The Elephant Factory

Ask me anything   The Blogojevicher   

Don't elephunk with my heart.

""Tell him yes," she said. "Even if you are dying of fear, even if you are sorry later, because whatever you do, you will be sorry all the rest of your life if you say no."
***
He was aware that he did not love her. He had married her because he liked her haughtiness, her seriousness, her strength, and also because of some vanity on his part, but as she kissed him for the first time he was sure there would be no obstacle to their inventing true love. They did not speak of it that first night, when they spoke of everything until dawn, nor would they ever speak of it. But in the long run, neither of them had made a mistake."

GGM (1927-2014)

I suspect the whole range of love is somewhere in Love in the Time of Cholera. 

— 5 days ago with 1 note
#gabriel garcia marquez  #books  #quotes  #love in the time of cholera 
Things I should write about when I finally write about things

Learning how to drive a manual in the empty parking lot of a pueblo blanco

Projectile vomiting at the foot of the Seville Cathedral

Fire and stars in Ronda

What it’s like to be an outlander at the Spizzwinks’ Centennial, what it’s like to be outed as a Harvardian in a ballroom brimming with Yale alums, what it’s like to survive a 3 hour acapella concert 

Ducking the ex at a scotch-tasting event

Finishing Moby Dick

SPRING!

— 1 week ago
#my so-called grown-up life 
Besides Blue Jasmine, the other film I watched on the flight back from Spain was Frozen. I enjoyed it, of course. How could I not: (1) Kristen Bell plays another feisty heroine, (2) “Let it Go,” (3) the throwback to classic Disney, with the storybook animation and the magical kingdom under a spell, and (4) the “subversive” (for Hollywood) storytelling: the villain is a status-hungry gold-digger, a kiss from the romantic lead is not the true love that saves the day, and the sisters steal the show, making passing the Bechdel test look easy.

Besides Blue Jasmine, the other film I watched on the flight back from Spain was Frozen. I enjoyed it, of course. How could I not: (1) Kristen Bell plays another feisty heroine, (2) “Let it Go,” (3) the throwback to classic Disney, with the storybook animation and the magical kingdom under a spell, and (4) the “subversive” (for Hollywood) storytelling: the villain is a status-hungry gold-digger, a kiss from the romantic lead is not the true love that saves the day, and the sisters steal the show, making passing the Bechdel test look easy.

— 3 weeks ago with 1 note
#film  #frozen  #kristen bell 
Say what you will about the man but Woody Allen knows how to tell an interesting story about a person who is not especially nice or good. (Insert your own joke about art mirroring life.) He does so with a very light hand, the result of which is that we, the viewer, know exactly what we think of his characters - usually, that s/he is a scoundrel - but we don’t know exactly how to feel about them. For example, even though the titular Blue Jasmine is a hot mess who behaves badly, she somehow resists being written off. It’s not that I feel pity or compassion for her, exactly. It’s more like a reservation of judgment, as if I can sense that she will be justly punished, or an interest in her fate that skirts the edge of secretly rooting for her, a little. At any rate, Cate Blanchett is obviously a very fine actress to have pulled this off. Between her acting and the clothes, you can’t take your eyes off of her, or the train wreck.

Say what you will about the man but Woody Allen knows how to tell an interesting story about a person who is not especially nice or good. (Insert your own joke about art mirroring life.) He does so with a very light hand, the result of which is that we, the viewer, know exactly what we think of his characters - usually, that s/he is a scoundrel - but we don’t know exactly how to feel about them. For example, even though the titular Blue Jasmine is a hot mess who behaves badly, she somehow resists being written off. It’s not that I feel pity or compassion for her, exactly. It’s more like a reservation of judgment, as if I can sense that she will be justly punished, or an interest in her fate that skirts the edge of secretly rooting for her, a little. At any rate, Cate Blanchett is obviously a very fine actress to have pulled this off. Between her acting and the clothes, you can’t take your eyes off of her, or the train wreck.

— 4 weeks ago with 3 notes
#film  #blue jasmine  #woody allen 
Duel

"Blank pages — shoot-out at the O.K. Corral."

I am reading Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey because I needed a Moby Dick palate cleanser and a collection of late 1990s lectures by a poetess to MFA students is in some ways as far as you can get from a mid-19th C. whaling tale by a New York City civil servant turned deified American man of letters, because of the fantastic title, because that fantastic title uses an Oxford comma, because of the book jacket design, because it lies outside my literary comfort zone, because I can’t stop arguing with her when I’m not listening to her. And because of great lines like the above quoted. Every year I resolve to write more and surf the Internet less (though Ruefle has some compelling arguments for wasting time), every year I write less, every year the blank pages become more intimidating and the words are harder to extract. But don’t despair, I guess. Don’t overthink it. Just draw, and quick.

Today is another dully cold day in this, the longest of winters, the sky another blank page in this, the Russian novel of winters. I rolled out of bed late and have been steadily snacking throughout the afternoon, having foregone my morning run and coffee. But yesterday was glorious, a wisp of spring, the wind nipping but not biting, boys in Wayfarers, girls in short hemlines, a portly middle-aged man riding an ATV and blasting The Rolling Stones (“Sympathy for the Devil”). As part of our monthly volunteering pact, Wil and I spent the morning, of all things, judging Lincoln-Douglass debate at a high school urban debate league. Even though it’s been fourteen years since I left the extracurricular activity which dominated and defined so much of my high school existence, so much of it was so immediately familiar it made my skin crawl. The teenagers dressed up in their parents’ skins, idling over cafeteria tables while waiting for rounds. Speaker points. Hobbes and Locke and justice, that paramount value. The jargon, the inside jokes, the clubbiness, and, of course, the fast-talking. It turns out that flowing is just like riding a bicycle. And there were things I didn’t see but whose memories I unearthed and dusted off after years of neglect, like the posting of break rounds, the Economist clippings filed away in Tupperware containers stacked on a luggage cart, my nemesis and my crushes, all of whom will remain nameless because a quick Google search reveals them to be persons of interest in their respective occupations. 

Later that day I killed some time at the Met, where I read Ruefle in the shadow of Rembrandt’s self-portrait (and overheard a daughter tell her worshipful father, much to his horror, “I hate that painting. It’s ugly. He’s ugly.”), let a strange stocky Japanese man with an expensive camera take my photograph against my better judgment, and resumed Ruefle next to a bust of Septimius Severus in the slanting late afternoon light of the Greco-Roman sculpture galleries. I relocated crosstown to have dinner with Tess at Cocina Economica Mexico, which was just okay but certainly ‘economica’. I hadn’t seen Tess since leaving DC but those five years felt inconsequential. She was still the same old Tess, which I mean in the most flattering light possible: optimistic but not unrealistic, funny, matter-of-fact, unafraid to be vulnerable and believe in the goodness of life even after life has shown her its claws. 

A few weekends ago I finally watched Unforgiven, described to me by many as the greatest Western on film of all time, and it left me feeling much the same way as I felt after I finally watched The Godfather, a few weekends prior: like I just ate my cinematic vegetables. Good, but not pork-belly-fatly-dissolving-on-my-tongue good. This is probably a blasphemously controversial position, but Unforgiven > The Godfather. I found William Munny’s coming to terms with his character more persuasive than Michael Corleone’s coming to terms with his inheritance, and relished the shootout at the billiards bar more than the shoot-em-up funeral scene. 

— 1 month ago
#film  #unforgiven  #the godfather  #restaurants  #ny  #Smells Like Teen Spirit  #books  #mary ruefle  #madness rack and honey 
This is surreal. When pop culture crushes collide! (Interestingly, I have met both of them in person: Kristen Bell at a Hill event, Ira Glass walking his dog on the UWS.)
Of course, I LoVed the movie. It scratched my every fangirl itch. After I saw it I downloaded it, started listening to Sufjan Stevens on repeat, and can’t stop obsessively reading about it, now that I’m no longer avoiding spoilers. I (someone who votes in off year elections and works in public service) have never donated to a political campaign, not even Obama ‘08. But BY GOD I donated to the Veronica Mars Movie Project. And I would do it again. 

This is surreal. When pop culture crushes collide! (Interestingly, I have met both of them in person: Kristen Bell at a Hill event, Ira Glass walking his dog on the UWS.)

Of course, I LoVed the movie. It scratched my every fangirl itch. After I saw it I downloaded it, started listening to Sufjan Stevens on repeat, and can’t stop obsessively reading about it, now that I’m no longer avoiding spoilers. I (someone who votes in off year elections and works in public service) have never donated to a political campaign, not even Obama ‘08. But BY GOD I donated to the Veronica Mars Movie Project. And I would do it again. 

— 1 month ago with 2 notes
#veronica mars  #this american life  #ira glass 
Three Epithalamia by Georges Perec

via The Paris Review

On this beautiful Saturday in May
Sophie has married Michel
and Michel has married Sophie

They have married
and they are now together
like Aucassin and Nicolette
and like nut cake and honey
like hand and piano
      table and chair
      soup and ladle
      tench and hook
      science and doubt
      pen and drawing
      dove and millet
      hospital and silence
      candle and bed warmer
      camomile tea and madeleine
and even couscous and chick peas

It’s a delectable morning
the sun lights up the countryside
bees are gathering honey
a butterfly delicately alights by a mimosa
sheep are bleating
in the distance bells are ringing
everything is calm and peaceful

At the very end of the little wood the vast planet begins
its lakes its oceans its steppes
its hills its plains its oases
its sand dunes
its palaces its museums its islands its ports of call
its lovely automobiles glistening in the rain
its white-bonneted Salvationists singing carols on Christmas Eve
its bowlered worthies in conference at the tabac on Place Saint
    Sulpice
its mustachio’d sea captains exuding patchouli and lilac
its tennis champions hugging at the end of a match
its Indians with their calumet seated by a sandalwood totem pole
its mountain climbers attacking Popocatapetl
its eager canoeists paddling down the Mississippi
its Anabaptists mischievously nodding their heads as they discuss
    the Bible
its little Balinese women dancing on cocoa plantations
its philosophers in peaked caps arguing about Condillac’s ideas
    in outmoded tea rooms
its pin-up girls in bathing suits astride docile elephants
its impassive Londoners bidding a no-trump little slam

But here the sky is blue
Let’s forget the weight of the world
a bird is singing at the very top of the house
cats and dogs drowse by the fireplace
where a huge log is slowly burning up
You hear the ticking of the clock

This little poem
where only simple words have been used
      words like daisy and broomstick
      like lady-bird and cream sauce
      like croissant and nonchalance
and not words like palimpsest, pitchblende, cumulonimbus,
      decalcomania, stethoscope, machicolation, or
      anticonstitutionally
has been specially composed
on the occasion of these nuptials

Let us wish Sophie and Michel
years and years of rejoicing

like the thousand years gone by
      in which Philemon and Baucis
each May are born into the world
      she as linden, he as oak

— 1 month ago with 1 note
#poetry  #three epithalamia  #georges perec 
"I’m like that. Either I forget right away or I never forget."
Waiting for Godot
— 2 months ago with 1 note
#quotes  #enough about you let's talk more about me 
"Calder Shadows" at Venus Over Manhattan.

"Pure joie de vivre. Calder’s art is the sublimation of a tree in the wind."
M. Duchamp (1950)

"Calder Shadows" at Venus Over Manhattan.

"Pure joie de vivre. Calder’s art is the sublimation of a tree in the wind."

M. Duchamp (1950)

— 2 months ago
#alexander calder  #is art art  #oiny 
Polar Vortex, II

To liberally riff off of Melville, it is a damp, drizzly February in my soul, and all I can do is live in Uniqlo heat tech and shovel homemade sour cherry pie in my maw. Last night, somewhere between the pie baking and the Veronica Mars reruns - yes, on a school night! - I tried to explain to Ginger “why I don’t believe in work being my life” (a.k.a. a principled defense of why I am lazy, lazy being a relative measure, the yardstick being my elitist, overeducated demographic), and the words “I believe in producing content” just fell out of my mouth. This, despite the fact that I had never had this thought before, let alone held it, swilled it, examined it. Now that there’s a day’s worth of distance between me and that particular speech bubble, I can see where it came from: the desire to reject the easy and passive nature of consumption, and to discipline myself to engage in constant deliberation, judgment, and selection. Or, to put it in Tumblr parlance, it’s easier to reblog and call yourself a curator, than to produce original content, which requires more than a de minimis expenditure of energy and actual risk, and this without even getting into whether that content is good or bad as a qualitative matter. OR, to be more specific, it’s easier to spend hours surfing “lifestyle blogs” than to try and articulate my thoughts about this week’s Moby Dick reading assignment. (More on that later.)

Of course, that being said, I just posted a bunch of quotes. Quoting: the Ur-reblog. But in my defense they’re quotes provoking original content…in my head. Like how do I navigate between the polar gravitational pulls of minimalism, “a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives,” and pleasure, which for me includes “the external finish of life”? Somewhat unexpectedly in the last few months I feel as if the ground has shifted under my feet and these tectonic shifts have created openings - and softness - in the granite-like certainty with which I’ve held my worldview. I don’t want to overstate it. The foundation is still there, still strong. But there’s questioning and probing and refining. Looking back at my journaling over the last year, I can’t believe how much fun I had, how carefree and weightless I felt, and I wonder how much of that had to do with being certain that I had figured it all out. 

Here’s a quality I’ve never loved about myself: my lack of discipline. It’s why I run as much as I do. Running is possibly the only thing I do in my life with great discipline; I do it when I would rather be sitting at home, inert in Uniqlo heat tech and streaming season 3 of The Good Wife. But I believe that discipline, like any other quality of character, can be cultivated, at least to a certain extent, and so my solution has been to identify projects and pair with peer pressure, which has the added bonus of improving connectivity. 

I think that’s enough original content for now. It’s still “February,” my skin is dry, and my hands are covered with paper cuts. Back to streaming. 

— 2 months ago
#the februaries 
"[F]ood is about pleasure and connection and sustenance."
— 2 months ago
"Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives."
— 2 months ago
#quotes  #happiness 
"You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me the most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive."
James Baldwin
— 2 months ago with 1 note
#quotes  #books 
Childless adult, II

Hosting boozy brunch on a three-day weekend, brought to you by Marion Cunningham’s raised waffles (via Orangette), McClure’s spicy Bloody Mary mix, and Ella Fitzgerald on LP. 

PS. GO NINERS.

— 3 months ago
#thirtysomething