Monday, February 22, 2010

I never dreamed

for no particular reason, except that I like it so much:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Tonight was attempt #2 at Bavarian Pretzels. Using this recipe and some food-grade lye I'd ordered on the internet, I made immensely delicious (if not perfectly Bavarian) pretzels. So tasty! Aesthetically, there is a bit of room for improvement, and next time I would prefer it if they don't stick quite so much to the baking tray. Sadly, no photos. I was first very busy cooking and second very busy eating. Too bad. Images of me clad in elbow-length gloves while dipping the pretzels – very quickly – in the water/lye solution would have, no doubt, been humorous. Some other time, perhaps. I will make these again. I will double the recipe.

Monday, February 15, 2010

au revoir, my dear Lessing

Five books later, I think I must give Doris Lessing a break. Forgive a final out-pouring of crush, please.

"Why should I stay in this country? I'll tell you something, I've just understood it – when you've left one country, then you've left all countries, forever."
          – Landlocked
"[she] found that [he] had, in the intervening years, become possessed, had succumbed (to what? She didn't know – unless one chose to use shorthand words like evil, to be done with thinking about it)"
          – The Four-Gated City

"She had become that person which she hated and feared more than any other – the matron*."
          – The Four-Gated City

She does favor the em dash. But I favor her.

*An insult I can recall stretching back a long time "You sound like my mother" or even simply "Okay, Mom." Female authority as disparaged, unserious, and sexless. So much of The Four-Gated City (the fifth book) explores how we were (or are) socialized to hate our mothers – for their self-abnegation, their sacrifice, their compassion. And then you have moments such as this:
"It can be taken as an axiom that all governments everywhere lie – it is inevitable. Naive people think that conspiracies are seven men around a table in a Machiavellian plot: a conspiracy is an atmosphere, or frame of mind in which people are impelled to do things, perhaps those things that they could never do as individuals, or couldn't do at other times when the atmosphere is different."
It boggles the mind that she isn't more widely read.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

it's so nice

when someone comes along and reminds me I'm not the only one:
"I am actually almost completely anti-wedding and not so keen on the 'institution' of marriage either. I did get married, at City Hall no less, and I only got married because my then-boyfriend kept asking me and I thought it would be easier to get a mortgage if we were married, but I was perfectly happy and fully committed just living with him (I am still perfectly happy and fully committed). What I hate about weddings is the patriarchalism. I hate the surprise proposal. Why does the man get to decide when the couple marries? Shouldn't marriage be something that both adults discuss together? I hate the getting down on one knee. The idea that it is the woman who has to be wooed and it is the man's responsibility to do so. I hate the engagement ring. Aside from the fact that buying diamonds supports an evil, destructive 'business,' I hate the idea that the woman needs to be 'bought' with a diamond and that putting a diamond on her finger suggests some sort of ownership on the man's part. I hate that the father walks the bride down the  aisle and 'gives her away.' I find the whole thing to be sexist pageantry and a needless expense. I hate the conformity of the whole thing. I think the best reason to get married is if you are gay. Then it really means something valuable."
                 – Ellen Tarlin on's DoubleX, a project with which I do not always find myself in such perfect sympathy as I did upon reading this (full discussion on weddings here)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

los perdidos

Sometimes I get extra proud.

Los Perdidos from 826 Valencia on Vimeo.

seals part deus ex machina

It was so wholly good to take a day off, get out of town, and do something strange that I almost thought that was all I was going to say about it. Or even that I wasn't going to say about it, just relax and put up some photos.

Elephant seals are so bizarre and, as always seems to happen when observing other species and their sex relationships and reproductive behaviors, many comparisons were made to humans. Well. We could play that game all day, and for every behavior that reinforced the patriarchy you could find one in monkeys or seahorses or what have you that subverted it. The point being that it's pointless. Whether or not you agree with Katherine Hepburn in The African Queen that "Nature is what we were put here to rise above," we've got to stop pointing to animals that suit our purposes and say "Look, they do it." We're people. We've got to decide what that means.

water oliphants

If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee...
                       – John Donne

Elephant Seals at Año Nuevo

California is so strange. 

But I don't care what they say.

I like it anyway.

(my camera died this weekend, exhibiting a surprisingly spectacular sense of the inopportune. All photos courtesy of CS).

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