Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I've had a great day, which started out with a lovely breakfast at my sister's place - to a marathon present-opening session (I got some beautiful, sparkly things!) and then later an awesome dinner of ham, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes (yeah, that's how we do it - two types of potatoes!), brussels sprouts, and cranberry salad. Then we played a killer game of trivial pursuit, then we watched Talladega Nights. My brother-in-law was in LA for about 36 hours - and he's just off to NY again. I think in the next few days we're going to go to the Getty and the Observatory. Last night Mike and I went to Trader Vics for tiki drinks. Woo! I had a drink with a flaming lime in it!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Save Th' Grizzlies!

Sign this petition for safer practices in Glacier National Park.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fool me once...


Yesterday C. and I hit a few galleries in Santa Monica and Venice beach. The first place we went to was the Rosamund Felsen Gallery in the Bergamot Station Arts Center, which has about 30 galleries. Rosamund Felsen is showing Kaz Oshiro and Dan Douke through December 30 - they're two trompe l’oeil artists whose work appears, respectively, as Toyota tailgates and cardboard boxes. The level of craftsmanship is so suburb that we went into the gallery and then had to march right back out to the snooty receptionist for more info on what we were looking at. Everything is acrylic on canvas, we were informed with a raised eyebrow. This type of work, sure, it's interesting, and you go in and you go, "Yup, that looks just like a cardboard box." And then what? In a way, today, it's practically reprehensible. I mean, in terms of representation, the contemporary painter's got to deal with certain challenges - where is the place of representational painting after photographs (not to mention Foucault - har har har), for example? So, you have Chuck Close, or other artists completely avoiding the representational completely. And then these trompe l'oeil artists essentially just showing off... What do they bring us that's NEW? I ask. (: Well, this is not my area, so there may be some major disagreement with my pov. Oh, btw, there was this big piece of plywood leaning against the wall, and as we were getting ready to leave I was grousing about how it didn't really fit in, but then it hit me, it was tromp l'oeil too. Arg!

Another show we saw was Gajin Fujita at the LA Louver. I thought his work was really fresh and funny. A great mix of traditional Edo-style Japanese art and street graffiti. Really beautiful work.

So, here's a funny story - the other day my sis and I were making cookies and fudge and we realized we were missing an ingredient, so I suggested we walk over to the grocery store, which is a block away from my sister's place. On the way to the gate of my sister's condo complex, she says, "How do we get out?" and I'm like, "What?!?!" She had NEVER WALKED out of the place, only driven. Ah, L.A.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Holiday

Over the weekend C. and I saw The Holiday with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. I was afraid it was going to be awful because it's written and directed by schlockmeister Nancy Meyer (Something's Gotta Give? Yes, it does!), but, actually, as I reference imdb.com, I see that she's also done several movies that I like, such as 1987's Baby Boom and 1984's Irreconcilable Differences. Ok, I havne't seen Irreconcilable Differences since I was 8, but back then, that was a film full of nuance.
While The Holiday did have some treacly and predicable moments, overall we both really enjoyed it - although maybe I'm just saying that because I saw it with my very pregnant sister and we both miss our husbands. And Jude Law is so very, very pretty. Jude Law is so pretty he makes Cameron Diaz look like a dog. So, it's about two women who find themselves unlucky in love, so they switch houses for two weeks, one goes to LA the other to Surrey, and, there, they find themselves lucky in love - what a surprise. Jack Black, once again delegated to supporting role status, is excellent as the music composer/love interest of Winslet. I love the scene where he walks through a rental shop, picking up movies and singing their theme songs. It was like I was transported back to High Fidelity (just the good parts.) ITEM! Jack Black is totally hot in this movie.
Meyer attempts to pat herself on the back with multiple references to old Hollywood and the great movies of yore, when leading ladies had "gumption" and movies "meant something." The Holiday is unlikely to be remembered in twenty years as having meant anything, but it could be just the perfect date-with-your-pregnant-sister-movie of the season.

Oooo - last night we watched Superman Returns - terrible! The only two redeeming features are the impossibly handsome Christopher Reeve look-a-like Brandon Routh (where'd they find that guy?), and, for us, the distraction of wondering where we'd seen James Marsden before (Cyclops! I didn't recognize you without your glasses!)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sunshine on my Shoulder

I'm in California right now, visiting ma soeur. We're having a grand time, and I'm relishing not putting on a hat, gloves, boots, scarf, heavy coat with fur collar and even socks before I go outside. Aside from a phone interview for a job back in the windy city, I've mostly been just reading, hanging out with Murphy, and attempting not to leave my footprint in my sister's spotlessly clean house. Aside from where, as she puts it, my suitcase "exploded." Next weekend arrive my much-missed husband and certain parents. I've been itching to make about 6 dozen sugar cookies and survive only on their Christmasy nourishment. We've also got a gingerbread house in the works. We should invite our engineer-friends over for assistance.

C. and I watched Who Killed the Electric Car, got outraged, wondered what hydrogen fuel cells are. She's never seen ANTM, watched marathon yesterday, introduced C. to inherent hypocrisies of said show and the phenomenon of vagina arms. Then solved riddle that we've all been grappling with lately, which is the perfect way to describe Britney's "lady garden": a grandma's armpit in a tanktop.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Publication, baby!

My alma mater published a review I wrote about Nell Freudenberger's latest book, The Dissident, for the school magazine, FNews. It's a variation I wrote for my own book blog. Check it out!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sorry, I'll be cataloguing words

A couple of interesting links:

The Holiday Party Excuse Generator - just select a couple of parimeters (How badly do you want to miss the party? How believable should the excuse be?) and it will generate an excuse for you that looks something like this:


And here's a new website called Wordie, which, according to their website, is "like Flickr, but without the pictures" where "you make lists of words -- practical lists, words you love, words you hate, whatever. You can then see who else has listed the same words, and talk about it. It's more fun than it sounds." ha. Well, we'll be the judge of that, won't we? I detest two words: intimate and preternatural. Ick. I do love many words, of course, I suppose some of my favorites are twee, tony, pantalones, just about anything in French, pea... Wordie looks like a good way to pass a boring day at work - here are a few pages to get you started: Acceptable two-letter Scrabble Words and words from the Collected Poems of W.H. Auden. I have to wonder if this might be the new match.com for nerds - who couldn't fall in love with Merfee, who loves lambaste, erstwhile, ramshackle and lugubrious?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mary with Child

I'm rather interested in the media reaction to Mary Cheney's pregnancy. Wonder what it's like at the Cheney's during the holidays? "Gee, dad, thanks to you and your administration, my partner doesn't have full legal rights to our child. Hope I don't die. Or get sick." CNN posts the following comments from conservatives who took the opportunity to actually denounce her pregnancy. Says Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America, "It's very disappointing that a celebrity couple like this would deliberately bring into the world a child that will never have a father." Wondering just how caaaaaa-raaaaazy it gets? Check out their website, and this article.

Carrie Gordon Earll, of Focus on the Family, offers this pearl of wisdom, "Just because you can conceive a child outside a one-woman, one-man marriage doesn't mean it's a good idea," Earll said. "Love can't replace a mother and a father." What I find particularly despicable about these gd conservative (OMG, CNN actually calls them) "think tanks" is that they actually think that a married man and a woman IN LOVE are required for a family. What is basically required (shocking to actually have to INFORM a "think tank," isn't it?) is an exchange of fluids between people who may or may not actually know each other's names (and I'm not, by the way, talking about artificial insemination). Focus on the Family! Give me a break! How do these groups even DARE to claim that they support families with a rigid definition of what a family is, and shun all those who don't fit their outdated, cruel and ignorant ideas of who is and isn't qualified to be a parent?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Stop! Thief!

So, this weekend, M. and I went to Target to do some Christmas shopping, and we're not in the store 5 minutes when someone took our cart, which, by the way, had about 3 or 4 items in it, and we were only about 20 feet away from the cart corral. So, M. grabs another cart and we shop, shop, shop, and we're in the home stretch. We're looking at an item for my brother (wow, I could totally tell you what it is because he's probably like, never read my blog. Ok - it's a headlight flashlight! Don't tell him!) and we turn around, and our cart is gone AGAIN! And we're like, WTF!?! And, I'm telling you, there's a fair amount of stuff in it now. So, we're standing there, all, you know, agog, and then I'm like, IT'S ON! And I say, loudly, "People! Who took our cart!?" and this employee was really nice and helped me look for it, although, when he asked me what was in it, all I could say was, "I don't know. Just a bunch of stuff." So we're walking around looking suspiciously in everyone's carts. Just after I gave up, I see our cart, not far from where we left it, although some of the stuff is gone. So, M. and I reclaim it, and then we see a little pile of the rest of the stuff, laying at the bottom of a shelf.

You know what happened? Someone must have stolen our cart, and then started dumping our stuff out on the ground, because they were too lazy to walk to the front of the store and get their own cart, and then when I started making a stink, they abandoned their evil deed. Do you know what kind of person would do that? Only a person with a black heart. Soulless, and completely depraved.

Got to see one of my BFs twice in the last week. We both gave each other Thanksgiving presents in the form of oranges - mine to her was a sugar bowl, and hers to me was handmade marzipan. We're soulmates.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dziękuję!

I started running Google Analytics on my blogs to track my traffic, and much to my surprise, more than 3 people read my blog! On Monday, 19 people checked this blog, and, ok, so, on Wed. and Thursday, nobody did. This week I broke the international barrier, and people in India, Warsaw, and Stockholm and faraway Port Alberni, BC read my blogs! Thanks, everyone! Here's a map overlay of the readers of my book blog from this week:

Sleighbells ring

First big snow of the season and the neighborhood is suddenly all Currier and Ives! It's time's like this when I actually can see the bright side of unemployment, and staying inside.

Last night I had the privilege to witness my friend's baby walk! To me! She walked to me! It was amazing. I started crying, and J. got really excited and called her husband, who got sad because he was at work and missed it. See, another a situation where unemployment could have helped out.

Want some good karma for the weekend? Sign this petition to demand that pharmacies stock Plan B, an emergency contraceptive recently approved by the FDA for over-the-counter sales for women age 18 and older. Unfortunately, too many pharmacists have taken it upon themselves to deny women their legally entitled birth control, prescribed by their doctors. Stay on top of these issues, and make sure women's health is protected.