Apr. 23rd, 2014 07:34 pm
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I am doing a lot! Too much! Yet not enough.

Since Zond7 left Monday night I have suddenly degenerated from my smug routine, forget to eat meals, and there is laundry everywhere. somehow instead of writing extra poetry and living in a nice neat environment I have entered odd workaholic and not taking care of myself mode.

Weird! Instructive!

I think it is also the tramadol and extra coffee. Must fix that tomorrow.

Tea only after 1 cup of coffee, and no tramadol after .. umm..... 1pm?

I wrote to the EFF as i said i would, yesterday i did a fun zine reading thing at DU, I worked quite hard, went to all the meetings ever fucking invented, and hacked some portals whicih was super relaxing and fun, and grocery shopped.

i read from a funny old zine and a section from a newish poem that i think is nearly done.

Cannot do enough at work to feel like i'm on top of things or truly competent. HOw to limit things????? why do i keep on taking more responsiblity?

i do not want to burn out.

also i went to 2 doctor appointments which while not specially stressful or hard, and i went in a cab, were still stressful and hard.

i miss zond7 quite a lot!

i think i need to strictly enforce some hours off even if i can't take a whole day ... which i don't feel that i can....
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Did ok on my trip, but just ok. I also got through work today. And I wrote a blog post because it seemed like it had to be done. But now I'm totally done touching a keyboard. Exhausted, in pain, a bit fevery feeling all over. I have not managed to unpack yet. Moomin helped me put away clean laundry. Zond7 ordered us groceries and cleaned up and we have a helpful house cleaner coming tomorrow. I need serious rest.

Read The Goblin Emperor, which I highly recommend! OMG... more like this!

Also, Pen Pal by Francesca Forrest.

Both excellent!!!

very fond

Apr. 1st, 2014 10:12 pm
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'feeling extremely fond of my cosy bed with 3 kinds of flannel sheets and the linen pillowcases. A special folding one is coming soon. I miss taking care of other people (no matter how I bitch that everyone shoud also take care of me back.Everything is put into a right place.... all handy.

tomorrow i may make special ginger molassas cookies.
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feeling a lot better today! I cooked banana chocolate chip pancakes on and off while listening to Prince all morning (association w/ starfish and coffee) , had people over (becca, her boyfriend, and lynn) Lynn and i talked about feminism and general gossip and what qualities people judge other people by and why (speculation) I made a giant pot of chicken soup, and went with moomin to the cartoon art museum. we both liked it. then we read in yerba buena park in the sun for a while, discussed beanworld and other bookish things and remarked upon the day and the city.

i am still not really 100% but functional and lively most of the day!!

i read ladies of grace adieu, un lun dun, finished the pat parker book, plowing through shameless hussy (works of alta up to 1980) and am midway through re-reading Strange & Norrell, which I think Moomin will greatly enjoy. (He loves a book with fictional footnotes) He is liking his kindle and some sort of complicated minecraft mod where you can morph into other things and it labels where the other mods have all come from (which he explains to me charmingly as if i naturally would understand it all)
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Feeling determined all last week and this to put my shoulder to the wheel in everything. It is like my batteries charged up. I have to take this moment while I have it!

In the bath today I set my book aside just purely thinking. I soaped up my leg, my right leg and looked at its small new age-moles here and there and its hairiness from the knee down, the scar on my knee from skateboarding, the general healthy plumpness of my calf and ankle, without looking swollen, but with a ring at the ankle where my sock was a little tight -- I thought of how if my leg were cut off I would still recognize it from the shape and scars, and how I would feel a pang of sympathy for it before horror or pain set in -- it seemed connected to my younger and older self, so that I loved my leg for a moment sincerely, then felt a ripple of shock such a thing could happen when so often I think of it as that pain stick or that horrible flesh thing that drags around, so painful, I don't want to be in my body. Hi, leg! You're not so bad!

It isn't pain free but the sacroiliac/sciatica nerve pain has eased up considerably since the injection. I had no painkillers today, I sat up, I went out twice, I even went down the stairs extra to do laundry. Appreciate it while it lasts... I have kept the house reasonably too (finally back to some level I find "normal" for me) And worked long hours. I started thinking of things I would like to do at DU (rather than going out of doggedness)

I looked forward with excitement to what I keep promising myself which is a little stolen time out in the sun to sit and write and work on poetry EVEN IF NOT IN THE MOOD and finally I did that, just for half an hour, but it was productive & nice.

Not writing anyting good but revving up the engine and feeling the feeling. I had these echoes of my friend G.H. (who is dead) in some turn of phrase and then as I beetled down the hill to Big Lots thought over his essential kindness and many of his poems and cried a bit. I had to pause because I didn't want to be motoring myself into the squalor of Big Lots visibly in tears.

Things keep bubbling up. I have the urge to grab my notebook a lot. Suddenly I saw a direction I want to take things (both existing unfinished long poems I stalled out on when my ankles went kablooey 2 years ago, and new things) I missed this feeling. It has a sort of huge power to it inside like a waiting avalanche or descriptions of people who have magic build up and then figure out how to wield it. I think also finishing a book drained me and then physically the changing problems & all the changes took it out of my emotions (but that didn't bother me deep down because I always trust that is just being sort of Fallow, and I didn't want to write the Same Book but go somewhere else with my thoughts)

OK enough vague poety nonsense .
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My friend Revolt can fix and hack damn near anything, he collects old broken laptops, hard drives, phones, mobility scooters, sound equipment, & other stuff, fixes it and re-sells it for a very, very reasonable cost because that's basically part of his activism. If you're in SF and you want a cheap laptop, or you want electronics repaired, let me know and I'll put you in touch!

Some of his stuff is so hilarious -- like he recently converted a teacup water heater into a travel mug that *plugs into his mobility scooter*. So his tea re-heats itself when necessary. He is especially great with battery and power technology, scavenging parts, and tiny surface mount soldering.

If you have old stuff you want to donate let me know that too. A good way to get rid of that stack of broken laptops.

He's a musician too and his hiphop album should be out later this year, fingers crossed!
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Scary casserole dish shaped like a fat chicken:

scary chicken pot

The gruesome inside of the chicken pot, with its headless, cooked inmate:

chicken pot with chicken in it

It was delicious.
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After lying on ice packs for a while this morning (my sacroiliac is pretty horrible on the right side) I went out to get fancy groceries very much looking forward to cruising the aisles of the hippie food store rather than ordering food online. It's super sunny and nice, short sleeve tshirt weather. I got sandwich things and a chicken to roast in my new scary Chicken Pot which is an enormous casserole dish shaped like a fat hen. Its eyes follow you all over the room. I adore it! Pix to come! Anyway, I also got olives, fancy cheese, and sourdough bread.

I crossed the street to get the sunny side and some variety. The flower lady who has cancer or something is camped out in front of the liquor store with her usual slightly dumpster dived looking flowers. We had a chat & I made a bouquet of golden gladiolus, red gladiolus and some tiger lilys and pussy willows. she insisted on throwing in some babys breath which I don't like so I have put it outside on the porch. I like it OK but it's too fussy for the elegant tall things. I ran into someone I vaguely know through friends of friends & who I ran into on Friday in TWO different restaurants. We exchanged emails. I hoped she did not think I am poly-ing it up. I wasn't...

The nice grocery store dude said hi to me as he was on his way to work & I was cruising with my scooter spectacularly hung with grocery bags all over & the enormous tall flowers sticking up behind like a peacock's tail. I slightly suspect he is the one whose license says "grey hankY" on it since in the fall he often sports a very classic leather vest and chain and seems very old school. Anyway!

I got 3 interesting books out of the free box: life science of star trek (for moomin), a paperback copy of Animalia (best illustrations ever; i will bring it to DU) , and a small hand sewn poetry book called American Zen which doesn't look great but which I'll enjoy and show to Moomin & then maybe put out in my own free box.

There is a new store, extremely fancy and beautiful inside, just for honey and japanese loose tea mixes. Can they possibly make a go of this? So specific and a bit intimidatingly boutiquey. Still, I bought some roasted brown rice green tea because they had free samples & it was tasty.

On the way back down the hill more people boggled extremely at the sight of me which I'm sure was astonishing and silly and resplendent what with the sun in my hair, the bags, and as I mentioned, the peacock tail of tall flowers....

Moomin did the dishes and started the dishwasher. Yay! Zond7 is still asleep after a bad night of illness (which is often the case, I don't mention it a lot but he has chronic illness and often has a very hard time and then needs to rest and sleep a lot) I am going to hang out in bed a while with ice packs and then put away all the rest of the laundry. I'd like to go out again to the hardware store & have tea in a new spot -- the tiny sunny park just above Mission and just north of Fair where there's a fantastic view of the hills rising up all around the Bernal Cut & Noe Valley. I have my eye on this spot to be my new sunny-spot hangout where I can lie on a bench and write at mid-day. Then my plan is to cook the chicken in the fancy yet appalling Chicken Dish. And take some photos of the clean bits of the house.

The clean bits of the house are only clean because the porch is full of things to be donated and thrown away. AND THERE WILL BE MORE. But not today because my back hurts too much which is a warning to me to slow down. The pain is going down my leg and makes my leg sometimes "collapse" without warning (a familiar situation from the last TWENTY YEARS but which comes and goes) Holy crap I hope they have an opening soon for the magic steroid injections which are the best thing ever.

Moomin needs to find some teenagers (here, or his town, or really anywhere) who like to read a lot and talk about books. He doesn't have any and is starting to feel the lack. I'm not sure me taking him to Borderlands more often will help that goal as we will just meet adults who I know. If only he knew how to use social media in any way at all he could find bookish friends. Well, it will happen eventually!
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I had the most incredibly active day today after a great and busy week. I can eat real food with only a bit of discomfort and am eating all the things. I cleaned out our officey corner of the house and folded the Mountain of Laundry the nice taskrabbit lady did on Friday. zond7 and I re-wired all the devices in the corner & set up a new printer. It is all free of dust. There's only a small file of papers marked "to-do" and most of the books are put away. I wrote some letters. THEN I DID MY TAXES. They're filed! We also went out to have brunch and also also zond7 cooked dinner. I went up and down the stairs three times (laundry, and getting a phone cord for the printer/fax setup). Yesterday I re-potted two plants a rosemary and a hyacinth that's about to bloom and go wild. went to lunch, dinner, and an estate sale with my sister where i bought a singer 337 sewing machine and a casserole dish shaped like a huge fat chicken. And the folding stepstool chair same model that my grandparents had in their basement when i was very small. I would sit on it while my grandma was ironing.

If I slightly modify the Singer 337 with some sugru then my sewing machine will become 1337....... It is sea green, with cover, and it jams oddly which may mean that it needs cleaning inside or that I don't understand tension yet, or both.

At the bottom of the stack of papers on, under, and around the desk...the very bottom... my folded and scribbled on sheaf of new poems in progress!!! Treasure!!!

i owe one of these to timmi for sure so i'm thinking to work on them tomorrow.

Moomin is reading the odyssey for school which i keep making fun f because it's the lattimore translation (plonk plonk plonk) But he's so happy to be reading it after all the teenage trouble books. Naturally, they are reading it AS a teenage trouble book. Auspicious hyacinth repotting during odyssey reading! Hair crisping like petals of hyacinth! etc.

At the cafe while eating a salad and some bread with sardines and olives AND cappuccino I thought about, this is what feeling pretty good is like, compared it to how i felt two months ago when i was horribly ill, and tried to remind myself, for next time I'm sick, I am not like imagining it or malingering, I will be actually sick. When I think how distressed I was and trying to just WILL myself out of being ill, holy crap. I'm enjoying food SO MUCH. and just being able to drink a glass of water without distress and pain and hours of reflux. I can also walk around reasonably in the house. I looked down the street today and imagined the moment when I will walk to the corner store, and back. And maybe to the bakery half way down the other block. THAT WILL BE A DAY.

I'm icing my ankles now and my knees, they are not super happy (burning.... and grinding) and I am way overdue for a sacroiliac injection (on a waiting list; otherwise it has to go till march 24)

I would like to boast that I often score over 20,000 while playing "Threes!" and challenge you all to beat that!

happy dayyyyyyyyyy brain active, feeling energetic, can move around, pain at a reasonable level, full of ideas! tomorrow, stacks of things will leave the house!

monday - working from DU in the afternoon with my sister. envelope stuffing at d.u. tues. book arts night wed. our meeting night. I have some new supplies, diamond drillbits and files and a metal hacksaw to bring :) 8:30pm is our social hour if you would like to come by! you must read our visitors page and respect our policies!

ok,grey-eyed athenambien walrus says GOOD NIGHT
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I am near the end (and owe lots of reviews, maybe tonight) but must pause in mid-novel to say that Passenger to Frankfurt is the absolute worst Christie novel ever. Endless old people rambling about how the young drug-taking promiscuous protestors of today are secretly inveigled by Nazis who are basically worshiping Hitler's secret (fake) son from Argentina. The backstory of how Hitler escaped was amazing though: he went to an insane asylum where there were lots of guys who thought they were Hitler, and switched places with one of them. OK.....right! The book is hideously boring. I'm not sure I can finish it.
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Today I quietly did some work things without going to meetings. Too many meetings where people talk about needing to do things but not doing them. I had, for first time in a while, clear thinking. Everything seemed clear! The scope was achievable! Then...

I was ecstatic to go out today. Like, OMG it is daytime, and I am not in bed, waiting for it to be Broth Time. Even though it is raining and cold I don't want to stay in bed. Fuck it! So, DROVE MY CAR, with manual wheelchair, 15 blocks away. So far so good! Parking: yes! Wheeling myself : surprisingly possible. Me: oddly full of energy! Pho ga with hypatia, really lovely! Everything tasted divine. It did not taste like chicken broth from a can or like crackers.

Then on the way to DU I started chain sneezing and my face melted into snot for hours and I started getting hives including HIVES IN MY MOUTH. Maybe a peanut or a bit of shrimp contamination? I have not have hives for many years. Did not use Epi-pen, probably should have. Maybe some sort of "oral allergy syndrome" thing from eating the flowers off the thai basil?

Okay, world, what are you trying to even tell me. "No, you cannot eat random restaurant food...." Dammit!

Then A. got sent home from school with a cough and a bit of a run down feeling. I didn't rush back because, chain sneezing and driving do not mix. She has her own key.... Anyway i got home a bit later and cooked her super early dinner which she devoured. All was well.

Status: Benadryled all to hell and back. Resolving to take it very easy tomorrow.
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I am icing my ankles; I drove my car a short distance (10 blocks) two days in a row; No painkillers today (yet)
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IN other news! We are closing DU applications a week from today, pausing for a couple of months to get ourselves together a bit. We may already be near capacity for our space and we certainly have too much administrative work to handle than we were prepared for, even with the incredible incredible work by the app-building team. So if you're local to the area and want to apply, you have a week :)

Today I went by, had nice conversations with A.K. about network infrastructure, a batsignal app, all sorts of stuff. Moomin dj-ed, we played the card game called Swish (which is very good), Mary came to measure for shelves and then came back again with the lumber, Marlena marked all the wall studs, others were in and out. As we left the shelves were starting to go up. Very exciting!! I worked on making a book press like my old one but the c clamp i had was uneven and very hard to bolt to the board. It did not at all work out. What kind of hardware did I use last time? I can't remember! Something that was NOT a c-clamp but that was similar: it had a part that i could somehow anchor onto a heavy board, and it had a screw thing ending in a point, and a mechanism to turn the screw downward. I had a penny in the top board just under the point of the screw so that it wouldn't drill through. I hope I didn't throw the old press away...

Am nearly at end of Agatha Christie novels & realized I need to go back to the 1920s and read all the short story collections. I'm pausing on the novels just after The Mirror Crack'd. Back in time!

As usual

Jan. 28th, 2014 09:08 pm
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Complaining that I don't know how I'm going to deal with things made me get up and JFDI. Also the extra dose of vicodin and the ice packs gave me a 3rd wind. So I did the dishes and cleared the floor up a bit. NOw I feel less dismal.

Also, seriously fuck Agatha Christie's characters and their buttery muffin eating habits, I want a buttered muffin SO BAD right now. MMMMMM, BUTTER.
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I am "back" at work. Working mostly from bed and the couch. It's overwhelming as everything is different after 2 months. I was in the middle of switching teams. Well, trying to keep a totally open mind and not be stressed. I would dearly love to have one solid thing I can do that I know is helping someone else and it would be nice if they were doing something Actually Useful. Forced myself to jump in and start talking. Gaaaaah!

The hackerspace is going beautifully & makes me so happy. Gosh it was amazing last night. I had a happy feeling that things will carry on now even if I can't do much. Talked with people had special happiness talking with sumana who I am very fond of and her friend from san jose. At some point I focused in on my zine about marie jenney despite the room full of exciting company and got to a more final version of my tiny zine. It needs a bit more work on the margins. I aspired to illustrate it but was too tired to draw. So it is almost all text. I have one more sentence I should stick in there to synthesize the way her individual racism as an author of the play ties in to the systemic racism in the movement she was part of. I said both of those things but did not explicitly connect them. It is an experiment in saying some that complicated in a very tiny zine. homage + disappointment + anger. I am already thinking through the 2nd one which will be on ida b wells and the alpha suffrage club. Anyway, event. I felt old. In a good way. Must remember to shut up a bit more.

I can eat a bit more and tried different things today like celery. I was able to eat more often instead of just twice a day with the meds. It still hurts but it was possible to eat something. I got instacart groceries and made soup in the crockpot. Thought of the many times I just had to eat toast or those 4 for $5 frozen pizzas for weeks uuuuuugh. It's so comforting to have grocery delivery. So, I had more variety today which was amazing. Celery, some goat cheese, blackberries, and chicken soup with hominy.

My knees, ankles, and hands hurt like fire even through vicodin so I'm feeling pretty worried. I want to get back to where I was with mobility, not slide backwards. I wanted to clean up today and maybe go out on the scooter to the store 1 block away. I could not handle it. Was a bit stunned by pain today.

I think I erred by not taking tramadol around 1 or 2pm. That should be my routine for a while to get through work days. Any later than that and it has to be vicodin which makes me too stupid-feeling for work.

Posted cleaning/laundry on taskrabbit as there is just no way. (Hands.... plus not doing well walking around the house) Ideally, I get up and move around often and do small tasks, it keeps me from stiffening up. Today that was not working out well.

I am icing my knees, ankles, and hands often. Tomorrow I can do Enbrel which I hope will give me a boost.

I don't know if I can make it out tomorrow, there is a meeting at the space but I also have a thing Thurs. night. I don't think I can go out two days in a row. I should obviously not do either one. If I had to pick.... which? Meeting would be responsible of me and is cheery and intimate. Requires less energy. But people can do a meeting without me just fine. MVC launch I have to be on a panel and I feel like it is more important for me to represent.

Also I need to do article edits like fury.

OK must not think about any of that, back to my Agatha Christie and some careful rotation of ice packs about my burning aching joints.

How ridiculous was that racist white girl crying in yoga class, I swear to god, shades of wiscon trolling.... About the same sort of obvious self-hate but mutated into spectacular concern trolling. So ignorant and horrid! It reminded me i need to go make sure there is a really good White Women's Tears article in the gf wiki. uhhh, maybe not this week tho. Shutting up now, icing hands....
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Onwards with the reading-all-agatha-christie project, so useful for convalescing!

N or M (1941)
This was fabulous. Tommy and Tuppence from The Young Adventurers return for some spy and investigative work during World War II. Holy crap, everyone is a suspicious possible German spy. Very exciting. Often awful. Spies are EVERYWHERE. After this was published, MI5 interrogated Christie because one of the characters was named "Bletchley" and there is stuff about spies and codes. There is more than one non-awful woman (still) (unlike the books later in the decade)

The Body in the Library (1941)
The second Miss Marple book. Miss Marple and her friend Mrs. Bantry (who is kind of charming!) Features a wealthy old man who uses a wheelchair and who is often described as "a helpless cripple" though he is in good health and athletic and pushes himself around in his chair. Unlike many wealthy old men he distributed his money years ago to his children. But then he went off and made MORE money after his airplane accident. I can't remember any allusions to the war. I found the whole concept of young women dancing and hostessing in a hotel somewhere in a rural area to be deeply weird especially how it is just normal that people come live in that hotel for a long while. How odd.

The Moving Finger (1942)
A brother and sister move to a small village. He was injured in a plane crash. Can't remember if it was the war or not. There is an awkward 20 year old woman ignored by her family who just needs this dude to give her a new outfit to be all glamorous. There are anonymous hate letters being sent all through the village.

Towards Zero (1944)
This book is creepy! An old rich lady has some relatives visit. Murder time! The complication is that there's Neville and his new wife Kay, who is sexy, low class, and makes scenes. But also, awkwardly, his ex-wife Audrey who is delicate and upper class. Hijinks ensue. There is a competent cool-headed single woman, Mary Aldin, who is "companion" to the rich lady. Sort of a type for Christie. She doesn't have any friends.

Death Comes as the End (1944)
Set in ancient Egypt. The ingenue, Renisneb, is sort of the detective. Other women are awful and catty. Except her grandmother who is also pretty much awful. Uhhh. What is happening! I noted the bits where Christie talks about the main characters' "black slaves" and did not get the feeling that meant "as opposed to the slaves who weren't black" but rather that the main characters were not black. Our heroine's awesomeness is expressed as she slowly develops the idea of true patriotism.

Sparkling Cyanide (1945)
Rather horrible rich people have a dinner party. The one of them that was about to inherit a crapload of money is poisoned in her champagne. Women are not friends in this book. With each other or really anyone. What happened to the war? Puzzling.

The Hollow (1946)
OK here is a departure from the standard. I think Christie was getting bored with her formulas. Two of the characters are very passionate about their art or work. They get obsessed with it and they have sort of more serious literary-person crises and existential despair and everything is not going to come out OK with neat marriages. OK then! Rare female character who is good at her art and cares about having some sort of profession. Intriguing but the people were all assholes. I absolutely loathed the plucky patient in the hospital. LOATHED. What the hell was that! And then Poirot is in it, which feels extra surreal. I think he is at least 100 years old now. Didn't he meet Hastings back in 1863? Wasn't he already old and retired when he was a refugee during world War I?

Taken at the Flood (1948)
A wild World War II appears! OK. This has got lots of people having demobilization crisis, shell shock, and so on. It also had a bit more of a "literary novel" feel in bits of it. Lynn Marchmont has actual thoughts about her life. Still no female friends though. And she ends up being a quite horrifying character at the very end because she .. Oh god I can't ..... Well, she realizes a fun way to get the exciting life of adventure she had during the war: marry a violent abusive man who just tried to kill her. Great career move, almost-awesome character! Seriously, what the fuck happened to poor Christie. Remember how awesome Bundle was in Seven Dials! :(

Crooked House (1949)
A family of mostly horrible people live in a big house with their eccentric genius rich progenitor. It is now possible to have a Greek grandfather without being sly, unreliable, over-sexy and essentially un-British. Maybe. Barely. People talk about the war a bit. The end is very depressing.

A Murder is Announced (1950)
Weird classified ad announces a murder in a village. Everyone assumes it's a murder mystery party invitation. A man walks in the door with a gun in his hand! MURDER TIME. Everyone's investments have failed and there are coupons and it is impossible to get good servants. Female friendships sort of exist. Kind of. And women are not universally awful except for one reasonable romantic heroine. The vicar's wife Bunch is nice. Shades of Bundle, but grown up and married.

They Came to Baghdad (1951)
Another exciting international spy thriller sort of thing. I was charmed by Victoria Jones and her impulsive romantic escapades and her ability to make up complicated funny lies. Then she gets to be an archeologist and stuff after some exciting spy times. Yay!!! The bad part was thinking of the horrible hours when they said planes were leaving in March 2003 to bomb Baghdad and knowing it was happening and how surreal that felt and now thinking of how deeply our country has fucked up Iraq.

Mrs. McGinty's Dead (1952)
It is still impossible to get good servants or even a once a week cleaning lady especially for middle class people in villages. Long slow freakout of middle class ladies over many books. Poirot shows up along with Ariadne Oliver. Christie spends a good bit of the book torturing Poirot with bad food and ladies who swear and bother his OCD with their disorderly ways. I have trouble remembering the actual plot. Oh yeah. It shows up halfway through. A newspaper clipping of murderers. Being adopted is VERY suspicious at all times. Blood will tell!

The Do It With Mirrors (1952)
Miss Marple goes to visit TWO old friends. Ding ding ding! Women are friends! They converse! About stuff! Themselves and their pasts and many things! I was intrigued at how Miss Marple and the first of her friends, Ruth, are both very old but Ruth is like in a girdle or has her hair dyed or something so that she is sexy and youthful looking and that does not make her automatically evil. Most of this book takes place in a mansion turned juvenile delinquent rehab center. Many think it wrong headed or odd that you should try to help delinquents rather than good lads who work hard. No one questions at all that all the people helped are lads. Where are the girl delinquents, for fuck's sake? No one thinks that maybe Dr. Helpy is molesting the boys either. Odd! (Also, upper class "boys" who forge checks are just a bit rakish and are packed off to another country for a few years till they return and probably murder someone.) The secret plot of this book is very creepy and weird and utterly wrong. I want to just reveal it here... spoilers... the embezzling happened so that Dr. Helpy could buy some islands or a country somewhere and transport all male juvenile delinquents to start a new utopian society. I am sure if he had carried it off there would have been pit traps and sharks with lasers and build a world-destroying machine. But no.

After the Funeral (1953)
A rich old guy dies and one of his daughters claims at the reading of the will that it was murder. Then she gets murdered omg. Then her companion and fellow lady "artist" (they both suck as a matter of course and are figures of ridicule) who used to have a tea shop nearly gets poisoned. All the siblings and nephews and nieces are kind of awful. There is a tyrannical hypochondriac who is faking illness all day and lies in bed having ovaltine and reading. I found that extra annoying. There is a huge country house and it has competent servants and there is a lot of talk about the ridiculous victorian decor that makes it sound like Christie totally misses cabinets full of stuffed birds and wishes more sparse Modern things would go to hell. There is a competent middle aged woman with good business sense but she had some sort of Fatal Flaw and certainly no friends.

General observations: Christie's books feel more sexist and full of horrible gender sterotypes. They don't pass the Bechdel test anymore. But they used to. And it wasn't like, automatic that women were stupid and mockable with a few exceptions. I even miss Socks from 1920, the teenage girl who said the word "subtle" in every sentence. It was gentle mockery....

Racism. It is constant and it actually feels like it gets worse. I continue to be astonished by the number of times Christie throws in the n word casually. Not like aimed at a person but as something odd like... Did you know there is a dessert called n* in his shirt. I did not know. Until now. But that is not even the racist part. It is that Christie more and more solidifies in her characters agreeing and it being totally normal that "blood will tell" so that if you had like one Italian grandparent you are oversexed, overemotional, unreliable, and sly as well as being just mysteriously exotically unBritish. It isn't like one character dislikes their niece's half-Russian husband it is just How Things Are. It also feels like there was one moment in 1936 where people from India existed both in India and England but then never again is there anyone from anywhere that isn't Europe or Russia, the U.S. and Canada. It became increasingly weird as I was swinging into the 1950s. Oh wait there was the whole book set in Ancient Egypt. And sometimes people do something bad with their dad's checkbook and disappear to Kenya or Australia for years. Anyway it is as if by over emphasizing the horrors of possibly marrying an Italian you could in your mind magically do away with all other bits of the world and people of color. That is how it comes off.

Social class. Post war fucked up economy, no one can get good servants even MORE. You can still tell just from looking at someone that they are not quite a gentleman. I didn't quite realize how far after the war ended that there was still rationing. In Christie's world it might be sort of understandable to cheat on your coupons and have too much butter or black market nylons but it means you aren't going to be quite right.
badgerbag: (Default)
I am doing a bit better, I went out last night and tues. night to DU meetings, and was optimistic for tonight but despite doing NOTHING but lie in bed today.... I felt too horrible to go out. As it got closer to the time I should go I got more and more stressed and then realized it was NO GO.

I did eat most of a turkey sandwich with lettuce, and then some chicken soup later. So that is WAY better on the eating. I am still losing weight and still in pain though when I eat. My other trouble today was joint pain. i ached all over and did not want to walk at all. my knees and ankles are painful enough even just lying in bed. I have taken a vicodin and they still hurt while i am lying here. I know it will not be a good night of sleep when I hurt this much. My feeling is that I walked around a lot out of both optimism/excitement at my stomach improving and also to try to show my mom I was doing ok. That backfired.

Tmorrow I will take tramadol in the morning and will finish this draft of my article and will not try to go out unless I actually feel up to it.

Feeling a bit on a downer and sad and like I am about to fuck up and disappoint everyone about everything. This feeling also probably means I am just super super tired and pain is getting to me.
badgerbag: (Default)
What would you give to a bright 14 year old who, I think, likes good writing and is thinking about short stories? He likes structure, elegance, and things he describes as "subtle" or "deep". He liked Dashiell Hammett. and I think is enjoying O.Henry. I may give him some classic SF short stories.

What would you think of as examples of amazing, impressive short stories for an impressionable and attentive young reader/critic/writer?
badgerbag: (Default)
Accidentally ate a big mouthful of jalapeƱo hummus. Uhhhhhhhhhhhh no.

A protonix, a zantac, and a freaking handful of tums later.... i am still so ill.

badgerbag: (Default)
Still reading all of Agatha Christie's mystery novels in order while feeling pretty sick and exhausted. (Waking up in the night a lot)

Death on the Nile (1937)
Poirot on a boat. A very rich, beautiful, famous woman steals her best friend's boyfriend. A valuable pearl necklace gets stolen. Murders happen! I noticed the comic relief middle aged writer lady, Mrs. Otterbourne, had written a novel with the same title as Christie's unpublished first novel, something like "Snow in the Desert".

Appointment with Death (1938)
Poirot goes to Jerusalem and Petra. A rich old lady psychologically torments and totally controls her relatives.

Poirot's Christmas (1938)
Country house, mean old disabled rich guy psychologically torments his relatives just enough so that we are not surprised he gets murdered. Did Christie have something going on with mean rich old relatives or what? The war in Spain is mentioned.

Murder is Easy (1939)
An old lady is going on the train to Scotland yard to report her suspicions about murders in her village. She tells a young man in her compartment (I can never picture what a "compartment" is like.) He gets obsessed with solving the mystery and finds a way to go to that village to investigate. It is a LOT of murders.

And Then There Were None (1939)
That is the polite title. Heinous! 10 people go to an island for a house party. They all have a terrible secret... I had this book when I was little (under the "Indians" title) and thought it was especially creepy, because nursery rhymes are creepy especially with death in them, and the house full of corpses laid out on the beds and feeling of horrible paranoia. It was a little too much like my post apocalyptic imaginings when I was 10 to be entertaining. I had to keep the book with the cover not showing. I think "Hallowe'en" also had this special place of honor (like Ramona Quimby's book with the scary gorilla in it that had to go under the couch cushions in case it would escape)

Sad Cypress (1940)
The dying old relative is kindly for once. She was even nice enough to pay for the education of the gatekeeper's daughter! There are some cousins who were going to get married. The central thing here is that it is bad if one person loves the other one more or just inherently too much. It is also tragic if you are a gatekeeper's daughter educated beyond your possible station in life. This is maybe the first glimmer of real tension around class mobility, other than people vaguely complaining that it is hard to get good servants these days.

One Two Buckle My Shoe (1940)
Poirot goes to the dentist and gets mixed up with what looks like some weird political murders. Unrest in India is mentioned again. There is an Indian student who has a name, or at least he is mentioned. Also, one of the English characters marries an Indian student (unnamed). The important man of finance and politics and economics stands against chaos and fascism with some specially good speechmaking at the end. I felt like maybe Christie was working out some of her own feelings from earlier in the decade about facism in this book . . . as if maybe some of it were attractive... but then no.

Of course in the 1939 and 1940 books I was waiting for mention of the war. But of course the books published in 1939 must have been written the year before.

Evil Under the Sun (1941)
A holiday resort on Smuggler's Island on the west coast of the UK. (Dartmoor?) A super femme fatale shows up in distinctive bathing suit and flamboyant hats. There is an interesting teenage girl character. Of course upper class 16 year olds in these sorts of books always sound like they are about 12 in today's terms. That can't be really true.... surely. The list of clues that are puzzle pieces that Poirot must fit into the puzzle was especially long, random, and epic. How does she do it! Still no war.

About to start on N or M, which I remember has the War finally, but annoyed me in some way in the past, I think by repeating "N or M" too many times. As if she couldn't think of anything actually good so had them just repeatedly waggle their eyebrows at each other while saying this inane phrase.

I am spaced out and addled enough from pain meds (though I'm not on that much of them any more) that remembering the dates and the titles together from one browser tab to another is impossible and I have to click over twice. Not ready for work yet... brain so waffly...

Note. Nurses are often important. It is like the ugly side of Cherry Ames Army Nurse.

General note about the racism and imperialism in this batch of books. Christie has dialed back the anti-semitism of her characters a bit. Back to the 20s level where there are Jewish people in Britain and now in Palestine and Israel, and they tend to be masters of international finance or mysteriously wealthy, but are quite nice and ok for upper class people to marry. People from Italy are just comic. Irish people are described as either comic, drunk, or servants. Greeks and Turks, Gypsies, and maybe Argentinians are described negatively, but it is possible to marry them. People from Spain are oddly and specially sexualized as is anyone "Latin". People in Iraq or Syria or India are not much characterized other than being "natives". "Unrest" in India is mentioned often, along with worries that foreign agents are causing Unrest in the UK. I will be interested to see if these national and ethnic characterizations change in her books in the 40s.

Health note. I am eating better but reflux is very painful.

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