Sunday, February 27, 2011

STRANGE THINGS DONE

There are strange things done 'neath the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold.
The arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold.


This quote is the opening of one of my favorite poems growing up: "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert Service. It was about my home state of Alaska, contained eerie imagery, and, because it told an engaging story, was easy for me to memorize. I didn't, as a child, know that four hours of twilight did not constitute a day. I understood nothing about circadian rhythms or seasonal affective disorder. I didn't know that long Alaskan winters can drive a person mad.

I believe, now, that they can. I even have documentation. This, dear friends, is 
what happens when you give an Alaskan a short reprieve in a temperate locale 
in the middle of winter:






She buys a cowboy hat (which makes her deliriously happy). *






And she runs all over town posing for country music album covers.


*Giant, metal horse optional

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

THIS WORD YOU KEEP USING

Ring, ring, ring.

Customer Service: Thank you for calling blahblah. How can I help you?

Me: I was wondering what your hours are.

Customer Service: Monday through Friday, 8 to 4, specific time.

Me: 8 to 4. That is specific. Good to know. Thanks.

Customer Service: No. Specific time.

Me: Why are you so emphatic about this?

Customer Service: Because you are calling from out of state. I'm supposed to tell everyone from out of state that we're in specific time.

Me: (puzzles) Wait, do you mean Pacific Time? As in, your company is headquartered on the West Coast, in the Pacific Time Zone?

Customer Service: (pause) Yes.


Click.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

THE "IT" FACTOR - YOU GOT IT, BABY

I can't stop watching this, mostly because I'm not sure if this is a baby in a room full of puppets, or everybody I've ever gone drinking with. Also, the soundtrack is made of win. Enjoy:


Oh, there's a fanny pack. That rules out my friends.

(Please note this is a trailer for the movie "Las Palmas" by Johannes Nyholm. If you like it, find him and show him some love.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE

Vas ist das? Ah, it appears that I have been given a blog award. In fact, it is the sweetest blog award ever. Want proof? Nomnoms below:



Here's how the award works:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award. (Thanks, Samantha!)
2. Share four guilty pleasures that you have.
3. Pass the award on to six other blogs.

Guilty Pleasures
Heh. I actually had to look this up to figure out what to share. Composite definition: A guilty pleasure is something one enjoys despite feeling guilt or shame for enjoying it (or despite the fact that the thing being enjoyed has no redeeming values). Alrighty then. Here goes:

1. Eighties pop bands...even after they roll into the nineties and beyond. In particular, Depeche Mode.
2. Bad fantasy or sci fi movies featuring kick-ass ladies. Think everything Milla Jovovich has made (except Kuffs)
3. Trashy periodicals. I blame the lack of t.v. and weekly People magazine deliveries when I was growing up. Please note that I do not subscribe, and rarely buy. But if there is one in the room, I pounce, devour and move on to the next.
4. Swedish Fish. FTW. I don't feel guilty for eating Swedish Fish. I feel guilty for practically putting them on the endangered (candy) species list.

Sweet Morsels
Please check out these lovely, amusing and - yes - sometimes sweet blogs:

You're Write, Except When You're Rong - Elena Solodow
Tell Great Stories - Sommer Leigh
Urban Psychopomp - Margo Lerwill
Forever Endeavor - Tracy
Far Seeing Fairy Tales - the incomparable Bettielee
Reading, Writing and Ribaldry - Girl Friday





Wednesday, February 16, 2011

HOW TO SAVE YOUR LOCAL (BIG) BOOKSTORE

A few ideas for Borders' restructuring:

1. Rename certain locations "Boarders" and open a boutique hotel in the corner, between the stationary and the stuffed animal factory.

2. Just keep adding more and more diverse niche areas, until each store turns into an enclosed bazaar that happens to sell books. And deep-fried meat on sticks. And, just maybe, human organs. (This is bankruptcy, right? You gotta pull out all the stops.)

3. Get ahold of one of them new-fangled Com-POo-Tors. That'll bring the kids in.

4. Franchise the local stores and sell them back to community owners. Huh. Kind of like the local independents that were run out by the superstores back in the day.

In all seriousness (in some seriousness), Borders kind of missed the boat on that whole e-book trend. Which isn't surprising since bookselling was the first industry to suffer an e-surgency. Oh, except for music, which, long ago in a galaxy far away, sustained a small, hardly memorable (Napster and Metallica anyone?) shift toward the digital.

From a cursory review of the list of 200 stores slated for closure (that's 6,000 jobs, according to Reuters, which makes the big corporate problem a local, personal challenge), it appears that my local Borders escaped this cut. I'm glad to hear it. This Borders has a kick-ass Sci Fi/Fantasy section and regularly has local authors in for signings. Also, the cashiers are super nice. And they are always stocked up on Swedish Fish.

EDIT: I missed the listing of the Anchorage store when reading the fuzzy 4-pt font .pdf file. It is scheduled for closure.

But I wonder how the restructuring will affect this store. Will the better employees leave, looking for employment security? Will the publishers sell the store fewer copies of books, or none at all? Will the espresso machine break down every time I want a latte? Will buyers eventually forget the Borders patriotism they felt today, and stop going?

What did you think when you heard the news today?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

EVEN LITTLE THINGS CAN BE BROKEN

I always wished I could be a visual artist. I have tried, sometimes devoting up to several months to master a medium. I can't draw, or paint. My best sculptures were fundamentally rubbish (literally, in one case) that I manipulated into interesting rubbish. Like the wire spine and ribcage encased in melted and then solidified Paraffin wax. Or the multi-level river delta on rusty metal. That was actually quite lovely, though slightly tetanus-inducing. (Please note links are to other websites. That's not my work.)

What my efforts and consistent failures in the realm of visual arts has taught me is a massive appreciation of people who do it well and/or differently. So, because I cannot share any of my own with with you, I present to you artist Lori Nix. I discovered her tiny, meticulous created photographs via a link on twitter, and find them delightful. And a little sad. But mostly delightful.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

FRIDAY PLAYLIST

I'm falling backwards into a strange, new project. This is what it sounds like:

Cold War Kids - Saint John

A Fine Frenzy - Ashes and Wine

Sleigh Bells - Infinity Guitars (thank you Regan!)

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Mercy Seat

Taken by Trees - Sweet Child O Mine (look away, GNR fans)

Johnny Cash - Walk the Line

Christina Perri - Jar of Hearts

No, I'm not quite sure what to make of it either.

And what, my dears, are you listening to?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Battle of the (Non) Network (Non) Stars

I'm crawling toward the finish line of Dayy Jobb-mandated after hours work. The finish line doesn't mean I get a break, mind you. It just means that one objective has been UNLOCKED! *cue falling coins* Now I dust off, rehydrate, and eat that red mushroom I've been saving to kick-start my next life. (I miss you, Mario. Text me!)

On the other side of the finish line are two Shiny New Ideas which have been duking it out for a week as I plod closer and closer. Through the debris they've left in their frenzied wake, I see charcoal dust, spent shell casings, a fire in a brownstone, a Shaker rocking chair abandoned but still rocking gently on a country porch at night, and a '60s muscle car. May the best idea win!

What images are dripping from your shiny new ideas?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

WHAT DO YOU HEAR?

Tonight, my son asked me what sound memory makes. We were driving home after a day of work, for me, and day care, for him. I think I understand the origins of the question. He's learning his letters and their associated sounds, and we were recently talking about the game "Memory", wherein you try to recall what's on the face of upside-down cards in order to match them. Last night, he asked why the game was called "Memory" and I tried to explain what it is to remember. I didn't attempt to explain the shades and ghosts of sensations that comprise memories. Knowing how he came to the question didn't make it any less profound for me.

So I'll pass it on to you:

What sound does memory make?