Tuesday, April 30, 2013

13 in 2013: Books, #2.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

One day when I was in elementary school, my mom happened to drive by during recess, and  she decided to slow down and look for me. (Does it make it less stalker-y if I mention that I had a really distinctive snowsuit at the time?)  After skimming and scanning over different crowds of kids and starting to worry, she finally spotted me way off on the far corner of the lot, playing alone in a clump of bushes, piling up snow and stacking up sticks into a fort.  "At first I felt bad, like I should pull over and tell you to go find your friends, but then I saw that you were smiling and looked completely content so I figured you were happy, and I should leave well-enough alone."

I've always been an introvert -- which may come as a surprise to certain groups of people who've known me at particular phases of my life, when I got really good at masking it and pushing myself past my comfort zone.  I mean, take high school -- I made obnoxious jokes from the back row of the band room, I was in plays and helped lead the backstage crew, I was in public speaking and took on all sorts of leadership roles.  And then during my VISTA years, I was in front of people all the time, facilitating meetings and conferences, putting together events, giving presentations...I could play the part of a social butterfly pretty well, for a little while.  But the people that know me best know that after I've been "on" for a while, what I need most is to go home and shut off.  I need to get back into my bubble. 

Needless to say, this book resonated with me.  Some of it is kind of general and maybe a little common-sense (or it seemed that way to me, as an introvert, anyway), but it was well-researched and offered a nice overview of some of the cultural biases and connotations of introversion/extroversion in America and the rest of the world.  I also enjoyed the parts about raising introverted kids, and finding a balance between encouraging them to break out of their shells so they can cope with the world, and encouraging them to climb back into their shells for some R&R when they need it. 

I'm glad my mom decided to keep driving.  (Then again, she & my dad are introverts, too, so they probably had some idea what they were getting into with me.)

"Sometimes I go into my own little world…but that's okay, they know me there." - Joel Hodgson

What's making me happy this week.

My mother's handiwork.

April 25.

(Which reminds me of this.)

Oredock demolition update.

They're about halfway out at this point...

April 16.

In other demolition news, they're tearing down the old septic treatment plant between Kreher Park and the marina, too.

Demotion of the old septic treatment plant on the bayfront.



Is Mister Rogers' Neighborhood the greatest television show ever made?  (AV Club)
I loved this bit:  "Somehow, through the long process of growing up, the process that beats cynicism and ironic detachment into so many of us, Rogers was capable of holding onto childlike wonder and curiosity. Returning to the series as an adult, means being confronted with who you once were and all you have lost in the process of becoming who you are."

Yogurt For Men: A Review (NPR)
Thanks to Emily for passing this my way.

Plus:  magazines!  So many magazines.  Too many magazines, never enough time.

And:  I'm still plugging away at my 13-books-in-2013 challenge.  I'm behind, but not crazy-far-behind.


Mad Men
I don't realize how much I miss this show until it comes back after a long hiatus.  Favorite part of this season so far: Trudy remembering she has a backbone.  (Trying to keep that spoiler-free.)

Next Stop Wonderland
A romantic comedy that manages to balance quirkiness with heavier stuff, without tipping too far into either extreme.  I really liked how it blended elements of the fantastical – mobsters putting out a hit on a local-celebrity fish at an aquarium, the Hands of Fate blatantly pushing players into place – with more realistic threads about depression, stasis, and feeling like you haven’t lived up to your potential.  (The movie’s poster really makes it look bland and generic in a late-1990s rom-com sort of way, and it’s not, so ignore that.)

Queen of Versailles
What could have very easily turned into a looky-loo “look at these awful rich people” documentary surprised me by how much it made me sympathize with its subjects.  (Which is to say, I expected to loathe them, and instead wound up feeling more ambivalent.)   Once the money went away, so did some of the bullshit – until the money came back, at least. 

(I saw this a few months ago, and I was really irritated by the way Bravo & Andy Cohen were promoting their “premiere” of it for the last few weeks.  They made it look like an episode from a “Real Housewives” franchise, and it’s so not that – I wonder how many Bravo viewers turned in last night and got totally confused.  It’s like NBC/Universal got the TV rights to it and didn’t know where else to air it so they just tried to shove it there.)

Seven Psychopaths
From the same guy who made In Bruges – I loved that, and I loved this.

Beauty is Embarrassing
If you ever need a boost of creative energy, watch this for inspiration.  One of the most vibrant & alive documentaries I’ve seen in a long time.

Project Runway

I was skeptical of the teams concept before the season started, but I like how the show executed it – yeah, the flashes of infighting got annoying, but it made for some interesting dynamics as the season moved along.  Spoiler alert:  I can see why Michelle won – her collection was the most cohesive and most commercial – but I still liked Patricia’s better, probably because I liked Patricia better in general.  Michelle got on my nerves and was like a walking, talking Portlandia sketch.

RuPaul's Drag Race
I’m rooting for Jinkx Monsoon, but I like Alaska a lot, too.  Roxxxy Andrews, not so much.

Nathan For You
I’m so glad this got renewed, because it was hilarious.  My favorite bit this season: 

Kroll Show

And I’m glad this is coming back, too.

Girls (Season One)

It’s weird.  Lena Dunham annoys me in the abstract – I’m annoyed when critics debate her and her work, I’m annoyed when people freak out about her use of nudity, I’m annoyed when people freak out about how much money she got for her book deal.  But when I actually see her on something, or read an interview with her, I really like her.  It’s like there’s two Lena Dunhams – the one the media’s built up, and then the actual person who’s actually making stuff.  The same goes for Girls; I went into watching the first season feeling kind of meh about the whole thing because I’d read so many critiques of it online, but came out really liking it once I saw it for myself.  Haven’t seen Season Two yet – I hear it goes off the rails a little, but then again, considering my experience with Season One, maybe I should just take all that with a grain of salt.

FDR: American Badass
This is an actual movie.  I actually watched it.


Today it was 80 degrees and sunny.  It was both awesome, and horrible.  Awesome, because it's the first truly warm day we've had all year.  Horrible, because my body's still used to the cold & snow, and I'm still in my winter clothes.

I'm beginning to grasp why Eskimos have so many words for "snow."

We've had so much snow this April that it's grown passe to complain about it.  Everyone's sick of it; everyone's had their fill.  There's nothing left to say.  It's gotten to the point where we don't even need to verbalize our disgust -- people just point toward the windows of whatever building they're in and grunt, or roll their eyes, or shake their head in dismay.  We're pale people to begin with; this April, we're positively translucent, it's been so long since we've seen the sun for more than a few hours (or in weather that doesn't require long sleeves, at least).

I mean, seriously: it's the snowiest April ever in Duluth, and we can't be far behind over here.

The latest humdinger was on the 19th.  The weathermen predicted we'd get walloped, but like a lot of people, I kept downplaying it in my mind.  "It's too late in the month for that much.  They're jumping the gun," I thought.  "It won't be that bad."

Cut to 2:00 A.M. that Friday morning, when our power went out due to ridiculous winds blowing the ridiculous trees along our ridiculous road over, all weighed down with ridiculous amounts of snow.

Trees along the road.

I don't know how much we got at our house, grand-total-wise.  It was over a foot, but since we kept shoveling all day, it all kind of blended together by the end. 


Jane shoveling off the truck.

I will say this much for the snow, though:  it's pretty.


And it doesn't seem to be stopping the hawks & eagles, either.

Bald eagle.


Besides, it has to stop eventually, right?


13 in 2013: Hooks, #4.

Got another one finished!

April 28.

This is the first log cabin blanket I've ever made, and I have to say I really enjoyed it.  Working one narrow strip of stripes at a time suits my crocheting attention span nicely.  I think I'll be making more like this, if only to burn through some of my absurdly large yarn stash...

(I'm doing better at the "hooks" side of this project than the "books" side, but I figure it'll all even-out in the end.)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Police blotter.

Saturday, 5:42 A.M.:  Caretaker at the highrise reports that an intoxicated female walked into the lobby of the building, took her shoes off, and fell asleep on the floor.  Update: female was sent on her way.

Sunday, 4:16 P.M.:  911 open air call.  Update: dispatch called the number back and spoke with caller, who said he didn’t have a problem; he just has a really annoying button on his phone that dials 911.

Wednesday, 1:11 P.M.:  Caller states that neighbor’s dog is pooping in his yard again.

Thursday, 11:05 P.M.: Anonymous caller wanted to report a female acting strange.  Caller said when someone asks her a question she answers saying "Bob Dole."  Dispatch asked if the female was harming herself or anyone else and the caller said no. Dispatch then advised that it's not a police issue if someone answers with "Bob Dole."

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

365: Round Two.

Oh my god:  I finished something.  I started it, and I kept it up!  For an entire year!  (Well, excepting two days.  There were two days I forgot and had to fudge it a little.)

But seriously: go me.

I started taking a photo a day last year on my birthday.  I like some of them a lot; others were just taken at the last minute for the sake of meeting the day's goal. 

June 6.May 1. 
May 19.June 11.
September 29.September 30.
November 22.March 16.December 6.March 11.
     Since I was able to do it once...why not try doing it again?  Let's see if my patience holds out.


Sunday, April 07, 2013

Police blotter.

Wednesday, 11:37 A.M.:  Caller reports one of his neighbors put a nasty note on his car telling him to "not park there anymore."

Friday, 5:16 P.M.:  Caller wants an officer to tell her neighbors to stop looking at her truck.

Sunday, 2:12 P.M.:  Caller demands an officer take subject out of her attic.  She has called over and over and no one will remove the male.  Subject is telling her what to do and that he has her son and is also telling her from the attic that he will cut all her wires.  Caller refuses to answer any questions and is yelling about this being America and she refuses to play insane word games.

Sunday, 3:39 P.M.:  Caller states he was just at the gas station and was threatened by some people who said they were going to come "kill his house."

Tuesday, 3:58 P.M.:  Caller in Bayfield reports someone put rancid meat in his oven while he was gone.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

What's making me happy this week.

Courtesy of my friend Krista, who lives on the same Highway 2 as me but about a thousand miles to the west.