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Category: General

I’ve started a new blog at Hopefully I’ll be blogging there for a while. I haven’t decided whether I’ll be coming back to Peiratikos at some point, but for now I’m not planning to.

“take me in your hand”

When Steven and I got home today, our cat didn’t come to greet us, which was unusual. Soon he found her staring at the closet, from which came an unmistakable sound. Though it’s been a month since the last arrived, it was immediately clear that there was another baby bird in our closet. This one was the most developed, although I’d always assumed that a month’s growth would do more for a little bird than would seem to have happened if this one were from the same hatching group as the last set.

I was less panicky this time around, easily getting it into a shoebox and outside to the bushes beneath the nest. It was so well-feathered that I hoped it would be able to fly, but it just flapped its healthy wings. I tried to maneuver it into the same bush the last one went into but it darted down from there and scurried into the next bush, which is probably even safer in terms of keeping any predators out. When I walked past a few hours later, there were adults in the evergreen chattering wildly. Maybe this means it’s a success and my little guy will be flying soon. Already I watch the birds around the parking lot intently, always wondering if one of them is the first bird I managed to save and release. I don’t think it’s consolation to know I’ll never know.

“hopeful in the church of the morning sun”

It was almost a week ago while I was traveling that I got an email from Steven saying that he’d found a baby bird dying in the hallway of our apartment. I thought that was really odd, but was just glad the cat hadn’t hastened its end. Then came my triumphant return and my day off work Wednesday and a whole lot of bird sounds. I went into the bedroom to find the cat entranced with the closet and quite a racket coming from within.

I was terrified for the bird, but managed to trap it in a shoebox and get it out to the balcony. It was weak, frail, featherless in spots. Its parents flew around but didn’t come near. It got out of the box and, terrified, threw itself off the edge of the balcony. While I don’t think it would have survived long anyway, it died soon after its fall and I buried it on the back hill. I cried a lot.

Clearly something was going wrong to let birds into our apartment, and since they were in the closet I suspected the problem was connected to the air conditioning unit there. There is a nest above and to the right of our air conditioning unit’s vent to the outside, but I think the actual connection must happen inside the brick, which explains the insulation that floats down to our closet floor.

Ever since then, it’s been like “The Tell-Tale Heart.” I wake in the middle of the night sure that somewhere I can hear a bird, an indoor bird, a dying bird. Today I had that same dreadful certainty but whenever I went to the closet, any chirping stopped. After vacuuming out all the insulation and clearing carpet space for birds to fall, I climbed up to see the hole that must be the way in.

Being sure in my heart that the birdsongs I heard were the equivalent of the call coming from inside the house, I finally had to set up a stakeout. I sat with my laptop for a while and, as I’d feared, there was a shrill sound from a box I’d moved out of the way in my cleaning. This one had feathers and personality, and could get itself off the ground a few inches when it flapped its wings. I kept it on the balcony until I was sure the parents had found it and watched them fly to the edge of the box, chirping wildly. When I released the fledgling into the bush below its nest, I couldn’t hear any more cheeping babies in the nest. I did see both parents as I walked back to the apartment.

It makes me feel like a freak that little birds have driven me to photo(blogo)journalism, but I wanted to have documents for when they weren’t there anymore. Maybe it’s because everything seemed like an emergency, like time was slipping away, but I wanted something that would remind me I’d done something (even if, since it’s a photo, that something was only look) and I think it worked. I can hear birds outside now and they sound plenty cheerful to me, but what do I know about birds?

Goodbye, Cruel World!

It’s spring break for Steven and so today we blast off to a not-so-springlike place where we won’t be moderating comments much if at all, so don’t expect to hear from us or have us hear from you through the rest of the week. Maybe we’ll come back with stories and even an audiobook or two to add to my monthly book list next time.

We’re finally off the comic weblog update list since we don’t really aim to talk about comics, so maybe most old readers won’t even notice this note!

February Reading List

Right, it’s not February anymore. I didn’t make much time to read in February and hope to do better about that in March, as well as pull in some non-fiction. I may have come to a halt on Le Guin for now, but gorging myself on her books didn’t detract from my enjoyment of any of them.

The Love Wife, Gish Jen
The story of the stresses and delights of a multiracial family when a distant Chinese relative comes to live with them and provide childcare. While the plot itself was engaging, the style was really the high point. Written almost like a screenplay, each major character narrates at various times, often commenting on the narrations of others. It sounds awkward when I describe it, but it was very effective and made me sympathetic to all the characters, which is all the more powerful in a story about conflict and changing self-definition. I very much enjoyed readiing, although the plot doesn’t overlow with joy.

The Telling, Ursula Le Guin
As I said yesterday, this warrants rereading for me and was worth buying too. Relevant and beautiful.

Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, Cory Doctorow
I really hadn’t liked Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and here I didn’t think the postmodern magical realism added up to much and didn’t think the revolutionary techgeek subplot worked, but there were moments that were absolutely lovely. Maybe the next Doctorow book will be the one for me, but I have no regrets about reading this. Like The Telling, I found it an inspiring relationship book, although it’s not exactly about good happy-ending-type stories.

The Lathe of Heaven, Ursula Le Guin
I think this is the oldest Le Guin I’ve read, but it didn’t feel particularly dated. I briefly complained about is-she-crazy-or-does-she-have-access-to-another-world stories, but here it’s clearly not an either/or situation. Here it’s a man who’s the protagonist and his dreams can remake the world, which means that no one in that world can be aware of the changes. Maybe I don’t have a problem with stories like that after all.

Tales of Earthsea, Ursula Le Guin
The tales themselves are mixed in depth and context, but all entertaining for fans of Earthsea and they provide support and added explanation for other books without being necessary to understand them.

The Other Wind, Ursula Le Guin
The latest and perhaps last of the Earthsea books brings back characters from all the previous novels (including Tehanu, which I hadn’t yet read) and brings them to satisfying conclusions by having them look death in the face and understand their places in the world as a part of world-building.

Tehanu, Ursula Le Guin
I already knew who Tehanu was and some of her story from reading the sequels first, but I was amazed and delighted to read a book for children in which a character says, appropriately angered, that a child has been raped because sometimes children are raped. There’s so much more to it than that, but the politics impressed me. I should try to write more on this later.

The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan
As long as we run across people saying, “Don’t chicks just naturally like cleaning?” I don’t think this book is outdated yet.

Updates List, No More!

No, I’m not really back to blogging yet. When will I be? We’ll see, we’ll see. Not blogging is too much fun! Anyway, FYI, don’t look for us on the comics-blog update list in the future, because soon we’ll no longer be updating on it.

MySQL woes, no more

Well, if you visited us at Peiratikos in the small hours of 19 August, you probably saw either some nasty MySQL errors or a note about our MySQL problems. They’re solved now, thanks to the helpful tech support at our web host (A Small Orange). Hurrah!

Ah, maybe soon we’ll have something entertaining on our blog….

New email address

Just so you know in case you want to send me email for some reason, I have an exciting new email address: I will not receive any email sent to after 4:00 pm or so on 17 August 2005.


You’ve presumably noticed by now that we have a new design. We also have an about page where you can learn many fascinating things about us, primarily via internet quiz results. We’ve also switched to a new host, so apologies if you ran into one of our bumps as we moved the site from our old host; hopefully most of them have been taken care of by now.

I was supposed to write about the movie Minority Report quite a while ago, but I never got around to it. I got the DVD from Netflix, but every time I had an opportunity to watch it I just didn’t want to spend the time. What really put me off the movie was the advertising. I mean, obviously Spielberg and co. play both sides, presenting horribly intrusive advertising as satire while collecting product-placement cash, so I found Minority Report’s satirical strength a little shaky to begin with. But this article—blecch. I’m disturbed by a lot of advertising right now and the future advertising on display in Minority Report is outright evil, so reading the creative director of the ads in the movie assuring me that advertisers will figure out how to make their ads so intrusive that I won’t be able to avoid them puts me right off wanting to watch the movie.

But I’m definitely not burned out on Mulholland Dr., especially the good discussion on Peiratikos and Motime Like the Present to respond to. Um, but not quite yet….

Actually, one thing. David Fiore, in the Motime post I linked to, makes a good point about the conspiracy in the second part of the movie. Diane’s world is a full of conspirators against her as Rita’s is; the difference is that Diane sees her conspirators everywhere and nobody ever sees Rita’s conspirators. And moreover, as David says, there is no “backstage” in Diane’s world—there’s nothing outside of Diane’s sphere of experience and influence.

Does that connect in interesting ways to my consideration of “obvious fakes” and “seamless forgeries”? Maybe, maybe not? Both conspiracies seem fantastic and implausible. Rita’s conspiracy seems more real, since it exists independently of observation (except for its own observation), but it is nevertheless the subjective invention of a dreaming mind.

Open Letter to the Comics Internet

The comics internet is fucked! And we’re all part of the problem. Really, you’re not pushing comics forward. We’re folks on the internet writing about stuff, and we don’t matter to anybody but ourselves and the few other people who read us. Just kick back, have fun writing about stuff, and don’t worry about the forward momentum of the art form.

I think we can all agree that the final sentence of Rose’s post was ill-advised. A very bad idea. If you read everything Rose has written about this and think she’s accusing anybody of being misogynist or claiming she knows what anybody was thinking during recruiting for CBG, you need to work on your reading comprehension skills. The only badly behaved people in that comments thread are Alan David Doane, Steven Berg and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Christopher Allen.

You all are protesting way too much. Why is that?

You spend—let me count—one and a half years writing about comics, then you make a couple of fairly mild criticisms of Comic Book Galaxy (and one ill-advised final sentence, yes, we all remember that) and you’re suddenly PART OF THE PROBLEM!!!

You are all very silly and hysterical. So am I. Maybe you should get over it now, Logan and friends. I myself am getting over it… now. Now you try.*

P.S. Rose did bring up race, Logan. Thanks for reading before ranting.

P.P.S. No, really, we don’t want to write for CBG. So sorry.

* Yes, actually, this post is part of our shameful secret “agenda.” If I used smilies, I’d put one of those eye-rolling smilies right here.