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-Where did I put that page of notes on Victorian madness and insane asylums? REALLY. It's been days since I started looking for it.

-Is it necessary to point out random connections when I talk to people on the phone? "Hey, my name is Merrie, too!" or (today, on the phone with an ILL staff member at Northern Illinois University) "Do you know rarelylynne? Because I do!"

-Am I overdrying my skin by taking too hot showers, or is it okay because I used that stinky, oily body scrub from Aveda that was in my Christmas stocking?

-Don't put that stinky, oily body rub in your Christmas stocking next year.

-Possibly also, stuffing your own stocking isn't really that fun, but I don't want to miss out on the cool Sharpies I buy for everyone else. Conundrum!

-Here's a page of notes on what constitutes a "proper English education": dress, conversational subjects, musical instruments, singing, dancing, speaking French. Possibly also: needlework, the getting up of fine linen and ironing. In addition to that, Jane Eyre was able to teach history, geography, and the use of a globe, plus grammar and writing. On my notescrap, I have also written "maybe arithmetic" but I don't know where I got that from. Most of the rest of the information came from Understanding Jane Eyre: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources and Historical Documents. Which I need to check out from the library again. Because I did not take adequate enough notes on insane asylums.

-The Herbalist's Apprentice, as a spoken phrase, is occasionally too easy to trip over. You have to jump in, and elide the sibilants or die trying.

-I am rereading some of Anne McCaffrey's romances with a more critical eye to the gender politics. And I wanted to wash myself. And I was actually doing the re-reading in the bathtub, so you see how bad that is. (FOR EXAMPLE: "He clipped one warm, strong-fingered hand under my elbow, and I have never been omre conscious of a square inch of my own flesh than that moment. As if he sensed my reaction, he removed his hand and gave me a quick searching look. 'It's a cup of coffee, Miss Dunn, not an invitation to rape!'" UHM, DUDE, DID YOU JUST CASUALLY BRING UP RAPE (as in you-and-me-time) WHILE TRYING TO INVITE ME FOR COFFEE? This conversation is OVER.)

-On the other hand, I thought this book was just lovely when I was younger, and thus I have faith that The Kids These Days are going to come through the Twilight-era just fine.

-I *seriously* could not love Cougar Town and Community more. Cougar Town *is* Scrubs, reborn without daydreams and internal monologue. The cast interactions have gelled so fantastically that it reads like a sitcom that's been on the air for years. Community is a bit more self-aware and absurd, but it's very emotionally truthful. Between those two shows and Castle, I could get by with watching only shows that start with the letter C, if I had to. (But I would be sad to miss Tabatha's Salon Takeover, which is mine and Kayla's new thing, because we love competent women who make people cry.)

-HEY! I just found my old collection of fortune cookies. (My current ones are: "Adventure can be real happiness" and "Use your instincts now." My old collection includes "Education is the movement from darkness to light." (I wrote beneath that one: "So is phototropism."))

-And THAT is a picture of the Bronte parsonage in snow. *grab* Need that for my Jane Elliott collage.

-I purchased STORY by Robert McKee on audible.com, and started listening to it today. And promptly turned it off, after screaming obscenities at it. Mr. McKee says that because we are all horrible, cynical people with eroded values who live and breathe by the code of relativism, that there has been an erosion of story. We can't get good stories from Hollywood because we don't have the morals to appreciate story. We can't tell good stories because we can't impart the values that people need to know.


Did I mention I was SCREAMING obscenities at my radio after this? Because, between Unitarian Universalism, anthropology, and a particular preference for the protection of civil liberties, I am, yes, deeply relativist in my moral world view. Cultural relativism, mainly--as long as it doesn't impede on individual human rights. Informed consent, mutual consent, and consent in general--as long as there's that, people should be allowed do what they need to do, and I should not be allowed to stop them. To me, that is the core of my value system, and my ethics system. (I think library-ness comes in there, too--the ALA Code of Ethics comes in there, too; I haven't worked in libraries for 15 years without that stuff seeping in.)

I promise you, my being what I believe to be a reasonable human being does NOT impede my ability to deal in story. Either to hear it or to tell it.


-Anger aside, I am going to a) start cleaning the basement tomorrow; b) buy a new heat register at the hardware store so we can stop baking our plants on the plant stand; c) schedule a massage.

-And d) finish finishing my damn book

-I got more and more anxious while thinking about going back to my new doctor, the one who was so terribly dismissive of my heel pain, and on top of that, when I asked to have a pelvic exam, basically said, "Why would you want one of those?" Like, dude. You're a doctor. AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE TELLING ME TO GET ONE? And also, she didn't care about any of my other bloodwork, even though my good cholesterol is too low, and other things. All she cared about was my vitamin D. So anyway, I got a recommendation from the fabulous redmomoko, and I'm going to go see her doctor. But not until May. Because that's how far out they're scheduling her. WHATEVER. NEW DOCTOR, YAY. Old doctor? NOT A GOCTOR! (tip of the hat to porphyrin and mrissa and Robin, there.)


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 9th, 2010 09:57 am (UTC)
We handle the stocking quandry as part of the larger present quandry.

In a large shoebox under my desk are three plastic grocery bags. Each has a tag on it for who it will be for. Tomorrow I will go out to the store, and while I am there I will buy an extra shower pouffe. I will bring it home and put it in a bag, and check off "Shower pouffe: Alex" on the file. When I get all the shower pouffs, I take the text size for that entry down small and very light grey on white, so the eye skims over it without noticing especially. This is repeated over the course of the next eleven months with nail polish, some hacksaw blades, etc. into the bags. Candy will be bought in November, and added. On Christmas eve, I fill my husband's bag and my roommate's bag. My husband fills mine. While I know roughly, if I think about it hard, what's in my stocking I don't actually know...and he's prone to picking up a few odds and ends himself near Christmas, too! That way I get to open a stocking I didn't stuff.

Now, it's likely I wrapped all the presents as we bought them over the year, but happily I am forgetful, which means that I will have forgotten exactly that I got such neat shoes for myself back in April, and I will get to enjoy them all over again with the background certainty that everything is going to be Just What I Want. It works for us.
Jan. 9th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
I think if I shopped ahead of time that might work. :)
Jan. 9th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
Start now! It also has the advantage of being one less thing to worry about, and if you are worried about income spaces the impact out more.
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC)
Hm, I think there may actually be an interesting point in the McKee piece, in spite of how much it angered you. When you think about the purpose of a story, what is it? In anthropological terms, you can see story as a tool for conveying cultural information. Culture is crucial for human survival. It tells you how to make a harsh, deadly environment into a home, where to find food, what dangers to avoid. In the social sphere, it tells you not to sleep with your best friend's wife, to avenge your father promptly when he is killed by your uncle, and not to lock your insane wife in the attic.

I DO think that Hollywood has lost track of this second function. See, stories do get very interesting when you mix up the moral message. Classically, a revenge story always ends with the death of the hero. No matter how pressing the need for revenge is, the truth is that revenge and vendetta is deeply antisocial, and can tear a community apart. So although we sympathize with the hero, he usually has to die at the end to restore the social order. Hollywood, now routinely gives us stories about heros who survive their revenge, to revenge another day. And this is, as I said, deeply interesting and quite morally nuanced. But I think what we have now is a sort of post-modern situation where we can't even see why an upside-down or twisted moral is interesting in a story, because the flip-flopped morality is as common as the straight-up kind. We don't know the difference between a hero, an anti-hero, and a villain. In my opinion, it results in TV and screenwriters who don't know how to "close the deal." They can't properly end the stories they've begun because they do not understand the cultural context of the expectations they established in the beginning. The Battlestar Galactica series is, I think, a good example of this. There were a lot of complaints that at the end of the series, we never really found out what "the plan" was. I also think there was just a deep dissatisfaction that there wasn't really any resolution with the cylons after their appalling genocide. Going back to the tribe huddled around the campfire, we really need to have a *point* for the whole thing. What is the moral of the story? How do we avoid getting wiped out by the cylons, and what are the rewards and consequences to the heroes and villains in the story? Who were the heroes and villains? We are just left hanging with a trite ending that does not satisfy because the deep moral questions of the series were ultimately not addressed.

Anyway, there's stuff there. It sounds like McKee's handling of it was pretty self-righteous.
Jan. 9th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
I think you have some of (my) truth there--what I wanted to say to McKee was "Well, that's why we have worldbuilding." I mean, you read SF novels that introduce a word or a concept that is difficult to explain to another human in less than a novel length, and the author can make the whole emotional climax to the book rest on that word/concept, and you go away TOTALLY SATISFIED, because you believed in the word/concept, and the world that resulted. You are correct in that BSG failed there.

McKee was also arguing that novelists were just like screenwriters in this regard, too, and I definitely had a problem with that. No novelists I like to read have this problem.

But what vexed me the most about the statement was that relativism was somehow not a value in and of itself. My whole value system and personal code of ethics is based on defending people's rights to cleave to their own values & ethics, as long as they fit within the standards of human rights. He lumped it in with a cynical world-view. And I was like, "Fuck you, no, YOUR world-view is cynical, *I* am a bleeding optimist."

Hence, screaming.


Jan. 9th, 2010 11:30 pm (UTC)
Well, I would say he's way off base because television in general has never been better. There are some great tv shows and movies being written and produced. The problem is that it's just hard to make a really great story, and making a story so morally ambiguous (or "relativistic") that the audience doesn't give a crap is just one pitfall in the process.
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC)
Great post. Had to read bits aloud to my husband.

And I, too, have a picture of the Bronte parsonage in the snow!
Jan. 9th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
Is that random, or is that because you too joined the Bronte Society at some point for the free entry to the Museum?
Jan. 9th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
I don't believe I knew about the Bronte Society, but I've been to the Parsonage. Friend of mine was living in York at the time and knew I'd be interested, so we visited when I went to spend a few weeks with him. It was the best part of my trip!
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
I am rereading some of Anne McCaffrey's romances with a more critical eye to the gender politics.


...have fun.
Jan. 9th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
Laugh now, lady, because when I'm done rereading these, I'm sending them to you so you can read the horse book. (They're a 3 in 1 volume, and I decided that once I've reread them, I can probably let them go.)
Jan. 12th, 2010 01:25 pm (UTC)
Which horse book is it? I've read The Lady (there's a post about it somewhere in my unchallenge memories), but I've never been able to get my hands on her other horse mysteries and would love (a deeply wary kind of love) to do so!
Jan. 12th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
Ring of Fear! It's HORRIBLE and yet I loved it SO MUCH when I was 12. And 15. And 28.

Jan. 13th, 2010 03:30 am (UTC)
I have never found that one! I will happily fling myself on this grenade. :-p
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC)
"invatation to rape"??????

So, if I invite you to rape me and you accept doesn't it stop being rape and become S&M as it is mutally agreed upon scenario?
Jan. 9th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
Well, FOR STARTERS, right????
Jan. 9th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
It does among people who like to play that way. They use a safeword, so one can shout no and stop and know it won't be listened to, but if one says "lavender" the game is over.
Jan. 9th, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
Hee. That is all I have to say about ILL interconnectedness. :-)
Jan. 9th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
She was mostly like, "That's nice, dearie, but I had a question." :) (At least, once she figured out I wasn't from DeKalb.)
Jan. 11th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC)
What's the name of your old doc, so I know to avoid that one. :)
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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