Thursday, January 31, 2008

P.S.

I finally got around to reading this really good piece by George Packer about Hillary and Barack (mostly Hillary) in the New Yorker. You should read it too. It sums up their different approaches to leadership really well, I think, without exactly picking a winner.

Belize it or not

Whew. What a day. I spent a good part of yesterday and today trying to find and buy tickets to Belize, where James, Justin, Dan, Laurel and I will be traveling at the end of March. We totally managed to con Continental Airlines' website -- it's kind of a long story and I'm still not sure how it happened but the point was we couldn't buy four tickets at once for $520 apiece, we could only buy 4 for $580 each. But, when we searched for just one ticket, it was $520 each. The customer service rep said that meant that there weren't enough tickets available at the lower price point. So I tried to buy three tickets for $520 -- and that was working. I did that while James tried to buy one for $520, and somehow, it worked! It was completely worth the fifteen minutes James (who also works at Google) and I spent on the phone walking through the Continental website together while my boss sort of patiently ignored the fact that I wasn't working. Luckily the rest of yesterday and today I was really busy with work -- luckily for her and my company, but not so much for the rest of you, who I am sure have missed my compulsive updates tremendously. Don't worry, I plan on catching up on blogging tomorrow and over the weekend. In the meantime, I'm wrapping up my work day and getting ready to go stand in line for like, three hours for the chance to see Vampire Weekend. It is truly ridiculous that you East Coasters have seen them play ad nauseum and the rest of us are reduced to queuing in the rain in SOMA just to be as hip as you all and see them once.

Still.

(Side note: The fact that "Belize" sounds like "believe" is furnishing us with tons of puns and you should expect to hear them through at least April.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Anne Sexton

I stumbled across this list of ten "extraordinary literary suicides" yesterday (morbid much? would have been useful for my Halloween costumes) and read this little phrase in one of them:

In a tribute to her in the New York Times, Erica Jong wrote, “Anne Sexton killed herself because it is too painful to live in this world without numbness, and she had no numbness at all.”

I just really thought it was a sad, perfect way of saying that. Then I went and read some Sexton. (I hadn't read any except for basic stuff in poetry classes.) I hardly even noticed the rhyme in this one until I copied it over.

The Truth the Dead Know

Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.

We drive to the Cape. I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch. In another country people die.

My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one's alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.

And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in the stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.

Toni Morrison's letter to Barack

Busy day today -- I'm sure you can all tell since I haven't posted much! I really liked Toni Morrison's endorsement of Barack Obama yesterday.

In thinking carefully about the strengths of the candidates, I stunned myself when I came to the following conclusion: that in addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don't see in other candidates. That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age. Or if we call searing vision naivete. Or if we believe cunning is insight. Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it. Wisdom is a gift; you can't train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace--that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom.

You can read all of it here.

"Heartache Leave"

Via BuzzFeed (and wherever else I read about it yesterday), news that a Japanese company is offering paid time off when you are going through a breakup. (You know, for more wallowing.)

Other suggestions: Hangover Leave, Catching Up On The Wire Leave, I Need A Sandwich Leave.

Amen. I need catching up on all TV shows leave, and eliminating unread posts from my Google Reader leave. Hell, why can't I just take "having a life" leave.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Short, sweet, and important

Last week Dan was watching "Who Killed the Electric Car?" and I caught the last half or so of it with him. I highly recommend it. It's one of those movies that makes you fear corporate America.

Politics of the day

Finally got around to reading the New York Times endorsements for the Presidential primaries. I won't comment much on the Democratic endorsement (it makes some fair points), but I have something to say about the Republican one:

Why, as a New York-based paper, are we not backing Rudolph Giuliani? Why not choose the man we endorsed for re-election in 1997 after a first term in which he showed that a dirty, dangerous, supposedly ungovernable city could become clean, safe and orderly? What about the man who stood fast on Sept. 11, when others, including President Bush, went AWOL?

That man is not running for president.

The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square.

Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking. When he claims fiscal prudence, we remember how he ran through surpluses without a thought to the inevitable downturn and bequeathed huge deficits to his successor. He fired Police Commissioner William Bratton, the architect of the drop in crime, because he couldn’t share the limelight. He later gave the job to Bernard Kerik, who has now been indicted on fraud and corruption charges.

The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business, with a secret client list, then exploited his city’s and the country’s nightmare to promote his presidential campaign.

Oh, SNAP, New York Times. Seriously. What a fantastic, sharp takedown.

Mansfield Park

Pretty bummed I missed this. I knew it was happening but didn't know the schedule, and there is almost no point in me watching any of it now since the new (i.e. not the old A&E Emma and P&P) movies are supposed to be bad (at least according to the New Yorker) and I've already seen the old ones before. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to stick with all the Jane Austen adaptations I already own. What a bummer. Ha.

P.S. Did you know this existed?? I did not but I am so tivoing it.

Scary statistic of the day

In 1995, 34 percent of high school-age girls in the United States thought they were overweight. Today, 90 percent do.

--Courtney Martin, "Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters"

Another weekend has come and gone.

It started with a bang and ended with something of a whimper. Friday was the much anticipated R. Kelly Trapped in the Closet Singalong. Pretty much half of my friends were there, which was pretty damn exciting, but not as exciting as the moments when the entire population inside Mezzanine was slow dancing -- can you call it grooving? -- to R Kelly's oeuvre. The only downside was that after showing all of the first twelve chapters as well as some classic music videos and spoofs, they only showed maybe four of the second part, and that they showed out of order. Disrespectful to R, in my opinion. We got home late and dried out a little bit -- I was wearing the least rain-appropriate outfit ever, had no umbrella, and was literally soaked through -- before heading out to a party briefly.

The next day was profoundly unproductive. After a Boogaloo's brunch and a long wait at Walgreen's for prescriptions that weren't even filled, and then a long break for showers and whatnot, Justin and Ace and I went to get pedicures in the Lower Haight. It was fantastic -- cheaper than the place I'd been before, plus they have massage chairs. I think I fell in love a little, and feel more inclined to indulge more often, even though I always thought of the regular mani-pedi as an unbearably snobby New York thing. (No offense.) I rushed back to meet Becca for a dinner at the Front Porch, in outer Mission/Bernal (where does my neighborhood end? I have no idea). We had really tasty fried chicken and a beet salad. I am pro-beets. After that it was another rush back home and then to the Connecticut Yankee to rendezvous for "The Party Bus." Peattie's birthday plan was basically to get a bunch of people at this bar and then get them all on the same 22-line bus up to his house. It was actually impressive. Dan and I were the last to arrive at the bar, and there were a ton of people there. (I'm not positive, but I thought I counted 22 people total.) We had a beer and then with the help of multiple smart phones and NextMuni, we hopped on an absolutely empty bus with a totally indifferent bus driver. It was quite the ride, I am really glad I was there for it. The highlight was probably when this teenage kid with majorly sagging pants got on the bus and in his rush completely dropped his pants. We all burst out laughing because haven't you always wondered how those kids keep their pants up? I mean the waist is essentially at their knees to begin with. Anyway, it turns out they don't always keep them up. It was a pretty classic moment. The party was fun and involved a lot of Daft Punk and the Peattie family Lynchburg Lemonade, and it was very late before me, Dan and Justin made it home and crashed.

Yesterday was a total veg day. The first part of the day was spent half-helping Justin move, which didn't take that long but did require me walking up a flight and a half of steep stairs enough to make me sweat despite carrying approximately five pounds' worth of his belongings while four guys carried all the big stuff. We hit up Tartine for some late buttery breakfast and actually sat there to eat it, which was a new experience for me because my primary exposure to Tartine is Dan bringing it home for me when he is on his productive weekend kicks. I had a croissant (special treat, I usually avoid pastries) and a hot chocolate, continuing my ban on coffee. It seems stupid because coffee has no calories and hot chocolate has a lot, but I'm sticking with it. This hot chocolate was especially good, too, very actually chocolatey instead of just sweet. Then I settled in for the remainder of my day. I watched four movies yesterday, in a true moment of sloth and self-medication. The films of choice were Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is so perfect, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, When Harry Met Sally (a rewatching necessitated by a conversation I had Saturday night), and You've Got Mail. Because by that point I had no shame, even though both Ace and Justin were around for that moment of girliness. I was pleased to discover that Ace has the movie memorized even better than I do, and I was also pretty excited to discover that a week from tomorrow is the release date of the 10-year anniversary edition of You've Got Mail. We are so timely.

So it sounds like I didn't manage to get anything done this weekend, but I actually did. I finally embarked on my long-term planned project to throw out my stacks and stacks of magazines. I have been saving them for a reason, which is that I want to cut out the parts I want and recycle the rest and rid my life of clutter. I tossed at least forty magazines yesterday, and in the process discovered that I have even more magazines than I thought. It's a surprisingly hard process to make myself do... I love the glossiness of magazines, and sometimes things are so much better in the context of the mag than they are separated out. I have mini-crises of conscience and purpose when I don't cut out the picture of the recipe to go with the recipe, since I think the picture is what will inspire me to make it, and if I'm not going to be inspired to make it I shouldn't cut it out, and... yeah. Suffice it to say that I am weird.

Also, I think my camera got rained on Friday night while I was tramping around near Civic Center in the downpour, and I think it's broken. We'll have to see.

Side projects like blogging.

If I could send this card to myself, I would.

Minimalizing meat consumption

Interesting article by Mark Bittman (the "minimalist") about meat consumption in the Times yesterday. I don't think I'm anywhere near the level of meat consumption as the average American -- generally speaking I only have meat in one of my meals a day (excluding dairy and eggs), but I was glad that at lunch today, immediately before reading this article, I only ate half of my salmon.

Americans are downing close to 200 pounds of meat, poultry and fish per capita per year (dairy and eggs are separate, and hardly insignificant), an increase of 50 pounds per person from 50 years ago. We each consume something like 110 grams of protein a day, about twice the federal government’s recommended allowance; of that, about 75 grams come from animal protein. (The recommended level is itself considered by many dietary experts to be higher than it needs to be.) It’s likely that most of us would do just fine on around 30 grams of protein a day, virtually all of it from plant sources.

I've been thinking recently about what I can do to be healthier and to be gentler on our environment. I of course knew that meat consumption was especially bad, in a variety of ways, but this was another reminder. It's not like I need to add another item to my list of New Year's resolutions, but as part of my "greener" and healthier 2008, I've thought that perhaps I should adapt more natural food habits. Meaning something akin to Michael Pollan's 12 Commandments for Serious Eaters. There are definitely some arguments to be made about the wording or general-ness of some of his commandments, but I'm thinking especially hard about the ones in bold, below:

1. "Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."

2. "Avoid foods containing ingredients you can't pronounce."

3. "Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot."

4. "Avoid food products that carry health claims."

5. "Shop the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle."

6. "Better yet, buy food somewhere else: the farmers' market or CSA."

7. "Pay more, eat less."

8. "Eat a wide variety of species."

9. "Eat food from animals that eat grass."

10. "Cook, and if you can, grow some of your own food."

11. "Eat meals and eat them only at tables."

12. "Eat deliberately, with other people whenever possible, and always with pleasure."

I had a moment last week when, for dinner, I ate a bowl of ramen. Not the kind that comes in the baggie, but one of those Simply Thai noodle bowls. I did it because I wanted hot soupy things (and I'm in pho withdrawal at the moment). But I almost threw it out instead of eating it, because I feel like I should just be eating natural, unprocessed foods, even if it ends up being, like my dinner yesterday, less of an organized meal and more of a weird combination of things. (Yesterday I ate a sweet potato, green beans, and tomato soup, since that's all I had. But it's healthy, right?) So perhaps I will go with that. Any advice on how to do that in my runaround, single eater world is very welcome!

Owls taking over

My roommate Dan's family is doing a yearlong creative project where each week they have a little art assignment and they all post it on a blog. It's really being run by Matt, Dan's younger brother, who drew this sketch here:

Clearly I'm a fan.

I really recommend you check it out, here.

Books that make you dumb

I finally looked at this much-buzzed-about chart of Facebook favorite books (the top 10 per college) correlated with the SAT scores of that college. It is pretty amusing and in many ways what you would expect, but I was surprised by a few things. Like, "Their Eyes were watching God" and "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" were both correlated with lower SAT scores than Dan Brown & the Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons and (no offense, Kelly) "My Sister's Keeper." Anyway, even just my reaction to this site makes me feel like a snob. For the record, my favorite books on Facebook are:

eros the bittersweet, midnight's children, still life with woodpecker, vonnegut, the unbearable lightness of being, lolita, anne of green gables, the betsy-tacy books, calvin and hobbes, the big sleep, little women, ring of endless light, his dark materials, farewell to arms, the beauty of the husband, exodus, harry potter, house of mirth, madame bovary, prep, joan didion, alice munro, george saunders, the accidental, lonesome dove, the dwindling party, 3 days on a river in a red canoe, jude the obscure, eat pray love, the singing boones, then we came to the end, the road

Only four of those are on the chart.

(via)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Slow Show

This is my favorite song of the moment. I keep coming back to "Boxer," I just think it's too great.

Friday, January 25, 2008

kthxbai

Two of my blogs went defunct today -- John Mayer's, which, as I have said before, is really hilarious, and LolSecretz, which at least is not deleting its archives. Bummer.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Self-indulgent photos

Finally! I cleaned my disaster of a room and made up my bed so you can see my new bedding. I'm very excited about this newest step in my redecoration/life makeover.

The bedding is West Elm. (So is the hedgehog pillow. The pillow with the perfectly-matching tree on it is Ikea though.)

So you can (vaguely) see the new Anthropologie rug (thanks Mom & Dad!). This photo is kind of blurry. Sorry.

My tray table that Dad made me for Christmas!!

In unrelated news, however, I must present you these:

Yeah, ok, our mirror is cracked and the tile in that closet is ugly as hell and I don't want to be one of those people who takes pictures of their own body parts or clothes to show off how cool they are on their blog, but THEY FINALLY CAME! Never has a pair of shoes so made me want to put on a pair of shorts with tights and parade around town. I am such a tool. It's awesome.

Road Trip America

I went into Dan's and my old roadtrip blog, just to see how we'd made the banner (I improved upon that method, I think), and had a moment of major nostalgia. That was such a fantastic trip. I wish I could repeat it. Whenever I end up changing jobs/careers/life, I am going to make sure to take some serious time off and travel around the country for a while. I keep talking to people who say that about the world -- they want to buy one of those worldwide tickets and backpack everywhere. And that sounds fun, but I still don't feel like I understand my own country. I want to travel the rest of the world, but I also want to go to the Deep South and back to New Orleans and out to the coast of Maine and finally actually see Yellowstone and Seattle and De Smet, South Dakota. I feel like we have such a great heritage here, and sometimes I forget about it, about the people who built up this country (yeah, I realize they also slaughtered the native population, but forgive me my moment of historical inaccuracy/ignorance/willful nostalgia), who traveled across it on horse and on foot. I like that we have such a large scope, that we are so big, and that our land is so diverse, and I think sometimes we forget that because we're too busy bitching about George Bush and evangelicals and SUVs.

Redesign

Well, with the help of this really disorganized site, picnik (which is buggier than I expected it to be) and a good hour of refreshing and retrying, I finally managed to put a new banner on the top of the site. I do think it's a little girly, but I like it. It seems like some of you do too, since you've discovered it through my "fucking with my blog" gchat away message (I am so eloquent, am I not?). Anyone else have an opinion? I am feeling like I need to make some customization and changes. Less but better?!

Friends?

When my friends and I have done puzzles (twice in January), Peattie refers to pieces that match together as "friends," so the entire puzzle is made up of a bunch of friends (1026 in the case of the Rockwell puzzle we did over the weekend). That fits well with this series of puzzle-art, in which the artist has taken 6 puzzles and put them together with some pieces in the wrong places (some are shape-wise interchangeable if you buy from the same brand) and titled it Love=Love. This is my favorite one.

(via FFFFOUND!)

Less but Better

This sums up my goals for 2008 pretty well I think.

(via FFFFOUND!)

Melissa Lion on "The Virgin Suicides"

Another piece from Bookslut (I should spread these out more, huh). I really only want to post this because I thought it was a unique perspective and definitely brought my attention to a part of a book I hadn't noticed before. I love it when particular strange bits of books are more important to some people than others... It makes me feel good about the book world. Scroll down to the last three paragraphs, when she starts talking about "The Virgin Suicides."

The New Atheism

I haven't mentioned her in a while but I have mixed feelings about Jessa Crispin, who founded and runs Bookslut. It's a great blog/magazine, but sometimes Jessa herself seems to be on a high horse or otherwise just hammering away at the same topics (science, feminism, how awesome graphic novels are). It brings a level of specificity to her site, but sometimes it feels tired. At any rate, she wrote this interesting review of a new book "God and the New Atheism," rebutting all the atheist lit that's come out recently (Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens -- isn't there a way to combine those three names into something catchy? Darchens? Hawchens? Boo).

First there was Dawkins’ calling an education in religious faith — even moderate faith — “child abuse.” Sam Harris chided religious moderates for being “in large part, responsible for the religious conflict in our world.” They didn’t simply want an end to fundamentalism or the use of religious doctrine in governmental policy. They treated Christians as if they all believed the Earth was only 6,000 years old, and Muslims as if they were all strapped with explosives. If you pray to Jesus when your world is falling apart, or blame Mercury being in retrograde when your car won’t start, you are part of the problem.

I haven't read any of the books in question except for "The End of Faith," so I don't have a super super strong opinion on Jessa's review. And to be honest, it focuses more on the "new atheist" books than on the book that she purports to review (see what I mean about her pet issues?). Anyone else have any insight?

(It was only just this morning I looked into my bookcase and thought to myself, huh, I should read that Hitchens book. Must be some kind of sign.)

(via, what else, Bookslut)

Sigh.

This reminded me that I need to find something to do with my life that matters.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Catalogs and rambling

Well, I took Casey's advice and signed up for CatalogChoice.org. I had wanted to do that anyway, take my name off of mailing lists or whatever, but hadn't found quite the right way to do it. This was a really easy and awesome way to unsubscribe from catalogs. What freaked me out, though, was that now, instead of taking every junk catalog I get and tossing it into the recycling, now I stack them until I have a moment to go online and unsubscribe from them. It's actually horrifying to discover how many catalogs I receive, from companies I've never heard from. So now I have unsubscribed from 12 so far. I am only allowing myself to receive three catalogs -- J.Crew, Urban Outfitters, and Anthropologie. Am I repeating myself? I might be. Anyway, I am pretty excited about this. Next step: composting. God knows where we'll find a spot for it in our tiny house.

Tonight I watched an ep of Friday Night Lights (only 2 episodes behind now), ate ramen, and then cleaned my room. It was so in need of it -- Sara knows because she was just here and having to share the space with me. It was literally like an explosion. So now I've cleaned up most of it and feel a bit better. I still can't wait for Sunday, when I can take the time to really start digging into my organizing and such. Dad, your comment about living simply and collecting stuff was sort of true -- I think it's just a matter of picking and choosing which stuff you have or keep. I really need to get rid of clothes, since right now I don't have enough space in my closet or drawers for what I own. I just keep telling myself, one step at a time. So right now it's only 9:30 and I am about to settle in for either an episode of Buffy or one of the Office, which I think I need to revisit. Man. I'm wiped out.

Stephanie Congdon Barnes

It's no secret I have a huge blog crush (web crush?) on Stephanie Congdon Barnes, who makes little softie animals and is one half of 3191. SFGirlByBay did an "unexpected guest" Q&A with Stephanie this week and I really liked this one thing she said. In response to the question "Who do you admire and why?" she said, "I admire people that live simply and intentionally." I really like that. That is what I would like to do -- that's why I have such a girl crush on all my design bloggers. Anyway, I just thought it was a good way of putting it. I had really strong intentions when I posted my New Year's Resolutions, but they have already fallen by the wayside a little bit. I am hoping that this week (Sunday, provided I'm not just totally recovering from Peattie's 2nd birthday party of the week -- and I really can't call him a selfish bastard because I have had two birthday parties for like the past four years) I will be able to reclaim that a little bit. Yay for living deliberately.

And on a petty house-decorating note, I really really want to have some kind of whimsies tray like this one. (Minus the Q-tips I guess.) I actually found and saved a few little whimsies when I went through all my old stuff in the garage at my parents' house. I would like to do something with this. The problem is, with everything, that I don't have enough space, at least not enough surface space. Sometime I gotta get myself my own apartment and fill it up with all of my random little things I love instead of squirreling them away. Bah.

I will post a roundup from Snow Trip whenever I get more pictures. I totally did not take any. Besides, all the pictures we have so far include about 584930 cans of beer in them. What's that about living simply and intentionally...?

3191 Evenings

Also, to continue to beat a dead horse, 3191 is back, with EVENINGS this time. Go here.

This is my favorite one so far.

The Ones We Love

I discovered The Ones We Love through one of my many designy/homey/photo-y blogs, which sadly I don't post about very often. (They are all so good, though.) This is a nice photo project. I wish, I wish I had more time to be artistic and take things slowly. I always feel like I am running around just trying to catch up, even already at this point in the year.

This was the first "Ones We Love" series I clicked on and I think I like it just because I want to look like this girl. I love the fourth one from the left. Kind of looks like a modern hipster fairytale or something.

I also like Ada Augustyniak and Peter Baker. And Andreea Bora, who is only 18! And the middle photo of Ali Bosworth's, which makes me think of Anne of Green Gables. (I have red hair envy.)

I haven't gone through all of them. I'm not that free or lazy at work.

My company

Google named #1 company to work for by Fortune magazine for the second year in a row.

All I have to say is, at one point this video features my building's receptionist. Plus the dinosaur.

Sigh. I'm having one of those days, so it's hard to really feel jazzed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger


Alright, so the Brad Renfro death last week was sad but not wholly shocking to me, but now Heath Ledger died too! Rachel pointed out that he is just a person and people die all the time but a) young people don't die all the time and b) celebrities don't die all the time, at least not young ones. I mean, I know everyone is kind of crossing their fingers whenever there is a new Britney headline but I did not expect this one. It makes me oddly sad, in that perverse way that deaths of people you don't know sometimes do, and in that way where I feel like a total tool because it is just another person and I shouldn't really care. (I also feel bad because my first response to this news when Rachel told me was "This is so the kind of thing that would happen to Jen Lindley!" Because it so is.) Plus, he's really young, only 28. Then it also makes me sad because I liked Heath & Michelle and was sad when they broke up, and also because I love that their daughter is named Matilda Rose and it makes me sad that she won't have her dad around. And then finally it makes me want to go home and watch 10 Things I Hate About You, because that was my introduction to Heath Ledger and I feel the need to pay some kind of obscure strange respect, which probably he would hate because I'm pretty sure he always regretted doing a teen flick. I should probably pay more proper homage and watch Brokeback Mountain. But that would just be sadder. Gah. I feel like a total idiot. Also, blogging sucks when you really are trying to say something.

But who will play Zimbardo?

Attention: this exists.

Oscars

The Oscar nominations are out. I have seen all but one of the best picture nominees, which makes me really pissed I missed seeing Michael Clayton at the Red Vic a couple of weeks ago. Still, I have my personal preferences...

Best Picture -- this one is hard. I loved all of the movies I saw in this category. I think that "No Country" was probably the actual best one. But I loved Juno to pieces, and it's grown on me even more since I saw it the second time (waiting for it to come out at the Parkway now). I don't think it will win. Damn, ok, this is a hard category.

Best Actor -- I've only seen two of these and I gotta throw my vote behind Daniel Day-Lewis.

Best Actress -- Again, only seen two of them. Laura Linney was great in "The Savages," Ellen Page was great in "Juno." I think my vote is for Ellen Page, as sad as that makes me feel for Laura Linney, who I love.

Supporting categories I have only seen two of each -- Javier Bardem is my pick of those for actor, and Cate Blanchett for actress (though the little girl in Atonement was good).

Director, I'm torn between Reitman and the Coen brothers. Adapted screenplay, between Atonement and No Country. Original screenplay I'm going with Juno, but I totally loved Ratatouille (sure it will win for animated feature), and Lars & the Real Girl was good as well. Art direction (I can't believe I have an opinion on this!) I think I'm going with Sweeney Todd, and cinematography I'm for There Will Be Blood or No Country... they had a lot of similarities so it's so hard. I can't believe that Jonny Greenwood didn't get a nomination for the "There Will Be Blood" score. It really made the movie.

So there are my probably ill-informed summaries. I'm actually shocked, looking at this list, by how FEW of the nominees I've actually seen! I missed "American Gangster" and "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," all of which I wanted to see, and I also missed "Easter Promises," which I guess I can get on DVD now. I totally missed that "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" even came out in the theater! Anyway, I guess I need to either download some things illegally, or just feel like an ignoramus come Oscar night... which... I don't know... how is that even going to happen with no writers? This is a bummer.

Roe v. Wade

Today is the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Today is also "Blog for Choice" day. I don't have any personal stories to tell (happy to say that), but I would like to add my voice to the crowd of people out there who are thankful that we still have the right to choose. And, who are prepared to do what it takes to preserve that right. I vote pro-choice. I don't think I need to state the reasons for it, I just believe it's important to say it.

(Update: Check out Jessica from Feministing's list of why she votes pro-choice -- and read the comments.)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Yippee


Off to Tahoe for the weekend. Have a great one.

Spork!

On another discovering-my-neighborhood note, I went to spork for dinner last night. I don't know why, but I was in the mood for tasty American cooking and I was not disappointed. I got a steak, which was fantastic, really, and I rarely get steak but every so often I just have to. This one was almost brisket-y, really juicy & tender in the middle but with a spice-rubbed crisp outside and a horseradish sauce. Of course it came with some haricots verts and mashed potatoes. Dan got mussels & pork (with a spork!), which was like eight pounds of melty meat in what I hear was a very spicy sauce. I did taste it and the mussels were huge and kind of amazing. That and a glass of wine and it was a perfect dinner. Also, the decor is really great too -- a few reused things, naked light bulbs, big wall art that wasn't overbearing or pretentious or cluttering, and a general upscale almost-dinery almost-pop-arty feel. Just a friendly plug!

(Pictures of us with sporks forthcoming when I get them from Sara.)

The Knockout

I went to this bar twice in the last week and I think I love it. I feel like I haven't discovered as many of the restaurants and bars and venues in the city despite living there for half a year, but the Knockout (Yeah, I know everyone else knows about it already, but whatever) is pretty damn sweet. Why? Well last week was the aforementioned doo-wop oldies night, which was great. Then last night, we went there for BINGO! Seriously, you wouldn't think this was a good idea but apparently my generation likes to do things that old people do (bocce, shuffleboard, bingo, puzzles, I shit you not, these are all popular pastimes) and it was a damn good time. The only sad thing was that none of our huge group won a single bingo round. Guess that means we'll have to go back. All the bingo cards had the name of a mortuary in Berkeley on them for some reason, and you got a bingo with every drink you bought. I guess the other downside besides the not winning is that wanting to win bingo means you drink more, but I only had two drinks during the bingo round. Other great things about this bar: they had a root beer float cocktail. Yes, this is ridiculous and I probably will never have it again because it probably has about 900 grams of sugar in it, but I had to try it once and it was delicious, made from root beer, vanilla vodka and creme liqueur. Tasty, indeed. Anyway, after bingo was "WORST MUSIC EVER," which, by the way, was "BEST MUSIC EVER." I knew the words to literally every song, because it was basically a rundown of all these overplayed hits from the 80s on to today. Let me think: From a Distance, We Didn't Start the Fire, We Built This City, Two Princes, Summer of 69, I'm Just a Girl, Blame it on the Rain, etc. etc. Crossing genres and blowing my mind. I pretty much could have stayed there all night since it's pretty much my idea of a good time. Sometimes bad music is better than good music, like after you played bingo and when you are out with like 10 of your friends on a Thursday. Hurrah. I can't wait for the next Worst Music Ever night. Or for bingo. Bingo!!

They're TEXTING

I've been trying to tell this story for ages. I had typed a text message in my phone, and, you know the automatic word setting? T9 or whatever? I typed something in and it gave me the word "rape" as the FIRST word choice. Like, the most "popular" word out of those four letter buttons. I found that really shocking but couldn't recreate it. I tried typing out the word and realized that really there aren't other words you can make out of those letters, except "rare," which, ha, I think is less rare than "rape." Or at least, it should be the first suggestion since I feel like not a lot of texters are casually talking about sexual assault. Anyway, I realized yesterday that this story I've been telling and trying to recreate forever is not actually the way it happened. ACTUALLY, I was trying to type "plate" and the first suggestion is "slave." Seriously?? This disturbs me. And yet when I want to type the word "shit" I have to switch to the regular ABC setting.

The trials and tribulations of the text-messaging bourgeoisie.

Actually terrified:

Microsoft applies for a patent "that can track a worker’s productivity, physical wellbeing and competence."

Owl Collectors

See, I'm not the only one.

I just need to do my organizational thang and clear out all the crap filling up my house and put my little guys on display. I have at least 15, all different and from different people and places. I love owls everywhere, but I especially love them in figurine form. They are best that way.

side note

By the way, how much can I not wait to get done with this week of work and do some blogging again? A LOT.

Manila Envelopes are so hot right now

Yeah, I guess like everyone else I wouldn't mind owning a MacBook Air, but I'm honestly still getting used to the sleekness of my MacBook Pro for work, and trying to figure out how to reformat my iPod for it. (I'm an idiot.) But, I do want this:

It's a felt "manila envelope" for the MacBook Air. Lined with fleece. How cute is that!

(via)

Goings On

Great, like I needed more to read.

(via every blog I read, so I won't link to them)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

last weekend

Last weekend was pretty damn fun. I was promising a roundup, so I guess this is going to be it. What was nice about the weekend was that I spent a lot of time with people I don't normally hang out with. Friday after working in the San Francisco office I went to Monk's Kettle, a new restaurant/bar in my neighborhood. It's actually kind of classy, which is weird because my neighborhood is sort of anti-class (in a very self conscious, hipster way). I mean, there are classy restaurants in the 'hood, but pretty much all bars are kind of dives. Monk's Kettle has a lot of pretty good beer on tap and in bottles, but we did wait for almost two hours for a table (luckily we had beer). I had a pulled pork sandwich for dinner. It was not amazing but not bad. Still, not sure how often I'd go back there just cause it's so crowded and not cheap, and Toronado has better beers anyway. But I went with two girls from my work and their boyfriends, which was fun and refreshing. Afterwards I met Justin and we walked up to the Knockout, where I'd never been before, for this kind of rad oldies/doo wop/soul night where we witnessed, among other things, a girl dressed in a sequined leotard and nothing else. She was rocking out hardcore.

I was up later than I planned Friday, so Saturday I woke up late and James was on our couch still (he'd crashed there the night before) and so he and Dan and I went to the Irving Street Cafe in the inner Sunset, which is basically a diner. I got two pancakes, two pieces of bacon and a scrambled eggs for $5.50!! Where can you get that anymore anywhere?! Dan was reminiscing about Illinois the whole time. The food was good, too. Pretty sweet greasy spoon stuff. The rest of the afternoon Dan and I watched Planet Earth, until I left for Berkeley. Peattie's brother in law was doing a reading of some short stories, and so Peattie, his roommate Greg, and I went to Triple Rock for beer and pastrami before the reading at Pegasus. Ammon (the brother-in-law) was the best writer of the bunch and I picked up his little self-published book for $5. Peattie's other roommate was there too with his girlfriend, so all of us San Franciscans, and Peattie's family (parents & sister) ended up at the Albatross, which as I understand it is pretty much THE grad student bar in Berkeley. They have board games that you can rent from the bar, and so we played a pretty good round of Scrabble. Peattie & I were on a team, and we ended up with two Ys, the Q, the Z, and the X during the course of the game and we won. I think Scrabble is way more fun in person than on Facebook, but you have to get it going so I'll continue with Facebook. We rode home in a VW bug which smelled like crayons (true story) and listened to Bohemian Rhapsody. It was pretty sweet, and I thought my night was over, but instead when I got home Ace was there with her visiting friend Charlotte and two guys I didn't recognize, drinking sake. I was up until almost 4am just hanging out.

Brunch at Boogaloo's the next day, where we were joined by the guys from the day before, Braden & Pat, and then afterwards Ace and Charlotte were headed to Sausalito and the rest of us decided, why not? Justin almost joined but didn't make the ferry, although he made a valiant attempt. Sausalito is pretty dull, but it's pretty and beach towny and we went to a game store that sold a bunch of children's books I hadn't seen in years, as well as "Hungry Caterpillar" stickers and mood rings, which I totally bought. (Right now, I am "romantic.") We had bloody marys on a patio bar, and then caught the ferry back, where the girls and I had dinner at Ti Couz (buckwheat crepes, I had one with ratatouille in it, YUM). The night ended with the first episode of "The Wire," which I watched with Justin because we are trying to be cultural now and well-informed about quality media. The first ep was really good, and I am already pretty hooked. Like I need more tv in my life.

Still, the weekend was great overall. I felt really good about stepping out of my comfort zone a bit. Things like hopping on a ferry on a whim are the kinds of things I want to do more in the city... that's part of what makes it fun to live there. Proximity to everything.

Some pics from the Saus:

The crew on the ferry (sadly Charlotte's eyes are closed).

Really.

On our way back to the city, the skyline.

Boat! I like getting boats in pictures because I'm a nerd and sailboats make me think of what it would be like to summer in the cape.

Lovely.
I got the bird on accident, but I like getting birds in pictures too. It's like I totally planned the asymmetry. There aren't any pictures of people because I felt weird documenting a hang with total strangers.

Checking in...

Have fallen terribly behind on blogging. I have tons of stuff I want to write about, but this week is CRAZY busy at work and I haven't had the time to read things on the internet or write about them. Yeah, what is that all about?

I was talking to my friend Peattie today and he mentioned the idea of collecting quotes as contenders for the best quote of 2008. We already have two, so I figure, I might as well blog them.

1) Justin, January 6 at 1am, "FUCK THE GRAIN!" in response to me telling him that the best way to solve a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle with about 30% white space was to look at the faint paint grain on each piece
2) Me, January 16 around noon, "I like being nice more than I like being a good employee."

Peattie nominated the second one, but I think it sounds like things I say all the time. I think I like the idea of doing this, kind of a way to document some of the best times of this year.

Observations & Lessons

This morning I made a total idiot of myself in the kitchen because there were these oranges that looked really lumpy and felt really soft and disturbing. Danielle (my co-worker) was there so she asked the guy doing the food stocking if the oranges were supposed to be so soft. I was just going to give up and eat an apple, because the bananas are not ripe enough, and the oranges were confusingly soft, but then finally when the food stock guy didn't know, Danielle just opened the orange and we discovered it was a mandarin orange. Who knew?! There was no label. Then I ate half of it and discovered, I don't think I like mandarin oranges. Or rather, I think I prefer them soaked in syrup out of a can.

In other news, the CBS Early Show has the cheesiest titles. Yesterday they had a woman on who was talking about this crappy album she made called "Skinny Songs" which is literally about losing weight and intended to be motivational, and the title of the segment was "Weapons of Mass Reduction." Seriously, it's awful. The things you suffer through when you are at the gym. You know, that and exercise.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Superb Bird of Parasise


PLANET EARTH - Bird Of Paradise

THIS is the bird I was trying to post a picture of yesterday. Yes, it is freaking sweet.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Planet Earth is awesome

Ok, I realize that everyone else has already seen Planet Earth. I, however, am overloaded by media and stuff to watch and Buffy and whatever, and so I did not get around to watching it until Saturday, despite threatening to do so for years. Now I can tell you what everyone else already has: Planet Earth is fucking amazing. I literally have to buy the DVDs now (although I'm actually holding off since I feel like they'd be better on blu-ray, and I don't want to buy them twice). I could watch them over and over again. I learned so much about weird and amazing animals! (Like this! This is a bird! I swear. It's doing a mating dance. I couldn't remember its name so this is the best picture I could find.) I cringed, I (almost) cried (elephants separated from their mom are really sad), I was cuted to death by baby polar bears. Seriously, watch it watch it watch it. It is amazing.

Cities everywhere

This is old, but my roommate had e-mailed it to me and I hadn't gotten to it until now. It's a little short feature from the Times about, basically, how communities and cities in the U.S. look the same everywhere. It makes me think of when my grandma spent some time taking pictures up and down Whittier Boulevard. I wonder sometimes if, pulled out of context, these ugly towns and streets and storefronts could be kind of pretty in a way (like Victoria does with random spots in San Francisco, which I have seen before and never thought of as pretty, but sometimes she makes them so). But for the most part, they aren't, and this video is correct, they look the same everywhere. In a way, it's sort of good ol' Americana, and in another way it's sad because of the lonesomeness of the landscapes (it makes me think of Ghost World, actually, which takes place in LA but which could have been anywhere, and which is a movie about lonesomeness if there ever was one), and in another way it's sad because these places are ugly, and in other way it's sad because of the lack of community. It makes me very happy that I live on a street full of people who care about the street. Anyway, it just make me think.

P.S.

This one is good too. And so very true. It's happened to me multiple times. (Related is the "oh shit, someone else I know is engaged" syndrome.)


This post is for another season.



This sounds bad but this reminds me a little bit of my parents. Not because of the divorce part, thankfully. Just because of my dad's attitude about Christmas decorations. Once he just put a pile of lights out on the front step.

Then again, this year he did this:

(via Left Handed Toons, which is really entertaining as well as yet another fun stick-figure cartoon site in addition to, well, all of these)

Poem

My mom sent me this poem and I love it.

Home is so Sad

Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft

And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase.

--Philip Larkin

Internet letting me down.

In a disturbing turn of events, any website that is not a Google affiliated one is being incredibly, painfully slow. That throws a wrench into my blogging plan. Generally speaking today I'm in a bad mood -- the only way I can describe it is that I have the "mean reds," to quote Holly Golightly, and so perhaps it's better I withhold my bile from my wider Internet audience. That said, I think the lack of blogging will only make the reds meaner. Stay tuned.

Breaking news

For those who care, my friend Justin finally got an apartment, with an apparently stunning view of the park. I felt the need to broadcast this. Finally!

My weekend, and a video

Yes, I have been away this entire weekend! What is that all about... I think what it's about is, I went into the weekend with a to-do list and came out of the weekend with... the same to-do list. Except for one item (going on CatalogChoice.org and removing myself from mailing lists for catalogs from companies I've never even heard of. Basically I'm unsubscribing from all but J. Crew, Anthropologie, and Urban Outfitters, because I really just need those ones). However, instead of doing all those things I did a lot of other things. I'll report in on all that soon. In the meantime, look, a funny video with John Mayer in it:



(My roommate sent this to me because he knows I have this guilty love of John Mayer and everything that he does. His blog is really funny, and I really think if I knew him we'd be friends. It's really my only guilty pleasure because most other guilty pleasures I actually am not guilty about because it's like they are made for guilty pleasure -- like the OC or Gossip Girl or something. Whereas John Mayer is a sincere object, at least musically, and while I think he's good he is also roundly mocked by cool people, so I feel guilty anyway. But really, I like John Mayer and I don't care if you think that's lame.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Two pictures

Both from sites I found through Rachel's tumblr.

This one reminds me of "Once," if it took place in Spain. Those beginning scenes where he's playing guitar in the shopping district in the cold really, really are exactly what Dublin is like. Especially if you are in said shopping district once most of the stores have already started to close. (Kind of like how the weird bluish color of everything in London in Love Actually is exactly the right exact color of London in winter.)

This one just looks pretty damn awesome. The things you can do with a good camera. It's like, unreal.

Beaten down, backed into a corner

I don’t for a moment begrudge Hillary her victory on Tuesday. But if victory came for the reasons we’ve been led to believe – because women voters ultimately saw in her, exhausted and near defeat, a countenance that mirrored their own – then I hate what that victory says about the state of their lives and the nature of the emotions they carry forward into this race. I hate the thought that women feel beaten down, backed into a corner, overwhelmed and near to breaking point, as Hillary appeared to be in the debate Saturday night. And I hate even more that they’ve got to see a strong, smart and savvy woman cut down to size before they can embrace her as one of their own.

-Judith Warner, in her "Domestic Disturbances" blog on NYTimes.com

Ok, I'm not going to argue about "who it was" who gave Hillary her victory -- there is enough speculation and rage out there already. But I will say that this gave me pause. It feels a little bit like she's talking about me.

(via)

On being yuppie scum

Funny that Rachel posted this, because I've been planning since Tuesday night to write about how we have a housekeeper now.

!!!

Explanation: We live in filth. We have rarely swept or swiffered or whatever the floors since we moved in in July. Since we have a tiny kitchen it looks like a mess no matter what. We have basically never fully cleaned our house, and finally Dan had a friend who had a cleaning lady come in once a month to clean his house and it was like $60 and totally worth it. So we called her, Sandra is her name, and she came and cleaned our whole house on Tuesday. I came home and almost had a heart attack, it was so clean. She not only cleaned the whole common area, but she cleaned our rooms, which included making the bed and stacking up all my piles of stuff in neat piles instead of in messy piles. It was amazing. My first thought was, I want to come home to this every day. My second thought was, Oh my God, I can't believe I just thought that. I went through a series of other thoughts including: "Wow, it's like, if we are only going to get this done once a month I guess I should do it for myself all the other days of the month," and "Well, at least this way we have a check to prevent us from descending into total disorder the rest of the month and "I need to make this my goal." Then somewhere in there I realized, imagine this woman, who barely speaks English and cleans rooms for a living, coming into my room and cleaned it all up and put my PILES OF EXPENSIVE, USELESS CRAP AWAY. Seriously, I am a fucking yuppie. I have more than I need of everything. The number of my magazine subscriptions alone should condemn me to some kind of yuppie hell. I had this sudden moment of self-loathing combined with a (yuppie) instinct to organize everything so as to make my (comparatively) obscene abundance/wealth/excess/yuppieness less visible to the naked eye. I promptly resolved to go through and donate clothing to charity, recycle stacks of magazines (although I am still reluctant to trash my New Yorkers), box up any items I don't regularly use and put them in the closet, and keep my room as clean as it was when I walked in the door on Tuesday. I then researched file organizers at thecontainerstore.com. Kill me now.

(Side note: Rachel? You have someone do your own laundry?)

More on Hillary

Interesting article in the Times about women's votes for Hillary. The chart (it's on the left hand side) showing various differences in the types of people voting for Hillary and Obama (poll-wise) is the most interesting part.

So, I may as well say it. I'm conflicted. I'm trying to figure out what my vote for Obama means. I don't want to get caught up in this hype, but I want to question my motives for not voting for Hillary. If that makes any sense.

(Two reactions to the article here and here.)

Christian & Johnny

Gee. I'm pretty sure I'll see this movie:

Christian Bale, who after 3:10 to Yuma and The Dark Knight apparently hasn't had enough of grimacing heroically while his more flamboyant co-star has all the fun, signs on to Michael Mann's period gangster epic Public Enemies as a lawman leading a manhunt for Johnny Depp's John Dillinger.

(via)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

PopMatters on Chuck & Huck

In trying to apprehend the appeal of the Huckabee candidacy, New York Times columnist David Brooks noted in a 04 January op-ed that the Arkansas governor was our first “ironic evangelical”: “funny, campy…and not at war with modern culture.” This may be true, but as the primary season wears on, it’s worth remembering that the Late Night With Conan O’Brien sketch that re-canonized Chuck Norris as an ironic god in the pop-culture pantheon consisted of the show mocking a clip of Walker, Texas Ranger in which a small boy casually announces to an elderly couple, “Walker told me I have AIDS.” The scene is both horrifying and hysterical—doubly so when you realize that Chuck Norris is so ridiculous that he makes children with AIDS seem momentarily hilarious.

Given that Huckabee’s own views on AIDS (and women and homosexuality) are so preposterous that he manages somehow to come across as ridiculous rather than horrifying, the governor should hope that our culture’s love affair with Family Guy-esque absurdity continues through the primary season. The rest of us can simply hope that now that the age of irony has been officially embraced by two of the least cool things on Earth—presidential politics and fundamentalist Christianity—its end is finally upon us. If Chuck Norris pulls that off, it’ll be a fact worth remembering.

PopMatters always amazes me, not because I always agree or because it always makes the best case or argument or something, but just by taking things to a new level (Family Guy? Chuck Norris? the death of irony? Huckabee? Whaaat?). (via)

Make Your Own Path

I quite like this "Make Your Own Path" poster from Keep Calm. (Also, this one.) Actually, more than the poster I like this photo of the poster being printed (from FFFFOUND! obviously, my new obsession).


It makes me want to make my own letterpress.

(via)

Finding your own way

I tend to avoid things like this because, well, as much as I agree that men and women are different, I hate to encourage more stereotypes. Still, I thought this part rang true:

Studies over the past decade have shown that women are likelier to rely on landmarks and visual cues, and men on maps, cardinal directions (such as north and south) and gauges of distance.

All my male friends judge things based on directions really easily -- they can tell which direction they are going in without any apparent landmarks, and tell me things like "head east on that street," which means absolutely nothing to me unless there sun is in the sky or I have some way of knowing that I'm already pointed north, or something, so I can gauge from that. I'm really bad at judging directions once I have to reorient myself: for example, if I get out of a subway station or a bus, I don't know which side of the street I'm on or what direction I'm facing, so I can easily start marching off in the wrong direction. (That's how, in London, Sean and I walked like five blocks away from our hostel out of the Tube station, with about five suitcases, despite the fact that I claimed I knew the city really well.)

(via)

Hear hear

Article summing up Presidential candidates' beliefs about evolution. Pretty interesting. I agree with the article's author about this one:

My favorite response from any candidate about the evolution/creationism debate was from former Sen. Mike Gravel (Alaska). When LiveScience asked the senator if he thought creationism should be taught in public schools, Gravel replied, ""Oh God, no. Oh, Jesus. We thought we had made a big advance with the Scopes monkey trial....My God, evolution is a fact, and if these people are disturbed by being the descendants of monkeys and fishes, they've got a mental problem. We can't afford the psychiatric bill for them. That ends the story as far as I'm concerned."

(via)

GigPosters

I discovered this site GigPosters on FFFFOUND! From what I can tell, it's a site with uploads of posters done for various bands' shows. Just images, no purchasing, tragically (it would be impossible, anyway, there are so many). If I could buy any of the posters, I would buy like a hundred. Here are some I discovered by searching for just three artist/band names, uncreatively:

Gotta love werewolves...

I think this one is my favorite. It reminds me of the Teddy Bears' Picnic and Where the Wild Things Are. I REALLY want a print of it.

Like the text of his name here.

Whale!

Orange, and birds. Two of my favorite things.

I just like the sort of retro Victorianness of this one.

Can't figure out what this one reminds me of. Somewhat Goreyesque but it actually reminds me of like a children's book or something.

An unexpected favorite.

More here, here, here, and everywhere.

I think I realize part of the reason I like all of these is that they are sort of children's bookish. Now on to search for them. (I do know of a couple of cool poster stores online for bands like this, and I recognized quite a few of the GigPosters prints from those stores... unfortunately they all sell out pretty easily, it seems.)

(On a related note, why do the Fillmore's posters suck so badly?)

Juno Opening Credits

One fun thing about Juno was the opening credits. Here's the sequence, by Shadowplay Studio.

(via)

Scary teddies, and blasts from the past

This teddy bear in a suitcase freaks me out.


It reminds me of the giant teddy bear in that Park Ji Yoon video that my roommate Silvia was so into our freshman year. (She taught us the dance. I was really bad at it. I'm trying to forget that right now.) If you want to see a weird video for a Korean pop song, watch away:



(via NOTCOT)

Bill Murray

Pretty awesome.


Print by Jeff Boyes.

(via NOTCOT)

I like waking up to the smell of bacon, sue me.

Wow. Michael Scott would be thrilled:

I enjoy having breakfast in bed. I like waking up to the smell of bacon, sue me. And since, I don’t have a butler, I have to do it myself. So … most nights before I go to bed, I will lay six strips of bacon out on my George Foreman grill. Then I go to sleep. When I wake up, I plug in the grill. I go back to sleep again. Then, I wake up, to the smell of crackling bacon. It is delicious, it’s good for me, it’s the perfect way to start the day. Today, I got up, I stepped onto the grill, and it clamped down on my foot, that’s it. I don’t see what’s so hard to believe about that.

(via)

On being an English major

6 Possible Undergraduate Essay Questions on "No Country for Old Men" (spoilers)

I always walk out of difficult or good or interesting films thinking about how I'd write about them in a paper -- same with books. Sometimes I wonder if that means I should be going back for my English PhD, and sometimes I wonder if I just need to become a critic. In the meantime, I blog.

(via)

Evil Huckabee

True statement. This had actually been bugging me a bit myself recently, but I couldn't quite make my brain wrap around it. 24 fans, check this out: Huckabee looks disturbingly like President Logan from 24 (somewhat ironically, he looks like evil Logan before Logan became a born-again Christian. Except, I never finished season 6, so maybe Logan is still evil.)

(via)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Rebutting Steinem

Interesting, pissed-off article in Slate rebutting Gloria Steinem's Hillary op-ed:

"Gender," writes Gloria Steinem on the op-ed page of the Jan. 8 New York Times, "is probably the most restricting force in American life." That is incorrect. Poverty is the most restricting force in American life. It's become somewhat unfashionable to point this out, but I don't see how it could be otherwise. Given the choice between being born poor and being born female, which would you choose?

Point taken (but of course that doesn't mean sexism doesn't exist.)

(via Bookforum)

Utterly random

Ok, I get that it's a tropical fruit, but is there a banana season? I've had bananas two days in a row that were kind of weirdly flavorless and extra-mealy.

Internet Love-Hate

In related news, I so love and hate the Internet. Comments on YouTube suck, but comments on so many blogs are really insightful and well-put. I refer to the comments on the Jezebel article I just linked to. I particularly liked this one, this one, and this one so far (the third I feel like Dad will appreciate).

Am I the broken record, or is the rest of the press?

Having a day of annoyance with political journalism. I feel like the press has, like, 5 templates for stories (the "comeback," the "not out of the race yet" the "well what it comes down to everyone really wants change, even Republicans, they just have to decide who they think will give them the change they want" the "if he doesn't win the next one he's out" and the "black man or white woman?" are the ones that come to mind), and they just plug in a candidate into each template, depending on who is ahead in the polls that day. It's sort of tiresome. I was interested to hear the exit poll data from NH yesterday, but heard a lot of things that sounded familiar (the one thing that jumped out at me was that the lower-income groups voted for Clinton, not Edwards, but then of course there's the "older women vote for Hillary, younger women vote for Obama" thing which, whether it's true or not, is starting to sound trite). I guess it's just that, predictably, in this post-Hillary-tears-on-TV world, that's all anyone can talk about. I'm a little tired today of wondering about the bias of this paper or radio commentator or columnist or news site. Most of that, I think is me being annoyed about the Hillary tears debate. It's bringing up a lot of complicated bullshit over this whole woman candidate thing. Was it weakness or emotional strength? Whatever. I liked it, and so did a lot of other people, but I keep asking myself whether people liked it or didn't like it for the right reasons. On NPR this morning they interviewed a woman from NH who voted for Hillary. She decided Saturday morning, and soon after her decision her daughter called. Her daughter had volunteered for Obama. She told her mom, "Mom, when I was a kid, I told you I'd never call myself a feminist, and you told me 'How ungrateful.'" Then she told her mom she'd changed her mind and was voting for Hillary. I keep thinking about this stuff because I don't think any of it is clear cut. I want to support women in leadership roles, but I don't think Hillary is right for this role right now.

So there's a lot of stir over this shit. Maureen Dowd's op-ed today in the Times was pretty unbearable, in my opinion. Moe at Jezebel posted a rant about Hillary supporters that made me kind of sad, since Jezebel's one of my favorite sites and I hate to see women hating on other women so much, especially since I don't see supporting Hillary like it's the end of the world. (This post did reinforce my belief that while I love reading Moe's writing on Jezebel, I just don't know if I could actually stomach her in real life. She has a weird set of opinions sometimes.) I am upset about this stuff not because I am a Hillary supporter, but because I am disturbed by the number of people who truly hate her, who disbelieve everything she says, who make everything about her gender. It feels backwards. Now, with Obama, people definitely do talk about his race, but such talk lacks the viciousness of the anti-Clinton rhetoric. And I don't think you can say that this is all residual from the Bill Clinton era. Not at all.

It makes me sad that this is even a subject. It makes me sad that my support of Obama puts me, in some people's opinions, in a group of "young women in denial" about the state of sexism in our nation. It makes me sad for Hillary, and for our country, too.

Sorry, as usual this is rather jumbled and probably misinformed. I'm just venting.

(via Feministing)

The Savages

Continuing with Movie Madness week, I saw "The Savages" last night. Sheesh. I'm still kind of processing it. It's one of those movies that kind of stuns you into a depressed, terrified silence. It's funny, yes, there are definitely some funny parts. (One of Laura Linney's lines towards the end in particular.) I walked out and said two things: "I kind of want to kill myself now," and "I feel like calling my parents and telling them I love them." That's because, obviously, the film is about two siblings whose once-abusive and absentee father is diagnosed with dementia. They scoop him up from Sun City, Arizona (which is pretty much identical to the opening sequence of "Weeds" only with old people) and take him back to Buffalo, NY, where John (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a professor (he teaches "theatre of social unrest" to quote Wendy, Linney's character). It's a movie about aging, and having to grow up, and guilt and responsibility, and a lot of things, but it seems kind of reductive to put it that way. I found myself relating to Wendy more than perhaps I should (she pops Xanax, steals a dead woman's Percocet, has a lukewarm affair with a married man, and is generally anxious and obsessive and desperate to impose some kind of control over a situation that is beyond her reach). She's an aspiring playwright working as a temp in New York, and I suddenly had flashes of myself in an administrative job in twenty-five years. The movie ends up being a bit more about her than her brother, whose prosaic attitude (and, I suspect, not a little bit of repression and academic detachment) carries him through the crisis with more aplomb. But the nitty gritty of their own career and love crises was second fiddle to the central issue, obviously. It was hard to watch them put their dad in a nursing home, to see him in the hospital, this man who you understand from their comments was once basically an asshole, diminished and frail now, confused, obediently (for the most part) allowing aides to undress him and put him in bed and lead him in stretching exercises. It was scary. It was a little too realistic, by which I mean it made you think about things you don't want to think about. I won't belabor the point, but I think part of what made it hard to watch was imagining my parents and grandparents having to do this for their parents or for each other. It felt like this heavy, generational pull and weight. As Justin put it, what made it so depressing was that this is a very real possible future for any of us.

It was a good movie, actually a great movie. The acting, as you'd expect, is excellent. I have a beef with about the last 15 seconds of the movie, plotwise, but that's about it. But this blog post feels very stiff, not my usual style, and I think part of it is just that this is a really difficult subject to talk about, for me and in general. In that light it's amazing what the writer-director has managed to do with this movie... to make it bearable, even almost light-hearted at times, utterly humanized, provocative in its plainness and sadness and realism, and to do so without gloss or polish.

Yep, you can say that Oscar season movies are treating me well right now. (Tonight, I'm seeing "I'm Not There," after which point I think the movie rush will slow down a bit.)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

*sigh*

Guess my Hillary-heavy post was prescient. Boo.

Gloria on Hillary

This blog has taken on a Hillary slant today, hasn't it?! Just got around to reading Gloria Steinem's op-ed in the Times today and it's quite the rallying cry. All I'm saying is, sometimes I wonder.

So why is the sex barrier not taken as seriously as the racial one? The reasons are as pervasive as the air we breathe: because sexism is still confused with nature as racism once was; because anything that affects males is seen as more serious than anything that affects “only” the female half of the human race; because children are still raised mostly by women (to put it mildly) so men especially tend to feel they are regressing to childhood when dealing with a powerful woman; because racism stereotyped black men as more “masculine” for so long that some white men find their presence to be masculinity-affirming (as long as there aren’t too many of them); and because there is still no “right” way to be a woman in public power without being considered a you-know-what.

(thanks to Justin for pushing me to read it earlier than I otherwise would)