five years

Sep. 11th, 2006 05:15 pm
When I first found out who had been behind the 9/11 attacks, my first thought (selfish, involuntary) was: "Oh good, it wasn't anybody who looks like me."
Someone has taken a brush and painted across the world. Gray of clouds reflects on pavement, on cars; watercolor shades blunt the greenness of grass and trees. Edges are gone. The tail lights of other cars peer back at me with red, gleaming eyes. Droplets of water spray across my roof and windshield, providing an uneven drumbeat of background sound. In this landscape, the news broadcasts on the radio seem strange, unreal; I flick a button and surround myself instead with soft singing, jazzy piano notes. Isolation complete: wind and water outside but I'm enclosed, warm and dry.

Traffic piles up suddenly on the other side of the interstate, white-yellow headlights paused in ragged parallel. I had not marked the cause but the result is clear: wet pavement full of stopped cars. I feel a distant empathy for them, for their helplessness and puzzlement. My side of the highway continues along smoothly, but with differences. The blue sedan had been tailgating the white station wagon; now it backs off, gains distance. Mortality as reminder: life is more important than timeliness.

I have my blinker on even before I realize that I've reached my exit ramp; the green sign had become invisible behind slick green leaves. I've put navigation on autopilot. The rest of me is busy staring outside, watching the disappearance of the familiar. Water slides down the windows, filming over the passing fields.

Forty minutes in the car but when I finally pull into my parking space, I'm still not quite certain where I am.
1. re: free C1AL15 now!!!
My personal email account has been discovered by the spambots. Since I don't generally post the address, it means that someone I correspond with isn't guarding their address book properly. How many individuals can you give your private email to before one of them accidentally leaks it? You've got to assume the worst, and balance spam against the pleasure of simple communication.

2. hey, he's in my hair
When I got home today, I found that my bangs had swept off to the left, leaving a triangle of bare forehead above my right eyebrow. Not a normal look for me, but it's my father's hair. It was kind of jarring to see his face in mine, staring at me from my bathroom mirror. Reminds me that I'm not so much an individual as I am a composite structure, bits of preexisting people thrown randomly together.

3. you, get off my range
There were three (three! oh sweet luxury) altos at practice this evening. Generally I only sing with B2 and we blend fairly well by now. The new woman was hitting the notes so our part was wonderfully audible, but she uses head voice where we use chest voice. Clashed a bit and the sound gained an odd biting quality. I found myself singing deep in my throat, fighting back with an exaggerated hollowness.

4. back to kindergarten
but really, I think I'd be okay with all of this if I were just a bit better at sharing.

5. oh by the way
Someone left a copy of Into the Wild, one that looks fairly new-bought and has a yellow sticky marking the Thoreau quote at the beginning of chapter 17. Any takers? And speaking of book club, whoever left the Bruschetta-in-a-jar ([ profile] meercat? [ profile] snidegrrl?), it's absolutely delicious. I bought mozzarella just to accompany it. Mmm, tomato.
Robots is a decent movie, cute and v. predictable, message clear as day: you're quite special just the way you are, etc. Rather disturbing relationship between the main villain and his mother, but enough shenanigans by Robin Williams' character to distract me. I particularly liked the Rube Goldberg element; there's a domino theme throughout the movie, and I really loved the transport machine that took five minutes and myriad dizzying changes of direction to deliver two reeling robots to their destination.

After hearing me burble about Rube Goldberg, K was kind enough to send this link:

Go to
-- Click on Music
-- Click on the Video link next to "An Honest Mistake"
-- Then it should pop up.

Click. Really. It's worth it.

In other news, I've been going to NASA's Eyes on the Sky lectures over at Goddard. Today's was essentially a Hubble slide show but the first few were much more technical; they've been catching me up with current theories, cosmic strings and dark energy and the like. (Apparently we've learned a lot more about the universe in the last ten years; my high school education is unsettlingly out of date.) The scientists are peering into the stuff that forms our universe, working backwards to root causes. Cosmologists are a strange breed; they think nothing of saying things like "our galaxy was probably formed out of a quantum fluctuation during the Big Bang. Lucky accident for us, eh?"

They seem so cheerful at the thought. Me, I have to fight off the existential dread.
A bit ago, [ profile] cheetahmaster posted a link to the speech made by the president of Harvard at a recent conference. It was made particularly notable for his implications that women in science and technology are not only socially hampered, but are by their very nature indisposed to those fields.

No points for guessing how I feel about that, considering my gender and my chosen field. Took it all rather personally, I'm afraid. Yes, there's quite a bit of societal pressure going on, but... genetic? (Is he calling me unnatural?)

The bit that struck me was Mr Summers's use of his children as illustration: So I think, while I would prefer to believe otherwise, I guess my two and a half year old twin daughters who were not given dolls and who were given trucks, and found themselves saying to each other, look, daddy truck is carrying the baby truck, tells me something. And I think it's just something that you probably have to recognize.

cut for tangential discussion of my own childhood toys )

Poor Mr Summers; after carefully not giving dolls to his daughters, he finds them mothering their trucks instead. So girls anthropomorphosize objects; so what? In what possible way does the girls' mothering instinct imply anything about their technical aptitude? The traits have nothing to do with one another. They could overlap, I suppose; I've been known to find onboard components "cute." Makes me a bit odd, perhaps, but it doesn't impact on my technical ability.


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