Musings

One Week in My Hobonichi Techo “Planner”

One week in, and I’ve kept my commitment – journaling everyday in my Hobonichi Techo Planner.  I don’t know how I stumbled upon the Hobonichi – maybe through Facebook, possibly through Instagram, either going down a bullet journal internet sink hole, or maybe a Traveler’s Notebook time dump.  I can’t even tell you why I became intrigued with it – I’m not really using it for planning, although I could, but I’d rather not carry my journal around with me; I’ve already lost one Traveler’s Notebook, and that was certainly heartbreaking.  After I decided that I had to have one, well, just because I did, I hemmed and hawed between the A5 larger size and the A6, and settled on the A6.  When I finally had my little book in my hands, I didn’t feel immediately connected to it, I just thought “huh.”  It’s really much smaller than anything I’ve ever written in – it’s the size of a Project Life card, basically.  But, I’m not investing in the bigger one until I at least try this one out, and prove to myself that this is something to which  I do truly want to commit.  If I stop writing in it halfway through February, there will be no larger A5, it’ll be done.  Punished.  No Hobonichi Cousin Avec for me.

So, I did begin in earnest, definitely willing to give this little guy a try.  I ended 2016 with buying a Flow Magazine related product, Project Calm, a magazine that looks exactly like Flow, maybe it’s a special edition?  In any event, I love the illustrations, and the quotes, and the paper, and all of the Flow-y-ness, and the Calm – so every time I turn a page in my journal, I randomly open up my magazine, snip something from the page, tape it down and then I write.  Of course, when I finally get my “flow” going, I’m out of room.  I almost feel like I should start writing on scrap, and then when I get to where I really want to go, and what I really want to talk about, that’s when I should move onto the small 4 x 6 page.  Or, if I’m a good girl, and I write every day, I’ll get to size up!  I guess if I do have a mighty story to tell, I could always add a tip in.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, I’ve become curious about flash fiction, which is a really really short short story.  Project Calm did a piece about these bite sized nuggets of literary goodness, and it seems like the perfect medium to explore when you’re confined to a 4 x6 space.  Skillshare actually has a few classes about the medium, so I’ll give them a listen.

I wish I could say the dieting was going as well as the journaling.  It’s just frustrating.  I was hungry all week, I exercised, I counted my steps, and I moved the scale .2 lbs, and then one small bowl of unbuttered popcorn later, it was back to where I started the week.  And that lead to pizza night Friday, because I was like f-k it.  But, I’m back on the right road – went to the gym this morning and swam, and now I’m eating a lovely salad.  Back in the day, I would just stop drinking, and I’d drop 5-7 lbs.  And certainly, if I stopped drinking AND exercised, well then, we were looking at dropping full pant size in less than 2 weeks.  Those days are gone, my friends.  I just have to keep my head up, and just keep doing the work, I guess.

Doing the work in 2017.  That’s my flash nonfiction or the day.

 

Buh Bye 2016

2016, I will not miss you.  Yes, there were celebrity deaths that were saddening, but that’s life.  2016, to me, was objectively a really bad year.  If you’re reading this, and you had a fantastic year, great!  I don’t mean to diminish anyone’s triumphs, successes and joys, but honestly, I’ve lost sleep this year about what a crap year  it’s been, from the random acts of violence, to the exposed schisms in our country, to the lunatic that we put in the White House.  On a personal level, the year started with a car wreck, nearly killing my brother, but only “luckily” breaking both of his legs.  The first few months of the year, we spent hours at the hospital with him, and then in the nursing home.  While I have no problem waiving buh bye to 2016, I can’t say that I don’t look upon 2017 without trepidation.  It’s no secret I’m a liberal, but it’s not that I fear a Republican in the White House – I would have been ok, not happy, but ok, had a McCain won, or a Romney – I wouldn’t have felt like we were all going to die.  But, I truly fear the fascist madman soon to be in the White House.   But, what can you do, just hope for the best I guess!

So, without further ado, I’ll unveil my word for 2017 – nope, it’s not hope.  It’s Commit.  I’m tired of doing things half-assed.  If I’m going to do something, I really want to explore if I’m committed.  I’m tired of starting things, and not finishing them.  Of beginning a creative project, spending a ton of money getting supplies, and being done with it after I’ve completed one project.  I’m tired of signing up for online classes, quickly watching them, and then not doing any of the work.  I’m tired of saying my diet starts on Monday.  And with Commit as my word, the opposite is also my mantra – if I can’t commit, I’m not going to do it.  In picking my word, I’ve also picked a few year long projects to which I’m going to commit:

  1.  Ali Edward’s One Little Word Class.  I’ve picked a word before.  I’ve picked a lot of words over the years.  I’ve even put them in the sidebar of my blog.  But, by March or April, even February, the word is long forgotten, and certainly not a prism through which I’m making choices.  So, to help me along, and commit to my committing, I’m joining Ali Edwards for her monthly prompts and exercises designed to help you incorporate your word into your life.
  2. Journaling.  I am going to journal every day, even if it’s just a sentence, or a list, or maybe a doodled word.  I used to be diarist.  While what I wrote was so embarrassing, I ended up throwing most of my diaries out – yep, I through at least 20 in the garbage because I didn’t want to visit with that person ever again.  But, I miss the act of writing – not just memory keeping, but figuring things out, whining in my personal space, focusing or being silly.  So, in order to keep me on track, I bought this:

This is an A6 Hobonichi Techo.  Basically, its a small, one day on a page planner/journal/notebook.  I struggled between buying the A6 and the larger A5, but I settled on the A6 because I thought it would easier to live up to my commitment, and journal every day in a smaller space, and the A5 is in Japanese, and the A6 comes in an English version.  I also ordered a used Chic Sparrow traveler’s notebook cover for it, so I’ll report on that when it arrives.  If I outgrow the A6, the A5, the Cousin Avec, comes in a six month size, and I could also size up for the second half of the year.

3.  Also on the commitment list for 2016 – Hand Lettering!  I have decided that 2017 is going to be my year of hand lettering.  Right now I’m exploring – I have a dip pen, a Tombow dual brush pen, and a Tombow fude on the way.  This is my creative art commitment for the year, because that’s what hand lettering really is – drawing letters.  And rather than willy nilly committing to this online art class, or that one, this is what I’m doing this year – and I will hopefully add some watercolor to the mix.  To help me along with my commitment, I’ve created an instagram account just for my lettering endeavors – OliveInks.  And, to support this commitment, I’m working my way through a class on Creativebug, as well as joining in on some Instagram/FB challenges, primarily this one for now, #ShowMeYourDrills.  I’ve also signed up for Skillshare, using their 3 mos/99 cents promotion.

Can I just tell you how relaxing and soothing these drills are!

and 4.  Diet, Health and Exercise.  I’ve gained 20 lbs since moving to the suburbs.  It’s like it happened over night, but it really happened over four years.  Mostly this year though.  I’m a stress eater.  But, I’ve got my smart watch, counting my steps.  And, I’ve bought a new bathing suit to start swimming in January.  And, I’m going to try to be kind to myself, not beat myself up, acknowledge that this is unlike diets in the past when I wanted to lose 5 lbs, but didn’t really need to lose 5 lbs.  Right now, I need to lose the 20lbs because my clothes do not fit.  This is a big commitment; it’s not going to happen overnight – but I’m committed.

So, goodbye 2016!  For the world in general, for 2017, I can only hope, but for me personally, I am committed to making 2017 better, more productive, more creative, and healthier – if my summer clothes fit, I’m going to call 2017 a success.

Take care, everyone and Happy New Year!

 

 

No News May Be Better

When I was growing up, we had family dinner.  Not Walton’s family dinner, or Eight is Enough family dinner – there was no chit chat, no revelations, no drama.  We ate, and we watched the local evening news.  The lead story was always a fire.  A warehouse is burning, a tractor trailer is aflame on the highway, smoke is roaring through an apartment complex.  Fire, that was the big story.
Then, if there wasn’t a fire to report on -and, really – there was always a fire – a church, a car, a backyard leaf fire, if nothing else, the reporter could always light a cigarette and set a garbage can on fire.  In any event,  there was always weather as a fall back.  An approaching storm, inches of rain, record breaking temperatures.  Like Jane Austen advises, if you have nothing nice to say, confine your comments to the weather.

So, I don’t expect much from the local evening news – at this point, all I want to know is is it going to snow? and is Donovan McNabb finally going to get the boot?   But, really, that’s my issue – I’m sure there are many out there who think that there can be truth in reporting, that our local newscasters are striving for something a little more than mediocrity, and that  covering the health care debate, the wars in the Middle East, etc., is still an essential function of even our local news.

So, taking into consideration my obviously low expectations, and an optimists unreasonably high expectations, the newscast should land somewhere in the middle, right?  It should hit about mediocrity, shouldn’t it? 

Well, you be the judge —

Last night, I sat down to watch the 11:00 NBC10 news.  Ok, you don’t want to cover a fire – fine.  The shooting on Dorrance Street?  Ok, you don’t want to lead with local crime, so be it.  So, Renee Chenault Fattah, married to a congressman, what’s your lead?  That the President of the United States was right here in our area last night, plugging away at his health care plan?

Nope.  Facebook.  Idiots who put their ridiculous photos online, only to have someone snatch them, and  – can you hear the beat of the sympathy drums – post them elsewhere only to make fun of them.  Gasp!   The lead story, which lasted a good five minutes, was some idiot woman, by anyone’s measure, overweight, who had posted pictures of herself ONLINE, scantily clad, in ridiculous outfits, eyeing her camera with “come hither” looks.  Really?  We’re supposed to feel bad for this woman for forgetting to check the box that clearly pops up every time you post a picture on Facebook about photo privacy and who can see your pictures.   But, the bottomline is – they are ONLINE – they are accessible by anyone who wants to see them – there is no such thing as online privacy.   Everytime you post a picture, the question should be – could my boss see that?  And if the answer is yes, ok, post it, and if the answer is no you’re just an idiot.  And this blog that highjacked her pictures – Philly Burn?  Does she really think that the exposure on Philly Burn is greater than the exposure of being on NBC10?  So whoever you really didn’t want to see them before, certainly has seen them now – because you put them on the local news.  So, the only news there really is that Channel 10 got snookered, because she is clearly proud of those pictures, and wanted the widest audience she possibly could to see them. 

And what could possibly follow that story?

The President at Immaculata University, right?

Nope.  People who wanted butt lifts, but instead had some chemical injected into their butts that gave them infections – something like window filler – I can’t give you accurate reportage about the story, because by then we were already actively comparing the NBC10 telecast to the 6ABC telecast, and in the time it took NBC10 to report on Facebook idiocy, and rotted butt injections, 6ABC had covered the shooting on Dorrance Street, the death of a medic, and the burglarly of a church for its copper piping, and the President’s visit.  That’s not to say 6ABC didn’t have it’s feel good story – suburban teenagers addicted to heroin – but at least they got some actual news in there before they got to the meat of their telecast.

And what’s up with NBC10’s good news segment?  I don’t even know what the regular time is – but it’s a half hour a day, and it seems like its on whenever I turn on the t.v.  For a half hour, they only report “good” news.  Good news, bad news – really, aren’t you just supposed to report the news – the days events – and let others be the judge of whether it’s good news or bad news?  And, a half hour a day – that’s 2.5 hours of what NBC10 dubs “good” news a week – 2.5 hours of kids with cancer to promote fundraising, maimed animals rescued from animal shelters to promote fundraising, and maybe a few minutes adorable adoptable children, again to promote fundraising.  If they want to do a telethon, just call it what it is, and don’t put it on the “news.”

And what does that make the happenings of the rest of the telecast – the bad news hour?  Good news, bad news – just tell me what happened today, ok?

Catching Up!

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What can I say? Sigh – a picture IS worth a thousand words.  Isn’t my husband handsome!

 

As anyone who attempts to follow this blog knows, my posts may trickle off for no reason, or a good reason, or something in between.  This particular hole in in the blog was due solely to lack of time, and then technical difficulties.  The last three weeks have been crazy.  Not only did I manage to put a wedding together, I was on trial for 2 straight weeks, and without going into detail, it was a nightmare. 

 

In the midst of this perfect storm of obligations, I was writing blog posts in my head – but, unfortunately, what was in my head was never realized “on paper.”  When I finally did find time to write, it turned out that my website had been hacked, and Dreamhost had moved all of my files into a temporary, unpublished folder.  I got this long, involved email from Dreamhost about how to find the corrupted files, update software, etc., but really, in the middle of trying a shooting case that seemed to drag on into eternity, making ridiculous wedding favors, and counting the days that my wedding dress wasn’t in (it came in the week before the wedding – just when it was supposed to, but nervewracking nonetheless), I was flumoxed.  So, after the wedding, I wrote Dreamhost a rather pathetic email about how inept I am at anything other than one button installing, and they graciously fixed my problems.  Thank you Dreamhost!

 

Anyway, here are some of the blog posts I thought about writing, but never did –

 

1.  Cultural Graffiti – Joe and I saw The Informant when it came out (that will tell you how long ago I started writing in my head, and not regurgitating on the computer).  I had a total eggheady post planned about the new trend in art, literature, movies, whatever, to graffiti on top of original material.  In the Informant, there’s a rather dull, straightforward corporate espionage thriller that is falling flat on the bottom, and then, there’s a running internal monologue that Matt Damon’s character is having with himself superimposed on top in the form of a voice over.  Instead of being able to craft a tongue-in-cheek movie with just the primary script, the director failed so miserably that in order for people to get it, he had to carve open his main characters brain in order for us to get that the guy was really a bungling sociopath.  And then there’s the new fascination with Jane Austen and Vampires, and Jane Austen and Sea Monsters.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this desire to put crap on top of art (or in the case of  The Informant, crap on top of crap), and, since I never wrote the post, I’ll guess I’ll figure out my final thoughts on the subject some day.

 

2.  Dancing with the Stars – I can’t even begin to tell you how incensed I was about Tom DeLay buffooning around in our Stars and Stripes on national television.  I wanted to write to the show so they could change his introduction from “former congressman” to” disgraced former congressman.”  His prancing around in tights and liederhosen is just another sign of our nation’s call to tackiness.  It is no wonder that Serena Williams told a line judge that she was going to shove a ball down her f-ing throat, that our President was called a liar by a heckler in a joint session of Congress, that Kanye West crashed the stage at the Grammy’s.  If we can collectively support an indicted, but not yet tried, thief in a ridiculous ballroom dancing competition which gives Japanese game shows a run for their money, really . . . we have to start asking when we draw the line between entertainment and offense. 

 

3.  My wedding shawl.  So, um, yeah – Brad Lidge failed miserably in his one closing appearance at the World Series, and I failed to close the handknit accessory of my wedding ensemble.  Sort of.  I started out knitting Miralda’s Triangle, as you will recall, but my original idea had been to knit something worsted since the weddingcapewedding was November 1.  So, when Ysolda’s capelet, Emily, came out, I totally switched up, put aside the fingering weight shawl, bought some Manos silk blend, and knit this.

 

I was so excited – perfect, I thought.

 

And then I tried it on with the dress – P1100498

And, as you can see, I’m not wearing it.  It didn’t match – at all.  The color was completely wrong.  How could I go wrong with cream, I thought?  But, I did.  Sigh.  So, I thought about reknitting it, with a whiter yarn, I thought about the new Manos Rittenhouse blend, a yummy, smooth merino, but I only had a week until the wedding, I was still on trial, and I had another case to try in the middle of the one I was already trying – so I just gave up, gave in.  And, it was fine – it was  a warm day.

 

4.  And, to end the suspense for all – it being a warm day, no hose!  And no one said a word . . .wendyandjoe

And see, you can’t even tell!

March, The Groundhog

I really hate March.  That whole thing – “March comes in like a lion” – garbage.  If March were king of the forest, it would show its leadership and nobility by being consistent, trustworthy, and reliable, and the weather would reflect the lion.  To umbrella, or not to umbrella?  Rain today, sun yesterday, what tomorrow?  I’d be ok if it were just a precipitation issue, but it’s a temperature thing as well – up, down, up, down.  How is girl supposed to pick her clothes in the morning – I can’t even get the coat right.

March isn’t a lion — March is a ground hog.  It’s a schizophrenic month, constantly asking, “did I see my shadow?  I think I saw my shadow?  Do I want to see my shadow.”  March needs a therapist.

In the meantime, to deal with March, I tend to buy myself treats – but since March is a long month (and it seems longer every year), I generally didn’t splurge on large goodies.  In the past, a pretty lipstick would do.  But, it’s kind of like buying my father a present – I’m going to be forty – so I’ve bought him 2 presents a year for at least 30 years – that’s 60 presents – 60!  What else can I get him – another CD, another book? I’ve been buying myself lipstick in March for a good 20 years – 20 lipsticks – and that’s just the lipsticks I buy in March.  Not another lipstick!  The thrill is gone.   What’s a girl to do?

Buy a handbag!

And so I did – and to give you a little March thrill – I will share it with you!

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I was walking to knitting circle last night, and passed one of my favorite stores, Hello World – a beacon of light in this world known as March.  Hello World is on 20th Street, just passed Spruce, and on Pine Street, 11th maybe?  The window is always enticing, the store is filled with hard to pass up items – fantastic handbags, jewelry by local artists, the cutest stationary ever.  Stuff, just fun, frivolous stuff.  And, I happened to have been walking around with a $25 gift certificate in my bag that I’ve been saving for two years for just the right occasion.

And, here it is – the right occasion – are you ready for the bag?

newbag2

How fantastic is that?  I’m not really a yellow person (although you would never know from my recent fascination with all things Lemon), but this bag spoke to me – it says, “April” – it says, who is March, I am the true lion!

So, this bag now joins my tote bag that I got at the Gap last month, in preparation for the long haul through March – newbagand no, I don’t have any yellow walls in my house, I’ve been playing with Photoshop.

And, speaking of my efforts with Photoshop, I don’t know if you can tell or not (hopefully you can), but I’ve been making an effort to post better photos on this blog – I’m not saying the photos on Knit and the  City were all crap, but I’ve always admired blogs like Brooklyn Tweed, and Lolly Knitting Around for their fabu photography.  I took a 6 hour class recently, on the in’s and out’s of Photoshop, and while the first three hours were pretty good, the second night became a frenzy to show us skill per minute, and it’s just not that kind of program.

So, while my Photoshop skills are mediocre, but improving, my actual photography skills aren’t what they used to be.  I started taking pictures with a completely manual Ricoh when I was in high school.  Once I “got” it, I moved on to an SLR Canon, a Rebel.  I loved my Rebel, I loved my aperture priority, and frankly, I loved film.  After college, I took several semesters of a noncredit Temple photography class just to have unlimited access to the darkroom.  But, at some point, that SLR just wasn’t practical.  It didn’t fit in my handbag, it was cumbersome, and in the end, it was film, hardly the medium for my bloggedy world.  But, this digital stuff, I don’t know – I just don’t see things the same way – maybe it’s because I’m not looking through a lens, but at the back of my camera.  When I looked through my Rebel, I saw depth of field, I saw how I wanted the picture to look, and I knew what settings I needed to get the right exposure.  I thought this would all translate but for whatever reason, it hasn’t.  But, I’m working on it – because Photoshop can work a lot of miracles, but a crappy picture generally will always be a crappy picture.

And, Photoshop isn’t the only think I’ve been playing with – this blog is going places baby (well, at least around the virtual corner)!  I’ve become obsessed with tweaking the layout, thinking of new features (video knitting school anyone?) . . . but again, it’s like the photography – I don’t feel like I have the skills in my tool box anymore.  On Blogger, I had become pretty adept with HTML, but here – CSS?  PHP?  If you click on the Gallery tab up top (another work in progress), you can see, I can’t even figure out how to move the margin over.  So, like March – I’ve been a bit schizo – do I use WordPress as a CMS, and buy a completely customizable theme like Thesis, that is a bit of an investment, but will relieve me of my frustrations with newfangled code.  Or, do I struggle on, use WordPress as just my blogging platform, and create HTML static pages with Dreamweaver and the rest of the Adobe arsenal for the rest of my ideas.  And, if I’m going to move to a more dynamic theme, how much more work do I put into this one?

And then I think, stop thinking about what it looks like so much, just worry about the writing – but then I think, I worry about the writing a bit too much, and I’ve become a bit to stuffy.

Well, I’m working on it.  I’m still trying to find my voice here — strange that a new look, a new cover, a new concept would change my writing style so much – it’s still the same old me, right?

Or, maybe I’m not the same old me – I’m me in March.

Define It! My Big Word

For anyone who has read the “About” section of this site, you will know that AFTER I cleverly named the blog Lemontines, I googled “lemontine” for “shits” and giggles, and found a rather, nasty definition of “Lemontine” in the Urban Dictionary (Ok, I won’t make you click on the link – it means “crap stains in one’s pants.”)  Whatever, like many Urban-adages out there, I chose to ignore it.

 

But, I’m a woman of action – not an ignorer!   A changer!   A reformer! and I have now, courtesy of The Big Word Project, a viral marketing campaign to redefine the dictionary, redefined Lemontine, and restored it to its proper place in the modern lexicon.  For $1 per letter, you can purchase a word, and link it back to your blog, so that your blog now becomes the “definition” of the word.   A “lemontine” is once again a whimsical product of an overactive imagination (or an imagination with too much time on its hands), generally in the form of  a blog post. 

 

The Big Word Project is  the brainchild of  Paddy Donnelly and Lee Munroe,  “two Masters students from Northern Ireland, who are exploring what different words mean to different people.”  Big Word’s homepage is a cloud of words, and each word sends you off into a new worldwide web vocabulary.  So, I took “the dictionary” for a test drive.  Being the legal scholar that I am, I clicked on “Constitution.”  Does it send me to the official site of the United States Supreme Court?  Or perhaps the ACLU?  Or horrors, does it go to Ann Coulter’s personal blog?  Maybe – if it’s in Polish – or what I think is Polish – Konstytucja.info .   Quite right, don’t you think – why should the United States Constitution be the global definition of “constitution?”  Then, I tried “abba.”  Was this abba the “rock” band?  Abba, as in abba dabba do and Fred Flintstone.  No, it’s Abba as in The Springfield Reader, and “independent voice of Springfield, IL.”  Hmmmm  . . .

 

Ok, so maybe The Big Word Project is not so much a project at all, but a big springboard for advertising.  And maybe my $9  didn’t go to changing, reforming and fixing online misconceptions about the meaning of Lemontine, it probably funded Paddy and Lee’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration.  But, maybe that’s all that “defining” is – advertising.  I can advertise away the “skid marks,” “track stains,” and make it into something fresh and lovely – like my little puppy.

 

Perfect opportunity for a gratuitous puppy shot!

 

 

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I’m sure that $9 is going to go a long way in preserving our puppy’s very ladylike reputation. No shit stains on her, no sir.

Hmmm, maybe I should redefine “crap stain” and direct it to the Urban Dictionary? That would be another well-spent $9.

Kindle, How do I Love Thee? I’m still counting!

Have you noticed the Widget thingy on my sidebar – I am “on page 0 of 576 pages” of The Book Thief.  I’m not actually on page 0, but I have no idea what page I am on.

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The beauty of the Kindle.

 

Beauty?  Not knowing what page you’re on?  Absolutely.  Reading is no longer a race to the finish, because who knows where the finish is.  Nor is it about flipping to the finish, to see if its worth it.  The decision on what to read is no longer a cost/benefit analysis based on amount of time available v. the desire to read said book.  There’s just no way of telling how long a book actually is — your progress is noted in percentages, not pages. 

 

I’m reading things I never would have dreamed of reading, had I been able to flip through and evaluate the time commitment.  Take the New Yorker.   When I had a subscription to the paper version, the one that came in the mail every Monday, and fell into the pile next to the toilet by Tuesday, I would flip through for the cartoons.  Then, on the second pass, I tended to read the shorter blurbs – the about town, the small reviews, the short story perhaps – but not the long, long, long featured essays that went on for pages, and pages and pages – did I really want to make a two hour investment in reading a 20 page article about Barthleme and what it really means to be post modern?

 

Apparently, when I don’t know how long the commitment is going to be, I’ll bite.  On Monday, when I started the article, I had no idea it wouldn’t be until Wednesday by the time I finally finished it. 

 

p1000302So time commitment is no longer an issue – it just is what it is, you can’t worry about what you can’t see.  The other thing that goes hand and hand with length is also obsolete – weight.   Never again do I have to ponder the following question – based on my schedule now, can I lug that hardback book around, or should I go for the slimmer paperback?  And, the question doesn’t boil down to cost – that paperback is in the same ballpark price as the hardback, as even a NY Times bestseller is generally only $9.99 (except for the rogue author here and there trying to buck the new system).

 

And, I am a sucker for the NY Times book review – like yarn, books become, I have to read it now (the New York Times said so!) – and not last summer (because I spent the summer on the beach, and hence, made the tactical decision just to go with paperbacks – see the question of “weight” above), but the summer before, I got suckered into hardback after hardback that I ended up hating – The Yiddish Policemen’s Other Ball, Divisidero, The Falling Man . . . two summers ago, and I still remember how much money I wasted!  With the Kindle, the new books can be more expensive than the paperbacks (sometimes even as high as $16.00 – but a $16.00 mistake is still less painful than a $24.00 mistake).  And, speaking of “I have to read it now!” you really can read it now. With Amazon’s wireless delivery, you can have your latest heart’s desire in a matter of seconds.

 

Length and weight no longer an issue, neither is a pretty cover.  You can be told from the time you start to walk and talk that you can’t judge  a book by it’s cover(although, when you start to walk and talk, you’re only looking at picture books, counting books, books that go “mooo”, and  you probably can judge a book by it’s cover – maybe that’s why the advice never stuck)  but a pretty cover, a good blurb, and handsome jacket, can go along way.  You go into Borders or Barnes and Noble and there are tables and tables of books – what catches your eye?  Author of course.  A snappy title, maybe.  But when you have the book in your hands, a snazzy cover and a well written blurb might just push you over the edge into purchasing.

 

Not any more.   No more covers.  Everything is so egalitarian!  And, with no covers, you have so much more privacy.  Ever been embarassed because you’re reading something completely brainless – a guilty pleasure trashy romance?  or perhaps a book you read as a child that now seems silly as an adult?  No worries – no cover means that no one can see what you’re reading!  Reading is again a private thing – enjoy what you want, no one is judging you for your cover (alghough, that does work in reverse as well – I am totally a cover judger). 

 

Now, there are some books that are not on Kindle, that I do want to read – and that’s the only true dilemna now — since I just love my Kindle so much.  For instance, I really want to read 2666 – but frankly, I only want to read it on Kindle.  The last paper book I read, The Given Day, at 800 pages, was completely overly cumbersome – I could never prop myself into a comfortable position, the book was just such a beast.  2666 is 912 pages!  I don’t want to invest in 912 pieces of paper.   So, am I missing out – it just won the National Book Award? 

 

Yeah, probably, but there’s so much other Kindle content out there, and you can’t read ’em all.  The web is loaded with free e-book content, all of which are readable on the Kindle. My queue is backed up with free classics – books that I was supposed to read in college, but chucked and read the cliff notes, or read so fast just to get to my next assignment.  And, unlike in college, when I had to carry around a backbreaking bookbag of books, the Kindle holds them all in either it’s memory or (since I have Kindle 1), an SD card that holds thousands – right now, I’m carrying around at least 200 books. 

 

It sounds like I’ve abandoned paper, doesn’t it?  When I got the Kindle for Hanukkah (hmmm, I guess that’s one factor I haven’t had to worry about – the price of the Kindle, since it was a gift – so put it on your Holiday list for December), I said, eh, I’ll always read paper books – but now, really, I have no desire.  The e-ink technology is so good, that sometimes I get tricked, I  go to turn the page instead of push the button, because that’s how much it feels like reading a book. 

 

And, reading is fun again – and I’ve overcome any shame in saying that its because the book is on a gadget.  I like being able to push a button and look up a word I don’t understand.  I like having a clipboard, where I send things I want to think about later, or with Joey’s reading Olympics, things that are going to make it onto index card question cards for study purposes.  I have to admit, I’m not a reading purist – I embrace the technology, and I look forward to what comes next.

 

And not only is reading fun again, but the more I read, the more desire I have to write – not to go too far with my point, but I’m not sure this new blog would have happened had I not been reading as enthusiastically as I have been since I got my Kindle.  I wrote about it here somewhere – either in the first post, or the the about page – about this strange phenomenon I’ve been experiencing – that of losing words, like they’ve all run away and abandoned me. 

 

Kindle has given me back a handful, and the desire to use them.

The Emperor’s New Clothes – The Bird Poop Facial

Women are putting shit on their face. 

 

I’m not talking about zit cream that could burn a hole through your skin, or exfoliators with acid, or makeup that is the consistency of spackle.

 

No, I’m talking about honest to G-d shit.

 

Bird shit, to be precise.

 

While getting ready yesterday morning, I had one ear on mischievous Lemon, and the other on the CBS morning show (although it may have been CNN, I’m not sure what channel we left it on when we went to bed).  The morning show featured new miracle anti-aging, skin whitening treatments.

 

The first treatment – placenta.  Yes, placenta, afterbirth.  I’ve heard of 200px-placenta_ad_in_hong_kongstrange customs like burying placenta in the backyard, but swabbing it on your face?  But, somehow, I’m not as skeeved out by placenta as I am by bird poop.   I don’t want placenta on my face, but I kind of get it – many myths and legends are attached to the placenta, in particular, in burying the placenta – giving a girl baby digging powers, giving a boy baby the power of prophecy (British Columbia), protecting a newborn child from the spirit of a mother who died in childbirt (Bolivia), simply connecting the newborn to the earth (New Zealand).  So, while it’s not for me, I get it – I can see where someone would believe that an organic blob of guck that once nutured a maturing fetus might have miraculous restorative powers.

 

But, bird poop?  Really, seriously?  Women are paying between $150 and $225 for the miracle Nightingale dung treatment.  I don’t care it’s a cute little Hummingbird – I find it hard to believe that poop from a Nightingale is any different than poop from Philadelphia’s own flying rat, the pidgeon.  Is there really a fortune to be made by hanging out in Rittenhouse Square and scrapping the bird poop from the goat statue? 

 

And what do scientists have to say about this – when CNN interviewed scientists, they “explained”:

“Bird experts at both the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology were at a loss to explain the benefits of nightingale droppings as a skin treatment. Brian Keller, a dermatopharmacologist and executive vice president of San Francisco-based Bio Zone Laboratories, which manufactures custom private-label dermatological products, offered one possible reason.

“The reason this product may work is the high concentration of urea in the fecal-urine combination in bird feces. Urine has a lot of urea in it and it has long been used as a skin-softening agent,” he says. “It’s obviously shrouded in a lot of mystery.”

 

The problem with this however, is that the question posed seems to have been, “Doctor, can you explain the benefits?”  What benefits???  There’s no proof there are benefits.  It’s the Emperor’s New Clothes – he’s naked!  Lady – you have bird poop on your face!  High concentration of urea?  Now that’s appetizing – and when they asked the women who volunteered to try these miracle treatments, they said, yeah, it still smells like poop. 

 

Shit is shit, even if you dress it up in Geisha clothing.  If you visit the Shizkuka website, the spa in New York specializing in this “exotic” treatment, you get a nice little history of Geisha, their flawless skin, and how to solve the troubles of all of that spackle white make-up, the Geisha used this bird poop secret ingredient to cleanse their skin and unclog their pores.  However, when interviewed, the proprietess, Shizuka Bernstein, says about this long secret history, “I’m always trying to bring Japanese culture and tradition to my spa,” said Shizuka Bernstein. “I heard my mother talk about this treatment when I was a little girl.”  I heard my mother talking about this treatment?  This is the source of this ancient, Japanese Geisha ritual?  I heard my mother talking about throwing salt over her shoulder, about giving someone the evil eye, and about how if I made silly, ugly faces, my face would freeze that way.

 

And who are these women taking the bird poop cure, passed down from Shizuka’s mom to Shizuka?  Not my women, not my friends – we’re broke.  I’m lucky I can afford to put Cetaphil on my face, let alone a $200 pile of birdshit.  Does wealth lead to a sucker, born every minute? – because that’s how often a Nightingale will shit in his cage.

My 2 Cents on Rihanna

You think when the phrase, “For my 2 cents” was “coined” (har har) 2 cents was worth anything?  I think it probably was – I think once upon a time, unsolicited advice was probably worth something – because it didn’t come from the internet, it came from a face to face conversation, from a parent, a teacher, a mentor, a friend.  Now, with everyone throwing their 2 cents into the mix, you’ve got a pile full of pennies, and opinions that don’t mean a whole hell of a lot.  And, when Oprah chimed in on her show Friday, and addressed Rihanna directly about the beating she took from her still boyfriend  Chris Brown, and said unequivocally, ” He will hit you again” – it joined the cacophony of impersonal voices, and probably fell, although thonderously, on deaf ears.

 

And my 2 cents – after Oprah??? Worth nothing.  No, if anyone is going to have a hand in giving 2 cents worth of sense to Rihanna, it’s going to have to come from a familiy member, or her BFF. 

 

And, her dad in the media, seems to be saying something like, justice in this case isn’t possible, telling US Magazine, justice can never be served in this situation . . . He can’t feel the pain she felt. I don’t believe in hitting a woman. I hope everything works out better for them. I don’t feel happy or sad. He’s in the court’s hands. Let justice prevail.”

 

Oh, no, justice is possible.  Chris Brown is being prosecuted, and if he’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on proofs presented by the prosecution, then there you have it, justice.

 

And, if he goes to jail – so be it.

 

Is it justice? 

 

What’s an eye go for in society these days – still an eye?

 

Justice has never been as simple or as possible as an eye for an eye.  And, inherent in the idea that our criminal system provides justice, we have to accept that justice will not always be fair.

 

And, who says it should be or has to be?

 

Rihanna’s dad says, “He can never feel her pain?”  Well, what does that have to do with justice?  He doesn’t have to feel her pain, he has to be punished for her pain. 

 

So, punish him.

 

Rihanna’s dad has also said something about her speaking out, on behalf of all women, and emerging a hero.  You know what, don’t worry so much about her hero-dom.  Just keep her alive.

 

Because that’s what Oprah really should have said –

 

He will kill you.

 

I once had a client who beat his girlfriend into a 2 month coma.  He was charged with Attempted Murder and Aggravated Assault.  He didn’t have a problem with pleading guilty to Aggravated Assault, but about the Attempted Murder, he just kept saying, “I wasn’t trying to kill her.”

 

Well, you know what – what were you trying to do?  If you beat someone that badly – what were you trying to do if it wasn’t kill her.

 

And Chris Brown, if you try to push someone out of a moving car while you’re beating the crap out of her – what were you trying to do if not kill her?

 

And that hero stuff – that role model stuff?  Rihanna didn’t run for a position called “role model.”  She sang a few songs, sold a few records, wears pretty clothes and makeup.  We didn’t elect her to any office.  She is not accountable to anyone but herself – she needs to leave to save her life, not for any other reason.  It’s hard enough for women to leave abusers when it’s private, can you imagine being in the national/international spotlight with a bunch of bloggers throwing in their worthless 2 cents? 

 

But her self-accountability does go one step further – if he hit you (while trying to kill you, because that’s the only thing that level of violence is meant to do), he will hit any children you have with him.  Period. 

 

Rihanna is not safe.  That is what’s not fair.  And the only justice, is leaving him, because no matter what happens to Chris Brown — jail, probation, anger management, whatever — won’t mean a thing if she’s dead.