Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day

I refer to baseball of course. I usually feel very springy and hopeful on Opening Day, but like everything else, they've messed with it a bit. It used to be the first Saturday in April and was nearly always the Reds, but now they have these "special" openers like last night -- a single game between the Nationals in their new park and the Braves, which I didn't get to see because it was an ESPN game. A night game in March that wasn't even part of a series. What's that all about? It's all gone commercial! So I was just going to catch some baseball at lunch time today on the "official" opening day. It poured rain here, rained out the Yankees, rain delayed the Cubs and the Reds...maybe baseball will be better in April!

I just bought the new Raconteurs album but haven't really had a chance to give it a good listen yet. I thought it sounded less like the first Raconteurs and more like the last White Stripes. Interesting. We've also been listening to Rodrigo y Gabriele, which I bought my brother for Christmas, but it wasn't until he sat us down to watch the DVD that came with it, that I got motivated to buy it for myself. They are really amazing on the guitar, especially Gabriele. I love that Latin-influenced, heavy percussive sound. And being that I can barely get from G to C, watching those fingers fly, and make all that sound, just blows me away!

After finishing Weidensaul's book, I tried a novel by someone new. John Crowley has recommended Elizabeth Hand, so I checked out Mortal Love from the library. It seemed promising -- it was about the White Goddess myth, the Pre-Raphaelites, Algernon Swinburne, and that general time period, with several other entangled narratives. On the surface, it was in the same vein as Possession by Byatt, which I loved. But, it really didn't live up to Byatt--or for that matter, Crowley; so after meandering half way through without being in the least interested in the story or any of the characters, I gave it up. There was something about it that just got on my nerves. It wasn't terribly subtle. Maybe it was the pathetic male characters falling prey to the succubus/white goddess/Undine that just seemed strained and silly. What a bunch of dopes. I think I've lost my ability to suspend disbelief to that extent. Thus, I'm going to read Hermione Lee's bio of Willa Cather next. She's one of my favorite writers and I've already read her Virginia Woolf and Edith Wharton.

Other than that, I've still got my Final Four, since like many people I just went with number one seeds. Terribly boring, but obviously, quite correct.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

March madness

I'm actually talking about a "madness" not licensed by the NCAA and CBS (although I'll be filling out my brackets soon enough). I'm just mad that spring hasn't quite sprung; that in addition to feeding the little bastards all winter (the birds get the crumbs), I now have a squirrel condo in the soffit of my house; that I can't switch fast enough between G and C; and that I have to wear winter shoes and socks when I want to wear sandals. Well, at least March isn't February, which totally sucked.

So, here are the silver linings. First, I can now see all of my tulips and daffodils peeking above ground, and assorted other spring bulbs, which will be nice little surprises because I can't quite remember what I planted -- or where the squirrels moved them to (are you sensing a theme?).

Second, I've been reading a book by the wonderful Scott Weidensaul -- Return to Wild America -- which is beautiful and educational and makes my chest hurt because so much of it documents the terrible destruction we've visited upon the land and its inhabitants. When I read about the wholesale slaughters of wild creatures and landscapes that have been carried out over our history of "improving" this country, the surly, dark spirit lurking in me just wants to declare that we are going to get exactly what we deserve. (As many times as I think of Thomas Hobbes, I should really go ahead and read Leviathan. But would that improve my mood? I expect the sound bite is out of context--life is nasty, brutish, short--and that he actually believed in human advancement and a brighter future.) That was a long and tenuously connected parenthesis. I think there's an even longer Cormac McCarthy parenthesis out there, but I 'm not going to try it; I could sprain something. Also, all my silver linings seem to have black linings. But never mind.

Third, I am the happy owner of tickets to see Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova -- AND -- Elvis Costello and the Imposters both in May! That is in addition to Derby festivities. And there will also be baseball games, and all the players will look like normal, lanky fellows, except for the tubby pitchers, because Roger Clemens is testifying before Congress, and so they've had the bejesus (and androstenediol) scared out of them.

Fourth silver lining is that even though I stink now, I'm better at playing the guitar than I was in October.

Number five: I'm going to go buy some strappy sandals, goddammit. Just watch me.

Number six: I have an awesome husband who puts up with my finicky salad-eating ways.