Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blame God

Did you guys see Stevie Johnson's Twitter after Sunday's game? It's pretty awesome.

Oh, and here's his dropped pass.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Quiet Place

The New York City Opera just finished up a run of Leonard Bernstein's early-1980s opera "A Quiet Place," an ill-starred drama never hitched to the repertoire, and in fact being performed in New York for the first time. Sunday was the last performance and I went with Mandy and Tabitha. Tabitha works for an engineering firm, and she pointed out a couple of features of Lincoln Center's recent renovation that she worked on. Maddie came for an Indian buffet lunch beforehand (a high-quality Indian buffet being one of the only, possibly the only, viably priced restaurant option within spitting distance of Lincoln Center), but she had to fly off to Atlanta and back thereafter.

"A Quiet Place" is a challenging opera, not ultimately successful in my mind, but it's worth seeing and well worth the revival. Bernstein extended it as a kind of sequel from his downcast but still effervescent early-1950s one-act "Trouble in Tahiti," which followed a day in the life of an unhappy suburban couple ostensibly living the American dream. (Nate wrote about it earlier this year. There were no zombies in "A Quiet Place.") The earlier opera is entirely embedded as a flashback into the second of three acts. The whole is a ponderous suburban drama, striving to be complex and refusing to provide a real resolution at the end.

"Trouble in Tahiti" is a great little opera: admirably direct, modestly scaled, emotionally straightforward, and laced with a perfectly pitched, ironically perky jazzy spirit. The balance of "A Quiet Place" is not that. The dominant musical mode is a probing, rather dissonant lyricism. There's a heaviness to the music, and even though you frequently hear Bernstein's old get-up-and-go, it's freighted with an extra degree of discord. There are certainly some moving high points, particularly a couple of darkly meditative orchestral interludes.

Bernstein and his librettist, Stephen Wadsworth, pull the unhappy '50s suburban couple of "Trouble" into a decaying family twilight, with the husband (Sam) sullen after the drunk-driving death of the wife (Dinah). The grown kids, Junior and Dede, are nearly estranged from Sam but back for the funeral. Ah yes, and Junior is homosexual and prone to psychotic episodes, so Dede has married his French-Canadian lover Francois so they can live under the same roof and take care of him.

You get the sense that Bernstein and Wadsworth wanted to confront their audience with brutally uncomfortable truth. The root problem is that the operational idea of truth here is some kind of an overcooked latter-day psychoanalysis. So that's when you have Junior getting up on a table in front of mom's coffin in the funeral parlor and dancing a mocking burlesque striptease for dad. (Fortunately the stripping doesn't go further than his overcoat.) In Act II he goes on, even less pleasantly, to accost Francois with delusional memories of being twelve and raping his then-baby sister. Bernstein sets both scenes to jaunty ironic jazz, once again, but it's just too caustic for the music to seem at all appropriate here.

If you can set aside those ten minutes out of the three hours, although I'm not sure I can, then you've got a plot you can relate to somewhat better. Junior delivers an emotionally exposed expression of pain to his father in the closing minutes, which is moving but not really cathartic enough to tie up the opera.

Up in the fourth ring there were some on-and-off problems with voices carrying, particularly in the "Trouble in Tahiti" portions. Which is a shame for "What a Movie!", its delightful shimmering centerpiece. (YouTube has the scene from a relatively recent BBC production of the show.) The performances otherwise seemed great. I don't have anything smart to say about the staging, but it seemed apt to me.

The production was largely the child of the NYCO's director, George Steel, who took over the company a couple years ago in the midst of a profound finance/leadership shitstorm. I'm not really aware of the current state of the City Opera, or how much they're still weathering the same; but "A Quiet Place," I think, is its first major gambit since then, and I do hope they achieve some stability. Productions like this add so much to the classical life of the city.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Safe from [the] Sting but Still Uncomfortable

Aren't I just blogging in the last couple days like I've got nothing better to do? Hopefully I'll settle back down here in Miami and stop being on the internet so much. But until then, here is some internet awesomeness:

I like poems about the weather and about either apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic times. This is a great poem about the weather with awesome apocalyptic foreboding looming over it, which is here presented as part of this awesome Canadian random-people-reading-poems project. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Other Thing I Did Over the Weekend

Okay... the sports bump has occurred. Now, here's the much bigger news from my weekend. O, Miami, the poetry festival that I'm co-founding here in Miami, Florida, has officially been announced to the world. We announced our presence, ambition, and intentions to a large crowd that had gathered at Miami's Book Fair International, to hear Patti Smith read from her new memoir. Here's an article about the evening.

There's plenty of write-ups about the evening out there on the interweb, but I choose this one because the picture there of Patti happens to be caught right at the end of our introduction, which involved gathering 80-odd people to stand up and read Rimbaud's sonnet "Vowels." People stood up and joined in with Scott as he stood on stage as official introducer for Patti, entering in sub-masses with each of the vowels as they were mentioned in the poem. By the end, it was pretty loud and awesome. There should be video of the thing here on the "net" eventually, at which point I'll share it.

But Patti did shout us out before leading a sing along of her own hit song "Because the Night," so that was extra-specially-validating. Since Scott and I didn't really know, as we conceived of the poem-action, if it would really go over or not, but it definitely became part of an evening that was important for a lot of folks. Auspicious beginnings for O, Miami!

Pittsburgh Proletarians Pummel Pillagers

Sorry for dumping Pete's Cyclops anti-fan-art from the top of the blog as he predicted, but: Pittsburgh did prevail over the Bay Area Bandits this afternoon, winning 35 to 3 in a game that the Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette calls, in his crustily trenchant style, "not as close as the score indicated".

I didn't see much of it -- I was in Seattle with Kyle overnight, visiting friends of hers who were there for the weekend -- but while we were packing up the hotel room this morning I caught the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, enough to see the Steelers' solid, sufficiently balanced first touchdown drive. I also got to see the defense starting to tighten all the way down on Oakland, despite Ryan Clark drawing a fifteen-yard penalty for having a reputation for helmet-to-helmet hits, that on a play in which he smacked his head into a receiver somewhere around the middle of the shoulder blades. (The NFL's new, slightly less nominal commitment to preventing long-term brain damage: I probably shouldn't be so cynical about it, but it still leads to some pretty crappy officiating!) Having built up some football-emotional scar tissue since this time last season I was able to easily turn away and not worry about the very real possibility of a late-game Steelers meltdown but I'm glad the team sealed the deal this time: They'd been beaten twice in a row since 2006 by worse Raiders teams and Oakland, based on what I saw of their defense on the hotel TV, looks like it's slouching towards actually legit this year.

I haven't read more than the initial game summary, nor should I probably expend any more of my limited time on this pale blue dot we call Earth familiarizing myself of the details of a game already won. But I did at least get my random jolt of unearned happiness from it, rather than a random jolt of unwarranted sadness.

New Computer Art on That Other Blog

I've got a delectable MS Paint portrait of Cyclops (from the X-Men), over on the Audioshocker. Check it out!

(And part of me thinks I should have waited until one or the other of the twins posted something about the Steelers game first, before posting this, since it's now going to get pretty immediately dumped from the top spot, but that's okay...)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yeah, So, I'm Getting Less Certain That I Really Understand How the Sun Works

To continue the conversation about sunrise/sunset times and the calendar. . . .

Why doesn't the winter solstice feature the latest sunrise and earliest sunset of the year? The gist of it is that solar noon -- that is, the time at which the sun reaches its greatest height in the sky -- doesn't match up with what we call noon according to our clock time. The time between solar noons is not exactly 24 hours, so solar noon occurs at a slightly different clock time every day. (Today, in New Haven, solar noon was at about 11:36 AM. It varies by latitude.) Approaching the winter solstice, solar noon is creeping later by a good 30 seconds every day. So even though there's less daylight, it occurs later in the day; and the net effect pushes the sunset time later. Of course you're absolutely getting your ass handed to you in terms of sunrise time while this is happening.

You can read about this at the EarthSky website, here and here. (Note that these articles are pre-posted for some reason and dated in December 2010, so their sense of "now" isn't accurate yet.)

In a vague sense I understand this to be about the usual season-inducing combination of Earth's tilt and its path as it rotates around the sun, but I still haven't gotten my mind wrapped around the specifics yet. You can take a gander at your local solar noon calendar here. Connecticut's earliest solar noon was two weeks ago (11:35, although that's 12:35 counting daylight savings time), and I can't figure out why a pivot point in the calendar cycle would happen in early November. Mysteries for another day.

I feel like there must be some family ancestors, like farmer types, who would have been absolutely appalled that a descendant of theirs would have been this unaware of daylight cycles for so long. I blame it on clock time and that devil's electricity.

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Also via EarthSky, there's a Blue Moon this Sunday, at least by one definition. Remember, stay safe! If I'm remembering my Maine Farmer's Almanac correctly, on Blue Moon nights it is the plight of certain accursed souls to wander the woods from sundown to sunup, hideously transformed into the form of a 1950s doo-wop bass man. Do not get bitten by one of them, not unless you want to be a bass man too.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


"It's not the cold, it's the darkness" is my favorite winter cliché (and one that I like a lot better than its summer analogue about heat/humidity), so I'll go ahead and observe the crushing late-afternoon darkness now descending on the moderately northern reaches of our fair hemisphere.

Earlier this week I had a beautiful view of a couple of winter sunsets from my desk at work, with a bright, chalk-white crescent moon tracing its gradual arc, Monday against bands of pink and lavender clouds, Tuesday and Wednesday against a limpid blue deepening luxuriously into its darker hues. Underneath the sky were silhouetted the familiar churchly and collegiate spires of my southerly window-view. It's picturesque, but it also blows inasmuch as it's transpiring at 4:30 in the afternoon. Also, this week there's been cloud cover, so it's no limpidity and all blow.

Similar to the situation with the equilux, there are some not-really-intuitive calendrical markers involved. Let's go to the tape, by which I mean Naval Oceanography Portal.

The shortest day of the year is, of course, the cold solstice: nine hours and eleven minutes of light here in the Elm City, on December 20 this year. However, for reasons that I can't figure out intuitively (and therefore am too frustrated to try to look up) the earliest sunset occurs rather earlier, bottoming out at 4:22 PM between December 5 and December 11. (These are all New-Haven-specific figures.) So today's sunset at 4:32 is only ten minutes better than the minimum.

Meanwhile, sunrise keeps sliding later in the day until early January, when between New Year's and the 7th it's at 7:18 in the morning. That's 37 minutes later than today.

But it's the end-of-workday darkness that's most affecting, of course. On the plus side it doesn't get significantly worse after daylight saving time ends. On the minus side, it doesn't get significantly better until mid to late January, and even then it's still getting dark at 5.

My main interest in all of this is that I've never really noticed these varying minima and maxima before. I've lost touch with nature even more than I thought! Good thing there's the Internet.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Steelers 26, Pat Mammals 39

Is there a single word for a team just getting rolled in every facet?

The season's very much not over, but the Steelers could win the next three Super Bowls and still not really resolve the issue that New England has just embarrassed them every time Matt Cassel hasn't started for the past ten years.

Maybe it's a bit much to ask an already-depleted team to win with Hines Ward and Lawrence Timmons both knocked out for long stretches of the game. But, man, they just looked like they were completely outplayed on almost every series.

William Gay, too, continues to have a Zelig-like presence within nearly every pass play on which the Steelers' defense gets torched.

I do feel more psychologically stable than I remember feeling the last time the Steelers gave up that may points, back in the AFC Championship after the '04 season, when they were similarly trounced by the Pats at home. Live to play another game.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Salty Licorice Symphony

I think it's more Jack's bag to blog about tourist-ing, but I just axed my poem about tourist-ing from my manuscript-of-pooems (yes, I have one of those), so I guess that frees me up to share my trip to the Sibelius monument in Helsinki, a few weeks ago. These pictures, though, I guess still pale in comparison to the-picture-I-haven't-actually-seen-for-like-nine-years of me plugging my ears and frowning at Schoenberg's grave:

"Beach baby, beach baby give me your hand..."

Just act casual, try to blend in...

Friday, November 12, 2010

RIP Henryk Gorecki

The Polish composer Henryk Gorecki has died, as Jack told me via email. It's sad news, as with any artist whose work you like a lot.

His third symphony, the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs", was made into an astonishingly popular crossover album by Dawn Upshaw and David Zinman on the Nonesuch label (as Jack also noted, it's surprising that the work is so rarely programmed, given that burst of popularity). That work's second movement would be the obvious elegy but here instead is the second movement of his harpsichord concerto: I've always liked him best for his odd, celestial sense of musical humor, which frequently and arbitrarily flips for me, the way an optical illusion does, into spiritual seriousness.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Two Weeks Ago in Creativity

Many of you, if not recently, then over the years, have received postcards in the mail from me (if you haven't, and would like one, get me your address (through whichever one of us you know), and I'll send you one). I did a fair amount of postcarding from Berlin, but also, for the first time, painted (in acrylic), for I think the first time ever, on actual canvas. I left two of them hanging on the wall in the kitchen of the flat where I lived. A friend of mine just sent me a picture of them, so I thought I would share:

I don't claim to be a painter, but I think some of the colors are nice (and I've heard from some others that the colors are nice, giving me the courage to share these here).

Sour Tooth

Over the summer, before my time in Berlin, I had been hosting a more-or-less weekly (maybe every other weekly?) vegetarian potluck throughout May, June, and July. One time, a friend of mine, at the end of the night, left behind two pints of Häagen-Daaz ® ice cream in my freezer and a bottle of white wine in my refrigerator. Now, I don't usually eat much ice cream (I, would-be vegan (don't worry, I still eat plenty of dairy and egg-containing things (e.g. pancakes) in social situations (okay, I wanted those pancakes, they were my idea, I'm not an aspiring vegan, not really)) that I am, stray mostly towards sorbet, especially in at-home situations), and pretty much never drink white wine. But, there they were, and at the time I was feeling pretty down; some preemptive seasonal affect in mid-summer, perhaps. And it seemed like my friend was telling me "Hey, Pete, it's okay, rent some Sex in the City, curl up on the futon, and drink this white wine, eat these pints of ice cream, and then you can cry yourself to sleep."

But since Jack let the cat bag out of it about my current hiatus from alcoholic distractions, I tell this story because my friend, over the weekend (we were in St. Augustine, at a third friend's family's beach house. They were drinking beer, I was rocking out an apfelschorle and eating some ginger snaps and lemon sorbet), he asked, "Hey Pete! Do you have a sweet tooth now that you stopped drinking?" To which indeed I had to admit, I do. Which we all agreed makes a lot of sense, since alcohol is essentially just sugar. But I'm really not thrilled at the thought of having a sogenannte "sweet tooth," nor at the implication that my beer elitism was really just me candy-storing.

To this point in my life, I have identified three teeth that I have:

1) Bitter tooth. This is the tooth which, historically, I have probably been proudest of. Favorite vegetables: broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale. Coffee taken: black. Number me amongst the almonds, yo.

2) Spicy tooth. Probably not as insanely immune to capsaicin as I was a few years ago, but I still do occasionally special-order hot sauce from Belize, and can eat most hot peppers with red-in-the-face-and-sweating-but-still-calm aplomb. A friend of mine in Berlin turned me on to a hot sauce made from that pepper from India that they're now weaponizing. Violent. Delicious.

3) Sour tooth. I am a huge fan of the Cape Gooseberry.

I just don't see how a sweet tooth can fit in with all of this, except for:

Sweet & Sour
and lots of spicy things are sweet too.

So maybe I just don't want to be eating anything that's sweet for sweetness's sake? I mean, I swear by dark chocolate and crystallized ginger (bittersweet & sweet 'n' spicy, respectively). And a thing which I would like to actually stop consuming is refined sugar, since its processed with bone charcoal, so I guess I'll end up paying more attention to this.

But there it is, what we all knew, what a sweet guy I am.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Steelers 27, Bengals 21

Yeah, so, about that. I definitely woke up from some inchoate Steelers-Bengals dreams this morning, but they won inside my head, too.

I took the bus up to Hamden and the sports bar there, to watch with my Pittsburgh friend Andrea, who I haven't seen in forever. So for the first half it's just social and easygoing, and she leaves at halftime since it's late and the Steelers have a pretty big lead.

And I come close to leaving early after they go up 27–7, too. But I know better than that. Good thing, too, because why would you skip out on that delightful grinding feeling you get inside when the Steelers play 4th-quarter football. I know it's a game of inches. It also appears to be a game of pounds-per-square-inch, or whatever you use to measure James Harrison just barely pushing the ball out of the grip of a rookie tight end on the 2-yard-line to force a turnover on downs, with all of 45 seconds left. (Player of the game, though, is whoever was covering T.O. on the failed 3rd-and-5 pass into the end zone.) The Bengals came out of the gate completely inept, and for parts of the third quarter it looked like they'd almost given up on offense. Screwy.

Football-wise, the Steelers obviously have a lot of unanswered questions, such as "What the fuck?" (That counts as an unanswered question, right?) I'm going to try to stay in a happy place, specifically Antwaan Randle El heaving a touchdown pass to Mike Wallace.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Contra Blahs, plus Brief Coffee Note

In the direction of an actually useful Seasonal Affective Disorder note, this list of winter well-being tips seems reasonable. I haven't tried any of it, but anything that includes "stay hydrated" passes my "seems reasonable" test. Also, regularly gargling with salt water appears to be extremely useful, both to prevent colds and to soothe them.

Yessir, good solid folk wisdom from th' Internet.

One should responsibly, I guess, not conflate actual Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a diagnosable mental health issue, and regular old non-pathological blahs. I have no blahs yet, but we just turned the clocks back, so stay tuned!

* * * * *
I thought my coffee tastes were developing over time, but I have to admit, I brewed a cup of Rite Aid House Blend this morning and it tastes completely satisfactory to me.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Bringer of Not Particularly Old Age

Where did I just read that little things can strike you more sharply and surprisingly than big things? I haven't given much thought in recent years either to the downgrading of Pluto to non-planet status or to the relentless passage of time, but both peculiarly snapped to the front of my mind at Burgerville this evening. Burgerville's a regional chain of fast food restaurants committed to using seasonal, regional ingredients to make a product about two-thirds of the way closer to actual food than the Double Whopper. I almost never eat fast food for dinner anymore but I was at work for longer than expected due to fixing some automated website feature tests that, werewolf-like, only fail at night due to the vagaries of time zones -- trying to write any date-sensitive code quickly aligns me with the prairie-dwellers of the mid-nineteenth century who so hated the incursion of railroad time into their towns; seriously, it's Satan's spawn, this synchronization of everyone's clocks. And having fixed them (at least for the time being, for who knows what tomorrow will bring, once it's the same day as it is in Greenwich again) I decided to reward myself, you know, by doing something terrible for my body. Terrible yet regional and seasonal.

Actually I picked up a spicy bean burger and a small sweet potato fries, which don't sound too vicious. Anyway, on the counter there were a few crayons and printed coloring-book-type sheets of paper, presumably for bored children. The sheet's a picture of the solar system (not to scale, of course; that would take too much black crayon) with a jumble for each of the planet's names -- "NTAURS" for Saturn; "CURRYME" for Mercury, which just made me wish I were eating at East India Company instead. All pretty standard, marginally educational fare, but what grabbed me is that Pluto is not on the sheet:

I explained this to Kyle later and she was completely unmoved by Pluto's absence, on account of it not being a planet anymore, but in the moment I had this odd reaction of, "Huh, when I was a kid Pluto would have been on there. Guess kids aren't learning about Pluto anymore." And, with that, a strange and disproportionate sense that things do in fact change.

Meanwhile, as you can see, the copy that I took home with me to scan already had Jupiter colored in, albeit completely wrong; I don't know what it looks like but I'd say Uranus at best. So the lesson here, children, is always finish the jumble before you start coloring, otherwise you'll have no idea how you should fill in that circle. Although honestly, given the level of detail, I think that was probably done by an adult, or at least someone old enough to know better. Maybe it's a pathological aspect of my personality but I just can't imagine coloring in Jupiter without actually trying to make it look like Jupiter. There's already so much junk science out there as it is.

There's more to say about this picture, such as why it says "Asteroid Belt" instead of "ROIDETAS LETB" or what the crap are those squiggly lines, but perhaps there's little more worth saying. The bean burger, incidentally, is a pretty delicious item, and sweet potato fries are an awesome sweet/savory vector for one of nature's alleged superfoods. Not maximally good for you but not actually so terrible after all.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


I feel unexpectedly touched or startled by obituaries for people I'm only obliquely aware of. One of the New Yorker cartoonists died last week, Leo Cullum. I don't know any of the cartoonists' names besides Roz Chast, and Cullum's cartoons aren't a huge thing to take for granted, but it's still a little surprise to recognize that there are little things that you do take for granted. I don't know how you'd describe his wor: the ink-washy ones where the eyes kind of blend together? I don't take his cartoons as iconic, but they were unpretentious and reliable and I liked them being in the magazine.

This week saw the passing of Charlie O'Donnell, 78, who was the announcer for Wheel of Fortune. The voice that says "Wheel! of! Fortune!" seems too permanent of a small cultural ubiquity to be attached to an obituary, and like the New Yorker cartoons I never really thought fully of a person being behind it. But there you go.

Pete Is Bought Pancakes, and Other Sunday Astoriana

Pete writes to me "Thanks for buying me pancakes!" I appreciate the sentiment: anytime! However, the phrasing is a bit cold, suggestive of a businesslike pancake transaction. So here's some extra context, for the sake of camaraderie or local color. Also I should get around to my new year's resolution of actually writing about things that happen.

I was in NYC over the weekend while Pete was coming through, and that worked out well. He had this poetry festival thing on Saturday (and then he had jet lag) but we met up Sunday. Actually, he was staying with a friend literally a street away from Maddie's apartment in Astoria. That made things pretty easy.

He came over around 10 AM for coffee and mimosas. That's when I found out that he quit drinking while in Berlin. So we chatted, and Maddie and I each had a mimosa and a half, since she'd already made three of them. How the hell she used the entire bottle of champagne in making them I still don't know, but anyway, that's how I drank half a bottle of champagne before breakfast. Hey, it's noon somewhere.

Pancake breakfast was in a high-quality neighborhood diner somewhat misleadingly named "Lite Bites." We all got pancakes, which like much on their menu are not particularly lite, but food is tasty and the waitstaff are friendly there. We got all caught up.

In the early afternoon we wandered down Broadway (Astoria Broadway, of course) to the Isamu Noguchi Museum, down by the river. Noguchi (d. 1988) had a studio space across the street from there, so the place has a nice authenticity to it. Noguchi's sculptures are largely stone, often vertical (I guess you'd say) or monument-like, and expressive of clean abstract forms and variety in surface texture. The Museum is partly postindustrial showroom, partly outdoor rock garden of sorts. I've always liked it there. On the same block is the Socrates Sculpture Park, which is artistically a bit modest but affords a pleasant enough river view along with some fenced-off Mark DiSuvero pieces-in-progress. In conversation, Pete says it "SOH-crates," phonetically, like in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

Weather was chilly and clear, good for neighborhood walking. Broadway was full of daytime trick-or-treaters in store-bought costumes and plastic pumpkin tubs of candy. Outer borough living can be good living.

The Goggles! They Do Nothing!

Mostly because I don't like when notes about Steelers games remain as the top post on our blog for more than a couple days, here's a small anecdote:

I have a mild astigmatism in my eyeballs. It's barely astigmatism (an astigmatism?), but enough to make things blurry, especially in darkness, in direct light, or little shit far away. So I have glasses. But I only wear them when I need to. Like when I'm in the audience of something and want to see what's going on on stage or on screen. Over the weekend, I was in New York City (thanks for buying me pancakes, Jack!), and on Saturday, went to this daylong "Poets Forum," which was a series of short panel discussions about some poetry things.

So I took my glasses, in case I wanted to see what was going on on stage. But I didn't want to see what was going on on stage, so my glasses stayed in their case in my friend Jen's purse. Where they remained, even as I boarded my plane and flew back to Miami.

In Miami, I spend most of the working hours of the working days sitting at my little laptop. Which has a screen about the size of a 8.5x11 piece of paper, and a pretty high resolution, such that I need my glasses to read text on the screen comfortably. So I had Jen overnight my glasses to me. I'm wearing them now; things are much better. In the meantime, though, I decided, since it was really an issue to try and work while really being unable to see what I was typing without induce serious eyestrain, I went to a local Target (pronounced "Target"), to buy a pair of reading glasses, figuring that they would help (the shock of going to Target for the first time after shopping only in stores designed for humans for the last three months was also, uh, shocking (reading glasses were in "A block,"--I couldn't find them myself, and needed to ask a redshirt where they was)).

Sometimes, when I mention to folks that I wear my glasses to read a lot of the time, and a brief conversation ensues about my eyeballs, it comes up that it seems not correct that I would claim to have nearly "perfect" vision (still sitting around 25/20, I believe), but mild astigmatism (a mild astigmatism (of mild stigmatism?)?) and then need glasses to read little words on pages. Like this should require, apparently, reading glasses. But reading glasses didn't really help that much. They're just magnifying glasses. So I feel vindicated.

And if I hang onto the reading glasses, maybe I'll be ready for when I'm old, and finally have time to read again, before I accidentally break them, despite being the last man on the planet with just books and books and books.