Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowe'en in the house

My sister & her family have moved into a new house & the first holiday they will celebrate in it is HALLOWE'EN!!!! Naturally I made them a quilt as a housewarming gift & I wanted it to be appropriate for this first holiday, but I was not happy locked into the whole black & orange & pumpkin melange. After all, with the incorporation of some more mainstream colors I could give her something she could use year round.

So I made this instead. Much more versatile; goes with everything.

Unfortunately, the glow-in-the-dark thread made a slice in my thumb & I was not able to sew in the ends or turn the binding (although I did get the binding attached & the hanging sleeve finished). I hope to have pictures of the quilt up on the wall some day, but for now I have to make-do with my basting pictures.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What I meant to do while in CT

I grew up, went to university & had my first jobs in the greater Hartford area & I assure you, it really is not the most boring place on earth. In fact, I always run out of time to do the things I want to do. What I should have done but did not:

- Seen the Chihuly. We actually tried to on a previous winter holiday visit. After dinner we were four adults just staring at each other & it was a beautiful night so I asked if we could walk around Constitution Plaza & see the lights. No one could come up with a better idea, so we went. I know it does not compare to even lawn displays in some parts of the country but it is still the first big light display I ever saw & I am fond of it. We swung by the Bushnell to see the Chihuly; it is inside but it is massive & well lit BUT they had the shades pulled on the 2+story high windows. If you do not buy a ticket, you cannot see the Chihuly.

- Visited Horace Wells. Back in the days when I worked around Bushnell Park, I used to seek out the space near the Horace Wells Statue. Sure, I was drawn to the flashy carousel horses in warmer weather, but even when he was dusted with snow I enjoyed a brown bag lunch with Horace. How many other capitol parks have statues of famous dentists, hmmmm? It turns out that the answer to this is Paris; in the Place des Etats-Unis there is a statue of........Horace Wells.

- Walked through the Mark Twain House. Even before we moved south, it had been too long since I had done this. If you can, go on a day it is snowing so you can watch the snow flakes in the window over the fireplace. It really is pretty cool. You can also visit his neighbor, Harriet Beecher Stowe. Unbeknownst to many (well, me) she wrote one of her books just a few miles from where I live now.

- Dined at Kashmir. I was once dumped over dinner at Kashmir. Immediately after, anyhow. I had never been to the restaurant before that evening & it was worth it. Good-bye man, hello cuisine!

Then there are all the places outside the city limits that I missed:

- Crazy Bruce's Liquors. This is another place I have never actually been, but on a past xmass eve my husband & my brother rushed in moments before closing & bought all the ingredients for chocolate martinis, including the glasses (most women want jewelery but we are not most women). The clerk was very helpful & figured out what they were making from their purchases. What does not ever seem to have occurred to them is that she thought they were a couple. Crazy Bruce stocked the bar at A's graduation party, our wedding reception & every event we ever had at my parents on these visits home. Yes, even those whatever night of Chanukah/G***'s Birthday/Open Houses we used to have when we came north in Decembers past.

- Talcott Mountain. Roughly between the house I grew up in & the house my parents live in now is Talcott Mountain. It is not a big mountain; it is a perfect mountain. You can get up & down in an afternoon & enjoy an uninterrupted view from the top.

- Rock Cats game. I actually have a hard time leaving Florida in the summer: I like it HOT but we are trying to swing a winter-holidays-in-July so maybe....

- SONE rehearsal. We have been on previous visits to watch my sister sing & they treat you like an honored guest! Really, they make an announcement & thank you for coming. No talking though, you can only smile & wave like the Queen of England. If you go in winter, take a step back & enjoy the Congregational Church architecture conveniently located diagonally across from the Prosser Public Library. If you go in summer, bring your anorak; I do not know what the deal is at Emanuel Synagogue, but it is the best air-conditioned place I have ever been & I live in Florida.

& finally there are those places I will never visit again:

- Mount Southington. I can x-country ski, but I rarely do. I do not downhill ski. I do not even like the ski lift. The sensation of air moving quickly across my face makes me feel ill. I have a lot of great pictures of everyone else coming down the slope though.

- Cinema City. I have been told there is a theater there again but is it really Cinema City? I remember when they put real butter on the popcorn, popcorn popped right in front of you. The movies were good, bad & off-beat. This is where I saw Dogs from Space, Sid & Nancy, Round Midnight, & the list goes on. Maybe I am wrong & it is everything it could be, but I will never know.

- The Elm, another theater, but this one really is gone. The last film I saw there was Walt Disney's Cinderella. N*** & I tried to sneak up to the balcony, but it was already closed & then we sat through the unpublicized opening film which caught us by surprise: Nestor the Long Eared Donkey. I don't even think it was xmass-time, but that is part of what made The Elm The Elm. Actually, N*** & I have a twisted history with strange movie theaters across Hartford County. Remember the one in Avon with all the sinks in the stalls so a person could not just wash the salty-popcorn-y smell off her hands without feeling obligated to try & pee....?

I know this sounds like a tag-you-are-it kind of list, random-beyond-random but these were what made my every day for decades. Or at least they are what was part of what made my every day for decades & then fell away has become. You can follow that, right? Even if they are gone, even if they are back & better than ever, they are not every day anymore. Not for me. I think this might be why people make small shrines in their kitchens & collect scrapbooks & plant trees.

//one place I had thought I would miss was Shady Glen. These are the only cheeseburgers I ever eat. Which means I have a cheeseburger roughly every eight to fifteen years. I have been enjoying the mural on the back wall & the doilies under the little metal bowls of ice cream for as long as I can remember. So has the rest of my family, except maybe my cousin C**** who has been working there since he was sixteen & just might be sick of it all. We managed to squeeze in a visit on Monday along with one wonderful quilt shop & Penzeys. & yes, I had a cheeseburger, so I will eat beef again in ?2015-2025?, give or take.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Dear readers: I am taking a quick vaycay & visiting my mom & going to a knitting conference (no really) & all sorts of groovy stuff in the Greater Hartford area. When I get back, I will return to the usual rant format but until then a seasonal tale that happens to be true....

I have been plagued by doppelgangers all of my life & so have you. Officially they are those things that look just like a person, a person you know, maybe even you but it is not that person (or you), it is an evil spirit.

I used to think I saw them because of my very poor vision. That is I would think I saw someone I knew do something they would never do & then I would tell myself that I must have mistaken another person who looked a bit like that someone I knew doing something in character for themselves just not for the person I thought they were. I had a vague sense this was not strictly correct, but if you tell your teachers there are evil spirits impersonating your classmates, they call your mom.

I finally had to accept they were doppelgangers in October 1988. I was walking with my roommate J*** & her friend D***** through the woods. We had left the path quite by accident, but there were a lot of leaves on the ground & it had become obscured. None of us worried much; we were on a slope & could tell which way was up, which way was down. All three of us could find north any day & on all but the cloudiest of nights & it was the middle of a clear afternoon. Besides, both J*** & I were familiar enough with the area that we knew wherever we emerged we could find our way. They were having a conversation about another high-school friend & I wandered off, not really interested.

I was a few yards behind & up the slope when I saw it. It was tall, taller than any of us, thin, & blurry. It had a vague, blueish quality & it was moving fast, closing the distance behind the two of them. I shouted. They both turned & suddenly there was nothing there. We laughed, I said it must have been a shadow, admitted it creeped me out & moved closer in.

We finally reached the bottom, the trees were not as dense & we could hear distant traffic sounds. I stopped to look around, see which way our car was likely to be & I saw it again. It was shorter now, had long dark hair & was wearing the same blue shirt as D*****. We got the h*ll out of the woods.

Nowadays, I do not worry too much about the doppelgangers I can see. After all, if I can see them, they are not coming for me (the rest of you are on your own). What does freak me out are the ones I cannot see but my dogs can. As I type this, Farley-Boy is sitting on the rug in front of the back door staring out the window behind me. He keeps turning his head to the side, looking at me & then looking back out the window. I really really really hope there are squirrels hanging from my new window screens.

Friday, October 16, 2009

& then there was one

Earlier this year I ordered many hens from large hatchery that I have ordered from before. I have been very happy with them in the distant past, moderately happy in the recent past but after this last time, I will never order with them again.

This year the chicks arrived a week early: when an order is placed, you specify which week you want the order; live animals arriving the wrong week is never good. I was able to rearrange my schedule & deal with them but it gets worse.

The order was incorrect: the order had been updated not quite a month before it actually shipped (& more than a month before it should have shipped) but the order reflected only one change, the others had not been made. Further there were birds in the box that had never been ordered. You do get one free random chick with every order but we got more than that. Also, they were not free; there was a charge for every bird in the box. We ordered only hens & got three roosters.

It was the final error that was the clincher though. Of the eight of one breed that that did arrive (& had been ordered) four of them were badly injured. Not from shipping but from sorting. It turns out that sexing baby birds is a lot like reading PAP smear slides-you get paid by the quantity not the quality of your work. While all eight of these chick were indeed female, as ordered, the four had broken legs, broken wings, etc.

It has been a miserable summer watching them slowly get worse. One died the first week but the others not for months. Two of them grew almost as normal but with their limbs twisted around at strange angles. One remained smaller than the others, but was the most active. The two that died over the past few weeks had been doing well, able to sit up, eat. They had plenty of fresh water & food, a safe dry place within the hen house (a rabbit hutch with hay on the bottom. They slowly lost use of their legs & finally had to be washed gently 2 or 3 times a day because they could not move away from their own poop. The first little one had no name but the others were Twyla (because her one leg stuck straight out like a dancer) & Cowhocks (because her two broken legs often got hooked around each other). Tallulah remains & is still able to stand, with one leg dramatically stretched, as though she is making a grand entrance.

//in the picture is the first identified broken bird. The floor of the box is covered in a layer of feed (so she does not have to move to it), she has her own heat lamp & has been placed near the cage holding the other babies so their peeping will keep her company. That black circle in the box with her is a bottle cap. It was the only water container small enough that she tipped it over would not dowse her. She only lasted a few days, but the other three grew (two better than the other) & eventually moved to a hay-lined rabbit hutch in the henhouse with their sisters, Tallulah now lives there alone.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back to the kitchen table

After a summer break & a shuffling around of members, the Kitchen Table Book Club will start meeting again, second Tuesday of the month. & our first selection is Madame Bovary. This is posting just as we sit down to discuss it.

I know I have read Madame Bovary before, maybe even more than once, but it made ZERO impression. I did not love it, I did not hate it. Those days are gone.

My most recent first impression was that Flaubert was being paid by the word. Which turned out to be almost true: Madame Bovary was originally serialized; installments were printed at regular intervals for a set period of time. The author big-deal author who famously published this way was Charles Dickens, who happens to be another author I cannot stand.

In the spirit of bookclub, I have made an effort to find others who share my view of the book in question (as well as those who really really do not). What I have discovered is that no one does. Of all the criticisms I have seen of Madame Bovary, no one says it is boring (it is). If anything they find it too highly charged sexually (it is not).

This is hardly the first time I have found a book not what it ought to be. At least Madame Bovary is from a different century in a different culture & was written in another language. A lot can be explained by that alone & somehow this distance makes me less irritated (yet, still bored).

More recently we read The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho which I found very hard to follow. With very few exceptions, there are no names, only pronouns & most of them are 'he'. Yes, I understand the device was supposed to make it universal but it left me asking which person was doing what. It took me weeks to get through less than 100 pages. I really do not think the stumbling block here was that it was originally written in Portuguese; I think even a child can translate third person pronouns with reasonable accuracy. I suppose it could have been a cultural thing that just did not click with me, except my simple confusion was the one of the better reviews the book got from our club.

Other books some of liked & others did not (we have never all liked a book, I don't think) include: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Ffordes & The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. The upcoming list, if you want to read along is:

October 2009: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
November 2009: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
December 2009: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
January 2010: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
February 2010: Waiting by Ha Jin
March 2010: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What would Zora do?

Did you know that October is GLBT History Month? Me neither, but it segways so nicely into Hallowe'en it seems obvious in retrospect. Quite by accident (thanks to The Bilerico Project) I learned that the website has been highlighting a personage a day & today was Zora Neale Hurston's day.

Zora Neale Hurston has actually come up in this blog before, because I have in the past been not miffed but mystified that the state of Florida choose to honor the author of Old Folks at Home with a cultural center etc. despite the fact he did not actually live here while completely missing Miss Hurston just down the road. & being ignored was just not her forte.

There are not many more dead-end places to grow up than rural Florida, even today. Being black in a black community is probably good for the residents but makes things harder with the neighboring towns, just ask Rosewood. Being a woman probably did not give her a leg up over the competition & being gay, well, outside of right-wing revival meetings, no one believes that anyone becomes gay to help a career in the arts. Finally there is that quality for which she has since become admired but was no doubt hard to take in person: her extremely short fuse.

By all accounts, Zora Neale Hurston was a my way or the highway kind of person. She was not afraid to throw a punch & I do not mean that euphemistically. She was not afraid to sacrifice a collaboration to her temper, just ask Langston Hughes.

Hurston also worked her fingers to the bone. The arguably best known African American writer at the middle of the 20th century died poor in a welfare home in Fort Pierce, Florida. While her friends were trying to raise funds for the funeral, her most famous book Their Eyes Were Watching God was making its way onto school reading lists across the country.

But I have said before I think looking at the end of a person's life, or any particular moment, is hardly the best measure of that life. Or maybe it is: if Zora Neale Hurston had never tried to beat the crap out of her new step-mother, she might have been welcome to stay in her father's house. If she had been an easy-going collaborator, she might have never made it to that moment to tell Langston Hughes where he could get off; on a broader scale, easy-going women do not do graduate work in anthropology no matter what color their skin is. Finally, if Zora Neale Hurston had not been willing to give us one of the masterpieces of American Literature for next to no compensation, it never would have existed at all.

So the answer to the question: what would Zora do? is succeed beyond wildest imaginings. Succeed in living her own life, succeed in capturing a way of life most authorities were trying to erase & those that were not were romanticizing it to the good & the bad for their own agendas. Succeed in documenting & then becoming history.

//true confession time: I have never read Their Eyes were Watching God. I have tried, my mother tells me I need to but I am defeated by the dialect. I am often defeated by written dialect; I had to get The Yiddish Policemen's Union on disc (the reader is Peter Reigert) & it is now in my personal top ten favorite books. While researching this I discovered that there is an audio version read by Ruby Dee. I will definitely try again.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blogger's Quilt Festival

It is time again for a virtual quilt show. This time it has coincided with my sister & her family moving into a new house. A new house with lots of empty walls. A new house with lots of empty walls & hardwood floors. A new house with lots of empty wall & hardwood floors that is in desperate need of soundproofing.

Not long after their closing, I asked for a roughly 5' square piece of wall & started on a hallowe'en quilt (which I will show you on hallowe'en), but as my mother so wisely pointed out a person would have trouble living with a hallowe'en quilt year-round even if they are within 100 miles of Salem, Massachusetts & crazy-sick for hallowe'en (which we kinda are).

So back to the scrap bag it was. & because the only direction I know how to go in is the opposite direction this is what we got:

The original 5" blocks were cut from scraps from other projects & originally intended to be used in a tossed/hidden/disappearing/whatever 9-patch type project but I lost interest. Also, they were not nearly different enough to give the effect I would want, so they have idled in a basket on my cutting table for 'a bit'. When this project needed doing, there they were all ready to be 9-patched.

When it came to sashing, I fell back on my old friend Reconciling the Disparate. Not because the blocks were not uniform but because it is the fastest sashing I know how to assemble, what with there being no corners to match. If you think you recognize the same blue polka-dot from my previous Blogger's Quilt Festival entry, what can I say, the strips were already cut out.

As for the yellow outer border, I really do not know what I was thinking. I have not actually decided how I feel about it but the daughter of the house the quilt is going to loves yellow & I used up the blue polka-dot in the sashing, but I had these strips of yellow gingham left-over & there was already gingham in the squares & you see how these things happen.

The quilting is what I call free-motion with walking foot. It works more or less as titled: I move the quilt sandwich is gradual arcs or semi-straight lines & do not worry too much about anything except overall density.

Finally the binding: would you believe I was drunk? Of course you would, but I actually was not. I just ran out of time in my rush to get this picture taken in time for Park City Girl's Bloggers Quilt Festival.

I was hoping the overall effect would be tiles in a garden. I have no idea how successful I was. I DO know that that room will not be quite so echo-ey as it was & a quilt of squares around a square will never be out of place in a Cape Cod.

Last but not, well maybe, least: in total sidebar news: this is my 115th post. Which is funny for many reasons but also because my original Bloggers Quilt Festival post was my 50th post. That is a lot of talking to myself.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Her name was McGill & she called herself Lil, but everyone knew her as Nancy"

Actually her name was Lilly & she answers to...Lilly. A calls her Lilliputian & I call her Lilly-Belle. & Bunny-feet. She was rescued from a puppy mill ?5? years ago (she has clearly had puppies, but has long since been spayed) & was adopted quickish BUT her family got divorced earlier this year & she was back at the rescue. Flash forward over other sadnesses & when I saw her she was very depressed.

She has been at our house for not quite three weeks & is feeling much happier. She likes walking around both on leash & off, sits quietly for hours, is good about baths & will tolerate being brushed although she will "yip" if you are not gentle.

If any of you would like her in your life, give me a jingle & I will find a reason you just are not good enough.

// & if you cannot quite place the quote in the title, go here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Before there was Woody Allen, before there was Philip Roth, there was...the Man of Law. That's right, everything begins & ends with the Canterbury Tales.

Let me get right to the middle: my freshman year in college I started watching soap operas for the first (& maybe last) time in my life. If you had lived on a woman's floor in the mid-80's you would know: one end of the floor was for General Hospital & the other Guiding Light. I lived almost exactly in the middle, but that whole Luke & Laura rape thing really put me off. Also the Guiding Light room was way cooler, so Guiding Light it was. I moved dorms for my sophomore year (to the all-women dormitory described here) & what with the rugby players & AG majors, soaps did not get much of a look in. Except in J***'s room. She had been watching Guiding Light faithfully with her mom most of her life & that was not going to stop anytime soon.

For those two years & not so much as one episode since, I was a faithful viewer. & a lot of what I viewed was one character -let's call her Reva- getting hit by a car. Again. Whenever beset by worries of any kind, this woman ran into the street. Which really just compounded her worries (could someone refresh my memory: did she lose the baby because she got hit by a car or did she get hit by a car because she was losing the baby?), making me wonder why she did not move somewhere with less traffic. I always wanted an Amish episode were she seduces Yoder & then his wife drives over her with a buggy.

I told you that story to tell you this one: in the Man of Law's Tale the victim keeps getting on boats & getting set adrift. Or is kidnapped & put on boats. Or flees on boats. I am quite sure she always end up drifting. It is all very murky & scholars have spent centuries talking about the boat: is it christianity or faith generally? Is it a re-birth thing? A better question would be: after the second time you have been set adrift, would you continue to live on the coast? Where someone might trick you onto another boat? Well, she never did move inland. I guess some women just cannot get out of traffic.

I think (& so would Woody Allen & Philip Roth if they were me) that the more important question is WHO keeps putting her on that damn boat? The first time, it is her father but she does not actually drift that time, just makes a lousy arranged marriage. After that though, it is always the mother-in-law. More than one mother-in-law. Each man she ahems has the mother from hell.

That is all I have really, except this final philosophy on mothers-in-law (which I should say I arrived at before I ever met my husband): mothers-in-law are like giant, hairy, poisonous spiders. No matter what it looks like, she is way more afraid of you than you are of her.

//it turns out my memory was better than I thought. Apparently Reva was Amish, briefly. I am sure I must have heard it somewhere; how could I just think that up?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Blue rock of death: IDENTIFIED

Even as the post went up, A was fairly sure he had identified the Blue Rock of Death. The good news it is not radio-active, the bad news is that it had nothing what-so-ever to do with a higher-than-might-be-usual concentration of nitrogen (fish poop) in the bottom of the tank. The rock would react with any water & kill anything living in proximity, especially in a closed system like a fish tank.

Which begs the question: what gets into people? Why sell a rock stating it is for a fish tank when it could not be? Did the person who sold it know it would kill everything? Maybe they 1) got screwed themselves & thought the universe would be a happier place if they passed it on 2) are just stoopid & said "shiny rock - that would look good in water". Or did they just pick it up somewhere think that it would be perfect for someone else's fish tank?

The rock itself is almost certainly Azurite. It was identified by a Ph.Ded physicist with experience growing carbon nano-tubes & working with crystals in a quest for a tunable laser. He identified the specimen by Googling for a blue rock that kills fish. I do not know what he Googled exactly because he claims not to remember.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

In which an organization dedicated to the preservation of a childhood icon ponders prostitution

When we visited London in ought-five-or-six (I really do not quite remember) one thing I very much wanted to do & DID do was see the Pooh portrait at the National Portrait Gallery. Christopher Robin was also in the picture, but I do not care about him.

Not so very long before we went, some group in the UK (perhaps the very group...but I digress) had become quite testy with the New York Public Library because they (the library) had the actual original Winnie-the-Pooh in their collection & the complainants felt this artifact belonged on British soil, what with Pooh being a national treasure & all. In the version I heard, the library responded they would be happy to discuss it, just as soon as the British Museum returned the Elgin Marbles...& all those mummies...

I have decided to believe this story for two reasons. First, it sounds like something a New York librarian would say: snarky yet well informed, dare I say snarkily well informed? Also Pot-Kettle-Black is one of my favorite games.

Flash forward to last January when I read this & learned again that indeed nothing is sacred. The very organization charged with preserving the original Pooh concept, those same caretakers that licensed him to Disney & gave us those flat-colored amorphous things & the Tigger song which I agree is worth having & then turned around & re-sold us Classic Pooh, maybe even inspiring that whole Classic Coke debacle....

What I am trying to say is I learned that someone had been commissioned to write more Pooh. Imagine that Christopher Robin never grows up. He never really leaves the hundred acre wood. He never writes his memoir talking about how intellectually distant his father was, that his mother could give a chilblain a run for its money & that he is sick&tired of people asking him about the G*d D*mned Bear. We have to pretend we do not know he married his first cousin against his mother's wishes- not because she was his first cousin but because she did not care for the girl's father, her own brother. It is too much to ask.

This is hardly the first time such a thing has happened. You might not know it but recently the Peter Pan People aka The Great Ormond Street Hospital authorized a sequel to Peter & Wendy. I just do not know what to think. I do, however have the audio-version on hold at the library. Someone somewhere had the good sense to hire Tim Curry to read the thing & that I will not miss.

But back to Pooh. Return to the Hundred Acre Wood will be on shelves in a bookstore near you tomorrow & just in time for holiday sales. I am not sure I will be able to face it but face it we must.

//how do you play Pot-Kettle-Black you ask? Well it is very easy. Whenever you catch people biotching about someone else doing something that they themselves do, you get right in their face & scream "Pot Kettle Black!". It is most effective if you have something in your mouth that sprays while you do this. I try to keep twizzlers & beer in my purse for just such occasions. Tuna sandwiches work too. Originally this game was widely known (in my family anyhow) as Guess My Food, but I classed it up a bit.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Block swap season

There is just something about when the weather turns cold, well cooler anyhow, that makes me want to block swap. I want to piece random odd bits of fabric, send them off in the mail & get someone else's random odd bits back.

Most of the block swaps I do these days are swaps that I organize. Not because I am a control freak (& curse anyone thinking I am) but because I run an every-other month swap & keeping up with that is as much as I can do. But one of the sites I follow announced a 9-patch swap. 9-patch, how hard is that? & BIG 9-patches, with one of the two fabrics being white or off-white. Bright, clean & quick.

There were six people in my swap set & I made my blocks the first week-end & was about to mail them. Fortunately I checked e-mail because in the time the names were posted & the time I finished, one person had dropped out. Someone else had dropped right in, but it was still a bad omen.

I mailed my blocks, got two sets back within that first week or two & since then nothing. Bupkis. Zilch. The mail-by deadline was a few days ago, so I am not optimistic anything more will arrive. I understand things come up, I really do. But in a self-selecting set (after all, quilt block swaps are hardly mandatory) only three out of seven people managed to meet a known deadline. Only one of the four that did not was aware they would not meet the deadline. That is a greater than 50% failure rate & only 25% of those who failed acknowledged they would fail.

Is this more annoyed than I should be? Probably. But I cannot help but notice that not one of the three that DID receive blocks from me (& the other two, am sure) but did not send theirs have not returned mine either. & although we are all on the same e-mail list, none sent a message saying "hey, my kid is sick/relatives are visiting/full moon came early & now I am a werewolf" to explain.

Is this the end of the world? No. But it is probably the end of my participating in this kind of block swap. Which is a shame, really because like it or not I represent the less-than-50% who actually did the work. & maybe, just maybe that is why the swap failed. Way-back-when four people mailed & one did not, one of those four said "screw this" & dropped out. Then three people mailed one did not, two people mailed & one did not, & so forth. It will not be long before only people who are not really able to meet the deadline/do the job/communicate with others are the ones who actually sign up. & I guarantee one of them will complain to the organizer about her fellow deadbeats.

//before you ask, the way my swap works is everyone sends their blocks to me, i swap them & send them back in a SASE by each swapper. It means that you do not have to pay for postage except to & from yourself & that no one needs to worry about not getting back what they put in.

UPDATE: less than 30 minutes after this posted I did indeed get another set of blocks. They were postmarked 2 days after the deadline.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ban that bastard

I know you thought this would be about Michael Vick (ban him, too), but this is really about Banned Books Week

This year for Banned Books Week I have been reading The Canterbury Tales & Madame Bovary. Last year I was rereading Harry Potter et al & the His Dark Materials trilogy, so I guess you could say I am upgrading. For me, there is that banned books favorite I try to read every year (but turns out more like every other year): To Kill a Mockingbird.

So, run don't walk to your local library & make sure you request a banned book. Chances are pretty good, at least one of your favorites is being challenged as I type this. If you do not ask to keep them, they will not be there for the next person to discover.