Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Books read in July 2012

Hah! Only 7 books read this month despite being on vacation for a week.  Could some sort of balance be returning to my reading schedule?  Let's hope so.  Maybe next month I will only read five books.

Tina Fey 
I've been staring at this book in the Lucky Day section at my library for many months and I just last week noticed that the hands on the cover are man hands and not hers at all.  I would make a horrible FBI agent as noticing is not my thing.  

This is a very funny book, which I read at the same time I read Sleepwalk with Me by Mike Bribigla and while reading both books my laughter echoed through the house often, causing much commentary by Matt. I spared him the reading aloud of multiple pages, but he would have been the better for it.

The thing I liked about this memoir was that it was full of great stories, but Tina Fey still keeps her secrets.  Her reasons why she does not talk about the attack that gave her the scar on her face was one of the most brilliantly reasoned passages I have read in a memoir and I admired how we continually heard about her ongoing state of virginity, but she never tells us the details of when she crossed that milestone.  Tina Fey is a classy lady and proof that feminists and funny are not exclusive.

Sleepwalk with Me
Mike Bribigla
This was sitting on the shelf of the library right next to Bossypants and I grabbed them both.  Both were laugh-out-loud funny.  Some of this book were things expanded from bits I heard of Bribiglia's act, some were stories new to me.  I loved reading his response to review published in student publications and his tour of college campuses of the northwest.  Matt got to hear that one read aloud.

Plain Kate
Erin Bow
This falls into the "YA strong female protagonist" genre that is publishing like mad right now.  The story was compelling, but perhaps a little too dark for me.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
Douglas Adams
Read aloud.
The saga of Ford Prefect and Arthur continues as they bring along Trillian and Zaphod Beeblebrox.  High-jinx ensue, pithy observations are made and funny things happen.

R.J. Palacio
Thanks to Sara, I read one of the best books of the year.  This is the story of a deformed child entering a middle school after being home schooled through elementary school.  It's the awkward middle school transition we all got to experience, but times one-thousand.  The writing is wry and compelling and the characters were very multidimensional.  I am hoping this will win some prizes.

Giovanni's Room
James Baldwin
Read for Book Group
Eh.  The prose was dry, the forbidding sense of doom became annoying really quickly and I didn't really like any of the characters.  That  said, it was an interesting glimpse into homosexuality in Paris in the 1950s.  And I was the only one at book group who didn't like it.

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
Haruki Murakami
So I'm still not sure about Murakami.  As with 1Q84, I enjoyed reading the book, it sort of put me in an altered state.  But when I finished I was again wondering if that was all there was.  I'll read another of Murakami and maybe that will help me decide if I like him or not.  Or maybe I'll read all of his books and still have the same feeling.

Started and did not finish.
The Horse and His Boy
C.S. Lewis
Oh god, this series is boring.  Stay tuned to see if I make it through all the books.

Three sentence movie reviews: The Hangover

So now I've experienced the cultural phenomenon that is the Hangover (thank you library and your free rentals.)  Maybe it was Channing Tatum withdrawal, (the last five movies I have watched have featured him) but I found this movie only passably amusing in places, and generally okay.  I'm pretty sure I can skip the Hangover II.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cell Phones

I don't have a cell phone and the amount of fine print I'm going to have to read in order to get one is overwhelming, thus perpetuating my cell phone free status.

Three sentence movie reviews: Step Up

Having seen Magic Mike, I was aware that Channing Tatum can dance and rented this film for more evidence of the fact.  The plot was predictable, but I wasn't watching it for the plot, so I can report that the acting was good, and the dancing was fabulous.  I also rarely see movies featuring children in foster care, and Channing Tatum played a nicely rounded foster kid.

Three sentence movie reviews: Stop-loss

"Sweetheart, this movie has Ryan Phillippe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt AND Channing Tatum, why I have I not seen this before?" said I.  It also has Abbie Cornish, who I like despite not liking her character in Bright Star.  This was a pretty good movie, full of drama and tough choices, marking this as a "good" MTV films production.*

*Matt thinks he hates MTV Films, but I argue they can make some darn good movies when they set their minds to it.  Check out a list of their films.  Despite the presence of Jackass 2.5 and the like, there are some darn good movies on that list.  They are especially good a capturing moments in adolescence.  (Varsity Blues, ElectionNapoleon Dynamite.)

Also, I really like this movie poster.  Well done, unknown designer.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Three sentence movie reviews: She's the Man

Due to the Foam Run and our timing not quite coming together, we missed seeing Portland Actors Ensemble's production of Twelfth Night,* but handily had this adaptation at the ready.  Amanda Bynes' comedy was quite broad throughout, which was annoying at first, but grew on me eventually. Surprisingly, Channing Tatum was quite good as Duke making this a great evening of movie "theater."

*Don't worry, there are multiple performances and we will see it eventually.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sourdough pancakes

I bought a sourdough starter with hopes of making my own whole wheat sourdough bread.  And other products.  Here's my first attempt at pancakes.  I neglected to take any photos of the final product.  They were thinner than I would have liked, which is something that I can fix next time. They were a rainbow of brown hues, due to the fact that cooking pancakes in a cast iron pan involves a range of temperatures from "a bit too cold, still" to "darn it, this pan is much too hot." 

Why I don't watch the Olympics

Things I like about the Olympics:
Weird sports get their every-four-year moment in the sun.
It's really cool, all those athletes coming together to compete.
I read somewhere that there is a lot of sex happening in the Olympic Village, given that there are a lot of people in peak physical condition who, once their events are over, spend time hooking up with other people in peak physical condition.  I find this fact delightful, and the reward an excellent payoff for all that boring training.

Things I absolutely cannot stand about the Olympics:

  • News organizations' weird need to package every single athlete into a "top story line"
  • The annoying fixation on how many medals the US is going to win.
  • The "horrible anguish" the announcers launch into when someone who was thought to win gold "only" wins a silver medal.  They won a medal at the Olympics!  That's a very cool thing, man.
  • The asinine commentary in general.
  • The fact that the events I want to watch are surrounded by 42,000 commercials, idiotic commentary, "heartwarming" stories, and events I could care less about.

Sadly, the things I cannot stand about the Olympics outweigh the things I like about them.  So I will not be watching the Olympics this year, but I send well wishes to all, especially that woman from Bulgaria who isn't even going to place in the finals, but is going to have a lot of sex with a lot of different guys.  Well done, lady!

Three sentence movie reviews: 21 Jump Street

While the TV series I grew up with was a drama-fest, and this was a comedy, I still liked it.*  Though not as much as Matt who was set to "low chortle" for most of the movie.  This movie is worth seeing just for the cameos and also now that it is on DVD, you can see the deleted scenes, one of which (the discussion of the inappropriate nature of sleeping with one of the high school girls) was my favorite part of the movie.

*Favorite interchange:
-I'm wearing tights!  I can't run!
-Well, I'm wearing skinny jeans and it's the exact same thing!

Also, a slight Channing Tatum obsessing uncovered this video which is amusing, though not hilarious, as the title overstates a bit.  I do feel bad for the reporter trying to get a story out of that interview. It's eight minutes.  No commercials.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Essay: Older

Some years ago I remarked to a friend, “I thought getting older would mean my body would stay the same, but it would just be more wrinkly.  I didn’t realize my body would actually start breaking down.”  I was in my late 20s at the time and psoriasis had begun its march across my flesh.  But getting older—something we are all doing, even three-year-olds—has all sorts of surprises.

When I was sixteen and working in my first job at a tiny restaurant, I rang up a customer, and enquired how his day was.  “Fabulous!” was his reply.  He had just attended his twentieth high school reunion and had a blast.  From him I learned that, “your tenth, it’s okay, but people are still trying to make something of themselves.  By their twentieth, they’ve relaxed and are just fun to catch up with.”  I filed this away for that day in the far future when I would attend my twentieth reunion.  The far future has nearly arrived because my twentieth high school reunion is next year.

When I was 22, a newly minted college graduate, I moved to the big city and I landed a temping  job that first sent me to a posh private high school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I was to assist in the bookstore, selling books to the returning high school students.  I was young, but they were younger and I will never forget the realization that when they looked at me selling books in their bookstore, they saw an old person.  I was only five years older than some of them, but I could see in their eyes that I had moved from their “part of our group” classification to a different “old person” classification. Though, to be fair, it could have just been an “old(er)” classification, at the time it felt like the same thing.

This week I went for a drive and cycled through radio stations, singing along as I drove.  One of the stations was a classic rock station and not once did it play the classic rock I listened to during my adolescence:  Led Zepplin, the Who, the Eagles.  No, this station playlist consisted of, as they told me several times, “the New Classic Rock.”  The new classic rock is what was the new music of my adolescence: Bon Jovi, Tesla, Guns & Roses.  There’s nothing like a marketing scheme branding a seminal part of my youth as “classic” to mark the passage of time.

I have also recently had another realization.  After seeing Magic Mike, I was checking up on Channing Tatum on IMDB.com and I realized that all of the up-and-coming hunky stars are younger than me.  And not just by a year or two, or even the four years difference that separates the boyfriend and me.  Channing Tatum was born in 1980, the year I started Kindergarten.  Our age difference is enough that we wouldn’t have been in high school at the same time.  Chris Hemsworth?  Nine years younger.  Shia LaBeouf (not that I find him particularly attractive) is twelve years younger.  If any of these dreamboats ever want to enter into a relationship with me I will have to probably explain a lot of things like the ‘84 Summer Olympics and the first term of Reagan.  They might not even know that John Cougar and John Mellencamp are the same people.

And the thing is, I didn’t see it coming, though I should have.  When I was little, movie stars were old.  Harrison Ford?  Old.  Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd? Old.  Richard Gere? Old.  I didn’t have enough concept of age to know how old they were, I just put them in the rather broad “same age as my parents” category.*  Though actually, all of those actors except Harrison Ford are actually younger than my parents. After years of leading men being old, there was a sudden transition when dreamy actors were just a bit older than me.  George Clooney would probably have to explain bits of 70s culture to me, but we could make it work. Actually, he’s 13 years older than me, and nearly the same age as Richard Geer, who I have in a completely different “old” category.

Then suddenly, actors in Hollywood were just a little bit older than me, if not the same age or a bit younger.  We could have gone to high school together.  Ethan Hawke and Joaquin Pheonix?  We’re pretty much the same age.  Joaquin Phoenix is two days younger than I am and I have liked him since “Space Camp” when he was Leaf Phoenix.  Ethan Hawke I’ve had my eye on since 1985’s the Explorers.  But let us go on.  Ben Affleck and Matt Damon?  Two and four years older, respectively. Edward Norton, six years older, Leonardo DiCaprio only two weeks younger than me.  Christian Bale is born in the same year. Mark Wahlberg is three years older.  We are in the same demographic group.  Theoretically, dating would not be a problem.  It was also exciting to watch someone my age win an Oscar for best adapted screenplay, or be “King of the World.”  Once that begins to happen to people substantially younger than me, I foresee an old-lady grousing of “whippersnapper” and “upstart.”

The problem is that now if I like a breakout actor I probably have to face facts that he is too young for me to theoretically date.  I can follow his career, see his movies, sure, but it is more like a nephew or a favorite neighbor boy.  We did not come up at the same time and we were not shaped by the same things.  What’s more, I have to face the realization that actors in my age demographic are not the young up-and-coming actors any longer, which means that I am past up-and-coming, myself.  I do not really need to up-and-come, but it is a little odd to be in the “older, established” category so suddenly and when I do not really feel established.

This is only the beginning.  Soon, more and more actors making a name for themselves will be born when I was in fourth grade, then junior high school and eventually high school.  After that they will all be in the “I’m old enough to be their mother” category which just leaves me with an “ew” feeling should my liking turn into movie crush.

And actresses?  In about four years, the few actresses my age still acting will have shuffled off to the over-40 actresses retirement home.  I will see them now and then playing the mother of someone nine years younger than they are** and then now and then in their 50s playing a grandmotherly sort.  But that’s an entirely different essay.

*This category is so broad for children it makes the early elementary school students I work with fun to question.  When I ask them how old they think I am sometimes they come back with an incredibly unrealistic answer of “seventeen” and sometimes they completely overshoot and go with “fifty-six.”  Every once in a while they hit the “just a bit younger” sweet spot which gives me an odd feeling of elation that is entirely out of proportion to the random nature of their answers.

**The Graduate reference

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Three sentence movie reviews: Downton Abbey Season II

O! the gushing emails I wrote and conversations I had while watching this season!  How can the next season be any better than this one?  I like this show so much I'm going to watch it in "real time," something I haven't done since West Wing, season 3.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Perfect Drive.

So before I saw Magic Mike, I had a perfect day.  I had a scheduled all-day training for work in McMinnville, so I reserved a Zipcar for the day.  The day before the training, I realized the training was not relevant to my position, but a call to the powers that be confirmed I had to go.  I did secure assurance that I could attend the training until the lunch break and that would be sufficient.  Excellent.

The training itself was okay.  Like I said, it didn't apply to me, but it included an Excel spreadsheet that was pretty amazing. During the copious amounts of work time, I played around with the spreadsheet, got the gist and then occupied myself reading things online.  This was harder than one would think, as the training was at a high school that blocked access to a lot of things.  For instance, I couldn't access my gmail, nor could I read the New York Times.  However, Roger Ebert's website was not blocked and I read a great essay about his wife.  Now, I would argue that maybe I would have benefited from reading the New York Times online, but if the district wants me to spend time reading movie reviews and essays, I will.

We broke early for lunch (yipee!) and off I went in my Zipcar.  Zipcar gives you 180 miles per day and I aimed to drive most of them getting myself back home.  First stop:  Newberg Dairy Queen.  I needed a Blizzard as it was summer and I was out for a drive.  As I ate, I sat in the parking lot and planned my route using my big Oregon map with all the back roads.  After I planned, (it turns out I'm not a huge fan of cookie dough blizzards anymore.  The quality of the ingredients isn't very high.) I noticed the retro Dairy Queen sign, tucked away in the corner of the lot.
This is the Dairy Queen sign we all know today and it was right by the road.  I suspect the road was re-jiggered at some point and the new sign was built and the old one just sat there, instead of being removed.
Blizzard done, I headed out to Yamhill, via 240.

Once I got to 47 and Yamhill, I stayed on 47.

 Pictures taken while driving:
Don't worry, I didn't take my eyes off the road, just grabbed and pointed the camera out the window and pressed the button.
I next encountered Forest Grove.  I took "Old 47" which took me through town and I had trouble finding "New 47 again"  I burned some miles here, but eventually discovered I had to go travel on Highway 8 for a bit before it hooked up with 47.

More pictures from the car:

Finding 47 again, I headed toward Banks, which Matt and I rode on our bikes to from Stub State Park.
I followed the Sunset Highway (A.K.A. Highway 26) for a bit before turning off at Buxton.

Here the landscape changes as we begin to climb into the hills.
There were several places to access the trails at Stub State Park.  I used the bathroom at one of them.
And here I was!  Vernonia!  This is the other end of the Banks Vernonia Rail Trail.  I got there by car, not bike, but I finally set eyes on Vernonia.

Outside of Vernonia was some road construction.

Leaving Vernonia, I traveled for a bit longer on 47 before the turnoff to the Scappoose-Vernonia Highway.

An important decision.  Scappoose or St. Helens? I chose Scappoose.  My miles were dwindling.

There was much more traffic on this stretch of highway.  I followed this truck for a good number of miles.

Scappoose threw me back on the familiar territory of Highway 30 as I headed toward home.

The familiar spires of the St. John's Bridge.
And back along Lombard toward home.

Unpacking the car at home I realized the super awesome "choose your own configuration" cup holder.  Good job, car engineers.

Also, the radio stations were fabulous.  I cycled between six stations and never had to listen to one commercial.  I did get to hear one song twice:  Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side.  Also, I discovered that what one radio station is calling "the new classic rock" is what I was listening to in high school.

So thanks Zipcar, for getting me to my important training and thanks again for a delightful drive home.

Three sentence movie reviews: Magic Mike

I had only a smattering of interest in this movie but it was playing at a time I could see a movie so off I went. The general feeling in the theater populated by only women was a feeling of glee and that dissipated once the movie got going because, as my friend Christi commented, "Those are sad, tortured male strippers."  There was a lot to like about this film--the dancing was fabulous (nearly naked or not, I appreciate some dancing), I think Matthew McConaughey's "Dallas" might just eclipse his Dazed and Confused character, and I also appreciated the tempering presence (of the woman), who not only had a good solid female character to work with, but played her close and tight.

p.s.This movie launched me on another "personal actor film fest" a la the Vin Diesel film festival of last year and the Chris Hemsworth fest of earlier this summer.  Wanna guess which one?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sand in the City

I joined Mom and Aunt Carol for breakfast at Mother's and then we headed over to check out Sand in the City.  It was, frankly, underwhelming.  There were nine sand sculptures, a paltry amount, I thought, and I was not impressed by most of the scupture.  Perhaps my expectations were a bit too high?

Here's an example.  The slogan is "branching out to help others" but the branches are not going out, they are going in.  It just didn't work for me.
Kid's on the block being sculpted into a block?  Eh.
I enjoyed the pun here, but look at all the blank space.
And this didn't even look fully formed.
There was a Voodoo Donut on the Octopus, which I appreciated.
This display had the best detail from shrimp on the barbie to...
...an intricately sculpted welcome mat.

At this point my camera warned me I was running out of battery and as we had Sunday Parkways yet to do, I decided to stop taking pictures of mostly unimpressive sand sculpture.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Three sentence movie reviews: The Dark Knight Rises.

Unlike it's predecessor, where I had the thought midway through the movie, "I really don't like this film," I had the exact opposite mid-film thought with this one:  "This movie is awesome!"  There was a great balance of effects and story and Anne Hathaway was a delight.  I also thought I had everything figured out and was wrong, which is always a fun feeling, as is when the movie ends on just the right note.

ps.  I kept getting distracted by how awesome Bane's leather jacket was.  It was just the right amount of distressed leather. Good job costumers!

The line!

Not wanting to pay expensive movie theater prices and wanting to support one of my favorite local theater  showing new releases, I took the #75 to St. Johns and headed toward the St. John's Theater to see the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.  And holy cow, there was a line!  I've never seen a line longer than 10 people at St. John's, and this one stretched around the corner.  I was surprised this many people were out at 4:00 on a Friday, but there they all were.  Next time I will arrive a bit earlier on opening night.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Essay: Fat

So I am fat. Not even fat, really.  I am not sitting solidly in the “overweight” category I’ve spent most of my adult life.  Those days spent miserably overweight seem like a thing to strive for now that I have completely living in the obese segment of the BMI chart.  And man, there’s a difference.  It used to be, when I looked down and saw my stomach pooching out I could suck in and still have a waist.  Now, I look down, suck in and only reach the "before sucking stage" of before.

How did this happen?  I blame two things.  One is that I have really let myself go. The “let yourself go” phrase is usually lobbed against women balancing children/husband/home/work but I’ve managed to do it without the children or the husband.  In the last year I just gave up taking care of myself.  The exercise fell to minimal levels and I ate what I wanted when I wanted and damn the consequences.  The other factor is that for the first six months of 2011 I went on a diet and lost 20 pounds.  This was in combination with following a naturopath’s plan to avoid gluten and dairy.  The combined restrictions of the diet and naturopath were at first comforting, but then started to chafe.  The whole thing went down last summer and I threw off all restrictions, eating sandwiches and macaroni and cheese with abandon and packed on 30 pounds, regaining the 20 I lost and adding 10 more.

So now I’m fat and I hate it.  My skin has folds to it, I don’t like the way I look in any clothing, I feel slow and slovenly and kind of disgusting.  A class at the gym the other day involved a backward lunge.  My hand rested on my waist and I could feel my stomach fat fold over my thumb as I performed the exercise.  It was frustrating and no amount of sucking in my stomach could fix the problem, believe me, I tried.

Here’s the worst thing. My disgust with myself and my fat frame has spilled over to others.  I’ve noticed that I continually evaluate women’s body types as they move in and out of my frame of reference and I feel the same disgust of women who are as fat, or fatter than me as I do me.  Why can’t they take care of themselves?  What has brought them to this point?  These are all questions I would do better asking myself then applying them to anonymous women. (It's always women I judge, never men.)

I’ve sworn off diets forever.  This swearing joins the pledge I made about five years ago: to never again pay someone to tell me how to lose weight. I’ve read the figures, I know how much money the diet industry makes each year.  I know that, except for a few people for whom diets work, diets don’t work.  So why should I pay someone to tell me what to do when that thing they are going to tell me most likely won’t work? The diet I went on last year I didn’t pay for, I got around that restriction by checking out a book from the library.  That worked until it didn’t and I’ve accepted that following someone’s plan is not the way for me to lose weight.

Here is the other thing I know.  I’ve had moments of normal weight in my life and I wasn’t following a diet.  I ate right—and I think we all have a good idea of what this means—and exercised—I think we all know how to do this, too—and lost weight.  Why could I do that then and not now?  Where did this amazing source of willpower come from?  How could I meet this astonishing feat?

It wasn’t willpower or some magical combination of elements, I lost weight during those times because I knew who I was and my place in the world and was reasonably happy.  I felt secure, I lived in the present, not worrying about the future, and I took care of myself.  I haven’t been in that place in a very long time.  So now, I’m working on getting there.  I’m not sure I know who I am—certainly the harsh taskmistress who can put me through the paces so I lose weight isn’t me.  But I’m pretty sure this lazy, whiny, “don’t wanna” person isn’t me either. 

I’m working on eating less.  Eating right hasn’t really been a problem, I’m good with the vegetable/fruit/protein/carb balance and can prepare all of those things for myself.  I’m not very good with leaving the table just at the full mark, or even leaving the table a little bit over full. I'll work on that too.  But also I need to live in the present, avoiding worry about the future, regrets about the past.  I also need to keep my present as comfortable as possible.  This means cleaning the house when I don’t really feel like it and cooking when I would rather collapse on the couch with a book and do nothing. It also means backing off on the judgment of my overweight self and my similarly overweight brethren.

So the conclusion of this post will not have me forswearing off sugar, or carbs or meat or dairy or gluten or any of the things that supposedly will save me from my weight.  I’ve actually sworn off all of those at one time or another in my life.  When I have, I have not seen a miraculous change in me.  Eliminating things from my diet only makes me want them more.  I’ll conclude this post by committing to be my authentic self and take care of myself, with food, with exercise and with psyche.   It’s no promise to lose two pounds per week, but I have put in my time with those promises and I know they don’t come true.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The best part of the job interview.

I had a job interview today, which was exciting and I think went well.  But I can tell you that the best part of the job interview was the Zipcar I rented.  The one that was closest to where I work was also a fancy car.  When I saw it I laughed.  This was going to be a fun drive.
In reserving the car, I allowed copious amounts of time for the interview itself and to get the Zipcar back in time.  This meant I had nearly two hours after the interview to drive around and I took advantage of that time.  I rarely get to drive cars that react so strongly when I press the gas pedal.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Requiem: Water Bottle

I was in the observation phase of my graduate degree in education.  This meant I took the train and bus an hour each way to Aloha High School and wandered between several Social Studies classes for an entire day, never really feeling like I should be anywhere.  The Social Studies teachers (all coaches, fulfilling my history teacher stereotype*) hung out in a shared office--no one seemed to venture into the staff room.

Due to the lack of access to drinking fountains and running water, I quickly became dehydrated.  My solution?  Buy two Nalgene bottles, fill them in the morning at home and drag them with me every day.

But then the whole BPA thing came about.  I'm pretty sure these are old enough to be BPA bottles, but I can't tell because the symbol on the bottom has rubbed off.  So I finally got a new fancy glass water bottle and am retiring this one.  Matt has just adopted it for rolling out his foot.  The second water bottle I still use at school. I'll look to replacing that one soon.

*Why are US residents so incredibly ignorant of their own country's history?  Because a lot of people hated history in high school.  Every time I encounter someone who professes such hatred I ask them if their history teacher was a coach.  There is always an amazed pause and they say, "How did you know that?"  I know that because a lot of high schools fill their social studies positions with coaches.  In fact, sometimes they advertise them this way.  I couldn't apply for a Social Studies position in the David Douglas school district because I could not also coach boys' JV basketball.  Hiring this way ensures all the coaching positions are filled, but are the best Social Studies teachers being hired?  I think we have evidence that in most cases they are not.

Requiem: Hairbrush.

This hairbrush was a present in either high school or early college.  My friend Sara had a brush like it and I loved how good it felt on my scalp.  Before this brush I had been using a tight-bristled brush with a blue handle that came from Avon.  Except for periods of short hair, I've used this brush daily for a very long time.

But it's a bit worse for wear.  In college, I tried to use it as a hammer and discovered that wood, when pounded on a steel dowel, yields to the steel dowel and you get splinters.  The side you can't see has been ragged for 16 years now.  It's also losing bristles slowly but surely.  They fly off at random moments during the morning brush and Sentinel goes after them followed quickly by me, so he can't attempt to swallow them.

Getting rid of things like this is very hard for me to do.  Despite its ragged appearance and decades of hair oil buildup on the bristles, this brush still works, so I feel like I'm casting away a slightly crippled child.  On top of that, I can't donate it, because who wants a broken, crusty brush?  After I took this picture, I left the brush on the table for a good week or so, before taking it to the trash bin, thanking it for its service and tossing it in.  I feel guilty every time I drop another bag of garbage on it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Block update

The block under gray skies.
This time I zoomed, so we could see a bit better.  Concrete forms are growing.