Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's not my birthday (it's not today)

Where I'm from, a birthday means an excuse to party with friends and family. Here, it meant flowers:

and it meant a fantastic dinner with my sweetie. We went to a cool old restaurant called Rapscallion that specializes in fish - we had crab cakes and this awesome salad with endive and asparagus and the dessert was possibly the best creme brulee I have ever had in Reno. Matt didn't even get annoyed by the posh-ness because it is very old Reno - dark wood, dim and old bottles. He gets cranky when we go to hip urban places because he thinks they're pretentious. Long story.

And it means sushi lunch with my sister on Sunday! She's been working like crazy so it will be fun to see her! She just started a new accountant job and March and April they work six days a week because of tax time. So it will be nice to get to hang out with her. It just means I have to go in to the Co-op early if I am going to take off early. It's become worth it since they've figured out their volunteer system and if you volunteer six hours a month you get 15% off all of your orders. That turns into a really good deal!

But it was yesterday!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Question for Etsy people

So when you're selling stuff on Etsy, does it infuriate you when you get a convo saying "oh I love this, could you do it in this fabric/add a pocket/shorten the strap/add some links to the chain?" or otherwise request customization? Or do you just smile and tack on five bucks?

This may also lead to pictures of something I may or may not be purchasing myself for a birthday present. I'm 27 today! And tonight we are going to have a nice dinner out here and I am excited. We go out to cheap ethnic food all the time but very rarely do we have a nice dress-up, sit-down, white-tablecloth evening (I can't remember the last time we did) and I am really looking forward to it!

Friday, March 27, 2009

You know all is right with the world

When Itunes finishes up Emerson Lake and Palmer's cover of Copland's Hoedown and follows it with Puccini's "Gira la cote" from Turandot. Daaamn.

Anyways, hope everyone had a nice weekend! There will soon be fresh pictures of my triumphant backyard projects from this weekend ... I managed to finish the flagstone patio (when I really should be finishing the river rock edging for the bed by the path so the gravel path doesn't get all full of mulch) and got some nice plantings in around it. And Emma, did I spend too much time at Filoli if my immediate solution for my backyard started with gravel paths and perennial borders? Now I just need a hula hoe!

P.S. the best clip I found of that version of Hoedown I couldn't post because I couldn't get over the fact that the keyboard player was chewing gum during his entire solo. How do you DO that while you're playing?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Musical Interlude

The trip home last weekend also allowed for some time to pick up some CDs (as there is no Amoeba Records in Reno, sadly). And now I am on a Neko Case kick. So I thought I should share. No legit videos for some reason, just live clips (some better than others). A lot of the stuff on YouTube muffles her voice terribly, it's almost not worth listening to. But there are some good ones:

Girl has a HUGE voice, and is probably the closest to country music that I will ever voluntarily listen to. For some reason her stuff makes me think of Virginia City - her voice just sounds old, and it makes me think of the bleakness of the desert. Don't ask me why.

And this is one of those songs that makes me wish I was more in to religion (maybe if all hymns were like this).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

That can't be the goal

I always figured actors who went by three names were just trying to make themselves more memorable. However, I also just confused Richard Dean Anderson with Jeffrey Dean Morgan. As in, "that Watchmen guy was MacGuyver?" kind of confusion. That can't be the goal.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Frivolity instead of a real weekend roundup

So I went home this weekend. Thus, Friday we drove down and veered through Oakland to drop off my tuba for a repair (no, I won't get it worked on in Reno). Saturday we had a celebratory lunch for the March birthdays in our family (me, my brother-in-law, my nephew, etc.) and went to Berkeley to see a show. Then today walked to Farmer's Market and then we had a much bigger celebratory lunch for my grandmother's 102nd birthday. It was busy and crazy and annoying but I got to meet my tiny new niece and get a set of magnifying filters that screw on to my camera lens. So that was nice.

spring weekend trip home
spring weekend trip home - by ajftuba on Polyvore.com

Yes, I got sucked into Polyvore too. So this is my fantasy wardrobe that I would have liked to have so I could have packed it for my trip home. Clearly there are no budget or general reality constraints, it's just another way to waste time...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Two of my favorite guys (NOT a Friday Hotness post)

I just got the Graveyard Book from the library, and it was lovely. It had a lot more girth to it than Coraline, and this has to be one of the best interviews I've ever seen on the Colbert Report. Neil Gaiman is beyond fast on his feet and he and Colbert have fantastic banter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. P's Day

What Sinead O'Connor's voice was really meant for:

And Sting ain't bad either:

And just for fun:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reno cultcha

I haven't been busy getting anything real done, but I have gotten quite a bit of cultcha this weekend, comparatively.

Thursday night Matt's buddy who thinks he's going to be a promoter now successfully pulled off a show at a tiny venue in a sketchy neighborhood. However, it was this guy:

Who is an amazing gypsy jazz guitarist with an amazing band and despite Matt's buddy's failure to do ANY promotion or even figure out a hotel room for the band, the evening went very well. Matt hired security guys to work the door and ran around being helpful all night, and I just got dressed up and looked pretty and enjoyed the music.

Friday night I finally saw Watchmen, which my justify its own post. In short, it was extremely well done and having read it, I was conveniently able to look away from the nastiest violence. The sex scenes weren't as obnoxious as I was led to expect (ahem, 300, I'm looking at you) and they were able to keep an impressive number of the plots together. That said, the female characters were incredibly poorly acted, especially compared with the great jobs that Jackie Earle Haley and Patrick Wilson did. Also, they could have cut a decent amount of the slow-motion sex and violence and been able to put in a lot more of the regular joe storylines. That was what I felt the major flaw was - the book spends time with a lot of minor characters like the prison psychiatrist and his wife, the people at the newsstand etc. so you really feel the bleakness when (SPOILER!) they're all blown up at the end. When you don't see nay regular New Yorkers, you don't realize the destruction and how it brings together the warring world powers.

Then Saturday I had my camera class on how to get more out of my fancy camera I inherited from my dad. It was great, I can do so much more with it now! I can't wait for things to start looking nicer outside so I can go practice my depth of field on some plants!

And Saturday night we went and saw the Reno Chamber Orchestra. Not normally a group I would be inclined to support (chamber orchestras have no low brass - that means, no trombones, and NO TUBAS! God only knows what they're thinking with that). However, they had a guest soloist named Edgar Meyer, who is one of the greatest living bass players out there today.

They opened with a strings-only Stravinsky piece that really showcased their weaknesses a little too well, but then Edgar Meyer did his solos - a Bottesini double bass concerto and his own double bass concerto. They finished with a respectable Mozart Symphony, the "Prague". This and the Meyer concerto were even better because at least they had some winds for them - it makes a huge difference in a room of screechy strings when you add some woodwinds and trumpets and horns. It adds depth to the sound and when some of the winds are better musicians (I think) than the excessive number of violins it really makes a difference. So the last number was respectable, and the two concertos were spectacular. That man is an absolute genius. And that is the only reason Matt came with me. I like classical music, and I still wouldn't normally go see these guys. However, if I ever have a chance to go see Edgar Meyer again I will be at the head of the line with my checkbook.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Aw, nuts

I had a very interesting appointment with an allergist the other day. I got tested for food allergies. In the past, I've had certain foods that make my tongue itch, and certain foods that make my mouth red and irritated. I was always more worried about the stuff that irritated my mouth because it was things that were too awesome to give up, like fresh peaches and nectarines.

Well the upshot of the test is, all the fresh peaches and nectarines are fine. It's the stuff that made my tongue itch that could kill me. So far all the reactions I have had haven't been bad but I get to avoid them now because they are BAD rather than just because they bug me.

Conveniently enough, this relatively short list includes:


most of which I picked up on, I used to eat almonds by the handful and had to stop because it was so uncomfortable, likewise soy milk, edamame and I vividly remember a gorgeous shrimp and pea risotto that Matt had to finish because I couldn't eat it. Sigh.

At least two of the ones I was most worried about tested out ok, I would have freaked out if he had said I needed to kick garlic or string beans. Weird, I know.

So this will put a major crimp in my Asian-food habits, cooking and eating thereof. No more Thai peanut chicken, no more cashew shrimp. It looks like moo shoo for me. I am not going to obsess about it but if I have to carry a stupid Epi-Pen I might as well hedge my bets a bit as I don't EVER want to have to use it.

Also, no more peanut butter. Whoda thunk it? Double sigh.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Garden angst

It was so beautiful this weekend that I was inspired to drop by the local nursery. I needed some garden supplies, soil fertilizer etc. and was jonesing for some plants. Of course, since it's only March, the clever nursery people don't have anything in stock. So I excitedly tidied and mulched things and was generally antsy and unproductive in my backyard.

Beyond the plant list that I won't be able to buy anything off of until April, I need to do some rock-moving and finish the borders on my path. I will post pictures if the weather continues to be annoyingly gorgeous. Here lies the rub: Monday it snowed so bad there were multiple multi-car pile-ups during the morning commute. Friday it is supposed to be in the 60's. How can I work like this?!

Realistically, what I can do is get off my butt and order the flagstone for my back patio. That can get installed as long as it isn't snowing because it won't matter if it snows once I get it all in. And it's not that big of a patio so I just need to get it a little more level before I go at it.

However, what I totally want to be doing is planting things, NOT moving rocks. Sigh.

Pictures forthcoming, hopefully they will be particularly good after I get through this camera class I am taking on Saturday...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

On Things I Should Have Discovered Years Ago.

I ADORE Lord Peter Wimsey.

Lady Harriet better look out.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday hotness

Much as I love my little strutting buddy down there, I just realized I posted a Friday hotness once and then never again. So here's some more goodness for those of us who wish we could start our weekends early.

Slightly lest rugged than the last batch, and no foreign accents this time, but still... I'm not usually one for men in ties but I might make an exception or two here. Also, real content forthcoming this weekend, I promise.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

haters gonna hate

I wish I could remember where I found this.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The fine line between being Good and Enjoyable. And a question for everybody.

I finished The Watchmen. It promptly gave me nightmares. It was excellently written but I thought the ending was incredibly dissatisfying and now I pretty much don't want to see the movie. Sigh. I won't deny that it was Good but I can be pretty clear on the fact that I didn't get a single moment of pleasure out of it.

And then I got lectured about not depriving myself of the joys of Frank Miller just because I've prejudged him (based on everything I've ever seen of his work, ALL of which I hated). Sigh. And this was shortly after he re-watched Sin City last night and deemed it "moronic". Sin City was the only movie I have ever walked out of in theaters. Although the last Batman was pretty close too.

So I read The Dark Knight Returns, to make him happy. Yes, it's a brilliant story. Yes, the art is great. That doesn't mean I didn't still fucking HATE IT. I grew up on the cheesy Adam West Batman and the early Tim Burton Batman. Those were silly and fun. This is go-kill-yourself levels of depressing. Jesus, yes it was a brilliant idea to have Batman and Superman fight and it was a great setup (who else could get you to root AGAINST the Man of Steel?). That still didn't make me like it. Or any of the rest.

I don't like Hemingway either. I will acknowledge his greatness, but he pisses me off. Alan Moore I'm ok with, but I don't know if I will read V for Vendetta after all. And Frank Miller? Yes he's great. But I never want to read anything else by him. Ever.

There's a meme - best item of reading or viewing material that you hated? As in, you can acknowledge how good it is but still can't stand it. Anyone? Anyone?

Edit: Tonight I finished Arkham Asylum and The Killing Joke (both Joker ones). This is just not my Batman. Tomorrow I pick up Sandman and V for Vendetta at the library. Maybe those will be interesting without being so miserably bleak. We'll see.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I don't know how I feel about this yet. Also, slightly spoiler-y.

So I have been somewhat curious about the new Watchmen movie coming out, and due to my favorite movie review website posting things like this and this, Matt went and dug out his copy of the graphic novel for me. I have never read graphic novels, and have only a moderate interest in superheroes (I didn't enjoy that last Batman but I adored Iron Man, which may or may not have anything to do with Robert Downey Jr. and The Dude). This one seems to be pretty epic, as graphic novels go. The top of the heap. Alan Moore and Frank Miller are pretty much the only two graphic novel authors I have heard of, and pretty much all I had determined was that I won't give Frank Miller my money for anything ever again until he writes a female character that a. survives the entire storyline and b. is not a whore. So far I'm pretty safe. Alan Moore's biggies seem to be Watchmen and V for Vendetta, which I remember thinking was an interesting concept. I just put in a request for it, as our library, awesomely enough, carries graphic novels.

I am about 3/4 of the way through the Watchmen as of right now. It is bleak. None of the superheroes are black-and-white, they are multi-dimensional people who are trying to do something to make the world better and they are not exactly popular anymore. There are a lot of flashbacks to the heyday of the superheroes when they were popular and capital-A American. This also entails them successfully helping end the Vietnam War so at the time that most of the book is set in, Nixon is in his fifth term as president. There is a big Russian shadow looming but the superheroes have been outlawed, and one of them has just been murdered. There have been attempts on other former superheroes lives. And a couple of ex-supers are getting together to figure out what's going on.

Seems moderately straightforward. However, one of the supers has actual superpowers, due to a glossed-over nuclear incident. He has been America's real protection against international incidents for the last several years (part of the success in Vietnam is credited to him). And he is getting disillusioned with the regular people that he has been protecting. So at this point in our story, he has been driven off by bad publicity and has retreated to Mars. And the Russians are starting to arm themselves and get a little antsy since he's gone.

So it's a combo of flashbacks to the good old days, the story of the non-super supers trying to figure out who is orchestrating the murders of the "masks" as they call themselves, and the one really super one contemplating whether the human race is worth saving. And the way it's going, I am not totally sure it won't end with everyone dying in a massive nuclear holocaust. It is starting to make me less interested in seeing the movie. Because there's no way they can get all the nuances and complexities of the story shoehorned in, and they are going to have to update the political situation somewhat to make it relevant to modern audiences since it's going on 25 years old. And did I mention it's fucking bleak. I am realizing why I liked Iron Man so much. This thing is not any fun. It has very little in the way of sympathetic characters, and honestly, I think if it was a book it'd be just as easy to read. The art is not what I'm interested in, shall we say. But the plot has got me hooked.

Also, Rorschach (a.k.a. the most interesting character) is being played by the littlest Cutter from Breaking Away (in the striped shirt on the far left), the world's most awesome cycling movie. Part of me wants to watch that instead.

But, tellingly, there is no way that I am going to do anything right now other than go finish reading this thing.

And according to Wikipedia, the Hugo Awards made up a whole new category just so they could give this thing a Hugo. They never did it again.