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2007-09-03 - 10:48 a.m.

...web pages, futons, and literary criticism

After two days of doing nearly nothing, I am finally feeling a bit more normal, although aches remain ghostlike in my body and occasionally remind me that I'm feeble. Still, I'm going to take advantage of the moment and go for a walk with K.

Two days ago, I realized that K and I need to have a single guest bed - one where upcoming visitors could hang and not feel as though they are stuck in the living room (blighty, this would be you) - and one where *I* can hang when I'm too large and wobbly to haul ass down the stairs every hour of the night to pee....

I searched Vancouver online - always frustrating because web pages out here are about a decade behind, lacking information, and filled with cheesy and useless flash animations that provide no information, play long and repetitive and annoying music, and just generally slow things down. (Next week I'll tell you how I REALLY feel about flash animations...)

I wonder if web pages reflect the household state of the web designer:

TYPE 1: couldn't be bothered to update = house still has the 1950's wood paneling, the plumbing is faulty, and the dishes are in the sink.

TYPE 2: really flashy photography but no content and no clear direction on where to find anything = all of the wood is nicely painted but the roof leaks, the toilet is broken, and the dishes are stored in the hall closet.

TYPE 3: boring, but all the info is there = old "Vancouver Special" house that looks kinda ugly on the outside but has a functional and comfortable layout, everything works, and the dishes are in a logical cupboard in the kitchen.

Just a strange thought there.

Foiled by the internet, I just started calling places, only to discover that there are no real single, chair beds out there. The only cool ones are sold out and if there is an alternative, the salespeople in the store ALSO don't know the chair measurements (which struck me as rather odd and useless.) I did find a beautiful, $2200 solution that I could pay to have shipped here from a furniture store in FRANCE (yeah, a $2000 chair in a house where soon enough a toddler will reign...great idea.)

So I did a quick cruise of craigslist and found a used futon chair and mattress for $80. We drove out to the hinterlands (Richmond, actually) and picked it up. We were happy. We got exactly what we wanted. It looks and smells brand new. It cost us a fraction of what a new thing costs. It contributes to our sense of recycling stuff. AND, once we don't need it anymore, we can just pop that puppy back on craigslist and sell it ourselves. I love craigslist when it works!

So then yesterday, K and I solved the logic puzzle known as futon assembly without instructions. Insert Flap A into Slot C.. HUH? Well it wasn't that tricky with two brains on the task, and we were rather happy that we ended up with something that looked like a chair, and all the pieces had been used. We rearranged the office to make room (thereby throwing out even MORE STUFF :-), and are currently in the process of living happily ever after. This chair is COMFY! I love it. K loves it. Lyra ESPECIALLY loves it:

Took her less than five minutes to put up her little cat flag and permanently colonize the chair. Well, you know. White on white is very appealing.

Anyway, believe or not, this mundane topic was not what I planned to chat about today. The two burning topics in my brain were:

LEAF-BLOWERS: THANK GOD my neighbors don't use them!


LITERARY CRITICISM: Thanks to mimi smartypants I read this really interesting diatribe on modern literature. Myers' point seems to be that the main way to become a critically acclaimed writer these days is to be pretentious. I rather liked many of the points that s/he was making (I've always had trouble plowing through Proulx's writing, although I loved the storyline of Shipping News). But truthfully, a lot of "pot and kettle" flags go up in my brain when a literary critic like Myers starts using phrases like "sonorous tautologies" to prove that the authors are pretentious.. Still, I thought that Myers made some interesting points about what we consider good writing.

In spite of Myers' criticism of Paul Auster's style, I really love Auster's books. I actually found that his "sonorous tautologies" and nonsensical passages serve a purpose in the story - they are generally used to convey the decay of a character's mind. As the characters go insane, they become increasingly repetitive; their thoughts blend nonsensically into one another. I could remember the context of most of the passages that Myers used as examples. Out of context, they seemed ridiculous. In context, they made perfect sense to me. Anyway, it made me want to explore the other authors once again - to see if I agreed with Myers in some cases but not in others, and to see if the literary techniques used by the authors made more sense when considered in context. (maybe not all the pretty horses - I dated a cowboy who LOVED that book, and it kind of turned me off for life...)

There was one point on which I was in perfect agreement: The passage from Saul Bellows' 1947 novel The Victim was beautiful.

Anyway, I don't read such articles very often and this one grabbed my attention. Although I have to say that I was much more taken with smartypants' take on the Superfriends. Yow! Nostalgia bites me AGAIN!!! I noticed that she refers to the Pre-WonderTwin-Power days. That show kinda bit the shark when the wondertwins came in.

So that's enough text for this lovely, holiday monday. Time to do something else....

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