Tuesday, December 22, 2009

soulless promotions

I just vomited inside. Twilight branding, used to sell Shakespeare? Emily found these in the B&N teen section and brought them to me for evaluation. They are now hidden behind English language books on the bottom shelf of the grammar section.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

burger redux

Quite possibly the snobbiest thing I have ever done:
Yes, that's an 89 cent McDonald's hamburger. Yes, I brought a package of herbed Boursin cheese to spread on it. Yes, Mehgan laughed at me.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Winner of BRITISH 2009!!!!

I believe your congratulations are in order.

I found this in my inbox today:

Dear British 2009 Winner,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been Awarded the sum of
1,000,000.00 GBP in the British 2009 Program.

Contact email:telecom58@9.cn


A million pounds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

somewhere over the rainbow

24 July, Markleeville, CA. Stars aplenty. One general store in town to buy foodstuffs. Spinning rack of used novels near the freezer section. On the spinning rack, this:
After my initial foray into the romance genre with my Ralph's purchase of The Greek Tycoon's Blackmailed Mistress, I was intrigued. After reading the back of the book, however, I was captivated enough to make the purchase.

For seasoned pilot David Terrell, nothing seemed more foolish than flying into a rainbow to wish for a wife. But the down-to-earth widower would do anything for his little girl, Jamie, and she would settle for nothing less than a fairy-tale princess as a mother. So to humorhis six-year-old, David flew into the next rainbow he saw - and emerged in 1886 Wyoming.
Analisa Ludke couldn't believe it when the man emerged - like a storybook prince - afrom the strange flying contraption. She welcomed David into her home and soon discovered that he was no mere fantasy. And as he struggled to return to his child, Analisa fought to understand the flood of emotions that engulfed her whenever he was around. Until she realized that David's lovecould take her to a place where dreams really do come true...ACROSS THE RAINBOW.

Guys. I had no idea there were so many subgenres in the romance genre. I was sort of captivated by the idea of historical romances, amused by the Harlequin "Babies Galore!" series, but the Timespell Timeswept Romance series blows my mind completely. These fantasies know no bounds, what with time travel an easy possibility and all.

Anyway, here are some select quotes from this fine work of literature, in case you won't take the time to be reading it yourself:

"Standing before him was a young woman who looked like every man's fantasy. Blond, beautiful, tall, with legs that went on forever. Her clothing was right out of a history book on the American West - kind of a Calamity Jane outfit of calico shirt, cotton twill pants, and a wide leather belt. She also held the reins of a huge, pale grey horse that resembled a knight's trusty steed."

"Or, she thought, easing into the chair he sat in each night, she could just leave with him. Forget her fears and fly off into the unknown future - perhaps. What if she couldn't leave her own time? David's presentation of his theories on time travel had made so much sense, and yet even he had to admit that no one knew how it worked for sure."

"She didn't belong with him, she knew, as the wind dried her cheeks almost as quickly as her tears fell, and she didn't belong in his century. They were from two different worlds, two times that should never have met except for a young girl and her belief in rainbows and happily ever after endings. This story would not have that kind of ending. Because as much as she didn't belong in David's world, she didn't belong to him." (you can guess what that's a setup for)

"Riding toward her was someone with dark hair and tanned skin, a plaid shirt that had once belonged to Jurgen, and tight denim pants. Oh, how she knew those denim pants."

"Perhaps she was tense from worrying. Her emotions had taken a beating since making love to David, getting ill, deciding to go with him, then worrying about her ability to leave her world behind. She'd gone through so much recently that she didn't trust her judgment any longer."

"'David, there's no rainbow!'
'We can't see the rainbow from up here. We aren't at the right angle. If everything happens like it did before, though, we should feel a tingling sensation and see rainbow colors just briefly as we pass from your time into mine.'"

On the last page:
"He folded his arms around her. 'I love you to*, my princess from the rainbow kingdom, more than you'll know in a thousand lifetimes.'"

*yes, "to." not "too." Please, someone, let me edit these. There were a few mistaken "it's" strewn about too. I mean, to.

6 weeks

1. rock climbing.

2. maxine memorial dim sum adventures.

3. a Hitchcock-themed film festival complete with a plane busting through the movie screen and killing a judge. Check out Jessica's entry in which my shoe goes flying at the end:

4. a last-minute superfast road trip to Orem UT, with stopovers in Mesquite for Keno and prime rib, and the Mad Greek Cafe in Baker for hummos and attempts to get pet phrases from The Greek Tycoon's Blackmailed Mistress translated.

5. judging a spelling bee (two ways to spell cockswain/coxswain).

6. roadtrip with Dave up to Tahoe for the Wanderlust festival. Read his account, and watch Gillian Welch and Jenny Lewis:

7. meteor showers with goats.

8. the end of infodesk duties for a young single adult conference which 10k californians attended.

9. actually losing my right flip flop on Batman at Six Flags on Thursday...after the ride was over. Retiring the left flip flop in the late night turbulent waters of Roaring Rapids.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

life on the edge of the continent.

TJ, Mush and I began regular trips to Venice maybe 13 or 14 years ago, and we reunited there today. While we didn't see everyone's favorite boardwalk standard, the turbaned rollerskating electric guitar playing hanger-on, much remains unchanged since the days of our first visits. Flavorburst ice cream cones, two girls shooting up heroin, plenty of medicinal weed offerings, overpriced henna, cheap plastic stegosauri that growled, and these delights:

I need one of these for MazdaTron.

Did the missionaries do this? Nice tailoring of the message to the audience.

Need my palm read so desperately. By Zoltar or the lady whose cat has been telling fortunes since the 1970s. Come to think of it, I didn't see her out either.

A fellow was irritated with me for taking this picture because it infringed upon the rights to his work. I'm sure he licensed that photo of Kobe used in his LA skyline poster above.

Technicolor shemaghs...where were these in Yemen last year?

Monday, June 29, 2009

I am the 1984 Grammys.

28 February 1984, my mom's 23rd birthday.

The night Michael Jackson won a record 8 Grammys (RIP, MJ. you are not alone.)

John Denver was the host. (note: John Denver was like mother's milk to me. I grew up with "Calypso" on repeat, he provided my first introduction to Placido Domingo, and I wound up working for his publishing company years later. I wore black the week he died.)

Irene Cara won for "Flashdance...What a Feeling!". I wore the LP of this soundtrack thin, running around my living room on my toes like Jennifer Beals had done. Flashdance is why I danced. And a couple decades later, I might have cried tears of joy when I aerobicized with Richard Simmons to this same tune, hearing him praise my moves with glitter and enthuasiasm.

Note: this also led to a ridiculous love for FlashBeagle a year later.

Cyndi Lauper performed "Time After Time." This was one of many staples at 2009's Night of Soft Rock. Sadly, her guitarist did not join us as he did with her at 0:57. Note the exasperated show casting-away at 2:35 as well...a familiar dance, I'm sure.

Pat Benatar also won for "Love is a Battlefield." So, I love Pat Benatar. I do not know the number of times I have gone on manic, adrenaline-purging late night runs to "Heartbreaker" that morph into thrashing and epic dancing in my alley. But nothing really compares to the Very Special Place In The Middle of My Heart that "We Belong" occupies. I also adore whales.

The Cats soundtrack was awarded. For maybe 2 decades, I desperately wanted to play the role of Victoria, the white cat who begins the official Jellicle's Ball. Instead, I find myself Grizzabell.

But Bonnie Tyler's performance of "Total Eclipse of the Heart"? I don't even know what to say. I am this. Or at least have played this on the piano and danced to it quite. a. lot.

25 years later, I am still all this.

Friday, May 22, 2009

call me master.

Introducing Tron, MPD and Sniar, MPH.

However, my real specialty still lies in self-photography. My arm is long.
Thanks for celebrating with me, guys.

Monday, April 27, 2009

happy birthday, dear wednesday

This trite little childhood poem reasserted itself in my life recently, causing irritation of the same ilk as Myers-Briggs categorization or Hogwarts sorting:

Monday's child is fair of face
Tuesday's child is full of grace
Wednesday's child is full of woe
Thursday's child has far to go
Friday's child is loving and giving
Saturday's child works hard for a living
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

Note: I was mistakenly born on a Wednesday.

Somewhere in the more correct annals of time, it is written that Wendy is, in fact, a Thursday.
(art by anji one - thank you)

No matter. This time measurement business is an artificial construct anyway.

But if we ARE going to bother measuring it out as we do in days weeks months years, let's get one thing straight: it's happy birthDATE, not happy birthDAY. I have no intention of instigating reform on the thriving card and balloon industry, nor do I expect people to change up the lyrics to that oft-sung "Happy Birthday" song (note: Warner Chappell makes millions in royalties off that tune still; it doesn't go into the public domain until 2030). However, I do plan on wishing people a happy birthday every time their birth day roles around. Which will be once a week. I need more celebration - and more cupcakes - in my life.

Friday, April 24, 2009

one is the loneliest number

The only human I have seen in the last 24 hours was a woman who just knocked on my door accidentally, thinking mine was the home of the surprise birthday party (nope. that'd be the neighbors across the way, apparently).

I should make use of all this alone time learning how to dance as Ethiopians do. When I was in Yemen last year, I went to an Ethiopian wedding, and the way all the men and women moved their shoulders bordered on unreal. I was expected to dance similarly, and my efforts unsurprisingly provoked giggles. Or pity. I'm not sure.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


1. the cathedral in Köln:2. the tree goats in Morocco
and a hint of things to come shortly:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

here's looking at you, kid

my celebrations for
st. patrick's day persian new year the vernal equinox maxine's birthday and other march delights
will take place in germany and morocco this year.

rather last minute, i found flights to frankfurt and marrakesh that were apparently too good to pass up. i'm headed out in 5 hours, returning in 12 days, and dedicated to achieving the following two objectives:

1. seeing the Köln cathedral

2. seeing the tree-climbing goats around Essaouira
so, throw back a pint of guiness on my behalf while i'm away, rocking the casbah or riding a camel or something. i'll report soon on any worthwhile adventures.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

you dream big when you live in Barstow.

I used to live in the desert. I dreamed of being a cowgirl, running horses around barrels, wearing fringy leather jackets with matching boots. And I had too much time on my hands in my first few years of elementary school, which led to writing ridiculous stories pretty frequently.
transcribed (1986): "Magic Boots" (author's note: I used the back [of the paper])

This is how I found out my boots were magic. First thing I jumped into my boots. Next thing I know I'm walking out the door. My boots carried me to the West. I didn't like it there. There were horses running around and one of them kicked me. There were cowboys shootin' [ed. note: I put that apostrophe there when I was 6.]. The sun was hot. After West there was North. North was cold and a walrus bit me. I fell in the snow. Then the badest thing happened and this was it: my boots stopped! I had [to walk] all the way back! I walked one week and then I was home and that is how my boots are magic.

Last week, I finished Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, watched The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, listened to Ennio Morricone's score for a couple days straight, and wondered where exactly my dreams of breaking a wild stallion and riding it west into the sunset had gone. Maybe it was the thought of being bitten by a walrus that did me in. Hard to say.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


1991: age 10, anxious to glimpse the contours of my destiny, I ventured to the Valley Plaza Mall with a friend. The 'unlock the mystery of your name' kiosk had me sold when I saw that I could have the insights printed on a killer whale background.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

recent fascinations

1. Princess Hijab, a young Parisian guerrilla artist who "hijabizes" advertisements in order to "subvert consumer images—especially of women—and to push cultural boundaries".

2. Leila Khaled, a rather foxy Palestinian who was part of a team that hijacked TWA Flight 840 on its way from Rome to Athens in 1969. She's now a member of the Palestinian National Council, as well as the subject of a recent Swedish documentary that I can't get ahold of.

3. The Okapi, a very shy and solitary "forest giraffe" found in rainforests of the upper Congo River Basin in central Africa. This nocturnal animal was one of the last mammals discovered by scientists in the early 1900's.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

in the words of Celine Dion, "A New Day Has Come"

A perfect Martin Luther King Jr. Day concluded with making shirts for the inauguration tomorrow. More on this soon.

America! is the name of a shop in the Washington Dulles airport. The ! means we really really like America.

2008 was a good year for seeing new places:
Upstate NY & Canada
Vermont, New Hampshire, Montreal and Quebec
Edison Lake, CA
Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights
Cairo, Egypt
London, England
Zion National Park, Utah
and, bridging the transition from 008 to 009:
Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware

(it was also a good year for concerts, by the way. My top 4:
- Neil Diamond at the Hollywood Bowl
- Beck at the Nokia Theatre
- Amr Diab in Damascus
- Angelique Kidjo at the citadel in Damascus)

Because it's already the middle of January, I'll spare the blow-by-blow anecdotes of the recent road trip to DC and just share some photos of the adventure:

A charming city bursting with happiness at the Ravens' recent successes. Also, home to more churches than I could shake a stick at, and plenty of religiously-themed hair salons as well (the sign on the window below says giving your hair everlasting life, through the body of Christ. ?!).

Thanks, Dax, for the epic walking tour of the monuments by moonlight. And let it be known that Abraham Lincoln made my heart sing with patriotism and hope.

Thank you, Smithson, for your generous grant to the People of America. The Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the American History Museum pretty much blew my mind. Space shuttles! The Hope Diamond! A Giant Squid! Dinosaurs! Quelle delight indeed.

I've been waiting to see the Vietnam War Memorial since I was 11. I was not disappointed.
Arlington National Cemetery also proved to be quite moving.

Sing along with John Denver and me in my rented Mustang as I drive from Harpers Ferry in WV all the way down Skyline Drive: "Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River...Take me home, country roads, to the place I belONG! West Virginia, mountain mama, take me home, country roads!"

Gettysburg is incredible.

Intercourse, Pennyslvania is also pretty great. But not on Sundays, when the Amish aren't working or selling homemade rootbeer or fresh churned butter. Darn it.

Philadelphia, however, might have been the biggest and most surprising gem of my eastern adventure. A ridiculously fantastic city with a fascinating history, some blend of the vibes of NY and Riga, more community-painted murals than any other city on earth, original King James Bibles, random statues, cheesesteaks, and friends (I love Preethi and Dan) who happen to be the best tour guides east of the Mississippi.

As a bonus, I'll include SAN FRANCISCO, where Jessica and I quickly roadtripped this weekend. Stop at Pea Soup Andersen's next time you're headed north, and ask Jessica about the best taco place in Gilroy too.

Looking forward to more adventures - and better adventure reporting - during this fine new year. Might be hard to beat Yemen, though. I'll see what I can do.