Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"I'm Dreaming of a Green Summer"

My uncle John and his granddaughter Clare mowing the lawn on his riding mower. What a happy moment captured! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The soul is the weariest part of the body

“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many times will you remember a certain afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

-The Narrator (Paul Bowles), from the film, The Sheltering Sky

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ten Things I was Really Into as a Kid

In keeping with the nostalgia theme, I present to you "Ten Things I was Really Into as a Kid". I apologize for how boring this post is. But it was a nice trip down memory lane. What were some of the things you were into? Let me know!

1. All the "Fairy" books. The Blue Fairy Book, The Red Fairy Book, The White Fairy Book," etc. They were sort of messed up fairy tales, too. The illustrations were amazing. Look for them in your library some time! 2. The Beatles movie, HELP! My brother and I still quote this movie. We used to watch it alll the time.

3. Kaleidoscopes. I used to collect them. I have no idea why.

4. Carousel Horses-OBSESSED. I used to collect them, too. I would make lists of all the ones I wanted to buy and show my mom frequently.

5. The Disney movie Alice & Wonderland. I liked to hang upside down from the couch and look through the mirror and pretend I was in a backwards, inverted world resembling the rabbit hole.

6. MTV VJ Martha Quinn. She rocked and will always rock. 

7. The show, Rhoda. I used to race home from the pool to watch this show. Again, I have no idea why. 

8. Spy vs. Spy. I used to draw them all the time. They intrigued and scared me.
9. The OZ books. So awesome! I love them still.

10. Goonies II for NES-It is actually killing me that I can't play this game right this very second. I used to wake up in the middle of the night thinking of how to advance to the next screen ("oh yeah, I can use the jumping shoes!") Looooved this game.

Ha ha?

I have this like/hate relationship with mumblecore movies. Mumblecore refers to a form of cinema verite characterized by cheap/low production and lots of talking and improvisation. The “plots” (term used loosely) generally focus on malaised, artistic twenty-somethings who, depending on who you ask, you can relate to or you want to punch in the face. The films don’t really have plots like traditional cinematic storytelling; they’re full of lots of squirmy interactions strung together with socially awkward, yet realistic individuals. Some of my friends absolutely hate these films and though I kind of understand their frustration and boredom, I’m often drawn in by the realism. My biggest complaint of these films is that the characters take themselves sooo seriously. Real life can also involve much humor!

I guess you could argue Richard Linklater sort of popularized this genre with his early films, like Slacker, but today Andrew Bujalski and the Duplass brothers (Mark & Jay) are probably the strongest examples of the movement. I couldn’t really get into the Duplass brothers’ films, but I’ve seen a couple of Bujalski’s--Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation. The latter stars Justin Rice (lead singer of the band Bishop Allen) as a broke musician who’s moved back to NY and as much as the film sort of irritates me, I find Rice charismatic and likable so I got caught up in his story despite myself (see above photos 1&2). And Funny Ha Ha (see above, last two photos) was like peering into a window of my life as an awkward twenty-something—the actress reminds me of my younger self so much (way more than Laura Dern!). I even dressed like her through college and after (her uniform-an ironic t-shirt paired with corduroys and some cool kicks.) I could totally relate to her shuffling aimlessly through temp jobs and romantic encounters all the while obsessing over her ambiguous relationship with her close, platonic guy friend love interest (yeah, had a few of those). What do you think, does she look like me? Look at that chin! :)

But what really initiated this post today was listening to Terry Gross’ interview with Lena Dunham, auteur of the new “mumblecore” film Tiny Furniture. I was on the fence about seeing this film, but this interview really cemented my desire to see it after hearing how thoughtful and insightful Dunham is. Stay tuned--next post will be about Dunham and this interview!

(Also, below I’ve posted the trailer to another Justin Rice film called Harmony and Me which verges on mumblecore, but I think is way funnier and more accessible. Also it stars Kevin Corrigan who is awesome.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tis the season for fuzzy...uh...what?

In the spirit of the holidays, I decided to review some of my most beloved presents through my years...growing up during the wonderful eighties! First up we have the Easy Bake Oven! Hey Mom and Dad, want this plate full of mush that's been sitting next to a 100-watt lightbulb for an hour? Mmmm! I loved "cooking" with this thing despite the fact everything turned out pretty gross. Look at it, though! It's a marvel. It looks like something that should be in Tron. It looks fairly terrifying actually.

Next up we have the fantastic Snoopy Snowcone Machine! Look at that funny little guy from the band Devo on the left there. Actually Snoopy has the same hat on, too. Hm, which came first Devo's song Whip It or the Snoopy Snow Cone Machine?

I always crack up Gabe while retelling the story of this toy. I would try to turn the ice crank but as I was a tiny toothpick I was never strong enough of course, so I'd make my dad turn the thing who all the while would be swearing JEEZUS! trying to get the crank moving. Good times!

Okay third we have the fantastic...wait for it... Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop. Huh? It was really called that?? It sounds like a brothel or something.
This thing was so fun! Even though I don't think this barbershop ran as smoothly as the above photo depicted. So the way this worked--you put your little guy in the chair, turned the crank (an obvious theme in my childhood toys) and Play-Doh would come out of the holes in their heads. You could coif their hair using a plastic perm mold or trim it. I'm not making this up! Fuzzy pumpers. Yep.
Last, but certainly not least I give you...Fashion Plates! The inspiration for this blog post, really. I had a dream about this toy; a toy I had long since forgotten but was obviously imprinted in my brain forever. It was my absolute favorite. Sort of like making paper dolls. You chose which plates you wanted to combine to create a swanky lady and outfit. The backs of the plates had patterns on them so you could get your outfit together and then color the clothes plaid, polka dotted or starry.
Obviously I am not the only thirty-something lady dreaming about this toy because they sell on ebay for like fifty bucks! Ah the expensive price of nostalgia!

Monday, December 6, 2010


I've in the past blogged of one of my favorite girls, Sibel (my friends Tim and Sita's adorable daughter) and I'm thinking now that I'm overdue in posting a more recent photo. Isn't she a doll!?

And she's now living in Germany so she will potentially be trilingual (since Mom speaks Danish to her and Dad speaks English). Actually she signs, too, so will that make her... quadrilingual?

And if I broke your heart last night, it’s cause I love ya mo-ost of all.

Oh Ryan Gosling. You sure do know how to pull my heart strings with those sad eyes of yours. (Yeah, I’m not talking about that Notebook movie.) Half Nelson slayed me--it was so damn sad. And Lars and the Real Girl was sweet; sure maybe a little contrived, but I still loved it and got choked up watching that, too.

But this new film Blue Valentine with Michelle Williams might be his most heart-wrenching yet. I think Williams is a really amazing actress, too. I suspect it’s going to be a little like an “Eternal Sunshine” storyline—a nonlinear tale of a couple’s deteriorating relationship made all the more tragic with the juxtaposed images of a simpler time when they were delighted by each other.

God, all you’re really watching in the trailer is a bleary-eyed, sad couple, yet I feel like slumping over my desk just watching it. And I just can’t get the song out of my head...

Friday, December 3, 2010

What's a Girl To Do?

I’m lucky to have many talented, artistic friends whom I should blog about more often. So with that, I wanted to give big props to my friend Ben, whose latest comic, The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd, is blowing up all over the place (Gawker, The New Yorker, The Atlantic... even Fox News!). I can’t wait to read it!

Here’s a great review/plot description from Robot6:
Told in Marra’s inimitable, po-faced ’80s-trash throwback style, TIFAoMD’s preview pages exhibit Dowd — winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and recently named the eighth-largest hack in journalism by Salon’s Alex Pareene — lounging in lingerie, battling burglars, flirting with fellow Times columnist Tom Friedman, and trying to blow the lid off the Valerie Plame scandal before her huge date with George Clooney. And for a political junkie like me, it’s basically heaven.
Ben’s an amazing illustrator (his other comics include the awesome Night Business and Gangsta Rap Posse) and you’ll see I posted some examples of his art below. I think his work has a heartbeat, albeit an irregular, pounding one. His style jumps out at you immediately—colorful, shellacked, hyper-muscular figures that pulse and breathe with life. His subject matter includes Sci-Fi, Blaxploitation, Sexploitation, Epic Hero tales and Fantasy (and now apparently the D.C. political scene). But he’s not just talented. He’s warm and totally hilarious and charming. You can’t help but want to be around him. So I’m so glad he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves! Check out more of his work at his website

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Intermission: Where is YOU?

Well, here I am. I’m going to try to include more of myself in my blog (which admittedly has the potential to end up boring and disastrous, but oh well here goes?). Last night, the rain was so loud on my skylight that I couldn’t sleep at all. As I lay in bed, I tried to think of topics to blog about. And I guess lying in bed lent itself to thinking about dreaming and how strange and interesting dreams are. It’s obvious how much of our dreams are remnants from our day. We weave together unresolved arguments and worries, fragments of images we saw on TV, people we passed on the street. But what struck me as interesting is how our waking lives sometimes mimic our dream states.

DC was a strange period of my life. Moving to a new city is always a challenge, particularly when you’re an adult settled in your life with your friends. I was comfortable in Pennsylvania, but too comfortable, and going back to school was a needed change (or at least I thought so at the time). I tend to have a lot of dreams where I’m exploring, so living in a new place and exploring new surroundings tends to automatically remind me of my dreams. Anyways, I was thinking last night of this odd freelance job I took while I was in DC with a mapping company based in San Francisco. My job was to literally “ride the rails”: each week I visited a list of metro stations and took notes mapping the exits, the number of elevators, accessibility for the disabled, etc. I found the task surreal and dreamlike because I rode up and down different lines without a real destination. Never mind the fact that the DC metro is one of the craziest, most awesomely dreamy and futuristic-looking transit systems around! I’d get out at the stations and maybe poke my head outside occasionally, but in general I spent most of my time riding the train or waiting at the station for the next one to arrive. Sometimes I’d be stuck waiting for a half an hour at a station. So I would read articles for school when I was feeling industrious, but often I just caught myself people watching and thinking.

Maybe these waiting periods were also what seemed so dream-like to me. In some ways, really, our dreams are our waiting rooms until we wake. Our lives are our waiting rooms before we die. And then maybe we hit another waiting room after we die ...? 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cute (nerd) boys alert!

My nerd boyfriend introduced me to the blog One can peruse photos of cute boy celebrities wearing looks from all different eras and then follow the links to the contemporary clothes and accessories that would let you recreate their looks. I like Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill hanging out at what looks to be their grandmom's house. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pardon me, but could you happen to tell me how to get to Scarborough Fair?

Don't all these monsters look like they're asking for directions? My friend Dylan clued me in to this great artist. Very Edward Gorey in the fine ink detailing (and creepy/comic subject matter).


(from the amazing mind/imagination/blog of John Kenn )

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Delightful Voluptuousness

Looove this cookbook! Sophie Dahl is just adorable first of all. She was beautiful when she was big and voluptuous and she's beautiful skinny (and uh, still voluptuous).

Does she still model? I'm not sure, but I think she's found a new calling. Here's a soup that's cooking on my stove right now. The cookbook has great recipes and, as a bonus, some great storytelling by Miss Dahl (yep, she's also a writer taking after her grandpa, Roald Dahl).
Spinach barley soup
Recipe by Sophie Dahl from Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights
Serves 4-6
-3 tablespoons of olive oil
-1 onion, chopped
-2 large fresh sage leaves, chopped
-6 1/2 cups of vegetable stock
-6 cups of spinach, washed and chopped
-3/4 cup of pearl barley
-Salt and pepper
-1/2 cup of grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, put in the onion and sage leaves and cook n a low heat for about 5 minutes. While that's cooking, heat the stock in another pan. Stir the spinach into the onion mixture and cook for another few minutes. Pour in the hot stock and cook, covered, on a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the barley and leave it cooking for another half an hour or until the barley is soft. Season to taste. When it is ready, ladle into bowls and sprinkle the Parmesan on top.

Vertical Swiping

I want him to wrap me up in that moustache. The end.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

I was sort of mixed on the film The Brothers Bloom, but I really loved Rinko Kikuchi's stylish and quirky character, Bang Bang. 

Bang Bang is a demolition expert and all-around cool girl. She even looks good in goggles.

A little trivia for you--in the movie, Rinko speaks only three words (aside from when she
sings in Japanese at the end). But this was not the first non-speaking role for Rinko. 
Previously, she played a heartbreaking deaf-mute teenage girl in the film Babel. And for her performance, she became the first Japanese actress to be nominated for an Oscar in 50 years!

Confessions of an American Blog Writer/Reader

Looks like I've found more fodder for my voyeuristic tendencies at

You too can experience the quotidian quirks of your favorite writers and artists! Maybe you will find a kindred spirit who shares in your neuroses.

Mr Campbell, for one, (see below) sounds like a man after my own heart. I generally admit this to only a chosen few, but when I have alone time on the weekends I like to divide my day into a series of "units" (as Will refers to in About A Boy). Fifteen minutes of reading, 15 minutes of yoga, 15 minutes of movie trailers, whatever. It's totally neurotic and totally pleasant to me because it makes the day feel stretched out so long!

Joseph Campbell
So during the years of the Depression I had arranged a schedule for myself. When you don’t have a job or anyone to tell you what to do, you’ve got to fix one for yourself. I divided the day into four four-hour periods, of which I would be reading in three of the four-hour periods, and free one of them.

By getting up at eight o’clock in the morning, by nine I could sit down to read. That meant I used the first hour to prepare my own breakfast and take care of the house and put things together in whatever shack I happened to be living in at the time. Then three hours of that first four-hour period went to reading.

Then came an hour break for lunch and another three-hour unit. And then comes the optional next section. It should normally be three hours of reading and then an hour out for dinner and then three hours free and an hour getting to bed so I’m in bed by twelve.

On the other hand, if I were invited out for cocktails or something like that, then I would put the work hour in the evening and the play hour in the afternoon.
It worked very well. I would get nine hours of sheer reading done a day. And this went on for five years straight.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Brides Have Hit Glass

Title of this blog entry is the title of a GBV song and I can't help but think Bob Pollard had Marcel Duchamp's piece "The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors" in mind when he wrote it. I dunno, maybe I'm wrong about that. But who knows? Bob might surprise you sometimes. 

Speaking of Duchamp, if you ever want to read a great autobiography, pick up Duchamp: A Biography by Calvin Tomkins. It is a really, really interesting recounting of his life and the modern art movement.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ten decisions shape your life, you'll be aware of five about...

Is there anyone cuter than Elle Fanning? I'm pretty excited for Sofia Coppola's Somewhere starring Elle and Stephen Dorff (yes, Stephen the Dorff, Dorff) who plays Elle's sad-eyed, sleazy and breezy moviestar dad. Elle's character is reunited with her dad after her mom deposits her on his doorstep and they proceed to spend some time doing what looks like some awfully adorable father-daughter bonding.
I think she's such a great foil to Stephen Dorff. She exudes this fresh-faced innocent optimism and he just looks so haggard and beaten by Hollywood, but also sort of kind and wiser.

Sofia sure has a knack for discovering the nubile, lithe, porcelein beauties. Dear lord, is Elle missing a tooth in one of these photos? Could she be that young? She'd definitely be the cause of Humbert Humbert's undoing.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mamika the Great!

This is pretty awesome.

My friend recently posted about an artist whom, after hearing his 91-year-old grandma was feeling depressed, decided to create for her a superhero alter-ego by posing her costumed in a series of spectacular photo portraits. The artist is Sacha Goldberger and his grandmother Frederika was a superhero in her own right who hid 10 Jewish friends from the Nazis during the war.
Frederika's alter-ego is named Mamika, but it sounds to me like she's not so much an "alter"ego, but the distilled essence of a brave, cool woman. Apparently, her grandson's plan worked because he said she's not shown signs of depression since the four years the project has been running. She even has her own myspace page!