Thursday, July 31, 2008

I text, therefore I am... a danger to society

Today's P-I story certainly hits close to home:
Two other pedestrians, Sarah Polachek, 21, and Emily Crawford, 22, both said their friends walked into poles and swerved their cars while texting, but wouldn't admit to having any accidents themselves. In fact, both condemned continuous texters.

"They think they can sense everything around them while texting, but they're oblivious," Crawford said. "For them, texting takes priority over safety."

Polachek took her disapproval a step further.

"I think texting is impersonal and stupid," she said. "It gets on my nerves."
In other news, the latest McCain attack ad is awful.

I can haz Marin Larkspur

Ain't she sweet? With Emily's accident starting July and the Critical Massacre ending it, my timing couldn't be more questionable. But hey, I like to bike, and this baby rides like a dream. If anybody wants to join me for a two-wheeled excursion, please let me know posthaste.

Facebook + Shakespeare =

This. And oh, how I love it!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Loved City of God, really liked The Constant Gardener. And I'm a total sucker for high-concept, arty stuff like this.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I went sailing last weekend on Lake Union

Forgot to mention that. It was nice, though I was very drowsy. I've lived here since January of 2002, and only now do I make it out on the water in high style. The photo above is of another sailboat, the Sydney Anna. I liked the cut of her jib.

Stop the presses! Men have body-image issues, too!

Articles like this one are both encouraging and frustrating for me. It's great that someone is addressing this, but the "Believe it or not!" tone saddens me. This has been my reality for as long as I can remember, so the notion that most people wouldn't imagine it could possibly be true strikes me as ridiculous and a bit depressing. Nonetheless, better an article that paints it as a fresh new problem than no articles at all. (Want a real tour de force on the subject? Pick up William Leith's The Hungry Years.)

R.I.P., Scrabulous on Facebook

Sad. What will I do with all my extra time?

Another bike incident on the Hill

While Emily's accident didn't get any press, the car vs. bike incident on Aloha involving Critical Mass sure did. Whether the driver was the victim or the bad guy all depends on what you read.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I ♥ the "American Teen" soundtrack

It's such an indie-pop/indie-rock feast. What I love is that some tracks, like Black Kids' "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You," have a built-in '80s sound (especially the synth-powered intro), nicely echoing the poster's Breakfast Club allusion and the whole John Hughes mini-genre in general. There's such a great mix of danceable rock stuff (the Ting Tings' "Great DJ," Does It Offend You, Yeah?'s "Dawn of the Dead" -- the latter also, to my ears, an '80s throwback) and glassier, more introspective pop songs (Sunny Day Sets Fire's eerie "Lack of View," the terrific Jason Bentley remix of Frou Frou's "Breathe In," which adds welcome layers to an already layered song). Even if you haven't seen the movie, you might consider grabbing a few of these songs from iTunes; if you've seen it, and you fell in love with the soundtrack the way I did, go ahead and get the whole damn thing. It hangs together beautifully as an album and serves as an excellent companion to the narrative. MGMT's "Kids," which is just gorgeous, reminds me every time of the lovely "Where are they now?" sequence at the end, which is one of the best of that sort that I've seen. See the movie, get the soundtrack, become a fan of Hannah Bailey on Facebook. There. Done raving.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A glowing blue man will save us all

Because I'm a big geek: Rotten Tomatoes' well-written close reading of the new Watchmen trailer. I've already requested the graphic novel from the library.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The first of this year's Top 10

It's great.

In other news, I drove down to the International District today to buy a used blender. I've already made a decent gazpacho and a weird but still satisfying blueberry smoothie with it. If anyone's in the mood for liquid food, come on by. I'll whip something up, just for you.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gazpacho and tortilla, coming soon to the Hill

The spot across from the Harvard Exit has been a Greek restaurant, a molecular-gastronomy mecca, and even a dessert cafe. Now, according to the Capitol Hill Blog, it'll be serving up tapas, including gazpacho and a real, honest-to-goodness Spanish tortilla. Since I haven't been able to get to Spain since I spent a semester there in 2000, this is a nice reminder of my undying love for two of Spanish cuisine's few vegetarian specialties.

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Tell No One"

Guillaume Canet's twisty new thriller is both engrossing and ridiculous. This duality is perhaps best captured in the scenes whose suspense derives primarily from how long it takes an online video or other link to load. In such scenes, our hero, the long-grieving widower Alex, sits in front of his (Apple) computer and waits... and waits... while the little sideways thermometer thing slowly fills up, or the notorious rainbow ball turns, and turns, and turns. The plot isn't so much full of holes as packed with unlikely events, but this is the kind of film that ensnares you with high, almost operatic emotion, so that by the time things start getting dicey in terms of plausibility, the hook is already through your lip. The pulpy title, upsetting violence, and hard-to-swallow plot are offset nicely by some excellent acting, not least by Fran├žois Cluzet, who plays Alex as frightened, determined, and furious in just the right proportions. Rarely have I seen a movie that so evenly splits the difference between trashy and arty, which in this case is a compliment. As summer thrillers go, it's a good one. And as character-driven suspense films in general go, it's hard to beat the French these days.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Do you like falafel?

You do? Oh, good. I had Hallava's falafel once at a Vespa event (those were the days, my friends -- the days in which I was contemplating buying a scooter), and it rocked my vegetarian world. Now I yearn to revisit it at one of its sort-of-permanent locations. It's kind of like a Middle Eastern answer to Skillet!

Also on the food front: White Center's Mexican food, in particular 16th Avenue's Taqueria Del Rio. Yes, I know, everyone and their brother has already experienced its bargain-priced deliciousness ($6.50 or so for a full plate of veggie enchiladas smothered in cheese, plus rice, plus chips and salsa!), but I have to add my voice to the chorus of praise. Also: Aaron's Auto Wrecking (the reason I was in White Center in the first place) rules for putting a solid $50 used tape player in my beloved car. Thanks, Aaron, whoever you are!

Montanans comprehend irony

So says Seattle's own Timothy Egan today in the Times. As for the controversial cover itself -- I haven't received that issue yet. Perhaps the Obama campaign has intervened and rerouted it to my local recycling plant?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dare you to read this and not drool

Can't be done.

One day, I'll see the world

My former boss sent me this wonderful video:

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

"A friend of mine sent this to me and for some reason it made me think of you," she wrote, which is very sweet. I do want to travel the world, and this is a great reminder that it's okay to start off alone -- you meet people along the way, and sometimes being alone is fine, because you get to dance with a dog, or you get totally drenched by a big wave. (Of course, someone must have been filming the guy at every stop, but let's ignore that for the moment.) This kind of thing really helps me keep my travel goal in mind. Thanks, Jane!

Home again from Harborview

It's been quite a pair of weeks. Yesterday, Emily was released from Harborview for the second time in just under two weeks. She was re-hospitalized because she was experiencing nausea and disorientation, which was eventually determined to be the result of a sodium/water imbalance that can, in turn, stem from injury to the part of the brain that regulates such things. Starting a week ago, I began pulling the "night shift," coming in each evening and staying the night in a chair-bed in Emily's room. I ate breakfast each morning in the cafeteria, which has a surprisingly robust bagel selection and some pretty good bran muffins, too (and hemp milk!), and tended to head home around 11 a.m. Emily's mom arrived each morning and stayed through the day, while I rested and caught up on various and sundry errands. (And played switchboard for a lot of Emily-related calls from her friends and Co-Counselors.) Now she's home and resting comfortably. She goes in on Monday for a chat with a kidney doctor, I think, and is scheduled for Tuesday hand surgery. I'll spend Tuesday night at the hospital again. If anybody has recipes to suggest that might effectively soothe a convalescing friend, please submit them here, or just give me a call.

Ah, Harborview. Packed with fascinating stories, and me without a little notebook in which to record them! I met a 47-year-old hard-rock vocalist (who looked to be in his thirties) and his 26-year-old girlfriend -- they met in Anchorage at a karaoke bar, and she picked up him, expecting nothing more than a one-night stand. More than two years later, they're still together, and they seem like a good couple. (I'd reveal the malady that landed her at the hospital, but I'm trying not to overdo it with the identifying details.) I also met a woman who was in for a virus in her spine (no, not meningitis -- I asked) and had been at the hospital for five weeks. She was bored and occasionally hallucinated, most often at night. Rumor had it she'd "seen" her Pomeranian outside her (fourth-floor) window at least once. There were a few cases sadder than these that I won't get into; suffice it to say the experience was an education in human nature and behavior, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I'll likely be in a position to make social plans again pretty soon, now that Emily's hospital time seems to be nearing its end. I'm also rethinking my long-standing plan to leave town this summer; I'm finding it harder than expected to do, and I'm beginning to wonder whether my resistance means something more than simply fear of leaving my comfort zone, the place I've lived for more than a fifth of my life. Maybe I have some unfinished business here. More as I figure it out. Right now I need to get some much-needed rest.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Malia rocks out

Per the AP:
Malia Obama told her parents that spending her 10th birthday helping her father campaign for the presidency far from home and "rocking out" with her family after takeout in a modest hotel room was the best she has ever had.
And this:
One thing she won't be getting is a pony, Obama said, despite the obvious enthusiasm for horses that Malia and Sasha showed in the Butte parade. Malia has severe allergies.

"We can get a hypoallergenic dog," Obama said. "I don't think you can get a hypoallergenic horse."