10.31.08: yes we carve


change: it has a flavor.

it has a flavor.

10.27.08: culture blotter {W.}

does anyone remember what life was like before this election season (back in, what, 2006)? i shudder to think of what might rush into the media vacuum created when it's over and i stop gulping down coverage for hours every night (and bouncing around political sites for hours on top of that). there's nothing inherently wrong with following this stuff, of course, but the feedback loop gets intense (especially when i get absorbed in my current stealth craft project and don't realize i've been stuck on MSNBC for a few hours: at the end of last week, when rachel maddow sat down to talk about keith olbermann and chris matthews's coverage of brian williams's comments after his mccain/palin interview, my head nearly exploded).

so we detoxed this weekend with W., which is about totally different elections. note: the weekend before the weekend before a national election is not the best time to roll up to a theater on the upper west side sans advance tickets for an oliver stone movie. the 2:50 show sold out years before we got there, so we had to dash through the rain to times square, where liberals of a a certain age fear to tread (and a bunch of guys sitting behind us nearly got into a seat-kicking-related fistfight). the popcorn was terrible, but the movie was entertaining. josh brolin is reasonable in the title role, although he's a bit larger and more dapper than i think he should be: the real dubya is kind of chimpy, and i've never been sold on the manly-man, texas cowboy vibe he's supposed to emit. i feel a bit sorry for this fictional dubya; he's stupid and charming enough that i have a hard time blaming him for the terrible things his minions have done to our country. elizabeth banks as (parker posey as) laura is equally winning: she obviously loves her husband, and his scenes with her feel much more authentic than (most of) his scenes as commander in chief do. a brief guide to other key players:

ellen burstyn (barbara bush): formidable.

james cromwell (bush senior): not a lookalike, but effective as a chilly father figure.

richard dreyfuss (dick cheney): will get a best supporting actor nod. really, really great.

toby jones (karl rove): good, but an evil lawn gnome; the real rove is an evil baby, as we all know.

thandie newton (condoleezza rice): should've settled for looking like condi. her one-note impression stole and destroyed all of her scenes.

jeffrey wright (colin powell): should've tutored thandie newton; looked and sounded nothing like powell, nailed the character anyway.

joe appreciated how the camera followed a character as she stepped on a corncob just before introducing laura to george at a backyard barbecue; i loved it when barney hopped into the presidential bed to steal bush's warm spot (joe has similar problems). those little moments of "authenticity" kept the movie from sinking under the weight of its umpteen Bush Moments. i appreciate stone's research, to be sure, but every time a well-known phrase rolled out of brolin, we were forced to remember that we were Watching a Movie About Our Crappy President (meta phooey). i preferred forgetting that i hate bush, though i hate myself for the preference. does that make sense?

how are you counting down, internets? how are you holding up?

10.22.08: central park phones it in again

new york phones it in again (1 of 2)

october lunch breaks are the worst.

10.17.08: the dirty dozen, part I {charm city}

01 maryland is serious about its crabs. i knew this before visiting baltimore, much as i know that florida is serious about its oranges and california is serious about its avocados, but the mania is more intense than i'd expected it to be. jacob and megan hooked us up with utz crab chips* in our "welcome to weddingfest!" guest bags last weekend, lexington market is like a giant dark offering to a lovecraftian crab god, the vegetarian buffet at the wedding reception featured crab cakes,** maryland drugstores sell crab-shaped cheez-its...it was incredible.

02 amtrak, in turn, is serious about its quiet cars, where passengers who chat loudly, use their phones, or play bleepy-whoopy handheld video games are killed and (quietly) eaten by other passengers. joe loves quiet cars for his work-related jaunts between new york and DC, and i love them because you can feel passive aggression crackle up and down the aisle, and people who get worked up for no reason are hilarious. i think the lady sitting across from us on the way to baltimore was fake-working just to have an excuse to sit there and hiss at people when they entered the car (she actually preempted noise). i could feel young skywalker's anger, and i basked in it.

03 baltimore's national aquarium is crowded. sure, it was silly of us to go on a sunday over a holiday weekend and expect anything other than hordes of children, but yowza! i am a tough aquarium audience, having grown up with regular access to the monterey bay aquarium and steinhart aquarium, so it took me a while to really get my fish on - though i do appreciate how maryland answers california's touchy-feely dolphin pools with a colossal, open water ray and shark pool (with one stately green sea turtle. L: "i wonder how he lost that one flipper." J: "probably living in a pool full of sharks."). we escaped the crowds in the basement frogs! exhibit, where the disapproving little tomato frogs reminded me that it's alright to be a curmudgeon.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 what's the saltiest thing you've ever eaten?

02 are you, like joe biden, a fan of train travel? what about the quiet car?

03 which aquarium exhibits reign supreme? i went frog this time, but i'm normally an eel girl, as eels look like grumpy old men.

*which do not contain crab, as it happens, but are seasoned as crabs are. they are, as of this post, the saltiest thing i have ever tasted: i could feel myself dying a little more quickly for hours after i ate a bag (and i say that as an unrepentant MSG enthusiast).

**also crabless - made of zucchini, i think, and really tasty. hats off to you, gertrude's!

10.16.08: baltimore

flower girl

jacob and megan get the first and only kidchamp thoughtful wedding music award: henceforth when i think of their nuptials, or of surrendering to my thirtieth birthday, or of baltimore, i'll think of their first dance. it's one thing to mist over when you hear your own song; it's quite another to react that way to someone else's. gah, that extra glenns youtube link (up in this post's title) is doing it to me again: the DJs in love, they are lethal.

i have decided that being a groomswoman is much more fun than being a bridesmaid: at one point, i thought i was going to wear a boutonnière and carry a bouquet, it was a great excuse to go out and buy a little black dress (that i would now like to wear every day), and i got to skip extended primping and watch television with joe, david, and jacob at guy prep HQ, née our room ("should we turn on sports? yeah, we should probably turn on sports."). i had to duck out to the balcony with a new yorker when the groom changed clothes, but otherwise, i think everything worked out: most male attendants don't have multiple lint rollers, and girls have much nicer tweezers and scissors. also, putting my arm around a bridesmaid during the vows wouldn't have been nearly as fun. married groomspeople, internets! the cuteness is unstoppable!

the cuteness was kind of unstoppable in general, really. joe started sniffling before the wedding coordinator gave us the cue to cross the patio, and by the time jacob and megan turned to each other under the chuppah, the whole wedding party was crying with happiness. watching those kids get hitched was rocktober in its purest form.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 been to any weddings lately?

02 have you ever been part of ye olde jewish wedding chair-lift? i was all excited about that, but apparently it happened while i was in the bathroom.

03 are you a weeper?

10.03.08: culture blotter {echo & the bunnymen @ radio city music hall}

lone 3rd mezzanine perk

the 'salute to dinosaurs' portion of rocktober continued apace with last night's radio city, orchestra-backed performance of echo & the bunnymen's ocean rain, an album released when i was six. goofy glowing drinks aside, radio city's not a bad place to take in a show, and i quite liked getting to kick back in a seat like the old woman i am. i wasn't as excited about being in the third mezzanine: sure, i bought the cheapest seats, but i bought them a twelfth of a second after they went on sale. at the other end of the spectrum, due to some infernal algorithm i don't want to know about, ticketmaster failed to release a bunch of the seats near the stage until yesterday morning - and they sat empty all night. the night's lessons: cough up the extra $10 or $20 per seat when possible (as rocktober comes but once a year), and ticketmaster is still the devil.

the show began (on time!) with glasvegas, a bunch of adorable scottish feedback enthusiasts who gave us post-punk via the brill building. we heard a grand total of two of their songs, but they were both catchy (particularly the doo-wop "daddy's gone"), and i'm a sucker for self-effacing weegies. seriously: when the second depression becomes official and the ladymag goes under, i'm going to scotland to be a roadie. or to apprentice with timorous beasties. i haven't worked out the details yet, but glasgow is in there somewhere.

the main event was all over the place, mostly in a good way. rumors of ian mcculloch's ferocious egotism (he's said to have called ocean rain the greatest album of all time shortly after it was released) appear to be true: he's quite the strutter, and his many comments about how much he was enjoying himself started to seem like straight-up cues for applause. rumors of how his voice has given out seemed exaggerated, at least for the first few songs of the "greatest hits" set (about a dozen songs, played before ocean rain): "lips like sugar" was fabulous, and "rescue" was pretty great. "bring on the dancing horses," on the other hand, was a hot mess: the vocals had clearly been tweaked for ian's abbreviated range, and he sounded rough anyway. he sounded a lot like lou reed when i saw him in 1997, actually, which became ironic when the band launched into an horrific medley of "people are strange," "walk on the wild side," and "in the midnight hour" (?!). i think they were going for sinister, and joe said he liked the effect with "walk on the wild side," but as simon cowell would say, mac was like some ghastly singer in a hotel lobby. the ocean rain set, in turn, was unequivocally wonderful: hearing "silver" with the orchestra was thrilling, and "the killing moon" is devastating in any setting. sung by muppets; performed in semaphore; doesn't matter. it was the last song on our wedding playlist: wildly inappropriate, sure, but too awesome to omit. hearing it live gave me chills: take that something, my bloody valentine!

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 how goes your rocktober, internets? seen anyone zesty since last we spoke?

02 what's the worst cover you've ever heard?

03 what will you do when america collapses and we all have to wear barrels with suspenders? aside from wearing a barrel with suspenders, of course.