Sunday, October 30, 2005

Hills Like White Elephants

. . The woman came out from the bar.
'Four reales.'
'We want two Anis del Toro.'
'With water?'
'Do you want it with water?'
'I don't know,' the girl said. 'Is it good with water?'
'It's all right.'
'You want them with water?' asked the woman.
'Yes, with water.'
'It tastes like liquorice,' the girl said and put the glass down.
'That's the way with everything.'
'Yes,' said the girl. 'Everything tastes of liquorice. Especially all the things you've waited so ong for, like absinthe.'
'Oh, cut it out.'
'You started it,' the girl said. 'I was being amused. I was having a fine time.'
'Well, let's try and have a fine time.'
'All right. I was trying. I said the mountains looked like white elephants. Wasn't that bright?'
'That was bright.'
I wanted to try this new drink. That's all we do, isn't it - look at things and try new drinks?'
'I guess so.'
The girl looked across at the hills. . . .

I think this story and that loveable mofo, DJ Zen, are what I think of when I think of absinthe. Which made Halloween weekend interesting. The ritualistic aspect to making the drink explains why Hemingway loved it so much.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

And I Don't Know What to Do...

I'm still very much obsessed with James Blunt's hit "You're Beautiful." The video too is strangely fascinating -- none of the normal flashy stuff for an ADHD TV audience. There's one set, one camera, one singer singing directly at the camera.

Of course, there's the weird question about whether or not he's jumping off a cliff to go swimming, or to end his misery. (Why else arrange everything in your pockets in a nice, straight line? Even though some of us do that all the time...)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Friday, October 21, 2005

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Emperors and Chinstraps

So stodgy old Penguin, the publishing giant, must be trying to hipsterize itself.

A well-known comic artist (or so a quick Google search shows, since I know nothing of comic art) has drawn the cover art for Penguin's new release of Candide, one of my favorite books. And I can't find an online image large enough to read the comic! Savvy web marketing, Penguin people! How will I know to buy it if I can't read the cover? How will I know if I approve of graphic art gracing the cover of great classics? I do, of course, but am just curious as hell... =)

Also from Penguin, The Elements of Style is now illustrated, putting a new twist on Language Arts teachers' mantra of "Show vs Tell! Show vs Tell! Show vs Tell!" It's also been made into a song, apparently. Part of me appreciates such a statement about communication and the melding of the visual, language, and performing arts. The other part of me wants to forget I was given three copies of the Strunk and White classic before the age of 16.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Note to Trainers Who Give Prizes During Pop Quizzes

If you give big black plastic Halloween-toy arachnids (can't even type the S-word) as a prize to someone in the front row, a person blogging in the back row might look up and squeal rather loudly.

Those things might be fake, but they're huge! And they look real!

Plus, if a certain trainee has already established herself as the trainee who spills coffee all over the snack table first thing in the morning, she might begin to think that the gods are amusing themselves directing the course of her day. (She can laugh at this herself, but is further justified in distrusting deities.)

Woof Woof, Pavlov!

No joke, I stood for a good full minute or so with my soapy hands beneath a faucet, before I realized it wasn't an automatic sensor faucet. I even hunted for the sensor!!! And then I finally saw the hot and cold water handles on each side of the faucet.


Which reminds me, how long has it been since I've seen a non-sensor faucet in a corporate restroom? Not that this is one of life's more pressing questions. (Thanks to a recent award recipient I now know a great quote about life's pressing questions ... even if I heard said quote at an ungodly early breakfast for a beloved nonprofit. But I digress.)

And yes, the software training I am attending provides ample opportunities for blogging. =)

Cheesy Pop moment #528

Heard this song last Saturday during a particularly hectic Ballard-to-Rainier Valley-four-times trip, and now I can't get it out of my head.

I love the video, too! It contains an example of a classic behavior pattern for mildly OCD people! (If anyone has had dinner with me and observed me arranging the utensils, there's a scene in this video that should strike a chord!)

Pleasant surprise in the Lone Star State

Washingtonians "Tim" and "Diana" (Seattle karaoke buddies coincidentally in Austin for separate business meetings) were waiting to sing at a dive bar, and figured out that Austin has a smoke-free ordinance! After chatting with the bartender, I learned it passed 52-48%, and took effect Sept 1.

And apparently the bartender's tips have gone down significantly since...

At any rate, at least I didn't smell like smoke afterwards. =)

And we learned the hard way that if you don't know the karaoke host, it kind of sucks.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

And the moral of the story is...

If a book is recommended to you by the paranoid but sweet lady next door (who was robbed one night while you were home and just thought she was just moving her furniture), and said book also is on your Senior Class Book Recommendation list (from which you have recently decided to choose reading material), it is not necessarily a fabulous book.

Despite Gavin de Beckers' credentials in helping elected officials, movie stars, and ordinary people learn to recognize, predict and avoid patterns of violence, I found his book redundant. Basically, it asserts over and over again that people (women in particular) should trust their instinct, and should learn how to recognize their instinct because their lives or well-being could depend on whether or not they listen to it.

There are some useful chapters on language cues in potentially dangerous situations, occupational hazards, domestic violence, stalkers, and aggressive children. It's just that the whole book is peppered with the stories of his clients who failed to tune in to their intuition and as a result had horrible things happen to them (I mean, there are the success stories, too, but the failures are so traumatizing... The opening chapter tells the story of a woman who escaped from a rapist/murderer. It was awful to read.)

Anyway, the book has good nuggets of advice in it. But like the central theme, it's all instictive anyway.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Good Night, and Good Luck

This movie is pure brilliance.

George Clooney's film about Edward R. Murrow's battle with Sen. Joe McCarthy, Good Night and Good Luck is entirely in black and white. Almost every scene takes place in the CBS studios. With the exception of a woman singing on-air between programs (and in the opening and closing credits), there is no swelling soundtrack to alert the viewer when to be inspired. The script is extremely dialogue-heavy. The real-life footage from the Senate hearings is not edited for cute soundbites. Ultimately, like the underlying premise of the profession Clooney's Murrow seeks to defend, the film attempts to report simply "the facts" (however pre-screened, edited and fictionalized in a hyper-real account).

I kept thinking about Arthuer Miller's The Crucible throughout the screening -- I think it's because Miller's play, about 17th-century Salem, was written in response to McCarthy's witch hunts. I have no idea what Clooney's underlying political motivations might be, but the timing of his film might indicate that the screenplay was written in response to certain current events and legislative trends.

Go and see it!

Monday, October 10, 2005

No more neo-Luddism

So now I know that Brown does nothing for me, and I'm not very happy with a certain Spirit of Service, given that both managed to lose two DSL packages. Nonetheless, all's well that end's well, and I am no longer mentally living with the mysterious and yet brilliant builders of a relic on Salisbury Plain.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Pimp My Party!

The Tories are soliciting feedback on how to make the Party cool. I will admit, at first I thought it was a hoax put on by renegade Labour or LibDem interns. But then it asked for genuine feedback!

According to The Sun, at least, the website really is real. (And if you see it in the Sun it's so, right, Virginia? Even if it's the Sun across the Pond...) And it's commented on in at least one Labour MP's blog (which you know is run by young 'uns).

Maybe the GOP should attempt a similar "How to Get Hip" campaign. Um.... or not.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Nervous laughter...

Many thanks to the FG for mentioning that Friendster now allows people to see who's been viewing their profiles, rather than letting viewers remain anonymous.

Had several minutes of panic when the change was mentioned oh-so-casually. But thankfully, it's a new month, and nobody whose profile I viewed in August or September will ever know! This runs the gamut from old classmates/History Dept rivals to friends-of-friends-of-friends I always run into at fundraisers.

Cue nervous laughter...