One more for the blogs among you

Sometime over the summer I will celebrate my favorite blogs during Blog Week, as reviewed and selected by me, but this weekend I have a visitor* and another opera (same opera) and a brunch day to attend, and betwixt all that—well, these naps aren't gonna take themselves.

From Tim Bray, Still Blogging in 2017:

I wonder what the Web will be like when we’re a couple more generations in? I’m pretty sure that as long as it remains easy to fill a little bit of the great namespace with your words and pictures, people will.

The great danger is that the Web’s future is mall-like: No space really pubic, no storefronts but national brands’, no visuals composed by amateurs, nothing that’s on offer just for its own sake, and for love.

Here’s a visual composed by an amateur.

God bless the amateurs.

via kottke.org (blog)

*This is my friend Tucc, not a euphemism for a mouse and/or gentleman caller

For a good time, read

Kaitlyn Tiffany is my favorite writer at The Verge, because she's sharp, funny, and charming and appreciates many random, unrelated things with enthusiasm. (!! An important habit / skill.) Also because she loves blogs. As who doesn't? Blogs are the best. Here she is with an appreciation of—what else—Martha Stewart as "the perfect blogger":

Martha isn’t stuck in the past. She loves Facebook Live (see this “FBL” art she made out of blueberries), and she has one of the wittiest and strangest Twitter accounts you’re likely to find. But she realizes and respects the long-forgotten secret about blogging — that blogs are as much about the act as they are about the content, and that consistency and longevity are the only qualities in blogging worth respecting. Anyone can write about the first peacock they buy. Only a world-class blogger will write about every peacock they purchase and every thing that happens to each one. Anyone can share a personal story in hopes of aiding someone with a menial task. Only a truly exceptional blogger will do that every day for over 3,000 days and show no signs of stopping. Martha, possibly, has done her research and knows that blogging consistently is good for you. In any case, she made the promise of being there, and she has followed up.

p.s. yay blogs!

See also: the Jake Gyllenhaal newsletter, the memes of Trump's first 100 days, 10 things you can learn from a terrible twitter account, using Mike Huckabee as the medium's bête noire ("Here’s a tweet that doesn’t have a hashtag. You can see how it’s better."), my winter happy place is Sarah Jessica Parker's weird, gross Instagram, I have owned a Fitbit for one day

Daily intel

The winner for a backpack I can lug all my quotidian crap around in without crushing my clavicle or resorting to a second bothersome carryall is this North Face Pivoter (unisex) rig. In the front compartment alone I can fit: three pairs of glasses (regular, progressive, sun); a makeup bag filled with tampons and lip balm; a book; an umbrella; evacuation shoes; a roll of shipping tape; chopsticks; an apple; some trail mix; and two boxes of kleenex. It's purely accidental that I pack like some half-hearted survivalist in training, so please don't ask questions. Some of us make choices, some of us just chuck it all in there. (The main compartment is for your flatter items such as laptops or magazines or file folders, if you live in 1975). Why everybody in the world doesn't already own this bag is beyond me! "Stylish" may be a stretch, but still. When I die feel free to bury me in it.

You want a piece of my heart

Look at these two beautiful, hairy bozos in what the internet tells me is 1992, a year (decade) in which I also had a lot of hair (still do btw). I like to think of them as a bumbling comedy duo called Spanx! who solve cute, wholesome crimes to pay the bills, like The Case of the Missing Bowling Shoes, or The Great Pancake Breakfast Caper.

And this is Spanx! at the Beacon Theatre last Friday night, which I spent at the opera/hotel bar area instead, drinking biers and crying, even though this "conversation" happened right here in my neighborhood. New York City has taught me a lot of lessons about loss and the importance of not double-booking one's own personal calendar, that's for sure.

Not so hairy now, are we fellas?

Der Rosenkavalier at the Met

Sublime, thy name is the last 20 minutes of Act III of Der Rosenkavalier. I will also grant you the last 20 minutes of Act I and the 20 minutes that fall somewhere round the end of the first third of Act II, but the rest is a Thanksgiving turkey that's been stuffed with everything inside the refrigerator: pretty on the outside but too too too, too much. (Too much retinue bumbling, for example, too much bellowing from the odious Baron Ochs, and too much laughter had from the forced betrothal of an innocent young woman to the same odious man. So thanks for that, America! j/k, it's obviously German.)

Time, it is a curious thing.

This from the Marschallin, our melancholy heroine, in an opera about love and youth and beauty and everything passing by.

She is feeling old (at 32!); her husband is off shooting things in Croatia and she knows her young lover Octavian (17!) will soon grow tired of her. Rebuffing his efforts to cheer her (Act I), she must then apologize when he begins to cry: “Now I even have to console the boy for his leaving me sooner or later,” she sings, O sadder but wise girl, knowingly sending him off to deliver a silver rose to the one who will unwittingly become his next love. But first she tries to explain her mood to him, a thing he cannot understand because he's 17, and only a boy after all: “At times I get up in the middle of the night and stop all the clocks,” she tells him. “All of them.”

It hurts, this scene, how badly she wants to hold on, and how fiercely she resists. Time is sand. Life is water. We would value nothing if it lasted forever. And we shed a tear for her (well okay, I do), because while he swears his fidelity with all the passionate sincerity a 17-year-old boy can muster, he also up and falls in love—at first sight—with the poor girl to whom he delivers the rose at the top of the very next act.*

*This I know, having seen the opera many times before. Last night, however, we skipped all of Act II and both intermissions (~100 minutes, give or take) and hopped across the street to the Empire Hotel to unwind with a couple of biers. "Life is too short for Act II of Rosenkavalier" is something you can tattoo on my forehead. Feel free to share with others.

Ahem: but all of this, ultimately, is not why one sits through 4+ long hours in the balcony of the Metropolitan Opera surrounded by the Upper West Side's finest. Alas, one goes for three soprano roles: the famed Marschallin (Renée Fleming, all languorous good humor and noblesse oblige), Octavian (a believably pouty and proud Elīna Garanča), and Sophie (Erin Morley, pretty and bright). And, more specifically, one goes for those last 20 minutes, which include the loveliest trio in all opera—what is for two a beginning and one a goodbye.

I chose to love him
in the right way,
so that I would love even
his love for another! I truly didn't believe
that I would have to bear it so soon!

Twenty minutes of music that is the pure heart of longing, so sublime (see?) that I wept and wept, then wept some more. (Newsflash: Sally cried, too.) Not because it’s sad (although of course it’s sad), but because it is glorious. Three voices spinning and weaving and rising so clearly and so high it’s almost impossible to believe—even as you're watching with your own eyes—that their feet do not leave the ground.

I mean, just listen to this goddamn jingle (from the 2009 production):

It’s a sign of the times

We celebrated my Uncle Dick's 80th birthday on Saturday. My brother Scott and I were the surprise.

Words, recently

The eye doctor prescribed Xiidra for me last week, for dry eyes. One of the side effects is a metallic taste in the mouth after application, she said, and then: "To prevent that, you can just occlude the eyes for a couple seconds."

I did not know what "occlude" meant, but I acted super chill while I rustled through the ol' brain box: ...? Nope! Thanks to the internet, I've lost all my smart words! Also my eyesight.

Survey says: occlude. to close up or block off :  obstruct • a thrombus occluding a coronary arteryalso:  conceal • cosmetics that occlude pores

I looked it up and then I tried it; she meant "occlude the tear ducts." It helps and it doesn't: basically every instruction I've ever received from a medical professional works approximately 48% of the time, so I expect no more. I also googled "Xiidra side effects," though (I like to check their work), and found this: "A strange or bad taste in the mouth (dysgeusia) immediately after application."

Two for one!

Medical definition of dysgeusia: dysfunction of the sense of taste (pronounced with a hard "g," as in "girl" or "golly" or "good luck with that bullshit")

Then, while I was there, Merriam-Webster tried selling me this witchy ensemble. Really makes up for losing those jeans!

Customer service

As a recent, if premature, panic shopper of sweatshirts, let me be the first to tell you to buy this sweatshirt. The Bean makes some heinous fashion missteps but this is all thumbs up, and if like me your favorite mode of dressing is "campfire lazy," you'll feel at home immediately. It's thin and soft and roomy ("relaxxxed") and has a perfect wide crewneck (tight crewnecks being the scourge of casual ladies everywhere) and is the best light shade of non-gym class gray. Or navy. Your pick! Let's all meet somewhere in six weeks or so, wearing this sweatshirt. The band at the bottom is loose and the fit is comfortable but not boxy—this is so important! NOT BOXY!—so we can let it all hang out. I think we'll have a really good time.