webcowgirl: (Proust book)
I've been continuing to plow my way through Remembrance of Things Past (or In Search of Lost Time, which is probably a better title), and I'm realizing that my birthday is coming up, and with it the trip to Paris I planned months ago. I'm excited: I really want to indulge myself in things Proust, and I was thinking that a lovely walk in the Bois de Boulougne would be a perfect summertime activity. I'm at page 453 of the combined Prisoner/Fugitive, and the author is dealing with grief now, and also the difficulty of knowing happy times when you're in the middle of them. God, he's great to read, even though I think he's made it difficult for me to get much enjoyment out of poorly written books.

Proust came up twice in my waking life this week; once in the Pinter book I bought, and a second time last night when I was watching a short film before Iron Man. The narrator of the film was talking about all of the little things he did on a certain day so that he wouldn't be troubled while doing his work; at the end he does no work at all but goes to bed early so he'll wake up rested and ready for his work tomorrow. It was really painfully similar to a lot of the texture of reading Proust, as shown by this mock Proust blog entry (thanks [livejournal.com profile] sallysimpleton). Who'd think he'd be an object of gentle derision?
webcowgirl: (reading is fun-damental)
Well, I've made it to page 1018, the end of the Penguin/Kilmartin translation of Remembrance of Things Past. But I had to be honest with myself: I have only finished the first two of six volumes (two of them in this one book). And so, today, I also got a new book: The Guermantes Way, in the new translation Viking put out a few years ago. I have to say, silly or not, I'm looking forward to starting it, in part to see how someone else handles the occasionally convoluted grammar in this book.

Quote for the end: It is, after all, as good a way as any of solving the problem of existence to get near enough to the things and people that have appeared to us beautiful and mysterious from a distance to be able to satisfy ourselves that they have neither mystery nor beauty.

Does anyone want this now? I think it's got one more read left in it before it disintegrates. The binding has held up really well, all things considered.

The Hound of the Baskervilles was a complete hoot and made me wish my brother were here and could have seen it with us - the humor would have been very much to his liking. And the £12 TKTS tickets made it a perfect Friday night. I recommend it.
webcowgirl: (reading is fun-damental)
Last night Remembrance got to one of those incredible places where you finally see what the result is of, I don't know, some 2-300 pages of buildup, a moment where the protagonist walks through space and time, and yet the feeling of him doing it, of reading about it, is one of a universal experience. It was massively cool and the fact that the scene ended with him having Albertine effectively slap his face for being fresh was just great. I'm at 1006 - only 12 pages to go. What will I do from here? Will someone buy me the appropriate next volume, maybe in the juicy, new translation? (Is it the one by Lydia Davis?)

I'm also poking around in a rather silly book by Rob Grant, Incompetnce (misspelling deliberate). It's a very silly detective novel. I'll let you know how it goes. But right now, I think I need a cup of tea; my throat seems very dry after last night for some reason.

(PS; Appears I could also use a copy of How Proust Can Change Your Life. I must remember this.)
webcowgirl: (Blythe)
First: Proust at page 965 (I finished yet another book this weekend that was not Remembrance), and this quote deserves to make it to the LJ as a marker of all of the unspoken stuff he writes about: "And one of their cousins, who was only 15, had scandalised the Casino by her unconcealed admiration for Mlle. Lea, whose talent as an actress M. Block Senior rated very high, but whose tastes were understood not to be primarily directed toward gentlemen." Priceless!

It's hard to believe I came across this site while looking at someone's user pictures ... a little more free time and I would be surfing it all day long.
Now cut tag for the doll sensitive. Next stop: pictures of clowns! )
webcowgirl: (reading is fun-damental)
Well, to my sorrow, Cecelia Dart-Thornton has spent way too much time detailing our hero's journey across the forests of her world. I mean, come on, 220 pages and she hasn't accomplished anything? And it's a 500 page book? Gah. But since I'm frustrated with it (and I guess I did only start reading this thing on Thursday so I am still making good progress), I'm back in the Proust, and am now at page 936 (he's off the paintings and has just met Albertine). 1018 is the end, and I'm so close now! I'm being discouraged by how heavy it is to carry this thing around, though.

Meanwhile, of course, I'm fiddling with some other books. Minor Operatic Disasters, picked up for free at the bookstore near Putney Bridge tube, had [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and I giggling like loons Sunday night; it's very slim and I'll polish it off in about 15 more minutes. The London in Maps book (not sure of the exact title) that J picked up for me at the British Museum is proving very interesting and a good introduction to the history of England; I'm taking my sweet time with it, mostly leaving reading it to the moments after my contacts have come out, when I can actually see the teeny tiny print on the maps reproduced in its pages.

Last night's play had me pull out Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops. I only read the intro, but it was very promising - respectful of the work, able to see the beauty in the mud, but still mean where deserved. I'm also kind of picking through Reigning Cats and Dogs, and it makes me wonder, why are so many of these mass-market non-fiction books written seemingly as if for 14 year olds? I want better! (In this case, I want through-lines and more research, but no luck.)
webcowgirl: (flower)
General announcement: I have pretty much nothing planned from Thursday until Sunday. Anything going on I should know about? Anyone dying to see me (especially on Friday)? I think we may be entertaining friends of [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy's on Sunday night, but otherwise I've got just NOTHING on the books.

I don't know how they planned it, but the Fulham cemetary is gorgeous again. The middle is full of these trees that look like their branches are swathed in pink cotton candy, with just a few white ones (vanilla?) to add variety. I can see that the trees will all turn to leaves in a week or two, but it's wonderful to go by (in the double-decker bus) and see this fantasy land of puffy flowers floating by.

In other "marking the seasons by the timing of blooms," I've been seeing lots and lots of wisteria around. [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy even pointed out a building to me while we were on the train to Waterloo that had so much frothy purple covering the walls it completely overwhelmed the building underneath it ... in a good way, of course. I also saw a clematis climbing out of its pot when I was walking to work in the neighborhood nearby. It really is pretty here in the spring!

I continue wearing the heart monitor thing until 11 today. I think I've given it rather a lot of erroneous readings - since it goes off on the hour and half-hour, I frequently found it kicking in as I was walking to a meeting or something. Also, it seemed to be getting kind of ... sweaty underneath the cuff when I woke up this morning (yes, I wore it while I was sleeping). I'm looking forward to being done with it.

Proust has been stuck in a long passage in which he's been describing someone's paintings. AAARGH. Finally, while I was waiting for my hair to finish processing last night, on page 903, he has finally met Albertine, referenced most memorably in Fun Home (try the "search inside" feature and you'll see what I mean), but, unfortunately, I'm at page 909 and he's still in the artist's studio (and I have a hundred pages to go still to finish the book!). I did like this passage last night, though: When a mind has a tendency toward day dreams, it's a mistake to shield it from them ... If a little day dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time."
webcowgirl: (reading is fun-damental)
I am still working my way through Remembrance of Things Past, which suffered a bit as I raced my way through Charlie Stross's Singularlity Sky. I'm now at page 886, and Our Hero is deep in the throes of adolescence. Much like Harry Potter, I'm finding that the character is becoming insufferable. Who cares about baby's first hangover, anyway, no matter how floridly you describe it? And I'm feeling like Proust is falling prey to exactly the critique levelled in the book against, I think, a fictional author, in that later in his writing he becomes almost a caricature of himself, at least in terms of his writing style. At any rate, I'm heading well toward the finish line, page 1018, and I'll decide at that time if I will read the rest of this book and learn about his great romance with Albertine.

For the rest of you, something far more interesting: an article about brownies from the New York Times. I've attached the recipe for the "best" brownies, as defined by the author. You know I'll be cooking them soon.Read more... )
webcowgirl: (Default)
Proust is coming along nicely - got to page 796 yesterday, which feels like it's nearing the finish line. Only 200 more pages to go! I'm finding the lead character rather irritating as he heads toward adolescence - rather like Harry Potter in Goblet of Fire, but, um, better written and with more sex and astute insight into the nature of man.

Needs must get more sleep tonight than last as I'm not at 8 and tomorrow is work. So ... no movie tonight, but will have a nice dinner at home instead.
webcowgirl: (octopus)
Well, I slept quite late as befitting a night in which I consumed about a pint of alcohol (and spent the night hydrating myself frantically, resulting in No Headache this morning, but still Tired Me). Once I roused myself, I made poached eggs on crumpets and sausage for the three of us, then ... returned to the couch and bid [livejournal.com profile] wechsler goodbye as he headed out to enjoy the sunny day at the waterfowl refuge a pleasant stroll up the river from our house.

One long nap with my head pillowed on [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy's legs later and I was ready to finally face the extremely gorgeous day. We decided to go to Notting Hill and check it out. What do you know; Sunday is the day there is NO market on Portobello Road, but there was enough good window shopping and a couple of cool outdoor stalls and MANY fewer people than on a normal day and it all seemed quite worthwhile. I found some 20s era prints of sea life - cuttlefish (I think; octopus faces but no tentacles), seahorses, and corals and sea anemones; and I allowed myself to be seduced by their watery charms and took them all (the three of them) home with me. I'll find some of that blue sticky stuff and put it on the walls in the flat in their plastic bags eventually.

After this we walked up to Hyde Park and did the whole stroll on the north end of the park. I finally got to see Speakers' Corner, which reminded me of a scene from the Life of Brian. Is this traditionally a place for religious fanatics to spout their poison? We'd spent some two hours in the sunshine under the leafless trees enjoying our day, and the effect of Speakers' Corner was jarring and had me hurrying back to the flat.

We'd asked [livejournal.com profile] wechsler to pick us up some ingredients for grub, and (after a cup of tea) I got down to it, whipping up a rather traditional Southern dinner (all inspired by the excess cheese from the party). Once dinner had settled a bit, we returned to the dining table for a round of Tigris, which [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy won rather handily, in part due to my uncontrolled meddling. I love watching people fight in this game, but I really ought to pay attention to the occasional unanticipated outcome, as my thoughtlessness basically set him up to win. Oh well, we all had a lot of fun. Now it's time to put the tapioca in the fridge, stretch my quads and do my various other physio exercises, and call it a night.

PS: Proust now at page 750.
webcowgirl: (Default)
A few updates:

I have had no panic attacks since about January 1st ...

I am at page 726 (of 1018!) of Remembrance of Things Past ...

This is the six month anniversary of my moving to England, and I'm not homesick. Yay!

Happy Thursday, y'all, I'm going to celebrate by taking a walk along the Thames to work.
webcowgirl: (Pink poodle)
Lots of lovely, dressed up people at Strictly Bona Ballroom tonight, but I wasn't getting enough dancing in so I made it a goal to leave early enough to actually take the tube home. Pictures will follow as both [livejournal.com profile] spikeylady and [livejournal.com profile] ciphergoth were nice enough to take them. The whole thing felt like some kind of decadent '30s Paris thing Brassai would have photographed. I danced with [livejournal.com profile] lolliepopp and [livejournal.com profile] bathtubgingirl, but ... I guess I should have asked one of the sailors to dance, but I didn't. Call me shy.

But let's talk about Proust. I continue making progress: in fact, I actually crossed a line tonight, finishing Madame Swann at Home. The pleasure I continue to get out of reading this book sits curiously with the article I read today in the New York Times on "How to fake reading great books," in which the author claims, "People now come up to me to describe the cultural wounds they suffered at school. ‘You have to read all of Proust.’ They were traumatized." Good heavens. Is it a time thing? Are they obliged to read lesser works? I'm not sure where exactly the trauma is supposed to come in ...
webcowgirl: (Attack!)
Man, I spill my guts out day after day and I get more responses to a post about Team America than anything else! You guys! For the record, I was basically drawn to see it by the puppet sex scene, which was featured in This Movie Is Not Yet Rated, the documentary about the MPAA film censorship board. TMISNY had the cut scenes from sex bit, which cracked me up because the guys who wrote it basically put these scat and golden showers scenes in just so the censors would have something to cut. This made me very curious about the rest of the film, and it was, indeed a hoot and a holler. I also recommend TMISNY.

Meanwhile, in High Culture Land, [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy is off trying to get us some £10 tickets for Coram Boy, prior to heading off to the Spitalfields' Pancake Race (some kind of English Shrove Tuesday thing). I'm still working my way through Remembrance of Things Past and have made it to page 660 after taking a total break over my vacation. He really seems to have a good understanding of human nature, at least Western humanity. "The last time! To me, that appeared as something of immense significance, because I loved Gilberte. On her it would doubtless have made just as much impression as those letters in which our friends ask whether they may pay us a visit before they finally leave the country, requests which, like those made by tiresome women who are in love with us, we decline because we have pleasures of our own in prospect." The translation is frequently a bit stiff, but I am completely absorbed in it the second I pick it back up.
webcowgirl: (Default)
I have a few folks out there in LJ land that are very tut-tut at me about how I did nothing but talk down people in Seattle and my experience there.

Tonight, at home, alone in my apartment (while [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy is back in Seattle-land), I'm reminded of how I felt living in Seattle most of all of four years ago. I was damaged goods, I was a waste of a human being, I was bad on the inside, I was not worth being friends with, even though I was 35 and had been trying for years to be a good person and trying to find good friends. I was most of the same person that I am now, but because of how a group of people treated me, I felt not only incredibly lonely, but really sadly broken. I believed there was no hope for me, that people just would never like me. (That time is blogged quite well if you want to read back that far, but since I try to avoid LJ drama like the plague it is, I don't talk much about what is upsetting me in those posts. It's just day after day of bleak and lonely and snow, my guts a little Narnia, my heart overwhelmed with the splinter of glass that said, "You will have no friends, ever. You cannot figure out how to do it and nobody wants you. Go hybridize dahlias or raise poodles or something so you're not just a waste of space.") This went on for months and months and months, pretty much from August to August, building up little pieces until I formed my very solid conclusion about my fate in life as a person of little worth. I mean, really, if that many people who had known me for so long saw me like that, how could I not think they were right?

I think that someday I'll just let it all hang out and tell it to the world, so the people that think I hate Seattle "and everything in it" can nod their heads and say, "Ah, now it all makes so much sense," but really, moving forward is generally healthier. (I'm saving it for my graphic novel, anyway.) And in some ways so much of what was making me miserable was what was happening at home and the fact that I felt like I couldn't talk to anyone about it, but the feeling of being so utterly worthless was very toxic to my brain. (Amusingly enough, this psych book I was reading Saturday night was talking about how this feeling of being icky and damaged is a key element of people's sexual fetishes, but somehow the two never got linked up in my head. I still get shut out of plans of people I know, but it doesn't get me all hot and bothered. Go figure.)

I feel much better now, and fairly regularly, even though tonight I'm sitting in my empty apartment drinking flat, warm cider and getting ready for a (bleah) 6:30 AM shift at work. Boo-yah. In 2004, [livejournal.com profile] ergotia, [livejournal.com profile] ciphergoth, [livejournal.com profile] spikeylady, and [livejournal.com profile] lilithmagna convinced me I wasn't worthless, and I decided that I would move moth-like toward this light and toward the person they treated me like rather than the person I'd come to believe I was.

Thanks, guys. And thanks to all the rest of you here, and thanks to the people I met after that summer that made Seattle better to live in after all of the crap had happened.

I'm still marching along with the Proust, and I've hit the halfway mark in volume 1. The narrator is happy, but you can feel that things won't last. Proust has just stuck a long passage about how art that advances its art can only become appreciated later, once it's had a chance to influence people, which seems to me like the author saying that he is anticipating his book will not be well-received. I'm alternating it and the third book by Richard Morgan - brutal cyber-punk versus dreamy late-19th century reveries, what a difference!

Anyway. Home. Alone. Drinking. Tired. Going to bed soon. Please take care of [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy, for me, Seattle folks, and hope that while he's there he can find the happy that hasn't been coming to him since he moved.
webcowgirl: (candy)
I want to talk about my really great evening and the fine (and cheap) place we went for dinner (Shalimar in Brick Lane, great meal for two for 11 pounds) ... but what I really want to talk about is photography. So. An essay, like I used to write back when I wrote.

There's an exhibit up right now at the Barbican, In the Face of History, that I think every photographer should see. It hit for me on a few of those ongoing questions about photography: what makes photography great? What makes an individual photographer's work notable? How is photography quintessentially different from other art forms? - and gave me some ideas about answers to those questions, and, most importantly, inspiration to Make Art.

Photography has had problems since its inception with whether it is an art at all, because, in truth, photography was created to document, faithfully, the reality that our eyes perceive. In the late 1800s the Photo-Secessionists decided that they would try to make photography "art" by manipulating the image, or, if you prefer, making it worse than a clean, focused mirror of what the eye sees. They put vaseline on the lens, they shot out of focus, they printed on heavily textured paper that just couldn't get all of the detail that the negative was utterly capable of faithfully reproducing. (I once heard Bill Jay say they were later dismissed as the "Fuzzy Wuzzy School of Photography," and, even though it's a very cruel moniker, it's not entirely undeserved. In fact, it's totally deserved, but I love their pictures anyway.)

This dichotomy between "is it or ain't it art" has continued today, getting, I think, worse in the age of the digital camera. I keep seeing what I see as two different approaches to photography that mirror the original split: is it about making art or is it about making a faithful image? The faithful image school tends to be a more "masculine" arena, more Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, focused on the perfect shot, and the perfect set of equipment (and production techniques) needed to get that image. I feel, however, that this (to my mind) obsessive focus on tech and technique skips the vital element of the content of the photos and the ultimate making of (what I can't help but see as) art. I see piles and piles of people out there cranking out photos and fussing over their lenses and color balancing and yammer yammer blah blah blah (lots of magazines out there for these folks), but they are NOT talking about art to me.

I start from the presumption of art, and then I looked (tonight) at a group of photographers and thought about their practice and what made each of them artists. For photographers, it seems that the oeuvre is the thing, and to understand how an individual saw the world, you want to see many of their photos. One person shows images from a studio he does not dare to leave; another, portraits of people whose inner lives he cannot understand; a third, nearly microscopic images taken while he was a soldier. Each of them left me with insights into the artist, but, more importantly, things for me to think about caused by the generally pleasant assault of so many pictures.

But which of these images are compelling? Compositionally, many of them are doing interesting thing; but I was faced with the tyranny of the label! Art, I like to think, does not need a "label" to make it enjoyable or understandable; in fact, I often prefer to avoid reading the information next to displays in a gallery in order to have a purer appreciation of the work. But ... photography is utterly contaminated by being pictures of things at a certain place in history! It can barely get away from the labels! Sure, Westie's green peppers and Stieglitz's nudes break free of time and place, but when you are looking at the work of Henryk Ross, how can you not go, "Ooh, secretly made photos of Jews in the Polish ghetto that were stuffed in a can and left behind when he finally ran for it!" I hated that I was being (as I felt) emotionally manipulated by these declaration of time and subject. Couldn't I just enjoy the images as they were?

Well, heck, you know, I think I just have to accept that this is part of the medium, that it is affected by its ability to document transience and historicity. Some images go beyond this; but some images are, in fact, far more moving because they grip on to their point in time and refuse to let go. And thus we have the dark and gorgeous shots of Brassai's Paris, with its prostitutes and lesbian couples and transvestite sailors; Anders Petersen's pictures of the poor habitues of a sleazy bar in Hamburg; and, again, the shots of the Polish ghetto. If we accept that this ability to be stuck in time is a part of the power of photography, then art may in fact be created by loving and obsessive documentation of what it means to be here, now, in a time that will not be forever. Christer Strömholm, I believe, is the artist who said, "Photograph what matters to you," and I think that this passion very clearly comes through in these photographs. So I, in order to create art, should photograph the things that are happening at this moment, the people and the life that matters to me; and somehow, in the struggles of composition and balancing light and dark and pattern, I think that this will create art, an oeuvre worth remembering, far more than 5000 perfectly lit pictures of quaint New Mexican towns or spiral staircases or seashells could ever hope to do.

At any rate: see this exhibit. And go, people, go make art, and don't beat yourself up because you don't have the best lens out there or the spiffiest camera. You can make objects of lasting beauty with what you have right now. I went to the museum tonight, and I know that what I say is true. (And the narrator in Remembrance of Things Past got a stiffie tonight - how could I not share that, too?)
webcowgirl: (Default)
I really like [livejournal.com profile] splendid_geryon's suggestion of a Tour de Proust, with stages. I've reached the end of the first big book, Swann's Way, which makes up half of Volume One of the Penguin/Terrence Kilmartin edition of the book. Reading this has been kind of an insane sensoria leavened with very subtle descriptions of French society of, I think, the period around the 1880s. I've occasionally got lost in the sentence structure, but mostly I've just been kind of caressed along in this rich overindulgence of flowers, smells, shadows, clouds, and the various ephemera that clog our neural passages, making Lagerfeld the scent of teenaged love, mown hay the smell of my grandmother's house in the summer, reading the comics over breakfast all of the mornings I've shared with [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy, years and years of memories connected by threads woven unknowingly by the happenstance of my body passing through time. I saw my hyacinth spoiling from the top today and it reminded me of Proust talking about the lilacs in Combray. Will I ever see the world the same again?

I've never liked posting song lyrics, but I do love good poems and literature, and in that vein, I give you this quote from Proust:

How paradoxical it is to seek in reality for the pictures that are stored in one's memory, which must inevitably lose the charm that comes to them from memory itself and from their not being apprehended by the senses. The reality that I had known no longer existed... The places we have known do not belong only to the world of space on which we map them for our own convenience. None of them was ever more than a thin slice, held between the contiguous impressions that composed our life at that time; the memory of a particular image is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years.

Note on an impermanence of self. )
webcowgirl: (YellowLeaves)
Hmm. I can't manage to get off of the couch today. My enthusiasm is just non-existent. It just seems like too much bother and not worth the effort. I think we'll still go to the museum, though, as the tiny bit of juice my system gets from knowing the exhibit is closing this week seems like it will be enough to force me to do it.

In Remembrance of Things Past, Proust spent nearly half a page just talking about watching the light and shadows changing on the balcony of his room. That guy is such a card! Who'd think you could read about something so stupid and find it so interesting, anyway? In some ways it makes him seem like the most arrogant of authors. Dan Brown would have had at least one mention of a self-flagellating albino dwarf in there, and Raymond Chandler would have surely tossed in a broad with legs up to her waist, and they would have both had a murder. Instead, I got some sun and clouds and a little bit of rain.

I should figure out where my phone is.

J and I did dishes this morning (after I ate the pancakes he made me) and talked a lot.

Unfortunately I slept really poorly last night and even though I went to bed at midnight and didn't get out of it until 11 I still look like a raccoon.

And yes, it's raining today. There was a dark circle under one of the pilings of the bridge that seemed to be attracting seagulls. I thought maybe it was an oil spill and there were a bunch of dead fish around it, but maybe it was just some runoff hitting the river.
webcowgirl: (Default)
I have finally finished the Swann in Love chapter of Remembrance of Things Past. How eager I have been to say goodbye to Odette! And I'm sorry I didn't have the book for five days of my vacation and have just now been able to catch back up. I'd quote from the end of the chapter but it seems like anytime I try to say a bit of the book I realize I should be quoting three pages, like the bit where he describes how a bit of music makes him feel. I've never seen it captured so well before, and I've never really seen anyone try. Proust really seems to understand how people's minds work. God, what a book!

Today was spent lazing around the house with J and W (who decided he was too worn out to go back home). We had ham and black-eyed peas for lunch and green enchiladas for dinner; at some point, J and I went for a walk through Wandsworth Park. It was a very rough day emotionally (you can say lack of sleep here if you'd like, you can say having your ass handed to you on a platter if you'd prefer), but it ended with the three of us playing Boggle and having some nice drinks, so I'll look back on that as how my year started and hope that I'm looking forward to a good one.
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
Geez, still three more days with no work after today. This is great!

I seem to have done nothing today besides clean (still working on unpacking, now I'm trying to reduce the sense of explosion in anticipation of tomorrow's party) and cook (made: Dutch apple pancake - breakfast, lamb and squash bisque - lunch, and beef stew - whenever, probably not tonight). I'm going to take a shower and nap in a bit, I think - giving up any hope of being outside before the sun sets. Oh well, that's life when you wake up at 11, and THAT is what I get for going to bed at 1:30 AM again.

Dutch Apple Pancake recipe (since I liked it so much)
And who knows, maybe cooked apples aren't your thing. Wechsler likes them well enough. ) Anyway, I've had this recipe sitting on my fridge for about five years and just made it today; it was great!

I finished Delia Sherman's Changeling and enjoyed it quite well. It got my "numbers" up to 33 for the year; anyone else want to read it now? Looking at the, er, well, not "nightmare" of books, but shall I say "house eating monstrosity" of library in this house, I intend to stick to my plan of moving books along as I've read them. [livejournal.com profile] booklectic? [livejournal.com profile] lilithmagna (not that you read LJ at all)?

I also got my copy of Remembrance of Things Past back last night (*swoon!*) and we got to have some private time alone late in the evening (note bedtime above). Oooh man. So good. But I'm still only at page 350! When will I finish this thing?
webcowgirl: (reading is fun-damental)
I was looking at the end of the year meme some folks are doing and began to wonder: what kind of resolutions do I want for next year? Specifically: what books should I resolve to read? So to answer that question, I'll ask:

If you were resolving to read, say, two-four books next year, what books would they be, and why? I think my resolutions will probably be based on reading books (even though my very low "read two more Faulkner books" resolution was a failure, I did read the two Steinbecks I set as my easy-to-achieve goal), and I'd like to get some inspiration, even if it's just for the more general shared pleaure of reading, and not necessarily because I think people will recommend books I'm interested in.

Otherwise, work totally exhausted me today, but truly I showed up exhausted. I left a little early to go to Pilates, and I'm a bit stressed that my boss will look upon me poorly as I did not stay to mop up all of today's problems. But really, truth be told, I could have stayed all night and not solved these issues - they are problems the developers need to fix. It's quite frustrating. I did like Pilates but I was a zombie for the whole class.

Meanwhile, in Remembrance of Things Past, the narrator is talking about dealing with boring people at parties, and I'm finding it all very amusing.
webcowgirl: (Ballet)
Big excitement of the day: we're heading from the Pic to the District line at Earl's Court, and we've kind of gotten behind the crowd in general. We're walking toward the escalators. An elderly couple is a little bit ahead of us, with about two rollie suitcases each. Suddenly, as the flat metal starts to morph into stair steps, the woman, lower down, gets caught up in her suitcases and starts to fall over. Her husband turns to help her, and of course HE then starts falling, and OMIGOD it's like a bad Disney cartoon or a dream where you just keep falling down the steps over and over

only I drop my bag and book and run forward up the stairs and grab the woman as she is spinning around and catch her and keep her from falling any more

and Jason, behind me, rushes to the edge and pushes the button

and the stairs stop and the people are almost upside down and there is luggage all over the place and I'm holding on to an oldish American woman who's scared and startled and getting her readjusted so she's not falling onto me any more

but she seems to be okay. Two other people run up past me to the old man and check in on him (apparently he got a bit of a gouge). My lady sits up and tells me she's been travelling since 10 AM and she's very tired and the luggage just started slipping. I help her get upright. She's fine. Jason (now carrying my stuff) gets a little further ahead to help the man with his heaviest bag; I hold onto the woman's elbow and walk her up the now-stopped escalator. The man turns and looks at us and says,

"Can you get this thing to start again?"

No, I tell him, we all have to walk now, but it's not that far to go. All the people are now helping them up the stairs with their stuff, checking in on them, assuming (incorrectly) we're with them because we're also American. I tell the woman it's better to walk now because she won't lose her balance, but that she'll be fine when she gets to the hotel, and that she should go right to bed. Nobody is pushing or being impatient, everyone is helpful. The old couple is alright.

Ballet was also good, great value at £7.50 considering that the first one (Chroma) blew my mind away (like best ballet in about three years), the second had Carlos Acosta *swoon* and the third had music by Michael Nyman.

It's late. I'm worried that I'll wind up not finishing any books this month because I've been caught up in Remembrance of Things Past, so now I'm trying to finish up some short stories by Connie Willis and feeling a bit embarassed at the fact I'm not savoring them as if they were a box of chocolates. Remembrance is more like a meal, the kind you get served over three days. I did manage a few more pages tonight but I feel like I'm shorting Connie. Oh well, Proust will probably be keeping me company until spring at this rate. And I'm still kind of cooking on adrenaline.

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April 2011

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