Wednesday, January 04, 2006

buttercream frosting!

Birthdays are funny. Today I spent mine in an office all day, but because It Was My Birthday I gave myself permission to slack off and poke around the interweb for interesting things. Since I slack off at work pretty much every day, this didn't do much to help me feel like this day was different from all other days. But that's because it's not.

I'm really into all the reflection that comes along with The New Year, but only if it's the spontaneous kind. the mandated looking back and resolutions and shit are just gross. I was watching NY1 for a couple of minutes on new years eve, and the anchors were talking about some poll that asked people for their new year's resolutions, and the top 3 were: 1) make more money, 2) lose weight, and 3) spend more time with their families (that final one coming in a distant third, if I'm remembering right). Not that any of this is surprising. But it was sort of weird to hear it reported like that, against the background of the countdown to 2006. Sometimes that countdown feels like a promise, like a "new leaf" or whatever will be turned over and at least the first few minutes after midnight will be a breath of fresh air. Other times it almost feels threatening, letting you know exactly how long you have to get shit right in the year that's wrapping up before that book is closed forever, the history of 2005 written and done.

Anyway, I was thinking about this because this year at dinner on new year's eve the conversation turned at some point to what we were all doing on december 31st in years past. I'm the kind of person who thinks (too much) about that kind of thing anyway, and not just on new year's. But I like seeing other people do it, having some kind of occassion that makes people remember where they used to be. For a minute there I thought I'd lost 2001, but when I got home later and went through old notebooks trying to piece that time back together, I remembered that I spent that year at alice's, drinking too many margaritas and regretting it pretty quickly. Still, I just like to know. Even if my love of new year's is really just out of habit at this point.

So it was my birthday, and I was told offhand, in the annual kind of way, that I must be "older and wiser." I guess so. Last year on january 3rd I went out with jhon for the second time, and we sat at a little cafe sharing a piece of cake and staring at each other across the table. He bought me a copy of Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar, which was so sweet and smart, especially since we didn't know each other at all yet. I still haven't read that book, but notice it on my shelf occassionally and then let it nag at me for a little while.

Dorky as it sounds, this blog is kind of my birthday present to myself. I mean, it's about time. And I really truly will update it often. Promise.

Here's the monthly(ish) self-promotion segment... I have 3 new reviews online which I somehow managed to pull together while procrastinating about my grad school application. My column at Bookslut is about A Piece of Cake: Recipes for Female Sexual Pleasure and I also reviewed - more favorably - the surprisingly excellent Letters from Young Activists. Over at Grace is my review of Yiyun Li's A Thousand Years of Good Prayers. Since it was supposed to be a recommendation rather than a real review, I get through the whole thing without mentioning that I didn't like the book at all. I seem to be the only one on the planet not to. Ah, well.

And go read this: Anne Ishii's great essay in the Village Voice that pinpoints most of the problems I have with the movie Memoirs of a Geisha, but haven't really been able to explain. Oh, except for when I yelled at my family: "I just want to see a movie about women's lives that wasn't written by a man, and isn't about women fighting with each other and selling each other out for a man!" Yeah, there was that. So we went to see King Kong instead. And it kicked ass. At least the "man" in that movie was a giant gorilla.

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