Jun. 16th, 2011 02:44 pm
eleneariel: (Water nymph)
"When you are born," the golem said softly, "your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off of staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk and crusty things and dirt and fear and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you're half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it's so grunged up with living. So every once in a while, you have to scrub it up and get the works going or else you'll never be brave again.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making

eleneariel: (Fashion (glamour))
Random quotes from the Bombshell Manual of Style, just because.

(I'm not a bombshell, but boy can I relate to certain aspects of this!)

Bombshells don't sit exactly. They perch, curl, curve, and occasionally fling their legs up over the arm of the chair of back of the sofa. This also goes for seats on airplanes, cars and trains.

Bombshells always exit with an inhalation as if something wonderful is about to happen.

No matter how mundane the occasion, the Bombshell has an outfit in mind. She plays dress up every day.

Bombshell footwear always looks like it's about to be kicked off or as if it's been hastily slipped on after getting out of the tub. Any peekaboo sandal will be the first choice of a Bombshell, even in the coldest of weather. The Bombshell favors an open toe - she does this, confident people will take care that she is warm. (The Bombshell prefers bare legs, of course, to stockings of any kind, despite the cold.)

Most of all, the Bombshell enjoys her own company. She is not afraid to be alone.

Any Bombshell will tell you that she eats, not out of unhappiness, but out of joy.

When the Bombshell tries to be grown up ... she goes for a classic martini. Never a twist, she wants the olive. ... She would never order a Manhattan, but she'll pluck the maraschino cherry out of yours.

All the cliches are true. A Bombshell enroute is ready for anything and has the luggage to prove it. A Bombshell doesn't know the meaning of traveling light. The Bombshell travels with what might seem an excessive amount of luggage, not because she is a prima donna, rather she has no idea what may happen and has brought everything.

The Bombshell gets a kick out of life.
eleneariel: (art in the everyday)
- improvising with hummus: because I found out the hard way that hummus doesn't really work in traditional blenders, at least not mine. But a mortar and pestle and a little elbow grease does. Nope, it's not perfectly smooth, but it was a lot less angsty than working with the blender, and it's good enough for me.

- anyone want a half bottle of Slatkin & Co "creamy nutmeg" home fragrance oil? I broke my oil warmer this weekend (it took up too much room anyway) and I hate to just throw away the rest of the oil. I'll mail it to anyone who wants it. :)

- I read The Weird Sisters (Eleanor Brown) over the weekend. It wasn't what I expected but it was wonderful. And I marked so many passages, including this one:

She remembered one of her boyfriends asking, offhandedly, how many books she read in a year. "A few hundred," she said.

"How do you have time," he asked, gobsmacked.

She narrowed her eyes and considered the array of potential answers in front of her. Because I don't spend hours flipping through cable complaining there's nothing on? Because my entire Sunday is not eaten up with pre-game, in-game, and post-game talking heads? Because I do not spend every night drinking overpriced beer [...]? Because when I am waiting in line, at the gym, on the train, eating lunch, I am not complaining about the wait/staring into space/admiring myself in available reflective surfaces? I am reading!

"I don't know," she said, shrugging.

book talk

Mar. 4th, 2011 09:45 pm
eleneariel: (Reading (garden))
Also, I am just about to die with how badly I want to reread certain books. I just saw a photo of a particularly wonderful Art Deco skyscraper, and it made me want to spend a week reading Atlas Shrugged. Earlier I realized how long it had been since I read other old favorites - Gone with the Wind, which I used to chain read. The Godfather. The entire Anne of Green Gables series, which I used to read every October. Lord of the Rings, which was every December. And then there are just so many really excellent books that I would like to savor again.

I rarely reread anymore because of how huge my stack of new reading is. But tonight ... you know, I'm looking at my shelf of Pratchetts right now, and I think it's imperative to my health and well-being that I read one of the Witches books tonight. And I have just now picked Maskerade (loosely - very loosely - based on the Phantom of the Opera), mainly because of sections like these:

Ahahahahaha! Ahahahaha! Aahahaha!
Yrs sincerely
The Opera Ghost


"What sort of person," said Salzella patiently, "sits down and writes a maniacal laugh? And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head. Opera can do that to a man."


"Well, basically there are two sorts of opera,' said Nanny, who also had the true witch's ability to be confidently expert on the basis of no experience whatsoever. 'There's your heavy opera, where basically people sing foreign and it goes like "Oh oh oh, I am dyin', oh, I am dyin', oh, oh, oh, that's what I'm doin'", and there's your light opera, where they sing in foreign and it basically goes "Beer! Beer! Beer! Beer! I like to drink lots of beer!", although sometimes they drink champagne instead. That's basically all of opera, reely."
eleneariel: (Faith (wonder))
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?

Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created man on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever.

Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God.

(selections from Deuteronomy chapters 4-7)
eleneariel: (Green room)
The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest. -Thomas Moore
eleneariel: (USA)
Also there is this, the italics are mine:

A Washington insider told the Drudge Report that the president was not chain-smoking - his one vice - but does occasionally skip meals because he is "working non-stop for the country".

(from here.)

I ... I don't even know what to say. I'd laugh in the face of anyone who claimed they or anyone else only have one vice, for starters.
eleneariel: (mailbox)
Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.

- Henry David Thoreau, letter of May 1843
eleneariel: (eowyn and aragorn)
"Chivalry is largely dead, and feminism is the murderer."
-Dr. Laura

Truth. BUT largely dead is about the same thing as mostly dead, and we all know that mostly dead is slightly alive.

Thank goodness for that!
eleneariel: (This road is long - Fullmetal Alchemist)
I've decided to add Portugal to the list of places I want to visit.

An interesting bit of word-lore, courtesy of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love:

The word amok, as in "running amok," is a Balinese word, describing a battle technique of suddenly going insanely wild against one's enemies in suicidal and bloody hand-to-hand combat; the Europeans were frankly terrified by this practice.
eleneariel: (USA)

Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely expressed for the good of its
victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under
robber barons than under omnipotent busybodies.

~C.S. Lewis
eleneariel: (Bond (summer suit))
Have discovered the wealth of Top Gear clips online and promptly wasted entirely too much time alternately drooling (over the cars) and laughing (over the guys.)

An acclaimed broadcaster and journalist, Jeremy Clarkson has hosted “Top Gear” since 1988. Born in the decade of the hippie, Jeremy has shunned free love and peace, preferring instead to drive around corners very fast, yelling “POWER” at the top of his lungs.

Well, yes.

eleneariel: (reading is the key)
Although not common on Discworld there are, indeed, such things as anti-crimes, in accordance with the fundamental law that everything in the multiverse has an opposite. They are, obviously, rare. Merely giving someone something is not the opposite of robbery; to be an anti-crime, it has to be done in such a way as to cause outrage and/or humiliation to the victim. So there is breaking-and-decorating, proffering-with-embarressment (as in most retirement presentations) and whitemailing (as in threatening to reveal to his enemies a mobster's secret donations, for example, to charity.) Anti-crimes have never really caught on. 

Reaper Man
, Terry Pratchett

Evan came out to watch me. Something about me on a ladder always seemed to draw his attention. He stood in the shade in the yard on the other side of the driveway. Toddlers never sit when they are spectators. Invariably theystand. Something in their legs gives them the impulse to participate, even as their consciousness refuses to explain this. They watch, imagining imitation, and bouncing imperceptibly to its rhythm. In this regard, at least, I was an excellent father. I was forever providing a live imagine of something a small boy might wish to try himself, something involving a hammer or a saw or an act of suspension ten feet in the air or something generally dangerous or violent or related to wet paint.

All the Way Home, David Giffels

This man had Rod Stewart's hair. I don't mean this figuratively, as in, "he had hair very much like that of pop singer Rod Stewart." I mean he appeared actually to have purchased the scalp of Rod Stewart on the black market and had had it surgically affixed to his head.

All the Way Home, David Giffels

In this book, we'll examine the inherent danger when the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred; when the public becomes accustomed to seeing celebrity disfunction or acting out portrayed as sexy, compelling, and dramatic; and when these corrosive behaviors are increasingly mirrored in our lives and those of our children.

The Mirror Effect, Dr. Drew Pinsky
eleneariel: (cooking)
If you are a foodie and you haven't read Reichl's trilogy of food memoirs, do so. And that's all I have to say about that, except that she wasn't the resturant critic for the New York Times for no reason.

She's also the editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, and I always look forward to reading her editorials. From the March 2007 issue, an editorial called "Teach Your Children Well":

...I recently read a laudatory article about the opening of a new shop in New York City dedicated to children's food, and the very notion drives me so crazy I simply can't keep quiet.

On the surface it seems like a rather charming idea: a shop dedicated to food that children will eat. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to feel that this epitomizes everything that's wrong with the way we eat today.

For starters, the notion that children are a separate species who require a different diet from the rest of us pretty much does away with the concept of the family meal. The point of eating together, it seems to me, is not just that we all sit down around the same table but also that we share the food. The same food.

Children study their parents - that is their primary job in life - and one of the things they absorb is the way the grown-ups eat. [...] But if little Suzy and Sam get applesauce instead of salad and naked pasta in place of meat sauce, the lesson is quite different. What we are really telling our children is "You won't like what we are eating."
[...] No conscious parent would really want to tell his children, night after night, that they are going to dislike the food that the grown-ups are eating.

[...] Sitting down to dinner, at any age, should be an invitation to the fabulous banquet that is life. The most important lesson we learn at the table is that great rewards await those who take chances. Do we really want to be telling our children, "Just eat your nice chicken nuggets"? It would make so much more sense to say, "Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.

This is a good blog post about the subject - and this paragraph, though not directly related to the kid food issue, made me laugh:

I'm going to preface this rant by stating that I really love Bon Appetite Magazine. They have informative and dynamic articles about food issues, nice photography and some lovely, super simple recipes that I've used myself. They even got me loving beets, which the Virgin Mary could not have accomplished even if she had been holding hands with Bobby Flay in a prayer circle.

If I'm someday given the opportunity to raise children, the two things I look forward to most are teaching them to love reading and learning, and teaching them to appreciate food.

... although we will still sometimes eat kid food, because corndogs are just plain yummy.
eleneariel: (always)
I'm finally almost done working my way through Mapping Time (by E.G. Richards), and while intellectually I understand how it works, stuff like this still BLOWS MY MIND:

[discussing corrections made to various ancient calendars when they got off track with the lunar and seasonal cycles, as they invariably did, nobody having noticed yet that the length of a year is closer to 365.24222 days than any whole number]

Thus 46 BC contained 445 days. [...] This mammoth year was known as 'the last year of confusion.'


It is unfortunate that Julius Caesar was assassinated on the ides of March in 44 BC [...] Caesar was unable to oversee the proper working of his new calendar and the pontifices, as usual, misunderstood their task and interpreted their orders to insert an intercalary day every fourth year as one every three years using Roman inclusive counting. Once more the calendar began to slip.

Then there's always the period when England and her colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar in September of 1752:

Wednesday, 2 September, was followed by Thursday, 14 September, and the intervening 11 days just did not exist in that year.

I understand it but I still can't wrap my head around it. Where did those days GO?
eleneariel: (Default)

This quote nicely expands on my life motto, 'live joyfully' - or at least how I view it.  


I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.

— Shauna Niequist in Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life
eleneariel: (Bnod (hold me))
London, 1940, during the Blitz; a group of men return to an underground bomb shelter to report on the damage.

Then one woman looked directly at her husband. "Is our place gone?"

"I'm afraid so, girl," he said. "There isn't much left up there. But we're alive. We're all lucky to be alive. We'd have been dead if we'd stayed up above."

"Oh, what a mercy we didn't!" she exclaimed. "How lucky we are!"

Incredible though it sounds, within a few moments, a whole lot of people were congratulating each other on their extraordinary good fortune in only having lost all their worldy posessions.

Safe Passage, by Ida Cook

This was a book worth reading.
eleneariel: (imagination)
Just as, at least in one religion, accidia is the first of the cardinal sins, so boredom, and particularly the incredible circumstance of waking up bored, was the only vice Bond utterly condemned.
                                                                                                From Russia, With Love, Ian Fleming

Do you know, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I've been truly bored? For that, at least, I can thank my imagination. It does give life continual interest!

And then there's the whole theory I have about men like Bond and why they live the way they do, and how if you really get into their heads you find that ordinary life isn't enough for them, and they abhor boredom and sameness above all else and thrive on danger and unpredictability. But that's another story for another day.

eleneariel: (reading (english))
The words we learned exclusively from having books infill their meaning for us are the ones we pronounce differently from everyone else. Or, if we force ourselves to say them the public way, secretly we believe the proper pronunciation is our own, deduced from the page and not corrected by hearing the word aloud until it was too late to alter its sound. [...] One of mine is "grimace." You probably think it's pronounced grimuss, but I know different. It's grim-ace to rhyme with "face." I'm sorry, but on this point the entire English-speaking human race except me is wrong.

                                                                                                   from The Child That Books Built, by Francis Spufford
eleneariel: (reading is the key)
At the 1999 National Book Awards ceremony Oprah Winfrey told of calling Toni Morrison to say that she had had to puzzle over many of the latter's sentences. According to Oprah, Morrison's reply was "That, my dear, is called reading." Sorry, my dear Toni, but it's actually called bad writing. Great prose isn't always easy, but it's always lucid; no one of Oprah's intelligence ever had to wonder what Joseph Conrad was trying to say in a particular sentence. This didn't stop the talk-show host from quoting her friend's words with approval. 

"A Reader's manifesto" in The Atlantic Monthly, by B R Myers

Annnnd that would be why I have a hard time appreciating authors like Faulkner.

July 2011

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