Six Characters in Search of a Blogger

9.1 I Could Have Been: A Wedding Photographer in Hawaii
January 5, 2009, 11:17 pm
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AUTHOR’S NOTE:  My apologies to the people of Hawaii and the state’s native-born son, President-Elect Barack Obama, for any stereotypical generalizations put forth in this blog post.  I can’t help it.  I was born with the pasty skin of a New Englander and a certain warped view of gorgeous tropical places largely perpetrated by 70s television.

If I were a wedding photographer in Hawaii, maybe I would have taken this picture.

If I were a wedding photographer in Hawaii, maybe I would have taken this picture.

Myriad blues and turquoises of the sea and sky.  The gorgeous, bright contrasts of tropical flowers on green foliage.  Palm trees dancing gently in the wind.  Sand soft as powder.  Blood orange sunsets that make you gasp.

I’d like to think bridezillas lose their “zilla” in Hawaii, just because it is so darn beautiful.  At least I’d hope so, if I was a wedding photographer.

I would, of course, be constantly wearing laserproof sunscreen as I worked.  Native children would be as blinded by my whiteness during the day as they would by the flash of my camera at night, and develop some coded joke about me in Hawaiian.  (Like “the white blob” or “the thing that glows in the dark.”)  And I would laugh at the joke, because good weather just makes you mellow, right?  I’d just be an awesome person who always felt awesome and who would say “awesome” all the time.  I think that’s what constant, perfect weather does to the brain.  You lose your cynicism and sarcasm and snarkiness.  But without those three things, my big hobbies, what would I do with all of my free time?

beware of the tiki.

The Bradys taught us: beware of the tiki.

Well, for starters, I guess I would grow pineapples in my backyard.  They taste good, and besides, I got a pineapple corer as a wedding gift a couple of years ago that I’ve never used so it would give me a chance to finally try it out.  And I would go to hula/Pilates fusion classes.  Maybe play around with variations on poi cuisine combined with recipes from the Food Network.  And I wouldn’t miss my outrigger canoe racing.  I would bring along my boom box to play the Hawaii Five-O music in the background.

Thanksgiving would be a ginormous luau with roasted suckling pig on a spit for everybody instead of turkey.  But I would definitely have cranberry sauce, you can’t have Thanksgiving without the cranberry sauce.  From the can.  And I would tell my children about the evil white man Pilgrims who used Jesus and viruses to kill the locals.  So three important lessons for them from the holiday:  1. our ancestors were bad men, 2. Christianity can kill, and 3. it’s VERY important that they always wash their hands.  (Because I would have had a gaggle of children, of course, fathered by my husband as well as various tourists to the islands and guests at weddings I’d worked at over the years.  I’m guessing the tropical awesomeness of Hawaii would make me uberfertile and up for it all the time.)

I would volunteer at the local tiki taboo society, intent on discouraging tourists from picking up stray idols, warning them about errant tarantulas and keeping them out of the clutches of jealous archaeologists that look like Vincent Price.  (Beware of archaeologists, people!  Have you learned nothing from the Brady family?)  I would be a part of a Don Ho tribute band, because I think I could dig the ukelele, do my own riff on “Tiny Bubbles.”  You know it.asteroid2

What else would this idyllic Hawaiian life entail?  Maybe my husband would be a surfer by day (could you at least try, honey?) and an astronomer by night, and together we would go to the Keck Observatory and spend our evenings looking for killer asteroids that might destroy the earth.  On weekends we would go to Kilauea and watch the lava flow, where I would obsessively fight the urge to lick its glowing gooeyness because it looks like radiant taffy.

Oh yes, and I would take photos.  Of brides and grooms.  But that, I think, would be the boring part.

Week 9: Googling Myself–the Me’s I Could Have Been
January 5, 2009, 8:30 am
Filed under: The Me's I Could Have Been | Tags: , , , , , ,


When I think about the New Year, I Google myself.

When I think about the New Year, I Google myself.

The turning of the New Year, for me, is always a bit bittersweet.  As each one passes, and I look forward to the next, fabricating and forgetting resolutions, I am struck by a certain amount of regret.  I’m at the stage in my life where I can see the paths not taken, and wonder where they would have led me if I had had a little less fear.  A little more gumption.  Or an innate GPS system.

So once in a while, I Google myself, just for fun.  Any trace of me has long since left the internet, or I am buried so far down I lose patience as I dig; it’s because I have one of those names that is fairly common, at least in my neck of the woods.  A quick search in Massachusetts on suggest that there are at least 132 of me in the state–rather daunting results.  At least for someone who used to think of herself as being pretty unique.

But what’s fun is that, for a moment, I get to imagine myself in those identities, those professions, in those varied Google guises, and try to conjure in my mind what those alternate existences might be like.  In most cases, I rather enjoy what my namesakes have been up to–interestingly enough, they’ve chosen lives for themselves that aren’t so far from dreams I once had.  Or might have had, in the right circumstances. 

So if you don’t mind, this week, I’m going to do just that:  dream a little.  Entertain possibilities.  I’ll feature the me’s I could have been–and heck!  Could still be, if I play my cards right.

8.7 The Seventh Day: Other Bloggers Worth Noting
January 4, 2009, 5:11 pm
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blog-to-blogAndrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish:  Never did I think I’d be reading a blog written by a Republican, and enjoying it.  Sullivan is topical, erudite, and compelling…and while some of his posts are much shorter than others, they will make you feel like you have a sound idea about what’s going on in the world.

Defective Yeti:  Blogger Matthew Baldwin makes hilarious daily observations in his blog.  But, to be honest, he had me at yeti.

I, Cringely:  My husband swears by this one.  When I asked my husband how to define the blog, he said, “Robert Cringely is a technology evangelist looking at the impact of technology on everyday life.”  (My husband is wicked smaht.)   I just started reading it, and I’m very impressed.  Cringely’s blog is really interesting–and even provocative–stuff, offering predictions about technological advances and the politics of technology in the coming months and years.  (Note that Cringely’s blog/column The Pulpit was on for more than 10 years, so past posts will be found here.)

Life Begins at 41…or maybe 43:  Louise blogs about her midlife crisis and other interesting topics from her home in Canada.  And she blogs every day, which is no small feat.  Go Louise!

Margaret and Helen:  Two eighty-somethings blog about politics, their families, recipes, life.  I’m not *entirely* convinced it isn’t one of their grandsons (Matthew) doing the posting–the font is so small and the prose so seamless it seems to give things away–but I’m willing to put my skepticism on the backburner in order to keep reading. 

Soule Mama:  Amanda Soule is an amazing mother of 4 who lives in Portland, Maine.  In her blog, she’s the mom I’d like to be (that is, if I ever have a child):  creative, warm, and (not to make a pun here) soulful.  Of course, if I did become a mom, I doubt I’d create such wonderful projects as she–I was born without the crafting gene.  But I’d like to believe I was capable of such things.  Sigh.

Things I Bought that I Love:  Mindy Kaling–otherwise known as Kelly Kapoor on The Office–brings the blogosphere what I’d call a hilarious virtual shopping spree.  She loves stuff: purses and clothes and makeup and lotions and jewelry and gadgets.  And so will you, after reading her blog.  Seriously.  I don’t get whiteheads, but after reading her post about some magical potion that will remove them in 24 hours, I want to buy some.

8.5 The World is His Oyster: Gary Arndt’s


Gary Arndt on Easter Island

Gary Arndt on Easter Island

Imagine selling your house (granted, in this market, pretty difficult, but try to remember what it was like only a few years ago.)  Imagine putting your belongings in storage.  And imagine packing a small bag with a few items of clothing, a camera, and a laptop, and taking off on a trip around the world.  For an unspecified amount of time.  And without a detailed itinerary.

That’s exactly what Gary Arndt did in March, 2007–he left his home in Minnesota to go on the adventure of a lifetime by himself.  I have so much admiration for him; to me, it’s extraordinary that he has taken this giant bunjee jump (both literally and figuratively) into life.

What’s great is that Gary, in his blog, takes us along for the ride.  And if you have the travel bug, as I do, you’ll find yourself inspired by his world wandering.

Go, Gary!  (His next stop is Dubai.)

8.4 Danny Miller asks, Jew Eat Yet?
January 4, 2009, 1:41 am
Filed under: Six Bloggers Blogging | Tags: , , , , ,

70eab3195a01e124e5287ecd075b849dTopical, funny, touching, and above all, well-written, Danny Miller’s Jew Eat Yet? is one of the blogs I most look forward to reading from week to week.  It balances the personal with the informative in such an elegant way–I hold it up as a model of the way I’d like to blog.

Miller, a writer and editor who lives in LA, gives us posts about history, about his family, about movies, about music, about politics, and about pop culture.  Reading it, for me, is the equivalent of curling up on the couch on Sunday morning with a blanket, a cup of tea, and a good book.

So give it a try!  His recent post about the recently deceased Eartha Kitt is right up my alley–it illuminates a fascinating incident in Kitt’s life that many may have forgotten.  Thanks, Danny!

8.3 Roger Ebert Still has a Thumb; and a Blog
January 4, 2009, 12:53 am
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I miss Siskel and Ebert’s At the Movies.  I miss their acerbic wit, their open (and even somewhat bitter) rivalry, and erudite analysis of modern films–they were able to transform certain movies from obscure arthouse flicks into something I really wanted to see.  

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Gene Siskel, of course, passed away due to surgical complications from a brain tumor in 1999.  But Roger Ebert is still with us, staging his own heroic battle with thyroid cancer that has since spread to his salivary gland and jaw bone.  The extensive surgical work that has been performed on him has left him unable to speak.  

But he is not without a voice:  he continues to review films, as well as make observations about life, politics, the world and the movie industry in Roger Ebert’s Journal, which is featured on the Chicago Sun-Times website.

Well worth a read; pay special attention to the comments section, because his readers are also great writers.

8.2 AKMuckraker Tiptoes through the Muck of Alaskan Politics at

Sometimes a writer and a historical moment collide in a fateful and wonderful way.

AKMuckraker slings the truth about Alaskan politics at

Here's mud in your eye, Governor: AKMuckraker slings the truth about Alaskan politics at

That was the case this year with AKMuckraker and; a clever and very well-written blog about Alaskan politics that suddenly exploded onto the international blogosphere scene when an obscure Republican governor was picked as John McCain’s Vice Presidential running mate.  (Mudflats are a very clever geological metaphor for the political situation in our nation’s largest state–read about them here.)

Yes, AKMuckraker gives us the Sarah Palin show, up close.  It’s very well worth a read–if only to discover the fate of Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston’s grandma.  I mean, of course, the one that isn’t the meth addict/dealer.  (Although she could have her fair share of appearances, too.)