Monday, October 29, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

M.'s birthday was this past weekend and we've had a nice time playing Guitar Hero III, playing a bit of tennis and taking a few nice walks around the neighborhood. I just LOVE this time of year. Here are a few of my favorite pics from the last few days.

The Birthday Boy, not looking a day older:

There's a gorgeous rose garden not far from our house - most of the roses are still in bloom:

Scary Costumes!

Our annual Halloween party was this weekend and we had a lot of fun. You won't believe our friends' super-creative costumes!

G. as Crazy Old Cat Lady (meow!)
C&D as Tyra and Jay Manuel (she has one one photo in her hand!)
Mike as Norwegian Black Metal Rocker
and me as a Dark Faerie!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I! Quit!

Despite vague threats to quit watching America's Next Top Model, I was unable to do so, partly justifying my guilty-pleasure television watching by pointing out its hypocrisies in this public forum for all (all five of you) to read! Can we not all learn from the mistakes of Tyra?

Spoiler Alert
So, last night the big event was that, when told that she "was still in the running to be America's Next Top Model", Ebony said actually, she wasn't interested, and would rather go home. Tyra's eyes turned into ice and then she said "nothing is more unattractive to me than a quiter" and sent her on her merry way.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a big fan of quiting. I've got no problem walking away from something that's not going to work out, or wearing down my soul. I'm not saying I'll quit over something small, but I'm no Sisyphus. According to Ebony, she didn't think she wanted to be a model after all, and she missed her family, and she made a choice to go home. Tyra said it was more likely that she didn't like taking criticism and pulled out the "quiter" accusation.

It's very likely that Ebony didn't like taking criticism - not many people do. Being told on national television week after week that your eyes are "dead" or you're "uninspiring" definitely fits in the "wearing down your soul" category.

I learned a rather late into my undergraduate theatre degree that I couldn't really handle rejection. To be an actor or a model or in any "auditioning" career - where you put your work out and have it judged by strangers who give the thumbs up or thumbs down in a matter of moments - requires an incredibly thick skin. I knew I didn't have it, and I didn't really want to change my personality to get it.

I applaud Ebony for recognizing that she wasn't where she wanted to be and walking away from it. I think it's a perfectly reasonable reaction to the stresses of the ANTM environment (or ANY reality show).

There's always a big reaction when someone leaves a reality show of their own free will (How could they give up the chance to win all that money/live in that house/be a model?), but she was clearly uncomfortable and knew what her limits were. I'm sorry for her that leaving the show was framed as shameful with that "quiter" rebuke chasing after her. (I'm sure I don't have to remind you that what she was "quiting" was one of the more insidious industries in the world, responsible for breaking down the self esteem of women everywhere, eating disorders, and the support of the idea that women are decorative objects, the sum of their appearances.)

I found a way to have theatre in my life on my terms - I go to plays, I write, I take an acting class when I want to, and I've never regretted my decision to quit auditioning, because I did what was right for me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Travellin' Shoes

Today I made some bags for shoes - a concept that needed explaining to a certain husband more than once. (When you go on vacation, see, you wanna put your shoes in a separate bag so they don't touch your clothes and get them all shoe-y.) These bags are (would have been) extremely easy to make (if a certain sewing machine weren't possessed by the devil).
  • Make a little bag, approx. 13" x 10", with a slip for a ribbon to gather the top
  • Scream obscenities the likes of which perhaps no sewing machine has heard before
  • Add an iron-on transfer of a shoe (just so there's no confusion)

Iron-on's are very easy, you just print them out on the special paper (available at office and computer stores) on any printer and iron it on - done!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Insert funny headline

Last week I read (what I thought was) the most hilarious Onion headline of all time: Cost Of Freedom At All-Time High, until I just checked in with them and found: It Only Tuesday. (Oh, if only I had posted this yesterday, it would have been that much funnier...)

I'm terrible at coming up with titles. When I finished my thesis, my advisor told me I needed (to paraphrase) a kickass title. I sent him about 10 variations and we decided on Color and Artistic Identity: Whistler, Van Gogh, and Yellow. Not bad, I guess. Now it seems likely that I'm going to teach a class in the spring on Contemporary Women Artists, and I have been informed that I should come up with a good title. Which came as a disappointment to me, because I was pretty much hoping we could go with Contemporary Women Artists. This is the only lame-ass stuff I could come up with:
You've Come a Long Way, Baby: Cont. Women Artists
Paintin' and Sculptin' in a Man's World
Great Women Artists? Let's See!


Monday, October 15, 2007

Bad Kitty!

Last week my cousin told me that my hometown's famous Fall Foliage Festival was happening, so I convinced M that we must go back to Indiana for the parade - and my grandma's yearly post-parade party under the carport, to play some euchre. Unfortunately, Thursday, I took Kaya out in the yard for our daily supervised Outside Time, and Sugundo, the neighbor's (second) cat was in the garden (M. claims that he probably doesn't differentiate between "our" yard and "his" yard, although, if you ask me, Segundo clearly prefers "our" yard) and Kaya saw him and went absolutely crazy. It was like Wild Kingdom. So, I separated the cats and shoo-ed Segundo back to "his" yard, then I tried to pick Kaya up and carry her back inside, when she bit and scratched the living hell out of me. Bled all over my new shirt. Cursed and yelled at her, then sheepishly looked around to see if neighbors saw me. Hand began to swell.

Anyway, I went to my Dr. on Friday and she gave me antibiotics to ward off infection and dreaded Cat Scratch Fever, and then I picked up M and we headed down to Indiana. The problem is, antibiotics almost always make me really sick, so by the time we got there, I was starting to feel pretty icky, got worse Sat. (at which point it looked like half an egg had been slipped under my skin), until, suffering through dinner at my brother's house on Sat. night, my mom made a call to the pharm. on my behalf which went something like this:
...was bitten by her cat...
antibiotics causing explosive-
( -Does anyone want more pizza?)
...It's severe...

Needless to say, did not make it to the Fall Foliage Festival or the parade or my grandma's party. On plus side may have lost a few pounds and my hand is starting to heal.

Relations between Kaya and me are slightly strained - we will not be having Outside Time today.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

TV I love (and love to hate)

ITEM! Beauty and the Geek is the best reality show I've seen in a while (where are you, Project Runway?) and America's Next Top Model is making me feel really, really dirty. In last night's show was the usual maelstrom of breaking down young women with the "your personality is wrong"s to the "your eyes are dead"s. I feel like I oughta stop watching it, because, fundamentally, it goes against everything I'm opposed to (well, one of the things. I am fundamentally opposed to many things.) but, it's often hilarious and occasionally (occasionally!) enlightening. Last night, for example, I learned a lot about weaves. I should stop watching it, though, right? I mean, if want to watch hilarious things and occasionally enlightening things, I can always find that in the (technically) adult beauties and geeks of Beauty and the Geek, rather than in the immature and exploited, 95 pound, 18 year old girl. Thoughts?

Pushing Daisies is off to a really great start - I love the fairy-tale-ish atmosphere - for me it's like Wes Anderson meets Lemony Snicket (the movie). Last night, there was even a musical number - "Hopelessly Devoted To You!" I'm IN. All in. Miss it?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I like lists

I was kind of going crazy because I couldn't find my favorite lipstick (well, I mean, who wears lipSTICK anymore? It was a lipSTAIN.) so I went though all my bags and cleaned them out. I found:
8 lipthings
$1.45 in change
3 barrettes
6 mints
various candies and snacks (I've got a blood-sugar-thing)
4 rechargeable batteries, uncharged
2 CTA passes (unknown value)
a bunch of paperclips for some reason
2 small bottles of lotion
2 packets of antibacterial wipes
2 tampons
1 nail file
4 matchbooks
more unidentifiable pills than I care to admit

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Darjeeling Limited

Wes Anderson's already the kind of director that you discuss when you sit around with your friends, asking each other, "What's your favorite Wes Anderson movie?" For me it's probably Bottle Rocket, and I wonder where The Darjeeling Limited is going to fit in people's list.

It's the story of three brothers (Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Adrian Brody) taking a "spiritual journey" across India on a train called the Darjeeling Limited. With Anderson's customary eye for detail, "Darjeeling Limited" adorns everything from table cloths to pajamas. The constraints of shooting in a small space - train cars - is quite similar to his last film, The Life Aquatic, which primarily takes place on a ship at sea. The combination of the fascinating details and the tight shots make for a pretty amazing visual experience, but it's the character development and the strong performances by the three main actors that round out the movie.

Like Hotel Chevalier, the companion short, or "part 1" of The Darjeeling Limited (apparently the short was meant to have been played in theatres before the movie but due to some cock up with Fox, it didn't happen. You're encouraged to watch it before going to the theatre), the audience is given few clues about the character's lives - sometimes they reveal themselves slowly, sometimes not. I love this type of subtle film-making, which places a lot of trust in the audience, instead of banging them over the head with obvious exposition.

I've read some criticism that the film lacks emotional resonance, but I think that's exactly the point - the three brothers are so disconnected from their own emotions and from each other, and taking the difficult steps to reconciliation.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

What do YOU do all day?

It is not unusual for some annoying jackhole to approach me, in the course of my day, and ask, with a sneer, "What do you DO all day?" Of all my daily humiliations, most notably not being recognized and financially rewarded for my brilliance, this is perhaps the most insulting. Especially because I do what just about all Working Stiffs do, namely surf the net and look for a job.

However, I do have the time to photograph myself wearing all my shoes, and then make a poster of said shoes, thereby easing my whole toilette by at least making choosing the most perfect shoe outrageously easy: I get dressed, I look at my shoe poster, and voila! I remember that the adorable wool kitten heel with black velvet piping is in a box in the closet! Why does she remain unemployed?, you ask, When she is clearly a genius?

In case you're wondering: 43.