Friday, March 31, 2006

In the Street

The issue of Paper Street that I'm in came today. In it is a poem I care a lot about, a poem I was unsure of for a while but grew to love. I'm getting to that point where I have a nice little section of magazines that I'm in, and I need to set them aside so I can pull one out when I feel like a sham.
Just went for a walk, and my face is stinging from the wind and fresh sun. I miss summer. My skin misses the heat of it. Sadly, it seems storms are rolling in.
Steve has gone a, but here's my version of his meme anyway.

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?
Enjoying coffee shop runs with my friend Amber, in her pretty blue Prizm.

2. What were you doing 5 years ago?
I was getting ready to come here for grad school, having just been in the American College Dance Festival, and trying to learn to write poems pretty darn quick.

3. What were you doing 1 year ago?
Spending too much time in Beckett's.

4. Five snacks you enjoy:
Animal crackers, Cheez-Its, Cheerios with peanut butter, Sprees, Cheese

5. Five songs you know by heart but wish you didn't:
Stop/Spice Girls, Open Arms/Mariah Carey style, Who Let the Dogs Out/Baha Men, Macarena/Los del Rio (okay, I've probably forgotten this, but I used to know the whole thing), I'll Be There for You/Rembrandts

6. Five things you would do with a LOT of money:
Quit teaching full-time and write poems; buy my parents a new washing machine, a new boat, and a new dining room table, and finish their master bedroom; send my sister and brother-in-law to Paris, open a ginormous savings account in the safest bank I can find; become eccentric

7. Five things you would never wear:
shoulder pads, Hammer pants, big bangs, uber-pointy-toed high heels, this

8. Five things you should never have worn:
pegged pants, the same style glasses for seven years, stretch pants, bike shorts with neon sides, leotards in elementary school

9. Five things you enjoy doing:
dancing en pointe, taking walks in the sunshine, climbing trees, helping people with random tasks (like helping them get frisbees out of trees), making clothes for me

10. Five bad habits:
biting my nails, watching TV while grading essays, tossing clothes in heaps, obsessing about things I can't fix right now, not doing dishes right away

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bravo...the TV station that cares...

...about my mental health.
I was reading the blogs for Top Chef this week, and there was an apologetic blurb at the end from Bravo about the grammar and typo errors in the blogs; something about the program they're using loses characters and punctuation. I buy that for the characters, but not so much for the punctuation/syntax. Consider Tim Gunn, same channel, whose blog did have the character problem, but had reasonably clean syntax. A fragment is a fragment, and spelling a name wrong is still poor spelling, but I appreciate the gesture of apology. Evidently I'm not the only anal, eagle-eyed Bravo blog reader.
In other news, my back hurts, I have a lot of papers to grade, and I have to get groceries and do laundry. Nevertheless, I watched TV last night (while I was grading, of course). I put on my pretty new Vicky Secret babydoll nightie, with blue sky and cloud print, snuggled up with a blankie, and watched ANTM, bits of Lost and last week's Top Chef, the new Ghosthunters, and the new Top Chef. I did not watch The Evidence, because by that time I was so tired of channel flipping I needed to just settle.
ANTM was fairly normal; some drama, but I didn't grow to dislike or like anyone more. The photo shoots, one for a Sears and one editorial shoot, were interesting enough, not super exciting but just interesting.
Ghosthunters was spooky and delicious. Don't tell Paul.
Last week's Top Chef...I didn't watch that much of it, actually. This week's was exciting, and I decided that I'm on the outs with Harold, and am even more on the outs with Stephen than I was. Come're cooking for humans with lives. It's nice to have people come to a restaurant, but if the only place you can cook is in that restaurant, or in what Tom Colicchio calls a controlled environment, you're not much of a chef. I like a versatile chef, not a specialist. (And Bravo, Tom, for bitching out the snobs last week.) Snubbing the microwave is a dangerous game indeed, and I love that Bravo showed that moment of one of the working-mother-judge's faces when Stephen was asking if they'd heard of plantains. Come on. These people have gone grocery shopping for 15-20 years. They have eyes. This lady rolled hers beautifully. Harold, boo to your microwave snobbery, but Bravo to finally embracing the challenge and opening up a bit. Stephen, you're 24, and already you have the snobbery of four people squirming around inside you. It's an amazing feat and I hope it gets you fired a lot. Sugar will catch more flies than your sourpuss (have you considered acting?)
And this is why I don't know if I could ever date or marry a chef. I like to cook, but if that person is going to turn his nose up at anything I make, my comfy squash casserole for instance, then I want no part of it. Chefs make me nervous. But, Abs, wouldn't you love it if that chef would cook for you all the time? No. Frankly, I'm not a fan of eating in restaurants that make me intimidated by the food, and I wouldn't want to eat that kind of stuff all the time. Squash casserole, with Campbell's cream of chicken, sour cream, and stuffing cubes, rules.
And can I just add that I'm sad Lee Anne and Tiffani got into it a couple of weeks ago? That was my dynamic duo. They both can be snotty, and I've lost respect for them both, but they're still my favorites.
If there's one thing I'm learning from this show, and wish the contestants would learn, it's that you absolutely have to respect and appreciate every single client that comes near you. You don't need to "work" them all, but you need to be nice, assess their needs fairly, and treat them empathetically. I think that's what I hate about the top chef system, actually. Certainly, the culinary world involves a lot of art, but it's art that has to be taken into the body and soul, that has to nourish, and if you can't be a nourishing person, then that art will never belong to you, nor you to it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"Dream come true...I never thought..."

So, who out there left a recording of Debbie Gibson's "Out of the Blue" on my answering machine? Come on. 'Fess up.
And are you aware that I have that tape in my car?
Hmm...maybe my car is calling me secretly. Maybe it missed me yesterday.
What's extra funny...or creepy...was that I heard that (circa 1987) and then watched Pee Wee's Big Adventure on Bravo (1985). I had this incredible urge to put on some legwarmers, crimp my hair, and apply bright blue eyeshadow all over my lid. Strawberry lip gloss, anyone?

Dumb news item of the day:

Why do people say silly things?
"But Robert Lang, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, which tracks urban growth trends, scoffed at the notion that mansionization means a loss of community.
'All the research shows that sense of community is not driven by the design of the structure but by demographics,' he said. 'It's all fallen away since the inventions of telecommunications and the automobile.'"

Are you kidding me? Are you seriously suggesting that we've come so far that structure is not *determined by* demographics? That income is homogenized? Community *is* determined by demographics, but how on earth can you divorce structure from community, as inextricably linked as it is to demographics?

Monday, March 27, 2006


I *did* get a Bathos bubble bar, bringing that total to four, and rather than getting Softy *or* Chelsea Garden bath bombs, I got them both, bringing that total to nine.
That is all.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

What I Did on My Chicago Vacation

P.S. The "Cool Pool" has some sort of crazy mushroom-shaped waterfall in it and a crab toy.
And now, a photo journal of some of my trip:

I presented in Parlor E, 6th Floor

I enjoyed the abundance of the LUSH window before I went inside. Inside, I took a sneaky picture of the same wall. I will not post it here.

The Shedd Aquarium is a mighty fine sight.

Teeny-weeny yellow frogs!

Scary underwater anaconda shot. This thing is massive. Seriously, in its thickest part it is thicker than me, I think. There was only a little bit of it out of water, so I had to work hard for this shot on the far side of its pool.

Pretty, frilly lion fish, just hanging out.

This shark was obsessed with showing his white, white belly.
He's in the awesome Wild Reef, with a ton of other sharks that were harder to capture.

Cute dolphins; they line up like little torpedos after their show. I tried to get a picture of them all in the air and failed miserably. There are actually five, but I only got four here.

Sweetest Beluga Whale ever. He was sitting up looking at these people for ever, so I bent down and snapped a shot between some bodies.

Moon Jellies! Whoo hoo! Some silly people were trying to get them with flash (not allowed, but also not very successful. )
This is an au naturel shot, which looks better on the ELPH and which I had to augment for you.

The Maneaters of Tsavo. Maneless males. I missed out on the good old Mfuwe maneater this time.

Pretty, pretty park sculpture, dancing winged lady. I haven't been able to find out much about her.

Home Turf

So, I am back from the mightiness that is Chicago.
Here's how things went down:

Wednesday--Got into town in the late afternoon, called my Mom, and then vegetated for hours, pretending that I was going to do work and instead playing with the internet on my TV (a pay-service that, unfortunately, was not worth it), then watching said TV while eating room service (burger, fries, apple pie with cinnamon ice cream, and coke, on an elaborately linened and silvered tray) and pretending that I was going to do work some more. Watched America's Next Top Model, and Lost.

Thursday--Got up and sloooowly got ready to go to the conference. Got on the hotel's shuttle to the EL station, and met two funny guys who were, coincidentally, from University of Toledo. Took the half hour EL ride downtown, and led the aforementioned gents to the Palmer House. Registered, wandered around, figured out where my presentation was going to be, and graded a couple of essays on the sixth floor. Gave the presentation to a whopping crowd of 10 (we sat in a circle). Ran into some friends. Left.
Then things got wild. I took the EL north, had some McDonald's, and went to the LUSH store on Michigan Ave. It was heaven. I loved it. They have a nice little corner shop in Marshall Fields, right next to the MF cosmetic department, but separated by the overwhelming awesomeness that is LUSH. I met some workers who, like me, are LUSHes, and with whom I had great fun talking about products, conveying my knowledge of's selling of LUSH, and testing some things out. I received a hand massage with ocean salt, and generally bought as many things as I could conceivably use and that smelled amazing, including a Bio Fresh product that I can't get off amazon. Here is what I bought:
Bio Fresh Sacred Truth face mask Party On temple balm Ocean Salt face/body scrub Skin Drink moisturizer Eau Roma toner spray Aqua Marina facial cleanser Extra Virgin Olive Soap Olive Branch shower gel Ring of Roses Buttercream Bath Melts: Elixir (with glitter) and You've Been Mangoed Bubble Bars: Turbo, French Kiss, Amandopondo...did I get a Bathos too? Can't remember. Bath Bombs: Golden Slumbers, Honey Bee, Ginger, Blackberry, Black Pearl, Butterball, Romance in a Stone, and then either the Chelsea Garden or Softy...can't remember.
I think that's it. But all that was pretty heavy. Nevertheless, I carried it through the Victoria's Secret in the same mall as I bought a pretty sky nighty and some undies.
Then I went home, called my Mom, ate some leftovers, graded some essays, and passed out.

Friday--Took the El downtown and up to Roosevelt, then walked the rest of the way to the Museum Campus for some Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum action. The Pompeii exhibit in the museum was closing soon, and the tix were selling out, so I went and got a late-entry time (free general admission with my conference badge), and went to the aquarium first (whose line was shockingly fast). I walked about, took pictures of an anaconda and some frogs, tried to get Moon Jelly pictures, pictures of dolphins and a cutie Beluga.
And now I'd like to break from the action to say how much I heart my ELPH. Many pictures were retaken as a result of instant review. But let me just say that, even so, it is extremely difficult to get a picture of a shark's shadow on a rock.
I love me my aquarium. That is one of my favorite places on earth. Once, I went there on my fourteenth birthday, after eating room service danish for breakfast. How is that for awesome? That was the same year I got pointe shoes.
Then I went to the Field Museum and hastily ate half a tomato and mozzarella sandwich with roasted red peppers and fresh basil (amazing), then jumped on line for the Pompeii exhibit.
It made me cry, I won't lie. I was very moved by the pieces of jewelry and pottery, and the casts they included of bodies (I know...spooky). The exhibit felt sort of enormous and crowded, and I didn't get out of it until 4:30 or so, then spent some time in the gift shop. By the time I got back out to the museum they were starting to herd people toward the center of the museum and closing exhibits.
Okay...I admit it. I ducked under an unattended guard rail and practically ran through the hall of animals to find the Tsavo lions. I REFUSED to leave the museum without seeing them. And then promptly passed them, as I was coming from a direction I am unused to. I had to have a guard point me back in the right direction, and fortunately he seemed to understand my desire. I love those darn lions. I've seen them many times, but I have to see them every time I'm in Chicago. I prefer to sit and stare at them for a while, but this time I was about to be in trouble so I snapped a photo, stared them in the eyes, then left.
EL trip gave me a headache and I had to take a nap when I got back. Then I went down and ate a ridiculously lonely dinner in the hotel restaurant. It was very tasty; spinach-artichoke dip then some lemon caper chicken picatta, and a beer. I should have brought a book, though. There was a handsome guy across from me with the same problem, but he had his phone and was talking to a girlfriend, I think. It was all very silly. Then I ran into my friend Adam just before he was going into have a similarly solo dinner. I was glad to talk to him for a few minutes, but wished it had been an hour earlier. He, too, had his phone and was probably going to be talking to his wife. Ah, traveling alone.

Saturday--Supremely uneventful. Easy drive back; I was taking 294 south to 80 east, which I reckoned was less crowded than taking 90/94 through town, and I got to see the quarry. We've taken that route to Wisconsin lots of times so I'm pretty familiar with it. I was a little sleepy, but made it back unscathed thanks to car tapes.

And that's all! Now I have a ridiculous amount of work to catch up on. So stop pestering me!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Garden Inn O'Hare

Things I heart: Hotels with internet access via a nice little enclosed business center.
Things I hate: Ditto...or rather, the fact that I can't go for more than...oh, say six hours without computer access. Sad. I suppose I could go without, but since it's here...
The Garden Inn O'Hare is pretty nice, and I'm getting a good conference rate. There's a hotel shuttle to the nearest EL station, and I will be taking that downtown tomorrow. It'll be great. I think.
Tonight, I will be reviewing essays from the greatness that is my room, and then I will be eating something hopefully delicious and watching a ludicrous amount of hotel TV. Doesn't that sound great? I know, I really live it up. I know that there are two pools and a whirlpool here, but I have yet to decide if that's really going to be a part of my stay. One of them is a "Cool Pool." I have no idea what that means.
Big presentation tomorrow. Wish me luck. Wish it, I say!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ah, Chicago

Glad to say that, after a spate of horrible dreams, I had a nice one last night. I can't remember what it was about, but I know I woke up and said sleepily, "thas better" and went back to sleep. It had something to do with sunshine.

In other news, I am going to a conference and giving a presentation; the rest of the time will be spent in museums and the Chicago LUSH store, and in my hotel room grading essays. I have a theory that I might be able to do a massively better job of this in a hotel room than I am currently doing at home and office. I even intend to eat at the hotel restaurant or get "carry-up" all three nights, and treat this like a semi-seclusion, AND, I plan to do some good old fashioned writing of a poem whilst there. 'twill rock.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


STOMP, viewed back home in East Lansing in the glory that is the Wharton Center, ruled. Much laughter and fun was had as thrilling and daring things took place onstage with newspapers, oil drums, lighters, etc.
The sad news is, it's over; don't you hate when you look forward to something and then it's gone, and you don't have something else to anticipate at that level? I do.

Friday, March 17, 2006



In Which I Mull Over the Universe

Most of us are familiar with the space travel theory in which space is "folded" to bring two points, stupefyingly far apart, together, so that a ship can navigate from point a to point b in an instant.
But here's my question: Why not coil space instead?
Recently, and according to research reported by CNN, a nebula was found with astonishing order to its shape; rather than being a blob (the whole point of nebula), it took the shape of a double helix, a la DNA. The double helix shape is a naturally-occuring event in our DNA systems and in other objects, and evidently is caused in this nebula by black holes causing the magnetic field to twist.
I'm also reading about a theory in which a space ship could take off with a rotating magnetic field. VERY hypothetical at this point, but still intriguing.
It seems to me that with the need for rotation and the many and various forms of gravity involved in these processes, that treating space travel like a helix or coil is an appropriate step.
These are the things I think about on Fridays.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Little Traveling Music, if you please.

Today, I'm stealing song-related memes from other blogs (you know I don't really love anyone else's but yours!)

First, the shuffle game (my Windows Media Player, because it's enormous):
How does the world see you? Omnia Sol Temperat (Carmini Burana, Carl Orff)--The sun warms everything
Will I have a happy life? Members Only (Sheryl Crow)
What do my friends really think of me? Comes Love (Ella Fitzgerald)
Do people secretly lust after me? They Won't Go When I Go (George Michael)
How can I make myself happy? Little Lamb (Gypsy)
What should I do with my life? Stetit Puella (Orff again)--There stood a maid
Will I ever have children? Agenais (Donna Lewis)
What is some good advice for me? Am I Getting Through (Sheryl Crow)
How will I be remembered? I'll Fly Away (Krauss, Welch)
What is my signature dancing song? The Magic Piper (of Love) Edwyn Collins
What do I think my current theme song is? Courante--09, Suite no. 2 in D Minor (Bach)
What does everyone else think my current theme song is? All Is Full of Love (Bjork)
What song will play at my funeral? Send Me On My Way (Rusted Root)
What type of men do I like? Anything You Can Do (Annie Get Your Gun)
What is my day going to be like? Whistle Down the Wind (Webber)

Funniest answer? Funeral Song, Send Me On My Way. One might to so far as to say, eerie.
But what the heck is up with my friends thinking about me in love and sunshine? You all are weird.

Next, the song title game. The artist today today: Tori Amos
1.) Are you a male or female? Girl
2.) Describe yourself: Happy Phantom
3.) How do you feel about yourself? Little Earthquakes
4.) Describe where you currently live: In the Springtime of His Voodoo
5.) If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Past the Mission
6.) Your best friend is Not the Red Baron
7.) Your favorite color is Talula
8.) You know... The Wrong Band
9.) What's the weather like? Winter
10.) If your life was a TV show, what would it be called? Cloud on My Tongue
11.) What is life to you? Tear in Your Hand
12.) What is the best advice you have to give? Twinkle
13.) If you could change your name, what would you change it to? Marianne
14.) What's the worst situation you could be in? Crucify
15.) What's the best situation you could be in? Pretty Good Year
16.) What do you want most right now? Spark

On the nature of TV blogs

I always got into reading Tim Gunn's blog re: Project Runway. Occasionally, I was disturbed by mistakes overlooked by editing and proofreading; he's a fashion design guru, not an English one, it's true, but having the life I do I was still sometimes bothered...surely a TV show can afford a good editor before such things are posted (I don't blame Gunn, you see; just those who put the stuff into the very public eye). Since I like and respect Tim Gunn, however, I let such things slide, and continued to read the blog, since mistakes were at least minimal and he remained, in my eyes, appropriately literate.
Imagine my horror when reading the Top Chef blogs and seeing mistakes like run-ons and pronoun issues, and even an incorrect reference to Madame S., the episode 2 judge, in one of the blogs, to the effect of, "Mister S.'s Bondage and Fetish shop." I was disappointed.
These blogs say very little about the contestants' dishes and about the stuff the camera doesn't show, or about the inside of the cooking. What they tend to put in the blog is generic and offering little in the way of insight. Some of the ideas are mildly interesting, but hey...I want to learn about the life of a Top Chef. I want to know the inside scoop on the challenge, and the more complex opinions not able to be included on camera. In other words, give me something above and beyond what I can see on the show.
One thing a judge did this week was offer a few sexy recipes. I thought that was okay, and a nice touch, but frankly, I'm not interested in the judges' visions of sexy. I'm interested in their judgments of the contestants and the chefs' processes in cooking. In short, I miss Tim Gunn.
Top Chef blogs, I hope that, as the season continues, this area will improve for those of us who are truly wanting to learn and see more about the show.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


No, not just a clever Christian Bale reference, although I did have a dream about him the other night, in which he came to my home in Michigan, but a comment on all the great news I've been hearing.
A lot of my friends have had some good news lately, engagements, a baby on the way, a fellowship, a new job and move...I just want to say congratulations to all of you. This is an extra-great thing because so many of my friends have been going through hard times, too, and it's wonderful to see some bright lights in our lives.
And to the rest of you not included in the above, I celebrate whatever good news you're having, and wish for you more of it.

Fashion, it's just Fashion

Ok, so I had some requests for photos of my projects; here are a couple of the most recent. Sorry about the goofy poses. It's awfully hard to take pictures of oneself in a poorly lit room while distracted by the movie Pillow Talk. I aim eventually to have pictures of all the clothes I've made, but...well, who has the time?

Monday, March 13, 2006

I don't know you! That's my purse!

If anyone can tell me what the subject line is from, I will give respect.
Today feels so surreal to me. Nothing is standing still. No, I'm not drunk. I know it's nearly a full moon, and I always get a little weird at that point, but the trouble is it's not even me being weird. It's everything else.
For instance, the storm last night. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, and wasn't nearly as bad as places to the southwest of us, but even so, with a particularly solid bolt of lightning, my phone rang. Just a half a ring, but a ring nonetheless. If I'd been on the phone, I would have been electrocuted. It gave me a headache.
Today, we are under weather watches, and I am feeling fussy and tense. It's sunny right now, but I don't trust the sky. I think we'll be okay, though. The weather map is pretty clean for now.

In better news, the second half of my break was better than the first. Once I resigned myself to grading my essays in peace and working on various conference presentation stuff, I was okay. I did still do some fun stuff, like:

Finishing Wicked

Reading the entirety of Lost, also by Gregory Maguire. That's right! I read one and a half books! It felt awesome. I didn't like Lost as much as I liked Wicked. It was very cluttery, and I have trouble with books where all the people are abrasive and quick to anger; you'll be reading a conversation and, two lines in, someone gets mad or offended right away and you have no idea why, even at the end when everything is explained. I hate that...I wasn't willing to suspend my disbelief that people were really like that, but it wasn't magical enough for me to accept it as it was. Part of that was certainly growing out of who the characters were, but after a while it felt like a device, like when dialogue is written with a very obvious and cluttery accent for too long. It was annoying rather than intriguing. I got frustrated in a bad way. There was also a lot of incoherence involved in the writing, the plot development, that went beyond the ghost story it was. Ironically, reading it went much faster than Wicked, though. In all, I'm glad I bought it, I'm glad I read it, but it's not a book I'll return to over and over. I'm looking forward to some of his other books, though.

I also finished a knit shirt out of the leftover fabric I had from that dress. Getting the pattern pieces cut was a challenge, because I didn't have much left. The answer? Front and back seams, and not caring that much what angle they were cut on. It wasn't the best designed top, since I sort of made an extreme modification of another pattern to do it, but it worked all right and it's pretty cute. Yes, it's a low back. It's sort of the original low back top I'd planned after seeing something out there on the market. I didn't do a great job planning the armhole/small sleeve, but as it's knit it doesn' t matter too much. It is pretty good, I think, for something I just did in a couple of hours with some leftover fabric. It's "out" worthy, and shall be worn soon with a pink shantung skirt.

Watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. How I love that show. This week I bawled without restraint as they brought home the widow and five kids of a pastor, who had had to leave the parsonage after the loss and had some tough times. I have the unfortunate habit of trying to eat during that show, and I need to stop it. Crying and eating scalloped potatoes at the same time is not a workable scenario.

Also played some quality games of mah jongg solitaire and electronic yahtzee. Ah, good times.

Friday, March 10, 2006

In Which I Equate Spring Fever with Shoes

So, I have the VS lookbook in my hands, and the shoe book at home, and I've just realized that I am hungering...HUNGERING...for some new shoes.
I don't need any new shoes, in the conventional sense. I have more pairs than I know what to do with as it is. But as I look at the prettypretty spring heels, one pair of which is a peep-toe with a sunflower and clear straps, one of which is an adorable pair of espadrilles (AlthoughI still haven't learned to walk in these, I want some), I want some new cute summery shoes, appropriate for warm, sunny days. In fact, I want two pairs; one pair of heels, and one thong sandal pair to replace my one pair of flip-flops for "specialer" occasions, since mine, purchased for a pedicure day, are falling apart. I have faced the reality of flip flops and given in to a one or two pair extent. But I love wearing some comfortable heeled shoes in the summer (my feet being flat as Kansas, I need a little lift). I must have some new shoes!

In other news, my legs are still complaining loudly about my athletic activities at the beginning of the week. Obviously I need to work out a little more often.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Glued to my set

These days, I'm terrified that my TV is going to die; I've had it since sophmore year of college, which was a while ago. Fortunately, it did not die last night, because three interesting shows were on:
1. Cycle 6, America's Next Top Model
Now, I don't watch ANTM all the time, because I hate stupid girly drama and I get tired of watching these people who are inept at speaking in public or emitting valuable emotion. For instance, here's my answer for Gina, who was asked in the "press conference" about how she'd feel if she won, as an Asian woman--evidently she clammed up (I didn't watch that part of the show):
"The idea or allure of Asian-inspired fashion and popular culture is enormous now; figures of Asian women are everywhere. But does anyone know their names? They are anonymous. To me, winning ANTM would be putting a name on that figure."
But at the same time, I was glad I watched the photo part of the show, and the judging. The bald challenge was unique and refreshing, and I think we got to know a lot about those models' true looks. I also enjoyed watching Nigel put Jade in her place; he's the one most able to do so in a cool and refined way, to make her feel stupid without being bitchy himself...though of that he's certainly capable.

2. Project Runway FINALE
You go, Chloe Dao. Truthfully, I wasn't impressed by anyone's collection as a whole. These were weaker collections than Jay's and Kara's last year. Everyone had pieces I liked, and on the whole I liked more of Chloe's than anyone else's. And her fitting? As the judges rightfully pointed out, immaculate. I understood the tough decision they had to make, but when all factors are considered, they made the right choice. I feel sure that all three designers will find a place in the industry.
Interestingly, the clearest and most consistent point of view belonged to Kara, who also showed at Fashion Week (you can find her video on the PR website). Her pieces were collected and colorful. The only problem is that they had the same overall feeling as Jay's collection from last year. Their goals were different, and their fits, but the use of color in a sort of punk beauty, whether casual or evening, was similar. Jay had the head phones, Kara had the woolly caps.
Now, on the same note as the above, in terms of people being dull in official and special places, what is up with the designers looking like crap and sounding like automatons? I understand Olympus, let alone Bryant Park, is the hugest experience, but so is getting married. People write their own vows to recite. Can't you write a vow for Bryant Park? At least Daniel had the jacket. I don't care how tired you are (and this is actually one of Daniel's pet things, I read in an interview), you need to look nice when you appear in public. Put some effort in. You don't want to outshine the clothes, but since you're on the runway for a whole of about five seconds before, and ten seconds after, that isn't likely anyhow. Sheesh, put on something special. It doesn't even take that much time or talent to look special. You don't have to amaze anybody. GRR.

3. Top Chef premiere
I wasn't going to watch this show, but it was on after PR and I was working on finishing a dress and was, anyway, curious about it. I do not approve of the host...she may be smart, but her demeanor and style of speaking doesn't sound it. But the actual challenges were interesting. The first, trying to hold one's own in Fleur de Lys (note the host is the only one who called it 'Fleur de Lease'...qu'est-ce que c'est, ca?), under the watchful eye of Chef Hubert...scary. Just flat scary. I can understand how some of these guys got nervy, and was impressed with the three or so who "passed" that challenge. The second, well, not as exciting, but at least interesting to see people's points of view as they prepared their signature dishes.
I am rooting right now for Tiffani. She rocked the kitchen, and she rocked the final dish. She didn't win either challenge, which made me sad. I am hoping she will be the Chloe Dao, finishing strong in each challenge, and coming back to win the whole thing. She was also the one who had the energy to slap stupid Ken around (yes, Ken, I called you stupid. Your excuses of "that's just the way I am" and "I tell it like it is" are weak and ineffectual; you could just as easily have made similar excuses about being an alcoholic. An uncontrolled temper and disrespect to people you are under is no less a vice.). You go, Tiffani, for calling him out. I also like Lee Anne. Her dish was not so strong, but her kitchen demeanor and drive are great.
I am entertained that Bravo decided a show about the often obsessive and closed-door culinary world would be good TV. It's not like PR, where I can look and say "I could do that, if I applied myself." I could never cook like these people. That's not the way I eat. Maybe that's just my own personal perception working, and it is really on the same level of PR. I like to cook, though, as much as I like to sew, but I know which show I'd succeed more on. ANTM! Just kidding. Well, maybe. Got a camera?

Anyway, so Wednesday night TV turned out to be a good distraction. I finished a cute little black knit dress, though I'm going to let out the hem a little, I think. After the shows I watched some of HP and the Goblet of Fire as I stitched away.
Today it is gray and rainy, with storms possible. My heart feels like it is being squeezed in a rough-hewn box. I need a hug.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Spring Break is such a tease

Good news: Going to get warmer tomorrow.
Bad news: Going to thunderstorm tomorrow.
Weather Channel: Please do not ever again place a Tornado Week advertisement right before the local weather report.

And now, because I heart Steve's memes, here's me once again copying.
...and I'm trying to list something different for every one

A book that made you cry: Julie (Andrews) Edwards, Mandy
A book that scared you: Betty Ren Wright, The Dollhouse Murders
A book that made you laugh: David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day
A book you loved in Elementary School: Madye Lee Chastain, Emmy Keeps a Promise
A book you loved in Middle School: Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles
A book you loved in High School: Elizabeth Goudge, Linnets and Valerians
A book you hated in High School: John Knowles, A Separate Peace
A book that challenged your imagination: Michael Ende, The Neverending Story
A book that challenged your identity: Gregory Maguire, Wicked
A book series that you love: Harry Potter (duh)
Your favorite Horror Book: Dean Koontz, Phantoms
Your favorite Science Fiction Book: Robert Heinlein, Tunnel in the Sky
Your favorite Fantasy story: Piers Anthony, On a Pale Horse
Your favorite Mystery story: Dick Francis, Straight
Your favorite Coming-of-Age story: edit:Anne of Green Gables/Anne of Avonlea
Your favorite book that isn’t on this list: anything Agatha Christie, but especially Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express. Also Brenda Hillman, Death Tractates. Also Hitchhiker's Guide, and the Dirk Gently series from Douglas Adams.

In a creepy twist, when I was looking up the author for Dollhouse Murders, another of my old scary books, Wait Till Helen Comes, came up on the amazon suggestions.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Run Abby Run

Today I learned that I usually, in fact, go about a mile and a half jogging. I used mapquest to get the distance between my house and the place I usually turn to make my loop. How nerdy is that? Then I quadrangulated something. No, I didn't.
Anyway, I shall test this theory today whilst I jog on the jogging trail, which is 1/3 of a mile long. Granted, it's been a while since I jogged, and yesterday I had a whopper of a dance workout (for which my thighs are saying, what the heck?), so this may not be an accurate test. But it shall be a testament to my sister's hard work at running two miles plus, for her determination is leaking over to me a little bit.

Edit: one hour later.
One mile. That's how far I made it. Could I have made it farther? Yeah, probably. But my legs were tiiiiiired from yesterday's shenanigans. And my cardio system? Not in good shape. Obviously I have some work to do to get back into fighting form. Whatever that means. Currently, my thighs and bottom are asking each other, "how can we get her back for this?"

In other news, I am nearly finished with Wicked. Also, I intend to buy a Harry Potter 4 DvD as soon as possible. Conveniently enough, the milk is in the process of going off several days early, necessitating a trip to Meijer, where I will buy HP 4.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Save Me

I've been on break for a day and a half.
Yes, I have stuff to do, of a teacherly nature and of a project nature, but I am so restless I think I'm going to explode.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Mail Call

Petit Juror

So today I got this on-call notice for jury duty for the month of April. I have to fill out a form and send it in, and then if I get selected for petit term jury duty I get a yellow notice in the mail a week before the trial.
I don't know how I feel about this. I'm willing to do my civic duty, but I'm absolutely praying that, should I be selected, it is something ridiculously small and simple, with truly obvious evidence. Is that wrong?
I remember my Mom had to go for jury duty once, and I think she got excused because we kids once sold Girl Scout cookies to the defendant. Or something like that. Maybe that wasn't suitable grounds for dismissal. I can't remember. Anyway, our family knows everybody back home (and not because we're particularly important, just because we're busy) and it would be hard to find a suitable case in which we had no personal connection.
Nobody do anything illegal for a while, okay? I don't want to have to send you to jail, and as honest as I try to be, I would have to if you, say, knocked over an ATM or stole a pack of gum from a gas station, on video. And don't even get me started on drug charges or drunk and disorderly.
Has anyone ever had jury duty? Tell me about your experience.

Dream a Little Dream

I had this weird, crazy dream last night that was some sort of playful Victorian mystery...I was the female head of a household of kids, and these pesky kids got into all sorts of trouble on the beach, including bothering the old neighbor lady, who was a mysterious old...witch? crazy woman? imperious harridan? gentle but misunderstood widow? The last part I remember is my husband and myself taking some pies, secretly, under cover of moonlight, to her house in our carriage, and riding through her orchard just off her driveway considering how we'd sneak in undetected. Evidently we were doing this to apologize because our children had troubled her in some way, but we ourselves were apprehensive of her.
Like I said. Weird. But at least not truly scary. The ocean was kind of frightening at one point in the dream, and of course the old lady was scary. I woke up thinking I'd write a book of some sort, but now I haven't the faintest idea how I'd do it. It was all very theatrical.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Fourth Genre are my new friends

So, I got a rejection letter from Fourth Genre today, which prints essays. Why are they my friends then, you ask? Well, they sent me two comments in a nice letter, from readers, about the first literary essay I've ever sent out. One said, "There is some interesting architecture and insight displayed here." The other said, "An authentic piece that draws me in as a reader. However, I wonder if the italicized segments are too much of a literary device." I'm working on digesting that one, since I think I might agree but can't think what to do about it.
The essay was written for my grandmother's birthday, but I tried to make it edgy and meaningful in a literary way. I had a real issue with transitioning, and also wanted to make the essay somewhat lyrical. So, I have these italicized segments recounting how it must feel to be chased and bitten by a dog (which is what the essay is about) placed throughout. They are a literary device, because I wanted to make the essay at least somewhat poetic, since that's my life. I don't want to do without them, but am wondering if the placement and arrangement are making me rely too much on them for those transitions between sections.
I don't know. This was sort of an experiment, and I was really encouraged by FG's letter, especially since they said to keep trying them as they'd be glad to look at other work. If only I had other work to send. That's the only essay I have! I'd like to try more places, but am not sure where to send, and am not sure if I should do some work on the essay first. So, FG rules, and made me feel good, even if it was a rejection (and I've gotten several of those of my Spring Break goals is to get more work out).

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Break Has Begun

Let it ring forth: I am officially on break.
Granted, I have a pile of 90 essays to grade, and the pile is daunting. But I don't have to give them back right away when school resumes, and I have plenty of time in the interim to get them done, so the usual quota per day will be cut in half. And will not begin until tomorrow. Tra la. Perhaps I shall even spend one or two days in frenzied grading next week to reduce said quota even further. You know. If I get bored.
I plan to sew, write poems, watch TV, and vegetate. I may take a few field trips, assuming my car is behaving. I also plan to rekindle my romance with my bed. Some noon wakeup times are definitely in order.

Haven't caught up with Project Runway from last night, but I did read some of the questions and answers with Tim Gunn on the website; for anyone who has considered the same question, he says yes, the clothes do look very different in person. He specifically mentioned Zulema's Inspiration dress, which was one that made me wonder; the judges sharply criticized her construction, but most of the difficulties weren't visible to the TV viewer. I trust the judges' opinions, but definitely wondered at the difference. You can only imagine how bad some of the problems visible to the TV viewer look in person (though I gather some of the garments look worse on TV also).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Two Days 'til Break!

In TV news, Supernatural is moving to Thursdays, just when I got used to watching Gilmore Girls then Supernatural. This makes me kind of sad.
Funniest line of Supernatural: Why don't you try a little thinking with your upstairs brain?"
Or something to that effect.
The season finale of Project Runway starts tonight; I shall be watching it in rerun, as I will not be home until later.

In sewing news, I am working on finishing a blouse which, of course, I made with a plunging back. Again. So far, so good. I made a pattern choice and went with it, and altered it. This one has some long, flowy sleeves that I need to put in yet, then I need to hem the thing. I think it will work. Plunging backs rule!