Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

  1. Be even more glamourous and awesome
  2. Invent something (like segway?) and become a billionaire
  3. Travel around the world 3 times (on a yacht) 
  4. Open a hit restaurant and get at least 24 Zagat rating
  5. Become the editor of a famous magazine, like Vogue or something
  6. Get to know Kate and Will's baby pretty well.

Best Reading in 2012

These are what I published in Newcity... I have some other top 5s there that *I* think are amusing.

Top 5 Books (published in 2012)
“NW” by Zadie Smith
“A Hologram for the King” by Dave Eggers“The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker“HHhH” by Laurent Binet“Treasure Island!!!” by Sara Levine

I read Junot Diaz's This is how you Lose Her after I wrote that.... I really it belongs on the list.  I suppose I might bump Treasure Island!!! to get it on there.

But, my Top 5 Books I Read (Not necessarily published in 2012) were:
The ColonyJillian Weise
Swamplandia, Karen Russell
A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers
The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker
The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides

Top 5 YAs I Read (Not necessarily published in 2012):
SpeakLaurie Halse Anderson
Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler
Beauty QueensLibba Bray
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
Little Brother, Cory Doctorow

Friday, December 28, 2012

Best Conversation of 2012 while awaiting surgery

I had this conversation with my mom when we were waiting for my foot surgery to start.  She did a very good job of distracting me from the task at hand.

Mom: We saw Life of Pi and it was just amazing.  That tiger was incredible.
Me: It was a CGI tiger, right?
Mom: What is CGI?
Me: Computer generated.
Mom: No, it was a real tiger.
Me:  You know how like, sometimes actors are people and sometimes they are animals?
Mom: Yes.
Me: Are you saying that the actor who played the tiger was a real tiger?
Mom: Yes.
Me: I don't think it was a real tiger.
Mom: It was real. You should have seen his face, when he was holding on to the side of the boat.
[she mimes a tiger holding on to the side of a boat]
Me:  A real tiger... IN A BOAT!  No.
Mom: And at the end, he was so skinny.  It was very sad.
[she mimes tired tiger]
Me: They starved the tiger!
Mom: No, they just got a sick tiger to play that part.
[enter nurse]
Mom: have you seen that movie, Life of Pi?  It's amazing, it has a beautiful tiger in it.
Me: It can't be real.
Nurse:  Oh. Animatronics.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best of 2012

Gee, I can't believe Christmas is over, just like that!   We ended up having a whirlwind trip to Indiana - less than 24 hours because a big blizzard was coming and we didn't want to get snowed in.  We had a great time - saw both my grandmas, and M's too.  We went to my Grandma J's, as per tradition - even though she has a tiny house, a ton of people come over and we usually have a very jolly time.

On Christmas day, my parents and M & I had coffee and opened our stockings, then Mom and M made a ton of food in a seemingly effortless fashion.  My nephew was a bunch of fun and was a super-sweet little guy all day long.  M & I gave him a bike, and even though he's only 4, he started riding it all over like a total pro.  It ended up being a shorter trip than we intended, but it was really fun.

Highlights from 2012:

Best Play: Metamorphoses 

My most popular blog post: Skins (Some Spoilers) by a long shot.

My most popular bookish post: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian.  I shudder to think how often my book blog is plagiarized for middle-school book reports.

Best time I had filling the gas tank:  with MZ on the way to Culver

Best Meal: in a tiny, two table restaurant over looking the Trevi Fountain in Rome

Best invention: The animated gif review.

Best Husband: M (12 years running!)

Best Sister: My sister

Best Neighbor: My neighbor

Best Cat: Miss Kaya

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Hobbit

We went to see the Hobbit tonight.  Would have gone opening night, I'm sure, but I had my foot surgery that day and this was my first big adventure out of the house in more than a week!  Whew!  Was it worth it?  Uhm....

First of all, we saw what I believe was meant to be the optimal viewing experience: XD, ReadD 3D, & the High Frame Rate.  Supposedly Peter Jackson thinks the 48 frames per second thing is the best way to view the film, but I thought it was really disconcerting and looked completely awful.  It distracted me through the entire movie.  It was like a shitty sitcom from the '80s.  I felt like I was watching fekking Fraggle Rock.  The other Lord of the Rings movies, which I grew to love, were fun to watch the first time around for a non-fangirl like myself because the films were so absolutely gorgeous!  Moody and rich - I mean, the first peak at Rivendell was so exciting, right?  But, honestly, it looks like utter shitballs in the Hobbit.  Like, in the previous movies, I really loved Bilboe's house?  But, it just looked like crap in this HFR nonsense.  So, if you haven't seen it yet, I beg you to not see it in this version.  Also, the 3D is worthless - there's just like one second where it kind of looks like a flaming pinecone gets tossed at your face, and that's it.  It's not even fun when the eagles fly around.

Otherwise, I hate to say, I didn't love it.  I think they're mostly Tolkien's fault... like, does every goddamn scene have to end with a deus ex machina with that guy?  It's like, Oh, Crap! We're surely done for now!  Nope, there's Gandolf coming over the fuckin' horizon with the rising sun!  Nope, there's a bunch of goddamn eagles to glide everybody carefully to a safe resting place!

I read the book, oh 20mumble years ago and don't remember it that well, but moi's husband is something of a Hobbit/LoTR expert.  His quibbles were based more on what Jackson added to the movie - surely to stretch it out to the eventual NINE HOUR TOTAL VIEWING TIME.  I mean, it's like a 200 page book, come on.  He did seem to like the songs, though.  Also, M spied one Bret McKenzie in a non-ironic Elf role.  I thought I spied Lee Pace as a non-speaking elf (wtf?) and was so busy noticing during the credits that it was indeed Lee Pace that I missed Benedict Cumberbatch's name!  I tell ya, the Pie Man shows up in the weirdest places.  So, we go to IMDB to find out who the heck B.C. played, and get this!  He played the "Necromancer" which is literally just like, no kidding, a SHADOW in the movie.  Like, a CGI ghost shadow that I don't even think said anything!  Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa?

so that's what he looks like without a beard...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Year of the foot

Hello, my pretties
Well, it's just been a hell of a year for me and my dogs.  Earlier this year I had procedures done on both my feet, which, unfortunately did not fix my Plantar fasciitis, so, Friday I had another surgery on my right foot that was a bit more dramatic (and I'll do the left foot in a couple of weeks).  Since M simultaneously came down with the flu, my mom came out to help us get through it - and thank goodness she did because the whole thing was much more, well, dramatic than before. Plus... I have to use crutches for a few days.  What in the...?  How in the world do people get around on those things?  It's impossible.

I spend a fair amount of time wondering if I'll every wear anything in my beautiful shoe collection again besides my tennies.  I finally found a pair of Kate Middleton-esque shoes, but I haven't even worn them.  So sad.  I mean, is that one of the saddest stories you ever heard?

In other news, I have been wearing this song OUT on youtube (I know, I know, mildly sacrilegious to shun the Pretenders version, but I really prefer this faithful version by KT Tunstall, I can't help it.)

My nephew lost his TWO FRONT TEETH (can you believe it?) a week before xmas.  The news of a lost tooth is somehow nothing short of delightful to the whole family.

Monday, December 03, 2012

w00t pWn: Zuma

A litte twist, today, on the usual w00t pWn:  I review a game that *I* played.  Yes, my friends, I, too, play video games.  Well, this one game.

It's called Zuma and M first introduced me to it a long time ago because he found out I like this other video game called Puzzle Bobble.  There are a lot of games like Puzzle Bobble in apps so you might have played something like it on your phone - basically you shoot a colored marble at some other marbles of the same color and try to make them fall down.

Anyway, then M got me this game called Zuma a few years ago and I loved it.  You have this little frog guy that shoots colored marbles out of his mouth - and you point them at similarly colored marbles so that they explode.

Describing these games reminds me of talking to my sister on the phone over the weekend, and overhearing beloved nephew say, "Mommy, can I have one of those things that you put in your ear and has like a ball on the ends?"  "QTIP!" I said, "He wants a Qtip and he is a genius!"  My sister said he had somehow innately discovered the true nature of the Qtip because they NEVER put them in their ears (Like I would really believe that. Why else would you even HAVE Qtips?)  Also, my nephew says "like" a lot?  That means he truly is my own nephew.

Well, M bought me Zuma 2: Zuma's Revenge or something like that on the PS3, and it was really fun.  The little frog ponds where you play were quite pretty and there were some "Boss Challenges" or whatever that were fun.

The games gets more and more challenging, and... I must tell you, I am very good at it.  I hardly lost a game.  When the whole thing was over I was kind of surprised.  For some reason, I thought it would go on forever?  I guess I need to restart it or something because I can choose whatever level I want now.

There is basically no way to improve upon Zuma except to remove the possibly offensive Polynesian stereotypical sounds and music that make me cringe a little.  But, otherwise, it is challenging and not annoying.  In short, I wish I could play Zuma forever and no other games existed.  Oy, this game M is playing right now.... wait'll I tell ya...

Sunday, December 02, 2012

It is, it is a glorious thing

This weekend I saw the Pirates of Penzance at the Chopin theatre. The Chopin is a great theatre in Wicker Park.  The waiting room looks like an eccentric granny's living room.  While we were having a pre-drink, they announced that the house was opening, and we were welcome to go in, hang up our coats, and find a seat… although, they said… there weren't really seats.  Whhaaaaaaaaa?  

We go in and there's a long pier in the middle of the room, hipster actors wandering around with a variety of instruments, guitars, banjoes, mandolins, washboards and even a damn saw.*  They were dressed in old-timey bathing suits and the whole room had the madcap air of 1960s lyric summer camp, which focused on south-seas musicals.  It was like the whole thing was designed by Wes Anderson and Andrew Bird.  They were throwing around beach balls and handing out sunglasses, singing and getting all of us to sing too.  It was super-fun, and the show hadn't even started yet.  Right before the show stared, they told us the actors would be moving all over the space and so would the audience.  They said if they pointed at us or tapped us on the shoulder we should move aside.  Woo - I've never been on my toes so much as an audience member.  

At first I thought, ugh, this is gonna suck, because, during my undergrad theatre years, I saw plenty of standing theatre and, it does, indeed, suck.  Because it hurts to stand in one place for a long time.  But, it was more of an up and down thing, and if you lost your seat, you could easily find another.  And, no pesky leg pain from sitting for ages - we should all probably stand up that often and stretch our legs.  

I LOVE the 1983 movie version of Pirates of Penzance, which you really should look up if you haven't seen it.  It's finally out on DVD!  Kevin Kline!  Angela Landsbury!  That guy from The Greatest American Hero!  Linda Effing Rondstadt!  It's really great and really funny.  So, I was a bit worried that this performance would never live up to that great show.  But, they were such different approaches, it  was never a contest.  

It was a really unique theatre experience.  It was downright joyous - and if you're in the area, I beg you to get a ticket, and take a young person - one great thing about the show was that there were a lot of kids (10 or so in our audience).  Usually when I go to the theatre, I'm like, the youngest person there.  It was great to see kids and such engaged kids!  Maybe the theater isn't dying after all!  

* I actually love the saw as an instrument, but it's so darn twee I can barely stand it.  A paradox (a paradox a most confusing paradox!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

One more Caravaggio

Finally, we saw this lovely Caravaggio in situ, always a treat - it's a Madonna and Child, but a slightly unusual one.  Mary greats these pilgrims at the door of her non-descript hovel with the Christ child, who is holding her sleeve, but gripping it in such a way that he makes the sign of the blessing.  Everybody's barefoot, including Mary, indicating a low social status.  This painting is lovely and extremely generous and sympathetic, but I also find it quiet humorous, as I do much of his work.  I mean, that guy's ass is right in the viewer's face, and so are his dirty feet.

Here's what it looks like in the space.  It's at the Chiesa di Sant'Agostino.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Breaking Dawn 2 - Major Spoilers, no kidding

On Friday I saw Breaking Dawn, Pt. 2 (the final Twilight movie!) with some girl friends.  We got to the theatre/bar early so we could properly prepare for the experience.  This movie was totally bonkers, y'all.    I'm going to drop some crazy-town spoilers, so seriously don't read this if you are going to see the movie.  I mean, if you're slightly interested, invite your best gal pals and go Friday night, I guarantee you're going to have fun.

So, if you remember the previous movie, Bella has just given birth to a half-vampire baby and been turned into a vampire herself.  So, at the beginning of this one, Bella's a vampire, and she and Edward are really happy, so they go running in the woods and eat some wild animals.
Vampires wear false lashes. Proof.
And then they're like, oh yeah, we have a kid, so they go back to the house and look at the kid (apparently for the first time?) and, I'm not kidding you, it's the ugliest baby you'll ever see.  For some reason, they CGI'd the baby, and it was creepy as hell.  It was some dangerous uncanny valley territory  yo.  That might be where our audience started going pretty nutso. We had an awesome audience of approx. half tweens and half thirtys.  We were all very vocal.  Like when Bella first sees Jacob, he's like, "I didn't expect you to look so... you."  


Anyway, then it's like, the bad vampires are going to come and kill all the good vampires for having a vampire baby.  So, they prepare for this big fight and invite a bunch of other vampires to come over.  Including these racist caricatures.  Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?  Come on, that's not cool.  I did really like this actress with bangs, though.  She looked a lot like Tyra Banks and seemed to be smizing the whole time.  

Also, the Pie Man gets invited.  And he makes a very handsome vampire.  So there's that.  No one seems more amused by Lee Pace's presence in Breaking Dawn 2 than Lee Pace.  
Here's what I recall from the book, which, I admit, I liberally skimmed, literally unable to actually READ it word for word.  The bad vampires show up, and they're like, We're gunna KILL you. And the Cullens are like, Well, look, the child is actually pretty nice. And they're like, Yeah, she is. Ok, our bad.  See you later. Bai.  But, what happens in the movie is that they DO fight.
And straight off the bat, a couple of major characters get killed. Like, first, Edward's dad or whatever gets his HEAD. RIPPED. OFF (!!!!!) by the super-bad-vampire-guy. And... I'm not kidding you, our entire theatre just completely EXPLODED.  Everyone was screaming and going just totes cray cray. And then some more people get killed, like a couple of wolves and even uh.. that other vampire, I can't remember his name.  And people are losing their SHIT.  It. Was. Awesome.   And this one guy? For some reason? Like Matrix-style punches his fist into the ground and makes a big crater with lava in the bottom and everything? And people and wolves start falling into the lava and stuff and the crowd was going CRAZY.  

And I'm like, Well, this here is GREAT because they took Stephanie Meyer's lame-ass milquetoast ending and really DID something with it! Until, all of a sudden, What's that JR? The whole thing was just a goddamn vision.  And then the Cullens are like, Yeah, that's what will happen if you go to war with us, and then the bad-vampires are like, Yeah, that would suck, ok bai.  And they take off.  And everyone's like, "WHHHHAAAAAAATTT????"   I look down at my friend G and she yells, "Didn't anyone here read the BOOK?!"  

And then everyone lives happily ever after, including - YUCK! - Jacob and the (don't even get me started on this girl's name) child-bride Renesmee (really?).  

Yeah, that's not weird.

The End.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tiny cars and food: Roman edition

Here are a couple of pics from our trip to Rome - even though we have tiny cars in the US now, I cannot resist taking pictures of eensy-weensy cars in Europe. How can I get a truck like this?  I could drive it to the thrift store and buy all the jacked up chairs I wanted.  I WANT ONE SO BAD!!!!

Also, look at this Gucci car we saw.  I  WANT ONE SO BAD!
 If you buy a pizza slice to go, they cut it in half, fold it, and hand it to you in paper.  We got these at this great spot for pizza, but I forget what it's called.

One time I ordered pasta with shrimp and it came with heads on.  And then we laughed for a long time.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bond, James Bond

Last night we saw the new Bond movie. Oh, Skyfall.  It was totally uh-mah-zing.

You know that one scene where James Bond jumps into the back of a train that's been torn in half and then HE ADJUSTS HIS FRIGGIN' CUFF LINKS?  Uuuuuuhm the whole movie is like that.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pallazo Barberini

Continuing our journey through Rome by Caravaggios, we go next to the Palazzo Barbarini, where we saw some pretty fantastic things, including, possibly, my favorite Caravaggio of all!

First we saw Raphael's La Fornarina, a gorgeous portrait of his lover.  I realized that I had NEVER seen a good reproduction of it because in person it was really fantastic - just a reminder of how important it is to see the real thing if you can...  Her little arm band is more blue, and it reads "Raphael Vrbinus" (Raphael of Urbino). 

 The Barbarini palace also has two Caravaggios, a Judith and Holofernes and Narcissus.  Narcissus, you may recall, was so entranced by his own beautiful reflection in a pool of water his fell in and drowned.  So, let that be a lesson to you.
 I am mildly obsessed with the story of Judith and I love looking at the many interpretations of her heroine-ness.   The story goes like this - Judith, a Jewish widow, lives in this town that is being terrorized by Holofernes.  He's camped outside the town, keeping them all under siege, and they're pretty much doomed until Judith and her maid go down to his tent, get him drunk and cut off his head.  Over the years, artists have painted her as triumphant, a seductrice, drunk on her own power, businesslike, etc (and her maid, don't get me started!)  I love how Caravaggio paints her - pretty grossed out by the deed at hand, but determined.  Her maid's next to her with this crazy look in her eye like she's seen it all before...  Holofernes is captured the millisecond before life exists his body - he's surprised, his HEAD is practically DETACHED, but he's still got energy in his arms.  It's easy to image that viewing this painting in the early 17th c (it was finished in 1599) would be like watching a entire season of True Blood today.

maid, detail

If you're interested, I'm also totally bonkers over Klimt's Judith and Franz von Stuck's, and, of course, Artemisia Gentileschi's.

That brings our Caravaggio count to 9!  BTW, I heard some people have had trouble commenting on my blog - I took away the captcha, so it should be easier now.  Let me know if you have any trouble!

Thursday, November 08, 2012


Boy am I glad the election turned out my way!  What a relief!  I realized I was carrying around a lot of stress worrying about what it would be like if Romney were in power!

Now I can get back to worrying about stupid things like What Am I Going To Wear to the Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 Movie?*

Love this

* Answer: a cloak

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Carvaggio Count

I hope you're not bored of hearing about our trip to Rome because I have a LOT more to tell you.  I'm not even HALF way through all the Caravaggios we saw!

One of the museums we went to was the Capitoline - there we saw quite a few wonderful things - including this amazing 5th Century bronze sculpture of the She-Wolf with Romulus and Remus - a symbol of the very beginnings of Rome.  The story is quite interesting.

She's a very charming wolf.  BTW, look at the backgrounds in those pictures - everywhere we went, every INCH was covered in something beautiful. Like, we'd walk into a room and I'd just stare at the floor for a while.  It was really quite overwhelming, I mean, honestly, from floor to ceiling, there were just agonizingly gorgeous things to look at.  It's impossible!  

We also saw two more Caravaggios - The Fortune Teller, which, to tell the truth is NOT a GREAT Caravaggio, although, in person you can see that the fortune teller is slipping the ring off the young man's finger...

And John the Baptist, which IS great.

Caravaggio Count: 7.

Friday, November 02, 2012


If you are an agoraphobic misanthropist, like me, you should probably not go to the Vatican, or even, perhaps, Rome, at all.  Truthfully, I'll admit there were moments that I was quite overwhelmed by the crowds of endless people and the stifling crush of human bodies basically everywhere we went, however, none so much as the Vatican and Sistine Chapel tour.   I remember that night when we got home to our Roman apartment, I said something like, "I think I handled that pretty well!" and M just rolled his eyes and reminded me about the three or four panic attacks he had to talk me down from.

The Sistine Chapel - whose ceiling was painted by Michelangelo in the early 16th century, beneath which are frescos by Botticelli, amongst others, as well as the magnificent alter wall, featuring Michelangelo's incomparable Last Judgement - as a whole, is often referred to as the single most important and impressive art piece of all time.  Not only that, but it's a holy place.  Beneath this artistic and spiritual extravaganza were accumulated humanities worst examples - taking pictures with flash and making a bunch of noise even though you're supposed to be silent.  The guards would shout "SILENCIO!" every 1 minute or so, at which point the noise would dull to a quiet roar, the rose second by second to a din 1 minute later.  If that all sounds negative, it was rather a bizarre experience - not at all what I expected.  I always get really embarrassed when tourists misbehave in religious spaces, it bums me out that people have so little respect for locations.  Anyway, if you're like me - get antsy in crowds and have a tendency to think that the world's a terrible place and we're all doomed and humans are horrible, narcissistic creatures bent on destroying the earth and everything that's beautiful and good - spend 15 minutes in the Sistine Chapel and have all your fears compounded.  Then look up, block out the noise, and try to have a good sense of humor, just like Michelangelo:

Creation of Sun and Moon (get it?)

Here's a really cool 360 view of the whole thing.  It was nice to see the floor.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Can't hug every cat

Shortly before we left for our vacation, I got deliriously hooked on this auto-tuned song, Can't Hug Every Cat (go ahead and watch it four or five times, I'll wait...) I also put it on my "Rome Mix" - I like to make a special mix for our vacations which we can listen to over and over again when we're there - then, when we get home and listen to the mix - voilá! - it's like we're on vacation again. (I KNOW, it's like, I'm a total genius, right?)

Anyway, we saw a few nice cats when we were in Rome - here are some cats that lived in some ruins?

A couple of cool cats.  Ugh, I look terrible.  ):
 And here's a grouchy cat that seemed to live at the Colosseum   That was one tough cat.

They only speak Italian, so you have to call them, "Micio, micio, micio!"

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Borghese Gardens

Above the Piazza Popolo, near where we were staying, was a huge park called the Borghese Gardens and a really cool overview area.  
Popolo with St. Peter's in background

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


At the beginning of our trip - sort of as a joke, I said to M - "Let's see ALL the Caravaggios in Rome!" There aren't that many, you see, and it's rare to see them travel.  There aren't any in Chicago (there's a lovely little one in Indianapolis, which I wrote a paper about in undergrad...) , but there's a bit over a dozen in Rome.  I think we saw all but one.  

Not 5 minutes from our Roman apartment - there were two - IN SITU - at the Santa Maria del Popolo.  The Conversion of St. Paul, which is too beautiful for words, one of my favorites, and The Martyrdom of St. Peter, which is so painful I can barely look at it.  

Imagine, you spend most of your live, walking around, NOT seeing Caravaggios very often, and then, WHAM, there are two.

Walk about 20 minutes or so to San Luigi dei Francesi, and guess what you're going to see?  BOOM.  Three more Caravaggios.  The Calling of St. Matthew (below), the Inspiration of St. Matthew, and, wait for it... the Martyrdom of St. Matthew.  
Matthew's the one saying "Who? Me?"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Coming soon!

iMovie has this fun little thing to make a trailer of your movie - It always takes me ages to make my little films (you wouldn't believe!), so here's a taste of the movie to come...

(blogger kind of crops these, so here's the link to see the full screen)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Roam if you want to

What a great time we had in Rome!  We rented an apartment just north of the Piazza Popolo, and spent the whole time in Rome, wandering from church to gelateria to museum to trattoria.  Here's a view of St. Peters - oh, that Renaissance symmetry!

One of the best parts of our trip was meeting up with my Italian sister, M, and her husband, A.  M lived with us my senior year of high school and then I went home with her to Milan for the summer after we graduated.  Unfortunately we lost track of each other, and when I tracked her down about a year ago I discovered that she'd gotten married and had three kids!  They were kind enough to make the trip down to Rome and spent about 4 days with us.  It was fantastic catching up again.  

We're all sitting in front of the Quattro Fiumi (Four Rivers) fountain, designed by Bernini.  Oh, Bernini!  Madonna, did we see some beautiful artwork.  My favorite Berninis, of course, are The Ecstasy of St. Teresa and his David.  We also saw just about every Caravaggio in Rome (might have missed one or two), which I will review for your edification in the coming days.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Red letter weekend

Before our vacation I saw a couple of great plays - I have season tickets at Steep Theatre - it's a great Chicago theatre company that's starting to blow up like crazy.  I've never seen a bad show there.  We saw the first performance of Making Noise Quietly, which was exciting.  It's a play about war and pacifism, told in 3 vignettes.  A beautiful, sparse set, with fantastic performances.  So, check this out... at the end of the first vignette, which is a scene with these two guys, and at the end of the scene... this is kind of a spoiler... one guy takes of his pants.  And I'm like, Oh, ok.  Then, get this, he takes off his underwear and I'm like, This is happening.  And then!  The other guy takes of his pants! And I'm like, HOLD ON.  Full frontal male nudity times two?  That's why you have to love Chicago theatre.  But, also, give a girl a little warning, knowhatImean?

The night I saw Making Noise Quietly, my parents came for a visit.  So, they show up really late, and in the morning, I tell them this funny story about seeing two unexpected things in the play, and we all had a laugh.  Anyway, I had got us all tickets to Metamorphoses at the Lookingglass theatre downtown.  It was absolutely stunning.  It's directed by Mary Zimmerman and it's a restaging of the show that won the Tony in 1998.  If you're in the area, I hope you make the opportunity to go see it - it was a real experience and we all absolutely loved it.  The stage is a pool of water, and... you just wouldn't believe how amazing it is.  And! Get this!  Full. Frontal. Male. Nudity.  Again!  You gotta love Chicago theatre.
We are just returned from our fabulous Rome vacation, so I'll be posting about that in the near future.  We had a great time, but I'm pretty happy to be home.  I'm pretty sure I got Stendhal Syndrome while I was there.  Good to be home with a lot of wonderful memories!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

w00t: Dead Island

So, as previous mentioned, M was playing this game called Dead Island on his PS3.  In it, you play a character who's on some kind of vacation resort island, and suddenly almost everyone turns into a zombie except for you and a bunch of other people.  So, then you gotta run around the island, killing zombies and doing stuff.  I kept asking M, "WHY did everyone become zombies?"  He claimed not to know OR care.  Unsettling.

If you like zombie stuff, you'll probably like this game.  M really enjoyed it.  I liked it OK, but I have to say, it was kind of stupid, it's like, all these zombies?  They're all wearing bikinis.  It's like the whole game is a dumb ruse just to get zombies in bathing suits for some reason.  Then there are these challenges?  So, like, someone will say, Hey, I'll give you 200 bucks if you run across the island and get my handbag or whatever and then it's like... is anyone seriously motivated by US currency in the event of a localized zombie outbreak?  I don't think so.  You'd wanna, you know, figure out how to get off the island, or discover if the virus has spread or whatever.  Nahmean?

If I were playing the game, I would just barricade myself in my hotel room, preferably a suite, hopefully with running water and a little bit of food, and wait for reinforcements.  If the cable still works, great. If not, that's why you have to choose your vacation books carefully, people.  Yeah, you want something that's engaging, but also intellectually stimulating.  Additionally, if you're in a zombie-type situation, you've really got to ask yourself: Why not just join the zombies?  I mean, if it's inevitable, why cause yourself a bunch of unnecessary stress?

Ultimately, something was wrong with M's disk and he got stuck in a wall or something.  He was quite distraught.  He had not killed all the zombies he wished to kill.  Anyway, apparently the game is very "buggy".

Rating:  Only Mildly Unbearable, IF you like zombies.  Watch out for bugs.

Monday, October 01, 2012

What's on?

So, there was some kind of marathon of this show called My Cat From Hell, and it was really awesome.  It was like Take My Dog, Please! or whatever, only for cats.  This guy with odd facial hair helps people solve their cat's problem behaviors.  I mean, dude looks like he's from Panem.* As far as I could tell, basically just playing with the cats at a designated time was the solution for everything.  Although, I did learn that if you blink your eyes real slow at a cat it means I Love You.  So, I tried blinking my eyes at Kaya for a while but she never blinked back at me.

I've also been watching Breaking Amish, which I hate, but can't stop watching.  If you like watching dummies get sloppy drunk and try to order food in Manhattan, then that is the show for you.  Why do Amish people dress like they're from the Jersey Shore when they leave the nest?  Ah, apparently that whole show is bs.  What's next? We're going to find out Honey Boo Boo's family AREN'T hillbillies?

In other news, I'm mostly better, but would you believe I still have a niggling cough.  I'm starting to think I have some 18th century disease like consumption.  Don't mind me if I just delicately cough a little blood into a hanky if I get too excited.

*Where my Hunger Games fans at?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

video games

Finally, I started feeling a little bit better this weekend!  Enough to leave the house and have dinner out and watch a movie and everything.  We saw Dredd.  It was pretty bad.  In a remarkable twist, M bought ME a video game, and I played it.  Review coming soon.  Also, he has a new video game - here's a brief conversation we had about it.
M: Let's play my video game this afternoon!
K: What? Oh, you mean... together?
M: No, just me.
K: Is it 2 players?
M: No.
K: [makes face]
M: It's called Dead Island.
K: [makes face]
M: Because it takes place on an island.
K: [blank look]
M: and has dead people on it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Teaching to the Test

Have you been following the teacher's strike in Chicago?  If not, or you're not sure what the heck is going on, I found an article that spells it out pretty clearly.  I come from a proud Union family (my dad was in UAW and my sister is in the Teachers Union in California), so I'm on the side of the teacher's union.  Some politicians are doing a good job of fooling the public into thinking you're either on the irrational, money-grubbing side of the teachers, or, you're for "the kids".  I applaud their effort, as I do that of all evil geniuses, but it's utter BS.  When teachers (don't forget that means, literally, the people who are educating the next generation) benefit, so do students.

I'm not surprised to hear Mitt Romney talking shit about unions, but what's up with Democratic Mayor Rohm Emanuel?  Frankly, I'm utterly SHOCKED that it's even socially acceptable to bash unions.  Do people not REMEMBER what it was like before unions?  Weakening, or, heaven forfend, eliminating unions would take us back over a hundred years of progress.

Apparently the sticking point now in negotiations are regarding tying teacher evaluations to student performances.  This seems like a no-brainer to me, but the only way it works is if you have a standardized test for the student, and if the teacher's performance is based on that test, then the teacher is going to end up Teaching to the Test.  I defy you to find an educator that thinks this is a good idea.  Personally, I hate standardized tests, I think we should eliminate them completely (and, HOT TIP, we could do that pretty easily if all parents would just follow my simple advice and not allow your kid to take them.  They're not mandatory.)   There are all sorts of reasons you could have the best teacher in the world, but she'll have a hard time overcoming any social issues that may effect her district, like poverty, students for whom English is not a first language, or even weather, not to mention aspects that are common in impoverished areas like abuse, parental uninvolvement and nutrition.  Imagine if your performance review was influenced by whether your co-workers had a healthy diet!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Grilled Pizza!

I've been really sick lately - total bummer.  I'm kind of making a comeback now (thanks to a second round of antibiotics), but it's pretty slow.  So, life's been pretty boring for me lately - haven't done much but lay around on the couch watching the slim offerings of Netflix (exhausting everything they had to offer in the British Lady Detective genre) and going to bed crazy early.

But, this weekend, thankfully, I did finally feel a tiny bit better.  Enough to go out for brunch, hang out in the backyard, and even do some cooking.

I made a pumpkin bread with buttercream frosting and salted caramel drizzle that sounds better than it tastes.  I made peach ice cream, which tastes even better than it sounds.  And tonight M & I grilled pizza.  OMG, so delicious.  We made the dough ourselves, and three kinds: Margherita, Mexican, and... wait for it... peach and goat cheese with truffle oil and honey.  It was bonkers delish.