Sunday, February 11, 2007

Laundromat Awards

Tonight, like half of the world, my family watched The Grammys. I did not watch all of it, nor did I even pay close attention to what was on the screen. What I did get a kick out of was the way my child suddenly gave up her life as Anna Sewell's Black Beauty in favor of a singing career. Apparently, any genre of music will do, so long as she can be holding a microphone. When Carrie Underwood sang, my child tugged the dirty sock off her foot and held it up to her mouth. She closed her eyes and furrowed her small brow and even swayed left and right to the music. Best of all, she contorted her mouth into some amazing shapes. If I had been on top of things, I'd have taken some pictures for you. When Gnarls Barkley played Crazy, she recognized it as the song that plays on my phone whenever my husband calls.
"Mom, we have this one, don't we?"
"Yes, honey, we do."
My husband cast me a slightly disparaging look.
"Well I think you're craaaaaaazy! I think you're craaaaaazzzyyyyyyy!" et cetera. She could use a little pitch correction, but ladies and gentlemen that is what Pro Tools is for!
At one point, she even bravely exclaimed,
"Mom, I am a star!" Yes you are, baby, yes you are. I love you.
As per usual, the Grammys were otherwise a festival of sadness for me. The highlight of the evening was getting to see the lovely, incredibly beautiful and talented Imogen Heap with a delicious salad in her hair. I haven't been able to find any pictures of it with Google Images yet, but in all seriousness I thought it was beautiful, even though this will probably go down with the infamous Swan Dress.
Next year, when Neva performs at the Grammys, she is going to go dressed in papier-mâché helmet shaped like a cuttlefish. Her elegant gown will be designed by Karl Lagerfeld. When she stands up to accept her award, she will be more than a star.

She will be thanking me for making sure her socks were clean.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Weaktoast Rides Again

We live in Texas, and my child loves horses with a fervor nothing short of that of the Ebola virus. Thanks to this, and also to the fact that we just bought the movie Flicka, horses are a regular topic of conversation at our house, that is when we are not galloping around the kitchen table and whinnying. This weekend, my husband got to work an extra shift to babysit some Privates (that rank never, ever gets un-funny) who made the mistake of getting caught while being intoxicated and under the legal age. Having taken him some dinner (fifteen dollars worth of food from Taco Bell), my daughter and I drove home to enjoy an evening roll in the paddock and maybe a nice graze before heading to our respective stalls to stand up and sleep all night long. On the way we traveled for about a half mile behind a truck hauling a horse trailer. This is not rare. Even on days when I do not leave the house I see about thirteen of these. We had the following conversation.
"Look, mommy, a horse thing!"
"Yes, honey, a horse trailer."
"Horses go in there!"
"Yes, very good! You're a very smart girl."
This particular horse trailer was empty, and though it was dark we were close enough for her to use her supernatural night vision and see that for herself.
"I guess somebody wants a horse."
"Oh yeah? Who's that?"
"That guy," and she motioned toward the truck. Even at the tender age of three, she has already associated huge trucks hauling trailers with masculinity. I'm half concerned and half excited because maybe in eighteen or thirty years she will marry someone with a ranch and I will finally get to ride horses and fall off them and break my hip because I will be eighty-two.
"Oh, he does?"
"Well," there's a tone in her voice that betrays she is giving this topic extra consideration and is probably about to tell the truth about something. "I guess I do."
"Oh, you do. Well I want a horse, too, but we don't have one."
"We could build a trap to catch one!"
I politely refrained from laughter and coughed into my shoulder. She continued.
"Yeah! We could be cowgirls and daddy could be a cowboy!"
I can just picture it, a shoebox propped up on a stick with a carrot inside and my daughter hiding six feet away with a piece of string waiting for her horse to come along and be caught. All in all, I am very proud of her for this pattern of thinking, she's an excellent problem solver.

Next month she is going to tackle our budget.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

When I was your age, television was called books.

As an eager book-devourer in my youth and as an aspiring writer now, I've always appreciated that quote from The Princess Bride. We are a culture that no longer reads anything longer than a myspace comment. The sorts of books that get any readership are laughable at best to any academic community (Yes I'm talking about Dan Brown) and quality writing is rarely rewarded with any amount of readership (a recent exception with Susannah Clarke's success). As a me-driven society we are obsessed by anyone else as selfish as ourselves. We are enthralled by the concept of an egocentric existence (allow me to point out the James Frey fiasco).

Book Clubs are becoming something chic. They read Made for Television novels and all go see the film together when it gets to the dollar theatre. A good book should stand well on its own without a movie deal. This is not to say that good books do not yield good films. This does argue that maybe you shouldn't buy your next book from the same place you buy low fat yogurt and tampons/diapers/condoms what-have-you. Maybe bookstores have better selections of books. Maybe independent bookstores have better books by unheard-of-authors. Maybe the future is in internet-based self-publishing.

Having finished my diatribe, I'd like to recommend some further reading for you, my brave readers. Up-and-coming writer Todd Keisling (myspace, lulu, deviantArt) has released his second self-published book entitled A Life Transparent. You should pick it up. For a modest price you can grab a signed copy as proof that you were onto him when he was still indie rock. The proceeds go toward his wedding, which I plan on crashing. I promise to let you know if he spent your money wisely.

Honestly, I'm reading this book right now and it's excellent. It's not stuffy and scholarly but it is very well written. It's fast-paced and exciting and I'll be a bit pissy when it's ended. If you're my mother, I've already purchased a copy for you--but if you're not, you should buy a copy. If you're my brother, you should buy a copy because there's a surprise at the end. Everyone else, you should buy a copy because it's damn excellent reading, and lets be honest. You don't read a lot now that college/high school/Reading Rainbow is behind you.

Go on, get a move on it.

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