Sonnet of a Spoiled Child

The important things don’t have a deadline
Nothing happens if you don’t play my game
Your salary and prestige won’t decline
I’ll continue to love you just the same

Nothing says we have to build sandcastles
Or go outside to find a shooting star
I can see my wants, to you, are hassles
you’re here (your body) but your eyes are far

With all the time (apart from me) you waste
It’s hard for me to believe that you care
Being second is just not to my taste
So I must warn you (yes, of course I dare!)

If there’s something more important than me
I’ll run away since there always will be

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trop loin de toi

i fell asleep today
and woke up very far away
so far, in fact, i’m not sure
if i can ever find my way back

i’d like to think you’re warm at home
looking out the window for me
cozy by the fireplace, with tea
won’t you leave a light in the window?

it’s dark out here and i can’t see
maybe you’ll come find me
before i surrender
to the dark and the cold
and the calming nothingness

so that even when the sun rises
even when i’m home again
i won’t be anyone that you know

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British empire

This is my most recent. Everyone who knows me knows I’m a huge anglophile. Sadly, the paper isn’t great and the fancy B bled a bit. The quality of my engrosser’s script decreases wildly when I have to write on unlined paper without a proper model to look at. And both lion and unicorn look a bit girlie (not to mention the lion’s fancy red toenails). Alas. At least the sunset is properly dramatic.

The text says:

B is for the British Empire upon which I hope the sun will never set

Please see here for other entries in this series and/or an explanation.

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I once saw a Kindle cover for one of the old Kindles. The ones without a light. Well, the cover had a goofy light that arched forward over the Kindle screen. It made me think of anglerfish.

The text says

A is for angler fish, who doesn’t need the light, since she can’t read anyway.

Please see here for other entries in this series and/or an explanation.

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Letter picture book

I can’t really draw. And I can’t really write. “So,” I thought, “what better goal to have than making an illustrated book!”

It isn’t going to make much sense. But I intend to have one drawing for each letter of the alphabet. Eventually, they’ll all be linked here in the comments.

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Lowered expectations

This post is in response to a couple of articles I read recently. One on how smutty fiction makes us unhappy by giving us unrealistic expectations, and the other on why I’m not married (both linked below). I have also linked my favorite response to the marriage article: it brings up the good point that expecting nothing means that we allow ourselves to be treated badly, and this is obviously not ideal.

Though the author of the marriage article, Tracy McMillan, has been called sexist, misogynist, etc, and I won’t agree or disagree. I do think she has a point. If marriage is so important that you are willing to mould yourself into an ideal of pleasant femininity, to accept any guy who will marry you, to be selfless and expect nothing in return except sexual fidelity, then yes — do that. It may really help you with your goal of being married.

However, I think it may be worthwhile to first examine why marriage is that important to you — and whether it’s really about you. Or is that that your parents expect it? That your friends are all doing it? That you’re sick of answering questions about why you aren’t married? You’re afraid to be alone? Your biological clock is ticking? There may be better solutions to all of these concerns.

The other article on fantasy boyfriends from fiction mentions the author’s parents who, at the time of publication, had been happily married for 39 years. I’m always interested to know how people manage to tolerate each other for that long. Her mother said her secret was “forgiveness and lowered expectations”.

Her response makes me sad. While articles like these are telling women they should be less selfish and more forgiving and live life “working around a man’s fear and insecurity”, they’re implicitly giving men a free pass. The other side of telling women “please lower your expectations” is telling men “you’re fine just the way you are”. In other words, men: you don’t need to work on improving yourself. You don’t have to be romantic. You don’t have to act like an adult rather than your wife’s other 5 year old son. You don’t have to deal with your emotions and your wife’s concerns in a thoughtful way. You don’t have to look good. You’re a man! That is just how you are! The only thing expected of you in a marriage is that you don’t cheat!

I think we should teach people (both genders) to raise their expectations. Unless it’s the kind of love that streaks across the heavens and lights up the night sky, it isn’t worth your time. Trust me on this one — I’ve taken the long road to verify it.

Your Fictional Fantasy Boyfriend May Be Making You Fifty Shades of Miserable

Why You’re Not Married

An Open Letter to the Women Who Are Telling Me It’s My Fault I’m Not Married

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San Francisco’s Legion of Honor

It’s my favorite museum in San Francisco and entry is free on the first Tuesday of each month. These photos are from my most recent trip last month.

Under that same arch

I should’ve been more diligent about writing down artists and titles corresponding these pictures, but instead I’ll just call it a scavenger hunt. Here are my favorites.

This one I admire for the color of the sky.

This sculpture of Rodin should be called “The Hokey Pokey”

Note the three pink roses at different stages of life. I overheard a docent talking about this painting, and it is deeper than it seems. You can enjoy it as just pretty flowers, sure, but it’s actually rich in social commentary and criticism as well.

It’s unfortunate that modern portraiture doesn’t seem to turn out this well. I guess it’s gone out of style

The next two were sisters. Alice Gray, who looks like a docile people-pleaser

and Sophie Gray, who looks like a defiant trouble-maker.

Okay, not technically art, but I like this chandelier and its wire-sock

I like sitting by this horsey and his man to write


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Is Benedict Cumberbatch an atheist?

As with my previous post on Tom Hiddleston’s religion (or lack thereof), the standard disclaimer applies: I don’t know for sure, and this is my speculation. I would lean towards “yes” but unlike the my many ambiguous tidbits of evidence for Tom Hiddleston, I have one convincing quote from Benedict Cumberbatch. In particular, during his Harper’s Bazaar interview he says (in response to the question “Do you have any irrational fears?”):

No, I’m quite a rationalist. I’m not superstitious. I think life is too full of natural wonders and logical complexities to worry about illogical things.

What convinces me that he’s an atheist is his word choices. References to “natural wonders” and to logical versus illogical make him sound very much like Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s most prominent atheists. That argument — that the world is too full of natural wonder to go worrying about illogical things — is actually the theme of one of Dawkins’ books (The Greatest Show on Earth).

It’s also interesting that when he says “illogical things” he bites his lip and smiles like a boy who has just said something naughty — as if he knows that he’s making fun of religion and he knows he might get in trouble for it.

Now, I know that many will argue that he worked at a Tibetan monastery during his gap year. There is also evidence that he meditates, or that he once did. However, here is his description of it:

There’s an ability to focus and have a real sort of purity of purpose and attention and not be too distracted. And to feel very alive to your environment, to know what you are part of, to understand what is going on in your peripheral vision and behind you, as well of what is in front of you. That definitely came from that.

This sounds more like the analysis of a clinical psychiatrist than a religious adherent. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he calls himself a buddhist “at least philosophically” — but none of this conflicts with atheism.

It appears that he has a feeling that there’s something bigger than him in this world, but the first quote seems to put him in the camp of Richard Dawkins. The “something bigger” is the natural world and its scientific intricacies.

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Old friend

Let us applaud our way of living a lifetime
(condensed) in just one weekend
A day by the sea, a day in the forest
An evening of bright-burning stars

Boulevards lined with lighted trees
Balmy weather beneath swaying palms
The colors of the morning sky don’t look real
from the as-yet-not-open lifeguard stand

Your silent father, your jabbering mom
revealing your family’s history
over sausages of various spiciness,
all gathered around the kitchen table

Sweet and strange how we have changed
(I used to idolize you)
Now you’re the one holding on to my words
Sorry they aren’t what you wish they were

It isn’t me you want, it’s the memory
Don’t get yourself confused
Once a year or three we can pretend
That we are who we aren’t anymore

But, someday soon I hope we can
load all our friends in the Vanagon
along with strings of Christmas lights
and soak in the hot springs of Baja again

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Copperplate practice

I’m making it a goal to keep myself honest by uploading a scan of my best attempts at copperplate practice each month. Here is this month’s:

I particularly enjoyed “November” and in general find practice to be very zen.

I think I write better if I am imitating than if I am just writing something I have no model for (comparing the first line and last 4 lines to everything else). Maybe the point is to eventually have a good model in my head.

I need to work on spacing and on the letters p and f. Also, my consistency of slant is poor and my flourishes are shaky. Your critique is more than welcome. Please help me improve!

Quote: Third Star
Lessons: EL Brown
Ink: Higgins Fountain Pen India Ink
Nib: Hunt 101
Paper: Clairefontaine (from a French supermarket, apparently commonly used by middle schoolers)

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