Sleepy Listening

Did anyone else ever listen to books on tape when they were little, as they were lying in bed at night? I did. Almost every night until I was 6 or 7.  Lots of different stories. My parents would just slide a tape in the tape player (I’m dating myself- we may even still have the tape player in the attic).

It occurred to me recently that this history may explain why To sometimes find listening to ASMR at night so relaxing.


The one I listened to the most was Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon (My Father’s dragon, Elmer and the Dragon, and The Dragons of Blueland), a story I don’t think I ever read as a text, but look back on very fondly. From the lion with bows in his mane to King Can the 11th, to skunk cabbage and ostrich ferns to learning what a culvert was and the goodness of cows. I can recite a lot of it by heart: “One day, when my father was a little boy, he met an old alley cat on his street. The cat was very drippy and uncomfortable, so my father said, “Wouldn’t you like to come home with me?” This surprised the cat, who had never before met anyone who cared about old alley cats.”
And when I do, I hear the voice in my head.

I remember nothing about The Golly Sisters Go West, but I have the sneaking suspicion that even at age five I found their mishaps painfully embarrassing. Funnily enough, there’s a social media-driven suspense film out this year, Ingrid Goes West, that keeps recalling this to my mind, and that I would very much like to see.

The Josefina Story Quilt is about an old chicken who saves her West-traveling human family from burglars and then dies (spoiler). And they never appreciated her during her life. She should have watched their throats get slit and then joined the burglars. But life isn’t fair. This book made me cry. I’m still bitter for Josefina’s sacrifice.


ALL the Roald Dahls. Well, not ALL of them, but a very lot of them.  I remember The Magic Finger least well, but the story of a might pissed off girl who fucks shit up is pretty appealing. Also… do they mean THE finger?
James and the Giant Peach I also definitely listened to a good few times, but my memory of the audio blends together with my memory of the book and of that bizarrely creepy film.
The Enormous Crocodile and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were the two I listened to more than any other.  Looking back I’m surprised The Enormous Crocodile wasn’t a tad too sinister. And I don’t know about the others, but Charlie at least was read by Roald Dahl, which felt very special.

I don’t think I’m forgetting any. My repertoire was pretty small- you don’t want anything very stimulating or surprising when you’re trying to sleep 😉

Flower Boys


We give girls flower names all the time but boys are really rarely named after botanical things- particular botanical things as frilly and fecund as flowers.  Even though when you get down to it, flowers have both lady-parts and man-parts.

Not that I’m advocating naming your young boy something like Candytuft. Don’t name a girl Candytuft either.  Or Ranunculus.

Candytuft and Ranunculus aside, I think there are profound unplumbed depths in flower names. Especially for boys and especially in English, because I don’t know about where you are, but America is very annoyingly anti-feminine.
Flower names can be both sensitive and strong, so in the interest of equal opportunity naming, here are some of my favorites that I think would suit little boys (and eventually men and granddads) to a tee.

Allium Globemaster

Allium: Onions are in the Allium family, and so are those amazing Doctor Seuss-esque ball flowers. Call him Al when you’re with your stodgy and conservative relatives from the Midwest.



Arum: An Arum is a type of lily. Given it’s similarity to Aaron, this name has a fairly masculine feel.



Aster: Asters are those small purple star-like flowers that bloom in the late summer. The name is related to star, with the same root as astro-, and feminine name Estelle. The plant is part of the daisy family and the aster is also a structure that assists in cell division.



Chrysanth: Another name given to Chrysanthemums (and not so so long that you’re boy ends up as troubled as the protagonist in the Kevin Henkes story). But if that is a problem, you’ve already got the easy nickname Chris.  Given the similarity to Christopher, this one, like Arum, is not too far out there. On the other hand: chrysanthemums are flowers of mourning in France, so be aware.



Cosmos: Like Cosmo, but a flower or a television show with Carl Sagan (who I always used to want to call Cosmo). Also brings to mind the BEST CHARACTER in Singing’ In the Rain. I LOVE YOU DONALD O’CONNOR!


Flor and Florian: These two are more pan-floral, since they refer to flowers as a whole, rather than one specific bloom. I’m a big fan of the Spanish Flor (which is also used for double-X chromosome people), but Florian gets the nickname Florrie or Flurry, so that’s adorable.



Gentian: Gentian for the little gentleman. So cute. Gentian violet is a lovely flower and the name is pretty masculine-leaning unisex. Or change it to Gentiana for a feminine take on the name.



Hellebore: It’s like your son is a character in Shakespeare or mythology (and I promise this is as over the top as I’m going to get)! Hellebore could be a lovely name for a winter baby because the plant is an evergreen member of the Ranunculus family. It’s also got lots of cool legends tied to it (do check them out) and in witchcraft is believed to have uses for summoning demons. But if you’d consider giving your son the name Hellebore, that could potentially be in your plus column.



Hyacinth and Jacinto: Hyacinth is leaning feminine these days, though in Greek mythology he was a ‘beautiful male youth loved by Apollo’. Spoiler: Appolo accidentally kills him (potentially with the interference of the jealous wind god Zephyr) and creates the eponymous flower in his memory. And I’ve loved the Spanish variant Jacinto since I watched Guillermo del Toro’s Devil’s Backbone.



Indigo: Indigo dye comes from the indigo plant, so this is also a color name. And more widely known as a color. Cute and Harrison Ford-reminiscent nickname Indie. The scientific name, Baptisia, would be lovely on a girl.


Lovely Star Jasmine flowers blooming in spring

Jasmin: In France, Jasmin (pronounced something like Jhas- mah) is the masculine form of Jasmine (something like Jhas-meen). It’s pretty cute and ~jazzy~.



Lupin or Lupine: Lupines are one of my most favorite flowers but damn are they difficult to grow. Maybe growing a baby would be easier. I could be like on of those people who names their dog ‘Five Miles’ and says “I’m going to walk Five Miles.” Except in this case “I’ve got to go and take care of my Lupine.” The name may remind you of Remus Lupin from Harry Potter, but the name has also been used for male characters in books written by Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo.



Narcissus or Narciso: Okay, get over the narcissist associations for a second. I think Spanish Narciso helps add to that distance. Narciso is a sharp name and quite possibly my favorite on this list.



Oleander: Leander is already a boy’s name, so the super-toxic Oleander should be a no-brainer. Nickname potential abounds. Call him Ollie. Call him Leo. Call him Ander. Call him Der. Don’t call him Der.



Phlox: Such a lovely plant, creeping or otherwise. And similar to the currently popular Fox (of which I’m incidentally not a fan). Teach your child early that PH- make the F- sound.



Rosario: Is Rosario a girl’s name? Is it a boy’s name? Trick question- names don’t have private parts. Put it on your baby! It sounds more masculine than the other Rose names anyway.



Senna: Mom has some Senna in the yard at home. And though it annoys me to admit it, the name Cinna from the Hunger Games series has probably made this more acceptable to the modern ear and thus more wearable for a kiddo.



Yarrow: Yarrow, it’s the plant that looks like Queen Anne’s Lace but isn’t. A very strong sound with all of those hard vowels. Is there a reason I feel like this might be a Game of Thrones name? Someone tell me, I’ve never watched it.

What’s next the next name post I should do? Maybe virtue names for boys, since we seem to put the onus of being good people on the women in this society?



YBDT Showpieces


Hey you! Now that Winter Ball is over and I’ve written my essay on Gender Imitation and Insubordination in Macbeth, I have a little spare time and brain space to come up with another list.

The Yale Ballroom Dance Team has been my main extracurricular and social activity  for the last soon-to-be four years.  I had never done ballroom dance before (unless you count quinceanera salsa, bachata, and merengue).  But most of the team here had never done ballroom before joining. Some of us hadn’t even danced before (Pro tip: we’re the only dance group at Yale that doesn’t have auditions).

We compete and have two big shows a year- Winter Ball and Spring Show, in addition to smaller shows like Icebreaker at the beginning of the year, ‘gigs’ when we go on tour over Spring Break, and Caliente (our pre-freshman recruitment show).

And now I only have one more show left before I’m gone!  Time to take a walk down memory lane and look back at my show pieces over my ‘bright college years’. Continue reading “YBDT Showpieces”

February: Links I Love


Happy February, the month of amour! But actually screw Valentine’s Day, I’m not into it. But the above is my desktop background because it seemed apropos.  One of my favorite little joys is hunting down graphic images that tile well.  Images with some kind of repetitive pattern or that would look good if repeated.  Graphic designs, illustrations, wallpaper prints, and fabric are all great sources.
Last month I used an illustration of cartoon penguins spelling out the alphabet. My favorite was the super-diva-ish letter R.

In other news, we have a snowy day here, but not a snow day.  The city has declared a snow emergency and the buses and shuttles around campus aren’t running, but we’re still supposed to be trekking around to class.  But my professor canceled my 9 am anyway and I have my fingers crossed for my 2:30.  It’s a good day for staying in the warm indoors, cuddling a cat, and surfing the net. Continue reading “February: Links I Love”

Profiles in Style: Alexa Chung

Alexa Chung is a pretty canonical style role model, and while I enjoy her sense of fashion, I can honestly say that I don’t think I would want to meet her.
In the interviews I’ve seen with her (Yes, I do watch those egregiously back-pat-y fashion industry interviews. I sometimes almost like them 😛 ), she comes off as kind of standoffish and abrasive.  Like maybe she’s low key mocking her interviewer.
And as a sensitive snowflake I can’t imagine a more exhausting or upsetting type of conversation.

So I like my Alexa Chung where she is: on my computer screen, with clothing.

And therein lies the difficulty: Alexa Chung wears clothes a lot. At least as much as most of us. So I’m not cataloguing all of Alexa’s outfits, but here’s a mini-selection that I’ve arranged in a way I find aesthetically pleasing for reasons I can’t and/or won’t explain.

And no, Alexa, I don’t think Uggs are coming back. God forbid. Continue reading “Profiles in Style: Alexa Chung”

Pre-K Paperbacks


I was thinking recently about the various books that I read were read to me in preschool.  I remember in particular there being a young man (I think his name was Chris) who would read to us on the universal (or is this only an American thing?) big rug.  I think I had a crush on him, or whatever the three or four year old equivalent to that is.  There was some wide-eyed admiration, anyway.
Or maybe I only liked him for the stories, toddlers are little mercenaries that way. Continue reading “Pre-K Paperbacks”

Hell or High Water: Movie and Music


Vive le Proletariat!

I wasn’t expecting to like Hell or High Water very much.  Just look at the picture- it’s such a very guy movie, with the rugged West, rugged facial hair, guns, and even rugged-er cowboy hats.

But actually I liked it because, despite failing the Bechdel test (and every other female inclusion test) with a resounding plop, it’s super anti-capitalist! Continue reading “Hell or High Water: Movie and Music”