Thursday, December 31, 2009

Merry Merry and Happy New Year!

‘Tis the Seventh Day of Christmas, and my true love gave to me 12.1 megapixels and 4x optical zoom, which is not as melodic as seven swans a’swimming, but will mean much better pictures on this ol’ blog o’ mine. So everybody wins!

Wishing a healthy, happy 2010 to all my dear bloggy friends, and you lurkers, and you Google Readers, and people who find me by googling “Sara Richardson’s baby Robin” and “Rockin’ Robin” and “handsex game” (and no I don’t know nor do I want to know what that is. Or how it relates to my blog). Also, given my web stats, a LOT (and I mean a LOT, like in the hundreds) of people got White Trash Ghetto Toffee for Christmas this year, so Happy New Year to them, as well. Thank you all for stopping by my little corner of the interwebz and being a part of my life.

I sign off for the year with this serendipitous photo smackdown:

My 2009 Christmas card* vs Yours Truly, circa 1968:

scan0002 scan0001

No wonder I was so attracted to the card in the store!

*That is NOT me, that is a photo from 1935. My parents weren’t even born yet!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Orson Welles to the principal’s office please

Rival high schools in Shoreline, WA are duking it out on YouTube with two clever “lip dub” videos, each filmed in one continuous shot, one take, and a cast of hundreds.

Shorecrest threw down the gauntlet with Outkast’s “Hey Ya”:

And Shorewood came back with Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True”:

The first one is very fun and clever, but the second one is quite amazing. The lip sync is a bit off but consider that they were doing it backwards! We never did anything this cool when I was in high school…

More here.

The Orson Welles remark in the title references the opening shot in his film Touch of Evil, filmed in one continuous take (my college film professor would be amazed that I remembered this bit of cinematic lore). Scorsese also used the long tracking shot extensively in Goodfellas, and Hitchcock filmed the entire movie The Rope in ten total shots. Geez, I’m a geek.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

They kick ass. They take names.

Merry Christmas to me.

NineWestBoots

I picked these up while Christmas shopping this evening. I have been looking for new tall black boots and asked to see these in black. The enabler saleswoman brought these instead. “We were out of the black but I thought you might like these cognac ones.” she said. Um, she was right.

More info here. I paid nowhere near that much, thank you. Now I have to figure out what to wear them with tomorrow….

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I’m thinking Freddie Mercury would’ve approved…

I love me some Muppet rock-n-roll.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Captain Morgan And His Wench

Captain Morgan And His Wench

Aargh! Here’s a pic of The BF and I before Meg & Mo’s Halloween Party/Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.  It was quite the affair, and people really pulled out all the stops in the costume department. I think ours were the most fabulous, but I am biased.

I will forever be grateful to my parents for teaching me to be resourceful, and to my grandmother for teaching me to sew. With the exception of the skull-n-crossbones eyepatch, ring, choker and bag (Party City $20), and of course my sword (on sale at Joann Fabric for $6!), my whole outfit is repurposed or clearance items. I took a “Victorian Vampire” costume from 3 years ago, cut off all the pointy black chiffon vampire-y bits and replaced them with ivory lace (also on clearance at Joann for 50 cents a yard!). I added “cuffs” to my favorite boots with brown felt sewn into tubes and tucked into the boot tops (25 cents per sheet of felt!). My kerchief is actually a discontinued upholstery velvet sample ($1.99!). I had the tights and the belt came from some long-gone dress.

And how handsome is The Captain (again, biased). He managed to keep the wig on almost all night without melting. The hat he bought on Amazon had been smooshed in the mail, so he disassembled it, ironed out the creases, and put it in a safe place until I sewed it back into a tricorn. Zoe kept an eye on it for him:

Cat In The Hat

“yo, when it’s not a pirate hat, it’s my pimp hat”

Friday, October 30, 2009

“What I really need are a pistol and a sword” and other random Halloween statements

995062-195

One night last week while I was in Chicago on biz, The BF called me and we had a very serious conversation about our costumes for Meg & Mo’s Werewolf Bar Mitzvah/Halloween Party this weekend (we are going as Captain Morgan And His Wench). Right about the time that I realized that anyone overhearing this earnest discussion about eye patches and boot covers and the sewing of jabots and hats matching coats would think we were crazy, The BF says “What I really need are a pistol and a sword.” Now I had been having a very trying time at work, the kind of week where you think maybe if I blow something up or throw something out a window, I’ll feel better. So my new mantra has been “What I really need are a pistol and a sword.” It seems to be working for me.

*************

Someone in my apartment building keeps leaving bowls of Halloween candy by the elevator, and it's the highlight of my day.

*************

The other night I went shopping for the aforementioned eye patch and assorted Wench-like accessories, and overheard two young men who were quite dismayed over the inaccuracy of the insignia on the Star Trek costumes. Dude, you are buying a $35 polyester costume at Party City. Did you really think it would be authentic?

*************

My favorite Halloween costume as a child was 1977, 5th grade, Princess Leia. White turtleneck, white long-sleeved dress that my grandma had sewn out of a sheet, and a gold chain belt of my mother’s. I wore my hair in two buns that were more like munchkins than the coffee rolls Carrie Fisher sported, but there was no doubting who I was. We went trick-or-treating with some family friends in a nice development of endless cul-de-sacs in the next town. One of their neighbors was dressed as a tomato and she kept losing her newspaper stuffing, so by the end of the night she looked like a sun-dried tomato, only it was 1977 and no one knew what those were yet.  When we were done, our dads “inspected” our candy. Funny how the Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups were always “suspiciously damaged.”

*************

On one of our early morning walks, Meg and I were discussing how all the commercially available costumes for women are always “sexy”. Sexy Vampire. Sexy Nurse. Sexy Angel. You can even be a Sexy Detective. It’s all so very wrong. Mariska Hargitay is a sexy detective. A grown woman in a miniskirt, crop top, white knee socks and a Sherlock Holmes hat is just pathetic.

We thought it would be a great feminist statement to buy 6 “sexy” costumes, cut them up and sew them back together as one patchwork outfit of misappropriated identities (you can take the women out of the women’s college, etc.). It never happened, but this text exchange did, a few days later:

Meg: I think I am going to be a Flight Attendant for Halloween

Me: Regular or Sexy?

Meg: Stop that!

Me: I don’t think you can buy a non-sexy flight attendant costume

Meg: I found one on Etsy!

So now I am going as a Pirate Wench and she is going as Joan Halloway from Mad Men (insert slight jealousy here). We’re going to be sexy without baring our midriffs, exposing our boobs or hiking up our skirts.

And we will inspect our own candy, thank you.

And by candy, I mean cocktails. Happy Sexy Halloween.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall Swap Booty!

Wednesday was a tough day (actually the last 4 weeks have been tough, tons of work prepping for three big conferences coming in the next 5 weeks, lots of travel, ignoring everything and everyone except working and sleeping, blah blah blah (sorry BF, family, dear friends, cats, your blog, for being so neglectful)). A long 12-hour day at work, lots of big and little fires getting put out, no time for lunch, and then at the end of the day we find out Kelly the Fab Assistant (who recently got promoted so she is Assistant no more, yay!) had her car broken into in our parking lot, for the second time in two months. It was just a poopie day all around.

But then I got home and there was a big box waiting for me…

FallSwap09 002

And inside were all kinds of amazing goodies from the lovely and talented Raina… my swap-ee in The Claw’s Fall Swap Party…

FallSwap09 003

Many of them with a birdy theme – magnets, soap, napkins, makeup case… Hmmm, however did she know I like birdies?…  ;-)

FallSwap09 009

And BTW Raina did you know two things I am mildly obsessed with are fancy soaps and cocktail napkins? Seriously, I have an entire drawer in the buffet solely for cocktail napkins. Thankfully I actually have people over for cocktails or it would seem like one of those weird hoarding things.

FallSwap09 008

{Zoe approves of the pillow. Don’t let that “Village of The Damned” look fool you, she’s a real pussycat.}

Thank you, thank you, my lovely bloggy friend, for all the beautiful goodies!

My Swap recipient was Le Claw Sherri herself, and I sent her a box o’ Connecticut goodies, possibly committing a felony in the process.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy

This is not new, but it’s new to me. So funny and, sadly, so true.


Thanks to this fabulously talented friend for posting it on Facebook.

I found the bit about flying especially relevant: today I flew to/from Washington DC for biz. There & back -- with meetings in between -– in less time than it would have taken to drive round trip. Yes, Louis CK, that is amazing. The airport I flew out of, however? Not amazing. The Fisher Price airport is more sophisticated than the crazy place I flew in and out of...

Monday, September 28, 2009

By the light of the golden arches

No matter where you go in America, you are never more than 5 minutes from an artery-clogging Big Mac. Unless you are in the Dakotas. Then it might be a couple of hours.

FriesFromSpace

Found here. More info at the source.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Have an incredible, amazing, awesome, easy, superlative weekend

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Music Appreciation (or, how I am amusing myself at your expense)

So today I am working Day 2 of my friends' wine festival, and it is a drop-dead gorgeous day, sunny, blue skies, in the low 70s and the leaves have just started changing. So that means 700-800 festival guests per day, many from NYC, wealthy, snobby and each one amazed and annoyed that 799 other people had the same idea as them to come here. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy working the festival, I love the winery owners, I always manage to have a good time here and as usual in any customer service/retail/hospitality job, 10% of the people are beyond wonderful, 80% are normal and 10% should just... go away.



I'm stationed at the back register in the retail store, and to give the place a little ambiance there is always something classical or folk or acoustic on the CD player. I have been playing the above album on repeat (I am so busy I mostly block it out). Some of the pieces sound new age/electronic but some are decidedly classical interpretations. I am loving how many people recognize those as classical style but cannot identify that it is Pink Floyd. They hum along, they wonder what composer it is, why they recognize the piece but just can't place it. If they ask I tell them it's the London Philharmonic. If they press I tell them the composer is Wright, or Gilmour, or Waters. They smugly nod "Ah yes, that's who I thought it was..."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Recipe for a Perfect Summer Weekend in NYC

Flatiron Bldg askew
{The Flatiron Building, Askew. It was the only way I could frame the whole thing with my little camera}
Pre-heat the calendar to the last weekend before school starts. Take one hard-working marketing director (me) and one high school music teacher (The BF) with a pending birthday, and add:
 
A cheap bus from Hartford to Midtown, a camera shop that is the mecca of photographers and technophiles everywhere, a French bistro that serves late lunches of moules frites and wine with Lillet. ABC Carpet & Home on Lower Broadway, an ice cream truck that you heard about on NPR, a shady bench in Union Square Park.
Big Gay Ice Cream Truck at Union Sq
{The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck parked at Union Square}
A wonderful hotel in Murray Hill, a subway map, an iPhone app for Zagat that tells you where the locals go for Italian in Greenwich Village. Pasta made in a cellar, wine made in Piedmont, panna cotta made in heaven.
 
Porca Miseria Chandelier1 
{Porca Miseria Chandelier by Ingo Maurer}
Picasso, Magritte and Ingo Maurer's "Porca Miseria! Chandelier" at MoMA, a street fair on Sixth Avenue, fantastic sandwiches crafted by a Top Chef, a wedding in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Used books at The Strand, an unbelievable birthday dinner at the Union Square Cafe, sitting next to a movie star, hoping to flag down the Cash Cab, drinks at a swanky nightclub.
Algonquin Round Table
{The Round Table, at the Algonquin Hotel, Where Mrs. Parker and The Vicious Circle dined and dished}
Another street fair on the Ave where the Men are Mad, finding Dorothy Parker's seat at the Algonquin Round Table, breakfast (and another wedding!) in Bryant Park, trying to figure out where they used to put the Fashion Week tents, dashing through Midtown to catch the bus back from Penn Station. Home.
 
All photos by me. More on my Flickr page.
Today I'm also participating in Hooked on Houses "Hooked on Fridays" link party, so scoot on over there and see what everyone else is hooked on.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Summer, don’t go! Is it something I said?

Misquamicut seagull No. 4

{Misquamicut Seagull No. 4, originally uploaded by robinsegg0523}

Oh Summer, why must you be over? You came so late this year, and went by too quickly. I feel I had only a few weeks to enjoy your sunny skies, your pleasant breezes, your sweltering days that make me appreciate your cool nights all the more…

This Saturday The BF and I enjoyed what is likely the last* “beach day” of the summer. Under blue skies and with a soundtrack of crashing waves, we sunned ourselves, read magazines, swam in the ocean, sat under an umbrella and enjoyed lunch and cold beers with an old friend of mine. I grew up on Long Island Sound, but there is nothing like a real ocean beach, with big waves and soft sand, a thousand colorful umbrellas scattered like Easter eggs on the shore. Yes, I have a bathing suit full of sand and seaweed, I got stung by a jellyfish and there is a line at the bathhouse, but I like to walk to the water’s edge and look out at the sea and appreciate that I am standing on the edge of a continent.

For more on what I love about summer click here.

*the last for us that is, ‘cause we don’t play no hooky once school starts.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A mouse for my house

I am in love with this mouse print, by Berkley Illustration and available on Etsy:

TwoMicePrint5x7

I imagine their names are Beatrice and Bertram. The artist says they live “in a yellow cottage full of cozy nooks and secret passages. You may find it a bit peculiar, but their best friend is a grey cat from France.” I totally believe her.

Found via MA Belle. More fun prints from Berkley Illustration here. Reacquaint yourself with Beatrix Potter’s mischievous Hunca Munca and posh Johnny Town Mouse here.

Now that my computer is back up and running I will be posting more and stopping by more of your blogs. I have some great pics from a recent NYC weekend for The BFs birthday. Eating and shopping and celebrity-sighting, oh my!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Whoosh!

Every day I tell myself I’m going to finish one of the many blog posts I’ve started, and every day my day goes by thisfast. Just like these guys. But without the accurate landing.

It's like slip-n-slide, only better

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Croc-a-doodle-doo

cayman_10001_angle_510

Maybe you like them and maybe you wear them and maybe to you they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I personally detest Crocs and all the ubiquitous knockoffs, pseudos and wannabes. I detest them with the heat of a thousand melted plastic injection mold forms.

But these are cute and un-Croc-ey enough that if I were to somehow acquire them, and if they didn’t gross me out in person too much, I'd find a way to remove the logo. Perhaps with a metal file and a small blowtorch, like the kind you use for creme brulee.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Here’s another reason to always pack clean underwear

Knock wood, I have (or more accurately, an airline has) lost my luggage only once. And it wasn’t really lost, it just took a later flight than I did, thanks to bad weather at my connecting airport.  I know there are some poor souls who’ve never gotten their luggage back, and stacks of luggage that never finds its way home. And while the premise makes sense, in a Goodwill/Salvation Army Thrift Store way, I am a little creeped out by the bargain-hunting that goes on at the Unclaimed Baggage Store, mostly because the goods at a charity thrift store were donated, while the merchandise at UBS is “donated” by default. The UBS site claims they have found antiques, art, expensive electronics and gemstones in lost luggage.

woman's luggage contents

Admitted voyeur Luna Laboo has been buying lost luggage, photographing the contents and posting it on her Is This Your Luggage website, hoping to reunite the goods with their owners.  Most of the cases contain clothes, but one on the site includes some souvenirs and gifts from Mexico or South America or maybe just the American Southwest.

Here’s a tip to keep your luggage both off her site and out of the Unclaimed Baggage Store: use a real luggage tag, not one of those free paper ones the airline hands out at the check-in; put two business cards in your luggage – one taped to the inside bottom of the case, and one in an inside pocket of the case. And maybe a third in an outside pocket. Oh, and stop tossing your loose diamonds and emeralds in with your dirty socks, okay?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

White-Trash, Trailer-Park, Ghetto Fabulous… Toffee

This super-simple, inexpensive, addictive toffee is called “Chocolate Praline Toffee Crisps” by the kids at Pampered Chef, but is better known as “White Trash Toffee”, “Trailer Park Toffee” or “Ghetto Toffee”, mostly because of its base ingredient: the humble Saltine cracker. In fact, it should be called “Crack Toffee” because it is cheap and highly addictive. I’ve made this three times now for three different parties/picnics and it gets inhaled every time. I suggest you make some for any picnics you’re going to this summer, you’ll be very popular.

Engtoff

Saltine Chocolate Crunch
(aka “White Trash Toffee”)

Ingredients
1 sleeve (about 24) saltines*
3/4 C. brown sugar
1 C. (2 sticks) butter
12 oz. (2 C.) chocolate chips
3/4 C. chopped nuts

Directions
Preheat oven to 400°
Line a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan with foil, spray foil very lightly with cooking spray (or use non-stick foil) and cover cookie sheet with saltines in one layer.

Boil sugar and butter in a non-stick pan until the butter is completely incorporated into the sugar, stirring constantly. This takes about 1 minute. Do not overcook or the butter solids will separate and you will end up with grease with a sugary lump in the middle. Pour over saltines and spread evenly. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let set 2 minutes, then spread melted chips with spatula. Sprinkle with nuts, then press down lightly.

When cool and chocolate is set, cut on a diagonal. You can accelerate this process by cooling to approx room temp and then putting pan in freezer for 20 minutes or in fridge for about 2 hours.

Yields approx. 30 pieces. Pieces can be frozen. Broken bits from cutting are excellent on vanilla ice cream.

*I’ve also seen recipes using graham crackers and matzo crackers. If I was making this with matzo I would add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the butter mixture. Or maybe skip the salt there and use salted nuts on top of the chocolate. Or maybe fancy Hawaiian salt on the chocolate. Mmmm, I might have to go experiment now……

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

These aren't the droids you are looking for...

Star Wars creator George Lucas is an architecture buff (who knew?). The Architects' Journal, a British mag, recently chose the top ten buildings from the Star Wars series, and lists the real-life buildings that inspired or were inspired by them.

{from Episode V, aka The Empire Strikes Back, arguably the best of the bunch, Cloud City. Part 1 of the AJ article claims it is mirrored in John Lautner’s Chemosphere House.}

{This is not the home of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars (Episode IV, my favorite) or The Phantom Menace (Episode I), but the Ksar Ouled Soltane, one of the Berber granaries of Tunisia. According to Part 2 of the AJ article, they were the inspiration for the artisanal houses of Tattoine}.
The headline for this post is a line from Episode IV. Yes, I am a geek. But only for the "real Star Wars", the ones from '77, '80 and '83. "Help me Obi-Wan, you're my only hope"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Corn: It's What's For Dinner

I both cannot wait -- yet am scared to death -- to see this documentary.



From the movie, quoted in Roger Ebert's review: "Corn, in fact, is an ingredient in 80 percent of supermarket products, including batteries and Splenda. Processing concentrates it. You couldn't eat enough corn kernels in a day to equal the number of calories in a bag of corn chips."

This is what America is all about right? Little business grows into big business. Bigger, faster, cheaper, better. But at what cost? In a nation that idolizes the thin yet is overrun with obesity, why do we make it so hard for the average family to buy good, healthy food without going broke?

More of Ebert's review here, and Ann Hornaday's review here. I don't think I'll be getting popcorn at this movie.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happily Never After

{Cinder 3, by Dina Goldstein, from her Fallen Princesses series}

Photographer Dina Goldstein has injected a dose of Brothers Grimm-type reality, circa 2009, into the Disney Princesses. These fair maidens face modern-day issues such as addiction, self-image, illness and war. While the Snow White and Sleeping Beaury scenarios seem familiar, the consequences of Belle/Beauty's vanity and irony of Rapunzel's hair loss are a sad truth for too many real women.

The rest of the series, here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

WWJTXT?

If God had a cellphone back in the day, he could have saved Moses the hike up Mt. Sinai:

1. no1 b4 me. srsly.

2. dnt wrshp pix/idols

3. no omg's

4. no wrk on w/end (sat 4 now; sun l8r)

5. pos ok - ur m&d r cool

6. dnt kill ppl

7. :-X only w/ m8

8. dnt steal

9. dnt lie re: bf

10. dnt ogle ur bf's m8. or ox. or dnkey. myob.

M, pls rite on tabs & giv 2 ppl.

ttyl, JHWH.

ps. wwjd?

Via McSweeney's. Also, you can now follow God on Twitter, but he's a little snarky.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New birds on the block No. 26, literally

These baby robins are living in the rhododendron bush in front of my parents' house. Aren't they cute?
I'm just worried that the nest is so low, it's like a buffet for a wandering cat....

{pics by my dad}

Monday, June 1, 2009

Top o' the Pfingstmontag to you!


{Pfingstmontag, Originally uploaded by Lichtwechsel}

According to my calendar (which is French), today is "Pfingst-Montag" (which is German), or Whit-Monday, 'a great festival day of the year with the Germans of the Old World and the New. They celebrate it if they are "city pent," by excursions into the country; if they dwell in the country, they still have their festive out door recreations".'

So basically it is a day off from work, to celebrate being outside.

I'm telling you, those Europeans are so much smarter than us when it comes to time off.....

Give me the splendid silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling.
~ Walt Whitman

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Now my feet won't touch the ground

I know, I know, no new posts for a month. What a lame blogger. Even my mom has been giving me a hard time about it. Nothing has inspired me lately, and in fact the month has flown right past me in a blur. I had a big conference in Chicago at the end of April, followed by a long weekend in Phoenix to visit a dear friend and recuperate from the week in Chicago (and while in Phoenix, A. and I did our fair share of economy-boosting for the shoe industry, specifically Donald J. Pliner, but I digress).

Perhaps I was on blog overload. Coming home to a Google Reader with close to 1000 unread posts was a bit overwhelming, I must say. "Mark all as read" seemed a bit like abandoning someone else's children, but I had to do it.

So maybe this bit of silliness will put me back to rights. A little Life in Technicolor, a la Punch & Judy, via Coldplay, in honor of the absolutely fantastic concert of theirs I attended last night here in Hartford. The tix were a birthday gift from The BF, who gave me a small case of Option Anxiety earlier in the day by offering me a choice of birthday activities, each of which involved some sort of live performance. After an afternoon of deliberating the merits of each, I went with the one that seemed the most celebratory, and a good time was had by all.



More Coldplay/puppet action here, if you are so inclined.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

They're "sensible" if they make sense to me...

When I started this blog I began a series of posts called "New Bird On The Block", which was partly a way to showcase some of the lovely birdie things I was finding on the interwebs, but also a way to curb my impulses to purchase most, if not all, of said birdie things. I have a little obsession with them, but also a not-enormous apartment, so I had to limit my collection to virtual vs reality. I was thinking I should try to do the same with my purse and shoe habits, and then I saw these beauties in Marie Claire:

{Calvin Klein "Rene" sandals, in silver. Size 10 please.}

I can quit any time, really I can.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

All atwitter over Mr. Darcy


Some clever person in Twitterland has begun posting Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice in 140-character bites. Now, before your inner purist screams out "sacrilege", consider this: Jane Austen is known for her "realism, biting social commentary (now known as "snark" - Ed.) and masterful use of free, indirect speech, burlesque and irony". Free, indirect speech: A style of writing where the author's first-person descriptive blurs with their third-person perspective. Sound familiar, bloggy peeps? Were she born 200 years later, methinks she would have been a blogger (and twitterer) ........................
.........

Hmmm.. Oh, what's that? Sorry, I was busy looking at this:
{Mr. Darcy as Colin Firth. Oh, wait, I have that backwards.
Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. sigh}

With thanks to Julia @HookedonHouses for the Twitter find.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm sorry sir, your baby is ugly

We are fortunate to have in Our Fair City of Hartford the country's oldest public art museum, a treasure chest of masterworks by everyone from Caravaggio to Mondrian to the most recent (as in "last week") acquisition, Slightly Open Clam Shell by Georgia O'Keefe. The museum's castle-like facade, complete with battlements and leaded glass, is often festooned with enormous banners advertising the latest exhibition, usually with a close-up of one of the artworks, to entice one to come in. Or, in the case of Folkert de Jong in Watou, to totally creep one out. To wit:


Creepy, right? Good morning Mr. MeltyFace. You know what is even creepier? The sculptures are life size or larger. Enormous. 8 -10 feet tall. They are made of Styrofoam and polyurethane, materials chosen specifically for their manipulative qualities as for their significance as elements of war, impermeability and toxicity. The figures depict a David and Goliath-like representation of Spain vs The Netherlands during the Eighty Years War that began in the 16th century. I understand the use of the grotesque in art. Compelling, historical stuff, a la Picasso's Guernica. But I could not stop thinking:


Here is another one, with a great dental plan.

{kunstwerk van Folkert de Jong in Watou, (say that three times fast) originally uploaded by mjiwill}

Zombie letterpress sign from Yeehaw, found via Good Mouse, Bad Mouse

Saturday, April 18, 2009

You down with Bert, Ernie? (yeah, you know me)

I try to limit my gangsta rap intake to once per decade, but this just cracked me up:


[found via KK1820 on twitter]

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wish I looked like this when I woke up in the morning

{Sophie Marceau on the cover of April's French Elle. I've had a wee girl-crush on her since Braveheart}

Ooh la la, ze French, zey are so much more... hmmm, how you say... evolved than the rest us. Exhibit A: The April issue of French Elle. Eight lovely female European celebrities, all sans fards ("without rouge/makeup") and, perhaps even more revealing, all sans le Photoshop.

Granted, these are all amazingly beautiful women, and they are well coiffed and lit, and the photographer was Peter Lindbergh, but still, nary an airbrush in sight and they still look fantastic. My only complaint is why are they all wearing such dowdy clothes? I'm sure they are really expensive tees and sweats, "it's cashmere, darling", etc. but sans fards doesn't have to mean sans style. What do you think?

More here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'll have the filet, medium, hold the Creedence


{NYC Felix, originally uploaded by tbone_bill. See note below**}

There is nothing like a nice dinner out. In Downtown Hartford, and the surrounding towns, there are a lot of great places to eat. I am fortunate in that The BF also appreciates good restaurants, and most Saturday nights find us enjoying a cold martini followed by a lovely meal and some great wine. We like the whole experience that a good restaurant offers: a little chit-chat with the bartender while he shakes up the vodka or gin and tries to remember which of us ordered the olives (me) or the lemon twist (The BF). Debating staying at the bar so we can sit cozily side-by-side vs moving to a table. Sharing an appetizer, weighing the merits of various entrees, picking a wine, having a three-hour conversation about everything and nothing. We appreciate the whole experience that has been created for us - the food, the service, the decor, the ambiance. But not necessarily the music. The music befuddles. When I think marble bar/white tablecloth/martini/wine/etc, I think jazz, standards, accoustic, maybe somethig electronic, but all in the name of background music. Aural wallpaper to complement the Scalamandre grasscloth and alabaster chandeliers, to sparkle behind the patrons' dialogue, to bookend the beginnings and ends of conversations. I don't think Creedence. Or Jimi Hendrix. Or Cat Stevens.

I was in three different fine dining establishments this past weekend: two with The BF on Saturday night (one for a drink and a different one for dinner) and one with my family for Easter. In all three instances, the artfully-designed decor, first-class service* and excellent food was curiously set against an backdrop of '70s rock: CCR, Led Zep, Fleetwood Mac, Queen. Great stuff, in a grammar-school-flashback kind of way. Or a beer-and-burgers-on-the-beach kind of way. Or a hanging-out-at-home kind of way. I don't get it. Why would a restauranteur spend a million dollars on opening a restaurant, creating a menu, designing a space, praying for a good review and a crowd that keeps coming despite the ups and downs of the economy, and then leave the Muzak station on Seventies Rock? You've taken a wonderful little experience and tainted it. It's not ironic, or charming, or clever, it's kind of obnoxious, in an ambiance-be-damned-this-is-what-I/the-staff-likes kind of way. And if that is who you are catering to, I am afraid for your business.

*Okay, the service at the place we went to on Easter was more grandmotherly than first-class, but still...

**The BF took this picture, on a hot summer Saturday night in NYC, at Restaurant Felix. The food is amazing, and the music is a mix of French jazz/electonic lounge/music hall (think Pink Martini). A delicious end to a wonderful day. If you go, be sure to sit in the window so you can watch the street theater that is West Broadway. We watched one couple on a blind date, another couple breaking up, and a Vespa-riding cross-dresser wearing a fur coat and a wig (in August). Oh, and did I mention the food was fantastic?

Monday, April 13, 2009

My business card can beat up your business card

Can you imagine working for this guy?



Yes I know, I am lame, two videos in a row, but life has got me by the tail these days and is swinging me around its big, fat head. More bloggy goodness tomorrow, I promise.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's like LiteBrite, but with legs

So you're a shepherd in Wales, and maybe you're a bit of a tech geek, and you have these extra LED lights hanging around, and you and the lads want to have a bit of a laugh on a Saturday.



The Atari one is my favorite.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ooh you crafty thing (and a local giveaway!)

Oh, we should all be so fortunate as to make a living off of our own creations.
{I want this hat! Hand Blocked Hat, Velvet Jacket by Ossi Rioux}

{14k Pearl Earrings by Paul Dannecker}

Pictured above and below are a few of the many items featured at the Sugarloaf Craft Festival, traveling the East Coast and coming to Hartford this weekend, March 27-29. If you are local and would like to attend, leave a comment and you could win some of the free tickets the organizers were kind enough to send to me specifically to share with you.

Please leave your comment (or email me) by midnight Tuesday so I can mail you your tickets in time for you to use them this weekend.

{"Window Sill" by David Maynard}
{Signature Ring by Robert and Martin Taber}

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dim all the lights sweet darlin'



Come now, I know you can find something to do with the lights off for an hour next Saturday night...

Go here for more info.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Well, that's one way to get more shoes....

[Not the closet in question. This be Mariah's shrine de shoes}

A 51-year old San Diego woman is accused of embezzling more than $9.9 million over 7 years from her employer to fund her personal lifestyle and gambling habit.

"The woman is also accused of using nearly $25,000 to convert a bedroom into a closet to store her extensive shoe and clothing collection. Investigators say that the collection consisted of 400 pairs of shoes valued at a total of $240,000, designer clothing valued at a total of $300,000, and 160 designer purses valued at a total of $320,000. The closet included a granite covered center island, crystal chandelier, and a 32 inch plasma television."

The Sheriff's Department says that the woman was able to conceal the alleged scheme for so long because of her position at the company: chief financial officer. The losses resulting from the alleged thefts forced the company to conduct layoffs and restructure its operations.

The woman faces charges of grand theft and embezzlement.

Her laid-off co-workers must love her. So sad. The full story here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Very superstitious

I scheduled a maintenance appointment for the server at work today and everyone was freaking out because it is Friday The Thirteenth. My normally sensible co-workers appear to throw logic out the window when it comes to old wives' tales. I was temped to bring in a ladder, a broken mirror and The Lounging Party just to freak them out some more (because why have one black cat when you can have two?). At least with The Lounging Party there would be entertainment while the entire computer system is down.


{The Lounging Party, doing what they do best}

Very superstitious
Writing's on the wall
Very superstitious
Ladders bout' to fall
Thirteen month old baby
Broke the lookin' glass
Seven years of bad luck
The good things in your past


When you believe in things
That you don't understand
Then you suffer
Superstition ain't the way


PS - is Spring here yet?


Sorry for the long absence, I was caught up in the whirlwind of preparation for the Two Ladies' wedding, and then in the aftermath of having neglected the rest of my life. Things are almost back to normal and I will be visiting you all and commenting soon.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

And we take requests

My British agent, Sas of Sas' Magical Mystery Tour, has demanded that my band stop procrastinating and get our butts in the studio to finish our album (that's like a CD, for you young 'uns).



You, too can be a Jane Austen-quoting, Toddlers and Tiaras*-influenced Eastern European electronic klezmer rock star:
  1. Go to Wikipedia. Hit 'random'. The first Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
  2. Go to Quotations Page and select 'random quotations'. The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.
  3. Go to Flickr and click on 'explore the last seven days'. Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover. I used the third picture down, since the third picture across was a cute little ladybug, flittering across a daisy, and my band is Eastern European electronic klezmer rock, not The Carpenters.
  4. Use Picnik (or photoshop or whatever) to put it all together; I used my new favorite toy, Picasa. Then tell us about your album.
  5. Comment with the link to your album

*seriously, why else is this child wearing this outfit?

For the record (ha ha, no pun intended, and for you kiddos, a "record" is also like a CD):
  • Albota is a commune in Arges County, in southern central Romania.
  • "Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way." is from Emma, by my girl Jane Austen.
  • The photo is by NoSha.
When your band makes its album cover, don't forget to put your link in the comments!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I want my own mouse circus

Saturday night the boyfriend and I went to see a little piece of stop-motion genius, Henry Selick's Coraline. If you've seen James and The Giant Peach or The Nightmare Before Christmas, you are familiar with Selick's work. Coraline was three years in the making, employing dozens of artisans, artists and crafters (like Althea Crome, who knitted Coraline's tiny sweaters and gloves on needles smaller than toothpicks) to create the wondrous world of a curious girl and her mysterious neighbors.


Coraline is gorgeously made, and meets my main criteria for any film: a good story, well told. I think it is being marketed as a kid's film, and while there certainly were a lot of kids at the showing we went to, there were plenty of adults, and everyone was equally mesmerized by the spectacle Selick and his team have created. But the thing that made me squeal like a little girl was Mr. Bobinsky's Mouse Circus. See, when I was a child I had this thing about mice, this secret belief that behind the walls they lived a Borrower's life, wearing tiny clothes, sleeping in little beds made from matchboxes, dining at spool tables, tooling around in toy cars, Stuart Little-style. As an adult, I may or may not have let that belief...um... go (and this despite having once owned an old house that had many a mouse trap to catch the little buggers before they could do too much damage). Mr. Bobinsky's mice wear cute little red band uniforms, play tiny musical instruments, and put on a circus performance with military precision. There's a secret behind their showmanship that I won't give away here (go see the movie), but they are just adorable and must be forgiven for their role in any deceit. Plus if you ask them nicely they will spell your name with their tails (click the pic below to make your own).

Screenshots from the Coraline website.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The cheesy prom pose was his idea

{Matthew Modine and I, apparently about to break into a tango. Sorry about the bad photo quality, blame my iPhone}

Earlier this month the BF and I went to a swanky fundraiser for the local arts council, where we tasted lots of wine, sampled food from local restaurants, schmoozed, and bid on silent auction items that we didn't win (we forgot to keep going back to check on our items and were quickly outbid by others. This is what happens when you stop tasting wine and move on to martinis). Amidst the crowd of local business tycoons, non-profit leaders, arts execs and hoi polloi like ourselves was a tall dark & handsome guy that I kept thinking I knew, in a "did I go to high school with him" kind of way. Um, no, actually it was more like "did I have mad crush on him while I was in high school and he was starring in Vision Quest*".
Matthew Modine, one of the objects of my teenage affection, is in town in rehearsals for To Kill A Mockingbird at our (Tony Award-winning, thank you) regional theater and came to the fundraiser with the theater prinicipals. We don't get a lot of big stars in town so when one is in our midst the reactions range from stammeringly starstruck to ridiculously over-familiar. I was somewhere in between, but the real estate developer who owns the building where I work falls in the latter category, shouting out (like they are old pals) "Hey Matthew, Robin would like a photo with you" as Matthew entered the room we were in. Thankfully, Mr. Modine was not only gracious about the whole thing, but a little corny, hence the cheesy prom pose (as he put it) above. We even had a nice conversation about how rehearsals were going, how he liked Hartford, etc. He is very charming and looks you right in the eye when he speaks to you. My teenage crush is renewed.
*Yeah, now you have Madonna's Crazy For You stuck in your head don't you? Me too.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I heart you

Yup, that's exactly what you think it is. Happy Valentines Day.

By the talented Thomas Cheng

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New bird on the block No. 25

Two of my favorite things: birds and purses! Swoony swoon swoon. This would look great with the new LBD I bought for Meg & Mo's wedding. Or gray wool pants and a black sweater. Or a tan linen dress in summer. Or jeans. Etc., etc. Swoony.

Love Bird Clutch by Noah, available here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Alas poor Martha, we thought we knew ye

Sequined purple satin shoes sound like something that our current First Lady Mrs. O would wear, but apparently these beauties (which once also had gold buckles) adorned the feet of none other than the first First Lady, Martha Washington, on her wedding day to George.
The dumpy, frumpy image we have of her is based on a few portraits painted after her death. Through the magic of computerized age-regression -- and a better look at the life of a woman whose story was overshadowed by the legacy of her famous husband -- it turns out she was a head-turner, a smart business woman, a reader of gothic romances and a stylish dresser. Read more in this great article from the Washington Post.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Now I ain't sayin' she a gold digger

Research firm Prince & Associates Inc. carried out a survey of 191 men and women with a net worth of at least $20 million. More than 80 percent of the men said they planned to give lower “allowances” to their mistresses, and almost as many would offer fewer gifts.

In tough economic times, the incentive to become a kept lover may increase. After all, other ways of making easy money are looking less certain by the day.

“I foresee a growing desire on the part of many people -- male and female -- to be kept,” Prince said in an e-mailed response to questions (by Bloomberg.com, not by me). “A bad economy like the one we’re experiencing will only make the good life ever more attractive.”

More ridiculousness here.

Bath & Body Works has it in for me


Every time I find a scent I love at Bath & Body Works, they go and discontinue it. Every time. First it was Honey Almond - wonderful, not too food-y smelling. Then it was Fresh Ginger Lime, which was really refreshing in summer. Then it was Rice Flower & Shea, which was light and smelled great layered with almost any perfume, and now it's Brown Sugar & Fig.

I asked two different sales associates why they discontinued certain flavors and not others and got two different answers: 1) "They didn't sell well enough" (understandable. Hard to believe because they are delicious scents, but whatever) and 2) "We discontinue some to encourage you to buy others".

Huh?

You are discontinuing (yet again) a product that made me like you in the first place so you can force me to try something you think I should like better? I trudge all the way to the mall specifically to buy this specific product (okay, and maybe some shoes, and Sephora is just across the way, but I digress) and you think taking it away is going to make me more loyal? The basic principle of the law of supply and demand is that there is some supply to begin with.

Thank goodness for the "fond farewell" section of the BBW website, even if you have to dig on their site to get to it.