# (2) 02 Jun 2008, 09:10AM: Quick Reviews:
Paddleboating in the Jefferson Memorial basin: harder than I'd thought. Iron Man: extremely fun. The fake Wired cover near the start stakes the claim that Tony Stark has the most badass gadgets EVER. Which he does. Silas Marner: I'm two-fifths through it and need to finish it to make sure Dunsey Cass gets his comeuppance. And nineteenth-century British lit always makes me incredibly grateful for the Internet and the Greyhound bus.
# (1) 03 Jun 2008, 09:00AM: Weird Things:
Hulu now features the first two seasons of Babylon 5. Since Leonard and I enjoy Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, we've started on Bab5, which features (I am promised) big old arc-y epic alien wars and political intrigue and tragedy and character development. Fans often apologize to newcomers for the first season, and I am understanding why; as a scifi writer, Leonard the other night took personal offense to some clanking exposition. "There are so many better ways to get that across in one sentence!" he exclaimed. Specifically, in "Born to the Purple":
Mollari: I've already made a reservation at Fresh Air.
Adira: Fresh Air? That's the finest restaurant on Babylon 5!
Leonard instantly came up with three better lines for Adira:
I thought they were full up months in advance!
But since Battlestar Galactica is emerging at the stately pace of one episode per week, we have no choice (read that in a William Adama voice) but to watch its precursor instead.
Also: If Sarah Peters weren't in Mali right now I'd assume that she had made this video.
# (2) 05 Jun 2008, 01:55PM: Aside:
I'll be offline for much of this weekend at a retreat in San Antonio. It looks like my 10-year high school reunion, scheduled for next weekend, is cancelled for want of RSVPs. I'm managing three to five projects right now, double the number I had last month at this time. Dance Dance Revolution seems to be getting harder, probably because I've raised the difficulty level to Difficult. I want to talk with my California friends sometime soon. Born Standing Up by Steve Martin is thoughtful and funny and helps me understand artistic innovation. I've been reading Making Light comments by Abi Sutherland, especially for insights about software testing and motherhood. And Susan McCarthy's Becoming a Tiger is refreshing my love of life -- not just my life, but of rambunctious, smart fauna in general.
# (1) 06 Jun 2008, 06:58AM: I Am Never Going To Meet My Lawyer:
Kevan and Holly are here. Evidently it IS possible for me to keep up with them in conversation, but only if they're severely jetlagged. I'll take what I can get.
This weekend they're doing Come Out and Play NYC (weird games fest) and possibly MoCCA. And they'll also be eating with (or by?) Danielle Sucher, our lawyer, whom I still haven't met (everything's been phone & email). Riana (thank you for doing law intern anthropology for us, Riana) introduced me to Danielle. The business development woman at work is going to eat one of Danielle's dinners. Will I ever meet her? Yes, when Leonard and I do up our wills soon (no way to not make that sound creepy). So the title of this entry is a lie.
# 14 Jun 2008, 10:22PM: Brick To The Back Of The Head:
Zack Weinberg once told me that a relative of his had predicted a change in Zack. Zack was about to move to New York City to start at Columbia, and the relative predicted that, after two weeks, it would be as though a brick had hit him in the back of the head, and Zack would start walking faster. Evidently this was accurate.
I went to the retreat last weekend and stayed with Kristen and Aaron and Anne and Ben, and I need to write about that sometime soon. Then I came to work and went from managing 1.5 projects to 3.5. Today I brunched with Evan and Leonard at the soon-to-close Florent, caught up a little on project work, got new library books, went to a members' reception at MoMA, and met Ze Frank.
Maybe next week a brick will hit me in the back of the head and I'll manage all my projects with the tip of a single finger. Today it's all hands on deck.
# (1) 17 Jun 2008, 12:37PM: In Which I Am Suddenly Michael Lopp:
World of Warcraft is the new golf. Battlestar Galactica is the new baseball.
# (1) 19 Jun 2008, 04:00PM: Summy-Come-Lately Nitpicks B5:
Babylon 5 has enraptured the Harihareswara-Richardson household; we're up to 4 or 5 episodes a week. Quick review, halfway through the first season: I love the political intrigue and much of the dialogue, but Sinclair can be incredibly wooden, almost as wooden as the cheesy set for the B5 equivalent of the Promenade.
I've been reading the Lurker's Guide to B5 after each episode to grok them better. The creator, J. Michael Straczynski, communicated with fans on the net as the episodes first aired in the 1990s, and the lurker's guide collects and displays these notes as well. Some episodes, and some of JMS's posts, have aged better than others. For example, the guide for "Believers" has JMS chortling that the ending is completely unexpected. Leonard and I called it twenty minutes in, but we're watching it 14 years later. JMS also notes in that message that "TV-SF is generally 20-30 years behind print SF," and Leonard agrees. Maybe Leonard and I are used to the plot twists of print.
We just saw "Signs and Portents," which I keep calling "Shadows and Portents" because freaking every other episode has "shadows," "dark," "twilight," or "night" in the title.
And now the question for Riana, John, and other B5 fans who are 14 years ahead of me:
As Sinclair and Garibaldi left the lavatory, another person entered. From the person's appearance, it seemed to be a woman, even though they were leaving the men's room (the "Male" symbol was clearly visible on the wall outside.)
Is this a hint to some huge arc later? Or a nod to the existence of trans people on B5? Or just a continuity error? Leonard and I have seriously spent twenty minutes trying to figure this out. Please leave insights in the comments so Leonard and I can start talking about Shadows.
# 19 Jun 2008, 04:14PM: Semifinal Thoughts:
Zed wrote me several weeks ago with some research on Trollope and the "metropolitan moon". He gave me permission to post it so here goes:
The context was a spat between Trollope and the Anglican church over
Trollope criticizing how badly rural curates (or deans) were paid. As
Leonard notes, a metropolitan is an Anglican archbishop. So it's just
a reference to curates being envious of archbishops' riches. Holly, in
your comments, quotes the relevant passage, but missed that a dean is
the lowly underpaid figure.
Also, the phrase alludes to Hamlet.
Hamlet, Act I, Scene 4 (Hamlet addressing the ghost of his father).
Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou comest in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee: I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me!
Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell
Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements; why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn'd,
Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again. What may this mean,
That thou, dead corpse, again in complete steel
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
What he meant by alluding to Hamlet, and why it should be profane
(simply because he's suggesting the deans are violating the
commandment against coveting their neighbor's ox?) still escape me.
But at this point, I think it was totally not a sex thing.
# (1) 21 Jun 2008, 09:48AM: Zurek Tip:
If you want sourdough soup in New York City, use the MenuPages find-a-food search and search for "white borsch," "white borscht," and "zurek" in Brooklyn, the East Village, and the Lower East Side.
In general, HopStop, MenuPages, "Find businesses" in Google Maps, and WorldCat are great resources for New Yorkers and visitors. They aggregate information and make it easier to use, so I use more public transit, eat out more, and borrow more books.
# (3) 21 Jun 2008, 10:12PM: Goodbye, Cody's:
Cody's Books is closing. As in, all their stores. Forever. I am sad and angry. The Cody's that I loved, the location at Haste and Telegraph (where I worked for ten months just after college), closed last year. But this is the final death, the final vanishing. Here's hoping Moe's is doing well.
# 22 Jun 2008, 10:02PM: The Invalid Coughs Piteously:
Am siiiiiiick. Leonard characterizes my amount of whining as "not more than is seemly" and has been providing very homemade chicken noodle soup (seriously, made noodles from scratch and turned a whole dead chicken into soup) as well as tea and whatnot. Napped extensively, reread Zodiac: The Eco-Thriller and watched some over-the-top Psych. I should construct a Grand Unified Theory of Easy-To-Digest Media For The Sumana Sickbed. Criteria include: funny, not too original, happy ending.
Funny typo in my incoming email: "Sumana: Thanks for conforming." I'm assuming he meant "confirming" but why risk finding out what he really thinks of me?
# (1) 25 Jun 2008, 10:24AM: Between Achoo And A Missed Deadline:
Is it worth it to go back to work when you're still recovering from a cold and not functioning at 100%? My sources say blah.
# 27 Jun 2008, 08:14PM: Friday Night Blights:
Yesterday: woke for an hour ear-li in the mornin' thanks to Leonard's incoming illness and a foolhardy attempt to start sleeping an hour early. This morning: wrong number woke me at 4 and I couldn't get back to sleep. Insomniacs take note: Hulu is adding a bunch of new shows and movies this summer, and now carries The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
I've just read The Puttermesser Papers (disappointing), The Fire Inside: Firefighters Talk About Their Lives (quick and moving), and the third trade collection of Action Philosophers! (funny; requires attention and serious reading comprehension). Am now on Peter Falk's autobiography -- yes, the Columbo guy. It's hilarious. Less autobiography than compilation of two-page anecdotes.
I worked probably ten hours today, yet still have an hour of work to do before I can call the week finished. At least I have a nice relaxing stint of jury duty soon. I got summoned for a grand jury; if I'm picked for the 23-person panel, I might serve for two weeks to several months.
# (4) 29 Jun 2008, 10:12AM: HPPY TDA:
What the heck is up with the letters on these pieces of cake? Forget the depressing news story; Leonard and I came up with multiple explanations for the stock photo accompanying it.
Unless you have others.
- The letters are the first-name initials of the children; to indicate which piece goes to which child. Would work well on cupcakes.
- Something in a foreign language got written on the cake. What words can you spell with DYHTPPA?
- The cake got cut up, "Happy Birthday" got written on the cake with one letter per cake square, and we're now only seeing seven slices.
- Aha! "Happy Birthday" got written on the cake before it got sliced up; note the T, D, and A from "Birthday" with frosting on the bottom edge, and the P from "Happy" with frosting on the top edge. The most likely explanation.
# 30 Jun 2008, 08:18AM: Spoiler! I'm Numb And Sad:
Just read Y: The Last Man, final trade paperback collection of the monthly issues. Why does tragedy still shock me? I had to hunt around on the web to find people as sad as I am to help me process my grief.
# 30 Jun 2008, 08:27AM: Existence and Uniqueness (with apologies to Seth):
Trying to think of unique things I've done since the last time I catalogued them. But some of the interesting things about me aren't so much things I've done as things that happened to me or my family. Yesterday's conversation with Stuart and Molly gave me a good euphemism for those oddball secrets and trivia: "my land in Colorado."
Per the rules of the game, I should ask my readers whether any of you have done the things I thought were unique within my circle, and then come up with a replacement for any duplicates. Go at it.
And as long as I'm doing blog memes: Rachel, a response to this one is coming soon.
Cogito, Ergo Sumana by Sumana Harihareswara is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
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