Friday, May 30, 2008

The Bird

I can all ready hear the groans. Why and from whom? Because for the last several months I have been complaining to anyone who would listen that I am being persecuted by a bird. I thought initially it was several birds, Hitchcock style, but have now concluded it is one solitary irresponsible bird. This early bird, for that's what he is, starts to sing between 4.15 and 4.45 every morning, though usually much closer to the latter time. After doing his think for a few minutes he goes back to sleep, leaving me wide awake and unable to sleep. The first few times it was charming and I didn't mention it to anyone. The I did a small blog entry. But after six weeks of missing the tail end of my sleep I couldn't take it anymore. I began wearing earplugs to sleep. By and large this works, but sometimes this bird wakes me up through the earplugs.

You see? You don't believe me do you? I've tried to record it, but you've got to imagine it 10 times louder - or more precisely piercing.

Aren't birds adorable little fluffy creatures? By and large they do appear to be. But recall that the genetically closest living descents of dinosaurs have been show to be birds.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Blogus in extremis

I have been reading a lengthy cover article in the New York Times Magazine by Emily Gould, who at one time wrote for the gossipy-snarky New York media blog called Gawker. It's worth a look for any of us who write blogs, not because I agree with most of her thoughts or share her experiences or because we'll end up where she did (don't worry, not jail!), but because of how the early steps of this de/ascent to purgatory were so normal and gradual, the kind of thing each of us has probably experienced a little bit as well.

A few choice extracts:

Back in 2006, I had just been promoted to associate editor at the publishing house where I’d been working since I graduated from college, and ... almost every day I updated my year-old blog, Emily Magazine, to let a few hundred people know what I was reading and watching and thinking about.

Some of my blog’s readers were my friends in real life, and even the ones who weren’t acted like friends when they posted comments or sent me e-mail. They criticized me sometimes, but kindly, the way you chide someone you know well. Some of them had blogs, too, and I read those and left my own comments. As... one-dimensional as my relationships with these people were, they were important to me. They made me feel like a part of some kind of community, and that made the giant city I lived in seem smaller and more manageable.

... But is that really what’s making people blog? After all, online, you’re not even competing for 10 grand and a Kia. I think most people who maintain blogs are doing it for some of the same reasons I do: they like the idea that there’s a place where a record of their existence is kept — a house with an always-open door where people who are looking for you can check on you, compare notes with you and tell you what they think of you.

After the first night [after my breakup] ... I woke up as the sun rose and sat down at my desk to write a post that was nominally about a recent New York Times article about the shelf-life of romantic love. My boyfriend and I had just broken up, I revealed, and so I had been wondering whether love really exists. I wrote that I had concluded that it does. We can’t expect other people to make us happy, I informed my readers with total sincerity and earnestness, and we should live in the moment and stop obsessing about the future...I shudder involuntarily when I read this post now. It’s like stumbling across a diary I kept as a teenager. It’s probably one of the worst things that I’ve ever written. The commenters loved it.

Gawker had recently added a counter beside each post that displayed how many views it received. Now it was easy to see exactly how many people cared about my feelings. The site’s owner didn’t like my “I believe in love” post, he told me, but he said he was O.K. with it because, as everyone could see, more than 10,000 people disagreed with him. Readers e-mailed me their own breakup horror stories and posted hundreds of comments, advising me about flavors of ice cream to eat, and I reveled in the attention. I had managed to turn my job into a group therapy session. “Emily, I don’t really know you any more than I know the people I see every morning walking the dogs,” one of them wrote. “It’s more of an imagined familiarity born out of reading your words for a year. But that took guts, all the way around. And I’m in your corner, inasmuch as a somewhat anonymous, faceless, nameless commenter can be.”

All of this does make me think how grateful I am for the few but loyal readers of this blog. Group hug!

Love you all,



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Portrait of a lady

“You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends,
And how, how rare and strange it is, to find
In a life composed so much, so much of odds and ends,
[For indeed I do not love it … you knew? you are not blind!
How keen you are!]
To find a friend who has these qualities,
Who has, and gives
Those qualities upon which friendship lives.
How much it means that I say this to you—
Without these friendships—life, what cauchemar!”

T.S. Eliot, Portrait of a Lady, inspired by this wonderful portrait -- and in this case I do urge you to take this quotation out of the context of the original poem!


Friday, May 9, 2008


Jealousy is defined as defined as being afraid that someone else will take away what you already have. That's not it. Envy? That's defined as wanting what someone else has. Getting warmer. Envy seems to me to suggest wanting the very thing someone else has: I want it rather than you, kind of thing. No, that's not it, but what about my wanting it as well? That wish I was there too kind of feeling. That's it. Have a great time darlings!



Monday, May 5, 2008


Clementine and I decided to try another Peter Gordon recipe.... We started here:

And ended up here:

(This is what happens when you put too good a camera in the hands of an amateur...)

But the curries were a great success. One reddish (tomato, sweet potato, red onion, and harissa) and the other green (butternut squash, peas, onion, and some green curry paste)...


* Another theme cheerfully and gratefully stolen borrowed from my friend Lola...
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