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.