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Jan. 20th, 2012


the main thing is not to hurry

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens—The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

~ John Steinbeck

To read the rest of this beautiful letter: http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/01/nothing-good-gets-away.html

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a genteel reminder (to self) of the elegant difference between "Much of your pain is self-chosen" and "To know the pain of too much tenderness".

Sep. 8th, 2011


this jazz business

The squirrel and the chipmunk had been dating for two weeks when they ran out of things to talk about. Acorns, parasites, the inevitable approach of autumn: these subjects had been covered within their first hour, and so breathlessly their faces had flushed. Twice they had held long conversations about dogs, each declaring an across-the-board hatred of them and speculating on what life might be like were someone to put a bowl of food in front of them two times a day. "They're spoiled rotten is what it comes down to," the chipmunk had said, and the squirrel had placed his paw over hers, saying "That's it exactly. Finally, someone who really gets it."

Friends had warned them that their romance could not possibly work out, and such moments convinced them that the skeptics were not just wrong but jealous. "They'll never have what we do," the squirrel would say, and then the two of them would sit quietly, hoping for a flash flood or a rifle report - something, anything, that might generate a conversation.

They were out one night at a little bar run by a couple of owls when, following a long silence, the squirrel slapped his palm against the tabletop. " You know what I like?" he said. "I like jazz."

"I didn't know that," the chipmunk said. "My goodness, jazz!" She had no idea what jazz was but worried that asking would make her sound stupid. "What kind, exactly?" she asked, hoping his answer might narrow things down a bit.

"Well, all kinds, really." he told her. "Especially the earlier stuff."

"Me too," she said, and when he asked her why, she told him that the later stuff was just too late for her tastes. "Almost like it was overripe or something. You know what I mean?"

Then, for the third time since she had known him, the squirrel reached across the table and took her paw.


On returning home that evening, the chipmunk woke her older sister, with whom she shared a room. "Listen," she whispered, "I need you to explain something. What's jazz?"

"Why are you asking me? the sister said.

"So you don't know either?" the chipmunk asked.

"I didn't say I didn't know," the sister said. "I asked you why you're asking. Does this have anything to do with that squirrel?"

"Maybe," the chipmunk said.

"Well, I'm telling," the sister announced. "First thing tomorrow morning, because this has gone on long enough." She punched at her pillow of moss, then repositioned it beneath her head. "I warned you weeks ago that this wouldn't work out, and now you've got the whole house in an uproar. Waltzing home in the middle of the night, waking me up with your dirty little secrets. Jazz, indeed. Just you wait till Mother hears about this."

The chipmunk lay awake that night, imagining the unpleasantness that was bound to take place the following morning. What if jazz was squirrel slang for something terrible, like anal intercourse? "Oh, I like it too," she'd said - and so eagerly! Then again, it could just be mildly terrible, something along the lines of Communism or fortune-telling, subjects that were talked about but hardly ever practiced. Just as she thought she had calmed herself down, a new possibility would enter her mind, each one more horrible than the last. Jazz was the maggot-infested flesh of a dead body, the crust on an infected eye, another word for ritual suicide. And she had claimed to like it!

Years later, when she could put it all in perspective, she'd realise that she had never really trusted the squirrel - how else to explain all those terrible possibilities? Had he been another chipmunk, even a tough one, she'd have assumed that jazz was something familiar, a kind of root, say, or maybe a hairstyle. Of course, her siser hadn't helped any. None of her family had. "It's not that I have anything against squirrels per se," her mother had said. "It's just that this one, well, I don't like him." When pressed for details, she'd mentioned his fingernails, which were a little too long for her taste. "A sure sign of vanity," she warned. "And now there's this jazz business."

That was what did it. Following the sleepless night, the chipmunk's mother had forced her to break it off.

"Well," the squirrel had sighed, "I guess that's that."

"I guess it is," the chipmunk said.

He headed downriver a few days later, and she never saw him or heard from him again.

"It's not a great loss," her sister said. "No girl should be subjected to language like that, especially from the likes of him."

"Amen," her mother added.

Eventually the chipmunk met someone else, and after she had safely married, her mother speculated that perhaps jazz was a branch of medicine - something like chiropractic therapy - that wasn't quite legitimate. Her sister said no, it was more likely a jig, and then she pushed herself back from the table and kicked her chubby legs into the air. "Oh, you," her mother said, "that's the cancan," and then she joined in and gave a few kicks of her own.

This stuck in the chipmunk's mind, as she never knew her mother could identify a dance step or anything associated with fun. It was the way her own children would eventually think of her: dull, strict, chained to the past. She had boys, all of them healthy, and only one prone to trouble. He had a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but his heart was good, and the chipmunk knew he would eventually straighten himself out. Her husband thought so too, and died knowing he had been correct.

A month or two after he'd passed on, she asked this son what jazz was, and when he told her it was a kind of music, she knew instinctively that he was telling the truth. "Is it bad music?" she asked.

"Well, if it's played badly," he said. "Otherwise it's really quite pleasant."

"Did squirrels invent it?"

"God, no," he said. "Whoever gave you that idea?"

The chipmunk stroked her brown-and-white muzzle. "Nobody," she said. "I was just guessing."

When her muzzle grew more white than brown, the chipmunk forgot that she and the squirrel had had nothing to talk about. She forgot the definition of "jazz" as well and came to think of it as every beautiful thing she had failed to appreciate: the taste of warm rain; the smell of a baby; the din of a swollen river, rushing past her tree and onward to infinity.

~ Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, "The Squirrel and the Chipmunk", David Sedaris

Jan. 21st, 2011


a source of little visible delight, but necessary

Dear Reader,
It is I - the one who deserted you. I left you to be dressed in autumn leaves. Did you get through the scathing winter without a kind word from me? We have a date with spring, who ever showers us with the slightest hope for new beginnings. If you can perceive of me to be your yo-yo that glows in the dark, then all is forgiven and let us toast to new beginnings: we will keep each other safe and keep faith. Happy New Year! Don't forget to clean out the insides of your shoes. Less flapping, greater heights. How else can we keep an eye out for those who really need us? Even if that person is that tiny (let's call it a sapphire) inside your head, who dislikes this and that, dislodges as and when. I have been informed that an aerial vantage has always been an advantage. 

The Happy Prince by Oscar WildeCollapse )

Aug. 28th, 2010


xkcd vs pearls

(via http://xkcd/439)

I love this. This paints a very clear picture of a lot of my thought patterns, and the outcome.

"Don't think, just do."

Happiness and its pithy appearances in my life may redouble (with pithy aside), when I stop thinking, and decide to see life the way it is: a thigh-slapping, hand-clapping farce - which is mostly funny in retrospect, and mostly tragic in the here and now. The joys and disappointments require nothing more from us. We should feel them, savour them, and then, let them go. We want to go somewhere, don't we? Life certainly isn't a race but we're all going somewhere even if we don't want to. The over-feeling and over-thinking will eventually frustrate the doing and the moving. The pebble in the shoe will multiply and soon with a quarry in your shoes, the moving will have to come to a standstill. Of all the pointless and vicious things to do to yourself - self-inflicted pain and ruining a decent pair of shoes.  

Said he, to his Heart, "All is well, my flaming engine of destruction." The Heart felt reticent, then sanguine. "Tennis match is off, then?" asked the Heart, cheekily. Feeling free from the volley of thoughts and constant equivocation, the Heart shoved the carefully drawn out analysis the Mind had been working on, someplace where even rats desisted from going. Funny how some truths sound like lies, and some lies sound like the truth. 

(via http://comics.com/pearls_before_swine/2010-07-04/)

Edit: Yes, this is an old entry that has been rewritten

May. 13th, 2010


in old paths

"It seldom happens that a man changes his life through his habitual reasoning. No matter how fully he may sense the new plans and aims revealed to him by reason, he continues to plod along in old paths until his life becomes frustrating and unbearable, he finally makes the change only when his usual life can no longer be tolerated."
~ Leo Tolstoy

May. 10th, 2010


we don't need a sign to know better times

The Patrician steepled his hands and looked at Vimes over the top of them.
'Let me give you some advice, Captain,' he said. 'It may help you make some sense of the world. I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are the good people and the bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.'
He waved his thin hand towards the city and walked over to the window.
'A great rolling sea of evil. Shallower in some places, of course, but deeper, oh so much deeper in others. But people like you put together little rafts of rules and vaguely good intentions and say this is the opposite, this will triumph in the end. Amazing. Down there,' he said, 'are people who will follow any dragon, worship any god, ignore any iniquity. All out of a kind of humdrum, everyday badness. Not the really high, creative loathsomeness of the great sinners, but a sort of mass-produced darkness of the soul. Sin, you might say, without a trace of originality. They accept evil not because they say yes, but because they don't say no. I'm sorry if this offends you,' he added, patting the Captain's shoulder, 'but you fellows really need us. We're the only ones who know how to make things work. You see, the only thing the good people are good at is overthrowing the bad people. And you're good at that, I'll grant you. But the trouble is that it's the only thing you're good at. One day it's the ringing of the bells and the casting down of the evil tyrant, and the next it's everyone sitting around complaining that ever since the tyrant was overthrown no one's been taking out the trash. Because the bad people know how to plan. It's part of the specification, you might say. Every evil tyrant has a plan to rule the world. The good people don't seem to have the knack.'

~ Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett

Feb. 25th, 2010


her patience is my gain

Can anyone say, painstaking?

Feb. 24th, 2010


machine sitting in front of another machine

I don't know if it has anything to do with using a new web browser, but I am unable to embed this marvelous video that YOU HAVE TO watch:

Edit: YAY for the old web browser

This is quite an exquisite idea. Very reaffirming.

Feb. 19th, 2010



Wizards don't believe in gods in the same way that most people don't find it necessary to believe in, say, tables. They know they're there, they know they're there for a purpose, they'd probably agree that they have a place in a well-organised universe, but they wouldn't see the point of believing, of going around saying, 'O great table, without whom we are as naught'. Anyway, either the gods are there whether you believe or not, or they exist only as a function of the belief, so either way you might as well ignore the whole business and, as it were, eat off your knees.
Although not common on the Discworld...Collapse )

(via http://xkcd.com/666/)

voodoo girl

There are a number of videos I want to post, and the mad thing about wanting to do so many things at one time is that you ultimately lose your focus (and your cool) and end up doing close to nothing. This seems like a great lead in for the video that I will end up posting now:

There are more great videos where that came from: http://www.youtube.com/user/AgentXPQ
Thank you friends, for turning me on to 'Tales of Mere Existence'.

Let's move on, shall we?

Voodoo Girl

Her skin is white cloth,
and she's all sewn apart
and she has many colored pins
sticking out of her heart.

She has a beautiful set
of hypno-disk eyes,
the ones that she uses
to hypnotise guys.

She has many different zombies
who are deeply in her trance.
She even has a zombie
who was originally from France.

But she knows she has a curse on her,
a curse she cannot win.
For if someone gets too close to her,

the pins stick farther in.

~ The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, "Voodoo Girl", Tim Burton

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