Thursday, November 29, 2007

Homework: still a drag.


I cannot work at home.

Seriously, how do people do this? How do they shut off HGTV and stop playing just one quick game of online spades and get off the phone with their mother and quit checking in with their favorite blogs and not tweak their Christmas project for the 10,245th time and stop snickering about ridiculously inappropriate inside deals and quick running to the library and stop unloading the dishwasher and tossing in a load of laundry and not stand in front of the fireplace until their ass is good and toasty and quit petting the dog and then realizing the dog smells REALLY bad and then coming to the conclusion that what the dog actually smells like is a cross between poop and vomit making it necessary to shoo the dog out to the back porch where the poor thing is relegated to her fluffy, cushy dog bed with her own personal space heater nearby and then trading e-mails with friends arranging a trip to the north country where a rumored eighty-thousand (that is not a typo) song karaoke machine awaits…

Oops! There I go again. STILL not working. See how I am?

Oh, what am I doing now?

That’s right, people, BLOGGING instead of working.

But that’s all going to change. I’m putting the pedal to the metal, nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the plow!. I’m going to buckle down, get serious, no more Mrs. Nice guy! I’m going to work my little fingers to the bone, hoe that row, tow that line.

And I’m going to do that right after I meet a friend for lunch and post this bit about my "espionage personality". (Thanks to Suz At Large [a.k.a. Hannah Senesh] for this link. Find out your espionage personality here.)

he "If You Were a Spy..." quiz on

I am a...
virginia hall

Are your friends constantly amazed with your new hobbies? Whether you can speak Italian, bake a pie from scratch or maneuver your way through a parallel park-a-thon, your uncanny expertise probably surprises those around you. Like Virginia Hall, you're probably intelligent, persistent and a tad of a perfectionist. Read more...

Which spy are you?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

iLove it!

Founding members of Project AIDS Orphan, (from left) David Okong’o, Monica Bilak, and Paul Bilak, focus attention on World AIDS Day (Dec. 1st) with a groovy new tee shirt designed for sharing and a walk around the Lowertown Arts District. Read all about it--in a piece contributed by yours truly--at iList Paducah.

Yet Another Video

I know..I KNOW! But I'm working!

And you need to meet Achmed the Dead Terrorist.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gun "Safety"

If you're one of the bazillion people who have already experienced this video, just move on along, there's nothing to see here. But, if you haven't seen it? You seriously need to check out the goings on when one enthusiastic DEA Agent lectures a classroom full of around 50 kids and adults on gun safety.

The incident took place on April 9, 2004 at an event sponsored by the Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association.

(I should probably feel bad about how hilarious I find this video. But I'm afraid I just don't. I'm posting it now because a certain someone told me she hadn't seen it. And everybody needs to see it. At least once.)

Saturday, November 24, 2007


This morning I went to a two-hour “burn the turkey” yoga session.

I should have known to get worried when yoga teacher Tim asked me if I was “ready to sweat”. Because, for me, the answer to that question? Is always, always no.

Nevertheless, I did sweat. A lot. And my turkey got burned and I am, in general, completely worthless right about now. Whew! I seriously wonder if I’ll be able to get out of bed tomorrow.

We learned a pose that cracked me up called “the dragonfly”. The pose is something you sort of pop into all of a sudden like. I managed to do it exactly once.

The thing that I found amusing about it is that I think something done suddenly is often funny. Is it just me? It’s like one minute…nothing. Next minute…DRAGONFLY! I wish I could find a picture of the version we did, but I’m not having any luck. Anyway, look out….DRAGONFLY!

And then I thought about Derek Zoolander. And his trademark “blue steel” look which in my extreme state of yoga torture suddenly seemed like much the same thing…BLUE STEEL!:

Probably loses something in the translation. But in an intense state of yoga contortion? This is very, very funny.

Otherwise, I received my Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man CD and have been listening to it ever since. Ohmygosh, this is such good stuff. Sure, it’s dark. But some of it is also campy and the quibbles I had with the vocalists while watching the movie completely fade into insignificance when listening to this absolutely lovely remarkable CD. I’m putting it my side bar THIS minute.

Lastly, we saw “Into the Wild” last night. The movie definitely had some good moments, but overall? Too long. Too drawn out. Sean Penn needs to seriously get over himself. The droning whack-you-over-the-head-incessantly ending brought to mind Penn’s performance in Mystic River—you remember: Is that my DAUGHTER in there?” “Is that MY daugher in there?” “Is THAT my daughter in there?”….etc, etc.

Hello? Sean? Ever heard of “less is more”?

Maybe that’s how poor Robyn Wright Penn stays so thin. Imagine how Mr. Intensity reacts if, say, his eggs are overdone? that situation Robyn should...


Friday, November 23, 2007

When Projects Attack

My recent lack of bloggage is disturbing, even to me.

I'm blaming it on Christmas and my gift "projects" that I've alluded to in an earlier post. I'm not trying to be cryptic, but I can't talk about it since giftees are blog readers. And, really, it's not even all that original. It's just that I'm the type of person that, in certain situations, can get a little OVERLY obsessed with projects and a little hyper-sensitive to detail and just a tad anal retentive in general.

Couple these tendencies with a major holiday and gifts for loved ones, and you've got a recipe for marathon sessions at the computer tweaking this and adding that and maybe getting a little, well...carried away.

Which is where a concerned friend came in just the other day when she called my cell phone:

(My cell phone rings…not recognizing the number I answer in a professional tone…)

This is Suzanne

It’s just me.

Oh, didn’t recognize the number. Hi! How the hell are ya?!

Fine. So, how are you?

Fine! Just fine! I’m working on my XXX!

Really? You sound really, um, upbeat.

Yep! I’ve been at it for hours! I’m going to e-mail you a picture of XXX.

I’d love to see it. So…how many hours is many hours?

I’m telling you, I don’t know when I’ve had this much fun. And, earlier? I discovered I can also make XXX! So, I’ve been working on that too! I mean, the possibilities? They are endless!

It sounds like it. So, back to my question. How many hours?

Well, let’s see. It’s the strangest thing. I woke up at 3 a.m.! I mean I NEVER do that, right? And I couldn’t go back to sleep so I just started working on XXX and then I was like, wow, I can do this other thing and…


…I was like, ohmygosh! That opened up a whole NEW realm of possibilities and…

It’s 3 p.m.


Let’s do the math together, now. That’s TWELVE hours.

Well, I’ve gotten TONS done on this! I mean I’ve XXXed and then XXXed...and at that point, I was just like, well, heck, might as well…



Is there any wine at your house?

Wine! Sure! We have tons left from Thanksgiving! Do you need some…?

Okay, listen to me carefully now. I want you to step away from the XXX.

But..I’m starting on this other thing that…

I need you to go where the wine is.

Well, okay, I’m walking now…

Okay good…

You think I’m too wound up, don’t you? Well, I’m really not. I just get this way when I’m really into a project, it’s just like, wow, I can’t stop and then I…

Have you located the wine?

Yes, here I am! Like I said there’s tons! What do you think? There’s this Australian Shiraz which, is really good, and then there’s the Clos Du Bois Chardonnay, oh, but wait! I forgot about this Beaujolais….”Beaujolais”! Don’t you just like to say Beaujolais…


Right this minute?!

I’m waiting…

Okay, okay. I’m going Shiraz.




Damn, that’s good. Hey, I guess this is what everybody means when they say, “Wine for medicinal purposes”, isn’t it? Because, twelve hours? Now that I think of it? Is a REALLY long time!

Okay, now, I’m going to need you to go to the Jacuzzi.

A soak! What a GREAT idea! I’ll head that way…

Do you have your wine with you?

Hey, I’ve got the glass AND the bottle! I’m not THAT crazy!

Very good. Now I want you to call me if, after you have a soak and you drink that wine, if you’re NOT sleepy…

I got it. But I think you don’t have to worry.

Great. And, Suzanne?


If you start to make a ***(=hilariously funny thing which I can’t say, but I’m dying to), I want you to call me back okay?

You don’t really think I’d make a *** do you? But, honestly, are ***s really THAT bad?

Just remember.

Right. ***=bad. Got it.

I’m going now. Remember what I said.

Learn more about Buy Nothing Day here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yoga, Sushi, Shopping

I continue to be innie and also busy working on work stuff. (Think Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles, "Work, work, work, work...")

In my innie state, I haven't been going to yoga, and wasn't planning on going last night. That is until someone lured me with promises of sushi. Honestly, I think you could get me to do about anything by dangling a Dynamite Roll in my face.

It turned out I had a great time and felt MUCH better after some down dogs and hip openers. After sushi, we mosied over to the Jewelry and Handbag Warehouse where they were having an insane sale that was either buy-one-get-one-free or buy-one-get-one-half-off. One among our number managed to get a set that included a matching black bead necklace, earrings, and bracelet for $1.99. I got to try on tiaras. Rings with ridiculously large sparkly stones were tried on and waved about. Scarves were donned and considered ($4.99!).

Eventually, the warehouse staff had to make an announcement that the store was actually CLOSED that had to have been aimed directly at us. Because we were the only people in the store. So, we had to take off our sparkly rings and scarves and head on home. If you're interested the sale goes on until Nov. 24th.

Monday, November 19, 2007

This Just In: PR Judge Heidi Klum Fugged

Just so's you know.

The Holiday Season Begins

Whew! I have been waaay out of touch these last few days.

We had our Thanksgiving early this year, Saturday night to be exact. No particular reason, just felt like doing it early and, as it happened, all of our kids were able to be present. Yay! Not that I got photos or anything (ARGH!).

I'm sort of innie these days, probably because of the looming Christmas season. I am going to make my gifts a little more homespun this year. This is both a necessity and something of a fun little creative challenge. I have, in the past, tended to throw money at Christmas until it finally went away. Effective, but not very fiscally responsible.

In other news, I was a little surprised to see this at the iList blog while catching up this morning. I know Gabe Camacho, he is the former husband of a friend, but I never knew he was the literary type. Turns out Gabe is a founding member of the Paducah Writer's Group , an organization dedicated to "fostering and promoting area writers".

A big Bizzyville Super Snap to Gabe and the PWG.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Because I Care...

Lots of real life things to do today, but I thought I'd drop in and share some random stuff. First, from MTV, a Celebrity Deathmatch between DeNiro and Pacino with a heaping tablespoon of Brando:

From my boyfriends and girlfriends at TED, a shot from the moon of an earthset:

Last, at some point today, the PR Blog will post a list of links to sites recapping Project Runway on which yours truly should also appear. It's not up yet, but you can check this link. In that same vein, don't miss this wonderful recap from Melanie McFarland of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Absolutely NOT recapping Project Runway Season 4, Episode 1

Here I am! Posting! Almost on time.

Unfortunately, this may not continue to be the case for a while. Work is, once again, rearing its ugly head. Again, good for the checkbook; bad for the blog reindeer games. I'm going to do my best to keep up my posting schedule, but I can't make any promises.

Last night, Christa and I stayed up waaay passed our bedtimes (well hers, certainly) to take in Episode One of Project Runway/Season Four. This major event included not only fashion but a fabulously exotic, delicious Indian chicken soup Christa prepared that I, personally, think she should post the recipe to, because it was TO DIE for. Very, very curry and delicious. The perfect antidote to these suddenly chilly fall temperatures.

I'm not going to recap the PR episode here because, one, that would take forever and, two, plenty of others are doing a great job of it, particularly one of my favorite bloggers, The Manolo, not to mention the Official Blog of the show itself, blogs from some of the stars of the show, AND blogs (watch the video on this link, there's noise) by former contestants. I will say that I had, last night, already dubbed the extra large male designer Fred Flintstone, and Christa had already pointed out that that one dress (top row, second from left in the composite at the top of the post; click for a larger image) with the ridiculous train looked like it was pooping fabric before Heidi Klum said it.

Okay, now paragraph three into my non recap, I just have to comment that Christa (I think) and certainly I differed with the judges on who the winner should have been. While Rami's winning design (above) was certainly nice and all, and he did a great job of draping, I just cannot get passed the fact that the thing just screams BLANKET to me. This whole feeling is just reinforced by the color. The thing looks like you could snip a few seams and use it as a saddle blanket. Is it just me? Could he not have gone for at least maybe a dove gray, something silvery perhaps?

Personally, I think the best design (one I can't find an individual photo to post of) is top row center; the B&W (I am almost obsessively in love with the combo, not that it's original or anything) with the turquoise trim. I LOOOOVE that dress!

So, there you have it. Good thing I didn't waste a lot of time recapping the PR.

Otherwise, you may remember my semi-drunken tirade about the tiny purse as essential night-out gear, or vacation/shopping accessory.

However, I'll have to admit to recently buying (yet another) tiny purse at Aphrodite Gallery last weekend, and then finding myself unable to resist the temptation to pare down and carry it on an every day basis.

Not that it's been easy, mind you. I found myself at Kroger this morning without my debit card (accidentally left behind in the Big Purse) and I constantly have the nagging feeling that I'm missing something very important, then can't put my finger on what that might be. It's sort of scary to be that light when you're used to carrying around what amounts to a piece of luggage on your shoulder.
It's all going to take some getting used to.

So, there it is, the latest TP. I threw in the Diet Coke for scale, and then couldn't resist adding my Tiny Stapler.

I love my Tiny Stapler.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Snaps to John and Kate (Now updated with clumsy but interesting edits at the bottom of this post)

At the risk of making this blog all about what I’m watching, which I’m not at all certain I want to do, I have to comment on the Discovery Channel show, John and Kate Plus 8.

First off, most of you know this already, but in case you don’t, I am the mother of a grown son. My boy Chase is placid and laid back today, but believe me when I say that hasn't always been the case.

He learned to climb out of his crib at around eight months of age (he took his first steps at seven months). When he was around ten months old, I was awakened to the sound of the front door of our apartment slamming closed at dawn one morning, and knowing the two of us were alone in the apartment, quickly deduced that my baby had climbed from his crib, undone the front door deadbolt, swung open the door and was now off on an early morning outing.

Without me.

While coming to all these conclusions mentally, my body had kicked into Mommy Overdrive. I had leapt from the bed, tore through the apartment and landed in the hallway, automatically in a full on ninja crouch, in record time. Unfortunately, there was no baby in sight.

I studied the five possible doors he could have gone through: three leading to other apartments and two that lead to (HORRORS) The Stairs.

As I briefly paused to plot my next move, I heard a muffled conversation coming from the next apartment,

“And how are you today,” an indulgent female voice said.

I knocked on the door. It was opened by a young man I had occasionally passed in the parking lot.

“Um, hi, is my baby here by any chance?” (Words, trust me, no mother really ever imagines herself saying.)

He opened the door wider to reveal Chase sitting at their kitchen table, as the man’s wife stood at the stove.

“We didn’t know whether to fix him breakfast or bring him home,” she said, “He just wandered in a minute ago.”

“Ah, thanks, but we’ll be going now,” I said as I retrieved my missing baby from their kitchen table, thanked them, and silently resolved to immediately buy a lock for the OUTSIDE of Chase’s bedroom door, something I had pondered, but felt was slightly inhumane up to that point. I had that day stumbled upon something far worse than locking a baby in his room: missing baby.

And so it is with this story (and many others like it) in mind that I watch “John and Kate Plus 8” a Discovery Channel series about a Pennsylvania couple with twin six-year-old girls AND six three-year-old sextuplets.

I know I should tear myself away, but when they start showing those J&K+8 marathons? I just can’t stop watching. The shock and awe keeps me coming back for more. I can’t stop asking myself: what would I have done with Chase and five other little munchkins just like him? Oh, and a set of older twins.

Dear God.

Still, John and Kate seem to manage remarkably well. Kate comes off as something of a drill sergeant, occasionally, tending to resort to screeching dog commands i.e., “Go!” “Stay!” at poor John on a regular basis, but overall, I have to give them credit for just getting out of bed every morning.

In that situation? I’m not sure I would.
[Edited to add: And, speaking of too much TV watching, all you HGTV fans out there need to check out Suz At Large's expose on Free Style. Turns out, HGTV defines "free" as $1,000. ]
[Edited AGAIN to add: The iList Blog gets the scoop on William Sledd's BRAVO show. The pilot episode is to be filmed IN PADUCAH. Get the details here.]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Leonard Cohen-I'm Your Man

I noticed "Leonard Cohen-I'm Your Man" DVD in the documentary section at the library last night and, remembering I had added the film to my Netflix queue a while back, was thrilled to check it out for free.

I have to say, I was unprepared for how fascinating and uniquely talented a character Cohen is. The movie, lovingly directed by Lian Lunson (who has a blog), tells Cohen's story through a series of interviews with Cohen himself, cut with live performances of his songs by some seriously talented performers of today (some not so much, but this is a small quibble), and interspersed with interviews of his famous disciples, among them Bono and The Edge of U2.

Cohen himself, a monk, songwriter, poet, philosopher and novelist, born in 1934, is still hugely magnetic at seventy-one, the time of the filming (2005). In his youth, his looks were (credit to the S-Man on this) a cross between Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman. His music is, in a word, dark. This isn't the sort of stuff you toss in the player and bop along cleaning your house to on a Sunday morning. It's more of a rainy post-break up alone with a bottle of wine what's-it-all-about Friday night kind of deal.

Cohen, a Canadian, enjoyed the majority of his commercial success in the 1960's and 70's when he released folk albums. Judy Collins had a hit with his song "Suzanne" (of course, I have to throw that in). Rober Altman used Cohen's music exclusively as the soundtrack for "McCabe and Mrs. Miller". Cohen published two novels, The Favourite Game in 1963, Beautiful Loser in 1966, and a volume of poetry, Flowers for Hitler, in 1964.

Whether you're a Cohen fan, or a completely ignorant goober about him, like I was, "I'm Your Man" is a must-see. The interview footage of Cohen is fascinating and the performances sometimes even transcendent like this one of Rufus Wainwright's.

You abandon your masterpiece and you sink into the real masterpiece.

-Leonard Cohen

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Unbearable Lightness of a Clean Jacuzzi

Well, I did it. It only took half a day, a 24-hr Clarinex, a surgical mask, all manner of chemicals, and the flexibility of a contortionist, but my Jacuzzi? It is now clean. As opposed to how it’s looked for the last…I don’t know how long. Which is like a team of coal miners enjoyed a post-shaft pre-shower happy hour in there.

On the other hand, there is nothing I value more than good, nearly scalding hot soak before bed. During the renovation of the house, I could hardly believe my luck when the S-Man told me I could have my very own Jacuzzi. And I do mean my very own. The S-Man describes bathing as “Reclining in a pool of one’s own filth.” Ahem. (Almost as memorable as his declaration on wall-to-wall carpet: “Nailing your dirty underwear to the floor and walking on it forever.” We haven’t had carpet since.)

Anyway, the S-Man’s dire opinions aside, I could hardly wait to enjoy steamy neck-deep jet-fueled soaks. Our first night in the house I turned on the water adjusting it to the exact near-scalding temperature that I particularly enjoy (one that leaves me a faint shade of lobster red), lit all my vanilla scented candles that I had scattered about, and placed my freshly laundered fluffy white terrycloth robe nearby. The stage was set.

After the tub had been filling for about 15 minutes, I stopped in to check the temperature. It was not hot. Not warm. Not lukewarm. But cold. The tub was barely a third of the way full and the hot water supply was exhausted. Choking back a sob, I went to confer with the S-Man who then spent some time with wrenches and various tools in the water heater closet mumbling and cursing, ala Darren McGavin in A Christmas Story. He emerged after a time saying the whole thing was fixed but would likely have to spend some time re-heating.

I set my bathing sights on the next day when I repeated the candle-lighting-robe-tub-filling process. This time the jets were almost covered when the hot water ran out. Better, but still not workable. Thereafter ensued a more heated (no pun intended) exchange between the S-Man and I that eventually escalated to include phrases like [edited] and [edited].

In short? I had all the hot water I was getting.

Not to be denied my red-hot soaks, I developed a strategy. I began by filling the tub with straight up hot water, not even engaging the cold. This gave me about half the hot water I needed. I resolved to then wait until the water in the tank could heat up again and fill the tub the rest of the way.

In an extremely happy coincidence, it just so happened, at just that time, Wheel of Fortune was on. So, FurGirl and I relaxed with a few puzzles while waiting for the next wave of hot water. Meantime, the S-Man came home from a meeting and disappeared into the bedroom to change clothes. He returned a bit later saying, “You forgot to let the water out of the Jacuzzi.” To which I replied, “I’m not finished filling it,” to which he responded, “I let the water out.” Thereafter followed another of our rapidly escalating exchanges that I ended by screeching, “Unless there is a dead body floating in the Jacuzzi….wait, oh hell no, even if there IS a dead body floating in the Jacuzzi? DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING.”

Once agreed on that point (and we are agreed on that point, I assure you) I set about again employing my strategy on the tub a few nights later. This time I progressed passed phase one and after an hour or so had a fully filled steamy hot tub of vigorously undulating water. All for me. I had my candles. My robe. The stage was set. I shucked off my clothes. I…

I realized? Our Jacuzzi is fairly tall and enclosed by a cold, tile wall. And it doesn’t have one of those built in steps like you often see. Nope. Which meant that I had to, much like mounting a horse, throw a leg over and then sort of…take a little hop to actually get in (I can only imagine the ridiculous sight this is).

But once in? Ohhhh…..heaven. The clouds parted, the angels sang, I soaked, I turned my favorite shade of lobster red. Life was good. Life was very, very filled with hot steamy goodness.

Eventually, I emerged from my reverie and, noticing that the water was beginning to cool, I shut off the jets and prepared to de-Jacuzzi. However, the reverse of the horsey mount into the tub? Proved to be a little more dangerous. Because this time, I was soaking wet and every inch of the bathroom floor is ceramic tile. Meaning I was going to have throw a wet, slippery leg over the side while clutching for dear life on to the tiled surround. Not exactly the ending one would envision for a leisurely soak. Of course, the S-Man was far too important to be at home at the time.

Nevertheless I made it out (barely) and made a mental note to get a rug so I’d at least have a more skid-free landing target. I did discuss the possibility of a step installation later with the S-Man whose reaction to the sad, tragic, horsey-hop story was, “Really?! Can I watch next time?”

Eventually, I would become acclimated to the particular idiosyncrasies of my own particular Jacuzzi and, Lord knows, it’s worth all the staged, timed filling and the horse hopping.

And, while I know one isn’t supposed to use oils and bubbles and salts in the Jacuzzi, as you know, I’m a girl who loves her products. The day of course had to come when I became overcome by temptation and decided I’d add just the TINTIEST drop of Winter Candy Apple Bath and Body Works bubble bath to my second stage filling one night after turning on the jets and wandering off. I returned to the bathroom to find a mound of bubbles worthy of an I Love Lucy episode towering a good three feet above the edge of the tub.

Most recently, I reasoned that bath SALTS shouldn’t be a problem and so I added some innocuous looking but darkly colored, salts. Which the jets then proceeded to pulverize into fine hard to remove sand, and then fling on to the walls resulting in the coal miner’s party I referred to at the top of the post.

Which in turn provoked the latest round in the absolute WORST thing about the Jacuzzi. And that is cleaning the thing. I’ve tried everything. Those cleaner scrubbies mounted on a telescoping arm and brushes with reeeally long handles and every known bathroom spray and cleaner. There just aren’t any two ways about it. I have to climb into the thing and spray and gently scrub and dry. Cleaning the bottom? Eventually means a sort of ridiculous balancing on my stomach on the rim, legs extended, kind of in a flying Superman pose. But way more precarious.

This last round of cleaning was so traumatic (see paragraph one) that I actually managed to stay out of the Jacuzzi for two whole nights unable to do anything but admire that hard won sparkle.

But eventually, I again succumbed to the seductive siren’s song of hot, hot water. In fact I’m so suggestible that way that, midway through writing this, I filled the tub.

I’m off to soak THIS minute.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Waitress

The big news of today is that, after reading this, (finally!) a post by one of my all-time heroes, Nora Ephron, it made me wonder if I post too often. I mean, is it not better to come off with a really wonderful post, ala Nora, very occasionally than to blather on just about every day?

I certainly have examples in my own life that more occasional, introspective posting might be better.

'Tis a puzzlement.

In other other blogger news (?), Rob Rummel-Hudson continues to chronicle his experiences being a "fancy pants" (his words) published author. Reading posts like this, demystifies the book deal process. It helps to be a really good writer. The book is scheduled to go on sale in February, 2008.

While trolling around my various favorite movie sites recently, I stumbled across the information that "The Waitress" starring Keri Russell (Felicity) will be released on DVD this month. I saw the movie back in the summer with with my friends, Mary and Christa, and we all all three loved it. While searching for a preview I could grab so I could recommend the movie here, I ran across the news that Adrienne Shelly, who wrote, directed, and co-starred in the film, was brutally murdered in her Manhattan office not long after the movie wrapped, just at a year ago.

I'm surprised I didn't catch this news at the time, I fancy myself at least marginally "up" on these things.

[On the other hand, I have just now finished up Season Three of Grey's Anatomy. ]

In any case, I was very saddened to hear of Shelly's death. I remember thinking as I watched The Waitress that whoever was behind such a clever piece was very talented and likely headed for even greater success. Saddest of all, Shelly left behind a three-year-old daughter, Sophie, who had to have at least partially served as inspiration for a story about having a child.

So do add The Waitress to your queues and must-see lists. Unfortunately, it is the last of its kind.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Official Breakfast of Bizzyville

As I was whipping up my favorite breakfast treat just now, it occurred to me that you guys might want the recipe. For the quickest, simplest, yummiest almost practically diet breakfast food ever.

For some reason, I've always had an early morning sweet tooth and the S-Man's (giving credit where credit is due, please make a note) cinnamon tortillas are just the thing. All you need is:

Satan's Cinnamon Tortillas

A flour tortilla
Real or fake butter
Real or fake sweetener

Spray pan with some non-stick stuff and lightly brown tortilla on both sides. Remove tortilla from pan. Spritz or spread butter on tortilla. Sprinkle with two envelopes of fake sweetener (or sugar), sprinkle with some cinnamon. If you're spritzing, re spritz the whole thing. Roll it up. Eat. Repeat as necessary.

While this obviously isn't a calorie free breakfast, even Weight Watchers only counts a tortilla as 1 point. If you use fake everything else, it's a fairly responsible treat. For a cinnamon roll hound such as myself, it is one heavenly substitution for the real thing.

Otherwise, have a chuckle from one of my favorite blogs, Go Fug Yourself. The girls were forced to fug the amazing Christie Brinkley (and, by the way, snaps to Christie for immediately kicking her fetus diddling hubby to the curb when the affair came to light) but in the usual fug tradition, did it in the most amusing possible way.

BTW? Our girl Christie there is FIFTY-three. If she's had work, it's damn good work. I saw an interview with her once where she claimed the secret to her beauty longevity is her vegetarianism coupled with a strict regimen of daily scrubbing the living crap out of her face with something abrasive. I can't remember what the abrasive thing was. Christie's reasoning behind what would seem dangerous scrubbing is the fact that men scrape the top layer of skin off their faces every day with a razor, yet seem to have fewer facial wrinkles as a result. Christie figures she'll mimic that on her own million dollar face. Looks like it's working (although, let's not pretend the girl doesn't have an army of estheticians on her team as well).

Okay, where was I? Ah, yes. Sharing a few links.

I know ya'll are probably sick of my love affair with TED, but I can't help it. I want to run away and join TED and save the world and rub up against really smart people. I've also, probably due to a viewing of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" at a too-young age, had a long running aversion/ fascination about electro-shock therapy. I know it still goes on to this day...but how can it be justified (I've wondered)?

Which is why I found this TED talk on the subject by surgeon and author, Dr. Sherwin Nuland, especially interesting. Midway through the lecture he makes a rather startling skirt-lifting revelation. The whole thing is around 20 minutes, but if you have an interest, it is fascinating.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Kentucky Fried...Omen?

Newsweek's Howard Fineman muses on (SFW) what the election of Not Ernie Fletcher might mean for the nation.

In other political news, I received an e-mail from the "California Draft Gore" campaign, a movement to get Gore on February 5th California presidential primary ballot. Activists in the organization have been working to gather signatures toward this goal since October 8th. The effort has been made more difficult by the recent fires in the state and also, as they've gotten to less populated areas, they are having trouble getting adequate coverage.

The e-mail goes on to say:

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine just after he won the Noble Peace Prize, Al Gore was asked what he had to say to those of us who are working to bring him into the race. Here is a part of his answer: "If I do get back in the political system in the future – well, keep that energy stored up and let's have a go at it then." A few days before, Gore's Chief of Staff, Roy Neel, said that Gore has not ruled out a run in the future and then defined "future" as "after today."


Contributions are being taken here.

I see Reds and smell like Key Lime

Today I had to get up very early (pre-dawn, even) for an early morning appointment. This included a fairly significant drive there and back that gave me time once again to listen to a good chunk of my Warren Beatty book.

I'm toward the end now, finally, and much of that section focuses on the movie "Reds" that Warren produced, co-wrote, directed, and starred in during the early eighties. The film eventually won three Oscars, including an Oscar for Beatty as Best Director.

Thing is, I never saw the movie. At best, I've only seen bits and pieces. So, in a fit of complete hedonism, when I got into town after my appointment, I popped by the library, checked out a copy for free and spent the better part of the afternoon piled up on the couch taking it in. (Don't tell the S-Man. He gets crazy when he thinks I'm lollygagging on the couch eating high quality dark chocolate and watching Warren Beatty movies on a perfectly good work day.)

To give you the basics, the "Reds" plot centers on John Reed (played by Beatty, natch), an American journalist and passionate socialist living and working in NYC during the years leading up to WWI. On a trip somewhere obscure he meets Louise Bryant (played by Diane Keaton), an equally passionate feminist and writer. The two fall in love and Reed persuades Bryant to move to New York. There she is thrown in with Reed's circle of intellectual friends which include liberal thinkers and luminaries of the time like playwright Eugene O'Neil (played by Jack Nicholson), Reed's bestest friend. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Eventually Reed and Bryant marry and together travel to Russia to cover the revolution together. At some point, the passionate Reed, unable to help himself, crosses the line from journalist to revolutionary. Much drama ensues.

My impressions were as follows (because, aren't you dying to know?):

  1. At 194 minutes, the movie is just too long. It's good, but it's not that good.
  2. The similarities between Reds and Dr. Zhivago are unmistakable. They are both epics involving star crossed lovers set against the backdrop of the Bolshevik revolution (though Reds is a little more centered in America.) Reds does not stand up well to that comparison.
  3. Good gosh a'mighty, this is the sexiest role I've ever seen Jack Nicholson play. He is positively sssmokin' as Eugene O'Neil. As far as I'm concerned, his performance is the best in the film.
  4. How the crap does Diane Keaton manage to snag all the great roles not to mention all the great guys (she's on Beatty's "list")? I don't get it.
  5. I enjoyed seeing a film about people on fire for their work and willing to go all the way for what they believe in. Isn't that what it's all about?

On a different, but no less important note, thanks to a link from my friend, Keena, I have learned that my girl smell is Key Lime. Not surprising since it is also one of my favorite pies. I'd link to Keena, but her vlog is now private. You should know that her girl smell is Lemon. I believe it is of vital importance that you determine your girl smell. It is obviously not wise to go through life unaware of these things.

Your Scent is Key Lime

Sassy, real, and totally smooth
You're a total flirt who's always ready for a challenge!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Kentucky Fried Election

I have to say, Election Day was pretty traumatic for me.

I am a person who believes in voting. Believes it is the least I can do for all those passionate people of yore who died so I could enjoy the privilege. But the state of Kentucky? Well, it is such a den of good-ol’-boy politics and back-room deals that even I, seriously, just considered staying home in my red long handles and ignoring the whole crappy situation.

The Governor’s race between Ernie Fletcher (R) and Steve Beshear (D) has been just sad. Incumbent Fletcher has basically done nothing but campaign by trying to distract from his disastrous first administration. He does this by focusing on the random topic of legalized gambling, an issue that isn’t really even an issue. Unless you ask Ernie Fletcher, that is. Because…Ernie Fletcher is NOT going to allow legalized gambling, nosiree! (What does Ernie Fletcher think?) Ernie think: Gambling: BAD. Ernie think: Not gambling: GOOD! Ernie stand for: truth, justice, and NOT GAMBLING.

This is more understandable when you consider Fletcher’s first administration included nothing but: a) a major hiring scandal and b) that time Fletcher scared the sh!t out of Washington, DC, NORAD, and the defense department, and damn near got his a$$ shot right out of the sky, when his plane buzzed dangerously close to the no fly zone while transporting him to Ronnie Regan’s funeral.

Fletcher’s opponent, Steve Beshear’s major campaign premise is: he’s mostly definitely NOT Ernie Fletcher! Nope! Still not Ernie Fletcher! Steve would like to talk about how bad Ernie Fletcher is and please ask you to please keep in mind that he continues to NOT be Ernie Fletcher!

And THAT, friends, is the Kentucky governor's race! ‘Cmon down, there’s surely a relative of yours around here somewhere we can fix you up with during your stay!

Long story short, I voted. I wasn’t happy about it, but I did it.


Congratulations to....Positively NOT Ernie Fletcher!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More Hi-Ho?

Looks like there’s a good chance I may be working again soon.

So, I’m taking this whole looming job thing as the perfect excuse to sit up in Bizzyville HQ in bright red long-handle underwear (from The Gap circa the 1990’s), a pair of oversized insulated hiking socks stolen from the S-Man’s sock drawer, with all this topped off with a cast-off dress shirt of the S-Man’s (which happens to hit me pretty far south of the knees) and read and write and futz with photographs to my heart’s content.

I’d have to call my look a step up from Sunday, though, when I spent the day in my voluminous LL Bean flannel gown and some knee socks. The gown is missing a key button, an issue that I manage to address with a strategically placed binder clip. Pretty! The S-Man had the gall to suggest, as I was applying the binder clip to the gown, that maybe since I’m currently unemployed and all, I might perhaps find the time to possibly sew on a button. Which, I pretty much responded to by saying,

“What? Are you CRAZY,”

just before snapping the clip into place, slipping my feet into a pair of stained antique Birkenstock clogs, hurriedly pulling my unruly hair back with zebra print headband, and heading to my computer to enjoy another day of digital Nirvana.

In hindsight, maybe the knee socks were a little much.

In keeping with my tradition of no professional disclosure, I won’t discuss the impending or any job here either, except to say that it isn’t full-time. Hopefully, this will mean continued opportunity for mostly uninterrupted online reindeer games, but I’m still contemplating throwing another job into the mix. I can’t help myself, I feel compelled to book myself up with paying gigs. The fear of losing my digital cable connection (a bill for which I am responsible) is a hell of a motivator.

The S-Man continues to proclaim his intention of NOT paying the cable bill if I lose the ability to take care of it myself and, although I think there’s a good chance he’s not serious, I’m not really up for finding out. I can hardly bear to contemplate, much less face, a future without Candace Olson or Niecy Nash in it. Just don’t even make me.

[Edited to add: But let's just be honest, is there anything really more important than keeping my homies supplied with fresh, hot content? I don't think so.]

Monday, November 05, 2007

No End in Sight

The S-Man returned from an out-of-town trip last night tired and wishing only for a quiet night with a movie on the couch.

Instead we opted to watch "No End in Sight" a movie so disturbing that we had to actually pause the thing and eat Tums to calm our roiling stomachs before seeing it through to the end.

The film tells the story, from an insider's perspective, of the Bush administration's complete lack of either expertise or a plan in dealing with the process of reconstruction in Iraq. The chaos that resulted from this incompetence is almost unimaginable and, if the film is to be believed, is the direct cause of the insurgency that continues to this day.

Despite voluminous research and predeveloped plans available from the Army, Bush left the decision-making on the massively important issue of Iraqi reconstruction exclusively to the trinity of stupidity and hubris: Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Cheney.

The result was a bumbling ham-handed almost non-attempt at bringing order and security to a country that we had purposefully plunged into chaos based only on the flimsiest of rationales (WMD? The "Saddam-Bin-Laden" connection?). The resulting unemployment, death, destruction, abuse, looting, lawlessness, and lack of basic human services (like, I don't know, electricity maybe?), actually managed to overshadow the inhumanity of Saddam Hussein for the Iraqi people.

Aren't we special.

Based on interviews with people like:

Richard Armitage, Deputy Sec'y of State, 2001-2005
Faisal Al-Istrabadi, Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations
Ambassador Barbara Bodine, In charge of Bagdad during the US occupation
General Jay Garner, Administrator, Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance
Paul Hughes, director of strategic policy for the occupation (2003)
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell
Robert Hutchings, chairman of the National Intelligence Council (2003-05).

to name a few, "No End in Sight" offers a perspective on the Iraq situation that deserves a look by pretty much everybody.

Just be sure to keep the Tums handy.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Three bloggers (& many others) diverged in a wood and I took lots of pictures...

The annual family hike and bonfire took place yesterday in perfect weather conditions and great light. We figure we traveled about 3.5 miles to Sandy Branch Bottom and back and I, for one, took well over 200 photos, only a few of which (owing to the photographer and not the subjects) turned out acceptably.
Here are a few of my favorites:

(Oh, and P.S.? We're not proud of the fact that it is necessary for us to have a rakish, unidentified armed gunman along, but when there are various famous writers, bloggers, iDates, brilliant minds [legal and otherwise] and such as that completely exposed and vulnerable in the wilderness, you just can't be too careful.):

You can just go ahead on be impressed with this photo. Does it not look like maybe an investment ad or a magazine cover? that I look at it, I probably should have gotten them full body all the way to the bottom. Damnit! It's always something:

Also necessary on any hike, are our canine friends, who helped lead the way. That's FurGirl in the foreground and her good friend, River, hamming it up in road center further on in the distance:

The siblings present:

Ashton searches the treetops for the elusive red headed woodpecker:

Not sure why I like this one so much but there it is:

Bethany belts out a tune while a pensive matriarch stares into the fire:

[Note to Tony: Here are links to trailers of the movies we discussed: The Secret Life of Words and Away From Her. As it happens, both movies have Julie Christie and Sarah Polley in common.]

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Runnin' Down A Dream

While the rest of us have been going on about our business getting old and gray, singer/songwriter/artist Tom Petty has stealthily managed, through sheer dint of will, talent, and perseverance, to conquer the music industry one small step at a time. More interesting still, while in possession of enough ego to make it all happen, Petty, lo these last long three decades, continues to work as a collaborator with his real, authentic (meaning not just hired musicians) bandmates, The Heartbreakers.

Along with their serious musical chops, Tom and the band are known as music video innovators, using the advent of MTV, which happened to coincide with their debut, to their advantage as well. Their videos most always are contributions beyond just the music, they are additional artistic achievements in and of themselves.

This whole amazing epic is chronicled in a movie currently premiering on The Sundance Channel, directed by Peter Bodganovich**, called "Runnin' Down a Dream". The S-Man and I took it in a few nights ago, and were riveted for the full four-hour running time of the film.

I can't recommend the movie highly enough. It is a fitting tribute to and fascinating look at an artist and a band that have earned their legendary status and continue to produce quality original music, not to mention play their asses off while seemingly remaining true to themselves. A rare acccomplishment indeed these days.

For now at least, I don't think the film can be seen anywhere but the Sundance Channel. The next airing is scheduled for November 3rd (today!). Check the schedule here.

**[An aside (because I have no control as you well know by now): Director Bogdanovich, is perhaps best known for his Oscar winning film, The Last Picture Show, but is also known for his affair with Cybill Shephard during the making of the movie and then his engagement, back in the 80's, to Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratton. Sadly, Sratton was murdered by her crazed ex-husband before Bogdanovich got around to marrying her. After Dorothy's death, The P-Bog blithely moved on to initiating a relationship with Sratton's sister, a teenager at the time--he was in his thirties. I don't make this crap up, but I figure you'd want to know.]

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Winter Obsession

I concluded my temporary job today. It went very well, I must say. It was nice to be around and catch up with old friends, make a new one, and the work was familiar and sort of reassuring.

No idea where I'll end up from here, but I'm beginning to make peace with and even like the feeling of having an open-ended and unpredictable future. I've talked to several people lately about possible opportunities and it's all kind of exciting. Surprisingly so, even in this little town.

As I alluded to in my last post, my temporary assignment made some retail therapy possible. I convinced myself I needed some new clothes (AHEM--I had a coupon, okay?) and promised myself that I wasn't going near the crack cocaine store at the mall which is, for me, Bath and Body Works.

I did very well staying away the first night, but when I realized I had inadvertently been given the wrong shade of foundation at the Clinique counter, I had to go back. Back a second night to make an exchange.

I cracked. Cracked like a dry twig.

Like the junkie I am, I did the old I'm-only-gonna-get-hand-soap-'cause-it's-on-major-sale-and-I'm-down-to-my-last-three-bottles-but-I-need-more-in-case-of-nuclear-holocaust.

As my Mom would say, "Yah, sure."

People. B&BW has once again launched their holiday fragrances. The line again includes a scent that was marketed last year only in candle form that was billed as "Alpine Winter". This year they are just calling it "Winter". Either way? It's the same fragrance and it is, hands down, the most delicious winter Christmas scent ever developed on the planet and I know a thing or two about fragrance.

Thankfully, it is now available in oil form, which is by far the cheapest and most effective way to achieve scent in your home. I can get twice the fragrance from one oil burner I can get from three or four candles. B&BW has some delicious smelling stuff (Sensual Amber), and they have their duds (Midnight Pomegranate), but "Winter" is a home run way out of the park. It smells like balsam, and Christmas tree and snow and..something sparkly and spicy. I predict it won't last, so I encourage you to stock up now. The good news is that the oil burners are on sale, so you can save a little there.

At first I thought it wasn't, but the"Winter" scented oil is available on the website here. They describe the fragrance as "a combination of shimmering pine, crisp bayleaf and red cinnamon".

Of course, I'm not burning my Winter scented oil until after Thanksgiving...wouldn't dream of it! I wouldn't be burning it, for instance, right now or anything.

Otherwise, if you haven't already, check out our press in the Boston Globe.

Lastly, in response to a video my Dad e-mailed me recently, an oldie of the Carol Burnett Show featuring the crack-up antics of Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, I'm posting a video for him (but I think it's one everyone can enjoy):

Sicko on DVD

If you didn't see it in the theaters, don't miss it on DVD. Michael Moore's Sicko will be released on DVD next Tuesday.

As for me? I've been starting, and then not finishing, many really boring posts. I was forced, against my will, to buy new clothes last night. This morning I stepped on my $XXX glasses. I'm pretty sure I'm getting my husband a purse for Christmas.