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April 2013

My Tiny Wide Web

My list of websites regularly visited; shrunken over time, but I like to think of it as distillation, instead.

Places I Always Go:

The Atlantic (I also have a Kindle subscription!)

The Hairpin

Cracked

The Smithsonian (I also have a paper subscription!)

The Awl 

More Places I Go As Needed:

Wunderground

TCM

Internet Archive

I mean, besides Amazon, YouTube, Google Plus, Twitter, Tumblr, Wikipedia, and wherever those first five places send me. But really, those are just the ones. 

I have cooking sites bookmarked, and some comic strips, and Slicing Up Eyeballs, and Retro Housewife, and Retronaut, and the bill-paying places, of course. They are mostly just there, though. All the places are just there, somewhere, beyond the top eight, which is probably ten, because of course.  

This says less about me than you and the data miners might think...

but also just about as much as it can say. 


My Boyfriend Bill

if he were still alive, would be 95 when this is posted. Now, let's face it. Even if he hadn't died by "misadventure," no way was this guy making it to 95. Odds were against him living past 70. On the other hand, my dad did. Of course, in my dad's family, dying at 77 was actually somewhat early. Okay, back to wherever we were headed.

My love for William Holden developed slowly over about 30 years, and then suddenly, bam! I could not get enough of him. At nearly 45 years old, I was crushing hard like 1977 ripping pages out of Tiger Beat hard. And after about a year of rewatching his films and catching up on so many I'd never seen, he started invading my thoughts. In 2011 I plastered one of my Tumblrs with him, posted about him here several times, and then last year I saw so much of him at other Tumblrs, etc., I was jealous. I mean that in the possessive sense. I've never minded sharing Gene Kelly or Hugh Laurie, etc., but Bill Holden was mine. What did a lot of young persons know about that world I was birthed into, the world which shaped who he became, and informed my sensibilities as I grew up and as it passed away? This world, the one we're in right now, is unrecognizable by comparison. To love this glowing yet damaged creature fully outside of context is to love a different person than do I. Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 10.58.30 PMYes, I cropped his wife Brenda Marshall out of this photo. It's a metaphor.

But that's mostly preposterous, of course. I know this. I know what it says about me, too. It's not, though, like I'd get into internet fights about it or whatever. It's just a reflection. 

It's like how I am about James Garner. I can barely speak of it and risk suddenly being surrounded by a spontaneous retroactive adoration that waters down this particular intensity I've held onto for over 40 years. It's weird, but it isn't really weird at all. It's dreadfully, drearily ordinary. I so dislike confronting how ordinary I am sometimes, don't you?

William Holden was like Dean Martin in certain respects. He did what he did because that's what he did. He was both laid-back and very fussy. He appeared to be all surface; handsome, handsomely wearing what he wore, looking effortless, like sprezzatura.

Looking back, it's obvious how smart Dean Martin was, and that he was laughing at everyone else and how seriously they took themselves. I mean, their effort. He was serious when he needed to be, without all that energy-consuming effort. 

I'm not sure Bill Holden was quite so smart, but I do think he possessed the same sharp view of himself, other people, the whole world. Some people, they're tortured by it all, and he was one of those people. And so, Africa, right? But also so much booze and cigarettes and needing to bathe over and over again. Perhaps trying to wash away something he could never take back. Anyway, it wasn't all effortless effort for him at all. Yet he kept at it. Alone

I can love all that only retroactively because I've seen it in others, first hand, and because I'm fascinated by the puzzle of it all. In the every day present here and now, I like my puzzles to be crosswords or mazes on a little screen, and I am way, way over tortured passion. But it is a seriously groovy fantasy, not unlike when you're 15 and you find out a movie star you love prefers other men and you think, because you are 15 and silly, I could change him. He'd want meScreen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.00.29 PM

Nah, it's not really like that. It's just intensity, power, a sort of kinetic chiarascurro, and that's exciting; knowing what you know now, all that experience filters your view and colors your desires. You know how to play with fire, or at least imagine that you do. Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.03.53 PM

Is someone reading this and thinking very earnest thoughts? Let's turn the record over and consider this. It is raining hard as I write this, the iPod across the room is playing a gentle jazz tune, I forgot to wash some of the paint off my legs from when I was working on a new canvas earlier, and in a few minutes, when I turn out the light to sleep, I'll press one of the pillows to my side in this great big bed, and contemplate something only briefly earnestly. 

From here Panties

To here
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Bill Holden was a movie star, a box office hero. Did he want to be revered for more than that? Did he want to be revered at all? Probably not. Who can ever live up to it? 

I watch this and grow sad and think, yes, he died too soon. It was a "wrong" death. 

But I cannot be serious for more than 9 minutes at a time. (And as pt 2 appears to be missing, that's just as well.) So then I go back to thinking of him as my boyfriend Bill, just before I drift off to sleep.

Like this, Supper

Or this,  Cognac

And especially like this: Tracks

More photos collected here.


Titles are so limiting, aren't they?

I was such a grimy child. I could sit outside and play in mud, or dirt, or sand, or a tree, or my little wading pool, for hours on end. I hated baths and was scared of the shower. I mean, I went to school clean, but did as little as possible on my own to make that happen until I was at least ten. 

People thought of me as a tomboy. For awhile, I did, too, but looking back, I realize I never was. I didn't play with dollies much, or Barbies much, though I had both. And I had a little toy kitchen and tea sets and all of it. But they were just accessories to a chaotic life. Neither did I play sports as I was tremendously clumsy, at least, according to everyone around me. I don't remember myself that way. I rode my bike for hours, and could jog for several miles at a time. Latterly, the family bowling gene appeared. Whatever.

As a child, I played with clay, paint, craft sets, crayons, glue, rocks and sticks and leaves and paper and paper and more paper. Yet no one thought of me as artistic or creative in the slightest. 

I'm beginning to wonder if they thought anything interesting about me at all, other than that I was always covered with dirt or something colorful and sticky that was probably also stuck to my carpet. 

I played detective and cowboys and indians. But all girls did, because there weren't exciting girl things to be. We sometimes thought we wanted to be the superhero or the cowboy because he was cool, not because he was a man. I mean, by extension, men got to do the exciting powerful stuff, so that was part of it. It's just—it was the merest breath of a hop for me to want to be Bret Maverick to, well, wanting to be with him. I mean, not that way, that came later. Just there, his, breathing in his awesomeness. 

Tonight as I undressed to shower after putting in 70 leeks, and gosh do I hate planting leeks, yet I love growing leeks, I thought about how I was as dirty as when I was seven. Not really at all, though. It wasn't visible except on my hands. But I'm an adult, and so of course, I felt just miserably but also gloriously dirty from digging and raking and planting today. And of course I love a good strong shower, and emerging clean and new. Yet I can't wait to get out there tomorrow and do it again. I mean, not plant more leeks. Something. Something else I can nurture and grow while playing in the dirt. 

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Yes, this is a dull photo of 70 baby leeks. Gardening is tactile. 

This wasn't really about that when I first thought of it...um, unlike other women I know, I haven't thought of myself as a "girl" in many years. And never truly a "tomboy," which, really, is fairly misogynistic if you think about it. Sometimes I think I don't relate to other women very well because they're trying so hard either to be one or not to be one; I am never quite sure about it all. But then, too, in certain ways, women can relate only to each other, and it's important to recognize and cherish that. I do. 

I spent many years watching my children enjoy doing the playing and digging and messing, and so I did very little of it myself. But it's who I am naturally. I chop and mix and bake or shake. I throw paint around. I collect stacks of books. Sometimes I spill things. And I dig in the dirt. But I also like a neat clear space, tidy shelves, organized tools, and clean skin. 

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This is me preparing to remove garden grime. I decided that if I shared this fairly terrible photo, every other photo of me that follows it will look very good by comparison. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

I'm continuing to strive to be the best parts of myself; the original ones and the later ones that come with maturity. 

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

It never hurts to think well of yourself, or at least to think well of your possibilities. I really am pretty much who I have always wished to be, just have to do a bit more with it.

Then, too, I am also thinking of Joseph Cotten's perfect, almost over-chiseled lips. The sky is growing dark and my attention turns from the external to the internal. So to speak. 

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Rita, girl, you are a mess. But I understand. 


Experience collection

This month is a little tight because of paying off the car last week. And then running into someone with it this week. There wasn't much damage but there is a comprehensive deductible, which makes things tighter still. 

I never was in an accident before. So that's an experience to have collected. But I have avoided looking at the monetary spreadsheet to see how things will stand and intend to continue avoiding it for a couple more days. In the meantime, a certain degree of discipline is certainly required, so there's no date with myself today. I have plenty of other stuff to do, anyway. It's warm out! I get to...rake and clean out of doors...

But this was just another in a definite series of events which has me concerned about how my life is organized, mainly the things I own in it. There isn't excess lying about, unless you think a lot of books (few of which are not on shelves or in boxes) are excess, in which case I have no words for you, but there are several drawers of things and a closet with some things and a storage room with several boxes of things. If something were to happen to me and people had to sort through it all, I think it would be, well, probably sort of hilarious in a melancholy way, as it's somewhat serendipitous but not disgusting, yet still. Somewhat of a chore. 

I quite like most of what I own, so it isn't a question of throwing out a lot of leftover bits of string and etc. It's just all fairly miscellaneous, and I need to put order to it. And yes, get rid of some of it, which is something I try to do annually, but intend to do with extra fervor this year. 

Last night after reorganizing Important Papers, I entertained myself by pulling out a few things from drawers and snapping bad photos of them to share with you. I hope you are entertained, as well, because I'm going to start doing this from time to time, as a sort of digital Moleskine.

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Stamps were 39 cents in 2006 and early 2007. Inside this envelope was a blank note card. Well, it seems like a silly thing to waste, so I've inserted the 2002 Simple Minds/INXS concert ticket to send to my youngest daughter. We attended it for free when she was only 11. Made our way down to the stage, where Jim Kerr touched her hand. She can keep the ticket or not as she chooses, but I'm sure she'll enjoy seeing it. 

Continue reading "Experience collection" »


My Bi-Weekly Cincinnati Outing: Report #5

Two weeks ago I went to the symphony to hear a somewhat unusual concert. Unusual for me, at least. The one playing this weekend featuring Sarah Chang is more my speed. But I wanted something different. 

Watts Plays Beethoven's Emperor with Mei-Ann Chen, conductor, and André Watts, piano was the title of the program, but it also featured two contemporary pieces of music; "Poem," by Zhou Tian, and Jennifer Higdon's Concerto for Orchestra, which is just a real big experience to watch and hear live. Stunning, actually. If you can listen to the fourth movement, I recommend you do so but it's actually a satisfying piece of music altogether, though possibly a bit outlandish for anyone whose enjoyment of orchestral music is firmly pre-20th century. It's also not all that complex or intellectual, etc., if for some reason that's your thing. 

Here's a review of the whole concert. Afterwards, I went to Coffee Emporium for a late lunch before driving home.

Here's a little phone photo-log of my afternoon. It was very yucky out, and began snowing just as I got back home. 

 

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Today should be outing #6, but it is not to be, that is, it will be delayed a couple weeks, but hopefully not more. A sudden change in plans occurred, which I will talk about in the next post.