Thanks (a lot) to bliss for making me hungry.
This song caught my ear while cleaning today. It plays in a current Adidas commercial, but it came out about a year ago... It's by French DJ, Palooski, a remix of Beggin' by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.
Turkey c/o Cute Overload.
Friday I drove the merde-mobile 3 hours to Peoria for a deposition. Merde because before last night's rainfall, it looked like a flock of birds hovered over my car for a collective cathartic poo. I didn't even realize the extent of the situation until I was filling 'er up with PRACTICALLY FREE GAS (woohoo!) and got a glimpse of her brown and white speckled rear. It was brinking on cryptococcosis scary. Realizing there was no time to hit the car wash, I made a mental note to park as far away from the deposition as possible, lest anyone whose respect I'd like to keep see me entering or exiting the vehicle.
My travels out were uneventful. I passed THREE of those blue signs that say "Attractions Exit X," and they.were.all.blank. No kidding. Oh, and I also passed an enormous accumulation of dirt on an otherwise maddeningly flat terrain, which had grown some funny grass on top and looked exactly like a giant hairy mole growing on the side of the highway. I wish I'd had my camera for both oddities, but murphy's law applies to my camera carrying habits. In the off chance I forget to put it in my bag, the likelihood I'll see something picture-worthy increases exponentially. Murphy is cruel.
With all this stimulation on the side of the road, I was also annoyed at myself for forgetting to bring along CDs I hadn't listened to in awhile. After patiently enduring Fleet Foxes for the fourth time in a row, and vetoing my own bright idea to drive with iPod headphones on, I made the life-threatening decision to stick my hand in car crevices to search for longlost CDs. First I fished out Pedro the Lion, which reminds me of Teenage Fanclub vocals mixed with Interpol instrumentation.
It was a-otay for awhile, but I went in for another reach, this time coming up with a few furballs and some mixes made by a bartender/musicologist from the local dive. One mix ended up being a hilarious accompaniment to my drive in the way the music so starkly contrasted the view. Jockey Full of Bourbon (vid above) was probably the most fitting, while Casino Royale was so unfitting it made me laugh out loud as I was driving. Really, imagine yourself driving down the highway to the accompaniment of this ditty. It's funny.
On the way home I did my usual - replayed the dep and kicked myself for questions I should have asked. And then... this little bird, trying to fly her way home, got herself her first ever speeding ticket. Blasted.
For starters, here's Hedgehog on the Walk. I was introduced to the adorable Hedgehog in the Fog, a spookily adorable Russian fairytale on friendship, and the (almost) squishably cute hedgehog eating a carrot. I'm just gonna try to ignore the fact that the latter hedgehog is obviously someone's pet. Not only are hedgehogs the stuff of folklore and inappropriate domestication, but they are also fashion forward. Behold: the hedgehog handbag!
Update: D tells me the project is called "Private Moon and Visit to the Star" by Boris Bendikov and Leonid Tishkov. Veddy nice.
Although most things French tend to pluck at my nerves these days (through little fault of their own), and I'm not one to gush on about childrens, I still find the combination of little kids speaking French to be très très mignon. Particularly one with such an imagination. Just listen to that throatiness! Too cute. It's funny, because the French ex totally concurred, but in reverse - he thought it adorable to listen to little kids speaking English. Wonder what that's all about....
In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview on tape. 38 years later, Jerry produced a film about it, using the interview as soundtrack and rhythmically weaving animation into a portrait of Lennon's words. John always was my favorite...
Thanks to VSL for another cool find.
I bought the magazine for a flight out of interest in the cover story on Carla Bruni and le président bling bling (what was she thinking? I know, president. But what was she thinking??). But it was this article that burned itself in my memory and left me chuckling out loud that day. This might have annoyed my window and aisle companions if aisle's snoring and window's mini-speakers-disguised-as-headphones-blaring-techno hadn't provided such stiff competition. Anyhow, here are Part I, Part II and Part III of the article.
It's worth the read, but if you're not up to it, some highlights follow~~~
A description of the subject:
The subject has good genes on both sides of his family and has been mercilessly exploiting this inherited advantage for some decades….
Matters are hardly improved on the lower slopes, which feature a somewhat grotesque combination of plump thighs and skinny shins, the arduous descent culminating in feet which are at once much too short and a good deal too chunky. This combination, of ratlike claws and pachydermatous-size insteps, causes the subject to be very cautious about where, and indeed when, he takes off his shoes. There have been unconfirmed reports of popular protest whenever and wherever he does this….
At all times, the subject gives off a scent that resembles that of an illegal assembly, either of people or of materials, in the hog wallows of Tennessee or in the more remote and primitive islands of Scotland. He becomes defensive, and sometimes aggressive, when asked about the source of this effluvium. It is considered by me, and by the rest of this committee, and by the subject's few remaining friends and surviving family, a medical mystery that he can still perform what he persists in referring to as his "job."
On the above description:
I'd noticed a touch of decline here and there, but one puts these things down to Anno Domini and the acquirement of seniority. A bit of a stomach gives a chap a position in society. A glass of refreshment, in my view, never hurt anybody. This walking business is overrated: I mastered the art of doing it when I was quite small, and in any case, what are taxis for? Smoking is a vice, I will admit, but one has to have a hobby. Nonetheless, when my friends at this magazine formed up and said they would pay good money to stop having to look at me in my current shape, I agreed to a course of rehabilitation.
On his toofs:
And to make the smile, which currently looks like a handful of mixed nuts, a little less scary to children.
On the after-effects of a workout:
Now, I don't know about you, but with me a feeling of fitness and well-being always lends extra zest to the cocktail hour. And what's a cocktail without a smoke? And what else gives you a better appetite for dinner? The Bella Vista restaurant at the Biltmore is justly renowned, and I thought that perhaps if I tried the tasting menu Chef Martin Frost had prepared for me, with just a little morsel for each course … And a meal without wine is like a day without sunshine, as they say in France.
On attempting yoga:
Not to be outdone by some tempestuous and tawny Californian, I attempted to balance and extend myself in the same way, only to find that I was seized by the sensation that I might die or go mad at any moment.
On starting exercise at 58:
The trouble with bad habits is that they are mutually reinforcing. And, just as a bank won't lend you money unless you are too rich to need it, exercise is a pastime only for those who are already slender and physically fit. It just isn't so much fun when you have a marked tendency to wheeze and throw up, and a cannonball of a belly sloshing around inside the baggy garments.
I also had to admit what I have long secretly known, which is that I positively like stress, arrange to inflict it on myself, and sheer awkwardly away from anybody who tries to promise me a more soothed or relaxed existence. Bad habits have brought me this far: why change such a tried-and-true formula?
On quitting smoking:
[They say] "smoking doesn't really ward off boredom and stress; it only appears to do so, and it actually increases stress." Well, appearing to do so isn't bad, as illusions go, and if I find that a smoke and a drink help to make other people even seem less boring, then to that extent I have found an ally for life. Plus which, stress works for me and I wouldn't be without it.
That evening I had dinner at an organic restaurant where everything was made out of vegetation, just to see how that would feel without a cigarette, and drank about three pints of cold sake to make up for it. Didn't light up until well past midnight.
On his new pearly white gnashers and nail-biting:
But, once Dr. Lituchy had whitened and straightened and bonded my teeth, I no longer had the crooked and jagged snaggle-fangs that enabled me to get a purchase on my fingertips and to work the jaws in that nice crisp and crunchy action that makes all the difference. All of a sudden I was buying nail files at the pharmacy and buffing away at oval extremities that for the first time in half a century looked as if they belonged to a human. (Tiring of this rather feminine activity, I now go to a gay Vietnamese manicurist in my hood and fight to keep the expression "handjob" out of my mind as he fusses away over my paw-like mitts.)
On expensive workout equipment:
Then I started to hear about the rom. This device—the initials stand for "Range of Motion"—was the perfect "no excuses" invention for slothful mammals. It promised to give you a workout in just four minutes. No: it was better than that. It insisted that you never give it more than four minutes. The catch was that it cost well over $14,000, but, hey, remember that great slogan for Stella Artois beer—"Reassuringly expensive."
Hitchens mentions how he'd have to measure his life in something much more licentious than the coffee spoons used by T.S. Eliot's Prufrock. Like Hitchens, coffee is hardly my most menacing vice. Though the worst of them have long since passed through my system, I imagine they've left a bit of an imprint on my timeline. If I were to measure by an increment of something, I supppose it would be by glass of wine or shot of vodka or slice of cheese or puff of smoke... or dollop of ranch. I could go on, but I best not be too candid. And you?
My parents love Chicago and have visited about a thousand times in the five years I've lived here, so there was no need to relive the standard tourist fare. We winged it (retirement style) instead. Starting Friday night I took the BBQ lovers down the street to Smoke Daddy to check out Chicago's version of meaty tang. The rents approved, and so did I once I discovered the "Carolina Style" sandwich, which stands for slaw on top. And cheese if you so please. And I do. One saucy thumb up.
On Saturday we grabbed brunch at Lula, which is -oddly enough- the namesake of mum and diddy's dog. Later that night, I dragged them to a bike messenger dive in the loop (the kind that doubles as a liquor store, yeah) to hear D's band play. As we approached, they noticed a long line of club-goers forming outside the building. We would have been the only white folks to join the line, and massively underdressed at that, and yet they seemed really excited about the prospect. That is, until they realized we were actually headed for the establishment nextdoor, which appeared to be closed or altogether condemned. Not so!
Once we were not-so-comfortably inside amongst a handful of people and the stench of spoiled smoke and old vinyl, I disappointed mom again with the news that no way in hell would the sursly surly bartender have wine or margarita mixins. I wanted her to ask just for a laugh but thought better of it after spotting the decidedly "I want to kill you, slowly" look already on the bartender's face. Trusting my judgment, she happily settled on a gin & tonic and earplugs for an extra buck. Dad went with scotch side of earplugs, and it was vodka straight up for me. For once they sucked their drinks down faster than me. Someone needed some liquid courage I guess. Forty-five minutes later it was all said and done, and they genuinely seemed to enjoy the musical experience. Troopers, right? Four sore thumbs up.
Then there was Sunday (anything but) coming down, because Sunday was my long-awaited date with Alaksan king crab legs, in season only for another month or so. My crab cravings are so severe that I drool just thinking about them, weird feeling on sides of my tongue and all. No kidding, it's Pavlovian. We hit Joe's Seafood for lunch, because it's a little more affordable that way (I did my research). Still about two-hundo for the three of us, but what a delicioso splurge it was. The legs were perfectly cooked and expertly cracked and prepared (by someone else) so that giant chunks of flaky crab were ready and waiting for us to easily fork right out of the shells and into our lovin' mouths. Zero work, people. 'Twas the best crab I've ever had, hands down, and the 'rents concurred. Six claws up! I try (and fail) not to get too excited over food, but this was well worth the anticipatory frenzy. In fact, it's grounds for one more trip of indulgence while the legs are still in season. If you're in town, I highly recommend you take me there. Hee.
One of those nights we watched Mumford on Netflix instant play. We could hardly hear it half the time over my GD heater, but it seemed to be surprisingly good. A little outlandish in the end, but a good story. We settled on Netflix after searches through my "borrowed" On Demand channels left us collectively staring at a penis TWICE. I had to convince them this was not what I usually find. Damn the nearby cable users who watch 27 Dresses a bazillion times, why don't I ever find the interesting stuff when it's just me?? Two phallic thumbs down.
Unfortunately, the 'rents' trip was cut a little short. My gramps is in the hospital for blood clots, so my parents packed up the car and trekked through all sorts of winter weather to visit him in Jerz. If I were retired I would have piled in with them. Instead, I'm here sending many good thoughts his way. Love you gramps. And love you, rents, for being good sports, great houseguests, and loving grandmasters to the dingo that misses you so much he licked himself a new hotspot just to prove it! One paw down.
idea c/o martha.
It's better this way. Friday's bearable all on its ownsome. It's Monday that needs the help. So here's some instruction on the "hands free" cell phone driving laws already passed down in many states. It's in effect here in the 'noise (Chicago, at least), so I'm busily taking notes (and driving too). Never fear, I drive way better if I'm using the computer at the same time. I excel under pressure.
thx to Dooce for the link.
photo c/o we heart it.
"... this unholy notion of the mythic power of love."
In an attempt to avoid pulling another all nighter feeding my newfound Dexter addiction (god bless Netflix instant play), I distracted myself Tuesday night by looking up Rufus Wainwright videos instead. I have a longstanding crush on Rufus, I admit it. I love his voice, many of his lyrics, and the soaring instrumentation. Turns out I might as well have fed the Dexter monkey, since it became yet another "just one more" kinda night, but here are the fruits of my labor:
The vid up top is "Go or Go Ahead," my favorite song off Want One. "Beautiful Child" is a very close second, and here Rufus is doing it again (because it's good enough for two stops). For his cover of "Across the Universe," click here, though I'm partial to Fiona Apple's go at it. Rufus sings of how "he was just a girl then" in "The Art Teacher," and tells of just a couple of his cravings in "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk," the song that inducted me into the Wainwright hall of fans.
Although I could do without his version of L. Cohen's "Everybody Knows," the video starts with a glimpse into his meeting with the man behind the legend. I'm not sure he was totally warmed up during this performance of "Gray Gardens," but it's fun to watch Isaac Mizrahi fawn all over him. He's clearly smitten, and I don't blame Rufus for shutting his eyes throughout the performance.
For more of his showtuney sound, here's a fun performance of a Witchy Wainwright doing "Oh What a World." There's also his performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which he performs with the accompaniment of his mum on piano, but I say just stick with Dorothy.
But all that's beside the point, if there was one from the start. Oh yeah, being the professed creature lover that I am, I find myself very fond of these photos by Sharon Montrose. My favorite is definitely the porcupine. Figures. Most of her subjects are residents of a nearby zoo and, we presume, have pretty good lives. I like how the images are sweetly stripped bare yet still remind of the various ways that animals are forced to live within human confines. Which I see as both good and bad all at the same time.
Here's today's gem, shuffled from the past.
It's not for all, but Neutral Milk Hotel has it all... or should I say "had." In their accessibly experimental way, they've given the world musical stories that are layered, textured, brilliantly lyric'd, nostalgic, timeless and tireless. It never fails to stop me in my tracks.
Have we really been at this for fourteen years now? Damn scraight! It's a wonder we're not dead after all the danger & debauchery, so I hereby commend us for collecting 32 whole years. Almost 64 between the two of us! Have a delightful day.... You're only 32 and one day old once in your entire lifetime, so make it a delightful day (in other words, leave work early. I mean it) and don't forget to take a cha-cha-cha-chance!
But still worth it I daresay. They're adorable, have a perfect heel height, and aren't all that expensive compared to some of Anthropologie's wears.
Ampersand by House Industries and c/o Cheetah Fight.
Sunny came over Tuesday night to share the experience of watching history unfold. As if history itself wasn't excitement enough, we took the opportunity to continue the comically tense process of introducing my 7-year-old Foo (the curmudgeon who doesn't like other dogs up in his grill) to 6-month-old Beans (the sweetie who insists on licking every dog's grill). I've seen a whole new scary grimace side of Foo during this process, but he definitely began to soften throughout the course of the evening. When Foo humped Beansy's face, I knew we were making real progress.
Except for the two Brits who happened to end up right next to and behind me. They'd apparently been down the pub for hours and were so shit-canned they couldn't stand upright, let alone maintain a facial expression of any kind beyond "gravity doing its job." I'm often a magnet for people with no sense of personal space. It was sort of funny in that "anything goes right now" kind of way... until something began repeatedly brushing against my ass. But, I let it go in the spirit of not letting drunken fools ruin the moment. Letting it slide was made easy as pie once Barack took the stage. The crowd went wild, the Brits managed a sincere cheer before stumbling away, and you've all heard the speech by now....
Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.
It felt good to be a part of this moment in history. It didn't fully hit me just how many people showed up for the rally until we were leaving the park and the sea of people flooded Michigan Avenue and every cross street. It was a sight to behold. I climbed barriers to get a better look and take photos, and I was truly stunned by the sheer numbers. I have never in my life been amongst so many people, and coupled with the election outcome, it was thrilling. Though whether you were sitting on your couch at home or surrounded by hundreds of thousands, I think it's safe to say that letting the moment sink in was electrifying.
I lied about getting back online last night to report my experiences from the Obama rally. It's still to come for my own memory immortalizing purposes, but I was tore up from the floor up by the time last night rolled around. My 22 hour election day was followed last night by drinks with my few beloved coworkers who were walking on air after Obama's win. Lawyers will use any excuse they can get their hands on (good or bad) to self medicate. A former coworker and still-friend came along too, eventually (reluctantly) admitting that she voted for McCain.
After we gave her a look of shock and dismay (followed by a quick tarring and feathering), we got over the error of her ways and turned to the commonly safe denominators: The misery of the job. Her pending wedding. Sex. It helped when she clarified (through puffs of feathers) that she's "fine" with the results. She's not one of those who will wander the office declaring her "fear of the next four years!" Because the fearful ones felt so secure in the hands of the chimp??
So four Stellas, a five-full cab ride, one long dog walk, and a leftover election pizza later, and I could hardly keep these eyes open. I am, therefore, taking "Thirsty Thursday" off to drink lots of water, lose the shwoll, and do some catch-up. That's the plan anyway. Though I never was much for plans.
Among more pressing matters, relief that I hereby cease my plot to marry a foreigner purely for emigration purposes. Didn't I learn the first time?
I stole this pic from BB blog, because it's great. I came into work wicked late today, but I'll be back later tonight to relive through blathering my exciting trip to Obama's Grant Park rally. For now I'll just say that I'm so grateful I didn't cry lazy and stay in to watch it all unfold via tele. It.was.thrilling.to.be.there, and I am genuinely proud for the first time in a long while. Almost embarrassingly so.
This is "Bring it Back," by McAlmont & Butler. I can't help but dance a jig when I can't help but play it five times in a row, even if it's just from the comfort of my chair (whatever, McAlmont does it in his own vid). It's as cool as chair-dancing is uncool (except when McAlmont does it), and a good pre-rally tune I daresay.
The firm hath set us free early today on account of the downtown Obama rally bustle, which I've decided to brave in the name of history... and because I have an uncharacteristic attraction to huge crowds. So long as no one human in said crowd pushes against me for too long. Even if I don't manage to see a relevant thing, it'll feel good to be amongst the excitement. Until tomorrow morning, that is.
For those not in the foo know, this is not my dog. Foo would instantly hoover any food I attempted to put on his face. So why bother trying when Dooce's Chuck will do the hard workin' for us?
Update: I was in line this morning by 6:20 and was done voting by 7:00. Not too shabby. Now it's shower time and off to work with all appendages crossed....
Now I must figure out how to reupholster the seats, which are currently covered in an unfortunate black vinyl. I wonder if I'll need much more than a choice fabric and a staple gun, since the seats easily remove via bolts on the bottom? If anyone out there has any tips, I'd be most grateful!