30.6.08

Less Pulp, More Fiction

Dreaming about the publishing landscape after electronic media make distribution a cheap no-brainer for everyone, Jonathan Karp is actually bullish about capital-L Literature and even capital-A advances for said Lit.

"Publishers will be forced to invest in works of quality to maintain their niche. These books will be the one product that only they can deliver better than anyone else. Those same corporate executives who dictate annual returns may begin to proclaim the virtues of research and development, the great engine of growth for business. For publishers, R&D means giving authors the resources to write the best books -- works that will last, because the lasting books will, ultimately, be where the money is."

27.6.08

Envirolet

Link saved for another day: Envirolet waterless composting toilets. Cheaper than a septic system, environmentally friendly, and apparently easy to install.

Good thing my blood pressure's 90/60.

Once a week, I get an eco-bag full of vegetables from a farm in East Greenwich. The veggies are local, fresh, organic, and they don't require a jumbo jet's worth of fuel to get to Providence. But I have no control over what's in the bag or how much. This is a problem when I've got, say, a bagful of spinach, a pile of dandelion greens, 25 radishes and a handful of sugar snap peas. Sometimes, the farm distributes recipes, which helps with the cooking dilemma. But mostly I'm on my own. So I've devised some flavor rubrics and a method: chop, slice or otherwise transform the vegetables into bite-size pieces and throw them in a pan with some hot olive oil and...

Salt, lemon, pepper.
Salt, garlic, basil.
Salt, cilantro, cumin, turmeric, coriander.
Salt, salt, salt.

I could toss the result with pasta or rice (maybe add a chopped tomato). Or put it all in the food processor and have tapenade. A can of beans could be added in either case, for more protein. Or grilled chicken. The point is to get a method together that will result in reliably good, easy-to-make meals even when the farm sends an unusual vegetable ...

To be perfectly honest, the radishes make me a little crazy. I have no idea what to do with them.

Weirdly Satisfying

David Bessler's Pipecleaner Dance is a cross between Muybridge and dance lessons from Zefrank. Nb: Use the keyboard; it works better that way.

19.6.08

I write on walls.


What a book is.
Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.
You can, too. All it takes is a good line, some letters, krazy glue (of course!) and -- this is very important -- a level.

18.6.08

Making Protein Even More Expensive

Supposedly because people in so-called developing nations are eating more meat, but perhaps also because fuel has become so expensive, fertilizer has become a very, very hot commodity. Sigh.

17.6.08

Housework in the News

CNN reports that doing housework is sexy (if you're a man).

The NYT has a long article on housework sharing, too. The most complicated part of the problem is that, due to prevailing and confused norms about gender roles, women tend to make decisions about jobs and partners that do not, in the long run, favor equal sharing of household tasks. Here is the saddest line: There comes a point where the origin of the cards you hold becomes irrelevant, and you have to play the hand you are dealt.

15.6.08

Rainy

There's nothing, nothing, like a long run in the rain. In new sneakers, too.

12.6.08

The Alice Ball House in New Canaan

Recently the NYT carried a story about the plans afoot to demolish a historic mid-century house designed by Philip Johnson in New Canaan, CT. Even the local preservationist, who is generally unhappy with the idea of demolition, can't quite think his way out of the McMansion mindset.

"This is a space that has to be experienced directly," said Gregory Farmer, a preservationist at the Connecticut trust, which lists the Ball house as one of the state’s most threatened treasures, "a space that’s experienced at a very personal level rather than something that’s very impressive to someone passing by on the street. Driving by, it looks like nothing."

Driving by? It looks like nothing? See, this is the problem. These people don't live in actual neighborhoods. They live in houses on roads. And "curb appeal" refers to the impression you get as you zoom past each house in your SUV. Grr.

Going Nowhere With More Degrees of Freedom Than Ever Before!

From the Department of What Will They Think of Next: the omni-directional treadmill. So now you can go nowhere in any direction you like.

One more thing -- comments are now open.

10.6.08

I Did Not Pack Enough Zoloft


IMG_1278
Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.
Have finally uploaded some photos of our trip to Iceland last April. Here's one I took just after we landed. Outside the airport, the view was more or less like this. It was then that I realized, I have not packed nearly enough Zoloft.

Odd Thing In the Landscape


Menhir-type thing
Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.
We saw quite a few of these. Graves? Landmarks? Boundary markers? Eerie and mysterious.

At the Sushi Train, Reykjavik


At the Sushi Train, Reykjavik
Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.
This was just before Jane discovered that if you are going to take a plate off the moving conveyor belt, you should be really sure you want it. Sushi train wreck...

How I Felt


IMG_1263
Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.
This little gem just about sums it up. I did not adore Iceland.

Iceland Is So Kewl


IMG_1266
Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.
Jane is totally Björked.

8.6.08

Dead Media Nostalgia Meaningful Only to GenX

We had divorce and Jimmy Carter and nuclear winter and teachers blowing up in rocket ships.

But we also had mix tapes.

Cassette from My Ex lets you relive those days in all their cheesy, angst-ridden glory. They were into you, so they made you a tape. Today you don't have a cassette player, but you still can't toss that mix.

7.6.08

Making Friends, According to Jane

Tonight, Jane told us this story: "Once upon a time, there was a red cat and a blue dog. They were neighbors. The cat was very afraid of the dog. So, one day, she climbed up the fence and peeked over it, at the dog. And then she dug a hole under the fence with her little claws. She ran through the hole and jumped on the dog, who was drinking a martini! He spilled his martini all over himself, and that's how they became friends. The end."

"Should Mommy blog that right now?"

"No. You should tell it to your psychotherapist."

"Mommy will blog that right now. Yes, yes, she will."

6.6.08

Cent Jours

My friend Steve is engaged in a lovely collaborative project, 100 Images, which combines a plein-air watercolor a day from the artist Carianne Mack with an original poem by Steve. I hope they turn this project into a limited-edition artist book. It's the sort of thing I'd love to have, for winter afternoons.

3.6.08

Boredom Not So Boring

Have just remembered one of Richard Howard's wonderful bits of advice: When a piece of literature bores you, be alert. Something important is happening there.

A point that might apply more generally, perhaps.

2.6.08

Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious

I am making dinner for Jane and talking at the same time, which is never a good combination. Sure enough, I say one thing and mean another. Jane calls me out on the error.

"I'm sorry, Jane. I misspoke."

Jane says, "You can say that again!"

I laugh. Jane repeats herself. Five times. After the fifth iteration, I say, "You know, Jane, a joke's not funny if you keep repeating it."

"Can you say that again?" she asks. The minx. Eyes like the sea, glittering.

"You're so funny," I say.

"Tell it to Dr. X," she says. Meaning, my psychotherapist.

I am living with the world's smallest Derridean.

Field Notebook

Oooh! Mark just sent me a new notebook for my field notes. Hard not to hold this baby and think, the whole world is my field. But that will not do. Specificity! There are crops to predict (easy: 1 ear of corn, 100 zukes, a bean), landscaping and further renovation plans to make, wish lists to compile, trips to the beach, French classes, afternoons at the Ath, sweaters to dream about, and lots of new things to cook with our fresh farm-share vegetables. Oh, summer! Thank you, Mark!