Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mixed Media I

When the cable goes out,
Monday morning gets interesting.
My residents tell me right away.
It's the lightning.
The road crew was digging.
I broke their television
and now they have to miss
The Young and the Restless,
The Price is Right,
or their background noise.
Walter, though, he knows what a powerless TV means:
"The mirror is broken,"
he tells me. And sure enough,
we can't see our reflection in the static.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

this time with feeling

A Million Little PiecesThe Road (Movie Tie-in Edition 2009) (Vintage International)This past week I decided to try reading The Road and A Million Little Pieces, two books that didn't hook me the first time I started reading them. Things ended well for The Road, but A Million Little Pieces remained a flop for me.

Cormac McCarthy's description of an apocalyptic land is sparse and I tended to wrap myself in blankets while reading, it can get that chilling. I think I would have appreciated the book even more if I had children of my own, as I found it hard to relate to some aspects of the father-son relationship, but I did find narrative themes to cling to like the memory/reality/imagination trifecta.

Unfortunately, James Frey failed twice to entertain/amuse/inform with his true or false story of his six weeks in rehab. I tried to set aside all the controversial baggage the story has and just read it for what it is and I wanted Frey/the narrator to have some redeeming qualities, but I just found him self-absorbed and obnoxious. Maybe it's just me?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Good Day Sunshine

Day Two on the job, my first working the early shift on Cummings and Diedrich Hall. Usually I take care of Anderson Hall and the odd jobs that go with it, but this summer I'll be all over the place--A-Hall, C-Hall, D-Hall--I might as well rent out a room down there.

Early shift does mean that I'm done by 1:30, giving me plenty of time to catch some sunshine. It was so hot in the dining room today, I suggested we all put on our bikinis and lay outside. The ladies at the table where I was refilling coffee agreed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

52 Days of Summer

I tried connecting to the wi-fi in my house today, but the only available network was the security-enabled Sovereign network. A sign from God?

Anywho, here’s a poem for Day 1 of Summer (and Day 1 on the temporary full-time job at the retirement center):


They’re going
to say we’re crazy, Lillian says between breaths.
She stands at her open window.
Her air-conditioner turns on; her oxygen tank hisses and rattles.
What? I ask.
The little green men.
Who? I ask.
She turns and smiles.
When they come down from above,
They’re going to tell us
we’re crazy.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Books of June

Geek Love: A NovelGeek Love - Katherine Dunn

Wow. A marathon of a book, but worth it. Half of the English major in me wanted to write a paper on it while the other half was eternally grateful I didn't have to write a paper on it. And after taking a film class, I also thought a film adaptation of this book would be interesting. It would certainly have to be colorful, but also dark. The "shady carnival" theme has been done before, though not quite like this.

Captivating: A Guided Journal: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul 
Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul - John and Stasi Eldridge

This book took me only four days to read, and while it gets cheesy in some parts, there is certainly no harm in reading it--it's always nice to be reaffirmed. A lot of my friends have read it, so it's been on my list for awhile, but I think the timing was just right for me to hear this book's message this summer. 

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and IndonesiaEat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

Yes, I've already read this book. I'm in the process of skimming over it again in an effort to remember the state of my life before I studied abroad (I read this book about a week before I applied to study abroad in was one of the biggest factors in my decision.), to see just how much I've changed since then, and to reminisce about my favorite places in Rome and Naples, visited by both myself and Gilbert. I also wanted to get one last read in before Julia Roberts replaces my internal visual of Elizabeth Gilbert's journey in the film version coming out this summer.

When You Are Engulfed in FlamesWhen You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris

This man can literally do no wrong. And when I say "literally," I mean "literaturely," which isn't really a word. The thing is, this guy's funny and I could spend the rest of the afternoon trying to come up with a savvy metaphor to describe just how funny, but that would be a waste of the sun I'm hoping to soak up in a few minutes as I continue reading on my deck.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Skyscraper rises in Eternal City

The one thing Rome doesn't have (yet): a skyscraper. Here is the proposed plan for Torre Eurosky:

Horror Story Opening or the True Events of Wednesday Night?

There are exactly eleven cars in the grocery store's parking lot. It's only 9:30, but even the usually lively apartment complex across the street looks dead and sickly under the circa 1970s street lights. Bailey and I get out of the car, still singing Sheryl Crow, and walk into the fluorescent brightness of the store.

We only need a few things, just the last ingredients for the fettuccine Alfredo we want to make the next day, but we were crawling under our skin to get out of the house--even just to drive up to Abbotsford, which is just about as exciting as Colby on any given day.

The two cashiers on duty nod hello as we walk in and go back to whatever it is they were doing: cleaning the glass over the bar code scanner (again), refacing the candy and magazines next to the register. Bailey and I head for the back of the store, the dairy section. The country songs our parents grew up with crackle over the loudspeakers. "Mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys..."

A small girl stands next to the yogurt in the refrigerated shelves and stares up at us as her mother drifts towards the frozen pizzas, leaning on their empty shopping cart and shuffling along in flip flops from last summer. I get the chills, but I'm not sure if they're from the selection of cold cuts and cheese in the refrigerated section around me or the girl's vacant gaze.

Bailey grabs a wedge of Parmesan cheese, the only one in the entire cheese section spanning nearly the entire back wall of the store. This is more of a yellow cheese kind of place.

"Do we need anything else?" she asks.

"I don't think so. We only have ten dollars, so."

We take the chip aisle to the front of the store, passing a middle-aged man debating between Fritos and Cheetos. His cart already holds a 24-pack and a can of Easy Cheese. He turns to watch us as we walk past. We smile hello and keep walking as he puts both bags of chips in his cart.

In the checkout line the cashier asks if we've found everything okay. His skin is a weathered tan and his blond hair stays curly with the help of hair gel. We pay and decline a bag, turning to go back out to the car.

"Have a good day tomorrow, girls," the cashier says to our backs.

"Thanks, you too," we reply.

"I mean...ladies."

The automatic doors slide open and we hesitate for a moment, wondering if we should laugh. Instead we keep walking out to the nearly empty parking lot.