Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Get the wiggles out

This is the kind of hearing aid I once wore a long time ago (at school):

No, we did not dance around in our underwear. These children are reacting to rhythms they feel in the floor. I tried to find a better picture of body-worn hearing aids, but this is the only one that came up.

And now, hearing aids have to be cool. I find the idea of marketing hearing aids as "sexy cool" rather strange, as they are such a necessary part of my life, almost on the same level as bread and water. Are canes and walkers ever advertised this way? (Note that the models are not actually wearing the hearing aids).

Everything's changing

I've made an appointment to see about getting a new hearing aid. Exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.

Nerve-wracking because I'm accustomed to my current prop and leery of the adjustment period the new machine will require. My brain will have to retrain itself on the new sounds coming in, so similar and yet not to what I once heard. I don't enjoy change.

The memory of my initial acquaintance with my current hearing aid is still fresh--how I hated that thing! Everything seemed so soft and muted. When the audiologist said that this is actually quite similar to how normal people hear, that everything isn't so magnified (who pays attention to the ruffle of papers on the desk, or the quiet rumble of the dishwasher, anyways?), I couldn't believe that normal hearing could be so frustratingly boring.

The wow factor of the hearing aid lay not in its amplification power, but in its ability to tease out the various frequencies of sound, to suppress background noise and bring human voices to the fore. It took me a long time to appreciate that kind of technology.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daydreaming a book

When my brain started going cross-eyed at the reference desk last week, I allowed myself to daydream a little, to work the snarls out of my thoughts before they turned into a gordian knot and I would end up staring dumbly at patrons asking questions such as: "Do you have any books on cats?"

This is what I did: imagined who would play who in a movie adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke's doorstopper of a book on an alternative history of England in which magic returns in the nineteenth century (think Tolkien meets Austen).

Jonathan Strange, young, impetuous magician -- Christian Bale

Mr Norrell, stodgy magician -- Ian Holm

Gentleman with the thistledown hair, fairy king of Lost Hope -- David Bowie

Arabella Strange, patient wife -- Kate Winslet

Lady Emma Pole, condemned to live half her life (she spends her days in England, her evenings in Faerie) at Lost Hope after Mr Norrell bargains with the Gentleman with the thistledown hair to bring her back to life -- Keira Knightley

John Uskglass, The Raven King, the mysterious father of magic in England -- Johnny Depp

One of the fae, a faerie we meet in Lost Hope whose dress is made up of beetles -- Nicole Kidman

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Exercise hurts

If you want to torture someone, and they have never done an exercise like this before, make them do decline situps.

Then force them to do it again two days later.

The first time is incredibly difficult. The second time will leave you weeping like a baby. You are using muscles you hardly ever call upon, and they will protest in a painful way (think knives scoring your sides).

This is the ugly truth of exercise. The second time is the worst.

Thankfully it always gets better.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Muscles and looks

I conquered my fear of the free weight room at the Y. That bastion of testosterone, realm of muscled men, was no match for me as I marched in with what feminine pride I had, holding my head high in spite of my inability to lift no more than a fraction of what they could benchpress.

They grinned at each other and looked askance at me as I settled in to do sit-ups, and I realized that I was not leery of them so much as I was of being in a strange place and not knowing what to do with myself while those initiated into the mysteries of free weights could plan their workouts with ease.

I finished and, sitting up, noticed that they spent as much time standing in front of the mirror as they did actually working out. I didn't feel so awkward after all--if guys with thick cords of muscle, at the height of their fitness, still need to look in the mirror and reassure themselves of their appearance, then there's hope for the rest of us.

State dance

"Clogging is named and designated as the official dance of Kentucky." --KRS 2.101

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cultural literacy at its lowest

An exchange Jon had with one of his students:

student: "So how come they have different laws in Holland?"

Jon: "Holland's a different country."

student: "Holland's really cool. They can smoke pot and stuff there! I've seen pictures of coffeehouses that have little scales where they weight out the pot."

Jon: "Well, Holland's a different country. They do things differently there."

student: "So Bush isn't in charge over there?"

Jon (trying to keep a straight face): "No, he's isn't. Holland's a different country. They have their own laws and people in charge."

student: "So you mean Bush isn't in control outside the United States?"

Jon: "No..he isn't."


I have not met a colporteur lately.

Jezebel was defenestrated.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Abrams Falls

Congratulations to my parents for completing a five mile round-trip hike to Abrams Falls in the Smokies this weekend. They might not think it was worth it at the moment, as their aches and pains are still quite fresh (believe me, I can relate!), but the falls were rather glorious in all their rain-swollen force.