Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A TV Note

So, I (along with the rest of the world, it would seem) have been swept up by GLEE. The episode a few weeks ago with Neil Patrick Harris, and guest-directed by Joss Whedon, was amazing. Meanwhile, James and I borrowed the first season of Deadwood from some friends. I watched the first few episodes and I could not bring myself to keep watching. Like every HBO show, let's see, ever, it has good writing and amazing production values and real actors who are good at acting. But it's so bleak, and after a few episodes I felt like I had already absorbed all the crude language and women getting beaten up and men getting beaten up that I needed to see, and now James watches it alone.

And this article from NPR explains exactly why: More Misery! More Death! More Cruelty! I felt like I was sort of vindicated in my desire to watch some photogenic, stereotypical people dancing rather than, I don't know, children becoming orphans or people dying of STDs. This is the Glee/Deadwood paradox. You can only watch one or the other. I have chosen Glee, and James has chosen Deadwood. Within a year, we'll probably be divorced. And I will still kind of feel like I need to apologize for liking something so cheery.

Art and correspondence

I loved this letter from William Steig about his fear of public speaking. The entry on Letters of Note also includes the text of the speech he ended up delivering when he won the Caldecott.

I love this in particular:
Art, including juvenile literature, has the power to make any spot on earth the living center of the universe, and unlike science, which often gives us the illusion of understanding things we really do not understand, it helps us to know life in a way that still keeps before us the mystery of things. It enhances the sense of wonder. And wonder is respect for life. Art also stimulates the adventurousness and the playfulness that keep us moving in a lively way and that lead us to useful discovery.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Is it true that you support the escalation of formality in everyday life?


So is the trend toward casualness an unfortunate event?

Yes, I would say. It makes me unhappy. To some extent, it's on purpose, so I don't know if I would call it unfortunate in the sense of unlucky. There's a casual agenda, and I think it's winning. The pros of formality are forethought put into word and action, spiffier clothing and fetishization of everyday occurrences.
-Daniel Handler (author of the Lemony Snicket books), in The Sunday Conversation interview

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I just want to make out with the Internet, or at least take it out for coffee.

Couch Cushion Architecture: A Critical Analysis on the Build blog.
Benefiting from the life work of structural engineer Heinz Isler, this lightweight roof shell structure creates a graceful span while fully sheltering the interiors. Massive counter-weights keep the structure taught while an entire fa├žade remains open to the exterior. 

From McSweeney's: I'm Comic Sans, Asshole.
You think I'm pedestrian and tacky? Guess the fuck what, Picasso. We don't all have seventy-three weights of stick-up-my-ass Helvetica sitting on our seventeen-inch MacBook Pros. Sorry the entire world can't all be done in stark Eurotrash Swiss type. Sorry some people like to have fun. Sorry I'm standing in the way of your minimalist Bauhaus-esque fascist snoozefest. Maybe sometime you should take off your black turtleneck, stop compulsively adjusting your Tumblr theme, and lighten the fuck up for once. 

From The Atlantic: Rent a White Guy. Totally surreal.

An interesting project: an eighteeen-year-old high school student tries to live according to Seventeen magazine at The Seventeen Magazine Project. Again, totally surreal.

And one more new blog, more of the crafty/DIY variety: The Art of Doing Stuff. This woman, seemingly, can do anything good.

In Jocelyn-world, I finally updated Dispatches from Zone 3a after only one month's absence. I mean, I can garden or I can blog about gardening. It's pretty easy to figure out which I am going to do.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I dip in and out of rss feeds all day at work, most of them (well, ok, some of them) related -- at least tangentially -- to my job. Today I did a Bloglines audit and added some new ones, including these five: 

1000 awesome things
the hypothetical library
information is beautiful
daily interesting photos
letters of note

in a new folder called "good for my brain." I'm not sure how you determine whether something is good for your brain. I'm looking for the answer. I feel like my neurons are not as sparkly as they once were. DO YOU THINK THE INTERNET CAN HELP?

I like adding new blogs I discover to my rss reader and trying them out for a few weeks. The best test of whether I am ACTUALLY interested in a blog's content is whether I stop to read it when it publishes a few items among hundreds. I'm prioritizing without intending to, which is kind of the point. For example, I subscribe to both MeFi and Slashdot but I very rarely read them. (However, they survived this audit, maybe because I don't want to compromise my nerd cred.) Other new additions on this round:

The Bygone Bureau
Lapham's Quarterly
Cheap Healthy Good
Tiger Beatdown (proving that a pithy title will get you at least one feed subscriber)
Toothpaste for Dinner

I declare June to be "rss audit month." Also "Eating the weird leftover food in your freezer month." Party ever-harder.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

See, I have done your work for you.

5 academic papers someone should write about the Muppets

"Animal" instincts: the politics of implied rape
The disapproving patriot: Sam Eagle as patriarch
Meta/text Puppet/eer: Cinema, body and narrative through the postmodern lens
Diva or chicken: the Muppets and the troubled state of female agency
"Working's for another day": Fraggle Rock in the shadows of the American Dream

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

May I suggest you buy this?

Sexy Librarian Glasses Showcase

Recently I decided I wanted a necklace with a pair of librarian glasses on it. That might seem like a fairly specific thing to want, but the assortment of such necklaces on Etsy suggests that I am not the only one.

l to r:
Mini Maude Necklace | $26 from Isette
Sexy Nerdy Pink Glasses Necklace | $6 from Michelle's Charm World
Studious Slate Necklace | $32 from How Fetching
I Heart Glasses Kitschy Necklace | $24 from SparklePeach
Flirty Nerdy Glasses | $12 from Saritas Jewelry Box

I bought the pink one, partly because it was pink and partly because it was only $6 and partly because the same shop had an awesome lego octopus necklace for sale which I also happened to be looking for. But they're all lovely, and so literary.


I feel guilty.

Two recent additions to the lexicon

Here are two things that I have recently begun saying.

I. "Oh, come on, Bible!" On 30 Rock, Liz Lemon is delivering a reading (the standard one from Corinthians) at Floyd's wedding. She has been forced to "stall" by Jack so she starts leafing through the Bible randomly looking for passages to read, and she keeps encountering ones about spilling seed on the ground, and things like that. She gets all annoyed and is like, "Oh, come on, Bible! Help a lady out!" "Oh, come on, Bible!" has become a standard indication of irritation for me, perfect for when nothing seems to be going right.

II. "I can do anything good." Embedded below is my favourite Internet video, maybe of all time. I quote a lot of things from it, including making disjointed but enthusiastic lists of things I like (which vary from one moment to the next but usually include, "I like my husband. I like my dog. I like my garden. I like my Glee DVDs. I like my coffee.") But "I can do anything good" is my favourite. I think this little girl probably means "I can do anything well," ie., I can do a good job of anything; but I prefer the actual meaning, which is that there are good things around, and I can do all of them. I also like going, "yeah. yeah. yeah. yeah" while doing a jumpy little dance. Oh man, I need to watch it again right now.