Thursday, July 31, 2008

lunch-break poetry


Softer than the floor,
Less lumpy than couch cushions,
Mattresses are great.

In the Style of G. Gavin Gunhold

Pain strikes, like a knife in my back.
Lying on the couch cushions, waiting for sleep,
I longingly think of the mattress I once owned.
Soft as an angel's wings, supportive as a knee brace, beautiful.

On camping trips, a sleeping bag and foam pad sufficed.
Pine cones occasionally intruded, but I slept well.
These lumpy couch cushions might benefit from a pine cone.
They couldn't get much worse.

I used to sleep on the floor, and then on an air mattress.
I fear my years are catching up with me.
No longer can I sleep on the bare floor.
No longer can I make do without a real mattress.
I am too old.


O mattress, queen of household furniture,
'though I am cheap like Scrooge, I must admit
That thou art worth a great expenditure.
I will obtain thee soon, if fate permit.

I tried to sleep on floors; I tried the couch.
I pulled the cushions off and on them slept.
But rest was hard to find -- my back cried, "Yowtch!"
And thinking of past mattresses, I wept.

Without a mattress, life is not the best.
I wish to read but have nowhere to sit.
I wish to nap but can obtain no rest.
Without a mattress, I have lost my wit.

Tonight, I hope a mattress comes to me.
Tonight, if all goes well, I'll be pain-free.


Some weeks now I've slept on the floor.
It's been longer than ever before.
With a mattress tonight
I'll be filled with delight.
My back couldn't take any more.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

hidden talents

As my mom can attest, I tend to think that things I haven't done before are really hard and that I won't be able to do them. Sometimes I'm right, but sometimes I end up being surprised at how easy something is. Take, for instance, housebreaking. I always thought it took some skill to pick locks, but yesterday I was able to break into my house in about 15 seconds.

I think my roommate was right when she said that we should use the deadbolt more often.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Have you ever thought to yourself, "I wonder what it would be like if Spiderman were a woman and she flew around doing Bollywood dancing with Superman?" If so, you should probably get your medication checked out. But also, you should check out this clip. (My favorite part is around 2:30 to 3:00, but it's all pretty fabulous. Even better than the flying couch in Rangeela.)

I haven't seen this movie, so I have no idea what the context of the scene is. But I think the people who made Superman Returns should have borrowed from this scene.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Occasionally, I read books that aren't trash. To mention a few recent reads:

In the category of books that make me laugh: Anything by P.G. Wodehouse. Fun, silly, improbable -- they're my cup of tea. As co-clerk Dave once astutely remarked, Wodehouse books manage to be light reading without being unintelligent, an all-too-rare trait.

In the category of books that make me think: The Great Partition, by Yasmin Khan. How do people go from being decently civil to killing one another by the millions? I still don't know, but this book about the partition of the Indian subcontinent gave me a lot to think about. Also, I'm now slightly less clueless about the history of India and Pakistan.

In the category of books that are just what they ought to be: The Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. If you like children's fantasy literature, you should really check these books out. Imaginative and well-paced, they get the highly coveted Cindy Seal of Approval. I'm eagerly anticipating the release of the fourth book next April.

I could write a book

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I like reading really stupid and poorly written novels, especially sappy historical-fiction born-again-Christian romances. They're so dreadfully earnest in their horribleness. I think I'd like to write one myself. I've noticed that historical accuracy, theological soundness, attention to grammar and style, realistic relationships, and good plots are all completely optional, so I figure I ought to be able to handle it. You've just got to include lengthy descriptions of the characters' physical appearance, cutesy fighting/flirting scenes between the love interests, and a chapter in which either the hero or the heroine saves someone's soul. I think my novel will start like this . . .

"Mother, I haven't seen you since lunch. What are you doing out near the willow tree in this isolated part of our homestead plot of land here in the state of Kansas?

The older woman sighed wearily as she looked at her son, whose cleft chin and rugged good looks reminded her so much of her husband at the time she first met him. "Andrew, I am waiting for your brother to arrive. As you may recall, he left home five years ago, and we have not seen him since. I received a telegram from him one month ago saying that he would return on this date, and I am standing by this beautiful green willow tree awaiting his arrival. However, I feel a strange foreboding, almost as if this is the beginning of a story in which complications will arise. I only pray that I am wrong."

The young man looked admiringly at his mother, whose strength had helped the family survive during those bleak years after his father's death and whose looks still suggested the beauty she must have been in her youth. "Mother, at times like this, I can't help thinking of Father. It is a pity that he died 15 years ago, in the year 1832. I always remember the year because that was when Andrew Jackson became president. Do you remember those mysterious words Father uttered as he passed on to the next life? Sometimes I lay awake at night and wonder what they mean, when I'm not busy praying and thinking sanctimonious thoughts."

The older woman looked sadly at her son, noting the unshed tears in his beautiful hazel eyes, which were so like her dead husband's. "Yes, I do remember those mysterious words, which I need not repeat here because you no doubt remember them. If only we knew what they meant---"

She broke off speaking as her clear blue eyes detected a wispy trail of dust off in the distance. "Look, I think it your brother, Hayden, returning. But who is that with him? It looks like a girl. Why would your brother have a girl with him?"

Andrew's hazel eyes turned in the direction his mother had indicated. Looking closely, he could see the dusty wagon and its dustier occupants. "Mother, it is indeed my brother Hayden returning. But that girl does not look Christian. How could he have fallen in with an unbeliever, and how should we treat her?"

The mother sighed deeply once more. "I do not know, Andrew, nor do I know what his relationship is with her. But just remember my handy formula for dealing with unbelievers: 35% patronizing kindness, 43% concern for their immortal wellbeing, 15% sanctimonious self-righteousness, and 7% aloofness so as to avoid contamination from their sinful natures. You can't go wrong with that approach"

As Andrew looked at the approaching wagon and reflected deeply on his mother's wise counsel, he suddenly felt that his life was about to change. And how.


Well, I'm off to see my publisher. I think I've got a bestseller in the making.

Friday, July 18, 2008

probably true

Me: Maybe I've got plebeian tastes, but I find hip hop far more entertaining and interesting than contemporary dance.

Roommate: I think your use of the word "plebeian" automatically means that you're not.

a special message for Chantal

Don't stress out too much.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

akele hmmm?

In the Hindi movie I watched last night -- Akele Hum Akele Tum, for those who care -- the hero, an aspiring music composer, is forced to sell all of his original compositions to some villainous but well-known guys who put their names on his work and receive an award for a song he composed. It's all very sad. Except, well, have a listen to his song that those dastardly composers are claiming as their own.

Doesn't something about it strike you as a wee bit familiar? (If not, click here. Also, listen to the radio this December.)

I'm not sure whether this was an intentional, subtle acknowledgment of the rampant plagiarism that sometimes occurs in the film industry or whether the composer and producer thought that no one in the audience would be familiar with the original song. I'm leaning toward the second option, partly because the pathos of the situation is greatly reduced if our hero is himself plagiarizing other people's work and partly because, according to my internet sleuthing, at least three other songs in this film, as well the plot itself, also "borrow" heavily from other sources. Either way, though, I find this scene delightfully ironic. Indian cinema, I love you.

Bollywood: a tale of adoration and addiction

Our story begins on December 24, 2007, when my parents basically forced us to go down into the basement at my uncle's house and watch a Bollywood movie they liked, called Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. I was reluctant at first, but I was totally drawn in. The intense emotions, the songs, the dances, the seemingly intentional cheesiness -- it was strange and fascinating and surprisingly enjoyable. A few days later, we watched another movie, and I decided that my enjoyment of the first movie wasn't just a fluke. After several days of repeatedly watching the second movie over and over again, I decided that I loved Bollywood. The next two movies I watched weren't so fabulous, but not even the spandex horror of Dil To Pagal Hai or the boring melodrama of Yaadein could change my mind.

In February, I went online and, for the first time ever, bought DVDs for myself -- all Bollywood, of course. In the process of researching which Bollywood movies would be good, I started religiously reading the forum, where I learned a lot about films, stars, and more. I've now watched 32 Bollywood films, plus one from Kollywood, and my roommates have gradually become accustomed to my new obsession. They even recognize several of the actors, although they just say something like, "Hey, it's that one guy who was in that one movie, with the bad clothes."

Recently, I discovered the joy of 70s masala films, so called because they include a little bit of everything. Consider, for instance, the fabulous Amar Akbar Anthony. Song, dance, religious imagery, miracles, tearful reunions of long-lost family members, romance, evil stepmothers, murders, kidnappings, reversals in fortune, bar fights, disguises, comedy, lots of dishoom dishoom action, fabulous 70s clothing, burning houses, damsels in distress, villainous musclemen wearing high heels and bedazzled tanktops, an unsubtle allegorical message about Indian unity and religious tolerance, and, of course, Amitabh Bachchan jumping out of a giant Easter egg.

Seriously, even my dreams don't reach this level of inspired craziness and fun.

I'm Cindy, and I'm a Bolly-holic.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

my favorite new pick-up line

I'll let you know how well it works.