Friday, October 17, 2008

Reading Rainbow

Today is one of those days where, quite unfairly, resent being at work. It's not work's fault that it pales in comparison to what I'd rather be doing. Which is finishing the first book of the Orphan's Tales by Catherynne Valente. Oh, mygodsogood. You know when something is so good that your brain just stalls for just a second? That good.

The story is this interlocking series of stories (folk stories, fairy tales, sagas?) that chain out, then loop, then forge out into a new direction, that once you turn a bend you find is not as new as you first think. I finsished the first part of the book, thinking "damn, the second part can't be this good." And I was wrong. There was a moment this morning as the train pulled near my stop, when something happened in the story and my eyes glazed over and I couldn't form a coherent thought. Then I nearly screamed because in about 15 seconds I was going to have to close the book. Damn real life and all of its inconveniences.


So last night I went to the Free Night of Theater. It’s this thing that’s done in about 100 cities around the country, where theaters offer free tickets to get people out seeing live performance. Or if you do go to shows, go to a theater that you haven’t been to before. That would be me. So I got tickets for a show at the WaterTower in Addison. I’ve been meaning to see one of their shows before, but you know how you just never get around to stuff? But since this involved my favorite four-letter word beginning with ‘F’ (free!), I made the effort.

The play was Doubt. It’s in the same play cycle as Defiance, which I saw a few weeks ago at Theatre 3. It’s about a nun who suspects that her school’s priest is “interfering” with a male student. You’re never supposed to know for sure how much you should trust anyone’s perceptions or assumptions in the show.

And I decided 5 minutes in to the show that I would have been a better audience if I hadn’t had 2 teachers who “interfered” with female students when I was a teenager. (My niece, who went to the show with me, asked me, “Where the heck did you go to school?” Unfortunately, it seems in this regard, no place all that unusual.) Not that I was one of their victims. Turns out there actually are advantages to being a goofy looking, overly-cynical teenager. But the fact that I’d seen 2 of these people in operation kind of colored my reactions to everything the priest said or did. I never held any doubts. I was on the nun’s side from jump street.

Not that not being the ideal objective observer made the show un-enjoyable. The play itself balances light and dark, using humor to both draw you into the drama, and to throw it into darker contrast in the harsher moments. The actors were all very good. The nun was played as one of those tough old birds who ends up isolated by her need to do things the right way. By the end of the show, I just wanted somebody to reach out to her because she was breaking my heart. (I’ve heard that Doubt will be in theaters fairly soon, starring Meryl Streep as the nun. And I can tell you right now, La Streep will rock balls in that role.) The priest on the other hand, was one of those characters that I have trouble separating the actor from the role. It’s probably to his credit that by the end I wanted to jump on stage and push his face in. Objectivity was completely out the window.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Project Runway - the last blast

Yep, I'm calling it the last blast. Cause when PR ends up in it's new home, all bets are off. Will it still have the same flavor out from under of the Bravo umbrella? I have no confidence. I'm going to consider the next season an entirely new show and try to keep my expectations under control.

So, now that I've taken up some space and can get into the spoilage. Kenley gets her well-deserved comeuppance. And let that be a lesson to you, young lady - the dapper uber-mensch/fashion maven that you're lippy to today could be judging your crazy-ass collection tomorrow. That's right. D'oh! And her collection was kind of crazy-ass. Cute. But cra-zazy. 2 looks into her collection and I knew she was going to sailing away in her kooky hats on whatever Good Ship Lollipop she spends most of her mental time. And frankly, the hand-painted dress that they said looked like Balenciaga? I think the judges were being kind. It didn't look Balenciaga. It looked like the My Michelle dress that they put out every year for about half of the late 80s and early 90s. In fact, I owned about 3 of them. Purple, floral, poofy shoulders, fitted waist. I remember them well. Those who don't remember fashion nightmares are doomed to relive them.

Korto on the other hand - the colors! There were two green dresses in that line that I would have given my left eyeball for. And been a happy one-eyed camper. She had some fabulous looks. All after giving the nail-biter moment of the show - two new looks? Damn. That's balls. And overall, I thought I might be looking at the winner.

Until LeeAnne's collection came into view. Wow. Chic. Gorgeous. Architectural. Innovative. I just was blown away by the way each piece had a distinctive silhouette when standing still, but moved in exactly the waves that were her inspiration when going down the runway. Spectacular. And when only doubt that the judges have is whether you can top something good? I knew she had it nailed. For me, possibly the best overall collection of the series.

And on two wrap-up notes: 1) Thinking of possibly changing my name to Petals, thanks to Michael Kors. 2) When LeeAnne busts out with "Drinks are on this brother!", did anybody else look at the other people watching with you (in my case imaginary people), and say "Did she just say that?" Almost as weird as that PR archive tidbit of Stella Leatha giving birth to a red corseted Blayne. Definitely hitting the mental delete key on that one.

So, that's it. Until the next (hopefully not radically altered) season. See y'all then. Same Bat Time. Different Bat Channel.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Soup is ON

So, my latest project – lunch. I’ve been really good since the beginning of the year about bringing my lunch to work. Better than ¾ of the time, I think. Partially financially motivated. It costs a lot to buy lunch. Partially health. Because I can’t be relied upon to make the sensible choice when I’m already hungry.

I went through a Lean Cuisine stage. But getting a frozen dinner to work still frozen is just kind of a hassle given my commute time. Then I went through a box noodles phase (Ming’s are way tasty, Taste of China not so much). But I started to worry about the amount of excess packaging those involve – paper and/or plastic outer wrapping, plus 2 to 3 plastic packages inside, plus the occasional spoon thrown in. And you have to be really careful about reading the label, because some of them have two (or more bizarrely 1 and a half) servings. Yeah, like I’m going to save half a serving for tomorrow. If it’s in front of me, I’m going to eat it, damn the calorie count. Now I’m doing the little paper soup cups, as in “peel back lid, add hot water to fill line, stir and enjoy!” (Always with the “enjoy!” I’ll be the judge of that, thank you.)

But then I’m looking at my cup of potato leek soup thinking, why can’t I do this? My semi-literate palate is picking up dried potato flakes, powdered milk, dried onion and carrot (leeks? Perhaps.) and possibly some sort of bouillon. Big whoop. I can do that. And a quick Google search for recipes pretty much confirms that any idiot (i.e., me) can make their own cup o’ soup. And put it in a handy, reusable cup for transport.

Cheap? Perhaps. Green? Potentially. A slightly silly DIY project that I can make into an entire evening of slapstick fun? Mos’ definitely. I’ve found a fairly edible sounding instant potato soup recipe. If anybody has one that’s for other flavor (esp. interested in tomato or pea), pass it on along.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Holy cow. It's been awhile since my outrage/disgust button has been punched. I thought maybe I was past it. But there is one statement in this article that jammed on that button like a trained monkey.

It's a story about the indictment of Casey Anthony for the murder of her daughter Caylee. And you can tell what tactic her lawyer is going for when he busts this one out - "She has been living a nightmare," the attorney added. "She has a missing child. She's also a child."

A 22-year old woman IS NOT A CHILD.

But he's going to try to make her out to be some poor, confused kid who's being railroaded by the legal system. Just hoping that one person will feel pity for her and hang the jury. I guess he's got a shot. There's one born every minute. And there's not telling that one won't end up on that jury.

And honestly, I don't know if she's guilty or not. That's for a jury to review all the evidence presented and come to a reasoned conclusion. I can say that she's got a good shot at an insanity defense. Because running around partying with your friends and entering "hot body" contests when your daughter is missing is bug-f***ing INSANE. Oh, and thinking it's okay to not call in a missing person's report for over a month, and then making up the babysitter that you left you child with and thinking no one will check, that's just completely our of your tree. Oh, and while we're at it, saying that the decomp smell in the back of your car is an old pizza? Who the hell puts a pizza in the trunk of their car and forgets it?

Anyway, like I said, I don't know that she's guilty. But I'm thinking I wouldn't be the sympathetic juror her lawyer is hoping for.

The nose knows

I like to share stuff with y'all when I find that it works. My latest happy discovery is Chloraseptic Allergen Blocker. You know I'm a martyr to the allergies. And I've tried every remedy out there. I'm more or less happy with Zyrtec (no dry mouth, no drowsiness). But during the worst of my allergy seasons, the amount of irritants in the air is more than Zyrtec can cope with.

So, I was kind of perky-earred when I heard of the Allergen Blocker. It's basically a gel that you rub around the outside of your nostrils and under your nose. It kind of just acts like allergy fly paper and catches dust, mold, pollen, etc., before it gets into your sinuses. And it works! I was kind of doubtful. But I've been using it in high allergy alert situations for a couple of weeks, and been really impressed.

Plus, because it's "external use", no side effects. Well, it does kind of smell like Elmer's Glue when you first put it on, but that goes away after a minute or so. And it could possibly induce a heart attack when you see the price. $14.99 for an eensy tinsey tube. In theory, that's 150 applications, but it's still a big outlay. I'm using it only in high need, like when I'm outdoors for long stretches, or the pollen count is through the roof. The big test was the Peacemakers show in Gruene. I was able to stand in an open air dancehall, surrounded by miles and miles of mountain cedar and ragweed, and didn't have one problem.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Subterfuge for Dummies;_ylt=AgLErFPmZuObnXtBGZU5Ueus0NUE

I'm starting to think that there's some sort of Axis of Evil Supervillain Handbook. So that anyone can be considered at threat to US security and get it right the first time. Chapter One - Issue questionable photos as proof of life. Obviously, the Beloved Leader has been reading up.

Didn't we just go through this with Castro? And before that with bin Laden? They issue photographs to "prove" that they're alive and kicking, thank you for your concern, but there are weird little inconsistencies. No time signature, no reference to current events, hair darker than the last time we saw them, anonymous background. Of course, since Kim Jong Il has been rocking the same look for years (Roy Orbison's glasses, Gomer Pyle's uniform, Bob's Big Boy's hair), it's hard to pin a date based on his appearance.

So, any way, Kim Jong Il, we wish you a speedy recovery after not having brain surgery. And we certainly wouldn't want to imply you needed brain surgery because of not feeding your people, or making them or allowing them basic human rights. Anyway, kisses! Don't feel better - wink wink!

The fix

I'm having this obsession. Last night, I had Woody's barbecue sauce for the first time in probably 10 years. I think it seeped into my brain with all it's smokey, peppery goodness.

To explain, I grew up with Woody's. I'm not sure if it's a southern think, a southwest thing, or what. But it's this cook-in sauce that you can use as a marinade and a barbecue sauce. It's very low sugar, so it won't burn like most sauces on the grill. And I had Woody's on grilled or roasted something (beef, pork, chicken, baloney - don't ask) at least onece a week for my entire childhood. There was also something called Marvelous Meatballs that involved ground beef, bread crumbs, Woody's and grape jelly. Don't say "gross". I swear it's delicious.

But Woody's went out of business. You couldn't buy it. I mourned. And I tried every other sauce on the market. None of them would do. They all tasted sweet, when all I wanted was that dark, smokey, spicey, vinegary tongue tango that is Woody's.

But last night a friend made smoked brisket, with the newly risen, not new and improved, just the same as it was before Woody's. I was dipping pieces of meat in the sauce. I poured it on the potatoes. On my fingers. If I could have licked my elbow I'd have been dipping it in that tasty, tasty sauce. It's that thing, where you haven't tasted something in so long, and when you taste it again, it's just as good as you remember.

I've already warned my friend that I'm raiding her fridge tonight on my way home from work. What will I cover in that sauce? Doesn't matter. I just have to have it again.

uh whaaaa? no way!;_ylt=Aonzo1xGsYeuBCruiC9VZh1xFb8C

Happy dance! Shimmy shimmy coocoa pop, shimmy shimmy yeah! bring back V, baby. Bring it right on back home! Try and tell me you were alive in the 80s and you don't remember Diana unhinging her jaw to pop a live guinea pig in her pie hole and swallowing it whole! Best 80s TV moment E.V.E.R.

Oh, please let there be big hair, big shoulder pads and Robert Englund chasing mice! Pretty, pretty please! Oh, my god, and Michael Ironside. Please let there be Michael Ironside!!! These are bleak, bleak times. And now, like no other moment on Earth, we need a rag tag band of human resistance fighters, battling lizards in red polyster jumpsuits and latex masks who want to have over for dinner.

TIME: Quotes of the Day