Thursday, January 29, 2004

It sounds like Pixar is walking away from a deal with Disney after ten months of negotiations. Pixar spent most of it trying, no doubt, to gently convince them that they're the most valuable partnership Disney has ever had, and worth more than the peanuts Disney is probably offering to them. They let that Lizzie McGuire girl get away, too, because they believe you can get and keep creative people by paying them less than they're worth. Stupid, stubborn, no-talent jackasses!

I'm just guessing, of course, but it's an experienced guess. I hope this is just a bluff by Pixar ...
Please welcome a new member to the chowflap link family: finslippy.
So I googled my name yesterday, and discovered that I am:

a woman who died in Nantucket in 1783
a graduate in the class of '98 at Princeton, raised in Laramie, Wyoming, and headed for a career on Wall Street
a street in Fanwood, NJ
a teacher at an afterschool program at Grace Covenant Church in Charlotte, NC
a short-fiction writer
editor of the Minneapolis Monthly
second wife of Country music artist Gary Buck
Professor at Arizona State University, teaching a class this semester titled "Gender and Communication"
the Actue Rehabilitation Unit director at a hospital in southern Missouri
the contact person at the Medford, Oregon Rifle & Pistol Club
a street in Chowchilla, CA
crew of a yacht that finished last place in a regatta

I contain multitudes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I haven't done a vanity google in a long time. Found many DWs I had not found before. And then, strangely, this passage popped up, from the National Review Online: "... the feistiness and confidence of Jewish women can be spotted far back in the Old Testament, in the stories of Sarah and Deborah, way before Judaism achieved a settled form."
In the little kitchen area of my office is a cardboard box for donations to the Food Bank Farm pantry (which provides free food to families who need it). The box has been there for a few months, and has gotten filled with enough good stuff that it was brought over to the pantry a few times. Occasionally I will put something in from the list of suggested items to donate (whole-grain cereal, pasta, canned vegetables, tuna fish, etc.). But for the past several weeks, some of the intelligent, creative, and sensitive people I work with have been abusing the purpose of the box. I might have to post a sign saying, This is not a depository for food you would just as soon be throwing away.

Recently these items were found in the box:

five plastic bottles of what appeared to be cola, marked only by dot-matrixed computer-print-out labels that said something like "internet testing corp" with a url and a long coded number.

Two "Milky" white chocolate candy bars from Great Britain with an expiration date six months past

A dented can of sliced pears in light syrup, clearly marked as being for distribution as US food aid (think: government cheese)

A small jar of fancy chocolate-brandy "hard sauce" (an unwanted Christmas gift)

What's really messed up about these "donations" is that it signals a severe lack of respect for the people who rely on our handouts. Poor folks like to eat normal stuff too, you know. There but for the grace of god, and all of that. At least others besides me have been noticing; the cola and the candy bars were removed after a week or so and, I assume, thrown away. As they should have been in the first place.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

You may want to read the Complete list of Oscar nominations. Some comments:

Johnny Depp is up for best actor for Pirates of the Carribean. Did Disney pay someone off for this? It's a major coup. I like it when comedic roles get recognition, it's very rare. But then why not have Jack Black in School of Rock, or Will Ferrell in Elf?

Hooray for all of the noms for Lost in Translation. Lord of the Rings was a given. I need to see Mystic River (which is back at Cinemark) but I think I've lost my chance for Master and Commander.

Seabiscuit I will not see, and have no desire to see. From what I've read about it, it sounds like formulaic "triumph of the human spirit" tripe. At least they could have given a shout-out to Cold Mountain, which had problems but at least had some original moments. I mean they might as well have gone ahead and nominated "Radio."

Speaking of Cold Mountain, a song from that film, penned by Sting, is up for Best. Doesn't that bitch get enough awards? The Academy could have thrown one to my boy Jack White if they wanted to honor Cold Mt.'s music. Pablum-loving oldy-oldensteins... It will be fun to see the Mighty Wind song performed at the awards show, though.

For best animated feature, Disney is up against itself and a short French-made animated movie that hardly anyone saw. I wonder who will win? (Okay, not really. Finding Nemo will win.)

Best Actress, I've seen only one of the films on the list so I can't comment. I've heard pretty unanimously that Charlize Theron is excellent in Monster, though.

Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress; same problem. Except the one I saw, for In America, the role Djimon is up for is terrible. Noble/savage black man teaches white family what's really important? Give that guy a statue! And Renee's Cold Mt. role was an easy and fun one to play. It just didn't seem like a huge effort, you know? I mean, she was great, but the role is not award-worthy.

Best Documentary; I saw Capturing the Friedmans and loved it (a very very creepy, yucky subject). What about Spellbound - or was that open last year? If not, it should be on here. Dammit.

As for the rest - does anyone really care?

Monday, January 26, 2004

Hello. How was your weekend? Mine was great, thanks. Friday night I finally went and saw Cold Mountain. I declare it flawed but good. Worth seeing, I say. I was super thrilled when the shape-note song started playing (during the turkey-shoot scene near the beginning of the film), and extra super thrilled to see Nicole and Jude singing a shape-note song a little later. Both of those songs I've sung numerous times. The movie is beautiful and suitably horrible at times. I was happy when Phillip Seymour Hoffman showed up unexpectedly, playing a sinful preacher. In smaller roles, Natalie Portman did a great job, as did a surprisingly-good Jack White (from the White Stripes). Besides that, I hated that the climactic tragedy had been so clearly foreshadowed that it held no drama for me, but I did really love the little tacked-on afterword scene at the end (which was not in the book, I heard). I still think Nicole is a little too pretty for the role (even when she was supposed to be at her grungiest, her hair was perfectly tousled and clean) but she acted well. Renee was great. My hatred of her might be thawing a little. Jude is gorgeous and did a fine job here. Both he and Nicole have perfect asses (I think his is even dimpled).

On Saturday I shopped at some second hand stores with A and T. They both found interestintg and perfect-fitting vintage dresses for cheap. I bought an apron. More about this on Craftytown.

Then Saturday night was the Spanish for Hitchhiking and School for the Dead show at PACE. This Easthampton venue used to be just a big open gallery with folding chairs, but in the past few months they got a bunch of AMC movie theater chairs donated and have built a genuine theater out of the space. It was very quiet in there, and the audience refrained from applause until the last note of each song had faded into air. Spanish was excellent; transporting, beautiful, and heartbreaking. I loved the new arrangements of some of their older songs, and the new songs are fabulous. Play out more!

SFTD was great, I always love seeing them play. The full five-piece was there which is always a pleasure. They had some new songs as well, and all were great and alarmingly well-rehearsed. School also has new shirts for sale, this time in ladies' sizes. I am psyched. The stage banter was particularly funny that night. Also, I do know the "It's so funny, how we don't talk anymore" song, though like Brian and Ken I do not know anything before or after that particular line. What amazes me about Ken is that when he's asked to play a random song, he doesn't simply play the melody, he plays the keyboard part of that song. So for "Holiday," he doesn't play the melody that Madonna sings but the synthesizer part that starts off the song. And he goes right into it without pausing and taking a moment to remember how it goes. Ken is a robot.

After the show I went over to my old house to hang out with M and A, and showed new guy M around. He liked the house and was sad on my behalf that I didn't own it anymore. I don't feel sad; I am happy that very good friends of mine own it now. It also looks much better under their care than it did when I lived there.

As for Sunday, you will have to check out Craftytown.

Friday, January 23, 2004

A bunch of coupons, possibly from the inside of a Yellow-Pages-ish thing, are currently magnetted to the office refrigerator. Among the ones for "$1 off two Calzones" and "Free Oil Change with Each Set of New Tires" and the like, is a coupon for a buck off of Emergency Contraception (the morning-after pill) at Tapestry Health. Now, I'm very pro-choice and everything, but this strikes me as a little odd. Are they really thinking that a woman, in the midst of the feelings of guilt and recriminations and anger at herself, plus the trepidation of taking the pill iself, which makes you throw up and feel like crap, is going to suddenly remember, Well, at least I can save a dollar! Things aren't so bad after all!

Thursday, January 22, 2004

First there was Friendster. Then there were a whole bunch of ironic imitations. And then Craftster. And now, finally, there is Dogster. I can't wait to put up my dog and link her to her dog pals!

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I got Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark at Turn it Up on Monday. It is nearly perfect. The first five songs are particularly great. Why did I wait so long to own this album? I blame my mother for this one. Unlike many parents of friends that I know, mine liked popular, modern music. So it's taken me a while to feel comfortable liking some of the bands they liked while I was growing up. Call it an extended adolescence that's been isolated inside my music fandom. Simon and Garfunkel, Simon solo, Joni Mitchell, Elton John; they all seemed terribnly square when I was a teen, just because my parents owned their records. The Beatles got a pass, of course, as did bands whose albums they really shouldn't have owned, such as Queen and The Cars.

Anyway, Court and Spark has been playing over and over at my house and I'm enjoying the happy, slightly familial mood it's been putting me into. I'm listening to it and it is sounding so familiar, yet new, because I've never paid any attention to the lyrics before. Now I listen and try to piece together the deeper reasons my mom felt such a connection to this album during a period in her life with two difficult children, a husband who hated his white collar job, shitty part-time jobs at the local university, and traveling in a half-broken car to Newark all the time for work.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I had a dream last night about my pregnant sister's baby. Even though it was a couple of weeks old, I had never gotten to hold it yet. So S said, "just look over there, she's asleep." And I looked and saw a tiny baby asleep on a little folded blanket on top of a saucer, dressed up like a little mouse with thin felt ears. Totally adorable. The saucer was atop another saucer or shallow bowl, and the two pieces didn't nest quite right and whenever the baby moved the saucer wobbled precipitously. I picked the baby up and she became almost normal sized.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Also, I'm a big fan of this Essay (actually there are two). My theory is that it was written by a bored but creative (and funny) high school kid who got just one too many stupid essay assignments. A high school kid who kills people and burns down trees.
Hey look, there's a new Get Your War On and it's right up my alley. Sample:

Thursday, January 15, 2004

I love how great the president's staff is at deflecting attention away from themselves whenever their shit seeps through and comes to light (see: O'Neill's damning book about Bush's pre-9/11 plan to go to war with Iraq, and the subsequent and ongoing bluster about spending a trillion bucks to build a moon base and visit Mars). The next time (and there will be a next time) some former Bush white house staffer comes forward with juicy tales of unethical practices, I expect to see "BUSH WANTS FIVE TRILLION TO BREED UNICORNS" or "BUSH ASKS CONGRESS TO FUND PERSONAL HOVERCRAFT TECHNOLOGY" or " 'WITH 15 TRILLION, WE CAN BUILD A LADDER TO HEAVEN,' ASSERTS BUSH." And then the media and the public will get all excited to talk about the dreamy new project, ignoring the complicated and uncomfortable and just plain icky bad, bad stuff that's been going on behind the scenes, because it's just such a downer, you know?

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I forgot until just now that I was pulled over by the cops (well, a cop) last night. I was on the way home from M's house, which is out in rural Hadley, and I was speeding, because yet again I was looking forward to about 6 hours of sleep, tops. The roads were clear, except I kept driving through these tiny snow squalls that were literally about ten feet in diameter - I'd see a white patch on the road and when I'd drive over it, it would be wildly snowing, but just until I emerged. Really, really strange, but it matched well with the odd orange glow in the sky (from UMass? possibly). Did I mention it was 1 a.m.?

Anyway, I was speeding down Rt. 9, and saw a cop car lurking at the Place of Many Lights (that big gas station next to the car wash), so I hit the brakes, because I'm subtle that way. And I passed him and didn't see him throw on the flashy lights, and so I figured I was in the clear. And then a car came up behind me, which suddenly sprouted some flashy lights. Dammit. I pulled over near the Aqua Vitae and awaited my doom. The cop was a young-ish fellow, and seemed friendly. Luckily I didn't say what I was thinking of saying ("I'm usually on this road when the traffic's so bad we're barely moving, so I have no idea what the speed limit is here!" - all true), because the cop said he pulled me over for a broken tail light. He took my registration and license back to his car to make sure I wasn't a wanted man, and a few minutes later he gave me a written warning and a pat on the ass and a "scoot!" and I was on my way. Whew! I have not had much luck with cops in the past five years or so, so this encounter was quite a relief.
I know Christmas is over, but pleeeeeeeaase???

(link courtesy of Fussy)

Monday, January 12, 2004

The baby shower went off without a hitch. My sister will now have the best-dressed baby ever, and will have to change outfits several times a day in order to get to wear them all before she grows out of them. It was a little bittersweet, and exciting, to say goodbye to her and my bro-in-law, since this was the last visit to Brooklyn to hang out with them as a childless couple. The next time I see my sister she'll be in labor (knock on wood). I told a coworker friend about planning on being a birth-partner, and she related to me that her best friend was at the birth of her first child, and it was a great experience. Her friend and her husband kept laughing behind her back (she was very goofy and crazy and funny on painkillers), though they'd pull a sober face if she looked their way. It sounds like everyone was in a jubillant mood, which is unlike the somber, clinical seriousness I was picturing (damn you, Maternity Ward!!). And they did both help, each grasping a leg when it came time for serious pushing. Her friend said "you're having an avocado!!" when the head was emerging.

It's all a little unreal to think about being there at this birth. But I'm trying to make it real. Today I printed out and wrote down info and directions to the hospital where they'll be delivering, and I'm going to keep it in my purse so I don't lose it. Thank God for cell phones, also.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Speaking of henning, he had a little photo portrait studio set up at his post-Christmas, pre-New-Year's-Eve holiday party, and now selections from the evening are posted here. I like my photo, I think I look fetching:

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Thanks to henning for this scary link, which needs no comment, really.
Now that I'm essentially done with my sewing project, I can start thinking about getting back to knitting something. I found an inspiring selection of ideas from a bunch of 1960s-era issues of the magazine Hand Knits for Young Moderns, via this wonderful site. Definitely worth an extensive look.

If you saw a woman wearing a big puffy red coat walking a dog wearing a matching red coat down 66 towards Main Street this morning, yes, that was me. The matching color was a mistake, an accident. My dog was sporting her new Land's End Reversable Squall Jacket because it is Very Cold and I had to walk from my mechanic's to the office.

Indulge me, for I am going to tell a story about my dog: The receptionist here keeps dog biscuits at her desk for the office dogs. This morning she made L sit for a biscuit, which L dropped on the ground, sniffed, and ignored, looking up hopefully. The receptionist says "Oh, she doesn't like the vegetarian ones," and goes into her desk for the regular kind. After scarfing up the regular meaty biscuit, she quickly leans down and scarfs up the vegetarian one. The sneaky bastard!

Speaking of bastards, it turns out that Dennis of Span-hike fame is a secret cartoonist. He thinks he sucks, but his cartoons made me laugh. My favorite was one titled "Bastard Children of Incredible Bastards," I think. Anyway, he and his lovely girlfriend hosted a craft night last night, and we tried to talk him into publishing, on the web at least. So at least you can bug him to show you his stuff next time you see him.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Just to cheer me up, here's a cute picture of a kitten in a sleeve.

There's nothing I hate more than when someone does some work on something that overrides me (presuming to be better than me, hah! keep yer dirty mitts off my work!), and I get all lathered up with anger and defensiveness, and then I'm told by someone else that what the other person did is an improvement to what I did. So even though the person overstepped their bounds, it doesn't matter, because the final product is improved. And then I have to calm the fuck down and relax, because I'm a grown-up now and can't go stamping up to my room to scream into my pillow.

Sigh. Things are okay, really, it's just the job getting me down. I hate work stress. I don't want to expend any emotional energy on my job at all. It's not worth it. So sometimes I have to remind myself that it just doesn't matter. It just doesn't matter.
Here's a little pre-baby-shower link for my brother-in-law: Some funny smart guys talk about becoming fathers.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Alright already, stop your nagging. Chowflap took a little holiday vacation but now it's back. And here's a rambling Larry-King-esque post to prove it to you.

The crib bumper project is moving along nicely. I am at the final assembly stage.

Brick walkway freezes before sidewalk surface. Ow.

Brasserie 40-A is a very good restaurant.

On my walk to work today I passed what looked like a giant, glistening eelskin laying on top of a bush. Upon further inspection it was revealed to be a forest-green scarf encased in ice.

Seven-year-olds think I am an artistic genius.

The meat bastilla pie at Amanous is very tasty but sits like a lead brick in your (okay, my) stomach.

Just after recovering from eating the meat pie, it is not wise to then have a BLT with fries at 2 in the morning. is losing me. I've been a subscriber for a couple of years but recently I've been feeling alienated. Firstly, Anne Lamott drives me up a frickin' wall. I can't wait until her son turns 18 and sues her for destroying his privacy. Then they gave a glowing review of In America, which I went and saw and do not recommend (there were some beautiful sequences, but also some inexcuseably cliched parts), and their movie reviewer slammed Cold Mountain because there weren't enough black people in it (haven't seen the movie,and it may be awful; but there weren't any black people in the movie because it was about poor white people in the mountains, where there simply weren't any black people. Slamming a movie for this makes me embarrassed to be left-wing). I dunno, maybe the love affair is over and it's time for me to move on.

I'm not making any difficult New Year's resolutions. The only one I know I want to do for sure is to try to get to work closer to on-time. Today I got here before 9:30. This is progress.