The city of

Yes, secret message lovers, I will be in Philly (for the first time ever!) tomorrow, but sadly, it’s only for forty minutes and will probably be spent running in between gates, so it won’t be the most exciting nor culturally fulfilling visit ever — but hmm, can a hungry traveler grab a cheesesteak to go in the terminal?

I don’t know who’s been spreading rumors, but no, I’m definitely not getting married this weekend*. This probably has to do with people getting me confused with Miranda (which seems to happen a lot, oddly enough), but this happy news belongs to her, and lovely, joyous occassion indeed — mazel tov & much love, you two!

* I am, however, very amused.


Umm, dude.

Forget cheesesteaks! There’s a Chick-fil-A here!


Outside Martins Ferry

[High-contrast Cake Cutting]


Pork buns

[9 Chatham Square]

Okay, totally ignore this entry unless you want to know the secret location of the world’s yummiest Chinese baked pork buns. They’re so good — sweet, soft, filled with a perfect mix of roast pork and caramelized onions. I’ve been grabbing them greedily on my New York visits for years but until now never bothered to get the actual address down so that I could share with others.

So! It’s Chatham Restaurant at 9 Chatham Square, which is Bowery near its intersection with Mott Street in Chinatown. You can’t miss it, it’s the big red awning near the Subway sub shop. Remember, they’re baked — not steamed — so we’re talking doughy rather than fluffy, but trust me on this. You won’t be sorry.

I admit it, I finished Angels & Demons on the plane ride home. It was a light read and it did confirm one thing: that Dan Brown’s writing style improved considerably between this and its sequel. Still, that’s not saying a whole lot. We’re talking huge swaths that read like bad fan fiction:

The Hassassin smirked. He had been awake all night, but sleep was the last thing on his mind. Sleep was for the weak. He was a warrior like his ancestors before him, and his people never slept once a battle had begun. This battle had most definitely begun, and he had been given the honor of spilling first blood.

The writing’s worse, but the story is somewhat better, at least until it all falls apart in the endgame. I enjoyed the fact that we’re finding our heroes looking for answers at an honest-to-goodness library when the doomsday clock is ticking — though it makes me long for an adventure book starring a librarian rather than a “professor of religious symbology,” whatever that means.

I think I’m Dan Browned out for the rest of my life. Jessamyn told me over the weekend that Deception Point was actually a fun read, but it will have to wait. I need to read things where the words are beautiful, at least for awhile.


Jehanne et Alexa

They’re leaving now. It hasn’t started yet, but there’s a stillness in the air, as if the world is teetering on the edge of something inevitable. I reach for the blistered steel, hoping to find comfort in its cool permanence, but before my hand touches metal a groan and shudder announce the beginning of the end.

Softly, music is spilling down from above. A song of celebration, muted by travel between worlds. As it cascades down past my ears and across the wood beneath me, it seems to transform in the glow of the sodium lamps into something deep and base and lost. They are still dancing up there, I know it — but there is no more sound that I can hear.

I know I have no choice left but to go.

I’m moving now, along the dock, matching the ship’s movement inch for inch, while warm light bleeds through deck rails onto the wooden boards before my feet. Already I can see the far end, but I keep pace — and whether the deep or the wind off the waves take me, I will continue to follow.


On demand media

Experimenting with Movable Type’s dynamic publishing mode. Monthly archives are now generated on-the-fly, and I can also join all the cool kids and keep tag-based archives without bogging down rebuilding. Now all I have to do is go back and tag all my old entries! I’d meant to do individual entry pages too, but so far I’m in love with too many plugins that won’t work under PHP.

Incidentally, commenting should now be somewhat faster.

In media news:

Criterion has just announced they’ll release two all-time greats on DVD: Ran and Ugetsu. The Mizoguchi is a real gem — supernatural, mysterious, and intensely sad, I haven’t seen it in years and yet it’s haunted me in some way or another ever since.

Have actually been enjoying (non-Katrina-related) television recently: Slings and Arrows on Sundance, very Canadian, really good (and lord knows I have a thing for Paul Gross); Rome on HBO is right up my historical alley, and I’m also enjoying the slew of tie-in documentaries on History Channel; Transgeneration will be airing on Sundance starting September 20.

Books keep rolling in from the library, god bless: Kare Kano in English (it is my blog namesake, after all), Spring Snow, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Never Let Me Go. Clearly something has gone terribly wrong and I’ve had to put a freeze on my holds, as I despair of finishing these all in time…


Tags and Movable Type 3.2

If you’re using Brad Choate’s Tags plugin and MT3.2, you might have noticed that the alternate “edit entry” template provided by the plugin leaves you with an outdated MT3.1x-era interface — without hotkeys, a working tab order, and the fancy management pages for comments & trackbacks. With apologies to Brad, I’ve hacked together a version of the template that uses the MT3.2 template as a basis and adds the plugin behavior back in. Just in case anyone else has had the same problem, here it is:

To use, just overwrite the edit_entry.tmpl file in your path-to-mt/exttmpl/cms/ directory, or wherever you placed the file included with the original plugin package. And please don’t do this unless you’re running MT3.2, because, well, it won’t do good things for you…

Something you might want to look at if you use TypeKey on your blog — I’ve also noticed that the new individual entry template produces pages that load complete & immediately, unlike the old one, which stalls before loading the comment form (because it blocks on a call to mt-comments.cgi). So that might be reason enough to look into upgrading your templates along with your installation.


Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

Watched Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters from the disadvantaged viewpoint of someone who hasn’t yet read any of his work, and found myself kind of underwhelmed and ambivalent by it. There’s something a little off about the overall direction and/or narrative, causing a story that should have been extremely compelling — the stranger-than-fiction life and death of Yukio Mishima — to never quite dig itself an emotional foothold, despite leading man Ken Ogata’s heroic efforts. This leads to a total sense of anticlimax in the fourth and final chapter, where the author’s explosive last hours seem rather pedestrian, as if the movie’s already decided the interesting part is over, just as most viewers will be expecting it to begin.

In a sense, it’s correct. There’s real meat and beauty in the vibrant dramatizations of three novels (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoko’s House and Runaway Horses) woven into the film’s first three chapters. Highly stylized and charged with color and energy, they paint a far more vivid picture of the man and his inner life than the factual sections do. I’ve no idea whether it’s an accurate one, but it really doesn’t matter as far as moviemaking goes: I adore the atmosphere of these segments, which seem to live in a visual world straight out of a ’50s-era Suzuki yakuza epic, and are perfectly married to Philip Glass’s score. It may not be biography, but it’s probably worth a rental for these alone.

More importantly: now I really want to read the books brought to life in the movie, as well as the two I currently have checked out from the library (Spring Snow, which I’ve mentioned before, and the short story collection Acts of Worship, which I haven’t). I may well decide I hate them afterwards, but I guess it means the movie was effective after all. Hee.


Ariadne auf Naxos

Du schöner, stiller Gott!
Sieh! Ariadne wartet!


Token effort

I wish I were…

… but not like this.

Busy busy and sore eyes sore. Hence this token effort, but sometimes you need to push off a little or risk sitting forever, sunk halfway below ground.

Overheard: “…that’s bad, because flying is a terrible hobby to suck at.”

Spent too much time trying to get LiveJournal and OpenID signins working for commenting here, thanks to Mark Paschal’s’s nifty OpenID Comments plugin (version 1.2 is bundled with MT3.2). It still won’t work correctly if your LJ name is too long (for example, neon_epiphany), but Mark’s next release should fix that. In the meantime, feel free to give it a whirl.

Have also been helping out behind the scenes at Strange Horizons, which has been secretly titillating. I mean, talk about rock stars!

Latest rumor is that Miyazaki may be planning to adapt the Earthsea cycle. Probably nothing to it, but wouldn’t that be a thing?

…other than that, really liked American Splendor, am starting Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and may soon be joining the modern age and getting a cameraphone. Maybe.

As for poor Ariadne, she’s still finding her way out.


Of OpenID and tooldom

I’ve been dreaming of many wild and colorful things, but always of not-quite-there, too late, too short, too tired, too young — but at least I’m not constantly dreaming of final exams anymore. I mean, seriously, it’s been eight years since I graduated from any type of school. Get over it already!

The bar in my dreams seemed to be serving Ocean Spray sangria, so it’s just as well I couldn’t reach.

Speaking of cameraphones: anyone who knows me at all realizes I’m all about tiny & cute, but it’s hard to deny the appeal of this thing. I think it’s from all my lawyer friends whipping out BlackBerries all the time, or maybe it’s just about blogging from a cell phone — but is it worth the cost of looking like a gigantic tool? Help me!

Mark Paschal has released a beta version of OpenID Comments for MT 1.3, which fixes the long sign-in problem, so feel free to sign in with your LiveJournal or OpenID username to comment if you want. Yay!


Oh god

Oh god, I’m such a tool.

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