Thursday, May 28, 2009

Remember To Breathe

We have the loan. We close tomorrow. Insert huge sigh of relief here. The competent and hard-working woman in charge of processing the loan told us a full hour before our loan officer called us with the news.

We are now the owners of a new home. And an old one too, as it turns out. Anyone need a cheap place to live?

We're off to the Sand Dunes within hours of signing, as it's a vacation that's been on the calender for a year, and reservations are made. So we don't actually begin moving in til Monday. It'll be a welcome break.

Banking trivia: The following types of people and/or things are actually qualified to be "loan officers" at the Bank of America: Dogs. Dead people. Circus clowns. Lawn clippings. Small piles of shiny objects.

Okay. I'm done venting. Time to move on.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ghost Blog

There was a blogger out there back when I first started blogging named Jo. She was a LA-based painter/photogrpaher, thoughtful and funny and talented. Some of you out there may have followed her. One day she causally mentioned that she and her husband were taking a look at a new house.

And she was never heard from in the blogoshere again. In that arena, anyway. Her blog is still out there, but it's like a ghost blog, unchanged for the last 8 months or so.

I'm hoping that won't happen to me, as we enter the hellish sucking vortex of closing on the new house.

Still battling with the hallowed financial institution which rhymes with "Skank of America" to get the loan finalized by the closing date. I get the sense my "loan officer" is doing bong hits in the bathroom stalls betwixt calls from me asking him what paperwork is still needed which he neglected to tell me about 2 weeks ago.

Hard to believe these guys had to be bailed out by the government.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


From the nearly perfect Synecdoche, New York, which I finally saw last night:

"Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make; you can destroy your life every time you choose. But maybe you won't know for twenty years. And you'll never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce. And they say there is no fate, but there is: it's what you create. Even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes or it seems to but doesn't really. And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope for something good to come along. Something to make you feel connected, to make you feel whole, to make you feel loved. And the truth is I'm so angry and the truth is I'm so fucking sad, and the truth is I've been so fucking hurt for so fucking long and for just as long have been pretending I'm OK, just to get along, just for, I don't know why, maybe because no one wants to hear about my misery, because they have their own, and their own is too overwhelming to allow them to listen to or care about mine. Well, fuck everybody. Amen."


Monday, May 18, 2009

Why Your Brain Is Like Kevin Bacon

In case you were wondering.

From a Live Science article today:

"Researchers also checked children's brains for "small-world" organization, another organizational quality present in adult brains. This is the same idea as the game 'six degrees of Kevin Bacon,' which connects any actor or actress to Kevin Bacon in six movies or less through their co-stars.

In this case, the 'co-stars' are nodes in the brain.

'It's the idea of a large network that lets you connect one node with another in a relatively short number of steps via special nodes,' Fair says. 'Like Kevin Bacon, these special nodes have many connections to other nodes, allowing them to help shorten the amount of steps that have to be taken when connecting nodes.'"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fritter My Wig!

I'm so happy to be finally released from the prison of children's picture books. We finished Charlotte's Web last week; this week is Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark. It doesn't make any real sense to the girls, but it doesn't need to. It sails on the strength of the rhythms, the sounds of the words. Lewis Carrol was a genius.

These stanzas in particular made the girls laugh last night.

He would answer to "Hi!" or to any loud cry,
Such as "Fry me!" or "Fritter my wig!"
To "What-you-may-call-um!" or "What-was-his-name!"
But especially "Thing-um-a-jig!"

While, for those who preferred a more forcible word,
He had different names from these:
His intimate friends called him "Candle-ends,"
And his enemies "Toasted-cheese."

Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland is next. I cannot wait.

Monday, May 11, 2009

World Gone Mad

The Mets have won seven in a row, and now sit atop the National League East, albeit with a narrow lead. Their big man, Johann Santana, arguably the best pitcher in the National League, takes the mound tonight. Against the hated Atlanta Braves. On ESPN.

Can you tell I'm psyched?

I taught the little clowncars how to read the standings this weekend. Win column, loss column, streak column. They're a couple years away from learning the elegant brevity of a box score. So much information contained in such a small box of numbers.

Ah, Spring. Ah, baseball.

Our mortgage company, which I will not name, but which rhymes with Skank of America, has asked for: my last 2 pay stubs, my 401K, the last 2 months of bank activity for me and the huquita, our W2's for the last 2 years, and, oddest of all, our marriage certificate (since we have different last names).

Meanwhile, last week's banking stress tests says they may need to borrow another $34 billion. From me. The taxpayer.

What is wrong with this picture?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

This Lovely World, These Precious Days…

We're one chapter away from finishing reading the little clowncars' first chapter book: Charlotte's Web. What a lovely book. I didn't remember much of it from my youth, so I'm sorta rediscovering it as we read it.

I read this paragraph to the girls last night and actually got choked up. Charlotte is speaking to Wilber. She is (spoiler alert) dying.

“Your future is assured. You will live, secure and safe, Wilbur. Nothing can harm you now. These autumn days will shorten and grow cold. The leaves will shake loose from the trees and fall. Christmas will come, and the snows of winter. You will live to enjoy the beauty of the frozen world, for you mean a great deal to Zuckerman and he will not harm you, ever. Winter will pass, the days will lengthen, the ice will melt in the pasture pond. The song sparrow will return and sing, the frogs will awake, the warm wind will blow again. All these sights and sounds and smells will be yours to enjoy, Wilbur—this lovely world, these precious days…”

Gorgeous prose. Simple, sweet, evocative.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fly By

Beautiful picture snapped by Cassini, still orbiting Saturn, still waltzing amid the moons and rings. It does a fly-by of Titan in four and a half hours, according to the Cassini site.

I read recently that NASA uses Titan to make changes in Cassini's orbit. The fly-bys change Cassini's trajectory, and allow NASA to swing it pretty much wherever they want. That's how they got it to fly through the vapor plume on Enceladus last year. Quite cool.

That's Titan in the background, tiny Epimetheus in the foreground.

The picture is from the Astronomy Picture of the Day.