Where does the time go?
I've been immersed in books -- mostly British Renaissance, Restoration, and now 18th century. Was steeped in Shakespeare for quite a while -- I still have one more non-Shakes play to read at some point. I discovered a love for Milton's Paradise Lost: oh the drama! The horrid bristling spears of the fallen angels, the incestuous love child of Sin and Satan, and the hairy sides of the hills of Eden. I insist that Eve was onto something with her division of labor, and wanting to go her own way in the garden... leading her right to the snake. But it's so appropriate considering the Tree of Knowledge and humankind relying upon making their own discoveries, losing the supervised crib that was Eden. Then there was Pope -- particularly loved "Eloisa to Abelard." Congreve's The Way of the World is hilarious, and I love those happy endings (and wow, Millamant & Mirabell actually made a prenup together). Wycherley's The Counry Wife was the most enjoyable experience so far: will never assume that shopping for china is an innocent activity again. Now I'm well into Gulliver's Travels. And yes I get the fuss, but I'm looking forward to moving into the 19th century.
As to real life: today it rained. All day. But tonight promises some amusement: sushi making & a new Last Comic Standing. Josh Blue is my hero. I've never laughed so hard in my life, and at freaking advertisements for the show!
Not too much to report... this quals reading definitely gets in the way of my becoming completely lazy during the summer:
Did I mention having people over for dinner? Best idea ever. Makes me feel like I really am a 20-something. We had the group over for a sushi instruction night about a week and a half ago. Everyone was quite good at it, too -- yummy stuff. I also tried saki for the first time. Good saki is good, and bad saki is very bad. We ended the evening with watermelon up on the roof, watching the sunset.
Unfortunately, our 4th of July plans didn't go, well, as planned. Fate seems to be saying I'm never to watch Madison's Rhythm and Booms. Last year my flight plans meant missing both Hood River's fireworks (which were on July 4th, and I left earlier), and Madison's fireworks (which were early in order to be over the weekend). This year, the fireworks were supposed to be on Saturday. So everyone came over, bearing beer & snacks & desserts, and we went up to the roof to wait for the fireworks to start. It was a bit cloudy, and it seemed it might rain. But the city isn't supposed to cancel unless in the case of extreme storms, so we thought all would be well. Not so: Andrew heard that they were canceled due to some thunder, and then it sprinkled a bit so we had to cram into Andrew's apartment. Now Andrew's apartment is a fairly spacious and well laid out studio, but it was definitely not intended for 14 people to sit around there at once. It was interesting -- awkward silence as we suddenly had to make new plans for the evening, eventually dissolving into many conversations, spills, and DJ-plays. Naturally, it stopped raining within an hour and a half (Come on, Madison, get some courage! You totally could have done the fireworks as planned). So back out on the roof, where we ended up getting into a back-and-forth Liza Minelli trivia match with the (very flaboyent) neighbor on the roof across the street. Turns out, Annie has a secret store of knowledge of these things, and she kicked ass. The only stuff I knew had to do with Gone with the Wind, since I had that movie poster forever and daily saw the names of the actors/actresses. Eventually, the group across the way (including the flamboyent gentleman) came over to our roof. Complete with their wine glasses, advice on hair styling, and "darlings." I kid you not. Final jeopardy ensued. I think they were pretty much equally matched. And Annie's like 20 years younger, so just imagine.
Anyway, the next night we missed out on the actual Rhythm and Booms display, as we had tickets to see Dave Matthew's Band. Yes, I still love DMB. Not so much the new stuff, but after loving them devotedly throughout high school, and periodically rediscovering their early material ever since, and never having been to a concert, I wanted to see them before they get any further away from their best songs. So we drove to Alpine Valley, which is a beautiful place for concerts. The lawn is a huge hill that turns into a party scene. Unfortunately, the DMB fans are horrible, horrible people. Phish fans are much more chill, and actually care about listening to the music. DMB fans these days are mostly under the age of 16, and are at the concern strictly for the chance of getting the occasional beer or ("oh my God!") smirnoff. Basically, they go to concerts because their parents won't let them party at home. Every girl in attendance, by some unspoken rule, was wearing at least 3 layering shirts, or a halter top (the tighter the better). Even better, of course, were those who couldn't be bothered with tops, and only got so far as putting on a bikini. These pinnacles of teenage intelligence primarily wore skimpy shorts or skirts (preferably paired with a halter top long enough to cover said shorts, making the girl appear pregnant and/or only partially clothed). This strategy seemed to backfire, as the evening concert meant standing around in the chill evening air with half a million mosquitoes. But I guess insect bites are sexy these days. But by the time it got chilly, most of our teenagers were far, far beyond feeling any pain. No, many of them were lying on the ground passed out, or blindly stumbling (or falling) into others. Others were drunk enough off their one or two smirnoffs to scream loudly upon every encounter (or re-encounter) with their high school friends. It became clear, quickly, that no one was really there to listen to Dave. Except, of course, for sentimental me. I had one drunk girl run straight into my back, a guy crash into me (no pun intended) from behind as he ran drunkenly down the hill and I sat on a beach towel, and another zombie head straight toward us as his friend led him through the crowd. And, whether because I'm allergic, or simply have enough intact brain cells to know that smoking cigarettes (and esp. getting the smoke second-hand, filter-less) is not good for human health, I had a raging headache from all the smoke. Apparently, 80% of teenagers in WI are chainsmokers. DISGUSTING. Concert venues need to get a clue and do what restaurants were doing for decades: create a non-smoking section for those of us who don't want to breathe carcinogens simply because someone else got addicted and can't bear to stop smoking for two hours. Or better yet, do what most progressive cities have done, and ban it in these areas where people are forced into close spaces. It seems so damn obvious and SIMPLE.
The music, however --at least what I could hear of it -- was great. Lots of old stuff that I like: Satellite, Rapunzel, Don't Drink the Water (great opener for WI, since the water is so hard you get mineral deposits from just boiling water for tea), Proudest Monkey, The Song that Jane Likes, Everyday, etc. We missed the encore (they were off stage for nearly 10 minutes, and with my headache, I couldn't take it anymore), which included Stay.
We did get some fireworks on the Fourth of July though: We went out to Sherwood Hills for the fireworks at their country club, and they were wonderful. We were in basically the front row, right under them. The highlights were their contraptions for the kids (a low to the ground setup with spinning dolphins on fire over a lit "stream" of fireworks, and a flag with appropriately colored sparks), a bombardment of high white sparkly fireworks (it went on and on, catching us off guard), and a grand finale. So exciting to be right under the explosions. And better than Rhythm and Booms, in that we arrived twenty minutes before show time, and were free from the slow moving traffic in under 10 minutes. And fireflies at dusk after a bright pink sunset. Back home: Andrew's homemade applie pie w/ vanilla ice cream.
Lately, basically reading, going to parks to read, and buying books. Looking forward to the weather improving so we can go to Devil's lake!