Somewear in Time

Oh to have lived in the twenties... the style was to. die. for. Even this slouchy casual look has a certain I don't know what (why does the French language beat ours in spades? No fair). Actually, I think you could get away with wearing this outfit today. I'd wear it. All but the floral brooche and hat, all but that. I'm not into brooches. They're too "old lady's blouse" and/or Carrie Bradshaw circa First Season. Ditto on the hats. My head's way too big. If I were in a "Who has the Biggest Head?" contest, I might come out world champion. Seriously. Runs in the fam. Merci, mom and dad. But... if I were to wear a hat for something other than staying warm (which I'm not, for the aforesaid reason), I just might wear this one. Très film noir.

Pic c/o (who else?) The Sartorialist.

Inspired Self Promotion

It's So Cold in Alaska

Well, well, well, looky who McCain's chosen to place “a heartbeat away from the presidency.” I wonder how comfortable voters would be with the thought of putting a mere two-year Alaskan governor, former beauty queen, and ardent pro-lifer in charge of our country when, er, if Ole Man McCain kicks the bucket. Yikes. Hopefully Hillary supporters won’t be so blinded by gender to fall for McCain’s angle and assume Mrs. Palin carries Mrs. Clinton’s torch.

The World is Such a Wonderful Place

Convincing myself with the Earworm du Jour.


Earworm du Jour

Last night I watched a Dutch movie called Antonia's Line. I had some "ick" reactions that often come in response to awkward moments in pastoral filmmaking... like uncomfortably overdone facial expressions and bodily movements. I'm big on subtlety, and the movie is anything but subtle. Still, there were enough redeeming qualities to make me feel the better for watching it. The story spanned a few decades and followed the lives of generations of independent-minded women and their townfolk. There were messages of following your bliss, accepting death, celebrating life (and, hence, sex) and balancing the hypocrisy of religion with its comforts. It was a'ight.

The resident atheist hermit of the movie was named Crooked Finger, which reminded me of a favorite band I haven't listened to in awhile, Crooked Fingers. With Eric Bachmann at the helm, they've made some really cool music with even cooler lyrics. "New Drink For The Old Drunk" was the first Crooked Fingers song I ever heard, and I still remember the moment. I was instantly hooked and actually called the college radio station from my car to find out who it was. "It's No Crime to Resign Misery with a Bottle... " No sir, it is not.


ooh ooh ooh! (an addendum)

I had to share this review of Tell No One that Boozehound Cinephile just posted to Pajiba.

For one, because he wrote an excellent review, which just happens to support my humble opinion that the movie is awesomeness. Positive reinforcement is fun. For two, because Boozehound passes on overpriced soda and instead brings his own choice booze into the theater with him and tells you all about it. Sort of reminds me of childhood trips to the summer matinees....

Not the booze. I waited until 14 before hitting the bottle. I meant the candy we tucked away like flasks (practice?). Mom let us kids eagerly scour the neighborhood Sunoco to stock up on our favorite sweets (Starbursts and/or Milk Duds if memory serves me). I'm not sure what excited me more... the movie or the rare license to indulge. Then mom would stuff her purse full and sneak the goodness into the theater (my dad probably knew precisely how much this saved our family each fiscal year). Not unlike present day, my treats were usually down the hatch before the opening credits even rolled.

Returning to the movie and its critic... The Boozehound has this to say about himself:

Ted Boynton is a dedicated sot who would leave his barstool only to stalk Whit Stillman, if anyone could find Whit Stillman. Ted also manages to hold down a job and a wife, three hours each per day, whether they need it or not. Readers may scold, hector, admonish or taunt Ted by e-mailing him.

And here's a nibble of what he had to say about the movie:

Despite all that I've said, I can't do justice to the impact this movie had on me. Tell No One is a beautiful example of filmmaking craftsmanship, incredibly entertaining, deeply moving, and well worth a trip to the cinema.... Overall rating: A perfect, perfect ten.

Day-um. Boozehound's review doesn't go and spoil the end, but if you, like me, try to go into a movie knowing as little as humanly possible about it (like a good little juror), then I'd wait to read the whole review until you've seen the movie. Then you can use the review to relive the joy. Then again, if you, like me, tend to respond poorly to overly-hyped movies, you may not like it enough to want to relive it. That'd be a cryin' shame.

Sometimes I Think Sittin' on Trains

Speaking of folded paper... today's earworm du jour is MIA's Paper Planes. For obvious commuter reasons, this song gets stuck up in my head on a fairly regular basis.

This morning I was sittin' on a train thinking -as I do most every morning- that perhaps my iPod was playing too loudly. This is highly unlikely, seeing as the volume is set so low I can't even hear the damn thing against the squeals of the dinosaur El. But somehow I convince myself that maybe the earphones are projecting outward instead of into my ear. Alas, one of my uptight fears is being that person everyone's craning their neck to glare at for blasting some inevitably embarrassing song for all the train to hear. The other day it was a small redheaded guy, total dork, soundtracking a hundred commuters' mornings with Lil Wayne. I detest these people for their lack of self-awareness, and love them at the same time for making me giggle in the morning. It's no.small.feat. let me tell you.

Mission Accomplished

Check it. The project actually worked! And, contrary to my usual pessimistic expectations (all the better to be pleasantly surprised, my dears) these were my first two tries. They're easy as pie to make, and there's something soothing in the hands-on repetition. Teehee, that sounds dirty.

Getting out the gutter, four Paste magazines support a decorative plate with keys and such on the left, while Edith Hamilton and Hester Prynne serve as a (frightfully flammable) candle pillar on the right. I'm not sure I'd use the magazine tables to hold a potted plant like they do in the instruction article (they don't feel all that stable to me), but they're certainly prepared to hold lightweight items. If you're looking for some easy decorations, give it a go!

I think I'm officially warmed up and inspired for my origami endeavours now...


Earworm du Nuit

"We are only one argument from deaf."

Well said. It reminds me of a drunken talk I had a few weeks ago with gg about how genuinely unsatisfying it is these days to know you're right in a fight. So long as the guy's head is as inpenetrable "as a bank vault," what's the use?

Anyhow, generally I consider Ryan Adams to be a bit of a douche. I mean, take a gander at one of his last album covers where he has his watch showing 4:20. Duuuuuude. Then again, he did score Parker Posey for awhile there, and that seems pretty cool. Whatever, unimportant, I like this song ("The Sun Also Sets"), the chorus in particular.

Try not to watch the video while listening. At one point it looks like he's trying to poop.



Since I've yet to get around to my origami project (intimidated), I think I'll tackle this little project first. These are mini-magazine-tables, a swell way to creatively use old magazines. I love how colorful they are, but I'm even more drawn to the black & white (looks a bit more neat). So long as they actually end up looking something like this, I'm sold on trying. I imagine my first few attempts will end up looking like piles of trash, but I've got plenty of old magazines to forge onward. Then again, the devil only knows where I'll put them. Friends might find themselves receiving them in the mail, though I don't imagine they'd travel well.

Holy Bianco(ly)!

I can't find a photo of the Bianco online, which is sad b/c it's very pretty. Bianco is a "specialty" coffee drink I ordered on a whim today at Caffe Rom. Oh what a wonderous whim it was. Special? Indeed. I've been trying to stay away from sugars lately. To, ya know, take off the pounds I gained the week after I lost a few pounds while off the sugar and carbs (oh what a tangled web we weave). But... I fell off the wagon this afternoon and caved for a sweet treat c/o Rom.

I don't think Caffe Rom exists outside Chicago, which is very sad for people outside Chicago. But if you're in Chicago, get yourself there and try one of their speciality drinks. They have all sorts of varietays (one with Nutella!), but my beloved Bianco has chocolate sauce, white chocolate cream, espresso and (wait for it) whipped cream. Hell, who needs the wagon when you can jump off it and land in a cloud of deliciousness?

I don't know if I've seen the light, but all roads just might lead to Rom....

Today a Man Sat on Me (and other inappropriate oddities)

Recently I've experienced some strange happenings. Otherwise unrelated, they do share the common threads of odd & inappropriate….

Yesterday there was the discovery that someone had rummaged through my car without taking a thing. The inside was in total disarray, with all sorts of things strewn about -- pens, old sunglasses, sunglass cases, pens, napkins, maps, pens, CDs, valet tickets, dried out handy wipes, pens (now I know where all my pens have gone to), umbrellas, and so on. Windows were intact, doors unlocked, and every compartment had been turned on its inside. Yet not a single thing appeared to be missing, not even the nice suitcase and Christmas decorations I had in the trunk (car becomes precious storage when you have a small abode). My would-be thieves apparently decided my stuff was so shite that none of it was worth the taking. I’d be insulted if I wasn't grateful. Let's just hope they didn't find enough info to steal my identity or something.

In sum: odd & inappropriate (& fortunate).

The day before that there was the hot sex. Only not the kind you might be thinking or hoping for. It all started innocently enough while I was walking zee dog before work. I passed a loft that I've passed on many an occasion, but this time I noticed a man standing in the first floor window, which begins right at street level. The guy started knocking on the window with determination, clearly trying to get my attention. He got it. We made eye contact. I gave a quizzical "what ya want?" look. He walked a few feet back and sat in his recliner, where he continued to stare back at me. The creepy feeling set in as I looked to the right and saw the poster that he’d taped to the inside of his window. It read: "Hot Sex Stored in Here."

No kidding? Really? Sweet, lemme in! I guess I was getting picked up? Is that how people do it these days? A knock and a lewd poster? The man looked to be about thirty years old, nondescript, fratty. Possibly retarded in light of the behavior. Sorry, I know I'm not supposed to use that word (I’ve seen the recent protests), but I don't mean it like that. It's like when I say something's gay before I remember I might as well call something dumb “homosexual.” But that's just dumb. Sometimes people are too sensitive. Then again, sometimes people are not sensitive enough.

Back to the "special" fellow… When I realized the reason for the beckoning, I was most grateful to be wearing sunglasses and -feeling mildly molestered- I continued on my dog walking way. To be sure, I won't be walking that way again. Unless, of course, I'm looking for hot sex from someone mentally challenged enough to advertise it in their window like their political candidate of choice.

Conclusion: odd & inappropriate (& sad).

Then there was the large lawyer man who sat on me in court today. He was bigger than your average Joe, and I think he plain failed to see me in his periphery before choosing his roosting spot. One minute I’m sitting on the bench waiting for the clerk to call my case, and the next minute there's a stuffed shirt awkwardly perched on my leg. I sort of saw it coming, and might could've stopped him, but the "no.fucking.way.this.guy's.going.to.sit.on.me" thoughts kept me from doing anything 'til the deed was done. Bless his heart, he sure seemed embarrassed as he rolled himself off me.

Unintentional. And yet: odd & inappropriate (& funny).

Meet Karl Pilkington

Most everyone knows Ricky Gervais by now, and those who do should recognize him as one of the funniest creatures to walk the planet. Who better, then, to recommend other funny fellows? I only got through 10 minutes of this video during today's speed-lunch (my job is actually dictating a helluvalotta my time lately. the nerve.), but I laughed as hard at Ricky laughing hysterically at Pilkington as I did at Pilkington himself. He's got quite the odd perspective, and together they're quite a pair.

You can also watch an entire documentary on Pilkington accepting his status as a dim bulb here.


Name that Plant

Anyone happen to know what kind of plant this is? I could be wrong, but I swear it smelled a bit of dill. Which made me hungry. Though I did not eat it. I plucked it out of someone's garden instead to display in a nice vase I recently acquired. Shame on me, I know, but it really spoke to me. Not literally.

I'm not exactly plant savy. I'm along the lines of having a black thumb, in fact. I'm working on it, though, and recently repotted my first plant! Yes, it was a feat worth mentioning and seems to be doing quite well. Thank the LAWD, sincing it's a "money tree" and all. I certainly cannot afford to put my financial state at any more risk than it already is. What's savings? Retirement? (pushaw) Anyhow, I like the looks of it. Looks hard to kill, for one. I suppose an unimaginative naysayer might compare it to undeveloped broccoli. In another way, though, I see little green bursts of fireworks. I wonder if it blooms.... I wonder if you can eat it....

If anyone can tell me, I'd be most appreciative. And if I locate my ambitious bone, I might even try to grow some.

EarworD of the Day

The day I met my (now estranged) sky blue Vespa, we popped into a little bar in Bucktown called The Charleston. I'd boycotted it awhile back when they banned smoking long before they were required to do so. But now that it's non-smoking everywhere in these parts, I've got nothing to hold against it. We stopped in for an impromptu pint that afternoon and happened to catch the second half of Rubber Soul. Talk about THE perfect album for a laid back afternoon down the pub.

Rubber Soul just might be my favorite Beatles album. I could never never never never ever pick a favorite song, but this one's way up there.


Sophie's Choices

Finally. Finally I got to see the end of this movie. And finally someone makes a great thriller that doesn't leave me screaming at the screen in anger instead of fear (damn you, Funny Games). About two years ago, during an already heartwrenching return flight from Paris, I started watching this movie. I got about halfway through, and was all-the-way enthralled, when the plane had the audacity to go and land on me. The screen went blank, and so did I. I was officially devastated. Even though a three-year relationship had just come to an end (for the, um, first time), it was the movie that I couldn't get out of my mind.

After I realized it would be some time before Ne les Dis a Personne made its way over the pond to become Tell No One, I did some investigating and discovered that it was based on a book by American author, Harlan Coben. Score! I bought the book straightaway and laid in bed one Saturday 'til I'd finished every word. Coben's writing is a bit meh, to be kind, but who cares when his storytelling's so bedazzling.

I can't recommend the book, but I can and do recommend the movie. A few weeks ago I was sitting at a pub flipping through the local paper when I almost choked on my Stella. There it was, the advertisement for Tell No One. I would have recognized that running man anywhere. Run, doctor, run. It's out in select theaters now and should be available on DVD within the year or so. I won't give anything away, but if you like thrillers, admirable acting chops, and all cracks sealed in the end, then this movie you will love.

Tell No One? No, Tell Everyone.


In a few short hours I'm flying out of here and heading to the mountains of North Carolina for our annual family weekend and diddy's 60th b-day/retirement celebration. The idea is simple: Rent a cabin, guys go golfin, girls go shoppin, and at night we reconvene for eatin, drinkin and chewin the fat. (I'll be investigating that gross phrase in short order)

The whole affair always makes me think of that part in Trainspotting: What are you talkin' about? Guys: Football. What are you talkin' about? Girls: Shoppin'.

I'm getting pretty excited for that first moment I step out of the airport and breath in that North Carolina air. It smells... so... green.


Livingstone Place

Photoshop? Nope. Masochistic kiddies? Guess again. French floor cushions that look like pebbles and boulders? ding!ding!ding!

I'm in the mood for dreaming about being places other than here, and curling up amongst these Livingstones sounds pretty appealing allright. Or jumping into them like a pile of fallen leaves, whatever. These are so damn cool. Undoubtedly way outta my price range (which, these days, is oh about 5 clams), but damn cool nonetheless. Clever name too. Since I grew up on Livingstone Place, I've begun convincing myself that I'm meant to own a few. It's clearly a sign, yeah? The Alchemist followed the omens, and look what happened to him. Ok, so selling his sheep to follow a dream isn't exactly applicable to shopping strategies. Indeed, it's this sort of misapplied logic that's led to many regrettable impulse buys in my past.

Everything's gonna be swell just as soon as I win the lotto. Guess that means I should start buying tickets.

Thanks to Cheeta Fight for a random flight of fancy.


Moo Cow Should Have Been Mine

I opened 20x200 moments after they posted today's new piece, and yet I'd already missed the adorably perfect "Moo Cow," by Andrew Hetherington. SOLD.OUT. Damnit! I would've taken Moo Cow over the lonely British shrub and even the duck growing out of the magnolia, both of which are currently chilling in my apartment awaiting the right frames. They're great, but isn't "Moo Cow" the cutest frikin' thing ever?? I just want to keep saying "Moo Cow" while looking at "Moo Cow." Moo Cow. Moo Cow.

It doesn't get old.

Blasted! I'm glad their art is selling and all, but things sure have changed since I first posted about them back in 2007. This is getting seriously cutthroat!

So… uh... yeah, anyone fancy making a little profit off the Moo Cow they were so.damned.lucky to get? You know where to find me. leisurely pacing a nondescript crowded park. in trench coat. hands nonchalantly clasped behind me. upward gaze of contentment. whistling. dreaming of Moo Cow.


Oh my God! What is that Thing?!?

No, not her. There's enough ugly in the world, so I've done us all a favor by illustrating this post with her pleasantness (photo from Animal Review, which you really must visit). If you care to see the nauseating object of both my fears and this post, and you don't mind giving yourself the chill bumps in the process, consider yourself warned and click here.

Well, I warned you. Never in my life did I lay eyes upon the beasts of which I write until I moved to Chicago, where they grow frightfully large and scurry at terrifying speeds. The speed of light, I'd swear to it. My first abode had 'em aplenty, leaving me terrorized aplenty. During my follow-up two year stint in the gut rehab, I was graciously spared their hideousness, but now that I've moved into another elder dwelling I've once again found these horrors to be my occasional roommates. Small price to pay for the vintage charm? Lucky for me, I don't see their gruesomeness all that often, but I've seen them enough that I've developed startlingly realistic hallucinations that I'm seeing them when I'm not actually seeing them and feeling them on me when I'm not actually feeling them. You catch my drift?

If you catch that I'm drifting into the arena of the phobically unwell, you're probably barking up the right trunk, which is ezatly why I decided to do a little research. Sincing they're again insect extras in the story of my life, and my reactions are now officially questionable, it's time to face the fear and allow science to introduce a little logic into the equation. Here's the lowdown c/o wiki:

They're called "house centipedes." This is a really nice way of saying they are hideously long insects with ungodly amounts of creepy legs (all the better to scurry at breakneck speeds across your home, my dear) and eyes (all the better to see you coming, my dear). Bleh, I'm giving myself the chills already. No kidding, arm hairs are up and at 'em. Accuse me of overreacting if you will, but I've never before seen an insect so responsive to my presence. In fact, I'd venture to say they're capable of cognitive processing. You laugh, but you you'd stop laughing if you saw for yourself the speed at which they zoom. But back to the lowdown:

PROS (yippee!)

They're originally from the Mediterranean region. This isn't really a pro, but I'm trying to be positive.

They're insectivores that eat other household bugs. That's pretty cool. But wait, does this mean they have toofs?

In Japan they're referred to as "gejigeji." Hmm, it almost sounds cute. And the Japanese have such good taste.... Oh wait, scratch that, the Japanese often sell them as pets. They're deranged.

Their bite cannot penetrate human skin. Reassuring yet disturbing all the same.

Their venom is too weak to injure humans or pets. Repeat, and see below.

CONS (boo!)

They are the proud bearer of fifteeeeeen pairs of legs. That's, count 'em, THIRTY all together.

Their legs are striped. Think mammalian.

They're yellowish-grey in color. Think bile.

They run at speeds of 16 inches per second. What'd I tell ya? The speed of light.

They are generally 1-2 inches long, but the largest recorded specimen was 6.5 inches. Holy crap. Imagine how fast that one moved. I'm wretching.

They have "well-developed, faceted" eyes. VomitingInMyMouth.

They live anywhere from three to seven years. Time enough to develop cognitive functioning I daresay.

They have fangs. My job here is done.

Although I don't feel much better about their presence in my life, I do feel edified, and I suppose that's something. Know your enemy.


Double Entendre

My sweet little furball was attacked a few years ago at a dog park. By another dog. You might be surprised how often I've had to clarify that last bit, which has made me wonder how often it is that dogs are attacked by something other than a dog (a human?) at a dog park. Odd. Even though his sliced ear and face eventually healed, the incident (pig squeals and all) managed to permanently scar me.

I'm pretty confident he senses my fearful vibe, which only exacerbates his tendencies to sometimes growl and bare teeth, making him a prime candidate for another attack. It's a nervous affair altogether, but dog park we occasionally still do (gotta keep him socialized)... not at fenced-in parks (oh no), but we'll usually give it a go if 5 or fewer dogs are gathered in a spacious spot.

Like the baseball diamond conveniently located near my place. A few dogs and owners tend to meet there, despite the giant "NO DOGS ALLOWED" signs surrounding it. This makes me feel a bit like those obnoxious parents I'm prone to scowl at, the ones who ignore the signage asking them not to let their little bulls loose in a China shop. Hypocrisy is so uncool. Anyhow, while the dogs get their chase on, the pepes mill about and chat amongst themselves. Except for me.

I'm usually so distracted by my determination to head off another unlikely (but potential) attack that I end up coming off a bit nervous and weird. And so, despite the seemingly friendly scenario, "making friends" is pretty much an impossibility. Yesterday evening was a prime example....

Monsieur Quincampoix (my dog's alias) was getting along quite nicely with a small beagle blend sporting a human Cubs jersey (too uncool for a bully), a ginormous black German Shepard (too slow to elicit terror), and a non-descript mutt about his own size (too interested in people to pose a threat). The aforementioned four-leggers were owned by two-legged guys aging from their early thirties to late fifties. We masters grouped on one side of the ballpark, where things were going just swimmingly.... until... the oldest guy pulled a treat from his pocket and placed it in Mr. Quincampoix's mouth before I could bleat out a frantic "STOP!" and warn that the delicate flower is allergic to just about every protein under the sun. Sensitive dog for sensitive owner. Too late, I watched as the ipecac made its way down Mr's hatch, scolding the man in my head. The treat a mere apéritif for Mr., he proceeded to skulk around all the guys in a desperate search for more...

That's when I said it. Distracted by the thought of a pending vomit attack, I said:

Of course, now he's all over everyone wondering if all you guys have stuff in your shorts.

Direct quote. Cringe. Silence from the guys, who (I can only imagine) all have "stuff in their shorts."

In an attempt to make it better I made it worse by adding:

You know, looking for treats hidden in your pockets.

Doh. More silence. Shuddering, I looked around for help and wondered how quickly I could lasso the dog and bolt. Something stopped me from doing what comes natural (putting a spotlight on the innuendo and getting a laugh out of it). I love that shit, and so do most of my dirty-minded friends and coworkers. But since these guys were strangers whose dog acquisition stories were riddled with "we," I opted for shushing myself. Probably a good call, albeit common.

Shortly after I made everyone think about their privates, the guys started talking sports (naturally, they've got stuff in their shorts), and I, alienated, waved good-bye and slunk away with my own imaginary tail between my legs.