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How old are you: 60

Tattoos: none

Ever hit a deer: no

Ridden in an ambulance: yes, when I was hit by a car as a teenager

Sang karaoke: no, and I am not going to

Ice skated: yes, as a child

Ridden a motorcycle: no, and I am not going to

Stayed in hospital: no. Well, except when I was born

Skipped school: I skipped classes, but I don’t think I skipped entire days of school

Last phone call: telecon at work

Last text from: the friend I am going to New York with this coming weekend.

Watched someone die: no

Pepsi or coke: coke zero, but I prefer non-cola sodas.

Favourite Pie: depends on my mood, but coconut cream or lemon meringue are high on the list.

Favourite pizza: thin crust, mushroom and black olives

Favourite season: autumn

Broken bones: right ankle, little toes

Received a ticket: one speeding ticket (damn camera trap), a few parking tickets

Favourite color: teal

Sunset or sunrise: sunset

Favourite animal bears, especially polar bears

Had a tooth out yes

Who will play along: don’t know
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I am really tired because I was out late on Wednesday night. I went to The Grapevine, a storytelling show in Darkest Maryland. (Except it really isn't. It's technically on the D.C. line of the border in Takoma Park. But it involves going to an extreme end of the Red Line, so it is rather like falling off the edge of the earth.) The featured tellers were Noa Baum and Donald Davis. Normally, there is also an open mike, but they skipped it, possibly because it was very very crowded.

Anyway, Noa had a new story about dolls, mixed with a story about Vasilisa the Wise and Baba Yaga. Some of the transitions between the two didn't quite work for me, but it was an interesting piece. One thing, though - and I know this is not Noa's fault - but Baba Yaga's hut does not have doors or windows. That (along with the chicken feet) is one of its key features. She goes in and out via the chimney.

As for Donald, he told two stories - Mrs. Rosemary's Kindergarten and a story about haircuts. I've heard both of them multiple times before, but it doesn't matter because he is just such a great teller. Overall, the show was a real treat and worth the exhaustion.

I compounded the exhaustion last night because I was absorbed in reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and stayed up to finish it. It's an excellent novel and brought back memories of traveling in Ghana.

Friday Five: I don't usually do these, but since my grandfather was a jeweler, this one appealed to me.

  1. Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry? Describe. I have a necklace that my great-grandmother supposedly bought in China. It's black enamel over what I think is brass, with complex designs of the metal showing through the enamel.

  2. Is there a piece of jewelry that you wear daily? Describe. I wear at least one ring all the time, except for when I travel in somewhere dicey. It's usually a square-cut sapphire ring, but I have identical emerald and ruby rings (and some others I sometimes wear depending on what I have on).

    I used to wear an onyx ring on my index finger all the time, but I've been having some joint issues that made the finger swell, so I haven't been wearing it much.

  3. What is the most costly piece of jewelry you own? I have a star sapphire and diamond ring I inherited. I never wear it because it is fragile and doesn't really go with anything, but it was custom-made for my mother so I feel obliged to keep it.

    Of things I actually bought for myself, I have a Marty Magic gold ring in the shape of a bat. I also have a couple of pairs of Lunch at the Ritz earrings, that are big and dangly and fabulous for special occasions.

  4. What piece of jewelry would you secretly (or not so secretly) love to own, but do not? Why don't you? Maybe more from Lunch at the Ritz, possibly one of their necklaces. I don't wear necklaces much, however, because I tend to play with them and break them.

  5. Is there a piece of jewelry you once owned but no longer own? What happened to it? I had another sapphire ring which disappeared in the course of one or another move ages ago. I keep hoping it will turn up, but after 30+ years it seems unlikely.

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Going back to the 5 questions meme, these are from lillibet. Feel free to ask me up to 5 questions and I will attempt to answer them.

1) Do you have a favorite month? If so, which and why? I like September, because I get to celebrate my birthday. Between that, the Jewish holiday season, and too many years of school, it logically feels like the new year to me. April is close behind because of warming weather and baseball.

2) If you had to leave the US, where would you settle? Israel is the most obvious place for me to go, since I’m eligible for citizenship there. And I have plenty of family around. Other possibilities are South Africa or Uruguay.

3) What kind of flooring do you prefer? Tile, carpet, hardwood, stone, other? Describe a particular favorite floor. I like the feel of carpet. Either 1970’s style shag carpeting or thick karakul wool carpeting. (I have a karakul wool area rug I bought in Namibia that I am still completely n love with after 20 some odd years.) But my all-time favorite floor was the radiant heat bathroom floor in a hotel room in Norway.

4) What's the nicest hotel you've ever stayed in, and why? Albergo Atlantic in Bologna, Italy was fabulous. The location was convenient, price was reasonable, room was clean and quiet. A decent breakfast (admittedly, a cold one, but that is typical for Italy) was included. The staff was friendly. It’s across the street from a good gelato place. And it's in Bologna!

Runner-up is The Library Hotel in New York. How could I not love a hotel that asks "fiction or nonfiction" when you check in? The only reason that it isn’t the winner is that it’s pricy.

5) What is the most interesting thing you've learned in the past week? Probably not interesting to anyone but me, but I found my great-great-grandfather’s birth certificate (from Ostrolenka, Poland) and, hence, I’ve identified my his parents. (That’s my maternal grandfather’s mother’s father, for those who are keeping track.)
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These are from maju01. I am open to any questions anyone else wants to ask. Also, feel free to request your own set.

1. Describe your perfect house. Does where you live now fit this description? I have contradictory desires in a perfect house. Part of me wants a compact cottage, but I also want lots of wall space for art and a huge library wall. I’d love a living room that was large enough to have house concerts in. Also, a solarium and a studio for crafts. As I get older, I am also filled with the desire for single level living.

Where I live now doesn’t come close to perfection. I like the general layout of my condo, but it is up two flights of stairs. (There are elevators in two of the four buildings in the complex, so I could use an elevator and then walk across the garage, but that seems wasteful.) But, overall, it is practical and the location is close to ideal. So it'll do.

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?This is another one for which I want contradictory things. If money were no object, I’m attracted to various islands – Nantucket or Block Island or Shelter Island. But I also want to be reasonably close to a major international airport. More reasonably, I would like to live in Boston most of the year, with a condo in Punta del Este, Uruguay for the few months of the year during which New England is uninhabitable.

3. How is your relationship with your family? (Define family however you like.) The only near relative who is still living is my brother. He and I get along fine, as long as we don’t actually see each other. I refer to this as our family exclusion zone. For example, when we were both in the Bay Area, the number of earthquakes increased significantly.

4. Have you always lived in the area where you live now? If yes, have you ever wanted to move somewhere else? If no, what brought you here? I was born in the Bronx, but we moved away when I was 3, so I don’t really remember living there. I grew up in a very small town on Long Island. Then I went to college in the Boston area and grad school in Berkeley. I ended up in Los Angeles for work and then relocated to the Washington, D.C. area (northern Virginia), also for work. I have a running debate about whether or not to stay here when I retire.

5. What was your childhood like? 1960’s small town suburbia, for better or worse. I went to Hebrew School two afternoons a week after school(and Sunday mornings), took ballet classes and piano lessons. There were still a lot of empty lots (i.e. places where houses were not yet built) and we picked blackberries in them. As houses went up, we played a lot in construction sites and hoped whoever moved in would have kids our age.

All the kids in the neighborhood played softball on the street, with a few of our dads sometimes included. The girls played endless games of hopscotch. We walked or rode our bikes all over town, but mostly halfway into town to Rhodes Delicatessen, which was more or less a general store. My folks would send us there to get a Sunday newspaper and a box of Italian pastries and we were allowed to spend the change on comic books. There was a girl on the next block whose father had a laundry business and on rainy days he would drive us all to school in the laundry truck, with all of the kids sitting on sacks of laundry in the back.

This sounds rather more idyllic than I felt at the time. I couldn’t wait until I could get away to somewhere where people didn’t know everything you were doing.
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You have probably seen this meme in which one gets 5 questions from someone to answer. These are from [personal profile] zhelana. You can comment either with questions you want to ask me or a request for me to ask you questions.

1. You call yourself a craftswoman - what kinds of crafts do you enjoy? Are there any you don't do currently that you'd like to? I do lots of fiber things – knitting, crocheting, nalbinding, wet felting, tatting, bobbin lace. I also do bookbinding. I’ve done some papermaking and marbling, too. I’ve tried spinning and sprang, but didn’t really care much for either. As for what I don’t do that I’d like to, needle felting is at the top of the list.

2. What's something you like about Virginia, and something you dislike? I think Virginia is really pretty – lots of greenery, deciduous trees, attractive older architecture. I don’t like the obsession with the Civil War, however.

3. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Do you think high school you would be happy with where you are now? Depending on the year (and what I was reading) I wanted to be an astronaut or a detective or a chemist or a race car driver. I think high school me would be happier with my non-work life than with my work life, mostly because I don’t think I would have wanted to sit in an office all day.

4. Would you ever consider whitewater rafting or ziplining? How about sky diving? I’ve gone whitewater rafting several times and enjoyed it, but it’s been years. I won’t go ziplining or sky diving, however, as I am terrified of heights.

5. If you were kidnapped and the kidnappers allowed you to continue posting to make things appear normal, what one line would you post to let people know you're not okay without tipping the kidnappers off that you're asking for help? Maybe something about how much I am enjoying looking at the fields of sunflowers where I am. (Sunflowers give me the creeps. I will cross the street to avoid walking next to one. And, yes, I know that is weird.)
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There’s this meme re: electronics making the rounds. I was about ready to do it, but I realized I could simplify the questions and just write about a few topics.

Cell phones: I knew a couple of people who had them earlier, but I never really saw many cell phones until the late 1990’s. They were more popular in South Africa than they were in the United States. I didn’t really see any reason to be that reachable.

I finally got one (a Kyocera flip phone, pay as you go with Virgin Mobile) in 2007, when I bought my condo. It made moving easier. For a long time, my major use of the cell phone was calling Verizon when my land line was screwed up. (They had messed up hooking up my FIOS and not disconnected a copper wire, so I had all these interference issues until I persuaded them to come out and they fixed it in about 35 seconds.) I still have that pay-as-you-go flip phone.

I do have an iphone from work, which my boss insisted on when I took my current job. I have mixed emotions about it.

Television / video: We did not have cable when I was young. I don’t think cable even existed then. Because I grew up in a suburb of New York, we had a good variety of channels. My father watched the downstairs television and mostly watched major sports. My mother watched the upstairs television and favored game shows, sitcoms, and junk sports (bowling, golf, demolition derby). I watched baseball games and sitcoms.

I should probably mention that we got color TV about when I was 10 or 11. One of our neighbors had color sooner and we used to go across the street to their house specifically to watch Lost in Space.

My parents got a VCR when I was in college. I got one some years later – maybe when I started working? I know that during part of the time I lived in L.A. I rented videos a lot. I still have that VCR and should really see if it still works.

As for DVDs, I’ve never had a dedicated DVD player, but I’ve watched lots of them on a laptop. I still own a fair number of them.

Music: My parents bought LPs. My father brought home a new record – usually a Broadway cast recording or a comedy record – and we’d all listen to it. He graduated from a portable record player, which my brother and I then took over, to what was called a hi-fi.

We also had a reel-to-reel tape recorder. We’d gather around it in the evening and my brother and I would play piano, my Mom would play guitar, and we’d all sing, with my Dad acting as emcee. My grandfather used it a lot, too. But we moved on to cassette recorders. I think my brother and I got our own about when he was getting ready for his bar mitzvah. We had transistor radios, too, and would tape lots of songs off the radio.

I bought a lot of cassette tapes in college and still have many. I also still have a cassette player in my car, because my car is ancient (as am I). I never went in for 8-track tapes, though I am not sure why not. I did eventually migrate to CDs, though I still lave LPs and cassettes and plans to digitize them. I listen to CDs a lot on my stereo, when I’m home. I do also listen to a lot of stuff on youtube and some on itunes. And I listen to either pop music or oldies on the car radio, depending on where I am.

Things with Keyboards: I had an Olivetti portable typewriter I think I got for college. I’d used my mother’s heavier typewriter before that. I never took typing in school, but Mom taught me to type. Dad told me not to let people know I could type or they’d expect me to. I used that typewriter through college and probably part of grad school, though I used computers more in grad school

I had access to computers at school and work, but didn’t get one at home until the late 1980’s. I think it was an IBM 286. I later decided macbooks were less hassle and am on my third of those.

As for printers, I had a dot matrix one first.

Internet: I first got email around 1986 or so. I had already gotten on the internet when a college friend introduced me to usenet and got an account on the notorious gryphon.com, which Greg Laskin started to prove that he could put a PC on the net. (There was a whole big story about us being a company called Trailing Edge Technologies, which was founded to create an aircraft wing without a trailing edge. Since that is impossible, we spent all our time posting to the net. The gryphraff accounted for an astonishing percentage of usenet traffic.)

I started writing Areas of Unrest in 1997, when I was getting ready for my midlife crisis trip (overlanding in Africa). I started using Livejournal in 2007 and Dreamwidth in 2011, I think. I was using Dreamwidth only for backup until the whole crisis over the LJ terms of service pushed a lot of people away. Now, I write stuff on DW and let it cross-post to LJ.

I started using Facebook in 2009. I have never had a twitter account, as I don’t see much point to it. I do look at a few things on twitter from time to time – mostly weather forecasts and locations of food trucks.

I don’t use streaming media much (see above, under music). Well, that isn’t quite true as I do watch movies and TV on Amazon Prime. And I read things on paper.

Summary: I am old and not really an early adapter.


May. 12th, 2017 02:23 pm
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Health Care: First, a brief rant on the Republican approach to health care. The fundamental problem is that the free market doesn’t really work for health care. For example, I know at least three people who have had to have emergency appendectomies. In one case, she was far away from home (in D.C., while she lived in Los Angeles). It’s not like she could realistically go around calling various hospitals to find out which would be cheapest. I’ll also note that one of the others had insurance from work that turned out not to cover the anesthesiologist at the hospital she was at, which was otherwise within network.

When I am looking for a doctor, pricing is hardly my primary consideration. In fact, I go to a dentist who doesn’t participate in my insurance. That is, the office takes the insurance and files the paperwork, but does not conform to the rates. Yes, I could find someone in network, but I’ve had bad experiences with dentists in the past and finding someone who can handle my strong gag reflex is more important. (Hint: putting salt on the tongue suppresses the gag reflex, allowing me to handle getting x-rays. Yelling at me while I am choking is not a good approach.)

In addition, there are many places where there isn’t enough realistic choice to make price shopping feasible. The doctor I went to while growing up was the only one with an office in our small town. In that case, there were options in neighboring towns, but that would have involved lots of additional time and inconvenience.

The real reason our health care is so expensive and inefficient is that for-profit insurance adds an unnecessary administrative layer. One of my oldest friends is a cardiologist and she tells me that only 5 minutes out of every hour is spent on actual patient care, with the rest being paperwork, much of it insurance-related. Single payer is the obvious solution.

Teacher’s Appreciation Week: There is a meme going around on facebook to list your elementary school teachers. These were mine at Audubon Boulevard Elementary School in Island Park, New York.

K – Mrs. Caspar.

1 – Miss Jacobellis. I think she got married the summer after that, but I don’t recall her married name. And I am not sure whether or not she continued teaching after marriage.

2 – Mrs. Rebman. It might have been Redman. My memory of 2nd grade is pretty fuzzy.

3 – Mrs. Kramer. The main thing I remember about her is that her husband was our piano tuner.

4 – Mrs. Hunt / Mrs. Barnett. Mrs. Hunt broke her leg in the middle of the school year and Mrs. Barnett took over for her. I vaguely remember her living in a house on the water in East Rockaway that had an artificial palm tree in front of it.

5 – Mr. Bilash. The most notable thing about Mr. Bilash was that he let us bring in records to play on Friday afternoons. Somewhere in there, he sang "Old Man River."

6 – Mr. Ryder. Mr. Ryder was into theatre and had us learn about the middle ages by doing a production of sort-of Camelot. Sort-of because we rewrote the script to include a lot of new characters. The whole class sang the songs, which was a good thing for those of us who are not rich of voice. I also remember making paper mache trees for the set at another girl’s house and her introducing me to Dark Shadows, which became the only soap opera I ever got into.

I have mercifully forgotten our gym teacher(s). I think Miss Evans was the art teacher. But my very favorite teacher was Mrs. Meyers, our music teacher. There was no greater thrill than getting to play the autoharp in music class.

The Grapevine: As for actually doing things this week, Wednesday was a difficult night, with multiple options. I ended up deciding to go to The Grapevine, a storytelling event in darkest Maryland. I took advantage of the open mike part to try out the story I’ve learned from Afghanistan, part of my "story from every country" project. It went over pretty well, I think. As for the featured tellers, I had not heard Dennis Dewey previously, but found him entertaining, particularly with a personal story about buried treasure. Laura Packer was the main reason I had gone and she was wonderful. I’m particularly glad she told a story I’d heard from her before, which starts with what girls are told they can’t do and her approach to that as a child. Overall, it was an excellent evening and well worth the schlep to Takoma Park.

Oy: I discovered this morning that the vanilla tea I had bought last week was decaffeinated. No wonder I was so tired yesterday. I drank lapsang souchong today.
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Celebrity Death Watch: Benjamin Barber was a political theorist who wrote the prescient Jihad vs. McWorld in 1995. Vinod Khanna was a Bollywood actor. Jonathan Demme was a film director. Seeing Something Wild and Swimming to Cambodia in the 1980’s is what made me conscious of the director as a way of choosing what movies I might want to see, an approach that has, generally, stood me in good stead.

Idan Raichel: I went to see Ian Raichel at the Barns at Wolf Trap last night. It was an interesting concert, since he is best known for things like The Iden Raichel Project, MiMa’amakim, and his collaborations with Vieux Farka Toure. In other words, for big group fusion collaborative music. This was just him and a piano (and some electronics, particularly with respect to percussion). He gets characterized as "world music" because of those collaborations and he had a few things to say about that characterization. For example, he noted that Edith Piaf is world music to Filipinos. (This is, by the way, why I have trouble with the term. But it was a helpful one back when there were physical record stores to browse in.)

Overall, it was an enjoyable concert. He was clearly having fun singing and playing – and talking, though not, generally, about the songs themselves. And the Barns is a lot less annoying than the Filene Center, as it doesn’t take ages to get out of the parking lot. (And, when I do, I am going in the opposite direction of almost everybody else there, since I cut across the back roads of Vienna to get home.)

Speaking of Concerts – That Facebook Meme: As you probably know, there’s a facebook meme that involves listing 10 concerts you claim to have been to, with one of them being a lie. It’s the sort of thing that I think works well for facebook, assuming other people use it the way I do, as a way of keeping up with friends from scattered parts of their lives. I’m not going to play the game here, but I would like to make some observations.

First off, my lie was Ry Cooder. His 1995 album, Talking Timbuktu with Ali Farka Toure, pretty much defines my adult musical tastes. But he’s never been playing somewhere that I could get to when he was there.

As for the ones who were true, Ari Shapiro is better known as an NPR reporter, but he sings cabaret, notably with Pink Martini. He has a good voice. And he looks like the groom doll on a wedding cake.

I saw Arlo Guthrie as part of the HARP tour – Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert, and Pete Seeger – around 1984 at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. I think I actually went to that concert with my brother.

Elvis Costello was at the Chicago Theatre this past October.

Eric Bogle was either at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley or McCabe’s in Santa Monica. Possibly both. At any rate, it was somewhere in California and somewhere between 1982 and 2002. The thing I do remember distinctly is that he sang "Do You Sing Any Dylan?" (which, google tells me places the concert after 1992, so it must have been McCabe’s after all) and "Bloody Rotten Audience" (and, yes, I know Tony Miles wrote the latter).

I saw Garnet Rogers at Jammin’ Java. Don’t expect me to remember when, but maybe 2009 or so? I remember being disappointed, though I think Garnet has always disappointed me simply by not being his late, great brother Stan (who, alas, died before it ever occurred to me that there was such a thing as Canadian folk music).

John Denver is the most embarrassing on this list. I went with three friends in high school, and did not find it embarrassing at the time. What can I say? Tastes change as we age. Anyway, it was about 1975 at Madison Square Garden. I know that Robert Redford was at that concert, by the way, because another friend, who was supposed to go but whose parents were not comfortable with the whole thing and vetoed the idea, had a huge crush on him. When we told her we had seen him there at the arena, she dropped the schoolbooks she was holding.

The most interesting on the list is Kongar-ol Ondar. I took a tour of Siberia, Tuva, and Mongolia in 2000. Part of that included going to Na’adam Festival events in Kyzyl. That meant watching Tuvan horse races and Tuvan wrestling (complete with eagle dance) and, of course, listening to Tuvan throat singing. We went to the national concert, where the only Westerners there were the 4 of us (me, a guy from Milwaukee, a guy from Princeton, and our Czech tour leader), a French musicologist, and an American radio producer. We got a lot of attention, but nobody got anywhere near as much attention as Ondar did.

Nobody was foolish enough to guess Pierre Bensusan. In addition to being my favorite living musician, I may have mentioned in the past that I’ve probably seen Pierre perform a couple of dozen times. I think the first of those was at the Julia Morgan Center in Berkeley. I know I saw him a couple of times at McCabe’s and several times at Jammin’ Java, and at various other venues, including the Takoma Park Community Center. Alas, I missed his most recent performance in this area.

Finally, I saw Tom Paxton at the Barns at Wolf Trap a couple of years ago. I think I had seen him previously at McCabe’s, but I’m not sure. I remember thinking the Wolf Trap show was not very energetic and deciding I didn’t need to see him again.

The One That Got Away: I expressed some surprise (on facebook) at how many of my friends could identify exactly when and where they saw certain performers. As you can tell from the above, I am, uh, vague on a lot of the details.

So one friend pointed out that I do more things that most people, leading to more opportunity for confusion. Which, while true, reminded me of something I failed to do. In late 1981, there was a big Royal Shakespeare Company production of Nicholas Nickleby that played in New York. It was absurdly expensive by the standards of the time (100 bucks, I think) and took 8 ½ hours over two days. My parents went to see it and brought my brother, who was living in New York again by then. I was in grad school in Berkeley, but my father was so impressed with the whole thing that he offered to fly me to New York and pay for the ticket. I turned him down.

The thing was that, back then, flying cross-country was a big deal for me. And the idea of doing it just to go to a play was ridiculous. I was also hesitant to go to the theatre alone. No, it was just too too crazy a thing to do.

Adult me is beating my head against the wall, of course. I think a lot of what changed was all the business travel I ended up doing, which sometimes involved things like flying cross-country for a 3 hour meeting. (In one case, that meeting involved getting a briefing from a person whose office was catty-corner from mine.) And then there were all the years of carrying on the world’s longest-running brief meaningless fling. If you and the person you are involved in live on opposite sides of the ocean, you can get a lot more used to doing things alone.

Remembering this makes me appreciate the craziness of my life even more.
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)

  1. Do you like blue cheese? No. I’m not much of a cheese person to begin with and I am a bit freaked out over deliberately eating mold.

  2. Have you ever smoked? I briefly experimented with tobacco around 8th grade, but very briefly, largely due to the disapproval of a boy I had a crush on.

  3. Do you own a gun? No.

  4. What is your favorite flavor? It’s between lemon and mint. Or both together.

  5. Do you get nervous before Doctor visits? Yes. This does not do wonders for my blood pressure.

  6. What do you think of hot dogs? They are obligatory at the ball park and an occasional indulgence otherwise.

  7. Favorite Movie? Local Hero is a perfect mixture of quirkiness and good sense.

  8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coffee. Ideally, freshly ground Celebes, brewed in a Vietnamese drip pot, though a Melitta filter will do and is easier to clean.

  9. Do you do push-ups? No. I do, however, sometimes do push-offs. That is, pushing off the wall, instead of the floor.

  10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? A necklace my great-grandmother supposedly bought in Shanghai, though I have not found any actual evidence of her having actually been there.

  11. Favorite hobby? Storytelling is more of an obsession than a hobby. So is knitting, probably, but maybe less so.

  12. Do you have A.D.D? I’m probably borderline. I certainly have a short attention span at times and hyperfocus at times. But I’m mostly functional, so it’s not clear if I meet the diagnostic criteria and I’m not really interested in finding out officially.

  13. What’s the one thing you dislike about yourself? My disorganization and procrastination.

  14. What is your middle name? One of my better kept secrets.

  15. Name three thoughts at this moment. 1) Why am I wasting time on this meme? 2) I have way too much unread email in my inbox. 3) Are any of several people ever going to get around to calling me back?

  16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink. Tea. Water. Coffee, but only at home because I am an unrepentant coffee snob.

  17. Current worry? How am I going to find the time to do everything on my to-do list?

  18. Current annoyance right now People talking loudly right outside my office.

  19. Favorite place to be? By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea.

  20. How do you ring in the new year? I pretty much don’t. I have spent New Year’s eve on airplanes surprisingly often.

  21. Where would you like to go? Laos to see the Plain of Jars. Sri Lanka. Greenland.

  22. Name three people who will complete this. I am not into coercing anyone to do memes.

  23. Do you own slippers? Own, yes, mostly due to having inherited some of my mother’s slippers. Wear, not so much.

  24. What color shirt are you wearing right now? I’m not wearing a shirt. I’m wearing a teal dress.

  25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I don’t think I’ve ever tried to, but I imagine they would be too slippery.

  26. Can you whistle? Not really. I can get out a faint note but that’s about all.

  27. What are your favorite colors? Teal, amethyst purple, ruby red, emerald green, sapphire blue. Why are there no teal gemstones?

  28. Would you be a pirate? Piracy is inconsistent with my moral standards.

  29. What songs do you sing in the shower Mostly Broadway show tunes, e.g. the entire score of West Side Story. But there are also cheesy pop earworms from time to time.

  30. Favorite girl’s name? I don’t have children, but if I’d had a daughter, I’d probably have named her Civia after my great-grandmother. Or Lily after my grandmother.

  31. Favorite boy’s name? Again, I have no children, but if I had had a son, Simon would have been at the top of my list (after my grandfather). I also really like the name Avigdor, but I have no idea why.

  32. What’s in your pocket right now? I don’t have any pockets. This is kind of a sore spot. When I rule the world, all women’s clothing will be required to have pockets.

  33. Last thing that made you laugh?A cartoon questioning why hedgehogs don’t just share the hedge.

  34. Best toy as a child? I was very fond of Barbie, because she could play a lot of roles in the elaborate stories I made up. I also loved the Spirograph. And then there was this board game we had where you moved little plastic dinosaurs up the evolutionary tree.

  35. Worst injury you ever had? I broke my ankle falling down one step somewhere around 1990 ish.

  36. Where would you love to live? There are 18 miles of sea coast in New Hampshire. I only need 100 feet or so. Plus a condo in Punte del Este, Uruguay for the part of the year that New Hampshire is uninhabitable.

  37. How many TVs do you have? One, but I don’t even watch that.

  38. Who is your loudest friend? Michael compares himself to thunder, so I guess he wins.

  39. How many dogs do you have? None. The breeds of dogs that I like are not really compatible with urban condo living.

  40. Does someone trust you? I think my boss does. Or, at least, I hope so.

  41. What book are you reading at the moment? The Crossword Hunt by Herbert Resnicow.

  42. What’s your favorite candy? Those sesame brittle things that I don’t know the name of. Belgian chocolate is a close second. Lake Champlain Chocolate 5-Star Bars with Hazelnut are also high up on the candy charts. If I am buying more mundane candy, I feel obliged to prove I am a space geek by buying Milky Way and Mars bars.

  43. What’s your favorite sports team? The Boston Red Sox, of course. I am reasonably sure anybody who has ever met me knows this.

  44. Favorite month? September, because I get to celebrate my birthday.
fauxklore: (Default)
The meme runs like this:
Comment to this post and say you want a set, and I will pick seven things I would like you to talk about. They might make sense or be totally random. Then post that list, with your commentary, to your journal. Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself.

[livejournal.com profile] cellio gave me Musical perception (you have a singleton LJ interest there), a place not on Earth you would like to travel to, nalbinding, decadent food, MIT, a superpower, a favorite board game.

Musical Perception: Actually, I have a broad interest in perception. I mentioned musical perception, specifically, for two reasons. One is that I went to many of the lectures at the Music and the Brain series that the Library of Congress had a couple of years ago. The other is that music is a particularly complicated art form.

The type of questions that intrigue me can be talked about in other contexts. For example, why do we like what we like? I can just as easily ask why Caravaggio's paintings blow me away as I can ask why I was drawn to Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du Printemps" the first time I heard it. As another example, I've pondered the question of what defines Jewish music. I can ask that question just as well of, say, Jewish food.

But the most fundamental question that intrigues me has to do with my inner experience. I can never know that somebody else actually hears the same things I do when listening to a piece of music. By the same token, I can't know that somebody else's experience of a given color is the same as mine. Because music has so many aspects (pitch, rhythm, timbre, etc.) it seems like a particularly fruitful area to explore.

A Place Not on Earth I'd Like to Travel To: I expect that the question was intended to bring up space exploration, but I think that the deep sea would be as intriguing. I've been on a couple of tourist submarine rides and both were awesome.

Nalbinding: This is one of the most obscure crafts I pursue. I usually describe it as what the Vikings did because they didn't know how to knit, but the same technique is used in a lot of places, including Papua New Guinea. It is, essentially, a detached buttonhole stitch, worked with a single needle and short lengths of yarn or thread. I learned it because I saw a class being offered at the Montpelier Fall Fiber Festival a few years ago and couldn't resist learning something I knew nothing about.

Decadent food: There is nothing more decadent than perfectly ripe fresh berries, but there is a lot to be said for good chocolate. Good chocolate is the major argument in favor of the continued existence of Belgium.

MIT: I chose MIT for a simple reason. I intended to major in chemistry, but I also knew there was a good chance I would change my mind. I figured that anything I did would still be in the math / science arena and MIT is universally strong in those domains while the other school I seriously considered (Yale) is less so. The Boston area was also a big draw. (I was very attracted to Dartmouth, but worried about the lack of Jewish community in the local area, for example.)

It was a good choice for me. For one thing, I did change my mind about what I wanted to do and ended up majoring in mechanical engineering. For another, I think I did a good job of taking advantage of the cultural environment in Boston. I'd also say that I fit well into the campus environment. What I appreciate most about MIT is that people there are passionate about what they're doing (which isn't necessarily what they're studying). From what I've seen via the MIT Club of Washington and encounters with a handful of current students, that's still true.

A Superpower: My first thought was, "but, wait, isn't the U.S. the only superpower left?" Then I realized what the probable intent of the topic was. I think the superpower I would most like to have would be the ability to instantly understand and communicate in any language.

A Favorite Board Game: While I love all the modern games, there is still something about backgammon that tops anything else for me. Part of it is memories of many hours spent playing it with particular people, some of whom are, alas, no longer with us. But mostly it's the simple fact that it is a game of skill when I win and a game of luck when I lose.
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1. Leave a comment to this post, specifically saying that you would like a letter.
2. I will give you a letter.
3. Post the names of five fictional characters whose names begin with that letter, and your thoughts on each. The characters can be from books, movies, or TV shows.

[livejournal.com profile] gnomi gave me a "D"

1) Death (as envisioned by Terry Pratchett in the Discworld series). I love how Pratchett depicts Death, with his distinctive speech (in smallcaps), his horse (Binky), and his fondness for cats. He's just traditional enough to be convincing, while having a true personality.

2) Dracula. Not enough people have actually read Bram Stoker's novel. It's a great mix of horror story and social commentary and especially interesting for Stoker's mixed feelings about modern womanhood. (His mother was an early feminist.) Dracula himself is almost incidental, a mechanism for bringing out the contrast between Mina (the most complete character in the book) and Lucy (whose 3 suitors barely combine to make a full man).

3) Domenica MacDonald. Domenica is one of the residents of Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street. She is an older woman, an anthropologist, and both an explorer and mentor to some of the other characters. I particularly like her research into modern day pirates, but will refrain from spoiling what she found out.

4) Dolly Levi. That's Dolly as in Hello, Dolly! I've never read or seen Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker so I can't judge whether or not the musical changed her, but I'm always fond of brash older women who take charge of their lives. I, too, have always been a woman who arranges things.

5) Dorothy Gale. I will admit to mixed feelings about the Oz books. I do think Dorothy does well with the circumstances she finds herself in, but there is still something off-putting about her. I suspect that she takes too much pleasure in power, especially in the later books in the series.
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The meme says to list 10 things of the assigned color. [livejournal.com profile] hahathor assigned me "salmon, or peach, or shrimp. Whatever you like to call that color."

If you want to play, leave me a comment and I will assign you a color

Pale orangish pink is really not my sort of color, so coming up with ten things is tricky

  1. Wild salmon. I stopped eating farmed salmon after smelling the fish farms of Chiloe.
  2. Coral.
  3. Bell'aroma or Peace hybrid tea roses. At least those are the only ones in that color family that the catalog I glanced at listed under fragrant roses. And roses without fragrance are not worthy of being called roses.
  4. the crayons that replaced the ones that were labeled "flesh" when I was a kid
  5. parts of the sky at dawn
  6. parts of the sky at dusk
  7. a weathered brick wall
  8. a plush charm quark
  9. the flesh of a pomelo
  10. a white kitten that clawed apart Phyllis Schlafly's wardrobe getting salmon polyester all over itself

I do like peaches, by the way, but in my experience they are usually more yellow than peach-colored.
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Leave me a comment and I will give you a letter.

Then, write 10 things that you love starting with that letter. Post the list in your journal. Give out letters to those who comment in return.

[livejournal.com profile] buckeyebrain gave me the letter "K." I interpreted the word "things" a bit loosely.

1. kittens (despite their unfortunate tendency to grow up into cats)


3. kakuro (my favorite number puzzle. I'm lukewarm towards kenken.)

4. keyboard instruments

5. kasha (especially cooked with onions and mushrooms)

6. kibbitzing

7. kibbutzim

8. kangaroos (but not koalas, which may be cute but are nasty tempered creatures who spend all of their time bombed out of their skulls on fermented eucalyptus juice)

9. kim chee

10. Kevin Youkilis
fauxklore: (Default)
Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] cahwyguy. I'll repeat the instructions if anybody else is interested:

Make a comment in this entry. I'll go to your profile, pick 3 userpics and interests , and then you explain them in your journal.

I only have 3 userpics so he didn't have a lot to choose from. My default userpic is a Pueblo storyteller doll. They're not really as traditional as one might assume, since they only go back to the mid-1960's, but they're a fun symbol of storytelling.

I use the pictograph for Olympic baseball when discussing that pastime so I don't get into issues of copyright infringement when I discuss the eternal battle of the Red Sox against the Source of All Evil in the Universe.

Finally, there's a photo of a Barbie sweater I knitted. I like to knit for Barbie since it goes quickly (given her size). I use it when I talk about crafty things.

As for interests, he asked about volksmarch, anamorphosis,, and nalbinding.

Volksmarch is an international non-competitive walking program. There's lots of info at
the American Volkssport Association website. In short, there are two types of events - regular events and year round events. Regular events are just a few days (usually one weekend) and have volunteers staffing them, while year round events can be done any time and are self-service (typically hosted at a hotel, restaurant, or other business). Most walks are 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) and you can get credit both for number of events and distance. You keep track via stamps in booklets and get awards (certificates, patches, pins) after completing various numbers of events and certain distances. There are also special event programs with themes. Some of them I've done included Route 66, U.S. Presidents, and College Campuses. It's a great way to get some exercise, especially if you're a bit compulsive.

Anamorphosis is, basically, a type of optical illusion. It involves distortions that become a recognizable picture when viewed from a certain position (or, sometimes, using a mirror or other device). For example, there is a church in Rome which looks like it has a dome when you stand in a certain position inside it, even though the actual ceiling is flat. While I've always been interested in optical illusions, I got interested in this specific type as a result of an exhibit at the Getty in 2001.

I usually explain nalbinding to people as what the Vikings did because they didn't know how to knit. It's a crafts technique using short pieces of yarn and a single needle (e.g. tapestry needle). At the simplest form, it uses what is, essentially, a detached buttonhole stitch to make a dense fabric. But there are other stitches, including one that looks almost identical to knitted stockinette stitch. Even though I only learned in October, I've already made a small bag and a pair of mittens and am in the middle of some slipper socks. It's particularly portable, so has become my "purse project," i.e. something I carry around to keep my hands busy at odd moments.

Craft Meme

Jan. 25th, 2009 12:57 pm
fauxklore: (Default)
Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] elainetyger

The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make
- What I create will be just for you.
- It will be done sometime this year
- You have no clue what it's going to be.
- I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch? Oh, the catch is that you have to put this in your journal as well. We all can make stuff!
fauxklore: (Default)
I had a rather useless day at work since my computer decided it wanted a career change and turned itself into a doorstop. The help desk folks did bring me a new computer before the end of the day (and I used somebody else's to get a few things done) but I was still considerably less productive than normal.

I also ran across an interesting meme from [livejournal.com profile] qaqaq. To wit:

Say what your current profession is. Then list up to five professions that you might have pursued (due to your inclinations, abilities, whatever) had your life taken different turns than it has.

Defining my current profession is a bit complicated. I'm an aerospace engineer, but that isn't really specific enough. I'm essentially an advisor to a government department. I do some actual engineering analysis, but I also spend a lot of time writing background papers to help our senior leadership formulate policy positions. So I'm something of a "geek to English" translator. On my more cynical days, I tell people that I go to meetings and write email for a living.

As for other professions I might have pursued:


yarn store owner

tour leader


book conservator

In case somebody asks, the reason I did not include either storyteller or travel writer in that list is that I do get paid for doing those things from time to time. I will also admit that I don't want to pursue either full time (at least not prior to retirement) because of my unfortunate addiction to a middle class lifestyle.
fauxklore: (Default)
While I did update the past couple of days, the hotel had some sort of net nanny software that didn't let me update to the Holidailies portal. Potentially harmful to minors, they claim, though I'm not sure how they could decide the "post an update" page is harmful and not the main page.

At any rate, I am home. The flight was packed but not too bad and, as it was a 777, I had a choice of movies. I contemplated Mamma Mia but decided on Bottle Shock instead. Which was disappointing, as I thought it was too slow paced. It wasn't terrible, but I was glad I saw it for free and didn't pay to see it in a movie theatre.

Since I haven't done anything much except work and travel for the past couple of days, here is a meme that has been making the rounds.

1) When did you know what you wanted to do (as a career)?

As a person who has built my career around having a short attention span, I'm not sure I can say even now I know what I want to do. While I found space fascinating even as a child (the first book I remember reading was titled You Will Go to the Moon) and I always wanted to do research, I changed my mind about specifics a lot. I was well on the way to my doctorate before figuring out that I didn't want an academic career.

2) What's your favorite line from a book or movie?

"Who, cher monsieur, will sleep on the floor for us?" - Albert Camus, The Fall

3) What was your childhood ambition?

I wanted to be an astronaut, but didn't think women would ever be allowed to. (Remember, I grew up in the dark ages.) So I settled on wanting to be a chemist and, when people told me girls didn't become chemists, I pointed out my comic book biography of Madame Curie. There were also periods when I wanted to be a writer or an actress. I don't think I would have had an idea what an aerospace engineer was, so I certainly never thought that was what I'd end up doing.

4) Who is your favorite superhero and why?

I like Batman on the grounds that he became what he is via his own efforts, not an accident of birth.

5) What are your top ten favorite songs of all time?

In no particular order and assuming tunes (i.e. musical pieces without words) count:

Southern Cross - Crosby, Stills & Nash

Glen Kabul / Trip to Pakistan - Old Blind Dogs

Fly Me to the Moon - Frank Sinatra

Nice Work If You Can Get It - hard to pick a recording of this Gershwin standard, but perhaps Billie Holiday. Or you can never really go wrong with Ella Fitzgerald

Give Paris One More Chance - Jonathan Richman

L'Oranguta - Pepe & the Bottle Blondes

The Sound of the Drums - Angelique Kidjo

Plastic Roses - The Chenille Sisters

Yo Hanino - The Voice of the Turtle

Baby It's Cold Outside - Frank Loesser (the best known recording is the one by Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer, but there are lots of others, including one of Loesser singing it with his wife)

fauxklore: (Default)
I'm still stressing out over things I can't do much about (mostly the fate of my upcoming vacation, which has connections through BKK), so here is a meme instead. This has to do more or less with fashion and was ganked from lots of folks, most recently [livejournal.com profile] firecat

A: What accessories do you wear every day?
Two rings (one on each hand) and a watch.

B: What is your beauty routine?
Uh, I wash regularly and I brush my hair.

C: What was the last item of clothing (for yourself) that you purchased?
A cranberry red knit dress.

D: Do you use a dresser, closet, or both?
I have a walk-in closet. It has one set of open shelves on it, which I use for in season pants and tops. The out of season pants and tops are in a few drawers of a chest which also lives in the closet.

E: What type of earrings are in your ears right now?
I rarely wear earrings - pretty much only for major dress-up events. I am one of a very few women in my age group who don't have pierced ears.

F: What type of figure do you have?
Pear-shaped. Your basic hour-glass in which the sand has sunk.

G: Do you wear glasses?
Only when I want to see, which is pretty much all the time that I'm awake.

H: What type of handbag do you carry?
The Le Sportsac deluxe everyday bag has the perfect arrangement of pockets, in my opinion. My current one is a sort of cutesy print with Beatrix Potter overtones. But I've used the identical style in various fabrics over the years, from solid black to red with white polka dots, to a dark paisley.

I: What is your ideal style?
I'm a bit schizo about style. I like a very classic look for work (and work-related social events), meaning suits or shirtdresses. I'm inclined to be far more flamboyant on my own time.

J: What is your favorite brand of jeans?

K: Do you wear knee-hi stockings?

L: Do you *have* to wear matching lingerie?
I don't think I own matching lingerie.

M: Do you wear makeup?
Rarely. It can be fun for parties but there is no reason for it for normal days.

N: Do you wear nightgowns?
Sometimes. I used to like the sort of boring flannel nightgowns that obscure every secondary sexual characteristic. Mostly I sleep au naturel and wear pajamas if I need to be respectable (e.g. at hostels).

O: What outerwear do you put on when going out on a typical winters day?
For work, I wear a trenchcoat with a (removable) wool lining. Otherwise, an REI parka.

P: Perfume?
I used to wear perfume all the time and favored the "oriental" type with lots of sandalwood and patchouli and such (e.g. Tabu, Emeraude, Opium). But I've had allergy issues for the past couple of years so don't wear perfume much any more.

Q: Is your motto "quality over quantity" when it comes to clothing and accessories?
Yes, for serious clothes. I've sometimes bought cheap trendy odds and ends, but not in great quantities.

R: Do you wear rain boots?
No, though I've been tempted by some cute ones I've seen.

S: Do you wear socks or slippers when your feet get cold?
I wear socks most of the time. I wish I could find slippers I like.

T: Do you have a set of travel luggage?
I own a lot of backpacks and a duffel bag. Some of them were made by the same company.

U: What is your daily uniform?
Suit, shirt, interesting lapel pin to keep from being totally dull.

V: If you are married, did you wear a veil with your wedding dress? If not, how did you do your hair?
I'm not married. If I did get married, I would wear a veil.

W: Do you wear a watch?
Yes. I generally wear a cheap drugstore watch since that is something not to worry about while traveling. But I have several fine watches, as well. (My grandfather was in the business.)

X: What item of clothing always makes you feel beautiful?
Not a single item of clothing but I have formal wear that I think makes me look spectacular, especially when I mousse my hair and wear my extravagant dangly Lunch at the Ritz earrings.

Y: What is your favorite type of yarn?
Lamb's Pride, which is a merino/angora mix.

Z: Do you prefer zippers or buttons?
Velcro :) Seriously, jeans demand zippers and shirts need buttons.
fauxklore: (Default)
Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] kaasirpent among others.

What has surprised you the most about me (if anything) since joining my friends list? Was anything completely unexpected or have I always fit the picture of me you have in your head?

Post this in your own journal and see how you have surprised people!
fauxklore: (Default)
1. Stop talking about politics for a moment or two.

2. Post a reasonably-sized picture in your LJ, NOT under a cut tag, of something pleasant, such as an adorable kitten, or a fluffy white cloud, or a bottle of booze. Something that has NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS.

3. Include these instructions, and share the love.

Several people are doing this and it's an excuse to share a photo that never made it to Xenophilia because I am too lazy to do travelogues for weekend trips.

This sculpture is one of the more remarkable odds and ends of Bratislava, Slovak Republic, a city that otherwise consists almost entirely of typical central European Hapsburg-era architecture.


fauxklore: (Default)

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