Seven Quick Takes No. 2

1. We've finished our Dexter marathon and moved on to the second season of Mad Men. It's spooky, to say the least, watching my childhood (or close; I wasn't actually born until a little over a year after Kennedy was shot) reconstructed before my eyes. Most striking images thus far, other than all the smoking and sexual shenanigans: the plumptious size of the women in the country club bikini fashion show, and the little boy being scolded by his mother for trying to sneak a candy while she and the other grown-ups were playing bridge (and smoking).

2. I used to worry about sailing through stop signs on my bicycle until I learned about Hans Monderman's anti-design for the Drachten intersection. Now when I come to an unmarked or simply signed intersection, I watch, fascinated by the way in which the cars, bicycles and pedestrians negotiate the exchange and I wonder whether it's true that we would actually be safer without traffic lights and road markings. Even better, would traffic flow so freely that it would no longer take me an hour to drive the eleven miles to practice during the evening "rush hour"?

3. My coach has been trying to get me to practice holding my foil more strongly between my finger and thumb. I tried this at practice last night with surprising results, but my hand quickly got fairly tired. Could it be that my biggest problem really has been simply my grip on my foil? If so, maybe what I need are some WAGs: weight training for the fingers! I just wish they weren't quite so expensive.

4. Because, you see, I just upgraded my phone. The phone itself was only $75 because I stayed with my previous carrier; it's the data plan that's going to cost me. So why do it? I've been wondering that myself these past couple of days. I could have gone with an iPhone (although that, of course, would have been even more expensive). I really like my iPod Touch; it's much more elegant than the Blackberry Curve that I've just switched to. But I like having the little keyboard on the Blackberry and I wanted the upgrade because my fencing friends and I spend so much time txting, particularly at tournaments. Am I being sensible equipping myself with the proper tools or just silly giving into decadent eroticized gadget lust?

5. I'm still listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love on the way to practice. She's survived her time of pleasure eating through Italy and is now at the ashram in India practicing meditation. Although I've enjoyed hearing about her experiences in meditation, I'm still a bit miffed at her for being, well, so culturally predictable. How could someone apparently so interested in finding God spend four months in Italy and say nothing about Catholicism? What is it about American Protestants that makes them so receptive to nearly every religious tradition in the world except the one from which their own developed?

6. I'm finding that I like doing these "quick takes," but I'm worried about my motivation. On the one hand, I think it's a great way of creating a network of fellow bloggers and I'm grateful to Jennifer for setting it up. But on the other, I realize that what I really want to do is get Jennifer's attention because I find her blog so compelling. And yet, I have no evidence that she has actually ever read any of my posts.

7. I want a job like the characters in mystery novels have. You know, the ones that don't keep you tied to a desk but allow you to wander about all over the city or country or world pursuing clues about who did what when to whom and why. I do this vicariously at my desk every day, but wouldn't it be fun to be able to do it in real life? It's the way that I feel when I'm on vacation or, even better, traveling, every day a potential adventure, not knowing what might happen next. And yet, if I lived like that, would I ever get any writing done? Rather, would I ever write anything other than my blog?

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