A few weeks ago I visited an old friend in Ottawa. He gave me this gift (as well as a bunch of Tivoed RuPaul and poutine), which I will always carry with me.

a) If you don’t this music, maybe you can place its context vaguely anyway, but it’s a style of drum n bass (and the below track, jungle) mostly known for coming from UK nightclubs in the mid-90s through the early naughts, especially when it has an MC like this does. Both my friend and I (still) listen to this kind of music.

b) The music has been superimposed over real footage of churchgoers, presumably from the southern US.

c) The churchgoers dance a lot like the people who dance to the this music in nightclubs. When drum n bass and jungle DJs came to perform in nightclubs in the southern (okay midatlantic) US, I personally also danced like this.

They come from Baptazia, a site apparently started by people in the UK who realized that US Baptists freaking out can look like dnb heads freaking out.

I’ve always thought it was interesting, too, that punk rock kids also did similar freak out dances. Some were known ocassionally to show up at drum n bass events and try to out-freakout the ravers.


17-year-old cat

My mom just wrote to say she’s euthanizing our family’s 17-year-old cat tomorrow. Because she’s skin and bones, not interested in food, and has crud in her eye. To quote. i.e., The cat is old.

The not interested in food thing happened a year and a half ago when our other cat died, but she got her appetite back eventually. I suspect this is happening again because a baby cat showed up at the house, and Madeline (the 17-year-old) has gotten depressed again.

So this is my parents’ solution now… NOT de acuerdo! I respect that this is my parents’ decision, not mine (although, if you want to hear my argument for it being the cat’s decision…). However, I do not respect this choice.

Madeline used to be a plump lil dumpling, but then our other cat Otto died and she stopped eating for a month. I didn’t recognize her when my sister sent me this picture.

from the book i’m reading

Speak, Memory is Vladimir Nabokov’s autobiography. In college I knew several people who were big Nabokov fans, and they always recommended this and Pale Fire. I couldn’t get into either of them, was too into flitting around and acting like a teenage boy I think.

I picked up Speak, Memory again a few months ago, and wow, I definitely get it now. And Nabokov certainly does have an extraordinary memory. When I was reading it on a plane to Chicago, the guy next to me was not the “chat with the person next to you on a long flight” type– a history professor at Notre Dame, it turned out– but he felt the need to observe that I was reading an excellent book. Nabokov is just so freaking refined. Forget about his physical ability to recall details; that clearly is a result of his respect for them. He comes off as quietly compassionate.

He’s just been describing hunting butterflies in the woods alone on a July day “around 1910, I suppose,” as a kid. How many logs were stacked up in the clearing, flying past the strewn white clothes of the bathing girls on the shore, what plants and what plants and what plants were around, what birds were tweeting, how the light was, how the rare butterfly skimmed in flight.

He seals the thought by giving not so much the scene itself, but rather the vividness of the memory, a sort of Bird Girl attribution. It’s wiser than Stephen Dedalus’s epiphany on visual beauty, though; Nabokov is not such a young man here:

I confess I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness– in a landscape selected at random– is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstacy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern– to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal.