Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thank the Goddess for weekends

Although it's going to be a short one for me. I did take yesterday off, but The Project is coming down to a major deadline, so I'll be doing hard copy redlining at home this afternoon and will be at the office worshipping the computer tomorrow. I'm busy feeling guilty because Utah Savage tagged me several days ago with one of those getting-to-know-you-better sets of questions and I haven't responded yet, I owe a bunch of people actual, hard copy snail mail letters, the house is a mess, and I should call my kids and my mother sometime today. So what am I doing? Sucking down coffee and feeding the C-SPAN addiction.

As long as I'm sitting here, though, I could do a quick response to the getting-to-know-you-better questions:

Where do I buy my clothes? Wherever I spot a bargain, but rarely thrift stores. The stuff in the closet came from everywhere from Pamida to Nordstroms. The fake leopard fur slippers I'm wearing at the moment came from Family Dollar, and I hit Marshall's and T. J. Maxx on a regular basis. The one thing I don't do is buy clothes at thrift stores -- I recognize the amazing bargains that are possible, but I think I wound up wearing too many hand-me-downs from cousins when I was a kid. About the only time I can wear a garment that's been worn by others before me is when it's handed to me by someone I know, like the S.O.'s well-worn National Guard field jacket. I wore that ratty field jacket while doing a research fellowship in D.C., and I'd hear the doorlocks on cars clicking when I entered the crosswalks -- obviously, it made me look homeless (and the expression of someone lost in thought when getting close to defending a thesis proposal no doubt looks deranged). Turned out to be great protective cover for an urban environment -- I never got asked for spare change when I was in that jacket.

Furniture? Mix of thrift store, yard sale, hand built, and heirlooms. We've got a blanket box in the bedroom that the S.O.'s oldest brother made in high school wood shop circa 1950, an American Empire mahogany dresser I bought for $10 in college, and a brand new chest of drawers from Ikea. My father made the desk I use here in the living room, the printer stand is a steamer trunk that probably came from Finland in the early 1900s, the S.O. made one set of bookshelves while I was in grad school at VaTech using plans in a book called 2 x 4 Furniture (they're made so they break down easily so are highly portable; a handy feature considering they've since been moved at least half a dozen times), the china cabinet in the dining area was a $40 find at a yard sale (it's not really my style, but it serves its purpose). Our "entertainment center" is a heavy slab of wood I picked up dumpster-diving in Madison many, many years ago. Over the years it's functioned as a coffee table while perched on cinder blocks (industrial style years before it was trendy?), a computer desk, and gathered dust in a storage shed. In Omaha it was a computer desk; here's it on shorter legs and holds the tv. The S.O. is fairly handy with tools; over the years he's built quite a bit of our furniture (various iterations of a platform bed with storage beneath, bunkbeds for the kids, loft beds for the kids and grandkids, bookshelves, benches in various styles, storage cabinets, a hutch for my desk).

Live? Current domicile is in northeast Atlanta, just over the DeKalb County line off Buford Highway, in an area known as "Little Mexico" and right on the edge of Congressman John Lewis's district. (Lewis is one of the few positive things I've got to say about Georgia -- in this election I'm actually going to be able to vote for at least candidate I respect and who is not the lesser of two evils.) In the words of Hank Snow, though, I've been everywhere.

Favorite book? Hard to say, but if I had to pin it down to ones that have had an actual influence, I might go by authors -- Thor Heyerdahl, Richard Halliburton in nonfiction, Harlan Ellison, Louise L'Amour, and Robert A. Heinlein in fiction. Neither of the last two produced what you could call great literature, but they crafted aphorisms that tended to stick. L'Amour I can still go back and re-read, Heinlein not so much when it comes to his later work. As for Ellison, he has written great literature, although it's usually discounted because it's speculative fiction. In recent years I've discovered James Lee Burke, although his world view tends to be pretty grim. If I were to be stranded on a desert island, though, and told I had to limit myself to reading material, I'd take Anthony Trollope's Barsetshire novels. Pure escapism.

Incidentally, I blame Thor Heyerdahl for my "Survivor" addiction. I'd read Fatu Hiva multiple times when CBS decided to film the fourth season of "Survivor" there. Could not resist watching due to the setting, and have been a fan since. Which answers the question about favorite tv show.

Favorite movie? Hands down A Boy and His Dog. Post-apocalyptic with a Mad Max feel four years before Mad Max, super cheezy acting (Don Johnson starred -- that says it all), Jason Robards proving again that an alcoholic actor will take any gig in order to pay the bills, but I still love it. Loved it, loved the original novella -- and the only real gripe I have is that they cast a mixed breed classic shaggy dog (Tiger from the Brady Bunch) as Blood when he was a different breed in the novella. I loved showing this movie when I taught science, technology and society courses: you could hear the students jaws drop at the end. I know Ellison always gets nailed as being misogynistic, with this particular story being trotted out as a prime example, but you could reverse the genders and the outcome would be exactly the same: a girl/boy loves her/his dog.

I also used A Boy and His Dog as a great example of the way we take technology so much for granted that even in post-apocalyptic films there's almost always an assumption it's going to be possible to scrounge for canned goods and ammo indefinitely, but that's the subject for a different post.

And, although the instructions were to infect five other persons with this particular meme, I can only think of three bloggers I read regularly who haven't already done a lot of self-disclosure along these lines: Ranger Bob at the Retread Ranger Station, (is there anything in your house other than Newfoundland accoutrements?), DaveO at The Lake is the Boss (anything non-kayak related?)(Dave spends so much time on the water he probably has webbed feet), and Tracy at Possum Living (where I already know some of the answers, but other inquiring minds might be curious).


  1. Come on Nan, its not just the kayaks. There is beer here too!

  2. Heh. I used that same outfit tactic when we lived in Chicago. I went to work really early so when I made my way through the dark streets at 6:30am, I looked a little rough. I kept a bunch of clothes, shoes and nylons at the office and changed when I got there.

    I was never bothered by anyone and I was lot warmer on those freezing, windy mornings.

  3. I buy some clothes in thrift stores, but many of them have been given to me.

    Most of my furniture was given to me. I haven't bought a new piece for over 20 years.

    My favorite books are very heavy ones. My favorite romance is The Bridge Across Forever, by Richard Bach.

    I'm glad I don't live near a big city, the one I do live near is over 20 thousand and that is too big for me.

    I guess gas is hard to get there at times? Lots of gas here, and lots of cheap beer.

  4. i loved a boy and his dog...loved loved it..i loved the dog the most..even though those were the hot years for don johnson..i buy yard sales, thrift store(or as i call them 'used shit stores'...if i have to pay regular dollar for something im pissed...

  5. ps, i know which slippers your talking about..and don't know about your family dollar, but our family dollar has all summer clothes on sale for $3, jewelry 1/2 off, shoes/slippers on sale 40% off...and purses/hats 40% off...just saying

  6. I don't need clothes very often, I get attached to them and wear them until they are rags.

    Really, rags, falling apart. I'm not on this planet to impress anyone with what I wear.

  7. Wooo- will have to get started on this!

  8. Lovely job Nan. When I read these post that give us a peek into the personal lives of our blogging friends I am often jealous of the women with handy, helpful male partners. I have a leaky kitchen sink and a toilet that has a small problem that any man worth half his salt could fix. I know that's a bit sexist, but... I have always had the belief that if a man isn't handy he isn't worth having around. It's advise I have passed to at least one young woman who thought sexy was what counted in a male companion. Maybe it is if you have no intention of marrying the guy. Sexy is great in a boy toy, but handy is better in a mate.

    I have a friend who grew up in a polygamist family--way too many kids. She never wore anything but hand me downs and hates thrift store shopping. One of the reasons I do so well with a good thrift store is all the years modeling high end fashion. I know all the good labels and can feel quality with my finger tips. Often the people working in thrift stores have no idea that they are pricing brand new Ann Taylor pants at $6.

    Thanks for taking the time to play. You are indeed a very good sport.


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