Monday, March 29, 2010

The Amaryllis Gets a Close-up

All of my plants are blooming at once. The amaryllis won't last long, but it's one of my favorite plants. Once it gets started, it grows very quickly, which is fun to watch. It's so tall that it will bend toward the sun at quite an angle if you don't turn it around every day.

Its flowers remind me of a naturally-occuring phonograph.

This particular amaryllis is tragically imprisoned indoors against its will. I would show you a picture demonstrating its sorrow, a very moving picture, but Blogger has decided to censor it by malfunctioning every time I try to upload it. I guess it's just too much even for the internet.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Formal Complaint

It is somewhat aggravating to read an entire chapter about the symbolism of the color green in Gawain and the Green Knight only to come to these final sentences: "The pentangle is a symbol because the poet tells us so. As for green, who knows?"

If Derek Brewer, revered medievalist, doesn't know, nobody knows and nobody will ever know. By the same token, if Derek Brewer doesn't know, probably nobody ever knew, which means he is right, but I'm still annoyed.

This is nearly on par with what someone once wrote about a section of the Morte Darthur in which Malory tries to make some grand statements about love that apparently don't make sense. (I say apparently because the Morte Darthur is long and I never made it that far.) C. David Benson briefly discusses this in his essay, calling in another expert when it gets rough: "Roger Sherman Loomis, in a critical move that would solve many other literary cruxes, suggested that the author might have been drunk when he wrote it."

If I had known that options of saying "I have no idea" and "the poet was soused" were available to me as tools of critical analysis, my senior thesis would have been a lot easier.

However, Brewer's chapter did yield this instructive item: the color green is evidently suitable for the clothing of young married people, and parrots.

This post has been brought to you by the massive collection of criticism on the Arthurian legends that I own in spite of always having preferred, given a choice of mythical English heroes, Robin Hood. Who, so I hear, wore a lot of green. Did you ever notice that Douglas Fairbanks had unusually long arms? The author may be drunk.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm Hurt That You Would Google Such Things

number 7 on the list of search terms-- that is the one I take issue with.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Yes, color me distressed. The flying bacon pig in Ivan's previous post is horrifying and inappropriate. However, by happy coincidence, it reminds me of this thing I saw yesterday that amused me.

I was waiting around for a friend at Barnes and Noble, thumbing through the books on a display table. (Those tables really work. I saw eight things I had to talk myself out of buying. Then again, it was a bookstore, where I generally have to talk myself out of buying anything that I look at closely. And I didn't actually buy anything. So I take it back: those tables were a total failure.) One of the books was East of Eden, which I have never read on account of a poor experience with The Grapes of Wrath, which made me miserable and thirsty.

Anyway, at the bottom of the title page there was a wee picture of a flying pig. It looked like this picture which I have stolen from the website of a t-shirt company. You should buy a t-shirt from them so they don't sue me.

Printed just below was an explanation that may or may not have been better worded than what I am about to quote from Wikipedia, or may possibly be the same:

"The Pigasus was used by John Steinbeck as a personal stamp with the Latin motto Ad astra per alia porci (to the stars on the wings of a pig). The pigasus was supposed to symbolize Steinbeck as 'earthbound but aspiring. . . . A lumbering soul but trying to fly . . . (with) . . . not enough wingspread but plenty of intention.'"

Not for the first time in a bookstore, I laughed aloud at a disruptive volume and consequently felt compelled to slink away to a different section where no one would recognize me. It was the porci that did it. SNORT. On the basis of this alone, I might have to give Steinbeck another try. My mother and a lot of other people seem to like him. And who knows; if he were alive, maybe he would enjoy a Pigasus made of bacon and chocolate. However, before I approve of that inappropriate combination, pigs will fly.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sometimes... sometimes I buy things because I know they will distress Simon. And sometimes I buy things because I know they will taste good. And sometimes those things overlap. Those are the good things.

Friday, March 19, 2010

In Which Ivan Makes a Foray into Diagnostic Medicine

So the other day I got a bump on the head, and I had been discussing it for a while with Ivan when she kindly undertook to determine whether or not I was going to die of it by saying, "Quick! How many fingers am I holding up!" Only I couldn't see her fingers because I was talking to her online, so it didn't seem like this was going to be in any way conclusive. Then this picture showed up in my inbox, entitled "A Test for the Potentially Concussed":

When I got that one right, she sent this:

Then I started hearing bagpipes and legitimately began to wonder whether I was having some kind of episode.

P.S. Ordinarily I would have called in the anonymity-protecting pigeon, but it would have ruined the pictures. In lieu of the pigeon I implore potential stalkers to stay away from Ivan: she carries a ray gun and she is not afraid to undermine you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Change of Plan

Today you almost got a picture of the crocuses budding on Maple Street, but my nose hurts, and my census form hasn't come yet, and I'm grumpy about those things, so I did not go out and take the aforementioned picture. Instead you are getting chickadees from a few weeks ago when there was still snow on the ground.

I like the bottom one. He seems jaunty. I do wonder though whether they aren't both embarrassed to show up to the party in the same outfit. I guess all chickadees shop at the same store.

It just occurred to me how far from St. Patricky this post is. Hold on.

That should do it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

File Under: Things That Make Me Cringe

When earrings are so heavy that when you look at the person wearing them all you can think is, "How long will it take before that just rips right through your earlobe?" they are not a fashion statement, they are a scientific experiment, and therefore should be more carefully monitored.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Dark Side of the Thaw

A lot of people went out and made snowmen and snowotherthings the last time we had Weather. The snow was heavy and packable, which must have inspired everyone to go all out, because the snowthings were quite impressive. Those who opted for regular old snowmen gave them proper carrot noses, and eyes and buttons. Someone made a very large dog with floppy ears and a big snout, someone made a pair of thrones, and several people made defensive structures. One was stock-piled with snowballs. All the product of a couple of happy suburban afternoons.

But it's been sunny and warm for the last several days, and the population of snowthings is suffering. They're getting lopsided and deranged-looking, losing their features and their accessories, and in some cases showing signs of severe leprosy. A lot of the snowmen seem to be in mid-limp, like frozen zombies. It looks like an attempt to overtake the town is being made by a slow militia of vaguely humanoid blobs, or possibly blancmange. So far the attempt has been largely ineffective, but don't worry, I patrol the area daily and I will keep my eye on it.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Today I Opened All the Windows

It appears Spring is here, and I for one am ready to break out the flip flops. Just last week it felt like winter would never, ever end and on a particularly gloomy day I spent four dollars on an espresso drink... because it felt like absurdly expensive coffee was the only thing that would make 38 degrees and raining bearable.

I stopped at the coffee shop on the way to the subway instead of Southside and ended up with a mediocre mocha BUT on the side of the cup I found this fellow:
The perfect expression of late February. Thank you Cafe Grumpy... with your help, I made it to March.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Spring Comes to Simon's House

Last night I killed a large piece of lint with a shoe. That's because earlier in the day I found a white spider crawling on my pants. Somehow the idea that a spider could be on you without your knowledge opens up the possibility that there could be spiders everywhere without your knowledge. And they could be invisible. And they could have evolved wings. And they could be carrying concealed weapons. This is a season that requires constant vigilance. And Raid.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Fishbelly Eyeballs

This is Oliver. Oliver is wearing the sweet shades my eyedoctor gave me so that I could cross the street with my pupils dilated, and not walk in front of a car. I much prefer this doctor to my old one, who made my pupils the size of saucers and evidently had no problem letting me get in my car on a glaringly bright day. (It's always a sunny day when I go to the eyedoctor.) I sat in the car for a whole hour before I could even bear to open my eyes. It was absurd. I related to my current doctor that light bothers my eyes a lot regardless of what has been done to my pupils and he said, "Well, you have no pigment!" Sigh. I have a cousin who used to refer to the undersides of her arms during the winter as "fishbelly." I guess I have fishbelly eyeballs. But let's keep that between you, me, and the internet, because it sounds like a truly horrifying and repulsive condition.

Incidentally, you may wonder whether this post really, really needed a picture of a stuffed bear wearing fake sunglasses. The answer is yes, because after cleaning my entire apartment, there wasn't a lot else to do that didn't require being able to see detail. I had originally intended to put the sunglasses on Heslington, but looking at him it occured to me that his eyes bulge out too far. Then I went into a bit of a panic because I think he might have a serious disorder.

I will have to take him across the street tomorrow and see what they say.