Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

So, as you know, Sunday is for lists; but I'm at a bit of a loss. I was this close to publishing my grocery list for your amusement but thought better of it. You're welcome. Instead, in anticipation of my upcoming inaugural trip to New Orleans, I am giving you the first edition of:

(in no particular order)

1. New York. Duh. I think this would make many peoples list, but I don't care. I may be a born and bred Texan, but my family and my heart belong to the East. It's amazing for me to think of my mother walking along the Upper East Side toward her closet apartment she shared with another girl. Every time I'm there, I discover something new and (often) delicious. It doesn't matter where you stay, just make sure you're near a metro line. My favorite place to hang out is Greenwich Village, home of my favorite bar of all time: The Slaughtered Lamb . A "theme" bar based on the kick-ass Landis film "An American Werewolf in London", the Slaughtered Lamb features a wooden bar complete with wood-burning fireplace and at least 50 types of bottled beer. Try The Black Cat- delicious! Down the street, you will find one of my favorite German restaurants of all time: Lederhosen . While in the city, take a walk through Central Park and visit Belveder Castle. Spend the day at the Met. Skip the Statue of Liberty tour, and instead, save money and have more fun on the Staten Island ferry. Bring comfy shoes, and get a metro pass. After a night of drinking til 3 or 4 AM, administer your hangover cure at Grey's Papaya Dog. Yum!

2. Rock City. Located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Rock City was and still is one of my favorite vacation destinations. What began as the private garden, became a wonderland of natural rock formations, waterfalls, and views as far as the eye can see (up to 7 states are visible on a clear day). "Fat Man's Pass" forces even the thinnest guest to hold their breath while making their way through the rocks. Choose danger in the form of a rope bridge or pick the easy way out on a rock bridge that hovers above a beautiful waterfall. It is absolutely beautiful and a lot of fun! Click here for more info a pictures.

3. Pocono Mountains. I've already written about this one, so let's move on.

4. Aquariums. Two of my favorite: Baltimore Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium could not be more different or further apart! The first, a multi-leveled behemoth located near the harbor and countless amazing seafood restaurants. Housing everything from sharks, to dolphins, to a rain forest that takes up the entire top floor, it is not to be missed! The aquarium in Monterey Bay is located at the end of the famous Cannery Row off Highway 1. For Sci-Fi geeks, you might recognize this as the whale sanctuary from "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home", though that area is actually dedicated to a sea otter habitat. From the deck outside, you can whale and dolphin watch. It is absolutely beautiful.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Praise be to Randomness!

*All I wanted to do yesterday was go to the movies, a double feature if I could. I hadn't been to the movies in what seemed like forever (but was really just a couple weeks). Regardless, two movies were on my mind: "Jennifer's Body" and "Pandorum". My review for the first: I didn't hate Megan Fox though I really wanted to. All I kept thinking was, "Gees, can somebody get her a cookie?", but her acting was fine. Amanda Seyfried was great as well, but I expected that. The script is smart and funny, but low on the gore one might expect from a b-movie wanna be. No such luck! Maybe it's because I just watched "Hostel 2" the other day, or I'm just that sick; but sometimes it is best to see the hot chick (literally) devour her prey and not just some shadow puppets reflected on the wall. I don't want that from my cheesy teen horror porn! Diablo Cody says herself, that she cannot help but write jokes. That really works in the movies favor here, as it is funny because it's supposed to be, not funny because it's sad. A recurring tampon joke may be too much for some audience members (sorry guys), but we thought it was hilarious! I really liked it, but you could easily rent it.
"Pandorum" reminds me of a lot of other movies I've already seen, but I don't mean that in a bad way. It's like if "Event Horizon", "Sunshine", and "Alien" had a baby. Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid wake up from extended sleep to find them selves on a deserted ship. How did they get there? Where are they? Where's everyone else? Savages have taken over the ship and boy are they scary. I jumped, like, twice. I also laughed a few times, mostly inappropriately. I liked this movie. Sure, it's been done before, but the acting was good and the script only mildly stupid. I also, really liked how they ended things in that "a-ha" style. If you love space/sci-fi/horror/awesome movies, go see it. If you prefer to keep it on earth or not get scared, skip it.

* According to Netflix, I have watched over 3000 movies. That number seems a bit low to me though... Clearly, if you ever need a recommendation, I'm your girl.

* The greatest website and ultimate time waster is: Lovely Listings . Here you will find actual photos from real estate listings that make you gag, laugh, or simple scratch your head. From the crime scene tape still in shot, to the toilet surrounded by porcelain dolls, to the guy squeezed up next to the fridge, thinking you can't see him; it's a hoot! I am officially obsessed. The comments after the photos are equally hilarious:

* Vote at Paranormal Movie to see this film released in your area. Right now, it is only opening in about 25 college towns (you can see if you're so lucky on the site as well), but they are asking for us, the potential viewer, the demand it. This film is supposed to be one of the scariest movies of all time. Steven Spielberg was impressed. Shot for $11,000 over 1 week in the directors home, "Paranormal Activity" is about what happens when you turn off the lights. The trailer is also online, and I totally got goose bumps.

* I'm disturbed by the average age of recent Jeopardy contestants. Isn't there a special College Edition for smart alec's in their early 20's? Also, does Jeopardy not employ a make-up artist or hair dresser? I've seen Alex Trebek so I know they do. Why then, can they not help the unfortunate souls that come on the show? Give them a hair brush at least, or a little lip gloss! PS- I'm pretty sure I need to go on this show. At the very least, I would look awesome.
* I shop at Central Market for the samples. Sure, their produce prices are on par with the major chains, but it's the endless samples of Delicious treats that has me coming back week after week. Yesterday, I sampled: Chicken Paella, cantaloupe, watermelon, 3 kinds of salsa, king crab legs, white wine, olive oil & balsamic, BBQ sauce, Nutella w/Magic Pop (the greatest invention in the world. Imagine if rice cakes tasted good. Now spread Nutella on it. Yum!), sun-dried tomato crackers, black Russian bread, Cajun turkey, and Jarlsberg cheese. That's just what I can remember! Go in hungry, leave satisfied. I also found my favorite beverage in the whole world: Birch Beer. While not my favorite brand (see pic below), Sioux City is a close second. In reality, any birch beer is good birch beer.

* Dear Crazy Hippie talking to yourself while walking down the road: Quit it!

* Jennie's random word of the day is: Fig Newton

* I'm really over freaky people. The new "freaky" person seems totally normal at first. Maybe they look freshly showered, or have a sweet small smile. Then, BAM! The freaky happens. I am not responsible for your mail. I am not the mailman. I am perfectly capable of reading numbers, so please do not accuse me of stealing your magazine. I'm sure if it's a good one, I already have it. They also have these places, called stores, where I can buy one of my own. Seriously? I am not interested in your quarterly. I am also not responsible for nudging you slightly with my shopping cart when you walk in front of it or when you simply stop walking. If you're going to pause, move to the side. If you want to cross lanes, utilize basic rules of traffic and look both ways. See also: the starring guy, the quiet talker, the close talker, the lingerer. All of you need to quit it and stay away from me. I'm in no mood, neigh, I haven't been in the mood to deal with the wack-a-doo's in years! Inevitably, they will have all come into contact with me this week.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cooking School 101 or Get Your Ass in the Kitchen!

I'm a little obsessed with cooking. For a short time (about 2 hours), I actually dreamt of going to culinary school. Do you know how much that costs? I could go to a real school for less! I thought cooks were blue collar gents just trying to get ahead. I had no idea they had that kind of bankroll to educate themselves in a profession that would not allow them to pay off any student debt for decades. They're not lawyers!

Instead, I prepare glorious meals at home in a kitchen smaller than my last apartments closet. It hasn't seen a renovation since the place was built (1932). Ok, that's not true. Apparently, they updated some things in 1992. I'm assuming that's when my fridge and stove were bought second hand. Counter space is minimal at best, and is made worse by the fact that I can't seem to buy olive oil or vinegar or balsamic short enough to fit in the cabinets.

Recently, on a night out with the gals and guys, the subject of cooking came up. Everyone expressed the desire to learn to cook, or get better at cooking, or simply start cooking. Finally! Something I already did and didn't fuck up too frequently. Score one for me! The most common skill/meal mentioned to improve or learn was steak. That's it. Just steak. Not Steak Diane or Beef Wellington or Fillet Mignon. Just a plain old steak. Score two- I can do that!

Here is how to cook a steak:

1. Decide what you want to make. Check the free flyer's that land in your mailbox for what's on sale. Many grocers put that info online as well. This is a great place to start and you won't pay an arm and a leg for something you may mess up anyway. The following chart is great for figuring out what is what and how to best prepare it:
So, you found out there's a special on Strip Steak, T-Bone, Center-cut Fillets, etc. Awesome!

2. Buy a quality piece of meat (hee hee). Skip the pre-packaged cases and walk right up to the butcher. If you shop at a grocery that doesn't have a live butcher, leave immediately! Did you never wonder where the meat was coming from? How long it had been there? If there is no butcher, chances are it was shipped from another store that has one. Gross. Grab a number and check out the available cuts of your desired meat (hee hee- final one, I promise). What are you looking for? Well, that depends. The flesh should be red, not brown. The fat should resemble marble, not thick sheets. If you're not sure which one looks best, ask the butcher. That's why he's there. He wants you to get an awesome steak and continue to shop with him in the future. I prefer Strip Steaks or Center-cut Fillets myself. They also seem to go on sale at Whole Foods or Central Market at least once a month. These are also fairly lean cuts of meat, so they won't take too long to cook and won't make you feel like a haus for splurging in the first place.
[side note: Here's a trick I use: Ask the butcher to split the steak for you creating 2 fillets. That's two meals for the price of one, and it makes for a better portion size.]

3. So, you've picked out your beauty, paid for it, and are now at home. Transfer one of your steaks to a freezer bag if you won't cook it for more then 3 days, otherwise, leave it in the butcher paper and place in freezer.

4. Tools: Do you have a grill pan? No, how about a large skillet? Great! Grab that bad boy and put him right on the stove, cranking up the heat to medium high. You must work with a hot pan, or all is lost. While your at it, turn your oven on to about 300. You will also need: tongs, a sharp knife (gotta love those Santoku's!), and a table spoon. For a basic steak, you will also need: olive oil or vegetable oil, salt, pepper, butter, Worcestershire sauce. I also like to throw some onions or shallots in the pan as well, so grab too.

5. Marinate. Sprinkle both sides of your steak with salt and pepper. If you don't add salt, you will be sad later. At least a pinch of both, but no more than 1/2 teaspoon. If you are grilling your steak on a BBQ or grill pan, skip this next step. Take a shallow baking dish or freezer bag. Place your seasoned steak in said dish/bag and add several shakes of Worcestershire. The goal is to lightly coat the meat, not drown it. Gently massage the steak to embed the seasoning. Not to vigorously, or your will break apart the good fibers in the steak. Set aside.

6. Add a bit of oil to the pan- about 1-2 tablespoons. You want the bottom of the pan to be lightly coated. Julienne the onions or shallots- cut into small strips. Set aside. Your pan and oil should be pretty hot. Take the steak out of the marinade (don't throw that out yet), and place in the pan. For best results (i.e. not getting burned), lay the steak away from you. That sizzle is good! Cook each side about 2-3 minutes. You want to get a nice sear on each side (browned but not blackened). With your tongs, lift up the steak to sear the edges.

7. Add the rest of your marinating liquid and scrap up all the goodness from the bottom of the pan. Depending on what kind of pan you have, use the tongs (stainless steel) or a wooden or plastic spatula (non-stick surfaces). Add your shallots/onions and cook about 1 minute. (Grillers- skip steps 9 & 10).

8. Here's where the butter comes in. Add1-2 pats of butter (depending on size of meat) and baste the steak. Bet it smells good! (Wow, this recipe is coming out a bit cheesy, no pun intended).

9. Grab your skillet and stick it in the oven. You'll leave it in there for anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on how you like it cooked. This is also the trial and error portion of steak cooking. How do you know when it's done? My favorite tip comes from Gordon Ramsey (seriously, if you have BBCAmerica, you must watch The F Word . It is genius. Go DVR it right now, I'll wait). If you want rare-medium, poke two fingers into your cheek. For Medium-well, poke your chin, and for Well poke your forehead. That spring you feel should mimic the spring you get from the steak. Feel free to pull the steak out half way and poke it. This is a good time to baste again or flip over.

10. Your steak is done. Yea! Pull the skillet from the oven and set the steak on a cutting board. Leave it alone! Go have a smoke, or play with your cat/god/kids. Put together a salad or finish whatever side you were cooking as well. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes. This traps the juices and goodness inside. When you're ready, slice the steak following the grain. If it is hard to cut, your cutting against the grain. It should be easy, like butter. Spoon over any gravy left in the pan and voila! You have just cooked an amazing steak. Congrats!
I hope this helped some of you, or you at least found it amusing. Others are probably telling me I'm wrong, they have the best steak recipe. Great, let's hear it! I'm always looking for new bells and whistles to add. The most important thing is that you are using your kitchen for something other than a pizza snack bar or condiment room. Try it out, and let me know how it goes! If I've learned anything from Amy Sedaris , it's that you don't need to be a professional to through a killer party or that a "Fuck It Bucket" is always a good idea.

More tales from the kitchen to follow! What do you want to hear? Questions?

Monday, September 21, 2009

How I Spent My Sunday Night, or The 61st Annual Emmy Awards

Last night was the 61st Emmy Awards. All in attendance looked ravishing. There were no major fashion faux pas I could see (not including Ricky Gervais’ green tux- that may have been for laughs, and the poor winner for Direction in a Mini-Series whose bodice did not fit. Hell, it looked down right uncomfortable). Immediately after watching, I called my mother to gossip about the winners and how we liked the show. She was not impressed, I was.

Here are some of my reasons:
*Neil Patrick Harris- He shined while hosting the Tony’s earlier this year, and I was so glad they gave him a higher profile event. There’s nothing better than someone who giggles at their own jokes. His opening song could have been better; it was hard to hear some of the lyrics, but otherwise ok. When he lost out to Jon Cryer for Supporting Actor and then interrupted him in the pressroom, genius. The interruption in the broadcast by Dr. Horrible was hilarious, although one of my Mother’s least fav moments. It certainly helps if the people at home have some idea what you’re talking about. 4 out of 5 stars.

*The dance number w/ the cast of “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance”. Question: What does Cat Deely have to do to get a nomination?!? Also, if the Academy is recognizing how much America loves dance shows, how about moving the choreography award to prime time??
* I thought the Comedy Supporting Actress Nominees and their glasses were hilarious! Note to Vanessa Williams: You are not too cool for school. What a jerk to not participate.

*Ken Howard. The veteran movie and TV star won his first Emmy and thanked Jeannie Epper for her gracious donation of a kidney. For those of you who don’t know, Epper is one of the greatest female stuntwomen of all time. She comes from a 4-generation legacy of stuntmen and women. For an interesting look at her and the history, as well as future, of stuntwomen; rent "Double Dare" .

* The number of 1st time winners and nominees: Toni Collete, Ken Howard, Kristen Chenowith, Cherry Jones, Jessica Lange, Brendon Gleeson, Shohreh Aghdashloo (you should really look up her story, it’s incredible), and Jon Cryer. See movie stars, you shouldn’t snub television. You could get a big pointy statue all your own.

* The advice segments: nominees for Direction and Writing were asked to give advice to those interested in getting into that profession. Some of the best ones: When “Mad Men” writer/creator had to share a couch with the couple making out next to him (husband and wife writing team Andre & Maria Jacquemetton).

* Dividing the show by category. Some scoffed at what they called "The Academy's disregard for Variety and Mini-Series. Don't they know that's when we switch the channel and go to the bathroom?" Well, duh. To the naysayers, I have news for you: They don't think you're watching this live in the 1st place, so why would they care if you're in the bathroom or not? I appreciated that there was break in the telecast where I could comfortably pause my DVR and make a snack. I watch every second of these telecasts anyway, and it is so much nicer not to have to guess when I can get up and go. Thank you!

What I didn’t like:
* Too many nominations for the same show, often in the same category. I love “Mad Men”. Let me repeat, I LOVE “Mad Men”, however; do I think they had 4 of the 5 best written episodes? No. What fun is there in the competition if you have a better than average shot at winning? Perhaps the Academy should treat writers for sitcoms and dramas the same way they do variety shows: Lump them all together. It is rarely if never the case that one episode stands out to the viewer as “the best”. Instead, we say things like, “That show has the best writing!” Wouldn’t it be more fun to see a show down between “Mad Men”, “Lost”, “Dexter”, “House”, and “Big Love”? Who would win if Tiny Fey and crew were pitted en masse against “How I Met Your Mother”, “Two and a Half Men”, “Weeds”, “Flight of the Concords”, and “Family Guy”? I would be far more riveted and less likely to skip ahead on my DVR.
* On a similar front, at some point, you should have enough awards. I’m looking at you “The Amazing Race”! 7 Emmy’s in the same category? That’s obscene. “Top Chef”, start campaigning now! I’d vote for you if I could. How about “So You Think You Can Dance”? What other reality show brought tears (not blood from my retina’s bleeding) to our eyes last year? If you have won twice before in a row, please sit out the next year. I promise no one will forget about you or your amazing performance, Alec Baldwin. * No love for “Generation Kill”, one of the greatest shows to ever grace your TV set. Also, where was “True Blood” in the nominations? Anna Paquin won a Golden Globe for chrissakes. She can’t get any Emmy love?

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The O-Z Edition
The Final Chapter

"On Writing" b. Stephen King- One of the few non-fiction books to make Entertainment Weekly's Top 100 New Classics list, this is one of the best books on the art of writing. Regardless of what you think about King's own work, he offers valuable tips and tricks of the trade. The first half gives you a little background and bio info on the author, including how he finally came to be published. What I enjoyed the most about this section, were his thoughts and recollections after he was nearly killed by a car while walking near his home. I also liked how he was the first to admit that sometimes he broke his own guidelines, but always wished he were "strong enough" to not do it again. A great read for King fans, budding authors, or those who just want to learn more about writing.

"Practical Magic" b. Alice Hoffman- I've seen the Sandy Bullock/Nicole Kidman movie more times then I care to admit, so I finally decided to read the book. Wow! I loved it even more. It is clear where the movie story line came from, but the book not only expands on it, it takes you in completely different directions. This book won the coveted "Best Book I Read All Year Award", and was gifted to my sister upon her graduation. She read it and loved it as well (which is no small feet considering reading is one of the few things she is not good at. The book must capture her immediately or forever be lost to the growing pile on her book case).

"Rebel w/o a Crew: Or How a 23-year-old Filmmaker w/$7000 Became a Hollywood Player" b. Robert Rodriguez- It is no surprise that I love to read about film making as much as I love watching films. Rodriguez's autobiography is genius, expanding on what you already know (he was a paid guinea pig) to things you don't (The sound for "El Mariachi" was recorded on tape using a basic tape recorder, resulting in some of the best sequences since the sound didn't sync up- he had to get creative). The is a must for all movie lovers, biography fans, and those who think they can't do something.

"Running Wild" b. J.G. Ballard- Ballard is more famously known for his book "Crash" then this novella, but it remains one of my favorites. Set within the walls of a pre-fab gated community, we join the "looky-lou's" who have gathered outside along with the police and news reporters. What happened? Why are we here? Where has everyone gone? The answers to these questions and more will shock you and keep you in suspense to the very end. LOVE!!

"Shade" b. Neil Jordan- Jordan is probably most familiar to you as the Academy Award winning Irish director behind some of the best and most interesting movies: "The Butcher Boy", "The Crying Game", and "Interview with the Vampire" to name a few. What you may not know is he actually started his career as a writer. Shade is his 5th book and one of my all time favorite reads. The book opens with the death of the main character and what follows is her account of how she ended up "in the dark". Don't write this off as a "The Lovely Bones" knock-off. The characters and ambiance that Jordan evokes cannot be matched. I found myself reading this book well into the night, desperate to find out how it all comes together.

"The Turn of the Screw" b. Henry James- I won't go into this one too much as it was featured in a previous post. I wrote my Freshman research paper on this book in High School much to the chagrin of my teacher. It is a classic ghost story which begs the question: "Is she crazy or not?" What makes this book different from so many others is it never really answers that question. It's up to the reader to decide, and no two people will take away the same conclusion.
"Under the Skin" b. Michael Faber- Five big and bold stars go to this book, another winner of the "Best Book of the Year Award". I made everyone I knew at the time read it and love it. Told in 1st person narrative, it tells the tale of Isserley, an alien sent to Earth to gather food. Problem is, we're the food. Every time I read this, I pick up something different.
"The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible" b. A.J. Jacobs- I love to learn and read about religion, it's fascinating. Journalist Jacobs vows to live the Bible as literally as possible, and somehow remain married in the process. Some of the best parts are when he travels the country, talking to Rabbi's, Priest's, Shaman's, etc. When he builds what is basically a yurt in his NY living room, I laughed out loud! He's like a subjective Ned Flanders. I have read the Bible, though that is not a prerequisite for reading this book. He breaks down each passage into easy to understand reasoning and follows it up with pro and con points of view.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Can you say "Random Saturday" in German?

* Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day! In celebration, I'm re-posting a portion of yesterdays blog in pirate:
"I tried to look at all 'o these people as individuals. 'tis made it difficult because I didnt be knowin' everythin' 'bout their personal lives. I knew 'o Parker 'n th' Algonquin Round Table, how I wished to be seated thar one evenin'. Helen Keller 'n her political set the sails, Beethovens struggles wit' his salty sea-dog 'o a father 'n other peoples opinions, Poes bottomless depression, but extra wee 'bout th' others, except I loved their set the sails. What could I use to tie them together? th' only thin' that sprang to mind was each 'o their effects on me as a person. They have found a way to touch me soul whar no one else was allowed to reach. It seemed as if a cold fin'er had pricked me heart 'n scarred me in a way that I found pleasant. Each became exceptional 'n forced me to show emotion, which; I had seen as a weakness all me life."
Apparently, as a pirate, I'm really obsessed with setting the sails.

*I love misheard song lyrics. The other day at our neighborhood bar, I could have sworn the lyric to an Old '97s song was "I'll put a butthole in your heart". That didn't sound particularly pleasant or enjoyable for either party.

*There's this taco stand near my house called Tacos Y Mas. It used to look like your typical, run of the mill, grungy taco stand until they painted it in bright red and white stripes like this:

The point of the story isn't that this place now looks more like a Jiffy Lube than a taco stand; the point is what's on the sign: Fish Quesadillas. I don't know what brainiac thought that one up but I have two words for them: gross!

* I often wonder if screenwriters say the lines they've written out loud. You know, to hear how it sounds. This thought crossed my mind again while watching "Cadillac Records" last night. "Don't worry about where I'm from. My wife's gonna drive a Cadillac!" Seriously? Read that aloud. I'll give you a moment. See also: Any time the title of the movie is used as a line within the movie, usually around the beginning of the third act. It might do them some good to purchase a Dictaphone and read the sides aloud. Perhaps they have a friend they haven't run off yet who would read with them. A couple of beers and a pizza could do some good. See also: excessive use of voice over. That's just lazy.

* Why am I always getting felt up (and not in a nice sexy way)? At book club the other day, my friend totally felt me up, I think on accident. This may have been a result of our favorite line that day, "Can I fall into your vagina?" Several months ago at a work happy hour, one of my bosses kept feeling me up. She thought it was hilarious how weirded out I was. Come on people! Unless you are of the male persuasion, keep your grubby mitts to yourself.

* Old words in new ways: "I totally Wells Fargo'd that meal"

* "We've had a very happy marriage, I'm just saying." - A Korean woman on why she's kept a machete hidden from her husband.

* Why'd the little girl fall off the swings? Because she had no arms. (The cleanest joke I heard all week)

* When there's a lull in the conversation, yell out "ausfahrt". Trust me when I tell you, it will get the conversation going again!

[side note: my friend Lauren is learning German and I spent the better part of the day in her car learning along with her. "Ausfahrt" is our new favorite word. It means "exit". Coming in a close second is "gebaude" which rhymes with goiter and means building.]

* A young man in Britain was asked to remove his hood while shopping in a Tesco supermarket. Apparently, he is the founder of the Church of Jediism and refused to remove his hood as it was religious garb. He has issued a letter of complaint and is threatening to boycott the store. The bet part of this story is that there is an officially recognized Church of Jediism with some 400,000 members. Uh huh. Even better is this response from the supermarket: "He hasn’t been banned. Jedis are very welcome to shop in our stores although we would ask them to remove their hoods…Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side and we are only aware of the Emperor as one who never removed his hood…If Jedi walk around our stores with their hoods on, they’ll miss lots of special offers." The full story can be read here .

* I dug up this picture of me from senior year:

To put it in context: I was in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in '99. This is the costume we had to wear (I was the Bride before Uma!). It was unusually cold and rainy and we had nothing to protect us except Lycra. Those smudges on my face? That's green paint. In front of Macy's every year, they paint the street. Obviously this cannot be permanent, but it isn't even remotely water proof. We walked in the freezing weather for 3 hours, performed, turned the corner and got on the metro. It was so much fun and an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. I just wish I'd had at least three more hand warmers. Hope you enjoy the spandex!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dear University, better late then never

Recently I gave our very own Shine a make=up lesson. (It went very well by the way). While I was going through some old make up books, I discovered the weirdest things. Tucked between pages of Kevyn Aucoin's "Making Faces" I found old French homework and the following college essay. I thought is was hilarious and have decided to share it with you here, as it never saw the light of any university. Tragic really. Anyway, please enjoy my muddled attempt at humor and who inspired me at age 17.

It is very sad for me to say, but I could not think of one person or work that has inspired me! It is not for lack of options. I am a voracious reader, visit museums and attend the theatre, and passionately study history. Then why could I not pick one person? The thought that came to me was perhaps, it wasn’t that I was not inspired by someone, but rather that I could not separate all of the people who had! Now, I had to face the problem of how to incorporate this insight into my theme. Staring at my computer screen far too long, pondering, thinking, of those who had influenced my life. The list became rather long. My friends, my hero’s; Dorothy Parker, Helen Keller, my father, Beethoven, Millais’ “Ophelia”, Henry James, Gustave Klimt, Edgar Allan Poe, Francisco Goya; the list goes on and on. I thought perhaps if I could find a common bond between these, I could write a paper. What I found was more puzzlement.

I tried to look at all of these people as individuals. This made it difficult because I didn’t know everything about their personal lives. I knew of Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, how I wished to be seated there one evening. Helen Keller and her political work, Beethoven’s struggles with his father and other people’s opinions, Poe’s bottomless depression, but very little about the others, except I loved their work. What could I use to tie them together? The only thing that sprang to mind was each of their effects on me as a person. They have found a way to touch my soul where no one else was allowed to reach. It seemed as if a cold finger had pricked my heart and scarred me in a way that I found pleasant. Each became exceptional and forced me to show emotion, which; I had seen as a weakness all my life.

I listen to Beethoven whenever I am depressed or feeling bad. The music seeps into my skin and gets into my blood. I program my CD player to play “Piano Trio No.4 in D Major”, “Op. 70, No.1 ‘Ghost’”, and “Symphony No.7 in A Major, Op.92” over and over again. There is something about the way he arranged the music that gives me the chills. The piano trio opens with violins that break apart periods of the piano. They seem to twine around each other and give the listener a personalized visual imagery. My favorite, though, is Symphony No.7. It is haunted by a collection of cellos that are matched by violins and later horns to create a powerful feeling of ecstasy. It engulfs me and makes me feel as if time has stood still so that I can live inside that moment of beauty forever.

Klimt makes an obvious choice. He seems the most popular artist with students so I won’t go into him as much, except to say that he presents humanity in a very fresh and raw state that I find reaffirming and comforting. I will, however, talk about John Everett Millais’ “Ophelia”. Millais painted “Ophelia” in 1852 as an answer to mid-century realists. He and other artists started what is now referred to as the “Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood”. Other artists attacked his painting as not being “realistic”, because it portrayed a subject matter that was not. “Ophelia” opens like a photograph taken of the Bards’ tragic heroine amidst her plight into the water. She is seen floating just above the surface, with a look of contentment that is almost laconic. She seems innocent, and it is this innocence that makes me love the painting. Millais has captured human essence on canvas. Looking at this painting forces me to take mark of my own distress and plight. It awakens all emotion in the admirer of the work. To me, Millais is a genius.

I was brought up in a household where reading was encouraged, and was fortunate enough to end up loving it. I always had books and other reading materials whenever I wanted them. My father has a major in History as well as English and Business, so we would always stay up into the late hours talking about symbolism and plot lines in various works. We loved to debate! Therefore, it would surprise no one who knew me to see that I picked Dorothy Parker, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry James as a poor representation of my favorites. Each has a similar bond to me. Each expresses human emotion as if it were a force that could not be controlled. Each exposes their creative id to their audience and makes no apologies for it. Parker is absolutely one of the greatest female literary figures of all time. She was a feminist when such a thing was unheard of and considered taboo. She lived her life for herself, and we were all in it “for the ride”. Reading her poetry is like reading the writings of my soul. It is pure and bare, open to wounds. “And should I offer you fidelity, You'd be, I think, a little terrified.”
Poe is much the same, however, in a more conventional sense. It is hard to me to discuss Poe as conventional, but there is something about convention when talking about a poet you learned in school. Poe was probably the first poet I read and truly understood. I could identify with his twisted sense of reality and adventures into the macabre. His short stories were unlike anything ever read before, and his poetry revealed a man stripped of dignity and hope. He was a purist and a realist. His poetry was without the frill of others during that period. James, however, is an unlikely choice since I do not enjoy most of his other works. It is particularly of his novel “The Turn of the Screw” that draws me to him as a writer. I wrote my freshman English research paper on that work, against better advice. The way that he achieves symbolism without making it painfully obvious is inspiring. He develops his characters as if he were writing autobiographically. I have never read a man write a female character so well before in my life. He reveals the governess’ character as both sane and insane at the same moment in time.I guess inspiration comes in all forms. Maybe I have been inspired. Looking back at what I have written seems to paint a different view, than my opening statement. I guess it’s just that we all look at inspiration in different ways. Maybe I thought I had not been inspired because I’ve always thought inspiration was something one knew was happening; not what you had to sit and think about for days on end. Inspiration should be blatant. When faced with this prompt, I should have had a light bulb turn on over my head or heard a crack of thunder or something, but this is not the movies or a book or a painting. There is no thunder to symbolize a thought or burst of thinking. Just me-sitting in my den, slouched over the computer, humming to myself and taking solitaire breaks from writing. Very uninspiring, I’m sure, but what is one to do? I have to write on the topic. My English teacher has allowed this composition to be a grade. It pains me to have written such a short paper; there is so much to say! My tale is done and now I will retire to bed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Finally, a break through! Or, how I figured out what's wrong with me and the rest of the world.

The common theme cropping up among the blogs I read and the people I know is: Dating. I've waxed poetic on it myself, and it seems like it is the only thing we talk about anymore.

Needless to say, I've been thinking a lot about my singledom and the reasons for it. While I may not be the best looking woman in the world (we can't all be Angie Jolie. sigh), I'm not unfortunate. Hell, even the unfortunate are dating! I clean up nice, can speak eloquently on a number of topics, and am generally nice to those who are nice to me.

The problem seems, to quote one of my favorite movies, "I hate people, but I love gatherings". This may also explain why my new favorite way to break a lull in conversation is to yell "Stranger Danger!" at the top of my lungs.

Last night, I met up with the boys at our neighborhood bar. We sat around outside enjoying the cool weather, smoking, and teasing those who passed by. At some point, our small group of 5 was joined by an annoyingly blond woman. I have no idea who she was. She asked a lot of questions but gave no answers. The general consensus was she was on the prowl looking to cheat on her husband. Whether that is true or not is debatable.

Another guy then joined and started talking to anyone who would listen. He stole my chair when I got up to get a refill, so I stole it back when he did the same. I want to sit next to my friends, dammit!

So, I'm sitting there when he comes back. There are no more chairs, so off he goes to find a new one. Pulling it up behind me, he says, "I hope you know I'm not creepy."

Uh, dude, that's creepy.

He goes on and on. Finally, I turn to him and say, "Why are you telling me any of this?"

I don't care about you or how you sometimes come here "flying solo". Ew.

The first opportunity I get I move my chair. The blond will not stop talking. Soon, she's distracted by another group of strangers who've come to sit at our table as well it seems.

"Why do these people keep sitting near us?"

Thank god for my friend Trevor . A kick ass photographer and General of all things Northeastern, he says exactly what we're all thinking.

"Oh thank god! You're thinking it too", I reply. "I can't figure out how to get them to leave without poking their eyes out with spoons."

"We gotta get out of here."


I don't like new people. I make friends when I need to. If you asked most of my friends, they would tell you they thought I hated them when we met. I don't learn names until I have to. Sometimes, that can mean a long time. Just because we've met, does not mean I know you from Adam. Usually, we have to hang out socially for a while before I remember, though that is in no way certain. Example: A girl just joined our book club. I've met her a few times, we have mutual friends; but I couldn't tell you her name if my life depended on it. It's something common is all I know. I better figure it out soon, because she is sure to be there tonight.

[side note: If you want your child to avoid going through this, I suggest you name them something different. I'm not saying to take it to celebrity status. There are enough Apple's, Banjo's, and Octavian's in the world. But please, no more Jennifer's, Brian's, Emily's, or Justin's.]

So, back to the point. Until I re-learn how to be social, I will spend my nights at home reading or watching T.V. My only interaction will be with friends who's stories I've already heard, but love dearly.


Sunday, September 13, 2009


The G-N Edition

"Generation Kill" b. Evan Wright- That's right, it was a book before it was one of the most awesome HBO mini-series events. I rarely do this, but I recommend watching the show then reading the book. It helped me keep the soldiers straight (and truthfully, and excuse to imagine Alexander Skarsgaard is a good one!). What is great about this book is that Wright doesn't just report but participates. I'm always a little weary of war books. They're either boring, or they misrepresent the facts. My barometer of accuracy is my Dad. Since he was actually in a war, and taught history, and is a writer; I figure he will always set me straight. His personal take on this book is: awesome. To him, this represented how soldiers fill there time, how they interact with each other. You learn how they really feel about the war, about their officers. See also: the first 20 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan" which he said is the first time he's heard gun fire that actually sounded like real gunfire. He could sympathize with those vets who found that scene difficult to watch.

"The Girl on the Fridge: Stories" b. Etgar Keret- One of my favorite movies (and I believe on my list previously published here), is "Wristcutters: A Love Story". That film was based on a short story by Keret. My library didn't have it, so I went with this top rated collection instead. I love short stories. They fit perfectly into a smoke break, bathroom break, lunch break, just before bed, or in between commercials. What I loved about this book more than others, was the authors willingness to let the story lead him. What I mean by that is: Sometimes a story was 12 pages, sometimes 3, and you never felt cheated or overwhelmed. he has a quirky style that resonates with the sub-cultural aspect in all our lives.
"Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch" b. Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett- I had a really hard time picking which Gaiman books to include. He is without a doubt one of my favorite authors of all time. I went with "Good Omens" because it introduced the collaboration of Gaiman (influential Comic god) an Pratchett (influential and much loved sci-fi/fantasy god). The story follows the battle between Heaven and Hell for earth and more importantly, for a specific young boy. The title refers to the prophecy by said witch over which way this battle ends. I loved it, especially the relationship between the Demon and the Angel who team up as the original "Odd Couple" to stop the whole thing from even happening. Gaiman brings his level of mythology with him and it couples nicely with the humor so beloved by Pratchett.
"I Am Legend" b. Richard Matheson- Forget the Will Smith movie (please), and the Vincent Price movie (really good actually), and the Charleton Heston movie. This is so much better. You probably know the story: Man and dog must battle for survival in a post apocalyptic world against legions of vampires. What's brilliant about this printing are the short stories that follow. Several of them are on the list for best I've ever read.

"Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly" b. Anthony Bourdain- I heart Anthony Bourdain. I have read all his books and cannot miss an episode of "No Reservations". This, his first book, delves into what made him the chef and person he is today. It follows a young boy cooking on the Jersey shore to the man who became executive chef at one of New York's great restaurants, Les Halles. If you've ever worked in a restaurant (no, fast food does not count), you will love the kitchen banter recognize the front of house to back of house tensions. If you haven't, first of all- shame on you! Everyone should work in a restaurant for at least 2 weeks (I'm not a sadist! Any longer than that could crush most people). Secondly, you will love this peek into how food gets to your plate and maybe think twice before you mistreat your waiter or chef. Love it!!

"The Lottery: And Other Stories" b. Shirley Jackson- It seems a lot of my recommendations this week have been made into movies. Jackson was an influence to any of your favorite horror authors. Her story, "The Lottery", deals with superstition and small town America with an ending that will still shock you 51 years after it was first published. The central theme of the story will seem familiar to anyone who's seen "Logan's Run" or read "The Hunger Games", but it's Jackson's writing that separates it from the rest. A must!

"Memoirs of a Beatnick" b. Diane di Prima- di Prima was a contemporary of Ginsberg and Burrough's but her name is not mention in the modern lexicon of the Beat generation. Why? Perhaps it because she was a woman in a man's world. Perhaps not. What can be said is that her memoir is a gripping tale of a young woman alone in New York looking for love and creative freedom. I love everything about it. Even if your not a fan of the genre, the book is a great portal into the mind and life of someone on the front lines.

"Mythology" b. Edith Hamilton- We all read some Greek and Roman mythology in school and for most, it ended there. Hamilton's collection is complete and easy to read. My favorite: "Pyramus and Thisbe"- the basis for Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet". Lovely.
"The Neverending Story" b. Michael Ende- To the best of my knowledge this book is out of print. Bummer, but it is worth keeping your eyes peeled at used book stores and online. While the movie is a youth classic, the book is completely different (much in the way Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" is similar but totally unrelated to Carroll's book). It's a lot darker for one. I love the story of Bastian and Atreyu. I randomly scream out "Artex!" when the conversation gets low. I named my sisters dog Falkor. Seriously, I love this book.

The Nightwatch Series b. Sergei Lukyanenko- Kazakhstanian author and Russian hero Lukyanenko wrote the greatest series about the supernatural world I've ever read. Big surprise! It was made into two movies by Timur Bekmambetov which went on to become the #1 and #2 highest grossing films in Russian history (and for good reason- the FX are out of this world!). The premise seems simple: everything you were ever told to be afraid of that lurks in the dark is real. Good news, they have their own police system: The Night Watch (light others who watch what the dark ones do) and The Day Watch (dark others policing the light ones). A prophecy tells of a young other who will forever change the world and both watches want him for their own. There are 4 books in the series currently available in the U.S. and watching the movies first or never will not help you. They only follow two parts of the first book. These are definitely books to take care reading and almost demand a re-read. You will not be bored or feel lazy at all!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

(Literally) Drowning in a flood of randomness:

* I am an atrocious speller. I spelled "before" as "befor" until Freshman year (thank you public education!). I think I inherited this from my father. He should be good at it- he helped support the family while playing Mr. Mom by writing freelance for magazines- however, he is not. He keeps a typed list next to the computer with all of his commonly misspelled words. Ever so often, one is added in blue or black ball point ink. After asking how to spell "definitely" for the umpteenth time, I decided to start one of my own. Here's what I have so far:
I'm sure there are more, but I also forget that I've started this list. I am adding atrocious to it right now. What's funny is that even though it is well known I cannot spell, people ask me to spell words for them all the time and I usually can!

* Hey! Guy in blue Mustang! ATM's are for quick withdrawls, not for your regular banking. Quit it!

* On a similar note: What's up guy in chartreuse Mercedes? Really? You spent how much to ride around in Kermit's car? Same goes to you, chocolate brown Honda.

[side note: apparently I can spell "chartreuse"]

* My new obsession is Eli Roth. Man is he hilarious! There's a pretty good interview here although it is in need of some editing. His turn in "Inglourious Basterds" was great. While I don't always, or maybe usually, like his movies ("Cabin Fever" was pretty great, but I fell asleep during "Hostel". Still not sure how that happened, but I woke up to someone cutting a guys Achilles then fell right back asleep!). I also must support people who redesign film for Americans. I love the uproar over his movies! He has figured out how to mass market the kinds of back alley, city to city, cult slasher movies I loved from the 70's and 80's. It's amazing what better lighting and film stock can do. Before Roth (and Netflix for that matter), you had to order or search out independent video stores to find anything like this. You could also delve into books dubbed "splattercore" for obvious reasons. (See my love of Poppy Z. Brite from last Sunday). The point is, he's great. I can't wait to see how he turns sodomizing a turkey into a feature length film. Want more? He just joined Twitter .

*On a similar note: Dear Hollywood: Please stop remaking movies. What's the matter with you? I know there are "no original ideas" but come on, this is really pushing it. Here's a sampling of what's gotten me riled up: Harvey (quit it!), Fantastic Voyage (the fx still look good!), Clash of the Titans (I'm actually kind of into this one, the treatment looks new), Footloose, Short Circuit, The Thing (this has already been done twice and no one can out do Carpenter), The Neverending Story (seriously, I wish you wouldn't), Poltergeist, Logan's Run (uh, no!), Rosemary's Baby, Forbidden Planet (if they do anything to it like they did The Day the Earth Stood Still, I'm getting my hanky ready now), Barbarella, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Last Tango in Paris, Rashomon, 13, My Fair Lady, Yellow Submarine (now in 3D!), Suspiria, Children of the Corn (well, maybe this one could work), Dirty Dancing, Red Dawn (how can this be good w/o mullets?), Jesus Christ Superstar (seriously?), Straw Dogs (I was a bit peeved, but then they cast Alexander Skarsgard- forgiven), Robocop, Let the Right One In (proving once again American audiences can't or won't read. This movie just came out and did pretty well!), The Gate (um...yea, I'm not mad at this one either), An American Werewolf in London (quit it squared! Didn't you learn anything from An American Werewolf in Paris?). The list goes on and on and on. You want to remake something? Why don't you pick up a book and read! Maybe you'll find something you like there. I can't believe in the overflowing stack of spec's on your desk there is nothing good to make. I mean, someone keeps giving Eddie Murphy money! There seem to be a lot of horror movies in this mix. That doesn't bother me as much since having a bit more money could result in more gore, but it will be used on CG and I can't abide that. Want to know how to use extra cash wisely? Watch "Nightwatch" and then "Daywatch". You could learn a thing or two from the Russians.

* "Texas now has an official portal" Mark it! Not sure exactly what that means, but my good friend and co-worker Jennie just informed me.

* I just renewed my drivers license and I'm kinda stoked because I get to keep my picture. Not that there's much difference in my appearance when I was 21 and the photo was taken, and now save the hair.

I know it's kind of blurry, that's how my camera phone rolls, but you get the gist. Let the odd looks from bar tenders and bouncers continue!

*So, I was outside smoking and got to thinking: The scientist really need to get moving on The Jetson's technology asap. I'm not sure why this popped into my mind, probably something to do with me huddling under a tiny portico in the rain. I mean, think about how much easier our lives would be if we could travel in tubes and ride conveyor belts through the house that washed us, fed us, and probably burped us! I can't tell you how much I would appreciate the effort Scientists. Get to it!

Friday, September 11, 2009

So this is working?

I've been posting a lot of "I'm bored"'s on Twitter and Facebook . You may be thinking, "Geez, what a complainer" or "Wow! How lucky" or "Doesn't she have anything better to do?". You would be correct on many or all of those thoughts. Here is how I spent my day:

*On facebook playing Vampire Wars and tending to my Farm Town. I also re-posted some links (that's my favorite).

*Checking my email

*Answering the phone (it rang twice)

*Reading Blogs (a bog shout out to Genius Pending for his list of things he no longer cares about. Dude- you totally stole my idea for today's post!)

*Looking up concerts on

*Looking up places to buy caviar

*Looking up shoes to buy

*Playing Bloodlines on facebook

*Checking in with my myspace account because I kinda forgot I still had one but cannot delete because transferring the pictures would take too long

*Reading "Long Days Journey into Night" (shouldn't reading a play take no longer than watching said play?)

*Talking to my boss

*Talking to residents (I spoke to 2)

*returning emails

*I did do some real work today- I emailed a bunch of prospects. Only one has returned my query.

*Counting down the time til I get to go home, relax for 30 minutes, then leave for a brain storming meeting with Head Mess Misstress .

*Feeling the area where I bit the inside of my mouth. Totally sucks by the way.


That's pretty much it. Couldn't be more bored. I'm really just worried, because not being busy directly reflects my paycheck amount. I can't afford to do nothing, but there is nothing I can do to help. It's a conundrum.

How did you pass the time today?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Here's what happens when I'm bored and uncreative:

I couldn't think of anything to write today, but felt I really needed to post something after my hiatus. I really need to get reliable internet service at home. Then, I need to remember that I have it and use it. So, in a fit of laziness, I have decided to re-print some of the funniest things I've over heard. As those who know me can attest, I carry several notepads around with me and am constantly saying, "I gotta write that down"! You may have wondered what I was going to do with that information once I had written it down. Truth is, I wasn't so sure myself. Now I know I saved it just for this occasion. Enjoy!
(Be warned, some of this is inappropriate and offensive)

"You've got a lot of class... Too bad it's all third"

"Why join the Army when you've got artillery like these?"

On my love and desire for SPF Body Wash:
"What are you gonna do? You know that won't last three days?"
[side note: It's disturbing that my friends know how often I like to bathe. I'm not dirty mind you, just a bit lazy. No one has ever accused me of smelling, quite the opposite!]

"I've got a cold sore on my ass"
"That's not a cold sore, that's hepatitis"

A text message I once received:
"Rigor mortis is really off the wall. So, how's your day?"

In response to a fart (or frogs as we call them)
"Did you eat a rotten baby?"

"There's nothing worse then getting run over by a Ford"
[side note: in junior high, my friend's and I thought it would be cool to get hit by the Oscar Meyer wienie mobile. I mean, if you've got to go, at least make the news!]

"Why don't you and me go behind a rock and get a little bolder?"

"Let's not turn this rape into a murder"

"I'd rather have a butt wash then no wash at all"

"She's unvaccinated and she bites"

Oh, just the tip of the iceberg my friends! Can't waste them all today. What would I do the next time I have writers block? What are some of the most outrageous things you've overheard? I believe this post should end with a comic:
Hats off to you Red Meat

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Another Sunday, another list

So last Sunday I completed my masterwork: Best movies you've probably never seen. Now that it's over, I was at a loss as to how to continue my love of list making with my equal love of educating/torturing my readers. I've decided to take a page from Stephen King's book and continue with a list of my favorite reads.

In July, I waxed nostalgic about and my need to catalog all my books. I gave a couple suggestions, but they were just that: uninspired suggestions and what's currently cluttering my coffee table. I started thinking about this last night, and have decided to tackle the subject of books the same way I did movies. Only the top, five star, favorite books would be included.

I also decided last night, that reading is a must for all future relationships. My "must list" has dwindled over time to include only two items: He must be my height or taller and he must be my age or older. I am now including that he must be a reader. Everyone I have dated hated reading and that has become a problem for me. I will not judge the quality of the reading material, simple that you put your nose in a book from time to time.

So, without further pomp and circumstance, I present:

(The A-F Edition)

"American Skin" by Don de Grazia- I discovered this book one day while shelving the fiction and literature section at the book store I worked at. The cover caught my eye immediately: punk rocker kneeling down to lace up his stompers. "What the hell is this," I thought? Skimming the title, the summary on the back cover, I was intrigued. "American Skin" follows the story of Alex after he runs away from home to Chicago. There, he is befriended by a group of trad skins.

[side note: There are 3 types of skinheads: Trads, Neo-nazi, and SHARPS. Trads (short for Traditional) follow the original skin from England- basically a soccer hooligan with no care for race or creed as long as your a "working man". The don't like the nazi or SHARP skins. Neo-Nazi's need no explanation as they are who we usually picture when the word "skinhead" is uttered. They don't like the trads or SHAPRS. SHARPS stands for Skinheads Against Racial Prejudices and they hate the nazi's and dislike the trads for not caring more]

Anyway, he learns a lot about himself, the world we live in, and of course, love. This was the 1st book I made all my friends read and they loved it too.

"Are You Loathsome Tonight?" by Poppy Z. Brite- I met Ms. Brite when I worked at said book store and she signed all my copies of her books! It was so exciting, and she was lovely. I think people expect authors of horror, or in her case, Splattercore, to be odd and scary people. She certainly plays into that, but is a nice and considerate person. This book is a collection of short stories, which I prefer to her novels. Her style is more disturbing than horrific (hence "splattercore"- think the Eli Roth and Rob Zombie's of the literary world). Many of her works feature themes of homosexuality and serial killers- not mutually exclusive. Is she for everyone? No. However, if you enjoy those types of films, this may be the type of book to get you into reading. EXPLICIT WARNING!!

"Black Coffee Blues" by Henry Rollins- Perhaps best known as the singer for Black Flag and The Rollins Band, Henry Rollins has parlayed his stage performance into a career as an author and spoken word artist. He owns 2.13.61 which publishes his as well as other well know singers and artists works. I have read all of his books, and the ones about travelling, about life and the things he has seen and lived, work better than when he verges on the artistic. The other positive is you don't have to know or be a fan of Rollins to appreciate his work. Start with this one or, if you can find it, "Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag" to get an idea.

"Bloodchild and Other Stories" by Octavia Butler- This book was recommended to me by Head Mess Mistress and have passed it on ever since. Ms. Butler has won many awards which is impressive considering that she writes Science Fiction. Her stories weave a delicate balance between sci-fi and literature, in many cases that line becomes invisible. This book is for looking for a quick yet satisfying and smart read.
"Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction" by Luke Davies- This is another one I discovered while working at the book store. It follows two Australian twenty-somethings as they fall in love with each other and with candy, i.e. heroin. I like to say this is the easy "Trainspotting" (meaning it's easier to read. You ever look at "Trainspotting" the book? It's written in Scottish colloquialisms. Good luck!). They also made this into a movie starring Heath Ledger that I have yet to see (it's in my massive queue) but am told it's okay. So, stick to the book. What I love about this book, are the descriptions of the characters while they're loaded. The care they still show for each other, the way they know how each other will handle their high- it's lovely.

"The Children's Hour" by Lillian Hellman- That's right- a play! I read this after falling in love with the movie starring Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn. It is about two teachers at a girl's boarding school who are accused of impropriety (read: being lesbians). Who is correct and who is lying? Why would the student's make up such a tale? What are the repercussions? I've read several plays (not counting in school), but they're not my favorite. I think mostly because they are not meant to be read, but to be acted and watched. That being said, the best ones work equally on the page as the screen and this is one of them. Try a double feature. Read the play, then watch the movie. How similar was it to what you imagined?

"From the Corner of His Eye" by Dean Koontz- This book was sent to me by my parents in a care package while I lived in Austin. I'm not sure what prompted it's purchase, as I was not a Koontz fan before, but it made me one after! It also sparked my interest in quantum mechanics and theory. The book follows several stories and people that may or may not be interconnected. There's Bartholomew Lampion who brings change to everyone around him when he is born. In another city, a man learns his fate and destruction lye in the hands of someone named Barhtolomew, though he knows no one by that name. Finally, a deaf girl who may play a part in the lives of both men. It's really good and a longer read then would be expected from the reigning king of publishing (Koontz has published over 80 books and sold more than 400,000,000 copies). Clearly something is working.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's Saturday: I'm floating in a sea of Randomness

Oh boy, do I have some random things to talk about. It seems once I started writing them down, I couldn't stop!

*The other day, I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, "Sometimes my make-up is so on point, I think I look like a drag queen!"
*Dear walkers, joggers, and all around fitness nuts: Walk AGAINST traffic or I will be forced to run you down with my car. Seriously, don't get mad and shake your fist at me when you get startled to find there is a car on the road.

*Dear eHarmony: Calling yourselves a "relationship site" and not a "dating site" isn't fooling anyone.

*Some people should never wear cowboy hats. I'm looking at you Casey Affleck!

*I've been watching a lot of late night MTV, Fuse, etc. and I have no idea what is going on. Shakira? What the hell are you doing? I'm glad there's music on at some point in the day (even if it is 3 AM), but I am officially old. I don't get it. Please explain it to me. I think in the 45 minutes I was toggling between channels I saw one band- one group of people playing an instrument.

*On a similar note: Can someone tell me the difference between Jet and The Donnas besides the obvious? I just heard the new Jet song on the radio and if you substituted Bret Anderson for Nic Cester and you've got a Donna's song. I was reading something the other day about the difference between music critics and music writers and how one group believes the music is the most important thing while the other believes it's the lyrics. I have to say, I believe it's a combination of both. See the success of the above two mentioned bands. Clearly lyrics are not the winner here. In fact, lyrics don't seem to be the winner in ANY modern music played on the radio. However, most will not be remembered in 20 years and will not make it to the oldies station. Oh god, that reminds me. When did the classic rock station start playing music from the 90's?

*An Open Letter to the Masses: Toilet paper goes over not under. I don't want to have to dig around the back of the roll looking for the end. You're not helping anyone. From here on out, all toilet paper will be installed properly or I will confiscate your rolls. I will appreciate them a lot more than you, clearly.

*Obliviousness: 1 : lacking remembrance, memory, or mindful attention 2 : lacking active conscious knowledge or awareness —usually used with of or to. See also: people who block the driveway of apartment complexes entering the gate code when the gate is already open. I'm disturbed that these people are behind the wheel.

*I keep losing pieces of Tupperware. I have the lid, but not the base, or vice verse. Where are the going? Are there storage gnomes that come and steal bits at night? At least they've left my socks and underwear alone!

*Yesterday at Taco Bell I saw this t-shirt: "All stressed out and no one to CHOKE". Um...No. Quit it!

*I don't remember Saved By The Bell being so bad. However, I am thankful for the mini marathon playing right now.

*New curse word: Fun. As in, "Go fun yourself!" or "What the fun?!"

*Overheard today at work: "Why can I never find someone to rob?" [side note: I am no longer interested in you Mafia Wars. You can suck it!]

And now, for my comic of the day:
Thank you Married to the Sea

Friday, September 4, 2009

Scenes from Murderville:

I am a Peeping Tom although I don’t like to look at it that way. If you asked me, I would say I’m a spectator. Peeping Tom’s look in windows and lurk in bushes. They have binoculars à la James Stewart in “Rear Window”. I do none of these things. I stay in the relative safety of my home and peer out through small cracks in the blinds. If you choose to have an argument outside, I am going to watch. The same goes if you’re having a raucous party.

I was thinking about this the other night while sitting at home watching Top Chef reruns. I kept hearing something outside my window- not unusual, this is Murderville- but the noise persisted. I leaned over the back of my couch, slowly separated the 7th and 8th blind slats, and peered outside. Nothing was there! “Okay,” I thought, “kinda weird”. No sooner had I turned Tom Colicchio back on then the noise started up again. It sounded like a one-sided party, but every time I looked outside nothing was there! Finally, after 15 minutes of what I discovered later was yelling (poor thing, should really work on sounding scary), I finally saw someone outside. It was such a let down, this tiny person all puffed up and slamming the courtyard gate. It was kinda cute.

Last night, we had a bit of rain but I had no idea it was going on. You see: f I hear thunder, I assume it’s my upstairs neighbor working on her clogging, or dropping bowling balls on the ground, whatever it is she’s up to. I’ve never seen so small a person create so much noise! If there is lighting outside, I assume it’s the police again. It needs to be a raging storm for me to be aware. This is what living in Murderville does to a person. I didn’t even get up to look outside this time. I figured it was just my diminutive neighbor yelling at someone again.

I can’t remember if I told the legendary Fence story already or if I told it in response to some one else’s post. If I haven’t, let me know and I will include it in my next postcard. It really is a doozy and helps showcase my complete lack of awareness. Actually, that isn’t quite right or fair. I’m a pretty observant person. I “watch my 6”. I don’t think it’s that I’m not aware so much as I’ve seen enough that it has to be pretty special for me to care. I’m apathetic. They don’t call it Murderville for nothing, and you’ve got to be aware of what’s going on around you, especially if you’re peeking out the windows at night! That being said, I really wish my friend who also lives there would stop yelling out my name in the parking lot at 3 o’clock in the morning when we’re getting home from work and the bars. The last thing a slightly inebriated person needs to hear in the dark parking lot is there name. Freaks me out every time.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

L'amour in B flat

It seems I have been talking about relationships and dating a lot recently. It becomes the topic of all conversations and many of the blogs I read. Unfortunately, I have nothing of significance or insight to contribute. I think I have been on 2 official dates my whole life, and one of them doesn’t really count since I was already dating the guy. Part of the problem is no one asks me. If you like me, just say you like me. Ask me out. The worst that will happen is you will flatter me and I will very graciously decline. (Stop laughing! I can be gracious!)

The other part of the problem is that I hate beginnings. Everyone seems to love them, movies are made in their honor, but for me- they can suck it. I much prefer the middle. It’s comforting. You already know where you stand. You have learned some of the bad habits, and good ones as well. Your friends are used to the idea and treat him/her in a respectable manner. Perhaps they even like him! Middles are where it’s at.

The other problem with beginnings is I get distracted pretty easily by shiny objects. I get bored. You must move in a forward fashion to keep from drowning (or to get to the oasis that is “the middle”).

[side note: worst analogy ever. I think I threw up a little in my mouth just typing it out]

Call when you say you are going to call. I don’t care if it’s everyday. On that same note, I don’t have to see you every day either. Sure, it could be nice; but don’t you have your own friends? I know I do, and I would like to hang out with them without your presence. How am I expected to gossip about you if you are there?

What I hate the most, if I can be honest, is feeling like a “girl”. I hate it. Vulnerability has no place in the outside world. I don’t want to sit around waiting for the call that is supposed to come, but doesn’t. As a walking contradiction: I am reminiscent of a time I didn’t even live through. There is no dating or courting process anymore. I’ve had more boyfriends then I’ve had dates proves it. I long for those times. Why are they so uncommon? I want to be asked out and picked up and taken out and shown a good time. I don’t want to pay for anything on the first date (though I don’t mind splitting later or going on the whoever-asked-pays rule). I want him to walk on the outside, hold my hand. I want to live in 1954.