This weekend was pretty good. Finished reading the new JK Rowling. Went walking along the C and O Canal with my friend Cynthia and her young son Harry, and we saw assorted wildlife - turtles, toads and herons. Saw a great many Kayakers down by the river, which was unfortunately very muddy along its banks.
Wednesday, June 25, 2003 ::: I have been doing a lot of reading lately. I bought a bunch of books off amazon as sort of a preparation for applying to history programs, a lot of books dealing with history of sexuality and the like, including the usual foucault for walking the walk and talking the talk, and well as a book called men like that: a southern queer history and george chauncey's gay new york. Oh, and also the gay metropolis by charles kaiser. I'm really looking for books that cover the era from about 1870 to 1920 or so, and unfortunately these books cover a later time period, although they are useful nonetheless. I have sort of been ignoring them of late, though, and instead I've been rereading katherine graham's personal history, which is quite a good read although it tends to be a little skimpy when dealing with events after watergate - the eighties sort of get a short shrift. I also have all the president's men and the final days sitting on my bookshelf so I'm pretty well stocked when it comes to reading about the post in the seventies.
Sunday, June 22, 2003 ::: Right now I'm listening to Rachmaninov's second piano concerto and it is SO GOOD. My non-classical cds far far outnumber my classical cds, but I have a fondness for piano concertos and for some reason whenever I would come across people discussing their favorite composers or classical pieces, rachmaninov's concertos would always seem to come up, among connoisseurs and those who generally don't care for classical music but have one particular favorite. I've become really almost obsessive, listening once, twice or three times a day. I really really like it.
I've also started reading Bel Ami by Maupassant. Good read, and quite decadent for something written in the nineteenth century. The whole novel has an air that can be summed up in the following sentence, on page 108 of the penguin classics edition:
"And, leaving the realm the elegant theories of courtly love, the conversation descended to the primrose path of elegant smut."
I'm not done yet, but I'm hoping that there won't be too much in the way of moral lessons to be learned by any of the characters, who for the most part of much richer in depth and engaging to read about without any of that happening. There is, however, a certain bonfire of the vanities feel about the whole thing.
Today I watched Rear Window on DVD which I had confused plotwise with some other Hitchcock movies. It starts out quite slow but as the murder mystery deepens I found my self rapt and unable to stop watching, even to make dinner. My apartment actually has a similar view even though so far as I know none of my neighbors is a scantily clad ballerina or aspiring songwriter or possible murderous jewelry salesman or crippled photographers. I generally accord my neighbors the privacy I would hope to be accorded myself and do not spend hours peering into their windows. Nobody seems to be doing much of anything anyway.
I went to a party last night and stayed out almost till dawn for pretty much the first time since college. Had fun though, even though it made me feel kind of old. I'm an old 25 I guess.
Sunday, June 15, 2003 ::: So it's been quite a weekend. I went to the city museum with my old college roommate Adam - they have a blown up aerial photo of the city that you can walk across and see where you live. The exhibits are quite well designed, informative, and the building is quite beautiful, having once housed the city libary. Adam chatted with the volunteer question-fielding person.
My father has also been around this week. and there was a family brunch. Pictures coming soon, and let me say that my sister is an excellent cook.
Oh, and I also saw winged migration, which is quite a beautiful film, with minimal commentary, just birds flying and flying and flying. The shots are simply amazing, it's like being one of the flock, and the birds seem quite unconcerned that an alien video camera has infiltrated their midst. The film also succeeds in making canada geese appear as something more than mean-spirited rats with wings that shit on your lawn and attack small children. A goose gets separated from his flockmates during a stopover in the grand canyon and honks and quacks in the vain hope that perhaps there is someone out there who has been waiting for him. No such luck.
So I have for the most part omitted posting details of my personal life, mostly because I felt that the weblog as an exhibitionist confessional does not have as great an appeal to me as it does to others. (Which is not to say that are necessarily a bad thing. They certainly make for excellent reading). Nonetheless I have boyfriend of several months and he is a sweetheart and his name is alex. So get used to hearing about him.
Sunday, June 08, 2003 ::: I just finished reading Truman Capote's Answered Prayers without meaning to. I sat down this afternoon and just read and read and read. It is a shockingly offensive and utterly fascinating book, consisting mostly of thinly veiled vile gossip spilling from every page. Each little story within a story sounds like the plot of a smoky film noir from the forties, filled with murderous scheming golddiggers and men on the make. It's truly a shame that he never finished it - the yawning gap between the early chapters and the later makes for a lacuna of lost potential.
There have also been a number of other books I've read earlier that I've been meaning to have my say about. Walt Whitman's America I found to be somewhat of a disappointment, on two levels - As I got to know more about Whitman, I came to admire him less as a person and as a writer, a man who was more trapped in his time than I had thought - overly nationalistic and given a rather traditional view of interaction between the sexes, although I think that the author David Reynold's treatment of the latter should be viewed with some skepticism owing to Reynold's bending over backwards to avoid characterizing Whitman as homosexual as much as possible, to the point of sounding like a loving but still prejudiced mother discussing how her son is just waiting for the right girl to come along.
I happened to catch a bit of the Tony Awards this evening. Weren't they something?
Thursday, June 05, 2003 ::: oh, the editing screen is all new and pretty-looking. If I knew how to take a screenshot I would. Just imagine for now, gentle reader. Anyway, I have a few more links that have been sitting around.
Jason Kottke's rules for the subway. Metro has recently added big huge signs to floors in front of the escalators which say "STAND TO THE RIGHT" in big letters. People seem for the most part to have taken the hint. But there are still a few ignore such suggestions and generally stare stupidly at the world slowly drifting around them while angry washington bureaucrats grumble passive-agressively behind them.