My new all-consuming project!

So now that I'm done teaching that copyediting class (YAY!), I apparently felt the need to find something new to swallow up every free moment, but at least this time, I'm having some fun with it: scanning our scores of CDs and organizing our hundreds, if not thousands, of digital music files.

I don’t want to write about 9/11…

...but posting about anything else today seems perverse, despite the fact that the media's collective fixation on the terrorist attack—endlessly replaying old footage, reliving the horror and fear and desolation of that awful day—seems even more perverse.

The royal wedding

Friday, April 29; viewed online on The Royal Channel on YouTube.

Even as a little girl, I never imagined myself as a princess. My mother neither pushed nor discouraged fairy tale daydreams, but whatever effect Disney had on me was easily undone by my own contrary, suspicious nature and my early and abiding interest in historical drama and classical mythology, neither of which makes being a princess look like a dependable route to happily-ever-afters. My favorite Halloween costume was a pioneer girl dress that Mom made me during my Laura Ingalls Wilder phase. I remember laughing at a classmate who thought it was better to be a princess than a ruling queen, and I had nothing but contempt (an attitude I now consider rather unfair) for poor Sara Crewe of A Little Princess.

This is all to say that, if anything, I feel a bit sorry for Kate Middleton, with whom I wouldn’t trade places for anything in the world. I certainly had no inclination to wake up at 4 a.m. to watch her irrevocably consign herself to a life in a well-appointed glass prison as national symbol and tabloid fodder.

I do, however, have a nostalgic fondness for traditional, high church weddings. Back when I was an organist, I played for dozens of ceremonies and eventually planned my own, pillaging from the hymnals and liturgies of several denominations, and those experiences gave me both a love of religious music (ironic given my distrust of religion) and an appreciation for the subtleties with which one makes a formal service one’s own. Given that, I suppose it was inevitable that I’d eventually be sucked in to watching the royal wedding online, princess aversion notwithstanding. I might not be one to swoon over fairy tale weddings, but I’ll happily coo over a boys’ choir singing hymn descants. We all have our weaknesses.

Between-holiday fun with music videos

“It’s OK,” Cee-Lo Green; “The Suburbs,” Arcade Fire; and “Dancing on My Own,” Robyn.

Every year I swear to myself that this holiday season, I won’t neglect my blog so badly, and every year a heavy workload, bad colds, and various holiday events and obligations conspire to humble me. Eventually, I’ll be getting to the new Harry Potter movie and Black Swan and, I hope, a concert or two, but for now: music videos! Yay!

Post-company fun with music videos

“Born Free,” M.I.A.; “Tightrope,” Janelle Monáe featuring Big Boi; and “Islands,” the xx.

A couple weeks ago, Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Mary Sue, and my brother, Michael, all visited New York to see Sean and me. Everyone had a great time, but it was sort of exhausting, and Sean and I spent the following weekend holed up at home to recover. This weekend, I’m buried underneath a freelance project I’ve neglected, what with the family craziness and subsequent decompression. So basically, now I don’t have anything to write about, which means it’s time for my favorite filler: music videos!

Nicole Miller Fall 2010

At the Salon, Bryant Park, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, on Friday, February 12.

First, I feel the need to acknowledge the absurdity of my writing about a fashion show. I go to absurd lengths to avoid shopping, I don’t read women’s magazines, and I consciously dress not to stand out but to blend in. When left to my own devices, I wear nothing but camisoles and yoga pants at home; V-necks, knee-length A-line skirts, tights, and boots to work; and long-sleeve Ts and jeans on the weekend. I am the anti–fashion plate.

But for the record, that’s not because I’m anti-fashion. I consider it way too extroverted a pursuit for a shy introvert like me, but especially since I moved to New York, working in a building just off Fifth Avenue, I’ve found the fashion industry hard to avoid, and I’ve developed an interest in it despite myself. So when Sean was offered two tickets to a New York Fashion Week runway show, I leaped at the opportunity to go. I mean, really: the tents at Bryant Park! How cool is that?

Snowpocalypse 2010!

I haven’t lived in Florida for more than a decade, but when it comes to truly wintry weather, it’s like I never left: heavy, blustery snow both overawes me and freaks me out.


iPhone application produced by Things Made Out of Other Things.

I have a tendency to hibernate through January. The weather is miserable, and post-holiday lethargy sets it, and all my neuroses and fanatic streaks come out to play. Last year I spent an inordinate amount of time killing zombies in Fallout 3, and this year, well, this year I spent an inordinate amount of time killing darkspawn in Dragon Age: Origins (I’m not proud). But I’ve burnt out on that game and now I’m indulging in another realm of dorkiness: I’m obsessed with the Eucalyptus app on my iPhone.

Eucalyptus is not a game; it’s e-reader software that allows you to search and download from the vast archives of Project Gutenberg. Thousands upon thousands of books—virtually any title you can think of with an expired copyright—are available for free within seconds, and Eucalyptus keeps everything tidy, organizing by author or title and showing at a glance how far you’ve paged through the virtual books. The program is elegant and intuitive and, best of all, readable. The size of the text can be adjusted, the “pages” turn with fluid grace, and on a crowded train, it’s easier to pull out a palm-sized phone than a six-by-nine hardcover. I’ve become so attached to Eucalyptus that it’s no longer reserved for commutes and queues; I’ll curl up in bed to read from my phone, which is, I admit, kind of weird.

Meet the Breeds

Presented by the American Kennel Club and the Cat Fanciers’ Association at the Javits Center on Saturday, October 17.

I strongly believe in adopting dogs and cats from shelters. My childhood cats—all of them wonderful pets—came from animal shelters, as did Tess and Luna, whom Sean and I adopted in January 2007. A few years ago, though, one beloved branch of my family suddenly became obsessed with Tonkinese cats—a turn of events that has made my pro-shelter, anti-breeder soapbox a lot less fun (and that takes some doing—I love my soapboxes), so suffice it to say that Mom, Dad, Sean, and I did not check out Meet the Breeds because we’re in the market for a pure-bred. No, we were there for the spectacle. My parents happened to visit on a miserably cold, rainy weekend, and we were looking for indoor entertainment.

We certainly found it at the Javits Center. Breeders from all over the United States convened at the event, with booths featuring some 160 dog breeds and 41 cat breeds—a small zoo of domesticated animals. We spent hours wandering through the enormous exhibition hall, marveling at the more exotic breeds and cooing over the cutest ones and learning more than we ever needed to know about everything from the Ocicat to the Manx to the Chinook to the Keeshond.

Fun with music videos because there’s nothing else to do in June

“Waking Up in Vegas,” Katy Perry; “Lessons Learned,” Matt and Kim; and “Paparazzi,” Lady Gaga.

I admit that saying there’s nothing to do in June is an exaggeration, but options (at least my kind of options) do tend to dry up in New York in the summer, and Sean and I have been out of town too, so voilà! A music video post! Easy filler!