Sunday, August 31, 2008

Internet porn is pretty cool. And iTunes. And Google, etc. But the best thing ever to come off the internet? Yacht Rock.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Woah, nellie

Six hours on a Saturday to grade my student work. I haven't even started planning next week's lessons yet! That's likely another six hours tomorrow.

The fact that the administration at my school fills up all my on-clock planning time with pointless meetings is going to be a big problem for me. I don't mind working ten or twelve extra hours a week, but fifteen or twenty is too much.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Day 5

"Dag, yo! This class be trifflin'! Mr. G, if I bring my mutha up in hyeah kin I get transferred to another class?" One of my students asked me this during period four, after I had to scream again and sit everyone down. She was tearing up because she always tries to do her work and while she and two or three others try to learn I am rushing around breaking up munchkin fisticuffs.

I'm not sure what the logic is behind our current class arrangements, but grouping every problem child in the sixth grade into one homeroom and having them spend the day wearing teachers out is not conducive to learning. I'm not particularly angry or frustrated by this group, because my attitude is to just strap in and enjoy the ride. Their antics are always entertaining, and there's no sense getting angry at them. I tell them the truth: I yell because I'm disappointed, not because I'm angry (though when they almost knocked my LCD projector on the floor I did let my temper get the best of me--I'm out $600 on that piece of equipment, and I use it every day).

I think at the next sixth grade team meeting I'm going to suggest breaking this class up into more manageable chunks. There is a core of six boys and three girls who cause all the trouble. If two of them were in a room it would fine, and we could easily disperse them amongst the other sections instead of turning one section into the Arkham Asylum.

I like these kids, however. One of the worst behavior problems handed me a note today. "Don't read it in front of anyone," he said. I opened it after school and it said "I like you Mr. G. You are a good man. I like your class and but you is nice and smart. I try to be better. 4 yo and other teaching people."

Another of these hoodlums is a wreck all day every day until the end, when he meekly asks me to walk him out of the building and across the street to his mother. "Someone hasslin' you?" I asked him, and he nodded, but I can get no further info because of the no snitchin' code.

Karaoke tonight with the Booker T. fac at Kelly's, aaiiiigggght?

Now is the time

I retired from political comment here out of necessity more than a year ago--I was too busy with grad school and grade school last year, and my level of bile rose dangerously high any time I watched network or cable coverage of any speech or candidate, and I canceled my subscriptions to The Nation and the Times and the Post. I haven't been the devoted politico junkie I used to be in some time.

But I tuned in last night for Barack Obama's speech. I read his book, I've sent him cha-ching, I've cast off my former unwillingness to back Dems because of him, so I figured I should see what he had to say in Denver.

I was moved. Obama doesn't come across as artificial the way HRC or other Dems do. He actually DID leave Harvard and go work in the slums of Chicago instead of making bank as a lawyer. I can respect a brother with those kinds of cajones. Anyone willing to forego six figures to organize poor folks to fight for their rights can say "This election is not about me, it's about you" without causing me to puke. He pleased me by mentioning GBLT rights. I liked the fact that he was aggressive about defending himself against bogus charges of anti-Americanism (and he better keep it up. There are adults working in my school who believe Obama is going to turn Booker T. into a madrassa day 1).

Do I worry about his associations with Chicago School economists? Hell yeah. Do I worry about Joe Biden sitting in the VP's office with his tongue deep up several credit-card company CEO's asses? Hell yeah. But I think Obama is for real.

My students wrote letters to him for homework. I gave them the option of writing to McCain too but only a couple did. I am sending their letters to both candidates.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Every now and again I likes me some Dick, and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch was some of the best Dick I ever had. Of course Dick is an acquired taste, what with the never quite knowing whether you're in real reality or a variety of the pseudo-, and here there are the usual pre-cogs and the layers and levels and quadrillion associated narrative complications associated with such.

Dudes who have been drafted by the UN to colonize Mars eat a drug called Can-D in order to escape into an artificial toy world, inhabiting briefly but realistically the lives of a doll named Perky Pat* and her companion on a miniature layout. Along comes a drug called Chew-Z which takes things to a whole other level, and Bernie Mayerson can't figure out if Chew-Z is the second coming of God or an alien invasion. Neither can the reader, but who cares? It's damn good Dick.

*I swear Perky Pat was in at least one Dick story I read before.

Day 4

I thought I was doing pretty well, having only intervened to prevent one fight in three days. Ha! Day 4 saw me intervene in three fights, one between girls in my typically calm first period, and another two during oft-chaotic period four. But other than that things went rather smoothly. I think when I put Mr. East Baltimore against the wall using only the palm of my hand and pinned him there I sent a message to the rest of the wanna be munchkin thugs in that class: Mr. G go hard. Of course I slammed him into the nice cushy bulletin board so he was in no danger of harm. Next time he makes his table mate cry and tries to choke him I will dangle his ass out the window.

Period 4 lined up backs to the wall before I let them sit today. I called them one by one to get their folders and take their seats. They all did at least part of their classwork today, and they wrote apologies to the principal for their behavior yesterday. I think I am winning respect from some of the clowns in that class. I can tell because they stop glaring at me and they start asking me what kinds of movies I like, and if I ever coached football.

Period 2 is still in honeymoon mode. No problems at all. I know their time will come. They haven't seen me blow my stack yet. We read about volcanoes and one of their warm-up options was "Some people are described as having a 'volcanic temper.' What do you think that means." Several students used me as an example.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day 3

My first two classes? Angels. They follow directions, they do their work, if I raise my voice they jump. There are some snotty brats and a couple chatterboxes--big deal! I love them all. Two boys threw down their backpacks in my second class today and started to push each other. I got between them, told them firmly this doesn't happen in my room, and asked each one separately to do me a favor and work things out like grown ups, and they were laughing and joking and making illustrations together at the end of class. Some of these sixth graders are so tiny I can't believe it. One little boy I swear looks like a second grader. He tells me crazy stories like: "Mr G I swim at a pool that is 100 feet deep. I can almost touch the bottom but I can't hold my breath long enough" or "I was riding a roller coaster and I slipped out the bottom and landed in the pool at the bottom of a loop." He is the tiniest little pudge with cornrows and a mustache and there is no roller coaster outside Dutch Wonderland that he is tall enough to ride.

I love my last class too, but it is full of head-cases. We had a sixth grade team meeting today and I asked our administrator why all the nutbags were couped up together. The teachers who had this group already today warned me that another goofball had flown in from Dunbar Middle. The administration tried to explain how East Baltimore kids were different from West B'more, and that the new kid would have an even shorter fuse and he would be frontin' hard to prove himself.

When this class came in they were a nightmare right off the bat; the new kid was a whirlwind of incitement, moving around and starting trouble. Of course the principal happened to be walking by just as I was trying to get them settled. He came in my class and said "I don't run a zoo!" He took two young ladies to his office for acting out and returned them ten minutes later. I was struggling the whole class period to reign these kids in, and finally I blew up. "Silence!" I shrieked in my scary voice. The new kid said "dag" and I got right in his face. "I said QUIET!" I moved to the front of the room and continued: "If anyone speaks before the end of class they will get ten minutes with me after school." A boy raised his hand and I shook my head at him. He put it back in his lap. "Now line up against the wall, backs to the wall. NOW. I want to see your eyes on me." I waited for them to form up. "You are going to pick up the trash on the floor NOW, and then you are going to put your folders away and then you are going to sit quietly through the afternoon announcements. Tomorrow you have ten minutes detention in this class. EVERYONE. You speak out of turn, you move without permission, and you are MINE. I AM NOT PLAYING IN HERE ANYMORE. You get on my nerves again and my other classes will get all my treats on Friday. You will get an extra weekend homework. If you follow my procedures and if you follow the rules tomorrow I will take you off my detention list. If you do not I will keep you ten minutes Thursday AND Friday."

DEAD silence ensued for the next ten minutes. My room was spic and span. They lined up at dismissal and waited quietly. I am making a new seating chart and nobody is going to like their new seat. Tough.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Under Construction

I'm very slowly re-establishing links and other sidebar junque--I beg your patience and forbearance with the reconstruction process. I have to fit repairs in between lesson planning and watching The Wire and music rehearsals.

And sleep.

Day 2

I just spent three hours making an autobiographical movie on my laptop for tomorrow's lesson, and then I deleted it accidentally and had to start again. Oh, well.

I had to intervene when an 8th grader (who tried to stab a classmate with a knife last year) grabbed one of my sixth graders around the neck in the hall. Funny how the worst behavior problems I have were because of the victim of this attack. Once I bailed him out he went from "Mr. G trifflin'" to "Mr. G, can you walk me to the front door?"

Never fear, that kid will put another airplane in my ceiling tomorrow. But I will win him over, and his table of ruthlessly chatty compatriots.

I'm starting to have fun, but I am overwhelmed with work.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Day 1

Nothing much to report. Most of the problems today were due to the adults in the building--scheduling snafus, crazy lack of communication, last minute tasks dumped on homeroom teachers which should have been handled last week.Some examples:I had no rosters for my classes.I had no homeroom roster until this morning.I have no IEPs for my students.I was told at 8:05 to send my kids to gym twice today because the schedule was wrong and they had no "B" elective set up for them. When my kids got to gym they were sent to art, then sent back to gym, then many of them returned to my room during my second period class asking where to go, obviously sad and frustrated.I had to take my homeroom group again during my last class because of another scheduling snafu. My last period class was a bunch of jerks and I had a huge management headache and on top of this I had to watch two classes at once.There is no drinking water in the building. The dispensers were empty, the fountains were shut last year because of lead, and there are no vending machines. The temp outside was above ninety in B'more today, inside the Book it was like a terrarium.I'm pooped. I didn't sleep at all last night. I have a half-assed plan for tomorrow but already I'm behind on paperwork and planning because of goofiness. Tomorrow my planning time is being gobbled up by pointless meetings, so I'll be staying after school again. Hopefully the schedule is fixed by then.My first two classes were pretty sweet. I had some talkers, but that's no biggie. That last class will be a headache, however. I need to nail them down quick. I promised six youngsters phone calls home for their behavior but it turned out the phone numbers I have for them don't work. Tomorrow I'm keeping those kids after school for detention until I get working phone numbers for them.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

tech difficulties

Forgive me for de-linking all my fave blogs, but until I find the HTML code error that is screwing up my template there will be fewer goodies in the side-bar.

on the precipice

Delicious indeed, this vertiginous bundling of dread and excitement, alternating waves tensing and relaxing the muscles in my shoulders and back. Tomorrow the students return to the Booker and I've got to be ready. I ping from extreme to extreme, thinking one moment "Dude, I'm totally prepared, and I'm going to ROCK" and the very next "Oh my God I'm never going to be able to control a classroom full of urban sixth graders. They are going to eat me alive and I'll be working at BK in two months' time."I spent six hours lesson planning today, and am ready through Tuesday. Six hours, you may ask, to plan two days' worth of lessons? Yes. I am not playing. I made movies with music and special effects to show. I recorded myself talking about the importance of words and language and spliced in pictures of Beyonce and Outkast and Lil Wayne. I was told to use technology and the arts in my classroom, and I am not playing around.Time permitting, I'll keep you up to date as the year progresses. I saw a former student from last year dealing on McCulloh St Friday. I watched him ride his bike up to the corner, unload a bag, take money, and then count his stack. My vantage point? The classroom windown behind my desk. This student beat another into a coma outside our classroom last year, stomping on his victim's face after knocking him uncoscious. He is no joke, and reminds me that when I'm watching season V of The Wire that truth is worse than fiction.[image]

Thursday, August 21, 2008

only in B'Moore II

only in B'Moore II, originally uploaded by Blog-Sothoth.

He was best man at my wedding, he's treasurer/secretary for the Upper Eutaw/Madison Neighborhood Association, and he's completely insane.

T minus One Day and Counting..

It's official. I got my teaching assignment today, and it's the worst of the worst: sixth grade. Ugh. But the plan is for us to "loop" with the kids, meaning I get to move up each year with the same group (at least those who pass) until they finish 8th grade, at which time I will revert to a new batch of sixth graders (or flee the City and get a cushy teaching job in the County, or overseas for the State Department in a second Obama term). The idea is that I get them young, mold them, and then develop relationships with them over time. I like the idea on paper. Of course there will be kids I never want to see again after the first month, and I'll be facing the prospect of having them for their entire middle school careers.

I have no idea what to do with sixth graders. They're beyond my ken. I don't even have a classroom library for kids that age. Help me! I've already dropped two large on classroom supplies and books and I'm loathe to spend another penny. Of course sixth graders in central district are likely to read at a third grade level, considering the eighth graders last year were at fourth and fifth.

But I'm excited, despite having not the slightest idea what I'm doing. I got my room and it's big and I have tables instead of desks and I have bookcases and world maps and two giant cabinets which lock. I moved the orientation of the room and put my projection screen on the side wall and pulled it down to test it and there in giant red marker was the word "Fuck" and the charming imperative "Suck it slut." I got a hearty laugh at that--such a warm welcome back to the Book. I'll be using white poster paper for a screen this year.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

only in B'more I

only in B'more I, originally uploaded by Blog-Sothoth.

I'll just drive up to the Blue Moon Cafe and go inside to get my food. Doesn't matter that I'm illegally parked, or that my pitbull is surly and immediately hostile to the crowd of people waiting for a table outside.

not quite Back to School

This morning we had a professional development session at Morgan State. The speaker was right about everything she said but nothing she said was new or interesting or particularly clever or illuminating. Much of it had to do in fact with how great she was, how much she had accomplished, and how wonderful her son and mother were. I left early and strolled around the fine museum in the Murphy Fine Arts Center. I went home and loaded all the stuff for my classroom into my car and then drove to my school as instructed yesterday.

The hapless souls in the office told me that they understood we were told to report to the school, but said that room assignments and schedules were not available yet.

"I have a ton of stuff in my car, and this is the second time I've come here and been turned away. I'm going to have to go home and unload all this stuff again because I can't leave it in my car on Whitelock overnight." Saying this I knew the people to whom I was speaking were not responsible. "I'm down to two days' time to set up my classroom and start planning for next week. I don't even know WHAT GRADE I'M TEACHING YET. The fewer hours of prep I get the less I can serve my kids."

"We think language arts teachers are supposed to go to another professional development at City College this afternoon, but we're not sure," I was told. "We know the principal told you different, but he wasn't told until this morning."

Yada yada yada. I called my buddy Dre over at another school and he's like "Dude, they gave us our schedules and room assignments last year. I moved in and set up last week."


Tuesday, August 19, 2008


A day of meetings at a local dive. I won a bag of goodies playing educator's bingo. The principal and his assistants dressed in seaman's whites with hats and there was a lot of talk about navigating our school through troubled waters.

Many--perhaps more than half--of the teachers at our school are new. I think this is a good thing by and large but Oh My God they better be ready.

Baltimore City is requiring us to attend mandatory meetings at Morgan State tomorrow. When am I going to get into my classroom and set up? Sunday? They still haven't told me what grade I'm teaching.

Monday, August 18, 2008

We've only just begun..

Season 5 of The Wire. Good to see Meldrick back on B'more TV. Once he came into the bookstore and showed me Erik Estrada's CA drivers' license, which he'd just purchased at some TV collectible auction.

My school had detectives on the roof in episode one, and it's good to see McNulty back at front and center.

Back to School

I went to school after loading a bunch of books and supplies in my car, thinking I could check in and get my room assignment and at least unload stuff. Wrong. The office manager refused to give out room assignments. Miss Q was there arguing with him already when I arrived.

"What the hell are you doing here?" he asked. "Teachers aren't due back until tomorrow!"

"We are dedicated and committed and we want to get our shit together," Miss Q said. She had on one of those ear-piece phones and beach volleyball pro shades. "How hard is it for you to look at your list and hand us a key?"

"I am not doing it. I am not doing it! You get your room assignments tomorrow per the Big Guy. GET OUT OF HERE! Get outta my hair!"

"I have a car full of stuff to unload. You're going to make me drive home and unload my car and then load it back up again tomorrow and bring it in?" I asked.

"To whom am I speaking?" the manager asked. I was about to reply when Miss Q jumped in: "He was here last year, unlike you. He came back, unlike most of the people here last year. He a soldier!"

I laughed at the idea that I'm a soldier of any kind, and introduced myself.

"We report back tomorrow, but we're not meeting at the school," the manager said with more patience. "We're meeting at the caterer's as arranged and having a full day of meetings. You will get your assignment tomorrow and you can move into your room Wednesday."

"That's why we're here today. We're losing a set-up day tomorrow with this off-site meeting garbage," Miss Q said.

This went on for ten minutes before I left, exasperated. I went to Target and Staples and dropped a g-stack on supplies the school system used to supply when I was a middle-school student. At least the Fed allows me to claim back up to 2% of my salary as a teacher for the supplies I purchase on my tax return. Of course I've already spent 4% of my salary. But I did buy extra stuff I don't need, but want: an LCD projector, for example, and a printer/copier/scanner for the classroom. I plan to use a lot of technology, a lot of PowerPoint, a lot of Windows Movie Maker.

Best-laid plans?

I'm ready. Let's get started.

Panic sets in

Heading in to school this morning. We're not officially due back until tomorrow but I want to get my room assignment and see the space I'm working with. I have to hit Target and Staples and buy all the things no longer supplied by school systems, like paper, pencils, box fans, folders, book cases, mace, etc.

There will be no mentor in the classroom with me this time around. It's all on me. "The horror. The horror." But I'm kind of excited too. There's always a chance I'll be good at it and things will go smoothly and my kids will be awesome. More likely I'll be shagged out and cynical about the system and the kids' chances within a month or two. We'll find out soon.

Word has it I'm teaching 7th grade this year. Woo-hoo.

Friday, August 15, 2008


dorks, originally uploaded by Blog-Sothoth.

We had a grand time in Philly. This is the only photo ever taken at the Philly Museum wherein at least one fool is NOT posing like Rocky at the top of the steps. In the ten minutes we spent out there about twenty people and one film crew posed thusly and had a picture taken. Uh, guys? The museum is really great--why don't you go inside?

Cha wanted a cheesesteak so I took her to South St and down into a joint with the filthiest restroom I've seen. I've traveled in the third world. The cheesesteak was, she said, delicious anyhow.

my butt itches

my butt itches, originally uploaded by Blog-Sothoth.


tada!, originally uploaded by Blog-Sothoth.

The Saviour disdains untidy birth canals.


duchamp, originally uploaded by Blog-Sothoth.

perturbed at what she done seen and such


Another quality NYRB re-issue. I'd not read Williams before--now I'm going to buy his other novels sight unseen. Butcher's Crossing is elegant and efficient and I read the last 50 pages with that delicious and all too rare frisson between part of me which wanted to find out the end and another part which didn't want the book to end.

The same frisson is manifest now that I've received season 5 of The Wire on DVD. We've had it three days--I just can't bring myself to find out what happens.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


reward, originally uploaded by Blog-Sothoth.

"You were such a good boy today. I am rewarding you with a tiny ghost on a tray."

Day Trip

Today we're off to Philly. I've not been in ten years, which is ridiculous given its proximity to B'more. I lived there for two years many moons ago, in a frigid apartment with nothing but a bed and a fork, in Dickensian poverty.

I want to see Phineas Gage's skull at the Mutter Museum, and to re-visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Love that filthy Duchamp corner with the peep holes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Save Me

I just scored some tickets to Aimee Mann at the Recher Theatre in Towson, Sept. 9th. How cool that she's playing an intimate venue in Michael Phelp's home town.

[image credit]


Initiate in and founder of several secret societies, Dion Fortune wrote worthy books on kabbalah and tarot. Her novels purport to encode esoteric doctrines into their plots. The only knowledge I found encoded in The Winged Bull, however, is that Dion Fortune was a one-trick pony as a novelist. The plot is almost exactly the same as that of The Goat Foot God. Stick to her short fiction about Dr. Taverner.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

roman wall painting

roman wall painting, originally uploaded by Blog-Sothoth.

After paying to have some posters and drawings and photos matted and framed, I'm thinking I might just do something like this with the rest of the walls. Pricey!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tourist trap

I've been to New York's Chinatown I'd guess about a couple-dozen times, but until last weekend I never took advantage of one of those massage joints scattered amongst the kitsch warehouses and tubs of live frogs and bubble tea shops.

We were outside a gimmicky tourist emporium. Leesha was asking about fans, Cha and Ma were trying on sandals pre-loaded with reflexology g-spot activators. A crate of electronic pups yipped at me. "You feel good!" a man said into my ear.

"Wha?" I asked.

"You feel good!" he said again, Marlboro cupped in his left hand as he gestured downstairs with his right.

"Oh, massage," I thought. A ten-minute foot reflexology massage was just what I needed. I mentioned to the others that I might give it a go, and bummed a twenty from the Mrs. I went downstairs and was put into a cubicle constructed of shower curtains.

"Take off shirt" my diminutive masseuse demanded, tugging my collar.

"Um, I uh wanted a foot massage," I told her.

"No foot for you! Back. You need back!"

My back has hurt for months, so I did what she said.

"How long you like?" she asked, and I told her ten minutes.

Eastern massage is decidedly different from Western. Instead of rubbing there is pressing, pinching, and punching. Often on one pressure point at a time. The masseuse punched a spot in my neck and my spleen somersaulted. She brushed with an ostrich feather a concavity by the hinge of my right elbow and I suffered the curious sensation of a lengthening large intestine. She pinched my left pinky finger at the third joint, and my uvula leapt forward to the rear of my top lip, poked out a slithery tail, and fled into my right nostril.

"Woah," I said.

"You like! You feel good! Fifteen more minutes!" I protested, asked if I could have my foot massage, and again was told "Back! You need back!" I figured I was just a gwai lo tourist getting the works. But the massage was pretty good and it was fucking cheap.

She leapt up onto the table and knelt with a knee in each of my ass cheeks. I thought that was kind of cool until she stared beating her feet against my calves like a seal. This sort of thing went on for a while before she took me upstairs to pay. I got a pretty good 25-minute massage for $25. I've paid a hundred bucks for worse at nice spas.

The woman who took my payment worked behind the glass counter at a Chinese pharmacy. She was alarmingly pregnant. She charged my VISA and asked where I was from. When I told her she said "Oh, yes. Have many men customer in Baltimore. They like strong sex herb. You try strong sex herb. VERY strong, no side effect!"

"No thanks."

"VERY strong. Make you like horse. See?" she asked, pointing at her abdomen and winking.


He played guitar during Katrina while Condi shopped for shoes in Manhattan and Brownie did a heckuva job.

Now, while Russia is bombing the shit out of Georgia and re-forging an empire, Bush is checking out hot, quivering volleyball ass.

[photo stolen from Fleshbot--link definitely NSFW]

Business News

While in New York we got to see John's new office. His latest venture, The String Theory, is ready for take-off. Check out their reel here.

In other news, John did the graphics for PBS's excellent American Experience: Walt Whitman. It's up for an Emmy!


nyc, originally uploaded by Blog-Sothoth.

We had a lovely time in the Big Apple. Aside from a few showers Friday the weather was about perfect. I finally got to tour the Morgan Library and see old J.P.'s fantastic Italianate study and collections. Loved his selection of Mesopotamian cylinder seals. And his two Hans Memlings.

We also pushed Ma around the Met in a wheel-chair. The expanded Greco-Roman galleries are a sight to behold. The Turner show is really spectacular, and even the rooftop exhibit of the world's most famous MICA graduate is worth seeing. As are the fake waterfalls scattered throughout town, including one under the Brooklyn Bridge.

We had peculiar and awesome rolls at Ginger, with banana and peanut butter and jalepenos and other tasty extras which work much better on the pallet then on the ears. Another fine rec from John and Leesha.

In Chinatown Friday nobody was on the sidewalks--most peculiar! Then we went to dim sum at the Golden Unicorn and of course the opening ceremonies were on satellite earlier than they were on NBC, which explained the absence of pedestrians.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


meow, originally uploaded by Blog-Sothoth.

Back from NYC. More later. Too tired now. Busy, busy.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Stanley Elkin is a laugh-riot, dark, sardonic, and endlessly inventive. More people should read his stuff.

Leo Feldman is imprisoned for helping customers at his department store fulfill their desires--any of their desires--out of a basement office. He's rich and influential, so his sentence is only one year. Feldman has always treated life as a game and his associates as pawns; now he's the pawn in a sinister game designed by Warden Fisher. Will Leo figure out the rules of this game in time?

[Though I loved the book, I was aggravated by the NUMEROUS typos in this Dalkey Archive edition. Very distracting to see words like "throughtful" every ten pages or so.]

Off to NYC

We're off to the Big Apple tomorrow. I'm hoping to catch the Turner show at the Met, and perhaps to visit the Morgan Library for the first time.

Of course we love to see Leesha, John and Chalupa, but the real reason we're going to New York is obvious: dim sum @ The Golden Unicorn.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


gulp, originally uploaded by Blog-Sothoth.

It's official--I'm back to the Book for 2008-09.

Friday, August 01, 2008


Since I first saw Jules et Jim I've counted it among my very favorite films, but I never saw it a second time until today. I remembered next to nothing about it, curiously enough, except for a delightful sequence of Jules, Jim, Catherine, and Sabine marching off into the hills for a picnic. Much of Truffaut's masterpiece features his characters running or dashing off or striding confidently or otherwise bustling. The cameras are often in movement too, and the sense of life and ever-fluid standards and perceptions is about at its peak as represented cinematically in this fine film.


The difference between a scoundrel and your run-of-the-mill average person is often simply that a scoundrel has been found out. Average run-of-the-mill folk are quite good at hiding their unfortunate, unforgiveable tendencies.

Sara, the narrator of Cary's Herself Surprised, doesn't come across as horrible or mean-spirited or detestable--but her story begins at her sentencing, and she marvels at how the judge condemns her for smiling often as her misdeeds are recounted in court. She doesn't really understand the depths of her depravity or the true costs of her misdeeds, and because we are trapped in her point of view we don't really see an accurate picture of Sara at all, aside from some hints at darker truths and motives from time to time.

Cary carried on Sara's story in two further novels, narrated by other characters who might flesh out this mysterious story with more detail. I'll get around to those books eventually.