Tuesday, May 29, 2007


back from tampa. i got 2 hours of sleep after a stressful and long day on friday, probably consumed food and acetaminophen in an unwise fashion, and a small headache progressed to a migraine on saturday. all of this conspired to get me violently and miserably ill on the flight saturday morning and throughout the day saturday. fun.

but i was with great people, and they took excellent care of me. i was all better by sunday and had a great time. i don't know if floridians are known for their hospitality but these ones should be.

and now, i am going to go dump a bucket of aloe lotion over my head.

Friday, May 25, 2007

vivir, or, to live.

i have been thinking about life. my great grandmother just passed away this morning. she was a truly amazing woman who traveled all over the world, raised remarkable children, and maintained her unique humor and joyful personality even when, in her later years, she lost track of all the details.

now she's in a better place, rejoicing in the fruits of her labors here on earth. and there is a lot of fruit to rejoice about.

about a year ago i finally came to the decisive realization that living for other people is simply not a good option. in all the various ways i tried to live for others over the years, over and over it would blow up in my face. some times worse than others. i did think that i was living my life for God, but God was only real to me in other people.

dedicating one's life to others sounds nice and selfless, but in my experience, it's not. for me, it really came down to seeking the approval and praise of the people around me. and living for that is pure slavery, believe me. living for God is very different. i know that not all the readers of this blog will agree with me, but i honestly believe that being dedicated to God's purposes for you is the only truly viable option for living a full and joyful life. only with my life completely in His hands have i started to finally find out who i really am.

and guess what? the real me doesn't care so much about some of the things i thought i cared about, when i was merely playing a role for others. those things have fallen by the wayside. meanwhile, certain deep, deep passions that i've had since i was a child have been resurfacing. in those areas i have found, in the last 9 months or so, joys that i didn't know were possible to experience in this life.

which brings me back to today. i just booked a flight and will be spending the months of september and october in vanuatu. i am quite literally following my dreams here. i will spend a lot of the time tramping around on various islands, and a lot of it just sitting and writing. i have no idea what will come out of it, but something will. and even if nothing did, the journey and the pure act of living out my life, with and in God, as myself and no other, will be enough.

incidentally, it has been nearly two years since i have been out of the USA and canada, and four years (FOUR YEARS!) since i was in any country for the very first time. not since high school have i gone so long with so little international travel!

but for now, a quick trip to florida for the weekend.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

continuing evidence that i am a wacko

i am really, truly, honestly considering a 6- to 8-week trip to vanuatu later this year. this goes beyond fodder for fiction writing; it is something like an obsession.

i am changeable as the wind, i know... but i could put off getting a car 'til the end of the year and spend some time at the end of the dry season (sept/oct) in good ol' melanesia. my life in general is really quite untrammeled at the moment, but that isn't going to last long, so this year would probably be the best time to do it.

you auzzies (you know who you are!) are pretty close (in the scheme of the huge pacific ocean, at any rate) ... you should come join me for a week or two! i'm serious!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

long way round

thanks to gadling, i found out about "long way round," a show about the motorcycle adventures of ewan mcgregor (you may have heard of him) and charlie boorman. the show follows their 115-day trek on motorcycles through europe and asia, then through canada and the US.

i netflixed it. so far i've only seen two episodes but i love it. and whoever you are, you need to see it. it's got its hilarious moments (two great ones from the first episode: "hostile environment training" with automatic weapons; charlie mounting his brand new bike, promptly losing control of it, and slamming it into the truck it came in) and its scary ones. sometimes both at once.

most of all it makes me more convinced than ever that i need to find a man who wants to travel the world, sometimes on motorcycles. alas, these two guys are already taken.

Friday, May 11, 2007

all good things....

news (via slashdot) about my favorite show on TV at the moment, battlestar galactica:

this next season (22 episodes starting in january 2008) will be the last. many are disappointed, but to be honest i'm glad. BSG definitely had the potential to go on longer than it ought. consider the x-files: it kept flailing along well after the central mystery was either (depending on how you read it) solved or convoluted beyond recognition. after season 5 or 6, the show stopped making what little sense it once made.

no fear of that fate for my beloved BSG. the show should be able to tell a complete story and make a set of coherent statements. so i'm looking forward to seeing them do that in season 4.

that is all. have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

your application has been approved!

just once, i would like to get a spam message with a subject line that says something like, "your application has been REJECTED" or "add pounds with b@c0n!" ... or "i am a single girl from russia and i saw your picture online and i think you are very ugly and i don't want to talk to you at all."

or a fortune from a fortune cookie that says, "you will die soon, alone and miserable."

eh, i have reason to be wry today. honest.

Monday, May 07, 2007

planet earth

i just purchased the DVDs of BBC's Planet Earth series. it is completely amazing. beautiful, educational, everything nature shows should be but rarely are because they're, you know, nature shows. this one had a big budget, truly intrepid producers and camerapeople, and excellent new HD digital filming technology.

if you're in the USA, you may have heard of this via the Discovery Channel, which is (or did it finish?) airing these here in the USA. but the BBC are the ones who actually made the series, so i got the BBC version with the original narration by Sir David Attenborough. since the BBC DVDs and website make no mention of the Discovery channel, i have a feeling that Discovery's "cooperation" in the production consisted of A) getting Sigourney Weaver to do a new narration and B) airing it. i hope they paid the BBC well.

if you haven't seen any of the episodes, find a way to see them. if you have a really big TV and live near me, invite me over (and give me cheese) and we'll watch some episodes together on your extremely comfortable couch. but seriously, any way you can. watch it. watch it!

Friday, May 04, 2007


no, i'm not going there. at least not anytime soon. my rabbi just got back from a whirlwind tour of many messianic congregations and organizations in israel, and he'll be talking about his trip at our services this weekend... i'm looking forward to that. in the spirit of it, this is a very interesting video from an israeli news program about messianic jews around jerusalem. i wanted it to post directly to the blog, but google video and blogger don't seem to want to play nice with each other (isn't that interesting) and i don't have time to try to troubleshoot the problem. so you actually have to use a finger and click if you want to see it.

i'm told by someone who has been to the community featured at the beginning of the video that it's actually an all-messianic kibbutz. it's also a teaching kibbutz, used to instruct others about agriculture and other trades that are done on the kibbutz.

the day the music dies?

the good news about internet radio:

1. some congresspeople have responded to the flood of calls and emails from concerned citizens and introduced The Internet Radio Equality Act, or H.R. 2060, which proposes a much better royalty payment structure for internet broadcasters than the crippling one that had been accepted by the Copyright Royalty Board.

2. the start date for the awful new rates, formerly set at May 15th, has been pushed back to July 15th. it would still be retroactive to January 1, 2006.

while #2 is definitely an immediate relief, i can't say i like the fact that SaveNetRadio.org is counting down to my birthday as "The Day the Music Dies." the SaveNetRadio site has info on how you can support H.R. 2060. i gave my guy, Representative Jim Gerlach, a call this morning.

i'm slightly horrified that i'm more of an activist about this than about, well, more important stuff (with the exception of some emails to reps a year or two ago about environmental legislation). internet radio is hardly a life-or-death issue. unfortunately i despair that our dear government will ever perform well on the bigger matters (iraq, health care, the environment, &c.), so i kind of throw up my hands about those issues... or turn to a kind of hopeless prayer. this item seemed small and manageable enough to get me to act. maybe i need to toss my cynicism and start expressing myself on the issues i care about, eh?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Guardian's 100 best books of all time

found this via yagathai and decided to do it how he did it: bold are ones i've read, italicized are ones i've read in part.

From the article: "Full list of the 100 best works of fiction, alphabetically by author, as determined from a vote by 100 noted writers from 54 countries... Don Quixote was named as the top book in history but otherwise no ranking was provided."

Achebe, Things Fall Apart
Andersen, Fairy Tales and Stories
Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Balzac, Old Goriot
Beckett, Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable
Boccaccio, Decameron
Borges, Collected Fictions
Bronte, Wuthering Heights
Camus, The Stranger
Celan, Poems.
Celine, Journey to the End of the Night
Cervantes, Don Quixote
Chaucer, Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Selected Stories
Conrad, Nostromo
Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
Dickens, Great Expectations
Diderot, Jacques the Fatalist and His Master
Doblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz
Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Possessed; The Brothers Karamazov
George Eliot, Middlemarch
Ellison, Invisible Man
Euripides, Medea
Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom; The Sound and the Fury
Flaubert, Madame Bovary; A Sentimental Education
Lorca, Spain, Gypsy Ballads
Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude; Love in the Time of Cholera
Gilgamesh, Mesopotamia
Goethe, Faust
Gogol, Dead Souls
Grass, The Tin Drum
Guimaraes Rosa, The Devil to Pay in the Backlands
Knut, Hunger
Hemingway,The Old Man and the Sea
Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey
Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House
The Book of Job
Joyce, Ulysses
Kafka, The Complete Stories; The Trial; The Castle Bohemia
Kalidasa, The Recognition of Sakuntala
Kawabata, The Sound of the Mountain
Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
Lawrence, Sons and Lovers
Laxness, Independent People
Leopardi, Complete Poems
Lessing, The Golden Notebook
Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking
Lu Xun, Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
Mahabharata, India
Naguib, Children of Gebelawi
Mann, Buddenbrook; The Magic Mountain
Melville, Moby Dick
Montaigne, Essays.
Morante, History
Morrison, Beloved
Murasaki, The Tale of Genji
Musil, The Man Without Qualities
Nabokov, Lolita
Njaals Saga
Orwell, 1984
Ovid, Metamorphoses
Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
Poe, The Complete Tales
Proust, Remembrance of Things Past
Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel
Rulfo, Pedro Paramo
Rumi, Mathnawi
Rushdie, Midnight's Children
Sadi, The Orchard
Salih, Season of Migration to the North
Saramago, Blindness
William Shakespeare, Hamlet; King Lear; Othello
Sophocles, Oedipus the King
Stendhal, The Red and the Black
Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
Svevo, Confessions of Zeno
Swift, Gulliver's Travels
Tolstoy, War and Peace; Anna Karenina; The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories
Thousand and One Nights
Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Valmiki, Ramayana
Virgil, The Aeneid
Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; To the Lighthouse
Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian

i need to do some reading!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


so what has been happening in alannaland? i got a raise at work in recognition of the tech support stuff that i do there (very different from what i was hired to do), so that was gratifying.

to celebrate i went with some friends to my new addiction, tria cafe here in philly. some good, cheese-lovin' friends from california were in town a couple of weekends ago and we decided to check out tria, which is "a celebration of fermentation" in wine, cheese, and beer form. those who know me well know how i feel about cheese. and tria features one wine, one cheese, and one beer at half price every sunday, so all of you philadelphians need to go check it out. i might drag you there myself one of these sundays.

of course, if tria purports to love fermentation so much, i need to see if i can get them to start doing things with kefir. (i really need to update that page, btw.)

in wanderlust news, i had a lovely trip to altoona's horseshoe curve, am strongly considering joining a friend on a cheapo jaunt to tampa in may, and am saving in hopes of getting myself a yaris hatchback (aren't yarii adorable?) this summer... so as to take weekend road trips galore. oh, and i still might find myself compelled to swim to spain this year.

"galore" is a really funny-sounding word.