Friday, October 30, 2009

Dream Theater

From an interview of Michael Moore on RT:

People obviously talk to you a lot about the political stuff, but what do you do when you're not making movies?

MM: I spent the better part of the last year or two restoring a 100-year-old movie palace in the town where I live, and ended opening it up and operating it as a movie theater, and trying it as an experiment as to how to bring people back to the movies. Trying to show how a movie theater should be run. It has been an incredible experience. It's called the State Theater, and it's in Traverse City, Michigan. We've been open about 90 weeks, and of those 90 weeks, about a third of them, we've been the number one theater in the country, box office-wise, for the film that we're showing that week. And nobody's really written about this; it's kind of a "best kept secret" sort of thing. If you look at the grosses of -- like, when we had Lars and the Real Girl, we were the number one theater that week. We've been in the top 10 definitely more than half the weeks we've been open. We've been in the top 10 in the country, box office.

How have you been able to do that?

MM: Well, there are a number of ways. First of all, I've created a wonderful movie theater that's comfortable to sit in. The projection and the sound is perfect. It's a fun place to be. It's a single-screen theater decorated in a 1940s motif; the ushers wear usher uniforms. It's non-profit, it's volunteer, pretty much volunteer-operated; the majority of the workers are ushers. The popcorn and pop is $2 each, and you can get candy for a dollar, so there's no rip-off prices. There's no commercials before the movies other than trailers, and cell phones are banned -- if we catch you on a cell phone or a blackberry, you're banned from the theater for life. You can never come back in.

-=-

Also, on an entirely unrelated note, Baked Frito Lay Chips are baaad. They taste nothing like the original and the texture is slightly better than those cardboard-y Wasa crackers. After I'm done with a munch session, there's all of the guilt and calories, and none of the smug satisfaction. I think I'll stick with the originals and just indulge once in a while.

Sweden, Ho

This morning, we found Boyd sleeping on my scanner. He seems to prefer black and red furniture, as he only sleeps on my red computer chair, Brook's black desk, and our black couch. He was so cute, all fat and sprawled out with his orange fur gleaming in the sunlight. And the way cats look at you after they wake up from a nap, turning their heads lazily with eyes half-open to gaze at you that says "sleep is bliss." I meant to take a photo, but my camera battery died. He's such a beautiful, languorous darling. I really have begun to prefer Boyd more in relation to Snorri, who is the cause of my disturbed sleep these past weeks. He likes to walk all over us starting as early at 7 AM, doing his signature mew-croak and pushing his face into our faces. To get close to us, he won't hesitate to step on a peaceful head or walk on an unsuspecting belly. The problem is, he'll never get comfortable and will keep doing this for a long time, trying to wake us up. And experience shows that angrily throwing him off the bed 10 times in a row just keeps him coming back for more. This behavior pisses me off because I am super cranky when I get rudely awakened, I dislike cat hair on the bed, and I'm trying to keep the cats away from my face since I might be allergic. The only reason we don't close the door at night is because B secretly longs for Boyd to sleep next to him like in the old days. We'll see how this turns out, as I cannot wait for Snorri to grow up and be a lazy, unintrusive cat. It's really the way I like animals to be.

Writer Rob Horning has a column on Popmatters called Marginal Utility. I used to devour his articles and somewhat freak out about all his warnings of our capitalistic and consumeristic society, but I've since calmed down. His recent post, "How Friendship Became Friending," caught my eye because of the comical title. I won't even pretend to be able to have an intelligent conversation about this topic, because it's difficult (or impossible) to examine the present and what it really means. I'm glad that other people take it upon themselves to do it, and I can only listen and consider. Personally, I am no longer on Facebook because of B. He strongly encouraged me to get off of it shortly after he did the same. I was a little reluctant, but now I'm glad that we're off that bandwagon. It was in my nature to check it way too often, update my profile too often, and care too much about the conversations and interacts I had on there. In a way, it not only supplemented by replaced some of my social interactions, since I am not always comfortable in (physical) social situations. For me, it has been good to be off. I am not sure just how much the article applies to the users of Facebook, but it's definitely the dark side of the social networking coin. I would like to think that mature users intentionally keep up a real social life and relationships in addition to their social networks if they so choose. Perhaps it's just the adolescents, older people, bored housewives, and lonely people who are more liable to succumb to the system.

Last night, B and I hopped over to the Drafthouse to watch Michael Moore's new documentary (or "doc-op"), Capitalism: A Love Story. Realizing that many people denounce him and his work, I tried to watch it with a grain of salt, knowing how one-sided arguments can be. B had never seen any of his films, so I was a little apprehensive that he might hate it. It was, in a word, exhausting. More than two hours of Debbie Downer material that capitalism is evil, immoral, unfair, and bulking up the rich and (figuratively) raping the poor. It focused mostly on the failure of the giant financial institutions, which has been all over the news, but for someone like me who stops paying attention to the news after a while, it was a refresher.

The movie's basic points: Capitalism in America has gone awry and is making the rich richer and the poor poorer. The poor are not rebelling against the system because of the American Dream, that they will somehow succeed and be just as rich later on in life. We know that rags-to-riches stories are widely popularized by few and far between. The rich (corporations) basically own the government, as they fund politicians and then get elected as staff. The banks and government used fear (just as Bush did after 9/11) to get the bailout and $700 billion worth of taxpayer money. American labor is in a sad state because so many of the brightest college graduates, instead of entering the fields of science or math, have entered Wall Street for profit. Greed, profit > people, consumption, backhanded dealings, lies..

Yes this is happening all the time in America. People getting screwed over is what bothers me the most. My family is middle class. I am probably lower middle class, considering my entry-level salary. But still, I can pay rent, eat good food, travel a bit, buy the stuff I want, and have some left over for savings. That is what everyone wants for themselves as a baseline, right? But in living that way, am I complicit in keeping this awful system going? Yes. I don't know how to change it. I most definitely don't want to be destitute. I am fortunate to have parents who taught me how to handle money, and also the resources and knowledge to avoid getting screwed over by the system. I know not to accumulate credit card debt, not to take out loans at crazy rates, read the fine print, etc. B noted that it is so hard to stay afloat when companies are really out to get you like this. It is just so sad that many people aren't aware to watch out for these tactics, and they suffer unnecessarily for their mistakes. But like I said, I can't change this. I am not sure that Obama can change it so much, since change takes forever to happen with a slow-moving government like ours. Right now, I am leaning towards trying to get out. To a smaller place where the people are represented in the government and economy. Where awful, unfair things don't systematically happen to so many people, and where people are not allowed to get disgustingly rich and stay that way. If that makes me a "socialist," then so be it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tea Towels




Cute modern British tea towels from todryfor. Still waiting for dollar > pound.

Etsy ones.

Guestbook

I love, love, LOVE our wedding guestbook! I just had to scan in some pages for others to see. (Nope, still hasn't hit me yet..)



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Marrieds.

B and I got married! Boy, was it a complete whirlwind. Can't say it has really sunken in yet, though. Whee! It was also so special to have so many of our loved ones present in one space.

Here are some photos by our wedding photographer, Oliver, and from friends/family.







Friday, October 23, 2009

Home

by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes

HEAR IT (from captain obvious)

I just heard this song today. It's so, so full of joy and love! Listen carefully at 3:12. Their live video is pretty amazing too- the two lovers are so exuberant. I dedicate this song to today.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

2 More Days.

Marais USA


Thanks to A Cup of Jo, I was turned on to a shoe company that makes classic and affordable (flats for $55??) women's shoes. And they're not for old women. I would love to own about 1/3 of their small collection. And then I probably wouldn't need to buy shoes again. Along with Keep Company, this is a shoe company I wish I could/would have started... Glad to know I am not the only one who despises 99.9% of women's shoes and am a target customer for companies like this. Happy to give them some more internet press with this post, too.

Love these Chelsea boots. Descended from English riding shoes, they were popularized by the Beatles. You used to have to do some deep thrift shopping to get a pair, which I never had the patience for. The other versions that existed were either a thick-soled workboot (which are an Australian classic), or were a slim and pointy toed mens dress shoe. Glad the originals are easily accessible again.


Marais USA

Feather by Feather

by Smog

You spent half of the morning
Just trying to wake up
Half the evening
Just trying to calm down
And you live for
The same things
A cloudburst seems
rarer every time

And it's crow vs. crow
A brawl in mid-air
Beak click on beak clack
No reason is there
But for the brawl in mid-air

If you're losing your wings
Feather by feather
Love the way they whip away
On the wind

When they make the
movie of your life
They're going to have to ask you
To do your own stunts
Because nobody nobody nobody
Could pull off the
same shit as you
And still come out alright

If you're losing your wings
Feather by feather
Love the way they whip away
On the wind

It's Ali vs. Clay
Both pummeling away
A champ always fights themself

And you are a fighter
You are a fighter
You are a fighter

And Kids got heart
Kids got heart
Kids got heart

If you're losing your wings
Feather by feather

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Vaccine Debate

I've only heard parts of both sides of this raging debate from friends who are parents. A small portion of parents (who are most likely really into parenting) believe that vaccinations cause autism or brain injury, while everyone else, including most scientists and doctors, believe that vaccines are a useful treatment to prevent life-threatening diseases. Wired just published an article on the growing number of children who are not vaccinated, and the effects and motivations of that move. I highly recommend reading it and getting informed. It discusses how "well-intentioned" parents are digging up misinformation online that is anti-vaccine, that diseases that used to kill children before vaccines were invented are now popping up again and endangering others. That correlation does not imply causation (apparently our science education in the US really failed), that people who are anti-vaccine are not experts, nor do they possess any sort of scientific credibility. Scare tactics work amazingly well, ya'll. B commented that it really kills him that people would listen to Jenny McCarthy, who has become quite the anti-vaccine activist, rather than actual doctors and scientists. In fact, here is a direct quote from the homepage of her autism site: "Twenty five year old Desiree Jennings received her flu shot on August 23, 2009. Over the next few weeks, she lost the ability to walk and to talk normally. Whenever she eats, her body convulses, and she often blacks out." Re: what I said about correlation and causation.

Now, I for one am really skeptical about health claims these days. There is just way too much insidious propaganda disguised as facts on the internet. You have to know how to check the facts, otherwise you're sorta outta luck. This really, really frustrates me, as someone who used to have the "luxury" of believing everything she heard. Now I know better. I was tempted to disregard the whole debate and just accept that no one would really know the answer until decades later, with hindsight and more research. But I think in this case, the research is pretty clear. There is no proof that vaccines cause autism. Scary personal accounts are extremely effective as a persuasive technique. Vaccines help prevent people from dying from certain diseases, and have done so for many decades. There is a small risk that giving your child a vaccine will have adverse effects. But isn't there a risk in doing anything? B astutely noted that way more people die in car accidents and nobody advocates ending the practice of driving. Why? Because the benefits outweigh the costs. And I believe that's how it is with vaccines too.

NPR's This American Life featured a story on a measles outbreak in San Diego last year. A boy traveled to Europe with his parents, where he caught the disease, and then infected some of the passengers on the plane back. One of which included a ten-month old baby, who was unvaccinated because normally vaccines are administered at age one. The mother stated: "Yes, people have every right not to vaccinate their children. But they have to live on an island, their own little infectious disease island." A sad example of how one individual's actions can adversely affect the whole group.

Another excerpt I found illuminating from the Wired article:

The rejection of hard-won knowledge is by no means a new phenomenon. In 1905, French mathematician and scientist Henri PoincarĂ© said that the willingness to embrace pseudo-science flourished because people “know how cruel the truth often is, and we wonder whether illusion is not more consoling.” Decades later, the astronomer Carl Sagan reached a similar conclusion: Science loses ground to pseudo-science because the latter seems to offer more comfort. “A great many of these belief systems address real human needs that are not being met by our society,” Sagan wrote of certain Americans’ embrace of reincarnation, channeling, and extraterrestrials. “There are unsatisfied medical needs, spiritual needs, and needs for communion with the rest of the human community.”

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

J Crew

I never used liked this store, because their clothes to me always seemed so stuffy and unexciting. I preferred wearing more gaudy/interesting clothing to punctuate the boredom in the landscape of department store and Gap-type clothing. It was actually really difficult until American Apparel came along. But I think I've finally gotten that out of my system, and it may be because of the current trend that favors American-made, classic, and work styles, I think I could go for a wardrobe change, J Crew style. I'd like to say that this could also mark a complete exit out of adolescence. They have quite a few classic looks in their womens collection that have just a touch of femininity without overdoing it.

Related post about wardrobe essentials




Oh yes, and my wedding dress is also from J Crew. I wanted something very simple, but also flattering.


With that said, I'm starting to think that trends in fashion are pretty much useless and just a product of our hypercharged capitalistic economy. Doesn't it bother anyone that a commodity can become so valuable and then quickly lose its value? It's a pretty odd cycle to follow, seems to me. Materialism is a very addicting and convenient mindset to take on when avoiding life's questions. If you want to take it to the limit, you could adopt a total utilitarian philosophy about your clothes, wearing basic pieces and replacing them only if they are no longer wearable. B has a shockingly unfashionable friend who is the epitome of this, but after my initial distaste, I now think it's sort of awesome. He wears baggy jean shorts, white shirts, an Indiana Jones hat and brown sneakers. To note, he doesn't even own luggage- when he traveled with us to New Orleans, he packed his clothes in two plastic grocery bags. Of course, this is extreme, and unfortunately, his looks are directly related to his unattractiveness to the opposite sex. It'd be so much worse for a woman to dress this way, since men are visually stimulated. So, I'm not advocating this attitude, since this doesn't really work in our society, but it's one example that can help expose our culture's unhealthy obsession with clothing and personal image.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bad Water

Today, I feel somewhat poisoned by the government. I grew up being told that drinking lots of water is good for me. Still, it's no surprise that there are chemicals and hormones in our drinking water. There is also some evidence that fluoride, also added to water, isn't necessarily good for your teeth. And it's common knowledge by now that bottled water is not a green choice, and may also contain hormones. Even though it's hard to know what sources are credible these days, all this truly disheartens me. Surely we're an advanced enough society to have moved past these problems decades ago. Ugh.

And I gotta throw in the obligatory remark that in other places in the world there is no clean water.

M79



This isn't the best sounding video, but it's genuinely fun. I didn't go out of my way to listen to Vampire Weekend when they first came out and totally blew up last year. Their insane sudden popularity was followed by very strong backlash, due to their traditional African music influences. The fact that they were all super white ivy-leaguers probably didn't help either. I'm sure they didn't imagine so many strong reactions to their innocuous pop album. It's best to ignore all that BS anyway. "M79" is my favorite song of theirs, and I'm really impressed if they wrote all the string arrangements.

Repurposeful

Drinking some yummy Boylan's Root Beer at work. Not the best bottled root beer ever, but still pretty good. On sale at HEB at $3.99 per pack/$1 per bottle. Found some repurposed glass tumblers online while I was looking up reviews. And here. At first, I thought, wow these are really neat, I want some. They're annoyingly expensive for a recycled product. And then it made me think of all the glass that gets thrown away after drinking that soda or beer or wine.. coupled with the fact that many of us own glass cups that we reuse. Bummer!! My logic may be wrong, but the former is the equivalent to throwing out your kitchen cups after each use. (Isn't there some rapper who has that policy with his wife-beaters?) Glass is glass. So much waste!

What if all glass bottles were repurposed into cups? My guess is that there wouldn't be a huge market for them, since fancier non-recycled ones exist. What would it look like to live in a society where wastefulness was looked down upon or outlawed? I understand that many early/primitive societies exhibited this sort of attitude, and that probably the Industrial Revolution and capitalism gone wild is responsible for the volume of trash that exists.

To be fair, there are conveniences that come with the freedom to be wasteful. You get to own nicer and newer things, you can be picky, you get to enjoy something whenever you want to, more inventions/technological advances, and much more. What do you think, is it worth it?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

(Christ) Haunted


For the past several months, I have been falling off the bandwagon of new music. Even though I limit the number of mp3 blogs I subscribe to, I'm really sick of the hype machine, and the endless cycle of mass consumption it encourages. Most sites don't have anything new or insightful to offer about a new piece of music, they just want to get credit and legitimacy for posting it. And timing matters the most. If you're like me, the more you hear about something, the less you want to go discover it for yourself. I never consistently checked Pitchfork, but I am disgusted by the amount of information on their site, most of which is useless opinion, meaningless wordplay, and arbitrary ratings. And not to mention the question of the validity of reviews in general. (I will say, though, that interviews with musicians can be really insightful- those are definitely worth reading on any site.) The old joy of being a listening pioneer is stolen by too much exposure. Gone are the days of digging deep for new and interesting "indie" music, and the delight of burning mix CDs with new artists for your friends. Technology via the advent of the mp3 and the ease of digital music distribution has changed the music industry completely, and I'm not sure it's a positive revolution. (It's hard to understand the huge changes that are occurring now, and way easier to look back, huh? This book is relevant to this discussion.)

With that said, one negative result of disengaging from the music blogosphere has been missing out on some of my favorite artists' new releases. Frankly, I don't have time to visit artists' websites for updates anymore. Since they update at least daily, blogs have become the best news source. Notably, I missed the announcement of J. Tillman's new album, "Year in the Kingdom," which leaked back in July. I managed to locate it, and have been listening to it for a few days now. I stink at writing reviews, so I won't. Intrigued by its obvious Biblical imagery, I googled and found this thematic review/impression describing the album as "Christ-Haunted." I never liked Flannery O'Connor, probably because I didn't understand the characters in her stories, but even I can appreciate this phrase. If I didn't know any better and I wasn't already a fan, I'd stamp this one "boring" and move on. There are no catchy hooks to grab my attention while I am listening at work. The instrumental arrangements are more stark than his previous albums, and the lyrics possibly more bleak. But all this signals to me that this is an extremely thoughtful work of art that requires full attention listening. And even meditation, perhaps. At only 27, what does Josh Tillman know that I don't know? A lot, it seems, and very deeply. If he is indeed honest in his work, what a weary and sober soul he possesses.

Excerpt from above mentioned post:

Tillman's music is Christ-haunted not simply because his lyrics are vaguely Psalm-like, with references to rolling hills, pastures, kingdoms, and light. It is Christ-haunted because in every way, across and within songs, whether through mood established by his beautiful yet spartan guitar or his mournful lyrics, Tillman shines light on man's most central yearnings. Common to non-Christians and Christians alike (at least to those who are remotely honest with themselves) is our longing to make sense of a beautiful, joyful world that is equally filled with death, suffering, despair, guilt, regret and shame. Hoping that one day in some way our lives and our world will be made right, some hope in the political process, some in social justice crusades, some in their spouses or families, and some in the death, resurrection and return of Jesus Christ.

J. Tillman - "Though I Have Wronged You" (right click)
J. Tillman - "Crosswinds" (left click)

High quality mp3s of his live set, courtesy of AD. The live version of "Though I Have Wronged You" is especially rockin'.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ee cummings

Here is today's poem of the day from Writer's Almanac. I promise I will not post these every day and just download the podcast. I have just realized I like being read poetry by Garrison Keillor so much. I'm not that familiar with e.e. cummings, but I figured he was not alive anymore and wrote a while back, so its provocativeness both surprised and pleased me. Good combo.

The Writer's Almanac comes on at 10:30 AM in the mornings, which means I have a big problem going to work at an acceptable hour. I was supposed to get up early today, try 2, to take Snorri to the vet for his conjunctivitis. Poor little guy. I am 3/4 grossed out by his pink eye, and 1/4 sympathetic. I don't think I should have children anytime soon.

I have an appointment with the allergist tomorrow afternoon, and my boss asked me to come in earlier to make up for it. That makes sense, but working- I mean sitting at my desk- for 8 hours a day is pretty dreadful. I'm going through the 2009 What Color is Your Parachute? for help. Nobody told me (B hates when I use that as an excuse!) that I am no longer going to be told what to do approximately after college. If sloth also means extreme busyness and letting other people dictate your life, than I have been guilty of sloth for 23 or so years. I've got lots of catching up to do. But for now, I think I'm not interested in having a Career. Yes, I know I have to work for money to survive, but I don't want my career to take up a large part of my identity, effort, and time. This feeling came about after perusing the monster that is LinkedIn. I don't use the site very often, and I occasionally get invites to connect. My profile is pretty shabby and hasn't been updated in 11 months.. so that makes me a poor connection. The purpose of the site is to broaden your social network for career and business development purposes, most of which turns me off. Unless you are just a privileged genius, you have to play the game and go through the motions trying to climb the ladder of success. Thumbs down. I realize I can't be antisocial all my life, and that I need people, but I know there is a balance somewhere between relating to and using people.

Watched the Pam and Jim wedding episode of "The Office" last night. I liked the show OK when I started watching it with B, but the work office environment really repulses me, to the point where I can't bring myself to watch it consistently. But B got me to watch it and it was pretty awesome. There was many a disaster leading up to the wedding, but it was made clear that none of that mattered in the tender moments the couple shared. Jim Halpert is such a wonderful character. I would be hardpressed to say that I did not tear up from the expressions of his committed love and care for Pam. Jim: “I knew we needed a backup plan. The boat was actually Plan C. The church was Plan B. And Plan A was marrying her a long, long time ago. Pretty much the day I met her.” And I thought it was pretty hilarious that the coworkers totally completely stole the wedding dance idea, even using the same song, resulting in a very poorly executed version, so poor that you could only laugh.

i like my body when it is with your

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which I will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh...And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you quite so new

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jason Whitmarsh

Today's poem from Writer's Almanac:

ANNIVERSARY

She says he isn't as funny as he used to be. About fifty percent
as
funny, maybe less. He thinks, but doesn't say, no, it's you,
you're
depressed, you don't find anyone funny anymore. She thinks,
but
doesn't say, I've always been depressed. I've never found
anyone
funny—except you, once.

And another:

TWO, COUCHBOUND

Two’s calculation of death over time: Ten thousand bodies a thousand years ago is five hundred bodies when Columbus lands, perplexed by the undergrowth, is one hundred when the railroad runs through, is ten when anyone you’ve known was born, is, this year, one. One comes home, briefcase in hand, sobbing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nawlins

Back from New Orleans! I honestly had low expectations for this trip, because half of it consisted of affirmative action training for work (dry!!), and also because I have not been too impressed with the city during past visits. Drunkenness allover the streets, gaudy tourist shops, Southerness, and shellfish aren't high on my likes list. Previous trips I took the easy tourist route by following people around to Bourbon St., museums, and Cafe du Monde, but the town doesn't just cater to dudebros and regular tourists.

With the guidance of Yelp, Mark, B and I turned this trip into somewhat of a food odyssey. There were too many places to go, but we jammed in seven restaurants in a day and a morning. I have no desire to ever do this in Austin, but New Orleans is a bursting with a variety of good cuisine. I would have to say my favorite meal was dinner at Cochon. I wasn't planning on bringing it up to the guys, but I chatted with the mother of the owner (she was attending my training), and Mark also read good reviews on it, so we went. It was two hours of savoring and tasting each other's pork entrees while sitting at the chef's table. The food could be categorized as New Cajun/Creole, and they make their own bacon, cured meats, head cheese and whatever else. After we stumbled out of there, Mark was so full he was on the verge of throwing up. B and I left him at the hotel and we went on a very long walk past the French Quarter into Marigny. By the end of the night I was sore beyond belief from walking, but it was definitely worth it. Past all the crudeness and silliness of the French Quarter are some very quaint and lovely Victorian neighborhoods. I think I fell in love. Everything is a skip away, and you are so close to your neighbors it probably makes for better community. No manicured front lawns, porches right next to the sidewalk, balconies on almost every building, and narrow but deep floorplans. Especially in the Quarter, all the buildings are attached to each other. Austin could compare if only Hyde Park was 10 times larger, 100 years older, more compact, and had small stores and shops incorporated into the neighborhood. I am enamored with old buildings, especially since I grew up in the suburbs, and New Orleans was replete with architectural history. To me that's better than visiting a museum, because instead, you can sit in or walk right next to a relic of the past. B and I would love to live in one of those old houses with a wrought-iron balcony. Austin has hints of old-world charm, but New Orleans truly tops the cake. I don't think I would ever live there (everything I loved about it exists in a wider scale in Europe), but I now have a much better impression and opinion of the city.



Work dinner at Deanie's. Notice how everything is fried. Wasn't into it at all! They had Abita root beer on draft, which was super yum. I took home 2 platefuls of leftovers, but had to throw them away since the hotel didn't have a fridge.


View of Lake Ponchartrain from my hotel window.


Waiting in the rain to eat at Willie Mae's.


This is what the best fried chicken in the US looks like. It was tasty, and I found myself wishing I could have more the next day. We ordered some at another restaurant in the Quarter, but it was only decent.


Exploding with flavor ham hock plate at Cochon. I haven't been that full and had so much fun eating dinner in a long time. And this was the second dinner of Saturday (we went to Mother's for a debris sandwich right before).


Getting snoballs/snocones at Plum St. Snowballs. They come in Chinese takeout boxes. Realized that snocones gross me out because the syrup is super sweet, artificially flavored, and intensely fake colored. I found it pretty similar to Casey's New Orleans Snowballs off 51st and Airport. It is located in a cute neighborhood in Uptown, close to Tulane.

I know I am wordy. Here's B's succinct impression.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Hi Tuesday, 2

Boy is it slow here when my boss isn't around. His wife is sick, so I assume he is at home taking care of her. That is a perk I can look forward to in marriage.

Going to New Orleans in 2 days! It's for work; affirmative action training. I really don't care about all the details, but it's only for a day and a half, and then I'm free. B and his friend Mark will be driving down (er, to the right) on Friday and we will spend the weekend reveling in the city of fleur-de-lis. I may have gone overboard searching Yelp for the best places to eat, because we are once again, low on extra cash. Eating out really makes your wallet skinny. However, I know I can be satisfied with fresh hot beignets for breakfast at least. To be honest, I am probably not the typical New Orleans tourist foodie. OK, I'm not a foodie. But I do not have a stomach for shellfish and greasy dishes in general. Or olives. I am ashamed to say that I once ordered a muffaletta and rejected it after one bite. And those are the meat of New Orleans cuisine. I may just end up gobbling down sides, like I always do. Rice and beans sounds good to me. Last time I went there, I was even impressed with the rice and beans at Popeyes.

Still not sure whether I want to visit here. The commendable 4.5 star rating draws me in, but the formidable descriptions of the "best fried chicken ever" turn my stomach.

I've got drawing class today, which means I must leave work in 10 minutes. I've been riding my bike there and doing that once a week has really improved my fitness levels. From "completely sedentary" to "getting there." The ride to campus from where I live is a breeze because it's all gloriously downhill. But the ride back is a terrific challenge, regardless of fitness level. I made a huge mistake in taking the infamous Duval hill back the first week of class because it was the most direct route. After collapsing on the couch back home, I felt nauseated for hours afterwards. But now, it feels good to push myself physically. Humans aren't meant to live in a state of unbroken stability, ease and comfort. B has also kickstarted his new healthy regimen of diet and exercise. I think the reality of our impending partnership (or rather, the public display of it) has finally hit him. No more bacon, fries, sodas, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated crap, beer, and less gluten. I will try to get him to ride more, even though there is very little motivation when you aren't actually going anywhere. Riding to the corner store to get alcohol and snacks woefully doesn't count. We're making a mental note to move somewhere soon where driving is weird and you don't need to "exercise," because it's already built into your normal lifestyle.

Hi Tuesday

Notice a change, Mr. Internet?
I grew weary of all the extra white space on the sides here, and also decided that serifs are so old-style. So instead of creating and entirely new blog page elsewhere and elongating my trail of blogs, I picked another template. It's sort of shocking to me that there are only about 15 templates to choose from. Maybe I'm too dumb to figure out how to get other ones. Not a big worry of mine. Now if I can only figure out how to change the font from ugly Verdana..

The culturific All Saints blog posted on a work of art close to my heart: the new David Bazan album. Although, it wasn't much of a review, but largely a flexing of the author's 90's musical knowledge followed by paragraphs hugely unsupported opinions. Basically, the writer is trying to cover up his hurt that Mr. Bazan has crossed over into hostile territory and IMO very unfairly castigates the album's lyrical quality. Granted, I was/am not a Pedro the Lion fan, so I don't have much to compare this to. But, because he is a Christian (is this an unreasonable allegation?) he totally misses the complete beauty of the album.. the beautiful picture of a man struggling with his dying faith and burgeoning agnosticism. It's REAL. You don't need to be eloquent or poetic to express the deepest feelings of human experience. You just need to be honest, and that he most definitely is. If that's what the author means by "lyrical drought," then I think he is largely missing the purpose of the album. Art for art's sake is useless. I am most certain that this difficult album has connected with many others besides B and I. A "godsend," if you will, in a culture where doubt isn't necessarily encouraged and most often ignored or looked down upon.

EDIT: I saw the author at the show (along with friendly Karl), and I wondered if he was mad at me/if he read this post. Sorta like how he didn't want David Bazan to read his post because it bashed him. I doubt it, since I do not post my website on my All Saints blog postings, but I guess I will never know.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Buy List


Call me whatever you want, but it's been very difficult keeping a budget and sharing expenses and extra money with another person. Gone are the days of blowing my paycheck on lots of stuff. Instead, I have to save up for things, and carefully examine if I will use and enjoy what I purchase. Here are are items I've got my eye on.

Clockwise from top left:
Speedball Block Printing Kit - Trying to teach myself more arts. If I can manage carving/drawing backwards, I may try to create a small print for our thank you cards. It's nice living so close to Jerry's Artarama..
Scribblenauts DS game - My DS is gathering dust. But I hear this game is really fun. You have to solve puzzles and you can write down any word and it appears an as animation.
Rob Ryan tea towel - One of his more affordable goods, along with John Connolly's books. Love this guy's work!
Eastland Seneca boots - Too manly? I'm just impressed these are actually for women.
Carhartt women's rain jacket - I think the weather is mocking me, because I keep putting off getting a proper rain jacket.. and it keeps raining.
Cabela's XPG tent stakes - The ones that came with our North Face tent are woefully bendy, and we've already bent and thrown away most of them by now. An unstaked tent is pretty annoying to be in.
Tom Cordones shoes - They're sorta cute. Really like the wooly gray exterior. They look so similar to the cheapo knockoff canvas shoes at UO though.