single-span Chinese bridge in the country, which I don't believe) for Thai for lunch.
  • Fun at the International Spy Museum - and learnin' too. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would and probably more than I should admit. While they didn't do much to debunk the romanticized image of espionage we get from movies, they did have really good historical information on different famous and not-so-famous cases, cool Cold War-era equipment, James Bond's first car (although to be honest I wasn't sure from the label that it was authentic), codes to break, and very appropriate and useful use of interactives. Absurdly priced gift shop. But I walked out not being quite able to shake the feeling that there were spies everywhere. Cool.
  • Club Chaos for drag queen bingo. Based on the name, I was picturing bingo boards with pictures of drag queens on them - so you'd hear "B-ChiChi Bouvier" and "G-Hamburger Patty" - or some kind of giant communal bingo board like Hollywood Squares. It was just three people yelling out numbers - as well as all manner of mean things at anyone in the room, especially the boys who said they were straight but pretty clearly, even to strangers, weren't. My card got really close to winning the popcorn popper so I switched with Jason to avoid the limelight. He won, but they were basically nice to him, which was disappointing becuase I know Jason can dish it. Jason also won the trivia contest, a total waste of his wit with questions like "What is the addictive ingredient in cigarettes?". Sometimes the prizes were porn, and unfortunately they previewed the movies. Ew, ew, ew. Everyone in the bar, including me, got groped or grabbed by the various performers as they took interludes from calling bingo to parade around the room lip-syncing to J Lo. On the way out Jason forgot his credit card so I waited on the sidewalk with Jason's friend, who chatted up a pouting, loitering Swedish tourist who claimed he couldn't get into any bars becuase he had forgotten his ID. Whatever - everyone knows that if you just drop an accent, Americans will let you get away with anything, especially if you're tall, blonde, and Euro.

    Wednesday, April 6
  • Late breakfast at Firehook in Cleveland Park, where we ate pastries under rickety arbors covered in grapevines. How v civilized!
  • After years of wishing, I finally go to the National Building Museum. Much squealing with joy as I came out of the Metro and saw it greeting me. Went on a guided tour with an adorable tottering volunteer, the principal perk of which was going up to the fourth floor and looking over the whole building, which throughout its 100+ years has hosted many inaugural balls, among other fancy events. Apparently in the last year or so, part of one of the capitals on the 75 foot-high interior columns fell off, so they had to rig up metal cages to hold those old plaster acanthus leaves in place before the most recent ball. Too bad it didn't wait until January and bonk W on the head. There. I said it. The exhibit on conrete was beautiful and the exploraiton of historical and current architects' tools was surprisingly compelling, divided into converations on topics like line weights, spirals, and erasing. And the shop, as described, was stellar.
  • Having sufficiently museumified myself for the day, I went on to NPR headquarters. Tours are only on Thursdays, but I did use the bank machine in the building and get a ginger ale from the vendor outside. Only after walking away did I realize I should have asked her for the dirt on why Bob Edwards really left and what Sylvia Poggioli gets on her hot dog when she's in town. Wandered to a bench on some plaza and enjoyed looking at a few old churches. One had a tower missing its roof and windows, providing an unexpected peek into a space I'd never get to go.
  • Metro'd with Jason to Hamburger Mary's. The bill came in a red patent leather open-toed pump. Choice. Something tells me this is a bit like going to Ed Debevick's - you know, kitchy, theme-ish burgers, etc. - except gay.

    Thursday, April 7
  • In manner of visiting friend being the excuse to see your city, Jason and I explored Eastern Market and had breakfast at the much-touted Market Lunch. They didn't serve "blue bucks" (blueberry buckwheat pancakes) on weekdays, but the french toast and bacon were yummy. We strolled back along Pennsylvania Avenue and up along the Library of Congress and Supreme Court. Now, I am not the most flag-waving of people, but I will tell you happily that I found these buildings really inspiring. Our country is wonderful in theory. "Equal Justice under the Law" - what could be better, if it were true?
  • Said goodbye to Jason and took the Metro to Virginia to meet up with my parents. We headed back downtown to the Air and Space. On my previous trips to DC I had skipped this one and I certainly don't regret this - the museum is strangely outdated feeling, with a lot of text and images on those black, back-lit panels you see in older restaurants. I like ship and train museums, but this left me feeling...enh. I think my dad really liked seeing some of the space craft (space ships? space vehicles?) that figured so large in his childhood. My main impression upon leaving the museum was that I have no desire to go to space. Too disant. Too many deaths. But I did love seeing throngs of happy, excited children running around in a museum. Sigh. I love what I do.
  • More culinary advenutres in Chinatown, this time in a lot of rain.
  • Again, a quiz says I am France! What up?

    You are chevres! You are a cheese of different shapes, sizes, and textures. You are dependable, generous, and modest. You want to please everyone, but sometimes you have trouble remembering yourself.

    These cheeses are made from goat's milk. They come in many sizes and shapes, such as round patties, log-shapes, drum-shapes, pyramids, round loaves, long loaves etc.; their textures vary from soft, but firm like cream cheese to extremely hard. Chevres are excellent dessert cheeses, often served as snacks or before dinner drinks. Goat cheese is often served as an ingredient in many fine dishes. [ Country: France || Milk: goat milk || Texture: semi-hard ]

    Cheese Test: What type of cheese are you?

    Born Confused

    by Tanuja Desai Hidier

    Not quite sure what I think of this yet. It's very easy to empahtize with the heroine - except on the point of her maddening, narcissistic, selfish best friend. That character had better redeem herself pronto.

    I also find myself wishing, as the best friend does, that I had a culture. Which is absurd, because everyone has a culture, but I know what she means - the peering into difference, lived meaningfully by someone you actually know, in their real life, that the child of WASPy professors in the midwest rarely got. The personal level of this story is its most compelling feature to me. That and the line by a side character who says that confusion is good becuase it encourages you to ask questions. And how.

    First Generations: Women in Colonial America

    by Carol Berkin

    It's a wonder anyone survived, isn't it? Work your whole life, give birth a heap of times, die before 40 (and your husband too), leaving your children orphans and crops in the field. I bought this after going on the "Women of Wiliamsburg" tour at Colonial Williamsburg last year, in which I discovered that it wouldn't have been too terribly bad to be a white woman in a Virginia town in 1774.

    I have been on the same chapter of this book for months. I just can't finish it. It's really interesting but I guess I can't read nonfiction at bedtime - it requires a different kind of brainpower than I have at my disposal at that time of day. What I need is for someone else to read this with me so we can discuss - any takers?

    why you should use your cubicle as a sock puppet theater

    I love, love, love that the NBC version of "The Office" has developed a slew of its own genius tiny details. Like in this picture the boss is wearing one of those cause/statement bracelets (which are worn by the armful by the sixth graders who visit my museum, this indicating with certainty that the trend must be stopped) and that his equally awful assistant is wearing an anime tshirt.

    The series makes me so grateful I work where I do, that my colleagues are lovely, intelligent, fun people and that what we do is meaningful to us. It also makes me appreciate my approximately eight months in a cubicle for what it was. Such as learning how to write professionally worded "don't mess with me" letters. Or learning how to face dreaded tasks with the attitude of "it's only for this particular job, just do it and stop worrying, it doesn't imply anything about you or your skills." Or making the most of the urge to be creative within the boundaries of appropriateness which, in my case, included making a sock puppet to voice all the things I wanted to say but couldn't and the chance to use my cubicle as a performance space, giddily entertaining the paralegal in the next cubicle as my puppet, Willa, popper her head over the wall-let (they really aren't whole walls, so I figure they need a name that indicates so).

    If you missed it, Willa's adventures at my current workplace are documented here.

    I rambled about other stuff too. Wanna see?

    April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 May 2006 June 2006 August 2006 October 2006 December 2006 February 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 September 2007 July 2008

    projects, friends, etc.

  • I love Bollywood so much that I made a separate blog for it.
  • remember when I went to Australia?
  • when you take grad school too much to heart re: literature
  • when you take grad school too much to heart re: travels
  • The Trophy Wife
  • rock and roll lifestyle
  • Why God Why
  • Technically not a friend, as not a human, but still a place I love very much, so it counts: Massey College
  • credits

  • Blog design is based largely on Not That Ugly with some ideas from Firdamatic with some additional tweaking
  • Flickr rocks! Really.
  • Hurrah for Blogger
  • And for folks trying to library-ize blogs: Blogwise and Blogarama
  • Sorry this looks like poo in Firefox. I've no idea why.