Still Monday, Still February, Not as Bleary

It’s been ages since self went to Hoover Archives.  Aaaages.  But today, she has a very good excuse:  it is raining!  Raining cats and dogs!

From despair, self ate two fried chicken thighs that she found in the refrigerator’s middle shelf.

She also, thank goodness, had the wherewithal to begin poking through The Pile of Stuff.  And here’s another New Yorker (3 October 2011) she can quote from!  Oh happy happy joy joy!

How fortuitous that self stumbles upon a John Colapinto article called “Famous Names.”  It’s a very, very interesting article.  Here’s an excerpt:

Brand naming has existed for centuries.  Italians made watermarks on paper in the twelve-hundreds.  During the industrial revolution, companies sought to inspire consumer confidence with names borrowed from their owners’ families:  Singer sewing machines, Fuller brushes, Hoover vacuums —  all names that are still in use.  Before the first World War, there was a wave of abstract names ending in “o” (like Brillo and Brasso), followed, in the nineteen-twenties, by one of “ex” names:  Pyrex, Cutex, Windex.  But, according to Erick Yorkston, a marketing professor at Texas Christian University, modern brand naming —  with its sophisticated focus groups and its linguistic and psychological analysis —  began in the years after the Second World War, when the explosion of similar products from competing companies made imaginative naming an increasing necessity.

In 1957, the Ford Motor Company made an enormous investment in a newly engineered and designed mid-priced car.  When Henry Ford introduced the first affordable automobile, a half century earlier, the lack of competition allowed him to name it, prosaically, the Model T (coming, as it did, after the Model S)

Fascinating stuff, no?

On an entirely different subject, self has decided that she needs an agent.  Right now.  Because if she doesn’t get one, the hundreds of stories she has written will remain in her laptop, forevermore.  To be dredged from the dungheap only at her demise.  For the eulogy.

She thinks the husband told her once:  “You’ll be discovered after you’re dead.”  But what if self wants to be discovered right now?  Why wait until she is insensate, a pile of bones and dust?  Who cares what happens after she is dead?  Certainly not self!  The world can go down the toilet, for all she cares.  After she is dead.

Let’s focus on this thing today, shall we?  In order to do so, self must ignore all those tempting come-ons from businesses touting Cashflow Workshops, Penis Enhancements, Easy Italian ebooks, Your Ultimate Solution for Body Acne, and sundry retirement communities.  She must make herself deaf to all those invitations from Christian Singles, credit card companies, massage therapists, AllPosters.com, Lending Tree, Groupon, Monitored Security Systems, teeth-whitening treatments, Quality Replica Handbags, and the like!

Perhaps self should focus on agents in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Perhaps only an agent from her same area can understand her writing.  Otherwise, it’ll be back to:  “How do you expect me to sell this?  You wrote a frickin’ story collection, of all things!”

We shall see.

Monday Morning, Bleary

What time is it?

Self had an absolutely packed weekend and stayed up until 3:30 a.m. instant messaging with son.

Aaaargh!

But wasn’t that Grammy show last night great?  The matter of Whitney was dealt with head-on, by host LL Cool J.  After that, it was party/party/party/occasional memorial/party/party/party

This morning, it is raining.  Self read, in one of her gardening books, that it is not advisable to plant when the soil is wet, because all you will be doing by digging into wet soil is making it more compacted.  Especially if one has clay-ey soil, you end up eliminating air bubbles and the soil gets hard when it dries, and you end up strangling your plant and it dies.

(Horrors!  Self doesn’t want to strangle anything!  Must avoid planting in wet soil — at all costs!)

Self is continuing to read Adrian Goldsworthy’s Caesar:  Life of a Colossus

Typical of this dense book are the following passages:

  • Quintus and Strabo were distant cousins, but that did not prevent the former from being murdered by the latter’s legionaires, almost certainly with their commander’s approval.
  • Octavius refused to flee when the enemy entered the city and was killed as he sat in his chair of office on the Janiculum Hill.  His severed head was brought to Cinna, who had it fastened to the Rostra in the Forum.  It was soon joined by the heads of other senators.
  • Caesar’s father died suddenly, collapsing one morning while in the act of putting on his shoes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Reading Nancy Franklin on “Homeland” (While Watching the 54th Grammy Awards)

Self multi-tasking as usual:  watching the Grammies (The musical acts have been pretty rousing.  Right now, it’s the Foo Fighters.  Adele’s already won —  once.  Don’t worry, she’ll be back.  And back.  And back. And baaaack!) while reading that same issue of The New Yorker she blogged about, an hour or so earlier.  Well, reading only one article, really —  the one by Nancy Franklin on “Homeland.”

Ever since Heather Havrilesky left Salon.com, self must confess to having television withdrawal pangs.  That is, she hasn’t read anything remotely interesting about any of the new shoes on TV.  Until now.  So persuasive is Franklin’s writing about this show that self begins frantically to search for information on what time the show comes on.  Ah, she has it:  10 p.m.  Okey dokey!  In the meantime, here are a few excerpts from Nancy Franklin’s piece:

  • It focuses less on what it takes to win the war against terror (torture and brutality … ) than on the compromises that those  (Pause:  Rihanna’s number is so, so grrreat!  Her body looks tiny, as if she’s shrunk by half) in power in Washington make on a daily basis and the P.R. effort it takes to keep the public on their side.  Questions of trust, of whether we really know what we think we know, are at the heart of “Homeland,” which evokes the movies “Blow-Up,” “Blow-Out,” and “The Conversation . . .  “
  • We watch her watching Brody, and are even privy to scenes that she can’t see.  When it turns out that the men who installed her equipment didn’t have time to rig Brody’s garage, we act as her proxies, keeping an eye on him when he goes into the garage.
  • The shock of the scene in the garage isn’t that he has gone there to kill himself —  or to do something nefarious — it’s that he has gone there to kneel on a prayer mat and pray.  When we realize that, we’re both more and less suspicious of him than we were before, more nervous about him and more nervous for him.  The show has put us in an awkward position, making us wonder whether Brody’s conversion to Islam is a signal that he’s become a traitor to his country.

Food for thought!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Sunday Night (February 2012), Redwood City, CA

The Ancient One has been fed and walked and now lies supine on her pillow.

On TV, self is watching “The Big Bang Theory.”

It is a little after 6:30 p.m.

Self spoke to son today.

Then, seized by a sudden access of excitement over the imminence of Valentine’s Day (The husband is taking her to local fave New Kapadokia), she headed to See’s (How convenient that there is one in Sequoia Station!), where she bought peanut butter patties, peanut crunches, and truffles.

From her voluminous “pile of stuff,” self extracts a back issue of The New Yorker (the Oct. 24, 2011 issue)

No matter how much she loathes this magazine’s constant harping of young writers (The 20 Under 40, and so forth) —  and naturally, this feeling is very much tied to sour grapes —  she must admit, there hasn’t yet been a single issue which does not contain something quote-worthy.

Here are three books reviewed in the “Briefly Noted” section:

  • Lost Memory of Skin, by Russell Banks:  “a thrilling defense of the novel’s place in contemporary culture”
  • Calling Mr. King, by Ronald De Feo:  “Whether pretending to be a British aristocrat in New York or unsentimentally confronting his dismal childhood, De Feo’s hit man is extremely likable, and the novel emerges as a study of the delights and dangers of reinvention.”
  • Feeding on Dreams, by Ariel Dorfman:  “Dorfman shuttles among three continents and two languages, adrift in an eternal victimhood of regret.”

And, in the Television section, there is this gem regarding Claire Danes’ new series, “Homeland”:

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not trying to kill you.”

Touché, New Yorker critic Nancy Franklin!

Stay tuned.

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