Saturday, September 30, 2006


Well, I think I just needed a few days after finishing Lost Illusions before starting anthing new. I am happily involved with Old Goriot and the social initiation of Rastignac into Parisian (you better have money to throw around and be a snazzy dresser) society.

I was chatting with one of the parents the other day and got lots of suggestions of authors to investigate. The next day he thoughtfully brought two of the suggested authors so now I don't have to buy and possibly not like :) One was Neal Stephenson and the other Roald Dahl (who, yes, I have read but his childrens works not his adult offerings).
Didn't prevent me from stopping at Powell's today though. Fragile Things, the new collection of Neil Gaiman's short stories is available (but Bloody Jack IV is still in the warehouse :( . I also picked up Master and Commander; and Rose and the Beast by Francesca Lia Block.
Then I went to the dance disk empourium. A new Nick (owned not produced) Henry's Dream; Frank Black and the Catholics; Breeders, Pod; Echo and the Bunnymen, Flowers; and Cocteau Twins, Head Over Heels.
There's going to be an H.P. Lovecraft movie tribute for Halloween. It looks like so much fun :) This might make up for missing Neil on tour.*****CV

Thursday, September 28, 2006

S.of D. bulletin

Casualties are to be found everywhere. Attacks are from the ground and the air and are identified by a peculiar fuzziness. Beware soft packaging and all express or priority labels.

Some victims have described the symptoms as alpaca like or striped. More information will follow as it becomes available. Agent Look On the Bright side signing off***CV

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

are you blueish?

You don't look blueish. I, however, am. Or rather my hands are. Slight accident with the blue food colouring *oops*
The chocolate cherry kareoke sox are on their way as of today :) I'm working on a siamese pair now (brown and cream).
As to whether I don't also think of Oliver Reed or Raquel Welch well yes I do but for some reason more often I see the villains. Honestly the name Fouqquet is just so odd and whenever I hear it I think of Number 6 saying it in The Man in the Iron Mask.

I loved the scene where the musketeers are sneaking through the Sun King's celebration late at night. Or when their having lunch in the middle of an all out siege of a Protestant holdout. Course the King's laundry was pretty fun. Then there is the battle in the church where Lee is killed either on or near the altar. Or the watermill...or the first submarine experiment..or teh human chess set.....

I've said it before: if you have only seen the most recent Musketeer film "Hie thee hence and get the real deal" 'cause that sho' nuff wasn't it ***CV

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

salt taxes

My henceforth to be called Kareoke Chocolate Cherry socks are done :) Now to actually get to a post office *bleh* I meant to do so today but a staff meeting kept me later than expected. Meanwhile I'm attempting the Sock of Doom on some OJ coloured trekking.
This week is National Banned Books Week. In honour of which I read aloud part of, A Wrinkle In Time, and later this week plan on reading some, Tom Sawyer to the children.
I've started paying attention to Madame Sevigne and I keep telling myself that Charlton Heston is NOT involved (even though there is frequent mention of Fouqquet). The Threee Musketeers and the Four Musketeers films made a very large impression on me. So when I read period French history Richard Chamberlin shows up, along with Michael York, Faye Dunaway, Geraldine Chaplin and Heston, not to mention Christopher Lee.
For some reason Virabhadrasana II is becoming a struggle while Rajakapotasana and Bakasana are becoming doable: go figure***CV

Monday, September 25, 2006

Swift swifter swiftest

The sockwar has begun and thanks to Hurricane Gordon the lines of communication have been compromised: It's every socker for themself!

*g* I can just hear the air raid sirens going. I figure with the way the challenge has been set up no one can "win" but everyone gets a pair of hand made socks in which case everyone does "win". Oh, call me agent look on the bright side :)

Meanwhile, in the den of Kareoke, amidst the swirling smoke of a non smoke free environ as strains of King of Pain, Ring of Fire, Enjoy the Silence and ABBA were blasting full throttle I knit upon my Sock of Doom. While comrades consumed uncounted tequila shots and engaged in bizarre dance practices (y'all know I may be exaggerating for colour, right?) I puzzled over the code which was my pattern.

(So if a bartender tells you that knitting a sock is "hot" do you consider that irony? Or maybe there was another agent and this was a distraction technique.....)

I left the carousal at half past 11 and ended up walking home. Various persons along my path told me, or perhaps their invisible companions -or more likely the nearby garbage cans, that "No bus tonight" and "Don't stop. It's Almost Halloween".

May I suggest when crossing a bridge which is under reconsrtructuion, hence putting the pedestrian walkway into oncoming traffic, and it's late at night, and the bridge has no illumination, to reconsider ones way home?

And who knew that the Maxx stops running at 12:03? Surely not the lovely threesome, two supporting a third in the middle and one of the men fetchingly accessorised with a pink purse, on the lookout for bicyclists. Thankfully there was no traffic when a member of the party decided to have a little sit down in the crosswalk.

I finished Lost illusions last Friday. Oh my. Lucien meets the devil at a crossroads and he's a Spainish Jesuit diplomat. Thus the story is continued in A Harlot High and Low. No copy of which could I find so instead I Pere Goirot which is where the diplomat first appears.

Yet I haven't really started reading anything new yet. I dabbled in the Parisian Sketches followed by the Ancien Regime, then put both aside for The Black Tulip, then Lies My Teacher Told Me and now I'm carrying around the Letters of Madame Sevigne.


Well there's always my Sock of Doom ;)***CV

Thursday, September 21, 2006

nudge nudge wink wink

I used to watch Monty Python's Flying Circus whenever I got the chance. I loved the strange odd and surreal dialouges that would come up and the very bizarre skits. One in particular I call the nudge nudge wink wink skit. It's the one where Eric idle is trying to be very worldly in an oh so subtle way about the intimate relations between a man and his wife. One of his lines is "Say no more, say no more. A nudge is as good as a wink."

Imagine my surprise when the country solicitor in Lost Illusions is the recipient of that exact line from a scurrilous publisher.

So the Python Circus read Balzac?***CV

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

iced cafe aulait

Only 220 +pages left in Lost Illusions (It's 682pp) and I am becoming very scared of the publishing industry, both journalistic and literary. I once thought Hearst had been the supreme yellow journalist but it would appear that he was simply inheriting a very well entrenched tradition. Admittedly in the preface to Lost Illusions there is some mention that Balzac had issues with the small journals of the day, however, those issues were based more upon fact than fancy.
What I am observing repeatedly in this second section is how similar the relationship between Lucien and Coralie is with that of the "romantic" couple in the Wild Ass's Skin. Then too there is the resemblance between the chairitable society in The Other Side of Paris with the Cenacle. I do prefer the version of romance in the current read, though the women are rather shallowly drawn. I fear Coralie may turn into a scorned love of Ivanhoe fame (which is why I think Ivanhoe is such a wuss). Perhaps she will stop offering herself as a stepping stone; that would be nice.
At the studio one of the practioners noticed what I was reading. His wife is also reading classics so we're going to do a book exchange list. And one of my teachers is reading Murakami for the first time and liking it so I think I'll bring in Norwegian Wood :)***CV

Monday, September 18, 2006


So today I went to my a.m. yoga class. Lotsa fun working on sirsasana. One of these days I'll get over myself and not worry about tumbling backwards and knocking the other yogis over like so many dominoes. Yeah. Someday. In twenty years :)

Our teacher did the triangle to extended hand to big toe posture move again. And at the same time said "This is for CV!" I'm .... uh .... flattered?

I'm a little over half way through with Lost Ilusions. I do so love books of this period. Perhaps it's the endless Barbara Cartland's I read when I was in the fourth grade,with their psuedo histironic historcalness. I'm having such a good time that after picking up Trilby and The Black Tulip (meanwhile admiring an absolutely fabulous Hanuman statue) I went back on Sunday for Parisian Sketches by JK Huysmans and Sketches by Boz by Charles Dickens.

NaNoWriMo is in November and I'm thinking of participating****CV

Saturday, September 16, 2006

poetry and motion

Trilby, George du Maurier. It would seem that this is the story which started the phrase to "Svengali" someone. This is a fin d' siecle tale in which an artist's model becomes the focus and obsession of a man whose mesmeric and occult influence transforms her into a musical star. I came across this treasure while searching for Daphne D'Maurier :)

The Black Tulip, Alexandre Dumas. Shorter than the Three Musketeers but filled with intrigue and espionage this time combining the seventeenth century fascination for tulips with the mysterious murders of two Dutch statesman.

I am now on book two of Lost Illusions. Lucien and Louise are rapidly becoming disenchanted with each other ever since they left the country and entered Paris societee. There is a scene in book one in which Balzac describes the elite of L'Hommeau as they enter Louise's salon. It would seem that personal relationships and peoples treatment of each other has not changed all that much between 1827 and 2006.

In class today we were instructed to move from trikonasana into uthitahastapadagusthasnana.
Ummmm and how exactly? I wondered. So afterward I asked for a demonstration.

Ideas anyone? We were instructed to start from triangle, reach for our back foot and thus enter extended hand to foot posture. ***CV

Friday, September 15, 2006


Today I succumbed. I was feeling a little miffed over a very trivial incident so to make myself feel better I walked down to the local independent and bought The Three Musketeers. Yep. Seven hundred + pages of feel better :).

While leafing through the introduction I realized that Dumas is going to be quite a contrast to Balzac. Balzac is a realist writer, very much into details of place and physical appearance. (This is proved by the last three pages I read of The Two Poets in which he describes the paper making process using linen rags versus cotton and all the whys and wherefores).

Apparently Dumas wrote action so well the background vanished, if it even existed to begin with.

This should be fun.
I also sent off my last SP8 package***CV

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I printed out a list of all of Balzac's works the other night. I had to downsize the font to get it onto two pages (yikes!). However I now have a check off sheet which makes me happy.

I started Lost Illusions the other day. Balzac's brief experience as a printer is very apparent in the first of three stories. According to the intorduction to this volume George Sands makes an appearance as a character in one of the other stories. As a realist Balzac drew upon all his experiences when writing. Which explains his mysterious Polish beauties :)

Handwork has been paused for a while. Starting a new year, bank issues and life in general has not been conducive to getting much other than the essentials taken care of. Maybe that 's why reading is happening. And the recent coffee addiction.

I have been managing my early morning practices though.***CV

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

hero anti-hero villain anti-villain

I am so loving The Chouans. Just when I think I know what is going to happen, whsssh! Balzac saves the day: Oh ho so that means ..... whssssh! There goes the carpet from under my feet. I have only 10 more pages to go and I still don't know if it will end well or not, or for whom.

Further, I'm not sure who is really the villain and who the hero. Seems rather like real life.

This is great! :)***CV

Monday, September 11, 2006

random reading

While I love a good reading challenge I'd just like to say I feel so freeeeee! Today I stopped at the shrine of all things book and with nary a thought as to what I "should" be reading picked up two new Balzacs (Lost Illusions and Selected Works) and two new Nabokovs (The Gift and Laughter in the Dark).

I have almost finished The Chouans and am very curious if the Marie of this story is the same Marie in another volume of La Comedie Humaine. My confusion arises as this current MArie appears to be Republican and the other Marie was a Royalist.
In knitting I found a new link to knitting two socks on four needles. I used to have a link I got through KTC but that one (Two Cats and a Girl) now hooks up to some kind of Disney trip Package site. Oddly enough this new site makes more sense in the pattern to me than the old one did. No I haven't tried it with yarn I just tried the visualising part.

'Course it helps that the new Knitty has an article on it too ;)***CV

Saturday, September 09, 2006

making the world wonderful

I've been rereading many of my NVC books lately. NVC is a communication method formalized by Marshall Rosenberg and stands for Non Violent Communication. It is sometimes called Giraffe language (the giraffe is the land mammal with the largest heart).

It really is a wonderful tool. It's not easy to use all the time but so helpful none the less. There are essentially four steps: state what you observe, state how you feel as a result, state your need, make a request.

What I especially like is that simply because one makes a request it is not an all or nothng situation. Both parties get heard and have their needs met. Does this involve compromise? Yes and no :) It's a compromise if one must possess all but not a compromise if one is cooperating to meet everyones needs.

In other news I picked up Rupert Thomson's, The Insult today ;) (Yes, I do see the potential irony)****CV

Friday, September 08, 2006

java jive

Overheard at the 24 hour cafe.

Worker 1 (as she leaves for the day after consulting with the schedule): I work hard for the money

Worker 2 (doing the Mr. Robot dance and giggling to himself): So hard for it Honey

Customer: But only in Summer time.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

kismet rag

Ragtime has got to be one of the quickest means of cheering a person up (or maybe that's only me :) When ever I listen to Scott Joplin I have keystone cops, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Chaplin and the '20s crew at my directorial discretion.
I've started attending early morning practices and it's wonderful so far, I only hope I can keep it up. Crack o'dawn is my, given the choice, going to sleep time.
I went to the bank today to figure out was going on. I do so prefer face to face conversations and I was fortunate that I could leave work early. Apparently one of the processing departments is becoming very particular about dealing with paperwork. Interestingly enough after the asst. manager and I reached a resolution, I asked if it was possible that the department would have tried to contact me (phone, email, letter). He said, not likely.

I've been a customer for 9 years. I'd like to remain but with this kind of thing happening I may just start researching alternatives.
In cheerier news i received my information for the Nancy Bush Sock seminar:)*****CV

Oh I did one of those which Greek/Roman mythical figure are you and I was Orpheus. Hmmm didn't he get shredded by some rather drunk individuals? On the other hand, Cocteau's Orphee is fabulous :)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

wheels of....

Yesterday I got the best back to school gift ;) Something to learn from, something to spend my first Saturday of the school week lazily devouring, something aromatic, and something giggly. Marie of A Knit's Tale sent me a felting kit with plant dyed wools and needles:) I don't know how to felt: something fun to learn! She also sent me Dark Lord of Derkholm to add to my growing collection of Diana Wynne Jones books. Also, a lovely, lovely sampling of amber incense with an absolutely beautiful amber coloured leaf incense holder which I stared at for far to long: it's soooo pretty. And my favorite, if I could choose a favorite which I can't but if I had, to then the spider book mark. It was the first thing I saw and made me laugh out loud. S/he's sooo cute I don't know if I could bear to use shim and possibly lose shim.

Thank you Marie :):) I'm sad Neil is coming on a weeknight. I would LOVE to see him in Berkeley or Menlo Park. I expect a full report ;)

*sigh* Then the bank decided that I didn't really deposit my pay cheque, which I thought I had done last THURSDAY. What!!

I did exactly what I have done my entire 20 year working career and NOW they tell me it's the wrong thing to do. So apparently I need to go talk in person to the bank where I made my deposit (when? I work those hours) after I receive my cheque back in the mail. So Friday? Saturday?

But that's Okay, according to the helpful CSR (when I explained I had checks coming through and groceries to buy), because I have overdraft: so please go ahead and charge up a storm we'll only charge you an additional overdraft fee every time you do purchase something.

I need that spider to make me laugh now. Hmmm, maybe I could felt a voodoo dolly? While waiting at the bank? ***CV

Monday, September 04, 2006

kareoke sailor

Aaaah. Labor Day weekend. A time of bbqs, trips to the beach, seeing lots of movies and Kareoke in the back yard! No. Not my backyard. The backyard of my house neighbor.

So tell me: does one really need a mic for an area no bigger than 500 sqaure feet? A yard in which normal conversation can be heard by someone in an apartment four floors up?

Apparently one does. Kareoke starts at 7. I leave my apartment at 9 ' cause it's going into third rounds (perhaps an attempt at a choral?). I go to the 24hour cafe and order an iced coffee (heavy, heavy on the soy) and take my book to an outside table, turn on the discman and am happy, happy :)

Well, maybe not as happy as the man who was trying to find the sleeve to his suit jacket. At least he put his drink down first. Maybe he was a sailor on leave? He was walking as if he hadn't found his land legs yet. I'm really glad he didn't walk into the parked truck, it was close though. I hope he made it home. *****CV

Sunday, September 03, 2006


(SRC/P) Piers the Ploughman, William Langland (315pp) Another good title would be How to Sleep Your Way to Heaven, but I guess in our culture moderne that title would be misconstrued. Man I like to sleep but I don't know if everytime I fell asleep some medieval virtue came to speak with me if I would like to sleep as much as I do now. What I really enjoyed about this tale aside from the really catchy names, was how mnemonic it was. If you knew this tale from beginning to end then you would be a very well versed (heheh) person indeed.

(SRC/P) Storm Thief, Chris Wooding (310pp) This is another by the author of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray and Poison, both of which I read earlier this year (Poison is a part of the challenge list). I think Wooding is finding his voice, or I am finding his later voice more pleasurable. In The Haunting... there was a lot of stuff going on. It was good but overwhelming. Poison ended somewhat predictably. Storm Thief is like Orwell meets the Terminator meets Noah's Ark: in a good way.

(SRC/P) The Aleph and Other Stories, JL Borges (210pp) Ah Borges :) I once told how Borges mentioned that writing a review of a book rather than the book itself was so much more practical, and time saving. In this collection of stories he takes that thought and applies it to history. Throughout these stories that are asterixs , which in most writing indicates footnotes. Not so here. Stories have the look of fact but none of the substance. Delightful! I always thought history texts should be viewed skeptically.

(SRC/P) Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman Haruki Murakami (334pp) Can I just say that this came out on the last days of the challenge. What a fabulous way to end it :) Spaghetti, cryptic comments, 100%s, cats, neverending corridors, wells, swimming pools and absurdity. Thank you Haruki :) I promise to avoid all crab restaurants in the future.
Now I can read the Historian (yes Carrie it's in paperback now) in peace***CV

Saturday, September 02, 2006

SRC/P complete

(SRC/P)The Messenger, Lois Lowry (169pp)
(SRC/P) Ten Nights of Dream; Hearing Things; The Heredity of Taste, Soeseki Natsume(203pp)
(SRC/P) Invitation to a Beheading, Vladmir Nabokov (223pp)
(SRC/P) Goodbye Tsugami, Banana Yoshimoto (186pp)
(SRC/P) The Eye, Vladmir Nabokov (104pp)
(SRP) The Wrong Side of Paris, Honore Balzac (208pp)
(SRP/C) Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (337pp)
(SRC/P) Bad Seed, Ian Johnston (305pp)
(SRC/P) Elementals, AS Byatt (230pp)
(SRC/P) the Giver, Lois Lowry (179pp)
(SRC/P) Strandloper, Alan Garner (2oopp)
(SRC/P) Moominvalley in November, Tove Jansson (175pp)
(SRC/P) Thebes at War, Naguib Mahfouz (242pp)
(SRC/P) Love and Longing in Bombay, Vikram Chandra (268pp)
(SRC/P) The Book of Atrix Wolfe, Patricia McKillip (247pp)
(SRC/P) the Wild Ass's Skin, Honore Balzac (285 pp)
(SRC/P) Poison, Chris Wooding (273 pp)
(SRC/P) The Monk, Matthew Lewis (442 pp)
sub total 18 books and 4,276pp as of July 2, 2006
SRC/P) Asleep, Banana Yoshimoto (177pp)
(SRC/P) A Kingdom Divided, Rupert Thomson (336pp)
(SRC/P) Liquor, Poppy Brite (339pp)
(SRC/P) Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words, Jay Rubin (289pp)
(SRC/P) The Book of Revelation, Rupert Thomson (260pp)
(SRC/P) The Empire of Ice Cream, Jeffrey Ford (319pp)
(SRC/P) One Thousand and One Ghosts, Alexandre Dumas (156pp).
(SRP) The Tarot Cafe, Sang-Sun Park (176pp) manga
(SRC/P) Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman (334pp)
(SRC/P) When Fox is a Thousand, Larissa Lai (236pp)(SRC/P) Coram Boy, Jamila Gavin (328pp)
(SRC/P) The Sunbird, Elizabeth E. Wein (184pp)(SRC/P) Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones (380pp)
(SRC/P) The Perilous Gard, Elizabeth Marie Pope (280pp)
(SRC/P) Look at the Harlequins, Vladmir Nabakov (253pp)(SRC/P) The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon (487pp)
(SRC/P) Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore (444pp)
(SRC/P) The Lust lizard of Melancholy Cove, Christopher Moore (304pp)
(SRC/P) Something Rotten, Jasper Fforde (383pp)
(SRC/P) Uncle Silas, Sheridan LeFanu (444pp)
(SRC/P) Leave it to Psmith, PG Wodehouse (328pp)*
(SRC/P) A Perfect Red, Amy Butler Greenfield (338pp)*
(SRC/P) A Passage to India (362pp)*
For a 2nd subtotal of: 23 books and 7,137ppTotal to date: 41 books and 11,413
(SRC/P) Deep Secret, Diane Wynne Jones (375pp)
(SRC/P) Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, Cory Doctorow (315pp)
SRC/P) Soft!, Rupert Thomson (307pp)
(SRC/P) Dogsbody, Diana Wynne Jones (261pp)
(SRC/P) Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov (317pp)
(SRC/P) Ada, or Ardor, Vladimir Nabokov (606pp)
(SRC/P) New Moon, Stephenie Meyer (563pp)
(SRC/P) Amrita, Banana Yoshimoto (366pp)
(SRP) Lupin III vol.II, Monkey Punch (179pp)
(SRP) Lupin III vol. I, Monkey Punch (190pp)
(SRC/P) Miss Wyoming, Douglas Coupland (311pp)
(SRC/P) Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov (315pp)
(SRC/P) Take Joy, Jane Yolen (182pp)
(SRC/P) The Summer King, OR Melling (369pp)
(SRC/P) King Ink, Nick Cave (164pp)
(SRC/P) Storm Thief, Chris Wooding (310pp)
(SRC/P Piers the Ploughman ( 315pp)
(SRC/P) the Aleph and Other Stories, JL Borges ( 210pp)
(SRC/P) Blind Willow Sleeping Woman, Haruki Murakami (334pp)
third subtotal of 19 books and 5,989 pages
grand total 60 books and 17,402 pp

(final four summaries are in the post finis)***CV