fearlesstemp: (CW - Terrific 1)
I have been in a semi-foul mood today for no good reason, but just before I went to sign off tonight, I saw a link to [livejournal.com profile] svmadelyn's anonymous Valentine's Day meme. I clicked through to look around, and what did I see but two lovely comments left for me!

Thank you, mysterious Valentines! I am truly touched and the kind notes were lovely to read today, when I was feeling kind of sour about myself and the world in general. Thank you so much!
fearlesstemp: (CW - Terrific 2)
Today I finished a reread of Sylvester, which was one of the first Georgette Heyer novels I read when I started picking up her books on your recommendation a few years ago. I took it out of the library back then, so I haven't had it lying around my house for the past few years for me to pick up every so often and refresh my memory by paging over my favorite parts, and so I had completely forgotten the plot and was forced to reread from cover to cover. The experience was, as you might imagine, awesome, and has tempted me to impose on myself something like the Disney policy of releasing movies for public consumption - they should only be available for a few months, and then should disappear for several years, so that when they appear again I've just about forgotten the plot and can enjoy the book anew.

Sadly, I lack the self-control to put away Heyer novels, and the only ones that will stay off my shelves are going to be the ones that haven't been rereleased lately and whose out-of-print copies I haven't purchased for myself online.

But the point of my entry was supposed to be this: Sylvester was awesome. Even better than I'd remembered, and I'd remembered it as pretty wonderful. It's so rare to come across a book that isn't just fun, or funny, or involving, or entertaining - this was one of those books I itched to finish because it was so great to read, a book that I seriously considered reading as I walked out to my car after work, so desperate was I to get back to it after I'd had to put it down at the end of lunch.

Now that I think of it, I've been kind of indulging a Heyer resurgence in my reading habits over the last few months - a few new to me, most rereads.

Rereads Found to Be Totally Awesome:

-Frederica - One of the funniest, in my opinion, and Frederica herself is just so great.

-The Corinthian - I find Pen totally endearing.

-Black Sheep - Almost identical to Lady of Quality, and I enjoy Black Sheep a lot more.

New to Me, Also Totally Awesome

-These Old Shades - I took forever to read it because the subject matter sounded weird and unappealing - an old duke falls in love with a young girl masquerading as his page? Creepy! And yet when I read it, of course I TOTALLY LOVED IT!

-Devil's Cub - Took forever to read this one because it was a sequel to the above - and, of course, totally loved it. Mary Challoner is so great.

-The Talisman Ring - I had this lying around my house for a few years and never read it because it sounded adventure-y and not very funny and/or romantic, but when I finally gave it a good try a few months ago I found that it was really quite hilarious and sweet. It's also a good example of her talent in writing about and respecting a variety of character types - she treats both the melodramatic couple and the practical couple with affection and respect.

Books Whose Good Bits I Reread Too Often For Me To Ever Have A Satisfactory Rediscovery Of The Text:

-Cotillion - Possibly my favorite ending of all Heyer books.

-Venetia - No, this has my favorite ending.

New to Me, and Rather Disappointing

-The Black Moth - I couldn't even get to the end of this one.

Now the real problem: What do I read as a follow up to the greatness of Sylvester? Clearly the only option is a Heyer novel I haven't read in a while. I think I've got Arabella squirreled away somewhere . . .
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
.i. cinderella complex

On my way into work today, my shoe came off as I was going up the outside cement steps to my building, which would be annoying anytime, but was made particularly wretched because (1) it was raining, (2) my forward momentum was unstoppable and so I stomped right down on the dirty concrete with my knee-highed foot, and (3) there were two people hot on my heels who saw it happen.

I am familiar with embarrassing moments like this one, and the truth is that most of the time other people are pretty cool about it. If you face up to your embarrassment with a rueful smile, like, "Not a foot in a puddle AGAIN!" then people are usually all "Ha ha! It happens to the best of us!"

Sadly, the people behind me were the kind who, in moments like this, respond with blank looks that say, "Wow. Lame explosion. So glad I'm nothing like her!"

And so that kind of stunk. And then. AND THEN. I made it worse by waving my hand in a dramatic way and announcing, "Don't worry, I've got it!" before hopping down a step to put my shoe back on. Why? Why did I say that? Did I expect one of them to snatch up my two-year-old Target brown flat and place it on my foot? DID I? Some small part of me must have!

.ii. tetanus tales

While I was at Target yesterday buying Enchanted on DVD (I tried to resist but lasted only one day), my brother called my cell phone. He told me this story that started with a night out at a bar and ended with him tripping over a bike rack while running across his yard, and was followed up by asking me when he'd last gotten a tetanus shot. I informed him that I do not carry his medical records on my person, and so he would be best off calling his doctor.

Tonight he called to check in at home and I ended up on the phone with him. He told me he'd found out that he was up do date on his tetanus shot, and I said, "Oh, so you talked to the doctor?"

My mother's ears, honed by her protective instincts, picked up this statement from across the room. "What? Is Jimmy okay? Is something wrong?"

"Is it okay if I tell her?" I asked him, because I had been under strict orders not to tell her the day before because he knew she would freak out.

"Yeah, go ahead," my brother said at the same time my mother said, "TELL ME WHAT?"

"Jimmy tripped over a bike rack and cut up his leg, and he called me yesterday to find out if he was up to date on his tetanus."

My mother said, "Well, I have no idea if he is!"

And then I said (and I feel kind of bad about this after the fact), "Well, he's been feeling kind of weird, like, when he bites into something, sometimes he can't open his mouth back up."

"Tell her I've been having muscle spasms," Jimmy piped in over the phone.

"And he's been having muscle spasms," I said.

"Oh my God!" my mother said.

"What's that, Jim?" I said into the phone, "And you've got a fever?"

"He needs to go to a doctor! Is there on call down there in Texas? He needs to go to on call!"

And then I told her that we were kidding, and she almost threw the meatloaf she was mixing together right at my head.

.iii. scout status

The last time I updated I think I was all in a tizzy over my little cat Scout. I am happy to report that she's doing better, though not fully recovered. We're giving her pain medication and her leg seems to be getting better by the day. So that's good!
fearlesstemp: (boyerdunne2)
Happy Valentine's Day, flisters! In honor of the holiday this year, the universe gave me a stomach virus. At this point I'm almost positive I don't have ebola and am feeling pretty human. The nadir of the whole experience came between ten and midnight last night, a period during which I wouldn't quite have gladly welcomed death, but let me tell you, he would have gotten a warmer reception than usual. Right now I'm feeling good enough to drive to Wallgreens to pick up a frozen mac and cheese, having reached that stage in the stomach virus when only one food in the universe is appealing.

I have to tell you, if you're going to be home sick, Valentine's Day is a good day to choose. TCM was running a bunch of romantic movies today, and so I got to see the 1939 version of Love Affair (the movie 1957's An Affair to Remember is based on) and it was SO GREAT. Irene Dunne was, quite typically, beyond awesome, and Charles Boyer was much dreamier than his name would imply, since I pronounce it in my head like a typical Dumb American and the last name "Boy-Er" doesn't call to mind a dark, dashing Frenchman (which Charles Boyer totally is). Anyway, you should check it out, especially if you love the 1957 movie, because I think this version is as good or better. I think the ending to these two movies (they're virtually identical) is just about the most suspensefully romantic ending ever. Every time I'm all, "SHE LOVES YOU! CAN'T YOU SEE IT IN HER EYES?" and "HE LOVES YOU! TELL HIM THE TRUTH!"

I hope that's vague enough that I haven't spoiled anything too terribly.

The other major thing happening in my life is that I'm obsessed with the new version of Sense and Sensibility that will be airing on PBS in March, I believe. It's available on YouTube, and I've been watching some clips on and off for the past week or so. And by "on and off" I mean "every evening, as a ritual" - the main clip I've been watching has been, pretty predictably, the happy ending. Because I love happy endings, and as beautiful as the 1995 version of S&S is, it was a little restrained for me. I could appreciate the choice artistically, but emotionally, I'll own it: I want a big speech at the end, I want smooches, I want the end of my restrained period dramas to have at least 30 seconds of being gloriously unrestrained in the final five minutes.

The best period movie ending for me is, hands down, the ending to the BBC miniseries North & South, which for a while I watched every morning before going to work because it put me in such a happy mood.

I have to say, the ending to the new S&S is a pretty good contender (I can't properly judge it now, having just seen it) and I'm going to try to indoctrinate others into my S&S cult and provide a clip here.

The final eight minutes of the movie/miniseries, predictably full of spoilers.

Watching bits of this new version inspired me to watch the 1995 version, and now I'm totally ALL ABOUT the Elinor/Edward love story. They're both so GOOD! And trying to be NOBLE! And they LOVE EACH OTHER SO MUCH! Etc etc.

[Poll #1138671]

And I think that is all for now! I'm going to go and try to eat my mac and cheese and maybe watch some sappy romantic comedies. Happy V-Day, everyone!
fearlesstemp: (mr. smith and saunders)
I just came across someone on LJ who posted saying that they didn't know whether to support Obama or Clinton on Tuesday, could people please try to convince them? It was too tempting for me to pass up, and so I ended up typing up this long-ass list of why I'm supporting Hillary Clinton, which I'm going to include here under a cut tag, mostly because if I don't and she goes on to lose Super Tuesday, I will totally believe it was my fault for not posting this list. Kind of like how my brother's been wearing the same sweatshirt every Sunday since the Giants started winning.

First things first: I'm a registered, die-hard Democrat who will support whoever wins the nomination. My reasons for supporting Hillary Clinton are kind of light on policy because I feel that she and Obama are pretty close on policy - so close that their differences wouldn't be enough to swing me one way or the other. My loyalty is, first and foremost, to the platform of the Democratic party, which I believe has the best ideas when it comes to creating a more inclusive society that's prepared to face the new challenges of the future. I also believe that the Democratic party is more committed to promoting the welfare of all Americans (not just the wealthy and privileged).

I believe Hillary Clinton is the candidate that will take that platform to the presidency.

Why I'm Voting for Hillary Clinton )
fearlesstemp: (pick self up)
.i. gift advice

When giving a small child clothes as a gift - always a risky move, because don't we all remember the dismay that accompanied that rectangle-shaped box, which we always knew had to house some totally boring sweater? - spend the extra two or three bucks for a wind-up toy or small stuffed animal to go in the box next to the clothes. I did this for the first time this Christmas, and you guys, the reaction was INSANE! My cousin's daughter Abby went THROUGH THE ROOF when she saw the totally inexpensive stuffed kitten I put in the box with her corduroy skirt and long-sleeved shirt. She screamed and grabbed the kitten and waved it at everyone in the room, like, "LOOK! LOOK AT THIS AWESOME SURPRISE!"

It was so totally great, and something I recommend to others. It even worked for my cousin Emma, who is ten and therefore, I thought, immune to the trick. But I put a wind-up dog that flipped itself over in the box on top of her gift, and she loved that, too.

.ii. movie news and movie pollage

I went to see I Am Legend over the weekend and man, it scared the crap out of me. I almost had to leave the theater. I was flailing all over, waving my hands in front of my eyes like a crazy person, sobbing at the flashback scenes - basically a basket case. Which I guess means the movie did its job.

As to the pollage!

[Poll #1113507]

.iii. yet more youtube clips

I am still on an Astaire/Rogers kick. Today's clip is from the movie Roberta, which is one of the movies they made where they were the wacky comedy relief to another couple's primary love story. Irene Dunne is the female lead in this one, so it's generally more successful than the other movie that follows this pattern, Follow the Fleet, but I still would rather have had Fred and Ginger front and center the whole way through. Also as in Follow the Fleet, Fred and Ginger play former dance partners who reconnect over the course of the movie after a long absence from each other, which allows for a nice dynamic between them.

I love this routine because it's so loose and fun - there are a couple of points in the sequence where you can actually hear Ginger laughing, which is lovely.

Too Hot to Handle

The Royal Tenenbaums was on Comedy Central this weekend, and even though I own the DVD, when I came across it while channel-surfing on Saturday, I still ended up sitting down to watch the whole thing. I love that movie, for reasons even I can't fully understand or articulate; why does it work so well for me when something like Pushing Daisies, which seems similar to me (stylistically at least) in a lot of ways, really does not? I don't know. Two things I can think of as possible reasons: (1) Gene Hackman's performance, which is incredibly awesome, and (2) it makes me laugh.

One of my favorite parts of the movie is its opening sequence, which I found on YouTube here:

The Royal Tenenbaums opening sequence
fearlesstemp: (festivus)
.i. a festivus for the rest of us

Happy Festivus, one and all! Time for the airing of grievances and feats of strength. I wish you all the best of luck in wrestling the host/hostess of whatever Festivus gathering you attend (for, as you know, the holiday only ends when the host/hostess is pinned by a guest).

.ii. adorable stories

Yesterday I had my weekly tutoring session with R., the guy I tutor through Literacy Volunteers. I wanted to get him something for Christmas but I didn't know what would suit him (and since he was just diagnosed with diabetes, my usual fallback of nice chocolates wouldn't work), and so I picked out this nice messenger bag for him to carry his stuff to our tutoring sessions. I know, HOW EXCITING.

Anyway, I had it all picked out, and it wasn't that expensive (less than thirty bucks), but I worried because I wasn't sure if R. was going to give me anything at all, and I didn't want him to feel awkward, etc etc. And so I downgraded to a smaller nice fabric-covered portfolio thingy, which was around fifteen bucks. And then I went and met with R., who handed me two (2) presents which so outclassed mine for him that I think I have to go back and get the messenger bag.

First, he gave me a super-cute Santa ornament with my name on it, which I love and was the first thing I put on the tree when we decorated it yesterday (yes, we were horribly late and lazy and procrastinatey this year). That would have been nice in and of itself.

And then! AND THEN! He gave me this box which I thought was just a nice small jewelry box, cute and small and very nice. But then I opened it and there was a watch and bracelet set inside! And it wasn't anything super-expensive or anything, but pretty and more than I expected, and then he said, "I remembered how you said your watch broke a while ago and so you have to use your cell phone to check the time when we meet, and so I thought this would be good."

!!!! R! SO THOUGHTFUL! I have often talked of how you resemble Santa Claus and then yesterday you WERE Santa Claus, giving me the most thoughtful present! R!

So that was very nice. Near the end of the session we read How the Grinch Stole Christmas and I had another attack of OMG This is Awesome-itis, encountering something as an adult that I loved as a child and realizing it is just as great if not better (other example: Charlotte's Web, Sesame Street). I put on the watch and bracelet as soon as I got home (they were stuck in the box with those anti-theft plastic rings so I couldn't get them out when we were at the library) and wore them all day and talked about them so much that my family is ready to kill me.

The other adorable story is that when I went to hide my brother's birthday present in my mother's closet just before leaving to pick him up at the airport at eleven last night, I discovered my mother in her bathroom with rollers in her hair. Getting all dolled up to pick up her little boy at the airport! For some reason, I found that sweet.

.iii. do you love me

I continue on my Astaire/Rogers kick, and one of the games I like to play while watching Astaire/Rogers movies is called: Quantify Ginger's Greatness. It's fun and challenging and there is no real end, and I recommend it to one and all! Because it's clear to me, and to cinematic history, that Fred and Ginger were the best on-screen dance pair there was or is. With Astaire, it's easy to see and also to quantify why he's so incredible - he's a great dancer, a wonderful singer, and he had a lot of technical influence behind the scenes through choreography and cinematography.

Ginger is harder to pin down because while she's clearly a talented singer and dancer, Fred Astaire had more technically gifted dance partners. And yet she's clearly the most fun to watch with him (and, for me, the movies she made with him are the only ones I really like). The more I watch the movies, the more I realize that as much as I love Fred Astaire, I think I love Ginger Rogers a little bit more - most of my favorite small moments in their routines belong to her.

I think Katharine Hepburn said of them that Astaire gave her class and she gave him sex appeal - I don't really see it that way. What I think Ginger Rogers brings to the table is a certain groundedness, a sense that she exists in reality (at least more so than Fred Astaire does, who, while charming and fun and funny, always feels like a movie character). And as her characters meet Fred Astaire and are charmed by him, so are we; it's like we get to fall under his spell with her. And Ginger Rogers was so good at conveying that. Most of the dances in their movies were shot from a distance so that the audience could see the dancers' bodies (which was Fred Astaire's wish, and a good choice). Her face was so expressive, though, and she was so good at using her body to act even while dancing, that she always sold that transition from, "Who is annoying nut?" at the beginning to "THIS IS GREAT!" at the end, so that by the end of the dance not only do we believe that Ginger's character is a little in love with Fred already, so are we.

Exhibit A, a dance scene from Shall We Dance, my second-favorite Astaire/Rogers movie, and the one that earns the Most Coherent Plot Award. In this movie, Ginger plays Linda Keene, a famous musical comedy star who's just announced her retirement because she's sick of being pawed by her costars, and has chosen to marry a dorky banker (you'll see him grinning idiotically in a reaction shot). Fred is an internationally known ballet star, Petrov, who is actually Peter P. Peters from Pennsylvania. He's smitten with Ginger from the start, and is attempting to charm her into both liking him and returning to the stage. I always loved this movie because, like His Girl Friday, it's a love story where the male love interest is dedicated to keeping the woman in the profession she loves (instead of lots of the post-WWII movies, where women are supposed to return to the home, etc.). In this specific scene, Ginger sings and then dances with Fred, and it's a nice opportunity to hear Ginger in a solo - I think she's got a nice, expressive voice and a lovely conversational way of singing (which Fred Astaire had, too), and also to see that transition through dance I babbled about up there - the move from uncertainty to joy. There is an awkward cut between the song and the dance made by the YouTube uploader, which I understand but which gets rid of an exchange I always found cute.

Ginger: What am I supposed to do?
Fred: (in ridiculous Russian accent) Twist.

They All Laughed

And finally, this is a wonderful compilation someone made using clips from a number of Astaire/Rogers movies - whenever I saw these on YouTube, I was always all snooty, like, "Pshaw! Why would one do that? The routines as they exist are PERFECTION!" And then I saw this and it was so hilarious and great and captured the energy and fun of their routines across the movies, and I had to include it. It also includes a lovely non-dancing moment at the beginning from the movie Swing Time, which shows Ginger's lovely natural screen presence, and another reason why she was such a great partner for Fred: she always seemed strong enough to stand up to him, not to be overwhelmed by his charms.

Do You Love Me?

And I think that's all for now!
fearlesstemp: (elaine ugh)
I am on my way out, but before I go, two questions I am sorry to have to ask:

1. How do you get hair dye off of your hairline? Other than reminding your hairstylist to do it at the end of the cut (as I told her I would do, and then forgot, and now I’m running off to an event where I am the designated greeter, of course). Methods attempted: wet paper towel in office restroom, positive thinking a la Oprah's "The Secret".

2. How do you get egg off of a windshield? Wiper fluid does not work! DAMNED KIDS!

Off I go, face full of dye, windshield half-obscured by albumen. GOOD TIMES.
fearlesstemp: (pick self up)
.i. uncertainty principle

Yesterday at work, I was laughing at something my brother said and my father's secretary said, "Your laugh is so infectious, it makes me want to laugh. I was telling my kids that I want to tape record it and bring it home and play it for them!"

Kind of weird! But in the neighborhood of a compliment! So I stopped guffawing like an idiot and said, "Wow, thanks."

And then I thought about it for a minute, and remembered how once when I was temping, a coworker came in wearing shoes so hideous that I actually found myself staring at them for so long that said coworker caught on, and I covered by giving her a compliment on them (I totally felt like Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls). Was my father's secretary doing the SAME THING? I had been laughing for a while when she asked me.

So then I asked my brother if I laughed like our aunt Amy, a wonderful woman who has a nasal honk of a laugh.

And my brother said, "Yeah, kinda."

The horror I felt at this must have been written all over my face, because then he backtracked, all, "Well, not completely, just a little. Mainly the beginning, like, the 'ha!' part."

And so ever since, I haven't been able to laugh properly! Because whenever I do, part of me is all, "Wait, what do I sound like? A high-pitched foghorn stuck on rapid repeat? Or a normal person?"

I know I have an obnoxiously loud sneeze! Are none of my uncontrolled reflexes unoffensive?

.ii. austin, we have a ljagu

Peeps, my brother is moving to Texas. TEXAS! I KNOW! SO FAR AWAY! A bunch of his friends from college are moving down there, and he's tagging along, and I'm glad for him, happy he'll have an adventure, relieved he'll be escaping the MyLastName Law Firm.

But what if he finds a nice Texan girl and stays there forever? Who will help me move or carry heavy things or run ridiculous errands for my father instead of me?

I will miss him. He makes me laugh more than anyone else I know, and we're pretty much two peas in a pod. But I'm glad he's going, because I think it will make him happy. Also, before I got my new job, I was becoming obsessed with the fear that neither of us would ever leave our childhood home and we would end up like Matthew and Marilla, having to adopt an orphan in our middle age to give our lives meaning. OUR NAMES EVEN START WITH THE SAME INITIAL! SCARY!

But now Jimmy's moving to Texas! And I have a job! Our lives will almost definitely not follow the trajectory of Anne of Green Gables supporting characters!

ANYWAY. If anyone has any advice for Jimmy, aka LJAGU, aka Little Jimmy All Grown Up, it'd be appreciated. I know Kate is down there and I think there might be others familiar with the area, and I was wondering if anyone had any advice or helpful hints about Austin.

.iii. awesome things

I read the Sweet Valley High books as a kid, and the Sagas were my favorite - specifically, the family sagas, the huge book that would trace the twins' ancestors back a few generations. The books were terrible and sometimes offensive and yet I LOVED THEM. A friend from college once gave me the two versions of the Wakefields of Sweet Valley, and MAN, that gift made my birthday.

The other day I found a link to someone doing a review of the Wakefields of Sweet Valley - !!!! I found it awesomely hilarious, and am linking part one here and part two here.

Key plot points: Being separated at Ellis Island! Running away to the circus! Going to speakeasies and speaking in unintelligible slang! Teenagers working for the French Resistance! Hippies!

Another awesome thing I'm into lately is the cable channel A&E, specifically The First 48, which tracks homicide detectives as they try to solve a murder case. Apparently if detectives don't have a suspect in the first 48 hours, the chances of solving the crime go down by 50% or something. I don't know, the point is, the show is ADDICTIVE. Typically each hour tracks two murders and you get to see how the cops look at the crime scene, talk to witnesses, work with CSI and forensics, interrogate suspects, etc.

Totally unexpectedly, YouTube has a clip, AND it features my favorite Detective, Sgt. Mason! She's awesome. She always arrives at the crime scenes fully done-up, hair, nails, high-heeled shoes. And she's a great detective. She's hilarious in this clip.

And I think that's it!
fearlesstemp: (ginger grin)
A couple of years ago I took a civil service test to get put on the list for state jobs, and have been receiving letters about potential jobs for about a year now. When I didn't get the teaching job for this year, I started replying to them in earnest, but NEVER got called for an interview, which made me think that my letters were just going into this state black hole, or that my resume paper smelled like BO or something. I was full of black despair, especially when I was forced to go back to my TIMP (temp agency pimp) and beg for work a couple of weeks ago.

BUT. Last week I got an interview for a state job! And today I was offered the job! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!

It's a job in a field I'd never pursue on my own with a super-bland Orwellian title like "Management Specialist Trainee I", but it has BENEFITS and a SALARY and FREE PARKING (an issue for state jobs) and the PEOPLE WERE NICE and the job itself will likely NOT REQUIRE hideous amounts of night and weekend work like teaching did of me, and and and.



fearlesstemp: (happy grover)
Happy birthday to the awesome [livejournal.com profile] sinsense!!!! Grover and I celebrate your greatness and wish you many happy returns!
fearlesstemp: (ginger grin)
Happy birthday to the awesomely fabulous, and fabulously awesome [livejournal.com profile] kaelie!!!!
fearlesstemp: (mr. smith and saunders)
.i. interview anxiety

I have an interview tomorrow at the school where I taught last year, for the position I held last year, and I feel like this should be less stressful than most interviews but instead it's much more stressful. I keep trying to type out why that is so, but you can probably figure it out for yourself, and every time I try to write it up I end up with 87 rambling sentences.

.ii. expression theft

Instead, I am going to present you with this question: Is it just me, or is Daniel Craig's default James Bond expression in Casino Royale a modified Blue Steel? In case you are tragically unfamiliar with the film Zoolander, Blue Steel is male model Derek Zoolander's signature look in the movie Zoolander. I feel like I talked about this before in my LJ, but since I (personally) feel that one can never talk too much about the cinematic masterpiece that is Zoolander, I'm presenting it again.

Photographic evidence!

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale

Derek Zoolander's Blue Steel

.iii. epistolic hillary

Has everyone seen the recent news story detailing a series of letters Hillary Clinton wrote while an undergraduate at Wellesley? A sample excerpt:

Befitting college students of any era, the letters are also self-absorbed and revelatory, missives from an unformed and vulnerable striver who had, in her own words, “not yet reconciled myself to the fate of not being the star.”

“Sunday was lethargic from the beginning as I wallowed in a morass of general and specific dislike and pity for most people but me especially,” Ms. Rodham reported in a letter postmarked Oct. 3, 1967. . . .

“Can you be a misanthrope and still love or enjoy some individuals?” Ms. Rodham wrote in an April 1967 letter. “How about a compassionate misanthrope?”

I ran a poll a while back in which I had people predict which Democrat was my candidate for '08 (it seems kind of ego-centric to me now that I did that, but whatevs, such is the corrupting power of poll-making), and I think I mentioned in the comments there but not directly in my LJ that my candidate for '08 is Hillary Clinton. I admire her a lot and think she's tremendously capable, but this was the first time I've felt a real rush of affection for her, or at least her-as-she-was. Her persona is now so tightly controlled and managed (to great effect, I think) that it's hard to imagine her ever moping around all day, too depressed to go to class, struggling with her Republican upbringing, etc. I know I'm predisposed to like her, but I still think things like this are interesting, when you're given a bit of a window into the personal history of a figure usually known only from a distance. There aren't a lot of personal details in the letters (not many that I've seen), but I think what's there (in the few excerpts quoted) is more interesting - the evolution of how she thought about herself, her role in the world.

I remember feeling this way when I tried to read the recent John Adams biography and got to the part of his diary excerpts as a young lawyer. In them, he detailed how he hadn't completed his to-do list, and how he should be accomplishing so much more and isn't, and how this made him feel worthless and lame. My words, not his, but the sentiment was pretty close to that. Which reminds me, I have to finish that biography. Or maybe read a romance novel. One or the other.
fearlesstemp: (working girl)
Guys, it is summer, which means I'm not teaching, which means I have all sorts of time to Accomplish Things, yet all it seems I've been accomplishing so far is:

-developing an addiction to Junior Mints,
-reactivating my ABC Daytime addiction,
-reading piles of books I left around during the school year,
-watching tons of movies (both of the cinematic and awful LMN variety), and
-that's about it.

My room is only half-cleaned and my half of the office hasn't even been touched. I haven't updated my teaching portfolio, and to be honest, I'm not 100% I know where it is. Oh, I have applied for some jobs. So there's something.

One thing I did last week is visit my grandfather's grave for the first time. It was weird; I've driven past the cemetery where he's buried a huge number of times (in fact, every day on my way home from work - it's on one of the busiest roads in my hometown) and I've never gone. I've never been to the cemetery where my other grandfather has been buried since the day of his funeral, which was five years ago.

I kind of worry that this makes me an awful person, especially since it's not like this is being done as a symptom of a bad relationship I had with either of them. I had great relationships with both of them. I loved them very much - still love them. Still miss them. But the cemetery just doesn't seem like where they are, to me.

And so every day I drove past the cemetery and didn't think too much about it. For me, the physical place I visited to mourn my grandfather this year wasn't the cemetery but his house, which was successfully sold a couple of months ago. That's gone now - I can't exactly pop in on the new owners and ask to walk through the downstairs and stand in random rooms for long stretches of time for no particular reason, the way I did before the papers were signed. Maybe that's why recently I've had this flash when I drive past the cemetery lately, a quick burst of Ishouldgointhere. The first time I listened to it was last week.

My grandfather used to take me to the cemetery with him after my grandmother died. It was an important place to him, which is why I think I've been to his gravesite and not my other grandfather's. He would kneel on the ledge of the headstone in the middle and my brother and I would kneel on either side and we'd say prayers. I did the same thing when I went, and it was weird: familiar, but also strange, since I'm twenty-seven, not eleven, and so the proportions are all different. Also, I was alone. The back of the gravestone is different, too, my grandfather's date of death added in.

After that, I went and looked at some other headstones in the older part of the cemetery, which was down this short but steep hill. I ambled around for a while (is it morbid that I like to imagine the lives of the people whose names I see on the stones?), and then decided to go back. Walked over to the little hill, stepped up and just about face-planted. Flip flops + steep incline + wet grass = disaster. There was some dude about fifty feet away cutting the grass, looking right in my direction, so the whole time I was doing this awkward, wide-legged, arms-windmilling climb, I know he was watching. I felt pretty stupid.

Especially when I realized the solution: taking off the flip flops. Bare feet are perfect for such terrain. I scooted right up, hopped in my car, put on some Johnny Cash.

One thing of note: I didn't really cry while I was there. I got all scrunchy-faced and sniffly, but no real crying. It's strange; I rarely cry when I am sad over something in my own life, probably because if I feel the urge, the first impulse is to stifle it and move on. Wow, that sounds way more messed up than it feels! I cry all the time with sad movies, commercials, documentaries, TV shows, etc., though. Why is that? I suspect I am extremely dysfunctional. Yes, that sounds about right.

And okay, I got tagged to take part in some memes! [livejournal.com profile] callmesandy asked me five questions, and [livejournal.com profile] kaelie asked me about five songs I'm into!

two memes! )
fearlesstemp: (summer of george!)
I consider it my sacred duty to alert all in LJ-land of potentially enjoyable cheesy TV movies (such as: The Cutting Edge II, this Tim Daly movie), and in that vein, I must let you know that Lifetime Movie Network (or "LMN" as those of us who watch it embarrassingly frequently call it) is featuring a Christmas in July film festival, featuring such classics as Eve's Christmas, a movie starring the girl who played Amber in Clueless, and Under the Mistletoe, starring the girl who played Kristina on GH and one of the main guys from the original Stargate.

The next one is called Road to Christmas, and it has the honor of being the lowest rated of the ones I just listed on IMDB (coming in with an average of 1.6 stars). It also stars Jennifer Grey - yes, that Jennifer Grey! Of Dirty Dancing and transformative nose job fame!

I'm totally tuning in. And actually, it's starting right now, at 9:45. But feel free to tune in anytime; somehow, I always manage to pick up the narrative thread no matter how late in the movie I tune in. And really, she looks so different with the different nose that I had to go to IMDB and double check that she is, in fact, the same Jennifer Grey. It is!

More news as it develops.
fearlesstemp: (mr. smith with book)
I was supposed to finish up two cover letters tonight. Instead, I surfed around YouTube and LJ for hours, and found this, a clip of Jimmy Stewart visiting Johnny Carson. It's funny I found it tonight because just the other day my parents were telling me about how Jimmy Stewart used to show up on Carson and read poems he'd written. This clip features him reading a poem about his dog, Bo.

fearlesstemp: (mr. smith with book)
While I was in California visiting the fantastic [livejournal.com profile] foxyfrau, we had many adventures, one of which ended with a group of us waiting outside for an hour and a half one night for Triple A (keys got locked in the trunk). During that wait, we found many ways to pass the time - embarrassing revelations (such as Anna's mastery of early-nineties R&B), trips down memory lane, and finally a riddle put forth by one of Anna's California friends.

California Friend said, "Marine is a six-letter word where every two letters is the abbreviation of a state - what is the seven-letter word that follows the same pattern? It also starts with M."

We stood around for a while trying to solve it out loud, and then decided we needed paper to use. One of us pulled out a book from his/her bag and said, "There's blank pages at the back we could use here! Who's got a pen?"

Now it's poll time! About this and a couple tangential issues.

[Poll #1020360]
fearlesstemp: (saunders giddy)
LiveJournal! I HAVE MISSED YOU! I have been on a series of vacations which provided limited internet access, but now I am BACK and more able to read/comment other people's entries and torture you all with the minutiae of my daily life.

About my vacations! I want to write about them in great detail, but it is late and I am tired so I will subject all of you to vacay tales later. One thing I will tell you about now is how my trip to California introduced me to Johnny Cash's awesomeness, as [livejournal.com profile] foxyfrau will tell you (she was forced to hide the CD because I put it in the car CD player so often while I was out there), and while I appreciate many of his songs, my favorite still is A Boy Named Sue (the lyrics of which were written by Shel Silverstein, fyi). While surfing YouTube, what did I find but a clip of Mr. Cash recording the song at San Quentin?

And so I share with all of you!


Jun. 18th, 2007 06:23 pm
fearlesstemp: (overhead projector)
Tomorrow is the last full day of school with the students, and so as a team we decided to show a movie for a chunk of tomorrow. Each of us is supposed to bring in our own G or PG rated movie for the students to watch. I am having intense self-doubt over my ability to select a movie they would enjoy after I brought in the Simpsons on DVD for them to watch during the last twenty minutes of Friday's half day and a number of kids said that they'd NEVER SEEN THE SHOW!

And so, a poll!

[Poll #1005577]


fearlesstemp: (Default)

February 2009

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