May 26th, 2008


Hysterical is the New Calm

Here's how it works. On your birthday, any icon is appropriate. And here it is -04. Ten hours and three minutes into -04. The good news is that the mounting chaos of the move means I've hardly had time to lament my birthday or the passing of time or age or my own mortality. The bad news is I have thirteen hours and fifty-six minutes until it is no longer my birthday. I want to thank everyone who has been kind enough to send a present, but, sigh, I packed the list. I only have one of the names. The rest will have to wait until I unpack the list (which is actually not a list, but a bundle of receipt thingies). But I can thank William G. Matthews for the incredibly generous gift of the gorgeous Collector's Edition of Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, a 7-disc set full of outtakes and rarities. I have been in love with Wayne's album since its initial release in June 1978 (that number keeps coming up lately). So, thank you William, and thanks to all the others whom I cannot properly thank until I unpack your names.

Just got an email from my mother, in reference to my entry last night about the Phoenix and Apollo 11, and all it reads is, "Actually, it was the middle of the night when they landed, and I made you stay up and watch it." And I suppose she's not just trying to mess with my head, because, in fact, Neil Armstrong made his descent to the lunar surface at 2:56 UTC. But I do not recall that part, being up so late. Memory, especially across the gulf of 39 years, is, at best, an approximation. Never mind that I was a sleepy five-year-old at the time.

Meanwhile, I awoke this morning with a headache, to the latest round of moving drama. Though United Van Lines is ferrying most of our things up to Providence, Spooky will also be driving a second truck with more precious "overload" we don't trust to the movers (and Byron will be driving her car). This morning, U-Haul called to say that we'd "received a free upgrade, at no extra cost," and that our reservation of a 10'-foot truck had been "upgraded" to a 14'-foot truck. But. We do not need a 14'-foot truck, and Spooky doubted she could drive it. As they refused to "downgrade" us again (this is, naturally, all doublespeak meant to conceal the fact they overbook), she canceled the reservation, and now we've reserved a 12-foot truck from Penske. Fuck you, U-Haul.

Last night there was panic, as we realized that we had about three days of hard packing left and only two days to do it (since we have to go back to Birmingham tomorrow and can't actually be packing while the movers are loading on Thursday). We still have lamps and electronics and more framed pictures, most of the kitchen and the glass display-case shelves (10 of them) and most of our clothes. We have today and Wednesday to do all this. Spooky's heading to Staples or Office Depot or somewhere like that shortly to get more boxes. I'm just sick of this whole affair. Moving is, in fact, worse than writing. And I don't mean to sound like an old lady (really, really, I don't), of this morning, my face hurts (tooth/ear), I'm trying to deal with my damn, screwed-up feet (the neuromas), this headache, sleep deprivation, and the fact that I hurt my back yesterday. At least I took the last of the damned doxycycline yesterday about one pm, so screw you, Miss Tick.

Late last night, trying to wind down and too tired to pack more, we watched Menno Meyjes' Martian Child (2007), which had come in from Netflix and seemed appropriate. A sweet, smart, and thoroughly engaging film. A great cast. I think I can actually picture John Cusack as Deacon in Daughter of Hounds, which just seems odd, but works in my head. So, since I know you're reading this, John, please have your people call my people at UTA. They'll fly me out, and we'll do lunch, or what the hell ever, and get the ball rolling. Throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. Set the wheels in motion. Give Deke a few more lines. See if Elle Fanning's available for Emmie. I'm sure we can lure del Toro away from The Hobbit for this. Sure. You bet'cha.

And no, Sirenia Digest #30 has not gone out yet. Today, most likely.

You know, if Julien calls from UTA today to tell me that John Cusack's on the line, my brain will explode....

Addedum: Urf

Spooky's out walking Hubero by twilight, so I thought I'd summon the energy for a short entry.

My thanks to everyone who's left birthday wishes today. Really. I think I might hardly have noticed it has been my birthday, otherwise (though Spooky did give me a drad Chistopher Eccleston/Doctor Who action figure).

Tonight, I am very grateful for the existence of Tiger Balm patches. I have no doubt I will be twice as grateful this time tomorrow.

Somehow, despite all the packing, I managed to finish Ronald Rainger's An Agenda for Antiquity (1991) today, a biography of paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn. It's an extremely well-documented and unbiased examination, warts and all. I'm not a great fan of Osborn's, for too many reasons to list, but I think Rainger sums it up nicely in his closing paragraph:

Osborn's legacy is ambiguous. In certain respects it is easy to dismiss him as a pompous and rather ridiculous figure whose interpretations had little or no influence. His status and authority derived largely from connections to wealthy and powerful New Yorkers. His scientific interpretations failed to incorporate the leading conceptual and methodological developments of the day and were influenced by social and political values. Yet he played an important role in developing early twentieth-century American vertebrate paleontology. Osborn, particularly in his later years, was a bloated, egotistical figure whose views required reinterpretation; nevertheless he established the institutional foundations and promoted the scientific research that would effect that reinterpretation.

Byron dropped by to help with some heavy lifting, but couldn't stay long. I changed our Netflix account to the new street address in Providence. Spooky got me a cake (I'd told her not to).