When I woke up this morning, I learned about my hometown's earthquake via Twitter as it happened. (In Honolulu it's, well, exactly like every other day of the year in Oahu.  Balmy and peaceful.)  I called my mother in Washington to see whether she felt it.  "YES!" she said, "I rushed in to protect the Italian plates, which were rattling on the shelves.  Then I thought, 'wait - this isn't a good idea,' and ran out the door."

Theatricality and Time Capsuling

More than just playwrights are buried here.

You may remember (because it was the subject of my only post - TO DATE! - about my London theatravaganza) that the Bush theatre is migrating to a new home in a former library just down the street from their old pub theatre.  While they were mucking about in the shell of the old library, what should they come upon but a time capsule.  A Victorian time capsule that everyone had forgotten was there!

If this isn't the best sort of time capsule, I don't know what is.

And isn't there something particularly marvelous about a theatre discovering a library's time capsule?  The living archive picking up the trace of the documentary archive, forgotten but not erased?  Is a time capsule a variety of performance?  A medium until itself?

It's a matter of honour and hygiene, you see...

My friend W sent me this tale of barebreasted nineteenth-century female duelists, wondering why it is that every time he comes across a story about sexualized eccentricity, he thinks of me.

These ladies really know how to accessorize a topless duel.
And, of course, you can't go to a duel without samba pants.
What was the lady in blue thinking?

I really couldn't say, W, but I like to think that wherever in the world people come across dashing displays of Amazonian honour, they think of Sycorax Pine.

[cue swelling theme music here.]

Sarcasm and the Baby Boom

My grandparents celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary this week.  Sixty-eight years, people.  When I exclaimed over this to their best friend of many years, she made a shrugging gesture that was somehow audible over the phone: "You know, the first sixty-eight years are the hardest."

My grandmother's reflected, indirectly, on the secrets (challenges?) of a long marriage when I called her on the day itself: "I'm trying to be less sarcastic, which is hard, because it's been my characteristic form of humor all these years." She adopts an ironic tone: "Or what I thought of as humor.  It remains to be seen whether it was or not."

You may remember that I spent some time with my grandparents a few weeks ago in Washington.  While there, I spent some time updating my grandmother on my friends' lives.  Many of them are pregnant, and my grandmother began to tell me what childbirth was like in 1946.

"I gave birth in a municipal hospital in Oklahoma run by nuns, if you can imagine such a thing.  Every element of it is improbable on its own," [Why? I don't know.] "but put them all together.... Of the dozen wives in our little group, only one wasn't pregnant."

Me: "Yeah, it was the baby boom."

My grandmother: "No, it was Oklahoma, and there was nothing else to do."

I might have done a double-take, except that this isn't an unusual sort of witticism from my grandmother.

Me: "Er, I would have thought it was more about the return of the absent male population.  The baby boom, right?"

My grandmother: "Yes, I suppose it couldn't have been as boring as Oklahoma everywhere, all at once." [Wry smile.] "Yes, the war ended and we all jumped into bed."

Werner Herzog? Meet Harold Pinter


I cannot tell a lie: I bought the horse heads.

Sycorax Pine: Oh my god, D. I want these SO MUCH.
D: What are they?
Sycorax Pine: False eyelashes.  They're cut according to traditional Chinese motifs.  See, these are peonies.  And these are tiny horse heads!
D: Honey... [He leans in close, and whispers tenderly in my ear.] They're abominations.
On what occasion would I wear these, you might ask?
The eyelash makes its own occasion, I'd reply, with a repressive glare and a flirtatious bat.

Holy Crap: Love

Everything on my stunning friend shannonpareil's tumblr (Holy Crap, A Talking Biscuit) has been graceful and longing-inducing lately.  When we were teenagers, we used to write verse (sonnets, free verse, sestinas) while bored in class, trade them in the hallways between periods, and each complete the other's poem in the next class.  She's that kind of friend.

I give you two reflections on love, courtesy of her.  This:

And this:

things i pretend

  • you are on a trip.
  • you are on a trip to the amazon in search of el dorado.
  • you are on a trip to the moon.
  • you are on a trip anywhere that is beyond the range of modern communication.
  • you are a character in a book i fell in love with, but now the book has ended, and you only live in the pages.
  • you’re just in the other room while i stand in the kitchen cooking dinner.
  • i haven’t met you yet.

Planet of the Lawns: Rise of the Fiddlehead Ferns

I'm not sure how to feel about Farfara's new lawn. (Mère Sycorax, looking at pictures of my new garden: "Would you really call that a lawn?" SP: "Yes." Mère Sycorax: "Really?") It's scraggly, starved, and unkempt.  Except where it covers our vast septic field; there it's lush, verdant, and self-satisfied.

When D and I bought the house, we were somehow convinced that it was a small lawn.  But we weren't taking into account the scale of greater Farfara's twelve acres.  In fact, the grassy section is considerably larger than any lawn we would have gotten with a city lot.

I have to agree with John Green (in this, as in so many matters): lawns can be economic and environmental nightmares. And, anglophile though I am, I don't find them to be the most attractive landscape strategy. I'd like to keep just enough of Farfara's lawn to play bocce and croquet on.  Let the rest be given over to fiddlehead ferns!

And I used to OWN the damn things. Seriously: google it.

D: "You know what show's supposed to be good? My Little Pony.  Seriously: google it."
He gradually becomes aware of a creeping silence.
D: "What?  WHAT?"

I'm not kidding; he's making me watch it online.  I'm going to see whether I can't tempt him back to sanity with this box set of Homicide.

Failure to communicate

Sycorax Pine:  "Why are you so uncaring?"
D:  "I'm totally caring.  It's just that your problem's not that big of a deal."

Ladies and gentlemen: my relationship.

Just to be clear, my problem was a total lack of chocolate in the house.  I put it to you: what kind of a mind doesn't think that's a big deal?

The Living Ring

Oh, how I covet this.

Chia ring!

Why?  Why do I want it?  It promises to be nothing but heartbreak, given my Darwinian attitude to both plants and jewelry.  But something about it just cries out boho-Galadriel charm to me.

Even if I would have to spend the whole day obsessively extending my hand (see picture) while fending off potential ring-harmers with vicious stares.  (Not Galadrielesque, you say?  Did you see her thinking about taking the ring of power?)

If only I didn't have a mortgage, this is exactly the sort of investment I would make.  So it's lucky that I've sunk my worldly wealth into property, because I'm not sure a portfolio of living jewelry's going to support my retirement plans.