Friday, November 30, 2007

Sonic youth

A colleague let me know about this awesome Tegan and Sara mashup, engineered by the venerable Party Ben. In other sonic news: I attended a lovely, intimate, candlelit show tonight at 20/20 Cycle, where performances by Sweet Potatoes, Shana Cleveland, and others were broadcast live, as far as I know, on Hollow Earth Radio, a local endeavor I'm told should become my New Favorite Radio Station in short order.

And on a more visual note, I went to the Found Footage Festival last night with Angela, and it was one of the best things I've done all year. Seriously. Rapping Jewish grannies, rapping pregnant women in aerobics outfits, crazy shopping-network salesmen (see below), a really, really angry RV salesman, and a Chicago children's program I'll never forget as long as I live -- and I haven't even mentioned "How to Seduce Women," a video that suggests seduction via hypnosis! Truly amazing. Wherever you are, if this show comes to your town, push Jewish grannies and pregnant women out of the way to see it, if that's what it takes.

I am a winner

Saturday, November 24, 2007

If you squint really hard...

The guy on the right whose name you can't make out is Nicholas Brendon, also known as Xander from Buffy. I'm particularly pleased with Saget and Spader. You know I'm about ready to head back home when I start doing this to pass the time. Or perhaps you know that I'm almost 3,000 words behind on my NaNoWriMo novel.

My mom has entered the 21st century

She can now watch DVDs on a 26-inch HDTV. Funny how the stores are totally empty the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but some of the Friday bargains are still hanging around, looking at you with pleading eyes. "Buy me!" they shout. "Buy me!"

Friday, November 23, 2007

My street: Capitol Hill's new crime center


The perfect Detroit day

Recently picked up a book (at Bailey/Coy, I think) that listed 50 cities and described a perfect day in each, according to travel writers who know those cities well. I think I experienced my perfect Detroit day today. Got up late, ate breakfast, and played Scrabble with our geeky new Onyx Edition board, then went with my mother to Greektown, where we had a fabulous lunch at New Hellas (the perfect lunch: saganaki, Greek salad, and Hellas' unbelievable spinach pie. Honestly, far too many Greek restaurants, including basically all of them in Seattle, seem to consider spinach pie an excellent way to get rid of a lot of excess phyllo dough. But you know what? Here's what a spinach pie should really be about: spinach and cheese. (And, yes, lots of oil and salt.) And New Hellas, and most every other place in Greektown, knows this. And acts accordingly. So the spinach pie has a delicate, slightly soggy (from all the oil!) layer of phyllo on top, and another even soggier one on the bottom. And between them, nothing but delicious spinach and cheese. Mmmm...

After this heavenly lunch, we went to the Detroit Institute of the Arts' Grand Opening Weekend, which was amazing and very inspiring, considering how far the museum has come. The main lobby was full of glittery paper circles hung from the ceiling, and people were fencing in front of an audience. (They weren't dueling over a lady; presumably they were paid to be there.) We checked our coats and went to the Julie Mehretu exhibit, which was cool and involved one of the biggest canvases I've seen in a long time. Then it was on to the modern and contemporary sections, which were fantastic -- especially the modern stuff, including a beautiful Georges Seurat piece with a painted frame and lots of Spanish works, including Picasso and Miró. After seeing a fair bit of art and inspecting the gift shop, we headed to Kresge Court to sip mint-tarragon tea and listen to a jazz trio perform. The whole place was lit with candles. Just lovely. Finally, we left the museum and drove home... for two more games of Scrabble! And here I am now. If there's a more perfect Detroit day out there, I'm not sure I want to know about it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Recent writings

Shameless self-promotion is what blogs are all about, right? If it's any consolation, now you can tease me about Talk Like a Pirate Day basically forever.

I survived Thanksgiving!

I didn't even overeat! Yes, I know that's kind of the point of Thanksgiving, but I've done it enough in past years. I actually managed to have pie without feeling like an overfilled car tire.

The parade this morning was nice; it wasn't even that cold out, though it did snow at the outset. Best float: a three-part ode to The Wizard of Oz. I'll put some pictures on the blog just as soon as I'm back in Seattle and have my camera-computer connector cord.

In the meantime, here's a nice way to kill, oh, the next three days of the weekend. Free Rice!

And in case you're feeling cynical, don't. (Of course, if you... are thinking... of going... into this house... don't do that either. Common sense.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkeys made of turkey

They're so passé.

Happy almost-Thanksgiving, everyone!

Some more Vancouver snapshots, and my new movie obsessions

Angela and I had to do a whole lot of window-shopping on Granville Island before I could buy a tiny container of maple syrup. Here she is at the beginning of our leisurely Saturday:

Here's Vancouver from the water taxi:

Here's a dog tied to a pole, in the Dogblog tradition:

Time now to move on to my new cinematic fixation: the J.J. Abrams-produced monster movie Cloverfield, which looks, to use a technical term I learned as a movie critic, totally bad-ass. Also, as Geoff and I discovered yesterday, if you watch the newest Cloverfield trailer while listening to this YouTube video of Christmas lights coordinated with music from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, they line up almost exactly, and hilarity ensues. (Open two windows simultaneously, with one in each; TSO will start sooner, so pause them both and make them start at the same time for maximum wonderfulness.) Memo to J.J. Abrams: Consider incorporating TSO into the next wave of Cloverfield marketing madness.

Going to the Thanksgiving parade downtown tomorrow; we get fancy grandstand seats because of the scholarship fund my mom set up in honor of my dad. I look forward to watching the giant balloon animals make their way down Woodward. (Come to think of it, I'm not certain whether Chilly Willy even still exists. Sigh.)

P.S. Watched Orange County on the plane. Not all that good, but Schuyler Fisk is definitely my new movie-star girlfriend.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Vancouver, B.C.

Spent the weekend there with Angela.

This fruit tart actually tasted even better than it looks. I got it at a lovely bakery on Granville Island, Vancouver's answer to Pike Place Market. The bakery is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and, like certain other Vancouver things, makes Seattle seem a bit lacking.

Apologies for the quick post. I'll post more Vancouver pictures, and link to NWsource's big appearance on "Evening Magazine," just as soon as I'm able.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Pugoween: A video retrospective

In other news, today I stopped into the highly controversial Red Balloon Co. store on 15th for the second time. And this time, my friends, I was a customer. I bought a pound of Jelly Belly jellybeans for my friend Maria's birthday, and I have to say, the guys working the place were pretty damn nice, and an incident wherein a little girl picked out a purple balloon and a purple ribbon/string for it, as her parents and baby brother watched in love and admiration, was something out of Norman Rockwell.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

NaNoWriMo begins!

Yes, National Novel Writing Month has begun, and I've dutifully written my first 1,800 words, though I can't access the site because, hey, it's the first day and everyone is trying to do the same thing. That's okay, though. My plan this year is to use last year's writing pattern -- around 1,700 words a day, and not too much above or below the magic number. My goal is to write nearly every day, so writing becomes a natural part of each day and it feels weird when I don't do it. I'm excited that at least two friends who completed novels last year are giving it a try again this time. And if you're reading this and hadn't considered the possibility... it's not too late! The weekend is nearly upon us, which means ample time for catching up.

Got some cool links from friends today, including Japander, an invaluable collection of Asian ads made by American celebrities to make a quick buck where (they presumably hope) no one who regularly pays attention to them will notice their work. And from pandering to pandas: Emily sent me this link to a story about bears whose affection knows almost no bounds. (The link seems to be acting up; see if it loads on your computer, and if not, let me know.) And then there's this amazing array of sidewalk-art optical illusions.

I'm pretty enamored of the Capitol Hill blog these days (see sidebar link), and a recent post hit particularly close to home -- kind of literally. Believe it or not, nearly a week after its arrival at the bus stop, the chair is still there. Except that now it has a tiny (empty) Jaegermeister bottle adorning its comfy cushion.

I'm taking guitar lessons, by the way. It's reminding me how much a person has to practice just to be decent at an instrument. I haven't played any instrument since high school (oboe), and even then, under the pressure of band class and various solo and ensemble festivals, I was a rather woeful non-practicer. Hopefully I can solidify my knowledge of the mystical G, D, and C chords this week, and can also practice my scales and the four-string figure that starts Iron & Wine's "Naked As We Came," which is my first melodic assignment. In case you're interested, here's my teacher.