Showing posts from May, 2011

The World Is Round

Jet lag is a funny thing. I think it goes beyond your body readjusting its sleep schedule; you can feel dizzy, and like you're floating, generally unattached to the earth. As if your body has landed but not all the parts are quite present yet. Last week, a writer friend from home arrived here in Melbourne and was having some jet lag issues, the same issues I'd had the week before when I'd arrived in Sydney, and she mentioned a book called Pattern Recognition , by William Gibson . The book is about a lot of things, but the thing she explained to me is that (please note, this is me paraphrasing something she paraphrased, so apologies if I get this wrong) the main character has a unique take on jet lag, something along the lines of, your soul can't travel as fast as your body, so it takes a little time for the soul to catch up and reunite itself with the rest of you. Or, if you've read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, think of being stretched apart

Two Recent Song Purchases, Plus, Leaving on a Jetplane

As this post publishes, I'll be recovering from my flight to L.A. and preparing to board my plane to Sydney. If you check back here 15 hours later, I'll still be on that plane, a bit grumpier and with bigger feet. A reminder that my appearance schedule for Sydney and Melbourne is here . In other news, those of you who receive my blog posts as e-mails may be wondering why you've been receiving so many random e-mails in the past few days. It turns out that Blogger has been having some hiccups and sneezes, but all should be well again now. My apologies! So, the Beatles song "Norwegian Wood" is about an asswipe with a sense of entitlement who sets a woman's room on fire with seemingly little provocation, but you might not notice that, since it's such a cheerful-sounding song, with a bouncy melody in a major key. :o) I enjoy the juxtaposition, not complaining, but one of the many things I love about the Aaron English Band 's mashup of "Norw

"And the Whole World Collapsed"

In my last post, while (gracelessly) complaining about the way some nonprofit organizations try to drum up support in my neighborhood, I mentioned that before I contribute to a particular organization, I like to do research on it and seek outside opinions. At the end of this post, I explain *how* I do that, and give links to help you if you want to do the same thing. But first, over at her blog There's a Botticelli Angel Inside, Snapping Beans , Rebecca Rabinowitz is trying to get some straight answers about the difference between the UK text of Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass and the American text. If you're knowledgeable on this subject, please head on over and enlighten us . Trigger warning: the next three paragraphs are about a documentary I just saw on the subject of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and the spectacular denial of Church officials. I will be brief and non-explicit, but that is the topic at hand, up until the bold Researching Nonprofits title.

A Walk in the Neighborhood, Charitable Orgs, and a Little Bit of Bones

It makes me happy that mail carriers understand the importance of getting your Netflix to the mailbox in time for pickup, to expedite the delivery of your next movie. I left my house a little later than I meant to the other day and saw the mailman down the street, beside the blue mailbox, getting into his truck, about to drive away. When he saw me running toward him with my red envelope, he stopped his truck and waited for me. :o) To the charitable organizations with a policy of stationing aggressive representatives in Harvard and Central Squares to target sympathetic-looking pedestrians for donations: I do research into nonprofits before donating to them, I seek the opinions of people outside the organization as to whether the organization is going to use my money wisely, and I do not make split decisions about such matters on the street. To the charitable organizations that instruct their representatives to yell questions along the lines of, "Hi! Do you have a minute for the

Regarding "The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going to Miss Almost Everything"

After two weeks of lovely, restful travel I am back home and am blogging from my red couch. So many things to do. I have about 40 books out from the library (mostly for work), about 150 movies on my Netflix queue (many for work!), a megaton of email (mostly work-related!), lots and lots of, um, work, less than two weeks until I fly to Australia, my Christmas cactus is in bloom, an orchid died, and the flowering trees in Cambridge are all abud. (Isn't "abud" a word? The dotted red line is telling me it isn't. I'm going to use it anyway.) Fueled by my outrage, encouraged by friends, and armed with some great suggestions, I'm moving forward with opening a new checking account at a bank that doesn't suck, and closing my Bank of America account. ( I blogged about my banking rage in an earlier post. ) Have you heard of community development banks ? They're commercial banks, but they have a mission to generate economic development in low-to-moderate in

And Thereto I Give Thee My Troth

Text messages on the morning of the royal wedding: CORDELIA: What is a troth? ME: It's a kind of trowl. ( actual definition of "troth" ) ****** So. In Verdi's opera Il Trovatore , the handsome, maniacal stalker Count di Luna is determined to have the lovely, brainless Leonora, but much to his fury (which is a passion raging fiery in his breast, or some such -- he goes on and on about it), she has fallen in love instead with a gasbag named Manrico who frequently flies off the handle at the slightest provocation. Unluckily for all three of these bombastic individuals, Manrico's stepmother Azucena is harboring a secret: the Count and Manrico, sworn rivals, are actually brothers. To avenge her mother, who was murdered by the Count's and Manrico's father a very long time ago, Azucena leads the Count, Leonora, and Manrico to tragic ends. Welcome to the world of a certain brand of tragic, romantic, unintentionally-comic opera, everyone. The music is gorgeous