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.