Thursday, March 24, 2005

Life of a Blogger, Illustrated

This is another two-part entry. 

Casting My Life

Weekend Assignment #52: Congratulations! Hollywood is making a movie of your life, and you get to choose any actor you want to play you -- yes, even if they're dead (the things they can do with special effects!) Who do you choose and why?

Extra credit: Name the musician/band who will play the theme song to the movie.

Who would even want to play me?First of all, the story of my life would not make a good movie. I can turn the occasional incident into an amusing essay, but really, my life as a whole would be pretty darn boring unless it was heavily fictionalized.  Of course, Hollywood does that all the time, so I guess it's okay.

I thought of Kirstie Alley to fill the lead role, but she's six years older than I am.  Kathy Najimy is only a month older, but she has that nose, and well, no.  She just doesn't have the same brand of quirkiness I have.  Unless I think of someone later, I think I'd prefer to play the part myself.  After all, who knows more about my motivations than I do?

Speaking of which, there was a guy on NPR today who'd written a book about people playing themselves in public in this postmodern world of blogging and reality tv.  This prompted me to write the following email to Talk of the Nation (it wasn't used, of course):

As a blogger, I post fairly personal information (no, not THAT personal) on a daily basis.  Although there are things that I hold back, I do so more out of respect for the privacy of others than my own.

This past weekend, my dad was in town. He expressed the opinion that he and his generation would never share their lives with the world at large as I do.  He feels it's nobody's business but his own (and possibly that of his family) what he did in World War II, and that talking about it online would be self-aggrandizing.  Frankly, I don't understand his attitude, although I try to respect it.

It all comes back to the concept of "image," which I railed against in high school. It always seemed to me that I was exactly the same person to my friends, teachers, parents, and later to readers.  After all these years I can admit, grudgingly, that I will apply filters of polite behavior standards, or keep some things private.  Still, overall, I feel that what I put on my blog is not so much a performance as a piece of Karen, only slightly filtered.

Is this a postmodern performance?  Or is it just me?

Karen Funk Blocher

I suppose I just violated my dad's privacy again.  Oh, well.  Don't tell him, okay?

For the extra credit, I'm holding out for McCartney.  Or better still, The Beatles, with an alternate take of Things We Said Today.

Tucson Pro and Con

Over on my LiveJournal, I received the following comment the other day:

Hi Karen

I wanted to ask you about living in Tucson (I'm thinking about moving there in the next few months), but I couldn't find your email address on any of your other blogs.

If you don't mind I'd like to ask you a few general questions about living there. I can be reached at ....


First of all, non AOLers may be unaware that the screen name listed on an AOL Journal (e.g. "posted by mavarin") is an email address.  Just add to it.

Second, I have lots of thoughts about the pros and cons of Tucson. 

Snow on Mount Lemmon, March 2005.Pro:
If you're not fond of snow, this is the place to be in winter.  It only snows in the city for about ten minutes, once every three or four years. If you get to missing the white stuff, just drive up Mount Lemmon during the winter, and get it out of your system.

110 degrees in summer is no joke, even if it is "a dry heat."  Just as the monsoon is coming in but before it actually rains, the humidity goes up a bit and it gets really miserable. 

Fortunately, there's such a thing as air conditioning, in cars and in buildings of all kinds.  There are exceptions: the central A/C broke down in my house at least five years ago and has never been fixed, and the A/C in my Saturn is inadequate in high summer.  But MOST places in Tucson are adequately cooled. You'll still be miserable at a day game at Tucson Electric Park, but generally it's no big deal.

This is a very pretty place to live.  There are mountains almost everywhere you look, the desert is fairly scenic, and there's a fun mix of fake Santa Fe, modern and other architecture. 

There are lots of places in the city where no desert plants can be seen.  Also, certain elevations of desert aren't all that pretty.  If you want a lawn, you'll be told to "Beat the Peak" in your watering schedule, and the grass will probably go brown anyway.

Bank One and the CatalinasPro: 
Tucson is easy to navigate.  The Catalinas are to the north, the Rincons to the east, the Tucson Mountains to the west.  You can learn to distinguish them in about five minutes, after which you'll never be lost in the daytime.  Nearly all the major streets are either N-S or E-W, and spaced about a mile apart.  Easy.

Maybe you've got to build bypasses, but it Tucson it hasn't happened yet.  In Syracuse and Columbus, the Interstates cover the territory with a north-south freeway, an east-west one and a circle skirting the city's edge.  Tucson only has I-10, an east-west route pretending to be a north-south one, plus I-19 to Nogales.  I-10 is mildly useful between Grant Road and I-19, in and around downtown.  But the southeast part of it is well into the boonies, because of Davis-Monthan.  The northwest part is similarly inconvenient.  Be prepared for lots of long drives on Grant or Speedway or 22nd Street. And oh, yeah, don't drive through washes (flash flood areas) during a major storm.

This is a great place if you love baseball.  Hi Corbett is historic and folksy, albeit less so than in the days of Mike Feder and the Toros. Spring Training finds the Diamondbacks, the White Sox and the Rockies in residence, playing the Phoenix-based Cubs and Angels and others.

Tucson Electric Park.  Feh.  Unfriendly, modern ballpark, too far from town.

Old Tucson's replica train depotPro:
Lots of fun historic places to go to, with or without visiting relatives in tow:  Mission San Xavier Del Bac, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Old Tucson, the Center For Creative Photography, Sabino Canyon, The Pima Air and Space Museum, and the Titan Missile Museum all come to mind.  Day trip possibilities include Tombstone and Phoenix.  A long weekend will get you to Las Vegas or Sedona or the Grand Canyon or the White Mountains, or Los Angeles if you don't mind spending half the time driving.  And if you're a gambler, you don't have to go as far as Vegas to have fun. We've got several casinos, operated by the Tohono O'odham and the Pascua Yaqui.

Old Tucson hasn't really recovered from the arson fire years ago, and there's nothing much going on there once summer hits.  You'll have to drive to Phoenix for the big rock acts or major league baseball.  Most truly historic buildings were torn down decades ago. And the casinos are a bit of a drive to get to.

Roadrunners and cactus wrens, kingsnakes and desert tortises, curve-billed thrashers and coyotes make benign and interesting neighbors.

Occasionally there's a scare involving a bear or a mountain lion up in the Catalinas or other wild places.  Coyotes occasionally kill cats.  Certain toads are poisonous, so don't lick them, or let a dog do so. Don't mess with that rattlesnake; are you nuts?  There probably aren't any scorpions or black widows in your shoes, but it's possible to encounter one of these poisonous critters on occasion, and yes I do mean indoors.

The cost of living is fairly low compare to much of the country.  You can buy an awful lot of house here for the cost of renting an apartment in Boston or L.A.

Be prepared for a major pay cut compared to Boston and L.A.  I suppose it kind of evens things out.

my hero, JanetPro:
Tucson is predominantly Democratic.

The state is predominantly Republican. But John McCain is a pretty good guy, and Janet Napolitano (shown here) managed to get elected governor anyway.

Overall, I like Tucson a lot.


Tomorrow: catching up on my memes, and maybe a few thoughts on Good Friday.  Or not.


ryanagi said...

I've got some actress suggestions (I was considering them for me too): Camryn Manheim
Nia Vardalos but she has a rather Greek nose too. Toni Collette (with long hair, of course)

Anywho...they are all quirky and funny. Very versatile.

deabvt said...


alphawoman1 said...

You have to respect your Dad's opinion, even though some great writers emerged from his generation...Always a pleasure to read your jnl!

cneinhorn said...

I think you're life would make a good movie, great choice on actresses, I like Kirstie alley and she looks younger than her the pros and cons about your area...I've never been there but hope to visit someday!