Monday, December 21, 2009

life in beta

orson welles's short but sweet encounter with article by frank beacham, who worked with welles shortly before his death in 1985, pioneering the use of betacam recorders...

it's nice to be left with the idea of what orson welles would have done with film technology since then.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


the hyundai elantra was not meant to bear through an almost-foot of snow, especially on an incline. there was no street parking when i came home friday night, so i unsuspectingly parked in the church parking lot across the street. bad choice. faced with inclines at either end of the alley that connects to the lot, my poor car is just going to have to wait it out. and so am i.

so in honor of virginia's early snowfall and in the tradition of being a bit stuck...a word on cabin fever.

according to the online etymological dictionary, the term cabin fever was first recorded in 1918.
there's a medical journal article entitled cabin fever: a folk belief and the misdiagnosis of complaints (preview found here). basically, researcher russ christensen uses police data on domestic violence and suicides in anchorage, ak to compare folk beliefs on cabin fever with empirical data. according to the report, domestic violence and mental disturbances are common symptoms (or consequences) of cabin fever, but there doesn't seem to be any correlation between seasons and frequency of violence or suicide. unfortunately, you have to pay to read the full report.

jack london tells of a most extreme version of cabin fever in his short story "in a far country," which can be read in its entirety here. it's the story of two men who opt to wait out the alaskan winter in a cabin together, rather than push on the difficult trek to dawson with the rest of their gold-seeking party. the two quickly find themselves at odds with not only the perpetual dark, cold, slow passage of time, but with each other. as the "fear of the north," as london calls it, bears down upon them, the two men begin to deteriorate quickly, both physically and mentally.

"He dwelt upon the unseen and the unknown till the burden of eternity appeared to be crushing him. Everything in the Northland had that crushing effect--the absence of life and motion; the darkness; the infinite peace of the brooding land; the ghastly silence, which made the echo of each heartbeat a sacrilege; the solemn forest which seemed to guard an awful, inexpressible something, which neither word nor thought could compass."


fortunately, a cup of tea, netflix watch instantly, and a stash of christmas cookies should keep myself and most others trapped sane until the thaw.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses

that is the mantra of marilyn monroe's character pola in 1953's how to marry a millionaire (also starring lauren bacall and betty grable), in which three models rent a posh uptown ny apartment to lure rich men into marrying them.

beautiful ladies and costumes, it almost lives up to being "the most glamorous entertainment" of my lifetime for sure. and schatze's (yes, that's bacall's character's name and the name of my next teacup pomadoodle puppy coincidentally) advice could hold some weight with single girls today...

"look, the first rule of this proposition is that gentlemen callers have got to wear a necktie. i don't want to be snobbish about it, but if we begin with characters like that, we might as well just throw in the towel."

it might not always be country club standards, but we all have those dealbreaking criteria on which we make first judgements. must have front teeth. must not drive a minivan. must wear a necktie. whatever.

she goes a step too far when she rules out guys at the meat counter over guys shopping for mink stoles. being one in favor of animal rights, i guess i'd take the lesser of those two evils?

of course, this critique of poor schatze, loca, and pola assumes the suspension of one's disbelief in favor of a ridiculous movie premise in the first place. or so i thought...but apparently there is still a market today for self-help guides that entreat women to tips on how to get their own sugardaddies. titles include:

smart girls marry money: how women have been duped into the romantic dream - and how they're paying for it (2009)
read: smart girls avoid books with ridiculously long subtitles

the gold digger's guide: how to marry the man and the money
note: written by "ivana b. rich." really.

how to get a rich man: the princess formula (2007)
formula: money + marriage = happiness. like, duh.

even forbes magazine was in on the trend with this article from 2006. click on the link from there for 10 tips on how to meet "the rich."

pola (monroe) spends her time removing her glasses around prospective suitors because "you know what they say about girls who wear glasses." so she pulls out the slapstick and runs into walls, unsurprisingly looking innocent and sexy at the same time. that is until she meets her future husband who is even blinder than she, who tells her that her glasses suit her and even accentuate her beauty. see promotional poster above: "cinemascope: you see it without glasses!"
thank goodness!

Monday, December 7, 2009


the week in review.
Old postcards. Forget putting them in plastic sleeves of binders. Chop those suckers up and use in collages, card-making, and any other paper-related craft you can think of. Cheap and usually easy to find at antique malls, there's something fascinating about something that is postmarked 1915 with a sweet little message to Cousin Elanor from Gertie in Niagra Falls. This year's Christmas cards? Vintage cards attached to blank postcards (for a personalized message) tied together with red ribbons.
I was talking to a friend about people who ask a lot of questions when the answers are irrelevant. A hypothetical conversation could go as follows:

A: So I was eating this restaurant the other day when this guy...
B: What restaurant?
A: Charlie's. Anyway, this guy came over to my table out of nowhere and...
B: Were you eating there by yourself?
A: No, I was with a few friends. So this really weird looking guy comes over to our table and asks me...
B: Who were you with?
A: Georgia and Marshall. He asks my name and insists that he knows me.
B: Who, Marshall?
A: No not Marshall, the creepy guy.
B: Is Charlie's any good? I've always wanted to go there...

You get the point. Datawhore...that's the term my friend (not Georgia, Marshall or creepy dude) gave to these kinds of people, which I thought was an awesome new phrase. New, or so I thought. Leave it to urbandictionary to crush the dreams of a future neologist. But, their definition varies in that it refers specifically to digital content, whereas we were talking about people who want all of the details, whether or not they are relevant to the story.
More neology? Head over to Word Spy, an endless source of entertainment on newly popular words and phrases.
I'm not a fan of Regis or Kelly, but this recipe for Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash has been a big hit twice - at Thanksgiving and at a potluck. Easy and easily vegan...just put a little more olive oil instead. I also replaced the chesnuts with toasted pecans.
Speaking of Brussel Sprouts, who knew they grew on a big funky stalk? I didn't until I saw one at Trader Joe's a couple of weeks ago.
Next year's Christmas tree...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

adventures in cable tv

i don't watch a lot of tv. a few essential shows here and there scavaged from the corners of download kingdoms online...but today at the gym, i indulged in the mid-morning fluff of nbc and discovered...

does that look appetizing?

1. hellman's mayonnaise should stick to the truth - use mayonnaise because it tastes good, not because it's good for you.

i'll admit, my opinion of mayonnaise has been set in stone for years - it is the most offensive condiment ever - and no tv ad will ever change my mind on that one.
basically the ad showed images of its "fresh" ingredients such as eggs and oil/vinegar, interspersed with happy people eating sandwiches and whatever other foods one pollutes with mayo. but what put me off more than the goopy white paste itself was that the ad was toting the healthy aspects of mayonnaise by focusing on the natural ingredients of mayo being high in omega 3s.
everyone knows mayonnaise is about as far as you can get from health food, so trying to jump on the health food bandwagon with this one seems just plain silly. just stick to what you know. mayonnaise makes food taste good (allegedly) because it's pretty darn bad for you. one tbsp. contains 90 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 5 grams of cholesterol.

medieval torture device?

2. l'oreal telescopic explosion mascara sounds and looks more painful that it actually is

first off, worst product name in a long time. as if putting a mascara brush within millimeters of your eyeball isn't scary enough, l'oreal has come out with a brush that looks like a mace. plus, i don't want anything with the words "telescopic" or "explosion" coming withing miles of my eyeballs. apparently givenchy put out the first spherical mascara wand recently, so l'oreal is the first drugstore brand to offer a widely available one. i stumbled upon clumps of mascara, a really cute beauty blog, with a review of the product from september.

3. on the rocks is how i felt after watching too much a.m. housewife television

tv is a reality-competition clustercuss. the today show featured the winner of a show called "on the rocks." it's an online series competition that seeks to find the best bartender in the country...riveting, i'm sure. anyway, in comparison to the mayonnaise and mascara, winner joe brooke was something nice to look at, all bow-tied and vested out for the holidays. his eggnog by the glass used raw egg, which then reminded me of mayonnaise again, but he redeemed himself with his winning bartender shake and by the fact that he didn't want to put spikes in my eyes (only in my drinks). he mixed up a pretty scrumptious looking concoction dubbed the "linus," as seen below.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Friday, November 27, 2009

3 Things

I've got it good. I asked for 3 simple things for my birthday this year, and even though the actual day has not come to pass quite yet, I was able to collect the following goodies:

1. The Raconteurs, Consolers of the Lonely
Given my penchant for anything Jack White (read: massive crush) it's a bit surprising even to me that it took me this long to get The Raconteurs' 2008 release. I enjoyed 2006's Broken Boy Soldiers and would like to blame living in Japan for my lack of knowledge about the wonder that is Consolers of the Lonely. Everyone appreciates an album in which flipping from track to track is not only needless, it's just plain stupid. This is one of those albums for me. I've listened to it straight through several times and can't even begin to choose favorites. Now if I can only wait for It Might Get Loud to come out on DVD next month and for a widespread release of Under Great White Northern Lights.

2. The Women (1939)
Please, if you for one second thought I was referring to the 2008 remake...ugh.
This is the real deal. Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, and Joan Fontaine, and Paulette Goddard prove that films don't need leading men to keep them afloat. Brilliant dialogue...
Mrs. Moorehead: Well, cheer up, Mary; living alone has its compensations. Heaven knows it's marvelous being able to spread out in bed like a swastika.

3. Jilbere Hot Rollers (available at Sally Beauty Supply)
In the hopes of creating curls in the manner of Rita Hayworth...

Coming soon...dirty martinis and Christmas card crafting!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In the NY Times this week, Tony Perrottet writes of his gastornomic journey through Paris, following in the footsteps of Zagat-precursor and palate du jour Alexandre-Balthazar-Laurent Grimod de la Reynière. I may not be much of a Francophile, nor do I know the difference between a Sauce Bordelaise and a Sauce Bechamel (the chefs over at food lorists do a lovely job of explaining...), but Perrottet's article serves as a stark reminder of the fact that there are jobs (his) out there that beg the question "Why can't I get paid to eat in Paris?"

Though it was impossible for Perrottet to follow Grimod's 19th century guide to Parisenne cuisine to a tee (most of the places are no longer in existence, save Napoleon's official chocolatier), he was able to visit many establishments that have been around since the 18th century.

After reading the account, I wondered what similar historical paths of consumption could be taken through other cities. Though culinary writers akin to Grimod were few and far between over a century ago, I'm sure that as the restaurant developed into an important social and class marking establishment, those with the means could make a hobby out of becoming knowledgeable about dining out. There was a distinct difference made between being able to make food artfully and being able to consume it so. The foodie was born.

Obviously in the US, one can only go so far back. Business Week has a story on the longest-running restaurants in the US. Some have not been run as restaurants continuously, so the one that has, Union Oyster House in Boston (est. 1826), likes to claim the title as the oldest restaurant in the US.

Outside of the US, Restaurante Botin claims the Guiness World Record for the world's oldest restaurant, as it was founded in 1725. The War of Spanish Succession had just ended in 1714, Philip V, the first Bourbon ruler, had just been replaced by his son Loius I, the Enlightenment was proliferating, and people were hungry.

Surprisingly, good ol' New York Deli (est. 1929) in Carytown takes the title of oldest restaurant in Richmond, I guess as the longest continually running dining spot. It must be quite a feat to keep a restaurant going for a hundred years in Richmond, or anywhere for that matter.

Friday, November 20, 2009

back in black

it's reality tv...someone always has to be the bad girl/guy.
season 6 of project runway ended last night with irina as the winner. in spite of her being portrayed as catty and spiteful, i thought her mostly-black collection deserved the win. her attention to detail and innovation in a season that was very lacking in ambition in comparison to previous seasons created a dark, tough look with a lot of pieces my closet is begging for.

i especially like the 11th look (third to last) and the felt hats.
however, i'd be happy if she and all other designers steer clear of ridiculously oversized knits and of course anything using real fur.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


stripe strap dress and funnel neck herringbone coat from top shop

octopus locket from cosmicfirefly and genova locket (above) from japonica on etsy.

singin in the rain - just watched it for the first time ever and have concluded, yet again, that life should be a musical.

after watching a few friends play call of duty: modern warfare 2 for about 10 minutes i filled my video game quota for this year. but this artist's movement of video game designers is pretty promising.


competitive yoga - gross americanization?

they had to stop the north pole, alaska letters to santa program because it turns out one of the volunteers was a registered sex offender. sentiments below.

Monday, November 16, 2009

the 00's and billy collins

i just linked this ny times article on facebook regarding how to name the soon closing decade. no one has seemed to come up with anything extraordinarily catchy or encompassing yet. as some thinkers in the article point out, it seems quite characteristic of us (meaning we of the developed world who have the power to establish rhetoric of historic consequence) to even want to try and create a retrospect on something that we are inherently still a part of.

vh1's "i love the 90s"came out in 2004. even vh1 offered a 4 year grace period before trying to encapsulate an entire 10 year period (that is very near and dear to me) in pop-culture snippets.

though it's really just a fluff piece, i appreciate the article for referencing 2001-2003 poet leaureate billy collins. i had never heard of billy before reading the opening stanza of "nostalgia," but here it is in its entirety:

Remember the 1340's? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
and at night we would play a game called "Find the Cow."
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.

Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet
marathons were the rage. We used to dress up in the flags
of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle
while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent a badly broken code.

The 1790's will never come again. Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills
and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking.
Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft.
We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead.

I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821.
Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits.
And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment,
time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps,
or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me
recapture the serenity of last month when we picked
berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe.

Even this morning would be an improvement over the present.
I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees
and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light
flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse
and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.

As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

balloon boy

the new york times revisits albert lamorisse's classic 1956 short about a real balloon boy.
see it here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


alan powdrill's photographic ode to the mustache... slideshow here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

keep the conspiracy alive

now, i'm not one to go around talking a lot of crazy - roswell, the moon landing as a hoax, or mini mics and cameras in the new DTV boxes. while these ideas are fun to entertain and may or may not have some truth to them, conspiracy theorists don't really get the time of day.

however, after years of repeated viewings of oliver stone's JFK, combined with history channel documentaries and further readings, the kennedy assination will always hold a special place in my heart.

that's why holly ramer's article in the huffington post caused me to pause and reflect on my deep-seated belief that no, oswald was not and could not have been acting alone. ramer discusses the recent findings of hany farid, a photographic analysist, who has used software to determine that the famous photo of oswald in his backyard, packing a rifle in one hand and communist leaflets in the other, is in fact real. my co-conspirators will know that for years, everyone has been claiming that this photo was created as evidence against oswald, and that mis-matching shadows and light-sources were the dead giveaways of its contrived nature.

my explanation: assume the picture is real. no big deal. no one is saying oswald wasn't involved with communists and it seems likely that he would enjoy having his picture taken in this manner, as a kind of middle finger to the government. the photo was brought to light when it was found and chosen as a poster for oswald by the government and press, serving its purpose to portray oswald as a violent communist/lunatic.
conspiracy intact.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

your english is good

an email from one of my former students...she is a first year high school student, so about 15 years old, and has been studying English for 4 years. in her defense, she is a very smart, dedicated student who has just as much, if not more ability and motivation to learn English than other students might have.

"Hi! I am very enjoying high school. I decision to go England at March.For 3week.I am nervous now.So I study English hard.Please give me advice.And please tell me a sentence mistakes."

so, why do students start learning English at age 13? why do they focus on testing and limit the amount of practical, usable English learned? this article sums up a lot of what i think. it's from 2 years ago and still holds true. oh dear.

i needed this. i still do.

although these suitcases would have been really handy en route and back to japan, i'll hopefully have more travels in the future when i need to stop for a rest.

they turn into a sofa, i mean c'mon!
after this, i want my backpack to have a built in back-massager and i'm going to ask for christmas gifts from skymall magazine exclusively.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the early bird

i guess most people who have trouble sleeping usually face their problem on the front end of sleep; they can't fall asleep at night. sometimes i have the opposite problem, waking up earlier than i'd like to. but sometimes early morning is a secret and the light and quiet and chill is different than any other time of day.

haiku for the north trail

yellow leaves contrast
the darkened earth and timber
moist from last night's rain

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

i wish...

...i was in dublin that night. jack white waxed philosophical on music at trinity college last week. read the article at nme here. just imagine the bad acoustics if they used the library for a concert venue at night...

i am somebody

god sesame street is amazing.

also, look how young jesse jackson is!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


so we started the day off in the salon with a bit of drama. now usually, salon drama is relegated to sassiness between stylists, etc., but this was unfortunately a case of real-life honest-to-god drama.

this poor girl came in for a consultation. she went to a different salon yesterday where she had a truly horrifying experience. her hair was dyed a mid-brown shade upon entering the salon and she wanted to go completely blonde. now, i hate to say it, but most people know that it's nearly impossible to get a brunette to go completely blonde in a day. either you're going to end up with a light brown and/or greenish shade or your hair is going to fry. she experienced the latter.

the people (idiots?) at the other salon left bleach/chemicals on her hair for 6-7 hours (!!!). what she ended up with was fried hair that soon thereafter started falling out in clumps. she woke up that night with some itchiness on the back of her head only to find that they had missed rinsing out some of the bleach! that's when she made the appointment to come to our place, where she had been before. basically, she can do conditioning treatments to try to restore the hair in the meantime and in a couple of weeks they can try to recolor her back to a mid-brown (or whatever color they can get to stick). but there's no telling what will happen in the meantime.

i'm pretty sure she will be seeking legal action against the other salon, as their actions are definitely considered gross negligence. i can't imagine what she must be feeling as she documents the case for legal purposes, saving plastic bags of hair and taking photos of her head to be used later in court.

no one knows what salon she went to and i doubt i'll ever find out. craziness...

love love love

nico vega

why didn't i know about this band sooner?
video for "burn burn" here.
playing at the red and black, washington dc, december 7 w/ inward eye and neon trees.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

like the exorcist but more breakdancing

no, i didn't come up with that title line myself, it's the name of murder by death's 2002 release. i caught them play last night at the national with the measure,the loved ones, and the gaslight anthem. lucky me, this was not my first mbd experience, as i saw the indiana act play at the black cat in dc in 2005 and in dublin, ireland in 2006 with against me!.

so, after three shows, i feel fully prepared to declare the following:

5 reasons why murder by death own:

1. concept albums
it's a dying art and one that has not been lost on this band. mbd have tied together spaghetti western, coal-mining town, and homeric themes across their discography, adding yet another layer to already complex and moving music.

2. cello
more specifically, sarah balliet. if you've ever seen the band perform, you know what I'm saying. she has a very enchanting, hypnotic presence and switches effortlessly between the cello and keyboard onstage. i do believe she could take yo yo ma in a knifefight.

3. instrumentals
don't get me wrong, i would let vocalist adam turla sing to me 24 hours a day if he was cool with that, but mbd isn't afraid to let the music speak without words as well, offering several 6+ minute instrumentals that showcase their songwriting ability. they also just completed an instrumental soundtrack to sci-fi author jeff vandemeer's newest book "finch."

4. cash seances
basically, adam turla's vocals may be the closest thing to johnny cash since, well, johnny cash. but don't be mistaken, turla has his own style that is cash-esque without turning into a tribute.

5. humility
nothing turns me off more than a band who knows how awesome they are and act as if they are god's gift to rock and roll. mbd are far from this and I always got a (i hate to put it this way) good "vibe" from the parts of their personalities that shine through both onstage and off. just read the tour diary and a few interviews and you'll see what I mean.

Monday, October 19, 2009

post-wedding weekend weariness

as much as i'd like to write a "what i learned from throwing a wedding" post, i fortunately cannot do that. i can, however, tell you about successfully surviving (and perhaps even flourishing) as a wedding guest. in case you didn't know, my roommates tess and dan got married this weekend. and in case you also didn't know, they're kind of a big deal. sadly, this doesn't make me a big deal by housing situation-friend default. it has given me the chance to meet a lot of great people and be in on a lot of what's going on in richmond. their wedding at the byrd theater in carytown this saturday was no exception.

now, i am not giving the following advice with any kind of authority. in fact, i haven't been to a wedding since i was about 7 years old. but, after attending a pretty rockin party, i'd like to present a few pointers for you future knot-tying witnesses...

1. wear a hat.
i am hat-obsessed and desperately wish that daily head-toppings would come back into vogue. but seeing as there aren't many "appropriate" forums for wearing formal hats these days, take full advantage of weddings to don your pillboxes and bowlers. come to think of it, that last wedding i attended, in 1992? wearing a hat.
baseball caps need not apply.
i like etsy's emerald diamond, but got my hat at bygone's in richmond.

2. don't feel obliged to bring a date.
i hesitated when writing the "1" by number of guests on the rsvp. "should i find someone to bring?" i thought. but once the dance party commenced, i was very happy to not feel obligated to dance with one person all night, or to worry about why he was hitting on the bride's grandma, etc...which leads to tip #3.

3. dance.
tess and dan were all about the new dj - "a friend and an ipod" which turned out beautifully for everyone involved. no electric slide. no bad requests. no clueless dude fumbling through a 300-CD case, trying to wipe scratches away on his t-shirt. just whatever get down tunes the bride and groom deem worthy. npr knows what's up.

4. don't have work the next morning.
though i partied like the alarm wasn't going to go off at 6:50, it did, ringing like a gong inside of my brain. 1 cafe americano, 2 cups of coffess, 3 glasses of water, and four hours later, when my shift was over, i found myself happiliy reviving my soul with brunch at ipanema. i'm beginning to think that brunch at ipanema could possibly save the world. it also makes a newbie truly feel like a richmonder.

everyone asked tess and dan why they didn't throw parties like that more often, and i happily concur.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

love to hate you hollywood

in the cycle of annual film releases, mid-october is the most joyful and sometimes agonizing time for studios and viewers alike as the holiday cycle gets underway. hollywood is full of rumors, usually related to who else has joined scientology or who got a new face last week, and movie blogs are abuzz with the latest on what is and isn't in the makes for the next year.
when i lived in japan, i had little interest in what movies were successes or failures and in what was coming soon because japan gets u.s. releases about 6-8 months after the fact. anything i paid $20 to see (yes, $20) was going to be old news anyway, so i might as well just wait to rent it online.

so, in rewarming an interest in the choices that hollywood makes, here is some of the news that brings about reactions such as jumping for joy, dry-heaving, or shaking a head in quiet disapproval:

1. A 2010 Poltergeist remake - Really?...I'll say that again. Really? Why? Give me one good reason. I mean the original was actually cursed for god's sake, how can it get any scarier than that?

2. Gus Van Sant and Bret Easton Ellis are working together. I expect nothing less than greatness.

3. There is a Three Stooges movie in the works. At first, the goofy trio was set to be Sean Penn, Jim Carrey, and Benecio del Toro. Now, it's rumored that Paul Giamatti is replacing Penn (I fully support this swap) and that Carrey may or may not be involved. This whole concept seems very weird.

4. Ghostbusters 3 is real. Still, if Ramis, Aykryod, Murray, and Hudson aren't in, neither am I. I will approach it with skepticism, however, as I did the newest Indiana Jones film, so as to not walk away with my dreams completely crushed.

5. In the near future, check out: The Wolfman, Nobody, The Maid, Leslie My Name Is Evil and
Youth In Revolt.
Finally, if you're in Richmond October 30, the Byrd Theater will be showing The Exorcist.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

adieu unemployment

well, for those of you who haven't been counting, it has been exactly 88 days since my last paid day of labor. 88 days of coffeeshops, cover letters, miniature quarter-life crises, and cats. (yes, cats. an old friend moved on and a new, psychotic one was made). alas, today is the last day and to celebrate, i figured i would properly spend the afternoon doing what i've been doing many a free weekday afternoon - drinking coffee.

starting tomorrow, i will rejoin the ranks of the work force, bravely scheduling hair appointments, dusting merchandise shelves, blending smoothies, and serving the beautification-seekers of richmond at the front desk of one of the city's salon/spas.

in june, the la times ran this article about "funemployment," the newly and often proudly carried title of college grads who have embraced their time off as a new beginning, a period of self discovery. yekits over at the funemployment blog recently also found work, bringing that site to an apparent close.
R.I.P. Buttons and spending hours sampling different roasts and writing "Dear Sir or Madam, I am writing in regards to the open position..." letters

Monday, October 12, 2009

the blue tattoo

just finished reading "the blue tattoo." it's margot mifflin's account of the life of olive oatman, a pioneer woman who spent several years of her adolescence with the mohave indians after most of her family was murdered en route westward to california.

to be honest, i had never heard of the oatman family until randomly coming across this book. like many others intrigued by the story, it was olive's distinctive facial tattoos that caught my attention. mifflin goes into detail about the way in which the tattoos caught olive between two worlds after she returned to a life within white, anglo culture. read on history buffs, read on.

ahoy maties!

do you like embarassing moments involving japanese people? if so, you may like pirates of the dotombori. some of my friends in osaka have been doing improv, flash mob, and stunts of the like in osaka for a while now. they've even appeared on asahi tv.

for anyone who has not lived in japan, the idea behind all of this is that it is often expected for foreigners to not follow social protocol, especially in public situations. play the "giajin" card, as they say. p.o.t.d. take this to the limit, using props and nerve to act out in public. let's enjoy funny together!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

oh the horror

there have been so many exhaustive lists of horror films - the great, the blah, the cheesy, the bloody, the stupid - and being only a semi-amateur in the realm of goredom, i won't embarrass myself by trying to compile yet another list of what should or shouldn't be on anyone's netflix this month. instead, i'd like to present a list chock-full of personal anticipation -

THE TOP 5 HORROR MOVIES I HAVEN'T SEEN (in no particular order, reasons provided)

1. Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli, 2007)
Why? Hype!
It's as simple as that. Post-Blair Witch Project, we can all agree that a combination of word of mouth, combined with teasing those of us who didn't live in a very small number of select opening cities and midnight-only showings can produce incredibly fertile viewing grounds. Luckily, I'll be satisfying my curiosity at Movieland tonight.

2. The People Under The Stairs (Wes Craven, 1991)
Why? Childhood curiosity.
My best childhood friend saw it when we were about 10 years old and wouldn't stop talking about it. Somehow I never had a chance to watch it but her descriptions stuck with me. Of course, everything is scarier to a 10 year old, so I'm sure that watching it for the first time as a 23 year old may make for a different viewing experience.

3. Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero, 1968)/Day of the Dead (George A. Romero, 1985)
Why? Credibility.
Because anyone pretending to have any authority regarding horror movies should have seen these movies already. I feel like a sommelier who has never sipped a merlot. Be an expert on pinots, chardonnays, and savignons, but you'll seem foolish not knowing shit about merlot.

4. Dead Alive (Peter Jackson, 1992)
Why? Cover art.
I remember seeing the cover for this VHS at Blockbuster as a kid and it freaked me out. I don't like the idea of scary things in my mouth and a creepy little skull is no exception. The image stuck with me and now that I know how cultish and satirical this film actually is, I think I would stomach the over-the-top gore to check it out.

5. Audition (Takeshi Miike, 1999)
Why? Face your fears.
I've been avoiding this movie for a long time. Ive known about it, I've watched other Japanese horror films (Ringu, Ju-on, Jisatsu Sakuru, Battle Royale (horror?)), and I heard about how freaky this movie is. it sounded just freaky enough to make me say hesitantly, "Eh, maybe some other time." but I believe the time has come to face my fears. I mean c'mon, when IMDB trivia tells us, "When the film was screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival 2000 it had a record number of walkouts. At the Swiss premiere someone passed out and needed emergency room attention" that either makes you want to say YES! or OH DEAR! and up until now I've been an OH DEAR! so from now on - YES!

not scary enough? check out two of my favorite long-time horror flick blogs, HorrorsNotDead and The Vault of Horror ( for endless ideas for your own movie wish lists.

don't get all phily on me

so would a hibernophite or a taphophite like this picture?
so, i recently wrote an email to a friend in which i used the word "historophile" without really knowing whether or not it is a real word. alas, i'm pretty sure i might have made up the synonym for "history buff." but a quick look at the suffix -phile and all of its splendor. here's a quick quiz...don't scroll down 'till you've guessed some answers!

1. oenophiliac
2. taphophiliac
3. turophiliac
4. hibernophiliac
A. someone who loves cheese
B. someone who loves Ireland/Irish culture
C. someone who loves wine
D. someone who loves graves/cemeteries

got it?
1. C, 2. D, 3. A, 4. B
so the answer to the first question's a cemetary in galway, ireland.

also, FINALLY, i am slowly but surely uploading all pics to picasa (thank you google for getting the software right this time), so please 'em out HERE

Saturday, October 10, 2009

richmond folk fest part 2 - art

successfully supported my love for day of the dead art when i met arlington-based artist david amoroso. (he's on facebook too...) amoroso had a beautiful our lady shrine set up, surrounded by mural-style paintings explaining various religious rites.RVA magazine did a piece on amoroso last december when some of his works were featured during first fridays.

it's taken a while for me to put any pictures up from my newly decorated room, but keeping in the dia de los muertos theme, here are 2 of my favorite things - handpainted tiles i got in california. the skeleton i got about 5 years ago in san francisco. it's by a mexican artist named ramos lucano. more of his works can be bought here.the swallow is from the gift shop at the san juan capistrano mission, socal.

richmond folk fest part 1 - music

headed to richmond's second annual folk festival, a free event featuring over 4 different stages of music, as well as virginia folklife and crafts booths. i was able to catch a wide-range of acts, from french-canadian and irish fiddlers, to indian slide guitarists, to tuvan throat band.
fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahill were among those performing...

on my way out, I happened upon Khogzhumchu, a Tuvan throat singing band. If you're like me, and I'm assuming most people in the audience, I wasn't even aware of the region (federal subject of Russia to be exact) of Tuva and (thank you Wikipedia.)The combination of stringed instruments, percussion, and incredible vocals created a haunting, though sometimes upbeat, sound. Khogzhumchu was captivating and I kept getting the feeling that I was witnessing something important just watching them play.
I couldn't find a website for Khogzhumchu, but I found a similar band, Huun Huur Tu with audio samples.
everything looks cooler in cyrillic.

Friday, October 9, 2009

nice 'fro

i love documentaries. usually about anything. "good hair" will be no exception.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

i believe that i do have a pretty adventurous palate and yes, i grew up in an environment in which not at least trying something once was an abomination.

upon some bad advice i received a while back, i hadn't yet tried ethiopian food. the bad advice was that "the bread you eat it with is the consistency of stingray skin. cold, wet and slimy, it's gross." this had led the advice-giver and myself to repeatedly avoid ethiopian restaurants...indefinitely.

but today a new dining companion and i headed to Nile Ethiopian Restaurant near VCU and i was pleasantly surprised to have a great all-veg meal of various legumes and and veggies. and yes, we ate sans utensils, using the "stingray skin" (it is called injera) to pick up our food. yes, it was cold, but i wouldn't say slimy or wet. delish.

Friday, September 25, 2009

don't get the wrong idea

everyone loves a wedding, right?

though there won't be bells ringing anytime soon in my future, i know a lot of people who have gotten married recently or are getting married soon. a lot of people talk about little girl fantasies of big white weddings, some people stick to them, others opt for nontraditional ceremonies and celebrations. for some reason, when i think about my wedding "fantasy," well, it just isn't. i don't really recall images of what my special day would or wouldn't look like, though i do remember holding a few ceremonies of my own for mr. and mrs. bear, witnessed by duck-duck, goose-goose, doggie, and horsey. location: my bedroom, date: around 1992, presided by: yours truly.

anyway, i've taken to checking out offbeat bride every now and then, happily revelling in the fact that there are a lot of women and men out there who are uncontent with social expectations put upon brides and grooms these days. it is definitely eye candy for those of us who lack our own bridal aspirations. see dita von teese mixing up color schemes above.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

sadly still relevant

Johann Hari wrote a great reaction to his assignment of covering this year's London Fashion Week in the Huffington Post.

Having read Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth (1991) this year, Hari points out correctly and sadly that a lot of what Wolf had to say about the control over women's images still rings true today. Sure, we've had challenges to certain stereotypes over the last eighteen years, but there are still narrow and sharply defined lines drawn around what a woman should and should not be.

I guess designer Mark Fast's choice (photo above) to use three "average" sized models at this year's show was a step in the right direction, albiet a tiny step in a field that seems to do much more to make women feel empty rather than celebrate women's strength, diversity, and intelligence. Unlike some other recent international fashion weeks (most notably Madrid), London does not require health checks for models.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Helter Skelter

I had been meaning to read Helter Skelter for years now (or since my freshman year of high school, amid my serial killer/horror movie obsession phase...) but didn't get around to it until recently. I browsed through the 50 cent and 1 dollar books at the public library near Boulder, CO where my friend works and found pal's bf Jon picked up a tattered copy of HS, "How about this?" I grabbed the book from him, borrowed 50 cents (how sad?) and dove into LA district attorney Vincent Bugliosi's account of the events of 1969.

This past August was the 40th anniversary of the Tate-LaBianca murders and as someone who did not live to see or hear the sensationalism surrounding the case, I was interested to learn the details behind that infamous image of Charlie with crazed eyes and an X carved into the center of his forehead.
After finishing the book, I started watching the History Channel's new docudrama "Manson," which combined interviews with several ex-Family members and Bugliosi with dramatized versions of the events unfolding. We've come a long way from "Unsolved Mysteries" kids. And not necessarily in a good way...I wanted to see a lot more of the interviews and a lot less of the acting. All I can say is don't skip the book for the TV version.
Learning about the Manson family murders brought about some reflection on the desensitization of my generation because in spite of Bugliosi's stresses on the grusome nature of the crimes, images from movies like Saw and Hostel flashed through my mind while flipped through the whilted-out images of bodies at the crime scenes. Would the Manson murders be as shocking to this generation as they were to the last? Of course I'm not diminishing the horror of the acts; the Family killed a lot of people in cold blood, without remorse, including a very pregnant Sharon Tate. But have our opinions of what is shocking shifted over time?
In addition to the 40th anniversary of the crimes, the Family have been in the news again recently when a dying Susan Atkins aka Sadie Mae Glutz was turned down for parole again. She was asking to be released out of mrecy because she is dying of a brain tumor.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Room of One's Own

Ms. Woolf was on to something...finally finished getting all of my stuff up the narrow stairs in the 1907 Richmond house. Thanks Mom. It's looking pretty good so far...

I meant to put before/after pics of the dresser I refinished ($30 at a garage sale). I sanded, painted the edges black, painted everything something white with a name like French meringue and sanded the edges again to let the black how through.

Pictures have been hung and I redid the inside of great grandma's old trunk with this dia de los muertos fabric:

Anyway, pics to come once Dad returns my camera to me.

Last night, I went to the University of Richmond for a free film showing of El bano de Papa, or "The Pope's Toilet." The film hails from Uruguay and is about a poor town's preparations for the visit of Pope John Paul II. The director, Enrique Fernandez is from the town of Melo, where the story takes place, and he is able to capture the disheartening sentiment of Melo's residents beautifully.

Until a run and a bike ride yesterday, I had forgotten how much I really love Richmond. It's great to be in a place with a thriving local scene of music, art, food, and community. The history of the city is exuded on every street and after being home from Japan for over a month, it's definitely bringing out the Virginia pride in me...

Heading down to Williamsburg today for a birthday celebration for Mom. In the name of all things Anglophile, what better way to celebrate than with a proper tea service at Taste Tea Salon? Speaking of tea, check out Christine Misiak's beautiful Original Recycled tea sets. I'll take the turquiose one please.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


great site with user-contributed vintage photography.
what i can't get over is the incredible quality of all of the images. most, if not all, are high-definition. that's richmond above, circa 1905.
don't just sit there...shorpy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

thanksgiving in september

today i'd like to give thanks to a few silly little things that have entered my life (in no particular order)...

1. oh sleeper's newly released album, "son of the night." former bandmembers of between the buried and me, as cities burn, and terminal have made a great sophomore album. i have never listened to their debut, "when i am god" (2007), but "son of the night" leaves little room for improvement.
oh sleeper on myspaceat the norva october 1 with every time i die and bring me the horizon

2. military jackets and upcoming fall weather. looking forward to jackets, vests, tights, boots and of course, hoodies...the one below is from forever 21

3. nasoya's silken creations. vegan puddingy goodness. there are lots of ways to use these in dessert recipes, but i'm pretty much hooked on eating it straight out of the package. if it does reach a bowl, frozen bananas and granola make for a great parfait.