sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

October 24, 2008

my d.c.: the circle
posted by soe 11:38 pm

The Circle at NightDuring the day, Dupont Circle, the park after which my neighborhood is named, is crowded with people, as in this post from Sarah last winter. The homeless congregate there, tourists stop to rest, office workers read on their lunch breaks, the competitive play chess … Generally it’s bustling. And sometimes that’s true on summer evenings as well.

Tonight, though, it was empty. Clouds had darkened the sky all night, and although the humidity had kept the afternoon temperate, folks generally had a feeling of wanting to be cozy and inside tonight.

The Circle was mostly deserted when I crossed through just before seven. A few people sat at the periphery. The homeless congregated by twos or threes or wandered alone, hoping to pick up a few bucks.

Urban Isolation

During the day, the residents of Dupont Circle surrender the park temporarily to others. At night, though, we reclaim what is ours. The Dupont Circle Guerrilla Poetry Society took credit for the chalkings.

Behind me, a girl was on the phone. “No, we broke up,” she told a friend. “Yes, really.” She paused. “Well, except for last night, when we totally made out.” I doubt she noticed the chalk drawings we were walking over.


The hearts were followed, like chalk Burma Shave ads, by a message: “Go. Ahead. Call. Him.”

Fountain, Aspect 3 Fountain, Aspect 1 Fountain, Aspect 2

I think these folks would approve…

Hillary posted a My D.C. collage as well today.

Category: dc life. There is/are 3 Comments.

October 23, 2008

cupcake, technology, and a forum
posted by soe 6:54 pm

Three beautiful things from the past week:

1. Last night Amani, Sarah, and I met up for dinner and began the evening with dessert at Hello Cupcake! The specialized bakery opened over the summer, but their early closing time has precluded me from visiting them before last night. My triple coconut cupcake merits a return trip at some point.

2. There are a lot of “learn to speak a foreign language” podcasts out there just waiting to be downloaded to my iPod. A lot. What a great resource for the procrastinators amongst us.

3. Monday night after work, I went to a candidates’ forum for the at-large seats on the city council. This is not the first such forum around the city, so I was encouraged to note that while the hall wasn’t packed, more than half the seats had been taken by people of all ages. I haven’t yet made my decision, but events like this help me — and others — to hear directly from the candidates and to make up our minds. Democracy in action…

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are 2 Comments.

October 21, 2008

36 years (but who’s counting?)
posted by soe 1:25 pm

In my grandparents’ Connecticut backyard thirty-six years ago, my parents were married amidst the fall colors. My uncle sang this song during the ceremony:

I can’t help but think of music when I think of my folks. PPM, Harry Chapin, John Denver, the Beatles, Babs, Sting. Think of your favorite love song and sing along…

Happy anniversary, Mum and Dad. May the years amble by gently with you and may you meet any challenges together, hand in hand.

Mum and Dad

Category: life -- uncategorized. There is/are 6 Comments.

October 19, 2008

readathon: hour 24
posted by soe 7:09 am

Sun’s out. Farmers’ market opens in an hour. Must help Susan move…

Must doze first…

No more books finished, but I did start another one.

Here’s the final meme of the readalong:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Hour 12 was tough, as was Hour 19.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Hmmm… My brain isn’t working too well right now. Mysteries, probably.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

I thought it worked really well this time. Kudos to Dewey and her cadre of volunteers, organizers, and cheerleaders.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

All of it?

5. How many books did you read?

I finished three, read portions of three others, and listened to part of a chapter of another.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

I finished Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Carnet de Voyage, and Book of a Thousand Days. I read/listened to portions of Stardust, Death of a Gentle Lady, Little Women, and Around the World in 80 Days (in both French and English).

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

Probably Book of a Thousand Days.

8. Which did you enjoy least?

Carnert de Voyage.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

N/a, but I do appreciate the comments from the Cheerleaders who stopped by yesterday.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I’d definitely read again. I’m not sure if I’d take on other roles or not.

Other pertinent Readathon info:

Number of books read since you started: 3+
Running total of pages read since you started: 820 pages of paper + 6 Daily Lit entries + half an hour of audio.
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 20ish hours

Category: books. There is/are 5 Comments.

readathon: hour 23
posted by soe 5:40 am

readathon logoAlmost 6:30 and still no streaks of morning light…

Carnet de Voyage, by Craig Thompson

From the jacket: “Craig Thompson — the award-winning creator of Blankets and Good-bye, Chunky Rice — traveled for three months through France, Barcelona, and the Alps, as well as Morocco, where he spent time researching his next graphic novel, Habibi. Spontaneous sketches and a travelogue diary document his adventures and quiet moments, creating a raw and intimate portrait of countries, culture and the wandering artist.”

My take: I’m tired, and while I hoped that a graphic novel would be an easier read so late in the game, I expect that a standard novel might have been a better idea. I’m a word-based person, so drawings take me longer to parse. And Thompson, while obviously a talented artist, often gave into self-indulgence in this piece, which just made me feel like he was being whiny (I’m not sure he’d argue with that characterization) when I was already feeling a bit whiny myself.

The book is sort of a mini travelogue, told with straight-up sketches (where he shows real ability to capture a scene or a person), comics, and more post-modern self-conversations. He’s blunt about the woes of travels, particularly in Morocco, where he seems troubled by the problems of being a first-world traveler in a second-world nation. He wants to see the country as locals see it, but doesn’t necessarily like what he sees — when he’s even able to do it. He’s inclined to moping about feeling lonely and unwell. Toward the end he complains a lot about how his arthritic hands hurt. (I’m not saying that I don’t believe that he’s exaggerating for sympathy; I believe he probably is in excruciating pain. It’s just not what I was hoping to read about at 5 in the morning…)

This is my fear about my upcoming trip: that I will not be able to get past my own issues/lack of understanding/overwhelming need to step back and refuel in order to appreciate France for what it is and what it offers. This book just played into every paranoia…

As I said, I probably just wasn’t in the right mood for this book.

Pages: 224

Other pertinent Readathon info:

Number of books read since you started: 3+
Running total of pages read since you started: 672+
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 19ish hours

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readathon: hour 18
posted by soe 1:07 am

readathon logoThree quarters of the way through. Second book done…

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

From the jacket: “Nick’s just seen the girl who dumped him walk in … with a new guy. What else can he do but ask the strange girl next to him to be his new girlfriend for the next five minutes? Norah would do anything to avoid conversation with the not not-friend girl who dumped Nick … and to get over the Evil Ex whom Norah never really totally dumped. What else can she do but answer Nick’s question by making out with him?”

My take: I wish I’d read this book before the movie came out and the previews gave me sufficient peeks into the characters to make me think of the actors when I ought to be thinking of the people the authors created. That aside, this was a fun read and would make a terrific double feature with High Fidelity because music features so heavily in the book. Much of it is set in New York clubs and the two main characters are punk aficionados with an appreciation for pretty much all genres.

I’ve said before that my best compliment to a character is to call them quirky. I’d say that both Nick and Norah are, even when they aren’t. They’re typical teenagers (or, at least, teens whose parents don’t mind if they stay out all night in New York City) with raging hormones and emotions, but they’re also smart kids with unusual and wide-ranging interests.

And there was a little homage, toward the back of the book, to the original Nick and Nora, which made me happy as can be. (Who doesn’t love The Thin Man?)

Love teen romances? Romance in general? Books heavily influenced by the music of the past thirty years? Stories where New York is a character in its own right? This might be the book for you…
Pages: 183

Other pertinent Readathon info:

Number of books read since you started: 2+
Running total of pages read since you started: 448+
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 15ish hours

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