By Tryfon Tolides
Come to the point where, finally, you are lost,
wayside-sitting, wind-gazing, train-whistle-listening,
if you want to converse with the invisible presence,
continual, sustained, indwelling, be lost,
be abandoned, so that the heart, the mind, as big
as God, come to the place where you are lost,
so that all your days and the shuttering of each day's
light and the blue magnetic incomprehensible
jumping and motionless blue of twilight and the fine
blackening after, around the incomprehensible
waiting and breathing of trees with their delight-inducing
cloud-depths and freedom-shapes and darting birds,
happen in pure glory, in ineffable joy of consciousness,
so that your senses overfill to muteness,
so that mere being becomes the form of your praise.
An unpublished poem from Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "To become fully alive, we must still our chaotic desires," writes Mary Karr. "The poems of Greek-born poet Tryfon Tolides work almost like mini-meditations, bringing us to a sweet, nameless emptiness...often, Tolides finds communion with elemental forces."
Daniel's robotics season began this morning, with a meeting at the corporate office of one of the companies sponsoring the school's team for a video conference with the national organizers outlining this year's requirements. The team spent the rest of the afternoon discussing their plan for the next six weeks while the sponsors brought in pizza. He'll do the same on Sunday and every weekend except during finals for the next several weeks. Meanwhile, the rest of us contemplated going downtown, but upon realizing that Georgetown was playing at the Verizon Center right near the museums we wanted to visit, we decided instead to take care of chores closer to home. So we went to Trader Joe's, to buy a bench for the new keyboard, and here to buy pirate cards:
And here is a much older ship (for display purposes only; the store primarily sells kits, not models).
The large overhead train display...
...and the Thomas the Tank Engine play table.
There are kits to build all sorts of planes, trains, and automobiles, including these military models.
There are also model dinosaurs and birds...
...and a decent selection of weapons, hung near the ceiling to stop people from playing with them. These aren't the replica quality available at Renfaires but they're more affordable.
And this is the new keyboard and bench. The afghan is there to protect the seat from certain claws. Now we need covers for both!
I got an e-mail from a friend in the UK pretty much the moment the eleventh Doctor was announced, before the BBC had updated their page, and my immediate reaction was: 26? Urgh. I'm trying to remain open-minded, because I was very unhappy when it was announced that Christopher Eccleston was leaving, yet for the most part I've really enjoyed David Tennant. But a lot of my annoyances with the writing for Tennant have to do with the fact that he looks like (and often swaggers around like) a hot young human guy, behaving in a way that would seem just plain skanky if he looked anything like his age -- picking up 19-year-old girls and promising to show them the universe -- my gut reaction upon hearing that we're getting a Doctor who looks even younger was that his companion would probably be legally underage in the U.S.
I know that Moffat-worship is in vogue, but although I've liked his female characters on their own merits, there's been quite a bit in sweet young Rose-Martha Doctor-worship mode -- the one loving him despite having the King of France hanging on her arm, the other essentially saving herself for him until his reappearance frees her to think about other things. So while it's possible that he'll pair Eleven with someone like Donna, or better yet, someone like Sarah Jane -- someone who isn't young and impressionable, who will realize that she's in love not with the man but with his TARDIS, who will demand to be treated like an equal -- and I'll end up adoring Matt Smith, I'm concerned that we'll get more of the same Doctor On High, companion as adoring young thing that I'm really sick of watching.
In an effort to rev up my enthusiasm, we put on The Ruby in the Smoke, which we'd recorded when it was on PBS but weren't home when it aired so we hadn't watched before. I enjoyed it a lot...but I must confess, I primarily enjoyed Billie Piper and Julie Walters! I liked the aspects of the story that reminded me of Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess on crack, or, well, opium...the father who died far away, the girl abandoned to the mercies of an older woman who despises her, and those aspects let me forgive the Far East as a mystical world consisting of maharajahs and opium (though I do think there are pretty big race issues -- the Chinese woman in the opium den doing the mumbo-jumbo pro-drug routine, the black men at extremes as an addict and a clergyman).
The gender roles are a bit more complicated though I had some issues there too. I adored Mrs. Holland as an over-the-top villainess who bears more resemblance to the Red Queen than, say, Mrs. Joe -- lots of "off with her head" or the equivalent, and terrorizing everyone who witnesses her crimes into silence with no more than a glare, even though she evidently isn't wealthy or powerful beyond the filthy streets where she picks up her thugs. I was disappointed to learn that the murderess was also a stereotypically loose woman who destroyed her fortunes having sex with the wrong man and went mad from it -- what a disappointing stereotype underlying her evil. The penniless Sally of course manages to remain utterly virtuous despite doing potentially scandalous things like moving in with a photographer she barely knows who's hot for her.
All that said, I barely noticed Jim Taylor -- Smith's performance was fine but the part isn't nearly as memorable as, say, Burn Gorman's Guppy in Bleak House. Ah well, the cinematography was quite enjoyable -- I loved the dirty river scenes in contrast with the seaside. And the Cardinals beat the Falcons, and the Chargers beat the Colts, so it was a good sports day, too.