redemption song

me, talking

Friday, May 27, 2005

Yes I've left this blog. I'm still psuedononymous but not so much. You can find me at

Welcome over. I intend to be more interesting, and to try to pretend that no one reads the internet.


Monday, May 23, 2005

The people who told me it was impossible to forget how to ride a bicycle may have left out a few quick facts. My reflexes are still there, but they expect to be encountering the body of a seven-year-old on a pink bike with white streamers on the handlebars. I have more momentum than I'm used to, and more weight. It takes me more work to get up hills, and I coast for longer on the other side. Still, I've done thirty minutes today, a couple times back and forth on the main street of the suburb (abandoned, as usual, at midday). I passed two or three cars successfully without bloodshed. Maybe there's something to this wheel thing.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

I get depressed at all the people / friends / acquaintances whose lives are carrying on without me over this break. Things are happening that I won't know about; changes are happening that I won't see.

I suppose people get married because they're sick of parts of their lives happening without each other.

I have a lot of crazy ideas right now. It's fun, but I'm worried I'll run out and be boring for the rest of the summer.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Is there anything better than finding That One Book from your earlier literate days? I must have read UK Le Guin's A Fisherman of the Inland Sea when I was in middle school; I almost definitely got it from the musty, overcrowded town library. I remember reading in the upstairs bathroom of my house, the room with the best light, in the broad ceramic step of the huge, unusable bathtub. I also remember marching downstairs to confront my mother with some of the uglier ideas in the book; it was not a gentle read. I remember being profoundly distressed by her total lack of reaction.

Lately books I read as a child pop into my head. I will be folding clothes or walking somewhere or sitting on the porch (or plopped in front of the computer in a stuporous blob, let's be honest here Alex) and I'll suddenly remember some plot point from something that I read when I was eight or nine. Some books that I read once were seared into my brain (Louis Lowry's Children of the Dust, which I kept trying and trying not to read), some books I read constantly (Ender's Game, my copy of which is decomposing). I don't like admitting, even retrospectively, that I even had a reading level, but it is fun to go back to books I gave up then and see what they look like now. I get really interested in how what I could read and understand sometimes indicate real developmental changes. For example, it took me forever to be able to cope with unreliable narrators. Moral ambiguity and mistakes - as well as clearly cut good/evil lines - were the bane of my literary existance. (see for example Dune and its sequels, which I finished for the first time this year). I just finished Philip Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials for the second or third time, and while it is labelled a children's book, and I know plenty of children who love it, the absence of good/evil tropes would have made me nuts as a kid.

It's nice to know that I can change my thinking, though, that I can develop new intellectual capacities that make what was previously incomprehensible accessible and interesting. I used to worry when I was a very young child that I would never develop analytical skills, never be able to disagree with an author, and never be able to form my own opinion. I seem to be doing okay, especially with the opinions. That's all.


Monday, May 16, 2005

The new Harry Potter trailer sends chills up my spine. I know it's geeky of me; it's just that the Prisoner of Azkaban movie was so good. I wish I had more hope that this next movie will have the kind of epic scale the story deserves; now, I've never seen one of Mike Newell's movies, but there's kind of a difference between directing Julia Roberts vehicles and directing a movie with dragons in it.

Various news outlets like to make much of the HP books' adult followings - I definitely have found that, while the books have gotten shoddier and shoddier (the first one was so tightly written, almost Roald Dahl in character) my engagement with the unfolding plotline has only grown as I've gotten older. Maybe this is because I read fan fiction (get yer minds out of the gutter, people!) and have spent the time between books in the better-written, more adventurous space of Harry Potter internet. Maybe this is because the characters are getting old enough that I have sympathy with them. Certainly the actors are maturing; Emma Watson's Hermione was both nuanced and likable in PoA.

So I'm looking forward to the next movie. But while I'm on the topic (the topic of geeky and a little shallow) - Clemence Poesy as Fleur Delacour? I know shield-faced, pitifully scrawny girls are stylish among the faux-punk rock set right now, but while reading the books I was imagining Fleur more as a young Cate Blanchett and less as an old Ashley Olsen.

And by the way: dear producers: thank you for noticing circa movie 3 that Hogwarts is not populated by white people. However, Cho Chang is blonde. Yes, it confused me too, and I guess it's too late to fix it now.

That's all. We now return to your regularly-scheduled blogcast.


ETA: alrighty, one more geek note: I understand that this Poesy woman can play a girl six years younger than her, and I appreciate that the movie stills that have come out show her more as a young athlete and less as some sort of emaciated beauty. Still.

Man, translation is hard. First, it's hard to come out of assymetrical, irregular, immediate English into a neatly ordered language that has whole tenses devoted to being vauge. Second, it's hard to confirm my literal semi-conceptual translations when the translations in the books have already been prettied-up. Third, UTexas keeps cease-and-desisting Neruda translation sites. Thbbt.

Simultaneously, wow.

I mean, having to struggle for each word, maintaining in your mind all the shimmering simultaneous meanings, some of them permanently inscrutable - pushing on through constructions like knots in grammar, mazes that native speakers thread through effortlessly - the constant sensitivity to beauties and instabilities and fault lines in the structure of every sentance -

The only other problem is, once I've shaken out a meaning, rudimentary though it may be, it is hard to go from the easily-understood image and words of english back into the spanish. Spanish still lies flat on the page, not transparent to meaning like the english I love so well. But I'm working on it.


p.s. favorite spanish poets, anyone? I'm looking to translate a sonnet or two a day...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Does anyone out there know how to thread a rigid heddle loom?

I thought not. My bed is covered in a seething mass of yarn from which there will be no escape. I could have read the manual, but the manual says to thread the loom before cutting the yarn up, so too late now.

On one hand, being around my grandparents is kind of reassuring. They are both suffering from pretty serious age-related illness, and my grandmother is not so coherant, but she is still witty and quick, catty even, critical and clever. She likes to kvetch, but she seems to mostly approach bodily degeneration with a sort of passive interest.

On the other hand, I look at my mother, still pretty and capable - though marked all over with scars, missing muscles from a brush with cancer, arthritus in the knee, a long bout of depression - and I think, my grandmother is just eighteen years older. I'm not ready for my mother to be old. I'm not ready to acknowledge that I'm going to get old, that I am getting old. Lately I have been plagued by this terror that I'm never going to have a physical prime.

Grump grump grump. I'm not actually grouchy, I just don't have much else to say.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

1) I dreamed that my mother's best friend divorced her husband and moved to a Momune in New Mexico. (I can't find a link for Momune. Sigh.) I also dreamed that I was trying to find somewhere to stay in Central America, and ended up renting a room from a family of oil bootleggers (who filled individual jars with black crude for people to take home and process) who lived in this vast stucco-and-tile underground mansion.

2) My grandparents are here.

3) Today, I walk three miles into town to buy a book. My tendonitus is killing me, but it's better than nothing.



4) LA says Haloscan is problematic; I'm testing Blogger comments (the second 'comment' button to the right) and if it works better I'll switch entirely to that. Sorry if the double buttons are confusing.