Liv kindly gave me the letter L in one of those various-things-starting-with-a-letter memes. I am trying to get into the habit of posting more often and not fretting so much about what, so it was helpful.
Something I hate: Lettuce, subheading iceberg. Other kinds of lettuce are fine, but iceberg-- look, for many years I didn't think it had a taste at all, and I wondered why one would eat something that is so close to being water when one could just go get an actual glass of water. Then, lo these years ago, I made a great mistake in the making of meringue, in that I wanted a lemon meringue and so I put actual lemon juice into the meringue. Right in there with the egg whites. You would think this would then fail to stabilize, but something about the cream-of-tartar or the atmospheric conditions was perfect and the meringue baked into gorgeously fluffy little piles. I went around handing them to people, and everyone I handed one to would bite into it, and then look extremely confused and say "Lettuce?!?" That is how I discovered that iceberg lettuce does in fact have a distinct flavor, and I don't like it, and it can be duplicated by doing something completely appalling to perfectly innocent confectionery. We had to throw the rest of the batch out, because of course no one wanted more than that one bite. Butter lettuce, I am down for, or Romaine, but as for iceberg, I say it isn't spinach and I say the hell with it.
Something I love: L is for Le Guin and Lewis and L'Engle, but that's obvious if you know me, so something different: Le Tigre's 2004 album This Island has been on repeat on my headphones for a while recently. Not sure what I like best from it, the formal perfection of the title track, the in-your-face joke's-on-the-world cock-
Somewhere I've been: Louisiana, which we drove through on the way out of Texas, cats in the back of the car taking turns yowling so they could stretch their voices longer. When we reached the comfortable and homey B&B in New Orleans, the cats said that this was acceptable and they would live here now, thank you, and in some surprise I found myself agreeing with them. The thousand little details of whether I like a place are based in part on things like the density of greenery and the indigenous food culture, both of which are good in Louisiana (or at least the bits of it we saw), but the main things for me are how much sky there is and the gestalt of the area's smell. The GPS-enabled drive through back-roads and over swamp bridges was a chance to stop being agoraphobic and annoyed at my olfactory nerves (cf. Texas) and just appreciate the countryside. Wouldn't want to live there, but I'd be delighted to go back.
Somewhere I'd like to go: Lichtenstein. If I were given a huge sum of money and absolutely forbidden to spend it on improving-the-world purposes, I would strongly consider renting out the nation of Lichtenstein for a significant wedding anniversary, because that is a thing that you can do if you can afford the rental fee. But, even lacking said amount of money, I'd love to see the place, and it sounds like a good amount to look at in one day. It's not very high on my list of places I really want to go (just the highest beginning with L), but I can imagine it being a charming detour from Germany or Austria or Switzerland or bumming around on the train.
Someone I know: Lucien, our traditionally-alpha cat, is about three feet from me on the couch as I type this. He came down with diabetes earlier in the year and it's not as under control as we'd like, yet, so at the moment he is both the smaller and the weaker cat, eight pounds on a build that doesn't begin to look full-fleshed until he weighs about twelve, and yes, it is going to his brother Rafe's head. Head as in Rafe kicking Lucien in the, at all hours. Sigh. Have not yet gotten to the point of shoving the feline equivalent of Pedialyte down Lucien's throat, but if he loses any more weight at all I am going to, as while I am of course very fond of Rafe he has never learned how to sit in my lap while I knit, and it's nice to have somebody around I can trust to behave while they do that. (Mind you, knitting is one thing, but purling, apparently, is when it is time for the kitty to treat the work-in-progress as a harpsichord. Let's not even talk about Fair Isle.)
A film I like: Labyrinth is eternal, of course, though I haven't been able to watch it yet since Bowie's death, but my most recent L-film is Laura, which I had heard of for many years as the craziest of the American film noirs and which keeps turning up in books about queer subtext in cinema. I was delighted to discover that despite having read a great deal about the movie in said books about queer subtext, everyone had been so kind as to keep the genuinely surprising plot unspoiled for me for the last fifty-odd years, and so it was a movie I didn't see coming. Laura is stylized almost past the point of psychological realism, but not quite; witty almost to the point of screwball comedy, but not quite; cast so oddly it might as well be miscast (Vincent Price as a shyster Southern gentleman of the old school? the hell? and this is Vincent Price in his early thirties, too), but not quite. (Price's accent is so terribly maladroit that it circles back around into being a brilliant impersonation of what his character thinks people want him to sound like.) Clifton Webb narrates from somewhere between Bertie Wooster, Oscar Wilde, and Samuel Beckett, everyone but everyone is a plausible suspect for at least thirty seconds, the rules of police work appear to have gone cheerfully out the window, and Gene Tierney is a revelation as the title character, a woman of such strength of agency that I'm pretty sure her mere existence shatters the standard rules of narrative. Comfort-film dark hilarity for the ages.
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