the original kStyle blog.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sleep Is Good.

I finally slept through the night again. I'd been waking throughout the night, startling myself out of sleep, and then waking up real good at 4 AM, muscles tight and breathing constricted, only getting back to sleep an hour or so later. It has something to do with the hurricane energy. Katrina didn't send her full force quite this far north, but she spiraled up one hand to send rain and wind. Even mild drizzle sent by a violent storm is alarming.

I treaded through the last two days like a zombie, eyes red, emotions grouchy, digestion broken. Last night, tired of exhaustion, I meditated before bed, switched sides of the bed, and treated tsubos for insomnia. I'm happy to report that the regimen worked; I woke up refreshed and ate three breakfasts.

Which brings me to the Wednesday Writing Assignment. Has a force of nature affected you? Or are you like the postal service, unaffacted by rain, sleet, snow, and hail? Tell us about a time you felt the force of nature, and how you returned yourself to civilized existence.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

1 leaf of parrot

Internet translation tools still leave something to be desired.

But, oh! The laughs!

News Headlines
Wherein kStyle takes on current events

1. Gas prices sure are high.

Last night The Boyfriend said, "You might want to fill up your car in the morning. Gas prices are going to spike."

"I thought they already had."

As you likely know already, oil refineries in the Gulf Coast are shut down because of hurricane Katrina. So first, our government realized that we were low on oil, but, rather than make an emergency push to develop alternative fuels, it was easier to bomb the crap out of Iraq and secure some oil fields. Then even God got angry at our wasteful, arrogant, murderous ways, and She sent a giant storm to take out our refineries.

I hate us.

2. Politics in Israel. So messed up.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Cult/ Not Cult?

I'll tell you more about this group after the votes come in:

The Dahn Center

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Discussion Question

This has been bothering me lately, and bwilder asked a question on his LJ that made me think of this, so...

How do you know where that line is between helping and enabling? That "teach a man to fish" expression is a good marker, of course...The helping/enabling line can create tension in everything from quotidian life to international politics.

Wednesday Writing Assignment
You take the good, you take the bad, you take 'em both and there you have...

For reasons too sordid to get into here, I found myself thinking yesterday afternoon of that time, some years ago, when my parents sat me down and gave me The Talk. No, not the one where they got divorced--the one where they told me how babies were made, and about the Big Changes that were coming my way. Yes, that talk.

Except that's not really how it went. My parents weren't the candid sort, and my introduction to the facts of life wasn't quite that smooth. I'll tell you about it in a moment, because today's writing assignment is to tell us how you came into this crucial information. Did Mom or Dad sit you down and explain things? Did you pick it up on the street, the way we were warned about? Did your eighth grade health teacher do her duty?

And, if you like, a bonus assignment: share a great misconception or error of fact (under this rubric, of course) to which you fell victim, led astray by some classmate who seemed to know what he or she was talking about.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Freshness is 9/10 of the law.

As I chopped the most tomatoey tomatoes you've ever seen (thanks, CSA!), I realized the secret of good home cooking. If you have great ingredients, 9/10 of the work is done, and all you have to do is avoid messing them up.

Of course, freshness is only about 4/10 of the law in gourmet restaurant cooking, wherein chefs are required to innovate.

If it's Monday, this must be Questionnaire

1. What was your last significant professional achievement?

2. Name something you don't get enough credit for.

3. What do you spend too much time worrying about?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I'm Avoiding Going to the Gym by Blogging. There's nothing good on TV on a Saturday morning.

So now we've got that out in the open. I feel better.

Publishing doesn't pay a whole lot, unless you're a high-ranking ac. ed. Even then. Like teaching or social work, we're supposed to do a fairly painful job for the love. After 4 years in this business, I can finally pay my bills and have a few dollars left to save. It's like that.

There's a group of gals a couple years younger than I at work, very nice, smart people. I socialize with them tangentially, because I'm more into qi gong and reading than, say, bar-hopping or shopping. I usually prefer the company of the geeks and artistes, colleagues slightly older than I, who would rather go to a museum or out for dinner and conversation than drinking at a trendy night spot. There are a few gals in the group I like a lot, and sometimes they come over for a cheesy film girls' night or I go to a barbeque at their places.

In the group of gals is one person with whom I've just never found any common ground. She's very nice, of course, but... So the other day I was excited to have lunch with her and another friend, in the hopes of getting to know her better.

Lunch affirmed that this gal and I are living on different planets entirely (although we did have enjoyable conversation). The best way to sum it up is to show you what I mean rather than try to explain. She really loves Fendi purses. She has a lot of credit card debt.


Some words I like:

obsolete (it sounds so clean and soapy, like we've washed away a need)

crisp (almost time for apples and fall air)

leafy (strikes me as almost onomatopoeic, the sound of a summer breeze through a full tree: leafffffy)

nail (metallic and to-the-point)

perfect (it's a perfect word, precise and resolute, satisfyingly chewy)

There's something about the light in Mexico, isn't there?

Escuela de Bellas Artes (School of Fine Arts), San Miguel de Allende

Friday, August 19, 2005

No Cults Today

I have one, but neither the attention span nor, really, the energy to write a decent lead-in. Full moons make me a little crazy, rob me of sleep and scatter my thoughts to the winds. I become a nocturnal being in a diurnal world. I want to meditate quietly and to run away howling. It's hard to explain.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

News Headlines
Wherein kStyle takes on current events

1. Hey, that dog they cloned in South Korea sure is cute.

2. The Supreme Court nominee should make decisions based on sound legal judgment rather than personal beliefs. John Roberts' ideas about reproductive rights are less important than his ideas about the Constitution, because he should uphold Roe (or not) based on his philosophy about law. Dig?

3. George Bush! He's so insensitive.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Wednesday Writing Assignment

Tell a joke.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Unexpected and Somewhat Surprising Return of Monday Questionnaire

1. Name something you are often complimented on, but which you think is no big deal.

2. What is your least favorite thing about summer?

3. Name something you think is funny that no one else seems to think is funny.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Amnesty International

We're in a dark time for human rights. Please consider keeping abreast of campaigns with Amnesty International. They are very good at raising a loud voice for justice.


What if there’s more to us than we think? What if neither nature nor nurture adequately describes it? Maybe the law of karma is correct, and we are ever-shifting souls who dance from one life to another, choosing the bodies and places we will inhabit in order to learn particular lessons, to guide others, and to repay debts. Maybe the astrologers are correct, and the planets and stars have a bearing on each person’s blueprint. What if plants represent spirits who will help us heal our spiritual wounds, if only we ask? Could we then let our parents and ancestors and hard luck off the hook? Could we delve into a realm of responsibility, promise, and joy? Could we worry less for ourselves and open with compassion to the needs of others?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Two Thoughts

1. Listening to the news on the way home today, I was reminded why I don't blog about politics. Besides the fact that many people are already doing it much better than I could, I fear I would have an unfortunate tendency to sum up complex current events in a single sentence. Case in point: "That Tom DeLay is sure an asshole." I don't see the need to say much more about the matter.

2. This weekend is the second annual Massachusetts Sales Tax Holiday. This holiday cracks me up, because a) it's so very Republican-governor of Mitt Romney, and b) I can't imagine the consumer will really save all that much by having a tiny sales tax removed. Would you rush to the store for a 5% off sale?* No? Me neither.

*Of course, some stores are tacking on additional discounts and bargains, and I'm not sure what the actual sales tax is but that's not my point, and these sort of dull details are why I don't blog about politics.

Publishing is so glamorous.

Actual sentence from a book I'm working on:
Tay-Sachs disease is one of a group of heterogeneous lysomal storage diseases, the GM2 gangliosidoses, that results from the inablity to degrade a sphingolipid, GM2 ganglioside.

Cult/ Not Cult?

I was planning on making Friday cult day, but this one is so juicy that I can't wait. They claim merely to be interested in ancient Egyptian philosophy, but the leader built a giant pyramid at the direction of spirit beings, and, you know, they mummify their dead. But don't be silly; they're merely philosophers. I give you:


Let the voting begin.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Wednesday Writing Assignment

Filling in for kStyle today.

Apathy gets a bum rap these days, as well it should. The times we live in, it's easy to see why anyone who isn't part of the solution--even if that part consists of remaining aware of, and concerned about, what goes on--is part of the problem. And not just politically, either: it's hard to see the opening-weekend grosses of "The Dukes of Hazzard" as a harbinger of something other than doom. Take a stand, people!

That said, each of us can probably name something that, hard as we try, know as we do that we should get all worked up, we just can't seem to muster any interest in. Some issue of national or global importance that demands our attention, some moral wrong that should by all rights pique our outrage, some social convention we should adhere to, but don't?

Name something that, despite all of your better instincts, you just don't give a crap about. Why don't you? Of course, no apologies or confessions of guilt are required here on Float: today is Apathy-Absolution Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Well, It's Been a Long Day

(That's a song title. Bonus if anyone can identify is sans search engine.)

kStyle, girl, (you ask), why are you up and blogging after working all day, driving into the city, giving an hour of shiatsu for karma points, driving an hour back out, and eating dinner at 10 PM?

Like, duh! (I reply), I'm waiting for Rock Star: INXS voting to open online. Marty did sooooooo well this week. I'm very happy for him.


I just reviewed a copyedited manuscript on heart disease. The doctor/author portrayed alternative and complementary medicine as the domain of quacks and frauds, or at best, the superstitious.


Things I Like That I Know I Shouldn't: A Tribute to Questionable Taste

Seeing as how I'm already alone in liking the Willy Wonka subplot, what have I got to lose?
1. Mayonnaise. I really, really like mayonnaise.

2. Owen Wilson

3. Rock Star: INXS

4. The occasional Nora Roberts novel

5. Malted milk balls

Monday, August 08, 2005

Of Haystacks and Chocolate Factories: Brief Thoughts on Inspiration

Much has been made of the fact that Tim Burton's version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is not entirely faithful to the book. Even if you haven't seen the film (which is delectable), you probably know that a backstory was added to explain Wonka's psyche. This tinkering stoked the wrath--or at least suspicion--of several critics, but many critics were also quick to point out that the new movie is more faithful to the spirit of the book than the old movie, and so forth.

To which I say, the critics are missing the point entirely. When art (such as Dahl's book) inspires more art (such as the films based on said book), the retelling should be no more faithful to the original than Monet's paintings to actual haystacks. Unless the filmmaker has a new vision for his book-of-inspiration, he is no better than a wedding band attempting another "true" rendition of "Unforgettable" (although hopefully his inspiration is more potent than that overplayed piece of schmaltz. Apologies to Nat King Cole. May he rest in peace.) Let's face it, the most boring and crass art EVER was Superrealism, as exemplified by Chuck Close's early work. (I know I'm supposed to think he's a genius, but. I. Don't.)

To sum up: Innovation is key in creating art, especially when that art is inspired by art. Otherwise, we're all just singing "Heat Wave" again.

Note to those who are now worried: I did not hire either of those bands for the wedding. Have a little faith, eh?

At Last

A designer whose wedding gowns don't make me want to gag. Now: to try them on.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Samba e Amor

For almost exactly four years, I've been listening to--dreaming to--Bebel Gilberto's gorgeous debut album, Tanto Tempo. Only yesterday did I realize that the loveliest song of all, perhaps the loveliest song ever written, is hidden there, the second-to-last, Samba e Amor, written by legendary Brazilian composer Chico Buaraque. This song sneaks up on you, at first merely quiet and charming, but one inky summer evening it reveals its full, seductive depths. Here are the lyrics, in Portuguese and translated into English, but find the song--any recording of it--and listen to it, really listen, and maybe you will be lucky enough to hear it the first time.

Samba E Amor
(Lyrics by Chico Buarque de Hollanda)

Eu faço samba e amor até mais tarde
E tenho muito sono de manhã
Escuto a correria da cidade, que arde
E apressa o dia de amanhã

De madrugada a gente ainda se ama
E a fábrica começa a buzinar
O trânsito contorna a nossa cama, reclama
Do nosso eterno espreguiçar

No colo da bem-vinda companheira
No corpo do bendito violão
Eu faço samba e amor a noite inteira
Não tenho a quem prestar satisfação

Eu faço samba e amor até mais tarde
E tenho muito mais o que fazer
Escuto a correria da cidade, que alarde
Será que é tão difícil amanhecer

Não sei se preguiçoso ou se covarde
Debaixo do meu cobertor de lá
Eu faço samba e amor até mais tarde
E tenho muito sono de manhã

Samba And Love
(Literal translation by Béco Dranoff)

I make samba and love till much later
And I am very sleepy when morning comes
I heard the burning rush of the city
That brings tomorrow faster

In the wee hours we still make love
And the factory whistles begin to blow
The traffic circles around our bed, complaining
Of our eternal stretching

On the lap of my welcomed friend
In the body of the blessed guitar
I make samba and love throughout the night
I have no one to explain myself to

I make samba and love until much later
And I have much more to do
I hear the burning rush of the city, screeching
Why is it so hard for dawn to arrive

I am not sure if lazy or a coward
Under my wool blanket
I make samba and love until much later
And I am very sleepy when morning comes

Friday, August 05, 2005

Extreme Peevishness

I've been terribly irritable this week, for some good reasons, for some poor reasons. Eric, bless him, can attest to my peevishness, because, despite it, he has indulged me a lengthy email correspondences. In an attempt cleanse my mind, here is a list of Small Things That Irritate Me in Big Ways.

1. When CDs/DVDs are not placed back in the jewel case after use. Dude. Not only does it look messy, but it's inviting a scratch. Not cool.

2. The lovely silk scarf I'm attempting to wear will not stay wrapped around my head.

3. People who drive too close behind me, especially in SUVs.

4. Too many uncoordinated bright colors in one place.

5. Clutter.

6. Cross-conversations. Noise clutter.

7. You know how everyone else is trying to get something done and the lazy person stands there, then stands there and asks questions, and then finally attempts to do something and messes it up? That.

8. Being stared at by clinic observers when I'm TRYING to do shiatsu.

9. Being told what to do. (For example, wearing a goddamn name tag during clinic.)

10. Being told when to do it.

11. The kitten chews up photographs. (Any other time, I might find this cute.)

12. Humidity. Extreme fucking humidity.

13. Excessive, unwarranted sympathy. For example.
[me, offhandedly] Wow, traffic was bad.
[someone, sincerely] Oh, that's no good! I'm really sorry! Awwwww. Maybe it will be better on the way home? That's just the worst! I'm SO sorry!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

wistful haikus

1. Warm summer evening
He packs suitcase and one bag:
Left behind with cats.

2. A week stretches out
Dense, wet air presses at me
Small rooms feel too large.

3. He'll see Yellowstone--
Ever since the photograph,
I've longed for that place.

4. Sometimes life ain't fair
Stuck here scooping litterbox
Woe is me haikus.

Cult/Not Cult?

Here's a tricky one: cutting edge computer intelligence company, or something more sinister? The founder has some serious delusions of grandeur...but is ranked among the most brilliant scientists of our time. His work is revolutionary, but shrouded in strange nomenclature like "accelerated intelligence" and "spiritual machines". Without further ado, I give you:

Kurzweil AI

(Be sure to dig around a little.)

You know that scene from Office Space?

Peter Gibbons: I uh, I don't like my job, and, uh, I don't think I'm gonna go anymore.
Joanna: You're just not gonna go?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Joanna: Won't you get fired?
Peter Gibbons: I don't know, but I really don't like it, and, uh, I'm not gonna go.
Joanna: So you're gonna quit?
Peter Gibbons: Nuh-uh. Not really. Uh... I'm just gonna stop going.
Joanna: When did you decide all that?
Peter Gibbons: About an hour ago.
Joanna: An hour ago... so you're gonna get another job?
Peter Gibbons: I don't think I'd like another job.
Joanna: Well, what are you going to do about money and bills and...
Peter Gibbons: You know, I've never really liked paying bills. I don't think I'm gonna do that, either.

Yeah, that sums it up.

(Quote thanks to IMDB.)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Wednesday Writing Assignment
It's a MadLib. Have fun.

This (time of day) I am very (adjective). I wonder whether I can stay (adjective) for the rest of the (unit of time). It's important that I remain (adjective) today, because I'm at (place), where I must (transitive verb) (plural noun). I'd rather be at the (different place), where at least I could (verb). Instead, I'll be here, writing a MadLib.

Bonus Assignment
Make up a Madlib better than this one. Share with us.