Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Post-facto edit: So I have had an incredible amount of trouble writing this post. I've been working on it on-and-off for three weeks now and I'm just going to throw it out there. Know before you read that it may not make that much sense and I know I'm missing huge huge huge things. Sorry 'bout that. Blame it on the medication if you like; I do.

I'm going to admit it right up front: The Doctor's Wife would have had to bork loudly and badly in about 9,000 different ways at once before I didn't love it. I went into it not only wanting to be pleased but feeling more than a little bit confident that I would be pleased.

'Cause -- did you notice the writing credit at all? Yeah, this dude, right here. And since I've pretty much enjoyed everything he's ever written -- with the exception of Sandman but that isn't Gaiman's fault; that's my ex's fault -- I was pretty much right there with Wife from the beginning. (Okay, if you don't know who Neil Gaiman is, that last paragraph makes next to no sense. Still, if you don't know who he is, you have a lot of treat coming your way! I suggest starting either with Stardust or Neverwhere but, really, just pick a title that grabs your eye and go with it. Enjoy. There are also great movie/TV adaptations of both of the above, just in case that helps you out at at all. Obviously -- read the book first. :))

But then -- you know what the bonus to all this was? It was fucking awesome. It didn't need help to be loved because it was freakin' great. (My real problem with it? The sound on my DVD was not great -- we had to ramp up the volume to a little over half and still had problems.)

Read on at your own risk of spoilers.

Plus, I have a slight shame issue: I failed to recognize the voice of Michael Sheen. Whoopsy!

The basic story for Wife is very simple (as with a lot of Gaiman's best short stories): the Doctor is decoyed to an asteroid, thinking he has received a message from an old Time Lord friend in peril. Meanwhile, an Ood removes mind and soul from a young woman named Idris as she is assured by an older woman she calls Auntie that everything will be fine because there will be a Time Lord along shortly. The Doctor, Amy and Rory in tow, arrives and -- well, everything really isn't fine. Gaiman begins to ring the creepy changes as soon as the Doctor sets foot on the asteroid -- earlier, if you notice that Auntie, her companion Uncle, and the Ood, Nephew, don't seem...hooked up right. Idris herself has been acting strangely since the TARDIS arrived and her first scene with the Doctor is just great: "I just thought of a new thing about kissing!"

Idris is a delightful, sad, heartbreaking new character -- mostly because you never really know what Idris herself is like. The original Idris is gone in the first few moments of the show. Who knows what the real Idris was like! But the TARDIS in human form? As Amy asks the Doctor: "Did you wish really hard?" I know it's become a truism for the new series for fans to say that the true love of the Doctor's lives is the TARDIS but, seriously, folks? It's true. And seeing that made more visible for the rest of us -- well, I normally want to give Gaiman hugs but now I want to hug him, his kids, his dogs, his assistant, and his wife. Just for the sake of having been somewhere around the creation of this fantastic conceit of the TARDIS embodied.

Watching the TARDIS-as-woman and the Doctor interact is wonderful, particularly since Idris is such a delight: she's sharp, funny, and gives the Doctor shit. And her take on their relationship is great stuff: "I wanted to see the universe so I stole a Time Lord and ran away." !! Yes, please! (It's also wonderful that she continually refers to the Doctor as "her thief.")

Alongside all this lovely, however, is a good dose of both sad and genuinely scary: House, the living asteroid who has been...well, up to no good, steals the TARDIS (minus the energy that is now in Idris' body) and makes a run for it with Rory and Amy trapped inside. The mind games House puts them through are really quite uncomfy making -- time becomes a suddenly flexible thing and Amy, for the first time really, is faced with Rory getting angry at her for abandoning him: "You left me again!" The graffiti scrawled on the TARDIS walls as Rory ages and dies without Amy is terrifying. It brings back unpleasant memories of Day of the Moon with the marker slashes on everyone's skin to mark encounters with the Silence.

The Doctor's temper, too, is volatile in this episode: when he discovers what House has been up to, we see shadows of the scene in Eleventh Hour where he calls the Atraxi back for a scolding: the Doctor is always distressing to be around when he gives into his urge to deliver the universe a righteous smackdown.

But the centrepiece of the episode and what makes it an absolute gem is the Doctor and Idris: it's heartbreaking, hysterically funny, charming, lovable -- and I can pretty much guarantee you will never watch The Big Bang the same way again.

Monday, August 29, 2011

photo monday: home improvement

Anna here, in charge of Photo Monday for the week!

In the midst of Hurricane Irene this week, Hanna and I not only managed a trip to visit friends in Providence, RI, but also built some shelving for the bedroom in order to better organize books and clothes ... the dressers we'd saved from the apartment building trash (yes, we have been known to dumpster dive) and the wine crates from the store up the street just weren't cutting it any longer. The downside, of course, is that we had to spend yesterday evening constructing a 9' x 7.5'x 1' shelving unit in our tiny apartment. In tropical humidity.

Ah, the price of literacy.

First, we had to clear a space for the new shelves.
(If only we could keep the wall empty! So restful.)
We moved one of the old bookcases into the closet to hold VHS tapes
and periodicals. Play spot the cat for extra points!
There were 72 bolts to tighten. Ouch!
Gerry supervised from her perch on the piles of books.
By 10pm we had the whole thing constructed and
called it quits for the night.
Here are the shelves mostly filled (the wine crates remained ... but our
clothes are finally not buried at the back of the closet!
The cat's supervisory responsibilities exhausted her.
And now we have space for more books!
This time we've actually interfiled our books
for subject continuity!
And now as I type this, Hanna is making us Tassajara whole wheat millet bread which is one of my new favorite treats! I promise a recipe one of these days. We plan to enjoy it with Magic Hat Hex and matzo-vegetable soup.

Cross-posted at the feminist librarian.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Fun Times

On some level, I really do believe there is nothing better than this song some days.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thoughts for the Soon-to-be-Fan

This is a rebroadcast of a post I originally wrote for the Pursuit of Harpyness. If you've already read it there, apologies; come back on Friday for something more original! (Okay, it probably won't be technically "original," but it will be different.) And I'll try to get my act in gear re: The Doctor's Wife for next week, I swear.

When Anna originally asked me if I would be interested in doing some guestblogging on what I call "the orange blog," she suggested that I could think about writing about Doctor Who companions -- possibly from the original series -- and why they are awesome. This is largely because I spent a lot of time complaining about the bloggers who complained about the length of Amy Pond's skirt. (Short version: who cares about the length of her fracking skirt? If you're staring at her legs, you are totally missing the point. End short version.)

I considered this, but then another friend -- the wonderful Lola -- suggested in an email that a primer for those baffled but intrigued by the Doctor Who universe and fandom might be a good idea. And before I could plan, really, I was already suggesting "rules" and a collection of episodes to Anna via chat. What follows has been cleaned up and expanded, but still.

For those who don't know the series, welcome! The TARDIS has lots of space; find a seat and hang on. For those who do -- well, I hope what follows is at least a little bit funny.

1. It's bigger on the inside.

2. Never lose faith in the sonic screwdriver. And prepare to be charmed by its regenerative capacities. From originally looking like a tire pressure gauge, it now looks like some kind of whacky mini-LCD flashlight crossed with a tire pressure gauge. And it goes "chirp" a lot. Enjoy this.

3. Time Lords. Time Lords are...a real bitch, honestly. In the original series -- 1963-1989 inclusive bar a couple of BBC worker strikes in the '70s and '80s -- the Time Lords were, more or less, supposed to be the magical deus ex machina good guys. The Doctor (no spoilers here) is a Time Lord -- if he is awesome, then shouldn't his planet be just overflowing with awesomeness? Well, yes, and no. If you look closely at the original series Time Lords (I'm thinking here of things like the last part of of the Patrick Troughton episode War Games where the Time Lords force the Doctor to regenerate and exile him to Earth and the first several season of Jon Pertwee's Doctor where he's dealing with the exile and, by the way, having had bits of his memory tampered with also by the Time Lords) they're not so sweet and kindly. They're actually pretty devious, rather self-centered, and capable of being quite cruel. The Doctor makes more than one reference (The Deadly Assassin, The Five Doctors) to the Time Lords' history and how it "ain't all lavendar." In the new series, head writer Russell T. Davies and, in his turn, current show-runner Steven Moffat, have taken that idea and run further and faster with it than I think anyone expected them to. If you're an old series fan (like me) who always secretly thought the Time Lords were probably on crack, The End of Time (the last of the David Tennant specials) will warm the twisted cockles of your heart. If you're a totally new fan, enjoy the cracktasticness of having illusions destroyed.

4. Anything being in the TARDIS other than the Doctor, companion(s), and specifically invited guests is bad. Any sounds, any voices, faces -- if there's an actual physical person, then whoa. If you hear a deep bell tolling (see Cloister Bell) prepare for the deep and sticky 'cause it's gonna get bad in here.

Fifth Doctor.
(Peter Davison.) Note celery.
5. There have been 10 other regenerations of the Doctor. If you don't like this one, there are plenty of others to choose from! but, please: leave others to their enjoyment. Almost every fan has a particular regeneration of the Doctor they consider to be "theirs." It's often the first Doctor you encounter but doesn't have to be (hey, it's a fandom: there are no real rules here!) If you love Peter Davison (5), that's awesome; I'd love to listen to you enthuse for hours on why celery is the greatest thing ever; but, please, don't knock Matt Smith (11) for not being David Tennant (10). And so on and so forth.

6. That being said, the Doctor is, in essence, always the Doctor.

7. The Daleks are small irritable pepper-pots who want to rule the universe. Their history with the Doctor goes back to the second episode of the first season of the series; more about this in a later post. Give thanks to the estate of the late, great Terry Nation who created them that Davies and Moffat get to play with them. They will always come back. They will always be short-tempered. They will always want to rule the universe and/or kill the Doctor. It's just what they do.

8. Sontarans look like pissy potatoes. If you were the genetically modified member of a clone society entirely based on military conquest and domination, you'd be easily annoyed, too.

9. Yes, you can escape the entire Cyber empire on foot, at a gentle stroll. Don't let them concern you unduly.

10. The Master. Just -- remember that name. It will be important and when you need to know why -- you'll know why.

The Master. (John Simm).
11. Okay, here's why: the Master is, along with the Daleks, the Cybers, and the Sontarans, one of the longest-running and most popular villains on the show. He has been through at least two official regenerations (I'm counting Roger Delagado, Anthony Ainley, and John Simm here although there are eight actors who have played the part one way and another) but more bodies than that and is, as Time Lords go, so far at the end of his regeneration rope (having started in the show at 12 back in the day with Jon Pertwee and the Third Doctor), that his rope has given up and gone home (see point 14). He makes up what he no longer has in regenerations through body-stealing and black magic.

12. The Time War. Think of it as Event Zero (for the new series) and almost completely irrelevant (for the old series). To know more, watch David Tennant (10), season 2-4 of the new series. And then, when you understand it, come back and explain it to me.

13. Companions. Used to be called 'assistants' back in the '60s and '70s. Often, though not always, a young woman; often, though not always, a single person travelling with the Doctor, sometimes for multiple series. Serves the function of the audience: asks the question to advance the plot; gets lost/poisoned/captured/hypnotised/drugged; goes and opens the door with "Do Not Open" on it; wanders into places which should not be wandered into; and, in the new series more than the old to my mind, keeps the Doctor a little more in the light than he might otherwise be. Classic companions from the original series include Susan, Jamie, Zoe, the Brigadier, Jo Grant, Sarah Jane Smith, Leela, Romanadvoratnalundar, Sergeant Benton, Adric, and Ace. (If you want to discuss the politics of skirt length, do it somewhere else.) 

14. Regeneration. Time Lords -- of which the Doctor is occasionally not the last; see point 3 -- get to regenerate when a body is old, worn-out, or too badly injured. They get 12 regenerations. This is old series canon. Steven Moffat may (or may not) be on a road to reinvent this from the ground up.

15. Hey, I came up with 14; I figure y'all get to do some work here, too: what's your 15? If you're a fan, what's the thing you tell your friends when you're trying to get them hooked?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pretty Things

What do we all need on a daily basis? Yeah, yeah, apart from the whole "food, water, air" triad. Well, one of my yoga teachers (via DVD only, sadly, but that still counts, right?) says, "Space" which is as good a suggestion as any. A bumper sticker on my kitchen wall says, "Chocolate" which is an excellent answer most days. "Whatever the hell gets you out of bed" also works -- unless it's an illegal substance or something which contravenes someone else's human rights.

But one of the things I think we all need more of are pretty things to look at! Who doesn't need something lovely to look at while cubicling the day away? (And I say this as someone who really kinda likes her cubicle.)

So here is a selection of "Pretty Thing Providers" -- i.e., Tumblrs.

WhoQuotes. It's kinda all in the name here, folks, but you get a great assortment of quotes (Whovian, of course) and images on here.

I love classic horror/sci-fi images. And the Swamp Thingy blog meets that craving beautifully; great combo of animated and static images and lots of other fun blogs to find if you enjoy link-surfing (and who doesn't?) It's like a daily Godzilla quotient!

Lazy Self-Indulgent Book Reviews. The Lazy Book Reviewer is neither lazy nor self-indulgent but she does give you some of the funniest, sharpest, most amusing Tumblr commentary you're likely to get: on books, TV, movies, and her dog.

book lovers never go to bed alone. Bookshelf pron. Book pron. Bookstore pron. Are you literate? Do you have a thing for books? Then this is for you. You may wish to put something over your keyboard before you start looking at the images; drool can short out your keys, y'know.

fuck yeah dr who -- while I may not agree with their spelling (I prefer "Doctor" to "Dr."), I love what they do! Old series; new series; it's all here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Fun Times

Hey, I owe you something cheerful after Wednesday, right?

So here it is: cheerful and terrible at once! (But not terrible in the classic sense of the word.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oh, Doctor

This week hasn't worked out quite like I planned, but this is something Whovian! And it's Wednesday!

Take this next bit seriously, though: if you haven't seen the end of the first half of Season 6 yet, do not watch this.

I cannot stress this enough.

Really. Do not hit play.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Photo Monday

You know what I really hate about being depressed? How things I used to enjoy doing now seem like terrifying abysses of doom, humiliation, and despair. After spending most of last week dealing with a hellacious commenter on the orange blog (did you know I'm guest-blogging there for August with Minerva and Lola? I am! One of my posts is cross-posted from here, so you've seen it already, but here's the newbie!) who tried her best to hand my ass to me, writing new posts is somehow not on my Top 10 list of things to do this weekend.

And yet here I am and I have so many thoughts about The Doctor's Wife that we'll see what we can come up with by way of something Whovian for Wednesday.

Anyway, with that note on your Monday morning, enjoy some old photographs that I didn't put up at the time I took them but still really like. And I really do honestly hope you are having an awesome start to your week -- or finish to your week if you are one of those individuals who work over a weekend or night shifts or third shifts or weird stuff like that. Good on you.

The strange damage being done by something to my
beloved philodendron, Ianto.
Trees near the Saugatuck Dunes.
A panorama shot I got nearly right! (Also Saugatuck.)
Ditto. Not about the panorama bit, obviously.
Lakeshore sand.
Geraldine in what was one of her favorite napping places
last winter: the basket we kept our napkins in.
One of last winter's blizzards.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Fun Times

More Dar Williams. Hell of a way to spend 5 minutes on a Friday, in my opinion!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Which Captain Jack Would Be Relevant Here?

Here we are today to talk about the pirate episode of season 6. I know, I know: it has a real name. Black Spot something-or-other. But, honestly -- are we ever going to call it anything other than "the pirate episode"? No, we are not. So lets just start as we mean to go on and leave it there.

But first: a public service announcement from the end of A Good Man Goes to War: WHAT THE FUCK! SERIOUSLY. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK WAS THAT ABOUT.


Moving on. Spoilers, yada yada.

The Curse of the Black Spot. (I did say it had a real title.) Overall, this has much the same feel as, for instance, Victory of the Daleks. It's a fun, charming monster-of-the-week that tries to do something a little more serious at the end and, depending on how much you liked the rest of the episode, succeeds or fails accordingly.

I have heard people complaining about this episode because it's not like the season openers were. To sidetrack for a minute and be fully honest, I don't really read the posts about Doctor Who (the first link) because I don't like their DW bloggers. They seem to me to be all new series fans who expect the show to be something that, in its DNA, it isn't. But that's a post for another day. (If nothing else, the episode Teresa Jusino talks about in her post, The Web Planet, is one of my favorite Hartnell episodes. I love the bugs; I love the planet; I love Ian. So bite me, Ms. Jusino: if your taste is for the adrenalin-driven and simplistic, I suggest you try Supernatural or Battlestar Galactica. Or, say, The Hills. And get the hell out of my party.)

Ahem. *kofkof* Sorry about that: bad fan moment. I get no cookies. Go your ways, Ms. Jusino: I'm sure there's room enough in the TARDIS for all of us.

Anyway, no, Black Spot is not the most exciting episode that the first half of season 6 has to offer: it is a fun way to spend 45 minutes. The TARDIS lands on a pirate ship that is being haunted by a siren who claims anyone who is injured or sick on the ship; even a minor cut is enough for her to turn up and whisk off the luckless sailor to -- heaven knows where. Or the Doctor knows where. There's also a grumpy captain and a mysterious stowaway.

Arthur Darville gets to have a marvelous time in this episode doing a cod version of Alan Tudyk's fantabulous stoned turn in Death at a Funeral. Rory is injured fairly early on in the episode and the siren keeps trying to take him away; Amy and the Doctor basically sit on him, but his behavior when the siren around is a hoot.

Turns out the siren can enter the ship -- to claim the aforementioned injured victims -- not simply through the water around or on the ship but through any reflections. It may be that all reflections are now open doors from one universe or dimension to another. (Is anyone else harking back to the Family at this point? 'Cause I swear, if that little girl with the red balloon starts popping out of mirrors, I am going to haul my couch out away from the wall so I can hide behind it.)

Now, personally, I think Black Spot is doing something at least a little more interesting than a lot of the reviews I have seen of it seem to think. The siren, it seems, is a medical program from a ship stalled in the same area as the pirate ship but in a different dimension. (Stones of Blood!) The siren is also not being as unhelpful as everyone thought: what she's trying to do is carry out her program and heal the injured and sick. (The Empty Child!) Seems like her program is a little damaged, though, and she can't quite figure out how to do her job right: all she can do is place people in stasis and leave them. (The Doctor Dances!) So, if nothing else, there are a crap-ton of series nods in this episode which are endlessly fun.

There are some lovely moments in this episode: the captain and his stowaway son; the siren and Amy in the stasis chamber; Amy and Rory in the TARDIS -- plus another near-death experience for Rory which got the response from the three of us watchers: "Oh, please, no, not again -- c'mon, Rory!" And sighs of relief all 'round when he didn't die (Kenny was funny...but only on South Park.) And the Doctor is yet again confronted with his desire to save everyone -- or at least to try and keep people from killing people or things until the situation is understood.

I really do think if you just take this episode for a cheerful, amusing romp with pirates, it's a pretty solidly good time. Yes, the CPR is wrong; is there a TV show that gets it right? Yup, there are dialogue goofs and continuity fluffs and it's just generally not perfect. Gosh. Shall we all storm the studios of BBC Wales and burn the place down now? Does the story hang together as tightly as (we hope) the season openers will (in the end)? Well, no -- but if everything were Day of the Moon, frankly, I don't know if I could cope. And there are space pirates at the end? Do you understand this, people? Space frelling pirates! Okay? Yes? Are we all good now?

So when it comes time to click into that third episode, make some good tea or get a glass of wine, pick out your favorite candy, and relax a bit. (Oh, except for when the woman peers through the wall at Amy. Tense up then. 'Cause, believe me, when you hit the end of the season, you're going to wish you spent a lot more time being tense around those moments.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bricks in the Wall

I don't normally write about politics or current events because, honestly, I sometimes don't keep up with my news feeds for days at a time and there are many other people on the Internetz who cover that role far better than I ever could. Why duplicate what you can't either replicate or improve on?

But the first thing I checked this morning was the Guardian's live news feed of riot coverage and I was checking last night's live feed until a few minutes before I went to bed last night and what the fuck, people.

The parallel that comes to mind for me, inevitably, is Ireland and Northern Ireland in particular (because I spent about 10 years studying the IRA and three years writing a master's thesis about nationalism and Bobby Sands). All I could think every time I read a news story coming out of England on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning was, "Now London knows what it feels like to be Belfast." And that's just awful.

Did we not see this happen in Belfast in the '70s often enough that we needed to rerun it for kicks in London in the '10s? David Cameron's statement from this morning is, like so much of what comes out of his mouth, Margaret Thatcher redux: We will put more police on the streets. We will arrest lots of people. We will speed up the criminal courts. We will protect the law-abiding. We will restore order.

Would you like to know how bad it can get while order is being restored? It can get pretty fucking bad. It can turn into a major fucking nightmare.If you'd like to know how bad it can get, google "Diplock courts" (non-jury courts with a single judge) and try reading some Tim Pat Coogan or Padraig O'Malley or Kevin J. Kelley on Ireland of the '60s and '70s (Coogan is probably the most readable but also the most biased of the three). If you'd prefer first person narratives, try Richard O'Rawe's Blanketmen. Young men and women were arrested, detained at Her Majesty's pleasure, and binned up sometimes for years at a time for nothing more meaningful than being on the wrong street at the wrong time. Or being in a group. Or being out at a pub. Or -- and this is my favorite -- having the wrong last name. That's a good one, isn't it?

Do we really need to do this all again to prove that it was a bad idea the first time? Let me say it the short way: Demonising People Is A Bad Idea. (It doesn't make a catchy acronym but you can't have everything.) All it does is make them demonise you right back. There are at least 225+ years of Irish history to make this point and lots and lots and lots of dead people along the way.

Violence meets violence and gets more violent. At the minute, it's smash and burn looting and, yes, that's awful; yes, it should stop; yes, anyone hurting someone else should be punished. But if you drop 16,000 police officers on the streets instead of 10,000, how will that help? More uniforms to resent, to be scared of, to hate, to be angry at because the young people in these communities -- and plenty of the older people, I imagine -- don't see them as protectors. They're the bad guys, the ones who come and break up your party, or take away your friends, or stop you on the street because you're the wrong color or wearing the wrong jacket or the wrong shoes or in the wrong place.

A whole generation of Irish young men -- no longer young now -- could explain precisely how this dance goes. It doesn't end with a pleasantly stolen midnight kiss. It ends with dead people and resentment being built into the next generation of historical narratives that define "us" against "them" and set the stage for the next go-round whenever the provocation occurs.

The terminology of battle is already being used in the reporting and the Tweeting and liveblogging coming out of the injured areas; the phrase "war zone" is being tossed around. Businesses are boarding up, shutting down, closing "for the day." Some terrible language is being tossed around about the rioters.

I don't think that this one set of events will turn London into a divided city or a city armed against itself (it already is that), but it could lead to some very, very nasty things. Using precedent as a guide, we could look at the "peace wall" in Belfast or the tradition of having a bowl of water and a towel in your front hall for anyone -- literally, anyone -- who had been tear-gassed by the armed forces (police or Army) and might need first aid.

The Met is to be commended for not having asked for more serious gear in the wake of must be three nightmarish nights; their admission that plastic bullets may be used tonight is not a confidence-inducing one. Plastic bullets kill people and more uniforms on the streets won't fix the problem; yes, it might sit on its head and squash it out of existence for the time being, long enough for Cameron to take the credit for having "restored order" and get out of office -- but it will only pop up again and again and again.

This is Thatcherism coming home to roost. This is 20+ years of willful blindness on the part of successive administrations to the real, live, angry problems out there.

There's a great short piece from Tariq Ali on the London Review blog this morning that makes all the points I want to make except better and in more measured English:
Why is it that the same areas always erupt first, whatever the cause? Pure accident? Might it have something to do with race and class and institutionalised poverty and the sheer grimness of everyday life? The coalition politicians (including new New Labour, who might well sign up to a national government if the recession continues apace) with their petrified ideologies can’t say that because all three parties are equally responsible for the crisis. They made the mess.
They privilege the wealthy. They let it be known that judges and magistrates should set an example by giving punitive sentences to protesters found with peashooters. They never seriously question why no policeman is ever prosecuted for the 1000-plus deaths in custody since 1990.
One of my friends referred to this blog post as being about my "disappointment." Surprisingly, I am disappointed. I am distressed and unhappy and I wish there was something more concrete I could do than sit here and write a blog post making elaborate historical parallels. So I'm going to take a lesson from Stephen Fry here; in response to the awfulness in England yesterday, he tweeted 10 charities in need of donations; here's the link to the #riotcleanup tag in Twitter and the Facebook group and a Wiki.

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's Not This Cold in Boston. Yet.

Thanks to Neil Gaiman for linking to this because I might not have found it otherwise.

And for the win mix of new series/old series references!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Fun Times

Not the cut I wanted (why do I feel like I say this a lot?), but still a fun song. I remember hearing Prine talk on a live album about picking up a newspaper when he was on tour in Europe -- he was in Rome at the time, if I recall right -- and reading the Dear Abby column and writing this song.

When he told the story, it was funny. Clearly -- when I tell it, it is not.

Enjoy the song anyway!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Photo Wednesday: Back from Maine

Hi folks,

Anna here, standing in for your usual blog mistress -- who is currently in the kitchen making a delicious veggie roast with fresh beets and onions from her parents' garden and kale from our CSA subscription. Summer is upon us and, lo, we are drowning in vegetables!

the green tomatoes await
We spent the weekend in Maine with Hanna's parents, who have an expansive vegetable garden and feed us three times a day on scrumptious baked goods (bagels, Finnish coffee bread, lemon meringue pie, chocolate chip cookies, ginger iced cream ...) and fresh-harvested beets, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, onions, and more. Here are some photos I took while we were there.


This is not a hummingbird house,
but the hummingbirds were everywhere

In which in indulge my enjoyment of windows and doors.

Flowers in the garden...

...and vegetables (cabbage in this case; yum!)

The woodshed.

The old Norridgewock  public library ...

...and the model Hanna and her father made when she was small.

Two younglings at the artisan bread fair
grinding cornmeal using a modified bicycle.
Watch for Hanna's return on Friday.

Monday, August 1, 2011

...many years ago, in college...

Travelling today, folks; no opportunity to write a post.

So enjoy one of my favorite Dar Williams songs, instead. I saw her do this live when she opened for Joan Baez in