Monday, December 22, 2008

Skip

It is weird that my parents live in Pennsylvania, and that all of their furniture is in a rented house, but we had a great weekend anyway. It snowed a ton, and my parents' new property is basically one big hill, so we did some badass toboganning. Observe:
My dad is a toboganning connoisseur, and he has big plans for a run with bumps and embankments and other Xtreme things.

My family is very much in flux - from the move, from losing my grandma and then our dog Lucy - but the bedrock of the Brennan family is solid as long as there is booze. And Skip.
And now we're back in the city, living in Stef's apartment while she is in Canada. Our own little East Village pied a tierre! Or something. Anyway, we are seeing people one last time, getting last-minute gifts, etc. Then we head to Houston on Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

What is UP

NYC was fantastic, mostly because my friends are so great and fancy. We went to the MOMA staff party on Monday (at MOMA, of course - so awesome), then stayed at Dave's ridiculously nice apartment with his gazillionaire roommate. Mike headed to DC on Tuesday, and I had dinner with Ariel in Union Saure - and it snowed! 

THEN, on Wednesday, I hung out with Nicole at the Public Theater. We went to the lobby to grab our falafel delivery and, since people were arriving, took a back way up to her office. A back way that included walking right over the stage! I can't say I know Pandy Matinkin's work very well (Nicole's tip: mix up names in case they have a Google Alert out), but it was still pretty cool. Then I headed to the East Village to see Cori, and eventually went to the Upper West Side to crash with Meg. It was nutty, but we're back in the city on Sunday, so it wasn't as hectic as it would have been if this was the only chance to see everyone.

Yesterday was our work bowling party. We started drinking (and bowling) at 11:30 a.m. I am a completely shit bowler, but it was still a freaking entertaining day. This is how I know I am working with the right people:
This morning I met with a guy from Highlights Magazine, because - crazy - it's based in the town where my parents are renting a house. Good old Honesdale, PA. They have a book publishing arm, and I manage their account. Highlight (ha!) of the meeting? Walking out with issues of the magazine, love of my youth.

Right now I am sitting in front of my parent's fire, and it's snowing outside. I'm eating a black and white cookie and my dad just put Lucinda Williams on the stereo. My parents are already drinking, and I will likely join them soon. Tommorrow Mike and Ian get here, and we are going tobogganing!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

If you ever lose faith in humanity...

...read this article.

Whale joke

I am pretty sure that a kid on the subway this morning was telling the whale joke. I didn't hear the beginning, or the end, but if he wasn't telling the whale joke, his mom needs to get that shit checked out.

(And if I haven't ever told you the whale joke, remember to request it, from me or from Hartz. In public.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Poop

I read this NYT article on giardia while tipsy yesterday, so I just reread it to see if it is as amusing when one is sober. It is. 

"If you return from a trip abroad to find you have projectile vomiting, roaring flatulence, sulfurous belching and explosive diarrhea, the bad news is that you won’t die."

A possible way to create a vaccine for giardia would be "forcing expression of all coat proteins simultaneously" so that the 140 kinds of giardia protein coats can be identified and treated. I love this use of "expression" - it is so damn satisfying.

"In an experiment that has not yet been published, Dr. Luján has tested gerbils, the laboratory animal often used in giardia work, with a vaccine consisting just of giardia with its RNA interference system blocked. “We saw complete protection,” he said."

So basically, the gerbils in this test were lucky not to poop themselves to death. Animal testing is tough moral call - torturing animals is awful, but the advancements for science are undeniable. However you feel about it though, there is something funny about dozens of pathetic pooping giardic gerbils.

The article also contains lovely bits on royal giardia, and the excavation of medieval toilets for giardia research. This writer is a genius - sophisticated writing about poop!

"Dr. Luján’s discovery may be a critical step in curbing giardia’s merciless torment of its fellow eukaryotes."

Amen.

Monday, December 15, 2008

WTF Weather

Mike loves bad weather; I, like the rest of humanity, enjoy good weather. So I am happy to be in New York when it is not so cold that I want to set myself on fire to find some relief. Mike wants to freeze his toenails off. 

And behold, a report from San Francisco:
Sarah:  you wouldn't have believed it. it was like pencil eraser sized hail
and coming down so hard, it clogged the sewer drains in my neighborhood
 me:  holy crap
is that normal?
it can't be
Sarah:  no
i've been here for 10 years, and that's never happened.
i'm going to have to go to church and make sure i'm right with god.

Poor Mikey!

I'm in New York!

Got in on Saturday, and have gotten to see so many people. Mike and I are staying with Stef and Nate, and we held court at a bar on Saturday night so that everyone could drop by: Morgan, Craig, Dooner, Ariel, Meg, and a whole lot of people I don't know. We played Fingers! We are Fingers evangelists. If you have not yet played Fingers with me, you should. Just so I can say Fingers again.

Then last night we had an impromptu Dead Serious reunion at Erin & Ailin's comedy show (which was AMAZING). It was exactly what it should have been - raucous and exciting and funny. This is us pretending to be proper Wellesley ladies:


Today it's pretty warm - I just ate out on the deck on the 8th floor, and had a great (if grey and leafless) view of the city. The food here is insane - I went light with a tuna tartar and some salads, but then ate my face off with bubble tea, apple strudel and a mango creme brulee. Delicious, but kind of gross.

Which has pretty much been the theme of the last few days. I need a nap before tonight - we're going to a staff party at the MOMA and then staying with Dave in his fancy apartment. 

At least I have all my Christmas shopping done.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ew ew ew

I just got a cavity filled and the left side of my face is numb. EXCEPT for a part somewhere deep in my chin that has come back to life with a terrible itch - and itch that cannot be scratched because the skin is still numb.

Ew, ew, ew.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Magazines!

The magazine digitization initiative launched today! I freaking love it, maybe even more than the newspaper archives - mostly because magazines have the best full-page ads. You can read Popular Science all the way back to 1870! And they're all 100% viewable and searchable.
So exciting.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Word.

From http://buffalobeast.com/133/bigthree.jpg:

Cookbooks

To be honest, I wasn't too jazzed about most of the cookbooks that the NYT reviewed for the holidays. There's a big emphasis on animal fat (and not just in that first book review), and the odds of me taking on a Martha Stewart recipe are not worth betting on.

But...there is a Godine book on the list! Elizabeth David's Christmas, which we had just acquired when I left. I wasn't too jazzed aboout the idea of us publishing a cookbook; I thought that we should stick with essay-style food writing a la MFK Fischer, with a few recipes thrown in here and there. My reasoning was that the big full-color photography cookbooks are what sell, or the encyclopedic books like The Joy of Cooking and their ilk. Hopefully this review will give the Elizabeth David title a lift. It sounds pretty awesome, if very British.

Kitchen

I done redid my kitchen, folks! We have a bamboo theme going on in our apartment, and since I can't paint, when we moved in last year Iused bamboo wall stickers from Ikea to spice up the kitchen cabinets.
In true Ikea fashion, though, the stickers were kind of crap - they started to fade and peel. So I hit up Etsy for a new design - birds! 
I feel like I could have done a better job with these photos, so I'll retake them in sunlight. Even though it may not appear so here, the birds are a big improvement. And there were enough to put a flock up in the bathroom as well, for two times the adorableness.

Happy Anniversary!

Three years ago today I got drunk at a Waxfire show at the Hemlock and hooked up with my roommate. So romantic! But here we are three years later, still having an awesome time.
Love you baby!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Home

My mom just called me from their rental house's new landline, so I deleted our Montomery number from my phone. There's something symbolic about erasing "Home" - melodramatic, but important.

I've still got my grandma's number in there, even though we sold her house last year - not giving that one up.

Hometown pride

From the CBS News website:

MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP, N.J., Nov. 28, 2008

(AP) A standoff at a New Jersey bank is over after police learned a "person" seen inside was actually a full-size cardboard figure.

Officers went to the PNC Bank in Montgomery Township on Thursday night after an alarm went off. They saw what they thought was at least one person through the windows of the bank, which had its blinds drawn.

The area was sealed off and three nearby apartment buildings were evacuated as a precaution. Meanwhile, authorities used bullhorns and made telephone calls in a bid to make contact with whoever might be in the bank.

After repeatedly failing to get a response, a SWAT team entered the building and discovered the cardboard figure.

It was not immediately clear what set off the bank alarm.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chestnuts!

I am newly obsessed with chestnuts. When I was staying with Amanda and Joschi in Germany, there were piles of them around, because Joschi is an excellent forager. I felt emboldened to order chestnut soup at a work dinner, and it was by far the best soup I've ever had.

Then, while hiking in Pinnacles last weekend, we came upon a bunch of chestnuts on the trail. I collected as many as I could before Mike said I was embarrassing him, and on Monday night I attempted to roast them for a soup. And they totally sucked. They were bitter and mealy and gross. You know what the lesson is there? Don't try to scavenge for food. Be a real modern disconnected-from-the-earth human and buy your chestnuts in a plastic carton like all the other good Trader Joe's shoppers.

I redeemed myself on Tuesday by making a really freaking good Mark Bittman chestnut soup. Just celery, onions, chestnuts and vegetable stock - that's it! So healthy! And tasty. It was a little chunky because my food processor is tiny and starts hiccuping after 15 seconds, but still. It was delicious.

And the chestnut love just keeps on coming. Today I found this article today on my beloved nuts. I don't doubt that the cream in that recipe would make the soup taste richer, but since I am a fatphobic cook, the Bittman recipe made more sense for me. 

Also, someone in the comments section called them "Hateful little yuletide horror-nubbins!" Which is too amusing to be insulting.

I'm not cutting edge, exactly

I'm more an accidental early adopter. From this NYT article on "Big Lebowski" fests:

"Several people were dressed in character, including four men who showed up as white Russians: white painter pants, white T-shirts, brown fuzzy hats. Each drank their namesake."

Boo yah!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Consumerism is love

I don't go in for any of that Black Friday nonsense, no way. I bet those people are buying gifts for others, which is wack. Yesterday I went shopping for myself, and it was ridiculous. I used the Behind the Post Office gift certificate that Mike got me for my birthday and got an insanely expensive pair of jeans. Why? Because everything in that store is insanely expensive. And lovely.

Anyway, I'm not sure I understand the expensive jeans phenomenon. What makes them so great? I understand that you want your butt to look good, but $200 is a serious investment for some butt contouring. Perhaps I am insensitive to this because my butt is already rotund, and while I can't say I like the look of it in a bikini, it tends to do all right when harnessed under denim. 

I also went to Bed Bath and Beyond, which is the handy dandiest store ever. They have all these items! That you never knew you needed! I ravished the mini things aisle (I am never going to need to check luggage again, no sirree) and got a lighter that goes into 3 different positions so that you can light those Jesus candles without burning your fingers, and a shoe rack so that I don't need to store all my boots in a tupperware bin! Yippee!

And then, and then...I went to Trader Joe's. And I went nuts. I got all the little jarred and frozen and tasty thingies that I normally deny myself. Cornichons, frozen chocolate souffles, artichokes! Oreos with peppermint candy cream filling! They are transcendental.

Anyway, I'm on the shuttle, and I'm hungry, and I'm excited to put on my worth-more-than-gold jeans and eat things out of jars. I am also pretty sure there is something wrong with me, but I'm going to leave that up to you to worry about.

See "Milk"

It is so good!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tgiving etc

I had a fabulous Thanksgiving and post-Tgiving camping weekend. More on that later. Right now I am more interested in sharing my Thanksgiving "recipes" because I just spent an hour looking at cooking websites and blogs (in a failed attempt to make foraged-chestnut soup) and that is what I feel like doing. These dudes are Air Quote Recipes because I think I made them up. If you have heard of these things, and you are all like Oh Genevieve did not make them up everyone knows that, I have programmed this blog to scramble the recipes so that your food tastes like squirrel testicles.

So, yes. The first made up (right? right?) thing that I want to share is an eggplant dish. Mike had his friend and her girlfriend over for dinner a few months ago, and I got all intimidated and decided to make 15 different things because I didn't know what they'd like. They liked this.

Eggplant with Goat Cheese 
(maybe it's a rollatini, but I'm not really solid on the definition thereof so let's just keep it simple)

Ingredients: 
  • Eggplant appropriate to the number of people you are feeding; 1 should do the trick if it's a big un
  • A package of goat cheese, softened a bit
  • Basil
  • Tamari soy sauce
Instructions (please interpret loosely):
  • Slice up the eggplant into thin rounds.
  • Put it on a baking sheet and bake it (I just do it at whatever temperature the oven is already at - anywhere between 350 and 425 has worked fine for me) until it is done. You know, until it's soft and has browned a bit but isn't yet charred to the point of being cancerous.
  • Let cool down a bit. In the meantime, chop up the basil and add to the bowl of softened goat cheese.
  • Throw in some soy sauce, maybe a glug or two to start, then mix all together until the consistency is malleable but not goopy.
  • Taste to see if the mixture is pleasing. If not, you messed up somewhere along the way and should probably have another glass of wine. 
  • If it is delicious (as it should be), add a teaspoonful to each eggplant round, roll the eggplant up, and place seam-down onto a platter. 
  • Repeat until your eggplant-to-cheese ratio starts to get weird. At this point, I sometimes make towers with alternating eggplant and cheese levels to even the score a bit, or I may just use the eggplant to clean the bowl and shove it all in my mouth.
  • Shut up, I'm the cook.
  • Serve warm.
Another invented crowd pleaser is twice-baked squash, which can serve as either a side dish or a main course. It is freaking GOOD.

Twice-Baked Squash
(Origin: Thanksgiving 2005, when simultaneously faced with a terrifying amount of butternut squash from Katie and Larry's farm and a new vegetarian roommate named Mike that I wanted to impress.)

Ingredients:
A big old butternut squash
Garlic 
Onions or leeks
Nonfat yogurt
Cheese, grated (any hard cheese - cheddar, swiss, etc - according to your pleasure)
Kale or chard
Whatever other vegetable seems like it would be tasty to throw in the mix. 
Oh, and add herbs as you desire - a little bit of rosemary or sage never hurt anybody.

Instructions:
  • Cut the squash in half, scoop out seeds, place face down on a baking sheet and bake at 400 or so for 45 minutes (ish) until the sucker is done. If you need precision in your life, use a cookbook for this step.
  • When squash has cooled, scoop out meat and place in a mixing bowl.
  • Veggie prep a la Genevieve (i.e., do as you wish): brown the garlic, onions or leeks in a skillet with some olive oil. Steam, saute, or nuke the kale or chard, just to take down its volume before adding to the squash. If you're going to add bell peppers, carrots, or other veggies, you might want to get them at least partially cooked in your preferred manner first.
  • Add garlic or onions and veggies. 
  • Add dairy to desired consistency. I usually throw in a few tablespoons of the yogurt, then more if it isn't moist enough. You want it damp but not wet. Word? Word. 
  • The cheese is also up to you, Cap'n. I like a cheesy gooey mess when all's said, so I do a decent-sized block of cheese. 
  • Mix it all up in the bowl, plop it back into the squash, and bake it until the top is browned, usually 30 minutes or so.
I really do not think you can go wrong with these, but my inability to follow a recipe has also led to an ok instinct for what will be gross and what will be tasty. But I believe in you, friend.

Below you can see the eggplant, just behind the pepper mill, and the squash to the right. Some spread we had, huh?
 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's a small world blah blah blah

Yesterday Jessa's ex-girlfriend Olivia sat down next to me on the Google shuttle. In the course of catching up, I mentioned Vanessa's name - and it turns out one of her high school classmates was sitting right behind me! So that was weird.

Also, my brother is awesome. Please forgive the grainy photo, but this is Ian with Tavis Smiley and Cornell West at a restaurant in Princeton. 
I LOVE that he recognized a radio host and a literature professor - they're both famous, I realize, but still. His explanation: "I was drunk as f***, but I recognized Cornell, and then realized that was Tavis Smiley and called mum." Now isn't that adorable?

Also, he is wearing my dad's sweater from 1981.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Camping!

It looks like we are going to Pinnacles National Monument for the long weekend. Camping, hiking, and maybe even some rock climbing...let me know if you want to join!

Oh, and it's supposed to be in the upper 60's all weekend. Yes!

Oh my my

So, I was in Texas last week. And it was fantastic. And then we were home for an hour, and then we went out for Hartz's birthday. And then we drank margaritas with Dumbro. That is my last 10 days, in a nutshell.

Other things I did:
  • bought cowboy boots
  • went to the dentist
  • drank too much Lone Star
  • ate Tex Mex and barbecue
  • got a pet duck and fed it too much whiskey so it died
Wait! One of those is not true. And was ripped off The Wire. Ok, I am not capable of being coherent right now. So I will leave you with this: a newlywed couple's first dance, to a Regina Spektor cover of "Real Love". Can you even handle it?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Did you know this?

From this Slate profile on Rahm Emmanuel, the new Chief of Staff: the character of Ari Gold inEntourage is based on Rahm's brother!
That is one intense family.

No fair!

On Wednesday, while I was at work here in Austin and Mike was having margaritas, he saw Mr. and Mrs. Coach Taylor, you know, just hanging out:
That is so not even close to fair.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Life

The Goog is hosting Life's photo archives. There's some gorgeous stuff in there!

Let me Google that for you

http://letmegooglethatforyou.com/

"This is for all those people that find it more convenient to bother you with their question rather than google it for themselves."

Heh heh.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My parents are moving!

We hates it, precious! I'm never going to see the inside of my house again! My parents have to be out of there by the end of today, blurgh. It all happened very quickly, and luckily they were able to get a rental near their property in PA. My brother is at school, I'm in Austin, and we're all feeling weird about this, though my parents are too busy hauling all their stuff out of the house to reflect, I think. They're going to be seriously bummed to leave the neighborhood - they've been there for 18 years. 

And here's their going-away present from the neighborhood:
Precious. But I'm still an unhappy lady today.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My kind of religion

From the Wikipedia article on Summum, a religion started in 1975
"According to its founder, over 250,000 people worldwide have "received" Summum instruction. As the organization does not keep formal membership records, this figure is based on the number of bottles of wine it has distributed."

What? Ok! Yeah! That, I can get behind. Also, they are fighting for their rights, according to this NYT article - and in Utah of all places (don't they know Santa Cruz exists?), so good for them. They are into meditation (something I support theoretically), booze (which I support wholeheartedly), and pyramids. Appealing, no? Did you know these guys existed?

Potentional problems: into mummification, totally wackadoo.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Yeah E!

My little brother has been playing soccer since...forever. Really. And depending on the outcome, tomorrow may very well be his last official game. I'm sure he'll play in adult leagues and coach (remind me to tell you his story about coaching 3 year olds, "the squirts"), but since he's a senior in college, his official soccer career is over. Weird!

But today he got the got the winning goal in his league playoff game. Well done, E. Way to make the Dutchmen (seriously?) and the Brennans proud. Not as proud as we were that time you drank those beers out of the centerpiece at Doug's wedding, though.
(Fantastic MS Paint job done by my dad.)

A Scientific Approach to Stupid

Ahhh it's another magical algorithm for the greater good of humankind: The StupidFilter, "an open-source filter software that can detect rampant stupidity in written English."

From their FAQs:

Q: How are you going to manage to recognize stupidity programmatically?
A: Pretty much the same way you can programmatically recognize spam, we'll look for things that characterize stupidity and assign particular tokens different weights based on how often they occur in hand-picked examples of idiotic comments.

Q: Isn't filtering stupidity elitist?
A: Yes. Yes, it is. That's sort of the whole point.

Q: Aren't you just trying to eliminate comments and discourse that you consider to be stupid?
A: As much as that might be nice, no. The StupidFilter does not understand, in a meaningful sense, the text that it parses, and our graders select comments that are formally stupid -- that is, their diction, not their content, marks them as stupid. It is not our intent to eliminate debate or disagreement, but rather to programmatically enforce a certain quality of expression. Put another way: The StupidFilter will cheerfully approve an eloquent, properly-capitalized defense of mandatory, state-subsidized rocket-launcher ownership for all schoolchildren.

Yes!

Obama-rama

This website has an amazing collection of election newspaper headlines from around the world. In case you're still trying to evoke that Tuesday night feeling.

Oh, this is what liveblogging is!

I am working from home today, which means...I am not yet wearing pants. Anyway, about 5 minutes ago I hear tires screeching and then: "I will shoot you! I will shoot you right now!" I creep to the window (no self-preservation instinct here) and see 2 cop cars, 1 white Honda, 6 cops, 6 guns drawn, and 2 dudes in a car. The cops are all in plain clothes - jeans, sweatshirts and Yankees caps. For serious.

So now I am creeping around in my underwear, trying to get a photo without anyone seeing me. The two guys are now cuffed and sitting on the curb, chatting with the cops, who are rifling through the Honda. They don't seem to having found anything yet. One of the perps is wearing an Obama t shirt (sad!). Oop, now they're bringing up a 3rd cuffed guy. Maybe he ran? Anyway, it is all pretty chill, given that only a few minutes ago the cops were threatening to blow their heads off. The cops have notepads out, they're asking the dudes questions, and I am realizing that my windows are too dirty to see much detail.

Forgive me, but I have to say it: it's just like The Wire!!!

Update: they have uncuffed one of the guys sitting on the curb. A woman with two tiny dogs (one in a pink sweater) just walked right through the scene above. Uncuffed Guy went to pet Sweater Dog; Clueless Lady scooped up Sweater Dog in a huff. San Francisco: And You Think You've Seen Weird.

Update x2: they uncuffed everyone! The dudes are getting back in their car! One cop just clapped a formerly-cuffed guy on the back in a conciliatory matter! "Sorry about threatening your life and freedom, man. It's all in the game, right? Like my Yankees cap?"

What just happened?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Apple cake

Last night I made this 101 Cookbooks apple cake
Well, sort of. In true Brennan fashion, I strayed pretty far from the recipe. In particular:
  • I don't know what kind of apples I used, nor how much. 3 apples = how many cups? Also, I didn't chop the apples up enough. Oops.
  • I used whole wheat flour, but not pastry flour.
  • I used regular-type cinnamon, which I did not measure. Just threw it in there. 
  • Since I can't get the top off my salt shaker, I just shook it into my palm for a really long time, until the pile in my hand seemed like a 1/2 teaspoon, and my arm was tired.
  • I didn't have buttermilk, so I did half skim milk and half apple cider vinegar.
  • We had only a little bit of vegan butter left, so I topped it off with a few glugs of canola oil.
  • I threw a shit ton of sugar in there; no measurement needed or attempted.
Oh, also, I used a loaf pan, so I had to cook the sucker for like an hour before it cooked through. It turned out pretty tasty, though! Especially warm and topped with vanilla ice cream. Precision is not my strong suit, but eating is.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Look! It's my book!

Not only is it in Book Search, but I used our new Preview Wizard to embed it!

Oof

It was a really good scene last night. Wine, good company, cupcakes, and whole lotta victory.


BUT it looks like Prop 8 passed, and that is just a huge bummer. Vanessa, Mike and I tried to console ourselves by saying it does a generation good to have a civil rights cause, and this is ours. Also, our generation, on the whole, doesn't seem to understand the bigotry and hatefulness of the gay marriage opponents - and that's a good thing. Maybe in a few years gay marriage will seem so right, so obvious (doesn't it just sound nice and friendly and happy?), that California will look back on its 2008 self and be all, "Man, what assholes we were then."

Right? Right?

Do you know what I love?

How the last several tissues in the box are a different color from the rest, so you know that you're getting near the end.

I just think that's really thoughtful.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

I want to say this to my expat friends: you guys are awesome. Elise downloads Rachel Maddow every day, Amanda was properly horrified/entertained by the Palin interviews and SNL sketches, and Sammy is waking up at 4 a.m. in Cairo to see the results. All voted absentee, I believe. Hopefully we will all be happy happy ladies in a few hours...

Also, I am going to make cupcakes for tonight's festivities, and I am taking inspiration from yeswecake.com:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Peanut butter election time

I really wish I had gotten to see everyone on Halloween - so many costumes, so little time! We got ready with Hartz (crazy spandex roller skater lady) and Cait (Caribou Barbie), then headed off to meet up with our 3rd partner in costume, Umbro. She was a Peppermint Patty shot, I was a White Russian, and Mike was an Irish Car Bomb. Behold, with Cait:
We carried around a cooler full of our respective drinks, and were very popular at parties. Mike in particular. It also made him very drunk.

And so, for the rest of the weekend, we were totally lazy. We nursed our colds, we watched football, and we left the house only when absolutely necessary. If I hadn't been choking on pleghm, it would have been lovely.

But now! It's election eve! I'm stressed!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Not that I read poetry or anything

The NYT Book Review has a great piece on the correspondence of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Frank Bidart used to speak very casually about them in class, but I didn't realize quite how close the three of them were:

"Lowell and Bishop more or less adopt the younger poet Frank Bidart, who catered to Lowell during his endless revisions..and proved Johnny-on-the-spot after Bishop moved to Boston. If at times the poets treated him as a mere factotum, Bidart served as the surrogate son they could gossip about and fuss over."

It's a little difficult to imagine - I'm trying to picture Lowell pinching Frank's cheek - but pretty neat nonetheless.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Earthquake quiz

This quiz has some handy tips about what to do if an earthquake hits. Keep gas in your car, cash in your wallet, and your arms protecting your head and neck. Excellent. And have a bunch of Go Bags, whatever they are.

Take it - it's useful. And cool looking.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ciao, October

Caitlin got in last Friday, and in the last several days we have hiked in Marin, biked to the beach, danced our asses off at a one-hit wonders party (I was Lisa Loeb, Mike was Soul Asylum, and Cait was I'm Too Sexy), and danced our asses off again at the Girl Talk show at the Fillmore.
We have also eaten a lot, in various locales, and with varying company (including my old boss). And now comes our greatest challenge: Halloween.

What the hooey am I going to be?

Gentrify, gentrify, gentrify

Check it out: apartment listings searchable based on their proximity to gentrification signals - yoga studios, vegan restaurants, farmer's markets. 
I do not even even want to know what my neighborhood's gentrification quotient is.

Told you so!

This NYT article discusses the similarities between the current election and the Santos/Vinick race on The West Wing. 

"The parallels between the final two seasons of the series (it ended its run on NBC in May 2006) and the current political season are unmistakable. Fiction has, once again, foreshadowed reality."

It's not terrifically surprising that TV writers would want to pit a telegenic upstart against an established moderate Republican - as we're seeing these days, that matchup = Drama City. But there are some weird parallels too: the choice of veep candidates, for example.

Or little details: "In both “The West Wing” and in real life...the Phillies played in the World Series during the election campaign." Eeeeeeeerie.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I just can't help myself

"It took a multimillion dollar lawsuit, two years of tense negotiations, and an awful lot of scanning. But yesterday the publishing world stood on the threshold of a digital era after a US deal paved the way to transform publishing."

"IMHO, this is a good deal that could be the basis for something really fantastic...Under the agreement, 20% of any work not opting out will be available freely; full access can be purchased for a fee. That secures more access for this class of out-of-print but presumptively-under-copyright works than Google was initially proposing. And as this constitutes up to 75% of the books in the libraries to be scanned, that is hugely important and good. That's good news for Google, and the AAP/Authors Guild, and the public."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No Comment coverage

I'd like to note that I have been at work since 6 a.m., and have had a few mimosas in the interim. But here's what's going on:
And news coverage: 

No Comment

No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment No Comment

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ok so Germany: let me bring you back to the subject...

I was kind of hoarding the delightfulness of the Frankfurt Book Fair for a while, handing out only occasional anecdotal nuggets. Yes, nuggets. But I am now prepared to relate the two most splendid/bewildering events of the fair.

1. Friday night at the Spritzerhaus. A small bar with a stage up front, presided over by a few guys from an American comic book publisher. After a short set, The Best Cover Band ever takes the stage. They do U2, they do the Boss, they do Robbie Williams, they do Green Day, they do Oasis, they do Nirvana. They do every song you never even knew you know the words to. But you DO! Or at least, I did. And my 24 coworkers did. And so, for 4 hours, all of us - American/Japanese/Chinese/French/Italian/German/Scottish - danced like complete maniacs and sang and sweated and had a more fantastic time than I would have thought possible. It was EPIC.

2. Saturday night at a fancy Greek restaurant. A waiter gets on a chair to announce that a delegation from the Chinese Foreign Ministry (or Ministry of Culture? something like that) is in the house, and hosting a star of the Peking Opera. Said opera star dude proceeds to get on a chair and sing, earsplittingly, for a minute or two. The singing style was very traditional, by which I mean, an acquired taste, ahem. The waiter asks if anyone else would like to perform. My entire table, all 20 of my coworkers, pound the table and chant my name. I realize this sounds like the kind of thing I would love, but it is important to note that only a few minutes before, I had poured red wine down my all-white outfit. So singing in front of a restaurant full of people was not on my itinerary.

BUT I am a ham, and I couldn't resist the will of the crowd. Throwing dignity and professionalism to the wind, I got on the chair and rapped a few stanzas of "Shoop." I was too flustered to remember the beginning, so I dove right in with

Let me bring you back to the subject
Pep's on the set
Let me get hot let me work up a sweat
When you skip to my lou my darling
Not falling in love but I'm falling for ya
Uh uh uh...

Etc. And then, THEN, after sitting down, unbelievably humiliated, Opera Star gets back up on the chair! And sings again! I was saved from having to do the chorus of "Gin and Juice" over and over again when my Chinese coworker told me he was just saving face, and I could stay seated and let him feel good about himself. 

But it was pretty thrilling to think that I almost started an opera/rap battle. Singing star vs. drunk American with wine all over herself and little to no rapping ability. International incident? Oops.

Afterward there was cheers-ing all around, and photo-taking, and general merriment between our table and the Chinese Foreign Minister. It was as surreal as it gets.

I have photos, if you are interested.

Housing FYI

A friend at Oak and Pierce has a room in a 4-bedroom apartment opening up, $666 a month. Pretty sweet!

Frankfurt

Here is what I did on my work/vacation.

MCT

Last night Mike and I had dinner with my thesis advisor MCT and her son Ben. She's in town to do some book promotion, and in true good-mom fashion, she decided to stay by Fisherman's Wharf so that Ben feels like he's getting something out of the trip too. MCT, aside form having all kinds of interesting here's-how-many-copies-my-book-has-sold stories, also has a fascinating personal (by which I mean, love life) history. 

Some highlights:
  • She dated one of the founders of Sun Microsystems.
  • She was proposed to by a Nigerian businessman, but said no. The woman he eventually married was subsequently blown up by a car bomb.
  • Her college boyfriend played for the New York Jets.
  • She once placed a personal ad in the New Yorker and got "several hundred" responses, including one from a Middle Eastern oil baron who flew to New York to meet her.
  • She grew up around the corner from Bob Marley in Kingston, and "hung around" with him. That was enough to get Mike to be an MCT superfan on the spot.

If all of this sounds improbable, you have not met MCT. So fabulous!

Caitlin!

Gets here today! She's going to be here for a whole week, so feel free to give us a call and say hi. Weekend plans include hiking, biking, and a one-hit wonders party.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I look exactly the same.

A recent email from Pa Brennan included the photo below. Please note the Gusso nose, the Cabbage Patch Kids shirt, and the chocolate ice cream stain.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Godinegodinegodine

Yeah David! He gets some great coverage in this New York Times article about foreign rights acquisitions at the Frankfurt Book Fair. I have a TON of stories to tell about the fair, but to keep this Godine-centric, he blew into our booth late Saturday afternoon, in the waning hours of the fair. He plopped down and started on a tirade about how much richer I am than him (not true), how he talks to my father on a daily basis (not true), and how he doesn't need to know what's going on with Book Search because I can just do anything I want with the Godine account (true).

He ended the meeting by making a dinner date with me for next Sunday, and saying he was going to continue to be rude to Mike because he is jealous of the men in my life. He demanded to know who at the booth was my boss, because he is and always will be my true boss. The he headed off to wheel and deal some more, leaving all of my current coworkers laughing nervously. It was priceless.

Interesting note: The Prospector, LeClezio's book that Godine published a long while ago, had very few views in Book Search until 8/28, when it had several dozen. It then saw no more views until 10/9, when LeClezio won the Nobel Prize and traffic to the book went crazy. David is convinced the views on 8/28 were the Nobel committee - how cool would that be?

My professional life has never been boring.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This darn world of ours

I know that this is a serious situation, but the story and names are completely out of a book. A boy kidnapped for the sins of his family? A grandfather named Clemens Tinnemeyer? An abductee named Cole Puffinburger? 

I hope they get a movie deal.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yay poetry

Frank Bidart is a National Book Award finalist! Good for him, man. I hope he wins a lifetime supply of Arizona iced tea. And Luna bars - he always bought those at El Table, even though they are designed for women. And taste gross.
More info on him and his book on the National Book Award site.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hi look that's me!

I have a post on the Content Central blog! It's a new corporate blog for anyone that provides us with content - so maps data, video, printed material, etc.

Aside from the Curious George-esque title and the cutesy random ending, I am pretty happy with how it turned out. By which I mean, I feel like it doesn't actually seem like I drafted it in 15 minutes. Which I did.

And if it does, please do not tell me so. Kthx!

Monday, October 13, 2008

German Starbucks WTF

I have endured 7 hours of 90's hits, Celine Dion, and soft-rock versions of blues songs. And now: Joanna Newsom?

Ok, Bonn Starbucks: we can consider a truce. Depending on what you bust out with next.

UPDATE: Dixie Chicks. And not one of the fun, violent songs either.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oh, Germany

There are a lot of things I like about Germany: the people (namely, Amanda and Franz), the bicycles, the beer. There is, however, one thing I don't like about it: the language. Or, rather, that it is a language that I do not speak. Here are some embarrassing things I have done as a result of not understanding German:
  • fumbled around on my hands and knees under my barstool looking for a girl's scarf for a quite a few minutes after she had (apparently) told me that she had found it
  • spit beer back into my glass in order to follow what I thought were the German rules of toasting
  • tried to use the men's room at a beer hall
All in all, though, having an excellent time. More updates later.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Congratulations!

To my former employer, David R. Godine, who now has a Nobel prize-winning author on his list! J.M.G. Le Clézio was just named the Nobel laureate in literature - hopefully this means that sales of The Prospector (which is super-backlist) will go through the roof. I'll be tracking the traffic to the book via Book Search, of course.
The question is, why couldn't this have happened while I was Godine's sales manager?

Hindenberg shmindenberg

Um yes, I would like to take a trip around the Bay Area in a zeppelin! I sure would!

In addition to being novel and romantic, zeppelins have the added benefit of sounding like both an Italian pastry and an ice-smoothing machine. Magical combination.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happy happy happy

I am sitting upstairs on a plane! A lady just gave me a glass of champagne! I have a lie-flat seat with built in massagers! Selling out, I love you!

Scattered

Today I go to Germany. I have spent the last several work days toiling over a slide presentation that I (and my coworkers) will have to share with at least 30 publishers next week. I am already sick of it. I have a sore throat, and the only cure (according to my doctor) is avoiding booze, getting enough sleep, and not talking. HA!

Also, I am in the United business class lounge, and it is not nearly as fancy as the Lufthansa one in Frankfurt. I didn't eat breakfast in anticipation of delicacies! 

Last weekend was Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and it was perfect - sunny, beer-ful, and filled with good company. This weekend I will be in Bonn with Amanda and Franz. I am sad to leave San Francisco when it is so sunny and beautiful, but I bought a sexy trenchcoat to battle the German rain. 

I miss my cat.

Guten tag!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Who the hell gets pink eye?

I do, apparently. Me and the 9 year olds of the world.

I swear to God I wash my haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaands!

Friday, October 3, 2008

My thoughts on the debate.

I can't take four more years of nuc-u-lar. I just cannot take it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Seriously, no seriously

This is my last Palin post. For now. Maybe. I present: Palin's Facebook page. Glorious!

Back to the future

Search the 2001 internet! It's another one of the Goog's 10th birthday features. My vanity search returned these results:
  • Montgomery Township Board of Ed National Merit Scholarship semifinalist list - fascinating. (Also on the list: Ben Bernanke's son, my high school boyfriend, my best friend, a wolf shirt girl who is now a super hottie, and Harland T. Westgate, who had the most pretentious name in the school district.)
  • An interview for lacrosse in the Princeton Packet in which I say "I am excited" at least five times.
  • My really sad time in the Run for Aimee 5k (29:21 - a 9.5 minute mile average, boo).
And that is IT. Oh, the dark ages of the intertubes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sake/rocks/leather

My arms are so sore that I can barely move - I just peeled a banana ouch ouch ouch. We went rock climbing at Mt. Diablo on Saturday, which was fun but was a big painful reminder that I am a weakling. The downer downside: even though I spent my day in strenuous effort, nothing counts for that workout challenge. The upside: it was gorgeous, and the company was good.

One thing about this climbing trip was that those in attendance were primarily Greenpeacers. One perky chick who works for the Rainforest Action Network was there too, and she had an interesting story. In August, she was on the roof of the Chinese consulate helping another protester on ropes hang a Free Tibet-type banner. The officials cut the ropes, then beat this girl with lead pipes until the cops showed up. Then she was arrested.

You know what happens when you hang out with activists? You start to realize your job is for sissies.

Anyway, it was a really fun day, protest horror stories aside. Here is Mike belaying someone in a Super Tough manner.
This weekend also involved ice cream and Zeitgeist and football. OH, and the Folsom Street Fair, which I was not really prepared for. There were a lot of assless chaps - fine. But there was also bondage and whipping and fellatio on the streets. Who knew? Everyone but me, I guess. But it was also a good old fashioned street fair in other ways, with beer and bands and a lot of happy people in costume. Plus I got a nice "tan" (read: mild burn that will be tan for two days then disappear completely). I will put some photos up when I get a chance - you just can't wait, can you? My mother requested that I not send her photos of old man penis. Check.

Oh also, Thursday night we went for sushi and sake and I was a MESS on Friday. I don't know if it was food poisoning or the spontaneous hangover from hell, but I was nauseated to the point that I contemplated knocking myself unconscious just to avoid the misery for a bit. I took a lot of photos that I don't remember taking, but most are done with my iPhone and just look creepy and blurry. Like this one:
Cheers!

Friday, September 26, 2008

FW: Prayer can move mountains, why not Obama?

The power of gbrennan@gmail strikes again - what a lucky lady I am! Below I present a long crazy OMG Muslims Are Taking Over Screed that was erroneously forwarded to me. I've bolded my favorite parts, and added occasional annotations. I particularly like how they manage to imply Obama is Muslim (or at least a Muslim-lover) at the same time that they reference his "anti-white" pastor. Also, the subject line is bizarre - they want prayer to move Obama? Where? It seems like they've pretty much written him off here; I don't think they're counting on him moving to the right anytime soon.

I would also like to note that this hate-a-thon came to me from Gae Brennan, whoever he or she is (and what an unfortunate name for a crazy Christian), with no explanatory note but a . Shudder.

I feel for the lady who wrote this. She is clearly upset, and has become an irrational fear-monger. I'd like to make her a cup of tea, point out she can pray all that she wants but that her God might like it better if she was a little more understanding of her fellow man, and then tell her she shouldn't associate with people who use emoticons.

Let the nutjobbery begin:

This came to me from a dear friend and prayer warrior in Arizona - not only is she a strong Christian, but she has been involved in presidential campaigns back as far as Ronald Regan (maybe even before then - that's how long I have known her) - this is not some "internet circulating" email [gbrennan@gmail begs to differ] - it is from Elizabeth's own heart and well worth our heeding as Christians.

From: ELIZABETH ROHN-NELSON
Subject: Prayer can move mountains, why not Obama?

Being dismayed recently when a family member of mine said to me with great resignation that Obama will take the presidency. These words came from someone who in the past has been a great prayer warrior.

What is happening was my question??? Why are we Christians settling and not issuing a battle cry and falling to our knees and taking our country back?

We allow ourselves to be stripped of the right to pray at school functions and in school, we have the 10 commandments removed from government places and are told we cannot pray in school, all the while providing public prayer places for Muslims. [Forgive me if I'm wrong, but people can pray anywhere the hell they want, correct? Cathy Christian is free to do her thing, and no one's making her face Mecca five times a day.] What in the world is going on and why are we being apathetic?

Why aren't we praying? Our God is a mighty God who is waiting patiently for us to raise our voices to heaven to stop the tide of the anti-Christ actions in our world today.  Now we find we have a charismatic candidate for president who does not respect our flag and refuses to wear one on his lapel except when it becomes politically expedient and whose own wife and pastor that he loves profess to have strong anti-white feelings, and we sit back and say "it is a given, we can do nothing." 

There has never been a time in 2000 years that we can do nothing, never a time that we must sit back and allow the evil in men's and women's hearts to take over our world. We should be very afraid because our apathy is leading us to perdition.

It is time for all Christian Americans to raise the battle cry and take our nation back. Maybe McCain on his own cannot defeat Obama, but our God can and He will if we take to our knees in prayer and raise a mighty cry to the heavens to "Save us O Lord." We have the power to change the course of this election and to keep a man as suspect as Barak Obama from leading our country to who knows where with his message of "change" - a change which I fear will be away from our Christian ideals and away from Christ and further away from one nation under God.

We are great at passing stories and pictures around the internet, but whereare our prayers and prayer warriors praying to stop this tide of Barak Obama? God parted the red sea, Jesus raised himself from the dead, and we can bring our country back to its Christian roots and stop the move to the rise of Muslims in our country. We can stop our country from being "under Allah," but we must begin to pray, to pray as if our country and our lives depended on it, because they do. We can stop all these atrocities against God's commands that have taken root in our country through something as simple as sincere prayer, a call to God to deliver us, to forgive us our sins of apathy and to protect us from the evil that is upon us.

Okay prayer warriors, here is your challenge, start those prayer chains. Get the spiritual power working on our behalf and stop Barak Obama the proper way, by calling on our God to save us from the deception that charismatic preaching is using to lead us on the wrong path. Stop those who would take God out of our country and our government. Raise up good men to lead us and protect us.

George Bush is being buffeted because he has fought a holy war against the evils that attack us and we should not be surprised because a prophet is not honored in his own country. [Holy crap there are people who think GW is a prophet! That is just precious.] But we should not rest on our laurels and allow ourselves to be taken further off the path of Christianity and to have God removed from our presence in our schools, courts, government and businesses. Invite God into the fray. Ask that His power rest upon us and give us the victory. Ask him to raise up a mighty army to defend us and to protect our country as he did in days of old. Let us be victorious beginning NOW. The battle is His but we must call on Him without ceasing and unite our voices and hearts in prayer and fasting.

Please pass this around to all people of prayer that you know and maybe, just maybe a more eloquent person of prayer will write something better and more inspiring and even the rocks will shout that Jesus is Lord and our Mighty God is with us, bringing the victory for us and ultimately for Him.

"Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thess 5:16-18

....Continuous Prayer is the answer to this attack on the USA....
Please pray the Will of God will prevail through our continuous prayers to HIM...

Remember Prayer Can... [gratuitous ellipsis ahhh] Move Mountains

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Survivor

So I am doing this Survivor Challenge thing at work. I have four weeks to complete the following activities, at my own pace. Note that the second number below represents what I have actually done. Please don't laugh yet; this thing only started on Monday. You'll have time to mock me later.

Run: 15 miles. Actual: 4 miles.
Cycle: 45 miles. A: 0.
Row: 15,000 meters. A: 1000.
Stair climb: 300 floors. A: 0 (I am not counting real-life stair climbing; it has to cause maximum misery, and therefore be in the context of Exercise).
Wall sit: 25 minutes. A: 2.5.
Front plank: 15 minutes. A:2.
Push ups: 500. A: 20.
Superman: 15 minutes. A: 1. If you don't know what the Superman is, here is a diagram. If you picture the figure shaking and sweating, you have a good sense of what it is like when I do it.

In any case, as much as I enjoy discussing my unachievable goals, I lay all this out as an introduction to this Onion article, which made me laugh so much that my poor overworked abs cramped. It is my favorite Point/Counterpoint ever.

A note on the text: it is indeed about Sarah Palin, and I know there is some Palin fatigue out there (I'm looking at you, Drespel). But this is worth it, I promise. It is juvenile and it is cruel and I love it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sloth and gluttony

Here is what I want to say about my weekend: it was pretty great, but I did nothing productive for my mind, body or spirit. I just drank a lot.

Friday we went to a free screening of "Battle in Seattle", which is an exciting protest movie, but terrible in all other regards. Important context: Mike got tickets through Greenpeace, which is one of several activist groups that the movie's promoters are courting. With three friends in tow, we went to a pre-party at the Westin, where many activists were chowing down on an unbelievable array of sushi, cheese, and fruit tartlets. It was like being at prom with all your high school's hacky sackers. Oh, and there was on open bar. Score!

What this meant for the movie itself was that it had to suffer the scrutiny of people who were at the WTO protests in Seattle in 1999, who have been teargassed, and who have managed to spend some time in jail without ever having a heartfelt reconciliation with the cop who beat the shit out of them. There was a lot of jeering and snickering and "yeah, right"-ing. One old guy very forcefully told the theater that pretty much any scene that had character interaction, particularly during incarceration, was "totally unbelievable". And not in a good way.

I came out of the theater all fired up, though, and ready to do something. The best and easiest idea was to donate to kiva.org. That almost turned into something productive, but I couldn't decide if I wanted to give to the cell phone lady in Africa or the jewelry lady in Honduras, and so have not donated anything yet. But I will.

Saturday we shopped on Haight Street, watched football and drank beer, and went to a party. It was really nice having Hilary here, even if she did have 8000 pounds of law books with her. On Sunday I watched more football. And yesterday, you guessed it, I watched even more football.

Now if my huge new HD TV only got reception, and I could watch this football in the comfort of my own home. To cable or not to cable, that is the question.

Or maybe it should be: how shallow is this post, and how much of a dilettante am I? Wait, don't answer that.

Friday, September 19, 2008

OMG

From the @Google team:

"The creators of ICanHasCheezburger.com will be giving a talk on campus. And while Googlers are known to be a dog-friendly bunch, we thought it'd be fun to show LOLcats from Googlers on the big screen during the talk. If you have any LOLcats you're willing to share, send them on over to [redacted, oh snap]@gmail.com!"

This is like getting to meet KNOTB in their prime and showing them your dance moves, or being 11 and telling Judy Blume about your bust-enhancement techniques.

OMG, I need a clever caption for a photo of Ezzie, stat.

How Canadians are like Cylons

I just spent 24 hours in Vancouver, and I have learned that Canadians are like Cylons. Why? Because they look like us now! You don't even have to do them and see if their spine glows red - you just have to figure out a way to get them to say "about". 

"Eh," by the way, is not as common as the Barenaked Ladies would have you believe.

There is something very eerie about being someplace that is similar to where you live, but only a little bit off, a tiny bit foreign. This didn't happen in Montreal or Toronto because of all the French, but Vancouver is like Bizarro America. I was walking down the street, feeling pretty comfortable with my woman-alone-on-a-business-trip self, until I saw an ATM that was not a BOA or a WaMu or even a California credit union. No, it was a Canadian ATM, and I did not like it one bit.

Other things I saw that at first appeared normal, but then proved themselves to be Canadian: a post office, clothing stores that looked like American Eagle but were actually Roots, my cell phone signal provider. Rogers Wireless, bah - you charged me $400 last time I used you. (Thank god for corporate cell phones.) I am used to foreign countries where people drive on the wrong side of the road, speak other languages or at least pronounce English in an unintelligible way, and never ever get anywhere on time. At least they are upfront about their foreignness, and I can adjust accordingly.

I know it is a cliche, but the weirdest thing about Vancouver was that everything was nice and orderly. They have all these glassy high rises that look like Restoration Hardwares stacked on top of one another. The taxis were Prii (Prius in the plural, right?), the streets were clean, and everyone was very friendly. (Except for the guy from Barcelona who followed me down the street asking me out, but if I'm going to run with stereotypes here, I'm just going to say he was a typically libidinous Spaniard.) There was the occasional homeless person, but I just looked at them dubiously, like, Sir, don't you have socialized healthcare? And isn't it prohibitively cold here in the winter? Do you have a Canadian accent? Because if you do, that would be weird to me.

Anyway, it went as smoothly as a quick trip like that can, and I didn't even embarrass myself during my speaking spot. I could actually see myself living in Vancouver - it has mountains and a densely populated downtown and lots of restaurants and bars - but it would take some time to get over being subtly thrown off my game.

I still think Canadians are like Cylons, though, except that they are probably not planning to wipe out human existence. But they could if they wanted to.

Weird-o-matic

I do not really know anything about Weirdomatic.com, but it apparently has a page with tons of creepy ads. I like these because advertisers work so hard to be convincing and manipulative, but then, 40 or 50 years later, their work just seems silly or offensive. Sometimes ads seem offensive at the time, too - remember the ad that ran during the Super Bowl, with the panda with the "Asian" accent? That was kind of comically offensive, but these are pretty much just comical.

I feel a lot of affection for this guy. I would be that proper if I were a carrot, too.
I am pretty grossed out by this one. I mean, yes. Obviously.
And I do not even know what to say about this one. In case you cannot see it well, it is suggesting that your husband will feel more fulfilled if you flush out your lady parts WITH LYSOL.
There are also people made out of PBR ribbons, lots of drug-your-children-and-senile-parents ads, and my favorite, The Creepiest Girl in the World.
 I think she is not craving jelly on bread, but rather human flesh.

Little Teeth

I have a favorite San Francisco band of which my boyfriend is not a member, and that band is Little Teeth. They had a CD launch party last Sunday, and it was sublime. If you like shrieking, drums and banjos, and singers who strap percussion instruments to their legs and stomp around, you should really look at their MySpace page. They are about to go on tour, and it would be well worth your while to attend their show if you live in Portland, Boston, New York, or one of the other places they are playing.

I'm looking at you, Ms. Snowdon. PA's Lounge!

Little Teeth sound like muppets on hard drugs let loose in a music store. And that is why I love them.

Hihihi

The one and only Hilary Jaffe is in town this weekend! If you would like to see her face, let me know, because we will be out and about.

First stop: free tickets to "Battle in Seattle" tonight. And open bar!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mr. Bernanke is making history.

I mean, duh. But who knew, when he was our superintendent and neighbor, that he'd be spearheading some of the most drastic governmental financial interventions in U.S. history? There's Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac being nationalized, there's Lehman Brothers with their record-setting bankruptcy filing, and there's the AIG loan.

"The Fed has the option to purchase up to 80 percent of the shares of A.I.G., is replacing A.I.G.’s management, and is nearly wiping out A.I.G.’s existing shareholders. A.I.G. is to be wound down by selling its assets over the next two years...The Fed has never asserted its authority to intervene on this scale, in this form, or in a firm so far removed from its own supervisory authority."

Way to go, Ben!

Or, in ten years, pick the correct final sentence:
A) Way to go, Ben! (genuine)
B) Way to go, Ben! (sarcastic)

An article not by Gail Collins!

I understand if you don't want to read an article that both starts and ends with Coldplay quotes, but there is one interesting nugget in this NYT piece by Roger Cohen: a call to support a bank that aims "to use public and private capital to give coherence to a vast program of public works". 

Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Pinky? If we're going to resurrect the W.P.A., shouldn't it be to support renewable energy research? Infrastructure + jobs + the industry of the future = happy Estadounidenses.

And despite the fact that I know it's a copout: if you want us to go into public service, Real Grownups, how about you stop saddling us with terrifying amounts of college loans? Debt isn't really a great motivator to dedicate one's life to low-paying but good-feeling jobs.

Couldn't help myself.

Search showdown

Maybe other people knew about it, but a Canadian book marketer had to tell me about Google Insights for Search, which shows (and compares) search volume for any terms you set.

If I weren't so tall, it wouldn't be a big deal.

I just thought I'd lost my glasses, but they were nestled in the bottom of my jacket pocket. I am less concerned about my forgetfulness than that my head is the width of my pocket.

I knew my head was tiny, but that is just ridiculous.