Wednesday, August 14, 2013

New Project!

Long time, huh? I have a new project in the works. It's a web magazine called Full Grown People, and I have as high of hopes for it as I did for Brain, Child. Check it out, pretty please?

It launches after Labor Day, and there's a handy dandy newsletter sign-up on the right.

XO, yo.

Friday, June 26, 2009

One Glove, Two Degrees

During the age of Thriller, I was in sixth grade, a tall girl with an especially unfortunate perm and the old-school kind of retainer with the layer of plastic molded across the roof of your mouth that collected saliva and forced you to slurp every few minutes. It should be no surprise that I could consider a man wearing one glittery glove cool.

My sisters and I wore out two Thriller albums. My neighbor taught me how to moonwalk, helpfully pointing out that it was easier to do if you placed a coffee table between you and your intended audience. My aunt videotaped the Thriller video and I watched it every time I went over her house.

At my middle school, there was an eighth grader who dressed like Michael Jackson, down to the glove and the jacket. The day we got our yearbooks, the school must have let everyone congregate in the cafeteria for a while to sign them. The MJ-guy had a crowd around him. One girl I was friends with got up the nerve to ask him to sign her yearbook and a small group of us rode her tails over to where he was. This was the closest, I knew, that I'd ever get to an autograph from Michael Jackson. He signed my book. Later, I was mildly disappointed to see that he signed his real name—José—in a teenage-boy scrawl, not the famous signature with the sparkler at the end.

Yesterday, as I was checking my email after dinner, I saw that the actual Michael Jackson died. Since the age of Thriller, my feelings about him have become more muddy, but suddenly I remembered José. I wondered what he might be thinking. His feelings might be just as muddy as my own, but it was lovely to remember a time when there was celebrity so big and so unsullied that a little of it could be lent to make a suburban middle school cafeteria a measure more glittery.

Monday, June 15, 2009




peanut- and treenut-contemptuous

lycopenally close-minded




Thursday, June 11, 2009

Good Times

Brandon and I went to the David Byrne concert last night, and holy hell, I haven't had that much fun in a long time. It's sticky and hot here in Virginia these days, and I was getting ready for a get-sweaty-and-don't-care kind of evening (a close relative of throw-your-hands-in-the-air-and-wave-them-like-you-just-don't-care kind of evening), but it started pouring right before the concert, cooled down, and if there's anything better than hearing the fabulous voice of Mr. Byrne and dancing with your fella while getting your Stevie Nicks on, what with the wind and flowy sundress and mussed hair, I don't know what it is.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

For Your Pleasure

There's not much going on with me. I learned a new way to brush my teeth so as to prevent gum recession. Okay, we're caught up now.

--I recently learned of Awkward Family Photos from my pal Lee's Facebook page, and I love.

--This collaboration between The Blackout Project and the UVA Jazz Ensemble is very good.

--Perhaps you will have some use for this:

funny animated gif

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bookety Book Books

I was going to write something like “So I’ve been up to my eyeballs in book stuff,” but then I thought, well, of course I am. That’s how I do. Anyhoo, that’s part of why I’ve been gone for so long: I’m writing the long book review for the summer issue of Brain, Child and my head and all of my typing ability has gone into that.

In other book news, Caleb is reading Jack London’s Call of the Wild at school. The Call of the Wild does not excite him. I originally thought, Oh, Jack London—all things considered in the canon, he’s not such a toughie. But, it turns out, he kind of is. We sat down to read together to catch up on the book, and this is the sort of sentence we got: “Civilized, he could have died for a moral consideration, say the defence of Judge Miller’s riding whip; but the completeness of his decivilization was now evidenced by his ability to flee from the defence of moral consideration and so save his hide.” And... enter Sandman.

Also, London is an out-of-fashionie. The main characters are dogs, so there’s very little dialogue and not much internal signposts of how a character is feeling. I emailed his teacher about the book—she’s given optional assignments before and I wondered if this might be one of them—but in the end, am I going to waste her time by entering into a debate about when kids should be exposed to The Canon of English Language Literature? And what parts of the canon? Nope.

I’m conflicted myself. On the one hand, you’re not going to think of reading as fun—and you’re not going to be a lifelong reader—if you learn that it’s something to be suffered though. And you’ll be suspicious of books and your own judgment in books if you’re also told that this thing you’re suffering through is considered one of the best our country has to offer. Score one for the Wii.

On the other hand, I totally get the argument that the next generation can’t be all slang and Captain Underpants. Brandon and I just finished the Up series of movies (and by the way—awesome! It’s a series of films about a group of English people. They started interviewing them when the kids where seven, and they go back every seven years), and it’s startling how articulate all the children were in 1964.

What to do, what to do. Very soon, I’m going to start my pal Dan’s book. He’s a cognitive psychologist specializing in education, and Why Don’t Students Like School? has gotten some mahvelous reviews. I imagine some light will be shed on this issue. Some moral consideration, if you will.

And speaking of friends with books—go ahead: admire that segue—I read Jessica Handler’s Invisible Sisters, and it’s just loverley. Jessica’s two sisters died from different fatal bone-marrow disorders and her book is an unsentimental look at what loss does to a family, to a person. Jessica is probably one of the most gregarious ladies I know—and she’s doing readings now. If you’re in the south, you’re in luck.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

When I was in elementary school, there came a time when some teacher had the idea that we all must bring in displays related to our hobbies. I was stumped. I liked to read, but we had all seen a pile of books before at the school library. I liked to ride my bike, but it didn't seem so much a hobby as what kids were supposed to do. I wasn't a gymnastics buff or horse lover or softball player.

I decided to just make up a hobby. I would be a cartoonist. Why, how surprised all my friends would be to discover that I had a secret life, kicking back on Sunday mornings, just me and my pens, doodling up some art, jotting down some bons mots! I started studying the Sunday cartoon section. After one weekend, I had a new "hobby," enough evidence to bring to school to pass off this secret life, and the most rudimentary ideas on how to draw Garfield and The Family Circus family.

Speaking of The Family Circus? I cannot get enough of this.